I am often asked “what does it take to succeed in business”? After running my own company for over 19 years, I continue to learn and grow. I often tell aspiring and existing business owners, if you want a lifetime of self development, run your own business. You will learn so much about yourself and business, and grow in the process. You and your business are intimately intertwined. How you are doing emotionally, mentally and physically will be reflected in the success of your business.
Make Self Care a Priority
This means making self–care a priority. Your self–care is an investment in your business. If you neglect self–care, it will show up in your business. You will be run down, lack energy and passion. In turn, this will affect how you relate to your clients and suppliers, and will be reflected in your results.
If you want your business to grow and thrive, regular self–care is a must. This is whatever you need to recharge your energy, to ensure your fears and self doubts are addressed, to make sure your passion stays alive. My favourite ways to recharge are walking in nature with family/friends, watching movies and my morning mind-body routine.
Fuel your Passion
Be clear about your vision for your business. Ask yourself: How will you make a difference? Why does the business exist? Then develop a vision, goals and plan to achieve it. Importantly, stay focused and take action towards your plan. Consistent action, persistence and hard work build momentum. As you see the success this will fuel your passion.
Beware the biggest passion killers – your fears, anxieties and self doubts. They will sabotage your passion if you allow them to. When you notice yourself procrastinating, avoiding, being distracted and wasting time, check in with yourself. Be honest and own up to what is really getting in the way of your action and follow through. Quickly identify and address any fears, anxieties and self doubts. If you need help, seek out a professional.
Marketing is Critical
Marketing was one of my very first lessons in business. Coming from a corporate banking environment (where I was an economist for 9 years and corporate strategist for 4 years), I had no experience in marketing. At the bank, I did not need to go out and find my own customers. All I needed to focus on was the technical aspect of my job.
In 2000, I started to make the transition from my corporate job. I took 3 months long service leave and started my own company. During my long service leave I secured my first clients and replaced my monthly income from the bank. All this without any marketing experience or qualifications. This assured me so I resigned from my job.
This is where the lesson came quickly. I soon learnt that I need to do marketing consistently. So I started educating myself about marketing, reading books and articles, going to networking events and learning as much as I could about marketing.
Diversify or Disappear
My next lesson was in diversification. At the first evening seminar I ran, not a single person became a client. This was huge as this was my main marketing strategy. If no one signed up on the night, I had no clients. After teaching myself marketing and implementing my learnings, within six months my conversion rate at the evening seminars increased to 80% (the industry average is 10%). I managed to secure 8 out of 10 people at the evening seminars as clients without being pushy.
Running my evening seminars taught me to have more than one way of getting clients. Otherwise, my business would disappear. Never put all your eggs in one basket. There are hundreds of possible marketing strategies you could use. Make sure you choose the marketing strategies that will help you to attract your ideal clients. By having multiple ways of generating leads and enquiries for your business, should one stop generating leads, you still have others flowing in.
Differentiate to Thrive
One of the golden rules of marketing is differentiation. In order for you to stand out from other businesses you need to differentiate from them. If you are the same as others, how will potential clients choose you over your competitors? I have seen a lot of copycats in business.
Copycats come from a place of scarcity, self–doubt and lack confidence in themselves. Therefore, they find it easier to copy others than to be creative themselves. When you come from abundance, self–belief and self–confidence, you are more creative and find your own uniqueness. To thrive in your business, always differentiate!
Nineteen years later, my business continues to grow with me. It is an exciting journey and one for which I am so grateful. Remember to enjoy the journey!