LIVING BEYOND EXPECTATIONS
From the Desk of Sarah Nadler Troutdale, Oregon
As 'social distancing' forces all of us to stay home, closing the doors on many small businesses and forcing government dependency down our throats, I thought the time was ripe for an article on income planning.
First, before marketing can become a helpful tool in your business, you have to face your expenses head-on, and know precisely how much income you need to be making to cover everything (see previous blog).
The second step then becomes planning how to make that money in a way that doesn't burn you out, or lead you away from your life's purpose.
I call this step 'Finding Your Unique Gift to the World', and it is covered fully in my mini-course.
So let us assume in this article that you have already done those two steps. You know how much you need to be making to cover, not only current bills, but future expenses for your goals and dreams. Also, you've done the exercise to discover your unique gift to the world, and you either have a business that is moving you in that direction, or you're about to start one.
Now, what can you do in these challenging times, to plan or build an income stream that fuels your dreams?
For those who are new to the blog, Sarah Nadler is a Life & Biz Coach and an inspirational speaker with twelve years of experience helping clients reach relationship, career and Big Hairy Audacious life goals. Her work has been featured on Enterprise Podcast Network, The Sierra Leone Times, and her latest book Walking Past Expectations was rated #6 on Lifney's list of Best Books to Read On The Beach This Summer 2019.
Online marketing gurus and 'business coaches' like to make this seem suuuper complicated, so you will get confused and have to pay them money to figure it out for you.
That's really a horrible thing to do, because actually nothing could possibly be more simple!
PRODUCT: "A completed, high-quality item or service in the hands of the person it serves in exchange for something of value."
MARKET: "The demand for a particular item or service."
Finding product/market fit is soooo simple. It means matching a service or item you can sell, with people who need and will pay for it.
Ask yourself this question: what items or services can I offer, that people need right now?
Even if they needed it a month ago, the changes happening in the world right now might mean that need has sunk to the bottom of a long list of priorities!
But in the modern digital world we live in, almost every industry has opportunities for product/market fit that didn't exist even five years ago.
So, while you are self-quarantined, or in your down time between customers if you're still open - do some research to find out what you can still ethically and legally offer to people from your business.
Whether you find that your market wants the same things they've always wanted, or something entirely new, you have to pivot your messaging.
PIVOT: "Turn on or as if on a pivot."
Imagine your marketing strategy as a car. You are on one side of a busy four lane road, and your potential customers or clients are on the other.
To reach them, you can either try dashing across the street between fast-moving cars, hoping no one hits you...
Or you can get in your car, merge with the flow of traffic, and politely get over until you can turn left so you arrive on the other side of the road safely.
Maybe for the last year, you've been focusing on a marketing message of being very "fashionable", or "gluten-free" or "best in the industry", etc.
NOBODY CARES RIGHT NOW.
That's harsh, and probably a bit of an exaggeration. But the truth remains that the messages which worked a month ago aren't working right now. Your car is now going the opposite direction of all the other cars on the road.
The reason for this is very easy to understand: the attention of your market is elsewhere.
Before you can run successful Facebook Ads, or create flyers, posters or billboards that work - you will have to discover where their attention is NOW...and what they want to hear from you.
That is key: probably their attention is on coronavirus. But do they want to hear more about it from you? Or are they desperate for something more uplifting - something inspiring, funny or fun?
The only way you will know for sure is if you survey your market.
The key to financial success is not budgeting. It is learning how to generate wealth, protect it once you have it, how to trick your mind into allowing you to make more than you spend, and save without cash burning a hole in your pocket.
And it all starts with learning how to make money.
Perhaps the most important skill any business owner can acquire, is to communicate to your market in a way that makes them feel understood.
Many business owners err by trying harder and harder to make people understand them, their business, their products. Your market doesn't want to understand you...they want to feel understood by you!
The only way to accomplish that is to speak to them.
Gurus, marketing 'experts', coaches and consultants who try to sell you 'shortcuts' like ads, launches, etc., that do not include doing market research and using survey data are selling snake oil to cure cancer.
Harsh, but true!
I teach business owners and managers how to create surveys, speak to their market and use the data to create successful advertising campaigns that really sell. If you're interested in learning more about this topic, you can sign up for one of my live video training seminars.
However you do it, make sure you are basing your current message on what your market wants to hear from you!
I'm sure someone will see this and think that it means to spam people, drive them nuts with an email every hour, or otherwise overcommunicate in the traditional sense where you piss off your market.
That's not what I'm talking about.
I do think though, that most small business owners do not communicate often enough to break through the 'noise'.
Did you know that in 2018, the average American was exposed to 5000 marketing messages per day?
It's no wonder many people feel like they can't focus!
Your attention is dispersed every few seconds by a notification on your phone or computer, by multiple people interrupting you to ask something, by dogs barking, podcasts urging you to do this or that...
How do you, as a business owner trying to reach people with your messaging, cut through all that noise?
The answer is one word: POSITIONING.
Imagine your "attention" as a jar of beads. You only have so many to spend at any one time.
Because your number of beads is limited, your mind tries to protect its stash by focusing on what it can relate to most easily, and ignoring the rest.
That means that when you see a brand you already know, like and trust, you're more likely to put attention on it.
If you see something entirely new, offering something you DON'T have a burning desire for already, you're very likely to ignore it (not waste beads).
How does this apply to you, as a business, trying to promote in the COVID Era?
If you want your market to give you their beads (attention) you need to either:
a) Offer something that they URGENTLY need right now...
b) position your offer with something they already have attention on!
No matter whether you are selling hair products on Amazon, physical training for women, or are a dentist, veterinarian or coach...
Your honor and integrity have EVERYTHING to do with how successful you will be in business.
The moment you start trying to sell something you know in your heart isn't that good...
...or add fake urgency to your ads, like 'only three spots available!' on an unlimited webinar - you're going to fail.
Because respect and trust are the very essence of money.
Did you know that a dollar is just a piece of cotton paper with ink on it?
These days, your money is sometimes nothing but a digital signal sent from one bank to the next!
Money only works in society because we trust each other to exchange some product or service for more of it.
You hear lots of stories of Big Tech or Big Pharma, massing billions or trillions for unethical practices.
But you don't always hear how much they lose in lawsuits and lost income from people boycotting them.
If you think that promoting yourself in an unethical manner is a good way to make bank, I invite you to research ENRON.
If you want to survive the COVID Era as a small business owner, and come out the other end of this bigger and better than ever, focus your attention on just these four things.
Find a product you can still create, which people really need right now...
Pivot your message so your market feels understood in the current crisis,
Communicate to your clients or customers more than you think you need to...
And do it all within the laws and with integrity in your heart.
Come watch me, if you're in doubt. I'll be doing the same.
A PASSION FOR ABLE PEOPLE
I'm Sarah Nadler and I help "able" people take back control of their lives, so you can live a life beyond your own expectations.
© Copyright 2020 Beyond Expectations Life Coaching