To survive the critical first 5 years of business, we business owners typically try all kinds of things to see what works, to create a demand for our products or services and to find clients or customers. Then once we find those customers, we try to serve all kinds of different needs. We say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way because we are determined to make a go of our business.
We pile on the products and offerings, always looking for ways to get the cash flowing. While this works to help your business survive the first few critical years, it is not a long-term strategy for thriving. If we continue to operate this way, we end up with an overweight business, and the demands are crushing.
We end up with products and offerings that may or may not be profitable. But we’re so busy with all the demand we created, who has time to stop and pay attention to which customers, clients, products and offerings are the most profitable? AY!
Even though revenue is coming in, our businesses become less and less efficient over time. This inefficiency is why a business owner bringing in a million or more in revenue can still struggle to meet payroll, laying awake night after night worrying about cash flow.
If you’re recognizing yourself and your business in this description, it’s time for your business to go on a diet! Shed the extra, unnecessary weight in your business.
Start by identifying the clients or customers who nourish your business, allowing it to flourish and thrive.
- Who are the clients or customers responsible for the majority of your revenue?
- Of these, which ones pay on time, are repeat customers, send you referrals, communicate well with you, allow you to correct mistakes (without brow-beating you!) and share Immutable Laws with you? These are your best customers. They are the fruits, vegetables and protein of a healthy diet for your business. Spend more time hanging out with these customers. Get to know their needs. Discover how you can better serve them. You’ll be on your way to a healthier, thriving business very quickly!
At the same time, get clear on the customers who are the sugary doughnuts. They may give you a cash flow rush early on, but over time, they cause you to crash. Too many sugary doughnuts day after day, and you are overweight, sluggish, and headed for a heart attack. Although those “sugary doughnut customers” may represent a rush of cash infusion into your business, they can be high maintenance, with unreasonable demands that suck your precious energy and cash resources. These profit- and energy-suckers are diverting your focus and resources from your best clients or customers.
The first step to growing a healthy, sustainable business is to get crystal clear on who your best customers are, and intentionally put more of your resources toward serving their needs.