You can’t be all things to all people. But you can be one thing to lots of people. As businesses grow and expand they tend to lose focus. This creates opportunities for the smart small business person. My suggestions may seem heretical to some. But the evidence is overwhelming. Study the history of the US auto industry since World War II. It’s most instructive.
1. Limit Your Product Range
Whether you sell a product or service or a combination of both, stick with what you do well. When you dedicate virtually all your energy to doing one thing very, very well, it’s amazing how good you and your staff can become at it.
2. Have A Well Defined Target Market
Know exactly who you’re trying to sell to and what you’re trying to sell them. Direct all your marketing at your target market. Never spend so much as a cent marketing to anyone else. Sell to anyone who wants your product and is prepared to pay for it. Market only to your target market.
3. Tell Your People
Let everyone in your business know about your focus and your target market. Try to avoid bringing anyone into the business who has a different business philosophy. Build systems that reward staff when they create business success in your specialty in your target market.
4. Build a Reputation As A Specialist In A Narrow Product Range
Promote your business as a genuine expert in your special field. You’re devoting all your attention to it so you should become really good at it. When a prospect or client thinks of your product or service, they should think of your business first.
5. Don’t Try To Compete With The Big Guys
Large companies have resources that smaller businesses can only dream about. If you try to compete with them head on, they can put you out of business in no time flat …. and probably will. Look for what you can do because you’re small, focused and quick. Many big businesses are large, slow and unfocused. You can respond to client needs far more speedily and with much greater client satisfaction than a big business. Exploit your advantage.
6. Do What You Do Best: Buy In Everything Else
This statement isn’t original. But it’s so true. Concentrate on getting better and better and what you already do well. Then go outside and buy the best advice and expertise you can afford to help you do it. If you grow the best pumpkins in your district, find the best transport company and pay them to deliver them to market as befits the quality of your special pumpkins. You grow them. They move them.
7. “Fadgrabbing” Is Out
Some small-medium business managers grab every fad that floats by. They never think about its relevance and usefulness to them. These people lose whatever focus they may have had as they chase the latest fashion. This confuses customers, prospects and staff especially. Fadgrabbing is frequently fatal. And it’s very common on the web.
The big guys know about focus. Not all of them observe it. Lack of focus sometimes bring them down. But they can usually cushion the blow because they’re big and resilient. Small-medium businesses don’t have that cushion. Lack of focus in a small-medium business is frequently terminal, although the ultimate demise may be slow and painful.