It’s easy to grow your farm or small business, right? Just define your ideal customer and find more like them. Well, today, I’ll put an end to this myth and explain why it’s not about your ideal customer, but rather it’s about YOU!
You know, it’s frustrating when we start a farm or any new business.
We hear things like, if you build it they will come. Experts advise us to simply define our ideal customer…our avatar, in modern speak, and we’re all set.
Simple as that.
Have you heard that before?
Here’s an example of what the process looks like to define an ideal customer. I’ll call mine—Jane. And…I think Jane works in advertising.
She has two kids and lives on the outskirts of a major city—let’s say, Dallas. Jane enjoys spending time with family, cooking from scratch and playing with her cats.
So far, sounds like a profile you might see on a dating site, but I like Jane, don’t you?
Let’s see what else we know about Jane.
She values organic, sustainable, locally sourced food that is non-GMO, and she detests factory farming. Don’t we all? So, naturally, her brand values are conservative and traditional with a strong need for integrity.
Great…that should help us with naming our business and products, as well as font and color selections, and all our copywriting.
Jane is AWESOME, right?
And this is what we’re told to do…to create an avatar like this.
But is that really sound advice?
On first glance, maybe it is. I mean, it sounds both simple and logical…just target people who are likely to buy from you. So, in theory, it’s one of those things that sounds sensible, so people keep repeating this advice you hear.
Don’t believe me?
Just Google “how to identify your ideal customer” and you’ll over 200 hundred million results on it.
But, despite being advice frequently dished out, there’s a big problem with this approach. And, actually, in my experience, there are five problems with this approach.
Here’s the first problem.
If you try to target an IDEAL customer with your branding, you EXCLUDE all others.
Sure, I suppose it’s great if you get lucky and nail your ideal customer and pick the right words/phrases/colors for your website.
But what if you’re off the mark? You turn people off, never to return.
So, while it seems to make sense that you should talk about your customers first and their needs, if you have a farm business, I’m going to give you the opposite advice.
Start with talking about YOU. Your vision, your mission—your reason. It may make you feel uncomfortable, but it’s much better to start off talking about YOU rather than a made-up ideal customer, and share your story.
Which leads me to the second problem.
You didn’t set out to serve an ideal customer, did you? You set out to create something YOU loved. I mean, why did you start your business?
Did you do it because you had some mythical dream customer in mind you wanted to serve?
Or was it because you wanted to do something YOU loved...something you were passionate about. And then share the result of that with WHOEVER wanted to support you.
Did Apple start this way, with a single dream customer in mind? Amazon? Polyface? Paul and his family at Primal Pastures and Pasturebird? Did we start that way at Nature’s Harmony?
No, of course not, and you didn’t either…
Look, I know what it takes to start a business. It takes passion.
If you want to be successful, it takes much more than just passion, but it’s rare to see a business started that wasn’t fueled by passion.
And it’s that passion you need to put eloquently into words, because when you do it right, you’ll accomplish two important things.
The first is that your words will inspire and resonate with people. People who will care about your new business and will support you.
The second thing that well crafted words and images will accomplish is that they’ll cast a wide net. And, believe me, you’re going to need that wide net, at least until your operation has matured.
I’ll tell you why,