Creating Effective Social Media – 5 Easy Steps to Creating Social Media That Reaches Your Target

Effectively creating a social media presence is not as hard as it seems. Use five easy steps to improve your online presence now.

1) Know your target audience: You know your customer (or you should) – that’s your audience. All audiences have diversity: age, economic background, style, and interest areas. Now, when you create content, do it as if you are directly speaking to them. Start a conversation. Spark your target’s imagination. Use humor and remember that being too formal can seem inauthentic. Don’t forget to be online with your audience. Explore what they talk about, what they like, what they share, what they hashtag. Interact to get to know them. Tip: use hashtags to research the climate around a topic and see what’s trending.

2) Intentionally set boundaries: After you have visualized your target audience you will need to set up “Go” and “No-Go” areas for your content. These parameters are simplistic yet, paramount. Setting social media boundaries will help you keep your target group happy. Your goal is to create content that is professional and pleasing to your audience. Remember, what is appropriate for one audience, may not be relevant for another. Areas to carefully consider: politics, profanity, slang verbiage, etc.

3) Find a graphics tools that work for you: Creating graphics will serve you well, as visuals are an integral part of all social media platforms. Even Twitter is now more visually based; they have made it easier than ever to share graphics and animated gifts, right at the point of creation. You can put your best visual foot forward by utilizing any purchased, or free, graphic software like Adobe Suite (purchased) or Pixler (free). You will want to research which programs work best with your skill level; there are many online to explore.

4) Consider your platform: Create visual content with limited text, to show/say something significant and inspirational. Know what rules apply to the platform you are using. For example, Twitter limits you to 140 characters or less. These rules will shape your content. Research platform parameters online to familiarize yourself with each structure.

5) Use color: Don’t forget to utilize color; it draws the eye! You can also create a theme of colors that you will use to represent your brand. Using colors enhances what someone feels, for example, Greens and Blues are said to create trust and a fresh feeling, while yellows, reds, and oranges are said to excite, or even make the viewer hungry (think fast food chains). Create content that welcomes your audience to take a closer look. Tip: add your logo to most of the content you create.

By using the five steps above: knowing your audience, setting boundaries, optimizing graphics, mastering platforms, and through utilizing color, you are well on your way to creating social media that effectively reaches your target.


Stephanie Newby is the owner of Newgreenie Inc, an Entrepreneur, Writer, Current Graduate Student and Social Media Enthusiast. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission if this article is shared in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Newby, Newgreenie Inc. newgreenie.com

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Will You Work During Your Summer Vacation? [Poll]

Work during summer vacation

Most of us have endured the first big heat wave of the year and thoughts, inevitably, will turn to summer vacations. The big question? Will you work during summer vacation?

Only about half of all small business owners actually take a vacation throughout the year.

For some, the hotel has been booked and the bags are already half-packed. For others, it’s a hope that you’ll get away even for a little bit and then there are those who seem to have lost touch with the concept of a vacation.

So, this week, we want to know whether or not you’ll work during your summer vacation or whether this is an absolute break from work.

Tell us by answering our Poll question below. We’re asking:

Will You Work During Your Summer Vacation?

You’ve got four choices. And we’ll publish the results of the Poll on Friday.

Will You Work During Summer Vacation?

Yes

Along with the swim trunks, sarongs, and seersucker everything, comes the laptop bag. You’ve already got Tuesday pegged as the day everyone else spends the day on the beach but you. Or, you’ve told whomever you left in charge that you can be reached at any time.

No

This is you completely getting away from it all. No work calls, no work emails, no work whatsoever. The only thing you’ll be working on during your vacation is a tan, catching up on sleep, and setting some type of Netflix binge record.

Remember, it wouldn’t be prudent to just roll out of town without taking some steps to ensure your business keeps running in your absence. There are plenty of things you should do before leaving on your vacation.

