I recently attended a conference for women business owners and ran into a woman I had not seen for some time. She looked a little unhappy when I approached her. I asked her if everything was going well and she shared with me that she had just lost a big client. In fact, this big client was more than 50% of her business. Wow! I’d be upset too. She was in the process of figuring out what to do next to rebuild her business back to a successful place. As we talked, I started thinking about the “golden” rule in business for Smart Women: Always have a marketing “mantra.”
A few weeks ago, our family took a trip to the California Science Center for their “family lab day.” It was a fun and educational experience. There was one experiment that had to do with the difference between solids and fluids, and it got me thinking about Smart Women entrepreneurs and their businesses. Does your business need to be solid or fluid? Actually, both.
When you first make the decision to become a business owner, you as an entrepreneur are very “fluid.” After all, you’re probably a solo-entrepreneur trying to do everything yourself! There aren’t any rules about how to do anything. The goal is to get some clients and earn an income—right? After some time passes, you begin to realize that this “fluid” aspect of your business is not working. You are “surviving” and you want to be “thriving.”
Last week, my husband Greg and I went mobile phone shopping. I had one of those flip phones that allows you to make phone calls and that’s about it. I couldn’t email anyone or look up anything on the web. I really needed a better way to stay connected!
I’ve been with the same mobile phone company for 9 years. Hard to believe, right? I’m slow to commit but once I do, loyal to the end! So the first place I went was to my current carrier’s store to see what they had to offer. When we entered the store, there were a quite a few people waiting and so we got in line and waited our turn. Not once did anyone say, “Thanks for waiting, I’ll be with you in a moment” or “Sorry for the delay, someone will be right with you.” Nothing. No eye contact. We felt invisible. I had quite a few questions about the new phones and was anxious to get my questions answered. When it was my turn (about 20 minutes later) something happened that was shocking. The person behind the desk looked straight at us and then just turned and walked away! I was stunned and frustrated at this point.
Recently my son Jack, who’s in 3rd grade, had to do a book report and I spent some time guiding him through the process. His teacher had asked the report to consist of 6 elements: Title, Setting, Main Characters, Plot, Problem, and Solution. This got me thinking about how Smart Women could use this exercise to create a clear and focused plan for their business and entrepreneurial dreams.
Having a firm foundation is essential for any business to have sustainable growth and long-term success. What do you need in order to create a firm foundation for your Big Idea, Dream, or Goal? You need the same 6 elements that my son Jack used in his book report:
Yesterday, we had tree-trimmers here at our house to clean up the trees that were overgrown and also to make room for new growth in the future. We live in a house that is very light and bright, however I was surprised this morning when I discovered how much more light and clarity of vision we have now that we’ve peeled back the layers of debris and overgrowth. Today, I have views of nature and blue sky that were not visible to me yesterday. This got me thinking about how Smart Women know the importance of trimming back the layers of their lives so that they can keep their vision clear and focused on what’s most important.
In my work with women, one of the most essential exercises that we do together is peel back the layers of their lives and take a look at what’s working and what’s not working. It’s important to take a look at each layer and if necessary trim the excess so you can live each day doing what’s most important to you in your life. The challenge for most of us is in the “letting go” of what no longer serves us. Sometimes there’s so much debris in our lives that we are unable to clearly see how even just a slight trim in one area could create a dramatic positive impact.
This morning, as I sit here at my desk looking out the window at a beautiful, sunny fall day, I’m a bit at a loss on how to begin this article. This article isn’t any different from the others I share with you each week. As usual, it’s about my own life and the reflections that I believe are helpful to other Smart Women. This article is about loving deeply, giving gifts and feeling fear along the way. Sounds like something all women deal with—yes?
Over the last few months, I’ve been going through testing at UCLA Medical Center here in Los Angeles to determine if I might be a possible match to donate one of my kidneys to my husband, Greg. Greg has Polycystic Kidney Disease and one of the affects is possible kidney failure over time. His kidney function has steadily been declining and we’ve known for some time that this day would come. What we didn’t know until now, is that I am, in fact, a match! On Tuesday, December 1, we will go together to UCLA Medical Center where I will undergo a procedure to remove one of my healthy kidneys and Greg will receive that kidney so he can feel healthy, energetic and enjoy life to the fullest once again.
Why do I tell you this story? Because what I’m going through right now holds many similarities for women. Women love. Women give. Women have fears. Some days I want to go jump in my bed, pull the covers over my head, go to sleep and wake up to realize that this has been a bad dream. Do you think I’m scared? You bet. Do I have anxiety? Of course. Will I feel the fear and do it anyway? Absolutely. How do you feel the fear and do it anyway? I’m sure, as you are sitting here reading this, you are thinking about some fears that you have, right? And it’s possible that you haven’t been able to overcome that fear yet.
