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Skate to where the puck is going to be

March 8, 2012

I was attending a business networking event the other evening and I ran across a friend of mine who is a chiropractor. Interestingly enough, this networking event was taking place at a bowling alley. The name of this facility is Super Bowl of Canton, and it is one of the top facilities in the state of Michigan and boasts that it has 60 lanes at this location. This place was jammed with bowlers. They had an excellent restaurant and as I learned from the manager, business was booming. Incidentally, the owner operates thirteen bowling centers in the state. Many people are not aware of this, but there are quite a few businesses that are booming in Michigan. They are very profitable and successful because they are providing the kind services and products that people need and want, despite the economy. The fact that these businesses exist, seems to be a quiet secret often escaping the news media.
Now, this chiropractor I have known for at least 20 years has had part of his marketing plan advertising in the local paper. As I looked at him and glanced around at all the people in the bowling alley, it occurred to me that this facility would be an excellent place for him to advertise his services. It seems the activity of bowling connected to back problems would make a great fit for a chiropractor. So, I asked him had he ever considered advertising in this bowling alley. He replied, “It never occurred to me. I don’t even know if they would allow me to advertise here”. I suggested he find out. Here is an example of how easy it is to miss an opportunity to anticipate where the need for your products or services could be used.
Another example is a business person I know who owns a jewelry store. She was expressing her concern about not knowing good places to advertise. She explained that wedding shows were not ideal, because she concluded that by the time a couple were engaged, they had already purchased a ring from some other jewelry store. I thought for a moment and asked myself where would someone find potential customers who would eventually want to purchase an engagement or wedding ring? How about a place where people are just starting the dating process? One place would be on-line dating services. So, I asked her if she ever thought about advertising with an on-line dating service? She said it never occurred to her. 
A third example is a women’s fitness studio. Some of the places, its future clients could come from would be a hair salon, Weight Watchers, or a women’s clothing store. Any and all of these could be an excellent place to promote the fitness studio because their services compliment the fitness studio.
The final example, a wholesale tile company. This organization could develop business relationships with companies who would be involved in the planning of commercial building projects. Some of the relationships the wholesale tile company could target would be with architects and building planners. Another business field they could focus on would be homebuilders. These companies would use the wholesale tile company’s products as part of their offering to future homebuyers. The wholesale tile company would also develop relationships with and market to installers who work with the private sector and the home remodeling projects they would provide.
The advantage to taking this approach to locating and marketing to your future clients is a focused allotment of resources in areas that will provide you with the best return on your investment of advertising dollars or your marketing efforts. 
I hope you see the value of approaching this activity in this way. Now, to grow your client base for your business, please complete the following exercise to help you get a better idea of where to spend your advertising budget and with whom to spend your networking time.
When it comes to your business, what and where are your potential clients now buying, which would logically lead them to the services or products you offer? Consider both physical as well as on-line locations to promote your products or services. 
Your Business:           
Type of Products or Services You Provide    
Type of Businesses or People Who Are Now Servicing Your Potential Future Customers
(Questions? Tom Borg can be contacted at or 734-812-0526.)

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