The origin of the term "sweet spot" is unclear, but sports sages attribute it to finding the exact spot on a baseball bat where a pitched ball should strike, then exit the park via the back fence.

A marketing "sweet spot" is similar: identify and capitalize on services that produce the greatest profit and are the easiest to sell. When sweet spots get sweeter, they can become the service that makes a remodeler renown.

Michael Menn and Andy Poticha of Design Construction Concepts of Northbrook, Ill., have defined their sweet spot: Projects in the $450,000 to $1 million range, within a certain geography. They include either a first- or second-story addition with a kitchen, a bath, or both. Prospects understand the quality of their product and services and are willing to pay for it.

To identify, and sweeten, your sweet spot, answer these questions:

* How would I characterize my sweet spot, and what evidence supports that conclusion?

* What's the growth rate of my sweet spot over the past few years?

* What have I reinvested in my sweet spot as opposed to the rest of my business? Reinvestment is capital expenditure, plus marketing and research/development costs.

Once you've nailed your sweet spot down, spend 80% of your time, energy, and dollars marketing to prospects that fit within its confines. Use the remaining 20% to develop new sweet spots as your business grows and matures. --Stephen Wilson is a partner in Biz-comm Inc., a marketing and communications firm specializing in remodelers' needs,