Did you know the one thing that holds most people back is the simple fact that they think too small? What separates the average business owner from the super successful isn’t her timing or her resources. It’s her ability to think bigger than others, and take action on the things that will create the biggest successes.
Take for instance the typical small business owner in your area. Go into any local shop and ask them how many customers they have from out of state. Chances are it’s a very small percentage of their business. Yet with the power of the Internet, any local business – selling products or services – can change her business model from being a small local provider, to a small business with huge profits and paying clients around the world.
And it’s easier than you think. I know; I’ve done it myself.
I was one of those pioneers. I purchased my first computer in the 1980’s. Remember Prodigy? I dialed in almost every day. So when the Internet began coming on strong in the early 1990’s, I jumped in with both feet, and brought our business online.
What I found was an incredible opportunity.
I started out as a small business owner, operating a photography studio, and servicing people within my local area. It was a traditional studio, offering the standard portrait and wedding services. With two people, we opened a commercial location, and began contacting people within a 10-mile radius. But I knew there had to be a better way. And I found it on the Internet.
Thanks to a powerful online marketing strategy, we found success quickly. Within 3 years, we shut down our traditional studio, and began operating a virtual studio online. Our clients changed from people in our local area looking for traditional portraiture, to people all over the world falling in love with our virtual wedding studio, and flying us in to their location.
No longer were we stuck selling to the people that resided in our local community. We established an extreme niche market, and went to where our clients were. We raised our prices substantially, and began living the life others only dream about. By changing the way we thought about business, we changed the way we looked for clients. And our profits followed.
You too have that power. By changing the way you think, you can change the way your business operates. The possibilities are out there. But thinking differently can sometimes be difficult. It involves stretching out of your comfort zone. It involves creating changes in your business planning. And sometimes these changes can be difficult.
Start by asking yourself some basic questions.
“How can I take what I do now, and sell it to people 1000 miles from me?”
“How do I change my marketing materials to sell to people I may never meet?”
“How well do I work with technology? What do I need to learn?”
These questions will allow you to think beyond your local area, and start discovering ways of doing what you do anywhere in the world. People all over the country are looking for the services and products you sell. You just need the tools to get your information in front of them.
When you expand your target market beyond your local area, and go worldwide, you also add another dilemma to your planning process:
“How do I market to the thousands of people added to my new target list?”
When you decide to take your business to a much larger market, it’s imperative that you focus on who your exact customer is. As a small business, you can’t afford to market to the world. Defining who your perfect customer is becomes crucial. And knowing how to reach them becomes vital.
Your customer can no longer be defined by simple phrases, such as:
· Single female between 25-50 years old.
· Married female with children under 18.
Instead you have to get into the mind of your client, and define them as precisely as possible. Start with the simple phrases. Then add in the detail. The more you know what interests your customer, the easier it is to reach them. Consider a customer definition such as:
· Single female between 25-40 years old. Enjoys traveling, and prefers to take short, exotic vacations 2-4 times per year to places such as the Caribbean, Europe, Australia and the Fiji Islands. Holds an executive position in the corporate environment, or owns the company. Spends 2-3 weeks per month traveling for business, and holds tens of thousands of frequent flier miles.
Using the above customer description, I can begin finding many ways of targeting this customer. I can consider building up referral partners with travel websites that cater to young singles flying into exotic locations for short trips. I can find networking groups that cater to small business owners, or buy lead lists or place ads in magazines such as Inc. or Entrepreneur magazine. I can consider creating a relationship with airline magazine editors, and advertise or get an article placed as frequently as possible.
Obviously, I could continue with many more ideas. But you get the point. The more details I can use to define my perfect customer, the easier it is to determine methods to reach them.
By changing the way you market yourself, you can expand your business in ways that will take your business to new heights.
Open up your mind to the possibilities. You might be surprised at what awaits you.
Lori Osterberg has created three successful businesses in the past 10 years, and along the way discovered the secrets of taking a local small business and turning it into a worldwide success. She now shares this passion with people all over the world, and speaks, writes and mentors on using technology to grow your business – and stay small at the same time! Receive her FREE ezine at www.VisionOfSuccess.com