February 23, 2024

The fear that will wreck your business

A funny thing happens when I work with someone to transition from a typical “anything for anyone” generalist position to something more specific and useful that actually attracts leads.

Within the space of a minute, they go from:

A) Acting as if they could provide value to any kind of client in the whole wide world


B) Not being able to name a single type of business they feel is a good fit for them.

I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say “Bob” has been a full-stack web developer for a decade.

By definition, this means he’s a jack-of-all-trades with regard to web development.

I look at Bob’s website, and it has a big huge headline that says something like:

“I build websites for businesses.


“I build beautiful, professional websites to help grow small- to medium-sized business.


“I build websites for clients locally and globally, from small e-commerce stores to large corporate sites.

So... you MIGHT think that in a case like this, I could suggest literally any target market to Bob, and he would say, “Sure, I could help them.”

But the opposite happens!

Whenever I suggest a target market to Bob, he shoots me down.

Me: “What about building websites for lawyers?”

Bob: “Nah, they’re probably too formal.”

Me: “What about credit unions?”

Bob: “I’ve heard they’re tight with money.”

Me: “Accountants?”

Bob: “I’d get bored.”

Me: “Animal shelters?”

Bob: “They’re all broke.”

Me: “Restaurants?”

Bob: “Too much drama.”

Me: “Environmentalists?”

Bob: “Too far left.”

Me: “Hunters?”

Bob: “Too far right.”

...and on and on and on...

After a while, it starts to seem like Bob has an objection prepared for any target market that I might suggest.

The irony here is that his website states that he’d work with virtually anybody and yet when I suggest marketing to somebody in particular he rejects the idea.

And the DOUBLE irony is that if an environmentalist or a lawyer or a restauranteur walked through the door to hire Bob, he’d jump at the chance to work with them! Which is it, Bob? Are lawyers a good fit or not?

What’s really going on here is that Bob is afraid to make a decision.

And this fear is wrecking his business.

Here’s the thing...

Like all decisions, picking a target market is scary because it could fail.

You could be wrong.

It might not work.

There’s no guarantee.

But what I CAN guarantee you this:

If you are currently getting NO LEADS from your website, getting more specific in your marketing can’t make things any worse.