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You’ve got a fabulous idea for a new business but are unsure about which business model you should work with. We take a look at B2B vs B2C to help you decide if selling to customers is right for you, or you’d prefer to sell directly to other businesses instead.

What Are the Differences in Selling B2B vs B2C?

You are in business to sell your products or services and make a profit. You’ve got two choices when doing so: sell to the consumers who are the general public or sell to other businesses who will either resell your products or use them to make their products.

Depending on the products you sell, this decision may already have been taken away from you. For instance, if you sell pulp for papermaking, you are most likely going to sell to another business who can turn that pulp into paper. If you sell baby clothes though, you’re probably going to sell directly to your customers.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between both of these business models.

B2B or Business to Business model:

  • selling your product or service directly to another business
  • often requires large product quantities delivered on a set date
  • requires a long-term relationship between you and your buyers
  • involves more people in the buying decision and process
  • possibly selling your product at a lower price than a consumer would pay for it
  • less of a lead pool to grow to purchase your product or service
  • requires in-depth knowledge about and sharing of your product or service
  • a more complex and involved selling process
  • payments are often received a month or later after product/service delivery

B2C or Business to Consumer model:

  • selling product or service directly to individual customers
  • wide lead pool to target and sell to
  • top price for your product/service paid by the customer
  • small quantities sold at a time
  • fewer people involved in the buying process
  • short relationship with customers
  • customers interested in benefit to themselves
  • instant payment upon purchase
  • easier to sell to individual customers than large corporations

As to which path your business should take, it comes down to whether it would work for what you sell and if you are happy to sell that way. Remember though, that both business models will still require the standard business considerations: a website, good bookkeeping and financial management, a business plan, cashflow management and outsourcing. The good news is, we can help you with all of those! Get in touch with our team today to arrange a chat about your business and how we can help.

You’ve most likely heard of the term niche market before. Often business owners are asked specifically what theirs is by business advisors, accountants, financiers and other owners. What we’ve found though, is that there is a reasonable amount of owners who still haven’t identified their own, or have little understanding of what the term means.

Let’s give you an example. Jess runs her own business selling handmade baby clothing. From merino baby coats through to cloth nappies and baby bibs, it is certain she is working within the baby clothing market However, this is a wide market with many variables, and what she should be focusing on is one specific aspect of that niche market. This will narrow her focus within the baby market, but allow her to specifically tailor her marketing, manufacturing and messages specifically to her target audience.

To help you find and dominate within your niche market, we’ve put together this handy article.

What is a Niche Market?

A niche market is a small specific part of a larger market. It is a gap in the competition, something that no one else is targeting or can target as you can. Your USP or unique selling point targets a highly refined customer audience, and this forms a big part of how you find your niche market. For instance, your target audience will need to have either a large potential for growth as well as a significant amount of market potential.

Like most businesses, the chosen niche tends to be a passion of the owner of the business. They often have an interest in a specific industry or experience within it. For instance, a person has always enjoyed gardening. A sudden redundancy has allowed them the opportunity to start up their own business and they’ve chosen to focus upon the plant industry. They are tending to lean towards the growing of plants from seeds rather than opening up a nursery, on-selling to retailers and not the general public.

How to Find Your Niche Market

You’ll already have identified the broad market you want to target, be it women’s shoes or gift baskets. What you need to do is narrow this down further using five key points:

  • Price – will the product be low or high priced? Does it need to be regularly discounted?
  • Quality – will it be a handmade product, mass-produced, premium or economical?
  • Location – will the product be marketed in a certain country or city?
  • Demographics – what is the age, income level, education and gender of the target market?
  • Values – what morals, values, attitudes and interests does the target audience have?

In the case of Jess and her handmade baby clothing, she used the five key considerations above and further narrowed down her niche to merino baby booties. She will now have the clarification she needs regarding her niche to be successful:

  • Price – mid to high priced booties, no discounts.
  • Quality – handmade in small batches.
  • Location – New Zealand wide, mainly in large cities
  • Demographics – tertiary educated, double-income families, female
  • Values – like artisan products, limited editions and one of a kind products

From here, Jess can take this information to adapt the content on her website, where she advertises, the social media platforms she targets, as well as the manufacturing and pricing of her products.

Then next comes the creation of a business niche or niche strategy to help your business take over the world or your specific target market that is. As well as identifying your target market and the unique selling proposition you can provide, you’ll need to research and understand your target audience intimately, create a business plan and start marketing to them. This moves us on to the world, or rather niche domination.

