They drain you of your time and deprive the passion and energy you have for your craft.
But as the business owner or entrepreneur, it’s up to you to make sure you’re attracting the right market. Especially in the early stages of business.
For the last 20 years, Joe Cotellese has worked in pre-investment startups all the way through to large corporations and founded Sharey – an advertising platform for e-book publishers.
In this episode, Joe walks us through the importance of dialing in your customer avatar and making sure you’re crystal clear on who you’re trying to attract so you don’t attract the wrong people to your business.
• The impact and importance of mentors
• Costs associated with servicing the wrong customer
• How many avatars to have if you’re just getting started
• How anti marketing could save your business
• Personas for brand new business owners and entrepreneurs
• The slippery slope of compromise
• How Star Wars influenced the Ninja Aptitude Test
• Implementing the Ninja Aptitude test to attract your target market
• How to attract ideal customers using anti-marketing and anti-personas
• Blue Ocean Strategy and market differentiation
• How refining your persona will help you move into other markets
• The importance of a focused business strategy
The scoop on Joe:
• Started career playtesting video games
• Taught himself how to write software
• Found sweet spot in early startups
• Ventured out and started his own company
The 3 groups of people to have in your life:
1. Further ahead than you to learn from
2. At your level you to commiserate with and share struggles
3. Below your level to reach down and lend a hand to help pull them up
“There’s a lot to be said for having really great mentors…and about paying it forward and finding people you can help along in their career.”
Ninja Aptitude Test origin story
Two key takeaways from Joe’s experience:
1. Know who your customers are
2. Focus on the right things
“Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had clients and you’re like ‘alright this person’s great but I don’t know about this person?’ How do you handle that?”
There’s an operational cost associated with servicing the wrong customer.
Personas for brand new business owners and entrepreneurs:
- Carve out a fuzzy persona but don’t let it stop you from taking clients.
- Get experience working with a wide variety of people so you can hone in on the great and the troublesome.
- Refine and tailor your customer avatar and personas as you evolve.
- Constantly upgrade the top 20% of your clients.
- Dial in who’s bringing you the best business and find commonalities between them.
A smart lean business model
- Map out a few paths
- Quickly start interacting with people to hone in on whether the market you’re servicing is the right one for your product or service.
Refining your persona will help you move into other markets
Mapping out the goals and challenges of your persona may lead to discovering additional markets that are focusing on the same challenges.
By knowing your markets pain, needs, and desires, you’ll be the one best positioned to solve it.
What are the customer types that can negatively impact your business?
If you focus your attention on the wrong thing, it might devalue your brand.
The ‘Slippery Slope of Compromise’
Moves your product or service away from your core audience
Results in a wide range of customers and not all of them are good for your business.
Attract your ideal client with anti-marketing
Form a mental image of your anti-persona; fears, concerns, behavior, negative objections
Work backwards from there to screen them out.
Repel unwanted clients and customers w/ a questionnaire, a candid conversation, an outline of terms and conditions, price points, rules, operations
Examples of anti-personas and anti-marketing
Courtesy of Hollister and a local movie theater
“As you get clear about your avatar and ideal customer, the anti-marketing and anti-persona are gonna get baked into it naturally and organically. You won’t need to announce it. It will become evident.”
Blue Ocean Strategy
Focusing on a market and differentiating yourself on certain criteria
“If you can’t clearly articulate your business strategy then you need to talk to other people in your organization and nail that down.”
Importance of a focused business strategy
Sears is a great example of a business that was stuck in the middle and didn’t know what they wanted to be.
“Find the point you can compete on and you can be the strongest on and make sure it’s a point customers care about. There’s no point trying to be 3rd, 4th, 5th best or falling in the middle of the pack.”