I opened Content & Creativity with Rhonda in 2015, and in our seven years in business, I’ve met countless business owners who have companies both big and small. One thing I have noticed is that many people are in business, but few people own their business.
The distinction is clear: some people in business work on autopilot, IN their business but not ON their business. They think what’s worked before will always work. On the other hand, successful business owners are adaptable and highly engaged in their companies. There are key differences in these types of businesspeople that determine the growth of the business. If you’re afraid that you’ve lost your entrepreneurial spark, here are some ways to reengage with your business and own it.
1. Don’t be afraid to self-promote.
Nothing says “I’m not confident in the work I provide”, quite like a business owner who is afraid to promote. As an entrepreneur, you need to be comfortable and willing to be at the forefront of your business’s promotional efforts. You are the main spokesperson. Your expertise, concept, service, or whatever it is that you offer, is the reason you’re doing what you do. People often mistake business self-promotion for posting personal stories on social media. That is not the case. Yes, it may involve showing people your face every once in a while, but it doesn’t need to be that personal if you don’t want it to be. What people are really interested in is learning why you started this business, what unmet need were you attempting to fulfill, and why you love doing the work you do. Every successful business has a human component, and if you hide your story behind a curtain of silence, your business feels inauthentic.
I make it a habit to repost something from the Content&Creativity Facebook page, and even now - thanks to the abysmal Facebook algorithm – some friends in my network are just now discovering what I do. But that’s exactly why I share these posts! You never know who in your circle might need your help, or if they know someone else who does. Who knows, the next great project might fall into your lap!
2. Actively and genuinely engage with your community
Marketing, social media, and owning your business is not a one-way street. In order to expand your network and strengthen connections, you need to enthusiastically engage with prospects, customers, and even other business owners.
For example, Rhonda and I have joined many local Facebook groups. We engage with posts every day, and if we see someone requesting recommendations for a certain service, we will tag a business we believe does great work. Engaged business owners we recommend would then respond to our comment and reach out to the person directly instead of waiting for the lead to magically appear. It’s not often that you know from a Facebook post how desperate a prospect might be, but demonstrating that you are quick to respond is always a great sign of a business owner in control of their process.
Another key point: Interacting with other businesses does not detract from yours. You can focus on complementary businesses, or if you’re a commission-based entrepreneur such as a realtor, it’s great to establish ALL types of connections in your service area. Savvy business owners make a habit of creating a network of reputable businesses that they can refer clients to as needed. Becoming a trusted source of knowledge beyond the service you provide to the client is an invaluable tool.
3. Optimize your prospect-to-happy-customer pipeline
Do you have a proven system on how to reach out to prospects? Is the messaging tailored to how the prospective customer finds your business? Do you have a review gathering system for after the job is done? These are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about how a prospect is led down the buyer’s journey. Every step of the way, the customer needs to have a way to connect with you, ask questions, and even let you know how you’re doing. This can deepen the connection between you and the customer providing a lifelong connection that will broaden your network.
4. Be open to criticism, critique, and new ways of doing things.
What’s worked before for you will not always be true. I know this fact after working in social media for the better part of a decade. I simply don’t manage social media the way I used to. If I did, it wouldn’t work.
Business owners that adapt to the changing world we live in are the ones that survive. The answer to the question “How am I doing?” can only be revealed when looking outwards and taking the answers to heart. The best way to gather this information is through online reviews and customer surveys. Customer feedback can be very illuminating, people might like an aspect of your process that you often don’t think about. With a more informed idea of how your customers perceive you and your business, you can create stronger marketing messaging to attract more like-minded prospects.
In the event you receive a negative review, you must make it right with the customer. Do it publicly, too. People want to see that your business will make it right if something goes wrong. After you’ve rectified the situation, think about how you can avoid these problems in the future. It’s not always about what you did, but how you make people feel in this moment which is the key to showing you care about your customers and the work you provide.
5. Stop relying solely on referrals
I see this scenario a lot: a person in business who does zero self-promotion, zero community engagement and is basically a ghost in the local business scene. The only work that they get is through referrals friends might throw their way. While I know some of the best clients are referrals, that shouldn’t be your only source of customer acquisition. Eventually, the referral river will run dry and you will be scrambling to find new business with half-baked and slap-dash marketing efforts. Start and maintain a marketing plan even if you’re “busy”. Let’s face it, you could always use more work, right? Why not scale up your marketing to reflect that?
6. Know when to outsource work
A hard lesson to learn as a business owner is that you’re not meant to do every aspect of your business. Personally, this has been one of my biggest hurdles to clear. If your hands are busy doing every little menial task, your business will suffer. Think of it this way: Being a skilled plumber doesn’t mean you can do your own accounting, invoicing, marketing, or be your own receptionist. Building a team of professionals can help free you up to do the job you do best, and also provide some semblance of that elusive work/life balance.
Being a business owner isn’t for everyone. It can be a very difficult, lonely road at times. If you’re feeling burnt out or running on fumes, I hope that these tools can help you reconnect with your business and remind you why you started this journey in the first place.
It’s good practice to periodically call on an unbiased source to reassess how you market your business, and Content & Creativity is here to help. We will assess your current position, create a blueprint for growth, and give you a step-by-step action plan to achieve your goals. With over 65 years of combined experience in marketing, advertising, and content creation, we will share our wealth of knowledge, unique perspectives, and creative solutions that have resulted in success for many of our clients over the years. Give us a call at 610.937.5187, and learn more about us at https://www.contentandcreativity.com/