Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one
In a mentoring session today with my top mentor, he made an interesting observation. He said that one of the things he has observed and admired about me is my ‘can do’ attitude. This got me thinking about our general attitude towards business amongst women entrepreneurs.
When it comes to finding new business, resolving client issues, keeping suppliers on track and upskilling staff, do we show a can do attitude?
Being an entrepreneur is tough and you’re going to face daily challenges. How you manage these challenges are entirely up to you. If you choose to have an attitude of “I can do this” then your success level will be higher than most.
Somehow displaying an attitude of anything is possible places you in the right mind-set and now it feels like you can take on the world!
Here are a couple of tips to help you on the path of facing business challenges with success and aplomb.
Believe in yourself. Confidence starts with you. You absolutely need to believe in your capabilities and your ability to manage anything thrown your way. You can develop your self-confidence by being open to learning and growing. Be ready to take on a mentor, read business books daily and surround yourself with like-minded people.
Do not compare yourself to others. Instead of putting yourself down by thinking you could never be like them, rather ask yourself what can you learn from them and start implementing immediately. To be successful we need to emulate what successful people do. Don’t begrudge them, don’t compare yourself, however, rather use this as an opportunity for personal growth and development.
Develop a strong inner voice. You know that inner voice that criticises you? Let that voice go! Replace it with positive thinking, daily affirmations and the belief system that anything is possible. If you don’t know how, Google it, YouTube it, ask a fellow business owner or seek guidance from a successful businessperson in your particular industry.
Step out of your comfort zone! Oh yes, my favourite one this! If you know me, you’ll know that I often talk about becoming comfortable by being un-comfortable, because growth starts in the un-comfort zone. If you stretch yourself, you force yourself to face a challenge head on and this places you completely out of your comfort zone, therefore it necessarily follows that your confidence will soar. This is where the real magic happens.
As always, remember to have fun. Learn to see potentially stressful situations as an opportunity to showcase your can do attitude, as an opportunity to learn and grow. Keeping it fun makes it easier to come up with creative solutions.
Bringing it together
My personal mantra is anything is possible. If I don’t know how, I’ll learn. You can do the same. It boils down to having the right mind-set and attitude. Always be open to learning, in this way you’ll keep growing as a business person and you will very quickly find out the kind of gold you’re truly made of.
The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business
In the old days if we were looking for a shoe repairman or a new fridge, the first place we would turn to were the classifieds or the yellow pages. Remember those times?
Nowadays you bring the world to you by means of your mobile phone. Isn’t great how we can search for a curry restaurant, a new stove, a boating holiday and a friend’s contact details all in one place, on one device?
Now imagine what your business looks like from the outside in. The same principle applies. If you don’t have an online presence or a strong one at that, what kind of message are you sending out? You surely want your business to be found when your prospective client is doing an online search.
I know that if I want to change my hairdresser the first thing I’m going to do is go online to source a list of hairdressers in town, but more than that, I want to read great reviews in order to help me choose a new hairstylist.
Gone are the days of only taking your friend’s advice when it comes to purchases or finding new suppliers, now you’re counting on thousands of opinions online to help you make a choice.
At a recent event I was speaking at, someone in the audience asked me this very question, why your online presence is so important. Here are some of the reasons I gave them and I hope you find it of benefit too:
Accessibility : By having a strong online presence you increase your accessibility. With the help of a great website you provide clients and leads a summary of the pain you solve, where to find you and what makes you great at what you do.
Trustworthiness : Through social media and blogs on your website you establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Building trust and credibility with your audience certainly will enhance the longevity of your brand and thereby a sustainable relationship with your clientele.
Cut marketing costs : I know that startups will really enjoy this one. And I’ve probably mentioned a million times (okay, maybe a few times 🙂 that you can do no to low cost marketing thanks to social media. Essentially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is giving you the opportunity for a free and easily accessible online presence. They give your business credibility. And, if you’re just starting out (read : no marketing budget) these are great platforms to market your business with, and define the pain you solve to masses without breaking the bank. You’ve got to love it!
Build your tribe : After a few years in business one of the most important things I’ve learned is to first build your tribe. With an online presence you can now reach a far wider audience than ever before. You can build a loyal tribe who are the best spokespeople you’ll find. Your tribe will watch what you do, share it and talk about it to everyone creating a greater following. Tribes are loyal and will stick with you through thick and thin. They will wear your badge with honour and recruit on your behalf. Don’t underestimate the power of a tribe.
Bringing it together
Embrace the power of having a strong and effective online presence. Make sure that your website has call-to-actions and that the content converts. Share great content regularly. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Build trust and credibility. Do all of this online and you will soon see how powerful this can be to the growth of your business. Your authenticity will shine through and at the end of the day that is one of the greatest things you can do for your business.
Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process
You may run a highly successful sales division for a corporate company or you could be an early stage start up, wearing multiple hats. Either way, you are fully aware that sales is core to the success of your business.
Here are a few tips on how to put together a basic yet winning sales process.
