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At the end of 2021, I ended my 21-year career in financial services and founded my own coaching and consulting company. I quickly realized that I had no idea how to scale.
It was only a matter of weeks before I was inundated with messages from coaches, influencers and promoters all promising to find me as a speaker for gigs and clients. I ignored these because I knew I wanted to grow organically. But it didn’t take long for me to start wondering if I had made a mistake: I realized I was uncomfortable and not quite sure what to do as I had never done it before. Here are the first five things I’ve done that have all worked wonders.
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1. Have a marketing strategy and don’t be afraid to hire help
I knew I had to develop marketing materials. But I also know what I’m good at and what I’m not. Since I don’t have a traditional marketing education, I hired people to do it for me. I stayed on track, but also stayed involved in the process.
I hired a former college alumni club contact who I felt I could trust to design my website. I hired a Fiverr designer to create a press kit; I hired another Fiverr designer to design my book cover; and I hired an executive coach who did whatever I wanted to do to give me feedback on everything. Once these things were all produced, I sent them directly to all my prospects and also shared them with the world.
These marketing materials have proven useful over and over again. When I meet potential clients, I now have several things to send them. As part of my marketing strategy, I also asked my first 10 clients to write recommendations for me. Clients have told me that seeing these testimonials on my website and media kit has been very influential. Getting people to support your work as quickly as possible can make a significant difference in your business.
2. Know exactly what you are offering
My second step was to call old contacts and colleagues in my network and tell them about my work. While I highly recommend reaching out to your past connections and network, if you do, it’s important that you do so knowledge what you offer and are willing to express it.
When I started, the second person I called was the COO of a major national bank. He immediately asked me what I really wanted to offer his organization: coaching or consulting. “I honestly had no idea and no reason to,” I said both. On another phone call with a regional manager at another bank, I couldn’t say exactly what I was hoping to get out of the call.
What I learned was this: Make clear to yourself (and others) what you do and what you hope to gain from spending time with people. Successful people are busy – don’t waste your time. Have a clear and concise plan and know what you want them to buy from you and why. Then don’t be afraid to ask about the deal.
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3. Produce content that makes you stand out with your audience
In the 18 months that I have been a coach, consultant and author, I have produced content:
- I produce a series of weekly videos on LinkedIn and YouTube called Transformation Tuesdays.
- I have created a free leadership assessment that is available on my website.
- I write articles regularly.
- I have written a book.
Many clients have told me that watching my videos or reading my articles was a major factor in their decision to hire me. The content I share gives others a sense of who I am and what I stand for. No matter what industry you are in, you can find ways and means to give people a little taste of you and what you do. If people like what they see, they are more willing to get in touch with you.
4. Do something every day to move forward
So often we look far into the future but forget the present moment. We dream of where we want to be in five years or what it might be like when we are rich and famous. That’s great, but it doesn’t help us to understand everyday life.
For the past year, I’ve always focused on simply identifying the 1-2 next steps I should or can take to grow. Do something every day, or at least every week, that brings you closer to your goals. Maybe it’s about reaching a new potential customer every day or week. Perhaps you are attending a conference or seminar where you are meeting potential customers. Perhaps you’re taking a class or certification to better master your craft. Maybe it improves your product or service. Whatever you do, it’s important to keep moving and always take extra action.
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5. Take good care of your customers
When you’re growing a business, it can be tempting to focus on what you don’t already have (but want). Once you’ve landed one customer, it can be easy to mentally move on to the next five potential customers How sign. Acquisition is important, but so is retention.
If you’ve recently made a sale or worked with someone, be sure to treat them like gold. If customers are leaving your back door at the same speed as customers are coming through your front door, you are static. It’s important that you constantly find reasons why the people you already have should stay with you and tell their friends and family about you. Some of my clients have been great referral sources for me and I can’t express my gratitude enough for that, but that’s no coincidence. That only happens when people are treated well.
These practices may seem simple – and they are. But it’s consistency in execution that makes the difference. It’s easy to get discouraged when starting a business and not becoming an overnight success. However, if you continually invest in these things, your success will steadily grow as well.