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Success: Tip 1 – Your Industry, Your Playground
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tip_no1Early in my career, after I’d helped my first few hundred people discover new career paths, businesses and organizations to launch into, I found myself wondering why different industries fascinated me so much. It didn’t matter whether the topic was entertainment, finance, apparel, aerospace, publishing, technology, food service, fitness or stranger stuff like neutraceuticals, biofuels or nanotechnology! Every industry was a totally different world with different experts, jobs, media, events, publications, education centers, trends, definitions of success, terminology and even dress codes! And every single one is packed with opportunities as limitless as your imagination.

As if all that wasn’t intriguing enough, there are endless ways you can find or invent opportunities in any combination of industries. For example, take animals. With a traditional eye, you’d probably think your career options might include pet stores, veterinary medicine, breeding and boarding. But cross a love of animals with the many other ways you can serve them and their owners and you get: clothing for pets (apparel); gourmet pet bakeries (food service); organic health supplements (neutraceuticals); magazines and books (publishing), animal tracking devices (technology) and so on. With a little creativity you can have a field day coming up with ways to play in this world.

One day, my good friend Bob Cohen from the Harvard Office of Career Services explained to me the difference between “function” and “industry”. Simply put, function is what you do, industry is where you do it. Your industry, he explained, is your playground. It’s the world where you can have the most fun doing what you do best. more…


7 Helpful Tips for Understanding Your Market

Do you know who your customers are and what they need and want? Do you notice trends in what people are buying, or how and where they are buying those goods?

Determining the marketability of your business is done when writing a marketing plan. This valuable exercise helps you to explain the products and services that you are selling, who your customers are, what the overall market looks like, who the competition is, and your strengths and weaknesses. You will also include how you are planning to promote your products and services in your marketing plan.

This requires research. Here are some ideas that will help you identify who your target market is and why they will buy from you and not your competition.

1. Consider whether your business offers a new solution to an old problem or complements an emerging trend. Always think of ways to increase your business by knowing what your customer needs and wants.
2. Understand who your customers are and why they will buy from you. Identify all of your potential customer and make sure your company is visible to them.
3. Understand the benefits that your product or service offers. How much money will a customer save by buying from your company? What do you offer that is different from the competition? Knowing the benefits will help you generate ideas for all promotions. If gives your customers a reason to buy from your company.
4. Understand the industry and determine if there is a growing demand for your products or services. Are their economic factors that may impact your market? All publicly held companies have annual reports that are public information that can be found on their corporate website. You will find out what the annual sales are in that particular Industry. You can also find information online from the trade associations and government agencies. more…

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business. | @juliebrander | More from Julie