All businesses start small; that’s a fact. Do you know what determines whether your business will grow or stagnate?
After studying the world’s fastest growing companies, Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin share 7 key factors that will predict your results in their book From Impossible to Inevitable, How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue.
Watch this short overview video of the book and see if your business is setup for growth or not.
- Nail your niche: Know who your ideal customer well
- Create a predictable pipeline: Automate your marketing
- Make your sales scalable: Have multiple solutions to offer
- Double your deal-size: Offer upsell and cross sell options
- Prepare to do the time: Work hard
- Embrace employee ownership: Pay others to help you
- Define your destiny: Have clear income targets
Where to Start
Before you spend any time, money and effort hiring staff, making products and creating marketing and sales funnels, you need to start with your niche.
Do you know who your ideal customer is and what targeted solutions you plan to offer them? Can you explain it to a 3rd or 4th grader in a way they would understand and develop interest in what you are offering?
With a personality that gives you the ability to venture in a variety of fields, you probably have a few skills to offer. Your friends even seek your opinion when faced with particular needs. They are glad that you are in their circle of friends. “You come in handy” they say. What’s the problem with that? With a variety of products or services to offer, you could end up a jack of all trades; and a master of none. Meaning, when the same people want expert advice, you will be at the bottom of their list. That hurts!
This is where selecting a niche comes in. As Jason and Aaron point out, “You are not ready to grow … until you nail a niche” That’s why specialists get paid more than generalists. For example, a neurosurgeon will earn more than a general practitioner (GP).
To increase your income, you need to be very clear on who is your ideal customer and what problems or pain points are you solving for them.
How to Know If You’ve Got Your Niche Right
Look at your products, services and solutions and consider your sales and profits? If you think you can earn more, you probably need to nail your niche right away.
To know if you’ve got your niche right, first, you must have clients that you have acquired independently, without a previous relationship or referral. Because, if you are only servicing clients who are close friends and relatives, you are far from growth. In fact, you could be in a plateau; same level of income month in, month out.
Such clients are early adopters who have the patience to listen to you and buy your products and services based on trust. If you really mean to grow your business, you need to reach a wider pool of people and convince them to consider your offers right away. They are the strangers you cold call or email.
Secondly, your new clients must be willing to pay for your offers, profitably. That means your products and solutions meet them at the point of need. They add value to their lives and give tangible results.
If your potential buyers skim over your offers and say, “Oh cool”, and then walk away without buying, then you have a commodity. But if they take a look and say, “I need this”, then you know you are addressing the right audience with the right offers.
Features of Your Finest Niche
Knowing that you will only win by specializing, here are the guidelines shared by Aaron and Jason.
1. Decide Who Your Target Customer Is
Being a multi-talented person, you may find yourself reaching out to different customers with different products. This approach will dilute your strength. The best way forward is to identify a specific group of people that you want to serve. You might focus on solutions for a specific gender, age group or people interested in a specific topic or cause.
Many successful restaurant chains use this strategy. They focus on one type of cuisine and do it well. Whereas fast food chains focus on convenience and providing quick meals at affordable prices.
As your business grows you can expand your target audience by providing more solutions. For example, did you know that PayPal, a payment processing service, was created first for EBay users? Or that Amazon started out with book sales only? As they built momentum, they expanded their reach. But all successful companies start with a specific target audience in mind.
2. Find Out Their Common Pain Points
Having picked your target customer, find out what problem they have in common. A good research will go a long way here. Suppose you want to reach people within the age of 25 to 35. A common problem could be that they need to own homes but they are in debt. This is what you need know to build a solution for them.
3. Create Unique Solutions
Having settled on the kind of problem you want to address, aim to create a solution that is different from what is already in the market. Use your special skills, ideas and talent to create unique solutions. Create a value proposition; something that makes you stand out.
Evaluate your solution to see if your customers NEED to have it. It must go beyond being nice and admirable to something they must have. Think about when a customer says that they need a beautiful website. Is that really what they need? Or are they asking for an easy to navigate website that will help them convert audience to customers?
To create a valuable solution, reframe what your customers WANT into what they NEED. Map your strengths to deliver unique solutions for their pains.
4. Make it Believable
Are your customers giving you good feedback and sending you referrals. If they are, then you have nailed your niche. It also means that they believe that you are able to deliver on your promised solutions and that they will benefit by using them.
5. Document Your Successes
Your solution must provide tangible results. Create a portfolio of case studies and success stories. People are likely to buy more based on a testimonial than just what you say.
What Does this Mean To You?
To get faster results, you need to nail your niche by finding the intersection between your TARGET CUSTOMERS + their PAIN + your SOLUTION.
Disclaimer: It will take hard work and time to pinpoint your niche. Your Niche will also evolve over time.
For example, when I started this blog in 2013, I was trying to please a wide range of audience who were looking to make money online. As I worked with several clients, I realized that my audience is divided into three categories:
- Employees: Those who want a job working remotely
- Solopreneurs: Those who prefer to work alone and provide freelance services
- Entrepreneurs: Those who are serious about building a business that generates multiple streams of income
That’s why in my book Pajama Paydays, How To Make The Internet Work For You and video bonus training, I help my audience identify which category they fall under. I know that employees and solopreneurs are not my target audience. They are not looking to build a business. I give them helpful tips in my book and free training, but I know they are not my money makers. They are not willing to invest in advanced business training, solutions and mentorship programs which I provide. They just want free tips and advice.
That’s why when anyone emails me now for tips and advice, I tell them to read my book and watch my free bonus training first. That is much faster than having to email them all back one by one to tell the same story.
If they are serious about building and growing their business, they will reach out for further tips. But if they are just wasting time browsing for “make money quick solutions”, they will leave and go watch TV or Free YouTube videos instead.
If you already have a business you want to scale, then make sure to get a copy of From Impossible to Inevitable, How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue and start working on your business and marketing plan.