Sunday, April 28, 2013

Business 101: Markets, and Words, and Spiders...OH MY!



Peppy
Fashionable
Tall
Tan
Songstress

These are words that will never make anyone's list to describe me.

Tired
Neurotic
Hungry
Aged
Itchy

Now we're in the ballfield.

And not only do these words describe me, they tend to descibe the "band of merry men" I hang out with comfortably.  These are the type of people that I have attracted to me in my life..like a moth to my computer screen.....for better or worse.

Businesses are the same way. They attract people by their identity. Their characteristics. The words that describe them.

You don't have to be a business guru to know what type of customers shop primarily at La Diamond Jewelry and what type shop at Carla's House of Bracelets. Or what type of customers eat at Wings and Sports and what type eat at Farmhouse Fran's.  In fact...you could probably describe them with one word. (And I'll let you do that fun mental exercise on your own).

So what does this have to do with you and your business? Everything.

If your business doesn't have an "identity" or a word that could describe it...chances are you don't have a target market.  And if you don't have a target market, then a lot of your efforts marketing may not be hitting the right places....or the right people. And that is money and time lost.

So...right now....think of ONE word...just one....that describes your business. (I'm going to run and grab a drink...take your time.)

Okay...do you have one? Fantastic!Just hang with us until we get to the part that might interest you. 

Don't have one yet?....well, let's get you one!

In an effort to be totally "transparent"...I can tell you  the word that would describe my store  up until this point.

Scattered. (NOT a good word to have as an identity)

I have to "stick my toe in the water", until I know I want to commit fully to a business venture. Otherwise, I'll end up with another room full of fabric, thread, pillow stuffing, and a lot of cool ideas....but not a single desire to do anything with it past that point.

But continuing not to have an "identity" is not a good long term business practice ....unless I want to continue to market to about a 100 different types of customers. Which, if I wanted to do a lot of work for little payoff and no one even noticing, I would probably just scrub my baseboards.

But happily, I finally figured out my  new "word" today. And now I have a good, solid launching point AND ..... I get to make a super, cool spider graph.

My suggestion, if you don't have a "word" that can describe your store is to either think of a subject, grade, or product item...OR a characteristic  that you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like....because once you decide on your identity word...it's going to be strapped like Yoda to your back...screaming at you to do all kinds of things to make your store better every. single. day.

Can you think of a word now?  Okay...no pressure.  But here's where our friends with their "word" can join us. Feel free to come to the carpet when you have your word.

Now that you have your word...you are ready to expand and find your target market.  This will help you not only market your items, but it will help you decide what KIND of items to put in your store.

You need to decide what kind of customers you want to attract.  Your "band of merry men" so to speak. And because you will be inviting these people into your store...you want to invite the kind of people you want to do business with for the long term. And don't just say "people with money"...because my Uncle Leroy has money...and trust me...you don't want him anywhere near your store.

This is where you get to  make a spider graph...or just a list if you're afraid of spiders.  And a spider graph is a circle in the middle with lines coming out of it...in case I wasn't paying attention that day in second grade and just named it that.

So grab a writing utensil, paper, draw your graph, and write your word inside the circle.

Now answer the following questions on the "legs". This is where you get to create your "dream customer base".  Answer the questions as if you had all the power in the world to bring who YOU wanted into the store. And they don't have to be one word...but brief descriptions. And the more specific...the better "target" market you'll have.

What grade(s) do your customers teach?
What subject(s) do your customers teach?
What kind of personality do your customers have?
What style of teaching do your customers have?
What type of income do your customers have?
What kind of school do your customers teach in?
What age range are your customers?
What are the values of your customers?
What is the gender(s) of your customers?
What kinds of things do your customers buy (besides teaching materials) when they have money?
Where would you most likely see your customers out in public?
Where do your customers live?


So that's a start. Now look at your answers.  Then look at your products and look at your marketing. 

Are they targeting the people you want as customers?  If they are not...it's time to make your store, products, and marketing plan more cohesive. Almost a theme ...if you will.  So that when someone visits your store and looks around, they will remember..."Oh yeah...I've got to tell Angel Snodgrass about this store...she'd love it!" or "YES! Finally...a lot of stuff I've been looking for...this is awesome!"


People are more likely to REVISIT a store if there are several things they like....rather than just one single product.  Especially if the store appears to have been made "just for them".  AND it's much easier to develop products if you know who you are developing them for in the future.

Remember....once your customer base gets it's momentum....20% of them will account for 80% of your sales. So give them what THEY want.

So does this mean you have to chuck the products you've made because they might not be cohesive? Of course not.  Consider any that don't fit into your "identity" to be like that candy shelf that's found in just about every kind of store/restaurant/gas station. Just one more thing to possibly purchase on the way out....

And I know you know of a store with an identity that attracts you. You shop there all the time. The one that you go into looking for one item....

...and end up owning stock in the place.

Keep on...keepin' on! And for more info, I've included a couple article links about the topic below. Enjoy!

http://www.inc.com/guides/201104/how-to … arket.html

http://www.hostdime.com/blog/2011/08/7- … -identity/

Rebecca



4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rebecca,
    I LOVE reading your posts on the different blogs I've found you at as well as in the TPT forums. Your thoughts, and writing style, make for very enjoyable and are thought provoking. You are really making me think and helping me more than you know!!

    Cynthia
    2nd Grade Pad

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad! Thank you so much for your nice words!

    Rebecca :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your blog is like a search engine optimization magazine. All templates are cool and attractive. God bless
    ecommerce wordpress themes

    ReplyDelete

Thoughts, questions? Please share!