An audience for success: Why focus and understanding matter in business

Do you want to start a business but worried about how much risk is involved? What if we told you that there’s a way that you can significantly reduce the risk of running a business? And that it’s actually very easy to do? Here’s what you need to know.

Find your audience first then find your business method

The typical business in years gone by has involved someone, often at home in their basement or garage, trying to invent the perfect product and then they go out to sell that product. This may be why most businesses don’t survive their first year. Many very clever products have failed. That’s because they are often a “solution in search of a problem”.

And don’t think that only SMBs do this, Facebook is in a crisis around its “metaverse” a new approach for the internet that no-one seems to actually want except for Mark Zuckerberg. There is a different way that involves less risk. That is, you develop an understanding of a specific audience and you resolve to solve their problems and make their lives easier. Then as you learn about them, you can decide what it is that your business will focus on.

A simple methodology to do this with

Sure, it’s easy to say “know your audience” but how do you go about finding an audience that works for you? Here’s a very simple model that can help:

  • Look inward first. What are your special strengths and skills? How can you bring these to bear to help a particular audience or group of people?

  • Think about the story you want to tell. There’s no such thing as an industry without competition, so how can you articulate your strengths, skills, etc. in a unique way to your audience? Could you do it in a way that eliminates competition for their attention altogether?

  • Start building a base to connect with your audience. Choose a single channel and then start putting your story out in it. Connect with people and get your voice heard on a regular basis.

  • Grow that audience. You can use whatever means necessary to do this from social media to search engine optimisation and start to collect names on a mailing list.

  • Ask them about their needs and problems. Now, it’s time to get their feedback on what you can help with. What are their concerns, their worries, the issues they face every day, how can you make that better?

  • Move ideas to revenue generation. Now, you have problems to solve. You need to solve them and then start to offer these solutions to your audience. If your relationships are strong enough this will lead to sales, if not, then you’ll need to learn how to strengthen those relationships until you make sales.

  • Rinse and repeat. Then, you go back to the start of the process and repeat it over and over and as often as necessary until you have a thriving business.

  • Think about exit or continuity. Once you have a successful company, you can think about whether you want to keep growing it or whether you want to sell it and then move on. Either is fine, but the right time to think about this is when the cash is flowing, and your customers are happy.

Final thoughts on knowing your audience

Knowing your audience before deciding what to do as a business can greatly improve your chances of succeeding in business. That’s because it allows you to focus on real world problems in need of a solution – something customers really appreciate.

Gail Eaton Briggs develops and delivers bespoke people development solutions through her practice Everywhen Solutions. Everywhen Solutions was established as a way for Gail to share her experience and skills gained through 30 years of working in early childhood care and education, children, family and youth services and vocational education and training.