by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
The way most companies are being built today is by having a specific customer group in our heads. We know exactly how their day looks like, what they usually buy or what other products or services they enjoy using.
We tend to have a specific customer persona in our heads.
Even though that’s what we learned at business school or business plan writing 101, this is attached to quite a big risk.
The moment we start visualizing our perfect customers or even worse write them down into our business plans we run into the danger of putting on blinders.
We wrote it down, so this has to be the customer segment we’re going to target. We need to focus on them from now on and nobody else.
I saw this happening all the time. I was actually inspired to write this story after I met with a team that had many ten thousands of subscribers.
They asked me for ways to generate more revenues. And instead of monetizing the already existing "shitty" customer group they preferred to reach out to a different vertical because they wanted to sell to their "perfect customers".
They never really tried monetizing their not so perfect customers...
It’s like picturing your wedding how exactly it has to look like. And if it doesn’t look like you expected it to be like, you’ll be upset (even though it might have been a great wedding). And the same holds true for your potential customers.
The moment you picture your perfect customer you stop seeing other potential customers. Customers you would never even have imagined to be interested in your product. Customers that are actually willing to pay money for whatever thing you throw at them.
They might not be the ideal customers you imagined to be targeting in your mind, but they might be the only ones to use your product and actually pay money for it.
So instead of focusing on one segment only it makes sense to step back for a moment and get rid of that focus again.
If you’re confused because everyone tells you that the most important thing is focus you’re right, at least partly right. You might even say that this investor guy told you that you need to focus (and he knows what he’s talking about, right?).
What he probably didn’t tell you is that before you’re able to focus on one thing you need to find out what the one thing you should focus on really is.
But how do you know that the customer segment you’re focusing on right now is the best one and not another one?
You won’t find the answer in an analyst report, by sizing the market (top down, bottom up or whatever), reading blog posts and news articles about an industry or customer segment.
The only way to find out which segment you should focus on is by testing it out in the fields. You should even (actually especially) try to monetize your "shitty" customers.
The only goal of your early stages is to find out which customer segments work best for YOU. And once you found it you need to focus on it and put all of your efforts and money into developing this segment.
And that’s when you should start focusing (just like that investor guy told you).
So be ready to try to monetize every potential customer out there and start searching for your pot of gold, instead of writing things down and then sticking to them.
Maybe the customers that you thought might the “shitty” ones turn into your true “cash cows”.
Just like that marriage in Vegas might turn out to be the best wedding ever…
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]