Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

Are Your Money Beliefs Hurting Your Business?

I was teaching a class about Super Customers recently in my Brilliant Business Academy and a lady asked a really good question at the end.

She said something along the lines of “I make keepsake bears. I couldn’t afford one of my bears. I don’t think people will pay my prices”

Woah! That is a biggie. We had a talk about it on the call. Let me tell you how that went.

There was a whole lot going on here, as you can tell.

This lady – we’ll call her Pam – creates amazing keepsake items and focuses on teddy bears made from items of clothing.

Some of her customers want their child’s baby clothes made into keepsake bears.

Some customers though, have lost loved ones, from babies and children to parents and siblings and want a keepsake bear to hold, to remember their loved one by.

Pam doesn’t just whiz them together. She has special touches she incorporates into her keepsakes, things that make them unique and even more valuable to her customers. The quality is amazing. Her service is amazing. The feedback she gets is amazing.

Some people think she is too expensive, but they are not her Super Customers. Other people think she is worth her weight in gold because she creates something precious to keep when they are going through a sad and tough time – the cost isn’t vaguely an issue.

So why does she think her customers won’t pay her prices?

Maybe because Pam’s confidence in herself isn’t great? Maybe a few of those ‘too expensive’ comments from people hit home even though they weren’t her Super Customers? Or maybe because at the moment money is a bit tight for Pam and luxuries like keepsake bears would be out of her budget for now.

Any of these would give you pricing wobbles. Combined, they are enough to make anyone doubt themselves.

And Pam could be any of us.
Depending on how we feel on a given day, our confidence in our pricing goes up, down and all around. If we’re feeling a bit broke and sales are thin on the ground, then we might assume everyone else is a bit broke too – our mind does that to us. It projects OUR money beliefs onto other people.

In other words ‘If I can’t afford it, then others probably can’t’ or ‘If I wouldn’t pay that, nobody else would’.

But you know that’s not true, don’t you?

People value different things for different reasons, depending on what is happening in their life.

If I’m not into cycling then a bicycle has no value to me. If my doctor told me to lose weight and get fit quickly, I would probably see the value in that bicycle and even think about upgrading it, because it’s something I need now.

If I haven’t lost a loved one then a keepsake bear might not even enter my thoughts. When I do lose someone dear to me, all of a sudden a keepsake bear seems like a wonderful idea and a way to keep a loved one close, even after they have gone.

And when I look for keepsake bears, I will have a choice. I might only be able to afford a ‘budget’ bear or I might decide to buy a really special one, like the ones Pam makes, even if I have to forgo other expenses or save up.

The thing is, you don’t know what I would pay more for.

You don’t know what I’d save up for.

You don’t know what I value or what is happening in my life.

You are not a mind reader.

All you can do is figure out your Super Customer and speak to them in your marketing.

In Pam’s case, her Super Customer is the bereaved person who is looking for a beautiful, special keepsake created with love and care by someone who knows how hard this is for them.

  • Someone who can guide them through the process of selecting the best fabrics and the best types of clothing to choose.
  • Someone who understands how precious these clothes now are
  • Someone who will handle these precious clothes with love and compassion

Pam does that and her Super Customers don’t care that she is more than twice the price of some other makers.

It’s irrelevant to them. What matters is the experience and how it makes them feel.

So, Pam realised her fear that people wouldn’t pay her prices was unfounded. Actually, for her Super Customers the price is secondary.

All she has to do is speak to them in her marketing. 

  • She needs to tell them what she does, and why.
  • She needs to show them how she creates beautiful keepsakes with care and compassion and tell them she will help them with the really tough bits.
  • She needs to involve them in the journey. Tell them how it will work and how long it will take. Explain how they can add personal, special features if they want.
  • She needs to show off her beautiful makes and her testimonials from happy customers.
  • She needs to be proud of the difference she makes and the joy she brings at a difficult time.
  • The LAST thing she needs to do is assume what they would pay, based on how she is feeling about money at the moment.

And even better, once she changes her marketing to speak to these Super Customers, who will be so happy they found her, she will sell more keepsakes and her money situation will improve. Win win.

And Pam’s question made me think of you.

  • How often have you projected your money beliefs onto your customers?
  • How often have you assumed people won’t pay *that much* because cash is a bit tight in your house at the moment?
  • How often have you thought it’s not worth marketing your products or services because it’s too far from pay day?
  • How often have you caved in and given discounts without thinking about how valuable your products and service really are, to the RIGHT people?
  • Every time you do this, you are devaluing what you sell. Every time you do this you are letting your money beliefs hurt your business.

