There’s a lot to think about when you start a business. However you decide to organise things there’s one thing you can’t escape. You won’t make money if you don’t find your customers. There’s a never ending stream of advice on ways to market your business and you can try as much or as little as you want. However, the simple fact is that you need to tell people you exist or they won’t know.
Now, if you were paying attention you’ll have noticed that I said ‘your customers’. Not just ‘customers’. Whilst it’s true that you can sell to anyone you like, that doesn’t mean you should market to all of them. In a nutshell, marketing that tries to target everyone is bland and boring. In other words, the last thing you want for your business.
But finding your customers is about more than just marketing. It has massive benefits for your business and mental health too.
Your customers stick around
Let’s face it, finding customers is hard work. That’s especially true when you’re a small business. People will fall over themselves to buy the latest celebrity make up range or newest iPhone update. Convincing them to buy from a small business is much harder. Potential customers can come up with any number of reasons why they don’t buy from you. They don’t believe it’s a real business. They think they’ll get ripped off. It’s too expensive or they don’t trust the quality.
We all put a lot of effort into building trust with our customers so it makes sense to turn that into an ongoing relationship. Unless you sell something that people might only need once (for example a wedding dress), returning customers are the easiest way to build your business. When your blogs, Facebook posts or any of your other content are aimed at a specific audience they turn into lifelong fans. You still need to put some effort into maintaining the relationship, but not as much as it took to get it started.
Your customers are great to work with
When you attract the right people into your business, life gets easier. Every business gets a customer from hell at some point. They can take different forms. Maybe they complain constantly, or don’t respond to messages. They’re the ones that don’t pay on time or try to come up with spurious reasons why they shouldn’t pay the full amount. Whatever the reason, they’re a nightmare.
Then you get the lovely customers. They’re a joy to deal with and love what you do. If any issues arise they’re up front about them. As well as making your working life more pleasant, it’s less stressful generally. You don’t have to be on eggshells wondering what they’re going to complain about next. You can deliver work knowing that you’ll get honest feedback. It’s just better all round.
Who are your customers?
Who do you want to talk to? Do you know who your best customers are? Think about what qualities your best customers have and why you enjoy working with them. If you work with other businesses you can also think about the industries that you enjoy working with or understand best. There’s more advice about identifying your ideal customers in this blog. Alternatively, if you find that you love working with one particular industry or client and you want to niche down, there’s advice on that here.
I hope that’s given you food for thought – tell me about your best customers in the comments!
Claire Mitchell of The Girls Mean Business is the queen of talking to your ideal customer. This blog helps you to start identifying them.