What do you do?
“Well…um, I guess I, sort of, like… I want to…well….hmm, it’s a little complicated… It’s… kind of hard to describe.”
Can you feel all the eyes in the room rolling over?
People don’t buy what they don’t understand, so it’s important to be able to describe what you do so it’s clear, succinct & memorable.
You may wholeheartedly believe in what you offer, but… You’ll only make a difference to the world if others see that you’re the solution to their problems
And that is why you need to be able to clearly describe your unique value.
Luckily, it’s easier than you may think. And that’s because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
You don’t need to be witty, clever, whimsical or even original to get the results you want. In fact, messaging that works best is usually the short, sweet & simple kind.
You need to have a clear, short & memorable response to the question, “what do you do?” Because if you can’t clearly explain it, then no one will know if it’s for them or if they should buy from you.
No matter who you ask, any advice you find on how to tell people what you do will include 3 key pieces of information.
1. Who do you serve? (i.e. your audience)
2. What problem do you solve? (i.e. your benefit)
3. How do you solve it? (i.e. your most memorable features, process or solution)
These are non-negotiables.
They’re proven to help you craft a clear and meaningful value propositions without having to hire a clever and talented messaging coach, like me.
Let the formula free you from all the ideas that you have swirling around your brain right now. It’ll help you get clear on what makes your business special.
As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This is true whether you are a life coach, designer or energy healer.
Your dream clients want to understand what you do — they just need a bit of help from you. That help comes in the form of a simple, clear description.
Try this simple formula to get you started:
I’m a [job title] who helps / works with / serves / inspires [target market] to [result that you achieve for your clients] through / by / using [tools, methods, teachings, etc that you use to get your results].
It’s a simple, but powerful formula. And it works best when it’s written the way you speak. You know that it still needs work if you feel squirmy when you say it out loud.
Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean you can’t jazz it up. Get creative and move the puzzle pieces around until you find the clearest, most memorable version that will appeal to your dream clients.
Now let’s see some examples, shall we?
This formula is an excellent start, but you need to test out your creation to make sure it resonates with your audience & will get results.
Use this simple formula to get clear on what you do. Then, start using it next time you get asked, ‘what do you do?’ See what kind of response you get.
If the response is a bit ‘blah,’ re-evaluate your message, insert more of your client language and keep perfecting it.
If the response is something like, “OMG my sister totally needs that,” then you know you’ve got something. Your message should make people understand what you do so well that they can visualise who needs it. Look for that kind of recognition when testing your message.
Once you’ve mastered it, it’ll be so much easier for your audience to understand what makes you different, better & worth working with.All of your marketing and self promotional activities will start to resonate more with the right people & you’ll begin to see bigger and better results.
26. Network with other business owners
27. Use Google Adwords
28. Advertise on Facebook
29. Advertise on Twitter
30. Advertise on LinkedIn
31. Network in LinkedIn groups
32. Advertise on Pinterest
33. Segment your advertising: new & existing customers + your email list
34. Add a re-targeting pixel to your website to advertise to website visitors
35. Attend a networking event
36. Offer a freebie to fans
37. Thank your customers
38. Host an online workshop, webinar or training
39. Review competitors, see what’s working and what is not
40. Write a guest blog
41. Submit articles to large websites, like Huffington Post
42. Write a press release
43. Ask customers for feedback
44. Use videos to market your business
45. Network in Facebook groups
46. Create your own Facebook group
47. Offer an affiliate program
48. Ask another business to promote your business
49. Send personal cards to customers
50. Most importantly every day: ADD VALUE
1. Start fresh everyday
2. Get and use business cards
3. Write a blog and share helpful information weekly
4. Listen to your customers
5. Keep an ongoing list of creative ideas
6. Read a popular business book for inspiration
7. Create a Facebook business page
8. Create a Twitter profile
9. Create a Pinterest profile
10. Create an Instagram profile
11. Create a Google+ page
12. Join Google+ communities to network
13. Use your social media to engage fans
14. Send an email newsletter
15. Use your social media to provide customer service
16. Collect email addresses
17. Offer a discount or special offer
18. Host a giveaway
19. Ask customers for referrals
20. Ask friends and family for referrals
21. Create a referral network with other professionals
22. Ask customers for testimonials
23. Sponsor a cause or local event
24. Get interviewed on a blog, magazine or podcast
25. Use SEO to drive traffic
YOU – Marketing is ALL about the consumer.
FREE – Who can resist a freebie?
BECAUSE – Show the consumer WHY they need it.
RISK-FREE – The consumer feels secure giving your their money.
