- Understanding Your Business
– Let’s look at the nuts and bolts of how well your business is running
Tell us about your business so you can make sure you’re as up to date as you think you are, and we can give you any feedback we think might help!
[Action – 30+ minutes]
– The top 10 mistakes entrepreneurs keep making
It’s time to check if you are falling into any of these common traps. Post your number one mistake in the forum if you are feeling brave!
[Read – 20+ minutes]
Will your idea make you money? Take a look at these two short videos and see if any of these important points reflect problems and opportunities in your business
[Video – 10+ minutes]
– Coming soon! Creating your own unique business idea
Are you using the talents right at your fingertips to make money? Are you putting your unique mix of experience and knowledge to its best advantage? If you aren’t sure how to make money while you travel, check out this life changing resource
- Working with clients
- Taking your work on the road
- Improving your business
- Your video
- Strategy Session
Which mistakes are you making?
Do any of these look familiar?? Have a look at this list and see what you think your vulnerabilities may be (we know what ours are!)
|Problem||Sometimes we get fixated on the idea of what we want our business to look like and neglect the things which can actually improve our immediate cash flow.|
|Help||Re-evaluate your skill set. If your business is struggling to get as many of the types of clients as you would like, you may need to take on some of the sorts of tasks you hoped you could move away from. For the time being it will mean you have more income which will take some of the pressure off building your business. It needn’t be forever but it’s worth having a number of strings to your bow. Eventually you may be able to outsource whilst still over-seeing them.|
|Real life examples||1. Doing HR contract work in addition to online store and coaching packages.
2. Working with clients on website development to subsidise new cupcake business
3. Beauty therapy in addition to building VA management business
|Problem||It’s easy to have our heads turned by promises of new systems and strategies which will revolutionise our business and explode our income.|
|Help||Limit the number of new things to apply to your business. You can have a few, but when you start feeling overwhelmed, stop there and focus on making those first few strategies work. Chances are they will take a lot of time and effort but they will yield results eventually.|
|Real life examples||Teleseminars- the hype may be that these are the one thing to transform your business but the reality is that the vast majority of first, second or even third teleseminars show disappointing results. It takes a long time and lots of practice to master the skill- it won’t be an overnight success.|
|Problem||We all go into business thinking we know best what other people need. This often matches what we like doing and what we feel passionate about. Unfortunately sometimes the mix isn’t quite right and what you think is going to connect with your audience isn’t quite hitting the mark.|
|Help||If people aren’t buying it might be time to tweak your offer. Not just the way you are marketing it, but what IT actually is. Listen to what your audience/ customers/ clients are asking for or are saying. Ask them what their biggest challenges are and think about whether your solution is really tackling it head on. Observe which pages on your sites are getting the most hits and which blog posts seemed to touch a nerve. Deliver what people want, not what you want to deliver.|
|Real life examples||When we started FRS development we created products to help people prepare for their promotions. We knew the best way of doing this was for them to complete written exercises which we could assess and give them feedback on, so this was our first product. It took a while but we realised that people didn’t always want to put in that much effort; they wanted an easier solution. A cheaper eBook proved more accessible for most of our customers (some of whom would then upgrade to the more intensive service).|
|Problem||We’ve all heard the expression ‘flogging a dead horse’. There will be times when we realise that something is not working and we need to call it a day. Unfortunately it can often occur to us much later down the line than perhaps it should!|
|Help||Keep a close eye on what is working and what isn’t. If you have a product or service that is under-performing it may be that you need to alter the marketing or message, change the content or refresh the branding. Try a few things by all means, but put a firm limit on how much more time, effort or resource you will spend. It is difficult when you feel invested but you may find that you can strip away parts of the product or marketing materials and re-use in different ways.|
|Real life examples||An acquaintance designed and hand- made jewellery. Unfortunately her jewellery didn’t sell well in any of the markets or shops she supplied, but she kept trying to source new markets for the existing product. She may have been better off finding out which of her competitors were selling well and altering her product to reflect some of those features, only better than the originals, rather than persevering with a plan that after over a year was still not working and eventually forced her out of business.|
|Problem||Most of us have an element of the ‘control freak’ in us which makes us reluctant to get help, pass over responsibilities or share tasks. This can lead to a lack of productivity or even burnout.|
|Help||Delegate! Don’t assume you are the only person who can do the role, or that you will do it best. You need to let other people do some tasks and let them make mistakes while they learn; only this will free you up to ‘mastermind’ your business instead of just working for it; you can’t be in the boardroom making decisions if you won’t get off the factory floor!|
|Real life examples||A colleague ran a training business for which she had a lot of work with a small number of clients. She always delivered the training so was unable to focus on selling her product into new organisations and growing her business. She couldn’t imagine anyone else doing the role as well as she could which limited her business development.|
|Problem|| We hear a lot about over-delivering, making sure our customers are delighted with our products so they will keep coming back. But this can be dangerous territory. At some point most of us will have a crisis of confidence about what we are doing and whether we are good enough. It can be
tempting to go overboard in an attempt to justify our products and services. Huge over- delivery can establish a precedent which can be difficult to maintain.
