I’m gonna share some of the common mistakes I see small business owners make.
Grab a coffee. Buckle up. There are 7 mistakes below. I’ll share more in my next post. Stay tuned.
Let’s dive right in.
1.Your Mailing List (Or Lack Of)
Yep I’m starting with something I have to talk about way too often, because it’s one of the biggest gaps I see in small businesses. Too many of you don’t understand the value of a mailing list, or perhaps don’t know how to set one up, or simply can’t be bothered with the effort a mailing list takes.
Your mailing list is literally like the beating heart of your business. Without one, your business is broken, whether you realise it or not.
Your mailing list is a place your warm audience hangs out. That means they are the people who are more likely to buy from you on repeat. The quicker you can build, engage and nurture people on your list, the greater the sales you’ll make in your business. If you’re in this game to make lots of money – I’m telling you that money is sits right inside your list.
Way too many female entrepreneurs focus all their attention on social media, trying to build loyal followers who will buy from them there. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but if you REALLY want to build a loyal, paying tribe – the place that hands down beats social is a good mailing list. Sure, you need great strategy to build, engage, nurture and sell to your list. And yes, it takes time (which is why so many of you ignore this), but the rewards you’ll achieve when you commit to list building will blow out of the water those of your competitors who don’t have a list.
If you need more information about mailing lists, you can find plenty of tips in these blog posts:
How To Drive People To Your Mailing List From Social
Why You Need A Mailing List In Your Small Business
Where To Start A Mailing List For Free For Your Small Business
2.Finding Your Own Message
Do you know what I see a lot of on social platforms? People showing up and regurgitating the same old shit that everyone else is posting about. Personally I’ll run as far in the opposite direction as I can from that sort of strategy. All the trends, the things ‘gurus’ tell you to do to go viral – often the only thing those trends bring are people who are looking to be entertained, rather than people who are looking to buy.
Be bold enough to stay in your own lane, find your own unique voice, and connect with the audience who’ll buy from you because you’re showing up and giving value in a way that resonates with the pains, challenges, issues they face, and the results they’re looking for. Over the long haul that sort of strategy will serve you much better than being pulled in to the latest pointy dance-y viral video challenge that everyone else is doing. Yawn.
3.Showing Up Without Burning Out
I see so many female business owners going all in online, thinking they have to grind 24/7 in order to beat everyone else to the top. I’ve seen small business owners walk away from their businesses because they’ve burnt out so badly. I’ve seen big accounts who have tried to keep up with posting 5 times a day on their social accounts disappear for 3-6 months because they hit a brick wall. HARD.
You can’t run a long term, successful business that way. Nor do you need to. You need to figure out how often you can show up and stay sane in the process, you need to have that time clearly defined, and then create a schedule you can work to in that time. You should not be fooled by the hustle culture, and you should know that it’s not only ok, but it’s imperative to take time away from your business for r and r.
In the same vein as above. If you don’t set boundaries for your business, trust me, other people will set those boundaries for you, and unmanaged boundaries lead to burnout.
Don’t think that customer or client won’t text you at 10pm at night if you don’t make it clear that you only operate between 10am and 4pm. You shouldn’t be afraid to set any boundaries in your business that help you create a business that works for you.
Let’s take Dan Kennedy, god of marketing, multi, multi millionaire as an example here. Dan has never owned a mobile phone, nor does he do email. If you want to communicate with Dan – you do it by fax, or you don’t do it at all. Even when you do communicate by fax it goes to his one and only staff member (yes he’s built a multi-million dollar empire with only one staff member). That staff member is in a different state to Dan, they rarely see each other. That staff member collects all Dan’s faxes and mails them to him once a week. So if you fax Dan, you then have to wait – sometimes weeks, for his response, dependent on the priority given to your fax. That’s just one of many boundaries Dan has set for his business that he has kept in place for more than 40 years in business.
If he can do it, so can you.
5.Tell Your Story
Stop bloody talking about your products and services all the time, and instead start telling stories that you can morph into the products and services you sell. There’s a big difference here.
When you learn to tell stories about you, your business, your audience, your customers/clients, about life and business, and pretty much anything else you want, and you learn to morph those stories into nuggets of value and wisdom that connect your story to your business, that then connects to your products and services, more people will look at, read, absorb the content you’re putting out on social, in your emails and newsletters, on your sales pages and websites, and more people will buy.
You’ve seen how I popped a story about Dan Kennedy and his boundaries above. Stories make your content more interesting. Use them to your advantage. Learn how to tell stories well. You’ll grow. You’ll sell.
How much value are you giving to your customers and clients? I mean seriously. How much more value are you giving to your customers/clients than your competitors give?
Value btw does not mean charging the lowest price – far from it – doing that will destroy your business. Value comes in all sorts of other shapes and sizes.
How quickly can you respond to enquiries, do you send surprise shock and awe packs to your most important customers, can you guarantee to ship within 24 hours of an order, do you go the extra mile – in whatever form that mile takes.
I’ve had more than one of my clients say to me that the reason they stick around is because I’m there for them more than any other coach they’ve ever had. That makes me happy. Those clients feel that I’m really invested in them and their success (which I am – that’s real important to me).
So how can you stand out from your competitors who’ll maybe go a mile but no further? How can you go ten miles instead?
7.Be A Decent Bird
Last tip for this post. It never ceases to amaze me how many people feel it’s perfectly ok to bring a REALLY bad attitude to the online space. Almost like it’s a privilege they’re entitled to. Uh. No. I’d hazard a guess that half the shit those type of people bring online, they would never say to a stranger on the street, or inside a business meeting. But because there’s this big space between us and the internet (you can’t physically climb into it to be present), there’s this sense we can act up and get on with all sorts of slimy behaviour. That’s simply not ok.
If you’re even contemplating growing a successful small business in the online space, I’m going to suggest you come to that journey with a good moral compass. That you don’t waste time engaging in some of the outrageous arguments and bitch slapping that goes on, and if anyone brings their bad vibe to your space, rather than entering into a battle to try and take them down, you simply block them and move on.
I know for sure I’d rather spend ten minutes of my time serving my customers and clients well, than take that time and invest it in some sort of nasty to and fro with anyone – even if the instigator of that nastiness is some idiot bringing their foul character to my space.
Ok. That’s it for this post. Plenty to think about.
Before I shoot, do you ever wonder whether you’ll get to REAL success in your business? You know – success that changes yours and your family’s life for good? Success that allows you to splurge on your kiddies or yourself without worrying about bills? There are some common indicators that can show whether you’re closer to or further away from success than you think. I’ve popped those indicators inside a super quick quiz you can take to measure where you are on the success-o-meter, and you’ll also receive a detailed 33 page report off the back of the quiz that’s packed with great tips to help you make your small business a much better success online. Take the 5 minute quiz here.