Michelle MinkMS in technology, PhD in hard knocks

I ask the questions entrepreneurs don’t know to ask and help them find answers that work best for their unique businesses. The first half of my career I was lucky enough to work in corporate America where I learned the nuts and bolts of running a business such as legal issues, hiring practices, personnel management, intellectual property protections, aligning brand and product identities, contract negotiations, vendor management, distribution challenges and effective communications. Running start-ups I realized most of those things don’t become real issues until the business makes money. Getting a new venture running on a shoestring might require cutting corners, but some things shouldn’t be put off. Let’s figure out what is most important to your business, position it for success and protect you from future pitfalls.

Recent Answers

I'm assuming you are being forced to choose a narrower focus due to resource constraints. If not, there is no rule that says you can't grow both simultaneously.

If you need to initially focus on one segment then start by evaluating your position in the market. That means identifying the best opportunity to position against competitors and find a niche. Also, providing a solution customers value at the price point that is profitable is vital. Is there long-term value where a symbiotic relationship can be developed versus short-term income where new customers need to continually be acquired? These are some of the things you need to consider when narrowing the scope of your offerings. The best way to evaluate is create a comparison chart and rate the two services against each to help in your decision making. Once you make the decision go all in!

As with any business you have to figure out how to position what you offer in the marketplace and the value proposition. What is it that you will provide people for payment? If you enjoy talking to entrepreneurs I would suggest going to Meet-ups in your area targeting that group. It would be a great place to get feedback on your sales pitch and get a better understanding of their needs. In addition, you could start your own group targeting those folks. Also, many incubators, co-working spaces and formal professional organizations have meetings open to the public where you can talk to entrepreneurs. Just like any business it comes down to offer, sales and marketing effectiveness. Best of luck!

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