When I first started business coaching, I was told to start speaking. I just chuckled. For years, I hid from any type of speaking or networking. Even the thought of speaking to an audience caused my heart to beat rapidly.
The transition from therapist to business coach included several unexpected challenges. I uncovered aspects about myself which I didn’t realize existed. Fortunately, some were positive. Others; however, were not very pretty. My limiting beliefs began to arise.
Starting a new business meant doing some things I didn’t enjoy. Rather than complain, I chose to shift my perception about networking and speaking. My resistance to speaking needed to be resolved.
Although it was difficult to admit, several long-held fears were holding me back. Fortunately, I realized they were not based upon reality. In fact, they weren’t even logical.
Finally remove resistance
It was time to remove the resistance. A clear purpose, strategy and plan set the stage for my transformation.
Identify your purpose. Get brutally honest about your level of commitment. What is it that you want so strongly, you are willing to do anything to achieve that result?
Focus on the vision.Visualization is a powerful tool. Athletes add it into their training program. Regularly picture yourself achieving your goal. Create your success story. Remember to make it vivid and real. As you focus on the end result, clearly visioning your success, your brain gets the message that this is important to you.
Reframe. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want to do, set your sights on what you do want to achieve. Move toward a solution rather than away from a problem. Therefore, create a story that’s positive and exciting.
Strategize. Outline your plan; however, be flexible. Don’t worry about all the necessary steps along the way. Over-emphasizing the “how” contributes to perfectionism and procrastination. This reinforces fear and resistance.
Step out of the box. Consider fun and interesting ways to reach your goal. All work and no fun leads to burnout. You may end up quitting too soon.
Chunking. Outline the steps you think you’ll need to achieve success. These become your milestones. Attending weekly Toastmasters and network meetings were among my first steps.
Get support. Nobody expects you to achieve success on your own. Connect with others who support your vision. Their encouragement keeps you focused on the BIG picture, especially when you want to give up. Accountability is a wonderful motivator for change.
Action. Get started now. Discover the opportunities which are currently available to you. Remember, over-thinking causes overwhelm and avoidance.
Celebrate.Celebrate the successes you achieve along the way. They deserve your attention. This increases your confidence and keeps you going, even when it is uncomfortable.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
My desire was greater than my fear. Fortunately, I knew the tools which would help me remove resistance. It was time to finally liberate myself from my speaking fear. I chose to become comfortable with what had been previously uncomfortable.
“If it is uncomfortable, than I ought to be doing it” became my motto as I worked through my fear and resistance. Determination kept me moving forward, although I was constantly uncomfortable. The familiar, old excuses no longer worked for me.
Dreams do come true when you have a purpose, a strategy and a plan. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Dreams do come true when you have a purpose, a strategy and a plan.
Choose the right people
Surround yourself with the right people. Find people that have already achieved what you’re working toward. Those may be mentors, coaches or professional associates. Next, spend time with go-getters who make things happen. Carefully select the people in your inner circle.
Define your vision of success
Now it’s your turn to remove resistance. What is your vision? Make it come to life with rich, specific details. Identify 2 or 3 strategic areas of focus. Some things to consider include marketing, sales, networking, team building, mindset or skill development.
Describe what you want to achieve over the next 12 months.
List two specific actions that will help you achieve that result.
Consider what will be possible once you achieve that result.
Write it down and keep it close by.
Have you experienced resistance, too? Don’t remain hostage to those thoughts. That’s because success lies beyond your comfort zone. As a therapist turned business coach, I know it’s possible to remove resistance. If you’re ready to make this your best year ever, then let’s talk. I offer a complimentary Grow Your Ideal Business Strategy Session.
Clearly define what’s underlying your desire to succeed.
98% of small businesses never reach their goals. That’s because they failed to clearly define what they want to achieve. So if you knew success was possible, then what’s fueling your burning desire to succeed?
Yes, achieving success requires consistent effort. Consider the process more of a marathon than a sprint. Any slacking, complacency or desire to coast simply delays your success.
Ever notice how you sometimes know what you want and then you avoid taking action? Well, success happens from the inside out. It’s a growth process.
Going down this path causes you to review your beliefs and values. Conflicting beliefs will block your progress. That’s when it feels like a part of you wants to move forward while another part is digging your heels into the sand. Growth occurs as you work through those contradictory beliefs.
What you say and what you do offers clues about your destiny. Progress occurs when your words are strongly aligned with your actions.
Congruency between the two is powerful. Since other people subconsciously notice those things, you gain credibility. It’s very client attractive.
3 steps that influence your desire to succeed
Alignment. You want to walk your talk. Basically, say what you mean and do what you say. Otherwise a disconnect between the two occur, which affects your integrity. Your actions are more powerful than your words. Unless you’re a fantastic actor, your actions usually reveal your true intentions.
