Are you ready to start attracting customers?
I hope you said yes because in this post I am going to be talking about the different ways of learning the business side of running a business. It is this knowledge and the skills that you develop as a result that will help you to build a really successful business and start making a living doing something you love.
But, before we start talking about business matters and how to attract customers, I want to talk to you about something that involves you personally that might affect your chances of becoming the successful business owner that you want to be and have the business that you love.
To begin with, and just so you know I’m not just picking on you, I want to tell you a little story about me.
I was always an ideas person. I loved thinking up new stuff. New ways of working, new ways of saving time, new ways to make money, new ways to do pretty much everything.
I was always on the look-out for something new to learn and try out and felt a sense of pride every time I conquered some new challenge
This is good right?
You see the problem was that I was hard to pin down. I found it difficult to focus on any one thing at a time. As a result I bounced from one thing to the next without ever really giving any one thing a chance to work.
Working for yourself as a business owner means that you have to be disciplined. You need to focus on what’s important for your business at any given time. You need to plan your day carefully and make sure that you are spending your time wisely.
How this panned out in my coaching business was that I was running a confusing business. I was talking about lots of things, I had lots of different programs on offer, lots of different offers running, no one way of attracting leads and no one (including me) could really say what my business was about.
My trouble was that I was suffering from shiny object syndrome. Yes, that is a thing. Shiny object syndrome means that you can’t help chasing after every new strategy, method or learning module that comes your way. The minute I spotted something new, I needed to try it out to see if it would work for me.
I was constantly learning and implement new things in my business but NONE of them was working for me.
I launched new products, online programmes and coaching workshops without optimising the old ones. This was a complete waste of time and resources.
I was constantly reading other websites, books and blogs and getting great ideas that I thought would work for me if I just randomly applied them to my own. Well they didn’t work out. Of course they didn’t.
I suppose if I could sum up my behaviour in one word it would be desperate. I was desperate to be able to tell my friends and family that my business was a success. I was desperate to be able to prove this fact by being able to show an income from it. I was desperate to prove to myself that I was a good business person and I was REALLY desperate to not have to go back to the job I hated.
This desperation lead to erratic behaviour that any true business person would have laughed out loud at.
I was trying lots of different things with no real strategy or any way of properly testing the results. I was jumping from one idea to the next with no real structure or plan.
Then I decided to stop this ridiculous behaviour and start learning how to run a business in the most strategic way possible.
I think I figured out quite early on that I needed to learn how to systemise my business so that it worked for me rather than against me. I knew that I wanted to make a living as a coach/mentor and to do that I needed to take my business seriously and treat it more businesslike than I had been doing previously.
Now I have systems and strategies in place that I can test, reproduce and monitor and am growing a coaching and mentoring business and a blogging business that are structured and efficient but that are also fun.
I’ve been strict with myself and deleted lots of old products, courses, ebooks, posts and email series that were quite frankly rubbish and therefore not working for me.
I created a brand new blog for brand new bloggers, because I wanted to help them avoid the stupid mistakes that I made so that their business would be successful much quicker.
Basically, I have become a business person rather than just a coach or blogger.
Well, I would have to sum it up in one word as professional.
I have ditched my old desperate behaviour and developed a professional approach to my blog and my business. This has made all the difference.
Here I am last Friday having afternoon tea on the Pier at Weston-super-mare.
Because I took the time to build my business properly I am able to take time off from it whenever I like without having to worry about loss of sales or revenue.
Because I set up all the proper systems, my blog is attracting leads, replying to them, making sales, sending follow up emails and selling my courses even though I’m here having fun.
It was this professional approach to my business that made all the difference to my lifestyle. I now work when I want to and have time off when I feel like it. I’m off to Scotland this Friday to watch the Scottish rugby team play Argentina.
I’m happy in the knowledge that my business will continue to do the work for me while I’m away, and that it will be looking after all my leads and customers too.
My business is also successful in reaching new business owners who need my help, because again, my business systems work (you’re reading this post right now and therefore proving my point).
More importantly though, the thing that really matters in my business is that my programmes, courses, workshops and coaching sessions are successful. I know this because my graduates tell me so. They achieve concrete and specific results.
Now that I’ve worked with all these business owners, I know that my own behaviour was not uncommon. In fact, it seems it is pretty “normal” behaviour, that is if we define normal as unfocused, confused, erratic and desperate. In other words we try to do too much at once and forget about the importance of having a strategy and systems in place.
This is a shame I think, as it’s not the best start for your new business.
So before we move on to talk about the specific ways of learning how to build a business that attracts a constant stream of leads and customers, I want you to examine who you are being in your business right now.
Desperate is behaving like a school child. She is flitting around from one lesson to another gathering all that knowledge but not actually implementing it.
She is trying many different things all at once to try to make sales from her business. She has no real strategy and no way of checking if anything she is doing is actually working.
She is desperate to make sales and chases after every shiny object that comes her way that hints of something that might work
Her business is not growing and she is not making consistent sales or building leads.
Professional is developing systems and strategies that she can test and reproduce. She knows exactly what she wants out of her business.
She has set up a proper marketing system to attract leads and customers. She has set up an on-boarding system that looks after her leads and customers even if she’s not there.
Her sales funnel is working as her first time customers become second and third time customers.
Her business is growing and she is attracting new customers and making sales every day.
