you may have heard many people telling you that now is a good time to work on your business rather than in your business, but what does that mean???
I thought it would be useful to share with you five areas of your business you could be working on during this time when you may have been forced to close, or may have less clients/sales. Often when we’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what path to take we can find clarity by going back to basics, reviewing our initial plans. Ensuring we’ve got these areas covered helps us gain focus , be productive rather than procrastinate and will ensure you are on the front foot, ready for when you reopen or resume sales.
When you started your business did it start from ‘a’- a hobby/passion or talent that grew into a biz naturally or ‘b’- with a business plan that thought out a strategy???? Not always, but often I find that if you started from ‘a’ it’s likely you grew organically, not really thinking about the 6 areas i’m about to discuss. It’s likely that friends and family liked what you made/created or told you you have a particular talent so you monetised it and your business grew from there. Even if you started from ‘b’ it’s highly likely the business plan you so carefully crafted has not been revisited since you wrote it! And it’s also likely that the reality of running your business is very different from the hypothesis in your plan! With this in mind reviewing and digging into the following six areas will help you create new strategy, gain new perspective and make new plans.
Your values, your story & your mission
You might know why you do what you do, but is it clear to your audience? Have you thought about the values your business lives by and how these are played out in your day to day business? When I talk of values I don’t mean the things that are a given and should apply to everyone running a business! Such as ‘trustworthy’, ‘friendly’, ‘honest’ etc I mean the values that underpin all of the decisions, ideas, services, products and direction of your business. For example one of my values is ‘human connections’. This means I choose (when the world is pandemic free!) to work in person with clients and I have set up a networking session for women running businesses as a way of promoting connections. When thinking about your mission, I don’t mean just creating a cheesy tagline I’m asking you to think about the legacy of your business, the long term reason you are doing what you do and how your products and services relate to this. Often when I work with a client who reports they feel confused about what direction to take, it is because they have forgotten about their why, their values. They have been making decisions that have taken them off on a tangent and need to realign their business.
Nail your ideal client!
The venn diagram opposite (created by Kiss Strategies) is a really clear visual to help you think about and plan for who will be buying your product/services. If you have worked with me you will know I prefer to approach the ‘ideal client’ from the point of defining what the problem is you solves and the solution you are offering FIRST, before then considering who the people are that will benefit from this. You may have started your business, as many do, from the point of creating a product or service and then trying to match it with people. So what I am asking you to do may mean you need to tweak services or develop new products! But that’s ok, it’s exciting and it’s what being an entrepreneur is all about! Building a profile for your ideal clients is something I teach my clients to do in 6 steps. In order to keep this blog manageable I have a separate blog on those steps. You can find it here
get to grips with social media
A lot, and I’m talking at least 80% of the questions I’m asked are about social media, how to use it, how to gain engagement, how to gain followers and how to convert to sales. My answer is always the following checklist; be consistent, add value, be yourself & let your personality through, get your hashtags sussed and forward plan your content so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Your social media channels can be thought of as the ‘shop window’ to your business. It’s your chance to interact with your potential customers, show off who and what you are and let them get a glimpse into your business. But it’s also a place for your to interact and build relationships. So please don’t make the mistake of creating content that purely sells or asks for engagement in a ‘salesy’ way. This is why I’m an advocate of planning out your content, so that you can be sure you get a healthy mix! When I talk about adding value, what I mean is sharing your knowledge, expertise and tips (from your industry) with your audience. Don’t be afraid of ‘giving away to much’ or ‘competitors copying’. Especially at a time like now, when money is tight, adding value for free is a way of building an audience for the long term. You have probably heard many business coaches (me included!) talking about ‘know/like/trust’? Social media is the perfect place to build on these 3 key things so when you’re creating content ask yourself ‘does this post help my audience get to know/like/trust me’? It is ok to add a ‘call to action’ to the end of a post as these encourage engagement and build relationships, but the call to action should vary, not always be ‘click here to book/buy’! Call to action examples? Message me, leave a comment, tag xxx. what do you think, how do you.., hit like.
A visual brand review
Taking a look at your visual branding means looking at the colours, fonts, and pictures you use for your business. Ensuring these are cohesive, recognisable and consistent is going to make your business look professional. The diagram opposite is a really useful tool for helping guide you in terms of what elements to consider. Creating a visual brand mood board is also useful as it helps you think about how the elements fit and work together. This period of shutdown could be a useful time to use an app such as Canva to create some branded visuals for use on social media.
Figure out your customers pain points and your solutions.
We touched on this when looking at your ideal client but this is the drilling down once you know your customer. Take some time to think about all of your previous customers and what they have in common. Use this time to do some market research and ask your audience more about how you can serve them and what they would like from you. Ask for feedback, reviews and testimonials as these can help you figure out how you have been effective and what issues you helped with. You may discover that you uncover a pain point you hadn’t initially expected to serve so now could be a good time to plan how you can offer a solution to this. Use this down time as a time for research and development! Maybe offer ‘trial’ sessions or ‘free’ products in exchange for feedback and reviews.
Over on my Instagram page I have shared an IGTV video exploring each of these steps in more detail, including practical examples- find me by clicking this link . Go take a look! Remember I’m here to help so feel free to leave me any questions etc in the comments!