10 ways to prepare for 2018

So we are fast approaching 2018 and the panic has set in for many. How do I finish off the year? Did I complete everything I said I would?  How much money can I make between now and Christmas? What exactly am I going to do differently in 2018?

Rest assured, this is a common feeling and dilemma that many entrepreneurs face and feel at the end of the year. The new year feels overwhelming but have no fear, I am here to share with you 10 ways you can prepare for 2018.

1. Do a brain flush

This simply means writing out all the ideas you have in your head in no particular order. Get it all out and on paper until you feel you have everything out so you have a fresh clean slate to start on

2. Write out a new goal

A goal not written is merely a wish list. To go into the new year, get very clear about what you want to happen in your life and your business. Write out a very specific goal which will highlight exactly what work you want to do, who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, how much money you want to make and by when you want to make the money.

3. Reach out to your clients and ask for a testimonial and a referral

Your past clients are your best clients…because they already know how awesome you are and will gladly spread the word once they have been blown away. So before the year is ended, ask them for a testimonial and a referral of your services so you can increase your client list and get more eyes on your business

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4. Review your analytics

If you use social media to actively promote your business, then this is a great time to review your analytics. Have a look back over the year and take note of the posts and information you shared that performed really well. The post which got the most views or engagement. The blogs that had the most responses. The videos that had the most engagement. Spend time going through your analytics so you get a better sense of what resonates with your audience so you can do more of those things as you work to increase your visibility and brand presence.

5. Choose 10 books you have to read to help grow your business

As an entrepreneur we know that we should be continuously learning and growing. Books should be our bets friend whether in hard copy or as an audio book. Reading is a great way to keep on top of your game and stay motivated as you climb the ladder to success. There are so many great motivational and personal development books that continue to help us be the best that we can be. I recommend you start with

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

6. Make a list of collaborators

Collaboration is a great way to grow your business fast! The key is to choose persons who already have a great client base and add value to their existing clients as well as yours. Identifying who you want to collaborate with and why you think the collaboration is beneficial to both of you is bound to elevate your business in 2018.

7. Create a content list of all the topics you can share with your audience

By now you should have a clear idea of the information that your ideal clients need and want. Using bullet points, start to make a list of topic ideas that you would like to share during the year. The list will not be exhaustive but it should serve as a jumping off point for you to start the year off on the right foot. Your list can then be used to write value post, send emails to your audience, do live or pre recorded videos and so many other things.  Planning in advance is key to the your successful growth

8. Identify 5 clients you have to land

No more shooting around in the dark. You know the clients you want to work with. You already know you your sweetheart client is and you understand exactly how you can make an impact in their lives. Start the year by writing out their names and how you plan to help them solve a challenge they presently have.

9. Choose a mentor

Having a mentor is one of the best things you can do for your business. No matter what stage of business you are in, it is great to have someone who has already been where you presently are to guide and support you along the way. There are many entrepreneurs who are willing to mentor new and budding entrepreneurs. Make a note of some of the people you really admire and seek them out as mentors. This will do wonders for your business, your moral and your motivation in 2018.

10. Identify 2 new skills you need to learn

Keep learning! It’s that simple. As we grow, we continue to learn. None of us have all the skills necessary to run a business. So we learn as we grow. Identify 2 new skills that you know you want to learn to improve your business and schedule a period of time during the year when you will start the process of engulfing yourself into learning that skill.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great starting  point for you to overcome the overwhelm of finishing this year and taking a deep dive into 2018. If you still feel stuck, then I am just a click away.

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Facebook is not the only place to find clients!

This is a funny statement coming form me given that most of my clients do come from facebook. But that is my business and every business is unique in its own right. While facebook seems to be the be all and end all of social media for some, I always have to ask and remind my own clients to look outside of facebook for their ideal clients as well. Not because their clients may not be their but more because their clients may not be using facebook as a tool to help solve their problem.

There are some businesses that thrive on facebook and the proof is in their conversions and return on investment. They do massive ads and outstanding videos and get clients dropping into their laps day in and day out but for others posting everyday and doing ads and live videos just does not get them the traffic they want. The problem is that they are not clear about who their ideal clients are and further do not know where they go to seek help for their biggest challenge. You first need to know and understand that, before you decide which social media platform works specifically for your niche.

