Different styles of business work for different niches and genres. That's a fact. However, let's all be respectful of choice. We all have a right to choose what is BEST for us. So, here's my two cents on how to do your homework and make decisions for you business, regardless of what any "expert" says.
Do your due diligence.
Take the time to research your options, study potential results, and your own personal work style. Forcing yourself to behave in a way that feels unnatural doesn't make for a successful path. Instead, it makes your work feel messy and inauthentic.
Look outside the "norm."
This should be anything but "Being like the Joneses". This is YOUR business, so make it work for YOU. Lofty suggestions of what you "should" be doing by experts and well-meaning people are just that, suggestions. Only you can decide what will work for you. And, what works for you, doesn't have to be the standard you see everyone in your niche use. As long as it meets your objectives is all that matters.
You aren't always your ideal client.
You don't have to create content that you would consume. I know in my case, I am not my own ideal client. I don't need to be to have success. Actually, moving beyond what I like, I am more likely to reach my intended audience. I have lofty goals for my business, but I am not there yet. So, keeping myself limited to me as my intended audience doesn't push me to reach that next goal.
Paying attention to the details will make success within your reach. In creating your business systems, you can't gloss over the finer points and expect processes to work. They will bind up and create bottlenecks within your business that long-term you cannot afford. Take the time to get it right from the outset. Trying to take shortcuts and the easy way doesn't make it right or lead to success. It's in the little details that you will find your greatest steps to success.
Surround yourself with the right people.
You want to connect with like-minded people and those who are reaching the goals you are working towards. Those are the people who will push you to take the next steps and reach the next level. You can't sit with those you surpassed and expect them to hold space for you to reach the next level. Be willing to stretch yourself and your circle.
Stay strong, and trust yourself and your instinct. Allowing others to get you off-track leads to nothing but struggle. Be positive. There are a multitude of options and opportunities. Be open and mindful of your own needs to support your goals. We may stumble, but we get back up and keep pressing on.
Did you connect with your clients today? Did you make them feel appreciated and cared for?
If not, you need to consider doing it right now.
Regardless of what type of business you have, customer service is the central theme behind any business. Your goal is to serve your clients while earning an income. The term client can mean many different things depending on your role and what sector you serve.
I have talked to people interested in seeing what it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and something I’ve heard over and over is, “I am just…” or “I just do…”. This is the wrong approach when brainstorming a business idea.
You are so much more than “just” anything - You are a Master, an Expert.
You have mastery and experience in some service skill - whether it is mailings or letter writing or customer service - you are GREAT at something. Don’t sell yourself short. Be honest about what you have mastered. Being an expert in a service will provide you with the tools necessary to help others and build your service-based business.
Undermining your skills is not an endearing quality revered by others. It comes across as though you lack the confidence it takes to be a success. You want to portray yourself with the confidence to lead others looking for help with your services. You aren’t out to be led but show that you have the capabilities to complete the work and take responsibility for the successful results.
I am proud of the work I do, the skills I have, and how I help others reach their goals.
Getting my business to this point - to where I am comfortable with the skill sets I have and how I can share those with others - has been a journey. It's been self-discovery and confidence building, with technical knowledge and trial and error thrown in for good measure.
As I continue to grow my business and evolve, I further define the work I love to do, that which I can do without, and where my vision and heart live. It's not all about putting in tons and tons of hours each day, but rather fine-tuning my skills to maximize my time and energy. Taking the time for personal development and surrounding myself with like-minded entrepreneurs and soul searchers moves me to work towards new goals and keeps me in the trenches of doing the work.
Last time I talked about how important it is to effectively communicate with your clients. Providing tips on how to establish communication methods is great, but offering HOW to put those methods into action is even better.
I have found there are certain apps and programs allow me to meet those communication expectations easier and more effectively. Starting my business as a side gig, funds weren't easy to come by, so these are FREE, at least a the lowest level, and provide great service.
Continuing growth in the world of E-Commerce makes it necessary for small businesses to focus on top notch service. It becomes more and more critical to have systems in place allowing the user experiences to exceed expectations. These systems are imperative to success.
