Personally, 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
- 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.