Feature Article Series: 5 Ways to Simplify Your Business and Make More Money, Tip #3
Do you know what you are doing right now in your business to generate income? Do you know what marketing activities are helping you attract additional income?
At any given point you should be able to respond to those questions with confidence. If you are unable to, perhaps it is worth the time to sit and write those things down. Not knowing off hand your core strategies for income generation could be an indication that you are not clear about your direction or are trying too many things at once that you have lost touch with your business model. When you are not clear about your direction or your basic business model, you probably have found yourself lacking confidence about your decisions, feeling uncertain about how to spend your time or feeling like you are scattering your efforts only to feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied with the results.
It can be too easy to spray and pray- try a whole bunch of things and hope for the results you want. Be intentional girlfriend! Decide what key categories of services or products you will deliver to your customers in the next 1-2 years. Then give those items 100% of your time and focus to allow yourself a chance to be successful and develop them. I have seen several fellow fempreneurs try to be chameleons, frequently modifying their services in response to passing ideas or trying to please everyone, only confusing their audience. It can take time to develop your core model, while some of that “work” can be done behind the scenes and not rolled out until you have vetted your ideas thoroughly. Seek out the advice and insight of a coach, mentor or professional friend who can support you in that process.
You might have lots of ideas swarming in your head for all those potential services and products you could ever provide, and that is great. Put those in a file named, “parking lot” and save them for later. You can regularly take a peek at that parking lot of ideas every couple of months to see if any of them make sense to pursue and integrate into what you are currently doing. For now, decide what your core services and products are at whatever stage of business you are in. Know them well so you recognize opportunities you can improve upon and incorporate those as you move forward.
When you are clear and focused on your key categories for direct income generation, it is important to apply your energy toward strategies and activities that support those. First decide which main strategies best support the sources of income for your business. Then identify the activities that support those. As a coach for entrepreneurs a primary source of income is coaching sessions, and an important strategy to support sessions is to create efficient systems and tools to make providing them as seamless as possible. After spending time thinking about how to make that process enjoyable and as easy as possible in order to minimize wasted time (e.g. recreating scripts or worksheets and finding files) I have developed a set of forms and a process that supports and facilitates my coaching sessions including bringing a new client on board. These steps have proven to be a worthwhile activity that supports my coaching income generation, and my desire to provide excellent service.
Another strategy that many small business owners or entrepreneurs find valuable is to regularly follow up with potential, current and past customers. A solid follow up system is like a well-oiled machine that keeps your business moving forward. When you make time for follow up activities you increase your chances of securing opportunities to provide your income generating product or service. When you grasp the connection between follow up activity and income generation you prioritize it.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur the area of marketing can feel overwhelming. The key is to select the right marketing strategies for you and for the current stage of your business. It is not necessary to invest lots of time and money into all the latest and greatest marketing opportunities hoping that one or some will work. Marketing is all about attracting potential clients or customers to you. The how you do that is up to you. Depending on your business industry, personality and woman-power, you might consider networking, trade-shows or expos, advertising, social media, affiliate marketing, referrals, etc. Decide which of those do you enjoy most and which have been most successful for you. I challenge you to pick the top 3 and focus on those for the next 6 months. Then, once you have a system to support those three and are seeing results, revisit any other marketing strategies you like to see if it makes sense to fold into your mix.
Set aside some time this week to clarify the major areas of your business and the key activities are required to support and market them.
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