Saturday Musings - My Business Continues to Grow!

My new target market

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my new burgeoning business and I thought that it was about time I updated everyone with how it’s going. To say I’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement but first, let me provide you with a quick recap.

Escrow.com

Early this year I set myself the challenge of launching a new venture and it was an instant success with the target market. I had customers flocking in from all over the place wanting to get access to the services I was providing.

I then wrote about the fact that I planned on tackling a new target market. This is quite often a risky proposition for a new business as the expenditure of stretched resources could end up disrupting existing clients and sending the whole venture bankrupt.

I just knew in my gut that this new segment wasn’t being served adequately and with no market research whatsoever I decided to push into the unknown. After tweaking my services, a number of times I’m pleased to inform readers that it’s been a great success!

Of course, the business I’m talking about is about how to attract birds (the flying variety) to my yard and more importantly just out my study window. As can be seen from the above photo I’ve managed to get a flock of cockatoos as customers and one of them even allowed me to handfeed it.

I must admit it was a surreal moment as I slowly crept up to the beautiful bird and extended my hand with some seed in it. It felt like a complete endorsement of my whole business model….and that’s often what success is all about.

So what lessons did I learn along this perilous journey? For a start, when something wasn’t working I changed things up. For instance, the bird bath wasn’t in the right position and my fine feathered customers were ignoring it, so I moved it to a new location. Voila! Suddenly I had customers dive bombing the water in an effort to avail themselves of the service I was offering.

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Wolftalker
...are fab aren't they!
04 August 2018
mgilmour
It was a great experience feeding the cockatoos.
05 August 2018
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My Business Success!

As many readers already know I’ve been relating my efforts of attracting birds to my yard to starting a new business. In the last article in the series I wrote about trying to develop a new market vertical for my burgeoning bird business. So how’s it going?

Escrow.com

Like any good entrepreneur I tried a number of different techniques to attract clients to my offering. Applying the marketing principles of product, price, placement and promotion I began testing the market and then evaluating the results.

My wife had given me some bird seed (ie. the product) for Christmas as a present and I scattered these liberally across the lawn and in the feeder. The result, pigeons. I have nothing against pigeons but they weren’t the market I was trying to reach and to be frank with you….they are complete pigs and ate all of the seeds.

This is similar to a new business taking a scatter gun approach to marketing to see if there are any bites on their product or service. More often than not, you get a lot of tyre kickers that talk a lot, don’t buy and waste your time.

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Wolftalker
Analogy good. And Lorikeets and Cockatoos - fab!
11 February 2018
mgilmour
I must admit that I'm having a great time watching the birds out my window..... :-)
12 February 2018
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Part 5 - How To Get New Customers

Many readers are aware that I recently launched a new business and that I was having trouble enticing customers to the service. It just so happens the business is a new bird bath outside my study window and the customers are birds (the flying ones).

Escrow.com

Although there’s been a lot of funny anecdotes there has also been a serious thread of discussion about how to attract customers to a new business. Every new business has a vision of their ideal customer and a “full proof” plan on how to attract them. The problem is that years of experience has proved plans look great on paper and reality is something else entirely.

For example, I had a great vision of birds flocking to my wonderful bird bath and I would enjoy them singing away outside as they happily splashed away. My reality was a bird bath that was entirely ignored.

The one thing that a start-up has to their advantage is their ability to quickly change direction. If the plan isn’t working, then change the plan. Don’t burn more cash…..move!

In my case, I tried to entice the birds with bread. They loved the bread on the ground and completely ignored the bird bath. I then moved the bird bath. That still didn’t work so I moved it again. I constantly tweaked my “business” with the end goal of attracting my customers (ie. birds).

If a start-up is to succeed, then it must get customer feedback as fast as possible. There is no point in building the ultimate product that no one wants. For those people who tell you they love what you’re doing then ask them the same question with a charge attached.

I’ve seen so many businesses give their products/services away in the name of “market share” only to find that once they try to charge no one wants what they’ve built. A sale isn’t a sale unless ultimately there is a financial transaction attached. Anyone can give a service away…..it’s much harder to sell it.

So where am I at? As can be seen by the pictures I now have multiple different species of birds enjoying the bread and the bird bath. This is important as the different species indicate that I’ve now tapped into not just a single market but multiple different market segments.

Magpie

A start-up needs to quickly classify what customer segments are buying their products/services. This means really paying attention to what customers are buying versus the time wasters and then focusing your efforts to exploit the revenue opportunities.

I should say that my feathered customers are also paying customers. The other day, Roselyn and I woke up to a magpie warbling beautifully outside our bedroom window. That was payment enough for us both. For me, it was wonderful to know that I’d managed to successfully launch another little start-up business.

Battleframe

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Saturday Musings - Attracting Flocks of Customers

About a week ago, my wife and I decided to purchase a bird bath to attract the local birds outside my study window. The bath sits beautifully atop a pedestal and is replete with a turquoise glaze to make the water that much more enticing. I know if I was a bird I would be falling over myself to have a bit of a splash.

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I had visions of a Disney cartoon where birds would be so grateful for my benevolence that they would sit on a branch outside the window and sing me songs all day. After setting the bath up I waited and waited and waited for the birds to come flocking in to enjoy what I’d provided for them. …..boy was I wrong.

Scratching my head, I thought to myself, “Maybe I need to entice them just a little bit more.” So off I went to the kitchen and grabbed a slice of bread to spread crumbs all over the lawn to attract the birds to my yard. They loved the bread but none did anything with the bird bath. Hmmmm….not good.

You would think the stupid birds would realise that I’d setup the bath for their enjoyment! What more do I have to do to get them to use it? To this day, I’ve been trying to think up new ideas to attract my avian customers to the bird bath and not one has used it……sigh……

Isn’t all of this exactly like building an online business? We spend hours with designers and programmers to get the “look and feel” just right and when we eventually launch we wonder why no one uses it.

We finally succumb to enticing customers with special offers, free giveaways and short-term discounts (eg. bread). Not surprisingly, the customers love the freebies but ignore the main offering. Eventually we convince ourselves that customers are stupid and just don’t have any idea of the value you are providing them. Can you see the similarities with my bird bath?

The fact is, the market is actually really smart. The reason why many businesses close is because they don’t have enough cash to carry them through the start-up phase of wooing customers repeatedly to their website. Modern customers rarely buy from an unknown business but will more likely buy if they continually see it….it gives them confidence that the business isn’t about to vanish.

So what do I need to do about the birds? Keep on attracting them with bread and let them get used to the bird bath. I’m just looking forward to the day when the first bird enjoys a dip.

Have a great weekend!

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Rawgi
I see your point in that you have to entice the new ones with something. Just like people if you offer the latest flashy thing, ... Read More
19 February 2017
mgilmour
Love your feedback Rawgi!
21 February 2017
Rawgi
Thanks. I still do a bit of work on the side, but only let go by word of mouth. I don't want to get full time again, maybe try... Read More
21 February 2017
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