Everyone Is Not Your Customer: That’s OK


Starting a business is an exciting time, and it’s understandable that you want to introduce your new company to the world and believe that everyone – young or old, male or female, urban or rural, you name it – needs what you’re selling. 

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As a small business owner, it’s important to feel enthusiastic about your business and confident about what it has to offer, and you need to be an evangelist for your business. But believing that everyone is your customer is counterproductive because you’ll spend a lot of time, energy and money trying to reach people who just aren’t interested. 

Think about some of the country’s biggest companies. Though they’re wildly successful and have very broad customer bases, even they can’t claim “everyone” as their target market.

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Walmart, for example, focuses on budget and convenience shoppers, promising “everyday low prices” to deliver on its tagline of “Save money. Live better.” Although it has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. and sells groceries, electronics, clothing and nearly everything else you need to run a household, it doesn’t carry high-end or luxury goods because that isn’t what its target audience is looking for in its stores. 

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Just as everyone is not Walmart’s customer, everyone is not your customer. Here’s why that’s OK: You can’t please everyone. But there are people you can please, and once you figure out who they are, you’ve found your niche. Narrowing your scope to your actual and potential customers takes the pressure off “being everything to everyone” so that you can focus on delivering the products or services that your real audience gets excited about. 

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