It’s a term that I’ve heard a lot since I became freelance. To make your business a success identify your ideal client and how you help them solve their problems. Then design all your marketing and communications in a way that speaks to that client.
I get it. I honestly do. BUT..
I question how useful or realistic it really is. I created my ideal client avatar (ICA) and then along came two clients that didn’t fit my neat little mould at all. My ICA was a CEO and here I was working with an executive coach and the MD of a training and consultancy business.
So what does that mean – should we throw away the idea ? Well not altogether. It was definitely helpful in thinking about the kinds of people I wanted to work with and how to communicate exactly what it is that I offer. I still work with a client that fits my ICA but it’s something I now believe we should hold onto lightly. Circumstances may mean the reality is different than what we imagined. Different in surprising ways that we hadn’t considered. And if we hold on to the image of the ideal client we’ve so carefully designed we may end up missing those clients that just come along through referrals or other connections. You know, the ones that fulfil what most of us want – to do interesting work with interesting people.
The most successful organisations are those that start with an idea but don’t allow themselves to be restricted by it. Instead they have the ability to see beyond it. Of course it is useful to think about who our clients are and how we can serve them. It’s an idea used by organisations of all sizes from the very small to the largest. It helps them identify their market and create services in a way that fufills what their clients are looking for.
However, that doesn’t mean we should get stuck in a particular niche or limit ourselves. If we do that then we run the risk of missing clients that may not fit our ideal but could lead to growth in ways that we hadn’t conceived of.
To really be a success we have to see the bigger picture. As Banksy said “Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a ******* sharp knife to it”.
To find out more about what my clients have to say about working with me read my testimonials.