When I first began running Allied Equipment’s CNG Storage Sphere line I knew instantly that my first goal would be to quickly gain market share. It turns out that it’s not as hard as you’d think. It’s quite easy in fact.
Headlines like “Natural Gas: a 50 Trillion Dollar Industry” will quickly make any entrepreneur start thinking how successful they’d be if they could just carve out 2% of that market. And they’re right! They don’t have to become the next big company to make good money.
If most start-ups can just gain a small fraction of the market share, they’ll be off to a great start. But how does a start-up quickly gain market share once they’ve gotten their product to market?
More often than not, quickly gaining market share is not as difficult as you’d assume. Just a small piece of the pie is often all it takes for a start-up to become legit and begin gaining momentum.
When I started running the CNG Storage Sphere product line at Allied Equipment back in 2007, I found a sure fire way to quickly gain market share in an industry that was dominated by a few BIG players. The strategy paid off big time as we grew to become the nation’s largest manufacturer of CNG Storage Spheres.
Aim for the low hanging fruit. In every industry, there are always a few opportunities that a start-up can quickly snag. These are usually smaller customers whom the major suppliers do not have time for. Customer service will help you quickly gain market share among this group.
Find the gatekeeper. In my industry, the gatekeeper ended up being engineers. If I could get them to spec my product into a station design, the winner bidder would be forced to buy from me. Gatekeepers are in every industry and a smart salesman will find them. In fashion, these are celebrities. In writing, these are followers. Followers will force a publisher to sign you book simply because they know there are sales amongst your tribe.
Inform the industry. Quickly gain market share by getting the word out about your product. Attending conference, expos, writing on blogs, in magazines, anywhere you can, is the only way to inform the industry. CNG Spheres were a new product when I started and most people didn’t even know what they were. That played well at trade shows. People stop and ask “what is that thing?”
Go around your customer. This tactic works well in all industries. For me, I would convince the school district who was buying a CNG station that spheres were the way to go. They in turn, would demand that their supplier buy my spheres. The same goes for children’s toys. Your customer is really the parents, but the kids will force the parents to buy your product.
These proven methods to quickly gain market share will help your start-up find its legs and begin generating positive cash flow. I used these exact methods to take my product from start-up to seven figures in less than a year.
What industry would you most like to quickly gain market share in?