This post is NOT for those that work at Walmart, Coke, Fedex, Microsoft or anyone else that has the budgets, resources and opportunities available to “BIG” business. It is for small businesses that have limited budgets, strained resources and in general less than 1000 employees (but usually WAY smaller). This post is for the small business- entrepreneur.
I hear so many entrepreneurs tell me they are comfortable in having a broad niche and they *think* that variety makes them great. I understand this all too well. In fact, in the early years of my business, I would have described my target market as “small business,” which was too broad. But I learned the hard way that having such a fuzzy audience is no way to build your business. With all the competition out there, you have to be crystal clear about who you serve and demonstrate that with a smart marketing message.
Back when I defined my audience as “small business” I had clients, but it was really hard for me to develop a steady stream of leads and even harder to make conversions. I always wanted to write a book and develop programs for my business, but until I found a true target market, I struggled. Once I narrowed my niche, I found that many of my marketing decisions flowed better. I knew which events to go to for networking and how to develop offers for my market using my target market’s language and examples that directly connect to them. I knew how to create content that would connect my audience to me and my brand.
If you agree with this concept…read on.
[spp-tweet “Small Business is NOT a Target Market. “]
What is a “target market”?
It is a clear description of who you serve. It can be either vertically or horizontally focused. Think of it this way: vertically focused is aligned with a specific industry, e.g., real estate or financial services.
Horizontally focused is not as easy to describe because they can be any one of the following:
- Demographic – based on the person, e.g., women owned firms
- Stage – companies can be described by their stages, like new, start up, growth or established phases
- Challenge based – what problem does the client need (e.g., increase online conversions or registrations)?
Any of these will work to narrow your target market. But if you really want to develop a strong position, you should select a vertical and horizontal focus to have a “niched company.” A great example of this is wtalkie.com run by Brett Neal who develops WordPress websites for cement construction companies. His strategy has produced amazing results so far. For example, Brett recently got the chance to speak to a room full of cement construction executives and walked away with 13 projects from that one speech….one speech!! (talk about some focused marketing efforts!). Brett knows this business and has stacks of references and testimonials that directly relate to this narrow target market.
Your target market will seek you out if you write your web content and emails directly to the heart of what really matters to them. If you create a video that addresses them directly and with empathy you will get more clients. This is true because I have seen it work for so many clients and I have seen it work for me (remember I am a Business Coach to Entrepreneurs that want to find their target market and the profitable niche just in case you forgot).
One final thought here…Your “target market” must be black or white. This means that people will see if they are included in your target market.
[spp-tweet “A target market is clear to people you want included…it can not be fuzzy.”]
This means that your client will positively associate themselves to that target market. The stronger that someone will defend that position, the better your target market is. It is critically important to have clients see themselves based on the words you use. Don’t pick some cute- fancy name just to be different. You want your target audience to easily recognize who you are.
Now after you find your “target market” you have to do some work to find your niche. Look for our next post about finding your niche.
I would love to hear more stories from you about your target market. Leave me a comment to start a conversation.
If you’re reading this it’s because you value Passive income over Active income. You are an entrepreneur who’s not interested in getting paid by the hour. You believe in creating value and a system that works for you, not the other way around. You may very well know that you want this. But, have you DECIDED you want this yet? There is a significant difference between WANTING and DECIDING. Let me identify some key differences between the two types of income (passive/active) and I want you to decide which one resonates with you. What could Passive Income look like?
- Writing a book (real or ebook)
- Developing a training course)
- Developing a membership site
- Creating a graphics package or themes
- Building a premium pugin
- Developing a SAAS solution
Last Tuesday, I kicked off my Leaders in the Trenches program with 7 inspiring individuals. Some of the areas we are focusing on are identifying their target market and ideal clients so that they can build the business of their dreams. I’m having so much fun with this especially because I am getting the opportunity to share one of the most important things that have helped me through my entrepreneurial journey: VISION. In this article, I go through how i used vision to make my dreams come true and how you can do it too.
How I used VISION in my life
The day of January 15th, 2010 was a game changer for me when I suffered a great professional loss.
In 2001, I started a ticket brokering business from the ground up. After 9 years, I was bringing in millions in annual revenue. Suddenly, a breach of contract with one of my main suppliers totally wiped my company out.
I soon realized I needed to focus on my future. I didn’t have any ideas or plans, but I knew I still wanted to work for myself. I needed a VISION that could never be stolen. I saw that basing my business on making money was basing it on something that could be stolen. I recognized I wanted a business based on helping others and creating as much value as possible.
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
This precise sentiment became the core of my new VISION.
