Business_advice_from_experts

Advice From 109 Bloggers and Entrepreneurs About Starting a Business

Starting a business is exciting. So. Many. Possibilities. Everyone has their own personal ‘why’  — family, more freedom, to travel more, or to be able to take more yoga classes. Either way, entrepreneurship offers a lot more than the 9 to 5 grind.

The best thing about  starting your own business, is that you have the ability to craft your own lifestyle. Want to be home more for your family? You can be. Want to travel to another country for an extended period? You can. Want to to learn how to do handstands in a daytime class? You can.

To help you decide whether you should ditch the 9-5 grind, , I asked 55 experts like Ramit Sethi, Marie Forleo, and Kimra Luna  to share their wisdom. They have some great advice about mindset shifts to actionable plans. If a certain quote resonates with you, be sure to tweet it out.

Marie Forleo 

‪Bonnie Gillespie 

‪Karina Mullen Branson 

‪Courtney Bowden 

Danielle LaPorte 

‪Kai-Ashley Clifford 

‪Carly Ringer 

Ramit Sethi 

Anna Coy 

Ni‪chole Sylvester 

‪Kim Julen 

Taylor Manning 

‪Nicte Cuevas 

Emma Combes 

Derek Halpern 

Stephanie Henson 

‪Christopher Lawrence Llewellyn Fleming 

Thea Orozco 

‪Brandyn Coe Randolph 

Nick Joannidis 

Mihai Alexandru Herman 

Dominique Valcourt-Gast 

‪Kimra Luna 

Valerie Baker 

‪Wendy Reese 

Jenny Shih 

Ulla Gaudin 

Tony D’Angelo 

‪Naiana Miranda 

Alexa Williams Meisler 

Melissa Llarena Diaz 

Natalie Rose Williams 

Nicole Vahlkamp 

Thomas Parsons

Kate Doster 

‪Sarah Mueller 

‪Sahar Gosain 

‪Julia Hook 

‪Lisa Murray 

‪Deborah Lange 

‪Tony Mariotti 

‪Ryan Stewart

Lisa Rehurek 

Katie Ashley 

Jess Bahr

Sarah Masci 

‪Sara Bender 

Chana Rae 

‪Kathy Nolan Butler 

‪Meka Sherisse West 

‪Elaina Veveakis Narvaez 

Casey Lightbody 

‪JessicaLynn Starling 

‪AnYes Van Rhijn 

‪Andrea Anderson 

‪Amanda Thomason 

‪Donna Brown 

Debbie Platt Janoff 

Katie Daniels Dunne 

‪Kristen J. Bates

Gena Shingle Jaffe 

‪Katy Saer Liv Shanti 

Lindsey Germono Glodt 

‪Gemma Stow 

Tamara Paterson 

‪Denise DT 

Tammy Guest 

Laura Ciel 

‪Hanna Saar 

‪Crystal Curran 

‪Rosalind Smith 

Joanna Hunter 

Amber Annette 

Kim Bowen Bliss 

‪Yogi Tish 

‪Monica Rivera 

Kate Crocco 

Stacey Olson 

Corina Ferreyra 

Lydia Romero-Johnson 

Alicia Ying 

‪Eliana 

‪Alyssa Ostrander 

‪Kim Vertigo 

‪Amanda LeBlanc 

‪Simone Choy 

Stacy Flannery 

Lauren Roerick 

Anne Moutray Arndt 

‪Laura Clifton Poindexter 

‪Tracy Braime 

Vanessa Corazon 

‪Chizzy Igbokwe 

Danielle Miller 

‪Britney Gardner 

‪Nancy Greco 

Lisa Schmidt 

‪Bridget Irby 

Magaly LaMadrid 

stressed_she_cant_grow_business

To Grow Your Business Ask These 4 Important Questions

So, you just wrapped up an important project with one of your top clients, and after summarizing the entire project from start to finish you thought to yourself…”Damn, I did a great job getting results for my client”. Still, you cannot help by wonder why your business is not taking off more quickly. You stay awake wondering how to grow your business.

