I know very few people who don’t like pizza.
Sure, there are lots of people who don’t eat pizza on a regular basis…after all, it’s typically replete with gluten and dairy, which many folks are trying to avoid these days.
But people who simply don’t like pizza? Hardly anybody, right?
However, small businesses are NOT pizza. And YOU are not pizza.
You can’t make everyone happy. You are not pizza.
There are people, though, who will are looking for you and your business. Who you authentically are and how you do things is exactly to their taste.
You might even turn out to be their “pizza.”
These are your ideal clients.
They will help you to do your very best work, be your very best self, and build a business that meets the needs of other people just like them.
When you work with your ideal clients, you help them to achieve their goals. In turn, they make you more successful. They will bring ease and vitality to your business.
Alternatively, the people you can’t make happy and who don’t enjoy your “flavor” will simply steal your focus from the others.
You need to know how to identify your ideal clients, connect with them, solve their problems, and keep growing in ways that will serve them in the future.
Do you know who your ideal client is?
Maybe right now you’re thinking “ideal client?” “How about just any client?”
It may seem counterintuitive–especially if you’re just getting going and you want to say yes to every potential project that comes in the door–but for small businesses, becoming more selective and focused is CRUCIAL to success. This is why knowing as much as you can about your ideal client (what I like to call Ideal Client Intelligence!) will always lead you to do your best work.
For small businesses, making your market “everyone” means making your market “no one.” To be a successful small business marketer, you need laser-like focus on a narrow target market, sometimes called a niche…Targeting a tight niche allows you to become a big fish in a small pond.
– Allan Dib, The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Who exactly is your ideal customer? This is where it ALL starts. While this may seem “backward” it’s not. Product development should come from listening to the needs of your clients, and how can you listen to your clients if you haven’t identified who they are?
Was her mobile phone on her bedside table when she woke up this morning? Did she reach for it as soon as she opened her eyes? Or did she go for a run before sun up, then sip hot water and lemon as she scrolled through her Facebook feed? Did she catch the train to work, pack lunches before doing the school run, or head to the nearest cafe with nothing but her laptop and a full inbox. How does she spend her weekends? Does she prefer the art gallery or a night club? What brings her joy? What does she put off doing until the very last minute? What does she care enough about to pay extra for? Where is she hoping life will take her?
Only once you have a sense of all of this, are you really ready to begin.
Who exactly is your ideal customer? Bernadette Jiwa, The Story of Telling
FOCUS ON THE ONE
The biggest mistake I see people make when it comes to who they want to create for is to choose demographics or even psychographics over living, breathing human beings…We’re better at relating to real people than to demographics. As a result, if you work hard to understand the needs, desires and frustrations of that one person who brings your genius to life, you’ll get better results. And you’ll find out that there are thousands out there just like him or her.
Below is a link to a worksheet you might find useful as you gather intelligence on your target client.
Think of one person–a real, living breathing individual you actually know–who you can keep in mind as an ideal client. Thinking about someone who knows how to turn what you have to offer into the best possible outcome will bring this assignment to life.
Now fill out your worksheet, maybe even take the time to interview this person, and think about how you can attract more people just like him or her.
Oh, and one more thing:
If you haven’t done any work on your ideal client profiles in a while, you should probably revisit them. Just as you and your business aren’t static, neither is your ideal customer.
You want customers for a lifetime. Does the ideal client profile really exclude the possibility of evolving with time to expand your services? I’ve never thought of it as a static snapshot, more like a storyline.
Ask yourself, “What will my client need tomorrow?” and you are on your way to sustainable growth.