Attitude. Claim your intention and boldly choose your destiny. Become aware of the circumstances where you’re giving your power away. Focusing on what’s within your control is the only way to feel empowered. That’s when you’re in charge of your success by. Take responsibility for your actions, even when mistakes or failure occurs. Making excuses and placing blame on others simply diminishes your credibility.
Claim your intention and boldly choose your destiny. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Approach. What’s your response when doubt or obstacles arise? Even highly confident people sometimes question themselves. Working through those things becomes part of your growth process. Don’t let the inner critic diminish your purpose. Do some internal housekeeping to clear the clutter and strengthen your mindset.
What’s fuels your desire?
So what drives your desire to succeed? Entrepreneurs with a strong purpose adopt a “no-excuses” mindset. That’s when the excuses and blame melt away. Those thoughts drain your energy and diminish your power.
Determine exactly what you want and how you want it. Then take initiative. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission to succeed.
How strong is your energy and enthusiasm to succeed?
You probably won’t know how to achieve what you want. And that’s okay. You’ve never done that before so it makes sense that you won’t know all the necessary steps. Consider connecting with a business coach, mentor or supportive associate to guide you forward.
Owning a successful business is rarely the easiest route. The journey, though, is rewarding. You’ll grow because you stepped up to the challenge.
By the way, don’t veer off course when tough decisions arise. There are future clients already searching for you. They need your solution!
Deeply connect to your vision and your purpose. Then do what’s necessary to get out of your own way. Remember to follow your desire; especially when others express doubt.
Consider this new perspective. Perceive other people’s doubt as a test to your commitment. When you’re fully committed, then the doubt simply bounces off. It doesn’t stick.
Passion inspires greatness
When I spend time with purpose-driven entrepreneurs, I sense their energy and enthusiasm. It’s magnetic. Equally talented entrepreneurs who lack passion and ambition pale in comparison. Have you noticed that too?
As I mentioned, your language is an important clue. Entrepreneurs with a burning desire to succeed speak in the first person. That’s when you assume responsibility for your actions.
This reveals where your focus lies. You intuitively focus on what’s within your control; it’s an internal focus.
Focus influences your desire to succeed
Which focus do you prefer?
External. It’s also called an external locus of control. That’s because your attention is placed on factors outside of your control. Deadlines, other people’s opinions, objections and cash flow frequently influence your decisions.
As you describe your circumstances, you don’t speak in the first person. Instead, other people, places and things are emphasized. You’ll begin to notice lots of “you, they, them, it, him, her” in your language. And yes, other things do affect you, but those things are beyond your control. As a result, this places you at the mercy of those outside forces.
Internal. This is known as an internal locus of control. Yes, things beyond your control will occur. However, you emphasize the way you decide to respond to those things. Believing you’re in charge of your destiny gives your confidence a boost. You talk about yourself saying “I, me or we.”
Rather than allowing someone else to determine your fate, you decide your next move. Even when you fail, take responsibility for your choice. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
You consistently search for the best available option. Rather than allowing someone else to determine your fate, you decide your next move. Even when you fail, you take responsibility for your choice.
As you can see, focus is a matter of perspective. Both types are important, but only one supports your desire to succeed.
Success is messy.
Obstacles that interfere with your desire to succeed
Be completely honest with yourself. Determine if your heart is aligned with your desire to succeed. Your purpose needs to be strong enough to keep you on course through the ups and downs. Are you truly ready to rise up to the challenge?
Some entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to are fully committed to playing BIG. But they face obstacles which cause their belief to falter. Doubt is like a cancer, slowly eating away at your vision.
What can you do to inoculate yourself against that poison? Giving it too much attention is like fueling the fire. However, without fuel the negativity will gradually extinguish itself. First you can expose it for what it is. Then you do the work to release yourself from its grips.
If someone’s got to succeed, then it may as well be you!
Influence your destiny
Embrace the qualities of success. Influence your destiny by emphasizing what’s within your control. You’ll experience a stronger sense of inner power, especially as your words and your actions become aligned. Fully commit to your purpose.
Imagine the power of your actions reflecting your commitment. Like other successful entrepreneurs, you embrace the opportunity to stretch beyond their comfort zone. That’s when you’re in the flow.
Connect to your vision and your purpose. How much more effort are you willing to give? Maybe it’s 10%, 20%, 25% or more. Whatever amount you decide is okay because small improvements lead to significant gains over the course of time.
Do your thoughts interfere with your desire to succeed? Then start to focus on what’s within your control, your actions and your attitude. As a therapist turned business coach, I know how your mindset affects your success. If you’re ready to take charge of your destiny, then let’s talk. I offer a complimentary Grow Your Ideal Business Strategy Session.
Choose a profitable niche that will make you money.
All niches are not created equal. So how do you choose the best niche? Consider whether the work you highly enjoy doing serves that specific population. Plus, it needs to make you money. Otherwise, you’re developing a hobby rather than a business.
