Basic Business Cents

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Focus Efforts Where You Can Win

by Lou Schultz, SCORE counselor

Original publish date 02/2012 (#80)

In mature markets, there is usually room for two organizations to prosper, one to eke by, and the others eventually fall by the wayside. That niche market is necessary to identify and then work towards domination no matter what type of body it is with which we are involved.

Community: A community needs to have a widely recognized drawing point to attract people, residents and visitors. The community must think through a niche where they can be outstanding and noted far and wide for this area of excellence. Examples might be natural phenomena, national parks, educational facilities, visual and/or performing arts, shopping, restaurants, etc. Park Rapids has many things going for it with the lakes and rivers, the beginning of a local college presence, shopping, and restaurants, but where can it dominate? The opportunity seems to be with the arts because of the art museum, many very good local visual artists, and several excellent performing arts companies. Concentration of these activities into an easily accessible location and promoting them widely could bring people into the city from afar. Then services would naturally appear to satisfy the needs of the influx of people and the entire city would prosper.

Company/Organization: No organization can successfully be all things to all people. The Japanese have a saying that there is danger in chasing too many rabbits; you won't catch any. The company needs to understand what they do really well, the market that it satisfies, and focus their efforts to dominate that niche. They should strive to be one of the two organizations that can be successful in that niche but also work towards being number one. Just identifying the niche will not ensure success; it must be communicated to all employees and everyone work toward the aim of becoming the best in that focused area. Research, development, production, marketing, and service must all make decisions on a daily basis as to what will help achieve that goal.

Individuals: Each individual should do careful career planning to identify the niche where they can be the best; in other words the niche where they can dominate. This niche must satisfy their needs so as to be something they enjoy doing and derive great satisfaction from doing it. Once this goal is determined then education, training, experience, and location can all help prepare the individual to eventually achieving the objective. It is never too late to identify the niche and make plans to achieve it. The need for flexibility and mid-course corrections are a fact of life.

This points out that no matter what you do in life, it is important to know your strengths, where you can be the best, the area where you can dominate, and what will bring you satisfaction. Then focus all your planning and efforts into achieving that goal. Focus! Focus! Focus!

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