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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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

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.

 

 

 

 

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. 

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

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