Tag Archives: Business

Where Do I Start?

“I really want to have a business, but I’m not sure how to start.” That’s the most common phrase I hear from women who are considering a home business. It’s a phrase loaded with confusion, overwhelm and paralysis. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Starting a business is actually a simple, 6-step process that anyone can follow:

1. Convince your mind that you can do it. That you’re gonna be a great business owner. That even though your brain says otherwise, you will be able to find the time and you can succeed at this. Because believe me, the minute you tell your brain that you’re serious about making a big change in your life, it will fight back and try to convince you not to do it. It will try to tell you that it’s better to stay in the comfortable little zone you’re in right now. To beat your brain at its own game, here’s what you need to do: write down all the objections your mind is giving you. Get them out of your mind and onto paper. Then write a counter-argument for each objection. For example, if you mind is telling you, “I can’t do this because I don’t have time,” write that down. Then counter that by also writing, “I don’t have muchtime, but I can find a little bit each day to work on my business.” 

2. Evaluate your idea. You want to find out if your idea for a business will work before you invest time, energy and money into it. This means doing some research.  Conduct surveys with your social media followers. Type a relevant hashtag into Instagram and see how many times it’s being used. Join Facebook groups in your niche and see what problems people are talking about. Will your product or service solve that problem? Check out Udemy.com and see if people are teaching courses about the problem you hope to solve, and how popular those courses are. Visit farmer’s markets or swap meets and give out samples of your product. All of these things will help you know if the market actually wants and needs what you plan to sell.  

Need a little help with your market research? Click here to get a sample survey I made for you on surveymonkey.com using their Product Testing Template. SurveyMonkey.com let’s you make surveys of up to 10 questions for free, and will even post it to your Facebook account for you! 

3. Niche down. Usually people either have a bunch of good ideas and they want to do them all, or they have sort of a vague idea for a business and need to get more specific. Either way, here’s what I want you to do: doodle every word or idea associated with your main business idea on a blank sheet of paper. Then group those into themes. For example, let’s say you’re a teacher. You plan to sell lesson plans of some kind. But if you just put yourself out there selling “online lesson plans for teachers” your business will die a quick death! You will be totally drowned out in the noise of the internet because there is nothing that sets you apart. And it’s pretty unclear who you’re serving. So you do this brainstorming activity, and you write down all the grades you’ve ever taught, and all the subjects. You jot down your favorite themes that you use each school year, words that remind you of some of the unique ways that you teach, things that other teachers ask you for help with, or that students really respond to. As you’re writing all this down, you see a theme emerge around reading. You’ve had a lot of experience teaching kids to read. And you start to think about the unique way that you have handled reluctant readers to motivate them to get more reading done and to enjoy it and get better at it. So you decide that lesson plans to motivate reluctant readers will be your business. Then, because you’re smart, you narrow it down even further and focus on reluctant male readers in 2nd– 4th grade. Now you have a niche!

4. Once you have your niche, you can identify your core customer and how you will serve her. Sticking with our example, there is more than one group of people looking to motivate reluctant male readers in 2nd– 4th grade to read. After some thought, you decide that you’re going to market these lesson plans to homeschooling parents. Not that others aren’t welcome to buy and use your stuff, but you’re going to focus on marketing to homeschooling parents. It’s this focus that allows you to move past the overwhelm you’re feeling and take action. It’s overwhelming to feel like you’re trying to serve a huge audience. It’s like being a waitress with way too many tables. You’re trying to please everyone and so you end up pleasing no one.

5. Once you have the basics of who you will be serving and how figured out, get your product or service ready to go. Find your suppliers, make your goods, create your courses, get your horse-boarding stalls cleaned out!

6. Finally, figure out where your core customer is hanging out and how you can get your message in front of her so she can buy from you. There’s no one size fits all answer here. The best way for you to connect with your customers might be a website, an Etsy store, through social media, with a booth at a farmer’s market or flea market, on craigslist or a neighborhood Facebook page, or somewhere else. Take some time to figure out where your core customer is hanging out. Are there conferences or pop-up shops where you could get a booth or teach a class? Are there influential bloggers in your niche who would give your product a review or even sell it as an affiliate? Be creative!

Once you’ve followed these six steps, you will have a functioning business!! Yes, it takes work and time, but if you follow this basic formula you can start a business, and I’m rooting for you all the way!

Love ya,

Lecia

For my Realtors…why you should USE Social Media…

Why Social Media Marketing??
A recent survey from Google shows that 2 out of 3 people searching for a real estate agent will research them extensively online prior to doing business with them. That information should be enough of a reason to compel you to put some real work into your online marketing and Social Media presence.