Research these questions. Look for evidence that your niche market values what you offer. Either there will be similar businesses that already exist in that market. Or, you’ll fulfill an unmet need for that population.
Like all things, you’ll get better results when you’re specific. Some industries have a proven track record. These are the five most profitable categories.
Health & Fitness
Wealth / Money
Relationships & Dating
Hobbies, Interests & Activities
Yes, it’s a pretty broad range. Does your business serve one of these areas? If not, don’t worry. Plenty of highly successful businesses exist outside of these categories.
6 Critical Factors to Choose a Profitable Niche
I’ve put together a list of six factors when considering a niche market. Keep your ideal client in mind as you review this list.
1. Your Ideal Client Spends Money to Solve This Problem
Think about the service you offer and the problem you solve. Does your ideal client realize they have the specific problem you solve? If so, do they already spend money trying to fix it? Or did you become aware a gap and you’ve developed a solution.
Problem. Your ideal client struggles with a specific problem.
Awareness. Do they realize it?
Research. They’re looking for solutions.
Action. They’re ready to invest in a solution.
Position. Your service resolves that problem.
I want you to work with clients who value what you offer. Therefore, don’t charge by the hour, the session or the project. That overlooks your expertise. Value based pricing is your best option.
2. Passion and Purpose Fuels You Forward
Sometimes you immediately know your purpose. For others, it’s revealed over time.
Discover the purpose behind your work. Without meaning, your work becomes a grind and you eventually burn out. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Either way, a strong purpose keeps you focused through the ups and downs. Discover the purpose behind your work. Without meaning, your work becomes a grind and you eventually burn out.
Your enthusiasm for your work is very client attractive. Your clients love the fact that you deeply care about them. They realize that you’re fully committed to their success.
Figure out how your experience and your skill set benefits your niche market.
3. You Can Develop Referral Relationships
Imagine a network of people eagerly talking about your business to potential clients. They’re making connections on your behalf. It’s a fantastic business growth strategy.
Expect 50 to 70% of warm referrals to turn into clients. A warm referral is an introduction to someone who’s interested in speaking with you. Someone else made the connection on your behalf.
Many entrepreneurs mistakenly let this occur haphazardly. But what if you create a plan that nurtures referral partnerships? You’d enjoy better results.
Susan, a bookkeeper, and Gary, a tax preparer are both in my mastermind group. Susan discussed her expansion plans. Gary mentioned that several of his clients are to hire a bookkeeper. They briefly discussed the best way to make that introduction.
Gary’s introductions will help Susan’s practice grow. Furthermore, a great referral makes Gary the hero in his client’s eyes.
4. A Replicable Business Model Exists for Your Niche
Are you an entrepreneur and a creative? If so, then you’re prone to lots of ideas and some unfinished projects.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Rather, find a business model that already exists and meets your needs. Then blend in your framework, or technique, so it has your unique touch.
Don’t be afraid to look for business models outside of your industry. I’ve often discovered that other professions can offer clues. How would you structure your ideal business?
5. Rely on Your Experience, Pursue Further Learning
Your experience, even if it’s outside of your current profession, does matter. Highlight your experience, skills, and expertise. Everything you know influences your work.
Figure out how your experience and your skill set benefits your niche market. Competing for market share gets old after awhile. This one strategy separates you from the competition.
You are the best investment that you can make in your business. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
You are the best investment that you can make in your business. Experts consistently expand their knowledge with education and training. It’s an evolution; not a destination.
If you are the industry expert for your niche market, then people will want to learn from you. Does that interest you? If so, then trainings, certification programs and professional licenses are various ways you can teach others your method.
Competition is evidence that your niche market already exists.
6. Competition is a Strong Success Indicator
Competition is a good thing. It’s evidence that your niche market already exists and will invest in your service.
Maybe you offer a service that doesn’t neatly fit a current niche. You’re forging a new path. Then you’ll need a strong marketing campaign to educate people about who you serve and how you help.
Regardless of which path you choose, traditional or novel, highlight your skills and your abilities.
Develop Your Unique Approach
A profitable niche makes things easier. Search for role models. Then adapt their structure to fit your needs. The key is to borrow the strategy, not to copy.
Your unique approach based on your personality, style, and the skills you bring to the marketplace is what separates you from the competition.
Find the best way to highlight your service.
Clearly communicate your ability to address and solve client problems.
Design an easy way for potential clients to connect with you.
Ask for their business.
Include a call to action on website pages.
Find an authentic and genuine way to extend an invitation in your emails or phone conversations.
Market Your New Niche Focus
Find ways to let others know about your business. In the beginning, spend time on marketing activities that directly result in calendar appointments and paying clients. This starts to build your client base and gets you paid.
Choosing a profitable niche takes research, thought, planning, and direct action. If you are struggling with how to choose the right niche for your business, I can help. I’ll lead you through a clarification process. Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation private strategy session now.
