If you think back to just about every business adviser since the flood they have all said “You need a niche” and then they leave it at that other than some general statements about it being good for business.
Here’s a link to an article I wrote on another site about what having a niche means for your business, and it also tells you why they say you need to identify your market. I hope you enjoy it, and that you get some profit from it.
We all know about the people who think it is great fun to break into other people’s space – their email, their data, their website and so on. Most of us think it won’t happen to us.
In fact it is happening to you. Probably every day. You might just be unaware of it.
I have set my site up to record who attempts to login, and then tell me. Every day there is at least one attempt to login as ‘Admin’ or the site URL as the login id. When I see the notification I permanently ban that IP address.
The point is: if you have a ‘standard’ name for any of your login ids then you are playing Russian Roulette with your website. It is in your own best interest to change that now.
“Everybody” knows that nearly all new businesses will fail. Some suggest that 80% of them will fail in the first year. Others say that a further 80% of them will fail in the second and then third year.
Whilst those statistics may not be correct, other more formal reviews note that 52% of new businesses fail in the first year. That’s still way too many, especially if you consider the fallout: stress and economic hardship for (ex)employees and families, maybe relationship breakdowns and I’m sure you know of more that could be included here.
The real question, the one that should be asked is why do businesses fail? What causes so many businesses, started with such good intent, to slowly (or maybe spectacularly) implode?
There are two things that nearly all business failures have in common. Some have one or the other, others have both.
The first is that the business must deliver something that a market actually wants to buy. It can be a new product, but there must be a demand of some sort, otherwise there is no business.
If offerings are not sold for a fair profit then there are only two possibilities:
Don’t misunderstand: hobbies and charities are very good to have – unless it is supposed to be a business.
So you have something that a market wants to buy. Now you need to have one more thing: your version needs to be better than every competitor’s. You must be able to point at something that you do that is better than the others – otherwise why would anyone want to buy from you? Have you ever gone shopping (where price was not a factor) and bought “second best”?
Neither has anyone else. So you need to be able to boast about something. That can be quality, speed of delivery, additional features, color range, taste – it just has to be something that you do better than anyone else. It is the reason people buy from you. You may have heard this being referred to as your “Point of Difference” or “Unique Selling Proposition”.
All of that is part one – you have something that is genuinely attractive to a market. Now you need to inform that market. You may well have the best but unless people know about it they cannot buy from you.
Think of ‘marketing’ as a means of educating your target market, of telling them that you can deliver what they want, that yours is better than the others and why, and how they can get in touch with you so they can buy one. You’re not trying to foist something on an unwilling population, you are doing them a good turn by supplying a better solution than the one they have now.
Being able to deliver a message to a market that tells them about a better solution means:
Having the right product or service is the skeleton. Without a strong skeleton the business is basically without form or shape. Educating your market is the rest of the picture: without a good message, well delivered, you may have strong support but it looks a bit ugly!
We’ll look at what makes a good marketing message in the next article, and it may not be what you think.
What is the most effective way to generate higher profits? In 1844 Charles Dickens wrote about a scheme very much like a Ponzi Scheme, in 1987 the movie Wall Street warned of doing things the wrong way and in 2013 the movie Wolf of Wall Street demonstrated that these aren’t just stories, this is what happens in real life.
These stories are relevant because first they tell us that it has been generally accepted since at least the early 1900’s that long term profits are not generated by inappropriate business practice, either illegal or just antisocial in nature.
You prefer to buy from people who you know, like and trust. So do your customers. So why do some people still persist in acting against their customer’s best interests?
One reason may be that the salesperson is attempting to maximise their profits, and some jurisdictions require Company Directors to maximise the profit of the company. Surely that’s all good?
It may be until you take actually think about it. Which gives you the biggest overall profit – ripping a client off once or maybe twice at the highest possible profit margin, and in the process driving them away so that they find someone else to do business with or maybe settling for 75% of that profit and keeping that customer for four or five years? Even at half of the original profit you make more money by working with your customer base.
The real point is that we know the right way to treat customers and treating them that way delivers what both of you want: they get good value and you get solid long term profits. Treating your customers so they naturally want to buy from you gives you time to improve your business so that even more people want to buy from you and the existing customer base is even more certain you are the right person to do business with. What would an ever-increasing number of return customers do for your profit margin?
And isn’t making a profit the idea behind being in business?