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The Most Important Action Many Business Owners Fail to Take

The Most Important Action Many Business Owners Fail to Take

Let’s not mince words here. Starting a new business for the very first time can be fairly overwhelming. If you’ve never owned a business before, it can feel like you suddenly have to take on a multitude of roles, none of which you feel adequately prepared for. From finance and admin to web design and marketing and that’s just the business side, before we even think about the creation and delivery of our actual products and services.

Pile on to this the abundance of less than helpful business advice that litters every corner of the Internet these days and you can quite easily find yourself in deep water, suffering from cramp in both legs and without a proverbial float.

As you might imagine, this results in panic.

And when people feel panicked they will try just about anything they can to survive. Because here’s the thing. Most new business owners risked everything to take the leap, sometimes against the advice of loved ones and often left with a feeling they need to prove something to themselves or to others. The need to make this thing work can at times be blinding.

I believe that it’s for this reason that I see so many new (and sometimes even seasoned) business owners spinning their wheels on business activities that are only getting them more stuck and fast at the same time as getting in the way of them doing the one thing that could move them forward.

Before I share the one thing let’s look at a few examples of what I’m talking about.

Building the perfect website.

I can’t launch my business, reach out to new clients or network just yet because my website isn’t ready.

Sound familiar? I’ve witnessed countless business owners spend days, weeks and months tinkering with their website before they’ll actually put themselves out there and start actually serving their people. Websites are great, I’m not knocking them but they are not your business. Some of us may even be old enough to remember a world before the Internet existed. How did businesses make money then?

Crafting the perfect niche and/or client avatar 

I’ve spoken to many online business owners who are actively struggling with these two and they often tie in nicely with number 1 which goes something like this. I can’t finish my website because I haven’t completed my client avatar and/or chosen my niche. How’s that for tying yourself up in a nice, pretty bow of procrastination?

Have you ever considered that you’re struggling to define your ideal client and niche because you haven’t yet worked with enough people for that to have become clear yet?

Mastering social media

A brilliant place to procrastinate and avoid the real work of your business is on social media. I’ve seen so many people while away the hours and tie themselves in knots trying to beat an algorithm or execute a punishing social media strategy that involves posting, pinning and/or tweeting 10-20 times a day.

If I get over XXXX followers, I’ll only need to convert X% of those to buyers to make more than enough to live on.

It’s a hamster wheel and there is another way.

I know that some of you may be feeling a bit confused by what you’ve read so far. Surely having a solid and well optimised website, a clearly defined ideal client and niche and a consistent presence on social media are worthy goals to be working towards?

Well yes and no.

All of these activities are aimed at achieving one extremely important thing.

Making a deep enough connection to another human being that they trust you enough to buy from you. But, and here is the central point I’m trying to make here, these strategies take you all around the houses, when instead, you could so easily just hop, skip and jump across the village green and be exactly where you want to be in a heartbeat.

I’d like to make the case that these strategies can (if you let them) actually prevent you from doing the most important thing.

They stop you from slowing down enough to create the space to connect with just one person. And when I say connect I mean really connect, deeply and directly. As opposed to trying to talk to anyone and everyone through a cleverly crafted social media post.

Let me put this another way. Which of these two strategies feels like a more effective (as well as authentic and meaningful) use of your time?

  1. Spending 6 months posting inspirational quotes on your FB Business page in the hope that one day you’ll have enough people following you that you start to make some sales.

Or

  1. Reaching out to that one person who keeps crossing your mind, who you know your product or service could help, and saying: Hey fancy having a conversation about how I might be able to support you with that thing you’re struggling with?

If you chose number one, I’m probably not someone whose business advice you want to take note of.

Can you see the paradox at play here?

The simplest way to grow your business is often to talk to just one person and to do so directly. At the same time this also can feel like the hardest thing to do, so instead we spend all of our time trying to talk to thousands. 

So let me leave you with this piece of homework because I believe that if you could do one thing today that would further your business the fastest, it would be this. 

First of all, sit down and write down the names of 10 people who you would love to work with and who you believe you can help with your product or service. Secondly, reach out to them directly, be of service. deepen the relationship, offer your help, have a conversation.

Trust me when I tell you that the time spent deepening the relationship with those 10 people is worth a heck of a lot more than the 10 hours you could spend pinning instead and it feels so much better.

I’d love to know if you can relate to what I’ve shared here. Let me know in the comments below what comes up for you as you read this post. If you know anyone who would benefit from reading this post, then feel free to share it and if you feel called to, join my mailing here to receive my weekly soulful strategies on all things business.  

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6 Ways to Deepen Your Connection With Your Audience

6 Ways to Deepen Your Connection With Your Audience

If we’re to believe everything the marketers tell us, when it comes to growing our business, we’d be focused on the size of our audience far more than we would be focused on the people behind those numbers. Rather than deepening our connection to our audience, we’d simply be focused on growing it. Our focus would be on our mailing list, our Instagram followers, our Facebook likes and our sales conversions rather than engagement, connection, service and impact.

The thing is, the tactics we so often hear from marketers about how to persuade (i.e. manipulate) people to buy from us have become so overused that many people are not only getting wise to them but they’re also sick to the back teeth of them.