SECRET – Everyone wants in on a secret tip, trick or deal.
INSTANTLY – Promises a quick payoff for their time/money.
LIMITED TIME – Creates a sense of urgency.
EASY – No one wants to deal with a hassle.
DON’T MISS – Capitalizes on the fear of missing out.
Use them to make your copywriting stronger, clearer and more compelling.
Seldom does success come easily in business. Not to be pessimistic, but most entrepreneurs who make it have inevitably faced a myriad of challenges along the way. That’s just the way it is.
And what has stunted their growth and success along the way hasn’t necessarily been major obstacles or turbulent storms. It’s been the distractions they’ve allowed to invade their lives. These are often subtle distractions, so entrepreneurs may not even know there’s a problem until one day they wake up to see that their efforts have been derailed.
The key to moving forward is being able to spot some of the most common distractions and eliminate them before they infiltrate any further. Here are some that I’ve personally experienced.
I’ve seen it time and time again. An otherwise intelligent, ambitious and driven entrepreneur with a seemingly infinite number of great ideas allows his or her vision to become clouded by listening to everyone else’s opinion.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to get feedback. Connecting with the right mentors can be integral for finding success.
However, listening to too many people is a sure-fire way to become overwhelmed. It’s often the catalyst for self-doubt. When you’ve got too many voices in your head telling you what’s right and what’s wrong, your own inner beacon of light can’t properly shine.
All of a sudden you’re second-guessing yourself, and your decision-making becomes hazy. That’s why I recommend getting opinions and feedback from just a few select people whom you trust and know have your best interests in mind.
Being productive and simply being busy are two very different things. Unfortunately, we humans are hard-wired to believe that as long we stay busy, we’re being productive.
Research on this matter from the University of Chicago found that the “belief that being busy is a sign of success and hard work is so prevalent that we actually fear inactivity.” The researchers actually invented the term “idleness aversion” to describe how people are drawn to being busy regardless of how this busyness can impact their productivity.
I know that I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Sometimes, I’ll think that I’m accomplishing something great just because I’ve been working tirelessly for hours on end. But in hindsight, my productivity was only minimal.
Breaking this maladaptive mental habit is essential to the long-term health of your business.
“I’ll procrastinate tomorrow” is a humorous line that captures the essence of prolonging important tasks just because they don’t seem very appealing at the moment. Procrastination, however, often creates a vicious cycle where it gets easier and easier to put off what you should being doing right now.
Without keeping this problem in check, you may develop a habit of laziness, which can doom your overall success.
One technique that I’ve found useful is to prioritize my tasks in order of importance and difficulty. I then tackle the biggest and baddest tasks early in the day when I have the most energy, and save the tasks that are lower on the totem pole for later.
Another reason why I believe that many people procrastinate is simply because they’re overwhelmed or intimidated by certain tasks. However, this can usually be remedied by breaking larger tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps.
This approach might be compared to scoring a touchdown in football. If you simply focus on getting first downs, you’ll eventually make it to the end zone.
Allowing workplace politics to remain unchecked and get out of control almost guarantees a negative impact on a business’ success.
This distraction is usually due to team members jockeying for power or one person’s ego taking precedence over others’, rather than keeping the focus on the common good. When this happens, things can quickly take a turn for the worse, and any semblance of professionalism can go out the window.
Unless you’re a solopreneur, with complete control over your company, you’re going to encounter different ideas within a company. The key to maintaining logical decision-making is to keep everyone’s efforts coordinated and “focused on the ultimate good of the enterprise.”
The Harvard Business Review delved deeper into this topic and discussed ways to keep office politics from sabotaging a business.
Unless you’re a real-life version of Jim Carrey’s character in Yes Man, saying yes to every proposition or crazy idea is likely to get you into trouble. The bottom line in business is that you can’t please everyone. Not every offer is going to be legitimately beneficial.
Getting into in the habit of excessive people-pleasing, in fact, can be a major distraction and can counteract much of the success you’ve already earned. Remember that you only have a finite amount of time and resources and that focusing on projects and relationships that are going to bring about tangible results is what’s really important.
This should make it easier to say no from time to time and to ensure that you don’t wind up in over your head or agreeing to something you’ll later regret.
By recognizing some of the biggest distractions that plague entrepreneurs, you’re less likely to fall victim to them. Instead, keep your eyes on prize and accomplish more with less wasted motion.