Ready to choose a niche, but not sure where to start?
Ready to choose your niche, but not sure where to start? Then review your clients. Your current clients offer clues about who you ought to work with. Who’s fun and easy? Who’s difficult and demanding? Figure out the specific qualities and characteristics that your ideal and non-ideal clients possess.
Three Client Measuring Steps to Choose Your Niche
These 3 steps will help you choose your niche.
1. Grade Your Clients
Review every one of your clients and grade them A, B, C, D, and F. Who is it that you love working with most? Who do you dread? Whose middle of the road?
Focus on the A clients. What qualities do they share?
Now, compare the common traits for the B clients.
Then review the C, D, and F groups.
2. Create Your Criteria
Ready to choose a niche? Your current clients offer clues about who you ought to work with. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Next, list the specific qualities your A and B clients possess. One of my clients realized he didn’t have any A or B clients. Describe the qualities and characteristics that deeply matter to you. Consider these suggestions:
Ease of working with the client. Are they receptive to your suggestions? Do they follow your recommendations? Are they engaged and ask questions?
How much you like them. Be honest with yourself. You prefer working with some clients more than others. Consider what you like most about those clients.
Profit base. Is the work you’re doing profitable? How quickly can you solve their problem? Some clients may be easier to work with than others. Which clients constantly interrupt your workflow with text messages, emails and phone calls? There’s a hidden cost to these interruptions – are they worth it?
Buying frequency. Evaluate how often clients use your services. A one-time project? A monthly retainer? Or periodic checkups or updates. Do you prefer steady long term projects or a variety of small, quick projects?
Referrals to others. Do your clients spread the word around about how great you are? Client referrals add value beyond the obvious. They contribute to your business growth. Who constantly sends people your way? Who talks about how great you are on social media?
Source of contact. How do your best clients find out about you?
Prompt payment. Chasing after money is costly. That time could be better spent elsewhere. Who pays on time and who is constantly late?
Maybe your list has different criteria. Write down the qualities that matter most to you.
Review every one of your clients and grade them A, B, C, D, and F. Who is it that you love working with most? Who do you dread? #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Review every one of your clients and grade them A, B, C, D, and F.
3. Review Your Client Scores
You’re starting to realize which clients are a great fit for your business. Now it’s time to make decisions about your lower grade clients.
Transformation possibility. As you review your lower grade clients, consider whether C clients can transition into A or B clients.
Fire your non-ideal clients. It’s time to free yourself from clients that put a drag on your business. Start with the F clients and gradually work up to the C clients. The clients at the bottom of the pile rarely turn into A or B clients.
Cherry pick your clients. Start to replace the F’s, D’s and C’s with new A and B clients. Shift your client base to high-performing clients that are easy to work with, value your service and bring in a solid income stream.
Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of holding onto non-ideal clients for too long. Those clients, however, drain your energy, require additional time and lower your profitability. So you’ll want to gradually weed them out.
Continually raise the bar on your clients. Perform this grading exercise every six months. Your ideal client will change over time; it’s an evolutionary process. Plus, you’ll notice specific qualities that you overlooked the first time you graded your clients.
Transition to High-Grade Clients
Consider this a process of simple math, its subtraction and addition. As you let go of non-ideal clients, you add great clients who highly value your service.
As you let go of non-ideal clients, you add great clients who highly value your service. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Here’s an advanced tip: People spend time with like-minded people. It’s likely your A clients know others who share similar qualities and can send great referrals to your business. Go ahead and ask them where they hang out.
Consider attending their industry conferences and events.
Ready to grow your business? You’ve heard all the arguments about choosing a niche market. However, concerns of less business and lower revenue keep you from making that decision.
What if that wasn’t true? A specialized focus actually attracts clients who want you to solve their problem. Plus, they are willing to pay for your expertise.
You may argue that you’ll become bored. As a generalist, you’re dealing with a wide range of issues. Well, you’d be surprised at the rich variety that appears once you choose a niche.
9 Reasons Holding Back Can Stunt Your Business
Change – either you love it or resist it. Do you dig your heels in and over-think all the options? Or do you plunge in ready to figure things out as you go?
Change involves risk simply because it’s something you’ve never done before. Let’s look at the concerns about choosing a niche market.
1. Fear About Choosing a Niche Market
Perfectionists worry “What if I choose the wrong one?” Your fear of making mistakes and being wrong keeps you stuck.
There’s good news. Basically, you need to start somewhere. If you’re first choice isn’t the best fit, you can change direction.
Once you choose, you will continue to fine tune, adjusting your services as you grow. You’ll discover that as your expertise evolves, your ideal niche continues to evolve as well. With time, you become THE solution.
