Learn to Say YES to your Ideal Clients

Yes under a magnifying glass

Yes under a magnifying glassPersonally, it sucks for me to fire a client.  Knowing that a client or a particular project is not ideal usually does not end well.  Small business owners can be tempted to taking the type of work that ‘pays the bills’, but doesn’t exactly feed the entrepreneur within.

Beyond just feeling good about the work you do, the point of working with ideal clients also affects your profitability.  Here are a couple of questions to consider when meeting a new prospect:

  • What is your company’s main focus?
  • Who is your
    ideal client?
  • Your capacity to do the work?

Your core message, the main focus of why you’re in business is a great guidepost for understanding the type of work you want to concentrate on.  Believe me, this makes a huge difference.  When I first opened Rosiemedia as a marketing firm I was missing that focus.  Sales were difficult to close and finding prospects was a challenge.  Once we adjusted our brand, we found customers and strategic opportunities that fit well.  Profits went up too.

Understand your story.  Why are you in this business?  What brought you here and how can you help other people with the problem you’ve solved?

Know your ideal client on a personal level.  These are those favorite clients who don’t make price a priority and really understand the value you bring.  Ideal clients happily refer you and will make repeat purchases.  They are open to give you testimonials and will champion your new offerings to their network.  These are the people who forward your email newsletter and share your workshop links on their Facebook page.  Talk to them and find out what it is that they like about your business.  You may find the answers a little surprising.  What is compelling to us may not be so much to our customers.  What is ordinary to us as business owners may be the exact reason these ideal customers are seeking us out.

Your capacity to do the work.  Remember to always stay in touch with your ability to take on new work.  Saying YES to that huge custom design project may look good on the surface, but how will it affect the customer service of your existing clients?  Do you have a team you can rely on to outsource parts of it?  Is a project manager necessary?  I was reading Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Startup (Amazon Affiliate Link) and he gave a great example of a company that pulled in over $1Million dollars but only profited $60,000 to the owner.  OUCH!  Even though the Accounts Payable looks sexy, think about what you’re actually going to end up with.

What this comes down to is being true to your passion and your core mission.  Sometimes staying small is just the thing.  You can keep your schedule flexible and pick out the projects that really get you excited and pumped in the morning.  Being a larger company with huge payrolls, added liability and demanding customers may not be your dream.  And that’s OK.  Being authentic will get you those ideal customers, work that you love to do and the ability to live your life in your own definition of success.  So say YES to the ideal customer and YES to freedom.


  1. says

    I love that you brought this up, I agree totally! you don’t need to be a million dollar company, but you need to stay true to who you are!

    awesome! love love love it!

  2. Margo DeGange says

    Great points Rosie. It all goes back to doing business with the overall picture in mind in terms of your goals. This not only helps you draw the right people with the right communications, but helps you decline projects that will ultimately steer the business in a direction of distraction.

    When I ran my Interior Decorating business, I worked with clients and took on projects that were the right fit for me, for my business, and for the client as well, the rest I declined or gave to colleagues that were a better fit.

    If you are a dog groomer, you would not take on a job to groom a cat, and you would not suddenly build a doghouse for a client, just because the client will pay (unless your overall goal is to do that). You also would not take on a client who abuses animals. You have to see each client as a team member, and make certain each project and each team member is in line with the business mission!

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing.


    • says

      Thanks for your comment, Margo. I love how you mentioned referring prospects to colleagues for a better fit. Very elegant alternative to saying No.