Monday, May 11, 2015

Expand your market

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     Building on what you already do is an easy way to expand. Sometimes, it only takes a change in attitude to attract clients in a completely new way. Other times, a new market develops in an area you already serve.

     Example: Joe runs a small independent pest control company. He has experienced difficulty "breaking out" ahead of his competition. When the town was suddenly invaded by stink bugs, Joe saw a way to enliven his marketing message. He took dozens of pictures of the bugs on sidewalks, porches, steps and patios--posting them every other day on Facebook. The calls came in. He offered to give short talks at meetings. More calls came in. Many of these new callers became regular clients coping with fleas, ticks, mice, ants, spiders and more. The stink bugs were a marketing gift.

     Example: Dawn is a certified therapist specializing in helping clients through stress, grief and related issues. She noticed that many of her clients had gone through drug and alcohol drug addiction rehab programs, but large numbers of them were still coping with their old habits. Dawn extended her practice to this area, helping rehab "graduates" cope with their on-going problems. They represent a well-defined market--people needing specific help. Dawn is developing several programs for post-rehab people. It builds on what she was already doing, but it structures programs in an entirely different and new way. 

     Example: Judy runs a local recycling operation. She takes in all types of metals. The market for metals goes through ups and downs--prices rise and decline according to forces well beyond Judy's control. When a storm came through her area, Judy saw an opportunity. She put the word out that she would take the wood--no payment, just a convenient place for people to get rid of downed trees. Soon Judy's back lot was filled with a jumble of tree trunks, limbs and stumps. Again, Judy put the word out--this time to artisans, woodworkers, and businesses offering mulch and firewood. She had expanded into another market with little effort. Two or three storms per season keeps the back lot full. 

     Everything changes. Technology, weather, markets, your client base and their needs--all change. Be alert to changes that can affect your business

     Some changes affect you negatively. Others can be opportunities. 

     Expanding your market and growing your business can be as easy as recognizing everything the world throws at you as opportunities. In every dark cloud there is that silver lining. Find the silver and run with it.