Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christian Lofberg, founder of Santa Marketing srl, located in Ottignies, Région Wallonne, Belgium.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help my clients create customer value and to develop a more customer-centric mindset. Most of my customers operate in the animal health or nutrition space. My approach, though, is very transferable to other sectors, and I have assisted clients in the construction, financial services, telecom, and human health sectors.
Tell us about yourself
I'm passionate about strategy and marketing. Since the beginning of my career, I have been convinced that the role of business is to create value both for the customer and society but also for the company. What is amazing, though, is that many companies focus on value creation independently, in silos. The finance team might be looking at price moves. The communication department at new messages and campaigns. The marketing teams at the value propositions. And the R&D at developing new products and services. Leaving the sales team to figure how how to approach their customers!
All these activities should be interlinked and flow seamlessly from one to another. This is the concept of the Value Funnel I have developed. A structured process that guides various teams through the 5 Value Funnel stages. Minimizing value leaks to ultimately improve customer loyalty and create sustainable margins.
- Value Comprehension: generating deep and validated customer insights
- Value Creation: creating customer-centric value propositions
- Value Communication: developing core messages that have an impact
- Value Capture: optimizing margins through value-based pricing
- Value Conviction: training sales channels in value selling
And in my spare time? Still more marketing- helping small business owners and solopreneurs to infuse strategic thinking to grow their businesses!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The biggest achievement is the development of an approach and process that resonates with the pains and issues that the majority of the customers experience. The Value Funnel approach took some years to fine-tune, but it allows me to address my clients' most urgent problems and provide a rapid solution. The Value Funnel also helps to identify additional areas where the client can focus on improving how they deliver value.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The first challenge is the constant balance between developing existing customers and prospecting for new customers. A clear financial objective for your business is vital to help you understand where to focus.
The second challenge is to constantly re-invent yourself by updating your offerings with the various changes the world experience. For example, during the pandemic, I helped my customers to sell value in a virtual setting. As inflation became rampant, I helped salespeople to conduct pricing decisions with confidence.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Define the space and clients to whom you can provide differentiated value at an expert level.
- Develop a consistent methodology to avoid recreating a new approach for each customer. Repackaging and recycling is the goal.
- Make sure you streamline all your back office and surround yourself with great people (accountants, tax advisors, mentors)!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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