When is it time to up level your business

At some point in time you will be ready to uplevel your business. What that means and looks like for every business is different. Some people will settle just making a few sales and serving a few clients and be extremely happy and others need to do more, create more, help more and become even more.

The beauty of this is that it happens to every business owner. The vision you have for your business when you first begin will change as your business grows. Your goals will shift, your strategies will definitely change and you will become uncomfortable along this journey. It is during this time of feeling uncomfortable in the space that you have created is when is the best time to uplevel.

So many business owners I have worked with experience fears, anxieties and uncertainty as they grow their business. They work hard to reach a certain level until they get comfortable and then they start to feel uncomfortable all over again. That is your body, mind, the universe…whatever you want to call it…telling you it is time to uplevel and do more in your life or your business.

Upleveling may look very different to different businesses.

For some it may be hiring new staff, hiring a new coach, automating their services, starting new business or expanding their existing product line or even something as simple as starting to do videos for your clients. Upleveling is something that most leaders know that they must do once they have it a plateau. Think about some of the greatest entrepreneurs that you know. Oprah Winfrey moved from doing day time talk shows, to starting her own magazine, mentoring others, franchising other talk shows and owning her OWN Network. All that was part of her process of upleveling and doing more, creating more and being more.

When is it time for you to uplevel? Only you know when it is best but I would encourage you to do it when you feel the most uncomfortable and the most scared. Why? Because at that moment everything is not perfect and your adrenalin is pumping and taking that leap of faith is exactly what your business and your life is calling for. Now upleveling is definitely something you can plan in advance but many times it does not happen that smoothly.

Are you currently feeling anxious or excited about your business, then maybe it is time for you to uplevel. To create more, do more and be more even if all the things you have planned have not been completed. It is about getting uncomfortable until you are comfortable, something my clients hear me saying over and over as they move their business from one level to the next.

Are you ready to uplevel? Now is the time to do just that. Let’s get on a call to discuss how you can use this uncomfortable feeling to get comfortable

Why word of mouth is still so powerful

The internet has taken over and more so social media. Most if not all businesses can be found on social media and every year we spend millions of dollars to ensure we are positioned in front our ideal clients so we get recurring sales and repeat customers. We study our analytics. We stress over the amount of likes and work at build our engagement. We experiment with different strategies and are always ready to jump on the next big craze which our clients love. It is a continuous cycle of work, testing and retesting until we find a formula that works and then we retest some more.

And for the even more adventurous, we do radio and tv ads. Try to infuse a sense of humor in it and tackle for the best space in the best of the best magazines and publications. We do great big ads to be shown on billboards to blind drivers as they whizz past our messages. And of course we do a ton of videos which we know will undoubtedly increase our visibility with the clients that we love.

Yet when I speak to at least 95% of my entrepreneurs and ask them how did their clients find them, the first thing they say is through word of mouth! Yet in all our marketing strategies we fail to focus on this important piece of information.

Word of mouth is still so powerful!

The clients who you have already served are your best piece of advertising and many entrepreneurs fail to realise that. The service you provide and the way you make your customers feel is just as important as that billboard or the next video that you do live. Because every time they have a great experience with you, they will tell somebody else and the cycle of references and testimonials will continue to flood in until you are totally booked out. This goes beyond merely having great customer service with the usual thanks you’s, please and on time delivery of service. It also relates to how well you know and understand your clients and can anticipate their needs before they even voice it. It comes from really taking time to treat each of your customers as if they were your best customer no matter how much money they are spending with you.

In devising your marketing plan and developing your strategies, always ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I want my customers to feel when they interact with me
  2. What do I want them to say about me

These questions will help guide your own interaction with them. Their word of mouth is the best way for you to continue to get repeat clients and build a sustainable business.

Word of mouth can make or break your business! If a client gets bad service they are not afraid to hop on social media to share the bad reviews. Take a look at many of the top brands in our midst and you will see how many complaints they receive. The question then is, how do they and how should you counter these complaints because that is what they will remember and that is what they would share with their friends and family to describe doing business with you.

Word of mouth is not only about what your clients say about you but also marries into what you say about your business. What you say about your staff, about your clients, about your products etc also plays into how word of mouth helps to grow your business because somebody is always listening to you and many persons make decisions about your business based on what you share about your experience running a business.

