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  • Naveen Sivakumaran

The ONE thing small and medium-sized businesses get wrong, every time


We know our product.

We know our operation.

But who exactly are we trying to serve?

That’s right — hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are trying to be everything for everyone.

Why is this ineffective?

Let’s take a quick trip into the dating world.

We have a specific type of person we’d like to be with.

Then, wouldn’t it make sense to be the kind of person who would attract that ideal?

Or, would you keep changing who you are and chase everyone hoping for a yes?

We cannot be everything for everyone.

The same is true in business.

When I tried to be everything for everyone, I was dealing with business owners and managers whose:

  • Demographics varied

  • Business needs were different

  • Challenges were different

  • Decision-making process was different

  • Online behaviour — websites they visit, social channels they’re active on — was different

Now, imagine crafting a brand to cater to all of this!

All of this impacted how and what I could sell them.

I found it effective to pick the one type of client I’d love to work with.

This is the customer who:

  • Knows and understands what I offer

  • I’d love to be friends with

  • Sees me an extended member of their team

  • Trusts me

  • Can make decisions

  • Can afford me.

Isn’t it easier to “speak” to only this customer?

It might take a bit of time and energy.

After all, it’s not about crafting any message and tossing it to the public hoping someone will resonate with it.

When trying to be everything for everyone, we become nothing.

We become a commodity.

We compete on price.

And so begins the race to the bottom.

Getting this one thing right puts you ahead of your competition because it influences many of your business decisions for the better.

Stop what you’re doing right now and ask yourself, “Who am I trying to sell to?”.

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