It’s October and it looks like December out my window. I’m having one of those days where I feel like I’m sitting inside a snow globe.
And I’m writing. and working on my business.
I’m getting set to (re) launch Big Leap Creative and things are ramping up. I’ve been asked by many friends and colleagues what I’m doing, how I’m marketing my business, and what my strategy is.
If there is one silver lining from the economic downturn, it’s that many people have lost jobs (or not) but simply decided to finally pursue their passion and start their own business. Which is great, because you know your business and you love it, but you don’t know how to work on your business.
From a marketing standpoint, where do you begin? I’m dividing my time fairly evenly between working on the business, doing client work, and developing business which includes writing proposals and marketing. That ratio will change as I get more business, but it’s a good “start-up” formula for now.
With a limited budget and resources, it’s important to prioritize and stay focused on initiatives that will drive real results.
I thought I’d share some of the things I’m doing to get things crackalackin’.
Eight Ways to Jumpstart Your Business
- Create the vision and elevator pitch. I had a great phone call with Tim Frick on Friday and he asked me for my elevator pitch. I thought I had it. But I said it out loud, and it sounded lame, so I’m tweaking it this weekend. Put it on your home page, and let it drive everything you do. Test it on a variety of audiences from colleagues to potential clients and refine it, as I inadvertently did this week.
- Get your digital home base in order. When I took my first real job at age 30 (late bloomer, I know, but that’s for another blog post), I was a concierge with my eye on the corporate headquarters. I spent a lot of money on my wardrobe and dressed for the position I wanted, not the one I had. That was ahem, several years ago. The website is the new wardrobe – the first impression. It will launch next week and is something that shouldn’t be skimped upon, certainly in my business. I’d guess that applies for yours as well.
- Guest blog to extend your network. I’ve secured some guest blog positions in tandem with the launch of the new site to bump traffic, help with SEO and provide a general hoopla. Because everyone likes some hoopla. Choose blogs with good domain authority in your industry.
- Get out and speak! You have something to teach. I live in the woods. It’s pretty hard to get out and go to networking events. I need to extend my geographic footprint and people want to do business with people they know or trust, so I’m seeking ways I can share my expertise at regional events and conferences. I’m submitting speaker proposals and talking to people who might want to tag team on presentations with me.
- Join relevant organizations. Membership costs money, and takes time. You can’t just join something and not invest any time in the organization, so these need to be chosen wisely. I chose an trade organization (Counselors Academy) for professional development and then for business development, I am looking at regional economic development corporations so I have access to new businesses in the region, and the ability to show how damn smart I am rather than try to tell people how smart I am.
- Network online. On Spin Sucks a few months ago, Andy Crestodina wrote about picking up the phone and calling people as a good marketing practice. I found it humorous at the time. Who has the time to call anymore? And honestly, what are you going to talk about? Well, let’s go back to that call with Tim Frick. We talked for 45 minutes about current challenges and what we’re doing to overcome them. I hung up with three great ideas. Find time to talk to smart people. It’s fun.
- Create tactics for the next several weeks. I haven’t taken the time to write a full-blown marketing plan, but as I think of new tactics, I put them in my Evernote for future weeks, such as: Create recommendations on the BLC Foursquare page around the region, and write an ebook.
- Set goals! This is important because it’s something I preach heavily with clients and it’s great to practice on my own business. I’m establishing goals for the business. The tactics such as the blog, and the speaking engagements all contribute to the goals by increasing traffic and generating leads. So I’m building them in Google Analytics. As things get bigger, I’ll look at more sophisticated platforms.
It goes without saying, but then I thought I should say it: Read, read, and read. Comment and interact on blogs (stop lurking) and social networks.
Most importantly, keep the stress level in check. Some mornings I wake up nervous that I have a long way to go. I get impatient. It’s a weird feeling not having the weight of client deadlines, and the feeling of everyone needing something from you. I go back and forth between feeling liberated and feeling un-needed.
But the first time I did this, I had anxiety when things were slow, only to get panicked when it became very busy. Try not to get sucked into that vortex. It’s not terribly productive.
What do you think? How can you apply these ideas to your own business? Have any questions or anything to add to the list?[ssba]