"Who is My Customer?"
Mike Daniel is the Director of
the Small Business Development Center at Long Beach City College and established
entrepreneur of everything sweet!
As the director of a busy business development center, the most
common phrase I hear from small business owners is, “Everyone is my customer.” Business owners say this when they are really not
sure who their target market is or how to reach them. Many of these businesses simply open their
doors every morning and hope that someone finds them!
Long Beach City College’s Small Business Development Center has
partnered with NACCE through the Sam’s Club Shared Vision grant to create a subsidized
three-day training program targeting small businesses generating between
$100,000 to $300,000 in annual sales. This seminar series helps small business
owners identify their target markets and educates them on how to reach them and
turn them into customers. Each session takes abstract concepts like the “80/20
rule” and turns them into practical and targeted marketing efforts focusing
on the customers that generate the most sales for their business.
Since no business is the same, there is no generic marketing
plan or template that we can give a small business owner to become successful. However, we have found success in having the
business owners identify their unique and specific target markets and the one
or two channels they need to pursue to attract those targets to their business. We have then followed that up with one-on-one
business advising through our Small Business Development Center to help each
business owner individually implement his or her new strategy, while creating
specific and measurable goals to track their progress.
The key takeaway for this program is that to be successful,
the seminar has to be less academic and more practical. To that end, we created a simple
goal/strategy worksheet for each business owner. The worksheet helps business
owners to formulate a specific goal for the business, such as increasing
revenue by 20% or attracting 200 new fans to a Facebook page. The next step is to identify the appropriate
marketing channels for that particular goal and the distinct and measurable
actions that are required. The last step focuses on the criteria by which
success will be measured so that they can track their progress toward
successfully implementing their marketing campaign.
The fact that most business owners think their target market
is everyone is a major reason why most businesses struggle to attract new
customers or increase the amount spent by their current customers. The overall goal of the Long Beach City
College Shared Vision grant is to give each business owner a simple and
practical plan to identify each business’ unique target market. The Small Business Development Center then helps
these business owners to put their targeted marketing plan in place with
expert, hands-on assistance. Through
this small business program, business owners no longer have to sit around
hoping someone will find them or waste time and money targeting “everyone”; they
can actively seek more of that special 20% that will grow their business.
Long Beach City College is one of
seven community colleges granted a NACCE Shared Vision grant sponsored by Sam’s
Club. The Shared Vision grant is aimed
at helping improve and increase revenues for small and micro-sized businesses
in each of the seven grantees communities.
LBCC is addressing NACCE‘s Presidents for Entrepreneurship (PFEP)
initiative by leveraging both community college and community assets to spur
innovation and job creation. For any
questions related to this program or to learn more about what Long Beach City
College is doing for entrepreneurship, please feel free to call or e-mail Mike
Daniel at (562) 938-5115 or email@example.com.