6. Taming Your Inner Demons – many of our members had some AHA moments during one session we did on Planning for Profit. It is critical that you find out if it is you that is stopping you from being successful. If you are insecure around affluent people, or you are a people-pleaser, it is important to ask yourself if your insecurity is causing you to miss your goals. If so, this is one of the biggest leverage points you need to work on. I have learned over the years that if something is making me nervous or I am procrastinating about something, either it isn’t a strength, I am fighting something internal, or it is an opportunity to grow and become more skilled. You should always feel a little stress right before you learn something new. Sometimes it helps to think about the benefit of doing the thing you are avoiding, and doing it in spite of the feelings of discomfort. If you aren’t feeling discomfort or fear, you’re probably not pushing yourself enough.
7. Business Dashboard & Drivers – you need a Business Dashboard with 5 – 7 key metrics or measures for your business. How many clients do you need? What is the lifetime value of your client and how do you increase it? What other measures are important in your business? Profit?
Marketing and sales are the key drivers of your business. Period. If you don’t like marketing and sales, you really need to ask yourself if you really want to run your own business. If you are an established business, about 1 – 2 hours of each day should be devoted to marketing without fail even when you’re busy. If you are new to business, or the economy has impacted your revenue, spend as many hours as you can on the highest leverage activities for marketing. What are they?
- If you really WOW your clients, you’ll easily get great referrals. This should be your number one focus of your business. If you aren’t getting this response, you’re slowing down your referral stream. Go back to your current clients and ask what “WOW” means to them. Think outside of the box, act and then ask for referrals and testimonials. One out of two existing clients may opt for a new offer from you. This is your easiest route to more business because they know, like and trust you.
- If you have clients whose projects have been finished for awhile, you are likely to activate one out of three of those clients, so this is your second best way of getting business. Ask these previous clients what they liked about working with you, what they’d like to be different and then think about an offer you can make to get them to do business with you again.
- Referrals from people that are doing business with the people you want to do business with. The best way to get referrals is to give referrals. Ask the question that Bob Burg, The Go-Giver, suggests – “How would I know who would be a great referral for you?” Start there and give, give, give. Be the hub of giving in your marketplace and you’ll get lots more business.
- Niche – be as clear, concise and narrow as possible with the description of your niche and services. Phrase them as benefits that your client receives.
- Ideal Client – have a complete profile developed for the perfect client for you. It should include their demographic (income, age, marital status, etc.), psychographic (interests, educational level, hobbies, values, etc.), and technographic profile (computer savvy, text messaging, social media, email, etc.)
- Brand – make sure your brand is consistent throughout all mediums that you use to market – messaging, website, blog, social media, cards, stationery, PR, advertising, etc. It should be authentically you so that if someone sees anything from your firm, they say, “Oh, that’s so you.”
- Brand message – what is it you do uniquely that no one else does. Your brand messaging should be focused on what you do for the client instead of what you do as an activity to serve them. This is where many designers go wrong.
- Keep current with new marketing standards. If you’re not keeping up with technology for marketing using online social media resources, you will be seen to be “out of touch” and “out of date.” Be sure that this is part of your marketing focus. Always be learning! This includes LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Pages, a blog, Twitter and YouTube. These are the fab 5 of the online world right now.
9. Awareness and Improvement – being aware of yourself and your emotions is vital. Your emotions drive your activities. If you aren’t clear on what is working and what isn’t, it is time to ask yourself more questions. Is this activity a driver? Is it something I can improve? Do I
want to improve? If I don’t do this, what will happen? It’s up to you to find the core motivation to get over your own hurdles. Keep a journal and ask yourself at the end of the day what you learned. What would you do differently? What will you start doing? What will you stop doing? What will you do more of? What will you do less of? (You can use these questions for employee reviews, too.) Awareness truly is the key to change.
10. Identify Your Constraints – this is probably the biggest AHA I had in the last few years. My business coach, Rich Schefren, talks about this. If you take some time to really focus and think about your life and your business, what is it that is really stopping you from achieving everything you want in life? Is it internal? Is it external? Is there another way to look at it? What caused the constraint or bottleneck? Why? Why else? What could you do to remove it? If you were to remove it, what would happen in your life and your business? How would things be different? Why would that be important? Who can help you get there? Just remember to look at this question as if there were no time, money or resource constraints. Once you get clarity on the constraint, then ask these questions, “How can I remove this constraint?” and “How can I get the resources?” There isn’t just one constraint…there are many, but focus on the biggest one first, and then the next and the next. Just think about a river with a beaver dam, if you remove the logs, the water flows freely. If you do this one exercise, you will be amazed at what happens in your life.
Be sure to let me know how this helps you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been amazed in my own life and business at how much I’ve accomplished since improving my knowledge and skills through classes, coaching and masterminds. Invest in yourself and no one can take that away from you. My personal goals are growing every day, and the more I learn the more I want to learn. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do, and who are more successful. Your success is directly linked to the people with whom you surround yourself.
Here’s one final thought and that is about leverage. You have a choice, and that is to invest in the best you can afford in terms of services, products, education or tools. You can’t afford not to do this. You only cry once when you pay for quality. Are you worth it?
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