Whether you are getting ready to start your business or you’ve already had a few customers, there are some basic answers you need to be able to answer about the who and the how of your business. You need to be able to answer these questions in order to build and scale successfully. Many newer businesses, especially freelancers and side hustlers don’t know or don’t think they need to take the time to consider these aspects of their business. But without them, it will be tough, if not impossible, to grow and keep your business running long term. So take a few minutes to consider the following.
Who is your business?
This might come in the form of an elevator pitch or a mission statement. Either way, take the time and sit down to think about who your business is going to serve and how are you going to bring them value? For example, my coaching business is all about helping young women who are either looking to start or have already started a side hustle. They are most likely working a full or part-time job and while the money might be good, they don’t feel fulfilled. They are not interested in being a starving entrepreneur. Instead, they want to take the time to build a great business with a solid foundation so that they can leave their job after they have grown their side hustle into a healthy income. I help them with the start of their side hustle journey, growing in the middle, and the transition into entrepreneur life. It’s not a one-liner, but it’s pretty specific about who I’m helping and how I’m helping them. Try to get clear about your purpose. This will help you to decide which clients/customers are right for you.
Who is your target audience?
This is where you often hear that you need to make an avatar for your ideal customer. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you don’t know who your target audience is, just think about projects or clients you would be most excited to work on. For me, I love helping young women who want to work for themselves. I’ve been there and I can relate to them. I’m excited when I get to work with them that’s my target audience. By focusing on your target audience you can more effectively tailor your content and marketing to directly speak to their pain points and their desires. A young female looking to start a side hustle while working in a day job might have a totally different set of pain points than a retiree looking to start a business for some additional income. This is where you can focus on your target audience so that you can better describe the who and how of your business. Who you help and how you help them.
Do I really need a niche?
Some very successful business owners swear by niching down. They say that you need to get extremely specific about your niche and your target audience in order to be considered an expert to that specific portion of people. And while a niche can definitely help you grow your business, it’s very possible to start and grow a business without one. If you are feeling nervous and stressed about choosing a niche, don’t worry. Just focus on finding customers and clients who you are excited and happy to work with. Many people don’t consciously niche their business, but through referrals, they will start to specialize in helping a specific type of person or business. Focus on getting sales that make you happy to be working on your business and don’t stress about the need to niche.
How do you help your customers?
This is the “how” of your business. You’ve focused on who your business helps but now it’s important to get clear on how you help them. What are your target customers’ pain points? My ideal coaching client may have already booked a few clients but now she’s struggling with setting up her business to make it legit and she’s wondering what the hell she needs to do about an LLC, taxes, and business bank account, etc. She’s also struggling to figure out how to track and prioritize everything she needs to do since she’s most likely running her business in the evenings after work and on the weekends. Plus now that she’s had a couple of sales, she’s wondering how she can get more. I help my coaching clients set up systems and processes that will help them run and grow their business with a minimal time commitment so they can focus on serving the clients they already have and then we focus on strategies and training to grow their business to make more money and start working towards leaving their day jobs. What pain points do you solve for your customers, how do you solve their problems? Being able to talk through that is imperative to making future sales.
Will anyone buy?
You need to be sure that your target audience is willing to pay for you to solve their problems in the way that you’re proposing. If your target audience won’t pay for your solutions, or they’re not actually having the problems you think they are, you’re not going to make any sales. This is where you need to validate your product or service. Talk to your target audience, find out exactly what their pain points are. Ask them what they think about your solutions. You can also ask if they would pay for those solutions, how you could make your product or service more valuable to them, and how much they would be willing to pay for your solution. All of this can be done through reaching out to people in your target audience on Instagram, sending some emails to people you know you could help, or jumping in relevant Facebook groups and asking if your solution makes sense. Remember this is not selling. If your idea is a good one that really is solving their problems and you are talking to your target audience. There’s a chance it will resonate with them and you might make a couple of sales. But the whole purpose of this part of the process is to get feedback so make sure you’re not pitching them. You’re surveying them and getting feedback. It also doesn’t hurt to offer something to them for a deep discount or free or even just send them a $5 gift card to Starbucks to thank them for their time. They’re helping you out after all.
If you’ve already started your business and you’re thinking “crap I can’t answer any of that.” Don’t worry! Set aside some time to think through all of these. It will help ensure that you’re building your business on a solid foundation with a clear vision. Taking the time to answer these will also help keep you from having to burn everything down and start again in order to grow and scale your business effectively.
So what’s the who and how of your business?