Carving the Elephant | Extraordinary Business

Q: “How do you carve an elephant?”  A:  “First, get a block of marble and then remove everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.”

In conversations with many business owners, I often get the impression that there seems to be some confusion about what they are selling and who they are selling to.  While that seems rather silly, if you think about it, why do most people do business with your business?  Is it actually the product or service you deliver?  Is it the way that you run your business?  Is it the experience?

Many times, especially when talking about “younger” businesses, we miss that when we start defining who our clients or target markets are.  We’ll start talking in terms of industries that we’ve served or geographic locations instead of truly boiling down to why people do business with us.  While this is a way of reducing the size of the target market, providing further specification to your definition of your market will be very helpful in crafting your message and matching your products or services to their needs.

In the same conversation, you must consider the types of businesses you like doing business with, and what the criteria for that is.  For example, if you were an artist, while you could probably paint or draw on a myriad of different surfaces with different brushes, paints, lighting and a number of different variables.  However, you probably have a certain set of specific tools and surfaces that you prefer to work with.  When you tell people what you do, that is specifically what you would say.

If you were to do a “personality test” such as a PEP assessment on the businesses (or people) you’ve worked with in the past, you would probably find that the personality or company culture that you worked best with in the past are similar – like or complimentary to your own.  You will probably find that your business will have a hard time relating to businesses that have certain types of company cultures.

Your final test will be the most important – does the market you are targeting have a need, whether realized or not, and the ability to pay?  While you as a business leader may run into the first more often then the second, the second is usually the deciding factor, which, for some people, surpasses all other criteria listed above.

Like carving an elephant, carving out your target market is a matter of knowing what to carve away from the rest of the world.  Being able to articulate a specific target market – where they are, why they do business with you, what their needs are and that they can pay – is an essential element to your business now and in the future.  Being able to identify them means that you can predict and provide solutions for their needs as they arise.

Be extraordinary.  Carve elephants.  Know your target market.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.

We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.

If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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