That voice, the one in your head, that whispers less than sweet nothings to you – you know the one I mean.
The one that says
- You’re not good enough
- You don’t know what you are doing
- They won’t pay that much
- They’ll laugh at you
- They won’t take you seriously, who are you to have an opinion?
- You aren’t as good as they are
That’s the one – the one that says it is trying to protect you.
Be honest, does the thought of competition give you a sinking feeling?
Many small businesses dream of having the market all to themselves thinking that it is so much easier to market and grow without that pesky competition getting in the way.
The problem is that we actually need to lean into our fear of competition to reap the benefits. Competition is good for businesses and you can make it really positive for you too.
A business is nothing without its customers.
Yet being seen by customers, getting them through the door and sealing the deal often seems like a dark art.
Customers and clients are the lifeblood of any business – a lack of customers or a customer that doesn’t buy is a cause of a huge stress and worry. It may seem like an unfathomable problem but 99.9% of the time solving the riddle starts with one simple thing.
To get the attention of a customer, you have to know who they are. To persuade a customer to buy, you have to know what they want.
Without this simple fundamental, growth of any kind is a game of luck and chance.
What exactly does this mean in practice?
Information – it’s a wonderful thing.
We live in a time when we can find out anything at the touch of a button.
Every day we are besieged with information that promises dramatic results or gives us the key to achieving our goals. It’s addictive and makes us keep searching for more.
The problem is that information on its own is just knowledge without experience. For information to be valuable, we have to put it into action. And to do that, sometimes we have to stop absorbing information and start learning through doing.
Small businesses are a huge part of our economy – over 99% of private sector businesses are small businesses in the UK and the majority of these are sole traders.
Small businesses are more than an integral part of our economy; they are the cornerstones of innovation, quality and creativity.
Yet the really scary fact is that half of all small businesses don’t last more than 5 years.
Whilst there is a myriad of reasons for this, failure to invest in marketing is most certainly a huge contributing factor. Find out how your foundations are stacking up with this survey.
If you look at how your customers find you, chances are that many to most of them will have been recommended to you by one route or another.
Word of mouth marketing has been and continues to be one of the most effective forms of marketing there is.
People trust the recommendations of other people - friends, family, social media, review sites. And it can have a pretty significant impact on sales. 74% of customers say that recommendation is a key decider is making a purchase. In today’s online world, word of mouth marketing has taken on a whole new dimension under the heading of brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy isn’t just for big businesses with deep pockets. In fact, as a small business, you almost certainly have the edge over bigger businesses when it comes to capitalising on the power of your customers to grow your business.
Want to know how?
Of course you do!
If there is one thing I have learnt over many years working in lots of different fields, it is that there are some things that are absolutely consistent. When starting a new chapter in life, some lessons need to be learnt but they can be made easier with a little sage advice. The following is hardly an exhaustive list of tips for young and growing businesses - but they are my most consistently offered guidance.
The upside of running your own business is being your own boss. But are you actually your own boss or is how you naturally think and respond running the show much more than you realise?
Some of us pore over statistics and facts to make decisions.
Some of us are led by what we would like to happen.
And some of us go with what feels right or wrong.
We all lean towards one form of decision making more than another. There is a place for decisions made by head, heart or intuition but how we manage ourselves is critical to using the right approach at the right time.
When your business is small, so is your budget.
Growing your business needs investment - and marketing is an essential investment for growth. Which, of course, is a bit of a Catch 22. How can you grow without the resources to make it happen?
For many small businesses, this causes a lot of anxiety. And often that anxiety leads them to invest scarce resources in marketing activities that aren't ideal or just don't get results. If you have little or no budget, take a deep breath and reassure yourself - because the good news is that you can break out of the Catch 22 - marketing without a budget is challenging but possible. Invest your time wisely in activities that will kickstart growth.
Here are 10 low cost or no-cost marketing ideas to get you started.
If you are one of the many business owners who find writing a challenge, take consolation in the fact that you are not alone.
You may well avoid it until you have no choice and begrudgingly sit down in front of that blank screen or piece of paper waiting for inspiration to strike.
Or you may rather enjoy it - sitting down with enthusiasm only to find that it never comes out quite the way you intended.
The good news is that there is a simple way to improve your writing skills, make the process easier and get better results.