Every successful entrepreneur knows that relationships are key. No business is made in a vacuum, and the way you interact with clients, employees, coworkers and other entrepreneurs can give your business life or bring it to its death.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect how-to on building the right kind of relationships. For example, you could meet someone who could potentially become a huge client for your startup. However, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, or possibly even having poor body language, can end the relationship before even starts.
Entrepreneurs also have to be concerned about who they’re building relationships with. If your largest client is somebody that you can’t trust, then you need to ask yourself: is our business safe with this person? Putting your faith in the wrong people can put your business in a pretty tough spot.
With all this in mind, there’s little that you’ll get very far without some good connections. You never know what a connection can offer and the bigger your network, the better.
One of the first things you’ll need to do after you start a business — and likely even before you start a business — is connection building. Finding the right connections can help you and your business succeed. But where do you find these connections, and once you find them, how do you form the relationship?
The best way to find good connections is through networking. There are plenty of ways to approach this — you could ask your friends and family if they have anyone who could help you, you could research possible connections on your own or you could go to networking events.
If you aren’t good at networking, then don’t let this step deter you. Not many people are born ready to network and building a real business connection with a complete stranger can be a difficult process. But practice makes perfect — besides, these are connections you’ll need to succeed. You can’t afford to let these people slip away. If you’re quick to adapt, then you’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of networking. If not, there are plenty of helpful guides around the internet that can give you tips.
Sometimes, the networking is the easy part — but finding the people to network with is difficult. If this is your issue, consider checking out this list of helpful organizations. Not only are they great for networking, but you could also end up learning some other useful skills along the way. Also be sure to check out any local entrepreneurial networking events. They happen all the time, and a quick search online can help you find anything nearby that could help.
One tip I can give to those who aren’t the best at networking: Be valuable.
Just take a moment to understand how the entire process of networking works. Normally, it will be you and a complete stranger. There’s a good chance that you want or need something from them or someone they know, which means that they’re valuable to you.
If you walk up to this person and immediately ask them to give something to you, what do you think they’ll say? If they yes, then you’ve found one of the most generous people in the world. If they say no, then you’ve met a rational human being.
When a stranger walks up to you and asks you to listen to their business pitch, asks for the contact of someone you know or asks for funding, your normal response would be “no.” In all honesty, this should be your reaction. After all, you’re not going to give up something important to a stranger just because they asked.
The same works for when you’re networking. Recognize that whoever you want to approach is a person, and you’re a stranger to them. Make yourself valuable. When you approach them, try to build a genuine connection. Ask them about their business and their goals, and if you’re at a networking event, ask them why they came. Everyone who goes to a networking event is looking for something — if you can help them out, then they’ll be much more likely to help you out.
If they aren’t looking for anything, perhaps they’ll learn something about you during a normal conversation. If you build a connection with them, they’ll be more likely to help you with what you need.
One of the greatest parts about entrepreneurship is that it’s always changing. This keeps things dynamic, sure, but it also means that the field is constantly innovating — and innovation is good.
An innovation that I’ve noticed going on in the interconnectivity of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are becoming more likely to work with each other instead of against each other.
This is happening because entrepreneurs understand the importance of relationships. Every relationship you build is a connection that could help you down the road. If I were to connect with an entrepreneur who wanted me to help get them exposure, then I’m immediately proving myself valuable to them. This increases the chances of them helping me if I need to tap into their network.
Just remember that you can be valuable to anyone — you just need to prove it to them. If you want to have someone help you, help them first. The more you do for others, the more they’ll do for you. People are built to work together in a community and a network is no different.
Sitting down to a blank page that you have to put some words on is a daunting task for many people. Even more daunting is the fact that you are paying money to advertise, so it has to work and you are not really sure how to write exactly what you want to say. How do you go about it?
I do a lot of training for people in this area and the first thing I say is that most people cannot write copy naturally. It is a learned skill so don’t feel bad if you can’t do it, because you are pretty normal. By following the simple steps outlined below you will be well on the way to writing good copy for any advertisement or commercial.
One point I would like to slip in at this stage is that just as a lot of people talk too much when they are nervous, a lot of people write too much when they are nervous about writing copy. With confidence comes the ability to be happy with white space. Cluttered advertisements are often less effective (but not always), so as you develop your copy writing skills try a few variations of your advertisement.
Take an interest in what other people write in their advertisements and listen closely to radio and television commercials to gage how they are written. At the end of the day, all advertising needs someone to write something.
Step 1: Be very clear about what you are trying to achieve from your copy
Expressing the desired objective of what you want to say is a very good starting point for writing copy. Whether you want to get people to pick up the phone to make a purchase or make an inquiry, or you want to let people know you have moved premises, or you are having a one-day sale, be very clear about your message to achieve your desired end result.
