All too often, time and money are wasted trying to attract the wrong clientele. Just as you and your product generally fit into a certain niche within the market, your clients fit into a certain niche within your business. Are you appealing to the right crowd?

This brings up the question of what type of client you want to attract — a question best answered with yet another question: What type of client interests you? Who do you love to work with and why?

Kelly Shaw of Links Asset Management Group has plenty to say about drawing the right type of client for your business. In fact, he encourages creating a “perfect client profile”– a tool to help you identify why you work so well with certain customers and how to get more clients like them. He suggests a simple activity to get you started:

“Have you and your staff write down a list of your top 10 or 20 clients. Then write down three to five reasons why these clients are liked so much. Compare the lists with your staff and identify which ones you have in common. Discuss what you like about these clients, what they have in common, and why you enjoy doing business with them. Those common clients can become the foundation of your perfect client profile.”

Once you’ve identified your ideal client, put your findings to work. For Shaw’s firm, coming up with words to define the perfect client was a useful way to brainstorm marketing techniques. “We profiled these clients and said we need 100 more just like them. We geared all of our marketing toward these types of clients… Some of the common characteristics were ‘fun’ and ‘friendly,’ so all of our ads and literature talk about those attributes.”

By taking control of the type of client you want to work with, you’re taking control of the direction your business is headed. To Shaw, his business is headed up and his clients had better be ready: “I will be the most recognized financial advisor in my region, and if you want to work with me and my staff, you had better be fun.”