How and why must escape the ‘everyone is my client’ mistake.

Knowing who your ideal customer or client is evolving as you and your business evolve.

I recently began an exercise to fine-tune who my ideal customer is and just yesterday it hit me.

I'd previously been talking about conscious, small, service businesses.  And I do enjoy working with them. …..And I love working with millennial entrepreneurs!

I love the energy, the curiosity, the open-mindedness, the willing to think differently try new things and to fail of millennial entrepreneurs.  Wanting to create a fairer more just world to live in.  So now I have a more clearly defined audience.  One to whom I can speak with consistency.

My ideal client is a millennial entrepreneur who is creating a business that is part of a sustainable human presence on earth.     Very exciting!!

 

And the number one mistake I still hear small businesses making is thinking that everyone is their target market.  So how can you identify your 'ideal' customer?     

 

First, I think we can acknowledge the fears this idea generates.

These fears often stop you being willing to focus on your ideal.

 

hand-997394_1920# 1.   You're really afraid of turning away business. So let me say straight away that every single client that I've worked with who has gone through this process and narrowed down their target market to their ideal, their business has grown fast. And I mean FAST! My client who was a mortgage broker,  achieved fastest business growth two years in a row after narrowing down her ideal customer and working at exactly what she was going to do to solve their problems and work with them. The fastest business growth in her industry for two years in a row, she increased her net profit 93%.

 

Also, just because you focus your marketing and service or product delivery on an ideal customer doesn’t mean customers who don’t fit that profile exactly won’t be attracted.  They will because they will see happy customers.

 

# 2  .    Second fear is that you'll get boxed in and you won't be able to expand. Actually, the opposite is true. If you're not doing very well in business, you won't be able to expand anyway. So fear that narrowing down to our ideal client will box us in is voicing the fear that our business is not going to grow and indeed it may not if you’d don’t address this issue.  Another client identified their ideal and  adjusted the solution they offered.  They have had to move premises three times because they've grown their team exponentially from a team of three in 2009 to now a team of 11. Huge growth from being focused on the ideal solution for their ideal customer!lifting-24401_1280

 

AND once you’ve got your offering and your marketing to this ideal client working well, you will have the resources, time and energy to go after another niche with a tailored offering to them if you choose.

 

 

 

# 3   You're afraid of choosing the wrong ideal client or ideal customer. Well maybe you will, but as I said at the beginning this evolves. Business and marketing are not “set and forget.” Everything is changing very, very rapidly in the world in which we live. What might happen is you recognize that “I made a choice” about an ideal client, but they're not the ones that I love working with or they don't have a big enough problem, or there aren’t enough of them.  To deal with this fear, first,  get clear on your ‘who’ then follow this with research to find out how big that potential market is and what the competition is and whether you can differentiate yourself and create an offer of a product or service at a profitable price etc.

hand-851207_1920I’ve been fine tuning my ideal client for my coaching services over the past few years and was really clear I wanted to help micro and small businesses serving a local community become really financially sustainable, enabling their owners to have a great life, loads of fun and serve their customers in truly great ways.  And now I have honed that even more to conscious millennial entrepreneurs serving a local community.  So exciting to have that last piece in place!

 

#4   You don't know if there are enough of them, or how to find them. Again research up front is very important in terms of knowing whether the market is big enough. There are many tools you can use for this including Google and there are lots of different ways we can research our ideal client and know how many exist, and whether it's possible for us to reach enough of them to make the business model – the economic engine of the business – work.   One really important thing to do is to identify if there are any hubs serving that segment.  Hubs make it easy to connect.

 

 

 

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What is it costing your business to not get this sorted?

No alignment.  What I mean by that is systems, structures, marketing messages are not all singing from the same song sheet.  And no alignment means it's hard to attract prospects, hard to make the sale, impossible to establish a long term relationship and hard to receive referrals.

It means your marketing will be costing you a fortune but not delivering you one.  And even your sales process will have so many holes in it prospects fall through like water through a sieve.

An ideal customer will not be attracted to you and you’ll be making offers to prospects that are all wrong.

++++  plus increasingly your business systems and processes will become fixed in ways aligned to a non-ideal customer.  

 

Have you ever done this?  Made a commitment to a customer and found yourself constantly adjusting your systems?  Then missing important milestones.  Working till midnight on the delivery only to find they are still not happy.

 

Also, you and your staff will find it harder to sell to ideal customers.  You will experience frustration with your marketing efforts, wasting marketing spend,  and the worst of all, spending money on ineffective marketing will eat up any profit you might otherwise have made.

Finally developing new products or services that are easy to sell will be difficult because you will lack the understanding of what your customer or prospect wants necessary to do this successfully.

So you’re working way too hard for such little return. It’s exhausting and unrewarding and you just wish it would stop.

 

So what to do instead?

 

 

Here are some questions you can ask.

·         Who are you trying to reach?   You can be explicit about this without being exclusive.

·         Do these people have a common set of needs that I can understand and help with?

·         Why do I want to reach these people specifically?

·         What is it about my business that makes it different from other businesses offering something similar?

·         Do I do things differently (in a different way) to other businesses?

·         If I do things differently – why do I do it this way?

·         Look for your core ideas, principles, values and assumptions that are behind your decision to do it this way.

 

Imagine you’re in the flow, working in your zone of genius, clients feel so served they start referring friends to you.  Isn’t that what you want?   That's what can happen when you work with ideal customers.   I'm happy to help you work through the answers to these questions.  

Just contact me

bridget@creatingwhatmatters.co.nz

 
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