I was lucky to gain a client last year who is a business and life coach. Every so often I’ll run into an issue in my web design business that needs an outside point of view and I give her a call.
I’m happy to refer to her as my business therapist. She has this strange ability to understand aspects of my business better than I do – she always comes up with something that I never thought of, and that is totally obvious once it’s out in the open.
For example: I have a new hosting client that’s in an office full of Mac users. I’m not a Mac user myself. This client has repeatedly had problems with email on her account, and I can’t replicate the issue. They have no in-house IT, so my business coach suggested that I establish a working partnership with 2-3 IT professionals here in town so I could make reasonably informed suggestions in cases like this.
Well, duh…. I’m working on that this week.
One of the other things that I like about working with her is that the first few times we met, she made me write a list of characteristics of my ‘ideal client.’
I have yet to meet this ideal client, but whenever I get together with my business therapist she has me rethink and refine this list of features. What started out as a fairly general checklist has now become a tool that helps me answer the question ‘is this a client I really want to pursue or not?’
It’s helped me focus my target clientele more precisely. Although I wouldn’t say I’ve really established a niche, I’m certainly a lot more aware of what kinds of clients I’d rather not have. The list is really more a way to weed out un-ideal clients than to find perfect ones.