Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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Not to decide is to decide

Determining who you are targeting

One of the neat things about going to a trade show each year is that you have the opportunity to look at a lot of new products. Hopefully, at that time you are thinking about all those people back home and the possibility of your selling those new products you have found to them.

Even in the smallest of towns a business is challenged by the fact that the majority of residents are not going to buy your product or service. In not doing business with you, those people have a wide variety of reasons for having made that decision. They are happy with those they are currently doing business with; they shop only according to price; they have a family member or friend in the business; or they have no need, or interest, in what you do.

This may sound like a small number of people, but the reality is those people choosing to not do business with you constitute the vast majority of residents in your community. With you and your business being left with a small piece of the community as potential customers, you have some tough choices.

As you wander the show, you are hopefully thinking of that small group of people and what they will buy. Just as important you have to think about just which small group of customers are yours. And that is exactly where the challenge of your business lies. It is also where I most often see small business owners making a big mistake. Their thought process is that anyone who likes anything they have sold can be their customer.

So, the business owner does not make a choice; they try to stock merchandise and provide services to anyone that might like what they have and do. Allow me to address my point using an old Southern adage of business. “The better you niche, the more you can get rich”.

The issue I am pointing out is that as I see people at trade shows they are unable to decide just which customer they should be concentrating on. They may think that in a tougher economy they have to broaden their appeal and get anyone to do business with them. 

Not to decide is to decide. Not deciding on just what customer you are going after; not deciding on just what your business should be means that you are trying to become the ‘general store’ of specialty businesses. When you make the decision of who your target customer is, you find that your advertising can become more concentrated.

You will find that more people are attracted to your business because those that want the best will look for the business that is known to specialize. It would not matter if you were a restaurant, a clothing store, hardware store, or a dentist. There are always those people that want to know who does the best. They are willing to take the time to find that business and want to do business with them.

However, if you do not make the decision, then you have made the decision to join the wide variety of businesses that think they can be something to everyone. “Not to decide is to decide” or “the better you niche, the more you can get rich”.

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site:

Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179