There are three key things you need to build a successful business:
If any one of these is lacking, it is going to need to be made up for in one of the other areas.
Let’s take a look at them one at a time.
Building a successful takes time. And it is likely to take a lot longer than you think. All too often we set up our small business thinking we are going to be drawing a full time wage within a month or so. All too often the reality is different. We end up working for nothing for the first 12 months or just drawing a paltry sum that barely covers a pair of tights each month.
And on the subject of time, everything we do seems to take longer than expected. I will just write a quick blog I hear you say. And three hours later you are still staring at a blank screen. I will just make a quick update to my website I hear you say. And two weeks later you are still playing around with the design and the layout. I will quickly set up a mailing system I hear you say. And days later you are still tearing your hair out and wondering what the hell everyone else is on it about when they say it is all so easy.
If you don’t have time, you are going to have invest money to make up for it. You are going to have to spend money on marketing rather than trying to do everything for free on social media. You are going to have to spend money outsourcing all those tasks that area eating up the precious hours in your day.
You are going to need massive amounts of energy to build your own business. The time it takes will easily leave you feeling drained and exhausted and it will be all too easy to feel like throwing in the towel.
One of the dangers of building a business, particularly when working from home, is that we let healthy habits slip. We stop taking exercise as we just want to get one more task squeezed into the day. We stop eating healthily and grab chocolate bars and coffee whilst chained to our computer screens.
This soon leaves us feeling sluggish and out of kilter.
To build a successful business, you need to take of yourself first and foremost and keep your energy levels up. You need to take regular exercise, you need to keep healthy and you need to get enough sleep. If you energy levels drain, you will end up either ill or having to take time out to recharge the batteries.
If you don’t have energy, it is going to cost you more in time and money. It will take more time to build your business or you will have to invest more money to get someone to take over your work for you.
Yes, you are going to have to invest some money! I’m sorry to break the bad news to you but those get rich quick schemes where you only have to put in a few pounds or dollars up front just don’t work. I have had numerous people send me their schemes but when I ask to see their bank details or profit and loss statement to validate their claims, they disappear into the mist never to be heard of again.
You need to invest in the tools to do the job. You can get many free versions of systems and software, but if you really want to build your business, it is the paid versions that you need. You need to invest in yourself and the businesses that really move forward faster than the others invest in a coach. I invested in thousands for a coach for myself. Even though I am a business coach, I still need someone to help me with new ideas and to hold me accountable for achieving results. Without this, my business would have taken vastly longer to be successful.
If you don’t invest money it is going to cost you more time and energy. You can try to build a business on a shoestring but you are likely to end up just running a very expensive hobby for many years to come. And more time is going to take more energy. You really need to look at the potential return on investment and savings in time and energy rather than holding on those purse strings.
Do you have these three key areas covered or is the lack of one of these hampering your success? Let me know in the comments below.
3 essential points to attract ideal clients to your business
Uncover how to save time talking to people who have no interest in buying from you and start to attract the right prospects to your business who will be a dream to work with and will value what you offer.
Are you currently not getting enough prospects enquiring about your business? Are you continually trying new ways of marketing but it is all falling on deaf ears? Are you at a complete loss as to what to do because you know you have a great product or service but you just can’t get anyone to connect with you to talk about it?
Do you get enquiries but once the conversation starts you soon realise the person you are talking to is simply not suitable for what you are offering?
This happens all too often with small business owners because of one key reason:
Your marketing message is not clearly defined and you are not clear in the first place as to who you your ideal client is and what they want to hear.
Before you undertake any marketing, you first and foremost need to identify the customer groups that are most likely to need or want your product so that you can tailor your marketing message to attract them to your business.
You then need to think about what problems they have and how your product is going to be able to solve this.
Before you do anything else, think carefully about the following questions and make sure you can answer them clearly:
Who is the ideal fit for your product or service?
You may have heard this called identifying your target market or finding your ideal client, but whatever it is, you have to know who you are selling to because as the adage states, ‘if you market to everyone, then no one is your customer’.
What often happens is that small business owners say that everybody’s going to buy their product or service. Well, I’m sorry, they won’t. What you will be doing is a spray and pray marketing campaign and you’ll be throwing a marketing message out there that’s so weak and woolly, your actual target market, the people who really want and need what you are selling and will be prepared to pay you, are going to miss it completely. It won’t resonate with them because you’re trying to talk to everybody so you won’t connect with them in their language.
