“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”
Donovan Bailey, Olympic Athlete
Are you like some of my clients who say, “I’d love to start a business, but I don’t how to with very little money and time”
Or, do you already have a business and you are stuck on how to grow that business?
Step 1: Ask yourself: “Why do I want to start a business?”
If you already own a business ask yourself: “Why am I in business?”
Regardless of whether you’re starting a brand new business or already have one, make a list of all your reasons. Examples include:
- I want to transform the lives of my ideal customers/clients
- I want out of the 9 to 5 rat race
- I want to spend more time with my little ones and control my work schedule
- I want to solve business problem X. For example, your X could be “Help my clients win corporate business.”
- I want to sell my freshly made sweet potato pies
- I want to sell my jewelry
You get the picture.
Your “why for being in business” will help you get crystal clear on exactly what business challenges you desire to solve, and who to serve. It will also help you to validate that you truly have a market for your products/services, and that there are people who are interested in buying products from you or purchasing your consulting services.
Step 2: Validate Your Business Idea and Target Market
Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or an existing business owner, it’s always a good idea to validate your business idea and target market. Are you in the right market? Is there a large enough customer base for you to have a profitable business? Does your current or proposed products/services resonate with your ideal customer/client? Will they happily buy from you and feel that you met their needs?
Thanks to the Internet, you can conduct market research for free via Google and social media to answer the above questions. Facebook groups are great for conducting market research, as you can build relationships with your ideal customers and invite them to a free discovery session for you to learn about their business challenges and propose appropriate solutions, or to try out your product for free.
If you have a tangible product, Pinterest and Instagram are excellent platforms to showcase your products and learn what resonates with your ideal customers via the pins and photos that they like. If you are selling IT or other complex products, LinkedIn is a great way to connect and ask for a 30 minute free discovery session.
Step 3: Customize Your Products/Services
Take the market research that you did in step 2 and use the information to create products and services that will resonate with your ideal customers/clients, and get them excited about buying from you. This will increase the likelihood of your getting sales, and make you stand out from the competition. If you are engaged in actual conversations with your ideal customers/clients from connecting with them via social media, the information you glean is pure gold, as you are getting actual feedback about the products/services you are creating. You can tweak these products and services according to the feedback you get. This is how you will increase the likelihood of your ideal customers purchasing from you.
Now that you have a clear idea of the products or services you wish to offer, test them out in the market by offering a beta or test version. Limit the beta version to a few customers. Interact with your customers via Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangout, and get as much feedback as possible from them about their experiences with your beta-product. Did they like your product/service? Did your product/service solve their problem, for example, were your earrings the perfect match for their outfit, or did your guide to create Facebook ads help them make sales.
Now you’re ready to go to market full force.
Step 4: Create a Rock Solid Digital Marketing Plan
Whether you are selling products or services, make sure you have a rock solid digital marketing plan. Besides traditional marketing, which includes ad space in print media, television, direct mail, and telephone, use digital marketing to get yourself and your brand in front of your target customers/clients.
Digital Marketing: This includes every aspect of online marketing to connect with current and future customers/clients: Google searches, social media, email marketing, and websites. Whether your business is online or offline, most likely you will end up using all 4 methods to market your products and services. The majority of your efforts will focus on social media and email marketing.
The purpose of digital marketing is to attract traffic to your websites, sales landing pages, and social media so that your ideal customers/clients will connect with you and your business. You want your ideal customers/clients to get to know you and your business. The best way to do this is to provide content that helps your ideal customers/clients to solve a problem, that’s entertaining, and that provides food for thought and quick tips. Once they get to know and trust you, they will most likely be inclined to opt-in to your free content, view and like your product pins, take advantage of your discount coupons, and ultimately purchase from you.
If you are in the B2B or business to business space, leverage LinkedIn to build relationships with your prospective clients. Use LinkedIn Publishing to share relevant content. Send your leads valuable information related to their business challenges. Use Sales Navigator to keep up with the latest news or trends about your target companies and the relevant leads you saved. If any of your ideal customers are going to trade shows or conferences, reach out to them in advance and ask for a meeting.
You want to consistently provide relevant and valuable free content in the social media platforms your ideal customers/clients hang out in. This will lead to brand recognition, establish trust, and position you as the go-to expert.
Step 5: Create a Rock Solid Sales and Promotion Strategy
Use your rock solid reputation that you established in social media, including LinkedIn, to promote your products/services. Post your offers in your Facebook business pages, Facebook groups, Twitter, and via LinkedIn updates. Pin images related to your products and services and link to your sales page. Add images in your Instagram account, introduce your product, and share your link. Also promote your products via the other relevant social media platforms.
Social Media Ads: Use Facebook ads as the primary vehicle to promote your products and services. Facebook ads have features that allow you to target your ads toward the right demographic profile of your ideal customers. You can even target the ads toward specific interests, influencers your ideal customers follow, magazines your ideal customer reads, pages your ideal customers like, percentage of video view, and more.
If your ideal customers/clients hang out in Pinterest, Twitter, and are in LinkedIn, you can also use ads in these platforms to promote your products/services.
Email Marketing: Email your subscribers at least once per week if you are not in the middle of promoting your products and services.
A month prior to promoting your products and services, create a sense of anticipation by announcing your upcoming product release. If this is your first product, invite your subscribers to be beta-testers in exchange for receiving a discount. Email content related to your products and services. Share stories about how you got started creating your products and services. Share case studies and testimonials from people who used your products and services and obtained the results they were seeking.
Transitioning From a Job to Running Your Business: For those of you who are planning to build a business while working full-time, after you build your immensely successful business, begin creating your transition plan for seamlessly moving from your full-time job into your very own business without losing money.
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to comment and provide your feedback. I’d love to hear from you!
If you are interested in building your very own business, I have created the perfect checklist for you which provides a list of daily activities that you can perform over a period of 30 days to create the basic foundation for a highly successful business. For more information, click the image below.
And if you need help to build your business, take advantage of my Sales Growth Program using 4 key principles for magnifying your sales by 3 to 10X through doubling your leads, customers, profit market, and repeat sales. For more information, click here.