Have you been thinking of starting your own business? How is that going? It can be a bit daunting, but if you are passionate about what you do and you have the basics down pat, you are in a good place to move forward.

That said, there is a lot to consider, so we thought we would share a few things you should know, and that we wish we had known before we both opened our first business years ago.

Find out who is buying what you are selling. If you don’t know this vital piece of information, it can take much longer to get your business off the ground. In the beginning, we were working with entrepreneurs and things were going well. The challenge was that as we got our name out there, we suddenly had two very different audiences – small business and corporate. Why was this a challenge? It was a challenge because our marketing message became skewed as we worked tirelessly on marketing to the two different audiences. What did we do about this? We decided that we needed to figure out what audience to focus on, develop a solid message for them and then evolve as required.

That did work well for us and we got very clear and crisp with our messaging. In fact, we stopped having a split-personality with our blog posts and social media, and started gaining a captive audience. We felt like this would help our audience better understand how we could serve them best and guess what –it not only felt right, but business improved as well!

Are you finding that your business has a split-personality? You will know instantly, if you are struggling with what to write about or what to post on social media. It can be challenging to make that transition from wanting to serve everyone and anyone, but you need to do this. If you don’t, your business will suffer and get lost in the sea of businesses. The key is to focus, be clear as to who you want to work with and who you can serve best. If you don’t know, reflect, and ask yourself the following questions;

  • Who do I love to work with most?
  • What am I most passionate about?
  • What happens when I work with this client?
  • How do I know when I’m working with the ‘right’ clients?

You might be surprised to find out who these people are, and that it may take you in a different direction, or you may need to change where and who you network with. With that though, you will feel more fulfilled and best of all, you will be more successful!

Alright, so we have spoken about clientele and drilling down your target market when you are starting your own business. Now it’s time to talk about the plan! Do you have one? Do you have a unique brand that stands out and represents you well?  You’ve heard about the “know-like-trust” rule in marketing. If people don’t feel an emotional connection to you, meaning, if they cannot see you as the business owner or someone who they can trust, they’re unlikely to want to work with you. We have broken this down into what we believe are four pillars of growing and sustaining a business. Here goes…

Do a business plan. That’s right, even if you do not need to get a bank loan, or apply for a grant, doing a business plan is a brilliant exercise to get your head in the game of business ownership and what it really entails. Ask your banker, accountant and other businesses lots of questions, to ensure that you’re on the right track. Usually, there is no rush to start your own business, so I highly recommend that you spend some time, do your research, talk to other businesses and create a really solid plan before you launch. 

Develop a solid unique brand. When you are ready, be sure to think carefully about your brand. Your brand is part of you and should reflect who you are, it should be unique, speak to what you stand for and to your ideal client too. Hire someone to work with you to develop your brand -it’s truly worthwhile to nail this from the beginning, as your brand will be with you for years to come. You want to get it right!

Have a clear vision and goals. ​Remember, when you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. Not everyone is your client, so be sure to thoroughly assess and get clear on your own values, your skills and your goals. Doing so will help you align with the clients you really want to work with. We spend the better part of a day each month, assessing the previous month, looking forward and planning for the next month. ​What worked? What didn’t go well? What should we stop doing? Start doing? Keep doing?  This is a huge key to success!  

Be social and develop a plan. Yes, being on social media and networking face-to-face, are key to connecting with others, when starting and growing your business. The beauty of social media, is that it’s one of the least expensive ways to advertise your business, all it costs is your time. Yes, there is a benefit to doing Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Facebook Boosts of your posts. However, you don’t have to start there. The key is really to develop a great strategy for marketing your business, be unique, allow people to see your expertise, your sense of humour and be inspiring. Before long, you will start to build a following on social media and you will begin attracting the people who you want to work with. Why? Because when you post about things you care about and value, people are naturally drawn to you and want to get to know you, learn from you, and that’s how you build trust.

You have likely heard a few of the above points before. That said, these tips have been very beneficial in our business and that of our clients. We hope you find them helpful for your business and we wish you the very best as you start your own business, or build some of these tips into your existing business.

Follow us on social media for more tips and inspiration!

If you’re in the beginning stages of your business and you’re feeling overwhelmed, we would love to help and share our expertise with you so that you develop and launch a successful, thriving business! Give us a call at 705-302-3386 or email us at meow@cheetahfusion.com.

Cheetah Fusion Creative Agency

 

How does it work? What are the best practices to engage others over social mediums, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram?