I’ll Bring Work, May Not Do It

You’re slipping your laptop and an attache case full of paperwork in with the coolers and suitcases but there’s no guarantee anything’s getting done. You may decide to call back to the office or check your online sales while you’ve got some down time.

We’ve offered some productivity apps that help you get work done while you’re away from the office for an extended period of time.

What’s a Vacation?

You have no idea what the question even means. V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N looks like one long spelling error. You’re going nowhere this summer and yes, you’ll be hard at work all season long. It’s a stay-cation kind of summer in the books for you with an emphasis on STAY.

Remember, be sure to vote in the Poll below. We’ll publish the results of this week’s question on Friday morning. Care to expand upon your answer? Leave some comments below and we may just share them at the end of the week.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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Solve the Entrepreneur’s Fundraising Time Problem

Fundraising Time Problem

An entrepreneur’s scarcest resource is her time. There is never enough of it for everything a founder needs to do — develop products, sell to customers, hire employees, and so on.

Nowhere is this problem more apparent than when an entrepreneur needs to raise money. Time spent fundraising has a huge opportunity cost. Every moment spent looking for capital is a moment not spent creating a product, selling a customer, hiring an employee, or otherwise building a business.

Fundraising Time Problem

So how can a business founder best minimize the fundraising time problem?  My experience as an angel and as an entrepreneurship researcher suggests five things:

Understand Bootstrapping’s True Value

Most entrepreneurs think about fundraising in terms of the trade-off of equity for capital, which is why a lot of them choose to bootstrap. However, the hidden – but very real – value of bootstrapping is time savings. Every moment that an entrepreneur spends pitching investors could be spent pitching customers. But time spent bringing in revenue is better than time spent bringing in capital because ultimately the founder will have to spend time bringing in revenue. So entrepreneurs need to ask themselves, will the time spent bringing in capital reduce the future time spent bringing in revenue? If it won’t then bootstrapping is probably the way to go.

Think About the Time/Money Trade-off in Fundraising

Successful entrepreneurs think of raising capital in terms of the trade-off of time for money. Here’s why. Once a lead investor is on board, the money-for-equity ratio has already been established by the company’s valuation. However, the time-for-money ratio has not been set yet. Successful entrepreneurs recognize this and compare the amount of money investors can provide with the amount of time they will take to persuade. Qualifying investors and going after only those who provide a high ratio of money provided to time spent is a good approach.

Avoid Investors Who Don’t Get It

There is a lot of uncertainty involved in investing in startups. Notice the word uncertainty here, not risk. As the great classical economist Frank Knight explained back in the 1920s, risk and uncertainty are very different things. Outcomes are risky when their probability is low. Outcomes are uncertain when you can’t know their probabilities. Because it’s impossible to know the odds of success of a brand new company that has not yet built a product, sold to customers, competed against incumbents or built an organization, all investors can hope to figure out from their evaluation is whether the founder has any path to success and, if so, how big the potential return will be if success is achieved.

Entrepreneurs should simply avoid investors who take months to make decisions or who need to ask pages of questions and see reams of documents before taking the plunge. Searching for more information when information is unknowable doesn’t improve investors’ chances. Diversifying a portfolio and focusing on only very high potential businesses are the only answers. Entrepreneurs should skip investors who try to know the unknowable.

Reduce Your Valuation and Your Ask

Successful entrepreneurs often choose to raise smaller amounts of money at a discount to market valuations, rather than large amounts at above market valuations. Consider the following scenario: The market valuation of a company like yours at your stage of development is $1.5 million. Hit a key milestone (completion of a team or a first sale, for example) and your market value will rise to $3 million. Instead of trying to raise $500,000 at $1.5 million, try raising $400,000 at $1.25 million. Valuing your company at a discount will speed fundraising. The time saved will allow you to hit your milestone for less capital because you will be spending time achieving the milestone rather than talking to investors unsuccessfully. You come out ahead from the slightly smaller raise at the slightly lower valuation.

Have Your Investors Help You Raise Money

Raising money from strangers to fund an early stage company is very hard to do. It’s easier to get money for uncertain new companies from people you know. After all, people want to know that someone they trust is behind the company.

