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Ready, Aim, Market

Want to score bigger sales? Target your market.

This story appears in the March 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

As you launch your new business, you would do well to follow the practices of expert target-shooters. A business start-up can be a hit-or-miss affair. As any good marksman will attest, you stand a better chance of scoring a bull's-eye when you take aim before you fire. Blindly launching a business without first carefully defining your target market is like shooting with your eyes closed: You may score a hit if you're lucky, but the odds are against you.

Differentiating your product or service in a highly competitive environment is crucial. But before you can differentiate, you need to identify exactly what niche you'll serve. Will you operate an all-purpose bakery or one that caters to the health crowd with whole-grain products? Should you target the entire small-appliance repair market or focus solely on fixing vacuum cleaners?

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