Professional businesses come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures — as do their intended clients. However, the best way to get your new business off to a great start is to create a service that supports a clearly defined and reachable client base. And before you decide what your services are, you must decide who your clients are. You can create the world's best thing-a-ma-bob, but if nobody buys it — you have a hobby, not a business. “Profits both
the result and reward
of doing things right and doing the right things. "
- David McNally
So, now is the time for some research — before you open your doors for business. You're going to write a client profile. ("Eeesh Rose — I'm a designer, I don't want to write this!") Stay with me because this is easy to do — just answer the following questions and you'll have a profile of your ideal client:
- What kinds of people do you relate best with? Are they calm people? Are they driven people? Are they right-brained people? Are they left-brained people? And what about your relationships with these people works for you? For example, my ideal client doesn't struggle about paying money for services they receive because they know that the business of business is to make a profit — and that goes for my services too. Also, my ideal client is an avid learner who is open to the possibility and magic of life. Who's your ideal client? Go for the challenge of a list of at least 100 qualities!
- What kinds of people would you really rather *not* have in your life? Be specific here. Look at your past and current relationships for what really did not work for either of you. For example, my ideal client never says “yes, but. . . " and doesn't go into an intellectual analysis of every word or phrase, but instead is aware of the bigger issues and patterns. My ideal client doesn't have to be right all the time. Who's your ideal client? Go for a list of at least 50 qualities!
- What industry, technology, service, association or corporate department makes your heart sing? Yes - really! Are you passionate about saving the environment, yet performing your services for a petroleum company? How long do you believe that will work for either of you? So, reflect on who you are and identify the industry, technology, service, association, or corporate department that is aligned with your internal compass. For example, my ideal clients are self-employed, or want to become self-employed, and primarily work serving the high-technology or communications and publishing industries. Be careful here, you don't want a long list.
- What conditions must be present in order to do your best work? For example, my ideal client must open to learning from me as a mentor and coach. And the client must have a compelling reason to change and a willingness to do the work necessary to implement the change. What are the conditions that will allow you to do your best work for those you identified in question 3?
- What services are needed by your ideal clients? By now you have a clear enough picture of your clients that you can begin to do the traditional “market research. " What you want to do here is to begin to match your skills, talents, and desires for creating services with the needs and resources of your ideal clients. Vehicles for obtaining this data might include a client survey, third-party customer surveys, the US Census data, small business administration data, and other traditional information-collection devices. Take your time and be thorough — don't guess! You're looking for external, third-party confirmation of your ideas — but stay open to the idea that what you want to create might not want to be purchased by your identified ideal clients.
- What will your clients pay for your services? You have two primary sources of information for this question — your prospective clients and your competitors. Ask your intended clients what they would pay. Then ask your perceived competitors what they are charging. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.
- Can you make a business on the fees you can charge for your intended services? If not, go back to question 3 and pick another industry, technology, service, association or corporate department. Don't let go of your dream as you adjust your selections!
Copyright 2004, Rose Hill
Rose Hill, Founder and Owner, of Biz Whiz Expert (http://www.SoloBizVille.com ) and Team Member of Solo-E. Com (http://www.Solo-E.Com ) has been self-employed since 1990. Knowing how to run corporate departments and how to market corporate entities, products, and services did nothing to prepare her for successfully running and marketing a one-person business. That is why Rose created the SoloBizVille and SoloBizU community — to specifically to help solo entrepreneurs jumpstart their business success without all the trial-and-error learning.
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