Last weekend, we took our kids trick or treating in our neighborhood and it was exciting. I enjoyed watching Jack and Jenna’s faces light up when they saw a friend from school or someone dressed as their favorite character. One observation from the evening that intrigued me was watching which houses the children gravitated to most often. The houses that were adorned with lights, decorations and an irresistible “come visit me” feeling were the ones the children ran to first. They would actually skip over homes that had little or no “invitation.” They would stand in long lines at homes that had that welcome feeling, waiting for one piece of candy rather than use that time to visit two or three homes that had less of a welcome presence. This got me thinking about how Smart Women entrepreneurs could learn a lot from Halloween when it comes to attracting their ideal client.
Having a business is one thing; creating a successful plan to attract your ideal client to your business is another. With all of the choices that people have today when searching for products and services, it’s essential that you create that “welcome” feeling or “I have exactly what you need” feeling so that when they arrive at your web site or meet you in person, there’s no question that you and your business are exactly what they need to solve their problem. Marketing is about solving problems for people. You need to quickly and effectively let your ideal client know that you have what they need and want. The people in our neighborhood that went the extra mile to create a true trick or treat “experience” were the ones whose homes were visited the most.
Are you going the extra mile for your ideal client? In my Women’s Success Circles, we spend a lot of time creating marketing plans that will generate more ideal clients for each woman’s business. What “experience” are you creating so they want to return to you again and again for your product or service?
Have you ever thought about the positive benefits you could have in your life if you just took 5% more responsibility for certain aspects of your life? I was asked this question a few weeks ago when I attended Jack Canfield’s “Breakthrough to Success” seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona.
At first, I didn’t give the question too much thought. It just didn’t feel like I could create value in the important areas of my life with just 5% more responsibility. After all, when it comes to thinking about spending more time doing anything, we typically have a whole list of excuses—right? I can give you a few of my excuses:
“I don’t have time.”
“I’m too busy.”
However, after some thoughtful consideration during the exercise, I realized that 5% responsibility in terms of my time was about an hour a day of television.
I’m sharing this exercise with you this week because it was powerful for me. 5% seemed inconsequential to me at first. Typically, we believe that we need to give so much of our time to aspects in our lives if we want them to improve or experience greater benefits. That was the genius of the exercise; To experience and visualize the many benefits we could receive in our lives if we only took 5% more responsibility. Here are a few Aha’s that came out of this exercise for me:
1. If I were to take 5% more responsibility for the success of my Relationships I would:
- Have weekly date nights with my husband
- Have dates nights with each of my children
- Have regular phone calls to my sister who lives on the East Coast
2. If I were to take 5% more responsibility for the success of my Health I would:
- Schedule in one more day per week for cardio exercise
- Meditate one more day per week for a calm and focused mind
3. If I were to take 5% more responsibility for the success of my business I would:
- Attend at least one additional networking event per month
How about you? If you were asked these same questions, how would you answer them? Mine were about Relationships, Health and Business. What would yours be? Where could you create the greatest impact in your life if you took 5% more responsibility?
A few days ago, our family went to see the movie “Up.” We laughed at a lot—especially at how silly we all looked in our 3D glasses! In the movie, the character Ellie was both adventurous and feisty. Ellie had a wild imagination and Carl (her young friend who later became her husband) found her enchanting and fell in love with her. After their marriage, Ellie created a very special “Adventure Book” and inside she had written, “Stuff I’m going to do.” This got me thinking about why Smart Women should have their own special adventure books and make plans and set goals around the “stuff they are going to do.”
As I reflect on my life and dial it forward to now, I’ve been fortunate to travel on many adventures and I have a lot of memories to put in “My Adventure Book.” There are a lot of photos and memories around the “stuff I’m going to do.”
How about you? Do you have an adventure, Big Idea, or goal that you would like to take action on? Do you daydream about doing something different but you aren’t sure how to get started or make it happen? In my work with women, they explore and discover what their next adventure is and we work together to create a plan that is clear and easy for them to follow to make it happen. Maybe they want to start a new business. One woman decided to take a 6-month sabbatical and I’m helping her map out valuable time so she uses it wisely.
Here are a few tips to help you make your next adventure a reality:
- Get it on paper – The first step to make your adventure a reality is to write it down on paper and place it somewhere where you will see it every day. Take the idea out of your head and write it down. Make sure it’s written in a positive, clearly defined statement: “I’m going to Hawaii, to the island of Maui, on August 20, 2009. I will learn how to body surf while I’m there.” Do you see how powerful that is? Make a clear statement with a deadline attached to it.
A few days ago, in one of my Women’s Success Circles, a great question came up: “What’s the one action step that I should take to grow my business faster?” Wow! That’s a great question. The challenge is–there’s not just one simple answer. I wish there was a “magic bullet” that would take your business to the next level, however to grow your business effectively and for the long run, you need to use several different marketing methods.
One of the ways I support women is helping them to focus on effective ways to market themselves and their businesses so that they can accomplish their vision and attract clients at a much faster rate. Let’s take my most recent Women’s Success Circle. How did these women find me? Where did they come from? I’m going to share 5 different marketing steps that are effective in client attraction: