Why are you in business?
If you just responded saying it is to help others or to make the world a better place or some other lofty vision, you are only partially correct.
The truth is, you are in business to make money.
Without money, you can’t be sustainable or make much of a difference and it’s really tough to be able to help others when you can hardly help yourself.
I see this kind of struggle every day when talking with entrepreneurs and new business owners where they have an amazing vision and strong desire to make a difference yet can’t make ends meet.
With this in mind, I’ve put together some pointers that have helped me build a multi 6-figure business.
With a New Year upon us, I encourage you to implement some or all of these suggestions and you’ll be on your way to fulfilling the reason why you are in business to begin with.
And you do this by nurturing your business to success!
STEP ONE: Nurture Your Vision
Create specific goals that will lead you to fulfilling your vision.
Do this by first understanding what you want your business to look like a year, two years and five years from now.
Then create a plan that will support those goals.
What needs to be in place in order to achieve those goals? How much income do you need to be able to pay your bills and live comfortably?
Then calculate how many clients and/or sales do you need in order to accomplish that goal. This roadmap will be what you follow to achieve your vision.
And remember to treat your business as a business instead of a hobby (which is what happens when we allow every day distractions take us away from achieving our business goals.) This mindset shift alone will make an incredible difference to your success.
Make a commitment and don’t let excuses get in the way of honouring that commitment.
Daniel and I work 15 hour days most every day of the week. We don’t let excuses of being tired or having a cold distract us from reaching our goals. This kind of committed mindset is what you need to also have to accomplish yours.
STEP TWO: Nurture your marketing
This step is vital to your business success. Period.
Without marketing your business, you will not flourish because no one will know you exist! Here are some tips to get you going:
Do a thorough analysis on who your ideal target market is, what their struggles and needs are and how you can help them. Get to know exactly who it is that you want to attract as a customer.
Spend at least an hour or two a day minimum working ON your business. And if you can’t take that time, hire a competent marketing firm that can do a lot of it for you (and the bonus is that you’ll benefit from their expertise, which will save you more time, energy and money in the long run.)
Market yourself daily via social media, networking groups, blog postings and commenting on other blog posts.
This does not mean pushing your products or services on others. Your goal is to get in front of your ideal target market and develop relationships with them so they can begin to know, like and trust you.
When I first started out in business, I did a lot of volunteering where I could showcase my website design and development expertise. I worked with several non-profits and gained a lot of valuable experience along the way.
If you have a service-based business, considering doing the same. Not only will it help build your brand exposure and gain a valuable reputation as someone who is contributing to the community, you will also be able to use this as a great learning experience to build your skillset at the same time.
STEP THREE: Nurture Your Existing Clients
The best way to build your business is through referrals.
When a client is pleased with your offerings, they will be more than happy to tell others about you.
Here are a few pointers on how to achieve this:
Demonstrate you care about them by being accessible and responding to their needs in a timely manner.
Let them know you’re thinking about them and share articles, resources and other things you find that they will appreciate receiving.
Follow up to see how they are doing.
Thank them for being a client/doing business with you.
Stay in touch on a regular basis through social media, blog posts and newsletters.
eVision Media is built on an approximate 90-95% referral base. We do very little marketing aside from our social media efforts. Most all of our new and ongoing business is a result of having and nurturing happy clients.
What can you do today to start developing a happy customer base that will think of you when they come across others who could use your product or service?
STEP FOUR: Nurture Your Team
It is nearly impossible to build a successful business without any help.
Build a team of resources (either as employees, contractors or agencies with specific expertise) who can offset your weaknesses. Delegate as much as you can of the stuff you really don’t like doing or don’t know how to do (properly).
Lead your team by example and be generous with encouragement, praise, gratitude and respect.
Have your team feel like they are a part of the overall business success where they can help by brainstorming new ideas and finding ways things can be improved.
My first hire was a programmer many years ago. I knew the more higher-end programming was one of my weaknesses (nor did I want to further develop that skillset) so I sought to hire someone who’s passion was in programming.
Today, we comprise of a team of 10 people who all bring to the table their particular expertise in design, copywriting, Social Media, online marketing, SEO, and of course programming. I could never accomplish any of what we have achieved without such a team in place.
What are your weaknesses that you are trying to do yourself that you should be delegating instead?
STEP FIVE: Nurture Your Systems and Processes
It’s probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s critical to document everything you do and how you do it as if you were going to re-create your business as a franchise. (Read Michael E. Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited to find out how.)
This step will save you countless amounts of time and energy, especially as you build your team while growing your business. We have several systems in place that keep our virtual team atmosphere running smoothly and efficiently.
One of the key areas to be mindful of is communications between you and your team members. It’s easy to let things fall through the cracks if you don’t have a check and balance system in place.
STEP SIX: Nurture Your Self
I encourage you to believe in what you are doing and have confidence and trust that everything will work out.
Stop chasing after every guru out there and start trusting that you already have the knowledge and resources you need to succeed.
Stay on track by following your plan and don’t let the shiny object syndrome continually pull you and your team in several different directions.
Find a mentor, mastermind group or coach that will not only support you but guide you on how to implement your plans and allow your brilliance to shine. You’ll stop wasting time and money and start focusing on what is most important so you can grow more quickly and get the support you need.
Having gratitude is a big part of our day, every day. The more we focus on being grateful for what we have, the more positive our lives become. Find something to be grateful for instead of focusing on what you don’t have and this will have a profound impact on your success.
By nurturing your business using these 6 steps, you will not only enjoy growth and sustainability but also the success you desire!
Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.