At some point in starting your business, you were instructed to consider what your “target market” is. You might have thought about your right people or your ideal clients. You might have even constructed a customer avatar.

You welcome everyone who might match your target market in at the opening of your sales funnel. That could be the home page of your website, an event, or the opt-in for your email list. Then you create filters through content and offers that narrows the scope of the customers you are dealing with at the core of your business.

That’s all solid advice.

And… I think there’s a better way. Our brains don’t do generalizations well. And generalizations are exactly what you need to conceive of the wide end of your funnel in the traditional approach.

When we generalize, we miss a lot of details. Those details are often the secret to unlocking a new level of creativity and effectiveness in product development, messaging, and sales.

To boot, your customers don’t want to align with generalizations. They want to feel like what your business has created was made especially for them. While mass solutions may have had traction in the industrial era, the social era demands a new level of attention to detail and specialization.

So how do you ensure that you capture those details?

In a traditional sales funnel, the details are all at the bottom. They’re processed later. And they’re rarely designed into the business as a whole.

What if you flipped it?

What if you started with the narrow end? What if you started with a single customer, user, client?


By beginning with a real person who has real needs that your skills, talents, and passion make you uniquely equipped to serve or create for, you don’t miss the details. You see her experience, you understand her process, you discover both acute and deep needs.

Once you’ve worked the narrow end of the funnel–by the way, funnel here is just a visual, I like to think of sales cycles more than funnels–by examining several individuals, ahem, individually, you can work to attract more clients just like them. Instead of needing to weed out the not-quite-right clients, you’re actively building a business based on the perfect individuals.

Of course, there will always be people who are interested in the value you offer who aren’t “just right,” but they won’t be your concern. You’ll be focused on the multitudes who found your business because you took the time to get the details right one person at a time.

Your business will be building towards scale based on specificity and precise service instead of just casting a wider net and hoping to get lucky.

What does this mean for you today?

You and your business have a treasure trove of information at your fingertips. The work you’ve been doing with individual clients and customers translates into a wealth of insight that can lead to identifying the products that truly scale.

This is exactly the process we undergo in The Customer Perspective Process. I’m leading a virtual boot camp May 20-23. Here’s what Amanda Blake, founder of embright, had to say about the last session:

“…blows the familiar ‘ideal customer’ approach out of the water. The CPP boot camp immediately revolutionized the way I approach product development, marketing, and even writing my book. It also makes me more of the kind of business owner I want to be: friendly, empathetic, and connected.”

The Customer Perspective Process boot camp is offered through Kick Start Labs, my microbusiness community & accelerator. Click here to learn more.