* Marketing Not Included
You have always had a dream to be your own boss, bringing your passion to life. Your new business represents your why, the reason you believe you were put on this earth. But, is your passion positioned to create profits? Are you clear on your why? Do you have a message that speaks to solving a fear or problem to your potential clients? Will your product or service give your clients the life they dreamed of? The steps to bringing your business to life may not be as traditional as you may think so before you go out and build a website and spend money on marketing, follow these first steps to build a fundamental solid foundation to your new venture.
Step 1: What is your business? This may sound like a simple question, but you would be surprised at how many people cannot answer this simple question. A lot of entrepreneurs are so passionate about what they do that they go on and on about themselves and their services, but they tend to confuse potential clients. As it has been said over and over again the confused mind does not buy. So where should you start? Here is some advice on how to construct an answer to the question what do you do? Start with these three basic questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What problem do you solve?
Your answer should not take more than six seconds and be stated in 15 words or less. It is harder than you think. So that is why it is extremely important to work on your messaging as a first step. This message will be the cornerstone of everything you do and lay the foundation of your business. Once you have clarity on your message, basically you know what you want to be when you grow up. It is now time to make sure you know who you are talking to.
Step 2: Who is your target market? I know this sounds like a lot of marketing jargon but tailoring your message to the right client or customer is critical, so your message does not land on deaf ears.
Start by sitting down and visualizing your ideal client. Who would you wake up in the morning and be completely excited to work with? This is crucial because you are building a business that you are passionate about and if you attract less than the ideal clientele you may have just created a job for yourself that leaves you unmotivated and frustrated.
Build an avatar of your ideal client in other words, what does this client look like. Start with basic demographic information such as, are the male or female, how old are they, are they single or married, where do they live, what profession are they in, what is their household income? This gives you a basic place to begin and to start picturing your ideal clientele.
But, I believe the more important insights come in the form of psychographic information. This information digs into the values and interests of your ideal client. Think about what they like to do for fun, what types of movies do they like, where do they shop, where do they vacation? Write down and collect information about their overall lifestyle. Is your picture or avatar getting clearer?
Then next and maybe the most important piece of information to collect is what does your target market fear? Fear is a big motivator for people to open their wallets or purses to buy. Again, think about your ideal clientele where are they in their lives? Are they baby boomers and one of their biggest fears is having enough money for retirement? Are you looking a client with children or people just getting out of college? What are their fears, and can you offer a solution to provide them peace of mind? Can you give them a picture of their ideal life? If so you can open up their hearts, minds and wallets.
A word of warning especially to new business owners. Do not, I repeat do not try to be everything to everybody. In the beginning it is going to be hard and you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will be doing some investing but there is a tendency to take on anyone willing to pay you or to widen your market, so no one is left out. Take my word of advice as someone who did this in the beginning, you will be sorry both financially and mentally. Those who are not your ideal clients will end up as a time waster and pay you less than you are worth. When you get into this pattern your profitability and happiness plummets.
Step 3: Start building your credibility. What is your story, what can you provide, what makes you different from all others in your field?
This is an extremely important step. Passion and an idea are great starting points but if you are going to charge clients for a service you need to have the knowledge base, credibility, and content to give them the best authentic experience that money can buy. So, if you feel you need to get a certification or attend some seminars to shore up your knowledge or to build your content start now. I say this with caution, some get caught up in this step and are afraid to launch their businesses before they get x, y, and z. You then become a permanent student and never really take the next step to fully launch your idea. You need to have enough knowledge to help your clients and should always be learning but don’t hold off starting and researching because you do not feel like you are ready. Self confidence is a key factor in landing your perfect client and starting a profitable business.
This is also a great time to start looking at your personal social media presence to see what message you are putting out there. Does your social media position you in a good light for your business, does it show you as an expert in your field, would a client hire you based on your social media presence? If the answer is no and your social media is an array of food pictures, cat videos and pictures drinking with your friends, time to clean it up and start filling your feeds with credible content that shows yourself as the expert. When you walk into a room you want people to ask what are you doing, and can you help me do that too? Your personal brand will become a vital part of your marketing and we will cover that in an upcoming article.
Step 4: Get out there and start talking to your target market, see what resonates with them. Your business will go through many different strategies and tactics before you find the right combination that really takes off into a profitable venture. Your network in your net worth, get out there and network. Join the Chamber of Commerce, go to trade group gatherings, Masterminds, get out there and talk to people and build relationships. Find your tribe that can be sounding boards, alliances, and potential clients. You never know the one person or event that can change the trajectory of your life. That can never happen if you stay at home behind your computer. People buy from people they trust and know so the more people you can connect with the better the chance you have for that referral or alliance that can change the landscape of your business.
Step 5: Get a coach. This was the biggest lesson that I wished I had learned early on in my entrepreneurial career. You don’t know what you don’t know, and many new business owners stay in a place of scarcity and by that I mean they are afraid to invest in their own education and guidance system. I guarantee you will end up spending more as you make mistakes and take your business in the wrong direction just because you thought you could do it alone. Some advice when looking for a coach, find out who their coach is. That will show you who they are and what they strive to become and if they do not have a coach run. How can they ask you to invest in coaching if they do not believe in the practice themselves?
So, there you have it. The beginning steps of building a business has nothing to do with websites and marketing materials, it takes thoughtful planning and some soul searching before you even begin the business plan and begin spending on websites and brochures. If your business does not have a steady foundation it will never be profitable or sustainable.
In the next installments we will explore and explain in depth the strategy and processes that will turn your passion in profits.