Author Archive for Hope

Surround Yourself with the Right Team

You do not need two starters who play the same position.

Think about that for a minute. During the rush of the day, many of us wish we could clone ourselves in order to get more things done, more efficiently. Rather than surround yourself with the right team, you try to do it all.

You wear ourselves out, you mess up, you fall down because you don’t have the expertise to handle certain business aspects. Now don’t let this hurt your pride, you are brilliant, you are an expert in your field, but let’s face it, there just aren’t that many “know it alls” who really know it all. When you attempt to save money or avoid the hassle or insecurity of delegating, things fall through the cracks or get done poorly.

Hire a Team

This is the ultimate goal of a virtual assistant. A VA can bolster your weakness, give you back time where you are crunched and are experts on the back end of your business. The expertise provided by a VA varies from assistant to assistant. As do the work flows, industries they support and personalities.

And the reality is, a clone is not going to do the trick. What an effective and successful business owner needs is the right team around them. A team filled with players who are strong where others are weak, who have their own niche and expertise, who can do what the business owner cannot. (Or perhaps I should say, what the business owner should not do.)

You can find virtual assistants who specialize in all of the key business aspects from finance to sales, from marketing to systems. There are no limits to the things you can outsource.

But when you surround yourself with the right team to support your business as it grows and expands…well, you can’t go wrong there! So block off some time to make a list…of the things you don’t want to do, the things you have no idea how to do and frankly, the things you shouldn’t do. And then spend some time searching for the right team…

Site like Upwork and Guru are a great place to start in looking for help. Or ask your social and business networks. I promise you are not the only one struggling with these tasks and gaining control of your time.

The Year I Lost Everything – Lessons Learned from Business Failure

Three years ago, my kids and I were homeless. Thankfully it never went so far as us living in our car or a shelter, but we were wholly dependent on another family for our housing. I had to apply for food stamps. And I have never been so ashamed in my whole life!

And it’s taken every minute of these last years to be able to admit this publicly. To put out there just how thoroughly I failed as an entrepreneur. Do you have any idea how humbling that is?

I had been in business for over 10 years at that point. I wasn’t a start up. I had been doing this, the same thing. And in one fell swoop I was wiped out. And I hate to the bearer of bad news, but this can happen and has happened to many entrepreneurs.

And it’s really hard not to give up. Not to hang your head in shame and back track or worse still to give up on your dreams.

But my catastrophic failure as a business owner was one of the best lessons I ever learned. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was miserable. But in the end, the many lessons I learned about business and about myself were well worth it. Here are a few of the lessons that I think every business owner needs to know.

Lessons Learned from Business Failure

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

As I grew my business, loyal clients took more and more of my time. I grew comfortable. And I stopped marketing, I stopped growing. And when my customers moved on…well, I was left high and dry. Now in my rebuilding phase…I am learning to diversify, to expand my marketing and to vary my clients and their industries. (And I might also be consider diversifying my product offerings.)

Swallow your pride and ask for help.

There is no shame is asking for help. We all need it at some point and in different areas. Reach out to your friends, your business network and tell them what you are looking for, what you have to offer and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It’s is amazing how powerful it is to learn you are not alone. And you never know who else might need to know they are not alone as well.

It’s okay to take time and revamp.

Breathe. Take a step back and let your thoughts flow over you. Makes lists. Talk to trusted advisors. Do some studying. And be open to change. Just because you fall down, it doesn’t mean you have to jump right back up. Sit there for a minute, evaluate the circumstances and then dust yourself off before you stand back up and take another stab at it.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

You’ve heard the saying, never give up, try, try again. But that doesn’t mean you have to try the same thing over and over again. Sometimes you need to think outside the box. Sometimes you have to change paths completely. But hold true to your end goal…supporting your family doing something you love, having the freedom to be where you need or want to be or bringing a new product or service to market. Don’t quit because it didn’t work the way you started…take a look for a different route. And change it up a bit. Embrace what works and drop what doesn’t!

And most important…

Don’t ever give up on you, on your dreams!

Finding Your Ideal Client

Almost every business training I’ve attended over the last few years begins with an emphasis on determining your ideal client, your target audience. Once you have that client in your mind…you create your marketing plan, your products and you go for it.

But the process of defining your ideal client can take on many forms. And frankly, can be very frustrating. Like bang your head against the wall frustrating!

know your target audience

Everyone offers a different checklist, a different method and a different format. But I like Jasmine Star‘s the best. Her focus is on building a relationship, making a connection with the people behind the business. and this really resonates with me as a service provider.

Profiling Your Ideal Client

In a nutshell, she encourages you to speak of your ideal client as a real person:

  • Name them.
  • Recognize their hobbies and interests.
  • Find out where they shop, where they live.
  • What are their dreams, their goals.
  • How old are they, what does their family look like.
  • Seriously, write a whole profile on them.

And then after that, you create your marketing plan as if you are speaking directly to them. Talk to them as if they are your best friend. Address their needs, their goals. Build a relationship with them. Be vulnerable, be real.

Tell them why they need your product or services. Tell them who you are and why they should trust you. Never stop learning about them. And growing with them.

This is relationship marketing…this is why you need to know who your target audience is, who your ideal client is. And it worth the time and effort, even the headache to figure it out!

So tell me…do you know who your ideal client is? And are you ready to set up a targeted marketing campaign using social media, email campaigns and more? Do you need help?

So You need a Sales Funnel?

Click Funnel, Sales Funnel, Email Marketing, Free Giveaways, Establish your expertise, relationship marketing, storytelling…these buzzwords are floating around the small business world like they have recently been invented. And entrepreneurs are scrambling to jump on the bandwagon made by marketers, made household names.