You have some great clients, who are paying you to do what you love doing and it seems that your offerings are aligned with your ideal customer. You may even be starting to pick and choose with whom you want to work, because you cannot handle all of the workload.

You know deep down in your heart that you are attracting your dream clients. So, what is up with this slow growth?

If you want to grow your business – I mean really grow your business by going from hero to the amazing superhero – then you need to change your mindset. It is only through shifting your mindset will you be able to create the business and life that you desire.

One of my favorite mentors once said to me…”Elinor, if you want to get outward results, you have to start looking within.” She was so right and she changed my perspective on business forever.

As entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, we try to become successful on our own, barely tolerating any advice and help. It’s not our fault, it is a ‘common denominator’ problem among all those who are starting out.

Listen to me when I tell you that you cannot EVER do everything yourself. Sometimes, it is hard to let go and trust others’ opinions and feedback. In my experience in helping women entrepreneurs, the most successful business owners are the ones that ask for help and advice.

If you are starting to have conversations with yourself about why your business is not growing revenue-wise, or why so many of your prospects are not converting to paid clients, it is time to roll up your sleeves and figure how to get the help you need.

Do you want your business to shift dramatically? Recruit your most valuable asset: your clients.

Grow Your Business With The Compass Technique

The compass technique’s main goal is to help you navigate and give your business a better sense of direction. Imagine trying to navigate through a forest with a map and a broken compass. You know where you want to go, but getting there is going to be a challenge.

Through the compass technique, you will gain clarity and an understanding of how to move your business forward by getting clear on your customer’s pain points, a solid understanding of your market’s keywords, and how to improve your offering.

For example, if most of your clients said, “I do not have time to invest in learning a new program”, then your entire communication about the program would be about how your program will save them time in the end. Another example is if most of your clients thought that SEO was too confusing, you could create an opt-in about implementing 3 simple SEO tactics that yield BIG results.

With the compass technique, you will no longer have to wonder how to communicate about your offering. You will know how to position yourself, with which keywords to optimize your landing page and you will know how to craft an offering that your customers will crave.

So how can you implement the compass technique?

The compass technique is about asking your clients a series of questions that will provide you with the feedback you will need, in order get a better sense of direction when navigating through a business growth strategy.

Thinking of good quality questions that provide useful feedback is a lot of work, but I am going to share with you the four questions that have helped me improve my business, as well as helped my clients increase sales. I am talking about generating sales from creating new partnerships, improving marketing ROI, increasing their top line revenue and improving bottom line profit.

Before I share with you the four questions that you should ask your customers, I have to address the elephant in the room. I want to discuss the dreadful, four-letter “F” word – that can make implementing the compass technique challenging – “FEAR”.

The Biggest Barrier to the Compass Technique

I could give you the list of questions, but the probability of you taking action on the questions would be slim. Changing your business requires changing your mindset – part of that mindset is overcoming your fear.

While working with my clients, I have found that many of them are afraid to implement the compass technique because they fear they will receive no response, or they will hear their product or service (on which they worked so hard) is not relevant – that they should have been focusing on something else.

It’s okay – this fear is common and is felt by every entrepreneur – do not let anyone tell you otherwise. It can be hard stomaching feedback about our work. I don’t care what anyone says, because negative feedback about our creativity hurts. It hurts deeply at times.

But the truth is that you need this type of feedback if you want to succeed, because it is only through this feedback that you will gain a better sense of direction for your business and hit your business goals. If it is not what you expected it to be, it does not mean you have failed. Try asking yourself, “What is the opportunity that is presented in front of me right now?” instead.

The four questions every business owner should ask his or her clients:

Why Did you Hire Me?

This question will help you understand where you need to meet your ideal clients, in their business or life situation.

For example, are they calling you after having tried numerous service providers, products or solutions? Or are you the first one they are trying? Did they experience a life-changing event recently that has prompted them to contact you?

The most important thing to understand is when your ideal clients are ready to ‘receive’ your services or products. Not every person who contacts you about your offering will be ready to receive it, and this is OK.

