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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Niches and expansion

A thread, "How do I market my company?" starts off with this simple but relevant posting:

I need some advice. My busy started out as a Landscape design build company. Now we are venturing into basements and hopefully soon kitchens/bathrooms/other remodeling. My company is called Rusk Enterprises. So my name does not hold me back.

Is it going to confuse people if one week they see an advertising for a backyard, and then the next week for remodeling work? Will this hurt me or help me?

I'm a little confused on how I should proceed with this.
The advice from the marketers is: Stick to your niche. But from other remodelers, the advice is, consider adding the additional services and broadening your scope.

I observe in a posting that you need to focus within your niche, but you can, and should listen to your clients when opportunities to expand and grow the business are provided. We for example, after some ill-fated expansions (including one effort to publish a general business newspaper, a real flop), decided to focus exclusively on regional business-to-business construction newspapers.

This is still our primary business and focus, but last year, a good client suggested I publish a local magazine for renovators. I initially declined because this product would be far out of our niche and expertise, but reconsidered when I realized that the client is a centre of influence at the local Home Builders' Association, and essentially was handing me a ready-made market on a silver platter. I pulled together a joint venture team and Ottawa Renovates has become a true success.

Similarly, while our focus had been in the print media primarily, Tim Klabunde in the Washington DC area suggested last year that we could produce a magazine primarily in online format, and (in conjunction with the Design and Construction Network), we developed the Design and Construction Report.

Client-driven expansion can make a lot of sense, but you should still proceed cautiously, and be satisfied the growth is compatible with your existing niches, values, interests, and of course your existing clients. They are most likely to be your first and most valuable clients for the new service.

(Note you may need to sign into as a member to read the original thread. The forums are an excellent resource if you are in the remodeling or renovation business -- or are a sub contractor or supplier serving this sector.)

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