I recently heard a business owner question whether she was limiting her business by defining her target market as Mums, I would suggest that she isn’t limiting it enough
What is a Mum?
I’m a Mum. I’m not the same Mum I was 26 years ago but I’m still a Mum. 26 years ago I was a new Mum thinking whether or not I should return to my corporate career. Now I’m a Mum to two young adults and have a small business that is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
The intervening years have seen my life and my business change. 26 years ago I needed help with childcare in order to be able to work. By the time we’d paid the household bills and for childcare there wasn’t much left and any spare cash went on the children and family holidays. As the children become more independent I have more disposable cash and the ability to invest more in my business and the occasional indulgence.
But I’m only one kind of Mum; others have different life experiences and different priorities. There are young Mums, and older Mums, single Mums and those who can easily call on family support, Mums with one child and Mums with a whole brood and everything in between. Some Mums stay at home, some have high-flying careers, some take ‘a little part time job’ and others run a business. Mums are not all the same so they are not one target market!
We need to understand why someone might need us but also whether that need translates into something they want to pay to solve. We don’t always buy what we need but will usually find a way to buy what we want. Your challenge is to find people who want what you sell and will prioritise the expenditure. That means getting specific in defining our ideal client.
The more specific we are in defining our target market the easier it is to design our products or services to meet the needs of that market and for our ideal clients to recognise themselves as such. That means asking lots of questions…
- What are we selling?
- Who could be interested in what we’re selling?
- Why would they be interested?
- Who would prioritise buying what we are selling? Why?
- Who would be prepared to spend proper money on what we’re selling?
- Who would not be a good fit?
- Which of these types of people are we best suited to serving?
Let’s think how a virtual assistant might apply these questions (these are just some ideas, you may have more).
What are we selling?
- Help with administrative tasks from booking appointments, updating records, typing documents, invoicing, website updates, marketing activities etc.
- Time to get on with your priorities whether they are income generating tasks or time to manage the home and family
- Relief from stress
Who could be interested in what we’re selling?
- Busy small business owners who haven’t got the time or skill to do these jobs themselves
- Busy executives and professionals who work long hours and don’t have time to manage all aspects of their private life
- People with disabilities who may need help with some tasks
- People who have complex or busy family lives or significant voluntary or word commitments
Why would they be interested?
- Because disorganisation causes stress
- Because they want to grow their businesses, gain promotion and need to focus on their core skills
- Being organised allows them to do more things they enjoy doing
- Because having a ‘PA’ gives them status, security from having someone to keep them on track, saves them from the embarrassment of missed appointments etc.
Who would prioritise buying what we are selling? Why?
- Business owners with ambitions to grow, because they know they can’t do it all
- Business owners who are not detail oriented and want someone to take care of the small details. Someone who can help them to realise their ideas and plans
Who would be prepared to spend proper money on what we are selling?
- Business owners who have consistent income recognise that they are in danger of losing money or customers because they aren’t getting all they need to do done but they are not yet ready to commit to a full time employee.
- Career highflyers who don’t want to waste their limited free time on ‘mundane’ tasks; they’re used to delegating at work but may not have a PA who can take care of non-work related activities
Who would not be a good fit?
- A busy person whose income was inconsistent and who wants to quibble on price or your offer
- A business owner who is not yet making money and doesn’t have access to capital to invest in growing their business or who needs to get agreement from a family member or business partner who doesn’t see the need for help.
Which of these people am I best suited to serving?
- Only you can answer this but think about your own personality type and the sort of people you get on with and work best with
- Consider your skills and experience which might lead you to certain sectors or individuals where your previous jobs may allow you to add value.
So dig deep to find your ideal client and keep digging until you really feel you’ve understood your target and their needs and wants in depth.