Home Forums Starting your journey Have you had a business that is b2b AND b2c?

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  • #992741
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Hi all,

    I’m in the very early stages of a new startup that doesn’t seem to exist yet (at least not in Australia that I can find). It’s a service based business offering programs/classes to customers, in person. (b2c)

    I’m exploring the idea of b2b as well for larger audience and exposure, but am really unsure if it’s feasible. Perhaps a better way of explaining it might be: I would host classes at a HQ, and I’ll license other businesses to host the same classes at their premise as well.

    Does anybody have experience with customers being both categories?
    Gosh I hope this makes sense!

    #1187876
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    Slightly not the answer you want, but a common misconception amongst a lot of people, is that they label selling to other business’s as a b2b arrangement. But in reality it is really a b2c arrangement. Although they are a business, in your perspective they are a customer, does it really matter if they are a business.
    I have had to laugh at times when someone running a b2b arrangement, have said I cant sell to a “”normal” person because they are not a business. Well that’s just some dollars that have gone to a much more savvy business owner.

    What am I saying, don’t label it, sell it.

    Customers are customers are customers

    #1187877
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Hi Bert, thanks for your reply and I agree that sometime businesses forget that other business are our customers as well! I only labelled it that way to differentiate between the two as I only have experience in one on one client interactions. I believe managing the relationships might be a little different, I’m interested to hear if others found quite easy or difficult.

    I appreciate your reply

    #1187878
    ScarlettR
    Member
    • Total posts: 396

    I work with self-published authors. They are their own business, but they could be B2B or B2C either way. The important thing for me is outlining my buyer personas so that I have specific targeted audiences to go towards- maybe you need to outline a buyer personal profile for yourself to figure out if they’re a viable option and worth the investment.

    #1187879
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Thanks Scarlett :)

    #1187880
    aaron.miller
    Member
    • Total posts: 117

    I have both business and personal customers, either way your still dealing with one person who is the buyer, the only difference is how they typically pay for the order. So I don’t believe in having a different b2b website to a b2c website, sure the b2b customer might get wholesale rates but they still order thru the same website.

    #1187881
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Thanks Aaron, and everyone for your thoughts

    #1187882
    Dave – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 2,541

    Hi Janee,

    Just wanted to say I think this is a very good question, because you may be selling two completely different things to these customer types.

    To the consumer you’re selling a course (the opportunity to learn something).
    To a business you’re selling the opportunity to teach the course (presumably for profit).

    Although I don’t know what the course is, I’d tend to approach this by trialling the course with some individuals (consumers) – get feedback, make improvements, see if you can turn a profit and get results and testimonials – and then use this success as evidence you can put in front of the businesses to show them it’s a successful concept they can buy into.

    Good luck!

    Dave

    #1187883
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Yes Dave, that is exactly the difference! (I’m not great with describing things this week!)

    Thank you for the reply and advice.

    #1187884
    LeisaM
    Member
    • Total posts: 32

    Hi Janee,

    My current business is both B2C and B2B, which does make it a bit confusing when I tell people what I do sometimes!

    I’m a business psychologist running a small Consulting firm, with my consumer offerings including career coaching and development and professional / leadership / executive coaching. So my ‘consumer’ clients are usually professional level people who are looking for new opportunities, or professionals, leaders, and business owners who want to enhance their potential and performance through individualised coaching.

    I also provide a whole range of services to organisations – including similar types of coaching and career development (except now the companies pay me), as well as services in leadership development, talent management, psychometric and behavioural assessment, 360 degree surveys, organisational surveys, competency frameworks and success profiling, and outplacement / career transition. I also run training and facilitate workshops for organisations, but have not yet delivered training directly to the public (although this is a long-term plan).

    And just to make things more complicated, I also act as an Associate to several national and global Consulting firms who operate in the same space, which means those organisations are my client, and their clients are also my client!

    So I have lots of different types of clients really! Not sure if that helps, but wanted to share given that my business is definitely B2C and B2B. I think the most challenging issue I’ve faced in this regard relates to making pricing decisions.

    More than happy to chat sometime if my experience is likely to help you in any way. I’m intrigued to learn more about your startup!

    Leisa :)

    #1187885
    janee
    Member
    • Total posts: 11

    Wow, Leisa you must be one busy lady! Thank you so much for your reply, it is difficult when you have different ‘types’ of customers not just different demographics. I do agree that the pricing part of it is going to be a big challenge, but at least I know now and can tackle it head-on.
    I have wandered over to your website and FB and will keep in touch. Looks like we’re in the same city! :)

    #1187886
    LeisaM
    Member
    • Total posts: 32

    Haha yes Janee – and did I mention I have 2 toddlers as well? I’ll reply to your PM – would love to connect, and quite possibly come along to one of your workshops! Not sure why I didn’t notice your website link under the signature – what a great idea! :-)

    #1187887
    Justin Laju
    Member
    • Total posts: 89

    Hi Janee

    My telemarketing and appointment setting business is both B2B & B2C, but we only sell to businesses. We sell to both B2B & B2C facing businesses.