How to Be Successful Within Your Niche Market

Having identified your niche market, then now is the time to put all of your hard work into play. Of course, if you have not been thorough enough, now is also the time you’ll find out and may need to head back to the niche identification stage.

Assuming everything is all good with your work though, you’ll be able to start marketing within your identified niche. You’ll already have an advantage that the big players don’t have, and that is a highly targeted audience. It is to them that you will consider when making every decision you now come to. This means you’ll need to:

  • Identify the best ways to communicate with your market. Do they want face to face contact, or would they prefer using social media or emails?
  • Instigate a solid communication strategy with your target audience. Trial and error, surveys, questions and asking for feedback will help you identify what works best. Then once you’ve nailed it, it is important to set a regular schedule for communication with them and let them know what it is.
  • Offer products which you know your target market will want. Remember you want to be highly specific here. You can’t provide the enormous selection the big players can, but you can be very narrow in your offerings to your great advantage. Customers who want exactly what it is you are selling will want to deal with you because they can get what they want when they want it.
  • Keep growing and seeking advice. No business is an island onto itself. Asking for support from a business advisor can help keep you on the right path, solve issues as they arise or help hold you accountable for following your business plan.
  • Be a real person. This means making a personal connection with your audience, moving away from being a faceless name and instead be someone they can relate to.
  • Be accessible. Provide exceptional customer service, tailoring the ways you do things to meet the needs of your audience. Take the time to ask for and respond to feedback, as well as utilising the optimal communication channels.
  • Market your business. Having an excellent understanding of your target market, you’ll be able to run the most effective advertisements in the right locations for best uptake. Make sure you can keep an ROI for all marketing promotions you undertake, as these will ensure your money is always well spent.

Finally, being successful within your niche means sticking to it! It can be tempting to add another product or advertise to a different audience because of hearsay or a special offer being promoted. That’s why it is vital you have an in-depth business plan in place which clearly identifies what you are selling, who you are targeting and where you will be selling.

For advice on finding and succeeding within your market niche, we can help. Get in touch and make a time to chat with one of our business advisory team and let’s get busy.

Using stock photos for your website or other advertising media sounds appealing, especially if they are free. But before you start taking images off the internet, it pays to understand exactly what the rules are for using stock images. And we’re talking pays because if you get things incorrect, you could end up paying big bucks.

Beginners Guide to Using Stock Photos

Stock photos generally come into two groups: free and paid. Paid images are mostly sold by giant stock image websites. They let you use the photo for a fee, where the fee varies according to the size and quality of the image, what you want to use it for and how often you want to use it.

Free stock images are free to use, but often have specific limitations on them. Not following their guidelines can also prove costly. Here is an explanation of some of the major terminology regarding using stock photos:

  • Rights Managed – this license gives you the ability to use a photo for a specific purpose for a specific length of time. Usually, it is for the sole usage of the image and if you want to extend its use, then you pay.
  • Royalty Free – this is not a free photo, but rather one you must pay for. The term royalty free is referring to a flat rate you pay to use the photo wherever you want, to a set limit.
  • Extended Licenses – should you wish to use a Royalty Free image beyond the limits of what the seller has set, you’ll need to pay an extended license for it.
  • Creative Commons – there are two parts to this. The first, CC0 is where you can use the image without attribution because the owner has given up all rights. The second is CC 2.0 where you can use the image but must give attribution to the image owner.
  • Public Domain Image – this is an old image which copyright has expired, or there are no longer any ownership rights.

The next thing on your to-do list is to find the right stock images to use.

Finding Free Stock Photo Websites

Who doesn’t like things for free, including stock images? Here are some of the most well-known websites which offer free stock images (not Royalty Free, by the way):

If you are happy to pay for a photo, you could try Shutterstock, Adobe Stock or Getty Images. What are your favourite stock photo sites? Let us know in the comments below!

We all have tasks that get in the way of our business moving forward. It’s all these tasks that we tend to procrastinate, that we would rather void doing and that just suck up too much of our valuable time. Time that we should be spending on our businesses. Thankfully, there are lots of businesses, like MBP, that exist to help you identify what to outsource and take over completing those tasks for you. Get back to what you do best, what you enjoy doing and outsource the rest.

When looking to identify what to outsource in your business, we have a few simple questions you should ask yourself. What are the things you hate doing? What are the things you can’t do or struggle to do yourself? What are the things that you just shouldn’t be doing?

What Are The Things You Hate Doing?

