Are you the type of solopreneur who thinks that the more elaborate your marketing and sales strategies are the more likely it is that you’ll get good results in your business?
Perhaps you have a sneaking belief that simplicity is for ‘beginners’ and a convoluted complex business model is a must, in order for you to be taken seriously?
What you might not realise is that the more complex your systems are the tougher it becomes to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. You run the risk of strangling your business growth through the sheer burden of overwhelm.
So WHY are so many business owners tempted to over-complicate things?
The biggest reasons are these :
a) Lack of Clarity
This often comes from not truly knowing what your strengths are, what your niche is, what you uniquely bring to the table for your ideal clients, and how to communicate that clearly to your audience.
b) Lack of Focus
This is generally to do with not really understanding which core areas you need to focus on in your business to create maximum return on your investments of time, energy and money. Plus it’s compounded by not knowing what actions you must be taking daily, weekly and monthly to move you closer to your business goals.
When I used to carry out high-level process auditing with Agri-Food Companies from around the world I was looking for certain principles to be in place. I wanted them to know what the end result required was, have the systems in place to be able to produce that consistently, and have ongoing assessment and review to create improvement.
As a solopreneur the criteria need to be very similar for your business. In a nutshell you need to have the focus and clarity to create a business which provides the smoothest pathway from allowing you to connect with your ideal clients, to serving them in an authentic way, which has them become a lifelong fan of you and the results you’ve helped them achieve.
You simply won’t be able to do this if you allow yourself to become distracted by the latest ‘hot’ niche, or trying to be all things to all people.
Focus areas for business growth
If you want to grow your business in 2012, there are three core areas you have to focus on. If you miss one of them out, you’ll be doing you and your clients a disservice. So what are these core focus areas?
- FOCUS ONE –
Attracting more ideal prospects (leads) into your business
- FOCUS TWO –
Converting more of those prospects into committed, enthusiastic, paying clients
- FOCUS THREE –
Developing ways of being able to extend the lifetime value of each ideal client / customer you have.
Each and every one of your marketing and business building activities this year should fall into one of those core categories. It really is that simple.
Now of course – there’s a lot to do within each of those categories (and plenty of scope to start over-complicating again if you’re that way inclined!)
So here’s my ‘Focus and Clarity Simplified 12 Step Program’ :
FOCUS ONE – Attracting More Leads
1: Identify your client.
Make sure you’ve clearly identified who your ideal client is. Get to know their needs, stresses and desires (in relation to your service) in the way they themselves describe them. Look at where they’re already hanging out. Who is already connected with them and serving them? Your task is to get to know your ideal client so well that knowing what to offer them becomes much simpler. It’s about what they want and need, not just what you love to do.
2: Offer a solution to their core problem.
Take the time to make sure you position yourself as offering a solution to a core problem they have, such that they perceive you to be the go-to expert. Remember, nobody wakes up thinking they could do with having some ‘life coaching’ or a ‘limiting belief reframe’ or a ‘block of consulting’. People aren’t buying that! Your ideal clients are driven to solve the problem that’s keeping them awake at night – for example the promotion they keep missing out on, the marriage that’s hit rocky ground, the allergic sneezing fits that make summers a misery, the 60 pounds of extra weight which are draining self confidence. This is what you need to be talking about, not what you ‘do’.
3: Connect to your Clients.
Be sure that you’re using multiple avenues and entry points to connect with your ideal clients. At the minimum this should be through social media, your blog, your email marketing and newsletter, as well as offline networking. Building the relationship with them means connecting with them where they already are, and in the environment that they are comfortable with. Even if you think your ideal clients are only at offline business networking events, the chances are they’ll be checking you out online as well.
4: Remember referrals.
Remember to tap into your most valued client-attracting resource – your existing client base – for referrals. Systemising this will consistently add to your pool of leads and clients.
FOCUS TWO – Converting More Leads into Paying Clients
5: Stay connected.
Make sure that you have a system in place to stay connected with your ideal prospects, so that you’re top-of-mind when they decide to actually take action and solve this problem they have (by investing in your solution). It’s unlikely they will buy from you straight off the bat, so you need email marketing, social media, offline networking and ongoing connection to build up that relationship of know, like and trust. The phrase ‘the fortune’s in the follow up’ is very true!
6: From Prospect to Client: have a route planned.
Check that you have a structured route that takes someone from being a prospect to a client. What happens when someone first connects with you? Do you have something you can offer as a free taster for them to ‘sample’ you and your services? It could be a tips booklet, an e-course, or an open clinic hour. Think what your ideal clients would find valuable.
7: The next step: Make it easy to say YES.
Once someone has had value from your free offering, you can then invite them to take the next step – to move from the appetiser to the next more substantial main course. Make sure it’s a logical next step from your free offering to make it easy for your prospect to say yes.
8: Know your Value.
Get totally comfortable with knowing the value your service offers, and being paid for that value, rather than just your time – and how to communicate that to your clients. You role is not to sell, but to make it simple for your ideal clients to buy from you if the fit is right.
9: Sales Skills.
Create more opportunities to enrol new clients. The onus is on you to do this! Your prospects are not going to beat a path to your door and beg to become your paying clients. Getting comfortable with having sales conversations is a core skill you must master.
FOCUS THREE – Extending the Lifetime Value of Each Client
10: Different Levels of Service
Make sure you have different levels of your products and programs on offer. Some people will want to start small and build up working with you, others might want to dive right in and go for the full ‘bells and whistles’ service that you offer.
11: Know how much your is client worth to your business.
Understand the lifetime value of a new client to your business so you can therefore know what you can afford to pay for new leads. Being knowledgeable with the conversion rates and figures in your business is a must.
12: Keep your clients delighted.
Be comfortable with the fact that your clients are taking a ‘problem solving’ journey with you. They can only take on so much change in one go, so create different levels which they can work up through as they become ready. This is not to say that you’re promoting dependency upon you, simply that you are helping your clients move forward one step at a time. They’ll thank you for not overwhelming them! And of course, always look for ways to over-deliver to keep your clients delighted.
So now it’s YOUR turn…
I invite you to make the commitment to simplifying this year! Keep focus and clarity at the heart of your business for 2012, and diligently apply these twelve steps. In so doing, you’ll create momentum, attract more clients, make more profits, and have a lot more fun as your business grows.
About the Author: Tanya Smith is known as the Marketing and Mindset Mentor. She helps Service Business Professionals (Coaches, Consultants, Therapists, Trainers and Solopreneur Business Women) to consistently attract more ideal clients and make bigger profits by using back to basics simple marketing and sales strategies which work.