blueprint afric logo
LATEST NEWS
time posted comments  0  views  43 

Competition is an inevitable social norm and can be so very frustrating especially when you're a start-up. Competition though is healthy for business as it prompts you to do better and magnet more customers/clients than your business rival.

But if you want to dominate the market and win, one of the most vital things to do is to tangibly define your distinctive business proposition.

Make sure that you give your customers good reasons to come to you rather than your competitors. Your unique selling proposition should be obvious – no one should have to ask.

However, where little distinguishes your product or service from your competition, as a business leader you need to make sure that your core processes and strategy set you apart from the rest.

Here are 5 easy steps:


1. Identify and solve the pain points of your customers.

Take a survey and list all the pain points of your customers. It is essential to ask open-ended questions to find exactly what your customers want while using your products or services.

The key here is to provide solutions to the prospects and supply them what they need as opposed to selling them what you want to sell. You only need to fulfill the need, not "sell" anything. Your product or service will automatically start to sell more the moment you fill the void that your competitors are lacking.


2. Build your own niche to have more room for your business.

A market that's already crowded has less scope for expansion. It is essential to offer something unique to your customers in order to build your own niche and minimize the existing competition.

Storytelling is a great way to build your own niche by creatively crafting stories around your products. With the help of stories, you can become a part of your prospect's lifestyle, not remain a stand-alone product or service. Burst offers free stock photography that you can use for creating and promoting stories about your brand across social media.

Specialization always leads to a scalable and successful business. A niche market is reliable, and the prospects are easier to target. Moreover, the customer retention rate is good. Start targeting locally relevant platforms where your target customers might be present and adopt a niche marketing strategy for them.


3. Get the pricing correct.

Perfect pricing strategy revolves around marketing psychology. Before you set your own pricing strategy, it is essential to know the competition. You must identify who is offering the best value for money. The price you set should be standard and must have a competitive advantage.

A great pricing strategy does not always mean lowering the prices of existing products in order to win more customers. Every market is divided into three segments – the lower, middle and upper class. The first step is to identify the class you are targeting. Once you get an answer to that, it will be much easier to set a price that your audiences will love to pay. Sequoia's guide to pricing strategy covers all the tactics to help you set a pricing strategy that can beat your competitors.


4. Make innovation your best friend.

Change is the only thing in this world that is permanent.

Urban Outfitters was able to create a powerful disruptive force because it hired artists instead of businesspeople to manage its stores. They had full freedom in shaping the interiors of their stores, and the result was remarkable. Every Urban Outfitter store was unique, while the competitors' stores all looked the same. The company was able to raise revenues by a massive 500 percent to around $3 billion in the last 10 years.

Innovate with your products and services, and don't hesitate to take the risk. For example, you could add enhanced capabilities to your existing business processes using virtual reality applications like Samsung Gear VR.

Giants like Nokia and BlackBerry were wiped out from the smartphone market because of lack of innovation. Always remember that your competitors are regularly innovating and new entrants are disrupting the marketplace. Your business should innovate often and in a manner that the competition finds hard to follow.


5. Improve your customer service.

People love businesses that provide exceptional customer service. If you delight your customers with great service, you'll make loyal customers who will refer your business to their family and friends.

Hire staff who have a good understanding of your products or services. Ensure that they remain patient and provide satisfying answers to every customer query.

Your staff should greet customers with a pleasing smile and must show gratitude. It is essential to boost the team spirit of your staff and hire team players. Remember to reward the team players, as employees need constant motivation to outperform others.

Your customer care team should always remain courteous and respectful. They must always be responsive to customer queries. They should have a problem-solving approach and always ask for customer feedback. Customer-centric companies are powered by dependable staff who raise the level of customer satisfaction.

It is essential to define your brand, set a USP, and stay ahead of your competition in terms of quality, price and customer service. Moreover, you must talk to your customers so that you can retain them for a lifetime. 

Read More
time posted comments  0  views  42 

Do what you love, love what you do. This is a cliché we tend to throw out the window once real life sets in. Because of this, it isn’t surprising to find out that 70% of employees actually hate their jobs. 

Let’s face it—pursuing a career is easier said than done. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to get good at something you may know little or nothing about. Chances are strong that it’ll take some time to turn something you care about into cold, hard profit. Not to mention, you’ll probably fail at your first few attempts. So, it makes sense that a lot of people begin with a lot of enthusiasm, and then quickly give up because it goes from fun to frustrating really fast.


It is a common scenario that we end up taking jobs we hate, convincing ourselves that it is only temporary. The next thing we know, years have passed and we’ve become too complacent, stuck on the wrong job, and working for the wrong people.

