As children, we were introduced to the W questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and sometimes How (it’s apparently like the vowels and their hot-and-cold relationship with Y). Over the next few weeks, as we lead up to the kick-off of the Bionic Business Lab, I’m bringing you back to the online business basics so you can thrive, not just survive.

This is the last post in The W Series, which was designed to get new entrepreneurs thinking about the essential questions related to running a business. (Next week, it’s time for the next-level shiz).

I was at an in-person networking event yesterday where one of the members was discussing a new business idea. Everyone was giving good feedback, and her idea wasn’t too bad, but there was a key component missing: real, actual people.

We tend to talk about our clients in hypotheticals (see the Ideal Client Avatar…ugh). Oh yeah, my client is frustrated because she wants to lose weight but losing weight is hard and she needs willpower and wants to pay for it.

Does she?

You don’t know, because you’re talking about some weird in-your-brain version of an actual person.

You need to find out where your people are talking about their problems, online or off, so that you know what they actually need.

It doesn’t matter if your business model is entirely in-person, the beautiful thing about living in the digital age is that those real life people hang out and talk about their problems online. They may be on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, weight loss forums, and/or other places, but they’re probably here.

And they’re complaining. And that’s a gold mine for you when it comes to finding out what your clients are actually saying about their problems.

And if they’re in a particular community complaining about something, it also makes it easier to target them with ads and marketing.

If all of Marie Forleo’s followers desperately need a web designer for their coaching site, you damn well better be targeting those people with Facebook and Twitter ads.

If everyone in a local Meetup group is there to talk about tech solutions for their brick-and-mortar business, your local IT company better be hitting them up.

If there is a free online or offline workshop in the same realm of service you are in, go check it out. Don’t try to sell or take business away from the organizer.

Just listen.

So where are your clients hiding online (or offline)?

Oh yeah, and you may be wondering…”What happened to when?” Guess what, my friend? When is now. There’s no question about it.

Could you use a hand figuring this stuff out?

I work with a handful of creative entrepreneurs 1-on-1 every month.

Find out how by clicking here.