Most entrepreneurs have an intuition about this, which is why they raise money from friends and family before going to angels. But the same principle can be applied to raising money from angels. If your early angels tap their networks to help you raise money from other angels, it will help avoid the fundraising time problem and take you much less time to raise money than if you go after strangers.

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This article, "Solve the Entrepreneur’s Fundraising Time Problem" was first published on Small Business Trends

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10 Things Every Founder Should Know Before Building Out a Sales Team

build out a sales team

If your goal is to make money, one of the first things every growing business should have is a killer sales department. But how should you quantify that? We asked 10 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:  “I’m new to having a dedicated sales department. What is one thing I must know before I start building out a sales team?”

How To Build Out a Sales Team

Here’s what YEC community members had to say about building out a sales team:

1. Set Up a Solid Incentives Structure

“Don’t start building your sales team until you know exactly what you want them to accomplish. Do they need to deliver a certain amount of revenue? Build your presence in a specific market sector? Figure this out and set up your incentive structure (i.e. compensation) to reflect that. Make sure that your sales team works towards your company goals, or you’ll move backward.” ~Aaron SchwartzModifyWatches.com

2. Measure Leading Indicators

“Make sure you work with your sales team to set goals at every stage of the funnel. With a new team, you want to make sure you are looking at leading indicators and not just revenue. That way, when problems or underperformance occurs, you’ll be able to better diagnose where the problem lies.” ~ John RoodNext Step Test Preparation

3. Expect Trial and Error

“We built out our sales team in the last year and a half, and it took a lot of trial, error and turnover. When you’re selling a new product, it takes a while to find the best practices and what will work for your target audience. It can also take a while to build a team that excels at these practices and can connect with your customers. Be flexible in your approach and willing to change it up.” ~ Micah JohnsonGoFanbase, Inc.

4. Be Clear About What You Want Them to Achieve

“You need to have a strategy in place that says what you want them to achieve as they hit the ground running. This includes annual and quarterly sales goals as well as how their role ties in with what marketing is currently doing.” ~ Zach BinderRanklab

5. Define Success for Each Salesperson

“Salespeople are results-oriented people. I’ve found salespeople to be competitive and motivated by the opportunity to not only reach, but crush sales targets. If you set the objective, for instance, $10,000 in sales per month, they will be tremendously creative in how they get there. Equip your team with the right tools and technology to reach out to prospects and then let them close deals.” ~David CiccarelliVoices.com

6. Understand the Tools Available

“There are so many sales tools out there to support sales, ranging from CRM and marketing automation to sales enablement and social selling software. It’s critical to understand which tools will be a good fit for your team and test process integration between them before you make your first hire. Knowing from day one what and how your team will leverage these tools can drive exponential growth.” ~ Nick EubanksI’m From The Future

7. Supportive Infrastructure

“To give every advantage possible to your new sales team, don’t forget about or underestimate supportive infrastructure. This ranges from the technical (phone system and CRM) to personnel. Personnel can include talented sales management and training staff (and great sales training and management processes!). You may also need customer service/QA staff to keep sales retention high.” ~ Kevin Conner, WireSeek

8. Find People You Trust

“For better or worse, the sales team is customer-facing, which means they might have more interactions with your customer than you ever will. Your sales team will require time to create their scripts and find their flow. You need to be able to instill your company values into them, but also give room for failure. It’s a delicate balance of providing them with systems and allowing for error.” ~Ismael WrixenFE International

9. Focus on Employee Retention

“Hiring is easy. If you dangle enough carrots you can attract almost anyone. Keeping them is the hard part. Put them in a position to succeed with good sales infrastructure, accountability tracking tools, sales scripts, lead generation pipelines, etc. Build a strong house before you put people to live in it.” ~ Andre Chandra, I Print N Mail

