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Erna Basson is a serial entrepreneur, business coach and international speaker.  She has multiple companies across the world and have formed lucrative business partnerships with top businessmen in the world  Erna Basson was named South Africa’s top entrepreneur under 30 by Fast Company magazine for 2017 and she is nominated for an award at the Africa’s most influential woman in business awards event.

She is well known for starting, growing and selling companies fast and know she wants to share her knowledge with you

Starting a new company or launching a new product/service is  very exciting.  But before you launch something new you need to ask yourself and analyze these 6 questions.  This will form the base of your research and help you understand what you really want in a product vs what the product really needs.  We all like to do things we like, but guess what, it’s not you that will be buying your product or service, it is your customer.  Basically it is not about what you want, but what your customer wants


Here are the 5 things you need to know before starting a company or product

  1. Is there a demand for what you want to do?

This is the most important aspect, is there a demand for what you want to do or can you create the demand for the specific product you want to create.  Sometimes customers don’t know what they want until you tell them what they need and this will be achieved through strategic marketing and branding campaigns that will create the demand for your product amongst your customers.  At the end of the day business is about supply and demand (I learned this from the very young age of 20 and I have been using this strategy ever since

You need to look what the market currently has and if there is something similar in the market already.  If there is already people servicing that market and you still want to launch a similar product, you need to ask yourself 2 questions:

  • How will you make your product better than your competitors

  • What will make you unique, what is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)


Doing a SWOT Analysis is extremely important.  What is a SWOT Analysis you ask?  You need to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your new company or product.  This will give you the outline if your strengths and opportunities outweighs your weaknesses and threats.

Always keep in mind that the higher the demand the higher the rate you can charge.  The more exclusive you are the more you can charge.  But knowing what your competitors are doing are extremely important, know what they offer, know their prices and how the operating system works, if need be order from your competitor and experience their service first hand and make it better.

  1. Who is your audience and how will you interact with them

Who is your audience?  Is it exclusive for females, male or both?  How old is your target market, baby boomers, millennials, what makes your audience tick, will your target audience be able to pay for your product or service in the price demographic you have them in?  These questions are of utmost importance when you structure your marketing and branding campaign.  For example I have a global hair extensions company and our marketing message to each of our demographic in each country is different, why?  Each specific group of demographic is different and they communicate different, so when you come up with your marketing and branding campaign, the first thing you need to decide is, how do you want your customer to feel when he/she reads your message, will it resonate with them to their core, will it hit all the right emotional buttons you want to hit in order to create the conversion?  What you are saying to your customer and how you are making them feel will have a direct impact on your conversion rate.

  1. Solve problems 

You have now been assigned to being the ultimate problem solver.  When you are creating your product or service or company, think for a moment and write it down, what problems are you solving for your customers.  Are you solving a primary or secondary need problem.Keep in mind,  the bigger problems you are solving for your customers the bigger reward for you.

  1. Add value 

How is your product adding value to your customer.  Is your product bettering the lives of your customer?  Is your product adding value to your customer?  Is your product a need or a luxury?  Earlier we spoke about your USP – Unique Selling proposition.


Here are 3 ways you can add value immediately into your company and make this part of your USP:


1.Deliver faster

We live in an era where everything is instant, everything is fast paced, everything is online with a 24 hour delivery time.  When people order something they want it now.  Add value in your company by delivering on your product or service faster.

2. Increase the convenience

How easy is it for your customer to order something from you.  People pay for convenience.  For example in my hair extensions company that I spoke about earlier, our clients order online whenever they want and we offer 2 payment options, online card payment service whereby we take all cards around the world or they can do an EFT which will direct them to our EFT section.  You want to make your purchase process as convenient as possible so that there is no reason for your customer not to buy.

3.  Better quality

Quality sells every time.  It does cost more but your product lasts longer giving your customer more value.  Make sure that you communicate to your customer the quality of your product – durability, longevity, sustainability etc you will convert prospects to customers much faster

4.  Multiple product offerings

The magic is in the second sale, if your customer loves your product your customer wants more, right?  So what else can you sell to your customer?  Do you offer different product lines horizontally or vertically?  For example with my hair extensions company, we sell our hair extensions first as that is our flagship product, but then we also sell to our lifetime customers hair curling wands, straighteners, brushes, hair color specific shampoo’s etc, so now your shopping cart of R4500.00 is R9800.00 all of a sudden just by adding more products that is relevant to your flagship product.  Start with one main product and build your portfolio on that

  1. Finish Big 

How will you create the WOW experience for your customer, what will make your customers want more and  come back.  Remember, your brand is what people say when you are not in the room.  If you can create that WOW factor for your customer you have a lifetime value customer that you can sell to for years to come.

Once you have gone through those 6 steps you need to take massive action and fast – to stay ahead in the game it is all about speed of implementation.  A great idea is only a great idea until it is launched to the world.  The speed and momentum that you implement your plan will be a reflection on how successful it will be.

Here are 3 ways you can create that WOW factor:

  1. Personalize your services

Give your customer a special personalised experience.  In this digital age meeting face to face is not always possible or necessary but do your utmost best to make your customer feel special by doing follow up calls, or confirmation calls when products are received

2.  Be consistent

It is one thing to wow your customers on their first purchase, but it is a complete different experience by maintaining that wow experience.  When you give your customer the wow factor from the first point of contact you need to maintain or better on that standard in order to keep your customer happy.  Remember, customers are always looking for reasons not to do business with you, don’t let your poor customer service be one of them

3.  Listen to your customers

After a customer has purchased from you, do you give them a follow up call to get feedback or even have an online rating & recommendation system?  Let your customer tell you what they want that way you can increase your value and leave your customers with that way factor

If you follow these 5 steps when starting a new company or launching a new product or service you will save ample time and money by not making mistakes that will cost you in the long run.  I have learned these in the past, and now I am sharing my knowledge with you to take the shortcut to the top!

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