For the conscious business owner who really doesn’t want to operate in this way, it can be tricky to know what to do. I’m here to tell you that there is another way.

In this article I want to share with you six ways to genuinely deepen the connection you have with the people in your audience. A goal far more worthy, for many reasons, than hitting some imaginary magic number.

Th truth is that you can have thousands of subscribers and/or followers at the same time as having little or no engagement and worse still little or no sales. Which means that you and your business are not having the impact you want to be having on the world.

#1 Be of service to your people

Being of service has become a bit of a cliche in the online world lately, but when being of service is a place that you come from rather than a strategy you use to sell, it can, not only help you to connect on a much deeper level with your audience but also has you feeling good in your soul about what you do on a daily basis.

So, what does it mean to be of service to your audience?

  • It means having a genuine desire to support the people in your audience and to see them succeed whether they buy from you or not.
  • It means putting the person you’re engaging with before the sale. I.e. not selling to them when you know that your product or service can’t or is unlikely to truly help them.
  • It means showing up for your audience with an intention to serve rather than to sell.
  • It means sharing with your people the very best resources for their needs, even if they aren’t your resources.

#2 Stop manipulating your people

Effective marketing has become synonymous with manipulation. Most marketing techniques that we’re encouraged to use to grow our business are techniques in manipulation. If you truly want to forge a deeper connection with your audience, stop trying to manipulate them into buying from you.

So, how do we manipulate in marketing?

  • We use false scarcity to get people to buy now.
  • We play on people’s fear of missing out to get them to buy now.
  • We use charm prices ($197 instead of $200) to make people think they’re getting a better deal than they are.
  • We offer freebies and then ask for an email address in return (so not really free after all).
  • We focus on and dig into our audience’s pain points as a way to get people feeling so desperate that their only choice is to buy our product to relieve their pain. 

#3 Get to know and deeply understand your people

I can’t tell you the amount of times, I’ve had people ask me (as a business coach) whether or not their new product or service is a good idea. I’ve no idea is my first response. Have you asked your people if it’s what they want or need? My second.

Many entrepreneurs make the fatal mistake of failing to consult their audience before they spend time, energy and sometimes money creating a new offering. Build it and they will come is not a sound strategy.

Take time to regularly connect with your audience to better understand what it is they may need from you and your business. There doesn’t need to be any second guessing, you can literally come out and ask them.

One way I like to do this when contemplating the creation of a new offering is to offer up 10 x one-hour slots to my audience, half an hour of which we’ll use for Market Research (where I’ll ask questions about what they need help with and how my proposed product might support them with that) and I offer the other 30 minutes as space for the person on the call to ask me anything they like (in the context of business coaching) as a thank you for their time.

I’ve never had a problem filling these slots and what i’ve found is that people actually like to be consulted, give feedback and to be heard. Funny that. 

 

#4 Create and share truly useful and meaningful content with your people

Content is another thing that can be used as a strategy to sell or that can be used in service to your people and therefore foster a deeper connection.

We can either create content that is genuinely useful for our audience or we can create content with the intention to sell on the back of it. We’ve all been on the receiving end of an email sequence or free video series which has been cleverly designed to leave us wanting to buy at the end of it.

Don’t do that if you want genuine connection with your audience. People are not stupid, we all know when we are being marketed to. We all know when content is genuinely useful. 

The thing is these days that genuinely useful content is so rare that when we stumble across it, it can feel like finding an oasis in the desert.

Be that oasis for your people.

#5 Regularly check your intention

Whenever you take action to connect or communicate with your audience, I encourage you to check your intention first. Is your intention to sell something here or is it to provide something useful and free.

It doesn’t matter what your intention is (although of course we’re looking for purity in our intentions), what matters most is that you are aware of what your intention is and that you proceed with clarity and transparency about that intention as you communicate with your audience.

“When intentions aren’t pure in marketing, our conscience feels itthere’s a conflict within us that weakens the potency of our messageand our audience feels that something is off even if they can’t put a finger on it.”

~ George Kao

 

#6 Sell with transparency 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t sell to your people. On the contrary, I think making sure that you sell to your people on the regular is hugely important for your business and your audience. How else will you build a sustainable business and have the impact you want to have on the world.

What I am suggesting, however, is that you are transparent about your selling and you don’t try to mask the fact that you are selling under a guise of serving.

One way I do this is to have one email a month that I send to my subscribers that is dedicated to selling my products and services. It’s called “What’s on offer this month” and right off the bat, it’s clear to my subscribers that they’ll receive an email like this each month and that when they open the email, they know that what it contains are details of my paid offers.   

Rather than trying to figure out how to subtlety mention my products and services in such a way that my audience won’t feel like I’m being salesy, I’ve found much more freedom and ease from simply separating out when I’m creating content to serve, educate and empower and when I’m selling to my audience and then clearly communicating this.

Fostering a deeper connection rather than going after the numbers and the sales helps you to grow a meaningful, impactful and deeply satisfying business that is much more likely to be sustainable in the long term.

I’d love to know which of these speaks to you the most. Please do share in the comments below and if you know anyone who would benefit from reading this post, then feel free to share it. Finally if you feel called to, join my mailing list below to receive my weekly soulful strategies on all things business.  

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