I literally don't know what to do next. Am I capable of being a business owner?
I'm working full time trying to get my small business to attract customers. I think I have a good social network presence, but I'm finding it difficult to continue taking action and push forward. I find myself waiting for customers. I know that ain't gonna happen unless I take action every day.
Can you widen out your reach in some way? Are you just working with the same clients offering the same products
Can you look at offering your existing products to someone new? Or try out some new products with the existing customer base?
Being in business is going to require long term commitment and sustained efforts.
Not getting customers does pull you down and feel low at times.
Instead of trying to wait for them reach out to them.
For your skills there is always a demand .
Just keep at it and you will start getting leads.
Bonita Kay Summers has given an excellent answer. Let me help you with some specific tips. But first, let me narrate an incident I’ve been witness to about how business works.
A brilliant automotive engineer I knew of, left job, took loan, and started a small factory to build aluminum ingots for cars. His mistake was he had only one buyer but the latter promised to buy all he manufactured. Everything was okay till one day the buyer stopped buying, leaving the engineer with huge inventory. Now, this man didn’t know where to sell the stock. Enter my friend, a trader, who had very good knowledge of the market. Long story short, he made a huge killing by selling the engineer’s stuff in just 3 days, while the latter barely managed to cover his expenses.
Business in my opinion is simply fulfilling demands with supply. It is more important to know where the demand is, than possessing the supply.
Because when you know the demand, you can always buy supply and sell it to those who want it.
Identifying demand, or more precisely who your target buyer is, and being able to communicate with them is almost 75% of a successful business. The rest 25% is about figuring out how effectively and economically you can make the supply to meet the demand.
Let me now refer you to some interesting stats to suggest what path you can possibly take to come out of the situation you find yourself in.
The third chart in this article clearly shows that emailing is considered by 54% respondents as most effective and by 11% as most difficult. Next is website and blogs – 48% most effective, 23% most difficult.
Surprisingly, social media is considered most effective by 43% of respondents, but 49% considered it most difficult.
The conclusion is loud and clear. Start a website, create helpful contents, collect opt-ins, and email them regularly with tips and offers while also doing social media marketing.
Hope this helps. If I can be of any assistance, do get in touch with me.
If, as I assume, you are good at what you do, you should eventually succeed by simply identifying your weaknesses outside of your core service and finding solutions you can outsource or deploy. But I don't believe chasing clients is the way to do that unless you can make a good living with just a handful of regular clients.
I think Jeff R. did a great job of breaking down the marketing questions you should be asking yourself to build a marketing campaign. He has done more research than I have on your particulars, but it occurred to me that with your areas of expertise, those investigation firms he calls your competition may in fact be your A list of customers. If you can or do sell niche expertise to other investigation companies it would make your target market for advertising nice and small. For example you could reach the 400+ investigators with a direct mail piece multiple times on a very reasonable budget. If you do need to reach the masses directly, you will need a different medium. For a small business in a large market, Google Ads would likely be a better medium. It allows you to experiment with A/B testing to find the best keywords and ad text that translates into sales. And you can start with a small budget and increase the spending as the results improve and justify it.
From my perspective the number one reason small businesses fail is not enough advertising. For most businesses its far more important than social media. The top reasons I hear from owners is "I can't spend like my competitors because I don't have their sales". This leads to the "which came first - the chicken or the egg" argument. But unless they have a small monopoly, there is no doubt they have those sales because they advertise - they could not have grown to their stature otherwise. The second argument I hear is "I prefer word of mouth". I always reply to that the same way... The number one benefit of advertising is word of mouth. The ROI in that area far exceeds immediate sales. Advertising is word of mouth on steroids. Those who advertise most are the greatest believers in the power of word of mouth.
The second most common reason small businesses fail is poor quality of advertising. Some people believe having a weak ad is always better than having no ad at all, but weak ads can be very detrimental. You have no doubt seen ads where the only thing you took away is that the company looks unprofessional, low-end and you wouldn't trust them. But sometimes that terrible brochure is actually misrepresenting a very good product or service.
So advertise and advertise well. Don't fail just because no one knew you were out there.
Best of Luck,
Well, thats not what an Entrepreneur does. He can never wait for customers to knock doors. You need to reach out to customers and NOT WAIT for them to come to you. I don't know what business you are in right now, but I can say, only social media promotions may not be the right channel for your business success...you need to work on the traditional route as well.
Entreprenuers are some the multiverse,multi -talented and diverse people. They try to perform different roles at same time like they are the project managers,a risk taker, an accountant, a marketer and a salesman etc.
You need to first see whether you have capabilities like these then you can be running your own business.
