Business Therapy: What if you thought you were in the wrong market?

Post by Loaay

business-therapy

Last week, a solopreneur in Kuwait approached me for help after reading my Business Therapy intro post. Her main product is gift boxes containing genuine gold, frankincense and myrrh (a.k.a. in a Christianity context as the gifts given by the three kings or wise men). Apart from how niche her business is being in a Muslims-dominated country selling to Christians, her problem is quite common to many solopreneurs I met before. For what it’s worth, let’s call her Jane. She came across the products accidentally. She was emotionally engaged. Jane felt she could purchase the raw material and package it herself and make it available for others whom would appreciate what the items stand for – a classic lightbulb moment.

Quickly, Jane learned about what really meets the standards of gold, frankincense and myrrh. She worked on the packaging and started to sell at local seasonal bazaars with modest revenue and managed to have her products displayed at an important cultural centre. A basic website for the EU market was setup. Her social media accounts got activated. Yet, so far not so good: no sales. What Jane did, as many small businesses do, is spend great energy on the product or service side and not much, if any, time on understanding who the key customers are, where they are, what they want, and how to reach them. Controlling quality is essential to offer good value. However, what’s the point of the greatest service ever designed if nobody is aware of it and using it?

In celebration of being in business for 20 years I’ve been giving away one-hour strategic business therapy sessions to micro businesses and charities that can’t afford it. Jane and I had a session online and discussed a few possible directions. For the Kuwaiti market Jane is targeting churches, embassies and cultural centres that target foreign newcomers to Kuwait. She’s also seeking out a low-cost chain management services provider to store some stock in the EU and ship directly from within the EU considering how slow and costly shipping from Kuwait to the EU would be. And finally she’s also arranging to meet a few churches in the UK during her summer trip next year. This week’s tip: Knowing your own industry is one thing, knowing how to grow a business is another. You need both to make it.

Post by Loaay Ahmed, a strategic business therapist since 1995. He currently lives and works in London, UK, while earning his master’s in Service Design Innovation, and managing knightscapital in Kuwait. For Loaay’s advice on business or work matters, send a short email to loaay@knightscapital.com. Regrettably, only the questions chosen for publishing will be answered.


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