Platforms such as Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest and Twitter are also great platforms to connect, engage and build relationships with your ideal clients…if used correctly. And there-in lies one of the biggest problems. Because entrepreneurs have gotten so hooked on facebook, they tend to try to use the other platforms in the exact same way and get no results, then give up completely, without understanding that each platform has its own nuances and users respond differently based on how you present your content.

I have followed some great brands big and small who are killing it on Instagram and Linkedin and the one thing I have realised is that they have taken the time to study and understand the platforms, so their ideal clients respond to them and they make a ton of sales…which is what we all want. They understand what type of content works, what type of images work and what call to action garners the best feedback from their audience. They also pay attention to their analytics so they know the best days and times to post to really reach an engaged audiences of buyers.

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My advice to my clients and to you is

  1. Do some market research about your ideal client and determine which platform works for them
  2. When you choose a platform, follow people who have mastered the platform so you can pick up on some useful tricks and advice on how to become an expert on the platform
  3. Experiment with the platform because you want to create something that is uniquely yours
  4. Don’t just post but engage with others as well so you can also build know, like and trust

This by no means is knocking facebook for its great business capabilities, however, as a business owner, it is imperative that you also do not put all your eggs in 1 basket. Even if your ideal clients are found on facebook, decide where is the 2nd highly trafficked social media platform that they are on and show up there as well. But show up in the right way! Try to master at least 2 platforms really well before you branch into others because you do not want to over extend your own abilities.

PLUS besides social media, there are other ways to reach your ideal clients like radio, press, tv, networking events and speaking engagements. So decide where you need to be and show up genuinely and proudly every day.

If you are still struggling to

  1. Find your ideal client
  2. Master social media to land clients

Then let’s get on a Free discovery call so we can discuss how to get you on the right track.

 

Create content that sells

One of the challenges many of my clients face is creating content consistently that sells. You see, this is something that is not taught in school and when most people start a business, they focus on building a pretty website, have a splashy call card and then maybe creating a flier that they hope will lure people to their business. And when it does not quite work out that way, they come to me and ask WHY? My question to most entrepreneurs is – what content are you sharing with your audience?

Content alone won’t make the sales. You also have to consider where you are sharing it, who you are sharing with and when you are sharing but you have to have a clear idea of what you are sharing with your audience. Is it something they need to hear, read or experience. Are you sharing the content in the best way for them to understand how you can actually help them solve a challenge they are facing? Content creation is one of those must do activities for any business whether now starting or in business 10 years.

Some of the top brands share content consistently and that is how they are able to close their sales. Content does not mean advertising…so let’s squash that misconception right now. Content is about educating your audience and sharing value. It is the information your provide to your ideal client to help them solve their challenge. Content can be shared in a number of different ways including

  1. Video
  2. Posts
  3. Audio
  4. Speech at a speaking or networking engagement

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Content is shared in different places such as your:

  1. Blog
  2. Podcast
  3. Social Media Platforms
  4. As a speaker at an event
  5. Through a Mic Man
  6. Newsletter
  7. Email

And because the places are varied and they way it is shared is plentiful, many entrepreneurs immediately go into panic mode. But the solution is right in front of you everyday.

Here are 5 easy ways, I have been able to create content consistently for my audience and close the sale daily

  1. Ask them exactly what they want to learn from you. I know this sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many entrepreneurs are afraid to simply ask this question. Give them exactly what they want and then some more
  2. Create a poll in your group or your page or send out a survey with a list of questions that you want to get answered
  3. Think back to all the clients you have had over the last 3 to 6 weeks and make note of all the questions they have asked you via phone or email. Each question is a piece of content that you can share and teach your clients
  4. Look at what your competitors are posting/sharing and look at the response they are getting from their audience. Those responses are pieces of content for you to grab up
  5. Keep reading about new trends in your industry and give your opinion

This list is not exhaustive obviously but it is a great starting point for you to begin creating content that sells to your audience. The key is to take this information that you would have gathered and turn it into pieces of information which you share with your audience so they get to know, like and trust you even more.

