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.

 

harry-sandhu-time is precious

 

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

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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!

Ready to quit your job? Do these 10 things

I have written about this before (5 things you need to do before you start a business), but it is always nice to remind you about some of the things to consider when you are ready to quit your job. Many of my clients are still working full time while building their business and they are overwhelmed and anxious about making the leap. Issues of time management and fear abound and so many seem to be drowning while trying to decide what is the next step.

I also made this huge leap just over 1 year ago, so I wanted to share some things to consider before you did the same.

Choose a date/Set a goal

This is the thing most people skip over and then 5 years later are still planning to leave their job. Setting a date or a deadline for when you want to make the leap not only keeps you accountable but will help you develop strategies specifically to making this dream a reality. A deadline gives you something to work towards. So instead of I want to leave my job soon, get specific about the date. I want to leave my job and be running my own business successfully by January 5th, 2018! Get that specific so you can visualize it and then get into action to make it happen

Do your research

Research, research and research some more. Not because it sounds like a nice idea to you means it will work. Ask questions; read up about your industry; reach out to experts in your industry; conduct surveys and polls; sample your products and services. Research is key to the launch and development of your business because you do not want to waste time when yo finally go public. You want to get most of it right (not saying to be perfect!), but you want to be clear of who you are selling to, how  much they are willing to pay, where they can be found and exactly what they want. That happens with research! Research is a continuous process in your business even after you have launched. Listen to ‘Why Market Research is so important’ in one of my videos.

Test the market

jessica-guzik-125883- food samplesThis ties into your research. After you have done the research, test out what you have learnt to see if it meets your clients expectations. Sample your products; do beta testing of your courses and as you test, keep asking for feedback so that you can fine tune your offering.

 Invest in yourself and your business

You HAVE to invest in your business. This looks different for different people. It may mean taking an online course or buying books to read, or attending workshops. Whatever method works for you is fine. The most important thing to note is that you should be investing in your education if you truly want to excel in business. Because technology is making everything so accessible and the buying habits are always evolving you need to be on top of what is going on. Invest in your education. Invest in your business by hiring people to do what you cannot do like graphic work, website development and accounting. As you are still in a full time job, use part of your salary to invest in your business to help it grow quicker. Take baby steps but please take some steps to get it done.

Build your audience

Who said you had to wait to ‘launch’ before you build your audience? You can start building your audience from day one just by talking about your business and doing sampling for example. In fact it is from this audience that you will get information about if your product or service is really needed. Start with people in your circle who you know need your services and ask for referrals after every ‘job’ that you do. Keep building your audience as you do research and test your products so when you are ready to make your big launch you already have income coming in and a steady flow of customers who know about you and can recommend you to others

Understand your money

You and your money should be best friends. Too many entrepreneurs start off by just wanting to make some money. Even if you are simply trying to earn $2000 extra a month, you need to know the exact figure you want to make. Create a budget of all your expenses presently to determine how much you need to make in your own business so that you can continue or improve the life you are currently living. Know your figures, understand how a budget works and track how you are spending money on a daily/weekly basis so that you can take charge of your finances. Money Management is essential for the success of your business. Knowing how much you need to set aside as a cushion to keep you steady until you business takes off is so very important.

Know your legal requirements

This is something that many overlook especially when now starting out. There are stark differences if you are registering as a sole trader or an llc; whether you are VAT registered or not. There are many legal requirements you should know about as you start and grow your business. Reach out to the relevant authorities and get educated on this. Even simple things like the images you use on your posts or blogs come with legal requirements. In order to protect your business, you need to understand how these things affect your own business.

Surround yourself with like minded people

group photoNot everyone will understand your dream. They do not have to…it is your dream not theirs. But it always helps when you are surrounded by like minded people right? Spend more time or find more people who are in business or are starting their own business to hang around. This way you can feed off each others energy, lean on each other and hold each other accountable. Most times people do not understand the late nights, your refusal to go out for drinks or your obsession with your business because they themselves are not in business.

Create a schedule

I hate to say time management but I know that is what most entrepreneurs understand. It is about managing yourself! You have 24 hours in the day, so use it wisely by creating a schedule that allows you to still build your business. Especially if you are still working a full time job, then give your boss your full attention during work hours (wouldn’t you want your staff to do the same?) and then decide what you are going to do with the next 18 hours. How many hours to sleep, spend time with family and friends, relax, study, do research etc. You are in control so you create a written schedule that makes sense to your lifestyle. No 2 schedules will ever look alike. Your schedule should be flexible to allow ‘life’ to happen but you should have an idea of what each day would look like for you and what you would be actively working on each day in your business.

If you have not found that space as yet, then come on over to Dynamic Business Strategist where we have over 2000 entrepreneurs from around the world growing their business.

Stay focused/consistent

Finally, stay focused and consistent. There will be days you feel frustrated and overwhelmed. That is part of the journey. But after you have picked yourself up, get back on the saddle and keep going. You need to understand WHY you started this journey and be very clear of where you want to be. Keep your eye on the prize and keep at it until you get your prize!