10. Don’t Always Hire the Rockstar

“Sales is a complex web of building trust through communicating value while constantly trying to close the deal. Rather than hiring an entire team of “rockstars,” understand that each consumer has different needs, and not all of them want to deal with your typical “closer” personality. Sometimes a light hand, and a soft voice can get the job done. Your consumers are diverse. Hire accordingly.” ~Blair ThomasFirst American Merchant

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This article, "10 Things Every Founder Should Know Before Building Out a Sales Team" was first published on Small Business Trends

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Microsoft Gives Grants to Businesses Providing Affordable Internet

Microsoft Internet access grants

As much as the world seems to be so connected online, more than half of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to the Internet and now Microsoft wants to reduce that number through Microsoft Internet access grants.

Microsoft Internet Access Grants Awarded

Microsoft Internet access grants seek to increase affordable Internet access in communities in underserved markets. The tech giant disclosed in a press release that it has awarded grants to 12 startups in 11 countries that are working to bring affordable Internet access to people around the world.

The Microsoft Internet access grants recipients include India-based hardware provider Zaya Learning Labs; application solutions companies Kelase (Indonesia), Movivo (United Kingdom), Tambero.com (Argentina), and VistaBotswana (Botswana); power solutions providers African Renewable Energy Distributor (based in Rwanda) and New Sun Road (Uganda); connectivity solutions providers AirJaldi (India), Axiom Technologies (US), C3: Communications Consulting Centre (Malawi), Ekovolt (Nigeria) and WiFi Interactive Network (Philippines).

“With more than half of the world’s population lacking access to the Internet, connectivity is a global challenge that demands creative problem solving,” Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Business Development Peggy Johnson said in a statement. “By using technology that’s available now and partnering with local entrepreneurs who understand the needs of their communities, our hope is to create sustainable solutions that will not only have impact today but also in the years to come.”

In addition to financial support, the companies benefiting from Microsoft internet access grants will have the opportunity to participate in virtual and in-person events, access to a “global network” of peers and mentors to share best practices and ongoing support from Microsoft’s Research and Development team.

Microsoft’s goal of investing $1 billion over the next three years will offer small businesses with affordable broadband services the ability to form new commercial partnerships.

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Self-Quiz: What Kind of Business Risk Taker Are You?

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business risk taker

“Fear can keep a man out of danger, but courage can support him in it.” — Old English proverb

Merriam-Webster defines courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.”

Few endeavors — scaling Mt. Everest or swimming with sharks might qualify — demand greater courage than the act of starting (or running) a small business. And with courage comes the willingness to take risks.

Whether borrowing money to grow your business, launching a new product or hiring more employees — accepting risk and protecting yourself with liability insurance is critical to business success.

Business Risk Taker Self-Quiz

If courage and risk-taking are traits necessary for success, how much of a business risk taker are you?

Take this 10-question quiz to find out. Once completed, use the key at the end to score your business risk taking aptitude.

When considering starting a new venture, you:

  1. Fear that it will be unsuccessful making you reluctant to step out.
  2. Weigh the pros and cons beforehand and consult with other business owners and financial advisors.
  3. Are confident of that you will be successful and able to overcome any obstacles.

In your business activities, you:

  1. Tend to avoid competition.
  2. Factor in the competition and take steps to block or limit it.
  3. Fight against your competitors, confident you will come out on top.

When driving a car, you:

  1. Obey traffic laws to the letter.
  2. Follow the laws, so long as they do not hinder your purposes.
  3. Are willing to break the laws, assured that you won’t get caught.

When faced with the opinion of the majority, you:

  1. Typically go along with the majority.
  2. Respect the majority but retain your views.
  3. Confront the majority, believing that your opinion is always right.

In games of chance, you:

  1. Don’t play.
  2. May play but stay within a certain limit that you deem acceptable.
  3. Are a high-roller, playing for all the stakes.

When making decisions, you:

  1. Tend to hesitate for lengthy periods.
  2. Decide only after assessing the prospect of success.
  3. Choose quickly, firmly believing that you are right.

