It’s Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. as the Business Network International (BNI) meeting is called to order. As I looked around the room, I could see that some of the people were still yawning and appeared to be half awake. Others look like they had been up for hours and were excited to take part in the meeting.

After spending several minutes on the usual agenda, the time had come for the members to take 60 seconds and introduce themselves, their business and who their ideal client is. The concept is that each businessperson that’s sitting around the table will be more aware of the others’ businesses and will make referral to them based on their stated requirements.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Actually that’s where is all starts to fall apart. Curiously, most people in the room are very uncomfortable speaking about their companies. Many rush through like their pants are on fire and don’t use the entire minute, while others ramble so much that the minute is up before they say what they want.

A common mistake these businesspeople make is in their failure to clearly explain who is their ideal client or target market. Instead they use words like ‘anyone’ or ‘everyone’. The trouble with that is no one can identify with that description.

But today something memorable happened. A woman stood up and with a big smile, she introduced herself and her company by name. She said that she helps women get a good night’s sleep and went on to describe her target client. She said this woman can fall asleep pretty quickly but an hour or two later, she wakes up and can’t go back to sleep. She loses 3 to 4 hours sleep most nights and is tired, cranky and stressed during the day. Her health and relationships are suffering and she just wants a good night’s sleep every night.

Can you picture this? Can you imagine how easy it would be to find a referral for this female entrepreneur? The next time you see a sleepy, stressed-out woman, a simple question to ask is: “Are you sleeping well every night?”

In actuality this female entrepreneur has a business that sells mattresses and if she had followed the way others described their businesses, she would have stood up and said that she sells mattresses and she’s looking for anyone that wants to buy a new mattress. I’m sure if she said that, it would have fallen on deaf ears.

As a small business owner, it’s critical to understand who your target market is. Your target market is the people that will be most likely to buy your products or services. Once you’ve identified your target market, then aim your marketing strategy at the target.

Even considering the above example with the young female business owner, there’s no doubt that she would be able to help a man with the same symptoms. But she painted a clear picture of the person that she wants to draw to her business; a picture so clear that anyone listening to her would know exactly who she is targeting.

Your target market could be:

females or males
age groups
regional areas
education or interests
average incomes

Further you could consider how different groups of potential customer might use your product or service. Potentially menmight have different uses as compared to women; and older customers might have different wants and needs to those of younger customers. By clearly understanding how your products or services meet the customers’ needs, you could have several target markets to focus on.

Invest time to fully understand your target market and how to appeal to them. The benefits are unlimited.

Susan Bagyura, a leadership coach, business consultant and Amazon best-selling author of The Visionary Leader: How to Inspire Success From the Top Down, works with small business owners and entrepreneurs to create financially sustainable businesses.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Susan Bagyura and I am a Certified Business Coach and Consultant. For the last ten years I have been working with many people in the start-up phase of building profitable businesses in many different sectors. It doesn’t really matter what type of business someone wants to have; there are key steps which must be taken in order to create a successful platform for doing business. I have worked with entrepreneurs in 23 countries on learning and implementing the basics; spanning many business types such as coaching/consulting, shops of all sorts, the trades and more.For more information visit