I’ve played guitar for 30 years. In a crowded room guitarists have a honing ability to discover fellow guitarists. Maybe it’s the long thumb nail. Perhaps the silver pick we hang around our necks or the fading Van Halen tattoo… the conversation inevitably begins with ‘So, what style of guitar do you play?’ , ‘huh?’, ‘rhythm or lead?’

I’ve never been able to answer that question. I just play guitar. I enjoy just playing guitar. I answer ‘oh, you know, a little bit of everything’. Sometimes we slap labels on what we do without consideration for what they actually mean.

Figuring out what it is that you do

There’s a place on your website where you define what you do and who you do it for.

‘We are suppliers of x’

‘We help businesses to y’

As my own consultancy business has evolved so has my own definition of who I serve. Who I want to work with.

7 years ago I started out as a consultant. I wanted to work with everyone! Big business? Small business? Startup? You bet! I thought that was what I did. Working with businesses.

Then your focus shifts.

You discover you don’t work for businesses. You work with people.

The problem is it sounds a like naff to say ‘I help people do better stuff online’.

People is just too generic.

So you go through the routine of defining just who you work with.

Do I serve B2B people? Do B2B people even exist?

You consider a host of different labels to attach to the work you do. That’s what attracts a response. ‘Hey look! This guy works with people just like us’. It’s frigging difficult. You don’t want to narrow down your potential audience do you?

Do you?

You do.

Consider what you want people to achieve

The problem here, particular in business, is the tendency to attach the ‘we help businesses grow’. You know what? We’ll all in the business of business growth. Even the water cooler man whose role is to hydrate your staff. To increase productivity. To help your business grow.

We’re all in the business of business growth:

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If you have too much time on your hands, search google for ‘we help businesses grow’. We’re all at it. It’s the default. It’s the template for defining what we do. It means nothing.

There will be a smarter way of defining who you work with. Not ‘businesses’. Not ‘people’. There’s a common ground, a mindset, to those that you want to attract.

For my own work, that common ground is the ‘change maker’. It’s a niche mindset. The majority of marketers are led by the actions of their industry, their competitors.

If Joe Schmoe is advertising on Adwords? Hell! We need to be there too!

I want to work with people who know that to ‘do better’ they need to change the way they market their business. Fundamentally. They want to create change.

Ask yourself what the shared mindset is of the people you want to work with is. Struggling? Be inspired by the way your own clients define what you do for them. You don’t put systems in place, or provide a ‘service’. You do far more. What is it? Think emotively.

Do IT contractors work with ‘wary CTOs concerned about their current infrastructure?’

Do software providers create for ‘time starved marketers needed hyper-quick access to relevant data?’

Do you serve coffee or do what Stumptown do?

Stumptown Coffee

Do you sell outdoors gear, or create what Huckberry have created:

Understanding your audience

We’re all people. In business there’s a simple requirement. To create an association between what we serve and how that service makes people feel.

Get to know your customer and you’ll learn the association you create. It’s not difficult.

Image credits

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