Clear mission, client focus and opportunities that interest YOU
Ideal client work’; what does that mean?
When a business has been around for more than a year, the owners start to see where things go right and where they could go wrong.
I’m a massive advocate of taking time to assess which jobs made you money and which didn’t, so we can learn and grow from any mistakes. You can do this even if your business is less than a year old. Look at each job you do.
In the past, I have written about recording your time (especially for any service company) see the March issue for a recap on this. Without reviewing what jobs have been monetarily successful or not, it may be the case that you keep going, without reflection and incur further losses on jobs. Taking the time out to evaluate where you are at (every month at least) is a great way to ensure your new venture works on its successes and learns what it can from the ‘learning experiences’ (I don’t like the ‘failure’ word). Take stock and learn what you can from every challenge you face.
So what works?
The first step is to be focused and mindful enough to slow things down on a regular basis. Take the time out to review the past few jobs you have done and be honest with yourself about what worked and what didn’t. Facing this truth is not about bashing yourself. Stay focused on the learning opportunity only. Ask yourself some of the following questions: (Writing these out manually can be a great way to really absorb the information)
*When I compare a good and ‘bad’ job, what are the striking differences between both?
*What worked really well that I made more money than normal this month?
*What upset me about that work?
*Why did I enjoy that project?
*Was it a personality that I got along well with?
*What had I in common with that customer/client?
*What did I charge for that project?
*How quickly did that job turnaround?
LEARN TO SAY NO
We are all aware of how hard it is to say no to a new job. The key is to learn which jobs you will take on going forward and which ones you will say no to. It can be hard at first and definitely takes practice. You may feel you are losing out.
You are not. You are being more strategic about your business than most people are, so be happy about this.
Perhaps you can find a business to collaborate with. They may provide services that you don’t and you may find you can work well together from a referral point of view. No two businesses are ever the same. Even if they look like they provide the same services, it’s my experience that they usually have an individual focus that will always differ (either slightly or a lot). Most importantly, saying no frees you up to work with ideal clients. If you’re busy with less than ideal clients, how can you work on getting more of the ‘good clients’ you want to work with?
When things start to get a little busy and as the sales come rolling in, you may find you have various opportunities. If you are in a good space, you may find you actually have too many opportunities. This can feel overwhelming and confusing. Being really clear about your mission, whom you want to work with and what opportunities you are interested in, means that when people approach you about new opportunities, you already have an idea of what you want and what you don’t want. Many business owners, unfortunately, fall prey to other people’s agendas. They end up servicing companies or people they never set out to. They can also end up not making as much money as they had thought.
By doing ‘ideal client’ work very consciously, this keeps you focused on ‘YOUR’ end game. What you are trying to achieve with your business or through your business, is THE most important thing to remember. Yes, it’s easy to fall off track.
When you do, regroup and take time out again to review what’s working and what’s not.
Everyone will have opinions on what you should do in your business, be sure to listen to the voice inside your own head first.
This article was written for the August issue of Self-Starter Magazine. A free online publication for people starting out in business. For more information check out Kajsa (Kjellstrom) Kinsella on LinkedIn.
Best of luck with your ideal client work and growing your business this month.
For more information – contact Wendy : firstname.lastname@example.org