Become a leader in your market niche part 1 & 2

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There can only be one market share leader in any given business segment, but there are other ways to become a leader in your market niche. So, where do you start if you're not a leader today?

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Become a leader in your market niche part 1 & 2

  1. 1. Become A Leader In Your Market Niche – Part 1 & 2<br />John Carroll<br />Founder & CEO<br />Email: john@trescoach.com<br />Web: http://www.trescoach.com<br />Twitter: @TresCoach<br />Facebook: http://www.facebook/trescoach<br />Part 1 …<br />"If you're not the lead dog on the sled, the scenery never changes." And the same thing is true in business, isn't it? Unfortunately, there can only be one market share leader in any given business segment, but there are other ways to become a leader in your market niche. So, where do you start if you're not a leader today?<br />Know the competition. Learn all you can about their products and services, who they are selling to, and how they price, advertise, promote and market their offers. Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the author of Competitive Advantage, stated that "A firm differentiates itself from its competitors if it can be unique at something that is valuable to buyers." Once you have completed a thorough competitive analysis you can then identify areas of differentiation, and begin to communicate your competitive advantages to the outside world in a way that is compelling and entices prospects to buy from you.<br />Know your customers. Why are your customers buying from you, and what do they like and dislike about your business? If you don't know, ask them and while you're at it, find out what additional products, services, and support requirements they may have so you can begin work on this list before your customers look elsewhere. Knowing your customers buying preferences and how they like to be sold to will help you advertise and promote your business in a manner consistent with the needs of your marketplace. This more targeted approach will also help you get the maximum return out of your advertising and marketing dollars, and raise your profile as an emerging leader in your market niche.<br />Joint ventures and partners. Establishing JVs and partnerships will help you accelerate the growth your business, extend your products and services portfolio, and expand your market reach. From a time-to-market perspective, it represents a low-cost way to help you enter new geographic markets, launch new products and services, and enhance your value proposition to both current and new customers. For small business owners in particular, selling with and through partners is an absolute business imperative. Aligning your company with the right mix of JVs and partners can help dramatically improve business results and the market perception of your company as an industry leader.<br />Branding and social media marketing. Technology and innovation has made it possible for "everything to be connected to everything." However, most companies are just scratching the surface when it comes to figuring out how to integrate Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. into their branding and marketing plans. Social media marketing enables your personal brand and your business brand to be interconnected in a manner that helps each to build upon the other. Any company with aspirations of becoming a market leader should get expert advice on how to effectively integrate social media marketing into their next generation branding and business plans.<br />Building a strong brand and a successful business is all about knowing the competition and your customers at a much deeper level, developing long-term, enduring JVs and partnerships, and finding new innovative ways to "get the word out" and market your business more effectively. <br />Part 2 …<br />In "Become A Leader In Your Market Niche - Part 1", I covered some of the basics of how to get started in positioning your company as a leader in your industry. Now it's time to fill in the blanks. At this point, you have completed a competitive analysis, a customer assessment, compiled your list of JVs and partners, and received expert advice on how to integrate social media marketing into your overall business plans. So, what's next?<br />Identify your leadership target(s). What do you want to be known for, or a leader in? And what are your recognized strengths that can be leveraged as a competitive advantage? Are you perceived as an innovator or technology leader? Do you offer superior products or services? Is your company recognized for quality or operational excellence - i.e. Six Sigma, ISO 9002? Do customers rank your company's service and support ahead of the competition? Does your company receive high praise from its employees as a great place to work, or from the community at-large for its charitable contributions and volunteer work? Select your leadership target(s) carefully, and make sure they are in alignment with how the market perceives your business today. Note: Be sure you don't spread your resources too thin trying to reach your targeted goals.Rewrite your CVP. Now it's time to start to put some "meat on the bones". After you have determined your leadership target, your Customer Value Proposition (CVP) needs to be redone to reflect the changes. Your new CVP should communicate the competitive advantages that distinguish your business from the competition and helps your company to stand out in a crowded marketplace as a category leader. Make sure to test and retest your new CVP with employees, customers, partners, and trusted advisers so you get it right. Over time, your revised CVP should become part of the DNA of your business, and be reflected in your entire PR, advertising, marketing and selling efforts. It's all about packaging why your business is different, unique to the outside world in a manner that will motivate customers to buy from you as the perceived leader in your market niche.<br />Update your marketing. Once your revised CVP is in place, it's time to update your web site, brochures, and all other marketing collateral to reflect the company's new focus and marketing messages. All components of your company's marketing including web site, advertising, press releases, brochures, presentations, training materials, etc. should highlight those key messages you want to build upon that distinguish your business as an industry leader. Get lots of help in this area from a branding and creative services expert to ensure that the updated "look and feel" and message content is consistent throughout, and gets effectively communicated to the outside world through the various media you determine are appropriate for your business. Your ability to market your business differently than the competition is one of the keys to elevating your brand and raising the profile of your business as a market leader.<br />Network and be visible. Network, network, network. Don't just show up at networking events, but take an active role in the group leadership, committees and community outreach programs. I recommend that small business owners become active members in 2 or 3 networking groups, in addition to their local Chamber of Commerce. Seek out opportunities to chair key committees, attend ribbon cutting ceremonies, present at trade shows and affinity group functions - i.e. Rotary Club, Lion's Club or host Lunch & Learn and After Hours events to further increase your company's visibility as a leader in the local business community. Being recognized as an industry spokesperson or "thought leader" is another great way to build your personal brand, and enhance the perception of your company as a market leader.<br />Volunteer and be charitable. Be generous with your time, talents and resources. Find ways to help others in your community and around the world that are less fortunate than you, and are in need of your help. Don't ask for anything in return, just do it, and get everybody involved. Giving of yourself is reward in itself, and a true reflection of your character and leadership qualities.<br />Being good at something is within every company's reach, but being a market leader requires extra effort, dedication, resilience and commitment. It also requires the help and guidance of others, because none of us can do it alone. So, if you have made a commitment to become a leader in your market niche, seek out those "success-driven" employees, customers, partners and trusted advisers who can help you get there, and enlist their support. You'll be able to reach your goals faster, and enjoy the journey more.<br />COPYRIGHT © 2010-11 John Carroll<br />About the Author: John Carroll is the founder and CEO of Tres Coaching Services™, a professional coaching, consulting and training services company located in Keller, TX. He is a visionary, results-driven business leader known for his proven ability to drive transformation and change and deliver outstanding results in highly competitive global markets. <br /> <br />During his 30-year professional career, John held Director, Vice President and COO positions within Fortune 100, mid-size and emerging companies, leading high-performing business divisions that generated more than $1 billion in revenue. He was also a member of the senior leadership team that developed the go-to-market plans for the 2nd largest IPO in the history of the Internet industry.<br />Mr. Carroll received a MBA with distinction in General Management from the University of Central Missouri, and a BSBA in Marketing and Economics from Rockhurst University. He has received numerous sales, leadership and excellence awards during his career, and has been recognized by both Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals and the Global Registry of Outstanding Professionals and Entrepreneurs for his outstanding sales and marketing leadership accomplishments.<br />John is an author and frequent speaker on business related topics including the How to Improve Results in Any Economy and the Back to Basics 2.0℠ series, and works extensively with both entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them systematically improve sales and marketing performance, increase profits, more efficiently manage their business operations, and “achieve the results to move beyond their vision”.<br />For more information please visit http://www.trescoach.com or follow Tres Coaching Services™ on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and SlideShare.<br />

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