I see so many entrepreneurs and small business owners who forget to identify their ideal client before they start marketing their business and it’s chaos. I know it’s hard to limit the people you try to reach, especially when you’re just starting out and every customer makes a big difference to your bank account, but I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the time to identify your ideal client and only working with people who fit that description.
When you have a clearly defined ideal client and you focus on it you’ll see more results in your business because a) your marketing efforts will be more effective when they’re targeted to a specific group of people, and b) you’ll stop wasting time on people who aren’t a good fit for you.
Now that we know why identifying your ideal client is so important, let’s take a look at some of the ways we can identify them.
What Benefits Do Your Products/Services Provide?
Does your ideal client live in your general area? Do they live in a more urban setting, or a more rural setting? If you can only serve clients in a certain geographical area, you need to narrow the scope of your marketing efforts to take that into account.
If you run an online business that can serve anyone in the world, then consider where your ideal clients hang out online. Which social media channels are they on? What blogs do they read? If they aren’t reading your blog, you can get their attention by writing a guest blog for a website they’re already reading.
What Does Your Ideal Client’s Buyer Journey Look Like?
Knowing how your ideal client tends to discover you and the steps they tend to take to become customers will enable you to put the systems and processes in place that you need in order to, first get in front of them, and then lead them through that journey until they are ready to buy from you.
There’s no denying that this pandemic has thrown a wrench into everyone’s plans, both personal and professional, for 2020. A lot of small businesses have already had to shut their doors, and even more are wondering how they’re going to make it to 2021. But it’s not enough to just survive. I want your business to thrive during and after this pandemic, so let’s go over some things you can do to make sure that happens:
on the best-case scenario and concentrate your time and energy around making that best-case scenario a reality. What if all your old customers came back? What if they didn’t, but you gained enough new customers to make up for the lost ones and then some? What if 2020 turned out to be your most lucrative year yet?
Plan for the Future
The business owners who are taking the one-day-at-a-time approach are the ones who are just trying to survive. The ones who plan ahead are the ones who are going to thrive.
You’re not the only one who has struggled to keep their doors open during these challenging times, but I firmly believe that 2020 does not require us all to struggle financially. We can survive this, but better than that, we can thrive. Schedule a call with me now so we can discuss how I can help your small business thrive during the pandemic and beyond.
Entrepreneurs are smart people, but there’s a difference between succeeding in the classroom or a corporate job, and succeeding in running your own business. When you’re in charge of everything, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of, so it’s no surprise that some of the smartest entrepreneurs still get tripped up and find themselves making these five common mistakes when starting their own businesses.
Failing to Plan
In an earlier blog post I talked about the old saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of failing to plan before jumping into their business with both feet. The result is they spend a lot of time doing things that don’t generate income for their business, and they fall into a lot of the traps their predecessors fell into because they didn’t see them coming, or they didn’t take the time to figure out how they would react if something came along to interrupt their business.
Not Doing a SWOT Analysis
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and it’s important to identify all those things before you start trying to sell your product/service in order to avoid spending time and energy on things that don’t get you the results you need for your business, and ignoring the things that could help get you where you want to go. If you want to know more about how to conduct a SWOT analysis, we covered that topic in depth over here.
If you’re tired of trying to go it alone, why not reach out to someone who has been where you are and has led other small business owners through the process? You can schedule a call now to see if it’s time to hire a Strategy Rockstar to help you grow your small business.
I encourage all my clients to be strategic about every aspect of their business, including their marketing efforts, but when it comes to nonprofit organizations, a strategic approach to marketing is even more important because you can’t afford to waste any time or money. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that nonprofits are unique, and not all marketing strategies that work when marketing for-profit businesses are necessarily going to be as effective when it comes to marketing non-profit organizations.
In addition to helping plenty of entrepreneurs and for-profit businesses find success with their marketing strategies, I also have a background in helping non-profit organizations grow their visibility and increase their donations so they can expand their operations. Here are a few marketing strategies that really work for non-profit organizations:
Make Your Content Shareable
Want more tips on how your non-profit organization can make a bigger impact? Schedule a call with Strategy Rockstar Michelle to see how she can help you spread the word about all the good work your organization does.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is starting off without a comprehensive strategy for their business. It’s too bad because business owners really do need a solid strategy to let them know when they’re headed in the right direction, and when they’re straying off course. Unfortunately, the old saying really is true that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
If you’re still not sure you need a strategy to guide your business decisions, let’s go over four of the big reasons why you should reconsider.
Define Goals and Priorities
Before you can draw a roadmap that will get you to your goal, you first have to define where that goal is. Having a goal in mind also makes it easier to prioritize your tasks.
