Client X – initial phone call;
“I’m very busy, but not sure I’m reaching my full potential and I’d like to grow my business. We’ve a good client base but I’m sure we can grow that and offer more and increase profits too.”
What we did;
Session 1 Took a detour as personal areas of life were impacting on business. We put a plan into action to ensure personal life did not impact on business. You can’t grow a business if you don’t have the physical, emotional or brain space to do it.
Session 2 We started to put together a “dream business” scenario. What do you want? How? Why? Etc. What could the plan look like to achieve it? How much of Session’s 1 plan was being utilised? Not much. “Did it not work?” “No, it did, it made me appreciate that I have to put myself first and that my business time is precious and not to be eroded by personal life. This I am much stricter on now.”
Session 3 What is the current marketing strategy, what is working, what is lip service and not real action. How to we build on this? When there are big plans it can be hard to stay focused on the start and foundations and not jump ahead.
Session 4 Want to target certain sectors and demographic potential clients. Created a plan, sales funnel with 3 different routes. What did we want people to do, CTA? What result? The plan was very visual so that it could be relayed to their VA, administrative staff and tele sales team with minimal time from the client.
Session 5 What results has this achieved? Only contacted 90 so far. 65% signed up to newsletter, 1 new client, 3 leads and 2 wanting more information with 2 wanting a follow up call when they come to the end of their existing contract. New Google clients and ideal client achieved. Next steps planned.
Session 6 Personal attitude to growth, success and beliefs about being a successful business owner. Explored and challenged. A more “feeling” session that has explored personal beliefs and opinions and questioned if they are supporting the “Dream business” required.
Session 7 Not happened yet, but clients are magically falling out of the sky and I’m now their retained coach.
If you would like to explore the possibilities of working with me, give me a call. No 2 clients are the same. People have different budgets. Different needs. And I don’t offer packages so that it remains a very focused on you, tailored to you experience. Coaching is like no other conversation you’ve ever had. Not even with me!
Recently I’ve delivered social media training to the NHS Entrepreneurial Programme and some other companies (who wish to remain confidential) and I thought I’d share some key messages here for you to benefit from too.
When used right LinkedIn can do a lot for your success. Personally it has led to new clients, speaking engagements, PR opportunities, Awards and even being asked to write Fight the Fear for one of the UK’s leading non fiction publishers, Pearsons. That book is now in 5 languages and is sold around the world!
I also know of one company who found investors for their product who handed over 1 million pounds!
Seriously if LinkedIn is a forgotten unloved CV to you, it’s time to give it some love and get it working powerfully for you and your success.
2. T.R.U.S.T – 5 styles of a 60 seconds elevator pitch to help you hone what you say and why you say it. (This can also make up the back bone of a 5 month marketing strategy to save you time and ensure you present a powerful brand no matter where people find you. There is a course that accompanies this – Supercharge Your 60 Seconds click here to learn more or take the course.
3. Marketing Production Line Course download your copy.If your marketing strategy is utilising between 8 and 10 tools listed on this worksheet you should be able to successfully engage with your target audiences, raise your profile, make sales, get asked to speak at events, retain customers and grow your business. Remember to be useful, relevant and interesting and monitor the results you get. Ask “What needs to change?” “What is not working?” etc. etc. There is an accompanying course which you can learn more about here. It could help you create a powerful structure and strategy to marketing success – without spending a sack of cash.
4. I host a confidential mastermind group for very busy professionals. Where you can research ideas, test out your marketing material, practice your video blogging, learn new skills, find solutions and gain mentoring and coaching from me too. It is £5 a month and I often give the Insiders additional ideas and support that I’ve created for clients too. You can learn more and join us here.
A new client sat down opposite me and offloaded (nothing new there).
But what was different was that no matter what I said or what coaching tools I used this person did not want to look at the things that they said was they wanted to work on!
How can you help someone achieve more when they won’t talk about it?
Over the course of two hours I asked so many questions to find out what they needed. As I coach I recap with my clients so they can see the journey we are on together. It is always fascinating, often enlightening and sometimes even a little nerve wracking as someone takes you into the depths of their mind.
