Specific is Actionable

I often try to have clients leave my office after a consultation remembering this one point: plans that are specific are the ones that are most possible to put into action.

Entrepreneurs often have many ideas. Ideas about the new markets we could move into, new products we could introduce, new campaigns we could run, or new clients we could work for, but all of this opportunity can leave us too scattered to do any one thing well.

A prime place to be specific is with identifying your target market. This primary market is the group of buyers who has the highest probability of buying from you. Identifying a primary target market doesn’t mean that you are going to intentionally exclude people outside of your identified target (if you write a target market profile in your business plan that says you are targeting consumers with income over $100,000 per year, you’re not going to turn away a prospect who earns $80,000 who wants to buy from you). Being specific helps you come to terms with the reality that you only have so much time, energy and money to put into generating new sales and growing your business.

Imagine how overwhelming it would be to say, “Our target market is everyone who owns a home in Halton Region.” What would you do first? How could you possibly decide what advertisement to buy? Could you identify which prospect to first ask for a sale? In contrast, what would happen if you said, “Our target market is home owners in Burlington in the area of Lakeshore and Guelph Line living in homes with a value over $500,000, with kids still living at home”? In the second case we could look at specific databases to generate our prospect list, we could work to understand who this customer is, statistically how many of them exist, and perhaps most importantly, what they care about to make sure that what we’re selling aligns with their needs and wants. This second case will have tactics and tasks that are realistic for us to spend time and money to target.

Another great place to be specific is with how we describe our product or service. When we can definitively describe what we do and why we are unique, it becomes easier for our clients to take action to buy from us. When it appears that we are confused about what our core product is because there are so many things that we “can do”, it’s hard for consumers to commit. People like buying from experts. Offering a product that is specific to a client base that is narrower than “any consumer with money” can allow us to be more successful.

Plans are only worthwhile if you can put them into action. A business is only worthwhile if you can find consumers who will pay for what you are selling. The vast volume of opportunities that may be available could cause us to focus too much on the quantity of opportunities rather than capitalize on the quality of the few that could make us successful.

For information on the services and resources provided by Halton Region Small Business Centre, contact us at 1-866-442-5866, www.haltonsmallbusiness.ca, smallbusinesss@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. You can also follow us on Twitter @haltonecdev and Facebook at www.facebook.com/HaltonSBEC.

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