For years now, when I converse with small business owners, I’ve heard the common complaint, “we can’t make any money, and we’re busier than ever!”
Even though I’m not a business coach, when we dig into that comment, I often find that all that “busy-ness” is unfocused… Simply burning up resources for the sake of having them, and that’s a terrible way to run a small business. When we take a deeper dive in how that time and energy is being used, the truth really comes to light: a business that doesn’t really know what its core business is.
Let me give you an example from my own industry. For many reasons, tax professionals seem to fall into this trap and it goes something like this: A highly skilled CPA opens up his or her practice and tries to serve everyone who comes in the door.
Pretty soon, they’re preparing returns for wage earners, they’re auditing the books for local businesses (big and small), they’re providing some financial services to retirees. Very quickly, their days are filled with “busy-ness” and by the time they can leave the office each day, they’ve put in more time than they ever did when they worked in the corporate world.
The worst part, though, is they aren’t making the money they made in the corporate world!
For our CPA in this example, if he or she really thinks about why they’re so busy and still not making a lot of money, they’ll often look for problems in the billing, or how they’ve calculated hours, or what have you. In reality, the problem is they’ve never taken the time to know their ideal client.
If that same CPA will “pick a lane” and stick with it – let’s say that lane is tax preparation for individuals – they can focus everything in their business on that specific process.
· How they attract and market to their ideal client
· Where they spend their advertising dollars and energy
· Determining what other services their ideal client might need
· Building strong referral networks for any services outside of their core focus
By doing this, and knowing EXACTLY who it is your business serves, you can maximize every component of your company to suit that client. More importantly, your ideal customer is more inclined to do business with you, because you’ve built a brand that focuses on who they are, what they want, and how they feel.
In the end, any successful business should be able to clearly state “We’re the guys who…” and fill in that blank about the ideal client and the results that business gives those clients.