I want to share the highlights of a conversation I had with a potential client last month because his angst and his troubles might resonate with you.
To me, they represent the epitome of why so many entrepreneurs fail. I hate that because entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy and my mission is to help as many as possible succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
Jack (not his real name) has a book written, endorsed and published. He also has a workbook written, endorsed by a medical professional, published and ready to go with the book. He has three keynote speeches floating in his head, which although they need to be written down, he has given off the cuff already.
He has two web domains, a website underway, Twitter, LinkedIn and blog accounts which he uses profusely and a goal in mind to quit his full-time job soon and become a teacher, speaker and helper to all.
He has given his services away for free to a handful of clients because he is not sure he is worthy of what he wants to charge and besides he just wants to help them so money is really the least of the issues. He established a local face-to-face Meet Up group which contains 40 potential clients. However, because he has been busy, he has not done anything with that group.
He also has an ex-wife, a whack of debt, a live-in girl friend and a few personal issues that need to be taken care of. PLUS, he doesn’t feel he has made much progress because he has only been working on this stuff for two years and at 53 he feels his days are numbered.
He thinks he wants to work with me because I help people make money but he doesn’t have any money. So up to now, well, he just does everything that comes along. However, nothing works as it is supposed to so he gets frustrated and stops. He stalls and gets scared and is now totally frustrated about which way to go.
The Targeting Conundrum
After he had run out of steam, I asked him one question: Who are the people you are targeting your book and your services to? His answer was Everyone. So, I asked: Who do you want to work with the most? His answer: I can work with everyone. Of course you can, but who are your favorites? Who give you the most joy? Who in the group that you have worked with did you enjoy the most?
Oh. Hmmmm. And then we were finally into a productive conversation.
You see, 95% of all entrepreneurs have great ideas, great products and great services; but they forgot the most important thing. Who are the end customers?
Until you know intimately who the end customer is, everything is really, really hard. Is your customer male, female, young, old, black, white, Hispanic, married, single, religious or not…how much income…how many kids…what do they watch on TV…what do they eat…how do they think? In short, you want to know them and their beliefs almost as well as yourself or your family; because then all the messages that you develop will be a piece of cake.
Secondly, we humans have an extremely short attention span. We jump from one shiny object to another all the time.
In the beginning – the first five, sometimes ten years – of building a business, the most critical activity we need to focus on is the customer – not our websites, not our social media activity, not our PR. We need to go out to where our customers are – be smart and specific about where our potential customers are located and be smart and specific about what we say to them.
When we work full or even part time; when we are moms or caregivers, time is at a premium. We can not afford to waste it.
The one thing we all must do is devise a plan of action. That plan of action must encompass our goals and objectives for the year – for our sales, our marketing and our communications. It must be comprehensive and SMART. It must be itemized by action item by month, week, day and then by hours in the day BASED ON the amount of time we can afford to give to it.
There is no right or wrong answer. We are all busy; however, busy does not mean we are smart and it certainly does not mean we have the laser focus to get where we ultimately want to go. That calls for a PLAN.
Fortunately, Jack agreed with me and he is now on a path that fits with his life. He is busy and he is focused. I have high hopes that ultimately he will get to the top of his mountain.
To your success!