What if we were to tell you that it’s all about sharing information, education, and making an emotional connection with your audience?  It’s truly that simple. Gone are the days of hard-selling, pushing out as many advertisements as you can each day in order to get more sales. Yes, we need to get in front of our audience. Yes, there are times when we need to promote our events, products and services. That said it’s how this is done that really has an impact.

Here are five best practices for boosting your social media engagement:

  • Be authentic and show who you are. There are so many of people pumping out posts that everyone can begin to sound the same. That said, if you are real and demonstrate to others that you are someone who believes in what you’re doing, you are more likely to gain a strong following. Be comfortable being yourself, particularly those of you in the self-help or wellness realm. The more you can share of your own story, how you overcame challenges using certain modalities, what effects those challenges had on your life and how you have come back from them, the more likely others will watch, learn and connect with you.  We are emotional beings, and we want to know that you have been through something, overcame it and now want to help. Your stories build trust with your audience and demonstrate to them that you can actually help them.
  • Strike up conversation and be responsive. This is a great way to connect with others. It may feel like you put yourself out there with a question and get ‘crickets’ at first but people are watching and paying attention. Be patient and responsive when the comments come. If your post gets a like, that’s a good thing but it isn’t the only thing to measure. Our social media feeds are fast and furious so sometimes people see your posts but don’t react or engage. Keep putting it out there and the engagement will come for you to respond to. If you’re comfortable, or let’s face it, even if you’re not comfortable doing a Facebook Live, do it anyway!  Start with something short and sweet. You may get little to no engagement at first, but keep doing it. Little by little, and with consistency, you will gather your flock and that is key –and when you do, be responsive and keep that conversation going!
  • Share information, educate and add value. We just mentioned Facebook Live. This is a great venue for sharing information, educating others about various elements of your industry that may need clarifying. Invite people to ask questions in your Facebook Live, as this is a great way to give back, offer basic consultation for free and reach a larger audience.  For example, we just started with Wonder Wednesdays where we go LIVE on Facebook every Wednesday at 3:00pm for 10-15 minutes and talk about some of the questions people often ask us. It also provides great video content for your Facebook page as well, that people can watch at a later date.  The key is to add value, share good information and answer some of those ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for people, who may or may not reach out to you otherwise.
  • Use your creativity to draw in your audience. We only have so much time to read each day, so if you’re like most people, you are pretty selective in whose content you choose to consume. While there is a formula for this, the gather, draw in and retain, everyone is quite different in what they are seeking. For me, as a writer, I enjoy reading other people blog posts. However, not everyone loves to read –unless it’s a juicy novel that you cannot put down. Some people prefer to watch a video, or listen to podcasts. So to that, we suggest that you mix it up!
    • Give your audience a variety of options; write blog posts, do some videos or Facebook Lives or IG-TV. You may want to create a series, and have your audience waiting for your next video.
    • Turn some of your old blog posts into educational videos or mini courses. This can create some energy around your business and gather an audience, who want to learn from you.
    • Offer a freebie in there as well, as incentive for watching –this can create good traction and help build a stronger online presence.
    • Check in with your audience to find out what is working well, so that you’re not throwing time and energy at something that isn’t being well received.
    • The key here is to be creative and keep trying new ideas to see what works best –then stick with it!
  • Develop a marketing strategy. The very definition of a marketing strategy is: “An organization’s strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business.” (*Source: Business Dictionary).  If you haven’t done so, identify your ideal client, as this is a crucial step to success in your business. Once you have identified your ideal client, you will want to review your marketing message –does it speak to your client specifically? Does it solve a common problem that they have, and this is key, that they are willing to pay to have solved?  Your marketing strategy is simply figuring out the best, most impactful way to engage your audience, convert them to clients, keep them satisfied, and then ask them to share their experience with their friends.

There you have it!  This isn’t rocket science and it works. There is no limit to what you can do –it’s there for you, right on social media within your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter following –an audience just waiting for your incredible value. All you have to do is open your mind to the possibilities. Start mapping out your plan, then set the intention to do those action steps each day.  Follow the five best practices, develop your own individual marketing strategy and watch your business grow and your dreams unfold!  Honestly, it is really that simple.  Cheers and see you on social media!

Need help or want to ask some questions?  Follow us on Facebook and join us each Wednesday at 3:00pm EST, for Wonder Wednesday –and get answers!

Cheetah Fusion Creative Agency –Catapult your brand… fast!

705.302.3386 | www.cheetahfusion.com | meow@cheetahfusion.com