Monday, December 14, 2015

Extending your market

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     Keeping up with what is going on in the markets you serve is part of running a small business. Markets continually change, they mature, and new markets appear. It ain't easy keeping up.

     Always give the market what it wants. Customers and clients give you the clues you need. It's up to you to provide the goods and services that will satisfy the marketplace.

     Example: Alex is a struggling artist. His large abstract paintings have attracted attention, and he has made sales. But buyers are few and far between. He is confident that in the long run he will be successful. The problem for Alex was how to get through the time it will take until he sells enough of his larger works to support his family. The answer came unexpectedly at a show he was attending. He overheard several people saying that there was nothing inexpensive enough to be considered as gifts for friends. It was a clue to a market segment Alex had not considered. He began turning out small paintings, quickly done, framed, and at reasonable prices. These began selling on his website, at shows, and to gift shops. Now he doesn't worry about income while he concentrates on his larger, more expensive, abstracts. The market is providing him with a bridge to his long-term goal. 

     Example: Nicole is a Pilates expert. She has her own studio where she sees clients. To exploit people's growing interest in fitness and wellness, she got her instructor's certification. She put the word out on social media and got good response. Nicole now teaches Pilates to others interested in the field while still seeing private clients. It is an extension of what she was already doing, but the teaching sessions bring in additional income. All of this activity has resulted in more referrals. 

     Example: Mary inherited her mother's small consignment shop. It was long-established and filled with vintage collectibles, games and toys, jewelry and small antiques--no clothing. Mary knew that the market out there was bigger than the locals who frequented her shop. So she reached out on social media, posting pictures every week of new arrivals. She also expanded by using eBay and Etsy to sell long distance. She turned a local destination consignment shop into a bigger and healthier business. The marketplace Mary serves is much bigger than that of her mother's shop. 

     A big part of managing your business is staying on top of the ever-changing marketplace. Sometimes, the change is in what people want. Other times, technology can propel your business into a bigger marketplace.

     Your clients and customers move with the times. Businesses must do the same. To grow, take a step beyond what works today. 

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