Number one in our new feature article series, “5 Ways to Simplify Your Business and Make More Money” is to know what you do and for whom.

As women we want to help everyone. Newsflash: We cannot. That is why it is important that we not only become clear on who can benefit most from what we have to offer, whom is seeking it most from us and who has the ability to pay, but also with whom we want to work.

My intention for this topic is less about defining your target market and messaging in the formal business plan sense and more about being honest with yourself about who you can and want to help, and how. You want to be able to communicate that easily and with confidence. That way, your intended audience listens and you have clear boundaries about your desired clientele and what you will do- and not do- for them.

How does being clear about what you do and for whom, provide boundaries?

First, it focuses your attention on the core group of people you are looking for when talking with potential prospects, networking and choosing promotional activities. Who are your ideal customers?

When you know what demographics, traits, behaviors and lifestyle your ideal customers have they are easier to spot. Otherwise, it feels like spraying and praying when you communicate your message, whether through formal promotional activities or networking events. Bottom line is when you are clear about what you do and for whom you attract and include those prospects, while excluding those whom do not fit with your definition of an ideal customer.

Second, being clear about what you do and for whom, provides boundaries that help you to more quickly identify when there’s an opportunity for which you should pass. Knowing your ideal client is your “go-to” reference when you evaluate and prioritize new business opportunities so when you come across someone who is not your ideal client you can pass.

Third, define what type of work falls outside of what you want to do for your clients. This establishes boundaries for your scope of business and where you direct your energy, and acts as a compass or guide when you face new opportunities. This knowledge gives you confidence to say “no” to an opportunity that does not match your self-defined criteria for your ideal client and desired projects. Your ideal client and projects may change over time so it is a good idea to periodically evaluate them.

Knowing WHAT you do and FOR WHOM simplifies your business by providing focus and minimizing distracters, and supports you to make more money by wasting less time and attracting and keeping the right clients and projects.

Here are some questions to consider in helping determine whether you should accept or pass on an opportunity:

  • Does this person/company meet my definition of an ideal client?
  • Does this opportunity align with my values, ethics and personal boundaries?
  • Am I the best person to assist the client with their need?
  • How will saying yes to this opportunity help me and my business?
  • How does this opportunity fit with my vision for my business?
  • Will this opportunity bring me closer to my goal?

What other questions do you ask yourself to choose the right business opportunities?