Your first step in segmenting the small business market is to look at your customer base behaviorally and divide your customers up into buckets based on how profitable they are to you. Then you need to find the distinguishing characteristics of each bucket, the traits that make each bucket unique. That trait often comes down to what they buy from you, but you may also find that your most profitable buckets have other similarities, including demographics like age, gender, and ethnicity, or firmographics like employee number or industry.
Your next step is to get inside the heads of the entrepreneurs in each of your buckets. Recently we completed an exhaustive attitudinal study in which we conducted 500 in-depth interviews with small business owners, attempting to gain an intimate understanding of their personalities. We found that we could categorize all small business owners into one of three attitudinal profiles. We dubbed them Mountain Climbers, Freedom Fighters, and Craftspeople. Of all 21 million small business owners in the United States, the proportion of Mountain Climbers, Freedom Fighters, and Craftspeople looks like the profile represented by Figure 1.14.
Each of your customer buckets likely has all three types of entrepreneurs present, but the proportions can change from bucket to bucket.
Mountain Climbers are so named because these entrepreneurs are motivated by growth and achievement. For them, owning a business is all about growing something and achieving something important.
Freedom Fighters, on the other hand, are motivated by independence. To these free spirits who dislike being told what to do, owning a business is the ultimate career choice.
Craftspeople are independent professionals who choose to practice their crafts independently as opposed to working for others.
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