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September 20, 2015

How to Manufacture Customers

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The first thing I get across to the Manufacturers that I work with is that MANUFACTURING CUSTOMERS INC. manufactures customers. Our focus is on designing and creating the right type of customers to bring in the door then executing a plan to sell and market to those customers Online or Offline.

The point of a business isn’t to make sales and profits it’s to “create and keep customers” in a cost effective manner that leads to profits. Your job as a business owner is to serve others and understand who you are serving. You must know who your customer is and what their needs and desires are. How does your business fulfill those needs? You are a guru on your industry and your market. Understanding changes as they happen and anticipating what your customers will want requires planning and thinking.


A view from 30,000 feet

Our economy shifted from an agrarian economy in the 17th and 18th century (where 70-80% of people worked on farms) to a manufacturing economy in 19th and 20th century which resulted in increased productivity and output (doing more with less). As of right now only 2% of people work on farms and they are able to produce enough to feed billions of people. Our economy is always in transition. We are transitioning from a manufacturing economy where majority of people were affiliated with manufacturing in physical jobs to more people working with their minds (Blue Collar vs White Collar). This shift is not new, it’s been happening for decades but it’s really starting to impact manufacturers  in North America if you’re doing business development, marketing and sales like you were 10-20 years. The Information Age in the 21st century is here and yes China has dominated Manufacturing for sometime but there are some ways to thrive as a manufacturer in this economy, you just need to think and innovate which requires change and nobody likes change at first. At Manufacturing Customers we help you with your thinking by providing clarity and a framework to think from.

Thinking and how to grow your manufacturing business…

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  1. Clarity: Crystal clear thinking
  2. Unique Value: Are you useful? How are you different from your competitors?
  3. Operations: Staying lean and Innovative

Clarity: What business are you in and what business are you really in? Describe your business from the customers point of view and the value they receive without describing your product or service. Ask others what business you’re in. Do people want a drill or do they want the hole it creates.

Unique Value: Don’t compete, create. You’re a manufacturer after all. If your products or services are not better or somehow differentiated then why are you in the market? If you’re not different then you are a commodity and price will always be a factor. Ask yourself what unique value does your business bring or could bring to the customers and market you serve? Not from your perspective but your customers perspective, how are you different and useful to them in their mind compared to your competitors. “Quality and Service” is not an answer because your competitors also offer some level of quality and service so unfortunately it doesn’t make anyone unique. Quality and Service are must haves as a starting point.

Operations: A lot of manufacturers focus on reducing expenses and being more efficient with the resources they have. Those are important points but it’s setting your operations up for failure unless you invest an equal or greater amount of time thinking about innovation with research and development (Trying things out and failing lots). Most of us have heard of Lean Manufacturing but have you heard of Lean Startup? It’s a methodology that some software companies use to innovate and bring new products and services to market. It helps you fail quickly so you only need to invest a little time and little to no money.

At Manufacturing Customers Inc. we walk you through a few exercises that help you get a firm grasp on your business and then we work with you create and execute a plan to grow your business online or in the real world (offline).

If you’re interested in what separates great companies from average companies I recommend reading a book by Jim Collins who wrote Good to Great .

Author: David Uram: David is the founder of Manufacturing Customers Inc. He works with Manufacturers to help them grow their revenues and profits through Business Development, Sales, Marketing and Innovation.

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