Why Do Business Plans Include Goals and What’s The Difference Between an Ideal Client and Niche?

We aren't born knowing how to do anything, not even walking and talking. So when we make the decision to become an entrepreneur, we don't suddenly possess all of the skills and knowledge that we need in order to be successful.

Goal-setting is most definitely a skill and it not only must be learned; it must be practiced over and over in order to be mastered. I personally believe that as entrepreneurs, we are naturally predisposed to be good skilled goal-setters. Why? Because we are ambitious, by nature, often great seekers of growth, both personal and professional, and we have dreamed about the possibility of a very bright future.

Oftentimes what we need to set and achieve our goals are three things:
1) Helpful Tools;  2) A Positive Mindset; 3) A Thoughtful Actionable Plan to Achieve Those Goals.

Lisa Shapiro

I use PowerSheets to set my intentional goals and to help me with my mindset.
Here are some of the Short-term goals for DCfemprenur, LLC. I will be working on them all year and for the next several months.

Short Term Goals: < 12 months

  • Create Business & Marketing Plan.
  • Fulfill All 20 Founding Memberships with Professionals that serve the fempreneur community.
  • Host Monthly Founding Member Meetings to Outline Guiding Principles.
  • Create 6 months of events.
  • Create Content Calendar (automate social media)
  • Conduct Market Research for New Membership Level & Events.
  • Create a New Membership Level for Public.
  • Increase Traffic to DCfempreneur Website (future sponsorships/affiliates)
  • Grow Community to 1,000+.
  • Grow Mailing List to 250+.
  • Create content marketing strategy docs/content calendar (automate posts, e-newsletters, etc.)
  • Create ongoing budget to guide business expenditures.
    Reduce Ongoing Business Expenses.
  • Reach Monthly Revenue Goals.
  • Hire First Employee (Graphic Design, Accounting, VA, etc.)
  • Purchase Accounting or Booking Software or hire Bookkeeper.
  • Solidify First Paid Sponsorship.
  • Grow Resource Page with Business Resources and Tools.

On an aside, look how far we have come, yes? If you look at the blog that goes back all the way to 2012, I was all over the place and hardly where I am now with mindset, goal-setting (i.e. PowerSheets), and taking action.

As you can see from my goals, I have already completed a few of those. In June and July, I conducted market research and starting writing a thorough business plan. Now that I have decided to take the time to write one, I realize that I should have done this before launching DCfempreneur in February -- not just for clarity, but to really be crystal clear on my goals.

Writing a business plan is not just an opportunity to outline steps of starting your business, it's also an opportunity to be thoughtful and intentional about: 1) Who you want to help, 2) Why you want to help them and 3) What their exact pain points or problems are that you alleviate in their life or business, and 4) What you want to accomplish and when. Where do you expect the business to be in one year, three years, five years? 

In addition to this level of clarity about the who, what, and why, this is also your chance to discover any weaknesses in your business concept, find ways to be unique and stand out, what insights, skills, or experience make you different from your competitors, identify opportunities that you may not previously have considered, and identify ways in which will handle any potential challenges that may arise.

Shortly after I started writing the business plan, I realized that in order to really understand my target market and/or niche, someone exactly like YOU, I'd need to spend more time researching who she is, what she needs, and what the problems are in her business so I can best support her.

Just in case you're like me, and it may seem confusing about the difference between an “ideal client” and “niche,” they’re apparently not the same thing.

For example, if a female entrepreneur business coach says that she are afraid to niche down because she fears she will miss out on being able to help her ideal clients, it's not quite it (think of like a sample as part of a population). 

Your ideal client is PART of your niche, along with what you are really good at doing, what problem you help solve, and how you solve that problem. The more you know about who you serve, (age, profession, etc.), what their biggest pain point is, how you serve them, where they hang out, where they get their sources of information, how to evoke emotion in them, the more likely you will reach them and understand them.

