I recently met with an aspiring business woman. She had done her homework, knew the market, understood the need, built the model, and was ready to dive in and help a needed problem in her industry; business cards and website to boot! The problem? No clients.
In today’s world it’s easy to get everything going in terms of building a website, printing off some business cards and putting a name on letterhead. I think it’s harder, for some, to sell and take action before you know the outcome or have all the details figured out. The details will come. My advice? Make an action plan. Lean towards what is uncomfortable because that’s the largest part of the work is at the beginning. Let the business take a life of its own. As the founder, take a step back and support, be flexible and allow it to grow at its own pace and originality.
Business Action Plan
Let me define what I mean by an action plan. It’s true that creating a website is an action which takes, presumably, many hours and then, after that, you’ll need constant updates and content. Or spending time designing a catchy logo and name. Don’t get me wrong, all important aspects of a business.
However, that’s not what I mean by ‘action’ here. I call these ‘behind the screen’ actions. The actions that get people in the door, is the personal one-on-one conversations to get others on board with your business. I wish it was that simple, to promote ‘behind the screen‘ and we’d all have booming business. Perhaps some even will work that way. But for the majority, what is usually called ‘sales’ (which is different then marketing) is vital to get the customers in the door. You don’t only need customers buy-in, but also colleagues so they can lead customers to your business as well. Here are some ideas on what I mean by ‘action’:
- Talking to other businesses that could partner and refer more business to you
- Attend a meeting with a local professional organization to broaden your network
- Believing in your business first, really believing
- Arrange speaking engagements where you can spread your idea
- One-on-one conversations with people who need your product
Don’t underestimate the value of each individual carrying your message. I recommend reading the book, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He talks about how the little stuff matters. One can reach the masses one person at a time. Also, keep in mind that there are personality types that are natural “networkers”, which is like glue for getting others on board. They can spread information like wild fire. It’s just what they do. The key here is to have your story straight first. One-on-ones only work if you believe in what you’re doing first.
To gain more inspiration, read about how Michelle Poole co-founded Coaching 4 Good to provide leadership development coaching for individuals and organizations!
My encouragement to all who are brave enough to risk the market themselves, I say get out from behind the screen and meet people eye to eye! Good luck!