If you have read this and still feel you need help in creating content that sells then let’s connect and discuss how we can get you over this hurdle called content creation!

Success is uncomfortable

I have been working closely with quite a few clients lately, more than my usual amount but I wanted to do it to see how I would manage. It has been tiring and eventful but fun at the same time. But the one thing I heard from at least 5 of my new clients as we developed new strategies and they got into action was that they were uncomfortable.

I found it amusing that each one of them used that exact word. Not that they were afraid or stressed but that they were uncomfortable! And it was the truth. They were uncomfortable because I was asking them to do things they had never done before. Things that took them out of their comfort zones. Things they never thought they would ever have to do. And it was not that these clients were lazy but they got comfortable complaining about how their businesses were not growing. Comfortable just getting by and barely paying bills. Comfortable being just comfortable with nothing to show at the end of the month even though they had a burning desire to do more and be more in their business and for their family.

Working with a coach (me!) forced them to get uncomfortable and do more than they even thought possible. It made them go one step further than they would have gone if they were doing this all alone.

Their success means they have to get uncomfortable!

Starting, growing and sustaining a business is not easy.  In fact, it may be one of the hardest things to do if you do not have all the tools or knowledge at your disposal but it is not impossible. As entrepreneurs we have to be ready to get uncomfortable to get to our success or our version of success, because then we will appreciate it even more.

One client even told me before she sent an email her stomach was upset. Another said before she did her live video and while doing the video she wanted to literally throw up. Being uncomfortable looks and feels different for everybody but it is something most successful entrepreneurs have experienced as they grew their business.

 

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The point being that if you really want success you have to get uncomfortable trying and testing  things that you have never done before. Whether that is doing a live video, speaking to a CEO, speaking on a stage in front of 1000 people or getting published in a major newspaper or magazine. Our success depends on hoe much we are willing to push ourselves beyond our safe limits to get exactly what we say we want in business and in life.

We have to push past our fears and our anxieties. Acknowledge that they exist and then make a conscious decision to keep moving even though you feel the pain in the pit of your stomach. Because truth be told, you will never know until you try! There is no time like the present to get exactly what you want, so let’s work together to make this happen.

Still looking for guidance and support as you grow your business? Look no further! As your coach I will provide you with the extra push to move you from uncomfortable to comfortable in your business and it starts with just an email or a call

M is for Marketing

The dreaded M word…lol. Okay I may be stretching it a bit, but truly that is the number 1 complaint I get from most of my clients. They do not know where or how to market their business. There is a mis guided belief that they just need to start a facebook page, post pretty pictures and motivational posts everyday and business will come knocking at their door. It is because of this misguided belief that so many business fail.

Even in school where I did marketing, I am not sure they actually showed us HOW to market. Yes we learnt about product, place and price but the actual HOW I think was sorely lacking and it rolls over when we are actually ready to start a business.

Marketing your business does not have to be daunting. It takes work but once you devise a plan and strategy that works for your business, the pieces start to fall together and the sales start to roll in. I want to share with you some key elements of any marketing strategy you devise. There is no one size fits all, but there are key elements that you need to consider before you get ‘busy’ with the ton of activities you feel are necessary to execute a solid marketing plan. So, let’s begin

1. Have a goal/plan

You need to be very specific about what you want to happen. You know that old saying about ‘Start with the end in mind’? Well here is where it comes in. What specifically do you want to happen in your business over a period of 3 months, 6 months, 1 year? How much do you want to earn and how many clients do you want to serve? Where do you want to be seen and heard? You have to hone down on this idea so that you can see and feel it before you even begin execution of any plan.

2. Know who your audience is

Too many times entrepreneurs try to sell to everybody and they end up burnt out and frustrated. Everybody does not need the solution you are providing. Get specific about who needs your business so that you save time, money and resources by speaking directly to them on a consistent basis. The more specific you get the greater the results will be. In my last blog post- Who is your ideal client we examined why they were important and how you start to find them.

