You’ve done it, you’ve handed in your notice…
…and you now have 3 months till that last paycheck drops into your account and then freeeeddom!! You can create things that bring you joy, with people you love, and work to your own rhythm! Woo hoo!
But, hold the phone! Before you head off and hire the logo designer, build the website and proudly exclaim to the world that YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BUSINESS, do you know what you will actually do, how will you make waves, how will you help people and make some cash?
Do you know how to market, sell a service and build a business?
Nope? Not yet.
I’m giving you 5 simple steps to get you from eek (fear) to ahh (clarity) and then yay! (your first clients!)
Building a business starts with getting super clear on two things; your WHY and your WHAT. It’s all about discovering that sweet spot where your experiences and skills meet your customer’s wants and needs.
Now, this blog post isn’t going to delve into finding your why; that’s a big ole topic for another day. We’re focusing on the what – your prospective buyers! Who are they, what they need from someone like you, and how you can help.
But how the heckins do you start when you don’t know who these people are?
Simple, stretch your imagination muscles and let Google do the hard work.
1. Study the businesses already making your dream go come true
Unless your dream is to make socks for hedgehogs there are people out there already running successful businesses doing similar stuff to you for the people you want to help. So, have a gander. Take a look at some of the big and more bijou players in your industry, But don’t spend time admiring their photography and branding. Get focused. This is a research mission.
The key is to figure out what they do for their customers, what issues their customers were having before working with them, and how their lives are better. And all this information is there if you know where to look.
To find out what their customers say about them.
- Google your industry
- Click on the sites that stand out
- Head straight to the testimonials & case studies page
- What were clients struggling with before, what success did they achieve?
2. Review business books
Amazon is a treasure trove of information when it comes to finding the voice of the customer. I’ve used this approach time and time again when looking to get into the heads of the customers I want to help. Firstly, check out which business books are creating waves in your industry, if you’re not sure google, ‘best sellers in (your industry)’
Head to the Amazon page and check out the reviews…but only the ones with 4 stars and above!
Take a close look at the reasons why people bought the book (you’ll find some really candid comments!), what appealed to them and what difference it made in their lives.
3. Facebook groups
Thanks to Zuckerberg and his love of community groups, Facebook is a great way to collect intel and discover what your audience is struggling with or desires the most. The key here is to find the groups where your prospective customers hang are…not your peers. Get in the trenches and pay close attention to what people are saying.
- Google ‘Best facebook groups to do XYZ’ to find the most popular
- Ask for access (you may have to answer a few admin questions to be let in)
- Once you’re in use the searchbox on the left and type in words like ‘help’, ‘struggling with’, ‘need advice’ ‘how to’
- Or just type in keywords relating to your business and see what kind of conservations are happening around the topic.
Again, the aim is to understand the issues people are having, that you know you can help with. And, hey whilst you there, send some love to the group by answering some of the questions that the community has posed. Not only will it send good vibes to the universe but it will remind you that you do have skills, you do have talents, and can help people!
4. Phone a friend.
You know a few people right? Leverage your own social network and send an email to your family and friends explaining what you’re trying to do and ask if they know anyone who can help. I sent the following email to my ex-colleagues, fitness buddies, old school chums when I was just starting out.
Did you know I’ve left my 9-5 and set up a business to help entrepreneurs get over marketing overwhelm? Do you know anyone who has their own business and is struggling to know how to promote themselves and get clients? If so could you do an e-introduction please?
5 people agreed to have coffee with me (if I bought!) and I quizzed them about their frustrations around marketing. 2 of the 5 became my first clients, and I still work with them today!! (Plus, they’ve recommended to me to loads of people!)
5. Network your a*se off.
This one takes a wee bit moxie, but I promise you the rewards will be great. It’s how I managed to ditch my crappy part-time job and go all-in on my biz.
Join your local startup organization, Chamber of Commerce, or entrepreneurs group and attend every networking breakfast, lunch and learn, or virtual meet-up. Start conversations, ask genuine questions, aim to learn more about that person, and eventually the talk will turn to why you’re there. Now you can explain your dream, and ask if they have any issues and if they know anyone that may need your help.
Now, what do you do with all this intel? Record it & use it!
Get all that good stuff out of your head and save it somewhere safe (don’t be like me and scribble it all down in a notebook then leave notebook in a hotel bar!!) Keep all this info in a google doc and add to it ever every time you have a chat, read a post, or comment from your ideal customer.
I use a google template with the following headings…
What situation are people in, what do they struggle with?
What do they want, what are their desires?
What service or product could I offer to help them achieve their desires?
Reference (where did I find the info?)
If you complete just one of the 5 steps, good work!
By now you’ll have some pretty good instincts for what people worry about, what they need your help with, what they’re prepared to pay for and the results they’re looking for. Y’know you’ve probably achieved more to grow your business than many other newbies.
So, now you can use this to generate tons of valuable content (just talk about the problem and how you solve it), craft an elevator pitch, and help define your offers. Simples eh?
Now go forth & create!