If you are a seasoned business owner you are not new to this term. It flies around quite a bit in the entrepreneurial world.
We also have terms such as: Avatar, Persona, Audience, Niche, Target Market
No matter what term you label them, the entire concept comes down to understanding who your true customer is.
When we start out as new business owners, especially as solopreneurs, we get excited and want to share our “stuff” with everyone. So we start by having lots of services, because we’re afraid of excluding someone or leaving out a potential client.
Does this sound at all familiar?
I can easily say that this is something I did starting out, and I know plenty of fellow entrepreneurs who have done the same.
The problem is, by broadening your services too much, you are actually doing yourself a disservice and confusing your potential customers. Allow me to explain:
Intitially pin-pointing your niche offering can be conflicting and confusing.
When I started in May of 2015 I met many other start-ups as I attended networking event after networking event. I joined business associations in my community like Centre for Women in Business, Digital NS and the Halifax Chamber.
You meet so many great people. Some become clients and some become friends. 😊
I collected my fair share of business cards, too, which should sound rather familiar as well. Yah…I do that. I still do to this day. Truth be told, I love a great business card.
So many business cards. Some were fancy, pretty, shiny, others were flimsy, busy and confusing.
I recently pulled out my very first business card I used for SmartCat. You can probably guess which of those two categories this card fell under…. I had a list of 5 services on the back of my card. All marketing related. But not a specialization. There really wasn’t anything to help me stand out in the “crowd”. That was problem #1.
Looking back, I don’t think I was quite ready to be an entrepreneur.
I was still navigating who Nicole was , away from the large branded companies of my corporate world. Then again, who is? We all have to learn somehow. I took in the lessons and built myself into the successful business owner I am today.
Everything including the kitchen sink
What I mean to say is, I think we all start out with large offerings. We will list out everything and the kitchen sink because we want everyone to know all the things we can do. We want to cast out that net as wide as we can to catch as many fish as possible.
As we move forward as new business owners, working with our clients, we learn that offering things that are outside of the norm of what you do will simply muddy up your value.
For example, let’s say you build custom wood furniture. In your services you offer health supplements. Your client who is looking to get her hutch built may second guess your credentials because she will be confused as to why you are also selling health supplements.
Make sense? You are now targeting two different kinds of customers. Your messaging to couples looking to get that bedroom set they’ve always wanted will not be the same when you are addressing health concerns and the health benefits of your products.
Another example would be an optometrist offering eye exams and then also offering t-shirts on etsy.
Finding your tribe goes beyond passing out business cards to see who will call us the next day.
Starting a business has a long list of “must-do’s and must-haves. Writing out a strategy and a business plan are at the top. Your strategic plan includes researching who your target audience is.
There are a few questions you need to dig deep and answer:
– Who are you? Tell your tribe who you are and the uniqueness of doing business with you.
– What do you do? This outlines the particular services you offer.
– How can you help them? Do you know what their pain points are? What are you solving?
– What is in it for the client? Be client centric. Don’t be product centric.
Once you figure out that “thing” that makes you unique, and create a selling proposition that no one can say ‘no’ to, then you’ll notice a difference in how your target audience is responding to your pitches.
In the beginning , if there was one thing I could tell you, it would be to stay focused on one tribe – that means focusing on only one buyer persona and creating clear messaging around this group of people. That one group of people is your ideal client. That one group of folks who you serve and serve them well.
You will soon discover what you really love to do, what you really do exceptionally well and what you don’t like to do. I know I did.
A tribe is deeper than a simple buyer persona
They are who you are meant to serve. Deeper connections are formed, you share common behavioral patterns and probably have general demographics in common.
“These are people who are bonded to you by common traits and who seek the answer to a problem that you have learned to solve”
They also crave the encouragement, support and help you can give them. 🙋👏💙💙😃
If you are a coach, for example, a health coach or a business coach ; narrowing down your true tribe is essential if you want to meet them on an emotional level.
Because people buy on emotion. Period. It’s that simple.
Sure, they gather details and do their research on you and how you can help them, but at the end of the day it will be how they ”feel” about you. If they “feel” you can truly help them, then that will be what makes that difference between a NO THANKS and the “YES” you so desire that allows you to begin that working relationship.
A tribe is not only about your tribe of clients
It can also refer to the tribe of people who support you, work alongside you, cheer you on.
Collaboration is at the heart of SmartCat Marketing.
I do this with my tribe.
I believe in working with other ambitious, hardworking entrepreneurs. We have so much to learn from one another.
Let’s warm up this cold spring weather by spreading some love. Who is in your tribe and how have they helped and supported you? Please share your stories in the comment section!