It is very tempting when you are starting a business to cast your net too widely and to try to appeal to many different types of customer.
The problem is that by being so general, you finish up talking to no one.
I think it’s easier to see how crazy this is by stepping out of the business world.
Imagine that you are a lonely man who is looking for a date.
The problem is, you don’t seem to meet many women in your everyday life so you decide to do what many others do and write a personal advertisement in your local newspaper.
You could take the easy way out because you’re not sure what you want.
“Woman wanted – any age”
That’s pretty clear and you’ve not ruled out anyone because they are just outside any artificial criteria you set.
Not many words either so it won’t cost much.
Because the advert is from a desperate man.
You may as well have said
“I am a desperate man. Any woman will do.”
And that’s not a very attractive proposition.
So you stop to think what you want and narrow it down a bit.
If Cheryl Cole is your ideal woman (she was the FHM Sexiest Woman in the World in 2009 and 2010) you identify the following characteristics:
Successful singer and personality
Aged 27 (she was born 30 June 1983)
That’s given you something to work with.
Now Cheryl Cole probably doesn’t read the personal ads in your local paper so your ad has to say more than “Cheryl Cole call me” but someone like her may.
Which characteristics are most important to you?
Does a woman have to be beautiful, nice looking or perhaps looks aren’t important to you.
Does she have to be a Geordie or just support Newcastle United?
The more you refine what you are looking for, the more you can write a personal ad which will attract the type of woman you do want to meet.
The alternative is, you are so desperate any woman will do.
It’s the same in business.
Holding your arms out and shouting “Any customer will do” won’t attract anyone.
You want to attract those customers who are right for you.
Those who give you an opportunity to do your best work.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace.
You too can move past your profit tipping point by answering the seven big questions of business success.
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