|Help||Make sure you are providing excellent value i.e. what you have promised and what you are delivering matches what the customer wants. Some over- delivery can build trust and appreciation. But you need to be able to maintain this so sketch out in advance what your content is and what you think it is worth, and keep this and the price you are charging reasonably aligned.|
|Real life examples||A web designer offered to teach students how to build a website from scratch, including complex coding, graphics etc for a couple of hundred dollars. The course took several hours a week and lasted months. Although there was good take-up for the course, the delivery was unsustainable. The designer didn’t have time to create any other services or products so was failing other potential clients.|
|Problem||When we are in the full flow of creating new products or developing marketing campaigns, systems and monitoring tasks can get overlooked. Monitoring will give us the information we need to help us target our activities effectively. Following up means we aren’t leaving any loose ends which could result in lost sales or customers.|
|Help||Either you are a good administrator or you aren’t. If you aren’t, get someone else to keep track of your processes and systems. If you are, make time weekly, monthly, to look at the figures. For instance, check your up sells and regularity of customer contact; see where your refunds or complaints are coming in; work out the flow of your finances by quarter or client characteristics. It will depend on your business what is important, but keep an eye on those silent demands which can inform on our direction.|
|Real life examples||We realised that we didn’t have a clear customer ‘pathway’ for our frsdevelopment site. Customers would buy a product and then fall off the radar. It’s a big task and ongoing, but up sales and email sequences implemented in just a couple of areas have already significantly increased sales.|
|Problem||We want everything we do to be the best it can be. Sometimes that can swing into perfectionism. This can be a big hindrance as it can slow us down to almost a standstill (we’ll cover this more in the Mindset module).|
|Help||Only YOU can keep yourself in check. You will know if this is an issue and probably already suspect what it costs you in terms of time, productivity and business. Good enough really is good enough! You will definitely be your own harshest critic. An eBook doesn’t have to be a work of art, and an audio recording can have pauses and bits where people talk over one another. Products which are a little rough around the edges don’t take anything away from the customers and that’s all that matters.|
|Real life examples|| A friend spent days
editing every call and webinar; all his teleseminars had to be pre-recorded and re- recorded several times to make sure he had included absolutely everything. The amount he was increasing the quality was not proportionate to the effort and time it took for him to do it.
|Problem||We can wait a really long time for someone to tell us we are good enough, knowledgeable enough, well-known enough and ready enough to go out and position ourselves as an expert. No one is going to do it, and the chances are that even if they did you wouldn’t believe them!|
|Help||Set yourself up as an expert in your field without anyone giving you permission except you. You won’t be the first to do this! You wouldn’t offer services unless you had more knowledge and skill than most people on the topic. You don’t have to know everything, or even really believe you are an expert. You just have to ‘fake it until you make it’ and others start to recognise you for what you can do. It just takes some guts!|
|Real life examples|| Feeling hugely resistant and uncomfortable we set up a meeting for HR managers in our industry. We were really unsure, after all, who are we to host such an event? Why would they come? To our surprise we did get a few attendees who wanted to hear what we had to say, because we had positioned ourselves as an authority. The most benefit they got was from talking to each other, but that first meeting gave us the credibility to host others which have been increasingly well attended. td>|
|Problem|| None of us want to close the door on potential customers, but by being too general we fail to truly appeal to anyone.
It is a huge mistake; your business can struggle to gather momentum when it should be providing a truly valuable service to the many people who need your help. If you aren’t 100% focused on exactly who you should be working with, no one else will know either.
|Help||It may help to remember that frsdevelopment is a successful business helping Fire-fighters get promoted. Not police officers or teachers or civil servants (who we could equally help), just fire-fighters. It’s a tiny niche which we dominate. This makes it VERY easy for our customers to find us.It’s a hard enough decision to commit to paying for help; having to choose from hundreds of suppliers would be enough to stop anyone bothering!|
|Real life examples||We recently needed accountancy advice. We were searching for someone who specialised in tax for people with on-line businesses and a‘location independent’ lifestyle. There are thousands of accountants out there but we wanted someone who was highly knowledgeable in this very specific area so weren’t interested in what any of the rest had to offer. Have you ever done a very specific search?|