Crazy brainstorm of the day: Expand Our Markets Week

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I got a big brainstorm today on the way back from picking up my son at school today which was about expanding our markets.

This weekend, I spent a lot of time with Lemonade creator Erik Proulx who was in town for our rocking Laid Off Camp Phoenix. In many conversations about topics ranging from making meaning to business models to money and family, we ended up referencing a small handful of the same people (yes, Seth Godin figured in just about every one). It feels like the same 12 people come up in every conversation I have with people about small business.

Which made me think: how can we help each other break out of our well-worn circles of great thinkers and expand the areas where we make change and tap new markets for our products and services?

So I came up with the idea for running an “Expand Our Markets Week” on my blog, starting on Monday, April 12. Watch this short video to explain my crazy thought.

This is the video I took in Chicago last year which really got me thinking about how little of the “stuck in cubicles” market I have reached through my blog and book.

The categories of small business I have thought of for “Expand Our Markets Week” are:

  • Professional services: consulting, accounting and bookkeeping, legal
  • Writers: copywriters, technical writers, fiction writers, book writers
  • Artists: fine artists, graphic artists, photographers
  • Coaches
  • Software developers
  • Retail stores

Each day of the week, I will run a post describing a particular business, and we can all jump in and add comments with ideas and resources for expanding markets. I plan on running it from Monday – Saturday, since I try to keep Sundays for family time.

Since it is quite a bit of work to coordinate, I will not run with the idea unless you all find it to be worthwhile.

So please let me know:

A) if it would be valuable
B) your thoughts on the categories of business that I outlined above

Thanks in advance!

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32 Responses to “Crazy brainstorm of the day: Expand Our Markets Week”

  1. hey pam. just kinda found you via your guest post over at gaping void….so i’m a bit outa the loop on your prior offerings and brainstorms..but i gotta hug you for this one. resonates deeply much w/ me b/c i’m just beginning to dive into taking my offerings viral..i’m a i’d fit under your frame of consultant/coach…and key to me is simply increasing accessibility, figuring out how to use language that isn’t hokey guru-esque. bottom line everyone is seeking meaning, value, stability, comfort …many are seeking externals to feed that. i offer tools to help cultivate those elements and more within. so i’m very aware i’m striving to balance both crafting message that is plausible and ‘be’ where is most helpful/visible/accessible.
    grateful to know a bit more of your walk. can’t thank you enuf for braving the post you offered at gaping void. huge.

  2. […] wisdom to help expand the markets for our business. Per Annie Binn’s suggestion in my original post to not have one new post each day for six days (which could be kind of overwhelming), I will spread […]

  3. Hey Pam:

    I was just introducing EFCN to a powerhouse friend here in Japan and talking about what an inspiration you are – and this is yet another great idea!
    I’m eager to read and participate in this thread – but it’s Tuesday morning in Tokyo, so I’ll wait for another few hours;-)

  4. Elena Verlee says:

    Hi Pam

    What a great idea. Since Andrea’s seminar where we met I’ve been really thinking about my niche markets and realized I haven’t been reaching out as effectively as I could. Looking forward to learning and contributing from the discussions this week.

  5. Brilliant idea Pam – can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  6. Sheryl Jones says:

    Please do it Pam. I’m all in!

  7. Marie Rotter says:

    Hi Pam! Would love to hear your thoughts. Have you thought about people that want to combine some of those? Like a writer/coach. I even know a couple of artists/software developers. Maybe that makes it more complicated though? Just a thought.

  8. Karen Fagan says:

    Hey Pam!

    Love your idea!!! Your brilliant look forward to participating 🙂


  9. Calvin says:

    Pam, Any innovative idea to help small businesses (or future small businesses) grow is fantastic in my opinion. Just think how many entrepreneurs there are out there who could use a lift. Count me in.

    PS: The more interactive this is, the better.

  10. I love this idea, Pam! Will be glad to contribute, and will eagerly await everyone’s ideas, especially those for visual artists!

    Wondering if you can work in space for performing artists (actors, voice artists, musicians, dancers, etc), whose marketing needs can be very different from those of us who produce objects.

    Really looking forward to this series.

  11. Ed Gandia says:

    This is brilliant, Pam! You know… I was thinking about a similar issue last week. Basically, how in Twitter alone the big dogs mainly point to (and RT) other big dogs. That’s great, because big dogs wouldn’t be who they are if they didn’t constantly offer great value.

    But here’s the thing: There are other tears of pros with great ideas, insights and strategies. Folks who rarely break into the big-dog tier yet still share ideas and info that are just as good.

    This idea you’re proposing will hopefully expose people to some fantastic resources they wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.

    Love it!

  12. Ericka says:

    Approve *hit send*

    Put on thinking cap and contribute

    Get excited

    Learn and implement

    ~ just a little hint of what i will do next week~

  13. fas says:

    Its easier said than done but with hardwork everything is possible. I like the way you motivate 🙂

  14. Rachael says:

    I’m with everyone else, and especially Sparky, since I’m a fellow designer. VERY interested to see what happens here. 🙂

  15. Dana Springs says:

    This post inspired me to snap out of spectator mode and reply.

