Making the change….

Slowly I am making the move into social media consulting. I’m not trying to make the change to rapidly, as this is a key move for my business. I do have the marketing plan just about done, thankfully. Then comes the REAL fun! Making revenue projections….YAY!

But, I have to admit that I am excited about this new direction I am going in. It is an exciting area that I enjoy working in. I have managed to raise my Klout score from a 12 to a 24 in a little over a week. I am getting more and more engagement on my Twitter account. And my LinkedIn network is getting larger.

Hoping to start actually fully promote the new service in February. Going to start some Beta testing next week to get some feedback on what business owners are actually looking for from their social media. Fingers crossed I get some great feedback.

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Navigating A Pivot Point

Pivot Points In Small Business

Making the choice to change direction

That critical time in every business has come for me. Do I stay on the path that I have been going or make a change in direction? This decision is always a very important one that should not be made on a whim. My old mantra holds true here: DO YOUR RESEARCH.

With my business, I started out just providing virtual assistant services which then expanded into customer service which expanded into marketing which expanded into social media management. All this expansion was done without really looking at whether or not it would benefit my business cause I was just happy to have work coming through the door. But, I have realized I have lost focus of what my business stands for. Is this where I want my business to go?

Than answer was a loud and resonating “NO”. This was not the direction I wanted my business to go when I started it, nor is it where I want to continue on going. So time for a major pivot point. The question then became “Which way?”. This was a bit more difficult to answer and took some major consideration.

I have decided to keep to the basis of the name RI Business Solutions. I’m changing my target market to a more local geographic region and plan on working with very small businesses (less than 25 employees). I understand their needs and have the experience to help them.

The services will be internet marketing including website development (including mobile sites), social media management, search engine optimization, and content development. This is the direction that the world is moving and it can be an overwhelming experience for the typical small business owner to undertake on their own.

The major difference this time for me, I am doing my due diligence in creating a business plan for this pivot change. I’m doing the research to make sure I understand exactly where I want to go, how to get there, and what I will need for the trip.  I have even contacted the local SCORE chapter for some guidance and input.

So hopefully this new plan will work out.

 

5 Tips On Determining Your Target Market

Whether your planning on starting a small business or have already started, a crucial item is knowing who your target market is. Most likely you have already spent a lot of time planning your business (hopefully). A big part of that planning should include deciding who will be focus of your marketing efforts. Everybody wants as many people as possible to know about their product or service. But the more customers you want to reach, the more time and money it will take in order to reach them. Defining a target market might feel overwhelming to you, but just remember that it is a crucial part of your overall business plan. Selecting a target market will also help save you time and money in the long run. By focusing on a certain demographic of people who might be interested in your products or services will allow you to communicate with that segment more effectively.

Here’s how to get started:

1.) Review Your Business Plan –  Think about the needs that your products or services fulfill. Think about what makes your business different other companies providing similar products or services.  Now think about who might be interested and have a need for what you are offering. As you consult your business plan and decide who you want your audience to be, remember that it is ultimately about the customer. Don’t think about who you would like to sell to, think about who is looking for the products and services you offer.

2.) Conduct Research – You can begin by using secondary market research. Some sources you can use are:

US Economic Census

Encyclopedia Of Associations

ASAE

The best part of using secondary research is that someone has already done the work. Plus, most of the information is free. A shortfall of this information is that it may not be 100% useful for your business. No matter what, it is always a good idea to do some research. Trying to do marketing without the proper research is like throwing money out the window.

3.) Develop A Customer Profile –  This is an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be and includes demographic information that include age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, and more. It should also include psychographic information. Psychographic information goes beyond basic demographics and identifies more about a customer’s interests, hobbies, values, attitudes behaviors, lifestyle, buying patterns and more. Both of these types of information are crucial for developing your customer profile. Demographic information is used to identify who will buy your product or service and pychographic information will explain why they may buy your product or service.

4.) Find Out How To Connect – After you have identified who your target market is, you will need to find out how to connect to them. You will need to find out what kind of websites they visit and which social networks they use most often. Are they constantly on their mobile device? Do they use a lot of apps?  Do they read papers or magazines? If so, what papers or magazine do they read? By knowing this information and putting it into your customer profile will help you know how best to spend your marketing dollars.

5.) Monitor Your Marketing Efforts – The work doesn’t stop after you have determined your target market and have a plan in place to reach them. Marketing is a continuing evolving system that requires constant monitoring. You will want to know how your current marketing is working, what you can do to improve it, and how you plan to market into the future. Part of this is being aware of how your customers are evolving as people. Have ways of tracking your sales, quality assurance, requests for more information, and more.This is the information that will help you stay on top of trends, patterns, and areas that need improvement. All of which will change as your business grows.

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