Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Benefits of Niche Markets on Small Business Success

Small and large businesses use different approaches to successfully navigating their markets based upon the resources available to them. Large businesses reach for larger target segments while smaller businesses focus on attracting a smaller group of motivated customers. Niche markets offer an entry position for small business to start building their customer base before expanding into new niches.

Small Business Does Well in Underserved Markets

Small businesses are likely to succeed in markets currently not being served sufficiently by other businesses. They do so through creating brand recognition among those that desires their unique types of products and services.  Highly motivated customers will recognize the brand the next time they consider making a purchase.

For example, it would be extremely difficult for a small business to compete against a large retail outlet by selling disposable pens. However, through selling unique pens, customized pens, embroidered pens, and handmade pens they can offer products that larger stores wouldn’t find lucrative enough to carry in their national chains. 

Customers will remember the specialty store as the easiest and most convenience place to purchase their chose products. The customer weighs and balances all of their options and knows that such gifts are easier to obtain from the customized provider. There is little reason to drive from store to store trying to save a few dollars when a specialty store has what you want. 

Small Business Can Expand Revenue through Complementary Products and Services

Once a small business reaches a sustainable level within their niche product/ service market they can consider adding additional products and services to expand revenue streams. In the example of pens, the business might also consider complementary niches such as unique stationary and paper.  

Selling similar niche products provides opportunities for overlapping benefits (Bruggeman, et. al., 2012). Pens and stationary are categorically connected in consumer minds and if they are looking for high quality pen and paper they have a place to obtain these items. The two types of products regularly attract the same types of people. 

Niche business also allows for successful niche marketing that improves the success rate of the business (Rankin, 2007). Marketing efforts can be focused specifically toward those customers who are most likely to buy a particular product.  Such efforts cut down on waste and low investment returns in business expenses. 

Bruggeman, J. et. al. (2012). Market positioning: the shifting effects of niche overlap. Industrial & Corporate Change, 21 (6). 

Rankin, M. (2007). Niche marketing allows advisers to build habitat for business success. Employee Benefit Adviser, 5 (12).

Monday, September 15, 2014

Art History: Reunion of the Officers of the Guild of Archers of St. Adriaen

Each art pieces is accompanied with a story and paintings like the Reunion of the Officers of the Guild of Archers of St. Adriaen provides a rendition of Holland’s independence against Spain. Painted by Frans Hals, it depicts those who survived the battles and have joined again in celebration. 

Frans Hals (1581-1666) was an emigrant from Spanish Netherlands that settled the rest of his life in Haarlem (1).  Around the age of 27 he became a member of the city’s Guild of Saint Luke.  They followed their Patron Saint Luke and shared resources in their painting expeditions. 

Hals was a wild one in his lifetime and spent a large portion of his life painting (2). He worked restoring artwork, painting notables in the area, and an art advisor to the city.  He is known to have enjoyed his life just a little too much. 

His creative breakthrough came from paintings like the Archers of St. Adriaen. He spent a great portion of his time working and practicing until his skills were sufficient to pull off group masterpieces like the one depicted here. 

The painting is a celebration of the defense of Haarlem (3).  The officers were on the battlefield and spent nights fighting for their homeland. They are proud creatures who are lively, bold, and decadent. They were the men of their time with all the spirit of the age. 

You can see that excitement with the pictures that shows men and their weapons in various stages of camaraderie. They are dressed in some of the finest clothing showing their wealthy backgrounds. They were men that have spent time together and created bonds that only battle can bring. These bonds are solidified through blood, sweat and tears.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Healthy Living: Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight

Water is the lifeblood of our bodies so it is natural we should consume enough water to ensure that the 60% of us that is liquid is adequately supplied. Water apparently has additional benefits that not only encourage the interactivity of our chemistry but also helps us lose weight. Don’t jeopardize your fitness plans by ignoring the simple no hassle activity of drinking water. 

A study mentioned on CNN shows that water can help people lose weight (1).  In the study, 48 obese men and women drank two 8 oz. of water before each of their three meals along with a low calorie diet. Half drank the water before their meals and the other half didn’t. At the conclusion of the study (3 months) the group that drank the water lost 15.5 pounds when compared to 11 pounds in the control group. 

We know that 4.5 pounds isn’t that much but even a pound a month for a person in the normal range of weight adds up to 12 pounds a year. Any extra pounds are more than you would have lost if you didn’t drink more water. If you are interested in fitness it is just a few extra pounds you didn’t have to work for. 

Drinking water also encourages the chemical compounds in your body to interact in the way they were designed (2). Before soda pop, alcoholic drinks, smoothies, and chocolate milk was the idea of plane old water. All other types of drinks require the body to clean out or use up the compounds. 

Drinking water is a habit that becomes easier the more times you do it. Most people don’t drink enough water and are chronically dehydrated. That dehydration constricts your blood vessels and the movement of nutrients within your body. You also can’t filter the pollutants out of your system as fast as you can when you are hydrated. Get into the habit and carrying a reusable water bottle around; especially around eating time.  

Del Mar International Dressage Horse Show

The Del Mar International Dressage Horse Show brought beautiful horses and exceptionally trained talent.  Various levels of skill were judged based upon the ability of the horse and rider to successfully complete required movements at appropriate levels. Participants conducted flying leads, tort in place, prirourettes at canter, and elevated trots among others to win their positions.  

Judges looked for the ability of the horse and rider to work as a single unit. As the rider and horse bond with each other through practice they begin to understand the subtle cues they give each other. Well-seasoned horses have the ability to pick up on their rider’s intentions through body language even though the use of reins and verbal commands are still given. 

Equestrian shows have been around for hundreds of years and are part of cavalry’s military heritage. When the soldier and horse work in unison they have higher rates of survival on the battlefield. The ability to move together in unison, and at varying angles, and gaits requires extensive amounts of repetitive training. The movements in modern dressage shows maintain their historical glory. 

The type of people who frequent equestrian shows do so based upon interest in competition and group affiliation (Daniels & Norman, 2005). They are less likely to be motivated by escape or self-esteem needs. Those who attend the circuit on a regular basis become part of a group within the  equestrian lifestyles that they lead. 

You may familiar  with watching your traditional sports but you can always consider attending a dressage show. You can see a piece of history and the fined detailed training these riders have displayed. It can be difficult to train an athlete and training a horse requires a lot of patience and practice.

Del Mar international Dressage Horse Show

Sept. 16-18,
Del Mar Fairgrounds

Daniels, M. & Norman, W. (2005). Motivations of equestrian tourists: an analysis of the colonial cup races. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 10 (3).