This fall, I signed up for an online workshop hosted by author and marketing expert Seth Godin. As an avid reader of Seth’s Blog, I was curious about what his online workshop experience would be like.
I really liked it. Seth’s teachings were clever and engaging, just as I expected, the platform was fairly easy to use and it did help me lay out my business plan. My favorite part, however, was the sense of community. I loved connecting and sharing with people from all over the world.
My greatest challenge in the program was developing what Seth refers to as my Smallest Viable Audience. In his book, This Is Marketing, Seth goes into detail about the value of getting really specific about who you serve.
Luckily, the course coaches and other participants helped by asking challenging questions and reflecting back to me what they heard. This was both frustrating at times and extremely helpful. If you’ve ever worked with a business coach, you get it. It’s that moment when you tell your coach you’re stuck and instead giving you the answer they respond with another equally challenging question.
After completing the course, I started to think about where I got stuck and where other people got stuck. Often, it had a lot to do with narrowing in. I think that’s because getting specific about your audience – or your purpose – is hard.
Choosing your audience requires making a choice about who you want to serve. It means being honest with yourself about what you offer and having the courage to say no to the people, projects or companies that aren’t a fit.
When I first launched my business, I had a great ‘Working Together’ slide. It was neatly organized with 20+ ways we could work together. I think my strategy was: find a person who had a need in the realm of communications and marketing.
After years of working in agencies, I knew that approach wouldn’t work but I also wasn’t ready to make a choice. What if I chose wrong? This approach brought in some work, but it wasn’t the right work.
So, a few months after launching my company, I took some time to narrow in and create my purpose. Getting clear about what I do and why I do it has been transformational. However, to reach the next level, I needed to become equally as clear about who I serve so I can serve them better.
I’m not sure if or when I will do a follow up course, but I’m glad I did this one. As I think about my own goals for 2020, I’m going to rest a moment with this takeaway: You can’t serve everyone well but you can serve some people incredibly well.
What do you think about narrowing in on your audience or your purpose? Do you have a clearly defined audience who needs what you have? Feel free to comment below.
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Would you love to start the new year with greater clarity? Has your business grown this year and now you’re having a harder time getting everyone on the same page? Or is your industry getting more cluttered making it harder to set yourself apart? If so, let’s talk. Email me at karenbaileyllc (at) gmail.com to see if defining your purpose could help your organization grow in 2020.