I put together a list of bullet points that you may find useful:

Content Creation:

• Posts with photos get far more engagement than posts
with just text
• Use clear and compelling photos
• Create original posts that capture your brand
• Put yourself out there as an expert in your field, a trusted
advisor
• Educate people with your content
• The journey to home ownership is a series of questions
that must be answered, create posts and video that
answer those questions
• Anything with a visual component is more than 40 TIMES
more likely to be shared
• Use photos and video of yourself doing things and talking
with others, people want to see you
• Original content has been shown to generate 6.9 times
the engagement of brand-generated, cookie cutter
content
• Videos have the highest engagement rate
• FB should be a part of your marketing strategy for the
rest of 2018

Social Media Stats that you should pay attention to:

• FB reaches 2 billion active users monthly
• 62.1% of North America is on FB
• More than half of US residents use FB several times a
day
• Users access FB on average 8 times a DAY
• 400 new users signup to FB every MINUTE
• FB is the “most important” social platform for marketers
• 91% of Social Media users are accessing their Social
Media platforms via mobile devices (MAKE SURE that
your content translates well to a mobile view)
• 76% of FB users are on the platform daily
• FB continues to be the most widely used Social Media
platform with 79% of American internet users
• 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day
• LinkedIn has over 530 million user profiles
• Snapchat is reaching 41% of 18-34 year olds
• 51% of Instagram users access the platform daily and
35% look at the platform several times per day
• 57% of consumers say Social Media influences their
shopping
• 93% of Social Media advertisers use FB ads
• The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the
site monthly
• By 2020 over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will
be video

5 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Social Media is a powerful tool and most companies have at least dipped their toes into the pool of these new platforms, however some of them are making avoidable mistakes.  Here are 5 common mistakes that I see a lot of businesses making with social media…

  1. Overuse of Automated Responses–  setting up an auto-response to appear for any comment made on your platforms can be a mistake because it shows a lack of engagement on the part of the business.  People quickly become aware that the same canned response is being given to every comment and it demonstrates to them that nobody is really paying attention.  Also in the case of a grievance or a complaint, that canned auto-response may net you a VERY unfavorable reaction from a client or customer.
  2. Mixed Messaging/ Going OFF Brand–   the brand strategy and overall messaging can get thrown off course when there are too many people with their hand in the social media accounts.  Postings from different people can result in a campaign that appears “all over the place” to your audience.  A business is best served by having a dedicated social media manager or hiring an outside firm that is clear on the strategy to be executed.  Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the meal, as the saying goes…
  3. Failure to Engage–   the nature of social media is to create relationships with your target audience, failing to respond and engage with your audience will produce unsuccessful results.  You have to be ready and willing to take the time to reply to comments and offer new opportunities for people to interact with you.  Simply posting things will not make the most of your efforts—driving engagement is key to creating an interactive experience for your audience which makes them want more of what you have to offer.
  4. Poor Use of Hashtags–   let us start with the actual definition of a ‘hashtag’ for those of you that may be in the dark.  “Hashtag”- A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message or post to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other user”.  That being said 59 hashtags accompanying your post is just, quite simply, annoying to the reader.  A few relevant hashtags for the sake of making your post searchable is acceptable.  Be advised to investigate trending hashtags prior to attaching them to your posts, make sure that what comes up in a search for that tag is exactly what you expected.  There have been cases of people using a trending hashtag that ends up highlighting them in searches for subject matter that they did not intend to be a part of.  Do your homework before attaching things to your content.
  5. Using Trending NEWS to Promote Yourself–  be careful what you associate your business with, the best example of a misstep with this one is when GAP used the news stories of Hurricane Sandy to tell people that they should stay inside and shop online at GAP.  It backfired terribly on them and they ended up having to apologize profusely to the public for being insensitive.  So make sure that if you are associating yourself with a news story, it comes across to the public the way that you intend.

All of the mistakes listed above can easily be avoided by paying attention to your audience and having a clear direction for strategy complete with a working understanding of the brand and messaging that is to be communicated.

If your company has not yet jumped into the world of social media platforms it needs to, this is the new media and it’s going to have to be dealt with, like it or not.  I know many companies that have their ‘head in the sand’ when it comes to getting involved in all the different platforms, however if they continue to ignore it, they will fail.  Social Media is here to stay and if you want to stay relevant you better get on board.

Know Your BRAND…

If you intend to have a successful business of any type, including if you are simply an online entrepreneur with a blog, Ebay or Etsy store you better KNOW what your brand is.  Meaning that when I ask you that question an immediate answer must come to mind.  An answer that tells me WHAT you are, what you STAND for.

For instance when I say ‘Harley Davidson’ –you think motorcycles

When I say ‘McDonalds’–you think hamburgers, when I say ‘Starbucks’ — you think coffee.  Those three companies I just named are doing an excellent job with their branding because everyone thinks pretty much the same thing when they hear the company name.

