Dear Aunty B,
We set up a business a year ago, supplying products to a growing market segment. We listened closely to the market and took our supplier’s advice to supply our equipment to a wide customer base.
But we are scratching for customers and our business is failing. We are getting more desperate by the day and stand to lose our house.
What are we doing wrong?
Dear Desperate. You say you listened closely to the market. But then you say you took your supplier’s advice.
With due respect to suppliers, what would they know?
You have started at the wrong end. You have to start with the customer and work backwards. Who wants what? Where is the profitable part of the market? Where is your niche, your sweet spot? What do people in that sweet spot want and how much will they pay? Only then should you go back and talk to suppliers.
Once you have identified your niche and built a base, then ask what else can you sell your existing customers? If you are supplying the office market with a product, for example, can you back that up with a service offer?
So don’t despair. You probably know a lot about your market now, you have the relationships with suppliers, you have your staff in place – now just focus totally on your niche and don’t get distracted.
Your Aunty B