Tailor down as closely as you can who your ideal client is. Think about their gender, age, where they live, their educational level, occupation, marital status, hobbies and personality.
What problem do they have?
Now you know who your ideal client is, what problem do they have or what result do they want.
Let’s take a masseur as an example. Your ideal client may be an office worker who spends long hours working on a computer all day. So the problem they have is that they have tension and muscle pain in their neck and shoulders from hunching over a computer all day which is also leading to headaches and poor sleep. They want a way of releasing that tension and easing their pain so that they can relax and sleep better.
How will your product or service help them?
What results will you create for your target audience. Staying with the masseur, your massage treatment will unknot the muscles in their neck and shoulder and relieve the tension which in turn will leave them relaxed, refreshed and pain free. Being pain free will allow them to work more productively and sleep better giving them an improved quality of life. The release from headaches will improve their mood and help family relationships by not being so stressed at home.
Take some time out to try and think about what problems your ideal clients currently have and all the different benefits you provide to them if they use your product or service.
With the information above, you can now start to tailor a marketing message that describes the problem and the solution which your ideal client will resonate with and want to know more.
Do you need help attracting ideal clients to your business? Become a member of The Small Business Kit for access to the masterclass on ‘How To Fill Your Pipeline With Prospects In 28 Days‘.
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10 top tips for running a home business
Running a home business has a whole set of challenges of its own. You are solely responsible for being disciplined in your work and not drifting off to do a spot of housework or accepting friends in for coffee who turn up on your doorstep.
If you are running a home business, here are my top 10 tips to help make the difference between treating your business in a professional manner in order for it to be successful, or letting it slip into the realms of an expensive hobby.
1. Create a separate workspace
Make sure that you have a separate home office or area for working so that you can keep all your paperwork and work related items in one place. This helps to shut off at the end of the work day rather than having bits and pieces all over the place. It is important to let other household members know that this is your sacred space and not to be interfered with on pain of death!!
2. Get organized
The amount of time it takes to get organised in the first place will repay itself tenfold (or much more) further down the line. Get files and organise a filing system for your workspace. Clear away non-essential items that are causing unnecessary clutter. Make sure you have all the necessary items for doing your work close to hand to save time hunting in the back of cupboards and drawers. Treat your workspace with the importance it deserves. Remember, you are running a business, not a hobby.
3. Define your working hours
One of the biggest failings of women running a home business is not setting working hours. This results in either working a straight 15 (or more) hours with no break or working intermittently and fitting in household chores between work tasks that distract and disrupt the workflow. Firstly, determine when you are most productive and then at what times you need to be available to clients. Decide how many hours you are going to work each day and stick to this!
Running your own business from home gives you the flexibility to decide when you are going to work and it doesn’t have to be all in one chunk like a traditional 9 to 5 job. You may want to do a few hours in the morning, take the afternoons off and then do a few more hours in the evening. Having some sort of structure to your day can make you much more productive than just working on an ad hoc basis.
4. Have a support network
Constantly talking to yourself and losing your grip with what is going on in the outside world is all too easy when working from home which can easily lead to losing your motivation. Make sure you remove yourself from your home once in a while to network with others to make new contacts, pick up new ideas and realise you are not alone.
5. Get into a routine
Having a routine and putting some structure into your day can make you so much more productive. Create a monthly, weekly and daily routine where possible. Block outset days/hours for marketing, admin, checking the finances, networking, calling new prospects etc. Have set hours for checking emails and social media so that you don’t keep dipping in and out constantly which will take up far more time in the long run and keep distracting you from your key work.
6. Plan your work
The old adage goes ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ and this is so true when running a home business. If you just get up each morning with no clear plan of what you intend to do for the day, you are likely to dip in and out of different tasks with no clear direction and end up not getting a lot actually completed.
At the end of each day set out your three priority tasks for the next day. Make sure one of these is a key task that is going to take you, at least, one step closer to your end goal. When you complete these three key tasks, you can then move on to a more fun task that you love doing but isn’t high on the priority list. Working this way will help keep you motivated to complete the necessary tasks first with the reward of doing something more fun at the end.
