I’ve met lots of small business owners in recent months who proudly proclaim “We serve everyone” when I ask about their specialty: from public relations to real estate to graphic design and branding to financial planning – you name it.
And we hear it ALL the time from the folks in our workshops – health and wellness professionals of all varieties.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!
The ONE thing owners and managers of a small business could do to strengthen their businesses and make them easier to grow:
Choose a niche.
Let me use real estate as an example. Young new-home buyers have entirely different concerns from move-up buyers or empty-nesters or corporate relocations. If you try to do them all, you’ll know a little bit about a lot of things. You won’t know anything in detail.
We’ve been evaluating PR agencies and I recently spoke with one firm who felt that they could cover any industry, including wellness, just by looking up key contacts in industry databases.
I wish ’em luck — but I think they’re nuts. A professional publicist with actual relationships is much more effective than someone who’s going to look up a phone number in a database. I’m virtually certain that I can predict whose message will be returned. And a publicist with industry expertise can advise us on which publications are best at reaching our target customers.
Wellness is the same way. I’d much rather see a massage business focus on women’s concerns, or sports massage, or medical massage than on generic massage. I’d rather see a trainer focus on a particular type of training objective than everything possible. I’d rather see a holistic health practice focus on families, or healthy aging, than trying to be all things to all clients.
Small wellness businesses can be the experts in areas where the target audience is too small for a national chain.
The odds of creating a successful small business in a niche are much higher. The really big guys (national health club chains and national nutritional retailers, for example) will beat you to the mass market every time. They’ll certainly outspend you. Yet your niche is probably safe from them because it’s too small to generate the kind of growth their shareholders demand.
It’s why Radial focuses on health and wellness.
Sure, every business has to figure out sales, marketing, day-to-day operations, financial management, and business strategy. But the details are unique in every industry.
And only in wellness do we find owners and managers committed to balancing healthy businesses with giving back to their communities and making a difference in people’s lives. Helping health and wellness businesses succeed requires a different set of skills and values from those you need to help software companies or appliance manufacturers or travel companies succeed.