The ideal target market for DCfempreneur is a college-educated female business owner in her 30s-40s who lives in the Washington, DC area. After decades of working in her industry or field, obtaining specific knowledge set and skills developing a professional career working for someone else, she has decided to start her own business. She is active in her community, cares about leaving a positive mark on the world, and giving back. She enjoys meeting new people, believes that by making genuine connections is the best way to market and grow her business. She values her time above all and knows she will be successful in her business, but needs the help of others to get her there.

Now that you know the WHO, your ideal client or target market, the next step is to understand what their biggest pain points, desires and fears are as it relates to what you do and what you offer.

Danielle Laporte who heavily emphasizes desire when it comes to setting goals, would say it was also just as important to really help your ideal client imagine how amazing it would FEEL for them to alleviate those fears, achieve those desires (pleasure), and how uncomfortable it will FEEL to let another few months or few YEARS pass by and still be stuck in the same place (pain).

TO DO 1: Refresh your image of your target customer

Many business owners have learned through trial and error that even with a great business concept that can help many different types of people, the key to a successful marketing strategy (thus profitability) is the way that you target your ideal customer.

Many businesses can help a range of different types of people, but the key is to not focus on who you CAN help but focus on who you WANT to help. Ask yourself: “Who would be my PERFECT customer?”

  • Are they male or female?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they married? Have kids?
  • Where are they from? Where do the live?
  • What is the problem that they’re struggling with?
  • How does that problem feel? What is the pain?

Focus on that one key person and give them a name! Make them real! Founding Member, Mary Sue Dahill of MSD Advisors has named hers and has even created a graphic of who they are. Click here for the template that she used. She's shared it with us!  

Mary Sue says her ideal customers are, "49 year-old women who are former executives but now own their own service based businesses and need someone to help them get their systems running efficiently so that they can maintain a healthy work-life balance."

Once you have a strong understanding of your perfect customer, you’re in a much better position to attract them and convert them into a paying customer.

2: Put yourself in their shoes and visualize their typical day

Now that you know who your perfect customer is, it’s time to focus on what their life is like, what their typical day looks like so that you can identify at what points you can be there and connect with them.

A super easy way to do this (without getting overwhelmed!) is to visualize their typical day, a day in the life of your perfect customer.
What time do they wake up? Are they employed, self-employed and unemployed? If they work, where do they work? How do they get to work? What time do they leave work? What do they do after work? What do they do with their spare time? and so on!
Knowledge is power! The more that you know about them the more powerful your marketing strategy will be!

3: Identify your touch points with them

Now that you know where you’ll ideal customer will be, identify how you are going to reach them in these places. Professional Marketers will tell that, on average it takes 7 touch points with a potential customer to convert them into a viable sales lead.

So to connect with your customer, review their typical day and brainstorm a minimum of 6 touch points with that person.
Note: It’s unlikely that you’ll be using all 6 of those touch points in one day as you’ll spread them out based on your marketing strategy.

For example, if you know that they start work at 9am a touch point could be sending them an email at 9am when they first check their emails.
Another example, if you know that they will be using Facebook between 8pm and 9pm every day, create a touch point with them during that time on Facebook. That touch point could be posting a lead magnet on your Facebook at that time when you know they will be looking.

The Take-Aways:
• Focus on one perfect customer in order to develop a powerful marketing strategy, you can't meet the needs of everyone, so niche down and get super specific.
• Take time to really understand your perfect customer and EVERYTHING about them.
• Ensure that you have a minimum of 6 strong touch points with them based on where you know they’ll be.
What will you do differently now to connect with your perfect customer.

Ready to Dig into Goal Setting?

If you want to create and grow a successful business, then learning how to plan, set goals, and manage your time is key.
Imagine this: At the end of 2020, you're looking back. What would it take for you to look back and know that you spent your time on what mattered most to you? What will you wish you had started?
This upcoming Masterclass will help you determine what matters most to you so you're spending your time on your true priorities – both personally and professionally, and help you break down your annual and monthly goals into actionable weekly and daily tasks.

Join us October 10, 2019 11:30-2:00pm with DCfempreneur Founder, Lisa Shapiro, M.Ed. with online followup 10/24 and 30 days of Coach facilitated online accountability group.

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