A website by Patrick White

The Most Important Part of Starting a Business: Choosing your Customers

I think something people forget when starting a business is that you get to choose your customers. And that decision has real ramification for both the feasibility of the business and how happy you’ll be running the business.

Let me step back a bit and give the backstory that led to this post:

When I discovered the joy of Jekyll, I started a number of blog-ish websites. One of them was/is the Nonprofit Novice. I work for a company that sells fundraising software to small nonprofits, so I thought it’d be a good idea to 1) actually learn something about nonprofits and now they do online fundraising, something I’m woefully ignorant about and 2) build a personal presence in the nonprofit fundraising space.

So, I set up the site, wrote a couple posts and then realized that I don’t really care about nonprofits. Not like there’s anything wrong with them, and I’m happy to work for a company that has them as customers, but I’m just not personally that interested in nonprofits.

I felt bad about this for a bit then realized it was a case of being able to choose your customers, and I that I should choose very carefully. What do I mean by that?

Well, the idea with the site was to build a professional presence in that market and eventually use that presence to help market a product or service, be that the product that my current employer offers or something I’d come up with in the future. The idea was to invest in marketing to nonprofits, so I could work with them in the future. In essence, I’d chosen nonprofits as my customers.

But, as I said, I’m just not that personally interested in nonprofits. And this is why carefully choosing your customers is so important. These are people you’re going to have to work with it. A lot. And, ideally, you should actually care about them.

After realizing I don’t care about nonprofits, I tried to write a few more posts, and it was terrible. Having customers you don’t care about is not easy. It’s a real grind. ‘cause you JUST DON’T CARE.

So, realize that you get to choose your customers and choose them carefully. Think about who you care about and consider making those people your customers. It’ll make running your business easier and make you happier too.