So you’ve had a good break over summer and have returned to your desk fired up and excited about driving business growth for the upcoming year. But where to start?
It’s an issue many businesses face, so lets examine a couple of tips to help you get ready – to focus your energy, get the phones ringing and help you generate sales!
Tip One: Decide what your niche is – what your game is
Define what your business is going to competitively offer, and to whom. We cannot be everything to everyone as realistically there is not enough resource, time or scale of business.
Examples of a niche could be:
- Focused on a particular geographic region and/or turnover eg Auckland with a turnover of more than $5million
- Focused on a particular segment eg manufacturing or exporting – maybe B to B or B to C
If you are unsure of what your niches is, ask more questions. Undertake some research. Test your niche idea with the people you think may possibly be interested in buying from you – your target market. Ask them (in relation to your idea):
- What their problems in that area are now
- What they find frustrating, what keeps them awake at night
- How do they go about solving their problem now (this could potentially highlight your competition)
- How much they would be prepared to pay for a solution to their problem now
- How they would like to purchase this solution (eg face to face, online etc)
As an example, when I set up my company Energise, I decided a good niche to target was the professional services sector. That was where my corporate background and experience lay, and it was a sector that I enjoyed. I used my contacts, and my friends and colleagues contacts, who were in professional sectors – like lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects etc. I phoned them up and introduced myself and asked for twenty minutes of their time to bounce ideas off them. However, I always made it clear I was not going to try and sell them anything.
Everyone said yes. The resulting insights and knowledge gained from this exercise totally shaped and focused my business. A key insight from this ‘research’ was that what Enerigse had to offer was only relevant to professionals who did work with other businesses (Business to Business), rather than services that focused on the person in the street (Business to Consumer). This knowledge shaped the Energise offer, brochures, website, social media content and most importantly who we were targeting and therefore helped us to generate sales.
Tip two: Don’t go duck shooting where there are no ducks
Ensure that the niche market you target has enough customers to return a profit. During your research process, ask probing questions to allow you to fully understand the target market you are focusing on:
- What do they read?
- How do they find information?
- What groups do they belong to?
- Who influences their decision making
This information allows you to start marketing to them through those channels. If your target market attends a specific industry event – make sure you are there. If they are part of a group on LinkedIn – see if you can join. If they read a particular blog or magazine – make sure you contribute to it. Collectively, these activities will help you to speak, influence and build relationships and reputation with those that matter.
Never underestimate the power of research. It doesn’t need to be expensive – start with your own contacts or those of colleagues or friends. The only cost to you is time. But the resulting research is invaluable in defining your target market, and in planning how best to approach that market. To utilise this approach will ensure you are ready – ready to focus your energy and ready to generate sales!