If you’re a big fish in a small pond you may be one of the leaders in the market space you’ve defined as your pond. It’s a sign of good focus and playing to your strengths.
On the other hand, if you’re a small fish in a big pond then perhaps you’re trying to be too many things to too many people. This dilutes your strengths and removes any competitive advantage you might have.
In a big pond, little fish are constantly in survival mode because the big fish get most of the food. Or worse, they eat little fish!
You want your market to be small enough that the resources you can commit to will give you a big impact. In your own business, you can make yourself the big fish in the small pond in several ways:
1) Niche market, and differentiate. A niche is simply a specialization, whether it’s a broad specialization, or a very specific one. Focus your business on a market segment, or two, which align with your strengths. This focused approach allows you to maximize your marketing efforts because, by narrowing your focus, you stand out from the crowd.
Harvard professor Michael Porter says businesses can be differentiated in a narrow, focused niche market. Niche marketing is primarily about who, what and where – while differentiation is about who, what, where, when, how, why and how many and takes a broader view.
2) Make your market smaller. You have to find ways to make your pond smaller. You can do this by targetting a smaller market niche, or by serving a smaller geographic area. For example, a dentist in Concord MA with a population of approximately 17,668 people will find it much easier and less expensive to build stature and authority than a dentist in Boston, MA with a population of 645,966.
3) “Extreme Niching.” Another way to make your pond smaller is to narrow your niche. For example, you might have a mechanical repair company in a rural area. Nothing unique, there. But you could redefine yourself as a Tractor repair company, or go even further and position your company as an Italian Tractor Repair Specialist.
Marketing ‘magician’ Dave Dee tells of Dr. Donna Galante, who specializes in creating amazing smiles using Invisalign™ technology.
Instead of being a general orthodontist and “doing everything ” she chose a specific niche. Now, she has become so successful that she’s now created an info-marketing business, teaching other orthodontists how to grow their practice.
Reassess your market position. The advantage of being a big fish in a small pond is that you need to spend less on marketing. And, as a big fish, you’ll have more authority and greater importance in your community.