What do people think when they hear your name or your business name?  I promise you that they think SOMETHING, however is it what you want to be known for???  Are the words that come to mind when someone hears your name or the name of your business words that you wish to be remembered by?  I have a friend Tim Davis, he is a branding trainer for Real Estate people and he does a phenomenal job schooling people in the importance of BRAND.  In fact he is so damn good at it then when people say his name, those of us that know him immediately think ‘the branding guy’.  He even has a particular outfit that he is known for when he does training seminars…check him out Tim Davis, Branding Guru .  He knocks BRAND out of the park.  The world could learn a lot from this guy…

When you don’t know what your brand is then neither does anybody else and that becomes instantly detrimental to your business, no matter what you do.  Not understanding your brand is especially damaging to a large organization.  Recently a global organization that has been around for over 100 years has asked for my help in regards to their branding.  The request involves working to get the entire executive team on the same page in regards to what the brand is and whether or not that is being communicated effectively throughout the organization and then further out to the world.  I circulated a list of questions to the executive team, one of which was “What is (the organization’s) brand?  The ENTIRE executive team had a DIFFERENT ANSWER –no two answers were the same.  This is from the Executive Team…the people leading this organization into the future.  This kind of fragmentation in the core team will lead to failure on all fronts.  If you cannot even communicate effectively WHO or WHAT you are how the hell can you do ANYTHING else????

A business functions to fulfill its purpose or mission.  This purpose or mission becomes the DRIVING FORCE or brand of the organization.  This HAS TO BE SOLID!  You have got to know who and what you are in order to execute ANYTHING else.  A strategy for growth cannot be designed without a direction, your direction comes from your brand—who and what you are.  When you do not know who or what you are then you end up running in all kinds of different directions wasting time and energy on things that have nothing to do with your core purpose.

I don’t care if you are selling vintage clothes on ebay, selling crafts you made on Etsy or building a global distribution company– you better know WHO and WHAT you are and then line your strategies up behind that.

If you are a cookie company, make and sell cookies — do not waste your time trying to sell chips, milk and coffee and looking into producing and packaging those items– make and sell COOKIES like your life depended on it.   LIVE into your brand and OWN it!  Make and sell the best damn cookies that anyone ever had.

Part of understanding your brand is that then you know who you are and who you are not.  So if someone comes to you with an opportunity and it doesn’t fit your brand, you simply say NO and move on.  No time and energy wasted.  When you are clueless about who you are then you will find yourself saying yes to things that don’t suit you, simply because you are not crystal clear on your brand.

Get clear on your BRAND folks, your future depends on your ability to communicate it effectively to yourself and every one else…

What Are You Worth?

What Are You Worth?

It can be a little scary to tell people you are starting a business.

It can be even scarier to try to sell your business to others. To offer your product or service with genuine enthusiasm about what it can do for your customers.

But the truth is, we are all selling, all the time. Let me give you an example. Not too long ago I saw the movie I Can Only Imagine. I loved this movie so much and was totally moved by it. So, what did I do? I told everyone about it! My parents and sister were coming over for dinner the next night, and I said, “Hey, while you’re here you have to watch this movie with me, it’s so good!” And I told other people as well. And the reason I watched the movie in the first place is because my sister-in-law saw it and put her own recommendation for it on social media.

So you see? We all sell stuff, every day. When we find something we really love or are excited about, like a great new restaurant in the neighborhood, or an awesome movie, we naturally want to share it. The reason we don’t think of this as selling is because it feels so natural. It’s not forced. And, because we don’t have a vested interest in whether our friends actually try the restaurant or buy the movie, we don’t feel self-serving about it. We just know we love it and we think other people should know about it, so we tell them.

This is the kind of excitement and natural desire to share that you have to have about your own business. But in order to get there, you have to be really clear about what kind of value you are offering. In other words, what problem are you solving?

For example, let’s say that I meet somebody new, and she asks me what I do. Now, I could say, “I’m a business coach,” and she would probably say, “Oh, that’s nice,” and that would be the end of our conversation. Or, I could say, “I coach women to start and run their own businesses so they can have more freedom of time and money.” Now, the woman I’m talking to might recognize those pain points. She might be someone who never has enough time with her family or never enough money to go around, and if so, she’ll want to continue the conversation with me. Nobody cares what I do. But a lot of them care about what I can do to help them.

So get really clear about what problem your business is solving.

Now, here’s a hard fact of life. Many of you have a hard time finding the value in what you have to offer or sell because you have a hard time finding the value in yourself. And because you and your business are so closely intertwined, the whole issue of value becomes this really emotional minefield. If you don’t recognize your own value, you’re not going to be able to speak the value that you offer in your business. You will shy away from it or downplay it, saying things like, “Oh, it’s just this little thing I’m doing, it’s nothing really.”  Except, nothing you do is nothing!

So, what are you worth? What is your value?