If you find that you are not completing your three key tasks, move any unfinished item over to the next day and put a red dot next to it. If it doesn’t get completed on day 2, move it forward and add another red dot against it. If you get to any item with three red dots you have to stop everything you are doing and either just do it, delegate it to someone else who can do it or delete it as it simply cannot be that important.
7. Take time out
Working from home can become all-consuming and we forget to take time out to recharge and refresh ourselves. We keep trying to squeeze in just a bit more work and then a bit more which leaves us frazzled, irritable and resentful. Schedule regular breaks from your workspace to do something non-work related such as going for a walk, reading a book or going out to lunch with a friend. As they say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’.
8. Schedule family time
A danger of running a business from home is starting to neglect your family. Just because you are at home and they can see you, doesn’t mean that you are spending time with them if you are constantly working. Make sure you set out your working hours and allocate time out each week to focus purely on the family. No taking calls or dipping into emails. What is the point of working so hard if you can’t have some quality time with the ones you love?
9. Set expectations with family
When running a home business, it really can become a struggle balancing your business with having family around. To help ease frustrations, set expectations with your family. Set yourself specific working hours and let your family know that during these hours you will be working.
If you work from a separate room let them know that if the door is closed, you are not to be disturbed unless in an emergency. Also, extend this to friends so they know they cannot just pop in for a coffee and a chat when they feel like it. You need to be able to communicate with friends and family so they understand that just because you work from home does not make your work any less important than if you were out working for a large corporation.
10. Have fun!
It is all too easy to get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of our business that we start to lose the passion and forget the fun we had in starting up. Recapture the passion and love for your business by taking some time to have fun. This is both by booking time out and also looking for ways to have fun in your business day. If you can start to enjoy it again, you gain more energy and the creative juices start to flow once again.
Follow these tips for running your home business and if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments box below.
Do you have a can do attitude or are you full of excuses?
There is one significant difference between the small business owners that I meet you are successful and those who just never make it.
The successful ones have a can do attitude and will do whatever it takes to make their business a success. They are prepared to step out of their comfort zone and try new things in order to move forward. They are focused and wholly determined and don’t sit around dreaming all day about what they want, they consistently take action to move forward towards their goals.
On the other hand, I meet those who just stay stuck in the same spot. These are the people who want the world to deliver results on their doorstep. They sit and talk about what they want but are not prepared to leave the comfort of their home to really go out there and go after it. They have every excuse in the book and often live within the blame culture.
They put their lack of success down to a situation that happened in the past which had a detrimental effect on them or that they don’t have enough time to do what they need to do. But they have the same amount of hours in the day as everyone else on this planet and do they really believe that they are the only ones to have suffered a setback?
I fully understand that self-confidence may play a part here and a lack of self-confidence can be a hugely debilitating when running a business, but I am talking about those who want the easy option. It really is up to you to choose your attitude and get your business moving forward if you really want to.
Quit with making excuses and waiting for the right time. Just get off your backside and just do it or, JFDI as the saying goes, Just F****** Do It!
If not and you keep doing what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.
[Tweet “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.”]
Do you have the right attitude? Yes? Then great. If not, it is time to decide to stop dreaming, procrastinating and blaming and start some doing if you really want to be successful.
When running a small business it is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have to start off giving things away for free in order to build our reputation. Whilst this method of building brand awareness may have some benefits, it needs to be thought through and the results measured, in a very controlled way.
Why? Because free holds no value in the mind of the recipient and by giving too much away you may be causing problems for your business. In the majority of cases I have seen, when someone gets something for free, they do not perceive and appreciate the full value that the product or service they are receiving is really worth.
[Tweet “Free services rarely hold value in the mind of the recipient. By giving too much away you may be causing problems for your business”]
I know of a couple of small businesses who have spent time creating vouchers for a massage or facial and promoted this through a competition and then the voucher hasn’t been use by the winner. A waste of time, effort and money for all involved.
I know of a lady who spent time setting up a free workshop to teach dance classes where a good number of people booked and reserved the spaces and yet only one actually turned up.
