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If you have your own small business, it's important to decide exactly who you will be marketing your products or services to. After all, you probably don't have the time or the money to market to everyone. And even if you did, it is not recommended.

You'll want to select what is called a "target audience." This is an identifiable group of people you believe will be the best prospects for your business.

But for many small business owners, narrowing their focus to one primary group of people can be a challenging task. They want to help everyone — and very often their product or service CAN help a variety of people.

It also goes against human nature to narrow your focus in order to grow a business. Common sense seems to tell us if we want to grow our business big, we need to appeal to more people.

In reality the opposite is true. When we narrow our focus to a particular group of people we become an expert in solving their particular problems. We get to know them very well and we can develop additional products and services to fill their needs.

So how do you decide who to market to?

Following are 5 tips:

1) Think about the type of people who can MOST benefit from what you have to offer.

2) Think about who you would most enjoy helping, or working with.

3. Think about the type of people who will be easiest to reach, AND who will be most receptive to what you are selling. These will be people who KNOW they have THE problem you can solve and are LOOKING for a solution.

4) Know that just because you select a particular group of people to focus your marketing on, does NOT mean you can't help others who may come to you. It only means you're going to focus your proactive marketing efforts on the target group you select.

5) Lastly, don't over-think it. Listen to your gut, pick a group you feel you can really help and proceed with the development of your marketing plan. Marketing is a fluid process. The important thing is to start. You can always refine your audience and your plan later as you learn more.

(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa

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