Obstacles are part of life, so it stands to reason that they also play a role in business. Every business owner has encountered obstacles at some point in the course of running their business, and there’s no denying these obstacles can take a toll on our self confidence. As business owners, our business is so much more than just a job - it’s who we are, so when things don’t go well in our business, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of believing our lives are over.
I’m here to tell you that, not only is your life not over just because you hit a bump in the road, but that you can use that bump to grow and become a better business owner. Here’s what you can do to make that happen:
Assess the Situation
Obstacles met and mistakes made can be great learning opportunities, but you can only learn from them if you take the time to stop and examine what happened. Where did you go wrong? How can you do better next time?
It’s possible you didn’t do anything wrong and the situation was completely out of your control. The pandemic shutting everything down last year is a perfect example of things going wrong without warning, and there was nothing any small business owner could have done about it.
You should also try to assess the situation from every angle. How can you overcome this obstacle? Can you make it work to your advantage? What do you need to be successful in this situation? Going back to step one and taking some time to breathe and step away from your business for a little while can help you with this step because it will allow you to come back to the situation with fresh eyes, which leads me to my next point...
Hire a Business Coach
As a business coach with decades of experience in marketing and project management, I’ve been there and seen that when it comes to just about anything the business world can throw at us. If you need someone to guide you through the obstacles and provide that fresh perspective on everything you encounter in your business, it might be time for you to schedule a FREE clarity call to see if coaching is right for you.
Marketing is a pretty broad term, covering everything from graphic design to web design to social media. You need to get the word out about your business, but if you’re still doing everything yourself, or if your funds are limited and you can’t afford to do all the fancy marketing you’ve seen the big companies doing, don’t worry. It does not mean you’re doomed to failure. It just means you need to be more strategic about your marketing efforts. Let’s go over three ways you can do that.
Identify Your Ideal Client
Map Out Your Buyer Journey
Marketing means getting your name out there and increasing your brand recognition, and that’s great, but it’s not necessarily going to help you pay the bills without a small business marketing strategy. Don’t just assume people will buy from you as soon as they hear your name. Two things need to happen before they’ll do that: 1) they need to know, like, and trust you, which will require some consistent and strategic marketing; and 2) they need to know how to buy from you. If you make them hunt around to find a “buy” button or your contact page, they’ll lose interest and leave, so make it as easy as possible for your ideal client to buy from you. You’d be surprised how many small business owners make the most crucial step difficult for their prospects.
In addition to communicating your brand and the value you provide, all your marketing efforts need to lead prospects to the next step in the buyer journey. That might be visiting your website, signing up for your newsletter, or reaching out for a consultation. When you know where your prospects are in the buyer journey when they encounter your brand, you can figure out the next logical step in the buyer journey and make it easy for them to take that step.
Measure the Results of Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
One of the things that separates marketing from a marketing strategy is that a marketing strategy has goals that can be measured. If you don’t have a way of measuring the success of your small business marketing strategy, it’s not a strategy. You need to be able to measure your results so you can determine whether your marketing efforts are getting the results you need for your small business, or if it’s time to adjust your strategy.
When you run your own business you become a Jack of all trades. It’s a great opportunity to develop all kinds of skills you probably never thought you would need, but it can also be overwhelming and lead to a lot of mistakes as you take on new responsibilities for which you were never trained. Project manager is one of those roles many small business owners take on without any training, so here are some tips to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes new project managers tend to make.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
As small business owners, it’s easy for us to get distracted. There are always so many things to do and new things to try that we often lose sight of the end goal, but it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize. What is it you really want to accomplish in your business? How will this project help you achieve that goal?
That same thought process can be applied to each project individually, as well as your overall business goals. Each project should have a clear beginning and a clear end with goals you want that project to achieve. By keeping those end goals in mind, you’ll be better able to stay focused throughout the process and make better decisions about what the project needs and what’s a waste of time and resources.
Define Your Goals
Ask for Help
Hire a Project Manager
These days I call myself a business coach, but with my long history working in the corporate world as a marketer and project manager, I have brought that skill set to several of my clients to help them manage their projects. I also help them find more time in their schedule to enjoy life and spend time with family, either by managing their projects for them, or by helping them identify the areas in their business where their time and energy could have the most powerful impact. If any of this sounds like something you could use for your business, reach out today to schedule a FREE clarity call.
The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising: Which Is Right for Your Small Business?
As small business owners, we all have limited resources. The secret to success is knowing how to make the most of those resources. Marketing and advertising are two areas where it’s easy to waste either your time, your money, or both if you’re not strategic. Rather than telling you where you should be investing your resources (the answer is different for everyone), I’m going to start by laying out the differences between marketing and advertising so you can get an idea of which investment makes the most sense for your business.
What is Marketing?
What Is Advertising?
Advertising as Marketing
As mentioned above, advertising is a subset of marketing and you can think of marketing as the hook, while advertising is the line that reels them in. If your marketing is effective, it should convince prospects you know what you’re doing, so when they are ready to buy, they’ll already be familiar with you and they’ll know they can trust you to do the job right. Then all they need is the right ad to convince them to take that final step to becoming a customer.
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