Defining Your Business Niche and Target Market

I have mentioned before that in order to create a successful business it is EXTREMELY important that you take the time to define your business niche and to identify a specific target market. If you do not specialize and aim the efforts of your business towards a specific group of individuals, then you will have a very difficult time appealing to anyone at all.

A “niche” is basically a specific area or activity that someone is particularly good at or knows a lot about. When I talk about it with respect to the business world, I am referring to a specific and specialized area of a larger market.

Let me simplify it – I look at your target audience as “who you help” and niche as “how you help those people with their particular and specialized needs”

For example, the service industry is a huge market, and is comprised of a ton of different smaller markets. Restaurants, salons, spas, bars, and retail stores all fall under that category. A “niche” would be found within an even smaller division that would fall under one of these kinds of subcategories.

Let’s take a spa into consideration for a minute. There are tons of different kinds of spas, and thousands of different kinds of treatments that can be done at one. Maybe you know a lot about skin, so a possible niche within this category could be a spa that focuses solely on skin treatments. Maybe you are more into aromatherapy kinds of things, so you could create your business around that. That’s the how-you-help part.

Basically, when I say that you need to find and embrace your very own “niche,” I mean that you need to come up with, and focus your business around, a very specific sector of your particular business market. It should be something that you are particularly passionate about, that you know a lot about, that really suits your talents and personality, etc. It should be something that makes you stand apart from the rest of your market and that is not too generic or overly used.

The idea is to be unique, and to be the BEST at what you do. Defining your niche should significantly aid you in doing that.

The idea of finding your niche goes hand in hand with defining your business’s target market. Your “target market” is the people who you want to aim your business and marketing efforts towards. These people are your potential clients.

We went over this a couple of weeks ago, but I want to reiterate that you DO NOT want to target everyone out there. There is a reason why it is called a T-A-R-G-E-T market. You should not throw your advertising and efforts out blindly shooting in every which direction, but aim it towards a specific group of people. It may seem counterintuitive, but it will actually aid you in gaining a larger client base. And you don’t want to be wasting what could otherwise be productive time, energy and money.

How do you go about defining your target market?

Good question!

There are definitely some great tactics out there that can help you do this.

FIRST of all, you should think about the kind of people that YOU want to work with. Yes I said YOU!!! This is one of the few times when it comes to your business that you will really be able to focus on yourself and what exactly you want. Define your absolutely ideal client, thinking about what characteristics you do and do not want in the people that you work with/for.

Do you want to work with that lady who always complains and that can never be satisfied? No? Then throw her out of your target market!! Believe it or not, you have a ton of control over the kind of people that come to you. You just need to define who those people are, what they are looking for and want, and build your business and marketing strategy in a way that caters specifically to them.

Another thing that is important to think about is who you best relate to. You are going to be much more successful when it comes to marketing your business if you can understand what it is that your potential clients want, why they want it, and how they want it. This understanding is strongest between you and people that you have an affinity for, that you can identify with, and whose conversations you can simply step into as the solution they’re looking for.

You need to KNOW your clients. You need to be able to really get into, and understand, the conversations that are going on in their heads. Although a group of people may seem like a great and profitable target market, if you can’t understand what it is that they are looking for and what they want, then they will be absolutely useless to you. In order to solve their problems, you must first know and understand them.

Ask yourself these things: What is it that they want? What are their compelling desires? What are they lying awake worrying about? What are their secret fantasies?

If you can’t begin to answer those questions, than you should probably look deeper. Ask them. Do surveys, have conversations, etc.

TRUST ME! You will be much better off if you take these things into consideration. Not only will you be more successful, but you will be much happier doing it.

And let’s face it, if you aren’t happy doing what you do, then why should anybody else be happy with it? Clients want to work with people who love what they do and who are good at it, not with people who hate their job and push through it every day.

Happy people do a much better job and are much much much more pleasant to work with. It’s a fact of life!

So think about these things when creating or re-defining your business, they are CRITICAL.

What other kinds of things have helped YOU when deciding upon a target market? I want to hear about your experiences and any ideas that you may have. Either leave a comment below or by clicking on the bubble in the upper right hand corner of the post.

