Ever see those local businesses pop up in your neighborhood and say to yourself, “They’re never going to make it”?
I do all the time.
It’s not because I’m a negative person.
It’s also not because I’m a retail business expert.
And, it’s not because I have a crystal ball.
It’s because I know my community.
I’ve lived in it for 20 years. And, I know my community likely won’t support the business. Not because it’s a bad business. It’s just not a good fit.
In the past couple of years I’ve “called” these local business failures at a 100% accuracy rate. I don’t say that to brag, but rather to raise a question and make a point. If I can see the writing on the wall even before the doors are opening, why can’t these business owners?
I believe it’s because they’re blinded by passion.
They’re in love with their business idea and while they may have done some cursory market research to better understand the market—and my guess is that sadly, some don’t even take this prudent step before investing all their time and money into their business venture—they don’t do enough to understand their target audience and the neighborhood they’re locating in.
They also likely haven’t spent enough time analyzing the other established, and sometimes big name stores, that are already serving the community. While competition doesn’t always have to be a deciding factor, if you’re opening an independent business that no one’s ever heard of, and there’s already a well-known, respected, and successful business offering the same product or service right down the street, you better dig a little deeper to make sure the community can, and will, support both.
You also better have a significant brand difference that your target audience highly values.
You better do some pretty strong marketing to get them in the door the first time so they can experience that brand difference.
And you better have a solid marketing plan in place to keep them coming back.
Opening up shop on the Internet as a coach or consultant isn’t all that different.
While you don’t have to compete with the big box stores, you are operating in a huge marketplace where it can be difficult to be found. And, you’re also likely one of many, many consultants or coaches in your area of specialty.
For these reasons, it’s paramount that you select a targeted niche and differentiate yourself with a strong brand positioning if you want to stand out and attract clients. That, along with a marketing plan designed to generate awareness, attract your ideal clients and convert them into paying clients.
Opening up your own business is not something you do on a whim.
It’s also not something you do based solely on passion.
For a business to succeed, whether it’s a local retail shop or an Internet-based service business, there must be a market need. And not only a need, a want. There must be an audience that wants what you have and for whom it’s a high enough priority that they’ll buy.
If they’re out there, and you can reach them effectively with the right message, at the right time, in the right place, at the right price (the 4Ps of Marketing) you may just have a shot.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be passionate about what you do.
You do need to love it. Because you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing it. But you also need to make sure you understand your audience and commit to branding and marketing. There’s nothing more satisfying than being in a successful business you love. Make sure you take the right steps before you open up shop so you can enjoy that satisfaction.