When it comes to conflicts, you:

  1. Avoid them at all costs.
  2. Try to avoid conflict but settle it when you enter into one.
  3. Crush the enemy.

When making investments, you:

  1. Put your money into no-risk, relatively low interest, long-term programs.
  2. Put your money into programs that have sound interest but that come with medium risk levels.
  3. Invest in programs that you believe will grow considerably within 1-2 years, regardless of risk.

Regarding risk, your close friends would say you are:

  1. Risk averse.
  2. Willing to take risks after completing adequate research.
  3. A true risk taker who is reliant on your abilities and strength of will to succeed.

When considering the purchase of business liability insurance, you:

  1. Take steps in advance to protect your business against loss.
  2. Meet with an insurance advisor to review your options and make a decision based on the best available advice.
  3. Don’t worry about it until something happens.

Business Risk Taker Aptitude

Are you a business risk taker? Let’s find out.

Give yourself 10 points for every “1” answer, 20 points for every “2” answer and 30 points for every “3” answer. Tally your score to discover your business risk taker aptitude.

Score Key

100 – 150: Your risk tolerance is low. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be in business for yourself, just that your tendency to avoid risk may make it harder to accept challenges and overcome obstacles.

150 – 250: You have an acceptable level of risk tolerance but regard caution and mindfulness equally as high. Because you have to marshal your finances as well as your time and energy, your willingness to progress more deliberately could work to your advantage.

250 – 300: You are a genuine business risk taker who moves ahead confident that the decisions you make are right. Doubt rarely factors into the equation. Your boldness in undertaking new ventures could prove to be your downfall, however. A bit more caution may be warranted.

To learn more about the courage it takes to run a small business, review these resources, from Hiscox Business Insurance:

Hiscox American Courage Index
Hiscox American Courage Index (Winter 2016 update)
How Courageous is America? (infographic)
Take the Test Your Courage Survey

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The Ups and Downs of Running Your Own Business

running your own business

Freedom and control are common factors that motivate people to leave traditional employment to start a new business. If you yearn for the opportunity to be in charge, set your own hours and design your daily activities, prepare yourself for some of the harsh realities of finding entrepreneurial success. Here are a few key things to consider as you evaluate whether running your own business is the right move.

The Long Hours

True, you should be able to control your hours as a business owner. However, entrepreneurs who desire to generate revenue and profit work almost always work more hours than they had before. In fact, your business owns you, you don’t own your time. In a small business where you play a pivotal operational role, the amount of time and effort you put in directly impacts how much money you make. If you employ any staff, your work ethic sets the tone for the company. It is hard to earn the respect and dedication of your team if you clock in at 9:00 a.m., clock out at 5:00 p.m., and take a two-hour lunch break each day. This point is especially true in a start-up environment where you rely on workers to go above and beyond the traditional eight-hour day as well.

Problems Must Be Solved

You can’t control when problems arise that demand your attention. Sure, you have the freedom to pretend they don’t exist, or that someone else will handle them. However, your customers and employees will look to the boss during times of stress or uncertainty for an answer. If a major distributor experiences a delay, for instance, you may need to travel to reassure ensure a positive experience for your customers. Power outages, technology malfunctions, and equipment breakdowns are a few of the other problems that could demand attention and prevent you from getting to the golf course or the beach.

Money and Freedom Go Hand-in-Hand

Kevin O’Leary, of “Shark Tank” fame, often says, “Money equals freedom.” In his case, he has enough money to freely choose which companies and investments to spend his time on. In the case of a new business owner, true freedom typically only comes when you go through the pains and frustrations of building up a profitable enterprise. This process usually takes three to fours years, until your business can afford to pay you a regular salary. If you want the freedom to make decisions on how to spend your time, plan to work harder and smarter on your own than you would as an employee.

