Thursday, June 9, 2011
Whether you are managing a brand, looking for a job or running a small local charity, you have to find your niche and tell a story. The past few years have outlined this trend and people seem to be putting it into practice and seeing great results.
Brands that are so hyper focused are constantly polled by consumers as more believable. That doesn't mean you can't expand your focus down the road, but you have to be authentic and specialize in one area before you can attempt another. A prime example of this is Keen shoes. When they started, they were focused on the outdoor segment. They made shoes for hiking and sandals that were great for camping. Now they make trail running shoes, biking sandals and a series of bags that work with the outdoor lifestyle. Although they have expanded their base, those areas make sense for their target consumer. If they started making baseball bats tomorrow, consumers wouldn't believe it. It's too far from their core.
When you live in a niche, you own it, you set the rules. Kiva.com started something that was needed but didn't really exist. They created a way for people around the world to help a person or village get a cow or a goat or seed for their farm. Their online micro-lending model is so simple, that it's almost unbelieveable. However, the more you research it, the more believable and amazing it is. And what closes the deal is when you hear that, to date, they still have not had one default on a loan.
Pick your niche, commit to it, live it and the loyalty you will see from customers will validate your efforts.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
It takes so much time and effort to start a business that while building it, you don't have time to look over the fence. What I tell companies I work with is that the idea is not the value. It is the total sum of the parts. You need a great idea, but you also need the right team, the right sales plan, the right growth strategy etc... All of them are equally important and the same amount of effort has to be given to each area for you to be successful
If you spend all the time on the idea and think people will find you, you are wrong. You have to build your brand as you go. Connect with people and put yourself out there for people to see and comment on. That immediate feedback will help you focus your efforts.
When all the pieces are combined, that is when the magic happens. Be ready to admit what you don't know and reach out to people who specialize in the areas you don't understand so it creates a well oiled machine.