How to grow your business with Found X panellist Steve Vamos

FOCUS chatted with Found X panellist and Xero’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Vamos about the importance of the customer experience.

This is what he had to say during the Q&A:

(Q) How can business owners break free from the pack and lead the way in their chosen industry?

(A) This is not a simple question to answer, because the answer isn’t just one thing.

Firstly, you need to be clear about your purpose and ambitions, but at the same time open to adapting it to the realities of your customers feedback and market. Your purpose is ultimately expressed in your customer value proposition and how it benefits the customer better than others and how you communicate it in your sales and marketing.

The rest is delivery.  Doing what you say you are going to do and exceeding customer expectations.

(Q) With so many different promotional platforms and/or ways to use social media and marketing technology, what are the key things business owners should be doing in this space?

(A) Depends on the business you are in. The main thing is to understand your target audience, and be where they are likely to be on these platforms. Ultimately word of mouth, your customers telling others about you is the best and cheapest marketing vehicle.

(Q) How important is the customer experience and what should business owners be doing in this space?

(A) It is hugely important. Business owners need to create “obsession” in their business about the customer experience. Measure it, seek feedback from customers and make sure all your people care about it.

(Q) With technology and the way business is conducted changing every day, how important is it for business owners to stay informed on the latest technological trends? And, how do you keep updated?

(A) The important thing is to tap into forums or publications for your industry that can help you keep up-to-date.  The issue is that most of the stuff being spoken about is over hyped and noise. Watch what your competitors are doing, or others overseas, experience their customer experience to see if they are doing things you should and could do.  The most important thing is to make sure the stuff you already know is important today, is done well in your place – that’s a good start given that most businesses have messy technology environments.

(Q) What are the key cost saving tips that small business owners could be doing?

(A) It’s all about people – they should be your biggest cost, but ensure the costs are efficient. Make sure your people are the right people in the right roles. Make sure they are clear about what your priorities are – involve them in defining them – and that you remove all obstacles to them being effective in doing the important things.

(Q) If you could only give one piece of business advice to entrepreneurs, what would it be?

(A) Two things. Firstly it’s all about people. Secondly, make sure your purpose “why” is one that is going to deliver real value to customers and solve real problems. Testing in the early stages with real customers is key. I love the quote from boxer Mike Tyson “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the nose” … or the most relevant to business… “no business plan ever survived customer contact”.

*See Steve Vamos live at the first-ever Hills Shire FoundX Pitch Night on Thursday, February 27 at the Pioneer Theatre in Castle Hill. To book your FREE place, visit: www.pioneertheatre.com.au.

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