The Owner’s Job is Overwhelming

Many people leave employment to get out of a boring, monotonous position. The logic is that you can design your own activities and focus on a diverse mix of things you enjoy as a small-business owner. In reality, as start-up business, you are taking on 10-14 jobs at once, so you will often spend hours trying to figure out which task to take on first each business day. Making products, setting up your website, generating leads, shipping packages are among the common roles of a start-up owner. Until you build up your business, and can add staff, it is common to take on many tasks that you intend to get away from once you build up your business.

The rewards of running your own small business often far exceeds anything you could achieve as an employee. However, the process to earn those rewards are typically much harder than you thought. Plan to work hard for years, tackle major problems, and carry out many activities everyday without complaining.

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How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur While Being a Successful Parent

blend work and family

Being a parent isn’t easy. Being an entrepreneur isn’t a walk in the park either. But being both a parent and an entrepreneur can be enough to put in in non-stop therapy sessions.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But it’s still a challenge, isn’t it?

You work hard to grow your business because you want to build a legacy you can leave to your children. At the same time, you’re trying to make sure you’re doing a good job of raising your children. Both take tons of work, and both are incredibly rewarding.

One of the two jobs in the world where you will encounter some of the most responsibility is being an entrepreneur and being a parent — and this of course goes double if you happen to be both. Think about it: Building a business can affect the lives of many people, and your success or failure can greatly influence the success and failure of your customers and employees.

Similarly, being a parent means you are helping to grow a little human being into a fully-functioning adult, and much of his good and bad habits will be a result of your influence.

No pressure, right?

But you don’t have to worry. It can be done! This article will provide you some tips on how to blend work and family even when you’re busy running your own business. 

How To Blend Work And Family Tips

Develop a Routine and Stick to It

Businesses, just like kids (and adults), do better when there is a daily pattern. The reason for this is that routine promotes habits, and habits save you time, willpower, and mental energy. That’s why you need to develop a daily routine.

For example, when was the last time you really thought about brushing your teeth? Did you fight yourself about it and procrastinate? Probably not. Chances are, you got up and didn’t even consciously make a choice to go to the bathroom, put toothpaste on your toothbrush, and brush your pearly whites.

Of course, not everything about business is routine — there are many times you will need to consciously brainstorm new and innovative ideas. Much of it, like life, will certainly be habitual once you get a good system going. Forming good habits will save you time and brain cells, and the best way to make those habits is by doing them at the same time every day as part of a routine.

Additionally, when you have habits and routines that govern your day, you will have a predictable schedule for when work is supposed to happen and when recreation is supposed to happen. This will make a distinct separation between “work mode” and “play mode,” which will help ensure that you don’t get burnt out. It’s about finding the right balance between your business and family life.

Life is also more predictable to children when there’s a routine. When you’re relatively new to the world, life can be confusing, and certainly having something constant in your life can be extremely helpful.  Having routines helps blend work and family.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help When Necessary

One of the best lessons that you can teach your children is that we can’t always do everything alone, and sometimes we need to ask for help. This includes you!

You may not always be able to take care of your business and your children at the same time. In order to accomplish both, you may need to hire some help.

There might be times when you need someone who can look after your kids when you have that important business meeting. If you don’t have a babysitter who can help, you can use a nanny agency. There’s nothing wrong with having somebody help you with the kids if you need it.

Of course you don’t want to overdo this. Your children still need their parent to raise them. It’s about finding the right balance and the best way to blend work and family.

Remember to Take Breaks

As cliché as this may sound, you can’t expect to get very far cutting down a tree without first taking some time to sharpen the saw. Taking breaks and having free time is what will enable you to feel renewed and be at peak performance in many areas of your life.

This means taking breaks both from your business and sometimes even from your children. Remember that being a parent can be hard work, and going directly from having to run a business during the day to having to care for a pack of youngsters in the evening can be exhausting without time off to relax.

Take some time to yourself. Do something purely for fun. You will need that time to recharge.

Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This is something that many entrepreneurs ignore, but it’s so important. Getting the right amount of rest will actually make you far more productive.