By the end of the session this client had a plan of action that was in no way connected to what they said they wanted to deal with. While I’m quite used to people discovering the true issues in their way or the actual things that need sorting so they can get on with the big picture. This was a small part of their life and yet to them it was an obstacle that literally filled 2 hours and the client couldn’t see how to pass it.
When we deviate so far from what the client brings to the session originally I will bring their attention back to what they said they wanted to discuss and see what they think. This client blurted out “I didn’t want to talk about any of that!”
“I know” I replied. “How does that feel?” I asked.
They didn’t know. So I reminded them that if they didn’t feel they got any benefit from our time together then they don’t pay me (simple easy guarantee right?) They booked for 6 weeks time, I sent a coaching report and started to get messages…
I tell all of my clients they are welcome to get in touch any time;
This client started messaging me to say that the plan of action was in place and that they’d not met much objection from those that it would impact. (A good start right?)
Then they went quiet. I never panic about this, because if they go quiet I know they know I’m there for them and that I trust that they are more than capable of being amazing (I’ve plenty of evidence of clients doing amazing things to be confident in this). I’m just the vehicle to get them going, keep them focused and accountable and ensure they get there.
When I met that client for the second time, it was like I was looking at a shinier version. Before I could even take my seat they held my hand and said with a smile “I didn’t know what to make of our first session, because it wasn’t what I’d planned to talk about, but I now know why it was the way it was.”
This client went on to describe how much of life had changed since our session together. Not just in one area, but across the board. From family and social life, to dog walking and profit margins. Something had shifted.
“But how could big things come from something so small?”They asked.
It’s a good point.
The fact is that no matter what you want to achieve, no matter what you face – you will find your brain will create a ton of ideas. Some good. Some lousy. Some damn right ridiculous. All of them will play on your mind. Whirl around driving you crazy and little will move you forward. Our coaching session had enabled this client to step away from all of that (and a ton of other stuff) to find a starting point. And had we not dealt with the start first (obvious really) then they couldn’t have moved on to the big stuff they want to achieve.
ACTION; The next time you find yourself asking “What should I do?” Don’t just look for the big answers. It’s likely that what you really need to start on will be far smaller. But it’s the small stuff that we ignore at our peril.
I’m happy to have a chat about how I can help you. If your budget is tiny but your ambitions big I’ve courses and books that will fit and if you want to invest working with me this year. I’d be honoured to join you on your journey. It’s an exciting journey that I never tire of!
An interesting little question that I helped a client create this week has had massive levels of impact on their chosen thoughts and actions and as result impacted on their performance.
It is like a little algorithm that I’ve found working on myself and other clients too. It is this;
“If I choose to drop xxx then I can choose to get xxx”
Interestingly as a coach I’ve helped people to;
The fact is this little algorithm, works powerfully in so many ways for so many people.
As so many great thinkers, leaders and philosophers over time have proved time and time again it is when we can explain things in their simplest format that we are able to understand the most.
And with this little algorithm, it enables a client to get to what really is holding them back in their ambitions, dreams and big goals for success.
That little algorithm is very beautiful and perfect. It makes my work sound so easy and simple. It is in the process that we create that the client can use that algorithm with power to get what they want in life. My clients are all incredible, finding their own way to process what is going on in their head.
Together we create something very powerful, even more powerful than an algorithm!
I often find that someone sits before me in a coaching session and doesn’t have a clue what is wrong. Okay work could be better and yes they’ve been snapping at their partner, and to be fair their health could do with a bit of TLC but nothing jumps out and yells “Fix this!”
Whether you find yourself in this situation or know exactly what you want to fix it is a good idea to bench mark exactly where you are now. The reason this is so important is because we don’t always notice subtle improvements or issues that are as slow as super tankers starting to impact on us.
This graph enables you to quickly and easily establish where you are.
Decide how often you will revisit this;
What will you do when you see things aren’t improving?