To the right people – your Super Customers – the price is secondary, because they VALUE what you sell. They might even forgo other expenses or save up for it. Imagine that. Best get stuck into Super Customer marketing, eh?

You are awesome.

Love, Claire xx

PS: That class about Super Customers I mentioned? It’s in my Brilliant Business Academy now and you can get a week’s trial for just £1 HERE. Hope to see you in there, I think you’ll love it!

Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

Did you know that pricing is one of the biggest challenges in business? It’s true! Get it right and your business runs beautifully, attracting lovely customers and making you a great living. Get it wrong and you barely make a profit, even though you’re working like crazy.

I was talking to a lady recently, who was working way too many hours for not enough money.

She was burned out, fed up and broke. She knew something had to change before she gave up altogether but she was scared of getting it wrong. She was scared to raise her prices because, even though she wasn’t making any money at the moment, she was convinced if she put up her prices nobody at all would buy. She thought she just needed to work harder and get more customers, but she was already working way too hard.

She was in a price trap where she didn’t have enough hours in the day to make the money she needed and her current business model meant it could never grow.

I had to give her some tough love. I told her she had an expensive hobby, not a business. By the time she factored in all the hours she was working, her hourly rate was a pittance and she wasn’t making a profit. I told her  she was too cheap and giving out all the wrong signals, attracting bargain hunters and people who didn’t value her. And I told her she needed to change things fast before she made herself ill.

My biggest piece of business advice for her was to VALUE herself and her skills and put up her prices a LOT.

She was really shocked but she soon realised what I meant.

What To Do If You’re Attracting The Wrong Buyers

Even though this lady had probably known this for ages, she had been scared to put up her prices because she thought no-one would buy.  And people were buying but they were the wrong people – people who wanted cheap products rather than those who wanted GOOD VALUE (There is a BIG difference). She was marketing (verging on spamming) in local selling groups and trying to compete with cheap prices online and yes, she was selling, but at what cost? Something had to give.

When we worked through the numbers it became very clear very quickly that if she targeted a different type of customer she could charge more for her beautiful products.

She would need to make some big changes starting with her mindset. Instead of thinking of herself as ‘little old me’ who can’t charge much because nobody will pay, she needed to start thinking like a BUSINESS OWNER. Someone who sells an amazing product that the right people will adore and will happily pay a premium for. She had to start valuing her time and skills, her experience and expertise.

We worked together to help her understand her value. The products she created were far better than the stuff selling cheap on Amazon and Ebay and yet she had been trying to compete with them. She realised the people buying those things were buying based purely on price. They weren’t bothered about quality or service, they just wanted a cheap commodity.

Her products were better. They were beautifully made. The quality was amazing, from the sustainable materials she used to her eco-packaging. She was passionate about creating products that would last a long time and even be handed down through families. Her customer service was fantastic.

She quickly realised there were a few different groups of people who would happily pay more, she just had to pick one and start marketing to them.

The Super Customer Marketing Journey

Instead of trying to find customers in local ‘buy and sell’ groups as she had been, she instead needed to figure out where her Super Customers were looking. After a little research we worked out that, with a few changes to her product photography style and some hashtag research, Instagram could really work for her.

She was already using Facebook but her page fans were the wrong sort of people, so she needed to start attracting more of the right people. She could do that by changing her behaviour on Facebook and instead of acting like a bargain-basement business, she needed to reposition herself as an artisan making handmade creations that oozed quality. It would take some time but gradually her fan base would change and Facebook could become a really effective marketing tool for her.

We talked about sharing her journey, from design scribbles to materials, work in progress, finished items, little touches, packaging and also a new focus on her, as a maker. Weaving her story into her online presence, sharing her inspiration, talking about why she did things the way she did, why she loves what she does – that personal thread running through a business is a game-changer. It’s not about price, it’s about the journey of amazing products from idea to completion.

I told her I often buy gorgeous things on Facebook and Instagram exactly because of this approach. Watching a sketch take shape and come to life is magical. Many’s the time I’ve already decided I’m going to buy something even before it’s finished because I feel that I’m part of its journey. From felted bees to oil paintings, embroideries to cookies to make-up bags, I bought them all this way.

She realised she had just got herself into a ‘cheap’ mindset and it nearly broke her AND her business BUT it was reversible. She saw that she could reposition her business and she got very excited. She had looked at other makers featured in magazines and online and never dreamed she could be in the same league and yet, there was nothing stopping her other than her self-belief. Yes, it would take some time but the sooner she started, the sooner it would happen.