Make it a great week!

 

What Do You Say?

I know it’s been a couple of weeks, but I hope you remember everything that we have gone over with respect to mistakes to avoid when building and positioning your business. Today I am going to go over one last big mistake that is all too often made by business owners when trying to develop their business.

Something that many people struggle with, and that if you do it wrong, has a tendency to really detract from the attractiveness of your businesses, is mastering their message. This is the message that you use in order to appeal to your potential clients and to bring them to YOU. It needs to resonate with your target audience and to address their personal needs and desires.

I mentioned this in our last positioning post, but in order to come up with a really great business message, you need to get into the conversation in the heads of the individuals that make up your target market.

You need to know what it is that they need and are looking for, and to appeal to those wants and needs. It should be personal and unique.

In order to be as helpful as you can to them, and in order to create a message that really resonates with them, you need to think about what is going on in their head throughout the whole process. For example, say you are a real-estate agent that focuses on downsizing seniors.

Maybe they have just lost their spouse and can no longer stand the thought of living in a home that is filled with so many memories. Maybe it is a senior couple whose kids have grown up and moved out, and they feel that it’s too big of a house for them and they don’t need all the extra work to keep it maintained. You need to think about WHY they may be choosing to downsize.

Once you have considered the WHY, you need to think about what comes along with it. So, with our downsizing seniors, when they’re thinking about moving into a smaller, easier-to-maintain place, they’re probably going to have to get rid of some of their stuff. What can you do to help your client’s with the process?

Something else to consider – How might they be feeling about leaving the home that they have lived in for so many years? They may be disheartened to think about losing their connection, their touchstone to all those family memories, in the home and the neighborhood where their babies grew up. Because they have such an emotional bond with the place.

Maybe they are worried that they will have no idea how to go about selling and buying a house since the market has obviously changed drastically since they bought the place.

Maybe they don’t have anyone to help them move, and have no idea who to turn to.

It’s all so overwhelming, and can even be terrifying for some.

Think about this: When anybody is doing anything, there is a reason for it. By figuring out what that reason may be and by being sensitive to it, you can better appeal to potential customers in your specialty field.

Thinking about their worries and concerns allows you to address them beforehand, thereby preparing yourself to have all of the necessary things in place already when they come to you.

By tapping into the conversation within your potential client’s heads, you can position yourself as the person best suited to meet their wants and needs. It allows you to better relate to them.

People like to feel understood, and it is comforting when the person you go to seems relatable and accommodating. You need to keep all of these things in mind when creating your message.

This also ties into the last two mistakes that we went over before. Your message needs to set you apart from the crowd. It needs to show you and your business are different than the others. It should be presented in a unique and creative way that will catch the attention of you prospective clients.

But most importantly, it should position you as the obvious choice. It would make much more sense for a senior couple who is downsizing to go to someone who specializes in such things then to some generic agent who is just looking to move as many people in and out of houses as quickly as possible without taking their special needs into consideration.

Let me give you two examples, and then I want YOU to decide which would be the obvious choice for this situation.

Real-estate agent number one’s message: “Hi. My name is Joe Schmo, and I have an incredibly high sell rate. I would love to help YOU sell your house as quickly as possible, too!”

Real-estate agent number two’s message: “Is your house too big now that your kids have all moved out? Has the maintenance just become too much? My name is Joe Schmo, and I’m the downsizing senior specialist. I can help you to sell your home and to get settled into a new place that’s a better fit for you. I can make the entire process easy and as stress-free as possible, and I will work WITH you to make sure that your every question is answered and that every concern is addressed. You are not alone. I’m here to help you.”

Which one would be the obvious choice? If you don’t say the second, then we really need to talk! : )

Nobody wants to feel as though they are just a means through which someone else can make money. That makes them feel devalued and like you just don’t care. By tapping into what is going on in their minds, you can avoid that, and show them that you care about them as individuals.

They won’t mind the expense, because they will feel that it’s worth it for the specialized and genuine care that they get from you. In short, you will resonate with them, and they’ll be tickled that they chose you.

As I’ve said before, positioning is not the simplest thing in the world. There are a lot of things to be considered, and there is no one quick fix that will suddenly make your business boom.

