The other day, I was picking my daughter up from a birthday party. The father of my daughter's friend is an arborist. He makes his living pruning and caring for trees, and he's owned his own business for 12 years.
During our conversation he told me his business story. His first few years in business were really tough. He'd grind and grind and grind, but wasn't earning a substantial amount of revenue.
And then, he found his solution. He changed his phone number.
You see, up until then he'd focused his marketing efforts on his local market. Unfortunately, most the town's residents were retired farmers. They're DIYers: if their trees need pruning, cutting or care, they do it themselves.
But 20 minutes away, there is a very affluent suburb. Most of the residents are executives. They don't have time to care for their trees; they need someone to do it for them, and they have the money to pay for it.
So, he switched his phone number to a number local to that suburb. He opened up a PO box there as well. And he started advertising in their yellow pages (this was 10 years ago), and their local paper.
The result? Almost 95% of his revenue comes from this suburb.
Looking at it in hindsight, it seems obvious: go where people need your service, and have the money to pay for it. But so many of us keep grinding it out in the wrong conditions.
I've seen these tactics work in the software industry. One of my SaaS clients were toiling away in the B2C market for years. Their product was $19/month, and just wasn't profitable. They decided to change markets. They focused on B2B sales, cancelled their freemium plan, and raised the price to $99/month. Revenue took off.
Still grinding it out? Before you throw in the towel: it might be worth tweaking your product, and offering it to a new market.
PS: want more? Check out my book! You can download a 21 page sample here.