Who is your customer? Before you answer, if you are going to say “small business owners,” STOP. You can’t build a business foundation trying to read 25 million minds at once. Small business owners is not a niche it’s a population.
In my presentation at SOBCon07, I had a single slide that said
Choose your customers.
I didn’t spend nearly enough time talking about those three words.
The key to a successful business is truly connecting with the ideal customers for the service or product we offer. The process starts by doing what we love, because doing what we love makes good business sense. The next step is to find the folks who love what we do.
How do we do that?
Look to your past successes. Who has come to you in the past for what you love doing and then loved what you provided?
Make a list of the people who have already loved what businesslike thing you love doing for them. Now you have some idea of who your ideal customer might be. Use this model to see who on that list passes the Ideal Customer Test.
Ideal Customer Test
- The ideal customer is part of a group. You don’t really want customers who are loners. Let someone else sell to the hermits and the recluses.
- The ideal customer’s group is relational. They don’t have to sing kum-ba-yah by the campfire. Lawyers are relational. They talk to each other and ask what works. Even corporate clients check out the competition and do horse trading.
- The ideal customer wants to be better . . . to keep up with the folks at the front of the group.
- The ideal customer has money and the potential to make more.
- YOUR ideal customer looks a lot like YOU.
It’s true none of us are a field test or focus group, BUT, pay attention to that last point. If you are looking for the folks who love what you do . . .
Your ideal customer is likely to think, act, and respond like you, because it’s human nature to think people who think like we do are brilliantly smart.
That’s how our customers look like us.
That’s why they love what we do.
Skeptical — huh?
Try it this way It’s unlikely that an information geek is going to feel comfortable working with me. I’m just not linear. I’d send him to my friend. Greg Balanko-Dickson the Remote Control CEO. He’s a self-proclaimed information geek. The chart at the top of his blog shows the difference immediately. Greg does what he loves and the information geek would love what he does.
Do what you love in service to those who love what you do. —Steve Farber
Who loves what you do?
Next: Questions to Describe Your Ideal Customer
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.