When you are asked to describe your target market, do you lead off your response with “Anyone who. . .”?
If you do, I would bet money on the fact that your coaching business won’t grow. With my first business, a computer network integrator, I used to say that we served “Anyone who had a small or medium sized business, in New Jersey, and needed computers.” Then I would be quick to blurt out, “In other words, practically everyone needs me.” Those words are the lead indicator to a struggling practice.
It is one of the paradoxes of coaching (or any business for that matter). The greater variety of people (or businesses) your coaching practice can serve, the harder it will be to grow. This is true for multiple reasons:
1. You won’t be visible to your prospects. If you market to everybody, you aren’t marketing to anybody nearly enough for them to notice. You are part of the crowd.
2. Your coaching practice won’t build expertise. You may think your business has a wealth of expertise, but it is unlikely. Expertise happens at the final 1% of ability. If your business can serve “anyone who” it has built skills and competence, but not expertise. Expertise only happens when you know your customer ten times better than they know themselves.
3. You will drain your marketing budget (if you have one). The greater the variety of people or businesses you try to serve, the more you need to spend marketing to that broad base. And, if you don’t have a marketing budget, you are likely investing your time, your partners’ time and your employees’ time in getting out there and networking. That is the most costly form of advertising.
If you catch yourself saying you can sell to, service, deliver to, care for, cater to, lease to, rent to, “anyone who (fill in the blank)”, realize you are in the oldest growth trap in the coaching business book. Take the time to identify and serve the niche of your best clients only. Then spend all your time there. Your chances for growth have improved one hundred fold.