Step 2: Make a list of the important information
This means making a simple list of the information and message you want to get across to the potential customer. Look at the list–is it too long? Remember, good advertising will send one strong message rather than five weaker messages.
Step 3: Write a big, bold heading
If you have read any other section in this book you will know that I am a big believer in the use of big, bold attention grabbing headlines. I particularly like headings that are questions. This is a view shared by many leading advertising professionals, yet few businesses actually follow this path. You should consider doing so.
Step 4: Write down all other information that needs to be included
This includes a few easy ones, but much of the information you will need to include depends on where the advertisement or commercial is being placed. You will obviously need contact details–an address, telephone number and possibly fax number, email and website. You may need advice for overseas or interstate buyers. Plus, there may be legal requirements you might have to state, such as terms and conditions of sale. List all these so you ensure they are included.
Step 5: Answer the question in the heading
If you ask a question in the heading, answer it in the first sentence of the copy and then lead into the what, when, why and how.
Step 6: The what, when, why and how
This covers the details of your copy–what you want the customer to know in order to entice them. If you are having a giant sale, tell them what is happening, when it is happening, why it is happening and how the customer can get a piece of it. A big question that needs to be answered here is the benefits for the customer. Why should they buy your product?
Step 7: Decide on a writing style
Decide whether you want your advertisement to be written in the first person with phrases such as ‘I am Dirty Harry and I own Dirty Harry’s Chinese Restaurant’; the second person, ‘We have heard about the team at Dirty Harry’s Chinese Restaurant’, or the third person, ‘People visiting Dirty Harry’s often compliment the Chef ‘. You also need to decide if you want the copy to be funny, serious, conversational or educational.
Step 8: Keep sentences short and sharp and words simple
Advertising copy really does need to be kept to a minimum. Sentences need to be kept short and words simple. Use descriptions, but don’t try to be too flowery or else people start to get bored and lose interest.
Step 9: Put it all together
By now you should just about have the basis of your advertisement worked out. Now is the time to put it all together, check the spelling, see that it flows and that it makes sense. You may have asked a question in the heading and it has been answered in the following copy. All of the details are filled in, the style is consistent and the spelling correct. Now is the time to move things around or change words that don’t seem to work.
Step 10: Close with a call to action
The customer needs to be given a reason to act now. They need to know what to do next and they need to be convinced.
If you follow the steps above you will be well on the way to having good copy, that can be used in any situation, designed to get people to take action.
Networking with others is one of the most important ways that we have in business to find new customers and to make connections with others that can lead to our long-term success. While communications technology has taken over many of our business interactions, studies show that 84% of people still prefer in-person meetings, and 85% say that in-person meetings build stronger, more meaningful business relationships.
Unfortunately, many of us underutilize this important resource due to a variety of mistakes we make when it comes to networking. According to career expert Ines Temple, president of LHH-DBM Peru and LHH Chile, these 10 specific networking mistakes can get in the way of your success.
1. “I don’t like to make contacts”
Making contacts is “the conscious and voluntary activity of establishing and maintaining genuine and long-term relationships with persons who we appreciate and respect.” It’s a part of living and interacting within a community and we do it every day.
2. “Contacts are useful only to find work”
It’s a fact that 9 out of 10 jobs are landed, whether directly or indirectly, through contacts. But networking is about making those relationships worthwhile, renewing the bond, and mutually redefining our identity, image, and reputation with each interaction. (And asking a contact for a job is a serious mistake!).
3. “I network only when it’s convenient for me”
This is tantamount to saying “I remember you only when I need you.” Networking solely for your own benefit is self-centered and may be even manipulative. It’s the perfect way to destroy a relationship. We can smell manipulation miles away!
4. “I’m too busy”
Although nothing beats face-to-face interactions to build relationships of trust and affection, digital alternatives are effective to prevent us from vanishing from the face of the earth, a deadly sin in the professional world.
5. “It distracts me from serious work”
Networking takes time and energy, but it is key to employability-it is the “salesforce” of our image and reputation. Without contacts, our accomplishments and progress remain unknown and our personal brand ends up being worthless.
6. “I don’t like to go to social events”
The professional world also provides alternatives to interact with new and diverse people and expand your thinking patterns. Hanging out with the same people every day shows disregard for others, and we may end up being left behind.
7. “Have you heard the latest rumor?”
Using our contact network to harm reputations or to gossip destroys our credibility and our own reputation as serious or loyal individuals, even if we only become involved by listening. Is it worth it? You never know what tomorrow may bring.