However, that being said, all of the mistakes we have talked about are relatively easy to avoid. Being aware of them is the first step in avoiding them. They definitely take some time to work through, and a heck of a lot of thought, but the time and effort is well worth it in the end.

I will be going into further detail with respect to some of the most important things that you can do in order to position yourself in a way that sets you apart and that will ensure you greater overall success.

If you have any questions or there is anything in particular that you would like me to write about, LET ME KNOW, and I will do my best to answer your questions or point you to someone who can.

I’m excited to move into the topics of positioning, branding and defining yourself as different from all of the others out there because this is MY passion. It is MY specialty, and I can’t wait to share it with YOU!

Until next week…

Make it Great!

 

Who’s Your Client? Everyone With A Pulse and A Wallet…

We’ve recently discussed how one of the biggest business positioning mistakes that you can make when marketing your business is to take too generic of an approach. If you don’t separate yourself from the crowd, you and your business are no different than any of the other ones out there.

This week I’m going to go a little deeper into this concept with a closely related concept, because so many people make this mistake: Trying To Appeal To Everyone.

Too many people try to appeal to the masses thinking that it is the best way to get the most clients and to make the most money.

This approach may seem like the rational way to go, but in reality…it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating and marketing your business.

By trying to make your business appeal to everyone, you end up really appealing to nobody.

This goes hand-in-hand with being too generic. If you try to appeal to everyone, then it is almost impossible to be unique.

However, if you position yourself to appeal to a certain demographic or segment of the population, rather than trying to appeal to everyone, you can play up the ways in which you are unique and how your solutions are beneficial to that specific group of people. By trying to appeal to too many people, you stretch yourself thin and minimize any difference there may be between you and your competition.

The most successful businesses have streamlined their target market to include only specific groups of people. This allows you to better appeal to, and to better address, your potential clients’ wants and needs. In doing so, you will significantly increase your allure to those people and will as a result gain more of them as clients.

Let me explain what I’m talking about with an example or two.

Say for example, that you sustained some physical damage from a car accident several years ago, and you’re tired of suffering and not being able to sleep through the night and move your body in a certain way with ease, so you’re looking for a massage therapist.

You have a choice – you see that there are about 100 choices to select from. You can pick a masseuse that has a generic “let me help you relax and heal the pain” message, or you can select a masseuse who actually specializes in deep tissue massages for people who have sustained injuries in an automobile accident and have significant scar tissue hampering their mobility and movement.

And that’s all that they do.

That’s their specialty.

They are the expert.

Who are you going to choose?

Any masseuse may be able to do a massage that feels good in the short term, but are they really skilled in working with scar tissue from previous injury?

Sure, they may be qualified – they may have learned how to do that in massage therapy school…

Just because someone is qualified to provide whatever service you’re looking for, doesn’t mean that they specialize in it!

Think about that – qualified does not equal specialized.

Here’s another example I use all the time – Stop me if you’ve heard it before…: )

(Uh-oh, Warning: personal story coming – you may want to close your ears and hum : ) )

I gained a lot of weight when I became pre-menopausal. Up until that point I hadn’t had any weight issues. I’d been at a healthy weight for my whole life. But then hormonal changes, slower metabolism, getting more sedentary, and not really paying close attention to what I ate, all kind of crept up on me, and I gained quite a bit of weight.

Frankly, I was never so obese that I broke 200 lbs, but even so, I have no business being anywhere close to 190. So for my frame, it was quite a bit of weight.

And then a few years ago I shook myself awake and recognized, hey – time to address this issue before it gets worse. So I started doing all of these things that I know will take the weight off – I was becoming way more active, started really paying attention to eating healthier, got off of fast food and junk food, high fructose corn syrup, carbonated soda, started drinking way, Way more water, etc.

And nothing was working.

I got even more determined – really focused on walking at least 10,000 steps a day.

Even started running a little, really started reading package labels, eating more natural foods and staying away from a lot of these processed and modified foods, etc. Kicked up the running to where I could run for three miles.

Did I lose some weight? Yeah I did – a little.

