For some small business owners, their major challenge might not be access to capital, or lack of skilled workers but who to target with their products or services. One minute it feels like you should go premium after all the profit margins are higher there; and the next minute mass- market seems more appealing as your products will be more affordable.
This mental deliberation can cause you to waste valuable time and resources chasing the wrong people with your products or services. The same way you cannot be all things to people, your product or service cannot meet the needs of everybody. There are certainly some people (niche) who will benefit from your products and they are the ones you should be focusing on.
Here is how to know which customer you should focus on:
Define your ideal client: Begin by identifying specific attributes of your desired customer.Go into as much depth as you can, nothing is irrelevant. To start:
• Do you want to sell to men, women, or both?
• Is your desired customer young, middle aged or old?
• What part of the city do they live in? This is very important especially as price often varies with location.
• How much does he or she earn? Their income bracket will give you a clue to their purchasing power and disposable income.
• What are they interested in? Do they like sports, fashion, or arts? This will tell you other things that will be competing for their attention and money. Answering these questions will help you begin the process of creating the profile for your ideal client.
Describe your ideal work life: When you are finished describing your ideal client, the next step is to describe your work. What are you best at doing and what does it entail? For instance if you are an interior decorator your work may range from space design, sourcing furnishings and accessories to actual space decoration. This means that you are not responsible for plumbing repairs or electrical works. While you may have contacts in that area amongst your network, you will not be bidding for a plumbing job or an electrical job. The act of describing what your specialty is will help you eliminate from your prospect list, work that is not core to your area thereby giving you time to focus on your area of expertise.
What qualities should your ideal customer possess? While this is not a guarantee of a happy relationship between you and your client, it goes a long way in alerting you to the possibility of a difficult relationship you just might encounter. Do you want to work with people who are extroverted, fun loving or just straight-to-the- point type? Do you want them to possess some level of knowledge about your products or service, or do you prefer a novice so you can nurture them into your business? Different personalities come with different demands. If you were to choose (which you would not always be able to do in reality) what personality would you like to work with?
What is important to your customer? Closely related to the point above is the fact that people attach value to different things. The tendency for small business owners is to expect our customers to value the same things we value. For instance, if you make and sell moi- moi, does it really matter to your customer if it comes in foil or plastic? What will your customer see as value; the taste of the moi – moi or the amount of egg and meat inside? For some customers it can be your speed of delivery, your professionalism or plain old good customer service. Ensure you are solving the most pressing problem for your customer with your product or service.
As a small business owner with limited resources, you cannot afford to spend money shooting in the dark. You want your efforts to be concise and accurate giving you the desired results. Knowing who your customers are gives you the necessary power.
Finding the perfect client for your business is not an unachievable feat. Once you create a system for identifying them, you can have more meaningful business relationships.