Your Target Niche
I often ask people to identify the target market niche for their product or service. Many answer, “Anyone who will give me money!”
OK, that’s good for a chuckle – we all need all the customers we can get. And who’s to turn away someone who wants to spend money?
But when I ask the question again, it’s clear that many people don’t have much of an answer. That’s a problem. When you’re trying to market to everyone:
- You’re spreading your budget so thin that you can’t spend enough to be make much of an impression with anyone.
- Your message is so vague and diffuse that people often aren’t clear about why you’re different than anyone else.
Here’s the challenge, then: Go ahead and sell to anyone who wants to buy. But when you’re developing your message, make the target narrow enough that you can achieve real intensity, real leadership. Ideally you’d like to have a target market that’s large enough to keep you in business, and a message that clearly shows how you’re head and shoulders above the competition.
It’s not easy.
I recently developed an example business which would be focused on left-handed tools. Forget for the moment that there probably aren’t enough uniquely left-handed tools to actually make this a successful business. Instead, let’s think about the strength of the message.
- Could there be a large enough market? Well, 10% of the population is left-handed, so that could be a decent size for a small business.
- Is it a unique message? Quite possibly, especially if you’re talking about an actual storefront. There’s left-handed stores on websites, but if there was a good reason for people to prefer a more personal experience, a storefront could be a powerful selling point.
- Could you achieve a “best in class” perception? Quite possibly, because lefties are treated as an afterthought by most stores which sell tools.
Next: If you were to create such a store, would you ONLY sell left-handed tools? Probably not, because that would ignore the fact that most tools are in fact ambidextrous. And actively DISsatisfying right-handed customers might create problems.
Your product offering can be larger than your highly targeted message, to the degree it makes sense. But create a truly powerful position in the market so people can see why you’re different, why they should care.
Small Fish Business Coaching Fort Collins
Picking The Best Networking Forums
Yesterday I got my weekly message from meetup.com: “Last week there were 240 meetups in Fort Collins!”
Like that’s a good thing. Delete.
Networking meetings can be useful, and a huge asset for people who are seeking out groups of common interest, even if that’s just to hang out and drink coffee for an hour. But if you have a business to take care of, how do you decide where it’s useful to spend your valuable time? Actually, it’s quite simple:
People who are your target customers
People who can help to bring in new customers through influence or referrals
People who have knowledge you’d like to acquire
The problem is that you often don’t know the true nature of a networking group until you’ve attended a few meetings. That’s where your friends, associates and employees can help you out. Figure out what your most important networking goals are, let these people know, and listen to their ideas and recommendations. Try out a few meetings, and then move on to somewhere else if it looks like the wrong group for you.
I met with a gentleman a few months ago who was very clear on his objective for attending a networking meeting: “My task is to arrange for two one-on-one meetings, and when I’ve achieved that, I walk out.” Here’s the problem: His goal wasn’t aligned with the nature of the group. It was designed as a generous give-and-take, while his goal was purely to take.
Needless to say, he doesn’t see much success with this approach. He might arrange two meetings, but people aren’t happy about it. He’s leaving a whole bunch of dissatisfied people in his wake, actually damaging his reputation in the market.
My point is that it’s critical to ensure you have alignment between your personal goals and those of the group. If you don’t have that alignment, it’s probably better to avoid getting involved at all.
And if you see a group that should exist but doesn’t, go ahead and create one. It’s never been easier to find people who share a common interest, no matter how narrow.
Small Fish Business Coaching Fort Collins