While desperate is working endlessly trying to catch those first few customers, her energy and focus is split as she is trying to manage too many things all at once. She has no system or plan for her business.
Professional on the other hand is setting up her business for success. She is looking at the bigger picture and taking her time to build a proper business that will grow and become self-sustainable over time. She is focusing on how to become a business owner and entrepreneur.
She has spent her time and energy on finding the right mentors and education and now it is paying off as she has all the pieces in place and more importantly, she knows how it all fits together and works.
Now don’t feel all dejected if you identified with desperate. Like I said, most of us behave like this – until we know better. At least you’re having a go and trying things and that is to be applauded.
I want you to be able to get the most out of your blogging business. I want you to be able to reap the rewards from all the work you lay down now. I want you to get rewarded for sharing your passion and enthusiasm with the world.
The first step in becoming professional is recognising the fact that you no longer want to be desperate. Remember me? I was that desperate person, until I decided not to be any more.
The second step is getting the professional business training that you need to build your passion into the successful business I know it can be, and of course, attracting customers every single day.
There are a few options open to you for training.
As you look through the list ask yourself this… Which ones are totally “desperate” and which ones are totally “professional”?
Okay, let’s examine each of them and see what we find…
mmmmm. I think you already know who this is don’t you? It’s so “desperate” isn’t it. The problem with reading lots of free content is that you don’t ever get to know how to join it all together into a cohesive business model.
Of course, you should continue to read free content because it will further your knowledge, but don’t make it your only resource for learning about business.
This is not totally “desperate” but it still isn’t fully “professional”. Here’s why I think this… Business owners are just that, business owners. They are making money from from the things they have created and are using the skills that they already have acquired.
They will tell you all about writing great business plans, getting loans and financing, making sure your SEO is right on your website and loads of other things, maybe even some will talk about how to make money from a new business.
What you have to remember is, many of these business owners are desperately trying to make money from their businesses by selling you a course on how to make money from your business. See the dilemma?
This is particularly prevalent in the by-to-let market. The people making all the money, and therefore teaching you how to make money, are actually making their money not from their buy-to-let business but from the courses and training programmes they are selling.
Many of them have not learned the business skills they need to make their own business a success. They are relying on someone who knows less than them buying a course that will teach you a tad more than you already know.
Now we are starting to move into “professional” territory. This was an option that I took back when I decided to get professional about my business. I got personal attention, specificity and I was held accountable for my actions. I found this was a great way to get results fast!
However, it’s not for everyone. For one thing it can be really expensive. For another, there are a few things you need to think about before jumping in and hiring someone:
There are lots of ahem, dodgy characters out there who claim to be professional coaches or successful entrepreneurs. Make sure you do a little due diligence before you choose to work with one.
This is something else that “professional” would be more inclined to do. The programme should, ideally, include an element of “live”support from the coach so that you get real, helpful feedback and solid support.
Before you enrol onto a programme you should ask yourself the same questions as you would for a private coach but with a few additional ones. You might want to consider:
I think that the last two are massively important as you need the feedback and support to know that you are doing things correctly and making progress.
I used to be a fan of one to one support, which is why I chose it as my option for learning. But now I’m a convert to the group based support (providing it has all the above).
If you are part of a group you can engage with other learners who are on the same journey as you. You can help and support each other and I have learnt a great deal from questions that others have asked that I would never have thought of.
A group programme is full of like-minded people who won’t roll their eyes when you mention your business for the 50th time that day. They all have different experiences, different knowledge and can bring something extra to your learning experience. You can offer help to others too which helps you develop your confidence as a business owner.
Also, group programmes are usually much less expensive than private coaching and that’s really important in the early days of your business when you are trying to save the pennies. I’m not suggesting that you spend all your money on business training, however…
If you are worried about spending more money on your business journey you need to STOP building your business right now!
I know, shocker right? But here’s the thing…
If you’re not willing to spend money on your business training, you’re not serious about your business.
I don’t mean to offend but it’s true. You see, to become a business owner you need to develop a business mindset. A business owner knows when to invest money and when not to. Notice I said “invest” and not spend?
Money that is used to further your business acumen is an investment rather than a cost because an investment yields dividends whereas a cost sees no such return. The money you spend developing your skills as a professional blogger will come back to you many times over as you reap the rewards of running your business as a “professional” rather than as “desperate”.
As well as being a way of doing commerce, money is seen as a way of making a commitment. A transaction is a contract between two parties, it shows that something valuable is about to pass between them. One has a commitment to serve, the other to receive. Your investment shows your commitment to receive instruction and learn how to build your business in a professional way so that it can sustain the lifestyle you want to live.
Let’s face it, you are expecting your customers to pay for your goods or services and thus make a contract with you, would you not therefore consider it reasonable to pay for professional advice that will help your business be the best it can be so that you can serve your customers in the best way possible?
Something else to consider is that there should be a clear return on your investment. You should be able to see clear results from implementing what you’ve learned, and these results should lead to more customers and more sales.
You should at least make your money back, or the programme isn’t worth it!
Rather than saying to yourself “I really can’t afford to spend any more money on my business right now” try saying instead “If I’m really serious about the success of my business, how can I find the money to complete the right training that will make this happen?”
Yep, you’ve got one last problem to sort out, and it involves something that NONE of us can change…
(Click continue to solve the last problem)