In my own line of business there are often opportunities for fully funded business support. Whilst many people who take advantage of this truly do appreciate it, there are those who have the mindset that free holds no value and therefore it is unlikely to be worth much to them so they fail to attend the workshops or appointments they are booked on and deprive others who would have benefited from having a place.
This is demoralising for all concerned and puts in jeopardy any future opportunities that may have been in the pipeline.
But why is this? Because no matter what the price of the thing that has been received, if it is given away for free, subconsciously that product or service is worthless to the recipient. During some research
on this subject I came across many examples of this.
The psychological effect of free
One was a person who had received a book worth hundreds of pounds for free (they didn’t enlighten me on the actual book as it must have been quite special for this amount of money!). On the same day they made a purchase of a book on Amazon for £10. And which did they read? The one they had paid for. Because this had been paid for with their hard earned cash they perceived its value as higher than the one they had received for free. Crazy huh? But true.
With free workshops and funded support, maybe people don’t turn up because they think there is a catch. Otherwise, why would it be put on for free? That word ‘free’ has such a negative effect on us psychologically.
So if you are a small business owner considering a free offer, think carefully if you can really afford to put this offer on. What is it going to cost you to run the promotion and provide the free offer? Can you afford to lose this money?
If you go ahead, measure the results very carefully. I do not have exact figures to provide you with but from research have discovered that an incredibly small percentage of people who receive a free offer will ever go on to purchase at full price in the future. These people tend to be bargain hunters and so just sit tight until another freebie comes along. They are not your target audience so do you really want to waste time dealing with them? Unfortunately they have the attitude that free holds no value
And if you are the recipient of a free offer, think twice before accepting. If you don’t see the value and have no intention of using the freebie, let it go to someone who may be more appreciative
Here we are with the school holidays nearly upon us once again and the children at home.
For working women, this can be a time of both joy and stress. I remember only too well the joy of having my children around and going on days out combined with not having to do the packed lunches, school run etc. But I also remember the incredible stress of having to organise childcare for the days I could not take off, the feeling of guilt of still having to work and the feeling of disapproval for requesting time off with my children or to finish work early.
Do you dream of starting a home business?
So many other women feel the same and this can lead them to start to think about starting their own home-based business. They long for starting a home business which can be flexible enough to be run and organised around their family commitments and still provide them with a regular monthly income.
In a recent report to coincide with International Women’s Day, James Pattison, CEO of Startup Direct, said:
“A growing number of women are disillusioned by the difficulties of combining family life with a traditional 9 to 5 job, not least the inflexible hours, lack of well-paid part-time work and the cost of childcare, which continues to spiral.
The internet has made it easier than ever to start up a business from home and women are drawn to the prospect of being their own boss, choosing their hours and cutting childcare bills by working flexibly around family life.”
[Tweet “The internet has made it easier than ever to start up a business from home”]
Unfortunately, too many women thinking of starting a home business start to worry about what they will do, if they are good enough, what they have to do to start up and how they will manage initially until the business is fully up and running and providing a secure income.
But there are many options out there now and it is far easier to start up a home based business today than ever before. There are many simple ways to make money working from home that can be started at little expense. You also don’t need to immediately hand in your notice in order to start up as many businesses can initially be run alongside a full-time job. Yes, it will take time and organisation but then, as a working mother, you will already be an expert in this field.
There is more and more support out there today for women wanting to start in business and your local business support organisation should be able to point you in the right direction. There are also many online options available such as The Small Business Kit which can provide you with everything you need to start, run and grow your business.
As your business starts to build, you can then think about reducing hours and working part time until you are in a position for the business to fully support you financially.
The hardest part is usually the first step. It can be as simple as having the confidence to test out your ideas or to actually ask for money in return for something you already do as a hobby. It can be writing that first blog and the fear of putting yourself out there into the public domain.
But be brave. Get someone to confide in with your ideas and who will give you realistic advice (not friends and family who will sugar coat everything for you, or adversely, tell you it will never work). Look for someone who has been there and done it before and got the tee shirt (and bruises) to show for it!
So don’t sit wishing and wondering what if. Take those initial thoughts and start to put them into action. In ten years’ time, you will wish you had started today.
If you are thinking of starting a home business and would like unbiased advice, support and a helping hand, join The Small Business Kit now and start your journey to success.