Do You See The Shift?

Do you see how things changed from an attitude of ‘I have to be cheap to compete with Ebay sellers’ to ‘I’m a skilled maker and the things I make are unique, beautiful and valuable’? Do you see how that would change a business beyond recognition?

Which would you rather have? Which would you rather be?

As soon as you realise your value and your worth, the energy in your business changes. Your marketing takes on a new feel. Your prices increase to reflect the quality and the journey of your work. You start to make a really nice income AND you attract customers and fans who adore you and your work.

A few weeks after repositioning her business and putting up her prices she started attracting the RIGHT kind of customers. She deleted all her ‘cheap’ posts from social media and gave her website a mini-makeover. She looked on Instagram and Pinterest to see how other makers were using props and lighting in their product photos and she learned fast.

She started sharing her journey. She started building online relationships with other makers and artisans and shared their beautiful work on her social media with no expectation of them returning the favour, but guess what? Some did! And even for those that haven’t (yet) the fact she was sharing their gorgeous (not cheap) things helped to position her and her business in the right way. It elevated the perception of her business into a higher league.

None of this cost her much money – it just took a weekend of online tidying-up, research and learning.

The best thing is it’s going to get better and better for her. She is gaining confidence. She is attracting new fans. She’s enjoying doing her marketing and social media. She is feeling more inspired and creative. And she has to work fewer hours to make the same money. Yes, she lost a few people and had the odd grumbler but her business needed to let them go, they were the wrong fit and were keeping her stuck in the price trap.

So, Why Do Business Owners Struggle With ‘Proper’ Pricing?

Well, I reckon a lack of confidence and that pesky ‘little old me’ syndrome have a lot to answer for when we talk about pricing.  Loads of people accidentally fall into the price trap because they don’t know any better and they don’t feel confident enough to charge what they are worth.

Let’s look at how most people price their products and services – maybe this is how you did it, too?

  • You look at what your competitors are charging and opt for prices just above or just below them, depending on where you believe you rank in the pecking order (which can have damaging consequences if you’ve made the decision on a day when your confidence is low!)
  • Perhaps you’ve asked your friends and family what they think and been greeted by a sharp intake of breath.
  • Maybe you started off well but a catty comment by a ‘bad-fit’ customer knocked your confidence and convinced you you’re too expensive?

This happens all the time. For many small business owners, pricing seems to be a particularly emotive topic and one we take personally.

  • We worry that we don’t have enough experience or we’re not good enough to charge ‘proper’ prices
  • We fixate on what our competitors are charging without questioning whether they are right
  • If we can’t find out what others are charging, we worry we’re getting it completely wrong
  • We also fear being judged by others. After all, perhaps other people might think you’re getting a bit too big for your boots if you put your prices up? You know what I mean, the voice in your head that worries people are saying ‘who does she think she is?’
  • Then of course there’s the fear that you might lose customers or not attract new ones

Do any of these seem like a proper, sensible pricing strategy a ‘proper’ business owner would create? Or do they all seem a bit knee-jerk and random? Hmm?

So, Are You Caught In A Price Trap?

  • Are you working too hard for not enough money?
  • Are your prices based on the value you bring or are they based on what other people are charging?
  • How can you reposition your business to attract better customers who love what you do and are willing to pay for it?
  • Even if you don’t completely scrap your current product or service range, maybe you can create a luxury or VIP tier? You can focus all your marketing on your higher-end offerings. That way you can transition out the ‘bad-fit’ buyers and unprofitable offerings without removing your income (however meagre).

The only way to do it is to do it. Be brave. Dig out that self-confidence and go for it. In a few weeks you could have a completely new business and you won’t look back.

And what’s the worst that can happen?

Nobody buys, right?

Well that’s just a sign that you need to keep tweaking and keep marketing.

  • Make sure you’re walking the talk. Make sure your marketing is up to scratch, that your website reflects your new higher-level business and that your social media is on point.
  • Focus on the VALUE you bring to your Super Customers.
  • Share your journey as you develop your products and services.
  • Engage your audience. Talk about what your products and services do for them. How will they help? What difference will they make? Why are YOUR products and services a cut above the rest?
  • Keep marketing. Keep tweaking. Keep marketing. Repeat.

It doesn’t matter whether you sell HR training or make handbags, the principles are the same. Get really clear on the value you bring. Understand how it makes your Super Customers feel, then charge what you’re REALLY worth.

