Why ‘everyone’ is NOT your target market

I’ve worked with a lot of business owners over the years and one of the things that continually frustrates me is the misconception that “everyone” is a target market.

To be fair, entrepreneurs need a certain amount of naive optimism to start and run their businesses, but this “everyone” assumption takes it too far. I worry when I hear entrepreneurs boast that their product or service is perfect for “everyone”.

It is impossible and illogical to have “everyone” as a target market. For one thing, this idea that “our product will be perfect for everyone” automatically filters out those who have died previously and those who are not yet born. Obviously, they can’t buy your product or service. So “everyone” is really “everyone who is alive right now.

But it’s narrower than that. “Everyone” doesn’t speak English or have a computer. So if you conduct your business over the web in English, you are cutting down “everyone” to “Everyone who is alive right now who speaks English and has a computer.”

Now factor in other considerations: This target market should be one that can receive your product or service, pay for your product or service, and use your product or service. That reduces “everyone” even further, excluding children (who shouldn’t be buying things online) and people who don’t live in your shipping region. “Everyone” is now “everyone who is alive right now, who speaks English and has a computer, and is old enough to shop for and pay for our product or service, and receive it from us.”

By simply defining what we mean by “everyone” we were to narrow the billions and billions of “everyone” down to mere millions. Now you are getting closer to a target market! With some additional definitions, you can create a well-defined Audience and your sales funnel kicks into gear!

Creating a business plan based on “everyone” as your target market is dangerous because you will soon discover that it is not true and you might be in for a shock when the product you market to “everyone” can’t be sold to anyone.

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