Here’s the recap of a discussion that I had with the two partners of a client company.
Client: Times are tough. We’re getting a lot less new leads than we used to because we’ve pretty much worked through our current network of contacts. We want to get involved in Social Media now. We’re ready.
Me: Okay, great. Are you willing to work on it?
Client: Uh, I don’t know. What do we have to do?
Me: (I explained to them a few different and very targeted ways that a company with their resources and current set-up could use Social Media to find their ideal clients, to connect with those prospects, and to turn them into leads and sales as quickly as possible.)
Client: Okay, we’re interested.
Me: Okay, shall we start with one strategy? Your LinkedIn strategy first? I think you’re well-positioned to do that right now and here’s what we could do (insert specific LinkedIn strategy here). Then we could begin working on your Facebook strategy after that.
Client: Well, we were thinking about a website redesign first. To make our site more “project-based” like I see others in the industry doing it. Then we can include case studies of each project and really showcase pictures of our work. That would be really cool.
Me: Well, then you’ll have to decide on your new look, do the redesign, write up those new projects, and then get the photography up. Knowing how busy you two get and the limitations of your budget, that could turn into a very, very long project. How about we use what you have now – which is fine, by the way – I know you regularly get compliments. Then you can get started with the revenue-generating activities starting next Monday! Do you want a new, long project or to have some new leads starting in a couple of weeks?
Client: Uh, you’re right. We really need clients now and I guess we need to work in new ways. Let’s do it!
Me: Great, here’s how we get started…
It’s a choice.
As a small business (or even a big one), you could probably do things to get new leads within a couple of weeks or shorter using your existing infrastructure. Or you could start that in 2-6 months after you get everything just right. Do you need new clients now or several months from now?
It’s time for some tough love!
These particular clients had toyed with the idea of social media and online marketing but had always shied away. They were spoiled by a great network, but those leads have been tapering off in the last 6-9 months.
Three Important Rules that I live by:
1) You Need To Have a A Clear Business Model:
When you reinvent your marketing, you need to map out your new business model. Can you answer these questions?
- Do you know who your qualified clients are?
- What is your method of getting in front of large numbers of qualified clients?
- Do you have a sound funnel to bring them into?
- Do you have a way to capture new leads and to add them to your mailing list (and social media platform)?
- Do you have products or services directly aimed at them?
- Do you have a mechanism (e.g. webinars, 1-on-1 consultations) and the proper infrastructure (e.g. shopping cart, payment plans) for selling to them?
- Does your model fit your current capabilities and situation? If not, what needs to be changed?
2) You Need The Minimum Requirements To Do Business:
Are you set up for success. The last thing we need is for part of the process to absolutely repel your potential clients (like a broken website).
- Do you have a professional looking website?
- Are your products and services properly described?
- Does your funnel flow smoothly from one part to the next?
- How close are you to having the minimum requirements to do business?
- Where are the gaps, what tools can fill those gaps and how quickly can we put that in place?
3) You Need To Map Out Your Fastest Path To Money
It may sound crass, but let’s be up front. You’re in business to get clients, to take great care of them, and to earn an living. Right?
- We all have a lot of ideas and projects, but are these “long cuts” (rather than short cuts) to revenues?
- We all have to be realistic about what we’re really going to get done and how long it will take. Eliminate unnecessary activities.
- Can you draw the shortest line from each activity that you do straight to revenues? If not, what can be cut out ?
- Map out the business model you’re using now.
- Map out the fastest path to revenues. Does that change the model?
- Assess whether you have all the pieces (minimum requirements to do business).
- Fill those gaps and get started
Rather than 3 months from now, let’s make it happen next week!
We all need to hear straight talk sometimes.
Do You Need Some Tough Love?
Do you find that you’re working on things (social media, blogging, adwords) that don’t seem to be helping your business? Do you feel overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks that seem like busy work? If you feel like a hamster on a training wheel and can’t see a clear path from where you are now to success, contact me here.
Learn more about how to make your small business blog work for you by watching this free webinar: Better Business Blogging