    In my position as the Public Art Program Manager for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, I can verify that artists would benefit from your information. I am also offering to collaborate with you to expand your reach to hundreds of artists in the San Diego region and beyond. Please let me know if I can help put you together with artists.

  16. Eryn Willard says:

    I am on board! I would suggest grouping graphic designers/copywriters/marketers into their own space, to expand on what Kit said above. Looking forward to this!

  17. I am with you on this… what a fantastic idea. I look forward to contributing as an active member in this market expansion. I am a Creativity Coach, a Teleseminar/Class leader and have just started doing live programs as well (finally listened to all the people asking me to do so)… and yes, I can literally FEEL the longing of people to lead more creative lives… and want to honor that call through expanding my work to more people. THANK YOU!

  18. This is a fantastic idea and I’ll jump in with comments.

    You know what I would love to happen? It would be awesome for people who aren’t designers (for example) to add comments on what designers can do to expand their (our) markets. Or accountants for copywriters, etc.

    Maybe this is already your plan.

    I think that would be enormously helpful. Often I’ve noticed that people in other professions than mine have the juiciest epiphanies about what I could be doing better. Like, forehead-smacking ideas.

    Can’t wait to participate.

  19. Great idea Pam! The categories look great. I would love to participate.

  20. Annie Binns says:

    This is a GREAT idea! I’ve been brainstorming by myself for the last month about my new project (is it brainstorming if you do it by yourself?) and I could really use some out-of-the-box ideas.

    I can honestly say I’d be able to give this better attention if it wasn’t every-day-six-days-in-a-row. Have you thought about spreading it out over two or three weeks? Of course now that everyone is so excited, that might not work! 🙂



  21. Kit Brown-Hoekstra says:

    Great idea, Pam! Though I would say that technical communicators/writers have much different needs than fiction writers.

  22. Randy Shreve says:

    Pam: this idea of expanding in new territories is great. Actually, I was just discussing something similar with a fellow MBI coach cadet: the concern was that we see a great deal of business being conducted amongst coaches as compared to what’s happening with people outside of the coaching commmunity. I am in complete agreement that there is a HUGE untapped market out there, enough to keep ALL of us busy for the rest of our lives! Thanks!

  23. Miranda says:

    Hi Pam,

    I was just thinking about this too! It would be great to talk about and I love that you’ll include a brick-and-mortar business like retail stores. I’m all for it and promise to lend any ideas I can!

  24. Flora says:

    Hello Pam,

    LOVE this idea and grateful to be involved. Think the categories of people you’ve chosen is a beautiful mix – lots of lovely cross-over opportunities.

  25. Robyn Seaton says:

    Hi Pam,

    It was great meeting you at Laid Off Camp Phoenix this weekend. You rocked your presentation, and the group there came up with some good ideas along these lines. Imagine what we might come up with if we have more than just a few minutes to brainstorm.

    I’m very interested in exploring these ideas. As we discussed, I’m still trying to find a good market niche for my new “side hustle” of getting a writing/consulting business going. I hope that expanding from zero won’t be too hard, but I’m finding that contracting from infinity (trying to focus on something that’s manageable) has been a bit difficult. I’ll do my best to contribute to the conversation, and I look forward to it.


  26. Daryl Gerke says:

    Too many professionals disdain marketing. However, marketing has been a key to my success as a consulting engineer. After 23 years, I’ve learned the “secret” is there is no magic bullet. Like fishing, one needs to keep many lines in the water. I made my “escape” the day the market crashed in 1987 — and have been having a blast ever since. I’d be happy to share some marketing ideas that have worked for me.

  27. Yes, yes, yes!! This would be very valuable to me, especially right now as I am looking to grow my business to quit my job this year. As a virtual assistant who focuses on publicity for my clients, the professional services and writer’s categories would be most helpful to me. The others seem to cover a wide range of areas, so hopefully everyone could find value in something.

    Really looking forward to this next week!

  28. Jenny Blake says:

    I love it! I’m a big fan of collective wisdom – would love to hear everyone’s suggestions and tips in the comments 🙂 Thanks for organizing, Pam!

  29. Dear Pam,

    Megan A. Bourne, @meganabourne and I are teaching our “Blogging for Business” class at San Francisco’s “Small Business Administration” and using your blogsite as our class example.

    We have suggested to the class of 3 dozen that they start the blogging experience by reading the blogs of thought leaders and leaving pertinent comments.

  30. Diane Hunter says:

    Yes, incredibly valuable and I’ll do what I can to jump in and comment. 🙂

  31. I love this idea. Love the categories (naturally)! Jumping in to brainstorm in the comments? Yes, yes, yes. Just say the word!

  32. Hey Pam,

    I was just thinking about this yesterday. I think it would super valuable…Thanks – Heidi