Your Business Map: 5 Ultimate Business Strategies to Create the Business and Life that Works for YOU
One of the most common phrases you’ll hear (and hear it constantly) is “Life is a Journey. Not a Destination”.
It seems everyone tells you that…Mom, teachers, spiritual leaders, books, photo quotes on Instagram, TV and movies.
It’s kind of become a cliché, hasn’t it?
The sad part is, this phrase is about as far from a cliché as it can be.
I love this phrase. It’s a solid, fundamental truth. Life is a series of experiences, situations and experiments that move you from one place to another, and from one level of growth to another.
Nowhere is this more important than in the business world.
You wouldn't dream of leaving home for a long vacation or road trip without some sort of plan and a map (even if it's Google Maps) - you must feel the same way about your business journey as an entrepreneur.
Before you can launch a successful business, you need a plan – a map – for putting it all together.
To start your business journey, you need to find strategies that work for you, just as a map is your key to getting from place to place safely, efficiently and without too much hassle.
I don’t have a degree in map-making. (Does anyone?) I don’t even know of a university that offers one except, ironically, I do remember that Illinois State University used to offer a class in “Map Reading.” I opted for Astronomy instead. Anyway, back to my point…
I do know there are some amazing business strategies you can use to build a map that is perfect for your business. You just need to answer five questions that will point you in the right direction.
Be sure to put some thought into these questions before you say… “Yes, this is my final answer”.
Most of the time your gut reaction is right, but sometimes you need to refine your response a bit to make it work.
Ponder these questions over. Think them through. Sleep on it, or talk them out with a friend you trust.
You wouldn’t take off for a 14-day road trip without the expertise of Google Maps installed on your smart phone, right? By guessing at the answers to these questions, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
>> No. 1: Your Greater Purpose. . .the "Why"
Every business is born because someone has an idea. It’s because this someone has a great product, a great service, or a combination of the two.
How does your business benefit the world? Why should it exist? Who will purchase from you and for what reason? What do you feel your purpose is that can be translated into a business? What makes you work so hard?
This is the heart and soul of your business, so write it down. Go into detail. Be specific. Be clear.
In this section, also think about how much money you’d like to make every month. Set a goal that is attainable, but choose a number that will make you stretch a bit. If after a few months it’s too easy to make the amount of money you’ve selected, you aren’t living up to your full potential.
>> No. 2: Clarity of Purpose. . .the "What"
Explain to yourself how what you’re offering is different from what your competition will be doing.
If you can’t do this, nobody else will be able to figure it out either.
Drill down to the basics and figure out exactly what you’re selling.
Make sure you can clearly explain it to people you don’t know.
>> No. 3: Marketing. . .the "How"
Now this part can be a little tricky. How to get the word out about your new business can be confusing.
Think about the things that excite you enough to buy them.
Do you discover them through social media? Get referrals from trusted friends? Do you see advertisements for them on more traditional channels, such as billboards, magazine ads or on the radio? Do you find them with a web search?
One important thing to keep in mind is that in many situations, your target customer is a person very much like you.
Business people tend to market their products and services to customers who like the same things they do, have the same interests and have similar lifestyles.
If you bought a great new thing-a-ma-jig because you got a special offer in the mail, your ideal customer might do that too.
>> No. 4: Closing the Sale. . .the "Who"
After you’ve stirred some interest in your product and have a “live one” on the line, how do you reel in your “fish”? What tactics work best in certain situations, with certain customers?
This is where listening becomes the most important thing you can do.
When you your customer is talking, don’t plan out your next move in your head while you wait for her to take a breath. Truly hear what your prospect is saying, and address her concerns as best you can.
If there are potential issues, be honest, but be positive.
Be upbeat, be forceful and determined.
You’re the answer to your prospect’s problem, or the one who can best fulfill her needs, so be prepared to explain how that will happen.
>> No. 5: Work/Life Balance that Works For YOU. . .the "Where" you end up!
The last question you need to ask yourself about your business is how much time you need for the other important things in your life.
The real secret is time blocking your schedule.
Pick three things you will do each day of the week – and do them over and over again with blocking out down time/personal time, too.
Since we’re talking about clichéd expressions, let’s whip out another one that works here. (Ok…I am totally making this up so go with me….)
“All work and no play makes Sadie a dull lady.”
And feeling like a bad mom and a lousy friend and a terrible grouch to boot.
To avoid being a “Sadie”, make sure you carve out time for your family, for fun and for at least one ‘real’ vacation every year – where you step away from your successful business and let it fly on its own. (Go ahead and schedule that vacation already!)
So now that we’ve outlined some of the strategies in broad terms, how do you tailor them to best serve your business?
Now…that’s my business. This is where I step in and become the answer to your problem.
Isn’t it cool how that works? And it brings up another great strategy to keep in mind.
Give your prospective customer something they want or need.
Present something of value – for free – that will show them that you know your stuff and are serious about providing them with solutions.
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