(228.) Food For Thought: When Launching a Business – 4. Customers

Food For Thought: When Launching a Business 4/4 Customers | Ann Ning Learning How

You thought I had forgotten about this series, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t. Actually, I wrote last week’s post, “Classic,” in preparation for today. I wanted to put a little context around the idea of friendship and how I operate in the “normal” world now that I have to actually concentrate on regaining ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living). I also corresponded with the Marketing Ninja, Professor Homa – the one who taught us to “Skate where the puck is going,” – and asked if I could reference him and his material in this post. He very graciously consented. Remember, if you can’t BE the ninja, KNOW the ninja.

As I rummaged around homafiles.com, though, I remembered just how limited I am in that I am unable to do all the things I would have liked to have done, and am also constricted in that I cannot influence the trajectory of my recovery to make it more marketable. I’ve said it before – this isn’t a product, it’s my life. And of course I’m doing everything I can to set the stage for a rock star recovery, but my body doesn’t always cooperate, regression happens, and it’s a pretty accepted fact that the most astounding gains happen the first year after the injury. After that…it’s. kind. of. boring.

Well, it can be kind of exciting, too, but that’s because I make the conscious decision to celebrate the small stuff – which brings me to the “customer” discussion. “Customers” are the people who will actually buy your product or service. Usually you do not want to be all things to all people because you want to be able to target your marketing – you have a limited amount you can spend on marketing, and it will be more effective this way. You want to be able to take a larger portion of a segment of the pie rather than get a few crumbs from the whole pie. So you have to decide how to segment the pie (market). There are lots of methods of segmentation, e.g. physical factors like age and psychological factors like comfort level with technology. The point is that you want to 1) be able to verbalize WHO your target market is – they should have distinct characteristics from other people and a certain kind of buying behavior you can put your finger on. 2) know if your target is winnable – do you know how to reach this target market and influence the people who will be making the actual purchase decision? You want to be able to pick a target you will actually have access to via your well-crafted marketing efforts.

This is why I’ve been dragging my feet on writing this one – I’m busy celebrating the small stuff, and I’m grateful for the people who are willing to celebrate along with me – everyone’s welcome, so I’ve kind of thrown out the idea of market segmentation. (Gasp! Did I just say that out loud? )

It comes down to what my goal is: when I was first thinking about Learning How… my brother helped me sift this matter through, and JPAS also helped ask probing questions. It took me a while to decide this but my goal is NOT to make money for myself or for a good cause – my goal is to tell as many people as possible how I found grace in the valley. I will not segment the market since the miracle of joy I’ve found is relevant to everyone and I have been delighted in the past to see how it cuts across all types of social/economic/age backgrounds etc.

I’ve continued to see how people from all walks of life want to know how to find grace in the valley – maybe it’s different here in the South (we’re not even THAT South, and the Washington, D.C. area is already considered “South” but it’s different there), but all sorts of people talk to me in public here. Yes, I have been approached in public in the DC metro area, but it happens more often here, and people say more. It’s amazing – I have enjoyed meeting people all over town, when I’m exercising, grocery shopping, lunching with my sisters – everywhere! I think people see the thing in my neck and they observe my gait as I walk down the aisle in a store or maneuver myself behind a table in a restaurant, and something resonates with them. They think of their daughters, or a young friend who had a bad injury, and it makes them want to say something. You’d be surprised to learn how many people are hurting or have loved ones who are hurting – I know I am. You never know the stories people are carrying around with them.

So since my goal is not to dominate a market (segment) the marketing roadmap for success doesn’t really apply here. Yes, I have thought about the concepts I’ve espoused in Parts 1-3 of this series (see below for links), and I think the self-illustration is hysterically funny. But I’m realizing that it might not be as funny as I think it is since people will often get kind of doe-eyed and sympathetic when I’m telling them a story that’s supposed to make them laugh. I’m like, C’mon, people toughen up!! Just kidding. I’m not really that mean – it’s just that I’ve had more time to get used to This Disabled Life, and if I don’t laugh at it, what am I going to laugh at? So please, I give you full permission – laugh with me.

Plus I’m limited physically, so I went with the easiest self-publishing option I found online – Amazon’s Createspace. So eventually, my books will be available on Amazon – which I thought was great since so many people rely on Amazon – it’s a great distribution channel. Plus, they take care of all the inventory – I never have to touch a book – technology has advanced to the point where this is a print-on-demand model – someone orders a book, they print it, and send it. Yay for me! The only drawback I’m realizing now is that my ability to fiddle with pricing (e.g. bundling, volume tiers) is limited. :/. So I’ll apologize in advance for that. But the advantages of me never having to touch a book and being available on Amazon outweigh the other stuff, and since my entire reason for writing rests on the notion that this isn’t “my story” the weight of responsibility isn’t on my shoulders so it’s easier to “let it ride“.

One last thing – yes, I had an AVM Rupture and a massive stroke, yes, I am a full-time Recovery Enthusiast now, but Recovery isn’t the only thing I write about. I write about all of my attempts to get back to “normal” life, hence all the recipes and crafts – naturally, all my efforts at functioning in the home occur with Recovery Land as the backdrop, but I’m hoping that the breadth of my interests might match some of yours, and the extreme circumstances I’ve been given feel more relatable as you witness my efforts at cooking etc. That’s what I mean about celebrating the small things – Who’s excited about coconut flour banana bread? Apparently, a lot of you are – I get several search engine referrals for this post daily.

Coconut Flour Banana Bread [Grain Free, No Sugar Added] || Ann Ning Learning How

But there are also people searching for “how to learn to walk again.” If that’s you – you’ve come to the right place. And while you’re reading about my ambulatory efforts please stick around since I don’t just write about how I’m learning to walk, I write about how I’m learning to live.

10 Tips for Learning How to Walk Again || Ann Ning Learning How

P.S. I picked the title picture because it is SO typical and makes me laugh and laugh. Remember, sharing is caring! There are sharing buttons at the bottom of every post

P.P.S. Special thanks to Professor K. E. Homa – I have drawn heavily on my recollection of 3 Business School courses with him, but of course anything I have mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want the real deal go to homafiles.com. On the right bar there’s a link to the “homafiles information site” – click on that. The original link might take you to the blog. I’ve especially found the following interesting: homafiles information site ==> Point and click Maps ==> click on “People” ==>scroll to the bottom and click on Marketing 6P’s ASQs. (ASQ = Analysis Starter Question.) (You thought there were 4P’s, didn’t you? Think again!)

Food For Thought When Launching a Business Series | Ann Ning Learning How

1) What is your Elevator Pitch?

2) Who are your competitors and why is your offering superior?

3) How are you going to approach finances?

4) Who are your customers and how are you going to reach them?

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