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3. Have multiple solutions

By this I mean, that your ideal clients may need what you offer in a variety of ways so ensure that you provide them a variety of solutions that fit not just their pockets but their needs. Gone are the days when you just have to sell one thing over and over. The best sales people know that you should be selling multiple things to satisfy the different stages of your ideal clients.

4. Have an opinion

What exactly do you want to be known as/for. People want to know that you stand for something and that they can rely on you for that thing that you stand for. Make sure than in any communication you share that your opinion is clear to your audience and that it resonates with what you are selling

5. Be consistent

This I cannot stress enough. Whatever medium you decide to use for your marketing strategy, you need to be consistent. Showing up once a week will not cut it because your audience is bombarded with information every 2 seconds. The challenge is to show up in an authentic yet creative ways so that your message stands out but none the less you need to be consistent in the delivery of your message and in asking for the sale every single day!

6. Do NOT rely on social media alone

Yes, I know billions of people are on social media but guess what — they all use social media differently. Social media is a powerful tool to get your message to your audience but its should not be the only way. A business page, a blog, a you tube channel, a podcast are all great ways to talk to your audience. But also utilise traditional media like radio, television, newspapers and magazines. Get involved with your community and network with your audience. Show up and let them see and hear exactly who you are away from your computer. Reach out and touch somebody (literally!!!..but not in a creepy crawly way please)

7. Do your research

Stop guessing about what people need and want. Ask them. Do a survey. Ask questions in groups; send an email or a text. Your role as an entrepreneur is to understand what your audience wants and tap into their emotional needs so that you can sell consistently. You cannot guess what their needs are. Start to ask them simple questions so you can structure your business to solve their challenges in a meaningful way that seems true to them. In a previous blog I asked- Are you doing your research? and I walked you through some of the ways to conduct research so that you grow your business consistently. Have a look and tell me what you think.

8.  Always measure

How will you know if your plan is actually working if your do not measure your growth. Every few months, take a look at the progress you have made. Ask your clients about the service they received and how it can be improved. Make note of where you may have fallen short and what you need to amp up in your business. To grow a sustainable business you need to measure your growth consistently.

Marketing is a mysterious task for many persons but it is something that you can learn to master with the right guidance and tools. As your coach, I understand the challenge you face and I would love to guide you to make marketing easier for you.

Let’s schedule a call this week and see if you would be the perfect fit for my MOB (Marketing on a Budget) Squad!

Who is your ideal client?

Many times when a person decides to start a business, they never think about their ideal clients. I mean really think about them and write out the characteristics of them. You tend to focus on starting a facebook page, having a pretty logo and starting to sell. And when you have done all of this and then get no sales, there is a huge uproar. One of the reasons, (and by no means is this the only reason) you are getting no sales is because you are trying to sell to EVERYBODY even though everybody does not need or want what you are selling. You have this false belief that your product/service is so great that everybody will rush to purchase. This is so false and actually many business close after 1 year in business not because their product/service was horrible but simply because they did not take the time to fine tune who they wanted to serve.

What is an ideal client?

An ideal client is that person who needs what you have. They do not question your price and they are seeking out a solution for a problem and they know you can solve their problem. Your ideal client is a sweetheart and sometimes called a soul mate client because they understand and appreciate your product or service. They also recommend you to others and give you glowing testimonials all the time. Sometimes they do not even realise they need you until they have used your product/service but once they do there is no turning back. An ideal client buys from you over and over and over again! Sounds perfect right?

But why is it important to find them?

Once you know who your ideal client is, it is sooo much easier to share value and sell everyday. They want to soak up the information that you are sharing. Knowing your ideal client means you speak directly to a person who wants to buy from you. They know, like and trust you and they become your brand ambassadors. Knowing them also means that you save time, money and resources. It also means that your marketing and sales efforts are more focused and fine tuned so you can sell more and work less (almost ideal!)

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But where do I find them?