But I was so-o frustrated! Because I was putting all of this focus and attention on it, devoting a lot of time every day to the activity and keeping track of what I ate, and it should have dropped off like I was in my first week as a Biggest Loser contestant.

But it didn’t.

Over the course of several months, I lost a few pounds. All the pounds put together over the months: not even a good week 9 or 10 for a Biggest Loser contestant.

And of course, every day we are bombarded with weight loss messages. There are weight loss programs out there by the hundreds. I was certainly not at a loss to find some help if I wanted to.

But I didn’t want a generic weight loss program.

I felt like I was doing everything a typical weight loss program would recommend. I was watching what I ate; I was getting a significant amount of activity every day, etc.

What I really needed was for someone to show up with a message that said something like “Menopausal weight gain getting you down? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything and your body just isn’t cooperating? Don’t know what else to try? Well, I specialize in helping menopausal women really fight the weight gain that comes from those hormonal changes and metabolism slowdowns that naturally occur as we age. Call Me Today. P.S. The bonus is that one of the side effects of you and I working together is that we get those hot flashes and night sweats under control, too! Naturally!”

If anyone, ANYONE had presented me with a message like that, I would have been all over it.

I didn’t care about the generic weight loss messages – because they didn’t speak to me. I knew the basics. I just didn’t know what to do about the things specific to menopausal weight gain.

Why would you go to someone to fix your problems, when they may not know how to do it any more than you do? That’s a lot of time wasted and money spent on something that might not provide you with the maximum benefit that you could be getting.

And that ladies and gentlemen, THAT is why you should specialize. When people want something, they want something specific. People have specific needs. If you focus on a more specialized area, and a smaller group of people, you will actually appeal to more people.

Understand that when I say “specific groups of people” I don’t necessarily mean small groups of people. You can still target your efforts towards a large group; the members just have to have common wants and needs. There needs to be something that they all have in common that makes them good candidates for your services.

What’s the specific group that could have been targeted by my need? Women who had never had weight issues until they hit menopausal age, and then they’re struggling to deal with it.

It’s not like that’s a small market.

It’s simply smaller than the market defined as “everyone who’s overweight”.

Well, now you’re wondering “What about all of those people who you don’t appeal to anymore?”

Okay…What about them?

Realistically, you never appealed to them or anyone else before. In order to really appeal to someone, you have to be able to address their specific wants and needs and to help them overcome whatever obstacles they are facing.

That is why you have to get into the immediate conversation in their head. Like that menopausal message above would have stepped directly into the dialogue I had with myself every single freaking day and night for several years – if anyone had provided it – but no one had a message like that for me.

I don’t know anyone that can fix anything and everything, and even if that is you – you still need to focus on your specialties and who you can provide the most benefit for.

You really need to hone in on: How can you truly serve those you’re most able to help?

Along with narrowing your target market, you need to define your own niche and concentrate all of your efforts towards that specific area of the market. You focus on what you do best.

You figure out what you are passionate about, and build your business around that. This is one of the easiest ways to help you figure out what your target market should be. I will go more in depth on defining your niche and target audience in the future here, so keep them in mind.

For now, think about what we have gone over in the last couple of weeks and how it applies to your business.

If you still think you need to go generic and undifferentiated with your marketing and promotional message, I don’t know how else to convince you. I’ve given you some of my best stuff – I even pulled out my “I got fat” story to share with you. : )

Next week is Super Bowl week and we’ll talk about how that pertains to your business. After that, we’ll come back to positioning, and we’ll go over another big marketing mistake that you should avoid making at all costs.

Make it a great week!!

 

P.S. Bribe: If you want to know how the “I got fat” story has worked out for me, just drop a note in the comments below. If there’s enough clamor and ruckus – I might even share with you! : )

 

Stand Out or Be Benched!

Once again, its Super Bowl time and the buzz of football fans’ excitement fills the air! Due to the special occasion, I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts on how marketing your business is like football.

Yes, believe it or not there are connections between this crazy sport and your business…

Marketing is just like any competitive sport in that, in order to play the game and be successful, you have to stand out from the crowd.

If we’re talking professional sports, you could still make some money sitting on the bench with all of the other players that are competing for your position, but it is the player who is actually out there on the field showing his/her stuff and making the big plays that is going to make the big bucks.