 

It is not about being perfect but about being prepared. I know this can seem daunting and scary but that is why you have me, your business coach. If you are ready to put these things in place, then let’s work together to make sure you are doing it right, then contact me and let’s get started. 

Stay connected to get more sales

I know the one thing most entrepreneurs have in common is the need to increase sales. That is the number 1 request I get when I start to work with a new client. And many of them expect me to advise them to do a big sale, create a flier and post it all over the place and then they are very disappointed when I give them my simple answer. To get more sales you need to stay connected. Simply put, it means that you have to be at the heart beat of the action and become part of the conversation. Here are some simple ways to stay connected to get more sales:

1. Respond to others.

Spend at least 45 minutes every morning and evening responding to other people’s questions. I know this may be challenging so some but it is very effective to get eyes on your profile. You see every time, you comment or add your opinion to some one else’s post, if they don’t know you they will check your profile. Others will start to respond under your respond and more than likely also check your profile.

 

2. Ask relevant questions.

This forms part of your market research (something we spoke about in an earlier post- Are you doing your research). Asking questions will help you get a better understanding of your audience and allow you to interact with them even more. Make sure that you also respond to their responses so the conversation continues to flow and you build rapport. Research is a key component of building your business as I discussed here in my video- Why market research is so important  

 

3. Share valuable information on your social media platforms

that you know your ideal clients want. It may be an article, a video or some training. But you are not just dropping a link and running…oh no…you are sharing and telling them why you are sharing it and asking for their opinion about what you are sharing.

 

4. Give them a reason to connect.

This is where a great opt-in comes into play. An ebook, training programme, swipe file or cheat sheet etc are some great ways to connect and get more sales. By giving them what they want through an opt-in you add them to your email list and then you can continue the conversation after they have received it. Just make sure what you are sharing is what they really want and continue sharing more after they have opt-in. I am ready to Crush my Email

 

5. Speak at events or host an event.

This is the tried and true way to stay connected. Speaking to an audience is going back to basics before we had the internet and it is still one of the best ways to stay connected. People remember what you say and the feeling they had when they hear you share your story. Connecting with clients on this level is a great way to get more sales because it increases your level of authenticity. group photo

 

6. Reach out to clients

New and old. Make it a habit to stay connected to clients even after they have bought from you because there is a higher chance that once they were satisfied they would buy from you again. Whether by phone, email, text etc, staying connected with people who have already done business with you always leads to sales, referrals and more

 

Connecting should be a way of life for any entrepreneur because it is part of the life blood of your business. It is tied to your visibility and your sales. It is tied to your marketing and promotions. As an entrepreneur you have to stay connected, continue to build more connections and stay relevant to your audience as you continue to grow your business. Connecting is the long game to your own success.

 

Still looking for a great way to connect? We are waiting for you in here.

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Carlos Muza

4 ways to increase your revenue

Everybody wants to make money in their business right? Either that or they are running a charity. But making the money always seems to be the hard part for many entrepreneurs because we do not talk about money or understand how money works (but that is for another blog post!). There are some tried and tested ways to make more money in your business. I want to share with you just 4 ways:

1. Look at what you are offering and determine if the prices need to be raised. (Yes you will lose a few clients but you will gain better clients in the long run!) Do that immediately. Raising your prices means that you will attract higher paying clients who value what you are selling them. Do not get caught into the thinking that charging less will give you more clients. In fact the opposite is true. Raising your prices also means you may be able to work with less people and still earn the money you want.

2. What product or service are you presently offering that sells the most? Sell more of it by talking about it more, give your clients more info about it and get more people to buy it. It is your number 1 seller for a reason. This means you have to be very intune with your clientele and your inventory. The product that sells the most and flies off the shelf fastest is the one you should be producing the most of. If you make 100 soaps and they all sell out in 1 week and you have a line of people trying to buy more, then you need to make more soaps and sell more of it every week (raise your prices!)

3. Are you offering enough things? Meaning, are you selling more than 1 thing at a time? It is a myth that you should be selling 1 thing at a time. Sell as much as 2 or 3 things at a time so you have multiple streams coming in and you are not depending on just 1 sales. When you are running ads, sending out emails or doing videos, it is okay to sell more than 1 thing because your clients are at different stages of the buying process with you. Some need a low end product, some a mid range and some a high end. You should be selling all of them. They key is to know where to sell each one of these things. Once can be sold in your fb group, another via your email list and still another in collaboration with another entrepreneur. Do not depend on the sale of 1 thing to give you the revenue you desire.

4. Offer weekly or monthly package deals. So instead of a month by month sale, offer a 3 month package which they can pay over a period of time. That way you can guarantee money is coming in even 90 days from now. This works well especially for service providers like consultants. For hair dressers and nail techs for example ensure that your clients book their next appointments in advance so you are guaranteeing that you are always booked. If you sell a product, you know how long it lasts on average, so ensure that your strategy includes a follow up system so they buy another item from you before their last bottle is completed. And combine services or products. This way you get a larger revenue jump than if you were trying to sell each item individually.

Now that you have these 4 steps to take, let’s commit to implementing them in your business today!

Leave a comment below and tell me which one you plan to implement.