    So, I have a lot of experience in what attracts businesses and what attracts consumers…

    While their value systems are always different, and always varied – both consumers and businesses pretty much work the same when it comes to any commercial proposition. Value and Responsiveness.

    Value – everyone wants value, in the monetary sense, but value goes beyond that. Everyone (including a business) has a stated or unconscious value system, and it is hierarchical (some values outweigh others).

    Responsiveness – every relationships success depends upon the level of responsiveness between the two parties. Everyone needs to see that the other is responding toward mutually beneficial goals that respond to the group and individual value systems.

    In my opinion, you answer can only really be gleaned in the fire of experience – you need to market test, respond, and apply.

    But ultimately, you need to get inside their heads and perceive “what it is they value – and how are you going to display responsiveness to them (both of them, whether a business or consumer).

    As a telemarketer, I concretely know the importance of perception. In a cold call you have about two sentences of conversation before the hammer drops and the person makes their decision, yay or nay!

    So, you really need to “reach inside” them to the part that you know wants what you are offering, and appeal to it whilst attenuating any other signal noise. Meaning, anything that is not helping you secure interest within their internal value system should be omitted. Anything that appeals should be emphasised.

    We may think Bert is a little brazen in his comments about there being no difference between customers, B2B or B2C – but ultimately he is right.

    It’s all in your head if you think there is any real difference. A $ is a $.

    But even between B2B target markets there are wildly variant values, drivers, and points of interest. Within varying consumer demographics there are even more wildly variant values. A two year old girl sees the world very differently to a business man, and a lady pensioner.

    But we all have values, we all make our choices based on those values, and every business knows they need to know what the values are for their target market – and appeal to it.

    And it’s not really about whether you have what they want, it’s whether they actually perceive that you do. Not to say you can fleece them, but that if you actually have what they want and yet they cannot perceive it, well – you’d be fleecing yourself.

    Perception, whilst we are still so obsessed with the senses is the king, but the queen is desire. Desire is the vehicle you need to tap – you just need to infiltrate the inner sanctum of your market and find the “driver” (is it saving money, looking good, feeling independent, feeling powerful, not looking stupid? They will be different for each of your prospects, but usually there are a set number of primary theme values that are common to all of your target market consumers – tap that and you can bottle it).

    But in essence you have a B2C product. It’s just that you want to license it to other B2C sales “agents”.

    If you really do your homework on what makes the end using consumer want your product – then the licensee sales should follow, as that is the primary value that the agents will be looking for – consumer demand.

    #1187888
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    FS Forum Support, post: 220245, member: 49676 wrote:
    Hi Janee,

    Just wanted to say I think this is a very good question, because you may be selling two completely different things to these customer types.

    To the consumer you’re selling a course (the opportunity to learn something).
    To a business you’re selling the opportunity to teach the course (presumably for profit).

    Although I don’t know what the course is, I’d tend to approach this by trialling the course with some individuals (consumers) – get feedback, make improvements, see if you can turn a profit and get results and testimonials – and then use this success as evidence you can put in front of the businesses to show them it’s a successful concept they can buy into.

    Good luck!

    Dave

    Dave,

    I’m still confused why you see a difference, sure one is a course, and the other is the opportunity to deliver the course. Two products or services. But still at the end of the day they are a customer. You still sell to them, you still service them

    Maybe a bad example what whats the difference between selling 2 products above, or say a car dealer who sells cars and maintains cars. They are 2 totally different services, still run by the one business.

    I would hazard a guess, that most small business’s sell more than one product or service, does it matter who the client is.

    Just from my perspective, I have a mix of business and private clients. I don’t label one as a B2B and another a B2C. They are all customers, they all get treated with respect (even the ones I sack), they all get treated equally (well within the bounds of the income stream).

    The way I see it if we try to split our business and say that a B2b and that’s a B2C and I will treat each differently. Well I’m confused. Help!

    #1187889
    Dave – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 2,541

    No question they are all people and all customers [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER] and all should be treated well. :)

    The reason for making a distinction in this case is just to realise there’s a unique sales proposition for each of the two groups.

    For some products, the proposition won’t differ much – a window, a garden, or a car service could be the same for a consumer or a business. But for others it will be different.

    A good example is selling TimTams…
    To a consumer you might sell the taste and the idea of indulgence. But to Coles, you’ll be selling profits, margins, reliability, quantity, an established brand, etc. If you don’t differentiate, then you may do a poor job of selling to one group.

    Janee’s case is a bit like the TimTams.

    Dave

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