Include Your Kids in the Businesses

You may pride yourself in being able to provide your kids with all their material needs, but you probably also know that the best gift of all is not material in the least: The best thing you can give a person early in life are the critical learning experiences that will set a good foundation for a productive life as an adult. Including your children in your business and teaching them how the economy works will give them a huge head start compared to most of their peers, and it will also give you an opportunity to bond and blend work and family.

Conclusion

Building a business while raising young people is no simple task, but hopefully these tips have helped you in some way and you might be inclined to incorporate them into your everyday life.

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How Entrepreneurs Pick a Target Market

pick a target market

As an entrepreneur, you haven’t got the time or money to pursue all customers in your market simultaneously. You need to pick a target market to go after. How should you do this?

Academic research and practitioner expertise suggests that you focus on five factors as you pick a target market.

How To Pick A Target Market

1. The intensity of the target market’s pain. As a general rule, it is easier to sell to people who describe having a pain rather than having a desire. That’s what I meant in by my column about selling pain killers not vitamins.

But not all pains are the same. There’s a slight headache and then there’s a migraine. The greater the pain a target market feels, the greater the odds that you can convince customers to buy a solution, and the faster that sales will occur.

2. The value of your solution as a pain killer for the target market. The better your solution fits the target market’s pain, the greater your chances of success. If your solution is a partial fix, your chances are less than if it is a complete remedy.

Here’s a good example of a founder doing this right. The company is called Passage. They provide a mobile box office and point of sale for seasonal businesses, specialty events and popup companies.

They have focused on these kinds of businesses first because their product is ideal for things like haunted houses, summer theater, wine and beer festivals, semi-pro sports, and so on. Passage offers a “made for me” experience, adding category-specific branding and features that make its purchasing system a better fit for customers than the plain vanilla alternatives offered by competitors. For instance, they sell to a lot of haunted houses because those venues will sell tickets if their purchasing systems show scary designs rather than a plain vanilla Eventbrite page.

Passage provides much quicker payment to event organizers — two business days — which appeals to small businesses that need their money very quickly.

Passage’s mobile box office is very easy to use, with a simple and quick set up and strong customer service. That’s valuable to company owners who haven’t got a strong background in technology.

3. Is your solution better than the competition’s for that target market? Rarely does one company offer a better solution than its competitors for all target markets. Consider Ferrari. They make a great car, but I have yet to see someone who knows a good place to install a car seat in one. Volvo is a much better choice for the family car market, despite the panache of the Italian sports car.

4. Can you make the sale? Here’s where reality is different than a business school class. If a target market is a perfect fit for you, but you can’t make the sale, it’s useless. So you need to consider whether you can reach the customers and whether they will buy from you right now. Entrepreneurs need to be realistic and go after target markets they can get before they run out of cash.

5. Is the market valuable? You also need to think about the value of the market. Is it large enough to be worth spending time getting to know or is it so small that you can’t recoup your cost of customizing to it? Is it shrinking so fast that it will be gone shortly? Could you make a profit selling to those customers or would your margins be razor thin? Ideally, the markets you target should be large, growing and offer you high margin customers.

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20 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Successful entrepreneurs come from all different industries and all different backgrounds. But while there isn’t necessarily one prototypical entrepreneur, there are some habits of successful entrepreneurs that can serve as a common link. The list below includes some common habits of successful entrepreneurs.

Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs

They Jump Right In

There are millions of different reasons to not start a business. But entrepreneurs have to be able to quiet those doubting voices and just get started. Even if it seems like a bad idea or like they’re not fully ready, successful entrepreneurs know that it’s better to get started than to wait for perfection.

They Follow their Passions

Successful entrepreneurs know that passion is an important part of running a successful business. Even if you’re not building a business around an interest or passion that you’ve had since childhood, you have to be passionate about certain aspects of your business if you want to be successful. Not caring won’t get you very far.

They Don’t Let Fear Hold them Back

Running a business requires taking risks. You might have to risk some of your personal savings in getting started. Or you might have to make decisions that you don’t really want to make. But if you let those fears stop you, you aren’t likely to get very far in business.