Think about a football team. It is made up of a bunch of different people who specialize in certain parts of the game. Although there are a number of different positions, there are always at least 3 or 4 people vying for the same position. Obviously not all of them can play at the same time, and of course, the one who is the best is going to get substantially more time on the field.

It is the one who plays the most that people recognize and cheer for. He not only gets paid way more money than the other 2 or 3 guys on the bench, but he is the one that others consider to be a success.

The other people sitting on the bench are just some other players that may get to go in every once in a while, and may even have a good play here and there, but nobody will remember them. As far as the fans are concerned, they are just like every other guy on the bench, and therefore are not perceived as “as good as” those who actually get playing time and are watched by millions of people all over the country.

The business world is exactly the same.

No, you’re right – there is technically no bench and 99.9% of the time no business will be viewed by millions on TV. However, the concept holds true.

Those businesses that do not stand out from the crowd won’t ever gain the recognition needed to become truly successful. If you have no customers, it’s equivalent to never getting out onto the field to show your stuff.

If you never get out onto the field to show your stuff, you might as well not be a player.

Same goes for your business. Why be in business if you don’t get to work your magic and help those you’re most able to serve with your gifts, skills and experience? Might as well shutter the doors.

You have to be playing your game in order to make your business thrive.

The way in which business success is different than sports is that it’s not necessarily the best of the best that gains the most recognition and that conquers the market.

It is the business that really sets itself apart from the others as reliable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable and that creates a message which allows them to stand out as something special in the mind of their prospects that will see the most success.

If your potential client doesn’t see you as the obvious choice with exactly the solutions that they’re looking for, they’ll look right through you. You’ll be as invisible as someone who got cut from the roster. You’re no longer even a backup choice at that point.

There may be other great quality, dare I say even better businesses out there that give better service for a cheaper price.

But if nobody knows who you are, no matter how good, bad or indifferent you are at what you do, then you are no different than the subpar businesses that people regret going to.

Unless you differentiate yourself and your business from the masses, you will always be a benchwarmer that is the backup plan in case the starter isn’t available for some reason or another. Or maybe, like we said earlier, you’re cut from the team and never get the chance to create the winning play.

In order to even get a chance to play, you MUST set yourself apart.

How do you do that? Well, the first thing is to know what you want your business to stand for in the minds of your customer.

And that something had better be attractive to them.

Because believe it or not, the game is not about you – it’s about how your prospects and clients perceive you.

And as you know, the only thing that matters from their perspective is whether or not you can deliver the answers, solutions or transformations they’re looking for.

So put yourself out there as a player that is ready to compete and show just how much of a stand out player you can be. All of your prospective clients are like scouts looking for the next best thing…by setting yourself apart as different and focusing on your strengths, you can make sure that YOU are that business.

While watching the Super Bowl this week, think about how your business is like football. Comparing business marketing to sports may seem like a stretch, but if you think about it, the two concepts really do have a ton in common.

Let me know if this concept resonates with you, and how.

Until next week, enjoy your football and I hope your team wins!

 

Would You Buy The Box Of Cereal That Just Said “Cereal” On The Box?

Although positioning your business is by no means rocket science, it isn’t the simplest thing in the world to do, either. It’s multifaceted, and as such, requires a multidirectional approach. You can’t just do one thing and call it good.

In order to create a truly successful business and to clear out a space in the market to call your own, you must approach positioning from a number of different angles.

Many people either neglect, or don’t know how to use, some of the important positioning tactics available to them.

One of the most commonly made positioning mistakes is being too generic. Defining oneself or one’s businesses in a generic way, using generic ads and campaigning messages, explaining one’s business to others in a way that they have heard a million times before…the list goes on and on. Blah blah blah…

The LAST thing that you want to be is generic. Have you ever heard someone say that they aspire to be generic? That they would really love to be one of the sheep that follows some other go-getter blindly?

NOBODY WANTS THAT! And you shouldn’t settle for that either.

And yet, millions and millions of passionate service professionals and business owners who genuinely have the ability to change lives get stuck in that generic mindset.

