This week on my Facebook page, I asked you what your current biggest business problem is and if I could help. There were some great replies (thanks!) and over the coming weeks I’m going to address them. Today I’m answering the question the most people asked, which was, “How do I get more business?” It’s the one thing we all want to do: grow our businesses and get more orders.
I’m going to ask you ONE question: What are you doing to get more business? The reason I ask is because it’s the first thing you should be working out. Not, “Why am I not getting more orders?” but “What am I actually doing to get orders and grow my business?” I ask this question of everyone who tells me they want to grow their business, and most of the time they look at me and say, “Well, so far word of mouth or Facebook has brought me most of my business,” and that’s about it.
That’s just not a good enough answer anymore. It might have been good enough for a while, but as I’ve been saying for months now, the industry is far too crowded and you simply cannot rely on what USED to work for you. Facebook’s news feed is so crowded now, and organic reach has all but disappeared. You can still use Facebook as a marketing tool, but it certainly can’t be the only tool you’re using. Word of mouth is brilliant, but word of mouth also relies on people remembering to actually talk about you. Word of mouth needs to be cultivated just like any other form of marketing.
Both of those strategies are great but if what you want is to grow your business, you need to grow and change your marketing strategies as well.
Also – that neighbourhood lady, the one who undercuts you all the time? She’s not going to go away anytime soon AND her skills are getting better by the day. When I opened my business ten years ago I was able to build my business on my reputation and skill – pricing didn’t even come into it. I was the only one around who could do what I did. The neighbourhood lady was cheap but she also wasn’t terribly good. These days, reputation counts for much less, I’m not the only person with the skill anymore, and pricing is more important than it ever was. Let’s be honest, the neighbourhood lady is now real, serious competition and she’s only getting better.
If I could shout this at you in real life I totally would: you MUST market your business if you are going to succeed. In fact it has to be the BIGGEST thing you do other than creating your product. You have simply got to suck it up and market the hell out of yourself, your business, your products. You don’t want to hear that but it’s true – you want more orders and you want to grow your business – so you’ve got to work on marketing your business.
You will not survive in this industry if what you want to do is sit in the corner using your wafer paper scraps as tissue to dry your tears.
I want you to do a little exercise for me. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen (yes, I’m old school) and write down ALL the ways in which you get your orders. How do you currently get people to your door? How do people know your business exists? What action, right now, are you taking to actually bring those orders in or make people aware of your brand? In short, what real, tangible, actual work do you do to grow your business?
Be honest with yourself. I think you might find that you probably haven’t been working hard enough on marketing. You might have come to rely on things which aren’t working as well as they used to, or you might just be doing the same things your competitors are doing. It’s totally normal to do that, but I’m here to push you forward into success, not let you rest on your laurels.
Once you’ve written those down, then come up with at least 3 more options you can try. PUSH yourself on this one. Think a little harder about how to get in front of your ideal clients.
Here’s the bit I want you to remember: The single best way to get more orders and grow your business is to work on selling your stuff as hard (if not harder) than making your products.
SELL IT, BABY.
I’ve decided to take this blog to a whole new level, so there are lots of brilliant things coming up in the next few months. If you want to be among the first to know what’s baking (ha!), I recommend signing up for my newsletter. It’s published once a month and if you hate it, you can leave at any time (but you won’t hate it. Trust me.) SIGN UP over there in the little box on the right – or if you’re reading this on a phone, sign up next time you’re on a PC or on the Facebook page.