Keep in mind that one of the most frustrating things you’ll experience in your adult life is to find yourself working a job that you are not really passionate about. Being uninspired by what you do is not only unhealthy but also unnecessary.

What most people don’t realize is that they can find joy in what they do. In fact, they can turn their hobbies into a full-blown career. But of course, let’s understand that it is also a risk. Ditching a career for a startup, for instance, is a daunting thought.

So how exactly do you reduce these anxieties? How do you become one of those people? There’s no one right way, but below you’ll see six ways to make that happen.



1. Unveil your passion.


Your passion should be the thing you enjoy and for which you are naturally wired to excel. There is a huge difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that you differentiate between the two before quitting your day job. For instance, just because you enjoy painting does not necessarily mean you should make it your profession. You might be better at graphic design, which uses some of the same artistic talents as painting. Keep an open mind and explore all of your options.


2. Determine the demand.

After you have discovered your passion, determine the level of demand for your skills and choose a field. It’s risky to plunge into a career with very low demand, or one with a large number of competitors even though you love it. However, the number of competitors should not be a deal breaker. If you are confident in your skills, it is very possible to establish yourself and compete quite comfortably, as long as you have a strong marketing strategy.


3. Do your research well.

Conduct a detailed search on what it would take to launch your career in this field. You may need to acquire specific machinery or equipment or earn a certification, degree, or special training. You may even need to hire employees or solicit funding. To save headaches later, find out all you can now.

Interview people who have or are in a similar business to the one you’re considering. Learn what they did to succeed and follow their path, especially if you choose to work in a niche market.


4. Make a plan.

Make a detailed plan of the steps you need to take to make your passion a realistic career opportunity. Include what you need to do and how much you need to spend before you launch into your new venture. If possible, always have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work out.


5. Create your own professionalism.


To be taken seriously, you must first become a professional. Having a special skill may not be enough to deem you an expert, so acquire the training necessary to become marketable. Take a night, weekend or online class while you’re in your current job, or a sabbatical to attend an intensive training or internship. As the saying goes, “The more you learn, the more you will earn.”


6. Be bendable.

Your road is not always going to be smooth, so plan for hiccups and make adjustments along the way. Be open to advise and criticism; other people’s insights may open your eyes to something new. No one can succeed alone. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with talented individuals or to form an advisory board to help you make the right decisions.

Turning your passion into a career requires motivation. Be proactive and take a step every day that gets you nearer your goal. The fruits of your labor will eventually pay off and you’ll be well on your way to doing what you love.  

Read More
time posted comments  0  views  48 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Manchester United must forget Sir Alex Ferguson because his former success is holding the club back.


Ferguson retired in 2013, having won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during an unprecedented 26-year reign, and has since watched United struggle for consistency.


Under three separate managers - all of whom appeared keen to distance themselves from Ferguson's regime - United have failed to win a league title at five times of asking, finishing outside the top four three times.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, has never shied away from mentioning "the gaffer" since taking caretaker charge in December, inviting his former manager to the training ground, and the dressing room on one occasion.


But former United striker Ibrahimovic feels this is the wrong approach, telling the Mirror: "Everything that happens is judged by the era of Ferguson.


"They are saying if Ferguson was here, this would not happen, Ferguson would not do it like that. Ferguson would do it like this. Everything was Ferguson.


"If it was me, I would say I don't have Ferguson anymore. And I come here and I want to make my own history, I want to make my own story.


"So I do not want to hear what happened before. I want to do it in the present. You come in with a new mentality.


"Ferguson has his place in history at this club but now the club continues. It has to find its own identity and it is difficult."

Read More
time posted comments  0  views  57 

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes should expect a Ferrari resurgence in F1 2019's next races after pre-season predictions were turned on their head at the Australian GP.

Mercedes' one-two qualifying and race finish in Melbourne was an "incredible achievement", according to Hamilton, after a winter testing programme where their Italian rivals had looked ominously strong.

Asked if he was surprised to see Ferrari so far behind on the opening weekend, Hamilton replied: "Everyone is, probably. No one was expecting to have a gap like that when we came into the weekend.

"Honestly, what I was shown and led to believe from the analysis we were given, was that they were ahead. It obviously wasn't the case during this weekend and I'm not quite sure why their performance was how it was.

"I wouldn't say we particularly over-delivered, we did our normal job in the sense of our operations, and the team did an exceptional job throughout the weekend.

"I don't know what their problem was. I'm sure they'll come back strong in the next races so we've got to stay on our toes."

