In my networking group, I’m often asked to describe my “ideal client”. Which is a challenge because all of the typical ways that people think about who they work with – company size, industry focus, etc. – don’t apply. My clients work in every industry possible, and their sales range from zero dollars to $180 million.
But here are the two things they do have in common:
My clients are owners, as opposed to just CEOs. They don’t simply have a sense of financial commitment and investment in what they do, they have an emotional ownership. They care deeply about what they are building, about the people who have committed to work for them, and about their clients.
They are inherently conservative and controlling: change must be proven, and earned.
My clients also understand their work well enough to recognize the doubled-edged sword of control: they have gotten to this place by holding everything so close, keeping it wrapped up in their arms. And because of that, it’s almost impossible for them to tell their story in a way that will resonate with others: they are simply too close to the business to be able to see it objectively.
And that’s my job: to earn their trust by showing them I am as protective of what they’ve built as they are. And to deconstruct and reassemble their vision in a way that lets others embrace the brand with the same passion.