What every business owner needs to know about Visibility!

get noticed, stand out, attraction

I would like to talk with you today, about the visibility of your business.

I was prompted by an email I received this morning, from one of my long time readers. With his permission, I’d like to share a little of what he told me:

“Back in March, I closed my business and took a job working for a former competitor of mine. […] As I’d long suspected their service is inferior to what I was offering, but they market it way better than I did. They are making a ton of money and I couldn’t even make a living.”

How visible are you?

Sadly, an average service that’s well marketed will always generate massively more money, than a great service, which too few people know about. Think about it: People can’t hire you, if they don’t know you exist — regardless of how amazing you are.

Just consider those painters, composers and writers, whose genius was only appreciated after their death. They produced classics, yet lack of visibility stopped them receiving the recognition they deserved, during their lifetime.

A great example is Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. Melville was unable to make a living as a writer, so he worked at various jobs, including working on the New York docks. It was decades after his death that a revival of his work took place and the world became aware of Herman Melville’s huge talent. The talent was always there. The books were always there. His work simply lacked the visibility it needed.

Take your marketing seriously

You do amazing work. You care passionately about your clients or customers. You work hard.

Don’t allow ineffective marketing to rob you of the success you deserve.

This will help: Here are my top marketing tips, together in one place!

When opportunity knocks, be prepared. UNLIKE these 2 examples!

professional development,

If opportunity came knocking at your door today, how prepared would your business be?

I spoke with a business owner recently, whose website was featured on a very popular podcast. Within seconds of her website being mentioned, it crashed under all that traffic.

She explained:

[…] “I spent years trying to get my website noticed. Then, when it finally happened and thousands of people were heading to my site, my $10 a month cheapo hosting couldn’t cope. So, I missed the opportunity to get my site and services in front of thousands of highly-targeted people. It’s made me sick to my stomach.”

That’s just one example of missing an amazing opportunity, by failing to plan for success. There are many, many others.

Sounds terrible

Another common example are those business owners we hear on the radio, who are offering their expert opinion on a news story. They often sound terrible and are never invited back, because they failed to invest in media coaching or presentation training. So, instead of sounding authoritative and informed, they sound flustered and unsure. Instead of boosting their reputation with thousands of prospective clients, they miss out. All because they were unprepared when opportunity came knocking.

In short: Whatever opportunities you are hoping to benefit from with your business, make sure you are prepared in advance. Invest in what you need. Don’t allow poor planning to rob you of an amazing opportunity.

Tip – Here’s some advice to help you invest correctly, so you’re prepared for success!

Here’s a proven way to get people talking about your business

word of mouth, viral, spread word

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of attracting referrals, rather than pestering people for referrals. You can read that post here. Today, I’d like to share a proven way to get people talking about your business for all the right reasons.

Let’s look at enthusiasm

When we speak and act with enthusiasm, it spreads like a virus. It changes the way people think and feel about us.

Here are just a few examples:

  • It captures people’s interest.
  • It motivates people to want to know more.
  • It inspires people to talk about us.
  • It creates confidence, which makes people feel comfortable recommending us (and buying from us).

Of course, the opposite is also true.

Let’s look at pessimism

When we speak with pessimism, it spreads like a virus to everyone around us. Pessimism also changes the way people think and feel about us, this time in a totally negative way.

For example:

  • It causes people to feel pessimistic about us.
  • It destroys confidence in our business.
  • It repels motivated, inspirational people.
  • It attracts others, who are similarly pessimistic.

Most small business owners sit somewhere between enthusiastic and pessimistic. They neither inspire people or drive them away. This neutral position is hurting their business and it’s 100% unnecessary.

Fire up your enthusiasm

If your business isn’t attracting the word of mouth referrals you need, try cranking up your enthusiasm.

Remember: No one is going to feel enthusiastic about our business, until we transfer our enthusiasm to them.

How to work a room at a networking event

professional development,

Someone just asked me for tips on how to work a room at a networking event.

Not the advice he expected

I explained that I wouldn’t spend too much time learning how to get the most from networking events.

No.

I’d focus on why I needed to go to networking events. I’d figure out, very quickly, why my clients, website, newsletter, customers and contacts weren’t providing me with the referrals and leads I need.

Create a story worth sharing, by providing a remarkable service. Then, the word will spread. People will talk about you, because that’s what we do when we encounter something that is remarkable.

Attracting word of mouth referrals is vastly more effective, than offering an average service and having to pester people for leads at networking groups.

Tip: Here’s how to make your business remarkable, so people spread the word!

Just get rid of the crappy stuff!

Business development

I wrote yesterday about how to run a very successful business, working just 20 hours a week. I emphasised the importance of cherry-picking your clients, so you only work with the right kind of people for the right kind of fees.

Today, I want to share why it’s also very important for you to be extremely selective, regarding the products or services you offer.

Just get rid of the crappy stuff — Steve Jobs

One of the cornerstones of Apple’s success, is their decision to focus on a small number of products, which they excel at. They pour all their considerable expertise into creating market-leading products, which hundreds of millions of people buy and love.