As small business owners, we often have to do everything for our businesses, but at the same time, there’s only so much one person can do. We can’t go to all the networking events or be on all the social media platforms, but a business strategy can help us identify the networking events and the social media platforms where our target audience is most likely to be spending time. It enables us to focus on what matters and ignore the rest, which is key to growing our business.
Better Communicate Your Message
Getting in front of your target audience is only half the battle. Once there, you need to be able to convince them to buy your products/services, and having a business strategy in place makes it much easier to both create and communicate your message. A key component of any business strategy is identifying your target audience and the pain points you’re solving for them, and only once you’ve done that can you craft a message that resonates with your audience and communicates it to them in a way that engages them and convinces them to take the next step in the buyer journey.
team what you want from them, which makes for a team that works better and helps you to reach your goals, rather than holding you back by making you put out fires they created because they didn’t understand the overall direction of the company.
Helping You Grow
When you’re first starting out, it’s often tempting to take any and all work that comes your way, regardless of whether it fits into your larger goal of what you ultimately want for your business. While you might be telling yourself you can’t afford to turn down a potential client, the fact is a prospect who doesn’t fit the definition of your ideal client can end up holding you back from connecting with clients who could end up being much more valuable for your business in the long run, so are you really doing yourself any favors by taking on work that will ultimately hold you back from growing your business?
If you’ve been putting off creating a strategy for your business because you’re not sure how to go about creating one, schedule a call to see how a Strategy Rockstar can help you create a business strategy that allows you to grow your business faster.
You’ve probably been told to play to your strengths in all kinds of situations in life, and it’s true that the key to success lies in identifying your strengths and making the most of them. In business, this is also sometimes called your unique selling proposition (USP), meaning it’s the thing that makes you stand out from the competition. It’s the reason someone should decide to work with you instead of your competitor.
Once you’ve identified your strengths, you can start focusing on them in your marketing materials. Every page of your website and every pitch you give should contain some element of your strengths. By focusing on what you do best, you’ll also gain the confidence you need to convince your prospect that they want to work with you.
No one likes to talk about their weaknesses, but it’s important to identify them, just like it’s important to identify your strengths. Ignoring your weaknesses won’t make them go away, but you do have two options when it comes to addressing your weaknesses: 1) educate yourself so your weaknesses become your strengths: or 2) hire someone else to do it.
Some skills can be learned, and as entrepreneurs, sometimes we just have to learn to do it ourselves until we can afford to hire someone to do it for us. Other times trying to develop a new skill is just not the best use of our time and we’re better off finding a way to get someone else to do it.
If you can’t afford to hire someone, see if you can get an intern to do it for free or minimum wage. Ask around at your local high schools and/or colleges to see if they might offer their students educational credits for the time they spend working with you. You can also offer to trade services, so instead of paying them for their time and effort, you provide some of your expertise and service instead. I've done that with some of the people on my team and it’s been so awesome!
Sometimes we get so excited about the benefits we offer our clients that we miss other opportunities, even if they’re staring us in the face. When you do your SWOT analysis, it’s important to take some time to think about all the opportunities you have in your business. What do your clients need from you? Is there an easier way you could offer your products or services that would make buying from you more tempting?
For example, bundling products/services is a great way to make it easy for clients to buy a bunch of things from you at once. So, if you have some products/services you tend to sell together anyway, why not bundle them together at a slightly lower price?
This aspect of your SWOT analysis can also help you identify some things you could offer your clients that you are not yet offering. For example, if they don’t have the budget to pay you for your services, could you offer a course to teach them how to do it themselves? Sometimes achieving success requires us to think outside the box a little and a SWOT analysis can help you do that.
Finally, you have to identify the threats to your business. This includes your competition, but also objections people might have to buying from you. Instead of ignoring the competition or taking the objections at face value, take some time in your SWOT analysis to take a close look at them. What is your competition doing that you’re not doing? Can you copy some of their strategies? Alternatively, if you notice they’re targeting a specific niche, maybe you could target a different niche that isn’t getting as much love from your industry.
Introducing ... Time Blocking!
Time blocking is a system in which you divide your day into blocks of time and assign a task to each
block. For example, if you have a project you need to work on and you know it’s going to take you two
hours to complete, then block off two hours somewhere in your schedule where all you do is work on
that project. If you can’t work on one thing for that long, break it up into smaller chunks. Spend an hour
working on it one day and an hour the next day – or an hour in the morning and an hour in the
afternoon. The key is to plan ahead so you make the time to complete the project before it’s due.
