In a recent post Seth Godin talked about the conflict many marketers face when trying to decide where to focus, and how to “please” with their marketing.   Small business owners face the same challenge, wishing to satisfy everyone, they must make compromises, and end up satisfying no one.   I love his example:

Compromise, by its nature, means giving up part of one thing to get part of something else. So you end up with a little of this and a little of that. The low fat of prunes and the shelf appeal of a cupcake. Sounds good on paper, but when given the choice, the diet conscious will pick a real prune and the gluttons will pick a real cupcake. And you’re left with an overstock situation.

Two years ago, my own small business suffered from what I can only describe as split business disorder – I was trying to offer marketing services for small business owners and team building and training services to Fortune 500 firms.  My website, marketing material, and sound bites at networking meetings were never clear enough to attract enough customers in either segment.

Narrow Your Focus and Create a Plan

And so I made a decision to narrow my focus, I gave up chasing “corporate gigs” and I concentrated on small businesses.

My Goal was to become well known and respected in a smaller circle. I wanted to be the go-to person for small business marketing in Indianapolis.  So I made the following changes:

  1. Pulled 650 prospects from my database which did not fit my core target. I turned the contacts over to a competitor. (There was no changing direction after that!)
  2. Discontinued my corporate eNews and gave up memberships in organizations which were not relevant for my core small business customer.
  3. Rredirected my time and resources to attract the attention of small business owners, selecting networking venues and groups which allowed me to spend more time with small business owners.
  4. Accepted leadership roles in organizations which served this market.
  5. Became a preferred resource for the SBDC and the SBA, offering free or low cost workshops on topics which were relevant to small business owners.
  6. Reviewed the articles I had written, and began submitting them to on-line and off line publications with a readership which was comprised primarily of small business owners. I focused on local business publications first.
  7. And finally, revised all our marketing material to support this new focus adding information relevant to my core customer

The Result

In two years I have moved from being self-employed to running a business with a team of four employees and two interns. Roundpeg is known in Indianapolis for our small business expertise. I have been named to the “Most Influential Women in Indianapolis List” because of my influence in the small busienss community.

Many of our current clients and referral sources have no idea we ever worked with larger firms, and they never need to know. Tightening our focus has allowed us to concentrate and grow!