For more awesome tips about how to grow your business using word of mouth, social and traditional media, be sure to join my fast growing facebook group- Dynamic Business Strategist, where all the magic happens!

 

Are you doing your research?

How important is research? Is it really necessary? Or can you just go with your gut instinct? If you are really serious about building a successful business, I urge you not to by pass this step. In fact, this crucial step in starting and growing your business can make or break you in the blink of an eye.

Let me break it down. You have this super awesome idea for a business or for an extension of your business. You happen to see something like it so you think it must work if that other thing is working. Or 1 person asked you to do this little extra thing and you think- wow, I can add this new service- based on 1 person asking you. So you invest time, money and resources and then you hear crickets!!!!!!

Why? Why? Why? Because you did not do the research.

You do not have a real sense of who will buy, how much they will pay, how often they will buy, how they want it delivered, nothing, nada. You went straight into launch mode because of a gut feeling! Doing research is paramount to your success. I cannot repeat it enough.

And before you get all winey and complainey, let me just say that doing the research for your business can actually be one of the most enjoyable parts of starting and growing your business. Research can happen in a number of ways:

  1. Conduct a survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey. Get real feedback from people about what they want and need
  2. Do a short poll in your group or page
  3. Come out and ask everybody who you are currently serving. Every time they make a purchase, ask them a question
  4. Through your email list, just ask 1 pertinent question and ask them to respond to the email
  5. Sampling if you have a product to gather if it is something people would eat or drink
  6. Host a small gathering of friends/family and ask them 10 questions each

 

Do this right and the information you gather will be gold. In fact do not rely on just one method. Combine some of the methods above so you get a variety of answers for comparison. If you already know your target audience, you can get very specific but if you are not sure about who will need your solution, then spread your net as wide as possible and gather intel. After the first batch of research and you have narrowed down your audience, do some more research so you can start to get some more specific answers.

Research is not something that is conducted only when you start business though. It should be conducted every year in your business to ensure that you are meeting the needs of your ideal clients; to garner what needs to be improved or changed and to give you a sense of the way forward for your brand.

Research, research, research….you just cannot skip this out of your business strategy. Not sure what to ask, how to ask or where to ask, then let’s get on a FREE 30 minute discovery call and chart a way forward

Thinking beyond our shores

So you launch your business idea and it is picking up momentum but after a few months you realise that you have plateaued and of course you automatically go into panic mode. You wonder if you are doing enough and if you can sustain your business. The usual feelings of anxiety and worry start to take over and then you pause, because you realise that maybe just maybe your vision is too small. Do not fear this happens to alot of entrepreneurs!

We are taught to believe that we need to think small. That when we launch we have to launch small and capture a small audience first. That we have to nurture them for a long time before we branch off into bigger territory but the truth is that once you have done the research and your business is viable there is no reason for you to stay hidden in the shores of your island or country where you reside.

There are millions of people around the world who are waiting to buy from you.

In fact I know some local entrepreneurs who get their greatest sales from overseas clients! This could be you to if only you would broaden your perspective and outlook on who really needs your services. You need a global mindset!

And it really does not matter what industry you are in, service or retail, there more than likely a market regionally and internationally for what you are providing. How would you know? Start by doing some research. Create a survey and send out to all your friends and family living away. Share the survey in groups or on your social media profile. Ask questions about exactly what they may be looking for and tailor your business to suit. Now it may mean that to handle the international shipping and handling of your business may take some work but it definitely is not impossible. Don’t you buy goods made from China and Europe everyday? Don’t you listen to webinars and buy short courses from persons from around the world? So why should you be any different?

me in tobago

For many Caribbean entrepreneurs, this is a big struggle. I understand it, because we have grown up in an era where foreign translates to ‘better’. But as more and more businesses are popping up and more persons are collaborating and seeing the potential for bigger and better things, it is your duty to share your skills, your talents and your vision with the rest of the world. It is more than just about the money. But it is about filling a need and a gap like no one else could. Putting your unique spin on your idea and taking charge of your vision to make it come to life.