And then they wonder why it feels like they’re invisible and they’re not attracting the clients that they need to survive.

Let me explain it to you –

You Can Not Attract Energizing and Fun Clients to Work With You

If You Look Like Everybody Else

Who Does What You Do

 

In fact, right now, print this page up, and then cut that blockquote piece out and post it above your work space.

Get that done?

Okay, onward…

Uh-oh…some of you didn’t do that!

And after I asked so nicely, too…What’s that all about? : )

Here’s another one for you to cut out and paste over your desk…

Would You Buy The Box Of Cereal

That Just Said “Cereal” On The Box?

 

You have to think outside of the box and emphasize what makes you and your business unique. If you have had experiences that help you to relate to your target market, emphasize that!

If you offer something that nobody else does, make sure that everyone knows it! And do so in a creative way…

Celebrate and focus on what makes YOU different from the rest!

Showing that there is something that sets you apart from other businesses in your market is the first step to gaining potential clients’ attention and recognition. However, like I said before, it is not the ONLY step.

Next week I will go into another positioning mistake that altogether way too many people make and how you can avoid doing the same.

Until then, ask yourself these questions. How is what I offer different than what my competitors offer?

What makes both me and my business unique?

How can I present my business in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd?

If you can’t think of anything, well then think about what steps you can take to make your business unique and different from the other generic commodity businesses.

I know that it may feel like a big task, but it is a necessary one.

Make it a great week, and see you on the flipside!

Set Your Business Apart Through Positioning

In order to create real success, you need to emphasize and demonstrate what makes you unique.

This goes back to what I said last week about being a commodity versus being a brand name. You want to position yourself so that you are NOT the same as everyone else in your market.

There are a number of mediums that you can use in order to better position yourself and in order to stand apart from the others.

The internet is one of the best places. Things like a business website and social media networking sites are both great marketing and great positioning tools. They are perhaps the best way to reach and connect with members of your target market.

Advertising through newspapers and other local publications is another option.

The thing that you need to keep in mind when doing this though is that you DO NOT want to use a generic ad. This is one of the places where you really need to take a unique approach and to appeal to your target market in a way that sets you apart. Focus on your specialties and the specific wants and needs of your target clients.

Really, positioning falls into play in everything that you do in and for your business. The way that you present yourself is important.

Looking the part and making sure your place of business does as well adds beaucoup points in the mind of your clients. The way you talk makes a difference. Your business card, both the textual and visual aspects, plays a part in positioning.

Positioning is ALL of the things that you do that influence the way that someone thinks about you and your business. It is the steps that you take to create a specific image in the minds of your target audience. It is what you do to create top of mind awareness and to ensure that you are the first one that people think of when they need or want whatever you provide.

If done correctly, and done well, positioning can be extremely beneficial. If done poorly, or not done at all, it can be detrimental to your business.

What steps have you taken to set yourself apart from the crowd? What forms of advertising or marketing strategies do you recommend in order to better position your business? Let me know by clicking on the bubble on the upper right hand of this post or by commenting below.

Next time I will talk about common mistakes that people make with respect to positioning and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Until then…make it great!

Positioning: Molding Your Business Image

Creating a successful business relies heavily on the right positioning by you as a business owner. Good positioning can be the difference between a surviving business and a thriving business.

So what exactly do I mean by positioning?

If you ask ten people, they may all give you different definitions of the word “positioning.” This is because it is not a super simple and straightforward concept. The positioning of a business involves a number of different things, and there are a ton of different strategies out there.

However, in a nutshell positioning is the steps that a business owner takes in order to become the recognized name in specific market.

It’s what you do to create top of mind awareness, meaning that your business is the first that comes to people’s minds when they need whatever service you provide. By using good positioning tactics you can create a space in the market that is essentially YOURS.

That brings us to the next question – What kinds of things can you do to better position your business and to gain greater success?

Well, first you need to dig deep and figure out what you really want your business to stand for and what you want to accomplish through it. When doing this, there are a number of things that you should take into consideration.

For example, what are you passionate about? In my opinion it is always best to build your business around something that you are truly passionate about.

