Product

The first P is product. You’ve worked hard, spent time, energy and money building your business, you love your product. The first P is likely the hardest for business owners to be able to take a step back and reflect on. Is your product or service suitable for today’s market and consumer? With hindsight being 20/20, is there a product you wouldn’t offer if you had to do it again? Would you enter a new market sooner? Package a product and service together? Are consumer preferences shifting? Compare your product to your competitors. Is it superior? Do you offer something they don’t or vice versa.

Think about Blockbuster versus Netflix. Netflix came out with a new way for consumers to rent videos; by mail order and ultimately shifting to an internet subscription service. Blockbuster stayed with its service, movie rental stores. They eventually reacted and tried shift to online movie streaming, however Netflix had gained valuable market share and Blockbusters fate was inevitable.

Prices

The prices you charge need to continually be reviewed. You could be charging too much, or maybe too little. Look at your competitors, what are they charging? Could you gain market share by lowering prices? Do you sell a premium product that deserves higher than market rate prices?

Luxury car manufacturers can charge premium prices because they offer a premium product. Does the same relate to your business?

Promotion

Promotion is all the ways you can tell your customers about your products and services and how you will market and sell to them. Small changes to your advertising can lead to a large increase in sales. Are you running the same advertisement you’ve been running for years? It may be time to switch the messaging or even the medium you deliver that message. With newspaper subscriptions declining, you may not be seeing the same return you did 5 years ago or even last year. Is cordcutting impacting the effectiveness of your TV marketing? If your customers spend 2 hours a day on Facebook you should consider allocating some of your advertising dollars to social media marketing as an alternative to traditional methods.

Place

The fourth P relates to where your products are sold. Some businesses sell their products directly, through mail order or through retail stores. Could your businesses sales grow if you start selling your products directly through the internet? Are there additional stores that your products would do well in? Where else could you offer your products or services? If you’re selling a food product in Wegmans could you also sell it in Tops?

Packaging

First impressions are extremely important and it takes approximately 30 seconds for a consumer to have an impression of your product. Review every element of your packaging. Are they all visually appealing? If your product is sitting on a shelf next to your competitor’s, does yours stand out? Different packaging leads to different reactions, businesses need to ensure their product is evoking the reaction they are looking for. Colors, shapes, imaging all play an important part in your products packaging and ultimately the consumer’s reaction.

Positioning

Quite simply, positioning is how customers think and talk about your product. What do you want your business known for? Superior customer service, excellent craftsmanship or unrivaled reliability? These are things you want your consumers saying about your product or service. This differentiates your business and will be one of the reasons why consumers will choose your product over your competitors.

People

The most important is the last P, people. You can have the perfect product, promotion, place and packaging but without the correct people in place, it will fall flat. Your business depends on people to implement your vision. Recruiting and hiring the wrong personnel can derail your business and everything you’ve worked so hard for. Hiring the correct people with the correct skills and abilities is paramount to completing the job you need to have done in the way it needs to be done for success.