Picture two stores next to each other in a popular shopping center. One is your typical big-box pet supply store that people go to for just about all their pets’ needs. The store sells a wide variety of merchandise from pet food, supplies, and accessories, to pet grooming, training, and boarding.
The other store, a doggy bakery, is more exclusive. The only thing they sell is pastries for pooches—delectable dog-friendly delights. They specialize in Pupcakes, Great Dane-ish, Belgian Woofles and more! If it’s canine cuisine, they carry it; and if it isn’t for man’s (or woman’s) best friend, you won’t find it on their shelves or in their pastry case.
You might think at first that the boutique is limiting itself because it could be selling a variety of general pet merchandise, and for other species of pets as well. They could have products for cats, birds, fish, and reptiles; kind of a one-stop-shop on a smaller scale.
If you think that the big-box store makes better business sense, you could be wrong, and this is why. When you narrow down your offerings to only those that match your business goals and passions closely, you will be in a much greater position to attract your ideal customer. You’ll likely have patrons lining up to pay a premium for your exclusive products or services.
The bigger store certainly gets more traffic because no matter what someone needs they can almost always find it there. Because the superstore has to buy in bulk and keep so many items in stock to appeal to a large market, their prices tend to be lower than a boutique or specialty shop, thus attracting more general shoppers.
The specialty shop may have fewer customers, but the average patron spends more money per visit, is far more loyal, and raves to family and friends about the unique and scrumptious treat she picked up for Fido while out shopping. She is happy to come back again and again. Conversely, the average consumer at a super-center thinks nothing of going elsewhere for sales and coupon items. The dollar is their bottom line and they are more loyal to their wallets than to large chain store, and in today’s economy, understandably so.
So, what does this comparison have to do with your business and service offerings? For the casual entrepreneur, it’s crucial for you to know who you want your customers or clients to be and what exactly what you want to provide for them. Whether you sell products, provide a service, or offer coaching it’s imperative you have clear direction and focus in order to be successful.
If you’re a “One Man Band” you can only successfully play one instrument at a time. Twinkle Toes Tom might shake a tambourine with his booty while tooting a trumpet and using his feet to play keyboards, but how long can he keep that up or hold an audience’s attention? If you’ve seen one trumpet-tooting, booty shaking, toe-engaging keyboardist you’ve pretty much seen them all (there’s only one in your town, by the way). Before you know it, onlookers will disappear to attend a concert by a world-renowned prodigy who dazzles and delights with one expertly played instrument.
Is it better to be great at one thing or average at many? If you basically create a mishmash of product offerings without a cohesive brand or image, you may make sales now and then, but you won’t gain a loyal customer base. You’ll be like the big box store, always pursuing new customers because the few you get will keep wandering away in search of a better deal.
Take a good hard look at your virtual or brick-and-mortar storefront. Are all the products you sell in keeping with your brand? Does a new visitor to your website or store instantly know what you’re about and what you offer?
Consider streamlining your current offerings and get rid of fringe products that don’t really complement your brand. Put your energy and focus on the core products or services that align with your business plan and passions, and make an effort to increase their value and appeal. Before you know it, you’ll have a loyal following and consistent sales.