Whether you need help with setting boundaries for your clients, or figuring out how to make time for
what really matters in your business, talking to a coach can help. Schedule a call now so we can get you
on the path to success!
Another holiday weekend during pandemic times has passed. I find myself reflecting on how many of our traditions have had to change. Last week was supposed to be the first time that the famous Ribfest was going to be held in my hometown, Romeoville, Illinois. There was tons of excitement about the many concerts and great food that was going to be right in our own town. As sad as missing that is, it’s even sadder that this huge event raises money for many non profits in the area. During a time of great need by many, those donations would have really helped them. Although we didn’t have ribs and concerts, we did have fireworks which sadly is not something everyone can say. Our town got quite creative and did 3 shows at the same time throughout the village while matching the show to music on a local radio station. This was a first to be done in a suburb and the Village got a lot of press around it, which is really cool! Everyone was able to sit in their yards to watch and not have to worry about driving somewhere. My brother's yard faces one of the show locations. We had tons of fun hanging out over there with family and friends!
The most noticeable changed tradition, which can be seen throughout the U.S., is the graduation ceremony. Both colleges and high schools across our country had to celebrate and say goodbye to their students in a different way. The same can be said for middle schools, elementary schools, kindergarten classes and preschools. To ensure the safety of our families and communities, they all needed to make adjustments. Many waited as long as they could to make final decisions, hoping our state of current affairs would shift. But to their dismay, that didn’t happen and as they say, the show just had to go on.
My oldest son, Zach, was a high school senior this year. Needless to say many of the things he’d hoped and dreamed of throughout his four years of high school didn’t come to fruition. This was crushing for him at first and had effects my husband and I didn’t even realize. What we didn’t realize even more was how much it impacted me as a mom. As many of my readers may know, Zach is very active in school and I as a mom am very involved in volunteering and supporting his teachers and friends. For 4 years I sat there enjoying many end of year traditions where we said goodbye to our seniors. Each time I fast forwarded to when Zach would be there and we’d be celebrating him and his friends. Those moments, like many others, were taken from us. The hardest for me was something that couldn’t be replicated- seeing/hearing his small group of choral friends sing at their graduation ceremony.
Once we pulled onto the RHS campus we followed a path that had us pass through a couple of different parking lots. Waiting throughout the path were teachers sitting outside their cars with their own decorations cheering the graduates and their families on. There were also huge signs of encouragement posted on fences along the way. We drove at a very slow pace with music blaring in the car (which Grandma just loved) and waved at teachers and fellow classmates we passed along the way. Grandma, who was driving the car, did encourage him to turn down the music repeatedly. At one point he chose to play songs from his childhood, like Barney, which Grandma enjoyed more than his usual selection of music. I think she especially enjoyed it because he and his cousin were singing to the childhood songs just like they used to when she watched them together as preschoolers. After the final turn, graduates were able to get out of the car and walk along a path with letters as tall as them. The letters spelled out “Seniors 2020” and were a great backdrop for our pictures. At the end of the words was the stage that he walked across where we, and family watching at home, heard his name read and saw him toss his cap. He exchanged words with the principal as he got back into the car and we drove under a really cool sign that signified his entry into the world as a graduate. The visual was great and very similar to driving
Driving thru and being cheered on while being with your family was definitely more fun than sitting in a gym or football field packed into closely spaced chairs having to quietly listen to speeches and hundreds of names be called. The thing that was missed was talking to friends and their families before and after the ceremony and getting photos of them together on campus in their caps/gowns, as well as seeing each kid cross the stage who you’ve watched grow up for years before. This could easily be created/coordinated by having an overflow lot to park/meet before the drive thru and another to stop/meet after with the live streamed show being broadcasted in each lot. Once we’re in past Covid times, being next to each other again shouldn’t be a huge concern. The speeches also could be played via a QR code on the program that was passed out when we entered and we could watch on our phones in the car, or they could be played on big screens as we pass by with a radio station dedicated to playing the sound. The options of taking this concept to the next level are endless, especially when administrators and students can plan them with more certainty and less restrictions, paired with more time. Although as I type all that, I sit back and think of the nostalgia that comes with everything and the little things that you miss when you break away from all the traditional ways of doing graduation. I’m honestly not really sure how I’d prefer to proceed in future years. Fortunately, I’m not the one who gets to make those decisions. So I suppose I’ll just sit back and wait for it all to unfold, knowing that whatever happens it won’t be the end of the world if things change…..and could possibly be even better than I had imagined. How have you personally experienced changing traditions and what did you like or not like about the changes? Comment below, we’d love to hear!
