Is it Your Way or the Highway?
One of my tasks when working with business owners is to help them focus. The passion, the energy, and the vision make small business owners and entrepreneurs great. It is not just the product or service they launch, it is the reason and the heart behind the business that drives the owners and their resulting successes.
That focus and drive can also steer a business directly into the ground. What do I mean? One of my clients really wanted to have an open product concept. "Everyone is welcomed." Events and product lines had to have something for everyone so everyone felt welcomed. However, the current core customer group was rather exclusive. Things that appealed to the core customer group, did not appeal to "everybody." Very early in the planning, I had to break the news to the client that the "everybody" message was going to cost my client her core customer group. The core customer group accounted for over 90% of revenue. The question for my client, "Do you want to shift your target market? Or do you want to make money?" Focus.
Another client example, this client wanted every single thing in the shop perfect. Absolutely perfect. The staff spent all the time making things perfect, they hardly focused on the customer because they were concerned about making things perfect. I told the client, bluntly, "Look if every hair is in place and every tag aligned and we don't sell, we fail. You don't have a business." We changed the focus from perfect, according to the owner, to perfect, according to the customer needs. Yeah, the tags might not be perfect, but we sold $100k in product in a month (that is a lot for my client). Focus.
Yes, your drive and passion for your product or service makes your product unique, but you cannot forget that it is your customer that needs to love your drive and passion. If you have missed the mark, you don't have a business, and you don't have a market. Focus on the overlap between what drives you to run your business and what makes the customer love your product or service.
Jennifer Ford is the Founder of Frederick Mountain Group, LLC. Frederick Mountain Group is a consulting resource for small and mid-size businesses focusing on people management and sales development. To find out more, or for information on upcoming programs, please visit www.frederickmtngroup.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.