8. “I can only afford to build relationships with important contacts”
It’s a serious mistake to think that only high-level contacts are valuable, and look down on others or to be arrogant. All people are worthy regardless of what they work on. There’s no such thing as a small contact!
9. “I have very few contacts”
As adults, we usually have 500 to 1,000 friends and acquaintances between school and college classmates, current and former work colleagues, people we know from our club, gym, the neighborhood, church, from our business, and the relatives and acquaintances of all of the above. Suppliers and clients, former suppliers and clients. Parents of our children’s friends… Make your list and protect it-ideally, in the cloud.
10. “I must impress my contacts”
The essence of every good relationship is trust, not impressing others. Acting appropriately, and being genuinely warm and authentic opens the doors to trust and credibility. Being polite to everyone and listening to them with a real interest benefits your personal and professional image and reputation. The secret is to inspire others and always leave something valuable for them in every interaction!
As a matter of fact, many people dread networking. They perceive it as an awkward, forced, and unnatural exchange — which only leads to sweaty palms, uncomfortable silences, and unproductive conversations.
So, how do you leave those shaky knees behind and become a better networker? Implement these five key habits of strong networkers, and you’re sure to make a positive impression.
Yes, networking is really just a conversation. But, if you’re aiming to go beyond those generic discussions about the weather or the venue, you’re going to need to enter into that conversation with a little bit of strategy.
Before heading into a networking event, take some time to think about your strategy. Is there something specific you’re aiming to accomplish? Is there somebody in particular you’re hoping to meet?
Having those things in mind — before you ever enter into a conversation — will help you ensure that you actually get what you came for.
Of course you can’t — and shouldn’t — rehearse every single word of a networking conversation in front of your bathroom mirror. Discussions have a natural flow, and you don’t want to come off like a well-practiced robot who’s determined to get all of those canned lines out of your brain and into the air.
However, there are some things you can practice in regards to networking. The most important one? Your introduction.
How you introduce yourself sets the tone for the rest of the conversation, so make sure you do yourself justice. Practice a quick elevator pitch for yourself, remembering to touch on not just what you do, but how well you do it.
Having a polished introduction in your back pocket will help you to send the right message about yourself, and likely make you a little more confident as well.
When you think of becoming a better networker, it’s all too easy to think about all of the things that you should do or say.
But, it’s important to remember that networking is still a conversation — not a one-sided broadcast that exists for you to promote yourself.
You should plan to listen at least as much as you speak. When you’re actively engaged, you’re sure to learn something valuable from whoever you’re speaking with. Plus, you’ll foster a reputation as a solid communicator — rather than a conversational steamroller.
Unfortunately, we all tend to have a, “What’s in it for me?” attitude when it comes to networking. We want to walk away with a new job lead or a handful of business cards.
However, you can’t head to networking functions expecting to only get — you also need to be prepared to give.
Aside from only thinking about what you aim to get out of networking, make sure you also know what you bring to the table. Do you have expertise or advice to offer? Do you have a variety of connections in a certain field?
Remember, networking is a two-way street — be prepared to treat it as such.
Chances are, your goal in networking wasn’t to have a bunch of surface conversations over lukewarm appetizers and cheap wine.
Networking isn’t about just conversations — it’s about forming relationships. And, as you already know, relationships require a little more work and investment.
So, don’t plan to just throw that stack of business cards in your desk drawer and allow them to grow mold. Connect with those people on LinkedIn, or send a friendly email when you find an article he or she might be interested in.
Do what you can to continue fostering that relationship. After all, it’s those contacts that will be most helpful to you.
Many people dread networking, and that’s usually because they perceive themselves as simply no good at it. But, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Implement these five key habits, and you’re sure to become a stronger and more self-assured networker.
Almost everyone plans how to begin their business, how to grow their business and how to make their business profitable. Almost no one plans how to leave their business when it comes time for them to retire. How do you get your money out of your business (what if you can’t sell your business when you want to retire)? Have you planned on how to avoid a huge tax payment when you DO get your money out of your business? Have you made the mistake of accepting payments for your business from the new owners? The time to plan an exit strategy, find out what the pitfalls might be and how to maximize your return (you knew this was coming) is NOW.
by David Spellman, President of South Pasadena Chapter, TransAmerica Financial Advisors – I help individuals and families reach their financial goals and protect themselves from unforeseen circumstances. I start with a comprehensive and detailed look at where they are now, listen to where they want to be in the future, and help them map a detailed route with a written plan to get there. And like a good GPS, I help them with course corrections when life’s detours intervene.