What Is the Foundation?
The foundation of literally everything you do in your business is a detailed, accurate understanding of your ideal customer. What you sell, how you describe it, how you sell it, how much it costs, how both you and everything in your company “look” visually … everything … is driven by the desires and needs of that ideal customer.
Because of this fact, it is vital for MicroBusiness Owners to spend a LOT of time researching and thinking about their ideal customers.
- Who exactly are those customers?
- Where exactly can I find them?
- What do they care about most?
- How do they talk about what they care about most?
- Answering these questions is hard. Inevitably, finding these answers requires hours and hours of detailed research and deep thought.
Alas, not giving this these questions their due is, in my opinion, the #1 mistake made by MicroBusiness Owners. No exaggeration.
Get the answers to these questions right and everything else flows fairly smoothly.
Get the answers to these questions wrong, or, more commonly, be too general about the answers to the questions, and you end up spending your time and money inefficiently.
That’s no small thing! Time and money are a MicroBusiness Owner’s most precious assets. Waste those and you’ll soon be back in the “get a job” market.
MicroBusiness Owners usually gloss over these questions because spending time to do this research right seems like a waste of time. They want, and need, to make money NOW. Taking the time to dive deeply into this research can seem like a luxury they don’t have.
So they begin, believing that they’ll figure out as they go.
So … if you’re pre-launch … or even if you have already launched your business, you NEED to take the time to define your ideal customer in great detail.
The Parable of the Squeaky Floor
This reminds me of a story from one of my favorite industries – home services:
A woman had a squeaky wood floor in her home. She called a carpenter to come in and fix the floor. He arrived and immediately began walking slowly around the floor, listening to the squeaks. He then took out a drill and a screw and drilled the screw into the floor. He walked around some more and found, to his satisfaction, the squeak was gone! The entire process took less than 5 minutes.
The carpenter then pulled out an invoice and wrote on there: “Repair Squeaky Floor: $200”
The woman was appalled. She said, “$200! You were only here for 5 minutes. That’s ridiculous!”
The carpenter asked for the invoice back, scribbled out the line item, wrote something new and handed the invoice back to the woman.
The woman now read two lines: “Drill Screw into Floor: $5 … Knowing Where to Drill the Screw: $195”
The moral? When you know who your Ideal Customer is in intimate detail, you know where to “drill the screw.” You know exactly what to do, where to spend your money, what to say, etc.
If you DO NOT do this research, you have no idea where to drill the screw.
Series of Articles
In the next few Blog Articles, we will be discussing how exactly to:
- Identify your ideal customer in sufficient demographic detail
- Identify where they “hang out,” preferably in groups, in a frame of mind where they will listen to your message and self-identify their interest in what you’re selling
- Discover, through on- and off-line conversations, what they care about most – their pain points and their aspirations … described in their own words