When marketing your services or products it makes sense to not target everyone with a pulse (or a full wallet) but to specialise and target your ideal client.
While this focus makes your marketing efforts more effective, it also makes running your small business much easier and a lot more fun.
That’s the theory. But how do you actually find the ideal client for your small business? And what can you expect? Here’s what I found out while looking for mine:
1. Turning Theory Into Practice
In the beginning, your ideal client is more of a theoretical concept. You don’t know yet if you can make a living from your business idea, so restricting your target audience to a single ideal client seems counterintuitive. And I think it’s an advantage to leave the door a bit more open at this stage.
For example, according to my first business cards, I was a marketing consultant, a German copywriter and a tour guide. What could have been overkill turned out to be a great conversation starter. And it got me my first clients.
I also learned that experience is your most powerful ally in this process and in order to turn theory into reality, you have to gather as much of it as you can.
So at first, you want to work with as many people and companies you can get a hold of. And with every new project or sale, you get closer to make an informed decision about your ideal client and can narrow down your audience bit by bit.
Define your ideal client with these simple steps.
2. Don’t Think Small
But it’s not just your experience that grows with every new project you get or product you sell. With every challenge and success, I also found that my confidence increased. Finding that I can actually make this work was a great boost. (And still is.)
And that makes this the wrong time to think small. Instead of simply looking at your past clients and trying to get more of the ones you liked best, step out of your comfort zone.
Use your experience to find out what you really care about and let your new-found confidence lead the way: A new specialism, a different approach or a more refined set of values – don’t think small but push back boundaries and give your business a more authentic voice.
3. Go With The Flow
Finding the ideal client for your small business is a process, something that takes time and advances in leaps and bounds. Also, make sure to test new ideas and marketing messages on potential customers before you make any changes.
It might be a while until you can work exclusively on your favourite projects and products. But as soon as you have adapted your marketing to attract your kind of client or customer, your business will become more and more what you have envisaged.
So the best way to go about finding your ideal client is to be patient and go with the flow.
And know that even when you’re finally there, nothing is set in stone. Things change all the time and so will your business and your ideal client. But at that point, you’re already a pro.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
4 Steps to Attract more of Your Favourite Clients
What’s My USP? And Why Do I Need to Target a Niche Anyway?
How to Use Your Existing Customers to Grow Your Business
What Does Success Mean to You and Your Small Business?