Do you know who your ideal client is? Most business owners don’t really know. They guess!
And because they guess, they’re working way too hard, marketing too much, and spending too much money. I know because I’ve been there, done that.
Now, let me start by telling you that your ideal client is also called your target client or best client. What it’s called isn’t as important as defining yours!
How do you define your ideal client? You know that you have attracted your ideal client because your client:
- Values your service and doesn’t ask you to lower your prices.
- Easily pays you and is always on time.
- Comes to you already understanding what your services can help them accomplish.
- Refers you to others without you even asking.
- Comes back for more of your services whenever they’re ready for another “shot”
- Gives you “energy” – emotionally and financially!
How’d you do? Are you attracting your ideal client? Or are you attracting your client from hell?
Are you making the same mistakes I did? Or can you learn from my mistakes? One of the big mistakes I made up front in my business was that I trying to remove 20 years of my life where I had a successful career on Wall Street. Just because I wanted to leave corporate America far, far, away, I started my business instead as a Life Coach – even though I had all that experience in business.
I mention that mistake because for me, my ideal client is a women who runs a professional services or financial services company and their clients are primarily with other business owners. Those are areas that I have the most amount of experience and credibility in. Are you marketing your business while trying to forget about your past? Well, you CAN take areas of your past into your business, even if you don’t want to do “that” again. And by doing so, you create a basis for and bring your years of credibility to your ideal client – right away.
Other mistakes were that I didn’t create three most important “business keys” – a business plan, marketing plan and an ideal client profile. The result? Well, I ended up broke, and had to use the money from the sale of my home to live. Of course, since then, I have made some hefty changes! Not only that, I make sure that anyone I work with creates their business keys, too.
One of largest fears business owners have about creating an ideal client profile is that they will be narrowing their client base. While it looks like that is what will happen, it doesn’t.
Here’s what I learned:
Creating an ideal client profile does not mean that I can’t accept clients other than my ideal. Creating an ICP is done to make YOUR marketing efforts and your life easier. It’s another one of those business tools that is created to help save money and time. For marketing purposes, all your marketing messages will be consistent. You’ll have a set number of conferences to speak at and meetings to attend. You will not be all over the place “chasing” clients and spending dollar after dollar after dollar. Heck, isn’t there more than enough “stuff” for us to do as business owners?
I remember the first time I went into a networking meeting and introduced myself simply as a “Business Consultant and Coach” who helps “women who own a service business and service professionals.” I left the “life” off in front of “Coach.” I left the word “career” out of the sentence about whom I helped.
I was so nervous! And what happened? Well, I survived the meeting, obviously. And, after the meeting, someone asked if I could coach their husband who was in transition between CAREERS! Boy, did that teach me a valuable lesson. If you are clear and confident (or seem that way) people will provide you with wonderful business opportunities that you can say yes to… or no to.
Should you ever go out of your Ideal Client Base? The bottom line is that it’s up to you. It’s your choice and isn’t that great that you’ve created a situation where you have such a choice? For example: I work with some “C” level executives (COO, CFO, CTO) because they’re really running small companies, too. Their company is just called a department. And while I speak mostly on business, marketing and Internet topics, I have 4 personal development topics I teach, too. However, my audiences for those topics are business owners and executives. OR I give back to the community by helping not-for-profit board members, chapters or staff create business plans. And you can create those choices for your business, too.
Even after you choose your ideal client, that doesn’t mean that you can’t change it. You ought to be monitoring your company’s marketing efforts and noticing when things are changing – including when your ideal client or your focus is changing.
What else happens when you create an ICP and monitor your business? You’ll start to notice new patterns. Here’s one example and how it helped my business. I started noticing that 95% of my clients wanted to use their knowledge and turn it into cash by creating multiple streams of business income (like articles, ebooks, CDs, audios, etc.) Now, what could I do with that information? 1) Use it to create new programs, ebooks or classes that my ICP’s will want to attend. 2) Model creating those products by creating them myself. The ways to use that information to create additional streams of income are endless!
So…. take a risk – and create your ideal client profile today!
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© 2002 Elevating Your Business. Maria Marsala helps remarkable women CEOs get a life and future from their business by providing accountability, support and a (gentle) kick in the a$$ when needed. Quickly learn which areas of your business scream for your immediate attention and which areas deserve a hurrah! Take our Business Checkup today at www.CoachMaria.com