The Building of a Business Plan….Part 2

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After you have fully defined what it is you do, what product or services your provide, the second step is to work on your customer. Who is your ideal client? Who do you want to sell you products and services to? Again, you want to be as specific and descriptive as possible. The general public is not a good answer. The more you know about your idea customer, the more obvious your marketing strategies will be. Here are the kinds of questions you want to consider:

Who do you want to do business with? What are their characteristics? Is your customer an individual, a company, an industry?

What size is your ideal customer in terms of income, revenue, employee size, etc?

For people: Are they male or female? How old is your customer? Are they young, old, retired, just out of college. Do they have children? Where do they live? Where do they work? Where do they hang out? Where do they shop primarily? Given their age, how do they shop? Do they shop online, in stores, from catalogs? Do they want a brick and mortar place? Do they use social media? What do they read? Newspapers, social media, do they participate in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. What does your product bring to their life? Is it a convenience? Entertaining? Necessary? An impulse buy? How does it improve their life or their situation? What does it bring to their daily life? Why should they want to purchase it?

For Companies or businesses: Are they new businesses or established businesses? Where are they located? Does it matter where they are located? What industry resources do they use or read? What are their buying patterns? How does your product affect their business? Is it necessary to them or not? How does your product improve their situation?

The more factual information you can write down about your customer, the more obvious your marketing strategy will become. When you know your ideal customer really well, you know how to reach them. You know how to market to them. You know how to get in front of them via advertising, networking, etc. You recognize when a potential customer is not ideal and whether or not you should take time and resources pursuing a customer who is not ideal.

You will be surprised at the power that the information you get from this exercise will give you for moving forward with a strategy to reach these customers. New ideas will come to you as a result of gathering demographic information about your ideal customer. Some marketing or advertising strategies you have used will prove ineffectual and others will seem obvious. You will stop wasting time, money and effort with shot gun blast marketing that reaches a large number of people, but not the people you need to reach. Yellow page advertising is smart for some companies, but a huge waste of time for others. This is a bad example because the yellow pages as I think of them do not really exist anymore. But using my firm as an example; that kind of advertising is a complete waste of time and money. My ideal client would never look in the yellow pages for their CPA and if they did, they are not a client I want.

Give this exercise some time and effort and see what information you get that makes moving forward with a marketing strategy easier and more productive.

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