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It's hard being the new guy

Written By

Mark Truman

-

June 26, 2018

in

#FEATURE

READING TIME ~

6

MIN

Have you ever moved schools? Or gone to a party where you don’t know anybody? Or ever tried to make some new friends? It's tough being new.

 

For most of us these are distant memories, but it’s not difficult to remember how it feels:

 

"How will I get people to like me? Where do I even start?!"

 

When you are setting up a new business or entering a new market it can feel the same. You have a fantastic product that you know solves very real problems, but how do you bring it to market and how do you get your prospects to engage?

 

This was my problem when we launched MyEdge in September last year. I remember when the product team showed us the first release and I thought “wow, we really have something here”. The onus was now on me to get this to the retailers!

 

This is when my learning curve started. In previous roles, I’ve worked for well-known brands or with large teams. EdgePetrol is a start-up and I was on my own.

 

"How will I get people to like me? Where do I even start?!"

Step 1: Seek help

 

People like to help other people. It’s true, people get a buzz out of assisting others. Find the industry association, speak to your pilot clients, ask friends and family if they know anyone. If you know someone who you think can help you, reach out, and don’t be afraid to ask for that introduction.

 

Step 2: Find the party

 

Where does your market hang out?

 

This was made a lot easier for us by the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA). They have simply gone above and beyond. Their events are free and they are happy to have us along and asked for nothing in return. Find your PRA (or the PRA, if you are indeed a supplier to the petrol retail market).

 

It’s important to seek out all industry events. Ask your contacts (see Step 1: Seek help) what events they like and why. If you have the marketing budget to exhibit or sponsor the best, it’s usually worth it (think brand, not leads). If not, make sure you at least attend everything you can.

 

Step 3: Put yourself out there

 

Most people won’t come to you. Not even if you exhibit, sponsor, advertise and scream from the rooftops. It’s like being at that party where you don’t know anyone, the onus is on you to introduce yourself. People like a new face and are always looking for someone to come to them with a solution to their business problems. Don’t let them miss out just because you didn’t say “hi”.

 

Step 4: Be different

 

This is why your business exists! You either have something new or believe you can do something better than it is currently being done. It is vital you demonstrate this in your branding, your marketing and most importantly your personality. Look around you and assess the market. What are customers not doing? Where have they got comfortable? How can you take the industry out of it’s comfort zone? How can you stand out?

 

Step 5: Engage everywhere

 

Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, websites, Drift etc. etc. This was tough for us as petrol retail doesn’t have a huge online presence. Instead of ignoring it we plan to bring our customer base online by providing them with quality content. Don’t just talk about your product, talk to your customers, engage with their activity and provide them value.

 

Step 6: Listen

 

This is probably how you made all your friends. How can you find out if you have something in common with someone unless you ask them some questions and listen to their answers?

 

Ask everyone everything and listen carefully to the answers. Write everything down and feed it back to your product team. This is probably a weird thing to do if you are at a party, but luckily having a notepad and a pen in a business environment is very acceptable. There are no excuses.

 

So this is what we did and are continuing to do. It is still early days for EdgePetrol, but our success so far has been driven by acting on the advice above. If you have anything to add or want to share your experiences, send them to mark.truman@edgepetrol.com and let me know. I am still learning.

Insights and stories from the EdgePetrol team.

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