One way to do this is to have automations in place that personalize the experiences while making them as time effective as possible. In a world where there is less personal interaction, customer service is made through online interactions where the user's needs are as important as if they were interacting one-on-one.
It is interesting to track what trends have arisen in the employment world. If we look at the CareerBuilder image summarizing the Harris Poll national survey results for 2017, you can see that 51% of the positions employers are adding are anticipated to be temporary or contract.
In the Virtual Assistant world, this is nothing but a positive for those of us looking to grow our experience and levels of aptitude. Reaching out to companies looking to further their goals through flexibility of contractors is a way to build a portfolio and make a VA more well rounded, and have the ability to streamline processes.
Finding your target market isn’t always easy and weeding through the vast array of ways to find them can be arduous. So, what is a budding entrepreneur to do when they don’t have days to spend hunting/researching/lurking to find niche areas? – Get fastidious in presenting expert level ideas and solutions for the issues facing your target market.
Determining how your knowledge and skills can answer the call of your niche is essential in growing your credibility and gaining clients. Start playing BIG and showcase those skills by presenting ideas and solutions to those you can offer guidance and support.
In growing your business, we all know how important each step can be – from blogging to building a portfolio and creating a substantial social media presence. But, what I recently learned from talking to an esteemed colleague, is that not everyone understands that each of those pieces can build upon one another to create an even bigger product or service.
In creating each piece, the creative graphics, the properly worded blog, the catchy caption, do you think about how to use it as a layer to something bigger? More than just “your brand”?
Maybe Not – If Not, You Should
Ok – Business Card and Elevator Speech in Use, Now What?
After careful planning and decision making on your part, you have implemented a clear Elevator Speech and got your “Snazzy” business cards in potential clients’ hands, now what?
This is what will make or break you. You have hit a few with your elevator speech and passed out your card left and right, so you have taken the first steps. The outcome of those hits is determined based on what you do to follow-up with the connections you’ve made.
Hitting the ball out of the park is timely and effective communication.
You want to follow up quickly after you’ve made a connection and piqued someone’s interest. Keep you and your business in the forefront of their thoughts. Doing so, within a day or two of your initial introduction, you set the groundwork to signing them as clients. You should include a Call-to-Action in that follow up.
What is a Call-to-Action and how do I present it to them?
Your call-to-action should be clear and provide steps to follow. Offering a link to a lead page for a course you offer; providing a strategy session to set up a service package to meet their needs; or sending them an assessment to see if you can effectively collaborate together are great ways to start.
You want to show them the benefit of your business, your services. Allow the value of your services or offer to shine through. Present yourself in a manner that shows your skills while offering potential clients’ a means to meet their needs. Do Not turn into the run-of-the-mill “Salesy” cliche.
The benefits met through using your service is the BEST way to gain clients.
By telling someone what you do, you simply offer a crap sales pitch. However, if you listen and learn how to meet their needs, you turn into a problem solver. BINGO – you have a client. You then continue to show them how your services meet their needs. This is not a once and done process. It is how you build value in your continued service. If you love what you do, then it will be a snap.
Do Not get sloppy – it will show.
Don’t start off with the gusto of gale strength winds to mill around and keep going like a gentle summer breeze. the gusto is what gets them to find you a worthwhile expense. Don’t reward that with the enthusiasm of a wet mop after they say yes. You have to live and do what your benefits present. You can’t say one thing to get them in the door and then not deliver. You will quickly lose clients and credibility if you don’t follow through on your word. Earning the trust and respect of new clients should keep you showing up day in and day out. Each day is a new opportunity to knock their socks off. It is not the time to slack off and get complacent thinking they will stay no matter what.
Remember, you are not the only person who is offering these services.
There is a reason they chose to work with you. Remind them of that reason every chance you get. Remind them why they should stick with you to keep growing their business and meet their needs.
If you have a great idea and aren’t sure of the next step – sign up for a free strategy session so we can discuss how to gain that next new client.