It seems like common sense the the stuff you hate shot be what to outsource, right? You’d be surprised how many business owners don’t realise that there are people who love doing the things you hate. For example, that weekly payroll, bookkeeping and copywriting are all ideal things for you to outsource. These are the things you either push aside or neglect as you simply don’t have the passion to do them. The things you stress about but that aren’t really worth the stress. These things are the things you hate that are perfect for you to outsource.

What Things Can’t You Do Yourself?

None of us know it all. As much as us small business owners like to wear all the hats in our businesses and do everything, there are a lot of things that we simply don’t know how to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing everything.

“Knowledge is everything you have learnt. Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.”

It would be nice to know everything. It certainly helps to have a working knowledge of absolutely everything that goes on in your business. However, there simply is not enough time for you to be an expert in everything from payroll and bookkeeping to marketing and SEO. In order to run your business properly, you need to focus on what you know and do best. The rest is what to outsource.

Outsource the tasks you aren’t completely confident on to an expert. You can rest assured they will be done properly and in a much quicker time-frame than you could do. You can then sleep easy having avoided the stress of worrying about doing the task correctly and invest more time into the things you do best, further developing the expertise that makes your business thrive.

Are There Any One-Off Tasks You Need Done?

Every now and then, a job pops up that we don’t necessarily have time for. The job isn’t large enough or ongoing so there isn’t an option to hire an employee to complete the job. Even if it is a job that may take a few months, the added costs and delays of on-boarding anew employee can make the job unprofitable or considerably reduce it value to your business.

It could be something as simple as a few hours of data entry or something as complex as a transition to a new database or the implementation of a new software system. These are the perfect things to outsource. Especially with implementation of new systems as the experts you use can manage the change management process, implement the system and train you and your staff on everything you need to know. Outsourcing also allows you and your team to keep going with business as usual while the one-off tasks are completed. It’s a no-brainer really.

What Are The Things You Just Shouldn’t Be Doing?

Whether you are just starting out in business or you’ve been running a successful business for many years, the business landscape is constantly evolving and you need to be able to keep up. So focus on keeping up. As a business owner you need to be focused on your business and its growth. Everything that distracts you from that focus is something that should be outsourced.

These tasks aren’t necessarily business tasks. What to outsource can also include your cleaning, grocery shopping and anything else that sucks up your valuable time and distracts your from your business.

If you’re not sure where to begin, book in a free chat with an MBP Business Support Advisor. They are experts at assessing what tasks you can outsource to others. At MBP, we are expert Certified Bookkeepers, Accountants and Business Development Advisors but there is a lot of stuff that we don’t do. We outsource to experts ourselves and can put you in touch with our most trusted experts for whatever it is you are looking to outsource.

You’ve got a business, so you need to post on all of the social media platforms, right? Wrong. In New Zealand, the four main social media platforms used are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (Social Media Stats).  This doesn’t necessarily mean they should be your default platforms though. Picking the right social media platforms involves first understanding who your target audience is and identifying the platforms they use.

How to Choose Social Media Platforms for Your Business

You’ve probably got a go-to social media account where you go to catch up on what your friends and family are doing. It would be normal to think that you should have a business account on there too. The issue is though, your audience may use a completely different one! Of course, the far simplest way would be to ask your audience what they use. The problem is though when you are in the early stages of setting up a business, real customers are short on the ground. You could ask those in your target demographic though.

Assess Your Demographics

To make an informed social media decision, you will need to look at your audience’s demographics, including:

  • Age
  • Male or female
  • Where they live
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Finances
  • Education and career
  • What content they like to see and share

Assess the Social Media Platforms Demographics

From here, you will need to choose platforms based upon your analysis of your target audience’s demographics and the types of user each platform tends to attract:

  • Facebook – over 60% of all men and ¾ of all women over the age of 18 use Facebook. This tends to be an informative platform, used a lot for visual and text-based information.
  • Instagram – most users are under 30 years old, and it’s reasonably evenly split between males and females. Instagram is a highly visual platform popular with artists and those selling products to consumers.
  • Pinterest – a highly female-dominated platform, with 44% female and 16% male. Around 37% of all adults under the age of 50 use Pinterest regularly.
  • LinkedIn – a business-orientated platform, users are evenly split between male and female. LinkedIn is mostly used for networking with other business owners and employees, making it great for B2B promotions.
  • Twitter – a very American based social media platform, but one which is growing in usage by NZers. Slightly more men than women use it, and it is predominately text-based.

Get Started With Your Chosen Social Media Platforms

Your next step is to get started using your chosen platforms, and for that, we’ve got just the article for you. Our Beginners Guide to Social Media for Your Business will walk you through the benefits of using social media, developing a plan to use it and how to create content for it. What are you waiting for: get started now!