It was a great Italian restaurant, tucked in an end unit of a scruffy strip mall. Every night, the tiny establishment was packed with the loyal patrons who indulged on great eats in close quarters. Eventually the owner found a sleek, stand alone building on a busy corner and moved the restaurant to welcome the throngs.
Within a year, that great Italian restaurant was closed for business…forever.
What happened? In a quest to expand, Mr. Italian Restaurant Owner sacrificed the undefinable charm and kismet of his first location. You can’t fault him for wanting to grow. As busy as he was in the tiny spot, we all anticipated success for him in the new location. Yet when the magic’s gone, it’s gone.
You’ve likely seen similar examples in your corner of the world. A great boutique opens multiple locations only to over-extend and go bust. A bustling service business beefs up staff then folds under the weight of more overhead. A company doing gangbusters selling Widget A tries to sell Widget B with poor results.
Everybody knows the most successful small business owners are big thinkers. So how do you think big and stay focused? How do you identify new opportunities without redefining your brand? How do you make bold leaps yet stay grounded?
Online marketing will help you answer those questions. Dive into social media and web-based communications, and I assure you, you will be motivated to define and constantly refine your brand, your product/service offerings, your target audience(s) and areas of expertise. Establishing your virtual reputation and maintaining an effective online presence will propel you to keep your messages tight and on target.
You’ll become very focused on your niche and your pitch when you’re online to win.
You can’t be all over the map when creating online profiles, microblogging about your biz in 140 characters or less, or seeking out customers in a sea of website and social media networks. You’ve got to sniper shot with the best of ‘em online to get attention, develop attraction and establish affinity with your customers.
Of course, a niche can be big, so big that there may be segments within the niche. Each niche needs a specific pitch. We often hear of the “elevator pitch,” and that’s a good reference point to start. You really need to know who you are and what your business does in 50 words or less, and those few words must resonate with your niche to be effective.
Once you’ve established your niche and your pitch, consider redefining or expanding either with extreme caution. Don’t get so hungry that bite off more than you can chew for your business. Establish roots before you try to grow branches.
I’ve posted this interview with Mom blogger Lindsay Ferrier previously, but this topic inspires me to do so again. Lindsay is an example of somebody who organically found her niche and pitch and has enjoyed great success as a result. As a small business owner, you’ll have much to gain from Lindsay’s insights on targeting marketing messages to core customer groups.
Here’s hoping this inspires your itch to define your niche and pitch!
As always, thanks!