This is the part where the ball drops. You have to go looking for them. You have to ask around. You have to look at the people who have bought from you before or who are buying similar products and services to yours. You have to pay close attention to what people are saying and consuming in the industry. Most coaches and marketing gurus will give you a simple exercise to complete which speaks specifically to the demographic of your ideal client. For example,

  1. Are they married, single, divorced or widowed?
  2. Are they male or female?
  3. Do they have children and how many?
  4. What is their household income?
  5. What is their disposable income?

These questions really tackle the basic information about your client. And they are important because a single woman spends money differently and her priorities are different to a married woman with 3 children. You have to identify these basic qualities so you can understand what is important to them and why they buy.

In addition, you look at where they live, where they spend their time both online and offline, the brands they follow and the people who they consider influencers. Why? Because you need to be wherever they are everyday!

But a great sales person needs to know about the emotional parts of their clients. What makes them tick? What keeps them up at night? What can’t they live without? How do you find these answers? You simply ask people who have bought from you; who have expressed interest in your product or service or who you know need what you have to offer!

What do I do when I find them?

When you have narrowed down exactly who needs you and how they need you then you start to share value. You pay close attention to the language they use when they are speaking about the problem they are experiencing. You talk directly to them about their problems using the exact words they use (psychology of selling!) and share how you can help them sleep better at night. Give value everyday and ask for the sale.

Where do I start?

Start by writing it out. Get it out of your head and write out the exact features of your ideal clients until you have created a persona that you can actually visualize. It helps to also give your ideal client avatar a name. But remember, you can also have more than 1 ideal client based on where they are in your buyers journey. So keep plotting away until you narrow down exactly who they are and how you are helping them. In a previous post- Stop Living in a Ghost Town I shared some useful tips about how to engage your ideal clients consistently.

And if you still need help, then contact me for a FREE 30 minute consultation and let’s get to work identifying your ideal client.

 

 

 

 

Who do I collaborate with?

Collaborations are all the rave now. Why? Because we are realizing more and more that you do not have to grow your business alone. According to the Business Dictionary, a collaboration is ‘Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.’

There are millions of people who want to buy from you  and a great way to get in front of them is to collaborate with somebody who has the same ideal client but is offering a complimentary service. Examples include hairdressers and nail techs, bakers and event planners to name just a few, but many times it does not work out as we expected. There is a reason we are getting collaborations wrong and I want to walk you through how to make it work

1. When you are not clear about what the collaborations looks like

This is the most common mistake. Time and time again I see entrepreneurs announce that they want to collaborate with other business owners but they are not clear about how the collaboration will look or feel. They do not have a clear understanding of who will be doing the work and the expected outcome.

There is the belief that once the next entrepreneur has clients and is offering a complimentary service then they are the best persons to collaborate with. The truth is, if you are looking for someone to collaborate with, you need to do your homework. Some questions to consider are

  • who are their ideal clients
  • how successful and busy are their own businesses
  • have they collaborated with anybody before
  • how visible are they
  • do their vision, mission and ethics in alignment with your business

Because so many entrepreneurs do not think about these questions they end up in disastrous collaborations and loose a ton of money, time and resources in the process.

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2. You have no contract

One of the biggest mis-steps entrepreneurs make when going into any collaborative agreement. Even if it is a one page contract which identifies

  • what is the overall goal of the collaboration
  • each persons role in the collaboration,
  • how money will be spent and distributed,
  • how long the collaboration will be engaged,
  • how the success of the collaboration will be measured and
  • how will the collaboration be promoted!

Having no contract leaves your collaboration open to failure because expectations are not clearly defined.

3. Lack of communication

This is when the collaboration is finalised. Entrepreneurs tend to just walk away and expect things to fall into place. But actually this is when you have to keep in contact with your collaborator because as you start to promote the collaboration, things may have to be tweaked, twisted and turned to make sure you are really hitting your targets. It is not a drop it and they will come scenario. Keep lines of communication open throughout the life of the collaboration and decide what day and time of the week you will be checking in to give updates etc.

Collaborations are a great way to grow your business fast but like with anything else in business, it must be done with a strategic plan in mind and not willy nilly.

Do you have any successful collaboration stories? Or do you want help in deciding how to find someone to collaborate with? Post your comments below and let’s keep this conversation going!