Building A Very Small Business With Less Than 20 Employees? Don’t Copy Big Companies; Here’s Why

Consumer products focused on financial wellness, longevity, productivity, or relationships are some of the easiest to build businesses around.

Even for these proven categories, selling consumer products can suck. Attention and trust take time to build. Buying attention and trust through advertising can work, but it comes with more risk.

If you must sell to consumers, you want to avoid this: selling to everyone. Companies that aspire to or currently generate over a billion dollars USD in annual revenue end up selling to everyone. Everyone is their customer. This is hard and expensive.

Instead of copying big companies, exclude most potential customers. Sell to a hyper-targeted audience with a unique set of values. First, getting their attention is easier since you can spend time where they’ve already assembled. Secondly, it is easier to write trust-building copy since you can anchor on that community’s shared values β€” instead of writing generic copy that needs to resonate with every human.

I have a deal I’m evaluating for a real estate product that sells only to households without children who want a downtown loft living home in a rural environment. That target audience is tiny. While a VC wouldn’t love this TAM, this is easily a $100M company.

Yes, there are riches in the niches (Susan Friedmann, 2007). But I’d go further.

If you’re building a sub-$10M dollar business, picking a tiny target audience may be the only predictable path.

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