As a Small Business Consultant, a common question that I get asked is how to attract bigger clients who have the budget to afford my services. Often the business owner asking this question has developed a wide range of small to medium clients from mainly word of mouth referral since they opened their doors, sourced from existing or past clients.
Whilst this seems like a great way to build your business, it won’t get you the bigger fish.
The simple fact is; if you want bigger fish you’ve got to be deliberate and structure your services, your fees and your marketing strategy to speak to those big fish, and have a specific strategy for attracting and serving the smaller fish – if you still want them too as customers.
The ones to throw back
Business owners too often hold on to the clients that they feel secure in servicing rather than make the tough decisions of letting those clients go so they can concentrate on their true ideal clients. But as mature business owners there is one fact we all must face; the sourcing and serving of a small customer probably takes just as much time and cost as a large customer, but with far less return on investment.
They say everything is a choice, therefore you must choose what and who you’ll focus the bulk of your energy on.
Where do I begin?
There are 4 key questions you should ask yourself to prepare for attracting those medium and large size business customers:
- Do I understand the value of the clients I have now and the value of those I want to do business with?
- Have I taken the time to define what my ideal customer looks like and why they are my ideal?
- Do I know what my ideal customers need/ want, and can I give it to them, or will I need to automate or grow my resources?
- If I had 10 big clients would I still want to do the small client work?
Understanding the Value of Your clients
Each client type has an average value but how do you work that?
To keep it straightforward you can use the following formula:
The average Number of Hours/week (or Month) X
The hourly rate (or fees charged for that work)
– less the cost of sale/servicing them.
Don’t forget to include travel time in your estimates (billable/unbillable).
This should give you some basic ballpark estimates to help think through the value and potential value of your clients.
Sometimes you need help to work through these questions and drill down into the details. Use your peers and mentors or a business consultant to help you to answer them and make some tough choices.
But like fishing the bait and equipment you use is entirely dependent on the fish your trying to catch.
You can’t use a hand reel off a pier to catch a Marlin.