If not, then probably since you have already invested in your business, you can rest as a Business Owner and hire a person or consultant to be the CEO of your company and take it to success.
Selling is not for everyone and I've found it to be very hard for amny people to accept rejection,,, My rule of thumb is:
10 calls=5 opportunities=close 3 you are batting 300 and they are Hall of Fame numbers.. Understand you have 7 rejections out of 10, are you OK with that?
In sales you must have the energy to keep pushing forward,,,, Market what you sell and Sell what you Market....Think Outside in....
Jim, Yes You are capable of being a successful business owner. When I started running the 10K + (Have not for some time now) but when I did a few years ago I noticed something that occured without fail.
It was this:
Feeling indomitable I would begin each session with gusto and drive. At about the 2KM mark my brains, heart and limbs will begin to have a conversation that went something like this:
"Josie, Girl what are You trying to do kill us? We cannot go an inch further".
I mastered this unruly bunch with sheer will power and tricking myself. I'd say to myself:
"Josie Surely You can run to the traffic lights". And when I get there I would not stop. I would say:
" Surely You can get to the top of the hill" and when I got to the top of the hill I would say:
" Surely You can get to the bottom of the hill" .. and so on and so on. What I noticed, and I have shared this obversation with other runners is that- this particular fight where You feel that You cannot move another inch - happens two places throughout the course. At the 2KM and at the 8 KM marks.
This, Jim, I have found is also true in buisiness. Its like the sages say "The darkest moments come before the dawn!"
You are about to get a breakthrough so re-calibrate and get back on the horse. Surround yoursefl with like-minded people who get it. Who understand the struggle and who would motivate You in unsure times and vice versa. Check out your local MeetUp groups. Those I have found to be very helpful.
Find motivational YouTube Videos that move You:
Some of my favorite are:
Les Brown - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyHMRwrS1pc
Jim Rohn- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFEqiDRwXcM
Also You may want to consider a coach who could help You get from idea to market in 1.2.3 steps!
I Am Wishing You Great Success Jim,
You got this! You can do this!
Bonita Kay Summers has an excellent answer. I echo her sentiments
You have received a wealth of information regarding your issue.
Why did you get into this business? If you have a strong enough Why it would pull you through. So take some time and really look at where you are and where you want to go. see and feel the process to get you there. Is this what you want?
If it is these are some things to think about:
With so many licensed Private Detective Agencies in Kansas the challenge is to differentiate your company in order to attract clients.
You may want to review your business plan - especially your SWOT - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Review your marketing strategy - who is your ideal customer and where do you find them. Since you are not selling essential services you need to employ new and revamp ways to attract clients:
- run some free sessions on what you do and the benefits for the client. This gives you a free list of persons you can send infor to. Keep their phone numbers so you can let them know when you are having more free sessions and they can also invite their friends and associates. Text marketing works well here. If you have an interest let me know.
- attend free presentations where you can meet persons who fall into your target market. Be specific on telling them what problems you solve but be interested in what they do also.
- offer to do free presentations at clubs, business staff meetings, parents meetings etc.
- send some flyers with what you do - use your testimonials - don't just deliver the flyers- Send in a colored envelope address to the head of the household or if it is a company address to the decision maker.
Review your resources - do you need additional human resources? Do a work flow chart - are there functions that can be outsourced? Do you need to upgrade your systems?
These are just some thoughts feel free to contact me if you believe I can help further.
I think you already have the answer: "I know that ain't gonna happen unless I take action every day." So, do you have a detailed action plan? And if yes, is it about the motivation or is it something else?
You seem to have answered your own question. Being a business owner means perseverance, hard and smart work, taking massive action, planning, marketing and networking on a continuous basis.
Ask yourself whether you are doing them effectively?
If not, are you capable an willing to do them?
I am working with someone in the exact same situation. The good news... having a 'day job' while getting a small business started takes some of the financial stress out of the effort - versus just having to get a small business going to make a living. It also gives you a chance to see if there is a market for your product/service before going 'all in'. The fact that you are not getting customers either means there is no market or that you are not marketing properly.
The downside is that getting a small business started will often take more than full time to do so. So things will be slower for sure. I am working with my client in the similar position to ensure there is a demand for his product and to make sure that his marketing is sharp and effective. People are so bombarded with ads these days that the message has to be more than just good... it has to be sharp as a razor.
I had an online training event last March on how to create KILLER marketing messages, and am doing one this week on how to put all the marketing pieces together in order to have a KILLER marketing campaign. If you have any interest, message me and I will give you information. And actually, if you want to watch a recording of the KILLER Marketing Message online event, you can go to this link and download it: http://bit.ly/MessageRecording
Building a business can be draining. Always keep the big picture in front of you. It allows you to take chances shift directions when things aren't going right. Reflect in what is working and what isn't. Research your competition. What are they doing right, what can you do better.
