Monday, July 20, 2015

The marketplace & you

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business.

     Marketing your products and services has a lot to do with demographics. Who buys what you have to offer?

     People with pains in their necks seek a chiropractor. People who need help maintaining their yards look for landscapers. People who want to make sure they will have enough money to retire talk with a financial adviser. And those with computer problems call an expert.

     The market out there divides itself into groups. With demographics, you look for age groupings, income groupings, needs groupings, and other groups.

     Example: Anne was a fiber artist. She specialized in making dolls, and her dolls found a ready market--many years ago. She was creative and a workaholic, and her dolls were unique. She could not seem to make enough dolls to satisfy the market. Gradually, however, that market demand lessened. She was selling fewer and fewer dolls. Instead, buyers wanted handmade accessories. Since she was a fiber artist, Anne began offering scarves, pins, handbags to serve the new market. 

     No matter the market you serve, rest assured that it is changing. You must be alert to new fads and fashions.

     Example: JoLin got certified as an acupuncturist. She opened an office where she met clients, and she built the business gradually. She noticed, however, that people were stressed in their work, their lives at home and in the community, and in their other activities. She arranged for a bigger space and opened a community acupuncture room. There, people could walk in, lie down in a quiet, darkened room, get 20 minutes to rest along with a sampling of acupuncture. It proved popular. JoLin also noticed the increasing interest by mainstream physicians in the benefits of acupuncture for certain patients. She gave a talk and demonstration on a patient with post-operative pain at a local medical center. It helped to promote and extend her business into a new area of interest. 

     The changing marketplace can and does affect you. No matter the business, the marketplace rules. Stay on top of it. 

     Example: Fred runs an appliance store serving the market for stoves, refrigerators, and other appliances. People came to buy items from him, and then they needed installation in many cases. He recommended electricians and plumbers to them. Then he decided to add electrical and plumbing supplies to the items he offered in the store. Today, electricians and plumbers are also customers, and they frequently recommend new buyers to Fred.

     You can extend and grow your business by being alert to the marketplace. Be assured that it is always moving. 

     A good place to watch the marketplace change is by watching television and social media. New products and services pop up all the time. These are good starting points for you to think about how your business is being affected.