What will you do to celebrate your successes? (Ask me sometime why this is so important.)
How will you ensure that the actions are working are replicated and migrated?
For more ideas get in touch, help yourself to a bargain course or book, let’s connect on social media and I love that phone of yours ringing me, I’m here to help.
Recenly I spoke for one of the worlds largest employers about the basics of successful social media. I don’t claim to be an expert however I know how to utilise it to grow and sustain my own business and my clients.
We also explore the foundations that every business needs to understand and abide by to ensure sustainability, growth and respecting your own personal and professional values and beliefs.
Here are the 2 worksheets I suggested as guidelines too. You are welcome to download a copy.
When I started my company, I had a phone and a laptop, neither were new or particularly high spec and I had a strong loathing of learning new tech. Years later my business has led to;
And that is just some of the stuff I’ve achieved. Despite being in business for over 20 years I can remember when I trained as a coach that the one module of my training that I really feared was marketing (think buckets of tears and fears that I’d never be able to get over my absolute terror of public speaking) and yet now I can help people grow a business with just that – a phone and a laptop.So here I share my top tips for start-up success (and to dealing with those fears that seriously damage success!)
What is my recipe for small business success?
As with every great recipe that you wish to emulate from your favourite TV chef you start by being drawn in by the image of the dish and the title. If you think of this laterally when it comes to your new business venture you will start to appreciate how important it is to have a clear vision of your business. Create a mission statement, a vision as well so that your customers can understand why they work with you and no one else. It will also become part of your solid foundations to business success as you grow to know what you stand for and why. Clearly defined goals are imperative from day one. With my clients, I tend to work out 1, 3 and 5 year goals. However, what many people forget to do is create Now Goals. Now goals are the ones that need to be dealt with and get ignored at the expense of desires for more success and new opportunities. By factoring them into your weekly, monthly and yearly plans you don’t neglect them and create the space and time to actually achieve the vision for your company. With one client by doing this they were able to meet their new sales targets for the month in 3 days and the sales goals for the next 6 months in 3 weeks! So work out what you want your business to look like.
Have you ever seen a recipe for sprout and chocolate sponge cake or kale and beef ice cream? No? Why not? Because they’d be no market for it! (Unless you were looking to create some weird talking point.) You too need to check there’s a market for what you offer. It may be a lovely idea however unless you can find a market for it, it’s a costly hobby and not a business. So do your research.
You are likely to fail at the first stage of your business recipe if you have the wrong tools. For instance, would you try and slice or julienne carrots using a spoon? No? Why not? Because you know you need to use a sharp instrument to get the right shapes, right? The same applies to your business. I get rather cross when I meet new businesses at networking events and watch what I call the hyenas circling advising the new business owner (wrongly) that they need expensive websites, business literature or costly programmes. You don’t, remember how I started my business with just a phone and a laptop? Start with the essentials. Don’t be foolish enough to think that you can stick with just a laptop and a phone thus work out what is really essential and what is shiny things that look like fun. Shiny things are a big problem to the new business and I explore that in greater detail in this article. Investing in the right technology and the right tools for your business is essential so make sure these needs feature in your goals too.
If you want to grow you will need help. A chef doesn’t cook every dish in the restaurant, they will have assistants. And I too have always invested in a few things from day one that gives my business strong foundations. If you aren’t an expert in accounting or web design, don’t waste your time trying to be. That’s a sure fire way to use up your precious commodity of time. Work out what is essential and get help. There are a lots of free or low-cost resources to help you. I love Canva for my marketing, Hubspot for my CRM and Mailchimp for my email campaigns. And accounting resources like QuickBooks are great for ensuring you know your numbers. Remember getting the right foundations is like getting the right ingredients – fundamental to success.
