Anyone who’s in or been in business will tell you starting and building a business is a bit of a harder slog than they first anticipated – particularly in a service business.

But if you’re committed to keep on doing what’s necessary to find clients, service them to the best of your ability and tweak your business to always deliver what your clients want, chances are that the vagaries of revenue will smooth out into something more predictable. Hint: even if you sell tangible products – how your customers deal with you pre and post-purchase is the service part.

So to build a successful business the questions you need to answer, at face value, look like the following;

  1. How do you find customers/clients?
  2. How do you ensure you’re servicing your clients well?
  3. How do you make sure you’re actually delivering what they want?

And they’re all good questions to ask. Except they miss one of the most critical. In fact asking yourself the following question and attempting to the best of your ability to focus on it is a better predictor of longer-term success.

So what’s that question?

Who is my IDEAL customer?

Yes, we know that especially when you’re first starting out it’s really tempting to take any customer that comes to the door. However, if you build a business out of servicing anyone, sooner or later, you might find you don’t want to go to work any longer because it just doesn’t feel right for you or you’ve built a business of customers you don’t actually like. And having to deal with that on a daily basis, we think that would be truly awful.

So, no matter where you are in your business at the moment, stop and ask yourself are you building a business of clients you really like?

Once you’ve answered that, you might ask yourself the following questions;

  • Which customer/client have I most enjoyed working with over the last year
  • What made that piece of work/customer outcome special

And then do that for another 3-5 clients. See if you can pick similarities in the experience. It might take a couple of minutes, maybe even half an hour, of really looking to find those similarities. But when you do, it’s a real light bulb moment.

Then you can go back to asking the first three questions. But this time, you’ll be answering them with the aim of finding more of the clients and customers you really enjoy.

As for help on those questions, you might like to read a previous blog post on how to find more of those customers.

When it comes to making sure that you’re servicing your customers well and providing them with exactly what they need – the only way to do it well is to ask them.

Those of you that have been clients for a while will remember, that a number of years ago, we did a customer satisfaction survey. Yes, it’s kind of daunting asking for the unvarnished truth about how you’re doing, but what the survey can reveal is truly enlightening. It absolutely highlights what your customers want, what’s working for them and the areas they can see for improvement.

Asking our clients what they wanted made a real difference to our business and it could for yours too. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

As always, if you’d like help building start-up or growth plans, making sure you’ve got the right business structures in place or focus on what’s ahead for your business – we’d be delighted to help. You can call Kerry on 6023 1700drop us a note or connect with Kerry via LinkedIn.

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