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Why selling to everyone is the ultimate path to failure.

I met a potential client once who was starting an online business and I asked him, "So, who do you want to sell your products to?" He turned to me, smiled and said "Everyone on the planet." That was the moment I knew, that we were not the right fit. In his defense, most novice start-up entrepreneurs share his point of view - Marketing numerous products to everyone and anyone and someone will inadvertently buy something. You can see it first hand by simply opening your mailbox any day of the week and sifting through your mail. 70% percent of the mail is junk. Meaning it has absolutely no value to you, hence the name. All that money companies spend printing and mailing, month after month goes to complete waste. Same goes for some ads I see in magazines or newspapers. A company will advertise something so generic listing everything they offer, with the illusion that they will capture this huge number of new customers and hoping that one of the services they offer will hook the client. But by doing that they open the flood gates to price shopping, meaning the customer will simply call you and then call the next guy to see who is cheaper. And then it becomes a discount game which you can never win.

You need to be extraordinary to succeed and you need to be highly focused to thrive. Many successful entrepreneurs know this. Do one thing, do it well, build value and then branch out if need be.

A prime example of a hugely successful startup here in Los Angeles is a company called DRY BAR. ( Founded in my hometown of Brentwood, California in 2010, the only thing they offer is blow outs. That's it. Their tagline says it all. "No cuts. No color. Just blowouts." Simply brilliant. Their signature "happy" yellow color in their salons, paired with an eye catching brand identity (which I feel needs a refresh) has inspired numerous imitations throughout the country. In the example of my prospective client I mentioned earlier, he would probably say, well offering highlights is very lucrative, we should add that, or we should offer services for men as well. Let's add cuts as well while we are at it. And before you know it has become just like any other hair salon in town which would probably fail in the first year.

Brand identity of Dry Bar.

As we enter a new year with new resolutions and strategies for our businesses perhaps now is the time to shift focus and limit our offerings and market the most profitable ones. On a personal level, my focus has been to cater to luxury startups as well as businesses who want to attract a higher end clientele utilizing a simpler more sophisticated and elegant aesthetic. This is why when you type in "luxury branding agency" in your Google search bar FLAT 6 CONCEPTS comes up as number one or at least featured on the much coveted first page of results. If I marketed my company as a one size fits all, I would be clobbered by the myriad of agencies marketing themselves the same way.

So if you are looking to get more traction, more leads, and ultimately grow your business find your niche and market yourself accordingly. If you are a psychologist for example, be specific. Whether it's an ad in an industry publication, or a targeted Google, TikTok, Instagram or Facebook campaign, highlight your expertise. Use specific terms that will ultimately drive people looking for exactly what you are offering. "Psychologist specializing in OCD for teenagers." Don't worry there are plenty of OCD teenagers to go around. By the same token, if you had a heart condition would you go to a general practitioner or a cardiologist?

So my advice is simple: narrow the focus, be brave and the rest will follow.

-Christos Joannides



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