I have a pal who sells real estate for a living. Back in the day when you actually could make a living selling real estate, he sold small investment properties – duplexes, four- plexes, mini malls – that sort of thing. Apparently it was fairly easy as these properties were easy to fund, appreciated well, and brought a nice rate of return.
Then things, well, changed.
Once the economy went south, business dried up. As he struggled to keep things afloat, my friend spoke with an old hand in the real estate business who gave him some very sage advice:
“It takes as much effort to sell a small duplex as it does to sell a 100 unit apartment house, you know,” he told my friend, adding “but the large apartment complex will net you a heck of a lot more money.”
It was the wakeup call my friend needed to hear. He changed his strategy the next day and began prospecting almost exclusively for large commercial clients. His marketing and advertising were all newly-geared towards catching the big fish.
And wouldn’t you know it, before long, he got not one, but two new listings for major buildings. Both sold (though it took a while) and my friend says that he does not need to work for the rest of the year if he doesn’t want to. But he wants to. He loves the potential of his new business model.
It is a good lesson for the rest of us. Running a business means figuring out what works and then doing that same thing again and again. It could be a successful ad or a PR campaign, but whatever it is, that thing you do well creates reliable results. And that is smart; it’s how we become successful.
But we grow our businesses by trying something new; by experimenting, tweaking, and changing. Just like my friend did.
I bet that if you think about it, there are plenty of potential customers out there with a larger wallet than some of your more frustrating clients (we all have those, eh?) One secret to growing your business in any economy, even one like this, is to target bigger fish.
Make a list of potential new clients who would be a step up for your business. Do your research, figure out what they need and do, prep for them, and then cast your line.
Who knows, you just may catch your own jumbo fish!