Less Can Be More: Businesses for People Who Don’t Like to Market

Many would-be entrepreneurs get frightened off by the thought of marketing. They tremble at the erroneous notion that marketing is about finding universal acceptance, and they assume they’re doomed to a life of rejection or cutthroat competition.

If that sounds like a thought you’ve had, let me suggest that you consider another possibility: What if you created a business that was designed to serve only a few happy clients? What if that business measured its success not by the number of units sold, but by how well it did in finding a simpatico clientele?

If you’re a person who thrives on relationship building, a personal service business with an elite client base could be perfect for you. This focused kind of business is appealing to people who love personal attention and are looking for ways to save time.

To create such a business, consider your passions and talents, then put them in a package that only needs to be marketed a few times. Keep in mind that the kinds of businesses I’m suggesting here often rely far more on word-of-mouth marketing than on conventional advertising and promotion. Provide a needed service and do it really well and you will devote little time to marketing.

Assist someone. Personal assistants aren’t just for movie stars, although many celebrities employ them. A personal assistant needs tact, integrity, good people skills and a sense of humor. Many personal assistants work for only one client at a time, doing everything from running errands to making appointments to keeping the client’s life running smoothly. Rapport with your client is absolutely essential or this kind of business will be a nightmare.

The new version of this service is the virtual assistant who helps clients handle the details of their business or personal life using technology more than face-to-face contact.

Train a body. Personal trainers have been popular for some time. Busy people, who can’t find time to get to the gym, often employ trainers to keep them in shape. Trainers may work odd hours (early morning is often popular) and have the added challenge of working in the client’s home — which may or may not resemble a gym. Trainers are also involved in designing a workout regimen for the specific needs of their client and acting as a motivator for reluctant clients.

Cook a small feast. Personal chefs are replacing takeout and frozen dinners. Some chefs cook in the client’s home, preparing a week’s worth of meals, which are stored in the fridge or freezer. Others cook in their own homes or commercial kitchens and either deliver meals or have them picked up at the end of the day. In addition, some personal chefs add catering to their line-up of services.

Run around. Not long ago, I spotted a car in a mall parking lot that had a door sign listing numerous errand services the owner provided. Errand services can include anything from standing in line to get concert tickets to taking elderly folks to the doctor.

Many errand services specialize by doing things like picking up kids after school and taking them to karate class. You’ve got to love driving in order to make this work.

Go shopping. It comes as a surprise to power shoppers to learn that everyone doesn’t share their passion for shopping. Even with the popularity of online buying there are still plenty of things that require a trip to the store. Personal shoppers can provide the solution for those that think it’s a drag.

A young woman I met — right here in Minnesota — did shopping for movie and television productions. Props, clothes and accessories are all part of the storytelling process, and it’s often easier to hunt them out rather than create them in a prop or costume shop. This one’s a natural for savvy shoppers.

Care for property. Absentee owners often have need of a responsible person to live on their property and take care of things. Caretaking offers a wide selection of opportunities from yachts to ranches to estates to small properties. Responsibilities are as varied as the situations themselves.

The possibilities for creating a unique service with a handpicked clientele are truly limited only by your willingness and imagination. While it may take a bit of detective work to get it just right, your perfect business could be just one client away.

There’s more where this came from.
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