Stay in your Target Market

Most small business owners, by their very nature, are agile entrepreneurs at heart. This means they rarely have an idea that isn’t worth pursuing. Some of these new business ventures are the reason they have been successful. But most of their companies barely have the bandwidth to maintain and grow business with their current clients much less deal with all the aspects of a penetrating a brand-new market. The impact of Lowest Price (Barely) Technically Acceptable bids has only served to exacerbate this reality.

I’ve known many companies that have pursued international, software development or commercial opportunities without the staying power, resources, or knowledge necessary to win and deliver these projects. The result is almost always an increase in indirect staff frustration and a decrease in core business revenue.

This is another reason that it is so important for companies to have a solid roadmap of their strategic envelope – the target competencies, services, and customers – where their company is going and how to get there. This helps identify which opportunities should be pursued and, more importantly, which ones should be avoided. Business owners need to remember that business they may want to chase in their minds might not be worth winning in the real world because of the pursuit and operations costs and the negative impact on core business development activities.

A company’s adherence to a key set of core competencies and clients is necessary to sustain continued growth. Frequent digressions don’t raise win probabilities. So, be careful what you put in your business envelope!

A (usually) retired but still writer and blues musician, Mike Lisagor is the founder of Celerity Works and a co-founder of His other books include How to Develop a Winning SBIR Proposal (with Eric Adolphe), How to Win in the Government Market (with Mark Amtower), and Personal Growth During the Time of COVID. He can be reached at