What size customers are best for you?
What are the best size jobs or clients for you? Many companies pursue projects or customers that are too big or too small for them. Their marketing doesn’t work well, and even when they get work, it’s not the best fit.
Think of your customers as “boulders, rocks, or pebbles.” What size are they, how do they take up your time, and how much money do they make you?
- Boulders. Boulders are the huge clients that dominate your time. They can be great because they offer regular, steady work. But they may take so much of your time that you can’t develop other clients. Without new business, it’s tough to grow. In addition, boulders may take more effort to get in the first place. They may attract more competitors, which tends to drive the price down, thus reducing your profitability — even if you get the contract.
- Rocks. Rocks are your solid, profitable, mainstream clients. No single one is more than 15% of your annual revenue. Rocks are the sweet spot, and where you want to aim your marketing. You might call them the “Goldilocks” jobs — not too big, not too small, just right. GoldiROCKS, if you will.
- Pebbles. Pebbles are the little guys — small clients that may not be worth the time and trouble. They are often less profitable and more concerned about haggling over money. The profit may not justify the marketing effort to get them.
Boulders are fine, as long as you do not allow them to dominate your time, so that if you lose them you’re almost out of work.
Pebbles are fine if they fall into your lap, so you don’t spend a lot of marketing resources going after them, and if you price so they are profitable.
Here’s how some business owners have defined their rocks:
Contractor. “Rocks” are jobs between $5,000 and $25,000. Bigger jobs get too competitive, and to get them, our margins suffer. Smaller than $1,000 we just say no. We’ll do jobs between $1,000 and $5,000 if they fall into our lap and seem straightforward — and the people look easy to work with.
Bookkeeping/bill paying. My “rocks” are the business clients who pay me at least $500 a month. I will work on an hourly basis if they ask nicely.
Corporate projects. “Boulders” are the ones that essentially want me full time. I don’t want to be a contract employee. I need 4 to 6 regular clients that combined take 75% of my work hours. This leaves me time for marketing and admin. My “rocks” should range between $10,000 and $30,000 a year.
Graphic designer. I can churn out these $1,000 to $2,000 jobs day in, day out. These are my rocks. They are very lucrative for me, and easy for me to get.
Once you know who your rocks are, aim your marketing at them. Avoid pebbles and beware of boulders — both can suck up your time and resources, making it harder to find and keep those rocks.
Do you have a question? If you try this and run into difficulty, ask us a question in the Comments section. We’ll give you a bit of free coaching by answering it if we can in the comments.