2. Loss Aversion – Fear of Losing Clients
Many entrepreneurs get concerned that they’ll lose clients once they choose a niche. You wonder, “What if there’s someone I can help that isn’t in my niche? Then I’ll lose that business.” In the big picture, yes, some potential clients may not realize you can help them.
Many entrepreneurs get concerned that they’ll lose clients once they choose a niche. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
On the other hand, when you focus on solving distinct problems for your ideal client, then your clients become raving fans. They tell others about you, leading to new referrals. Your business grows organically because you solve their unique needs.
3. Fear of Boredom
As entrepreneurs, we love challenges. It’s partly why concerns about boredom arise. However, it’s difficult to realize the rich choices available within a niche when you’re simply viewing it from the surface.
Remain open-minded. New opportunities gradually emerge because you’re now a specialist. You get to cherry pick your ideal clients. In addition, you get to choose which opportunities to pursue and which to pass by.
Women experience Imposter Syndrome more than men.
4. Imposter Syndrome
Specializing can feel intimidating. Privately you may wonder, “Who am I to call myself an expert? I don’t have the credentials or enough time in the field yet.”
Professionals at all levels of expertise experience concerns about being called a fraud–even Oprah talks about it. According to research, women experience Imposter Syndrome more than men.
Don’t undervalue what you have to offer. You’ll consistently gain experience and fine-tune your skills. No matter what, always maintain integrity. And, educate your niche about the problem you solve.
Your clients care more about what you know, than what you do. By the way, confidence is over-rated. That’s not what gets your started with something new.
Rather, tap into your courage. Connect with the transformation you offer. Believe this is the right choice, even if it’s uncomfortable. Realize that confidence develops over time.
5. You Don’t Know How to Start
Just do it! Are you unsure of who you serve and what to offer? Then decide who you don’t want as a client and what you no longer want to do.
3 things to consider when choosing your niche market
List three things you enjoy most.
Identify your 5 favorite clients.
What do you enjoy most about them?
This gets you thinking about a potential niche market. Awareness starts to develop about the solutions you solve and who you want to do business with. Then use social media and in-person networking to reach your target audience. It’s already starting to happen.
6. Value and Identity
Entrepreneurs place too much emphasis on what they do. Your clients actually value what you know more than what you do.
Entrepreneurs place too much emphasis on what they do. Your clients actually value what you know more than what you do. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
This identity shift positions you as an expert instead of a technician. Share about the problem you solve and how your clients benefit from that solution. This begins to separate you from the competition.
And as an industry expert, you can charge higher fees. Instead of saying yes to anyone that wants to work with you, you choose to only work with ideal clients who value your knowledge. It’s an important step toward building your ideal business.
7. Rejection Aversion
You like making people happy, you avoid controversy, and it’s important that people like you. Because of that, you say “yes” to everyone. Because of that, you’re spread in too many directions which dilutes your focus. Basically, you remain a jack-of-all-trades instead of an expert in your field.
Fear of saying “no” is highly common among service based entrepreneurs. Not only does this prevent you from working to your strengths, it also limits your income.
Decide to set some boundaries about who you serve and what you do. Then gracefully let non-ideal clients know that you’re not the best fit for them. Go ahead and connect them to someone who would appreciate that referral.
Choosing a niche market feels risky.
8. Risk Reluctance
No one else you know has chosen a niche. Why should you? As a result, you question this move. The last thing you want is pushback or clients challenging your decision.
Yes, it may feel risky at first. Your thoughts that you’re limiting yourself only delay your decision. Shift your focus. Realize there’s more than enough.
It’s your business. You get to decide how you want to grow your business.
9. Money Blocks
Up to 57% of all entrepreneurs undervalue their services.
Blocks around money and worth keep you stuck. This limits your income. Rather than flow, a block exists.
Imagine setting yourself free from those limiting beliefs. Notice what thoughts you would have to let go of in order to own your expertise and acknowledge the impact you make.
Awareness is the first step. Discover your money blocks. Where do you feel unworthy or don’t want to be considered greedy? If you were to double, or even triple your rates, what fears would arise?
Focus On Your Expertise
Now is the time to consider making the shift. Take the steps to develop a niche business based on your expertise. People need your service.
And yes, the right people will invest in your business. How long have you been undercharging and minimizing your value?
If you find yourself holding back from choosing a niche market, review the key obstacles.
Seriously consider which ones apply to you. In my years as a therapist and business coach, I’ve helped entrepreneurs connect with their value. Take advantage of a free consultation. Go ahead and book yours now.
Do you feel spread too thin? Then choose a niche market.
Do your clients fully benefit from all your skills and knowledge? Research reveals that most entrepreneurs undervalue their expertise. Although it seems counter-intuitive, serving a select population significantly raises your value. Plus, it’s easier for new clients to find you. Here’s what you need to choose a niche market.
Sometimes a niche population chooses you. You gradually notice that most of your clients come from a specific industry or share a similar issue. Either you already built a reputation because you previously worked in this industry or your clients came from word of mouth referrals.
