These mistakes are common to many entrepreneurs:
Getting wedded to an idea and sticking with it too long. Don't marry a single idea. Remember, ideas are the currency of entrepreneurs. Play with many ideas and see which ones bring money and success.
Trying to be something other than an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs. You'll give yourself a hernia if you try to act like other people. Your difference is your strength.
Believing your own B.S. Entrepreneurs are genetically wired to be optimistic. Just don't believe everything you say to others...
Ignoring your cash position. The world (aka customers) doesn't respond to even superior products in the timeframe that you think they should. You'll need plenty of cash to sustain yourself in the meantime.
Attracting weak staff members. Not that many great employees will put up with a mercurial or childish/immature entrepreneur. If you're attracting weak people, you'll need to mature as a human being.
Confusing possibility with reality. The successful entrepreneur lives in a world of possibility but spends money in the world of reality.
Selling too hard. If you find yourself selling an idea or product too hard to too many people, perhaps it's time to listen to why they are not buying and learn from that vs. trying to become a better salesperson.
Not setting up support structures. Hire people and services to handle many of your business and personal needs. Most entrepreneurs do better when they are fully supported, even if transparently. Be responsible enough to arrange this.
Over-delegating. Many entrepreneurs over delegate tasks and accountability to others, aka dumping. Better to learn the skill of responsibility and completely turn over a task or project than assuming/hoping/needing others to come up to speed quickly enough on their own. Most people cannot.
Giving up. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed several times before doing extremely well. So, if you're failing, fail. And fail fast. And learn. And try again, with this new wisdom. Do NOT give up. Yet, do not suffer, either.
If your business isn’t making the money you expect, there's a good chance that you haven’t quite hit on a money-making niche. You’ve probably identified a targeted group of potential customers but you may not have identified a targeted group of customers who are spending money for what you’re offering.
Today, I’m going to give you a practical primer on finding a market niche. You’re going to read some of the items on this list and think that they won’t work or apply to you, but don't be so quick to dismiss them. These tips apply to everyone, in every industry. That said...
Everyone is not your ideal customer
It’s counter intuitive to think that by focusing on a smaller market you will actually make more money, but it’s true. Real money is found in targeting and identifying a market niche found inside the intersection of wants, trends and frustrations. The biggest mistake most business owners make is stopping their search for a niche too soon.
After you’ve selected a particular demographic, look at what they want. Wants are emotional desires. Wants are the reason behind the product. They go far beyond the basic benefits. For example, women who have recently gotten divorced want to feel whole again. They may be attracted to a variety of different products such as weight loss or coaching. They aren’t really buying the product; they are buying how they want to feel.
Trends are another important aspect of finding a niche. You’re looking for ideas, behaviors and products that are trending up and growing in popularity. Mobile devices are a trend. Social media is a trend. Reality TV is a trend. If you’re at a loss, just head out to a neighborhood sporting event and watch kids and families interact. What are they talking about, what products are they using? Again, don’t differentiate between B2B and consumer because these lines are fairly blurred these days.
Finally we head to the most powerful buying trigger: frustration. Frustration is a function of the frequency, intensity and duration of a circumstance or event that just irritates your customer to the point of distraction. To put these into perspective take out a piece of paper. On the top put a picture of a person that represents your target market. Draw three intersecting circles and label them wants, trends and frustrations. Then inside each circle draw icons that represent each of those elements for your audience. This will activate your brain to think differently and connect with that audience.
Use a marketer’s mindset
The first thing you will have to do is stop looking at your product or service like a consumer, and start looking at it as a marketer. Consumers get snared and engrossed by the message and don’t see beyond the purchase. Marketers are focused on understanding customers’ needs, wants and deeper desires and then delivering on those in the form of an offer. Focus on your ideal client and explore how your product or service will help them achieve those deep desires and wants. Don’t snicker. If your product is technical or industrial, remember that B2B customers are people too. Explore what your project means to them, will it help them get a promotion, be a hero, invent or develop something new? Think bigger and beyond the tangible.
Follow the money
It’s standard marketing practice to look for an empty space and fill it. But this isn’t always appropriate for every product or service. Notice car dealerships, retailers and even food trucks are most successful when they go to a place where there are lots of people already spending money. At that point, they don’t have to find an audience; they only have to stand out and attract those people who are most attracted to their offer.
Another terrific guerrilla strategy for following the money is to find everyone in that space and do an analysis of how successful they are, who they are attracting and how they are succeeding at attracting people who spend money. Notice the advertising, the headlines and the offers. Critically examine their marketing messages and the customers that are attracted to them. What is it about those messages that pull customers in?
Explore and implement a money-making model
Running your business in reactive mode eats into your profit margins. Simply making, selling and delivering a product or service isn’t enough to keep your head above water. You need to create a money-making model that attracts and moves the most profitable customers through your pipeline. Online marketers have really perfected money-making models. They’ve carefully crafted landing pages that attract specific markets, they give tons of free educational information and they’ve turned the upsell into an art. Make the time to explore and evaluate online marketing offers and then adapt those practices to your business.
Look around you
Notice that there is a persistent conversation about how bad the economy is and how there are no opportunities out there. Then acknowledge the conversation, and start looking around at the businesses that are successful. There are many, many businesses out there that are outrageously successful. If they are successful and making money, you have that opportunity as well. Take a critical marketer's look at your business and use these tips to further define your niche and develop a model that gives this audience exactly what they want and desire. You will not only build profitable sales, but you will also bring joy and satisfaction to your customers.
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