Where do I start?

It's great when business is thriving and things are going well, particularly when you're implementing on a well-thought-out plan and you have clear markers to let you know whether or not things are on track. Is this how it's gone for you? Or is it a bit more like... You're careening along, clients are coming in, business is going well, but things are getting busier and you can't maintain this pace. You have let a few things slide... okay, more than a few... and you haven't looked at 'follow-up' in quite some time.

Some projects are grinding to a halt, but you still don't have time to take a step back and review your entire business plan (wait, did you even have one?) Well, where do you start? This is probably what keeps you up at night.

Where do you Start?

Honestly, no one can really tell you where to start. Established entrepreneurs tend to make decisions themselves, and rightly so, knowing that you have to live with the consequences. What I'll do to help, is present different places to start, before delving into the path that I chose, recently. Here goes:

IDEAL CLIENT  •  SALES FUNNEL  •  ENGAGEMENT PROCESS  •  PRICING & FINANCING NEEDS  •  EXISTING NETWORK  •  SERVICE CHANNELS  •  AUTOMATION TOOLS & SYSTEMS  •  STRATEGIC ALLIANCES

Again, this is not an exhaustive list of places to start, and they're not listed in any order. Decide based on what's 'bugging' you most, how your brain works or even what your latest 'group program' is focused on. They may overlap.

I've decided to start with my Sales Funnel. Whatever you do, if you tend to overthink things, give yourself 1 hour max, to brainstorm and decide. You can always revisit, later.

Sales or Value Funnel

The MBA and most businesses call it your 'sales funnel', but for those of you who don't like the word 'sales', perhaps a 'value funnel' sits a bit better. Whatever you call it, this is the way you build trust and cultivate relationships with those who will become your favourite clients. What does your sales funnel look like? I've approached it with three (3) streams in mind:

  1. Ideal Client (thanks, Lara Veltkamp @WatershedMktg, @Carol Schulte_)
  2. Media for Connection
  3. Funnel & Pricing

1. Ideal Client

Intrinsically, determine in a perfect world who you'd be working with. Narrow it down to your 'non-negotiables'. Is it your schedule, location, values (which ones, specifically), decision-maker or not, work flow or engagement process, other areas of alignment? Now:

  • Where do you find these people? They do exist. You just need to find them. 
  • Of those, where are the ones who know they need you, and can afford to pay your rates?
  • Of those, who can you most readily cultivate relationships with? Who are most accessible?

These are a few questions to start with. Look for actual answers. [20 minutes]

2. Media for Connection

Now, you're currently doing something to get clients - referrals, networking, speaking at conferences and events, forming strategic alliances, strategically doing all of these on social media. Perhaps you're doing something else entirely. Whatever it is, be honest about all the avenues you're likely to use most. Then, back to your clients?

  • What media do they use most when considering your offering? Conferences, social media?
  • What's the overlap in the media you use? Is it enough to reach and retain them?
  • How can you pull these media/channels together to streamline engagement?

Again, be very honest about this or it won't work. [20 minutes]

3. Funnel & Pricing 

Finally, put the media/channels in order, starting from where you'll first meet clients and ending with where they're likely to buy from you. This may/may not be channel dependent. Decide whether or not, for example, you want to:

  • Have webinars --> group sessions --> 1-on-1's. If you'll promote the next item at each.
  • Create a content calendar for blog, social media, e-news that follows your sales funnel.
  • Expand that content calendar to include your workshops, webinars, etc.

What will work for you? What will work for your clients? [20 minutes. The content calendar may take it's own hour. Give it it's time.] 

Want Some Support

Let's chat! Get tips on this and more on Successiory e-News (subscribe)Facebook, LinkedInTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest. e-Mail me, if you'd like to brainstorm, at crystal-marie@successiory.ca

Crystal-Marie S

(2016-Aug-18) On paper, my career began in 2001, spans Successiory (2009), my MBA from the Schulich School of Business (2010), two countries and several industries, including business strategy, social media consulting, environmental and engineering consulting, higher education and more (see LinkedIn). 

In 2015, I was nominated for Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) Awards,Entrepreneur of the Year and became an Amazon.ca bestseller on August 9th 2015. I spoke at 12 events in 2015 alone, including several GroYourBiz Advisory Boards, Bank of Montreal (paid), Iler Campbell’s Tools Conference and Toronto Public Libraries’ Small Business (sometimes paid) series. I think I love speaking!

On a personal note, I'm an MBA, entrepreneur, millennial, dancer, author and so much more yet, like you, I don't fit the stereotypes. After years of workaholism and the health and relationship losses that go with that lifestyle, I've stopped 'paying lip service' to terms like authenticity, self care and sustainability. My health scare pushed me into living them. Here's hoping I can inspire you to live and work better without learning the hard way. Welcome. Still curious? More here... www.successiory.ca/crystal-marie

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