Ever wondered why you may not be bringing home the bacon as quickly as you’d hoped in your business? It might be something to do with how you’ve researched your market. Let me explain…..
Recently I was added to a Facebook group. It’s a supportive group for men and women working in a home-based business allowing them to connect, as well as bounce ideas and questions around.
Of particular interest was a cry for help from someone who had completed a digital media course but was now having difficulty in finding clients. The course was designed to help mums acquire “in-demand digital skills” enabling them to become Social Media Managers; the idea being that they can work from home without having to fork out humungous amounts for childcare. The module is impressive and there are testimonials aplenty. Reading through the information I can see that it provides a solid base from which to launch a lifestyle career with a skillset that can be applied to most businesses. So, why was this mum finding it difficult to get work?
I think I can answer this as I had been through a similar scenario; it’s something that will resonate with most self-starting, self-employed.
Not long after I launched my first magazine someone came along with an idea that was, in my eyes, a winner. Think of Brian Potter in Phoenix Nights when he uttered those immortal words “Garlic bread, it’s the future. I’ve tasted it.”; that’s EXACTLY how I felt about a proposal to be involved in online advertising. I jumped at the chance to have a website that would provide businesses with an online presence. I completed the course, learnt the tech stuff enabling me to explain all about PPC, SEO and tags. Writing online profiles for businesses was something I discovered I was born to do. I saw online advertising as complimenting print advertising giving businesses another means to gain exposure. In my eyes it was a no-brainer and being bedazzled I thought it would quickly make money.
BUT (there’s always a but), the fundamental flaw in my plan was that I didn’t research my market. I had assumed that everyone would accept that online advertising was the next metaphorical garlic bread. What I discovered was that 12 years ago, most businesses hadn’t heard of online advertising, and because it was an unknown they weren’t ready to embrace it with the same enthusiasm. So whilst the magazines grew the online project shuddered to a halt.
As I struggled to understand why this had happened a friend reminded me of the old adage “there’s no such thing as a quick buck”. I quickly worked out that the return on my investment was equal to the graft put into understanding how the idea/concept/garlic bread would fit into the marketplace I wanted to work in. Had I’ve done my research and spoken to businesses it’s highly likely their views would have dissuaded me from trying to lead the charge. Similarly I think that if the digital mum had researched how receptive businesses would be to paying her to be their Social Media Manager she may have felt that the course wasn’t going to help her carve out the work/life balance she was looking for.
That’s not to say that in the real world people don’t have a near overnight success story. But generally it depends on:
IF you are in the right place at the right time.
IF you get a particularly lucky break.
IF you happen to be upwind of a new trend.
IF you’re doing something the world has never seen before and they take to it like a duck to water.
IF you’re coming in armed with the resources, experience and connections that will allow you to start ahead of the learning curve.
That’s a lot of IFs.
Having been through the pain, I strongly believe that if you do your research and understand the market then there’s no need to rely on the IFs to be the next garlic bread epiphany.
If you are thinking about marketing local then your local neighbourhood magazine is a great place to start. For more information about the magazines I produce and how I can help please email [email protected] or call me on 07976 869435. In the meantime, to see other marketing hints and tips please click here