Today's Brain Fart: The hair salon that also offers traditional men’s barbering. The Chinese restaurant that also serves French food. The specialist dog shop that also sells goodies for snake owners.
Are you laser focused on who your business serves, or are you a “coo in the dark with a shotgun” trying to shoot everything?! (Not that you should ever try to shoot your customers!).
You can’t serve every possible customer and you shouldn’t try to!
In fact, no successful business does.
Massive corporations, with more money and resources than you and I have, know they can’t serve every customer, so they don’t.
For example, looking at the UK supermarket industry: do you think M&S is targeting the same shoppers who go to Lidl? There’s nothing wrong with either company, they just both have very different brands and are targeting different customers.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so that which attracts certain people to a particular business will also be the exact reason others don’t shop there!
When you’re just starting out in business, it can be tough working out exactly who you customers are (and aren’t!). In the beginning you will, as we like to say to the business owners we work with, “throw lots of shit against the wall and see what sticks!”.
This process is a series of experiments with different potential customers.
You might find that there is no real need for your product or service. However, you may find that by having lots of conversations with people, you discover something that can help you create something people will pay for.
Much of this comes down to your self-confidence as a business owner. That is one reason why people hold back, don’t full commit, and hedge their bets.
In other words, it’s why the ladies hair salon also offers traditional men’s barbering. You could argue that it’s more of a reflection of the business owner, rather than a demand from the marketplace.
Think about the customer experience for a few moments. Generally (and I emphasise the word “generally!”), with most men, a haircut is something that you have to do once every 4-6 weeks. A quick buzz, a few snips, no chat and out!
With ladies, it’s more of a social experience, and in some instances, the hairdresser acts more like a counsellor! Sometimes women go together as a day out, or go alone and read a magazine, and sit and wait for their hair to be done which is….erm...covered in lots of shiny bits of silver paper for a few hours (I don’t know what the technical term is!).
Can you see, from this wildly generalistic example, that both expectations are completely opposite? They don’t mesh well together. They clash!
So how can this mix be a good experience for either customer group?!
The salon owner may think they are maximising their profits by serving everyone. However, by doing so, they are also alienating people by: mixing two groups of customers with different needs, and not having a clear identity of who they are what they stand for.
Ultimately, the salon owners needs to decide which of these two groups they are serving and go big on that one, and ignore the other group. Yes, completely ignore them!
Ignoring any customers can seem scary as a business owner, however, it is essential for growth!
The best companies are just as clear who they are for and who they aren’t for.
Are you like the ladies salon owner that is also trying to offer traditional gent’s barbering? Or are you clear on who your customers are and aren’t?
Kallum with a K