It’s an exciting time when you’re first thinking about opening a business and imagining what your life will be like as an entrepreneur. You’ve got an amazing idea for your business that completely lines up with your passions, and you absolutely believe that this IS IT. This is what you were meant to do in life, and you’re ready to jump in with both feet to make your dreams a reality.
Ok so you’ve made it this far … Now what?
Luckily the web is filled with advice on almost any industry that you can think of. You can find coaching programs, Facebook groups, marketing experts, and information blogs giving guidance to everyone from health coaches to jewelry designers.
But is this really “so lucky”?
As you start wading through what you see as the first steps in getting your business journey up and running, maybe you think about creating your website, setting up your social media profiles, and taking steps to build your email list. But as you go to work to make these things happen, along the way you start to stray ….
Oooo, here’s a copywriter who tells me how to write the perfect about page. I NEED that!
Yes! A step by step guide to launching my next product! Well I’ll DEFINITELY put that to use someday (even though I haven’t even thought about creating a product yet)
The ultimate guide to webinars … hmm that sounds interesting. Maybe webinars should be a marketing focus of mine …
Suddenly, what started as a day of getting your website basics in place, has turned into a day of going down all sorts of different rabbit holes of knowledge. Even though it’s likely great information that you’ll find extremely useful one day, it’s NOT what you need to be focused on when getting started in your business.
So what should you be focused on? Everyone one will have their own take on this question, but here’s the 5 things I personally believe should have your focus:
1. A “home” on the web –
What you first consider using a new service based business (maybe you’re hiring a house cleaner or lawn service) what’s one of the first things you do to “check them out”? If you’re anything like me, you Google them! If I can find either a website, a Facebook page, or some kind of online reviews on their service, I am MUCH more likely to choose their company.
Therefore, as a new company, you need someplace on the internet that I can find you. A full blown website may not be a first priority, or even in the budget if you’ll be hiring a designer. But everyone can at least create a business Facebook page, along with preferably at least a 1 page website landing page that give you a “home” on the web. Now you’re taking control of your internet presence, rather then leaving it to chance.
2. A potential client list –
Whether you’re an online based business, or a brick and mortar shop, having a targeted potential client list of people who have expressed interest in your business, is a key to success. Once someone has given you permission to contact them (normally via email), then you have a pretty strong indication that they are potentially interested in being your client. Or at the very least they are intrigued by what you do.
This list can be started in a variety of ways depending on your business. For a coffee shop, it might be a customer survey that includes a coupon for your next visit if you enter your email address. For an online health coach, maybe it’s a free PDF calendar/planner download to track your progress, delivered once the person enters their email address and signs up.
3. Providing value –
There are different schools of thought as to how much free “stuff” or free information that you should give away in an attempt to gain the attention of potential clients, and earn their trust as a reputable business. But providing value doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of free.
It could be writing relevant articles for a local magazine or online blog, that align with your business offerings, showing potential clients that you’re an “expert” in your field. It could be consistently answering questions on Facebook or Twitter that relate to your business. You’re showing others that you care enough to take your time to freely give of your knowledge and expertise in a quick and easy way. It could be offering regular free webinars on topics that your potential clients often have questions about. The main point is that you’re offering value and positioning yourself at the top of your field.
4. Having your ducks in a row –
Before you have your first client, it’s hard to think about things such as client intake processes, invoicing/billing, bookkeeping, and all of the other systems that you’ll need in place for a business to run efficiently. But before you get too busy is actually the perfect time to get your business systems and processes lined up and in working order.
When a client is ready to work with you how will they pay you? Do you have a contract in place? Will you use a bookkeeping program? Do you have a client welcome packet ready? How will you follow up to ensure they were happy with your service/product? There is nothing worse then gaining your first client and then scrambling to try to get together a professional experience together for them. Get all your ducks in a row while you still have the time.
5. Getting outside perspective –
When you’re in the beginning stages of a business and things are starting to roll, it’s easy to get carried away in your own little world. You’re making money and that’s really all that matters at the time. But as that roll continues, you start to realize you desire (and NEED!) a profitable business AND a life outside of it.
You start to get tired of the late night work, calls from clients on the weekend, and realizing how much time you’re spending on tasks that aren’t necessarily your sweet spot. It’s time to get outside perspective. Whether it’s a business coach, a fellow entrepreneur, or a Facebook community, you need to connect with others who understand the entrepreneur life style, and the struggles and challenges that come with it.
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