Finding Ideal Clients, Not All the Clients - Why Your Business Isn't For Everyone
Watch today's video post or read the transcript version below!
A lot of us start our businesses wanting to please everyone and take every client. We aren't focused on finding ideal clients.
When I started Greatest Story, I had this feeling that, I really wanted to please people with my business. Maybe you can relate to that? I started and I wanted all my offerings to work for people. So I'm always interested in some kind of design or writing, so that I can make it work for you, I want to help you.
I really did genuinely want to help people, as I think many of us do. Even to the point of, "my price doesn't work for you?", let me change that price, let me make that work for you too. And the thing that I'm learning, having been in business for five years now, is that you're not for everybody and that's actually a really good thing.
You're not for everybody, and that's a really good thing if you're in touch with it.
It's actually a big strength of your business, if you can be comfortable with that and know how to use that well, to serve you well, and to serve your clients well. It's a big asset to know when to say no, to know when somebody isn't a good fit for you.
The more that this business has grown and the more that I get wonderful inquiries from people of all walks of life going through all different types of projects and businesses. And when I hear from them, I really do genuinely want to help them. I want to meet their budget, I want to meet their expectations, I want to meet their needs.
But I have learned there are only certain things that I'm capable and that Greatest Story is capable of delivering - that we're only specifically good at. And there are things that other partners may do better. Other partners may have different availability, other partners may just be a better fit for communication style or location even.
Saying "no" to bad fit prospective clients is a healthy (and profitable) thing to do for your business.
There are going to be times when people who want to work with you, that you can't serve them well, as much as you want to say yes to those opportunities and to make everybody happy. You can't say yes knowing that you can't meet their expectations. That's what it means to have an ideal client.
It's not like, I prefer this person to come my way. It’s that you prefer someone to come to you that you can make happy. I have made the mistake as many have in starting a business and it still sometimes happens to me, that I take on a client that I can't make happy. That for whatever reason, we're not compatible in communication styles or we don't offer the things that they do really, truly need. Or our style just isn't meshing with theirs. And that's all fine. That person is great and we try to do great things, but at the end of the day, if you say yes to something that isn't a good fit nobody wins. Your business doesn't win. That person doesn't end up happy.
Saying "no" to working with collaborators who aren't a fit is also a smart thing to do, for everybody involved.
This goes for collaborators too. We can talk about clients, I know there are product based businesses too. When someone comes to you and wants to do something together sometimes that's not going to be a fit for you, for whatever reason. Maybe it's you don't align on topics, or you can't give the time that person wants from you. You really want to make that person happy, you really want to build an opportunity with them, but it's not the right opportunity. And the more you can be honest with yourself about that, honest as a business and straightforward honest with others, the better everyone else is going to be. People will appreciate your transparency and honesty.
The way to handle this is if you have a client or collaborator that isn't a good fit, what I recommend is just saying, "Hey, thank you so much for your interest! I really greatly appreciate it. Greatest Story would love to help you but we feel we're not the right fit at this time." You can share why. If you don't feel comfortable, that's ok too. You're still starting out. You're still trying to figure out how to give away these messages. But the thing I also really like to do is, "here's another idea. Here's some other partners who could help you. It sounds like what you really need is more of a true designer. I know these great designers, please contact them."
Having ideal clients, only taking on the good and best fits - this is what will lead everyone to success - for both you and those who want to work with you.
If you're wanting to be in business for the longhaul - you want to set people up for success. Even if that success doesn't come from you. And that's setting them up for happiness and they are going to think of you in the future because often whether it's a client and/or collaborator sometimes it's just bad timing. So you want to treat them well and you want to send them off in the world.
That's how you help people, not by taking every single thing that comes your way, or expecting to be the right fit for every single person. And that's really the thing about opportunity, it's not take every opportunity, the best opportunities happen because you pick them, because you know you can use them to the best of your ability. And when you spend your time on the things you can't do exceedingly well, then you're not serving your business well or yourself well.
So let's set everybody up for success and embrace the fact that we're not for everybody, and that's really OK.