When we start running our own business we almost instantly become overwhelmed with the day to day operational demands. There is so much to do and pay attention to. It can be easy to get caught up in the service provision all day and the paperwork and figures all night, that the idea of business planning and growing falls by the wayside.
But planning on how your business will grow with demand or stay relevant in the future can be a very good idea, and one very good way to do this can be to define who your ideal customer is. How would you describe your ideal customer if you have to put it into words?
Something along the lines of: polite, pleasant, easy to deal with, knows what they want, buys valuable services, and then comes back repeatedly as well as recommending you to friends and family and across social media.
A very good practice if you are running or marketing a business is to define your ideal customer. But don't just stop there. Actually document that profile, add a picture to it and give that avatar a name. Every customer segment should have a customer profile. If you don't have a good idea who your target audience is, how can you be sure that you are targeting them? How are you finding them and talking to them?
How are you offering what they need? In order to target new customers and encourage new business you need to know how to find them, attract and keep them. So you need to be able to describe them. One good place to start is with your existing customers and people in the local community. You can undertake surveys and interviews to learn about the people in your vicinity.
Use this information to develop your ideal customer profile. Your ideal customer profile can include some of the following traits:
Values and goals - what is important to them, what are their priorities, what are they trying to achieve, who are they trying to be.
Pains and frustrations - what are their problems, what issues really makes their life difficult.
Demographics - age, gender, socioeconomic status, education, family situation, employment
Where they source their information - social media, traditional media, word of mouth.
Objections they might put up to a sale - knowing this will help you have a counter attack to every objection before it happens. It also helps you plan how to make it as easy as possible for them to say 'Yes' to a sale.
You can see how creating customer profiles can help you target your business, service and marketing towards the sorts of people you want to attract. This can tell you where to advertise, what stock to carry, what solutions to offer people and how to make it impossible for them to refuse a sale.
The time you spend in target customer definition now will come back in sales and repeat business, and therefore be time very well spent. And with time and change and growth in your business, this may be a profile you need to revisit and reconsider every few years to make sure it's right.