One of the most important exercises you need to do when starting a business is to figure out who your customer is and what they want. Traditionally, that would have been an exercise in market research, and it was sometimes hit or miss. These days, there are far better ways to tap into your customers’ desires.
I’m going to talk to you about one of the most accurate methods available, and I’m going to introduce you to some easy action steps that you can take for your business today.
If you’ve been using Facebook for a while to promote your business, then you probably know that Facebook is putting considerable effort into filtering page content to its users, which means you have to be smarter than ever to ensure your followers see your posts. If this is news to you, check out a post I wrote last year on Facebook engagement.
However, what you might not know is that as of January this year, Facebook has rolled out a new change that’s going to make it even tougher for businesses to market to their customers. Here’s what you need to know.
Let me ask you a question:
What have you achieved today on your business?
It seems like an innocent question. If entrepreneurs have one thing in common, it’s that we’re dedicated to our cause, so I’m sure your day has been filled with a variety of business tasks.
But working on your business, and achieving something with your business, are two different things. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way, and it’s one I want to share with you in this post.
The rapid growth of new technology is a real blessing for us entrepreneurs. Running a business online is just getting easier and easier. When I first started working at digital agencies back in 2006 it took months to develop a website, weeks or months to add new features to it, and web design required heavy input from someone hugely skilled in Photoshop. Can you imagine how frustratingly slow it would have been back in those days to adapt your business to an ever-changing marketplace?
I’m always on the lookout for new tools, resources and apps that are designed to make the life of the entrepreneur easier. Here are ten that I’ve been really excited to discover (and no, I’m not affiliated with any of them):
I’m not one to typically write about ‘soft’ topics like emotions. But this post is close to my heart because it’s something I have struggled with. And I know from speaking to customers and from speaking to associates that it is far more common that people realize, even if we don’t want to admit to it. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed. I want to talk about what it feels like to be overwhelmed at the start of your business journey, why it can be so damaging to your progress, and what you can do about it.
I see lots of articles about how to increase your email list, and how it can rapidly grow your business. I see the same messages from marketing gurus day in day out, the same promises made (how to grow your list to 1000! 3000! 10000!), many similar statistics quoted. Whilst growing a list is important, much of this discussion seems to overlook a really important factor when it comes to email marketing:
If your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, then your strategy isn’t working
I call it the website launch trap. It’s a problem many entrepreneurs fall into: they spend time and money building their perfect website, fine-tuning their product offering, getting traffic, and then…..wait a minute.
Where are my customers?
It can be so frustrating to an entrepreneur who has put their heart and soul into creating something from scratch. You know you have a fantastic product. You really believe in what they are doing. But people just aren’t buying it. And the longer this goes on, the more you start to doubt yourself:
Am I in the wrong business?
Is my product just a failure?
I truly believe words can be powerful motivators. So if you want 2015 to be your year of positive change, let the words in these 100 quotes guide you forward:
1. If you dream it, you can do it – Walt Disney
2. Don’t look back. You’re not going that way. – Anon
3. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering. – Anon
Running an online business can seem overwhelming at times. As an entrepreneur, you wear many different hats. So it’s easy to get distracted from task to task. When that happens, chances are that you aren’t pushing your business forward as much as you could be.
So how do you stay focused? Well, one of the best things you can do for your business from the very outset is to have a clear plan ahead. Decide on the most important tasks, determine their priority, and add them into your calendar. An effective way to get this done is to write out a 1 month, 3 month and 12 month action plan. The 1 month plan sets out your immediate high priority tasks. Your 3 month plan gives a broader list of things you must do in the next 3 months. And your 12 month plan concentrates on bigger tasks that are going to help you expand your business.
Occasionally, a Facebook friend will send me a link: please like my Facebook page. I hate getting those requests. Makes me sound mean-spirited, doesn’t it? But it’s really not. You see, if friends or family really want to succeed in business and want to use Facebook to help them promote it, then the last thing they need is for me to up the number of likes to their page.
Let me explain.