Many businesses follow the “build it and they will come” philosophy of finding their customer base. This is why many businesses fail — they wait for the target customer to find the business and its solution. In the C.O.R.E.℠ Genesis — Start Strong program, client companies (you) build a foundation for:
- defining your business,
- identifying your market opportunity (the potential customer base), and
- become an expert in both.
Also, the more you know about your capability (business concept and how you will solve your customers’ problems), the better positioned your business will be:
- to use the resources you have efficiently to reach your target customer;
- to adapt and respond to customer feedback,
- to leverage success, and
- to build credibility with the customer.
When you build upon your expertise to focus on the target Customer, you can hone your brand and message to reach that customer. It doesn’t mean you won’t have customers find you or that you would turn them away once they do. It simply means you are going to maximize your impact by narrowing your focus when you market or advertise your solution.
Focusing on the target customer simply means that you are going to maximize your resources impact by having a laser focus on the primary, ideal customer.
Customer Clarity Maximizes Impact
So, a clear picture of your customer increases your chance of success because you are able to:
- Determine the size of your potential customer base. This is your viability component. If you pick a customer segment that is too small, your business won’t thrive. Or if you pick a customer segment that is too large, you may not have sufficient resources to serve your customer.
- Refine your marketing to meet the specific needs of your customer base.
- Tailor your products, services, and technology to your specific customer; provide the benefits that the customer is looking for.
- Hone your marketing message, your C.O.R.E.℠ message, to include the right style, tone, and content that your target customer needs to hear.
I can hear your objections. No it isn’t going to limit your potential. The opposite is true. By focusing on a specific customer, you maximize your visibility in the target market. You are position your business with a clear message. That clear message enables the prospect to say “Hey that’s me! I need that!”
Okay I still hear you. It doesn’t mean that others who aren’t targeted won’t get your message. It also doesn’t mean you have to turn down customers that aren’t in that niche. Again, it simply means you are focusing on a segment of the market to enable your success. You can always add a second target segment after you have had success with your first/primary target market.
So, focusing in on a part of the market, a select segment of the total population of prospects, simply means you have set your sights on the prospects that are most likely to buy your solution.
Specify the Customer, Define Success
Having a specific customer as your focus also enables you to get to know them better – what they need, think, do…where they shop, how they buy, what influences them. The more expertise and knowledge you have about your customer, the greater your effectiveness in reaching them and conveying to them why you and your solution is for them.
Therefore, it is critical to your business success to identify the best customer for your business. This best customer is frequently referred to as the “ideal customer”. Every business will have a customer that provides the optimal conditions for making a sale. Therefore, your customer, your C.O.R.E. Customer, is defined by the foundation work you did when creating your business (C.O.R.E.℠ Genesis) . The C.O.R.E. Customer identification process identifies:
- the customer that fits within the business concept/model,
- the market opportunities that has the best potential for success – the need/benefit match, and
- the resources you have available to pursue and serve the customer.
Articles and Podcasts
- Is your Business Performance FINE? (9/1/2016) - Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE? Financially strong, Increasing customer base, New opportunities to pursue, and Exceeding expectations. In today’s world, many businesses are fine, meaning simply “okay.” They are going along and if not thriving at least surviving. But don't you want more for your business? Wouldn’t it be great if you: Didn’t have to worry about having enough in ...
- It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them. (8/23/2016) - Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure who they are. A recent conversation with a marketing colleague centered on how many business owners and operators aren't clear just who their customer is. As a consequence, they don’t know where they need to focus their attention and efforts to reach them, and end up playing a guessing game: Is it the consumer? Is ...
- Dishonest Clients – Dangerous and Unprepared (6/20/2016) - Dishonest Clients After all these years in business, I am still amazed when I encounter a dishonest client. It is doubly confounding when the client is not only dishonest, but also inexperienced and unsophisticated in the intricacies of business. It is especially true when seeking equity funding or applying for debt. Recently I was retained by an agent for a start-up service business. The start-up business was a new venture from an experienced healthcare practitioner. The client intended to open its first location in North Carolina. On the surface, it looked to be a straightforward and quick project. The client ...
- Sales Constraints – What’s holding us back? (6/6/2016) - ARE YOU OPERATING AT peak performance? Do you spend more dollars for less return? When you invest to expand capacity, does it translate into more results (revenues and profits)? If not, you’re investing in the wrong option.Here are 10 constraints: lack of clear business objectives; lack of specific performance objectives for teams and individuals; the goals for teams and individuals don’t match the organizational objective; compensation (tangibles and intangibles) reward the wrong behaviors; lack of corrective action for poor performers; lack of role definition in achieving objectives; investing in places that don’t expand capacity; inability to execute the strategy because ...
- How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network! (6/6/2016) - Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy to build a network that will reap professional benefits. C-Level Peer-to-Peer Networks Peer-to-peer networking at the C-level is a challenge. Too often, any opportunity to network devolves into a situation where some C-level and non-C-level attendees feel compelled to take the opportunity to pitch, pose, and prose about the “opportunities,” products, services, resumes, and/or latest, greatest thing you absolutely must hear about. ...
- Customer Focused? (5/31/2016) - Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup, push a button, and voila! My single cup of tea is ready. If I want another serving but something different to drink, I pick another pod and go for it. Now when I do want an entire pot of tea or coffee, then I can do that too. I ...
- Business Concept – Validating Your Idea (5/8/2016) - Crazy Ideas and Business Concept Many highly successful businesses have been started on ideas other people thought were crazy. Many unsuccessful businesses were started as "sure things." How do you know before you start if your idea is worthwhile? How do you determine if there are already "too many" other businesses out there doing what you want to do? Maybe your concern is that all the players in the business you want are established and have a huge share of the market? How do you decide? How much importance is there in how many competitors and other factors are at ...
- Real Customer Service – Going Off Script (5/6/2016) - There is nothing and I mean nothing that frustrates me, ticks me off, and causes me to stop using a product faster than dealing with the people on the “customer service” lines of businesses. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have an issue and call one of those numbers I think my body and mind are conditioned to automatically go into fight-or-flight mode. For instance, I purchased a product on auto-shipment in December (it is so much easier and cheaper to have the product shipped every month than to have to remember to order it). So I waited ...
- Customer Service – Keeping Commitments and Valuing Each Customer (1/29/2016) - This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that she had a full house. Three people were with her. I settled in to wait for my 2 p.m. appointment. I needed to be in and out quickly after our 30-minute appointment in order to get to my next appointment on time. At 1:47 pm she stepped out of her office, ...
- Business Growth: Transform to Grow (9/15/2015) - Part two of the series on Business Growth. In this podcast, Lea shares insights and real world experience of challenges and experience of clients and practical how-to's of growing your business. Read the associated article: Business Growth: Transform, Change, and Grow Listen Now