Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing and expanding your business: A few helpful tips to consider

Sally Field hit the nail on the head: “You like me…you really, really like me”. It’s the reason that she won the award. So how does this apply to your business? I was on a networking call a few days ago (try my best stay on top of what’s happening :-). Anyway, the person was sharing some tips: how to grow and expand your new business: basically how to get people to like (and buy from) you. The main focus was new business owners, particularly those focused on selling themselves. She also touched on re-vamping your business.

Now I admit, there are times when I hang up mid-call, but this one was remarkably helpful. So I thought that I’d share it with you, along with a few extra insights.

Here goes…

1. Work on defining and refining your focus: Who are you talking to? What problem are you solving? How are you doing it differently? Pay attention. Get out there. Try it on to see if it fits. Experience the people and places around you. See what it brings up for you.

2. Develop your own unique message. What mantra is your business built on? What new insights do have to share? For example: My message is all about moving you forward. Using your own creativity and strengths, you have the power to enhance what is possible, even when you feel hope has faded – even when you feel you’re too tired. No matter how many roadblocks you’re facing, there are ways to transform your experience!

3. Focus on creating relationships. See everyone as a connector or possible client. Get them to know…then like…then possibly buy from or partner with you. Get comfortable sharing or talking about your business. Start noticing how people react. Consider how their reaction can help you to grow. Also consider how you can help them. Lift others as you’re climbing your rope.

4. See each encounter as a 2 –sided coin. It’s not about you going out and collecting, but finding ways to create a win-win.

5. Find 10 people who you admire and then reach out to them. Make it a month long project. If they’re local, set up a meeting for lunch (coffee or tea, if you’re on a budget). Find out what made them successful. Share with them the path that you’re on.

6. Keep stretching yourself to build confidence. See your fears as a new chance to grow.

7. Revel in the idea of failure. I know it sounds strange, but it’s the best way to master your craft and uncover your true inner talents.

8. Weave in some time for reflection. Everyone will have some advice. You’ll start drowning in great information. Give yourself time to digest it and fit it in where you think it belongs.

9. Create your own signature system. This is a lot like creating a culture. What will your clients experience? How will they feel while they’re with you? How is that different from what they can get elsewhere?

10. Figure out how you’re going to market. This is all about knowing your strengths and considering the resources you have. This is also a great place to think about help. Consider hiring a Virtual Assistant (they generally cost about 10 bucks an hour). If the overhead seems too steep right now, consider focusing on a particular project.

11. Consider ways you can leverage your time. A big part of business is money and how to make it without losing your mind. Think about creating a product – an extension of your signature service. This is something you create only once but you can duplicate for continuous profit. Also consider bartering (exchanges services) or hiring out - copywriting, your website, etc. As multi-talented as you might be, try not to do it alone.

12. Find someone to hold you accountable. All of these efforts are great, but ideas fade if you stop taking action. As a Transition/Empowerment coach, this is the pearl I provide for my clients. I not only help them to dig deeper but to follow through on the goals that they set. There are also coaches focused on the specific dilemma you’re facing: Building your business model, sales and social media, overall business development. There are dozens of resources to help you and a lot of them offer free products (a blog, newsletter, e-books, etc).

13. Quick caveat. Starting (or expanding) a business is a brand new horizon. Advice is great, but working it in isn’t easy. Even in the business of moving people forward, I constantly need a dose of support – kicks in the butt as I go face my fears – inspiration for the times I get stuck. Having a dream and a plan is exciting, but building a circle to uplift you is priceless!

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