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Finding Your Ideal Client

Starting your own business is exciting and scary all at the same time.  You never know what the day will hold.  There is no longer a guaranteed steady paycheck, and the security blanket has been pulled off!  But that doesn’t mean that you should go after every single potential client out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should be tooo picky, what I am saying is that in order to steadily grow your business, you’ll need to know who your ideal client is, and where they live.

So a little sorry about a street called Prickly Pear Cove, and how I sooooo badly wanted to say that we cleaned every house on the block.  All the homes were worth over $5 million dollars.  They were architectural dream homes.  I was drooling…and I was so wrong.   I thought to myself, the bigger the house, the larger the value and the more likely they are to need a maid service. But here’s the thing, we are a cleaning company, but we’re not housekeepers.  There is a big difference, a huge difference in fact.  

I sent out handwritten letters to each of these homes, along with our brochure and some additional goodies.  I then crossed my fingers that these folks would pick up the phone and get that first service booked.  Days came and went. Weeks went by and not one call came in from Prickly Pear Cove.  Not one caller who mentioned my painstakingly handwritten letter! Then it dawned on me.  These folks have staff.  They have personal assistants, nannies, housekeepers, gardeners.  

I was to get real and figure out who our clients were.  

I took one look at my current schedule and really thought about it.  Who are my clients, and not just my clients, but my favorite clients?  The ones that I know. The ones who are comfortable when I call them by their first name.  What do they do?  Where do they live?  Is there a pattern?  

So I started to drill down and look at the data, instead of going after the whales that I thought we needed. What did the data say?  It said that we serviced 50 zip codes in the Austin Metro area, but the majority of our clients were concentrated in just 5 of those zip codes.  

So I turned to Google to look at what, if anything, these zip codes have in common.

Here’s what I found:

  • Median income averaged just under $100,000 in all 5 zip codes.
  • Home value averaged $250,000
  • The majority of homes where dual income
  • The average sq ft of the homes was right around 2000 sqft

So what did I learn?  The data shows that I don’t want to target homes that are in the millions, and over 5000 sq ft.   Will we clean them?  Do we clean a few of these? Yes of course, but they are not are ideal client, or our Target Market.

So dig into the data and make it work for you. I like City Data.  They have a ton of information and various demographics to find your ideal client.  Some of the information is not current, but it will still show you the basics, and of course, it’s good to always keep an eye on the real estate market so you can see which areas are up and coming, and possibly which areas are going down in value.

So let me give you one more tip.  For us, it’s all about the condos and apartments.  

We currently clean 10+ units on a weekly basis in Condo Building A, but we clean 0 (ZERO) units in Condo B which is right across the street.  I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t break into Condo B. They are both newer buildings, with very similar values.

Then I found out Condo B has concierge services…which basically means they offer in-house cleaning services. Condo B is like living in a hotel that you own, and therefore not our target market.

So depending on the type of service you provide, you’ll want to define your own ideal client.  No two markets are the same, but if you look at the data, you should be able to drill down and determine where your target market lives!

Here’s another tip to check out to grow your client base: Turning Your One Time Clients into Recurring Clients