What does your Ideal Client look like?

by Grace Ueng, Savvy Growth

Recently, I met with the CEO of a fast-growing company backed by one of the world’s leading private equity firms. In our first meeting, he asked me, “What does your ideal client look like?” A few hours later he wrote, “I appreciated your time today. You clearly have an awesome story. Let’s keep chatting. I am sure we can use your talents in some fashion.”

In our follow up meeting, over lunch, he shared that he wanted me to work with his one-hundred emerging leaders. He then asked again, “What does your ideal client look like?” I shared my top of mind thoughts, and later decided I would provide a more complete answer to this thoughtful question.

Most all of us, whether we are the CEO, a business development leader, or a frontline sales rep, need to be concerned with expanding existing client relationships as well as gaining new customers. But how often do we stop and think, “Is this the right customer?” or say “No” to a client engagement or fire a customer because they are not a good fit? When I ran a tutoring business in high school, I “fired” one of my students because it was clear that he did not want my help, and I did not want to waste his mother’s money or my time.

What does your ideal client look like?” is a good question for both the client and the service provider. Here is my answer.


1.   Engaged by the CEO to help solve a key problem or support a strategic initiative.

2.   A strong company that is already doing many things well, but by working together, we achieve even more.

3.   A culture that rewards action. The CEO writing me back within hours of our first meeting citing that he wanted to continue talking was just that.

4.   Clear, timely and ongoing communications. We have a clear objectives and we hold each other accountable.

5.   A partnership built on mutual respect where the CEO leverages my being an objective third party, as his or her trusted thinking partner.

6.   A long-term relationship that is impactful and creates value for the CEO and his or her company.  Our work is useful and utilized.

7.   Both parties enjoy their work together!

Often, prospective clients will ask me after describing their challenge, “Is this of interest to you?” They are wise to ask this as they know that the best partnership is one where the consultant or coach is truly excited to work on the challenge at hand and with the people involved. In entering the final month of a three month assignment and in meeting with the CEO about potential next steps, he shared that he would discuss with the team, and if they agree the coaching is valuable, then we will proceed. He then added with a glimmer, “I think you are enjoying this!” 


Grace Ueng is Founder & CEO of Savvy Growth, whose mission is to help leaders and their companies grow to their fullest potential. Founded in 2003 as Savvy Marketing Group to advise clients on marketing strategy and personal branding, her firm now also offers management consulting and leadership coaching. Her firm has served over 200 clients from emerging growth to Fortune 1000.

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