Getting Your Slice Of The Pie

As a small business owner, how much influence do you have over things such as the U.S. trade deficit, tax legislation and the like? Not much, right? What about the economic climate?

Many businesses feel as though they are helpless fending off the onslaught of a business-devouring economy. These days, when things go bad, it's horrible for everyone. It's not uncommon to hear an entire industry segment has succumbed to substantial losses over the previous quarter or year.

So where does that leave your small business? I challenge you to figure out ways to defy gravity – ways to counteract macroeconomics. Begin your fight with a careful examination of your market share.

Market share is simply the percentage of business that your company realizes relative to your direct competitors. For example, if 200 widgets are sold each month in your city, how many do you typically sell? If it’s 10, you most likely have a 5% share; if 20, then 10% and so on.

So when the economy begins to dip, the new normal for your city may only be 150 units. Should you resign yourself to the 5 or 10% share you had before? If so, you (and everyone else in your category) are destined to see a drop in overall revenue.

What if you could counteract things and made a play for more market share? It wouldn’t change the economy as a whole; however it would certainly bode well for your individual business. In other words, you may not be able to determine the size of the pie, but you can certainly decide to cut out a larger slice.

Here are some things to remember when seeking more market share:

Who’s Taking The Biggest Slice?When seeking more market share, never ignore the leaders in your industry. In fact, you should study their success. I’ve often seen businesses denigrate others purely for the sake of competition (and maybe pride). Be smarter than that and glean lessons from those that clearly are in the lead.

Secure Your Existing Customer BaseThere is no shortage of new-customers-only deals. What about the folks who are already onboard with you? Many businesses are guilty of forgoing a bird in hand while pursuing the possibility of new customers or clients. Those that engage in this behavior wind up with a transient, fickle, revolving-door customer-base that never seems to grow. Build on a good foundation by being loyal to your regulars before going all-out for new prospects.

Seek Out Your “Average Customer” Every business has an average customer – a person that consistently spends around the same amount and appears at your doorstep like clockwork. In order for you to grow, you must market to people that represent this particular customer. Why? You’re most likely to already have the infrastructure and know-how to be successful with this kind of customer. Growing your share will be a matter of duplicating your existing success, rather than reinventing the wheel in order to cater to an atypical client.

Walter Dailey is a marketing speakerand proven creative professional. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in radio ads, jingles and commercials for small businesses throughout the US.  Ask Walter your questions at