Here’s a wonderful example of what I mean. Nike CEO, Mark Parker, talked to Steve Jobs on the phone, shortly after becoming Nike’s CEO:

“Do you have any advice?” Parker asked Jobs. “Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” Parker said Jobs paused and Parker filled the quiet with a chuckle. But Jobs didn’t laugh. He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” said Parker.”

Source: Forbes.

The lesson?

Steve Jobs’ advice to just get rid of the crappy stuff, was maybe a little harsh, however, it raises some powerful questions:

  • Is it possible that by focusing on just a small number of core services (or products), you could be directly relevant to high quality clients, rather than seen as a generalist?
  • If so, how would that change the value you provide and thus the fees or prices you could achieve?
  • Would it be easier for potential clients to get a handle on exactly what you do?
  • Would it be easier for you to grow your business, with the increased focus that comes from specialising in a smaller number of areas?

Take a moment to ponder those questions. It could lead to a decision, which improves your business beyond recognition.

Tip: Here’s some great advice from Steve Jobs, on The Power of Focus.

How to run a successful business working just 20 hours a week!

I work fewer than 20 hours a week, yet earn a very good income. Here’s how I do it and how you can do it too.

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email from a reader. She is a marketing consultant, who established her business 6 years ago. She’s working long hours for a relatively small income and wanted to know what she was doing wrong.

Not all clients are the same

I asked the consultant about her typical clients and she said they were; “pretty average”. I then asked her about the kind of work she was doing and the fees she charged. It was easy to see why she was working so hard, for so little reward. She was working for the wrong type of clients, doing the wrong kind of work, for the wrong fees.

Allow me to explain.

There are 2 types of client

A tiny fraction of clients are high value clients. The remaining (99% or more) are the more typical, lower value clients.

The most successful service providers focus exclusively on working with high value clients. No late payers. No over demanding or rude clients. No clients who make us miserable. No clients who penny pinch. We work only with great people, who allow us to do amazing work for them. I’ve been operating this model since the 1990’s and seldom work more than 20 hours a week, often fewer than 10 hours a week.

The average service provider works with average clients, on average projects, for average fees. They don’t have the freedom to do their best work, because they charge too little for their time, which means they have to turn work around quickly. So, they work on lots of low value projects, never producing what they are really capable of. This leads to stress, because they need to work way too many hours. It also leads to financial insecurity, as working too many hours for low fees isn’t sustainable — something has to give!

Getting stuck in a damaging cycle

We choose, either deliberately or otherwise, who we work with and what we charge. It seems most service providers start off working for “whoever will pay them” and never quite break free from the cycle this creates.

It looks like this:

  • Money is tight, so I need to accept whatever work I can get.
  • Because I accept whatever work I can get, money is always tight.

Staying in that cycle is the riskiest thing a service provider can do. Ironically, it feels safer than risking a change of direction. That’s why so many stressed, over worked service providers carry on earning peanuts, when they could be earning a fortune.

Switching to a better cycle

If you want to enjoy a great family life, working fewer hours yet earning far, far more, make the decision to change direction. Be selective. Choose your clients and projects wisely. Charge what you know you are worth, so you have the time and freedom to do great work.

Interestingly, this approach also creates a cycle:

  • You are working on great projects for clients who value you, so your clients become a source of valuable referrals.
  • Because your clients are a source of valuable referrals, you’re always working on rewarding projects for great clients who value you.

In short: If we are not seeing the results we want, we need to make better decisions regarding who we work with and what we charge.

Tip: I strongly recommend you read this – How to build a successful business.

Everything your business does, is marketing!

Everything your business does, is marketing. It gives people an experience, an insight into what you and your business stand for. It creates your story… either a story your clients believe is worth sharing or a predictable story, which they soon forget.

Some business owners get it all wrong

They think that they can offer an average service, to average clients for average prices and use marketing to make average sound amazing. The challenge with that approach, is that it has never been harder to hide bad or average work.

A quick search on Google, Tripadvisor, Linkedin and Facebook, etc., allows your prospective clients to build a pretty good picture of your business and what your business stands for. For example, claiming to offer a professional service, yet operating behind a cheap website, littered with bad grammar, is a huge warning sign to prospective clients.

With the majority of people now checking service providers out online, before contacting them, this is a very big deal.

What’s your story?

Look at your business from the ground up. What story are you crafting for your marketplace, based on:

If you believe there’s room for improvement in your business, rewrite your story. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do it with slick marketing. You can’t!

In short: Marketing is everything you do. The whole picture.

Why it pays you to invest in others

Business is all about people. As a result, it makes perfect sense to invest in others.

For example:

  • Help people to develop or grow.
  • Connect people, who can assist one another.
  • Inspire people.
  • Give people recognition.
  • Delight people.
  • Share resources with people.
  • Encourage people.

Investing in the success of others is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding things you can do.

And if that isn’t enough, a hefty subset of those you invest in, will be motivated to invest in you.