As a starting entrepreneur or as an entrepreneur who (temporarily) has fewer customers, you can easily be tempted to take on any assignment. Especially when you start a business in times of crisis. After all, bread has to come on the shelf. Instead of sticking to your long-term strategy, you go along with the whims of the market and/or customer, which puts you at risk of compromising your positioning.
This can mean that you lose the customers or will never get the ones you want to work for. What you have done in the past is, for many, a reflection of what you can do for someone now.
Anecdote: One day a father gave his son an antique watch on his deathbed. He told him that this watch belonged to his father and asked him to take it to the watch shop on the corner of the street to ask them what it was worth.
His son did what his dying father asked him to do, and when he came back, he told him that she would give 5,- Euro for it because it was such an old watch. His father asked if he could also check with the coffee shop.
Also in the coffee shop, they didn't want to give more than 5,- Euro for it, he told when he returned. His father had one more request. Namely, if he also wanted to go to the museum with it. When his son came back, he told that they wanted to give a million euros for it.
With his last breath, his dying father said: "This watch is for you, my son. I hope you have learned that you have to be in the right place to be valued in the right way. Make sure you're never in the wrong place and then get angry because you're not being valued.
Always find the customer who values you
If you sell your products or services to customers who find them worthless, you certainly have a loaf of bread to eat. If you do it often enough, you might also be able to buy toppings. If you put all your energy into the right customer, you can build up reserves with which you can set up or develop a sustainable business.
The short-term pain of no customers or even bankruptcy is still less painful than for the rest of your life not being valued. Remember that in theory, the Seiko watch brand never has the chance to be seen as a Rolex again. They have been supplying a different target group than Rolex for too long.
The right customer is not always the one who pays you the most
When it comes to finding the right customer, it's not about them paying you the most. The right customer knows how to value your products or services. The difference between customers who do not and do not is:
Customers who value your products or services:
Search for a win-win instead of the lowest price
Are more satisfied, express their appreciation, and complain less
Will recommend you to others and provide more work
Will come back to you for follow-up orders or purchases.
Give you the feedback and inspiration to deliver something even better next time.
How do you find the right customer if you don't have bread on the table?
You could say that everything you do is better than working for people or providing something to people who do not fully value the work or product. Even if it means that you don't have anything to eat for a week or you run the risk of going bankrupt.
How you can find the customer without a loaf of bread on the shelf depends on many factors. Often you can last much longer without food than you would think. Maybe borrowing is an option, or perhaps you can make the ideal customer an offer he can't refuse.
It can sometimes take a while — usually, longer than you would like. But if you search, you will find the customer that suits you. On one condition: You have to be worth it by being innovative as a startup.