I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day this past week. I have to say that despite our state of current affairs, I really enjoyed mine. It wasn’t anything totally fabulous, more a day filled with showing love to others and allowing myself to receive love showered upon me. I didn’t have big dreams or plans for the day and just kind of went with the flow, allowing God and the universe to lay things out as they were meant to be.
The day started off with some bumps in the road and ended with some too, but all in all it really was a great day. I do miss hugging my mom and so many others but am glad I was able to see them, whether virtually or from standing afar. Being a big hugger, I have to say that has been one of the hardest things for me during all this pandemic craze. I sure am glad I have my boys and husband to hug. I couldn’t imagine living alone at this time like so many are. I had no idea what to give my mom this year or my mother-in-law or my 2nd mom. I’m blessed to have 3 special moms in my life. None of them needed or wanted anything and I hate buying things “just because”.
My mom has been randomly dropping off meals and banana bread during our recent quarantine and it’s really meant a lot to us. I figured I’d similarly surprise her by going out to pick up her favorite pizza and delivering it, along with her favorite rainbow ice cream. The excursion meant I’d spend a lot of time driving in the car on my Mother’s Day or could stay home and have time alone. I chose to go on the ride and take the whole family so I’d have the gift of being with my 4 guys. My mom loved the gift and texted the 4 of us that night to say how awesome it was.
Prior to leaving we went on a zoom call with my husband’s family because that is what my mother-in-law wanted. I wanted to deliver food to her too but had no idea from where. That morning I called her to confirm zoom details and she told me about her plans to treat herself to ribs later. She detailed the whole meal and how much she was looking forward to it. I knew that my son and husband aren’t fans of sitting on the family zoom, so I orchestrated a way for them to go pick her food up while we were on the call. Aside from thinking she was being robbed as my son went into her garage while everyone she knew was on camera, the surprise delivery was a success.
My last delivery was then to my 2nd mom, my best friend's mom who has treated me like a daughter since preschool. For her I was going to drop off her favorite Panera meal before getting our dinner. That surprise got interrupted by the surprise of her and my best friend delivering me beautiful tulips. In addition to the tulips and the banana bread given to me by my mom, the boys surprised me with a beautiful scrapbook my husband made of memories with me and the boys, along with my favorite candies and drinks. Zach bought me a rose and I also had a rose delivered to me from Zach’s friend I’m a 2nd mom to.
Like I said early on, nothing totally out of the ordinary but really all so special. This stay at home order has definitely had the effect of making the ordinary seem so special and wonderful and making us count our blessings. So, how was your Mother’s Day? What happened that was special for you? Drop a comment below- I’d love to know.
Times like we’re currently living in are perfect opportunities to take notice. What do your default patterns seem to be? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled? What stresses you out? When you do ____ what happens as a result? How do others show up and are they really the type of people you want to be around? The list could go on and on.
For me, this current state of affairs has provided the opportunity to retreat inward and to enjoy time with Scott and the kids….something we don’t often get to enjoy due to our busy schedules. The chambers and networking groups that I’m a part of have been going out of their way to ensure they provide an outlet for their members to connect during this time of isolation. Although many people have hopped onto these meetings, filling their calendars as they normally would, I haven’t gotten on any. That may seem odd for someone involved in so many groups who appears to be an extrovert. However, it really isn’t. And as I sit here and type, I realize the same has been true for my oldest Zach. He, too, has not hopped onto any zoom calls with his classes and instead has opted to answer discussion questions in their place. I couldn’t understand that until I just started writing this blog. You see, although we are both extroverts, we also have times of being introverts and just want a chance to be still, alone and away from the rest of the world. Away from the pressures of needing to be ‘on’ and being that bright light for others. Don’t get me wrong, we both live and thrive on that aspect of our lives during normal times, but sometimes just need a break. Our current state of affairs has provided us with that gift and seems we’re both gravitating toward it.
Now please, misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m NOT saying it’s wrong to fill your schedule and be on tons of meetings or to be on social media a lot. Instead, I’m saying what’s “right” and “wrong” for each person is different. It really has to do with what’s in alignment with your world and your goals. A person with adult children living either alone or with their spouse, or a person who has kids and is raising them without a spouse, may gravitate toward online meetings and social media in an effort to have connection with the outside world during what can be a long, boring and/or stressful time.
The key to knowing what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ for you is to pay attention to what you are noticing and how those things make you feel. Then, to assess next steps based on your personal and business goals. So, what have I been noticing during this time and how has what I’ve noticed changed my day to day actions based on my business and personal goals?
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