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4 Key questions to help you find your ideal customers

When you know your ideal customer, it changes everything in your business. This target market is the basis for everything you’ll do – your branding, the products and services you’ll offer, the marketing channels you’ll use, and the way you interact with your customers; therefore, it’s essential to take this crucial first step.

Your ideal customer is the person who can benefit the most from what you’re offering. Businesses create a persona that describes this market as one individual. It might say something like, “Elena is a small business owner in the east coast earning XXX per year and seeking to grow her business…” It’s peculiar so that you know exactly who you’re targeting.

To create a customer profile, you’ll need to gather as much data as possible about the people who’ll buy from you.

Here are the questions your customer profile should answer:

1. Where is your ideal customer and what do they do?

An accurate and complete picture of your ideal customer starts with identifying where they are and what they do. The demographic information would include things like geographical location, age, job status, annual income, family structure, and so on.

2. What problems does your product or service solve?

Your ideal customer is facing some problem or challenge. You need to discover what pressing need they have so that you can offer the product or service that will solve it. What change will your offering bring about in the customer’s life?

3. What is the customer looking for when they shop?
A significant part of your ideal customer profile is buying behavior. When and how does your target market shop? How do they feel about the money and the products and services they buy? If you know this information, you can adjust your offer to fit your customers’ lifestyle and buying behavior.

4. What are the customer’s objections to buying?

It’s an important question for understanding the behavior of your customer. Many people get close to buying but stop at the last minute for one reason or another. They might wonder if the product will deliver the results, or they may not be sure whether it’s worth the price. Your marketing should address these objections and dispel them to remove obstacles to buying.

Finding data on your ideal customer

So, where do you go to find this information? There are many ways you can learn about your market:

Once you know who your target market is, what’s unique about your product or service, learn how your customers like to shop, and identify their hesitation before buying, you’ll get more out of your marketing efforts.

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10 Tips to start and run your side business

You’ve decided that you’re ready to start your own business, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Entrepreneurship can seem very overwhelming with so many things to consider.

Instead of going into panic mode, use these tips to help you get your start-up started!

1. Be Clear on Your Plan

Clarity will get you far in your business. Be sure to have a plan in place to ensure your success. How will your business operate? How will you make an income? What kind of clients will you work with? These are all decisions you should make in the early planning stages of your business.

2. Set Goals

Once you have a plan in place, you’ve got to measure your success. Set up some goals that you’d like to accomplish, it’ll not only help you understand if you’re heading in the right direction but also gives you something to strive for!

3. Market Yourself

When running the day to day operations, expanding your business through marketing can fall to the side. If you want growth, you must get your business out there. Create a marketing strategy and set funds aside to promote. What ways will you advertise? What social media channels will you be visible? Who will create your promotions? When creating a strategy, consider all of these questions.

4. Keep Track of Your Tasks

Having some sort of daily planner is going to work wonders for you! In the mix of clients calls, client work and managing the business itself, you will need something to keep your tasks in order. Invest in a planner or calendar that has all your to-dos in front of you.

5. Manage Your Finances

Money is a big issue for a business. It determines your success, it’s needed to get started, and it might be the reason you want to get started! As a business owner, you need to be able to keep track of expenses going in and out of your business. Tools like Quickbooks make it easy for small businesses to do so. An accountant is also a smart investment for anyone!

6. Connect with other Entrepreneurs

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you might be spending a lot of time alone in front of a computer. Surrounding yourself with other like-minded people has multiple benefits. You have the opportunity to learn from others, can brainstorm ideas, and have someone who understands your entrepreneurial journey.

7. Network

Having connections is like having gold, especially in the entrepreneur world. A person in your network can lead to speaking opportunities, clients, mentors and more. Be sure to spend time networking and making connections!

8. Learn and Research

When you’re starting out, there is a lot you don’t know. When you’re five years in, there is still a lot left to learn. Always spend time learning about your field and researching new trends in your industry. The more you know, the more room to grow!

9. Work on Your Mindset

One of the biggest roadblocks to success is our mindset. Without a healthy state of mind, we tend to stifle our growth with doubt. When going into business for yourself, the mindset is the one thing you’ll constantly have to work on to survive the challenges of being an entrepreneur to be able to break barriers, shatter doubt, and overcome obstacles.

10. Get Help

As a business owner, you’re taking on a lot of roles. You’re the accountant, salesperson, marketer and everything else. However, you don’t have to do it all alone. Outsourcing and hiring out can help fast-track your success instead of trying to learn it all yourself.

While starting and running a business is not an easy task, the outcome and rewards can make it all worth it. Let’s work on getting you to those rewards together.

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How to Plan Your Marketing Successfully

Marketing isn’t simple, but it can be. To do it right, it requires a great deal of planning. Entrepreneurs and small businesses without massive marketing budgets have to handle this aspect of their business themselves, and for many, this is no easy task.

Therefore, businesses create a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a detailed document that includes the data you need to make marketing decisions and set a course of action that you can implement immediately. Drafting a marketing plan takes a great deal of time and work, but here are a few questions to get you started.

Who Is Your Target Market?

If you’re already selling, look at your existing customers. Who are they? What do they like about you sell? Try to recall any positive feedback you’ve gotten from them. Naturally, if your brand resonates with these individuals, it will resonate with others like them.

If you don’t already have customers, defining your target market may take a bit more work. Look at companies that offer similar products to yours. Who is buying from them? Who could benefit from your products? Try doing some market research to glean some idea of who your target market is.

What Makes Your Products Unique?

There are bound to be other companies out there selling services and products like yours. So, what makes you different? Why would someone buy from you and not your competition? Remember here that ‘products’ means your offering, which includes services as well. The term refers to whatever people buy from you.

If the unique qualities of your services or products don’t come to mind immediately, it’s time to do some work. Do some soul searching and look for the strengths of your products. If, in the end, you find that your product, unfortunately, resembles everything else on the market, how can you change it to make it unique?

What Do You Want Your Marketing to Achieve?

Every business takes for granted that it needs to market, but why? The ‘why’ is critical. You need to identify what you hope to achieve through your marketing because this will guide your efforts and help you choose which tactics are most appropriate.

Once you know who your target market is, what’s unique about your product or service, and what you want to get out of your marketing efforts, you’re ready to get started with your marketing plan.

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What NOT to do at networking events

One thing that I tell my clients when they struggle with attending networking events is not to expect to connect with everyone they meet. If they want to make the best out of a networking event, they need to set the goal of making valuable connections without expecting anything in return.

When planning to attend a networking event:

✔Set your expectations to meet a couple of people and get to know them.
✔Pay attention to one or two specific detail about the person
✔Follow up with them and mention what you remember about them.

If you mention something that you remember about them, they’ll know you were listening and will appreciate it. It’s about paying attention to details to start building that trust.

If you think networking is just for people who run their businesses, think again. All of us have a network of people we rely on and relate. We might use their services, get referrals from them and ask for assistance when seeking a job. I call this cross-pollinating.

It is vitally important that we build relationships with the people in our network so that we can obtain useful tips and advice. If you don’t nurture your network, you might find yourself without resources or references when you most need them.

So, expanding your network and building trust is a win-win situation. As you meet new people, you would want to continue that relationship-type to build a strong community.

Building a trustful community is essential to your success. To have a useful network, you must develop and nurture the relationships and focus on how you can help your network before you consider taking from it.

Givers get. You don’t just take from your network; you also give. The secret is the more you give, the more you will get back.

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