It starts with shifting your mindset about the possibilities for your business. Once you believe that you can do it then jump in and do it. Get the research done, tweak your ideal client avatar and then start to engage with and build relationships with persons outside of your shores. Think regionally and internationally. In some cases, this is where your biggest sales may actually come in. And put a spin on it by targeting foreigners who visit our shores who you know need and want your service when they do visit. There are multiple ways for you to make your business successful internationally if only you would allow yourself the chance to actually do it.

Before you start with the excuses of why this would not work for your business, let’s hop on a FREE 30 minute discovery call so we can chat about exactly how it can actually work for you

The thing holding you back is you

The thing keeping you back from achieving exactly what you want is YOU! I know that may come as a shock to many people reading this but the truth is that if you would choose to get out of your own way, you would get so.much more accomplished everyday.
The usual stages of entrepreneurship is
1. Coming up with a great idea
2. Start complaining that you don’t have the money to fund it, or no support, or you just don’t know what to do.
Granted you may need help because you are not versed in social media, sales or developing a business or marketing plan, but with the age of technology, saying you do not know is basically a cop out. There are an onslaught of videos and tutorials literally teaching what to do step by step. Agencies have been formed worldwide with the sole purpose of helping you launch and grow your business. There are templates and swipe files littering the world wide web for you to steal and develop your own version. Not to mention the plethora of experts everywhere who are eager to show you how.
But instead of taking the time to shift through all the resources available at your fingertips, you sit and complain or created horrific scenarios in your head about the worse thing that could happen to you in business. You create a system of doubt and fear so deep that you do not know how to pull yourself out. YOU put up barriers to growth and sustainability and then blame it on the economy or the lack of something magnificent.
If you want success and to create a business that truly helps others then take a deep breath and step out of the way. Get out of your way. Tell your doubting complaining self to step aside while you get to work. When you take the reigns back then you are ready to move forward.
You do not need a huge budget to start. You do not need the support of family and friends (shocking!). You do not need to be the cheapest or the loudest. What you need is a goal, commitment, focus and consistency. Those 4 things are what you need everyday to succeed. Get into action everyday to grow your business bigger than the last day. To talk to 1 or 2 new persons per day. To stop hiding behind your computer. To get uncomfortable until you are comfortable. YOU have to make that choice every morning when you jump.out of bed to pursue this dream.
Things work when you put in the work. This align when you have a goal and a clear vision and do actionable steps to get you to where you want to be. You and only you have that power.
Are you ready to kick the old YOU to the curb and welcome the brand new reformed version of YOU who is ready to work and make things happen? And if you are really serious then you would get on a FREE discovery call with me this week

5 things you need to do before you start a business

Starting a business is no easy feat. In fact, having a great idea alone is not enough anymore. Gone are the days of build it and they will come. Now in order to build a sustainable business, you need to put in the work before you even officially launch the business. Why? So you do not waste time, money or resources. So that you have a clear idea of how fast and how deep your business will grow once you start. There are some important steps you need to take before you start.

Here are 5 things:

  1. A clear goal

You need to know what your end goal is for starting your business. Do you want to create a large conglomerate in 10 years? Do you want to leave a legacy for your children? Do you want to make $1million in 5 years? Do you want to create a regional impact and have your business in 5 Caribbean islands over 3 years?

What exactly do you want to happen in your business and by when? A goal needs to be written out and broken into smaller parts so that you can see and understand all the moving parts. A written goal is more likely to become real to you. A goal keeps you motivated and focused on the bigger picture even when you have tough days, weeks and months. A goal gets you excited to work on your business every single day.

2. A business plan

Your business plan is your guide to develop your business. Your plan will include who will make up the members of your team, as well as your estimated budget, your Unique Selling Proposition, your missions and vision statement and an analysis of your competitors and the market you are entering.

Some people rush through a business plan not realizing the importance it plays in guiding the developmental process of your business. Your plan can be flexible and in fact should be reviewed and updated maybe once a year to ensure you have tuck to your goals and take into consideration any changes in the economic climate in which you operate. I touched on this topic a few months ago- What does your business plan really say

3. Research

The one thing that many new business owners fail to do. They start with a great idea and then launch on social media with a biz page and images and expect to make millions. But before you start, you need to do some research to ensure you have a ready market for your business. Do people want what you are going to offer? How much are they willing to pay? How do they want it delivered to them and how often? What is the challenge they are facing that you are now going to solve for them?

