Logan’s Corporate Run – Pt. 2

Leverage Your Niche – by Steve Throckmorton

Every successful company finds a niche that works well for them. What is a niche? It is small piece of the market on which a company chooses to focus all of its resources and energy. This principle of niche marketing is taught in most basic marketing textbooks and is a key ingredient to running a successful company. One sure path to failure is to be a generalist and not specialize in anything. The company that attempts to sell everything to everyone will end up being good at nothing. Lack of focus is a formula for mediocrity.

How does a company choose a niche?

  1. Niche marketers choose a market that they understand better than anyone else.
  2. The niche is where the founders have deep experience and knowledge.
  3. A good niche will yield a fair return on investment of time and money.
  4. A niche should be enjoyable and emotionally rewarding to serve.

When the principle of niche marketing is employed the odds of success are dramatically increased because specialization brings focus and purpose to customer service activities. It also puts the company in a better competitive position by delivering excellence to the client base. A company that becomes known as the expert in a market can often charge premium rates when competitors struggle to sell at or below cost. As an added bonus niche marketers often are able to produce their products or services below what it costs competitors because they become so efficient at production.

This principle of niche marketing applies equally to the after 50+ seeker. Here are a few of the ways that niche marketing can be applied successfully to Logan’s Corporate Run.

1.       After 50 job seekers have typically been gainfully employed for decades and as a result they are expert in their field but they have often forgotten how to conduct a job search campaign. These after 50 seekers resort to methods they have used in the past, which is to search for advertised positions and fill out applications along with blind resume submission. The flaw with this approach is that it puts the 50+ seeker on the same playing field with much younger workers. In this venue younger workers have a competitive advantage for the reasons stated in our first blog “Chapter 1 – Age Discrimination is Alive and Well”. This is usually a waste of time for the 50+ job seeker and at best will provide a very small return on time invested.

2.       The 50+ job seeker should market themselves in a way that plays to personal strengths not to the strengths of their younger competitors. Aside from depth of experience the 50+ seeker will have a deep network. The network is the set of people that the seeker knows and has worked with in the past. It could even include personal connections not only professional. This would include clients, co-workers, managers, subordinates, partners, suppliers, friends and social circles. If the 50+ seeker takes the time to properly compile this list he/she will find that it numbers in the hundreds, perhaps even thousands of names. Once compiled this list should be prioritized and put into three categories: hot, warm and medium. The seeker should first attempt contact with every person on the hot list by phone, followed by a personal visit if possible. The seeker should then move on to the warm list and contact by phone and email. If time permits do this even for the cold list but if time is limited then the cold list can be contacted only by email.

3.       The 50+ seeker should focus on finding positions similar or identical to those positions successfully performed in the past. This is not the time to reinvent yourself into something you’ve always wanted to do. It is fine to work on reinventing later after gainful employment has been found but the odds of finding work in a field that you have no track record is very low.

4.       Invest sufficient time planning and mapping a strategy. This should be done first before anything else is done. Heavily consider what category of jobs and vertical markets on which you should focus. Take your past successes into account. Also look at current market conditions and consider what industries are hiring in the current economy.  After you understand on what and where to focus your energies compile and prioritize your network list. Your prioritization of the list will depend heavily on where you decide to focus your energies. Enlist the aid of a friend to help you through this planning process. The adage two heads are better than one definitely applies here. Planning is well worth the investment because it will pay off dividends later in valuable use of your time. If you don’t invest this time in planning you will most likely waste time and your efforts will be ineffective.

The next post of Logan’s Corporate Run will be about planning and goal setting.

Click Here for Part 3

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Ager-getic!

I hate the AGE thing! by Tony Guthrie

Companies are not necessarily always looking for younger candidates. But what is essential is to appear “youthful.” Now, I am not referring to how you dress or how you carry yourself. Youthful is energetic and optimistic in a professional way.  Recently I was attending a seminar designed and created for “older” executives who were trying to find employment. As I spoke to people I observed that most of these people were less than energetic. Most were lethargic and seemingly discouraged. Yes sir, I enjoyed these people!?! I thought to myself, “I hope he doesn’t take that demeanor into an interview.” Further, several of these people (clearly in their early fifties) looked much older than they were. Far be it from me to be judgmental because I realize how much DNA plays in human development. BUT, this does not mean that we have no control over our “age” appearance.  It is a tough world with tough competition. It is time to put away our excuses and do whatever is necessary to get as healthy as we can get. Eat healthier and exercise daily.

More mature people MUST understand that youthfulness is related to how energetic and healthy we appear.  Here are a few good questions to consider:  (1) Am I over-weight to the degree that I appear unhealthy? Potential employers may view you as someone who may constantly be calling in sick or in and out of the doctor’s office. (2) Is your countenance confident and happy? For some of us older folks our resting face can literally be our worst enemy. Our spouse may believe we should be on the front cover of a celebrity magazine, but your spouse isn’t hiring you. Take a look at some photos of your resting face. Sometimes, even though we may be feeling good, our face can say, “I hate my life.” From the time you walk into the waiting room and throughout the entire interview, SMILE! (3) Do I answer questions confidently and with obvious respect for the interviewer (regardless of his or her age)? Even if you believe you can do her job better than she can (and you probably can), this means nothing. She is interviewing you. That’s it! Too often we “more mature folks” tend to unintentionally show our resentment that younger people have a great position. Treat her with respect. Talk her language (youthfully, energetically) but be yourself at the same time. This takes a little practice but you can get there. The idea is to see her as an equal, not a subordinate. Believe me, she will pick up on it if you do.

Ask yourself this question, “If I were going to hire someone, which would  I prefer? A tired-looking 50-something with great credentials and experience? OR a more youthful (in energy and optimism) individual who seems to being ready to live life to the fullest or take on whatever company challenges that may present themselves before her? For me, the answer is obvious.

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