It pains my heart to see talented individuals, products and businesses with valuable services sitting idle without customers lining up around the block (whether physically or online!)
As a way to save time, I wrote this post for all to benefit on how I see you could begin to spread the word about your small business.
It’s spread into 3 parts:
1. Business Model
First and foremost the sole purpose of a business or corporation is to produce a financial return to its owners/investors.
I personally see it as a fair energy exchange and intrinsic motivation of a business to spend time, money and energy in creating products and services to be able to serve both its employees and its customers.
The more profit you produce, the more value you’re creating in the world.
That is my personal view I find the most empowering to help me find, create and package together products and services that customers deem valuable enough to exchange their hard earned cash for.
There’re 3 ladder steps I see that you may find yourself in as you start on your entrepreneurial journey:
- You’re an employee, a service provider part of a larger organization
- You’re a self-sourced freelancer working on your own independent projects
- You’re are an agency, company or business that puts together products and services from many sources
As the rule of thumb, simply by switching from an employee to a self-sourced freelancer your rate per hour doubles from the get-go.
A business must include all of the following cost categories in pricing out its products:
- Research & Development of new products and services
- Marketing and testing of marketing for the above created solutions
- Sales commissions
- Delivery of the product and service
- Office rent, keeping the lights on, technology, administrative, etc.
- Taxes, accounting, and management overhead
- Profit to owners/investors
MANY service based businesses today are simply not giving themselves any room to grow due to this one-and-only reason – under-pricing!
You as a service professional may only look at it as how much do I want to be paid for delivery of the service, let’s say $100/hour.
So you charge $100/hour. And you have no funds/cash/energy/time left over to do any of the other stuff that really MUST be part of any business endeavour.
And the ONLY reason you under-price is because you’re not able to attract clients in any other way so you try to compete on PRICE and price alone.
Thing is… being known as the cheapest service provider will attract cheap buyers who will have no reason to stick around with you when they find the next poor soul who decides to steal your cheap buyers by reducing their own price even lower!
Plus, unless you begin to educate your prospects about the benefits of your product or service, the only differentiating factor they know to go by is to look for the cheapest price.
You probably know by now that in every market there are a multitude of variables that will define the price, more on that in a bit.
Next, many refer to themselves as “running a business” when in fact all they do is sell a product or service. A glorified “self-employment” job.
There’s nothing wrong with that… As long as you have the awareness of what it is exactly that you have got yourself into thus far.
As far as business models go, there’s only a finite amount of which you could pick what it is that you do:
- Provide a service / freelancer (done for you service, event, training, coaching, consulting, etc.)
- Sell a physical product (E-commerce)
- Sell a digital info product (online course, CDs, DVDs)
- Sell a software subscription (SaaS)
- Help sell a product or service on commission (known as Affiliate)
- Agency and/or business/corporation that combines any of the above, and then hires and outsources human labour (services) and purchases products from suppliers
It is important to know which bucket you fall under above. As a business grows it may want to add other buckets to its product/service offerings or you may want to specifically stick one single thing and do it the best you can.
Once you become aware and consciously choose the business model you are in, you are ready for the next step… your mindset.
Although this could be part of the business model category, this next component I believe is better suited for the Mindset section.
It has something to do with where you want to be on this scale:
- Cheapest through economies of scale and process optimization
- Highest priced through value proposition
This is well explained in the book Simplify by Richard Koch.
Unless you want to run a large corporation that will allow you the economies of scale necessary to be the cheapest in your market and industry, as a small business it may be best to aim for the second category – being highest priced with the best value proposition.
There are a multitude of benefits, in my opinion, to this second, Apple-like bucket of highest priced product or service provider:
- Higher prices allow for better service
- Better service attracts more repeat visits and more referred business
- Better service and higher prices attract higher quality customers
- Higher quality customers stick around with you through down-times
- Higher quality customers who spend more and stick around = happier you
- Happier you attracts happier employees and higher prices allow you to pay for top talent, tools and training to keep making your customers even happier
- Plus many more…
Second, and probably THE MOST important mindset shift that you need to have occur in your mind is this:
You’re not in the business of doing your thing. You are in the business of MARKETING your thing.
The sad truth is, no matter what you may think of it now, it’s so easy to find the next “doer” of your thing, even if you believe yourself to be the best and most talented.
Finding the best “marketer of your thing” is not easy at all and would be best served that you grow into this role yourself.
At least to the proficiency level of knowing who to hire next to be the best MARKETED business in your category.
The worst thing you can do is begin to put money, sweat, time, and effort into marketing an offer that nobody wants.
This starts with a niche. Your niche could be one of the following:
- Demographics based
Example is Fit Father Project, Mompreneurs, CTOs, etc.
- Feature based
Example is you work with pumps, locks, basements, skin, teeth, mindset, etc.
- Branding based
Example is brand of Fit2Fat2Fit, “The Smiling Dentist”, or “The Car Doctor”
Positioning here plays a big part of who you want to work with, who is your best customer and what is the service or benefit you want to provide to the world.
