I’m so glad you asked! So many people want to be business owners and typically their reason for going into business isn’t the best reason to jump into the deep. Some people start a business because they don’t want a boss anymore. While I’m sure we have all felt that way from time to time if that is why you started your business, then I highly recommend you do some honest evaluation of your skill set for running the entire business and invest in the right areas. I do believe that to be successful we always must do honest evaluations of our skill sets and see where we manage well and where we don’t. This will be key to ongoing scalable success. Be willing to answer the tough questions and if necessary, hire a business coach to help you identify the blind spots to move you forward.
There are some key items that you need to consider as you continue to grow your business in the first year and expectations that need to be level set for year one. Throughout this blog we will go through these items in more detail. During the first year, be patient with your business and yourself. Remember you’re new to this and it takes time to adjust. You won’t always get it right, but this is not the time to quit. It’s the time to adjust and keep moving.
Now that you have your business you need to realize it is like having a new child or puppy. The first year is going to take constant care and you won’t see an immediate return. You will be up endless hours not having enough time for yourself. Your family may feel some of the lack of attention like when a new baby arrives. You will have to be very intentional to care for your family, so they don’t feel abandoned. In fact, get them involved and that can help to ease the challenges with change. You must be mentally prepared for the demands and understand what to expect.
My first question for new business owners is, “do you have a business plan?” The immediate next question is, “does it include or do you have a marketing strategy.” At minimum, how will people know about your business? One thing to keep in mind throughout your business is that a strong foundation will set the course for how large and how quickly you can grow. If you haven’t done the discovery work to build that foundation, now is the time. Don’t wait until year 3 and wonder why it feels like you’re starting over. This is a great time to level set your expectation. Your business will only grow to the ability of the systems, and supports you have in place. During year one, it is a great time to start identifying what those will be and how they will work for you.
Here is another expectation level set; most of the people you expect to support your business will not be your clients. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t see those closest to you as a regular customer. Remember you want to expand your reach. Don’t set expectations on those closest to you let them be your mouthpiece. This means, that you need to be willing to expand outside of your comfort zone to the right client base, and not just stick to those that are familiar to you. One great way of doing this is to get your products in the hands of the right people. Once you have satisfied customers then take advantage of their positive vibes and comments. Ask them to be your mouthpiece and share their experience with others. This builds the credibility of your products and you as a business owner. Having your current client base share your business will give you more exposure to move customers like them.
Another expectation level set is that you can’t expect other people being your mouthpiece is the only and best way to build your business. As powerful as word of mouth is, it can also become destructive, so you can’t place all your hopes and dreams in others being the constant driver of building your business. Being a business owner means taking ownership of your business and getting the right strategy in place to grow your business. There are key strategies that you need to implement to widen your scope of business.
Most of the time we believe that with a few customers in the doors, our business will burst open with new sales, but the realization is you still must do work to build sales. This is where you implement that marketing strategy. If you are just beginning, you may not have the funds to hire a marketing guru so you will need to put in the work to do some grassroots sales. I know, I know you don’t like sales you don’t want to beg people to buy your products or services. Honestly, it’s not about selling them on your product or services it’s simply letting them know you’re open for business. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder that you are here and ready to provide amazing products and services.
Here’s one quick way to start getting the news out. Create a list of everyone you know and include email and phone numbers. Think about everyone including people that you purchase products and services from. You want everyone to know that your business is open. Now here’s what you do, start making contact. Call them and share the exciting news. Tell them about the amazing products or services you have available. Share your story with them and why you started this business. Let them in on a glimpse of how you made it happen and how they can be a part of this journey.
Now I know a lot of you are saying well I’m not a salesperson and I would say yes you are. Everyone that has started a business has to do some sort of sales in the first year. You must promote your business which really is sales. So, let the fun begin! I don’t believe I’m a salesperson and honestly, I’m not comfortable with sales of my own products, services, or myself. So, I’ve decided I’m not going to sell anything to my list I’m just going to share the great news. I’m going to let them in on the best kept secret, all the problems my business can solve for them. At the end of the day, they may not be interested for themselves, but remember they may know someone else who would be a perfect customer for your business. Use this as an opportunity to invite referrals. Maybe you want to give them a sample for free so they can try it out and then you can get feedback. Get creative with how you position your sales so that you feel confident in what you are doing.
You may want to use social media as a place to really get the word out to as many friends as possible. That is a great thing to do, but don’t discount the personal phone call to individuals. Building those relationships are going to be critical for longer term growth. During this time, you will feel like quitting but don’t give up! You may not see a sell immediately but the more you focus the more calls you make the easier it will become and the more interest you will have.
I’ve done a lot of different sales training and everyone says the same thing. It’s a numbers game. Get the no’s out of the way for your YES! Typically, the ratio is about 10-1 so don’t get discouraged after your 9th no that means your yes is coming. Keep going. When you put in the work you will see a return. When you start to build the relationships, you will see the support come in ways you never expected. One step out of your comfort zone and lead you down the road to true success in more ways that you have thought of.
This is a great time and way to get your kids involved. Share with them your business; explain what you are selling and why it is important to people. As you involve them in the process, they will naturally promote your business without even realizing it. If they see you working your business, they will start helping. They will tell teachers, coaches, friend’s parents, and at times strangers in the store. This is a natural process and will help you generate more interest. You can even have them help you by promoting your business to their friends and give them a small commission on whatever you sell from their social media posts, or word of mouth promotions. I could do a few more pages on sales and marketing strategies. You will have to work your business and find out what works best for you and when to start marketing differently. I love partnering with clients and conducting strategy calls to build out the best strategy for your business.
The first year of business will be very trying and challenging so I want to share some ideas that will help you stay grounded and energized. One important thing to remember is an attitude of gratitude. Thank God for brining the customers into your business. Thank him for every sale you make. Be grateful for all the help your friends, and family give to you during the first year. Be thankful for the failures, just as much as the successes, because we never fail, until we fail to try. So, know that everything is a lesson, and you will become better because of each challenge. Let your customers know you are grateful for them.
I truly believe that you reap what you sow, or some would say karma happens either way, what you give you will receive, so give big! Be a giver. Practice giving with the little you have so when you have a lot, you maintain that heart of giving which is also an attitude of gratitude shown differently. Give back to your community, your church, those around you. Find creative ways to give back to your community. One thing that I have done is partnering with nonprofits that I can give to financially and in some cases I may provide free coaching sessions if that is of interest. It’s a fun way to meet the community and support them in their endeavors.
On a very personal note, I believe that each of my clients has been sent by God for a purpose greater than just business. I run my business as a marketplace minister and know that each client has been handpicked for my business. I pray for my past, present, and future clients. I know that through coaching I’m able to partner with them to explore and guide them to success. You may have products that you sell but each person buying is more than a sale but a relationship to build.
Building your business is going to take time, courage, determination, and prayer. You can do this and be successful. Your business isn’t about you, it’s about those that you’re impacting through your business. Don’t give up! You’ve got this. If you realize you may need to partner with a coach for greater success, we have Coaches available.