How To Build a Successful Business in a Boring Industry

Have you ever been chatting to a friend and heard them say something along the lines of ‘I wish I could start my own business, I just need a good idea’. Perhaps you’ve fallen into this limiting belief yourself and really think that to get a business started you need to come up with the next Facebook, Uber or Instagram.

The truth is that the vast majority of businesses aren’t different or innovative in any significant way. In fact, building a business in an already established market has much more likelihood of success than creating a new market or product.

Sure, these types of businesses might seem like boring or ‘me too’ businesses but you can have a huge amount of success by building on top of a pre-existing market. Take my business for instance, Carpet Cleaning Sydney. We operate in one of the most ‘boring’ industries you can get. Despite that my team and I have achieved significant success using sound business principals.

Below are some tips and helpful advice to show you how to do the same. Because no matter what you might think, you don’t have to be Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg to build a successful business.

1. Make Customer Service a Top Priority

Nearly every business will have some type of customer service. If you’re in a service based business this could be face to face or on the phone. If your business is online then it’s likely over email. No matter how you interact with the customer every touch point is an opportunity to make their day.

Let’s use my business as an example once more. There are literally hundreds of companies offering a similar service in my city. To the customer it might seem like they’re all the same. That attitude actually gives us an edge. By using good communication, staying in contact with the customer and offering good follow up service it’s easy for us to stand out from the crowd. This brings us a lot of repeat business from previously satisfied customers as well as referrals.

2. Be The Best At What You Do

No matter the business you operate in you should aim to be the best. If you are cleaning carpets then ensure you have the best equipment and offer the best service. If you’re walking dogs as a business then give them a little extra exercise free of charge or take a picture and SMS it to the owner during your walk.

It’s the little touches like this that show the customer your level of service is vastly superior to anyone else out there.

3. Over Promise AND Over Deliver

No doubt you’ve heard the expression ‘under promise and over deliver’. Many use this mantra as a way of keeping the customers expectations low so that you can surprise them. Well we turn that completely on it’s head. We try to over promise on what we do, and then over deliver on that promise.

To give you an example; When we’re quoting for new business we guarantee that we will show up on time. If we don’t the customer should expect a discount. The way we over deliver is by calling the customer when we are on the way to let them know we are running right on schedule. 9 times out of 10 our technicians actually show up early to a job. This simple thing truly WOWs the customer because we went above and beyond their already high expectations.

4. Know Your Competition

Established markets or businesses with low barriers of entry invite a lot more competition. It’s important that you know who your main competitors are in the industry so you can counter their offers when selling or quoting.

In our industry we know there are a handful of main competitors we constantly quote against. I am familiar with all of their pricing models and cleaning methods. That way, if a customer questions my prices, techniques or compares me to another company in some way I’m ready to counter it and turn their perspective to my advantage.

5. Be Different

Stereotypes exist for a reason and this is definitely true in business. I doubt there are many Australians out there who don’t associate a plumber with the dreaded plumbers crack! Another example is the dodgy used car salesman or the sleazy real estate agent. A customer will often associate the type of business you’re in with the type of person you are. Use this as an opportunity to flip the script!

In our case, and we’re being completely honest here, carpet cleaners have the connotation of being a little messy, kind of dodgy and showing up late. We go against this as strongly as we can. We have very friendly and polite people on the phone, always show up on time and in uniform and make sure we employ friendly people with a pleasant attitude. This small difference is enough to surprise the customer.

It’s actually much easier to run a successful business in a boring or established industry. Sure, your face probably won’t get plastered on magazine covers and billboards but this isn’t the goal for most people. Most of us just want to run a successful business, be our own boss and provide for our family. I Sincerely hope the advice above helps people realize they an achieve great success, even if their business isn’t a flashy one.


About The Author

Michael Brooke

Michael Brooke is a small business owner with over 20 years experience running his own carpet cleaning company. Although his industry is a fairly standard one, that hasn't stopped him from excelling. When not making people happy by cleaning their homes Michael will be on the beach or in the surf at his home in Cronulla in the southern suburbs of Sydney.