More often than not, you decide on a specialty rather than a niche choosing you. Committing to that choice is one of the toughest things to do.
So you wonder:
Will I eventually get bored?
What if I choose the wrong niche?
I can serve other markets, but they won’t realize I can help them.
What if my credentials get challenged? I don’t have enough experience with that population to call myself an expert.
Another business is already serving that niche, is there enough for both of us?
Omri Erel on Product2Market considers brand loyalty one of the major benefits of developing a niche market. Your clients know you provide what they need.
5 Top Reasons to Choose a Niche Market
Specialization is an easy way to earn more money without additional time spent working. This strategic move allows you to charge a premium rate for your services.
Specialization is an easy way to earn more money without additional time spent working. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
1. Set Your Business Apart
Let’s face it, generalists constantly compete for clients. That’s because the only differentiator between you and another provider is time and cost. Both of those things are commodities, which makes it difficult for your ideal client to recognize your value.
In the beginning you may experience a feast and famine cycle. During the dry spells your phone stops ringing. That’s when you’ll wonder how your business can possibly survive.
Emphasize the ideal solution you offer your niche market.
Things do get better. Clarity emerges once you choose your niche market. You become crystal clear about the specific solutions you offer clients.
That’s exactly what Kim did. She decided to offer bookkeeping and tax solutions for realtors. Now she knew exactly where to network.
She started attending realtor association meetings. One specific realtor couldn’t keep her bookkeeping records up to date any longer since she’d gotten so busy.
When it was her turn to speak, Kim didn’t talk about the fact that she does Quickbooks Online. That was too vague. Instead she shared her solution for busy realtors. She works with them to increase their income, reduce their tax bill and maintain their bookkeeping.
This particular realtor introduced herself after the meeting. Kim’s message got her attention because Kim described her exact situation. This realtor was searching for a bookkeeping solution that would free up her precious time.
Furthermore, realtors know other realtors. They flock together. Pretty soon word-of-mouth had other busy realtors knocking at Kim’s door.
Kim’s clear message stood apart from other bookkeepers. She no longer competed with the generalists who offer a broad spectrum of solutions. Eventually, Kim let go of 30% of her old clients that no longer fit her services; plus, she doubled her income.
2. Clients Are Attracted to Specialists
What about when you’re seeking a service? Do you prefer someone who offers a number of solutions to a variety of different areas? Or someone who specializes in your exact problem?
You may save money up front with a generalist. Sometimes, however, the problem doesn’t really get fixed. Then you need to hire another company to clean up after the first job.
Value based pricing emphasizes your expertise instead of your time. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Typically, a specialist offers a less frustrating experience and completes the job faster. Value based pricing emphasizes your expertise instead of your time. Although it’s a higher rate, it’s more cost effective in the long run.
Shorten Your Sales Cycle
Solving a specific burning need shortens your sales cycle. Potential clients either view your business as the solution to their problem. Or trust you to achieve a specific result.
3. Identify a Specific Set of Problems
Ready to choose a niche market?
List the top specific problems for that niche market.
Which do you solve?
Now identify what’s possible once you’ve solved their problem.
What new problem arises once the first one’s fixed?
Know your solution for the new problem.
Now you’ve identified their unique concerns, how you fix those things and the benefit of getting the job done. Clients crave to feel understood. Once they know the problem is getting expertly resolved, they’re free to move on.
4. You Are the Solution
Some entrepreneurs claim they specialize. However, their messaging is all over the place. Their website and marketing materials discuss a variety of things that don’t apply to that specific population. It’s like they said they specialized, but didn’t really commit to that particular niche.
Well, a confused mind doesn’t buy. Instead those potential clients move on. They continue searching for a business that specifically solves their problem.
Create a clear message which describes the realities for that niche. Emphasize the ideal solution you offer. Then teach them how you can help.
5. Meet Exact Needs to Make Your Business a Success
Become keenly familiar with the ins and outs of your niche. You gain expertise with each and every client you serve. Plus, you’ll discover sub-niches within your niche. This starts to distinguish your business as the go-to resource, becoming a trusted advisor.
Success leaves clues. As you create success for your clients, you build success for your business. Then business starts seeking you out instead of you chasing new clients.
Choose a niche market. Then stop being a best kept secret.
Find Your Niche Clients
Once you choose a niche market and identify your ideal client, it’s time to stop being a best kept secret. Go out and let them know you exist.
Identify where potential clients hang out. Then start to offer solutions.
Online groups and chats. Participate, listen to questions, answer questions and become known in the community.
Network locally. Go to association meetings. Meet your potential clients face to face. Offer to speak at meetings.
Social media. Write articles and post them, especially in groups and communities where your ideal client hangs out.
