I make a big deal with folks about learning to fish in Ponds vs. Oceans. The basic concept is that there are more fish in ponds than businesses can usually handle but they’re wasting their time blindly swimming in a giant ocean where it’s hard to find fish, hard to grow and easy to get crushed in the jaws of a shark.
It’s all about “ponding” down to a target market where you can excel as a small business, grow fast and expand to other ponds.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to almost all small businesses is the ability to narrow their focus to a segment of their overall target market.
The reason that small business owners have a hard time “ponding” down is because they are not thinking critically about their target market and breaking it down to it’s most advantageous customer pool.
The best way to overcome this problem is to start asking some pointed and difficult questions. When answered in truth and focus, these questions can radically change your understanding of your target marketing and bring clarity and laser like focus to your marketing message. These are good things, by the way:-)
Start by “pondering” these questions:
Describe your overall target market. i.e. small business, medium sized business, consumers, young consumers, old consumers, etc.
Describe several (7-10( smaller segments of your overall target market that should be or have shown interest in your product or service. i.e. small business owners who are currently leasing space, consumers who are Mothers of young children, etc.
List 3 segments for each of these
questions in order of best, 2nd best, 3rd best.
Which segment most needs my product or service? (all segments need you, who needs you most)
Which segment most wants your product or service? (think of who is regularly using your competitors)
Which of these segments would give you the highest profit margin if you could sell your product or service to them directly?
Which of these segments would it be easiest to establish a strong value presence in? (Value presence is when you are a feeder of quality information to a particular group)
Which of these segments is your company most capable of servicing with the fewest number of changes to company infrastructure?
Which of these segments are you most familiar with and would take the lease amount of research energy?
Which of these segments are you most passionate about and can relate to the best?
Which of these segments would offer you the highest number of joint marketing opportunities? (teaming with other industries that serve the same segment)
Which of these segments is most likely willing to pay for your product or services?
Which of these segments do you have access to the highest level of decision makers or influencers? i.e. executives, owners, trade leaders, etc.
Okay… now for the fun part:
Take all of your best segments and assign them a value of 3
2nd best should have a value of 2 and…
3rd best should have a value of 1.
Add up the values and see who comes out on top. Confirm the conclusion with your gut instinct as a professional. Argue about it with your business partners and finally make a decision on who your best “pond” target market is.
Now… sell out on that market with everything you have. Dominate it! Crush it and win it over. Once you’ve done this, you will automatically be taken down stream to other profitable ponds that are eager to pay you money.