26 August 2016

Got a Storefront? Don't network? Think again.

There was a time when you could hang up the "shingle" and wait for clients to come in by the droves. OK not quite droves but you get the drift. Hanging up your shingle was enough - people could find you now. 

A while back my daughter's car needed a bit of work. I didn't pull out the yellow pages. I didn't phone the local garage. Nope, I went on Facebook and asked my friends who they were using. That's how we shop these days. Relationship  marketing is king. 

Truth is, we're overwhelmed with the number of signs that are on the road these days. We are becoming immune to signage. We block most of them out. 

But if signs aren't working, how can we sell our products and services? We need to build relationships. Getting out and meeting people is essential to business success these days. Look for places in your community where people are gathering and go make some new friends. 

A few  years back, a group of us came together and started a business network called Plugged Into Sackville Business Network. We felt that the community needed a resource where like minded business people could come together to get to know one another. We have built amazing friendships in that little group. Not everyone who has walked through our doors have stayed - some folks didn't feel that their target market was in that group - but I beg to differ. You see even if your direct market isn't in that room, the folks who are there may know someone who is seeking just what you are selling.  

Keep in mind that if no one can find you, you don't exist  - it's as simple as that. 

After all, we do business with people we know and trust. 

21 August 2016

Lessons I have learned this past year - there's no room for a doormat in business.

In a little over a month I will celebrate my first anniversary in my business and what a year it has been. A year filled with hard work, tough lessons and many rewards. Nothing has been more rewarding than the people who have come alongside to help make my first year pretty frickin' awesome.

Over the next month, I will share some of those lessons starting with a lesson about our own core beliefs.

Long before I opened my business I had accepted that "The things that are showing up in my life are things that are in alignment with what I believe." That can be a hard pill to swallow. When the nice things are showing up we happily take responsibility and it feels good. But when the not so nice things are showing up - we may not want to admit that we are responsible. Our core beliefs are producing the life that we are experiencing.

Keep in mind that I'm a recovering doormat and the journey to healthy relationships has been messy. Relationships are key to success in any business. Changing core beliefs is not a one time thing - it takes a tremendous amount of effort to uncover those beliefs and challenge your own assumptions.

Each time I take on a new venture, I have to deal with the residual effects of  those old doormat tendencies. These old tendencies show up like scattered dust bunnies. This past year in business has been an example of this. I really am a work in progress - it pays to be self aware.

I know that some people are into reading self help books to break cycles but I believe in fast tracking so I have enlisted the help of professionals to help me process and deal effectively with my challenges. I come from a cycle ---  generations of women doormats ----  breaking that cycle won't happen overnight. I am doing the work one day at a time.

Here's how it manifested in my life this past year. People were coming alongside of me in business which I took as a good sign. They were often looking for information of a business nature but it became evident pretty quickly that they were not willing to pay for that information.

Coaches everywhere will get this - the.lessons that we teach are a culmination of our experience, our education in a particular area as well as our coaching certification and adult education certificates that allow us to work in that field. (Some of you may not have those credentials and still be coaching but I believe in certifications. I became a much more effective coach and trainer after I was taught the proper way to educate and coach adults -- that's a topic for another day). This specialised knowledge has value and it usually unlocks potential in people. The return on investment for coaching can be in the hundreds of thousands. My own investment in coaching has impacted my business revenues in amazing ways.

When I sat down with my sage and told him about what was happening - he asked what I thought was really going on here? I love him because he knows me and the beauty of being a coach who is receiving coaching is that we cut to the chase pretty quickly.

My immediate response was "I am attracting this into my life because of something I believe." From that statement we were able to do the work that led me to unearth a core belief that was causing me to attract people who did not value my service. The reality was, I had some residual beliefs about the value that I was bringing. Isn't it funny how that works?  Thank goodness that I do not profess to have all the answers and I am big on execution - I take my business seriously and I don't mind doing the work.

Fast forward  a year and I have different people showing up - people who treat me like a professional and who are quite willing to pay. I wonder what is going on there. Could it have something to do with what I believe about me?

What is showing up in your life that could be indicative of a core belief at work? Have you given it any thought? I would love to hear your success stories on this topic.

11 August 2016

3 Benefits of a Marketing Plan

"This little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed home."

Why do you think that this particular little piggy was the only one that got to go to market? Was he the only one that was ready? Was there an issue with the supply chain? Were the others not quite ready? Or, was it because he was the only vegetarian in the bunch -roast beef? Yuk.

Maybe the farmer had a 'marketing plan'?? It is quite possible especially if he was a successful farmer.

There came a time when I had to admit that I liked a certain amount of control in my life. Change is never like the flicking of a switch - control feels normal to me. There There's not much to life if you're a control freak - it takes the fun out of it I believe. I've worked on that. But I'm not an all or nothing kind of gal.

There is one area where I will maintain control and that is when it comes to my business. I control the numbers - knowing how close I am to my targets at any given time. I also control my marketing. I have a marketing plan and I believe that there is a correlation between your revenues and your plan to get the goods to market. I'm a firm believer that regardless of the size of your business, investt the time (and money if that's not your thing) in a smashing marketing plan - you won't regret it.

There are many benefits in having a marketing plan. Here are my top three.

1. It saves time and time is money.  Time is precious in business especially in the early days when you are wearing so many hats. A marketing plan lets you make a plan and work the plan. Won't it take precious time to make a plan? Well ya, but the time you spend planning will give you time to work on your business later on. Without a plan, we use more valuable time. Time is money.

2. A marketing plan is a good test of how viable your business is. Usually a marketing plan goes hand in hand with your projections. If you plan to make X (revenue) and you need to sell Y (# of units) then you will need to know where you will sell those. A marketing plan maps that out for you and let's you know if you're nuts in your projections.

3. This is my favourite. The universe loves clarity. When you make a plan, you're committed. You're going for the goal. You've not only called it by name. You've made a plan to make it happen. The universe loves that kind of clarity.

And you're waiting for what? Get crackin' -- make the plan and work the plan. BAM!!!

4 August 2016

The eBook Experience - A Great Tool for Freelance Trainers and Coaches

Why write an eBook at all? 

Lots of reasons especially if you're in the training world. It really helps to get your name out there to establish credibility. It is an excellent way to reach people and share what we know with them.

The thing is that most of us get it. There is a ton of value in an eBook but we don't want to do the work. This past month I set out to do the work.

I wrote an eBook in 30 days. It will be on Amazon in the next week or so. Definitely in time for the course that I will be teaching in Sackville at the end of August. There are a few spots left yet.

Register for the program today. Seats are limited.

I have learned a few things in the process. You need an editor who really understands the technical side of wordsmithing (is that even a word?). It is not enough to just throw some words on paper. Don't mess it all up by going cheap on this important part.

It costs money to publish an eBook but it's worth it. If you're in it for the money - not sure I'd bother. The real benefit is in expanding the list and establishing cred with potential clients.

We have a ton of information to share as trainers. Learn how on August 26th in Sackville. Hope to see you there.