It was a great pleasure to be invited back to SB Alliance Networking to give a talk about how to grow your business. On this occasion I thought it might be helpful to focus on real challenges that had meaning to the people in the room, so I suggested we make it more of a workshop than a talk. Prior to the day I asked all attendees to submit their top business challenges. As you might imagine, these were many and varied, so we focused on the most common three. They were…

  1. What is the best way to market my business?
  2. How do I attract more clients?
  3. How can I manage my time more efficiently? 

There are of course so many solutions to help meet these needs. I thought it would be helpful to focus on three key fixes for each topic.

What is the best way to market my Business?

  1. What’s in Your Shop Window?

Being crystal clear of what your product or service is, is crucial. Your brain needs this clarity as do your prospective clients. All too often it’s tempting to offer as much as possible, so you don’t miss out. Make it as easy as possible for your prospective clients to get what you do. Imagine you have a shop window. If it was cluttered with hundreds of items, it would be confusing and difficult for a prospective client to find what they are looking for. If you had, say three key products beautifully and clearly presented, the prospective client has clarity and understanding of what you are offering. They can then easily identify whether it meets their needs and want to find out more.

  1. What’s in It for Me?

Remember to communicate to your prospective clients about how they will benefit from using your product or service. We often get hung up on the detail or hard facts of what we offer and forget to communicate the story. How is their life better as a result of interacting with you? For example, if someone asks what you do and you are an Accountant, you will probably say “I am an Accountant” Seems reasonable? Well it’s factual but a little dull. If, when asked what you do, your reply was “I help people pay less tax, make more money and sleep more soundly at night”, then that sounds great. They will think ‘I want some of that!’

There’s an old phrase which goes “sell the sizzle, not the sausage”. Still holds true today. Tell your story in a way that engages your prospective clients.

  1. Why Is My Money Better in Your Pocket?

What you are endeavouring to do is to inspire a prospective client to be so impressed with your product or service that they are happy to part with their hard-earned cash. They are essentially saying that their money is better off in your pocket that theirs. This is a powerful thing to remember. Respect this fact. Make sure your clients really value what you are offering. This means you need to truly value it first. Know your value. Know your worth. This will resonate with your prospective client.

How do I attract more clients?

  1. Who Are Your Model Clients?

Many businesses haven’t drilled down into who is there model client. Your client profile may be wide and varied, but the chances are you have clients with similar profiles and backgrounds. Similar needs and challenges that your product or service will solve. Who are these clients? Have a look at who you either do business with or want to do business with.  The more specific you are the more targeted you can be when advertising and marketing. How do your efforts in attracting clients relate to your client profile? Demonstrate to your clients how your product and service relates to their specific needs.

  1. Are You Looking in The Right Place?

A lot of time is spent on ‘hopeful’ prospecting. Take networking for example. So much time is spent in a room with people who are essentially saying ‘buy me’. It feels like you are busy. But what is your return on investment? Are the people in the room your target market? Have you researched them or are you just hoping to bump into someone who might just need you? Are they in your price bracket? If it’s a free event and you are a high ticket item should you really be there? Have you identified where the people looking for your product or service are networking?

I spent a lot of time doing ‘hopeful’ networking. A lot of effort for little return. As soon as I begin to identify where my clients were searching for my services my client acquisition went up significantly. I cut networking by 80% but increased my prospect pipeline by 75% and client acquisition went up by 50% in just 6 weeks!

.6. Who Are You Asking for Help?

The key word here is help.  Most of us have people we could call on for help in growing our business. Friends, family, clients and business acquaintances. When was the last time you asked them to help? Some people say they don’t like to ask family or friends for help in business. I find this unusual. If you are proud of your business, why would you not want to ask family and friends for help in growing it?

Referrals are also key to business growth. What is your process? Do you have a process? I was very lucky. When I first started in business, I had a Manager who was passionate about asking for referrals. It rubbed off on me and it’s been my main source of new business ever since. I was able to grow my first Financial Services business from 0 to over 700 clients in 3 years, all through referrals. If you are not sure how to go about it then please reach out and I’ll be happy to help.

Another key thing my Manager said was this: “If you tell enough people about what you do, with enough passion and enthusiasm, you might just expose yourself to the danger of doing some business!”

Ask for help, you might be surprised.

How can I manage my time more efficiently? 

We could spend a whole day on this topic alone. These 3 tips should help you get started. Mindset is everything here. Value your time. Time your value. By which I mean imagine you were paying someone else to do the things you do each day. Would you be happy that you were getting value for money? Procrastination is rife in so many SME’s, even with business owners. These ideas will help…

 

  1. Prepare your Model Week

Most people are reactionary. They just deal with what’s in front of them and get stuff done as best they can. This can be confusing, time consuming and exhausting. Your brain doesn’t know what you really want it to focus on and when. Preparing your model week means you stand a much greater chance of getting things done in less time. If you focus on what you need to do, when you need to do it, you will soon be able to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. Self-discipline is key. Split your time into blocks for specific tasks over the course of the day and week. Chunk down your time into the key areas of your business and only focus on the relevant task during that time period. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done when your time is planned.

  1. Focus on The Task in Hand

If the task exists, it is probably important. Within your model week allocate specific times to each task. Respect the task in hand and focus solely on that task wherever possible. Yes, stuff will happen, but if you aim to be on the task in hand 80% of the time you will be amazed what you get done. A client did this with her social media. She was spending 3 hours a day just browsing and posting and getting distracted. She built her model week and allocated 1 hour a day, hoping this would be enough. She also allocated time at the beginning of the week to plan her activity. By the end of the first week she didn’t even need the whole hour. Because she was focused and, in the zone, everything was done in 30 – 40 minutes. She gained back nearly 2.5 hours a day, that’s a whole working day each week! Try it. It only works.

  1. Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Can you do six impossible things before breakfast? It’s a line from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It’s based on a great productivity tool and so simple. At the end of each day (If possible, in line with your model week) write down the six things you will prioritise the next day. Then the next day, do them! Start with the most challenging task first. We all tend to be at our best at the beginning of the day so more able to cope with challenges. If you do the most challenging task first, you don’t spend half your day full of dread and worry about doing the awful task, because it’s done. You can then have a great day! Try this. It works.

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful. If you’d like to know more then get in touch by calling +44 203 475 3302 or complete the form below.

Wishing you a positive, proactive and productive day.

Best wishes

Marcus