Merry Christmas 2018 and Happy New Year 2019. Thanks for everyone’s support throughout the years. Looking forward to more exciting years ahead.
In this episode, I spoke with Andrew Nelson, the Managing Director of Blue Ocean Strategy Australia. The discussion revolves around the fundamentals of Blue Ocean Strategy and dispelling some common myths surrounding Blue Ocean Strategy.
In this webinar, we will learn what it takes to be a successful salesperson and how the On-Target Sales Success System from Accolade Business Academy can help you achieve this in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
The On-Target Sales Success System is a comprehensive 38 lessons interactive sales training with over 7 hours worth of videos.
This course is perfect for entrepreneurs and sales professionals alike who are serious about developing their selling skills to grow the business.
For most small business, it is important to define a niche market, or some say target market. However, from time to time, I found businesses that never define a target market and still succeed. So below are some scenarios in my opinion you can get away without defining a niche market and still build a successful business.
High Demand, Low Competitions
There are occasions where high demand occurs for a particular products or service but no one has yet to serve this need. The business that decided to go into this sort of market can skyrocket in a relatively short amount of time. As an example, I have known personally a businessman who started a scrap metal business during the time when they were considered trash and no one wants anything to do with it. The business eventually cost next to nothing to build and the outcome is huge. It’s not long before the business becomes a multimillion dollar company.
Word of the wise, be careful with the danger of complacency. It is so easy for us to sit back, relax and enjoy our successes. Remember, just like any good business, a lot of people would want to piece for themselves. Before you know it, you will see competitions started to move in and your business no longer enjoy the easy success that comes with it when you first start it. Use this opportunity to build momentum for your business and grow it to something bigger.
You Sell Low End Products
By this, I don’t mean cheap. But consider this, which one is easier to sell: a cupcake, or a penthouse suite? The example sounds extreme, but you got the gist. Many people selling low end products tend to get immediate success. They are able to generate cash flow relatively quick compared to high end businesses. This is why sometimes if your dream is to start a financial investment firm, you need to factor in the time it will require for this kind of business to build momentum. And don’t feel sad when your neighbour make a killing selling cupcakes.
Selling low end products can be very beneficial and I would recommend that all business have some sort of a low end product to sell. This is for 2 reasons:
- Keep Cash Flowing: cash flow is the oxygen for your business. Without it, your business will run out of air and eventually die.
- Help you sell your higher end products: I constantly advised client in having an up-sell and down-sell strategy. No one takes comfort in parting with a large sum of money. So if you sell expensive products, low end products help build trust and relationship and convince your customers to get involved in bigger transactions.
This is all good, however overusing the low end selling strategy can sometimes put strain to your business Because this kind of model can only works through high volume success. More volume means more works and this can potentially hazardous for both your business and your life (health, family, etc). Eventually, all business should aim for a business that can run by itself or at least with minimum amount of the owner’s involvement. In addition to that, where there are competitions around doing the same thing, your best bet is to lower your price even more, making it more difficult to be profitable.
Piggy Backing Someone Else’s Business
Though you can argue that this is not the case of not having a niche market, the essence of this point is that you leverage other people’s successes to grow your business. This is the reason why franchisors charge a lot of money upfront before you can use their names. You save on the time and effort to establish yourself in the market. Other ways includes joint venturing, collaborative strategy, etc.
This approach also has its pitfall. Once we become complacent with this system, we are at the mercy of whoever we are piggy backing. If you are a franchisee for example, you have very little control on what the franchisor strategic direction that will determine the future of your business. I recently found some well known video stores are closed down because of franchisors make strategic decisions that bad for the business and doesn’t help them win the already saturated market. Hence they’re losing customers and eventually the business had to close.
In summary, this article is to say that IT IS indeed possible for you not to have a niche market for your business. However, there are only a few scenarios where this can happen. The mentality of business that you “Sell to everybody” is not applicable in most times. If you don’t define a target market, soon or later competitions will come in and take over your market. Because you don’t have any specialities, they will win.
Customers want to know that they are doing business with the right company that speaks to their needs. If they can’t see your business as specific to them, then it will all come down to the choice of which one cheaper.
Do you think there are other scenarios where your business doesn’t need to target a niche? Tell me your thought in the comment box below.
Your business has a life, just like you. From time to time, our body get sick; we don’t feel in the mood and sometimes just feeling more emotional than usual. It is a mistake to think of a slump as the end of your business.
I don’t really know anyone who is thinking of killing themselves when they get flu. Likewise, you shouldn’t decide to quickly to end your business if you’re experiencing a downturn. You do need to make sure that this downturn is temporary and doesn’t kill you.
Symptoms vs. Root Cause
The first thing that you need to consider when your business in a slump is to realise that what you’re experience could be a symptom of another problem. Sometimes it’s a big problem, sometimes it’s small. A declining profit might indicate a problem with your marketing rather than operation. Low website traffic might indicate poor design rather than performance issue.
Just like a doctor, you need to have a set of metrics to measure your business activities and its performance. These are your indicator of the real problem. What is your process chain? A problem in one of the chain could be caused by a problem in the previous chain.
Fix The Problem, Not The Symptoms
Analyse the Market
At the core of your business you should know your target market, your product and how you deliver the value to your market. Shifts in market demand can and will entirely change the core functions of your business.
As an example, in 2010 research indicates US adults consumed on average over 40% of media time with TV and just under 30% digitally (online, mobile). That figure however changed significantly In 2014, showing only less than 37% is spent on TV and over 47% now consumed digitally (click here to see source). Despite past successes with your current strategy, you should adjust to your market demand.
I do not like to repeat successes; I like to go on to other things.
Don’t ever live by your past successes, create a better future. What works in the past may not work now. I’ve seen many businesses promote themselves as having a system that works. One begs the question “Which system”, “When”. I doubt there’s any business that survives now without changing their strategy along the way and adapt to this changing world.
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”
If you’ve never heard about this before the Pareto principle or sometimes called 80/20 rule simply state that the “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”. To put this in business term, only top 20% of your activities generate 80% of the results.
Now this doesn’t mean you don’t need to do the other 80% of the activities, but more to encourage you to focus more on the top 20% that actually gives you the biggest outcome. For example, if your business is strongly driven by your online or technology presence, the worst thing you can do in a slump is to reduce your technology resources (staff, hardware investment, maintenance, etc).
What activities driving your sales? Focus on them.
Does your best performing staffs cost you a lot of money? Think twice before firing them.
What marketing channel giving you best returns? Boost them.
Now, these are general advice. As I mentioned at the start, businesses are like people. They are different and hence have to be treated differently. There are occasions where your business is in a slump due to factors outside your control. Regulations, natural disasters, etc. Before deciding what to do, you should first see an expert specialising in business growth. Whether that’s an accountant, a consultant or a coach, these are people that can analyse your situation and recommend the best way to move forward.
If your business has been in a slump, I would like to know what you think about it, how did you get out of it and which of the above points you feel the need to be applied the most (or if you have a new point altogether).
Use the comment box below to tell share your story. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.