Market Discovery – Not Only for Startups

“When you offer something and it doesn’t fly even after it’s messaged well, the market is sending you a signal to try something else.”

Heard on ABC’s Shark Tank

Wish I could recall which of the “shark” investors gave that pithy advice to an entrepreneur on the show, one who’d worked tirelessly for several years, persistently trying to get sales but getting nowhere. It was spot-on perspective for that entrepreneur (and many others).

There’s a corollary: If you offer a service that did well for a while, but is now on a scary descent, the market may be sending you the same signal. Market discovery isn’t only for start-ups.

Persistence and grit are wonderful qualities. No entrepreneur or solopreneur succeeds without them. They’re necessary but not sufficient. You also need to know when to try something different.

It may not mean you need to go into an entirely different business. It may suffice to change one of the five variables we examine in the Marketplace Sweet Spot LocatorSM services I provide to my Marketwerks enterprise clients, as well as Rainwerks’ customers.

5 Decisions to Make to Revamp a Weaker Business Model

  1. Should you change or expand the customer types you serve?
  2. Should you change the problem solved?
  3. Should you create a new offering?
  4. Should you shift to a new operating or service delivery model?
  5. Should you shift to a new revenue model?

Try this thought experiment: Hold four of those decisions constant, and play with possibilities for one variable at a time. You’ll likely find possibilities for serving clients and growing revenue.

Let’s take the 3rd one as an example—playing with possibilities to offer something new. Sammie had a very active training business, but the number of companies having her come in to lead workshops declined. Turns out that her usual topic, once hot, had cooled off over time. Her clients still needed to develop their staff’s capabilities, but in new areas of knowledge and skill. That opened the way to fresh new programs, with the other four strategy decisions unchanged.

Sammie might also have considered playing around instead with #4.  Demand for her old topic declined, but didn’t disappear. She could have explored the use of online, self-paced training programs as an alternative way to deliver knowledge and build skills among clients’ personnel.

If your business was good, but stalled out, take a look at Rainwerks’ Packaged to Prosper program.

If you’re new to consulting or business coaching, and want some guidance in defining your strategy and preparing to do business, check out the Rainwerks program Start Me Up!

Bob Sherlock

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Posted in Find The Right Clients, Market Strategy, Package Your Services

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