When I talk to people who are starting a business (or have a business), I get asked THIS question a lot…
“What Is The One Thing I Should Focus On To Build A Successful Business?”
Well, I wanted YOU to get my BEST ideas on building a business, so here’s my thinking on building your business as if you were starting from scratch.
The first thing you should focus on is identifying what it is you know how to do that you have the ability to get paid for. In fact, ask yourself these 2 simple questions…
1. “What is the skill I know how to do, or what area of expertise do I have?”
2. “Who is the most likely group of people that would pay me for those particular skills?”
If you answer these 2 questions (and you ACT on your answers), it can change your financial future forever.
For example: In my particular case, when I cleaned carpets, the most likely thing was to sell carpet cleaning services. And the question became: “Who do I sell carpet cleaning services to? Who are the most likely people to purchase carpet cleaning services?”
If you’re a consultant with knowledge of management, the question is: “Who is the most likely clientele or niche to avail themselves of my management skills?”
If you’re really great at playing the guitar, the question is: “Who is the most likely person to hire me to teach guitar lessons (and how do I find them)?”
And if you’re starting from square one…those are the exact types of questions I would (and did ask) when starting out.
Once you have a group of people who are paying you money for the thing you’re offering that’s valuable to them, you want to set it all up in an AUTOMATED way that supports your current (and desired) lifestyle. And the way to do that?
Create an ad.
Here’s a great (and profitable) exercise for you:
Remember the person, group, or niche you identified that are most likely to pay you for your skills?
Create an ad or a sales letter that explains what you do and why it should be of interest to that person or group.
In fact, go ahead right now and put yourself in the mind of your prospect and ask yourself: “What would I, as a prospect, need to know in order to buy?”
For example, imagine someone was seeking out guitar lessons. What would they need to know in order to hire you? If you were a dentist, or a carpet cleaner, or even a consultant, what is it people are looking for and don’t know that they don’t know that YOU could educate them on?
The bottom line is that you want to create a way to educate people about your business. Now, some people might think they need a website. And yes, a website is useful…but only useful to the degree that it can communicate effectively what it is you’re offering and why someone should hire you and do business with you.
What you want to put together is a fantastic educational communication piece about your business, service, or product … and the key is:
You want to talk about it from the standpoint of what’s in it for the person using it! Because the difference between Features and Benefits is that a Feature is what a service or product is or what it does. On the other hand, a Benefit is what it does for the person that is using it. (This is a key distinction in how you communicate what’s in it for them.)
Look at what it’s going to do for the person that you want to buy from you. If you can get that down it makes everything infinitely easier. If you at least have a sales letter or an ad that explains what it is you’re offering, you have a starting point on then deciding what different forms of media to use whether you use a website, social media, advertising, word of mouth, television, radio, or public relations, just to name a few. You have to promote your business somehow.
You now have your educational piece bringing in educated customers who understand the value you’re offering to them (and, plus, they’re giving you money). So now you want to sustain this business engine you’ve been building that can support your lifestyle, your family, the people you care about in your life and anything else that’s important to you. The way to do that is to think about the relationship instead of transaction on a consistent basis.
You see, instead of selling something once, always look at how you can deliver what you sell to people over and over again. For example, instead of doing guitar lessons just once, ask yourself this question: “How can I sign someone up on a SERIES of guitar lessons?”
(And while you’re doing that, set the stage for them to introduce other people to your business along the way so you’re building a relationship instead of having a transaction. You want to build continuity instead of a singular sale.)
In fact, here’s a great strategic question to ask yourself right now:
“If people get value from my business, how could I set this up so I have people thinking right from the get-go that I build and grow my business through the referrals of other people?”
Because here’s the thing: It’s better if you can break up the offering so you can have a continuous RELATIONSHIP with the people that can give you money over and over again instead of having just a single transaction.
Even if you’re in the business of selling something like a car with a low frequency of purchase, automobile dealerships also have repair centers and service centers. Not only does it service the clients, it’s another revenue center.
Listen, no matter what business you’re in there are other services you can recommend to people and you can get paid referral fees.
For example, if you were a locksmith someone may only hire you when they lock the keys out of their car. So the best thing you could do with those people is to let them know about all the other additional services they could use so that you’re positioned when they need you again. In fact, if they trust you, you could also recommend security systems or you could recommend a company that installs windows or you could recommend a company that installs fire alarms.
The action step for YOU is this: Think of other related products, people, and services you can recommend.
(Think about it: An interior designer has the ability to recommend lots of other businesses from house cleaners, to painters, to people that sell furniture, to carpet cleaners. Who could YOU recommend? And WHAT could you recommend?)
Always try to closely link what it is you sell to other services and products so you can maximize the relationship with your customers.
If you’re in the information publishing or technology business, think about all the other services or relationships that you’re aware of that would be of value to your clients and prospects. The same logic applies.
You know, the reason this is so important is because the most expensive cost in business for most people is Client Acquisition (also known as ‘getting a customer’). And that’s why out of ALL the things you can focus on in the beginning, one of the most important is AVOIDING expensive overhead.
Listen, do NOT go creating expensive overhead. Put your initial money into just getting clients. Why? Because the sales will support the growth of your business. Stay lean in the beginning. Don’t go buying expensive furniture, don’t lease buildings, don’t buy expensive copy machines, unless it is absolutely, unequivocally necessary. Instead, rent or borrow things that are not critical to the success of your business.
What IS critical to the success of your business? Customers. The people that will buy what it is you’re selling. You have to focus on communicating a great sales message to them. Once those people give you money the first time, you have to focus on having them give you money over and over and over again.
That’s why when people buy from you, make sure you acknowledge them. Make sure you thank them and make sure you continually send them e-mail newsletters, videos, audios, blog posts, snail mail newsletters, and things like that. You’re seeing it in action RIGHT NOW, the very same things I’m recommending you do with YOUR prospects and clients.
Focus on the RELATIONSHIP with your customers.
EDUCATE your customers.
BOND with your customers.
Let us know your success stories.[Ed. Note: Joe Polish shares his best marketing ideas and strategies at www.iLoveMarketing.com and also has the best-selling program at Nightengale-Conant. In addition, Joe put together an uncensored sales program featuring content from the late Gary Halbert here.]