Have you ever asked yourself if the way you do business is viable in your market place?
In this article I’ll share some filters to run your business through to see if it’s viable…
As artists and creators, many of us lead with our hearts.
We decide what we want to sell and start our business and then we go straight to tactics – creating a website, using social media and so on without any thought as to whether what we want to sell, or the business model via which we sell it is viable.
That is we start off as ego-centric rather than client / market focused and the two aren’t always aligned.
And then we wonder why we are struggling to get clients, to get sales.
It doesn’t help that today, many people confuse marketing with tactics. Tactics are methods that we use to market, but there is more to marketing than just the tactics.
Unfortunately, people lose sight of that, focus on the tactics alone and then wonder why their marketing isn’t working.
Before you can use the tactics successfully, you need to have some core foundations in place.
Each of these foundations builds upon the previous, like building blocks.
Just as you wouldn’t try and build the ground floor of your house without building the foundations first, and you wouldn’t try and build the first floor without having first built the ground floor.
And so it is with marketing.
The first step is identify underserved market niches. This means that you will look to find places where people aren’t getting the products they want at the prices that they can afford. This will show you where a new product might find some success.
Now the chances are that if you are a solopreneur, a creator or artist then you are going to do what you do anyway. That means we modify this first step and evaluate the market in the context of our skills and how. you bring use them to serve those markets.
An important question to ask yourself is how much market penetration you need to make what you offer viable as a source of income, as a business?
If you need to sell it to just about everyone in the market, it’s time for a rethink.
How much of the existing market can you reasonably expect to sell to?
If you only need to sell to a small percentage of people in your niche, you greatly increase your chances of success.
In other words, who buys what you want to create, how do you make it available to them, and how likely are they to buy it?
Steve Jobs may have said “Real artists ship” but at the end of the day, it’s no use shipping if you have no buyers – you have to make enough money from your art to keep doing it.
You have to get it to the people who will buy it at a price that they will pay for it, and ensure that there are enough of them who will buy to make your business viable.
Secondly, you take a look at how you can serve those niches. What can you bring to the market to fulfil the needs and desires of that market place? This is where we look at our ideal client, understanding their needs, desires, problems and challenges, and how they articulate these so that we can speak to them in a way that resonates.
The third step is to determine how well existing products serve the market niche so that we can refine our offer and serve the gaps in the market.
For an example, let’s take a look at dog photography.
There might be lots of dog photographers in your market, but are they serving the market well?
If they are all booked solid, then yes they are, in which case you need to look for gaps in the market, people in the market who they are not serving well.
Maybe they are all high volume, low price photographers but there is a gap for a low volume, high service experience photographer who offers exclusivity.
Or maybe, they are all chasing the higher end of the market and struggling for bookings because most people in that particular market want something more affordable – in which case there is a gap for that kind of photographer.
Run your business past these filters and see how your business stacks up…