Summer is over and 2019 is just three months away – so buckle up… here’s October’s Hot Five Business Tips.
Since the start of 2018, I have been working regularly with marketing guru and business mentor Nicola Cairncross and I’d like to share some of the valuable “golden nuggets” from our combined 40+ years in marketing, PR and communications.
1. Do something to move your business forward every day
This is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned since starting my own business. From meeting a business contact, sharing a story in a relevant social media post, networking, working on a new business proposal and regularly updating your website – investing time and money in your business on an ongoing basis is important and it pays off if done properly.
Make sure you are open to the next opportunity. Keep your shopfront (website and social media) bang up to date and relevant. Take the buying journey that a prospective customer would and check that it is seamless.
Things are always evolving, so investing and moving with the changes is part of the rollercoaster of running your own business. It never ends!
Don’t let yourself off the hook – if you have a weekly call with your mentor – do what you need to do before the call – be accountable.
2. Build your team
Whether it’s working with other experts or asking a business contact or trusted friend for their input into a new idea, it’s important to feel part of a team and to collaborate.
This year, due to my brilliant former colleague, Lyndall, having new commitments, I have delegated differently. As well as existing contacts, I have worked with several different people who each have very specific experience and skills. Some I discovered via sites like People Per Hour. In addition, a friend shot my videos and a contact of a contact edited them.
This has resulted in additional expertise to the business and it’s also freed me up to do other things. I’ve given talks to other businesses, started writing a regular magazine column and it’s allowed me to devote more time to finding new business.
Because I have been able to stop focusing solely on the job in hand and to ‘look up’, I have a better grasp of the business landscape and what I need to do next.
3. Step outside your comfort zone
At the start of 2018 I said to myself I would be braver and bolder in my business. So I faced some of my demons and made a series of little videos addressing some of the “business pains” that organisations often face.
Making the videos benefited me and my business in so many ways and it also taught me what I suspected – that helping others to achieve their goals is what gives me the ultimate satisfaction.
I also ventured into the world of Facebook advertising and thanks to my mentor, learnt a whole lot about that. I also worked with a talented web developer who has run several businesses. I have applied some of his vast knowledge, not only to my business, but also to my clients’ organisations.
I’ve come to the conclusion that many of us fear the unknown and that often stops us taking that next step. Don’t let it – just prepare thoroughly.
4. Invest in your business
Early in 2018, when business was quieter, I spent time making the videos, advertising and rewriting and updating my website so it was easier to use and more informative.
It took a lot of time and some money, but ultimately it has paid dividends as my website is my shopfront and it subsequently attracted new clients.
I learnt a lot from the process. I found stepping out of my comfort zone on an almost daily basis and having to learn various Apps from scratch REALLY difficult and it often felt uncomfortable having to admit I knew very little when I was used to knowing what I was doing. But it was ultimately worth it. I adopted new ways of working and new skills that benefited both my own and my clients’ businesses.
If you are time poor, you can delegate these types of tasks – just don’t NOT do them.
5. Build credibility
It’s simple really. You have to be consistently good at whatever you do and then find a way to communicate that – by sharing your expertise with others.
Whether it’s through publicity and editorial pieces, Instagram, Twitter or video using YouTube and forums like TED Talks, raising your business profile and credibility through good public relations can help to increase your reach without paying for advertising space.
Editorial space is deemed to be worth 2.5 times more than paid for space as it carries more weight, authority and credibility, so it’s worth thinking about ways that you can share what you know.
Go where your audience is watching/listening/reading and share your information there. Don’t sell – offer help and advice.
If you’re a person who prefers to watch rather than read – you can watch the short video on Building Credibility.
October’s Hot Five Business Tips