Let me know how you get on and good luck! You’re awesome.

 

3 Ways You’re Blocking Money In Your Business

3 Ways You’re Blocking Money In Your Business

OK being a business owner isn’t always the easiest option (but there are SO many good points!) – however let’s not make it harder for ourselves to make money than it needs to be.

I work with thousands of ladies via my Facebook page, The Girls Mean Business, and I see the same issues coming up time and time again. Issues that are definitely making it harder for you to make money in your business – I call them money obstacles and you’re probably putting them in your own way. See if you’re guilty of any of these little gems:

1. Not Knowing Your Numbers

The first way that women business owners make it harder for themselves to make money is by not knowing their numbers. Do you know yours?

By numbers I’m talking about your break-even point (in other words you need to know exactly what it costs you to provide or produce your product or service so that you can charge AT LEAST that amount – but realistically a lot more – and actually make some money), your profit margin, your weekly, monthly, annual sales (or turnover) figures.

I know you’re scared of numbers, most women business owners are, but the truth is that if you don’t know this stuff then you could be running at a huge loss without even knowing about it and effectively paying your customers to buy from you. How crazy is that? And yet so many people unwittingly do it because they don’t know any better and they daren’t start looking at the figures.

Don’t be one of those scaredy cat girls. Be brave, get your big girl knickers on and face facts – you’re a business owner and you need to know at the very least:

  1. What it costs you to make/provide your product service including time, materials, overheads like rent, rates, electricity, water and staff
  2. What you therefore need to charge JUST TO COVER COSTS (this is your absolute minimum, if you’re not covering costs then then STOP RIGHT NOW)
  3. What you need to charge to make a decent profit and give you a business that makes you money.
  4. THEN CHARGE IT (and put your prices up at least once a year)

 

2. Not Knowing What You’re Aiming For

The second way women business owners make it harder for themselves to make money is by not knowing what they are aiming for. I mean, if you’re not sure what you’re trying to achieve then how the heck are you going to achieve it? You need at least some basic targets in your business or you’re just pootling along aimlessly, wondering why you’re not getting any further forward.

You’ll find an unexpected side effect of setting targets – you’ll push yourself just a bit further to achieve them. In my case, as soon as I started setting targets my business skyrocketed into the stratosphere, it made a world of difference. It became like a personal challenge. I know what I need to sell every day, week, month and year to help me achieve my BIG targets and BIG vision for my business.

If you’re not setting targets then you’re making it harder for yourself to make money.

 

3. Not Setting Boundaries

The third way women business owners make it harder for themselves to make money is by not setting boundaries. By NOT setting boundaries you don’t protect your work time, you tire yourself out, you fritter away precious time and you wonder why you’re not getting any richer.

When I say ‘protecting your work time’ I mean get really strict on your working hours in your business, even if that’s only a couple of hours a day or week. Make that time count. Don’t sit there faffing and wasting time. Don’t get distracted. Don’t give in and have a cuppa with your pal (do that outside of your work time). Don’t do the washing or get chatting to a neighbour in that time. It’s your WORK time.

You’re a business owner. Be strict with yourself. Get really clear on what you’re going to do in those slices of time and do it. Setting those targets we just talked about will help with this. So will being really clear on your priorities – what’s actually going to take your business forward and what are you just doing out of habit? Say ‘no’ to distractions. Ask people to come back later (as much as reasonably possible but I understand kids won’t take no for an answer…) Get good at acting like you’re serious about your business because if YOU don’t take it seriously, how can you expect anyone else to? And if they don’t take your business seriously then they won’t respect your work time.

The thing about making money in business is that you’re wanting to do it for a reason – to make your life and your family’s life better, right? So it’s really important that while you’re building your business you don’t accidentally forget this – I see so many woman who work every single spare hour they have and they burn themselves out very quickly. A burnt out business owner is never going to make any money.

Set boundaries. Make your work time count. Get good at getting very productive, very quickly and then have time off in between. Time for you and time for your family. The better you get at this, the easier it will be to build your business, stay sane and make more money.

Stop Making It Harder For Yourself To Make Money

If you can crack these three areas of your life and business, you will make money much more easily and you’ll be a happier, healthier business owner too. Don’t deliberately put obstacles in your own way, start to think like a business owner and watch the magic start to happen. I know you can do this, so get on and do it!

Other blogs you might love:

3 Ways To Make More Money From Your Website

Scared to Put Your Prices On Your Website?