I don’t mind admitting that this has been an issue for me in the past (and is still something I need to be aware of!) I love learning however only in the areas that interest me, and sometimes in business you have to suck it up and learn stuff you really don’t want to. Be prepared to learn new things. What skills do you lack? Public speaking? IT? Marketing? Phone skills? These and many others can greatly impact on your results. And of all of the skills you need to check you have, check your confidence levels. I’ve helped many a business owner create a marketing strategy or business goals only to redirect the session and help them appreciate that their confidence and self-belief have taken a nose dive and they have no faith in themselves or their ability. Trying to run your business like that can greatly impact your results. Get your confidence powered up before you attempt anything and remember to check your confidence levels. They can change, so learn how to keep motivated too. This course could help with that too. And when it comes to getting your business known and loved and keeping the sales coming in (even when you are busy or on a beach) use my marketing production line. If you are using 8 to 10 of these tools relevantly, consistently and with your target audience in mind you will grow your business! Click here to learn more.
It is really important to remember you are you. Sounds obvious right? However, so many clients will tell me things like “I’m not doing as well as you because I’ve not done X yet?” or “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that!” Just like different ovens will cook at different speeds and in different ways, remember you are unique and as such the quickest way to success is by being yourself. This enables you to showcase your passion and people love passion. They love to get caught up in the excitement. I often hear people in the traditional professions such as accountancy or law make comments like “I know this won’t be interesting to most of you…” The fact is you are passionate about what you do and you are allowed to show that passion. People buy from people and they want to feel like they are in expert hands. It’s not about how long you’ve been in business, it’s about the results you can get for your customers. And there is no set time for success. Some people will achieve fast because of the person they are. They want it yesterday and will work long days to get there. Others want to work smarter and in a way that nurtures their body and protects their loved ones too. Understanding and appreciating your values, beliefs and experiences will enable you to work with the person you are and get there in the way you want at the speed you want. Stop looking over your shoulder at the next person. They are not running your business or vice a versa!
The proof is in the eating, right? Therefore, if your business is not delivering what you want from it what needs to change? Let’s start with your salary. Your salary is not a luxury. I often hear people say “yes we are making a profit.” And then when I ask if that includes a wage for themselves they often add “Oh no, I’ve not been paid yet!” If your turnover doesn’t factor in wages for you, you are not getting the right results. Be prepared to do something different. If you made a cheese sauce and it was lumpy and floury you wouldn’t do the same next time, would you? Be prepared to analyse your results and troubleshoot. Go back to the start and look at your goals. Are they the right goals? Did you stretch yourself too thin or did you not push yourself enough?
Don’t expect to be an expert in everything from day one. Would you send a 5 year old into the kitchen and expect them to know how to whip up a soufflé. Why not? Because they’d need guidance, support, knowledge, ingredients, tools and practice. Same goes for your business.
Not everyone’s cooking is to the same standard. What raises some above others is the determination to be the best they can be. They constantly look to learn more and hone their skills. If you want to have the time to really grow your business and get the results you want, learn to outsource, automate and employ. By doing this you will create the space to get the results you want. As a guide if it is something you can do with little or no thought, then it’s likely you can outsource, automate or employ someone else to do it.
And lastly get a mentor. One of the reasons I can make a divine Victoria Sponge is not because I had a perfect recipe or the finest ingredients, it’s because I had the most epic mentor. My Nan was in service years ago and could cook anything from scratch and my mouth just waters thinking of her dishes. I learnt so much from her that was never written in any recipe book! It was years and years of doing it that had made her the expert and I benefited because I chose to listen to her. Get yourself a coach and or a mentor. They will enable you to learn so much more and really hone your focus and accountability. My Nan knew subtle little ideas that could make the fluffiest lightest sponge cake, and if I hadn’t taken the time to listen and want to improve I couldn’t have benefited from her infinite wisdom. Who are you going to lean on for support? For guidance? To road test ideas? As much as I adored my Nan she is not the person I would turn to first when roadtesting a business idea! Why? Because that is not her area of expertise and quite frankly anything I do she’d say “That’s nice dear.” You don’t want “that’s nice dear” answers, you want answers and conversations that challenge you and enable you to work out if it is actually going to work!)
