In this blog I want to share with you the seven secrets of success. These are the seven activities that you absolutely have to do, if you’re going to successfully promote your business, grow it and make a healthy profit – all while maintaining your work-life balance and your sanity!
I hope you enjoy this post and I look forward to hearing how many of the seven secrets you’re already using successfully – and which you need to work on!
In no particular order, here they are!
Secret Number One – Ad hoc marketing does not work! This means that just sending out one email newsletter won’t work. Going to just one networking event will not work. Tweeting for just one week and then stopping won’t work. It takes time to promote your business, to get to know people and build up the right amount of trust, before they will buy from you. You need to keep doing your marketing on a drip feed basis – all year, even when you’re busy. Consistency is key.
Secret Number Two – Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. We talked about this more detail in the June issue of Scribbles, which you can find here. The only way to find out what marketing works is to measure it. Then, when you have identified the activities that actually bring you new clients, you can put more time and effort into those activities and stop wasting time on what doesn’t work. At Appletree, the two main ways in which we find new clients are networking and recommendations, so guess where we put most of our effort?!
Secret Number Three – Create a plan and stick to it. Because ad hoc marketing does not work, you need to create a schedule for promoting your business and then follow it. A plan that shows what activity you need to do and when, will help you keep doing your marketing, even when you get busy. Put the dates of regular networking meetings into your schedule (like the one shown that’s on the wall of my office), so that you don’t miss them. Plan when to send out your newsletter or blog, so that you can start writing in plenty of time. Scribbles is usually started two weeks before the publication date of the third Wednesday of the month, to make sure it gets done.
Secret Number Four – Know what makes you different. No matter what sort of business you run, you will have competitors – other businesses that offer the same or similar services to you. Whenever someone tells me that they don’t know of any other business that does the same as them, I know that they haven’t looked hard enough! Others might not do exactly what you do, in the same way, but you will have competitors. So it’s really important to know what it is that makes your business different. Is it the way in which you deliver your service? Is it the clever model or programme that you’ve created, to help your clients? Is it the guarantee that you offer? You need to spend some time getting really clear on what makes your business different and then telling people through your promotional messages.
Secret Number Five – Identify your ideal clients. If you tell me that you can work with anyone with a pulse and a credit card, I will tell you that you’ll waste an awful lot of time, effort and money trying to promote your business to the whole world. When you can be totally clear about a narrow niche – a very targeted market – you can reach that market much more effectively. Think about what makes your ideal clients tick. What do they really want to achieve? What are the issues that they’re struggling with, that you can solve for them? What’s really important to them, in their lives and their businesses?
Secret Number Six – Know how to find new business. Trying to promote all the different aspects of your business to everyone will cost you a fortune and leave you exhausted and frustrated. Instead, you need to look at how you promote your business to your current clients and to prospective clients; and how you promote your existing services and any new services that you’re developing. We covered this in detail in the April issue of Scribbles this year, so take a look here to refresh your memory. Then you can plan the right promotion for the right targets and make the results much more successful.
Secret Number Seven – Sell sell sell! You can do all the promotion in the world and generate lots of enquiries, but if you don’t actually do any selling, you’ll never build a sustainable, profitable business. You need to develop a strong sales process that you can use confidently and you need to actually ask for the sale. Don’t leave it to your prospective client to ask to buy from you – ask them when they would like to start working with you and get their signature on your order form!
Running your own business can be hard work. It can also be very rewarding, when you get it right. Take some time to make sure that you’re giving enough attention to each of the 7 secrets of success discussed here, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your hard work.