Read More
time posted comments  0  views  48 
Stunning Nollywood superstar Adesua Etomi, has been receiving commendations from fans and several other persons, including her husband Banky W for sharing the cover of the prestigious Vogue Magazine with global superstars like Scarlett Johansson, Eiza Gonzalez, Doona Bae, Hera Hilmar, and Vanessa Kirby. 

A Nigerian blogger, vlogger and web designer has interpreted the #vogue cover as a racist-picture. According to him, he is so happy about the star's accomplishments but she is not in any way satisfied with the way she looks in the picture.

Oluwatosin Silverdam asserts that Adesua looked more like a slave than a star. He argues that Adesua is very pretty but the same cannot be said about the picture used for the cover of the magazine.



He took to his IG page to share his thoughts:

This cover is quite disappointing

Honestly, I am not surprised this @adesuaetomi’s vogue magazine cover didn’t the break the internet. Although, this is a great feat and deserve somewhat celebration but sincerely speaking, this cover is quite disappointing. I’m not a hater, she looks like a slave on this cover. She looks so inferior compared to the other ladies on the cover, what did they do to her skin tone? She looks so bad and almost unrecognizable, when I first saw the cover, I didn’t even know she’s the one. @adesuaetomi is extremely beautiful but then again, she looks so odd and more like a slave to the other girls. She should have complained about the cover, this is not impressive at all. No wonder it didn’t break the internet. Anyway, some argued she doesn’t deserve this space, oh well, also the magazine regarded her as one of the biggest actresses in Africa. Seriously? Well, the likes of @genevievennaji, @realomosexy @ritadominic or even @funkejenifaakindele are veterans and they are too big for this type of cover, especially sharing space with other actresses. I would be disappointed if any of these big actresses accept this offer. But come to think of it, if @genevievennaji is actually on this cover, damn those melanin will be popping out gracefully… 

The latest issue of Vogue celebrates 14 superstar women from 14 countries.

Read More
OPINION
time posted   comments 0   views 42 

Do what you love, love what you do. This is a cliché we tend to throw out the window once real life sets in. Because of this, it isn’t surprising to find out that 70% of employees actually hate their jobs. 

Let’s face it—pursuing a career is easier said than done. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to get good at something you may know little or nothing about. Chances are strong that it’ll take some time to turn something you care about into cold, hard profit. Not to mention, you’ll probably fail at your first few attempts. So, it makes sense that a lot of people begin with a lot of enthusiasm, and then quickly give up because it goes from fun to frustrating really fast.


It is a common scenario that we end up taking jobs we hate, convincing ourselves that it is only temporary. The next thing we know, years have passed and we’ve become too complacent, stuck on the wrong job, and working for the wrong people.

Keep in mind that one of the most frustrating things you’ll experience in your adult life is to find yourself working a job that you are not really passionate about. Being uninspired by what you do is not only unhealthy but also unnecessary.

What most people don’t realize is that they can find joy in what they do. In fact, they can turn their hobbies into a full-blown career. But of course, let’s understand that it is also a risk. Ditching a career for a startup, for instance, is a daunting thought.

So how exactly do you reduce these anxieties? How do you become one of those people? There’s no one right way, but below you’ll see six ways to make that happen.



1. Unveil your passion.


Your passion should be the thing you enjoy and for which you are naturally wired to excel. There is a huge difference between a hobby and a passion, and it is crucial that you differentiate between the two before quitting your day job. For instance, just because you enjoy painting does not necessarily mean you should make it your profession. You might be better at graphic design, which uses some of the same artistic talents as painting. Keep an open mind and explore all of your options.


2. Determine the demand.

After you have discovered your passion, determine the level of demand for your skills and choose a field. It’s risky to plunge into a career with very low demand, or one with a large number of competitors even though you love it. However, the number of competitors should not be a deal breaker. If you are confident in your skills, it is very possible to establish yourself and compete quite comfortably, as long as you have a strong marketing strategy.


3. Do your research well.

Conduct a detailed search on what it would take to launch your career in this field. You may need to acquire specific machinery or equipment or earn a certification, degree, or special training. You may even need to hire employees or solicit funding. To save headaches later, find out all you can now.

Interview people who have or are in a similar business to the one you’re considering. Learn what they did to succeed and follow their path, especially if you choose to work in a niche market.


4. Make a plan.

Make a detailed plan of the steps you need to take to make your passion a realistic career opportunity. Include what you need to do and how much you need to spend before you launch into your new venture. If possible, always have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work out.


5. Create your own professionalism.