When you start a business, you’ll intentionally go in with a particular target market in mind. Maybe you’re after women in their 30’s with kids, African American teens that enjoy sports, middle-aged white caucasian males, etc. It’s not really a customer restriction, but a guide for your marketing.
Realistically, you’ll service whoever is willing to purchase your product or service. Your initial target market is merely an assumption of who you think will benefit from your product the most. And it’s not until you’ve actually spent a large amount of time learning about your customers that you’ll actually know who you’re even selling to.
But most importantly, the kind of customers you’re looking for.
About two weeks ago, I was going over a few ideas with my business partner. He talked about the several hour-long meetings he’s been having with our mobile app clients, which is great on his part. Customer service and building those relationships will keep them coming back.
However, I was more concerned about his time management. But before I could really address my concerns, he dismissed them immediately without addressing them— what a jerk.
Don’t get me wrong; I understood that the investment of time we make into not only building software for people, but helping them build their business is one thing that gives us a competitive advantage. But I hadn’t yet seen the value in it because after the sales process is completed, I basically pass them off and provide business consulting services when they request it.
I spend most of my time hunting. Clients rarely hear from me during the building process, so I don’t get to know them as much as he does.
It wasn’t until I sat in on a meeting with him that I actually saw our perfect customer. We met with one of our clients, and we spoke for about 2 and a half hours. We looked at his app’s progress, talked about functionality, customer experience, design, monetization, beta testing, and even where we saw it going.
At the end of the meeting, Anson looked at me and said, “ Do you get it now?”. I looked back at him and said, “I want to work with people just like him. I want to spend my entire week having those kinds of conversations. That needs to be our target customer.”
Anson then added, “ Exactly! I don’t want customers anymore. I want clients. I want people who want more than to buy something a leave. I want actually to build things with people and have life-long clients. ”
Our clients weren’t just entrepreneurs looking for a mobile app developer. They all wanted a team, and they wanted to collaborate. They wanted feedback and input. Our clients didn’t choose us because they got a product, they loved getting our services. Anyone can build their app, but not anyone would actually take the time to help them build their business.
And our processes are set up for those exact types of people.
It took us 2 years and tons of clients to actually find out who we were selling to on a deeper level. And I believe many businesses have this same experience. You’re willing to provide goods/services to anyone that can afford it and is willing to work with you, with a preference for a certain group.
There's a certain kind of customer that makes your business better and gives you those brief moments where things feel right. And all the pieces fall into place.