In a poll, 88% of American adults considered themselves above-average drivers. I used to be one of them. San Francisco hills with a stickshift, LA freeways, NYC taxi derby, Boston’s competitive merges—no problem. When driving in other lands, however, my self-assessment might drop a few notches.
Late Saturday morning in a charming city in France, with its magnificent cathedral and narrow old streets. Andy, Mike and I had finished work at our client site nearby, and toured a little before going home. The time came to head back. I turned our rental car left down the hill below the cathedral… only to crawl through people by the dozens walking in the street and parting the way for us reluctantly. After a few blocks of this, and seeing no other cars moving, we wondered if we had missed a “Do Not Enter” sign.
Our finely-tuned instincts eventually got us thinking maybe we should turn onto another street. Arriving at a major intersection, we saw signs indicating no turns allowed. Okay, so we’ll go straight. But after pulling into the intersection, we noticed that the way ahead was barred by a sturdy steel bollard at the entrance to the next block. Can’t go left. Can’t go right. Can’t go straight. And look, we seem to be on light rail tracks… with a train bearing down on us. Yikes.
So, do we back up and hope we hit no one? Make an illegal turn and drive along the tracks away from the tram? Stay put, and hope it stops in time?
The guys spotted some space to the right of the bollard, where we might have to climb the curb but could get our minivan off the tracks. We went for it. Then the unexpected happened. When we came within several yards of the bollard, a sensor caused the bollard to drop into the ground and opened the way ahead. I hit the gas pedal and we flew into the clear.
Navigating Unfamiliar Terrain
Just like new places, a new market presents unfamiliar terrain where the different landscape and rules of the road can lead to rookie mistakes. Doing some homework can help you pick the right path, with lower risk—and less need for good luck.
If you’re contemplating expansion into a less-familiar market space, the following tips may be helpful.
- Start with a self-assessment
Figuring out who really needs your services and solutions starts with a self-assessment of your business. Think deeply about what you’re really good at helping clients accomplish.
The purpose of this business self-assessment is to highlight possible market opportunities – problems that executives and companies would likely pay to solve, for which you’d be a great solution.
- Look for where there’s room to stand out in the market
Conduct Market Research on what prospective clients need and solicit feedback on the service concept you might bring them. After developing a hypothesis or hypotheses for who your most promising prospects may be, conduct some research or a pilot test in order to find out:
- How much do decision-makers care about the problem or aspiration for which you are the solution?
- How likely are they to spend money with you to address it?
Your research will help you in a couple of major ways.
One, it’ll help you determine if there’s really interest in spending money on the problem you envision solving and on the solution you plan to offer.
And, it’ll help you with your communications so that prospective clients become acutely aware that they need you.
- Assess the Payoff vs. Risk.
Does the potential market look big enough? What’re the time and money investment required? What earnings can you expect? Does a win look like it’ll be financially worthwhile?
You can find your market and position yourself more quickly with the right tools and coaching. Our Packaged to Prosper program helps consultants and business coaches identify what makes them special, crisply define the valuable services they provide, and find the clients that most need their services. We invite you to access our free video, 3 Strategies for Finding Your Ideal Market. It’s drawn from the lessons of the Packaged to Prosper program.
Here’s to your success!