At one point, every business owner will find herself in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling, and a peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward, too. But how you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.
Here’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on morale, too. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
You Take On the Wrong Client
When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with anyone who comes along. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:
You Stop Creating
And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new programs, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced.
Now, this would be ideal if you were re-purposing with a positive intent. Turning your blogs into online course or eBook? Perfect! But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.
Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have new sales copy written or record new videos.”
And while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.
Yikes! That’s no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client. And while you’re waiting, take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales and create the killer program your audience is clamoring for!
As always I look forward to reading your comments below, Coach Deb
We’ve all done the exercise. It’s the first thing you’re taught when you first start your business: Create an ideal client avatar.
This vision of your ideal client guides everything you do, including pricing (you can’t charge that single mom as much as you can the CEO of a Fortune 500 company), pain points (mom probably isn’t worried about shareholders), and even the color of your logo.
So you spend a few hours considering things such as:
Maybe you even write up a nice little story about your ideal client. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a load of student loans. You know quite a bit about her, you think.
But you would be wrong, and if you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of it.
Here’s something that’s rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: personality.
If you’re snarky, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mom who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. Sure, she might need your help, and she might love your products, but for one-on-one consulting, this match-up is a disaster. Either she will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.
Better to pass mom on to a consultant who is a better fit for her, personality wise.
Drive Determines Success
This one can be difficult to calculate from the start, but once you recognize it (or the lack thereof) it’s worth paying attention to. The client without the drive to succeed will—more often than not—only end up frustrating you both.
Better to end your relationship as soon as you see the signs of this than to waste your time going over the same material and exercises again and again with someone who simply won’t do the work.
If you look at your current and past consulting clients, you’ll begin to see patterns. You can easily look back and see what made some clients a joy to work with, while others were a struggle. Think about what those differences are, and add them to your ideal client profile. Then compare any new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.
Looking forward to reading your comments below, Coach Deb.
Here’s the number one question I hear—not only from new product creators, but even from seasoned business owners: “How do I find a good idea?”
What they really mean, of course, is “How do I find an idea that will sell?” No one wants to spend days or weeks or more planning, developing and launching a course only to hear crickets on the big day. You want to know you’ll have at least some measure of success.
But don’t overthink it. The answer is simple. Just give your audience what they are asking for.
Check out the competition. What are they creating? If you serve a similar audience, then what sells for them will very likely sell for you. Now, before you break out the “But it’s already been done!” line, keep this in mind: No two experts are alike. You may create a similar course, but your voice, your experience, your teaching style, and your personality are all very different. No one else is you, and for some customers, YOU are the only one who will resonate with them.
Pay attention to your ideal client. What questions does she ask in private groups, in your help desk, and elsewhere? What posts is she reading on your blog (check your Google Analytic stats)? These are all valuable sources of intel about exactly what she needs and wants from you.
Ask. Still not sure what your dream client is looking for? Ask her. Create a survey and ask her to tell you what she struggles with, what keeps her from realizing her success, and even what she’s tried before in an effort to solve her issues.
Check the bestsellers list. Which books in your niche are outperforming others? These are the ones that offer answers your clients are seeking. Flip through the table of contents and read the online reviews to dig deep into the topics that really resonate with your audience.
Read the FAQs. Check the frequently asked questions section on competitor blogs and in forums and Facebook groups. Also, check blogs for “Start Here,” and “Quickstart” pages. Many times, the most common questions and concerns are addressed here.
Review the available resources. Which are the most common resources your colleagues and competitors are recommending? There are often questions surrounding the use of software and other tools, and these can be great ideas for eCourses.
Check your email. If you’ve been in business for more than a few months, chances are you receive questions from friends, clients and even strangers on a daily basis. What are they asking about? Look for common themes and trends.
Revisit your keyword research. Review the terms and phrases that your community most frequently searches on, and use them as a basis for your own research.
Check your search terms. Google Webmaster Tools allows you to check which terms are sending visitors to your website. Since people often search on questions (“how to design a logo” or “how to start a business”) this can be a rich source of ideas.
Ideas are everywhere. Your potential buyers are sharing them with you every day, if you just know where to look. So, don’t let your insecurities hold you back. Develop the course they are asking you for.
I look forward to hearing below, how you come up with eCourse ideas, Coach Deb
Your website is your storefront. In many cases it provides a prospect’s first impression of your company. You know what they say about first impressions; you can only make one and it better count. The good news is that keeping in mind a few fundamentals and making a few simple tweaks to your website can take it from bland to brilliant. You can create a website that attracts visitors, converts clients, and helps you build a prosperous and exciting business.
1. Top Quality Free Downloads
Freebies are appreciated by just about everyone. However, they can’t be the average run of the mill freebies. Your free content needs to provide unique value to each prospect. It should solve a problem in an organized and efficient manner. Some of the best freebie downloads are simple.
For example, you might create a calendar, checklist, or even a downloadable worksheet for your prospects to fill out. Remember to brand your free downloads and use them to gently drive traffic to a sales page or the next item in your sales funnel.
2. Relationships With Relevant Industry Professionals
Relationships are what build business. You have relationships with your customers and prospects, your vendors, contractors and much more. Each relationship is an opportunity to leverage, grow, and prosper. Relationships with relevant industry professionals can be significant.
For example, imagine if you have a pet blog and you forge a relationship with Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”) who links to your site or mentions you on Facebook. That would be huge for your business. And you don’t have to forge relationships with industry celebrities to make an impact. Connecting with others builds your community, one person at a time.
3. Contributor Content
Let other people create content for you. Each guest blogger, interview, or contributing author brings their audience with them. You’ll gain traffic and followers. You’ll also gain credibility by providing your prospects with a variety of valuable content.
4. Community Involvement
What are you doing to make the world a better place? Getting involved in your community is great for business. It not only promotes you locally, it provides you with content to share online as well. And you can invite your prospects to get involved in your community causes.
For example, if you have a pet related business you might get involved in a fundraiser for your local humane society and invite others to donate or get involved themselves.
5. A Newsletter
Email marketing is still one of the most powerful means to connect with your prospects, build relationships and make sales. However, your email newsletter has to be valuable. Make sure it provides different value than your website content. And separate that content so that newsletter subscribers receive unique value.
Find these tips helpful? Check out our previous blog series on taking your website from bland to brilliant.
Leave your favorite website tips below in the comments, Coach Deb
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