Solopremeurs striking out on your own and starting a business can be a daunting path, full of obstacles and perils to avoid, not to mention lengthy to-do lists. However, this to-do list is short: just three things I know for sure that every solopreneur business owner must do to be successful.
I have worked with many clients who spend the first year or two not getting the results they had hoped for, until they look at this list and refocus their efforts.
Believe In Your Idea
[tweet_box]For solopreneurs and other startup businesses, success is part conviction, part careful planning.[/tweet_box]
The first step to success is more about your beliefs than any specific task. You must believe in your dream and be courageous enough to take the actions you must to make your business a success. Any negative talk you allow in can kill your dream (but that’s not to say you shouldn’t be realistic). You must not approach your new business as option A with option B already determined if you don’t succeed. There can be no plan B.
Action Step: Decide you are going to be successful. Believe in your gut that your business will succeed. Identify your first steps and take ACTION.
Identify Your Target Market
The only way to [tweet_box]attract your ideal clients to your business is if you first create a crystal clear picture of who they are.[/tweet_box]
Solopreneurs make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. The more specific you are in your target market, the better results you will achieve. Your marketing message will be more focused and connect with the people just waiting to hear about your product or service. You’ll never see success if you try to pander to everyone.
Being specific and targeted does not mean you will not do business with people outside of your target market. Of course you will! The point is to be more attractive to your target market. Your clients will in turn refer you other clients. Once you have established yourself, you can then use your reputation to move into new markets.
Action Step: Answer the following questions to begin the process of determining your target market. What groups of people use the kind of services/products you provide? Which one of those groups do you feel most excited about working with? Do you already have any clients or know people who belong to one of those groups? Which of these groups do you know the most about? Now, who is your ideal client? Describe what he or she is like. Be creative and as detailed as possible. This includes demographic information as well as lifestyles, values, dreams, and desires.
Determine Your Niche
Similar to a target audience, [tweet_box]a niche helps you position yourself by narrowing the scope of your services and who you market them to.[/tweet_box]
When picking a specific niche, be like the incredibly successful companies identified in Jim Collins’ Good to Great and choose an area that:
- You love and are passionate about.
- You are great or can become great at.
- People want, need, and are willing to pay for.
Good to Great Summarized for Busy People
A big mistake that business owners often make when choosing their niche is believing that it must appeal to thousands and thousands of people. It doesn’t!
For example, let’s assume that a full practice ranges between 20-25 clients, and the average duration of the client relationship is six months. You only need to secure 40-50 new clients per year, or 3-4 clients per month. Forget about appealing to everyone! You want to pick a specific area and focus on finding 40-50 people who already want/need what you provide.
Your numbers may be different but certainly you don’t need thousands of new clients each year if you are running a service-based business.
Action Step: Answer the following questions. You will have several answers under each question. Once you have these answers you can drill down and determine where you should focus.1.) What do I love? 2.) What am I great at? 3.) What do people want and need that they are willing to pay for?
The first few steps in getting your business up and running can be overwhelming, especially with so much to do. But start here with these three simple tasks. Once you have spent time working on these steps, then you can work on your marketing plan and sales process, and everything else that entails. But by “winging it” and trying to be everyone’s solution, you will ultimately just be spinning your wheels and getting very little traction or money for your business. Instead, equip yourself with the right supplies and knowledge ahead of time, and there’s nowhere the road can’t take you.
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