S3E2: How to find new SMB customers / nonprofit donors?

S3E2: How to find new SMB customers / nonprofit donors?

1. Choose the Problem

There are many valuable problems to solve on the markets for profit. And there are many that people are not willing to pay for solving. These are dreams and wishes, but not pain points or lost opportunities that hurt us later. Therefore if you choose the problem that people already feel or you can uncover,  you are halfway there to solve it. The other half is to show the impact of not doing anything with the issue and the impact of waiting. Therefore our role as business owners is to highlight the cost of waiting to our customers. Calculate how much time, money and reputation they lose if they don’t fix that problem.

Good ways to cover this is an Impact Assessment Survey or a What-if Calculator. If we can give a score, a number to the results on a scale, then we take away the subjective edge of the evaluation. Our customers won’t feel that we want to sell, but rather solve their problems. We just tell them: “Hey, you are here and if you want to be successful you should be there.”

The mistakes I made in the past were around choosing a wide range of skills and experiences I wanted to showcase. Also, I haven’t learned the real problems of the people I wanted to work with. So I wasted time chasing shadows, where there was no real drive and pain to resolve.


2. Choose the Persona

A persona is an ideal customer, who represents the majority of your profit. Not revenue and time spent with customers, but the best type of customer you remember or wish for. These need 20% of our time and generate 80% of the profit - in theory. In reality, we serve a wide range of customers but some characteristics will be similar to a subset. They are easy to work with, quick to respond, have the budget and urgency, they are loyal or can become loyal to us.

Discovering your persona is called market research. But instead of doing statistical analysis on the numbers, I suggest picking a few existing customers who you already know and invite them to a coffee meeting or zoom call. Ask about their preferences, behaviours, what they like/dislike about our business and where they get information for their decision making. These deep-dive interviews can take 0,5-1 hour each, but they are invaluable in understanding the logic of your ideal customers. Another great way is to read your competitors' reviews online, especially the 5-star and 1-star ones. You learn what your customers are searching for and how your competitors satisfy (or not) their needs and desires.


4. Choose the Product

If you want more customers, you need to have the right products to solve (not sell) their problems. The product (being it digital or physical or service) is packaged up and its features are usually promoted on websites etc. But in reality, the customers are after the benefits, not the features. They don’t care how many pieces are in your hammer (product). They just want to hit a nail into the wall to hang a coat (feature).

So I suggest making a long, long list of features and benefits and don’t talk about anything else. Start with the benefit and to prove that you have a plan, you can highlight the feature providing that advantage. The best businesses are run as a utility, subscription so you resell all the time without the customer questioning you. So if you have a one-off physical product, you can start thinking about how to create a digital subscription on top of it to teach people how to use the product. This digital “upsell” or add-on can support your marketing efforts and can become a really profitable product. As digital solutions don’t need inventory, location, storage and shipping resources, they can be low cost and high profit. Although they sell on a low price, they can still be a great business - if you have the e-commerce (webshop) to sell and deliver them.


4. Choose the Process

They say “Confused minds don’t make decisions”. So if your product is unclear the customers won’t come. If the product is well positioned and solves a problem, leads might come but they don’t buy. Why? Because they are unclear how you realise the benefits you promised. 

But if you lay out a simple process and showcase how you solve the problem earlier the same way, they can decide. It means that case studies speak for themselves and your customer testimonials can convince your new customers to buy your product. If trust is established before the offer is made, the sale is closed. If there is no trust, or there is uncertainty, then the lead will go to your competitor. “Trust the Process,” they say, and it is true. Well established brands represent not just a high-quality product but the trust in the process that they deliver their promises.


About the Author

Laszlo Csite is a business/agile coach at lacix.co, who helps gifted and keen leaders and teams to be extraordinary and unlock their potential. He is also a digital/CRM product owner, who helps great ideas to grow into admired digital/physical products and brands.

If you enter a new field, want to grow, acquire, split, transform or want to exit - using proven methods can save you time and frustration. 

When you are interested, Laszlo can show you how to put your business on AUTOPILOT, so you ATTRACT MORE CUSTOMERS. 

As the founder of lacix.co, Laszlo can share 20+ years of consulting experience and his carefully selected network of professionals. Feel free to contact Laszlo Csite at lacix.co

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