Don’t expect clients to magically find you. You have to give first before you can expect to receive. It’s okay to freely give information. Go ahead and give away rich information, because you won’t ever give away everything you know. Give enough and your niche market will seek you out because they’ll resonate with your message.
Be the Niche Solution
Now that you understand the top reasons to specialize, you may discover that you possess several areas of expertise. Deciding which area is the right one for your target niche is a balance between your skill set and your mindset.
As a business coach, I can help you sort through the options. Schedule your free Grow Your Ideal Business consultation. We’ll discuss how to strategically choose a niche market.
Weed out beliefs that interfere with your business success.
Success leaves clues. Well, challenges leave clues as well. And business challenges are often symptoms of something more significant. An underlying cause exists. Rise above those challenges to successfully grow your small business.
This is similar to weeding your garden. Yes, you can pull the part of the weed that’s above the surface. However, the root remains vibrant under the soil. Without digging out the root, those weeds eventually return.
Don’t expect new technology or additional certifications to completely resolve your challenges. Those simply relieve the symptoms.
So what’s the root of those problems? Frequently, we are the bottleneck to our success. What you believe and how you think influence what you do (or don’t do).
Are you ready to successfully grow your small business? Then discover why it sometimes feels difficult.
Assertion. Uncover hidden thoughts that keep you stuck.
Association. Discover the relationship between that belief and how it’s impacting your business.
Achieve. Imagine what would be different if you no longer had that belief.
Alternative. Explore alternative beliefs which are better suited for your current reality.
Action. Test out a new belief. What’s possible with that new belief?
Rise above the odds
Consider all the entrepreneurs you know who persevered despite difficult circumstances. They’re like the underdogs in sports who refuse to give up. Determination pushes them forward, despite the odds.
Many brilliant entrepreneurs possess the skills to succeed, but lack faith. These are the ones we never hear about.
You formed specific beliefs about your performance, abilities and goals. They all serve a purpose. Some boost you up. Whereas, others hold you back.
It’s neither good nor bad; there is no judgment. Beliefs inform our reality. Some of your beliefs, however, no longer serve you. That’s true for me, too.
What do you do when you realize that a belief is holding you back? You either decide to do what’s necessary, although it’s uncomfortable. Or you retreat and stick with what’s familiar.
Tough it out
Entrepreneurs, in general, are fiercely independent. So they decide to tough things out on their own. This approach, however, doesn’t always lead to quick, long lasting results. That’s when it feels hard.
Entrepreneurs, in general, are fiercely independent. So they decide to tough things out on their own. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
So let’s see how this works.
Allan’s following in his parents footsteps. “My parents continue to own a business together. And now it’s my turn. If this doesn’t work, I’d be letting them down.”
Growing his accounting firm has been difficult. In a recent conversation, he admits, “I’m overwhelmed with everything on my plate. The workload is exhausting. My monthly billing is behind. And sometimes I can’t do things with my family because of deadlines.”
The day-to-day challenges consume him. Because he constantly works, Allan’s tired – and it’s not even tax season.
He created a job for himself; work’s no longer enjoyable.
Allan admits, “I have a hard time saying no. I don’t want to disappoint my clients.”
Small business growth is possible without additional work
Perfectionism plays a role. We sketched out the work he enjoys most and the least enjoyable parts. Clearing his plate seemed appealing, but was it possible?
nal client care and doesn’t want to upset his clients.
We devised a letter that informed his clients about changes in his business focus. Plus, he offered to refer them to other accounting professionals.
Next, we structured a plan to specialize. The idea that growth is possible without additional work intrigued him. Overall, he remained skeptical, and hopeful.
Reducing his workload, and getting some things off his plate, was the priority. This strategy we outlined, however, continued to be highly uncomfortable. Before any action was taken, we addressed each of his concerns.
With the new focus, and support, Allan’s business started to transformed. Enthusiasm gradually replaced burnout.
Fact and imagination
Like Allan, you can develop the mindset to successfully grow your small business.
He learned how his thoughts and emotions combine to form a specific belief. Basically, beliefs stem from life experiences.
Your brain wants to make sense out of highly emotional experiences. So a story gets created that combines fact and imagination. That’s how events and environment influence your beliefs.
A variety of things and people influence us. In its essence, beliefs offer a unique perspective about where you fit in the world.
Over time your beliefs go underground, becoming sub-conscious. Although you’re no longer consciously aware of them, they guide each decision and action you take.
Some beliefs eventually become obsolete. You forget they exist and never modify them. This causes you to feel stuck, sabotage your success or retreat from risky opportunities.
Pay attention. Start to recognize when this occurs. Then identify which belief caused you to feel that way. Consider whether that belief still holds true. Or maybe it’s time to modify that thought.
Change is possible
By the way, beliefs and reality are two different things. Beliefs are not purely based upon fact or logic, although they feel very true.
Beliefs are not purely based upon fact or logic, although they feel very true. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Fortunately, change is possible. Some beliefs can easily be changed. Deeply rooted beliefs take more time. Regardless, the process starts with a decision.
