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Dear Alex,

I’m based in a town where all the focus is on the Market Area.

I’m in the town centre but 10 minutes walk from the market so I never get a look in.

How do I make my business work?

Anon, Altrincham

I really appreciated you asking this and I’ll be honest, you’re not the 1st. We must hear this question a few times a week

Firstly I want to say one thing – “Energy flows where attention goes. What you focus on grows” so after you’ve finished digesting my answer I really want you to stop spending all your time thinking about the Market and really spend all your time thinking about your business. That is what is important to you and I sense you’ve been stunted in your growth as you’re dissatisfied

There are countless businesses outside the Market Area that do really well because they focus on their business, making it the best possible and they have people driving 30 minutes just to go to that business. We work with one that is 20 minutes walk from the Market and isn’t hipster at all and yet attracts visitors to town on a regular basis

For anyone outside Altrincham I imagine there’s an equivalent area in your town / city where all the focus seems to be on

I’ve got 4 questions for you to think about

Is Your Business Shareable?
I want you to be totally impartial when you think about this – Is Your Business Shareable?

I must have seen a million Instagram shots of Market House Altrincham and they all look exactly the same – but people want to show off that they’ve been there and had the Altrincham Market experience. And we’ve done the same when it’s a Summers Day and we’re sat outside the Con Club or Pi

I want you to look around your business as if you’d walked in for the first time. Look at how it looks to passers by from the road, look at what is inside that will grab people’s attention.

And once you’ve focused on how it looks. Then focus on the customer experience such as interaction with your staff and what aspects of product or service makes your business truly unique and exceptional

Most businesses talk about what they feel is unique or their USP – but in most cases their USP stands for Unoriginal Selling Point rather Unique Selling Point

Who has your back?
Now this is one area you can’t compete with on the scale of Altrincham Market, but you can do your own version of it

Altrincham Market is not 1 business – it’s a series of independents that must number 80-ish food stalls and traders. And all are encouraged to be active in their marketing and support others in the market. It’s almost like an unofficial “employee advocacy scheme” where the sum is greater than the parts.

You might not have 80 people that can support you – but you have friends, family, staff, business neighbours, local professional service suppliers that you use and more

The latter of local Professional Services is a really important because I hope you’re not shouting about people needing to shop local and then choosing online professional service suppliers over local businesses because you think they’re a little bit cheaper

My business is just me – but I have my army of supporters from my networking group. Those people have my back

Have you contacted 10,000 people?
Honestly – how many people have you marketed your business to?

If the answer is – not a lot (try saying that without imagining Paul Daniels) then that explains the lack of customers

From memory at the last count Market House Altrincham was reported as having 10,000 customers a week – you don’t have 10,000 customers a week unless 10,000 people know you exist

Obviously we run a Social Media Company, so we’re going to beat that drum home – look at how many people see your updates each month and there might lie the problem. If you have 63 Instagram followers, 200 Twitter followers and 500 Facebook fans it’s probably not enough to sustain a business. And that’s before you look at how many of those are actually engaged with what you post (if you’re even posting on a regular basis)

And don’t forget offline marketing as well

A good friend of ours, Mark at Altrincham Design Studio, offers a solus flyer delivery service that reaches out to all those areas outside of the town centre that you’ve probably never even considered. Everywhere from the B Streets and Tree Roads through to Navigation Road Area, Timperley, Broadheath and Hale and Bowdon. All those people that live in Altrincham that you’ve probably never even contacted because you expect that as you’re in the town centre everyone should know you exist. He walks 14 miles a day helping businesses promote themselves

If you want to win 10,000 customers you need to reach out to a lot more people

And do this on a regular basis

Have you honestly taken every opportunity that comes your way?

Take every opportunity to promote your business

If Altrincham Unlimited are running a campaign & ask you to be involved

If we ask you to pitch a story for exposure to 30k people

If Altrincham Town Centre Partnership ask for support in a community campaign

If you see that there’s a networking event in town

If there’s a training or education workshop

Say Yes

PR and Education helps grow your business

Honestly – I wish you all the best for your business

The hard work starts now – put the market out of your mind and focus on your business

Hope this reply helped


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Look at our Social Media Training and Social Media Management services

Or Please call Alex on 07806774279 or email

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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