I’ll use the $20 bill analogy to help you understand. Imagine you have two $20 bills in your purse. One of them has been around a while, and it shows. It’s crumpled and dirty. It has some pen marks on it, and one of the corners is ripped. It has obviously been passed around, it’s been mistreated, and it looks to be in pretty bad shape. The other $20 bill is the opposite. It’s crisp and clean and looks brand new.

Now let me ask you: how much is that clean, crisp $20 bill worth? $20, right? And how much is the dirty, crumpled $20 bill worth? It is also worth $20. You see, the worth of a $20 bill is constant, it doesn’t change depending on what the bill looks like or what it’s been through. It’s just $20.

And the same is true for you and me. Our worth, our value, is constant. That’s because our value does not come from what we look like, how much money we make, whether we have some dirt in our past, or anything else. Our value is based on the fact that we are.  That we are human beings, made and valued by the biggest power in the Universe. And that value is unchangeable.

So, if your business succeeds or fails on any given day; if your kids are doing great or basically flunking life; if you’re able or unable to lose the weight; if you’re weak or strong; if your website crashes in the middle of an important sale – none of that affects what you are worth. Your value is constant.

Valuing yourself is a significant part of being able to value your business. So start there. Remind yourself daily, “I am worthwhile,” or, “this setback (or mistake) does not affect my value.” Yes, it takes a little thought and maybe a little time to remind yourself of your own value, but you know what? You’re worth it.

Love ya,

Lecia

PS I’ve created a brand new FB community where all the business-minded mamas can find support and bounce ideas off each other. Come join us here and introduce yourself!

Girl Boss

Me? A Girl Boss?

Picture a woman sitting in her cubicle at work, maybe you. Her chin rests in her hand as she stares blankly at her computer monitor. There is a thought bubble over her head. How would you fill in that thought bubble? What is she thinking?

Maybe something like, when will it be payday? Or, I can’t believe my jerk boss took the credit for my work…again. Or maybe even, somebody help me, I’m dying a slow death here.

If you’ve ever had those thoughts cross your mind (and really, who hasn’t?), then at some point you may have also thought about starting your own home business. The upside seems incredible: work within your passion, control how much you make, help people. Okay, okay – the upside is incredible.

But starting a home business also has a downside: a huge learning curve; lots of up front work for a return that comes later –  sometimes much later; setbacks; expenses. You get the idea.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seriously consider starting a home business. In fact, as a business coach, I definitely think you should! We live in such a beautiful, digital age right now that the barriers to becoming a business owner are much lower than they used to be. But it’s not for everyone.

The question is, is it for you? Let’s find out with a little yes or no quiz.

 

  1. Are you extremely dissatisfied with your current situation?

You basically have to be, in order to convince your mind that it’s okay to change.

 

  1. Do you have an idea? Are you passionate about it?

It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged business plan. Not yet. But an idea does help ?. And you need to love that idea so much that you’ll be willing to do even the parts of your business that scare you (like sales calls or meeting with a potential buyer)

 

  1. Do you have support?

Family, great friends, a coach or mentor…find people who will brainstorm with you and cheerlead you when you hit a low point.

 

  1. Do you give up easily?

I don’t want to call names, but girl, if you’re a quitter, then running a home business isn’t for you. Most people quit just before the reward.

 

  1. Are you in the middle of personal upheaval?

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a business, just maybe not right now.

 

  1. Do you have an appetite for learning?

Then Yassss!!! ‘Cuz you are gonna need it. Luckily, there are so many resources these days, from YouTube to FB Groups to paid courses. I don’t want you to worry for one minute if you feel like you don’t know everything you need to know to run a business, because absolutely everything is find-out-able!

 

  1. Do you understand risk?

Some business models require more risk than others. For example, opening a brick and mortar shop would require much more capital than working from home writing and selling e-books online. Be sure you know what and how much you’re willing to risk before diving in.

 

  1. Do you need cold, hard cash today?

Okay, then go make it. Sell homemade bread or salsa, walk some dogs, babysit for another mom. Then, when your immediate need has been taken care of, go ahead and start your business. Nobody needs that kind of pressure.

 

  1. Do you have people skills?

If I struck up a conversation with you in a line at the grocery store, how would you respond?

 

  1. Can you summarize your business idea in one sentence?

If not, you’re not yet totally clear on what it is you want to do. Work on it, it will come.

 

If you answered all ten of these questions correctly (and I think you know what the correct answers were!), then guess what? You definitely qualify as a potential girl boss! Don’t quit your day job just yet, but stay tuned, we’ll walk the path together. In the next installment, I’ll pass along a super helpful secret  in the form of 5 things successful side-giggers do every day.

 

Love ya,

Lecia

Want to start a business but not quite sure what you could do? Click here for a FREE brainstorming guide from Lecia – Finding Your Unique Gifts.