That way, you are a lot less likely to get bored and/or end up hating what you do. If you focus on your passions, not only will it allow you to better serve others, but it will add an element of sincerity to your work that potential clients will see and be inspired by.

I absolutely believe that if you’re following your passions and serving to the best of your ability with your gifts, skills and talents, you’re actually doing your greatest good in the world.

Once you have figured out what you are truly passionate about and how you want to apply that to your business, you need to identify your target market. These are the people that you will focus your marketing towards and the people that you believe will most benefit from your services.

After doing that, you need to think about what makes you and your business different than your competitors. Like I said before, if you do not SHOW that you are different in some way or another from the masses, your prospective clients will not see you as any different from them.

On Thursday I will continue with the idea of positioning and go further into HOW to set yourself apart from the crowd. Until then, I want you to really think about what your passions are and what you truly want to accomplish through your business. This is the MOST IMPORTANT step when it comes to creating and defining your own business.

The world is at your fingertips, it is up to you to mold and create the business of your dreams…

 

Everything is Marketing

You may think that your business exists for serving your needs. Because of course you went into business for reasons that revolve around you.

Maybe you wanted more autonomy or freedom, or more money or longer vacations or … whatever.

It’s not likely that you went into business for yourself because you wanted to make your life worse.

But here’s where the shift needs to happen for you if it hasn’t yet.

Right here…Are you ready?

It may have started out being about you.

But once it’s past that initial catalyst, your business is not about you.

It’s one of those concepts that are kind of hard to get your head around…

But let’s give it a try.

The Only Reason A Business Is In Business (including yours) … is because it serves a need for a customer. Because if you have no customers, guess what?

You have no business.

Consequently, everything you do in your businesses is marketing—Everything!

Even the smallest things that seem almost irrelevant embody elements of marketing. This is because everything you do in your business ultimately revolves around your customer.

Whether the task revolves around your ability to generate leads or attract prospects or to service your current clients or not, it’s all about attracting, servicing and retaining them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an activity typically considered marketing – like crafting your marketing message and going to networking events – or things that are not typically considered as “marketing,” like customer service, hiring an accountant, or emptying the recycle bin and cleaning the windows in your office entryway…

There are aspects of marketing in each and every single action you take that has anything to do with your business.

Think about it…

Why do you take the actions that you do? In order to enhance your business.

And why do you want to enhance your business?

In order to make it more enticing and desirable to prospects, referrals and clients.

Every step that you take is done in order to better your business in a way that will make it more appealing to, and a better fit for, your potential and current clients. It is about presenting and marketing yourself in a way that brings more people in and keeps them coming back.

If everything in your business doesn’t revolve around your prospect/client’s needs and desires, it should. And I’m not saying that you need to be open until midnight seven days a week, or anything like that. But I think you “get” that.

So…This is where you need to start – in shifting your mindset to revolve around the CUSTOMER PERSPECTIVE.

What do they need? In what form are they looking for it? How can I help them get the solutions they need? How is this task helping me to create a better experience for my prospects, referrals and clients?

Because that’s the whole point of your business – to serve those you’re most able to by following your passions and sharing your gifts.

 

 

Would You Rather Be A Generic Commodity Or A Brand Name?

In the marketplace, would you rather be a cola beverage or Coke? What about a box of tissue or Kleenex? Adhesive bandages or Band-Aids? Puffed rice cereal or Rice Krispies?

Take a second to think about these pairs…

There’s definitely a difference between the first and the second item in each. But why?

Because one is a brand name and the other is a commodity.

A commodity is a generic and undifferentiated product or business. It is one of the masses, and in the mind of a potential client or consumer, it is no different than all of the other ones in the endless sea of options.

A recognized brand name is automatically preferred by the consumer. Why? It boils down to the recognition factor.

It is the first thing that pops into their head when they are in need of whatever product or service someone has to offer.

Because a brand name is so well known and recognizable and has already built such a strong reputation, it comes with an automatic position of credibility and authority.

There is an implied concept of “BEST” and “NO RISK” with a recognized name because the assumption is that it would not have gained such a reputation if it was not reliable and one of the best ways to go.

Doesn’t make it right, but recognition generally builds esteem in the mind of the consumer.

