It’s easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight and wish you would’ve done things differently — especially when it comes to business!
I didn’t have a business coach when I first became an entrepreneur, so I used trial and error to get to where I am now. Being a business coach now, there are so many things I wish I would’ve known from day one. Here are the top five things I wish I would’ve done when I first launched my business.
Hire faster. When I first started my business, my team only consisted of myself and an assistant, so I was very limited when it came to how many clients I could take on. This situation led to me turning many clients away. Looking back, I can’t imagine how many thousands of dollars I said ‘No’ to! Now, I coach people to scale their personnel as their business scales so that they don’t end up turning away money. When there’s a demand for your product or service and you can’t meet it, you have to make a choice: hire more people or stay stagnant. If you’re sure that the business is there, it makes sense to expand and make money off of that demand. I operate off of this principle now — I hire as soon as I see a need and I don’t hesitate.
Create an SEO strategy on day one. At the beginning of my business, I offered SEO services to clients, but I didn’t optimize our own website for Google. We had plenty of referrals coming in, but what about all of those people searching Google for what we have, but had no idea who we are? Now, we come to the top of Google for many key terms in our industry and we close clients all of the time because of that. The challenge, however, with putting money into an SEO strategy is that you won’t see a return right away. You have to slowly work your way to the top of Google in order to get leads coming in. It’s a long game, but when you’re at the top of Google, you’ll get calls and 85% of them will be qualified leads.
Charge for marketing plans. I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent helping people create full-blown marketing plans for free. The goal was to share my skills, knowledge and expertise to gain their trust so they would hire D2 to handle their marketing. The majority of people did hire us, but many people didn’t because they either thought our services were too expensive or they already had the knowledge that I’d given them for free. I regretted spending hours coaching them instead of selling them our services. I gave them the game plan they needed without even charging them. Now, I only book paid coaching sessions with clients because I realized how much money my knowledge was worth. This process has added an additional revenue stream for D2 and it’s also become one of my favorite things to do. Remember, you are the expert. Your skills, knowledge and expertise are worth money. Just like you pay an expert to cut your hair, decorate your house and teach your children, you are an expert who should be paid for your time and advice.
Build a list. I often think back on all of the people I’ve crossed paths with over the years whose information I forgot to gather. In the last few years, I started gathering peoples’ contact information for a list so I can retarget them with email marketing or phone calls to get their business. There have been many times when I’ve checked in with potential clients I met with years ago to see how it’s going. Usually, they couldn’t afford D2 services or my coaching at the time, but now, their business is ready to go to the next level. I use my list to keep very diligent notes on all of these potential clients so I can have a great conversation with them in my follow-up call and not just sound like I’m trying to sell something to them.
Every time I go to the dentist, my hygienist asks me something specific related to what we talked about six months prior at my last appointment. I was so impressed at how she always remembered specific things, so I asked her about it one day. She said that she didn’t actually remember all of it, but right when a patient leaves, she goes to the computer and writes down notes next to their name so she can remember specifics about them for next time. I couldn’t stop thinking about this amazing customer service tip and I couldn’t wait to implement it into my own business and life. The only way to control the leads that come to you and convert them into sales is to build a list and nurture it! I now have thousands of people on a list, but I might have had 50,000 if I’d started day one.
Create a front-end offer. This offer is a hook to get your potential customer in, followed by a back-end offer to upsell clients. This strategy is something I recently created for our business. We have a lot of clients on the marketing side of things come to us because they need a web presence — a new website, an upgrade for their existing website or Google optimization. I realized I had leads coming in from a variety of different services we offer at D2, but we didn’t have a funnel in place to take a client from one of our services and upgrade them to another.
Now, we have a sales funnel that approaches corporations with a proposal to improve their websites and get them more leads online. This offer is a good hook to get them introduced to D2 and show them the other services we offer so we can become their go-to agency for all things creative and lead generation-related.
You need a plan to get leads, nurture them, close them and upsell them. I spend many years just taking whatever clients came my way rather than strategically planning who I was going after, offering them a hook, closing them and upselling them on additional services.
Here’s how you can create a plan like this:
- Decide which audience you want to go after. Remember, if you market to everyone, no one will respond. There are riches in niches.
- Create a hook to get your clients interested. Maybe your hook can be an e-book with great information from your industry that solves a problem for them. This is your front-end offer.
- Write down the names, phone numbers and emails of your potential clients so you can nurture those leads.
- Close the lead.
- Upsell them your back-end offer.
Create a plan and stick to it — you will see results.
Until I hired a business coach of my own, I didn’t know the necessary steps I needed to take to build and scale. Now, I have a clear plan with goals I’m trying to reach and systems and processes in place to get me there.
Something as easy as keeping every single lead that comes my way on a Google sheet with their name, contact information, how they found me and what their need is is a simple thing you can do to be proactive in your business. This list is gold because that lead already knows me and trusts me, I just have to nurture them until they buy. Things change, budgets change and frustration sets in, so when that lead think they’re ready for the next step, they think of D2.
If you’re a new business owner, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Hire as quickly as makes sense for your business, create an SEO strategy, charge for your knowledge, build a list and create a front-end offer as soon as you can.