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This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visitCanon MAXIFY?
All summer long we’ve been asking small business owners to share their biggest challenges using the #MAXIFYContest hashtag. And let me tell you, they weren?t shy. Here are a couple marketing-centered challenges that I’ve chosen from our readers and some tips that I’ve pulled together to help you overcome those challenges.
How to Start My Business From My Passion
Beverly Reaume (@reaume_beverly) asked a question I hear a lot.
Everyone is always telling you that all you need to start a business is passion. While it’s certainly important (and more fun) to spend your day doing something you love for customers you love, passion alone isn’t enough. The most successful and profitable businesses are those where the business owner’s passion intersects with customer demand.
Identify the ONE thing you want to be known for And include it in at least two conversations a day.
My favorite way to discover this passion to profit sweet spot is to ask yourself (and answer) these four simple questions:
- What problem are you solving for your customer?
- What is their perceived notion of how this problem is solved?
- How does everyone tell them that this problem is solved?
- How do YOU BELIEVE this problem is solved?
Whip the answers to these questions into a simple marketing message and you are ready to jump into this tip that will help you wrap your passion into your business and connect with your ideal customers.
My recommendation is to use this marketing message in as many conversations and interactions as you can — but aim for at least two each day.
How to Find the Right Opportunities
Aziz Abdoor-Ra?oof (@ziz87) brought up an issue that isn’t just important to new business owners, but established and mature businesses as well.
When I first started my business, it was a real challenge finding the right customers and the right opportunities. I didn’t feel like I had a solid marketing message — at least one that had been road tested with clients since I was a brand spanking new business with NO CLIENTS.
I didn’t know what to say, how to say it and how to avoid sounding like a pushy salesperson who was desperate. I shared this with one of my close friends who was a success coach and she reminded me that I wasn’t in the business of selling — I was in the business of serving and being a contribution to people. And that’s what I’m telling you.
Have conversations you’re passionate about. And whatever you do don’t SELL!. Don’t push yourself and your products and services on others. – put yourself and your business out there as a FUN conversation. When you put helping the other person at the center of your passionate conversation — you’ll never sell again!
How to Use These Tips
As you’ve probably noticed by now, these aren?t just “action” tips. These are tips that are focused on a way of BEING in your business. You see, people don’t choose to buy from you because of what you do, they choose you because of who you ARE. You can have the best product or service in your industry, but if your customers perceive you as difficult to work with or unpleasant or unhelpful, they will choose someone else.
Here are a few ways that you can put both of these tips into practice:
- Social media posts: Look for examples of your marketing message in real life. If you see great examples — post images of them and tell people why they are great. If you have a bad example – show that too. Share and comment on articles that give you the opportunity to highlight your marketing message.
- Networking meetings, calls and emails: Whether you’re connecting via email or phone, see how you can weave your marketing message into the conversation and use it as a way of helping or serving the other person.
- LinkedIn Connections: Now that you know your marketing message and you are clear about how you help people, use this information as a guide and a filter for reaching out to potential connections. Remember, you’re not using LinkedIn to SELL anyone on anything. You’re using LinkedIn to search for opportunities where you can be a unique contribution to someone — NOT just through your product or service, but by being helpful human being.
Make these two tips part of your daily marketing practice and you’ll discover that marketing will transform itself from something that you DO to get and keep customers, to a natural part of your personality. And, if you have employees or a team, this will easily rub off on them as well as they model your language and behavior.