Don’t be Afraid to Change Focus

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Everything changes, especially in business. Even if your focus is a niche industry or market segment, you still have to be ready to change course to ensure you have a viable market and can remain competitive.

Sprouter: Twitter Clone to Startup Q&A

Sprouter was originally a microblogging service specifically aimed at entrepreneurs and startup founders. With largely the same functionality as Twitter, however, they likely found it difficult to compete. Last year they introduced a new question-and-answer feature and personally invited experts participate, yielding fewer but trustworthy and more targeted answers. The feature became very popular and revealed a potential market not originally considered.

Sprouter recently announced a complete reorganization of their website, dissolving the social networking components and emphasizing the question-and-answer feature as the primary focus of the service.

Performable: From Site Testing to Analytics

Performable started as a website testing tool that analyzed which design elements, copy, colors, and the like were most appealing to visitors. That industry has become increasingly competitive, with a number of startups vying for market share. Performable decided to redirect their focus, and now seeks to provide analytics on the entire customer life cycle.

Here are some tips from Performable that I’d like to share, to help you stay nimble and ready for change:

Be Agile

The more agile and flexible your business, the better your chances in an ever-changing industry climate.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

If you consistently see new competitors entering your space, it could be a sign that you need to further narrow your focus or change direction altogether. This is increasingly becoming the case with low-cost web design. There are so many competing services and service providers, and the market is over-saturated.

Listen to Your Customers

Are customers asking for services outside of your core focus? Are you getting requests to bid on projects outside your area of expertise? Listen to your customers, and try to determine how you can solve their problems.

Change Often

By changing a little, often, you can avoid having to completely change direction. By constantly testing new markets, services, products, and tactics, you can continuously evolve.

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