At a recent small business conference I went to, the speaker was the hugely successful, good looking and filthy rich owner of a Mexican fast food franchise that was setting growth records in his industry. A business strategy consulting company in the audience asked him what the number one challenge in his business was. His answers were interesting: 1. A recent legislation had been causing chaos and nightmares for all his CEOs and 2. He couldn’t find a good pita manufacturer.
I’m pretty sure most people didn’t expect those specific answers. They would expect things that are generic to most businesses like growing pains, retention, financing, rising costs etc. Nope, those were not the answers that were given.
Keeping You Up At Night
The importance of picking just one industry to focus on as your ideal target client is so important in marketing. I’ve been telling this anyone who would listen. But this was the best demonstration that what keeps this CEO up at night is SPECIFIC to his industry and so painful that it is having a huge impact on his business.
What’s keeping him up at night is only relevant to HIS industry.
Pick Your Nightmares
When your marketing materials and even how you introduce yourself in a networking meeting reflects your niche clients’ most acute nightmare, then you’ve got them at ‘hello’. When you’re generic, you’ve lost them before you open your mouth.
What would it be like if you could say ‘I help food franchises impacted by Bill x grow their sales by doing y’ versus ‘I help small to medium sized businesses with strategy development’. Which sounds better to you?
So the first step is obviously to pick the right industry to focus on. The one that’s going to pay the bills and provide enough clients who find value in what you do. The second is to find out about their nightmares and speak to them about how you can help.
Remember, no two nightmares are alike because no two industries are alike. You need to recognize that if you’re going to get your clients to throw their credit cards at you.
- Are You A Nightmare Client? (business2community.com)
- 9 Common Nightmares (and What They Mean About Your Work) (openforum.com)
- Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Ways to Make Your Inbox Less of a Nightmare (lifehack.org)