The Six-Step Process That Grows Your Business

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1. Examine your clientele and define your ideal client. Of all the customers you've served in the last couple of years, who are the ones you most enjoyed working with and found most profitable? Create a profile of the client characteristics that, for you, define heaven on earth. These characteristics might include income, age, lifestyle, attitudes, motivation, profession, geography, etc. Before going on to step 2, make sure that you've crystallized a single type of client. If you have more than one type, choose one to start with and simply repeat this process later with the other(s).

2. Research the demographics, interests and hangouts of your ideal clients. Delve further into the lives, minds and habits of your ideal clients by interviewing those customers who best typify those you hope to attract. Where do they go on vacation? What do they do in their spare time? What do they read for work? How involved are they with computers and the Internet? What charities and causes do they support? How do they decide who to do/not do business with?

3. Define and differentiate yourself in a way that appeals to ideal clients. Use your research to create an image and pitch for your business that ties into the top concerns of the folks you want to attract. Make certain that you have an answer for the question "Why should I do business with you rather than your competitors?" that will make that group nod appreciatively and want to learn more. Incorporate that image in your web site and all other marketing materials.

4. Create a "bait piece" and offer it free where it's likely to catch the attention of ideal clients. Write an article, white paper, report, tip sheet or practical tool that will be very tempting and appealing to your ideal clients. (E.g., see how I feature the report, "Charge More & Get It!" on this site.) Then offer the bait piece through press releases to the media, at your web site and through lead-generating ads in publications read by your target market.

5. Penetrate the organizations that your ideal clients belong to. Whether that means business organizations, charity groups, reading clubs or a fitness facility, join those groups. Finagle a speaking engagement to the group or volunteer for a committee post. Over time, you become a trusted resource for influential members of those groups if you are active, visible, helpful and patient. Results from this step take time.

6. Publish articles that zero in on your ideal clients' concerns. Identify common questions or problems troubling your ideal clients and write articles for publications reaching them. Do this at least four or five times a year. Together with steps 4 and 5, this soon creates a modicum of fame for you in the circles where you most want people to know you. When new people you meet exclaim that they've heard so much about you, the payoff you've been working toward is gathering momentum and about to flood in.

Marcia Yudkin is the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books. She runs a private member site,, which supports business owners who are growing their businesses. Learn how to avoid the most common pricing mistakes in her free report, "Charge More & Get It," available from .

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