“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” says Marianne Williamson’s oft-quoted Return to Love. “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Are you playing small in business? Who do you think this serves? Or are you ready to step up, take business and marketing seriously, and aim for the stars?
How to grow your business
Your seven-part plan to creating a business that works for you:
1. Keep it simple
Your business name, your tagline, the benefits of what you do, and your unique value should be easily understood. Confused people do not buy. Leave the finer details, depth and subtleties for later. Communication is not what you say; it’s what people hear. You can measure the efficacy of your marketing communications by what other people say about your business when you’re not there.
2. Have premium products
Your premium products – such as an overseas retreat, a small group mastermind program, a full-day spa treatment or a premium package of goods and services – pay for your children’s education, your overseas holiday or your continuing education. But they are not only good for increasing your profitability; they also satisfy an important strategy purpose by allowing your clients to enjoy a deeper, more fulfilling experience of your business. And when your clients experience this, they are more likely to stick around, become evangelists of your business, and refer further people to you.
3. Sell in packages rather than singularly
The professional who takes a booking at the end is far more likely to get another consultation than the one who doesn’t. Plus, they’ve made life far easier for their client while also giving them something to look forward to. Clients who commit over time to your services will experience results much better and faster than people who only consult with you sporadically – this means they’re more enthusiastic and more likely to refer you business. Good for your bank balance, good for your clients.
4. Keep your leads coming
Too many businesses run irregular marketing campaigns to promote specific offerings rather than having a continuous source of leads – such as professional membership with a group that offers regular networking opportunities, advertisements, community sponsorships, competitions, webinars or joint ventures. Marketing works best when it’s proactive, thoughtful and timely, rather than reactive or desperate. Of course, finding that perfect combination of marketing that brings in a regular supply of quality leads isn’t easy. That’s why we have to keep trying new things.
5. Partner up
Combining marketing dollars, databases, and networks in a joint promotion with a complimentary business is smart use of resources. You’ll reach a far larger crowd, grow your own database, and offer variety to your existing clients. You can partner up to create a totally new collaborative event or course. You can ask another business to share a free or discounted product or service with your people, or you can offer a discounted product or service to another business. Or, you can develop a group of complementary businesses that you share referrals with.
6. Keep learning
Being in business for yourself is one of the most intensive forms of self-development you can do (up there with romantic relationships). You’ll likely need a hundred new skills, you’ll be challenged to push yourself, you’ll become increasingly intimate with your strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll experience constant frustrations as well as times of momentous satisfaction. It can get lonely and you may feel like you need to figure out absolutely everything yourself. Ongoing learning, through short business courses, business coaches and group coaching programs, will not only accelerate your business growth by increasing your skills and knowledge, it will overhaul your perspective, reignite your enthusiasm and reintroduce a sense of fun into your business.
7. Focus on your plan
It’s easy to get distracted in life and in business so we need a plan to focus our energy and attention. Our plan can be as detailed or as simple as we prefer. Even having a few objectives written down and displayed on our office wall can keep us focused, such as:
a) Increase email database by 200 by the end of the month.
b) Sell all 15 spots in weekend workshop by the end of next month.
c) Meet with two potential partners by the end of the month.
Half the reason our business doesn’t grow is that we aren’t clear on what, exactly, we want, and so get distracted at every turn. When we can visualise what we want and translate this into an actionable plan (with deadlines!), we are half-way towards getting it.