In order to be successful you must match your business to you and your customers
When I speak with business leaders, I often bring up the match or mismatch between them, their business, and their customers. This isn’t a subject that is front of mind for most businesses: Boards don’t think about it when hiring a CEO; owners don’t consider it when promoting a manager, and hardly anyone thinks about it when hiring a sales or service person. This is a huge problem since many business pain points come out of this glaring mismatch.
For example, I have a notebook full of great business ideas but most of them stay on the page because the style of business and/or the type of customer these businesses need is completely contrary to who I am as a person. Some types of business, in spite of my great idea, the huge market potential, and my massive enthusiasm, would become mediocre under my leadership and these types of businesses, as well as the types of customers they attract, would slowly drain my own energy leaving me unfulfilled and unhappy.
So how can you make sure you match yourself to your business and match your business to your customers?
Know your own talents, values, and leadership style and the types of customers they match
Anyone can start and build and manage a business. But few can build and successfully sustain a high-margin, employee-friendly, community-healthy, customer-satisfying sustainable business to thrive over many years. In order to do this, one priority is to match yourself to your business and match your business to your customers.
The first step to knowing whether you match well with your business and your customers, is having well-developed self-awareness. Only when you understand yourself, can you truly see what (and who) you align with and what gets you into or out of flow. When you are working with purpose and in flow with your natural talents and styles, you will attract the right customers and opportunities with effortless ease.
For example, let’s look at two types of leaders and the types of business and customers they match:
1. The Entrepreneurial/Innovative Leader
If you’re an entrepreneurial type who moves quickly, changes course regularly and follows trends, then target more transactional buyers with short-cycle products on a regular basis. High volume, low margin.
“Highly entrepreneurial/innovative leaders build successful companies that work best with short-term, transactional buyers.”
2. The Interpersonal People-Focused Leader
If you are a people-person and love creating and maintaining strong long-term connections and networks, then target more relational customers with an offering of long-cycle products or services with regular support, updates, and improvements. Low volume, high value.
“People-focused leaders build successful companies that work best with long-term, relational buyers.”
Do you know which type of leader you are?
‘Ideas-focused’ and ‘people-focused’ are just two leadership styles. You may have a different style altogether. It’s important to know which type you naturally resonate with in order to truly leverage your strengths and align your business accordingly. One way to discover your leadership style, strengths, and what gets you into flow is to take the Talent Dynamics Profile Questionnaire.
Know your ideal customers deeply and find them
The second step to knowing whether you match well with your customers is developing deeper awareness of your customers.
It’s surprising how many people miss this one. Many business owners, if they have thought about it at all, mistakenly assume that all their existing or potential customers are like them. However, this is often not the case.
Think about the types of people you are drawn to (and who are drawn to you) and who you connect best with in different situations in your life. Imagine, for example, the kind of people you enjoy hanging out with socially. Are they fast-talking, imaginative, energetic, dreamers who never lack for ideas? Or are they relaxed, reliable, and like steady routine? (Or perhaps you don’t like hanging out with people at all?!)
Knowing which ones (if any) leave you feeling energised and/or at peace inside will help you decide the kind of business and customers best suited to you.
As you will be able to reach, connect with, and serve these people better, they will most likely become your best customers.
I believe one of the most significant reasons why my current business, which I have built, grown, and sustained for over 26 years, has been successful and has bounced back from numerous uncontrollable set-backs, is the evident alignment between me, the services I offer, my team, and 80% of my customers.
Choose which customer type you want based on your own talents and leadership styles and then orient everything about your business to flow with them. Match like with like.
You, your business, your team, and your customer-base – these four partners work best when in a mutually enriching relationship.
Learn Interpersonal Versatility
Even when your customers do generally match with you, there will always be some differences in terms of communication styles and preferences which need to be taken into account.
Developing the skill of interpersonal versatility will help you understand different communication preferences in order to adapt your own behaviour and communication style with certain people. The measurable results of this are much more effective communication and more productive relationships.
Once you have matched well to your customers in terms of values, strengths, and business type, and then mastered interpersonal versatility, you will enjoy more eustress, less distress, higher revenues, more personal freedom, and sustainable business growth.
Four key questions to help match customers with you and your business
In summary, my advice it would be: Know yourself, then choose the customer type to match, and build a business to suit both. There are four key questions you can ask to get this sort of understanding.
1. What kind of business suits you/excites you/energises you? Is it high-energy, high-risk and ever-changing? Or a steady-as-you go, moderate-risk, long-term, consistent one?
2. Take a look at your existing customer list. Would you say they’re mostly transactional or relational? Not sure? Look at the 20% who give you 80% of your Gross Profit. Ask again.
3. Does your current customer-base match your values, talent, and nature/leadership style?
4. Does your current business type, and your team, match your most valuable customer profile?
Ask yourself these questions to begin the process of finding misalignment, matching with your customers, and growing (or changing) your business.
In our own business, one of the most personally gratifying services we offer is the process we use to facilitate deep, reflective dialogue and planning for fellow business leaders. We thrive when these leaders take stock of their alignment with business, team, and customers and find fulfilment, freedom, financial resources, and time for their families and friends.
Reflect on what choices you need to make to get some health and well-being back into your world and some meaningful growth in your business.
Get in touch if you need some more ideas about how to do this or pop over to our Facebook Page if you’d like to share your own experiences of matching yourself, your business, and your customers.
Have a good week!