Do you sell razors to someone with a “five-o’clock shadow” or to someone with a beard?

Really think about this question, especially if you are about to start a new business. Once you think you have a great idea for a venture, you must understand that the act of choosing a target market is one of the most important aspects to address. Without this first crucial step, you are stepping out blindly and wasting energy, time, and even money by talking to the wrong people.

Let us take as an example the two brothers, Mike and Joe. One sunny day, these two started a window cleaning operation. They invested in buckets and squeegees and went out into the neighbourhood to look for dirty windows. The first neighbour they reached had dirty windows. They believed that they had hit the jackpot because she desperately needed their services. When she opened the door, they gave her their well-rehearsed pitch: “Can we clean your windows? We charge R500 for no more than twenty windows.”

She nearly fell over upon hearing the price. “No, that is way too expensive. My husband will wash the windows himself.”

Now, a great entrepreneur does not stop at the first sign of trouble, so onwards they moved to the next house, delivering the same pitch to the elderly gentleman who answered the door. “Can we clean your windows? We charge R500 for no more than twenty windows.”

He seemed annoyed. “No, no, no, my son does that.”

So, what does an entrepreneur do at the second sign of trouble? Entrepreneurs laugh at such trivialities. However, after they had repeated this scenario a few more times, it didn’t seem funny anymore. Being at your wit’s end will do that to you. Mike scratched his head as he looked at the mansion at the end of the lane. They avoided it on purpose because the windows were sparkling clean. Mike told Joe that he just had to try one more time, despite the fact that the mansion owner would probably not need their services. Joe couldn’t see why they should talk to the owner of the mansion, but Mike was a stubborn man and knocked on the door. Imagine their surprise when the lady of the mansion loved their pitch.

“Only R500 for no more than twenty-five windows? Marvellous! The current window cleaning company charges me R750!”

Another great example is Kabelo with his roof cleaning business. He went through the same struggles as Mike and Joe did, but he soon realised that the people most interested in his business were those with clean roofs, those only just starting to show signs of dirt. They were also interested in his extra service where he not only removed the dirt but also applied his own uniquely formulated product to ensure that the dirt stayed away for longer.

There is a pattern here.

The good news is that you can create a target market profile by asking the right questions. Here are 8 questions you can ask to help you to know your target market:

  1. In what area do they live?
  2. What car do they drive?
  3. How many children do they have?
  4. Are they single or married?
  5. Are they male or female?
  6. Into what age bracket do they fall? (25 – 35; 35 – 45; 45 – 55; etc.)
  7. Are they South African or international?
  8. What do they do in their spare time? (watch rugby, read books, hiking, etc.)

With your newfound insight, you will be able to answer the question at the start of this article: Do you sell razors to someone with a 5 o’clock shadow or to someone with a beard?

Your target market is not someone who only has a problem that you can solve. Yes, the man has a beard. But despite that fact that he has the ability to grow facial hair, he is clearly not in the market to be rid of his fashion statement anytime soon.

Your target market is, in fact, the people who value the business solution that you provide. These are your lifelong fans. They are prepared to pay you and, what’s more, they will even tell their friends about you. They are the guys who shave every day.

If you want to find your ideal target market, then get in touch with me right away by using the form on the Connect page.

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