But don’t get confused, there is a true strategy when establishing your marketing funnel for lead generation or product sales. So before you hire the latest hot shot developer to create your million dollar funnel, think through your strategy. I hope this guide helps get you started in the right direction!

Awareness:

When considering a sales funnel, we must first be clear on the ultimate goal…what is the end goal of the funnel?

  1. Are you giving something away?
  2. Wanting to grow your mailing list?
  3. Selling a product?
  4. How do you plan to catch your consumer’s attention?
  5. What’s the first touch point to bringing consumers into this funnel? It might be a Facebook post, Google search, Instagram hashtag or something else entirely.

Ultimately, your prospect becomes aware of your business and what you offer.

Now tell us, what kind of awareness do you want to achieve with your funnel?

Interest:

When consumers reach the interest stage in the sales funnel, they’re doing research, comparison shopping and thinking over their options. This is the time to swoop in with incredible content that helps them but does not sell to them.

If you’re pushing your product or service from the beginning, you’ll turn off prospects and chase them away. The goal here is to establish your expertise, help the consumer make an informed decision and offer to help them in any way you can.

Need imagery and content for developing interest.

Decision:

The decision stage of the sales funnel is when the customer is ready to buy. They might be comparison shopping and considering you in conjunction with alternative products.

This is the where you make your best offer. It could be free shipping when most of your competition charges, a discount code, or a bonus product. Whatever the case, make it so irresistible that your lead can’t wait to take advantage of it.

What special will you offer in your funnel? Registration for a newsletter, free training session or alternative report, etc.

Action:

At the very bottom of the sales funnel, the customer acts. He or she purchases your product or service and becomes part of your business’s ecosystem.

Just because a consumer reaches the bottom of the funnel, it doesn’t mean your work is done. You want to turn this first interaction into many more. And that requires consistency, authenticity and continued communication.

In other words, you’re focusing on customer retention. Statistics show that someone will be on your mailing list for at least a year before purchasing. And many times, people buy from whomever is in front of them.

Strategies you can implement and must plan for include but are not limited to expressing gratitude for their initial interaction, inviting feedback and making yourself available. You must create a follow up plan as you create and launch your funnel.

What is your plan for a continued drip campaign to stay in touch?

Why You Need a Website

More and more I hear, “Why do I need a website?Small businesses have Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, they are tweeting on Twitter and networking on LinkedIn…why is a website important if they are everywhere else online?

Let’s talk about this…what the the top reasons and goals of having a website.

Position Yourself as an Expert

First, a website allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field. You can do this by publishing a portfolio of your work, testimonials from previous customers and highlighting your achievements in the About Me section. In addition, it gives you a platform to share your knowledge in the form of blog posts.

Connect with Clients

Second, building relationships with your clients is important. Remember, people buy from people! Using your website to start a conversation with a potential client is powerful. It’s all about the conversation, not the presentation in the end.

Allowing comments on your blogs, engaging with visitors and speaking directly to their challenges and dreams with your publications is a great way to connect.

Stay in Touch

Lastly, a website is a great way for your prospects and current clients to stay in touch with you. They can join your mailing list, sign up for alerts for new products and services and know your “home” on the internet where they find you.

Yes, social media is great. But in the end, you do not own your social media accounts or control how the information is accessed or disseminated. You do have that control on your website.

We’ve all experienced days when our social media accounts were inaccessible or broken…ever been put in “Facebook jail?” It’s a scary thing when you business is dependent on channels you don’t own.

There is no time like the present to set up your website on the internet. And I would love to help you!

Always Communicate Your Value

As an entrepreneur it is important that you know your value. And I’m not just talking about the hours equals dollars value that is discussed so often. You need to know what you bring to the table.

Ask yourself Why does what I do matter?

Sometimes we are so close to things that we need a different perspective. It is important to recognize what makes you special as you create your marketing message. Your clients are not just investing with you for your time, but also your expertise and access to you.

Instead of focusing your messaging on the features and tangibles, highlight the value of service, the intangibles. What does what you do or provide give to your customer…

  • Will your services or products help your clients produce income?
  • Does your expertise give them back valuable time or resources to focus on other things?
  • Make sure you address “what something is” including all its components but highlight “what something does” and why it matters to your client.
  • Why does what you do matter?

How to Define Your Value

Whether you like it or not, every business owner is in the marketing business. And defining and communicating your value is the first step to producing consistent income.

You must think like a marketer – consider that every activity, every message you send out may lead to a sale. In order to do this, you must focus on two things: your prospective customer and your value.

Your Prospective Customer

Think about your customers challenges, doubts and more importantly their desires and dreams. And then make sure you target your messaging to address those concerns and goals. Your communication must educate and guide them to you. Do not assume they know what you do or how it can help them.

Make sure that you overcome their objections and speak directly to them when you speak or write.

Know What You Bring to the Table

Knowing your value, the value of what you offer and recognizing how to position it is key. And it is an evolving process – recognize that and do not get frustrated.

Position your self and your offers to best meet your prospective clients needs. Translate everything you do into a value, not just a dollar amount. Own your expertise and share it.

Your clients are always going to ask “What’s in it for me?

What are the Results?

It is important that you clearly communicate the results you deliver. These come in two primary forms:

Hard Results – the are the most common and often easily qualified. They are tangible, measurable and provide exact date. Clients understand and expect these. Make sure to communicate them clearly. Ask for testimonials when you deliver. And always be upfront about what they should expect.

Soft Results – while these are not measurable, sometimes that are even more valuable so it’s important you communicate what your client can expect. What goals will you help them fulfill, intangible results can they expect and what emotional state will you help them achieve? Will they be less stressed, have more free time or just get to focus on their own strengths?