As a business blogger for nearly four months now I’ve read a lot of articles and blog posts that have listed the essential qualities of entrepreneurs of every type. I’ve read must have qualities, qualities shared by successful entrepreneurs and what not. As a blogger whose blog is devoted to the custom made business here’s my take on what it takes to become a custom made business owner.
A custom made business owner is different from any other business owner because he or she goes about creating one of a kind products and services, bespoke stuff that no one else can. That’s why qualities of a custom made business owner are a little different from people who produce standardized goods and services.
Here’s Part 1 my list of 23 qualities that make a custom made business owner…
- 1. Passion for What You Do
As a custom made business owner creating one of a kind products and services is possible only when you are deeply passionate about what you do. A commitment to your craft is the only way you will be able to do something different each time and yet deliver customer delight.
Almost every designer, artist or person who runs a custom made business is driven by his or her passion for design, art, food (basically whatever it is that they do).
- 2. The Ability to Spot a Profitable Niche
Creating standardized goods and services is not such a big challenge simply because you know that “x” product has certain dimensions and qualities that you have to replicate. Custom made businesses go one step further…they create one product for “YOU” and no one else will have another one unless you agree.
The essence of success in custom made businesses is the ability to spot a profitable niche before anyone else does. So whether it is setting up shop for Japanese food products, creating cakes topped with Indian sweetmeats or retailing clothes that cater to people who fit in to plus size garments, it is all about finding your niche.
Not only finding your niche but spotting it early so foresight is your biggest blessing really!
- 3. The Willingness to go the Extra Mile
Setting up a custom made business is not easy; don’t let this put you off! If you are game for challenges then this is the business for you.
Custom made businesses flourish simply because they are able to meet or rather more than meet customer expectations. Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, Sabyasachi bridal wear Ritu Kumar’s block prints all brands that exhibit the willingness to go the extra mile.
Remember a custom made business is one that is built on your customer’s vanity and indulging in your customer’s desires, aspirations, perceptions and meeting his or her standards is definitely not easy.
Visualization of what the customer wants, sourcing required materials and craftsmanship while working around a budget are some challenges that custom made business owners grapple with everyday and manage to come out on top!
- 4. People Skills
Custom made businesses make products and services on a made to order basis. This is where the people factor starts becoming important and make no mistake…it is “the” most important factor till the end.
Understanding your customer’s needs, wants, dreams and limitations while you juggle your talent, ability, human resources and a budget is not easy.
Talking to people to understand their needs, giving them time to be honest and open about what they want and how you can help them is the factor that will set you apart from a standardized goods manufacturer or provider.
Patience, tact, diplomacy and humility should see you through some really hard to please customers!
- 5. Master Strategist
Having interacted with several custom made business owners I recognize one sterling quality that really sets them apart and that is they are very good business strategists.
They know where they want their business to go and have a clear plan of action that will take them there. Some instances that I’ve seen bring out the following strategies
- Shunning advertising altogether
- Relying on word of mouth
- Letting their work speak for themselves
- Charging a price without fearing they may come across as over priced
- Breaking convention
- Banking on quality
- Battling the competition with value rather than a war of words
- Developing a secret formula that works time and again
- Knowing their customer profile and working accordingly
A good business strategy need not be all about noise and huge budgets. It can be simple, non-descript and just as effective (if not more) provided you have the guts and gumption to stick to your plan.
Having said that part 2 of the 23 qualities that make a custom made business owner coming up next…