Saturday, October 27, 2012

Starting Out 1. Who’s Problem Do You Understand?

Just starting out?

That was me after I got married. Although I had already been teaching for years, I didn’t get serious about my Alexander Technique business until I had two kids and realized I either got things to work or, well - I didn’t have a lot of options. That’s why I got it to work. So, are you desperate enough? Passionate enough? Or both? Are you ready to do what you need to do to make it work?

So how do you start an Alexander Technique business?

Pay attention, because over the next few weeks I am going to write  how you can get an AT business off the ground. Today I am going to clarify the greatest challenge you face if you are serious about this.

Vertical & Horizontal Markets
These days, people are almost assaulted with new information. Your voice is tiny compared to the companies and groups with economic muscle in the market place. How can you possibly compete with them? Well, the good answer is that there is a reason people are assaulted these days - it’s because everyone now has cheap access to global communication. You compete by knowing who you are talking to before you start to put your marketing together.

How many Alexander Technique teachers actually do that?

Understand that while the tools are plentiful, the marketing problem you have is to actually be heard. Which begs the question - heard by who? Most Alexander Technique teachers make the mistake of trying to appeal widely. It’s a natural mistake because our work is able to appeal widely. You think - if I cast my net as wide as possible, I will catch more people. The problem with this approach is that unless you have pockets as deep as MacDonald’s, you’re going to be forever drowned out by everyone else. You will continuously be struggling to catch anyone’s attention.

In marketing speak it’s about knowing the difference between a horizontal market and a vertical market. A horizontal market is selling a car - it appeals to a broad population. A vertical market is teaching a person how their parrot can speak a foreign language - that’s a very limited group, but actually there is a market for that! Using the internet and other tools at hand, imagine how easy it would be to find those people? Suddenly you have a specific, clear task, not some vague “I hope” wish.

If you have no money, no clue how to market, no idea how to start - that’s your first step: pick a specific kind of person who’s problem you understand very well. A person that you can offer a specific solution to through your Alexander Technique work.

Do that, and you are ready for the next lesson. 

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