I’m often asked how I manage to look like I’m everywhere and gain new clients when I seem to have a lot of time to do the things I want to do, as well as look after my health. Well, I wouldn’t ask you do to something that I’m not prepared to do myself!
My Marketing Production Line enables me to do just that;
Look like I’m everywhere. (ie raise my profile above the noise of every other “expert”).
Gain new business. (in all areas of my business.)
Gain PR opportunities (for free!)
Gain speaking engagements.
Sell tickets to events.
Grow my online following.
If you are not ready to take the course that you work on at your own pace, as often as you like and can access additional support on The Insiders then you can download a copy of the one-page document to get started here. How many tools are you using?
A new client has no website yet and yet to really get their business seen they need to be blogging, so I suggested they use LinkedIn. They’ve created their first blog and had a moments wobble on whether they really could just put a blog on their LinkedIn profile? Would it get read? Was that professional enough? Could that really help them get seen online? Here is what I replied with in my email. It’s only a short reply however I thought it was apt for so many business owners just starting out who can’t afford a shiny sparkly website yet and yes folks LinkedIn is good for business….get it right and it can be seriously good for business! (It has been for me and my clients this year.)
Regarding your blog ideally you don’t take your target audiences away from your website (and your products and services and other great content) however since you don’t have a website Linkedin’s blog articles look good and can be easily shared so yes I would use their platform and share that way. You have to be careful with a call to action because anything remotely salesly will stop people from reading it again. If its something like “if you loved this then feel free to share/sign up/etc”. then I’d say go ahead. However until you have a following of people that are enjoying your blog, i.e. until you know people are liking it, sharing it and commenting on it I would tread carefully with adding calls to action within your blog. The market is awash with people trying to sell their wares so best to do a blog article that is genuinely fabulously good for others first and then add the CTA (Call to action). (That is my personal preference, I’m sure other marketers and content experts would advise differently. I would also say it depends if you have a good reputation already in any groups. If you do then a CTA in those groups would be fine, because you already have credibility with those people.)
And then this was something else that come up that I thought would be good to share, because I really am not interested in making sacks of cash out of any one person, I genuinely just want to help as many people as possible make those sacks of cash – it’s becoming a life long passion!
Regarding the business coaching it works exactly the same way as any other session with me. We work according to what you bring to the table. So looking at what goals you have set. You can work with me on a one off basis or longer and stop and start whenever you like. My clients vary. Some like to work with me every 6 weeks, others every 2 weeks, others every 3 months. It all depends on how you like to work, how big your goals are, whether you procrastinate, etc. etc. So we would start a session by looking at what you wanted to achieve, and understanding what the goals where for the session. And go from there. I don’t have a minimum spend for a client. I don’t have a silver/gold/platinum level. My clients start the session saying what they want to achieve. And throughout the session we work out how to get to that goal, short medium and long term. And if I tell you recently 1 client achieved some of their goals in 2 days (sales goals) and another achieved their business goals for the year in 3 weeks. And both of these only had 1 session with me so far. Needless to say they want to work with me again moving forward with their businesses. I’m on my clients agenda, never mine. And all clients get homework. Never more than about 5 actions, because its not realistic and clients know they can get in touch for support, advice, etc. when they wish to. I hope that helps and do feel free to get in touch to discuss this more if you wish to. I’m about this week. The goals you have set are quite clear, now you need to break them down into actions and by when. And who what where’s. Obstacles, logistics, etc.
I hope that helps, you see content can so often be transferred from one place and be utilised somewhere else. So in less than 10 minutes I’ve gained some more great content for my Marketing Production Line, not utilising yours yet? Head over to my home page and down load a copy of yours. Its my key to endless good leads and lovely sales, and good bucket full of media too.
I have just started a conversation on social media with a woman who is setting up her own business in a creative industry.
Her big dream is to turn her passion and love for art into a business.
I’ve met many people over the last few months with similar goals.
So here is my top 15 guide to success for creative businesses;
(There are plenty of others and social media is a constantly evolving monster so be prepared to explore, trial and play with it. So no matter what you can stay current and create an effective marketing strategy organically.)