Think about it… how many times have you chosen the recognizable over the mystery choice? Even though the mystery choice may very well have been the better selection?

I do it all the time when I’m out of town and need to find someplace to eat. I’m more likely to choose a recognizable restaurant chain over a small local hometown eatery. Why? The small local hometown place could very well have delicious and amazing, healthy, home-made options that would be preferable to the mediocre straight-from-a-can-or-freezer, processed food choices that I know I’m going to get at a chain restaurant.

But…it’s a bigger risk to sit down at the local mom and pop diner I’ve never heard of before. I don’t know what their standards are. So I stick with what I’m familiar with: mediocre but recognizable.

We all do it with different things.

When creating and developing your own business, the concepts of brand name and commodity are really important to understand.

If you truly want your business to be successful, you must create a name for yourself. Become recognizable.

Otherwise you will blend in with the crowd, and if potential clients can’t see a difference, then there is no difference between your business and all of the other ones out there.

And they have absolutely NO REASON TO CHOOSE YOURS.

In order for people to think of you first, they must KNOW about you.

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to help break down ways in which you can gain greater appeal and increase the success of your business.

This is my true passion, and there is nothing that I would like more than to help share my expertise with you in order to help you reach your true potential.

So let’s get started!

Over the next week think about ways in which you can position yourself to be more visible and gain greater recognition in your marketplace.

Leave me a note in the comments with what’s going great for you or what’s your current struggle in making yourself more visible.

Make it great!

Your Holiday Gift From Me

(Be sure to read to the end!)

 

Holiday spirit is everywhere these days…on the radio, within all of the displays of stores nationwide, and shining brightly through the Christmas lights that adorn houses and trees alike. As such, I figure I may as well take part in the festivities too, and forego our normal business positioning posts to bring you one with a more festive and holiday theme.

For me, the end of the year holidays, from Thanksgiving through January 1st, are a time of giving, sharing, gratitude and remembrance. It is around this time every year that I really take some time to reflect upon what I have achieved over the last year and what I want to go further to achieve in the next year.

I suggest you do the same. It always gives me the fresh start I need to start the New Year off right. These goals and reflections do not just have to be about your business, and in reality shouldn’t focus exclusively there. They should be about YOUR LIFE. Your business is part of that, but not all of it.

For example, maybe you are particularly grateful for the support that your family has given you over the last year, and you want to make it a goal to be there for each of them as much as you can within the next year.

It could even be a super small thing, like appreciating the lady you get your coffee from who serves you with a smile and a great story every day.

Just take some time to think about what you are grateful for and everything that you have achieved, and what goals you want to set for the next year.

With respect to your business, Christmas is a great time to run some sort of special. It’s a time for giving, and people are always looking for deals during the holidays. Just something to keep in mind…

Now that I’m done doing my preaching for the day, I would just like to say how incredibly grateful I am for your alliance to my blog. It plays a role in my success, and so do you.

Thanks so very much, and I hope that we can continue to maintain and build upon our relationship.

In trying to come up with an idea for a holiday gift for you, it occurred to me that I could get you a copy of my CD: “Turn Conversations Into Clients” audio training program for $5.99. I’m not actually going to do a full launch of the product until probably next spring. And when I do, it’s going to be priced significantly higher than $6. In fact, probably more like ten times that amount. But the $6 covers most of my production costs. So that’s what I’m offering you as your special holiday gift from me. But that’s not all, so keep reading…

So if you fill in the form below before December 31st, I’ll shoot you the link so you can get that for just $5.99 plus shipping.

But if you’re budget-crunched and don’t want to spend $6 on the audio CD, not a problem. I also have another gift. But you’ll want to hurry.

BONUS! for the first ten people to fill out the form below – whether you take advantage of the $6 training CD program or not – I’m also going to send a surprise gift bag. No charge. Just to say thanks for being here, reading the blog, providing your support.

The only limitation on the first ten people free holiday gift is that you have to have a shipping address within the continental U.S.

I wish you the best of holidays.  Be safe, and let’s kick off the New Year right!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GREAT WEEK!

MUCH LOVE AND LAUGHTER TO YOU AND YOURS!!!