Once upon a time I was the director of a management training and consultancy practice.  Actually, I was one of three directors and we all came from different backgrounds.  I was from FMCG – retail, my colleagues were from banking and finance training and from further education.

We all had ideas about how to make our business successful, but couldn’t agree on a single focus.  There were a number of conversations in our management meetings about who we could help – and every suggestion was followed by someone else chipping in ‘Yes, but we could also help this type of company …’

We all had our pet projects and none of them really gained traction, because there wasn’t a single focus and a combined effort.

The company stumbled along for a few years and eventually I resigned as it wasn’t paying me enough to live on.  It went into voluntary liquidation the following year.

This is why I bang on about ideal client profiles so much.  However, that’s only the first step.

Who and where and what and how

Knowing who you can help – in detail – is your initial focus.  Think of it as an archer who is facing the target and can see it clearly.

Then you must know where these people are to be found.  What business groups do they attend, which social media are they active on, which forums are they involved in?  This is your archer pointing the arrow at the target.

Now you need to understand your potential client.  What are the things that give them headaches, what keeps them awake at night and stresses them out?  Your archer is now taking account of the surrounding conditions, wind, light, noisy activities nearby, etc.

Finally you need to know how you can help them, which of their problems you can solve and what they will experience with that problem fixed.  Your archer is now drawing the string back and sighting at the target, and using their expertise to send the arrow flying accurately to the bullseye.

One at a time

If your business offers a wide range of products or services you may be thinking ‘but we have more than one ideal client profile’.  There’s no reason you can’t have more than one, but it’s best to focus on one at a time and create a process to reach, educate and engage with just one audience.

When you have got that ‘pipeline’ up and running successfully, you can move on to the next profile.

This worksheet might be useful in creating your ideal client profiles.