Niche is being more who you are

DSC07891When I looked up the definition of ‘niche’ in Merriam-Webster, I was positively surprised – it seems like a marketing person has written the definition:
niche is (1) a job, activity, etc., that is very suitable for someone
(2) the situation in which a business’s products or services can succeed by being sold to a particular kind or group of people
(3) an environment that has all the things that a particular plant or animal needs in order to live.
Today, I would like to talk about the first definition: a job, activity, etc. that is very suitable for someone. In spite of the many similarities that we may have with each other as human beings – gender, age, nationality, education, experience, etc. no two people are exactly the same. We are like the leaves on a tree that are completely unique. Read More

Ideal client – the benefits of focus

Bulls eyeWhat if you let go of your fear that you have to work with anyone who is interested in your services or products and really defined who is you Ideal Client? Hit your ‘bull’s eye’ and get maximum points. Let’s look at the benefits of focus here:

– Choice of topics, tone and content when writing your blog, social media postings or newsletters becomes easy – you know what challenges your Ideal client has and what they want to read about.

– You recognize your Ideal client in networking meetings and you are prepared to talk about your offers in a way that draws them in and they want to know more. Read More

Filling the pipeline with Ideal clients

pipeline for blogWhen I started Coaching by Ave Peetri Inc., I did not know anyone in Calgary. We had just arrived in Canada and I had made a decision to start my own company. Now 16 months later, I have no difficulties filling my business with my Ideal clients. When I analysed what I have done over the past year to get to this far, I came up with the following pointers to help you fill your pipeline:  Read More

Learning from failure

Jessie Lumsden and meI attended Calgary Chamber’s after hours event where I had a chance to listen to the two time winter Olympian Jessie Lumsden. As some of you know, at the Sochi Olympics he was part of the team whose bobsleigh crashed. He and the pilot did not suffer any injuries, so they could continue with other team-members, but their Olympic dream of winning a medal crashed together with the sleigh.

It was amazing to listen to Jessie speak about the determination to learn from the failure rather than let the ‘fog’ overcome him. Fog is something that descends on people when they have failed and they cannot seem to get out of it – keep crying about the tough luck and are unable to move forward. It hit home with me, because very often what I Read More

Lead generation

Agreement Lead generation might be considered by some people a sales tool  and not so much related to marketing. Yet, classify it as you may,  lead generation is effective only if you have thought through who is  your Ideal client and what is the message that you need to tell them  about your product or service. Lead generation is essentially the  generation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services  of a business. There are different methods of generating leads:  networking, internet and social media marketing, referrals from  existing customers, paid advertising, search engine results, etc. All of these methods generate quality leads only if you know your target audience and what they are looking for.

One of my clients had been very active with all kinds of lead generation activities: sending direct mail, email, internet marketing and she even hired a person to go and talk to the potential clients. She was very busy with no significant Read More

Life coaching and marketing

What is stopping you from reaching your goals?

What is stopping you from reaching your goals?

I have just started my certification course with CTI – Coaches Training Institute. I have coached people over the two years after I finished with the CTI training in London. Yet reading the materials over again and discussing them with my certification Podmates, opens up new nuances and really reinforces the skills.

CTI teaches co-active life coaching. That might seem odd to people who have heard me preach about niche, that I go out and learn more about something so broad as life-coaching. I am not going against my own beliefs, though. What I am doing is deepening my learning around how to make change happen. When people come to me to get help in finding new clients and becoming a confident marketeer, what they really are looking for is changing what they are doing into something more productive. Read More

Are you everything to all people?

Black carAnother thing that struck me, when interviewing small business owners, was the number of people who had no idea who their customer is. I got answers like: ‘anyone with a wallet’, ‘anyone who needs my services’. It is obvious that we want people to pay for our services, but the question here is – who is this ‘anyone’? After a bit of probing I heard that this anyone is pretty much everyone, because we don’t want to exclude anyone. In fear of not including everyone, we end up not being relevant to anyone. (Pun intended!) Even Henry Ford, the forefather of automated assembly lines in car manufacturing,  who supposedly had said that you can have any car as long as it’s black, had to introduce different colours to please more people. So, if you sell the equivalent of a black car, then you have to find out who are these people who want to buy them.

What do I mean by ‘black car’? If you are in the business by yourself and you are selling a product or one or more services, you are selling a black car. Even if your product comes in different colours and your services are appealing to a large number of people. Let’s take accounting. Most people and all business need accounting. If you are an accountant, you can potentially serve anyone who has a business or needs help in personal taxes, right? Yes, if you were a machine and people buying services from you were as well. Then your personality, way of doing things and experience does not matter. But it does! People are looking for an accountant they can trust. Yet, some people end up trusting people who do not seem trustworthy to others. It does not mean that one does not do their job just as well as the other. People want to be understood and work with people whose behaviour they like.

Stop being all things to all people and write down the characteristics of your Ideal Client. Once you know who your Ideal Client is, it is much easier to find them in a networking event and spend time on building a relationship with them. It also becomes easier to talk to your web-designer about what kind of website you need or what kind of marketing materials are appropriate. You’ll end up working with people that you feel happy to help and will not have to force yourself to work for money only. You’ll also find that your clients are happier with you – because you understand them and can offer them what they need.

Marketing Plan – why have one?

file8971249325114When I interviewed small business owners,  mainly in Calgary, and asked them what are the biggest marketing mistakes that they have experienced over the course of running their own company, not having a marketing plan was mentioned the most.

Very often when we begin a business, we think that let’s just see how it goes and then see what to do next. The logic for that is that we don’t know so many things anyway, so there is nothing to put in the plan. When I started my first consultation company, this is exactly what I thought. I had a lot of work initially and landed a large client that paid my bills nicely, but realized after 6 months that this is not what I get all excited about doing. I also understood that I do not really know what I wanted to do. I just wanted to have my own business and use my Marketing experience gained from working for large companies. I had not considered what services I would offer and what clients I feel moved to help, how and where I market myself. Since I did not find the experience of working on my own any different than working for another company, I ended up thinking that having my own company is not for me.

Next time I started a business it was no longer on my own, but with two other people, and one of them already was running a successful company. We started with a business plan, marketing plan, product development plan while constantly working on the product. That was the right thing to do. Even though we always did not agree on what the future might hold, at least we had discussions about it and established the best course of action based on what we knew at that time. All of us ended up selling our shares in the company in the end, but the sale could only happen because we had consciously developed the company and thus created some value to sell.

When I started Coaching by Ave Peetri Inc., I had learned from the past, but still decided to speed up the time to market and hired a business coach. She has been of tremendous help in getting my business set up and provided lots of support when I needed it the most. Most certainly one of the first things I have created is a business plan and then a Marketing plan, that I now follow and update on a regular basis.

In addition to helping me navigate the course of growing my company, the plan helps me stay motivated. I can see how much I have done already and I know that my goals are achievable. I might have to change some of the tactics, but that does not take me off course.

Learn more about what a Marketing plan should consist of when you sign up for my newsletter and receive the 7 Quick Marketing tips.