They Adapt to Different Situations

You can’t always know what is going to happen when running a business. There will inevitably be some curveballs thrown at you. So if you want to be a successful business owner, you need to learn how to adapt to a variety of different situations.

They Hold Themselves Accountable

Accountability is paramount when it comes to running a business. So successful business owners often find accountability partners or surround themselves with people who are going to make sure that they say what they are going to do.

They Reward Themselves for Accomplishments

To continue doing great work for your business, you also need to have some sort of incentive for yourself and your team. Great business people understand that it’s important to celebrate those little victories in some way.

They Surround Themselves with Great Teams

In addition, choosing the right team members in the first place can go a long way toward building successful businesses. Successful entrepreneurs often have a knack for choosing the right team members, mentors and others who are likely to help.

They Stay Positive

All entrepreneurs have down days now and then. But successful entrepreneurs have a knack for finding the positives in most situations, especially when that means learning lessons from failure.

They are Open to New Ideas

No matter how knowledgeable you are as an entrepreneur, you can’t know everything. There are always other people out there who know more about certain things than you do. So you’ll increase your chances for success if you keep an open mind and listen to others.

They Welcome Criticism

There may also be situations where you do something or make a decision that isn’t great for your business. If, in those cases, you’re open to listening to others who offer constructive criticism, you could save yourself from doing permanent damage to your business.

They are Thankful for Help

When you do receive help from others, it’s important to be thankful and appreciate their help, ideas and input. Successful entrepreneurs know that showing thanks is more likely to lead to helpful input or ideas even moreso in the future.

They Take Time Off

You might think that the most successful entrepreneurs just work constantly. But if all you do is work, you’re more likely to get burnt out and eventually make some big mistakes. Successful entrepreneurs understand that breaks are necessary and can help facilitate innovation and hard work when it’s really necessary.

They Keep their Main Goals in Mind

It can be easy to get distracted with new tasks and projects while running a business. Being adaptable is certainly a common habit for successful entrepreneurs. But you also need to be able to stay focused on the main goals you have for your business. Otherwise, you’ll be likely to get distracted to the point that you completely lose track of what it takes to be successful.

They Plan Ahead

Successful entrepreneurs also come up with plans for how to actually achieve those goals that they’ve set. So while it’s still important to be adaptable and adjust if necessary, you have to have some kind of road map to what you want to achieve.

They Constantly Learn New Things

Even if you’ve achieved relative success for your business, there’s always more to learn. Successful entrepreneurs understand that they don’t know everything, and are always open to expanding their knowledge base.

They Like Meeting New People

Likewise, there are always new people who can teach you things or help your business in some way. A couple of populars habits of successful entrepreneurs are the willingness to meet new people and constantly being open to networking and learning from others.

They Make Good First Impressions

When you do go to meet new people as a business owner, it’s important to make a good first impression. Successful entrepreneurs know what it takes to make a good first impression and always work to put themselves in those positive situations when networking.

They Know How to Negotiate

Negotiating is an essential part of running a business, no matter what industry you’re in. It might not be a natural skill for everyone, but successful entrepreneurs learn how to negotiate to get the best outcomes for their businesses.

They Find Creative Solutions

Innovation is another important part of running successful businesses. That means that successful entrepreneurs need to be creative and use that creativity in their problem solving whenever possible.

They Don’t Try to Do it All

And finally, successful entrepreneurs understand that they can’t do absolutely everything. They delegate to their team, take breaks and focus on what’s really important. No matter how successful your business gets, there are some limits to what you can handle. And successful entrepreneurs understand how to really prioritize what’s important.

Do you have any other habits of successful entrepreneurs to share?

For more on successful entrepreneurs, please visit:
3 Qualities That Make Successful Entrepreneurs
Successful Entrepreneurs With No Experience
10 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs

Success Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "20 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs" was first published on Small Business Trends

Continue Reading