Picking Dave Ramsey’s Brain on Entrepreneurship – Part 2

Before I begin, I just want to express my gratitude to everyone who visited my site, subscribed to the feeds and provided feedback. The response was better than I could have imagined and I can’t thank you enough. Now…on to Part 2!

In Part 1 of this series, I recounted my question to Dave Ramsey at a townhall event last week. Basically, I wanted to know what three pieces of advice he would give to someone starting a business in these economic times. Principle 1 was about the need to define your target market and understand why they are spending money.

Principle 2 – You Must Rethink Your Marketing Message with this New Understanding

“I have a friend who owns a successful window installation business. I asked him how business was going and he replied that it was going great. Stunned by his answer, I asked him, ‘Isn’t there a housing crisis and economic slowdown? How could business be going great?’

My friend replied, ‘I heard about that, I’m just choosing not to participate.’”

-Dave Ramsey

Once you’ve figured out which segment of the market you are going to target and you understand why they’re spending money, you need to take a look at the message(s) you are using to reach them and ask yourself if your message matches their perceived needs and wants in this environment.

Dave gave a great example of companies that are doing this very thing – home construction businesses. Over the last 10-12 years, new construction was big money. However, as new housing construction has slowed to a crawl, those same companies are now marketing themselves as “home remodelers”. In essence, the nature of the work is the same but the marketing message has changed to reflect the change in needs.

Why is this working? Because a lot of homeowners realize that right now is a good time to get a house ready to sell for when the market inevitably turns around. Labor is cheaper, material is less expensive and companies are looking for work. Many homeowners realize the money spent will go further to improving the house than it would have just 5 years ago.

A Personal Story About My Dad

For nearly 30 years, my dad owned a high-end pool and landscape construction business in Los Angeles. Right before he sold the company, the average price tag for a project was in the mid-high six figures – true luxury items. All the work was custom.

During economic slowdowns, the number of people seeking new development shrank while those looking to remodel their pools and yards increased. Normally, that type of business was turned away – the profit margins were lower and there were more “unknowns” to contend with. But when the market cycled, he adapted to changes in demand (even if only for a little while). By doing so, his company would survive while competitors closed doors. And after the market started to turn, business would grow exponentially because he was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growth periods. Afterall, he was still in business!

Does Your Message Address Changing Demands?

Are you still positioned for an economy that no longer exists? Is your message tailored to needs that aren’t being expressed by your target market? Even if it’s a small tweak, what modifications can you make to your message to better address perceived needs and wants?

Part 3 of this post will be available soon. Subscribe using the links on the right to be automatically notified when it’s live! As always, thanks for reading!

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