Write On’s Guided Goals
To grow any business you need a strong flow of new clients. Want to set yourself up for success? Define your ideal client before you start your business development process.
Brainstorm your ideal client, whether it’s an individual or business. On a piece of paper or computer document answer questions like, “Who needs your product or service?” “Where do they live?” “What industries are ideal?”
Then, write up a sketch (aka customer avatar), going beyond demographics and specialty. Describe the type of person you want to work with in as much detail as possible, including personality, values and work ethic. If a business is your target, determine size, budget, company culture, mission, philanthropies and anything else you think might be relevant.
With those ideas in mind, make a list of ten attributes your ideal client should have. This should help you target the right people.
For example, your ideal client is:
- A medium-sized company
- In business for at least five years
- Remote only
- Health and fitness industry
- Has one point of contact
Is already tech savvy, so you don’t have to educate them
- Community minded
- Pays half your fee up front
- Has a budget of at least $10,000 for your services
This should give you a good starting point as you research potential clients. Once you know who to market to, it’s easier to hone your pitch, target your queries, ask for referrals, and, above all, develop your business.*
As you get further along in the process, match your prospects’ attributes to your list. Make sure they meet at least seven of those requirements before you take them on.
For instance, let’s say almost everything fits your list. However, the client wants you onsite one day each week and they have a slight learning curve when it comes to tech. That sounds reasonable, right? However, they also want to reduce your budget to $5,000 and have you report to three different people. Now you may want to re-think the relationship.
If you find yourself compromising too much off the bat, it may signal a bunch of red flags. Be aware of them. When you and your client start mostly on the same page, it’s more likely to lead to a mutually beneficial, long-term working relationship.
*Note: I will share tips on how to find ideal clients in the next column.
Debra Eckerling is the founder of WriteOnOnline.com, a website and community for writers, and author of “Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog.” A Project Catalyst, Debra works with individuals and small businesses to strategize, set goals, and manage their projects.