What Should I Focus On to Grow My Business?

A Step-by-Step Guide to Identifying Your Ideal Client and Ideal Job

July 5, 2024
A small business owner identifying which marketing actions will help them grow their business.

Are you a business owner, entrepreneur, or side hustler looking to grow your business but unsure where to focus your efforts? 

You're not alone. 

The landscape of opportunities—from TikTok and YouTube to SEO and paid ads—can be overwhelming. So, how do you determine where to concentrate your marketing energy for the best return on investment?

In this guide, I’m introducing two critical concepts that are part of my Focus Flow.

Book a Focus Session to take the next step toward clarifying your marketing strategy and message.
Book a Focus Session to take the next step toward clarifying your marketing strategy and message.

Ideal Customer + Ideal Job

Here’s something I get asked all the time:

“Should I focus on [insert latest trend here] to grow my business?"

And here’s the answer nobody likes to hear: 

"It depends." 

But the reality is there’s no single strategy that works for everyone. Even if you're in the same industry as someone else, you may be focused on a different niche.

But I never just say, "It depends," because that’s not helpful. 

What follows next is one of my favorite exercises with entrepreneurs. I call it the Focus Flow, and it starts with two crucial questions:

  1. Who’s your ideal client?
  2. What’s your ideal job?

Let's dive into each of these.

Who’s Your Ideal Client?

If you’re even thinking about starting a business, this likely isn’t an entirely new question for you. However, I often meet business owners who have been at it for years and still don’t have this defined clearly enough to help them grow their business.

As an entrepreneur, understanding your ideal client is crucial for creating targeted marketing strategies that drive engagement and growth. 

Your ideal client description doesn’t initially have to be that technical. For example, my ideal client is an entrepreneur at a critical inflection point. 

They are typically in one of two stages: 

  1. O to 1: They are just getting started and need all the marketing things but don’t have the cash to pay for it. They need solid essentials so they can focus on their own genius to launch their business. They’re typically a solopreneur or side hustler. 
  2. 1 to 10: They’ve been at it a while. They know their business works, and they’re ready to grow it. They usually have a few employees and often even have people they pay to execute marketing tactics like email or social media. 

Both are entrepreneurs poised for growth and committed to making it happen.

But if you want to take it further in defining your ideal client, follow these steps to identify your ideal client effectively:

Step 1: Analyze Your Current Customers

Start by examining your existing customer base. 

Look for common characteristics among your best clients—those who bring in the most revenue and are the easiest to work with. 

Consider the following attributes:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, income level, education, etc.
  • Psychographics: Interests, values, lifestyles, personality traits, etc.
  • Behavioral Traits: Buying patterns, product usage, brand loyalty, feedback, etc.

Step 2: Conduct Customer Surveys and Interviews

Gather direct insights from your customers by conducting surveys or interviews. 

Ask questions that help you understand their needs, pain points, and motivations. 

Here are some example questions:

  • What problem does our product/service solve for you?
  • What made you choose our product/service over competitors?
  • What do you value most about our product/service?
  • How did you find out about us?
  • What are your biggest challenges related to [your industry]?

You don’t need to do a ton of these, but enough to see some themes emerge.

Step 3: Identify Common Pain Points

Analyze the data collected from surveys, interviews, and observations to identify common customer pain points. Understanding their challenges will help you tailor your offerings and marketing messages to address their specific needs.

Step 4: Create and Validate an Ideal Client Personas

Develop detailed client personas based on the information gathered. A client persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client, including demographics, psychographics, and behavioral traits. 

Each persona should include:

  • Name and Background: A fictional name and relevant background information.
  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, occupation, income, education, etc.
  • Goals and Aspirations: What do they aim to achieve professionally and personally?
  • Challenges and Pain Points: The main problems they face that your business can solve.
  • Buying Behavior: How they make purchasing decisions, preferred channels, etc.

Test your customer personas and assumptions by running targeted marketing campaigns. 

Use A/B testing to see which messages resonate most with different segments. Monitor key metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer feedback to validate or refine your personas.

Check out our persona guide if you want a deeper understanding of how to create an ideal client persona.

Identifying Your Ideal Job

Now that we know your ideal client, let's focus on identifying your ideal job. 

This step is crucial because it ensures that you’re not only attracting the right customers but also doing the work that is most fulfilling and profitable for you.

What’s Your Ideal Job?

Your ideal job revolves around the specific problems you love to solve and the value you provide to your ideal client. When you align your business activities with these factors, you’ll find greater satisfaction and success.

Steps to Identify Your Ideal Job:

  1. Reflect on Past Projects: Think about the projects or tasks you’ve enjoyed the most and have been most successful at. What kind of work excites you? Which projects made you feel energized rather than drained? Make a list of these projects to identify common elements.
  2. Assess Your Skills and Strengths: Evaluate your core competencies and unique skills. What are you exceptionally good at? What feedback have you received from clients that highlights your strengths? Focusing on what you do best will naturally lead you to your ideal job.
  3. Identify Key Problems You Solve: Consider the primary issues your ideal clients face that you are equipped to address. For example, if you're a remodeling contractor like our earlier client, maybe you excel at managing large-scale home renovations rather than small repairs.
  4. Determine Your Preferred Work Environment: Consider the type of work environment in which you thrive. Do you prefer hands-on activities or strategic planning? Do you enjoy working solo or leading a team? Understanding these preferences can help you narrow down your ideal job.
  5. Calculate Profitability: Analyze the profitability of different types of work. Which projects bring in the most revenue while aligning with your strengths and passions? Focus on those that provide the best return on investment.

