Meet + Engage + Serve = Profit
When a new Indie Business is born, its owner is usually a ball of energy. Everything is new and life couldn't get any better than it is when you are making money doing something you love — emphasis on the "making money" part. That's good, but the problem comes in when the Indie's desire to make money takes precedence over her desire to be of service.
Since business is all about being of service, when making money becomes more important than serving well, a business will never reach its full potential. Here is a simple way to look at the steps that lead first to service, and then to success and profitability.
1. Meet Your Target Customer
A big part of the business planning process involves defining your perfect customer. What is she like? What matters to her? What is her income level? Once you know who your target customer is, it's time to get out there and meet her face to face. Go where she is. Does she hang out at certain blogs or social spaces? Does she read certain magazines or newsletters?
For example, if your perfect customer reads certain types of blogs, then you'll want to connect with the editors of those blogs for the purpose of being featured, writing a guest blog post or purchasing a sponsorship. These and similar outreach efforts serve as your handshake — your introduction — to your target customer.
2. Engage Your Target Customer
Once you meet your target customer, you must engage her in meaningful ways. Get to know her better and let her get to know you. In the above example, if you purchase a sponsorship, make sure your landing page is set up to welcome her from the sponsored blog to your place. This is no different from welcoming a friend of a friend's into your home. Invite her in and make her feel special. Give her an opportunity to subscribe to your blog or newsletter so you can engage her again and again.
Make it easy and fun for your target customer to respond to you. Communicate with her regularly. Ask her questions. Share your ideas and ask her for hers. Make sure she knows that she is important to you. Develop a relationship with her. This type of engagement gives rise to the genuine trust that's necessary for your target customer to feel comfortable with you and what you have to offer.
3. Serve Your Target Customer
Consistent and authentic engagement of your customers will lead inevitably to the privilege of serving them. Serving your customers is the jewel in the Indie Business owner's crown. It is a privilege to serve your customers.
Don't put the cart before the horse by asking for business before establishing the relationship. It all starts with a meeting, followed by conversation to set the tone. This establishes trust, which leads to successful business collaborations and profitability.
First, meet your target customers. Then engage them. Finally, serve them. Don't try to do it the other way around. It's not natural and it doesn't work.
What do you think?
I know this is simple, but I think it really does illustrate the process that takes place in every successful business relationship. What do you think?
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