Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Finding Our Niche To Be More Effective"

Starting a business, being in business, and staying in business takes a lot of stamina, resilience, planning - and a little luck. If were fortunate enough to enter the market with a product or location that met a need that no one else was providing at the time, great. Likely, that didn't last too long, however.

Whenever the market discovers something good, more and more people want to get in on it. There are so many products that have been introduced in the past couple of decades that caught the market off-guard, but the market soon responded with dozens of companies competing for that market share.

Look at all of the commercial plazas, office building, and shopping centers that have been springing up. One might ask how there are that many businesses to fill them up. That's a good question, but one thing that happens is companies move from where they have been to a seemingly better location in search of new markets, better exposure, or more clients. Of course that leaves their current location temporarily empty until someone else comes behind them to take it.

The constant search for the right location, the right product or service, the right market, the right pricing, and more leaves many of us looking for answers and trying to come up with good solutions.

Adding on more and more is probably not the most prudent solution. Consider many of the big box stores that have carried more and more items for us to inspect, look at, and test - only to then look for a lower price online many times. When we can pay less for an item, have full return privileges, get it the next day or the second day, and still have what we set out to get, many of us would go that route. Instead of having a physical store where everything is on display, online retailers have created a business model that allows them to sell the same items and have them fulfilled by their suppliers in some fashion (whether they maintain a large inventory or not).

That brings us to our business. Do we need (or want) to be all things to all people - remodeling services from small to large, from one-day to one-year or more? Clearly, we can define our terms and in doing so decide exactly how and where we want to compete in our marketplace. We might be very local focusing on only one neighborhood (depending on its size) or a small part of our city/ We might take in the entire city, or we might be regional or larger. This is going to be determined by what we offer, how large we want to be, the logistics of providing it, the scope of our marketing, and other factors.

Finding a business model that excites us, defining a market area where we can be the very best at what we do, offering our products and services for a competitive price, and getting a reasonable referral business is the way to have an effective business. There are plenty of opportunities out there for others to have access to what we don't select so let them worry about that. Let's focus on what we are good at, what we like to do, and what our customers appreciate. As long as there remains demand for what we are doing, we'll do well.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.