As a sports psychologist turned business coach, I realize success occurs from the inside out. It’s possible to grow a successful business without the inner struggle. That’s when your focus shifts from the impossible to the possible.
Focus is golden. More is accomplished when you’re laser focused and not battling distracting thoughts. Your business success depends on you rising above the noise.
Think about it, when was the last time you believed you couldn’t do something and it proved true? Was there a different time when you believed you could reach a new milestone, and you did? What was different about these two situations?
Do you appear successful, but realize you’re holding back? You know you aren’t reaching your full potential. Working longer hours is rarely the solution.
By releasing the limiting beliefs, your performance soars. It is that simple. If you are reading this and any of this feels true for you, then get in touch with Loren for a complimentary strategy session. Let’s talk about how you can successfully grow your small business.
5 Ways to Determine if Working Together is a Match
The success rate for couples in business together is higher than traditional businesses.
The success rate for couples in business together is higher than traditional businesses. A whopping 38 million people work from home in the United States. And 3 million of U.S. small businesses are couple-owned. Why not the two of you?
Owning a business with your spouse can seem like a sexy, appealing idea. You’ll spend more time together. No more commuting. Your expenses are lowered. That’s all true.
The Downside for Couples in Business Together
On the flip side, growing a business together can easily strain your marriage. Simply because you are working side-by-side doesn’t mean it’s easier. Running a business together is hard work and often requires long hours, particularly during the start-up phase.
Do some pre-work to get on the same page about key concerns before you take the plunge. Are you both equally committed to the business? Do you share similar expectations? What is required to successfully grow your business? Who’s the visionary and who’s the voice of reason?
Don’t overlook operations and space. Home-based businesses have lower overhead and less start-up costs. Can the two of you work that closely together?
Since you’re the boss you can flex your schedule. It doesn’t have to be a traditional 9 to 5. If you don’t share a similar work style, then agree on some type of schedule to provide structure.
The Right Mindset
Don’t overlook your mindset. It will be tested. Growth includes ups and downs. The start-up phase can feel like your kayaking down Class 5 rapids. A solid mental, emotional, and physical outlook prevents you from quitting too soon.
By the way, working with your spouse will not save your marriage. Especially, during high pressure moments. Adding business stressors to an already rocky marriage does not fix things. In fact, many couples in business together engage a coach or therapist to work things through.
Many couples in business together engage a coach or therapist to work things through. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
What seems like a great fit for other couples in business together may end up as your worst nightmare.
Sometimes your personal life will seep into your business hours.
Set some ground rules before you start.
Decide on boundaries.
Set up a workable space for each of you.
Set aside time to spend together as a couple.
Plan time apart for self-care.
Periodically review and adjust so your work life doesn’t consume the rest of your life.
5 Tips for Couples in Business Together
If you both love working in business together, then check out these five tips.
Define your role. Figure out your business roles. Where are you under-qualified? Or overqualified? Do your skills compliment your spouse’s? Discuss expectations. And realize there are some things you can’t anticipate until you get started. Get super clear about your roles in the business to avoid frustration, resentment or misunderstandings.
Open communication and trust are essential. Can you discuss problems openly without being defensive? Consider how well you receive feedback. Any marital issues, like jealousy, need to be set aside during work hours. Don’t fool yourself – employees, contractors, and customers will pick up on your strained relationship. Plus, they’ll probably go somewhere else to avoid the tension.
Fix your marriage. Sometimes your personal life will seep into your business hours. Keep in mind that a business together does not fix a rocky marriage. This is similar to couples who start a family to save the marriage. Therefore, a marital therapist may be a wise investment.
Consider long days together. If you’re used to a 9 to 5, then honestly consider if the two of you can be together day in and day out. Some marriages thrive on separation, space, and alone time. Think this one through. Plan ways to nurture your independence while still working together. This reduces relationship strains.
Who is the ultimate boss? My experience from working with couples in business together is that someone needs to have the final say. You can consult with one another. However, making all decisions together doesn’t typically work. Define those lines. Figure out who has the domain over a specific area. Then respect those boundaries. Clear boundaries and respect are critical, at work and at home. Without specific boundaries, your spouse may undermine your decision, causing things to get messy.
Frank and Open Communication Before You Take the Leap
First, answer these five questions separately. Next, compare your responses. If gaps exist, then find common ground. You may realize that going into business together is not the answer.
Growing a business together while remaining in a loving relationship is challenging. You need a realistic mindset. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Growing a business together while remaining in a loving relationship is challenging. You need a realistic mindset, a willingness to be flexible and ready to make concessions.
If you are working in business together and facing growth challenges, I can help you with those things. It’s possible to build a business that supports your lifestyle instead of one where your marriage becomes sacrificed. A solution exists. Schedule your complimentary strategy session.