I wanted a business that helped people improve their lives. I remembered hiring a business coach at the beginning of my ticket brokerage business. With the coach’s help, I turned my company into a million dollar business. I realized I wanted to catalyze profound impact for others like my coach did for me.
Why VISION is so important for your business?
VISION is the foundation for everything that follows – your business plan, your marketing plan, and even getting a loan. Without VISION, we lack clarity and confidence to achieve greatness.
Here are the benefits of creating a VISION. “You” refers to you both individually and as a company.
• VISION gives you direction based on powerful emotion
• VISION connects the business to you
• VISION pulls you into action (“Pulls” is more powerful than pushing. VISION that’s powerful will “Pull” you to action).
• VISION serves as a lens to focus strategies, plans, and actions
• VISION can be critical to building a thriving business that encourages raving fans (Hint: I have another program that walks you through “How to have Raving Fans”.
Enemies to your VISION.
What are the challenges blocking your VISION? Here are some you might relate to:
#1 VISIONS take too long, I am in a hurry.
#2 I have a project plan (or strategy, blueprint, etc) already.
#3 It is impossible.
#4 It is too expensive.
#5 I lack skills.
#6 I need to shoot lower, because it is too hard (or big).
#7 Spending too much time on your VISION.
Number 7 is important. Don’t get paralyzed about your VISION- let it breathe.
How to use your VISION.
VISION must be incorporated into your company’s culture in order to map out its future.
A holistic approach works best. The leadership team needs to give input into the creation and implementation of the new VISION to present a united front to the rest of the company.
Share the VISION…
Once your VISION takes shape, share your VISION and request feedback from colleagues, partners, clients, and employees. Not only is this great marketing, you get feedback on what does/doesn’t work.
Review Process for your VISION
A VISION is a living part to a business that evolves as you and your company evolve. Be wary of changing the VISION too often. This will depend on how often your company changes. Quarterly reviews for small adjustments is fine. You should not make your VISION so near term that it needs to be updated more than once per year.
Look at your VISION daily. I have my VISION for Core Elevation posted in my office. When I need to make a big decision, I think about how the options fit into my VISION.
How long should a VISION statement be?
It should be full enough to really convey the future of your business and be easily understood by others (less than one page with clear bullets).
I have included the VISION for by business from May 2012. Use a similar framework to develop yours.
Core Elevation – The Vision (example)
Core Elevation is a million dollar brand to support entrepreneurs and small business owners GROW their business with purpose and on purpose. My primary focus is leaders that want to establish themselves as experts in their target market.
We serve clients to remove barriers and connect them to their ideal clients more deeply.
Our Why: To serve people to generate new actions and results and inspire them to think bigger and find more joy in their business.
Our How: Be Bold, Give Value through coaching, consulting, and training.
What: Create value equal to 10x investments all clients.
Accomplishments by end of 2013 (I have not achieved all of these):
• Inspire 1,000 leaders to have the business of their dreams by connecting with our Facebook or email list.
• Deliver 20 speeches to 20 or more people and 4 more speeches to more than 75.
• Establish a Podcast to my target market interviewing experts inside the industry and connects me to influencers of my target market.
• Develop online platform for coaching and training.
• Publish a book on Amazon focusing on my target market to attract more ideal clients.
• Develop a combination of private/group coaching offering that allows me to work with multiple clients.
• Generate profits to continue the development of a team that believes what we believe, specifically with social media/marketing, administration and content development.
• Create enough “buzz” in the marketplace that people are talking about us even when we are not in the room (positive talk).
• Make incredible impact with all of those I come in contact with regardless of them being a client or not.
Plant your seeds wisely and expect great results. Download this worksheet and start cultivating the joyous business you know you deserve.
Get it here: http://leadersinthetrenches.com/start-with-vision
In the comments of this page, share your VISION and provide feedback to those you are drawn to.
There is a joy and peace to staying in your comfort zone. The comfort zone is safe. The comfort zone is “home” to us. We want the predictability that comes with being in our comfort zone. And we will fight anything that threatens to move us out of it.
However, many people get stuck in their comfort zone and believe that life is just about finding and staying in there. When you are in the comfort zone, you avoid risk and attempt to keep it easy and comfortable. Is this really even living? But this thinking is detrimental to your growth and stretching to a new level.
I am fortunate enough in my profession as a business coach to talk to so many people about life, business and a new future. Most everyone enjoys talking about this new future. It is the big vision they have for themselves and the goals that have yet to be attained. They talk about all parts of their life…mainly because I ask them about it. Just this week I had more than a dozen conversations with people I barely know about their vision. There is clarity about what they want, yet they can’t put into words what keeps them from their success.