Research is not a guessing game. It means you have to figure out who your ideal clients are and start discussions with them so that when you are ready to launch you know exactly what they need and want. It means speaking to industry leaders and do some surveys. It means getting really intimate with your market, visit and even speak to your competitors and ‘stalk’ them for a while to see what works and what is not working.

Without this crucial step, many businesses fail before they even have a chance to really get off the ground.

research

4. Understanding of your money

Why did you get into business? To make some money. That is one of the key mistakes entrepreneurs make. What is some money? Entrepreneurs need to have a very key understanding of how money works for them and if they have a challenge then that is the first help you should get from an accountant.

  • Do you have a budget?
  • How much does your product/service sell for?
  • How much are people willing to pay?
  • How much do you need to make every day, week or month?
  • What would your overheads be?
  • What taxes do you have to pay every quarter?

 

5. A marketing plan

Marketing is the life blood of your business. Without a structured system of marketing, your products can sit on the shelves for months and your phone will never ring. Marketing is NOT creating a facebook page. But instead, is the process of engaging with your ideal customers to build know, like and trust so they will buy from you continuously.

Marketing also involves a combination of activities which compliment each other to increase your visibility and reach. Many entrepreneurs get stuck on this part of business and while they have he best intentions, never seem to move past the launch stage. Hire an expert who can guide you through what a structured marketing plan would look like for your business. In a past blog, I spoke about 3 ways to market your business when you have no budget

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good starting point for you to start your business. How many of these do you have in place and did you skip any steps when you were first starting your own business?

As your coach, I would love to help you through this process. For more help, book a FREE discovery call with me today and we can get started.

 

 

Failure is part of your journey

 Failure! It is the one thing we all somehow seem to be running from. We are afraid to fail. Afraid that failure means that we are not good enough or that people will judge us by our failures. As a child we were taught that failure is not an option and that once you fail then you cannot advance and somehow you are less than.

In business, the opposite is true. If you have never failed at some part of your journey in business then what exactly have you learned? Some of the greatest minds in business and entrepreneurs that we religiously followed have failed in business. Most notably we have heard about at least 15 times billionaire Ricard Branson has failed at business. But that has never stopped him from trying and trying again until he found the things that have made him quite a huge success today. Failure does not mean the end of your journey but is merely a stepping stone for bigger and better things to come. It is how we learn, grow and expand our entrepreneurial muscles.

According to dictionary.com, failure is defined as ‘an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success’.  But is it really a lack of success? I choose to look at it from a different angle because failure to complete a task may mean that I do not get the intended outcome but it also means that in the planning and execution stage, I learned many new skills and tools along the way. In essence any of my failures have taught me some really invaluable lessons that I utilise to make my next project even better. My chances of success increase every time I fail at one thing. I know what not to do and have a better sense of direction of where I need to grow and who I need to serve

If you do a simple google search, you will read of at least 23 successful people who failed at first– Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Vera Wang, Isaac Newton to name a few. And today we remember them not for their failures but for their legacy. For what they did accomplish and how their tenacity and perseverance has changed the world in which we live in.

Richard-Branson-Steve-Jobs-Oprah-Winfrey

As entrepreneurs we become so paralysed by this fear of failure that fail without even trying to fail…if that even makes sense. What I am saying is that, yes, you start each new venture with a dream and hope to succeed. A dream to make a mark in society. A dream to change lives and become a household name. A dream to make millions along the way so that you can live the life you always dreamed about. And it is important that you have those dreams and that drive to push forward. But it is also important to remember that even if you do launch your business and it does not yield the exact results that you want, that you have not only failed but you have learnt and you have grown and now you are better equip to try again and do even better. The goal is to keep trying even when things fall apart or you do not get the results you want. Keep in constant motion and do not let your dream die. Do not let the fear of failure, rejection or judgement stop you from producing something great that the world will love and you will be remembered for.

More importantly, in every failure, your success is right around the corner, so get up each day knowing that what you are doing will make a difference in somebody’s life. That somebody is also learning from your mistakes and that as you get up each day and set a goal that you are much closer to your success than you were before.

If fear of failure is something that has been keeping your paralyzed then let’s get on a FREE discovery call and discuss how you can move past this fear and get you into action.