You want to be clear about the type of customers you are attracting. Finally, this question will also give you insight into your customers’ pain points, and you will know if you can solve them or not.

What Change Did I Create in your Life or Business?

Has anyone ever blatantly asked you, “Why should I work with you?”. If this has happened to you and you are anything like me when you started out, you were confident in one thing – stuttering! The first time a potential client asked me this question, I was asking myself the very same thing.

I didn’t feel like I was any different than anyone else coaching and creating marketing strategies, and it made me want to crawl out of my own skin. You know when I’m pushed out of my comfort zone, I take it as a sign of growth, and so I took note of this feeling and got to work. I figured out exactly how I can communicate my value in a way which will make sense to my ideal customer.

I came up with this question, because it helped me quantify the impact I had on someone’s business and life. How?

When I start working with my clients, we immediately define concrete goals at the beginning of our working relationship, so that we can measure the impact of their investment in me.

For example, if you are a graphic designer, and you and your client agreed that one of the goals should be to create stunning images that will increase the likes on her Facebook page by 10 per week, this is easily measureable.

You would then use this example when speaking to potential clients by saying, “I increase the likes (or other engagement metric) on my clients’ Facebook pages by an average of 10 likes per week, and as a result, they are able to grow their business because they have a bigger fan base that is interested in their offering.

It is one thing to say your service or product provides value and another to show it. Try to show your clients how your service or product will impact their life and business. The more intentional and specific you are, the bigger your impact will be. You must document this impact from the beginning and ask your clients for feedback consistently.

If You Were to Refer me, How would you Describe my Offering in Three Sentences?

If you are wondering how your business, offering, product or service is perceived by your clients – this question will get to the bottom of it. Are your clients receiving you as you expect your offers to be received? Will they refer other clients to you and if they do what will these potential clients expect from you?

You want the description of your service to be very similar to your values, strengths and passions.

For example, I would want my clients to say, “Elinor’s persistence had pushed me to explore unfamiliar strategies in order to increase my client base. She did this by gently leading me into uncomfortable situations, where I did not have time to be ‘afraid’ of exploring. Today, my client base has tripled from a year ago, and I continue to challenge myself by doing uncomfortable things in my business.”

What are My Top 3 Qualities?

This question will demonstrate how you shine through your work. Are you aligned with your strengths, values and passions?

TIP: Make a list of the top three strengths, as you perceive them. Then ask everyone you know what they believe are your top three strengths, including your clients.

Now, this may seem a little embarrassing or uncomfortable, but when I did this I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised by the number of people who responded, but also by the responses themselves. I had no idea people thought so highly of my skills and talents.

Any time you will leave your comfort zone, things will shift. What this did for me was that it gave me confidence and showed me that there was a huge gap between how I perceived my strengths and how others perceived them. I was able to fine-tune my messaging, my coaching program and to fully align how I serve my clients.

My Favorite Client Story: How a Baker Gained a Sense of Direction Using the Compass Technique

While I was working with a baker on her business, we implemented the compass technique by taking the initiative to better understand her existing clients.

My client learned that the important aspects of her products were completely different than she originally thought. She baked her cakes with a texture she thought was amazing, and she focused a lot of her time on how the product tasted.

However, she learned that her ideal clients were more interested in a different texture and were more concerned with the design and how her baked goods would be showcased on social media. Further, she had imagined that most people ordered one type of baked good over another and was focusing on mostly baking for private clients. She was astounded by the findings – she gained a sense of clarity, and fine-tuned her product’s pricing, offering, and positioning.

After implementing the compass technique, she was able to secure two partnerships with event companies that did the promotions for her to her ideal client. Also, she started launching workshops on a consistent basis, because this was an important touch point for her ideal client.

The compass technique has helped many of my clients achieve similar results and achieve the business goals they desire. What would it mean for your business to have a better sense of direction? Would it not be amazing to have other businesses and customers to promote your business for you?

So don’t waste another minute! Go ask your existing and past clients the questions above and note them down somewhere. Review everything they have said and see if there is a gap between what you expected to hear versus what they actually experienced with you.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.