Why You Need to Zero In on Your Target Market

I attended an entrepreneurship pitch event the other day where I was asked to be the sales expert for the startups. It was a huge honor to be a part of this event where I was surrounded by budding soloprenuers as well as other business experts.

While talking with the founders of these new companies, I made it a point to listen to their pitches and offer suggestions. The majority of them were pretty darn good and only a few needed immediate help.

What I found most disturbing were the responses I received when I asked, “So, tell me…who is your target audience?” Not only were they unable to give me details, some even replied, “Everyone”.


Not to pick on just the startups, I even met some “experts” who gave the same reply when I asked, “How do I know when someone would be a good referral for you?”

An insurance salesman replied, “Anyone who drives a car.” Oh, Boy!

Here’s the problem with saying that “Everyone” or “Anyone” is your target customer: When you try to attract these groups, you waste valuable resources trying to attract people who cannot, will not, and should not buy your product.

Let’s take the insurance rep. “Anyone who drives a car” includes:

· The habitual DUI offender

· The pay-one-month-and-let-the-policy-lapse offender

· The serial uninsured motorist offender

In essence, he realized that not everyone who drives a car is his target market. His agency caters to a certain demographic that does not include the aforementioned groups. While there are some insurance companies that specialize in at-risk drivers, his agency is not one of them.

When we fail to have clarity around our ideal customer, it is easy to think that everyone can and will buy from us. Without a clear description of your target market, we can find ourselves wasting resources trying to attract the wrong customer. Instead of a shotgun blast, let’s shoot with a laser.

If you’re in business development, the time to define your ideal customer is NOW.

Whether your focus is saving money or time, defining your ideal customer is one of the most effective things you can do.

A lot of small business owners spend a lot of energy and thousands of dollars trying to reach their ideal customer without first knowing who that customer is.

Instead of marketing your product to the masses, I encourage you to take some time and precisely define your target customer. You need a precise understanding of your ideal customer in order to generate and communicate this profile to key stakeholders, whether in product development or marketing.

I have created a free worksheet to get you started. Find some quiet time to think about your answers. The clarity you gain of your ideal customer will help you focus your marketing efforts.

CLICK HERE for a free worksheet to get the juices flowing about your ideal customer.

As a small business owner, what steps did you take to discover your ideal customer? Comment below. I’m looking forward to seeing your responses.