The One Thing You Must Do to Succeed in Business – and 6 Ways to Do It!

Small Business Marketing Ideas: Less is More, Mass Appeal is Overrated (How to Succeed in Business)

identifying a target audience

Someone once said that “the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”  In saying so, they touched on the one thing that you must do if you want your business to succeed.  I’ll explain why this concept is essential for anyone who wants to come up with small business marketing ideas that actually work, and give you six ways to do it!

It’s almost the first question you need to answer before you launch a new product or start a business:  Who needs what you are going to sell?  And yet it’s easy to fall into thinking that everyone should want our product, our service or our customer experience; unfortunately, it just isn’t so!

The key to success in business is not coming up with a genius idea. It’s not about having a better product (although that doesn’t hurt!) and it’s not about having the lowest price.  The key to success in business does even not lie in creating a unique, cool and otherwise awesome experience for the customer.

how to find your ideal buyer typesThe key to success in business is about finding and filling a niche – a gap, if you will – filled with people or organizations with key needs or wants that are going unfulfilled. 

No matter how great your product, service or customer experience, no one product, service or business is perfect for everyone.  This idea must guide your choices when it comes to small business marketing ideas.

Take water, for example.  Everyone needs water to live, but there are hundreds of delivery methods even for this basic staple of life!  Some like it from the tap, others like it bottled, and still others, bottled, with bubbles.

6 ways to find your business niche and fill it!

If you already have a product (or one in mind), service or business concept:

  • Don’t underestimate the value of research.

Chances are, unless you have discovered something completely and totally new, someone else has tried to build a business with a similar concept.  Find them! If they are still in business, see what you can learn from their business model. If not, see what you can learn about why they failed.  Use what you learn to refine your own business concept.

  • Talk to people who are in your industry about your idea.

Many entrepreneurs fear telling others about their ideas because they worry that someone else will steal their idea or beat them to market.  In reality, it’s improbable that this would occur.  Most successful business professionals have become so because they are fairly focused on their own operations, and even if they believe your idea has merit, it’s unlikely that they will stop in mid-stream to steal your idea.

This type of networking could also result in potential partnerships and introductions which can help you get your idea off the ground more quickly and even generate sales. If you get the opportunity to bounce your idea off of industry experts, ask as many questions as you can, and listen – really listen – to the answers.  Analyze what you learn for information that can help you avoid potential pitfalls, improve your business concept, identify target markets and begin to build true buyer personas.

If you need to identify (or refine) a product, service or business concept, shared a great list for entrepreneurs who haven’t yet identified and refined a product, service or business concept; here’s my take on their main bullet points:

  • Start with your own interests and passions

Starting a business is hard work and usually requires the investment of a lot – and we mean a lot – of hours.  You aren’t likely to succeed at a business if you aren’t doing something that interests you!

  • Look for gaps in the market

Often, gaps in the market emerge because of the introduction of other new products and services. When you are looking for a gap to fill, take a look at brand new products or services and think about how they could be accessorized – after all, the people who make the smartphone covers are probably making just about as much money as the people who make the smartphones, and the companies successful in selling video games are more profitable than those who make the game systems. Gaps in the market can also exist where demand outpaces supply or where there is a large price-point difference between high and low priced items in a category.

  • Revitalize a classic concept

Restaurants aren’t new, but your restaurant concept can be completely new and unique.  Board and card games have been around for hundreds of years, but you might have a new take that no one has thought of before.

  • Pick up where someone else left off, or even where they failed

Going back to market research, you may be able to identify a business, product or service concept that had worth but failed for one reason or another – and maybe even because it emerged before there was sufficient demand or without a way to educate consumers about how the product or service would meet their need.


My 2015 Small Business Marketing Calendar is available on, and it’s packed with marketing inspiration and a working calendar that you can use to attract – engage – retain and motivate your customers in the coming year.

2015 small business marketing calendar template

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