A new colleague from the U.K (I’ll call her Sue) came to me recently with a few questions and topics, one of which I’ll address today as I think it will be helpful to many people.
Thanks for reaching out, Sue.
Our conversation has inspired this blog post that I think will help you (and others) greatly.
What you’re really wondering is: If people in my country have not heard of “administrative consulting,” if it’s not well-known, how viable of a business will this be for me?
It’s good to be thinking about how a new business will succeed. The problem is you’re focusing on the term instead of the solution we’re in business to offer.
What you want to ask instead is:
Are there businesses in the U.K.? Do those businesses have administrative work they must stay on top of on a regular basis in order to run smoothly?
There is your answer. 😉
Whether a term or industry name is known in the marketplace or not is not important. I wouldn’t want you to waste your time and energy in that direction as it is irrelevant and plays no part in your ability to get clients, help those clients, and earn well.
It doesn’t matter whether they’ve heard of our industry before or are familiar with the terms we use. (Your term IS important, but for other reasons that have nothing to do with getting clients. You can learn more about that in these blog posts).
The only thing that matters is that you understand them, know what their overarching need/problem is, and have a solution to fill that need and solve that problem: namely, the need for more time in their business, the need to free up mental bandwidth and creative space, and the need for an administrative expert and support partner who can help take care of their administration which in turn will free up their time to grow their business (not to mention just live and enjoy life).
EVERY business needs admin support. It’s the very backbone of every business in the world. There is absolutely no shortage of clients who could use and benefit from our support. Every country has businesses, and every business has administrative work, systems and operations that require tending to throughout the life of the business.
BUT, while every business has administration it must take care of in order to keep organized, running smoothly and moving forward, not every business is the right fit or needs the solution we’re in business to offer.
The key, and the more productive effort, therefore, is to better understand what demographic in the business world has the greatest need for what we do and how we do it (our “solution”) and will in turn place greater value on it and be more willing to pay well for it. THOSE are the businesses that are the best fit for our kind of business.
Generally speaking, big companies have the kind of workloads that inherently require full-time, in-house, dedicated staff, and they have the resources to house and pay for them. They don’t really need us.
If they are even remotely interested in us, their typical motivation is to merely offload isolated, non-core functions as cheaply as possible. They could care less about the personal relationship, which is exactly what allows us to deliver our greatest value and impact. When there isn’t a real need, they don’t place much value on the service. And you can’t afford to be cheap, not if you expect to stay in business, be profitable and earn well.
So it’s important to understand who is the best fit (who has the highest and greatest need) for what we do so that you aren’t wasting your time barking up the wrong trees and making things more difficult for yourself.
An administrative support business works and earns best (and more easily) when there is a direct, personal one-on-one ongoing relationship, what we call a “collaborative partnership,” with each client.
In our business, the demographic that best fits that bill are the solopreneur/boutique/lifestyle businesses.
These are the business owners who are commonly running their businesses from home offices (like us), who like being solo/boutique-size; who need administrative help and support (as every business does), but have no interest in “big business,” having employees or managing people; who ARE their business; who are more interested in a particular quality and unencumbered way of life while earning well.
They’re the perfect fit because we can provide that one-on-one, right-hand personal admin support remotely and without needing to be an employee; the size and model of their business benefits most and works best within this dynamic; and because they need it the most, they place a higher value on it.
Now that you understand which demographic is best suited for our solution and why, the next step is to narrow things down to a specific target market, which is simply an industry/field/profession that you cater your administrative support to.
Why do you need to do this, you probably wonder?
Because your value depends on the business/industry/field/profession you are talking to.
How you speak to one group and craft solutions for them is necessarily different from one group to the next.
By narrowing things down to a specific industry/field/profession, you can more quickly and easily identify what their common needs, interests, goals and challenges are, come up with a compelling marketing message for them, and craft your admin support offerings more meaningfully around those things in a way that more powerfully speaks to and attracts clients.
Plus, you simply can’t work with everybody, any more than you can be all things to all people. To stand out, to be attractive, to be memorable and interesting, you have to get specific.
As Seth Godin says (and I’m fond of quoting): “You can be a meandering generality or a meaningful specific.”
The other benefit for you, of course, in choosing a specific industry/field/profession to cater your admin support to is that you can more quickly and easily pinpoint where to start looking for and interacting with those clients.
None of that requires that they know what you are called or have heard of our industry before, only that you know who they are.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to download my free guide on How to Choose Your Target Market. It elaborates further on this topic and walks you through some exercises to help you narrow things down and decide.