An audio option for this post.
Do you know who your target market is? Do you know where your audience is? Do you know the difference between your elbow and your…just making sure you are awake. Talk about target markets, while important, can make your eyes glaze over super-fast. I’d like to break away from that for a minute and talk about tangent markets. I just made that up, although someone else probably made it up before me. I’ll await the Google alert to accuse me of unintentional plagiarism.
What is your Tangent Market?
Do you have friends, or acquaintances, in your professional circle that you really like to spend time with? Me, too! I lump these guys and gals into three categories:
- People I love and already have a working relationship with.
- People I love and can’t wait to work with.
- People I love but will never work with because they are near-villains, but I love them, anyway.
Your tangent market is comprised of those people that have business that may come in contact with yours. They might do what you do, but slightly different. Maybe they have different services, but you run in the same circles. While I don’t offer my services to this market (I will if asked,) I do try to find ways to encourage and support them. Without being overtly salesy, professional relationship building with people you genuinely like can naturally evolve into a referral network and fantastic opportunities to collaborate. Being in love with your business community, even the scoundrels, can help elevate your business from a grind to a calling. Now, that’s some serious ROI.
Here are few steps to start courting your tangent market:
- Without looking for an angle, start having real conversations with your peers about their business. Think of way you can encourage them. Maybe you know someone who would be a perfect client or resource for them. Become known as a connector.
- Find ways to serve this market. Do you have skills that you can pass on? We all have that one thing we do at least a little better than average. Offer to host a workshop or speak at a friend’s event. Getting really granular, if you see someone really struggling with something that is easy for you, offer to show them a trick or two over coffee.
- Keep your eye open for chances to travel, or meet up some place new. Two of my favorite people went from people I liked to Business Besties after we ended up at the same conference in Philadelphia a couple of years ago. There’s something about seeing each other outside of our natural element that breaks down walls and increases the fun level. We recruited a new member to the conference travel crew, last year, and the fun keeps growing.
As business owners, it is easy to find yourself in isolation. When you have a solid tangent market, you can all build your businesses together. Your success is my success. We are all learning together and from each other. It is a force multiplier, not only for your skill set, but for your overall happiness.