Your ideal job should be a combination of:

  • The kind of work you love to do
  • The work that aligns with your strengths and skills
  • The work that is most profitable for your business

Your ideal client who needs you to do your ideal job is who you want to build your business around. It’s the customer you want calling on the phone or walking in the door over and over. 

You must define your ideal client specifically enough that there’s no doubt whether someone is or is not your ideal client.

Marketing can often feel like navigating a maze for purpose-driven entrepreneurs.

A Focus Session helps you take the next step toward a clear and actionable marketing strategy that can help you drive impact

A Real Life Example

Let me tell you a client's story to really flesh this out.

I was having this exact conversation with the owner of a remodeling company over some good BBQ. His youngest child was in high school, and he wanted to grow the business to a point where he could sell it in seven years. 

But when it comes to googling “how to grow your construction business,” it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the noise of general advice that doesn’t consider your actual business. 

And that’s where he was at.

As we talked, it became clear his ideal customer was a couple with significant disposable income who wanted to substantially upgrade their home. They needed to be able to fund a project in the $300K-$1M range and live within an hour of where he lived.

This ideal client was closely tied to his ideal job. 

He didn’t enjoy the churn of managing a ton of small jobs (bathroom remodel here, repaint there…). He loved tackling big projects like a whole home remodel, tear down and rebuild, or a new addition.

A facilitated conversation helped him to name these preferences more specifically and even recognize how life-giving it would be to only do the kind of projects he really enjoyed. 

After doing the math on his overhead and profit, we came to the conclusion that he only needed about 9 of these clients a year

There's nothing super complicated here. But here was the aha moment - He didn’t need the phone to ring off the hook; he needed the right people calling

And now he knew clearly who those people were.

This clarity allowed us to focus his marketing efforts on strategies that targeted his ideal client, who was looking for someone to do his ideal job.

Focus Flow

This abbreviated account of our conversation is part of what I call the Focus Flow, where we walk through the following questions:

  1. Who is your ideal client?
  2. What is your ideal job to do?
  3. What are your target numbers?
  4. What’s the magic moment right before someone decides to purchase?
  5. What are the conversion rates at the steps in your sales process?
  6. How many magic moments do you need monthly to reach your target numbers?
  7. What marketing actions will you execute to achieve this?

I love walking through this process with entrepreneurs. Here’s why.

Launching and growing a business is hard work. 

There are so many things you need to know and be able to execute to even just survive. It’s overwhelming. 

But when we work through this process together, I can visually see entrepreneurs relax because they finally have a clear and actionable plan.

And helping people reach clarity is a big part of what I do. 

Identifying your ideal client and ideal job is an essential process that requires focused attention and a willingness to be honest with yourself. 

By following these steps, you'll gain a clearer understanding of both the kind of business you really want to own and a path to get there. 

Ready to dive deeper into identifying your ideal client? 

Join us at Better Story Marketing for a free Focus Session, and let’s pinpoint exactly who you should be targeting to grow your business!

Action Plan

Here's a step-by-step action plan to help you focus and grow your business:

  1. Identify Your Ideal Client: Create a detailed profile of who they are, what they need, and why they would choose your business.
  2. Define Your Ideal Job: Determine the specific problems you solve for your ideal client and how you provide unique value.
  3. Align Your Marketing Channels: Choose the platforms and strategies that best reach your ideal client. 
  4. Craft Your Message: Ensure your marketing message speaks directly to your ideal client's needs and showcases how you can solve their problems.
  5. Measure and Adjust: Regularly review the performance of your marketing efforts.

By identifying both your ideal client and your ideal job, you can create a focused, effective marketing strategy that not only attracts the right customers but also allows you to do the work you love. 

Ready to take the next step? Let's refine your strategy together!

Frequently Asked Questions

Ideal Customer Personas

What is a Customer Persona?

A customer persona, also known as a buyer or audience persona, is a semi-fictional character representing your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

See the full answer to
What is a Customer Persona?

How Do I Use Customer Personas?

You can use them to guide everything from product development to marketing and sales strategies.

See the full answer to
How Do I Use Customer Personas?

Why are Customer Personas Important for my Business or Nonprofit?

They allow understanding your customers better, in order to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.

See the full answer to
Why are Customer Personas Important for my Business or Nonprofit?

What Information Should be Included in a Customer Persona?

A comprehensive customer persona should include demographic information, behavioral traits, motivations and challenges.

See the full answer to
What Information Should be Included in a Customer Persona?

How Many Personas Should I Create?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Small businesses or nonprofits may only need one or two personas, while larger organizations may require several.

See the full answer to
How Many Personas Should I Create?

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