Begin client outreach right now
Gather all your wits about you and start calling. Yes, pick up the phone! I promise you, the phone will not bite you. Don’t feel alone though as most people dread speaking with complete strangers on the phone. What I can tell you is that the more you do it the more confidence you’ll gain. This method is the best way to field objections, understand business challenges and even get feedback on your offering, all in real time.
Start Role playing
Walk through the sales process right until close of sale with a colleague or business partner. Once you start feeling more comfortable with going through the whole sales pitch start role playing with someone out of your organisation. These scenarios can give you better insight on how to identify possible gaps, whether it’s in your approach or your product / service.
Establish your qualifying criteria
By establishing a list of sorts to pre-qualify your clients you will better understand what pain your product / service solves, whether you are a good match or not for a potential client, if they can afford you and so forth. This is vital information to have as it could prevent your sales cycle from being lengthened unnecessarily or possibly mismatching your offering with a prospective client.
Build a sales conversion funnel
You need to learn to reverse engineer, not only in business, but also within your sales process. So begin with the end in mind and then reverse the process until you get to where you currently are in order to better understand where you want to go and how you are going to get there.
For example, when we speak of a sales conversion funnel, we typically refer to a sequence of events, like first do a cold call, then send a follow up email, do another outreach activity, then pre-qualify the prospect and close the deal.
Ask yourself how many deals you would like to close in one month, then break that down to how many prospects you should have in your pipeline, the number of quotes you should have out, your daily number of cold calls and include your marketing strategy into the mix. This will help with understanding your desired conversion rate and what your sales pipeline should look like on a monthly basis in order to achieve the close rate you’re looking for.
Keep going, keep growing
If it this process is showing results work hard on developing it. It may be working now however it is imperative to keep testing your process to find better ways of doing things. As the founder of the business or sales leader it is important that you are actively involved in developing the company’s sales process.
There’s a great quote from Steli Efti :
“Lack of iteration is what prevents companies from making a good sales process great!”
Keep moving forward and looking for a winning repeatable process.
What really scares me (yes, scares me!) is the moment a business runs low on cash or experiences a lean month, the very first thing they do is either cut or slash the marketing budget! Why oh why?
Surely our thinking should be of such a nature that marketing (and by default brand building) is the last thing to go, after all, without an effective marketing campaign it can be quite a challenge to get sales, well for most sectors that is. And wouldn’t you agree with a strong brand in place that sales will become easier? Think of brands like Coca-Cola, Virgin Atlantic and Nike. They have done the hard yards with brand building and marketing. In fact they have done such a great job, if they didn’t market for a year for example, their brand would still carry their sales.
What if you are a startup, or run a SME, and you really do only have a shoestring budget available for marketing?
I want to say never fear! With some creativity and out of the box thinking we can think of ways that will make a very small budget work. Heck, even if you don’t have any cash-flow there are ways that you can market for free.
It is important to remember that branding is not merely a cute designed logo, an eye-catching website or a great looking letterhead. Your brand is so much more than that.
Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. – Jeff Bezos
With great marketing comes great brand building, so let’s take a look at some effective ways you can market to build your brand:
Create hype around your brand by using something as simple and effective as a landing page. If you don’t know what a landing page is, think of it as a mini-website, therefore it’s a one-page “website” either hosted as a page on your current website or on a SEO keyword rich domain, for example, www.customdesigns.co.za . The goal with the landing page is to build your brand by getting the visitor to take an action. This action could be to watch a video, to download an ebook or to complete a form. Remember, the key to an effective landing page is that it focuses on one goal only, one product or service only. The end result is further engagement with your brand.
You can design this landing page for free yourself or you can ask a web designer, at a nominal fee, to put this together for you. You even have cost-effective lead page platforms that will assist you with this. One of the more popular sites for this is Leadpages.
The power of testimonials
Word of mouth took on a whole new meaning with the advent of the digital world. With powerful testimonials your current clients are a testament to the value of your brand. Believe me, it always sounds better if the praise is coming from someone else’s mouth. And because information is so easily accessible on the web, by a click of a button, prospective clients can visit your website and social media platforms to take a look at what your clients are saying about you.
Content is still King
You may up until now not taken content very seriously. I beg you to do so! Content is here to stay. The best thing for you to do is to embrace it, own it and make it work in your favour. And it’s free! Yay! Content can take so many shapes, including blogs, social media tweets and posts, vlogs, effective images and so much more. The more content you put out the better. The better content you put out the greater your brand reach becomes. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being active on social and blogging for the sake of being active, or doing so with a strategy.
Take a week to prepare a proper content calendar for the next 3 months. Identify 3 key platforms that you know your audience hangs out on and strategise your content for each platform. The goal with your content is to create brand awareness, brand trust and then new clients.
Bringing it together
From this blog you can tell that you don’t necessarily require a huge budget to start building your brand. Or at the very least you require a small budget. If you don’t have the writing or other creative skills to get this done, now is the time to cash in on favours, barter with fellow startups, but do what needs to be done in order to start your brand building. This kind of activity takes time and I think 2018 is a great year to start with this. If you are already doing it, good for you, now is the time to ramp it up and make the brand building work in your favour.
Ask yourself, what is your ultimate goal with building a brand? Take the answer and reverse engineer to get to your starting point. This goal gives you motivation and helps with better planning.