Are you in a viable business or are you chasing a pipe dream?
I would take the time to see where you are. From where you stared are you in a better place or at the starting gate. "Insanity is repeating the same expecting a different result". Albert Einstein
Sometimes we get engulfed in busy activities, which may not be productive. We need to change our habits when we see ourselves in these traps.
If you are happy with your progress push forward. Don't give up. Your reward can be around the next corner.
I wish you the best of success
Yes. You are capable of being a (successful) business owner... Because you asked for help.
Unsuccessful owners think that they are the smartest guy in the room.
It appears you have a marketing problem. If you provide details of your business, your value proposition, and your market segment, perhaps we can help.
Adding to Walter's advice which is critical for success which you should turn to a pro to do who knows how to get that segment right is this:
One key issue is recognizing what you do well. like to do and then contracting out the rest. This frees you up to do the part of the business you went into business to do. Yes its that simple - stop wearing all the hats and free up YOU to do what YOU like doing.
Example - You love cabinet building, are great at it and decide to go into business for yourself but you are not a sales type nor are you comfortable trying to sell. You need customers to thrive so you try to sell and resort to competitive quotes instead of value selling where you can get folks to see the value of using you v others and they hire YOU on the spot.. STOP THAT trying to sell ASAP..
Contract out a great sales type who love and knows how to sell value, not price and can close a sale that way. This person can get you the accounts and then, all you do is build and install the cabinets. See what I mean-make that investment now.
Use a contracted service who is already expert at that, love it, can get you the jobs so you can spend your time being a cabinet maker and making a great living at it with many contracts consistently and reliably there for your services..
See what I mean!.
You dont need to know how to run a business, you need to know how to accept your own limits and shortfalls, then contract that part of the business out to the folks who are great at that part and then you can focus on and get to do what you are in business to do.
Do you have business and marketing pans? Do you have a coach or strategic advisor?
Who is your target market and have you defined your ideal client to determine their pain points and a solution to solve them.?
You have really great responses here to your question.
Jeff has truly taken a big picture view for you.
What troubles me about your work is you are waiting for customers. HUGE error #1.
Based upon Jeff's analysis, the piece you are sitting on and overlooking is your expertise in Digital Forensics. Every element you offer defaults back to Digital.
My recommendation is you reinterpret your business using Jeff's analysis and get on the phone and present your Digital Forensic solution.
Keep in mind, people understand the words "Digital' and "Forensic" but have no real idea of what that means for them and their business. It is your job/ your responsibility to not only help your audience understand but educate them around what the problems really are and how your analysis will uncover the 'holes' and provide them a prospective solution.
You are starving your business by not assertively, aggressively going after business and educating your potential market. I think your market may be on LinkedIn.
Jim, with all due respect, waiting is NOT an option.
Hope this helps.
I run a small, experienced UK Digital Marketing agency called Odyssey New Media (odysseynewmedia.com).
I know the feeling when you're small. What I have learned in 2-3 years of doing this full-time is that it will take the pressure off if you build a good sales pipeline.
Here are my top channels for building/driving your sales:
1) Networking - This is time consuming but will get you in front of other small-medium business owners who may want you to work for them and also refer you business. Focus on networking and not sales and the sales should come.
2) Email Marketing - build your email marketing list. Use something like Mail Chimp and import all the contacts you have who wouldn't mind being emailed or have opted in to your mailing list.
3) Website - Make your website the hub of your digital marketing. You can track everything and test marketing campaigns that are sent through to your website. Remember to build testimonials and client case study material so you can push direct conversions and enquiries through on your website.
4) Search - SEO and PPC - ranking for key local and national terms for your industry.
5) Telesales - You might struggle to get time for phone calls - so either block out 4 hours a week minimum or hire someone to make the calls for you. Make sure that you work out and test some variation scripts and approaches so you can see what works better. For our business we offer a free 2 hour consultancy worth £120 of our time. Many people are interested if you are at least giving something away for free or some kind of analysis etc.
I hope the above strategies help, these are the channels I have found to be strongest for you but there are others including Social Media, Video, Direct Mail marketing, real-world banners and advertising signs etc.
If you need any help regarding Digital Marketing items or web design/development then feel free to get in touch, you can call me on +44(0)7940420201 or email me on rstoubos(at)odysseynewmedia.com(dot)com.
Owner/MD of Odyssey New Media Ltd