Anyone who has ever run a business has been on the search for a common goal: to find a workable method of always being able to secure new clients. They might not have used these words, but they were searching.

In our surveys of over 10000 business owners, more than 40 per cent told us finding new customers is their number one challenge in business.

These days, every market is becoming more competitive due to the globalisation of trade and technology. But this doesn’t mean a small business can’t survive — you just have to work harder on getting your value proposition and business model clearly established. This includes a workable method of attracting and retaining the ideal customer for your business.

This doesn’t, however, mean that every business idea will be workable or survive — there isn’t a great market for candlestick makers or buggy whip manufacturers these days, for instance. But there is a place in any market for anyone who seeks to understand customer needs and wants well enough to find an opening in that market.

Workable means a model that allows you to attract customers for a cost that delivers a good return on investment. A bad return on investment would be spending $1000 to pick up a customer who only delivers $100 in revenue for the first year of doing business.

Here are five ways you can establish a workable marketing model for your business:

  1. Survey, survey, survey: The more you understand the needs and wants of your ideal customer, the more you will be able to match those needs with a valued product or service. Don’t stint on doing enough surveys of your ideal audience to understand this.
  2. Don’t deal with non-ideals: It may sound obvious but so many businesses are trying to serve customers who are not ideal for them. These customers take too much time and effort to serve, or they are too price-focused, always complaining or changing their mind, or not giving you enough time to make and deliver products. Customers aren’t always right and are often not right for you.
  3. Be focused: Don’t try to be all things to all people. And definitely don’t spend money trying to promote to everyone. Find your niche and ideal customer, and then be creative about finding ways to promote only to them — one by one, if necessary. Don’t fall for the idea that spending money on expensive advertising reaching thousands of your ideal customer is the right method. Sometimes spending a little to reach just ten of them can be even better, depending on your business model.
  4. Don’t get dispersed by the noise: We have found that 90 per cent of the advice that business owners are listening to, comes from the very channel they are thinking of promoting in. Don’t ask Google if advertising on Google is a good idea, nor Facebook about Facebook advertising — seek independent advice on marketing, or find out yourself from the customer.
  5. Pilot and be sane: Always pilot a marketing idea with a small group or in a small geographical area to see if it works, and never assign your whole budget to something untried. Likewise, when you do find something that works — stick to it until it stops working. Some business owners we speak to, get bored and stop doing successful things in the pursuit of some new marketing idea. This is crazy.

We’ve worked with hundreds of business owners over the past 17 years, and for every single one, we’ve found something that works to attract new customers. Equally we’ve found things that didn’t work — the trick is to measure and recognise the difference between the two.

Over time, increase the things that work, and decrease or stop those that don’t. It seems simple, but it takes focus and persistence. Good luck finding the workable marketing model for your business.

What have you found has worked as a model for your business?

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