You could go wide like Matt Furey with his best-selling and successful “Combat Conditioning” book that’s good for expert martial artists, competitors and amateur dads trying to lose weight at home alike, or very short and narrow like Megan Harrison with her “Online Courses Academy” or Fit Father Project which later expanded into Fit Mother Project.
Know that a specialist heart surgeon is able to command much higher fees than a generalist family doctor.
Packaging the offer is the next thing to look at. You can go with what many of today’s online marketers are doing and adding up a bunch of things into an offer to make it seem more valuable than the price being asked for it:
- Buy this course and get these 3 bonuses
- Come in for appointment and get this massage roller
- Refer us a customer and get a chance to win a vacation for two
You could have multiple offers or just one and only.
The recommended strategy here is to start with the highest priced first than the other way around.
Start with your $5-10k offer first and develop others after, than starting with your $7 ebook and trying to market that before you come up with your higher value ticket item.
Once you have your business model figured out, your mindset screwed on right and you’ve got an offer that may be interesting to certain individuals… it’s time to hit the streets and spread the word!
3. Marketing and Communication
By now you should be well versed in the business model you’re in and that in order to grow your business you must switch your mindset from being the best deliverer of your product or service to the best marketer of your thing.
You must become the accountant that chooses to go to a marketing conference rather than going to an accounting conference.
You’ve also by now have designed an offer in such a way that it speaks directly to a person that may benefit from it, in a compelling way, with clarity and conviction.
We’ve already addressed the major part of your marketing game – correct pricing of your thing to allow you for marketing, sales and expansion – even if all you want is to get that dream 2-4 clients per day, week or month!
Next, the most important question you may now have on your mind is…
How do I find new clients with Facebook ads?
Great question and we’ll get to it shortly. But first here’s why it’s the wrong question to ask.
In business, there’re only three ways, and three ways only to generate more revenue:
- Get more customers
- Get those customers to buy more
- Get those customers to come back more often (or bring in referral business)
Before we dive into each category, I want to make a quick note that…
Getting new customers to any business is the most expensive endeavour you’ll ever try to undertake!
So… first and foremost, for the product and services you already have, the cheapest and most guaranteed way to get new revenue is to go to customers who already Know, Like and Trust you!
In short, you keep track of your past customers and you communicate with them often.
The number one reason why customers do not come back?
They simply forget about you!
Here’s what you need to have in place:
- Cold market reach out and warm up strategy / process
This is lead magnets, guides, how-tos, educational material for those who may be interested in your thing down the line
- Warm market education and conversion
This is your story, customer testimonials, why and how you’re different
- Hot market offers for those who are ready to buy
These are your offers, or your single flagship offer if you’d like
- On-boarding welcoming process that leaves the customer with a WOW experience
- Customer and prospect list in a database (true equity in your business if you ever decide to sell!)
- Monthly newsletter (printed or digital) to stay in touch and keep top of mind
- Referral mechanism (including providing an experience worth talking about)
At any one time and each month you need to have:
- New prospects join your prospect list
- Cold prospects getting warmed up to you, and to the benefits of your products and services
- Warm prospects being educated further about why your business is different and is the best choice for them
- Hot prospects being offered amazing value in exchange for their time and cash
Best skills to develop to help you on this journey are as follows:
- Stop caring about what others think/overcome fear of judgement
This is done by working on your skillset, courage and confidence
- Learn and practice to become a better story teller
Whether on video or in text, this type of communication is THE MOST ESSENTIAL skill you’ll ever need to become successful
This may be overwhelming, I get it, here’re the priorities I’d start with…
- Have an offer that people want (this is a science and an art in itself!)
- Put together list of past customers (skip if you’re new to this business)
- Start monthly newsletter sharing a bit of a story about you, benefits to your customers, referral mechanism and offers you have at the moment
- Gather together testimonials that you can use in your messaging (or get testimonials first by offering free or discounted services)
- Put together a story about you, why you do what you do and who you serve
- Create info-taining materials (education and entertaining in one) that will attract your perfect prospects
- Start with email (possibly physical mail newsletter to past customers), and continue with ONE online platform of choice – Facebook, Instagram, Youtube
- Notice that organic efforts may take too much time and that each of your posts may only get 30-100-200 views, decide to level-up and find a starting budget of at least $300/mo (that’s $10/day)
- Put risk into developing paid campaigns:
- Start with HOT market, your audience of past customers, people who you have emails for, who know about you
Put together a few ads/posts about your story and your current offers and begin to market to this audience with as little as $1 a day
- Continue with WARM market, those you think are best positioned to buy from you soon
Target these with some customer testimonials and the benefits of your services
- Only after you have the above do you begin to fish in the COLD pond of potential prospects
This can be as simple as targeting a geographical area around your physical business (even online business could use this strategy) with a lead magnet, a piece that’s quick to consume and will help you pick out those from the crowd who may be in the market for your services (here’re top kitchen designs of the year, new make-up designs, mind hacks for productivity, etc.)
You pixel (cookie that will allow you to retarget them with warmer ads/posts) and add these to your emailing list
- Start with HOT market, your audience of past customers, people who you have emails for, who know about you
When you are ready to get all this implemented in your business, you may proceed to setting up the marketing technology for your small business.