“When you turn down £500 cash (50% discount) in your hand today because they are not your super client!!!! ARGH!!! lol Off to lie down!”
I love this post!
A lady in one of my Facebook groups posted it and it started a big discussion that might not have gone the way you might expect. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she had ‘lost’ £500, everyone in the group was cheering her on and saying how well she had done! And they were right! She’s a very talented photographer and puts a lot of work into every client project.
She made me laugh because her next comment was “My head was going ‘just take it, go on’ but my mouth kept saying nope!!!… I know it was super cheeky of him to ask for that kind of discount but I’d have only had myself to blame if I’d have taken it!”
This is the power of knowing your Super Customer. She knew that if she had taken that money and discounted her prices by 50% even though she really needed the money and it was right there, ready to grab, several things would have happened:
- She would have under-valued her service – it’s worth what she charges for it and if she had taken 50% less then she is telling the Universe and herself that she’s not really worth what she charges. It might sound woowoo but if YOU don’t value your time and expertise, how can you expect anyone else to?
- She would have begrudged the work – it wouldn’t have flowed, it would have felt like hard work and she would have been carrying out the project knowing that the customer wasn’t prepared to pay the proper price.
- If someone else had come along, who was prepared to pay her usual rates, she would have had to say ‘no’ because she was booked up with this ‘half price deal’
- The customer clearly didn’t value her enough to respect her pricing – he was looking for ‘cheap’ and that always spells trouble.There’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting but when you are dealing with someone’s time and expertise and livelihood and you want cheap, that’s a different matter. Clients who want ‘cheap’ under those circumstances often become nightmare clients because they don’t value you or respect you.They are hard to work with. They are tricky – they try to squeeze ever more from the deal, stall signing it off and then become troublesome payers, if you invoice them.
But she didn’t give in to temptation or pressure.
She said ‘no, thank you’.
By doing that she showed him that she values herself and her service.
- She proved to herself that she is brave and bold and confident enough in her service to not have to discount.
- She showed the Universe that she’s prepared to stick it out and wait for a better client who loves and values what she does, and she’s made room for them by saying ‘no’ to bad business.
- She’s let that ‘bad’ client go and find someone else to work with, someone cheaper who maybe doesn’t value themselves as much. That’s their call, but she’s not prepared to compromise at that level.
- She’s freed up time that she would have spent begrudgingly working for him.
- She knew that the £500 she rejected could have cost her much, much more in time wasted, energy sapped and confidence battered. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ when you think about it.
She’s done herself proud.
And I am really proud of her, as are the other ladies in the group.
It’s hard to say ‘no’ to the money, especially when it’s being dangled in front of your face and you’re feeling a bit broke. But it’s harder to deal with the consequences of saying yes.
It’s tricky being a business owner.
Nobody tells you when you start out that there is SO MUCH to consider. When you plan your business and start out, you probably expect to spend most of your time doing the *thing* you love – the *thing* that made you want to have a business around it, whether it’s crafting or singing or coaching. And it’s not until you’ve taken the leap that you realise that’s not the full story.
Most of us spend much of our time NOT doing the *thing* we’re in business for.
We’re too busy trying to get our head around marketing, legal stuff, tax and accountancy issues, spreadsheets, forecasts, social media and more. That’s not including the fact we’ve got other stuff going on in our life – when you add children and their social life into the equation your time shrinks alarmingly.
When I left corporate world in 2005 I felt the same. I had no idea what I was getting into. I made so many mistakes, I’m surprised I even had a business at the end of it. I’ve been looking back at the mistakes I made and the mistakes I see other business owners making all the time that make it so much harder for them to grow a sustainable, profitable business.There are SO MANY, I had 15 written down but I only gave myself an hour to write this so I’ve picked my top 5 and I’ll do you a ‘part 2’ blog soon 🙂
1.Trying To Market To Everyone
Yes, I know I go on and on about this but it’s a BIGGIE! You can’t market to everyone. You’re a ‘micro business’ owner just like me. You have limited time, money and energy to spend on marketing and so you may as well target those people who are most likely to buy from you – why wouldn’t you do that?
Why would you waste precious marketing resources on people who AREN’T likely to buy? Who aren’t a good fit? It just doesn’t make sense, and yet so many people don’t know any better so they just throw their marketing out into the world, willy nilly, and hope some of it works. But you know better, right? You are going to focus your marketing on the people who are a great fit for your business, who love what you do, who are most likely to buy out of everyone, who keep coming back, who tell their friends. Agreed? Good.
2. Not Thinking Like A Business Owner
When you ARE your business it can be really tricky to separate out the business from the personal. Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms of not thinking like a business owner:
- A criticism of your business is a criticism of you
- A nasty comment on your Facebook page feels personal
- You cave in every time someone asks for a discount because you’re ‘just little old me’
- You hate chasing late payments because your clients might hate you and never come back
- You undercharge
- You take everything personally, to the point where it’s affecting your home life
- You actually don’t HAVE a home life…
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, don’t fret because most women business owners feel like this at some point. Our business is our baby and our products and services are created with our passion, enthusiasm and energy. It’s understandable that things feel personal. But you’re a business owner and you need to think like one. Thinking like a business owner looks like this:
- Taking the higher ground
- Not getting caught up in ‘little old me syndrome’
- Not being bullied into giving discounts
- Not being afraid to chase up YOUR money that you’re due
- Rising above nasty comments on your FB page (they don’t know you!)
- Taking criticism constructively rather than personally
- Putting boundaries in place
It’s easier said than done. I’ve fallen foul of loads of these. But you live and learn. I’m still here and so are you – and the sooner you start to think like a business owner, the sooner your business will start fly
[Tweet “The sooner you start thinking like a business owner, the sooner your business will fly #tgmb”]
3. Pricing Based On What Your Competitors Charge
No, no, no! Stop it! Do you know how your competitors set THEIR prices? I’ll tell you. They most likely looked around to see what everyone else what charging and then benchmarked themselves against them – I’m better than them so I can charge more, I’m new so I can’t charge as much as her because she’s been around for 10 years…. sound familiar. This is NOT the way to price. No.
Remember in #1 when I said you can’t market to everyone? Well, here’s a chance to put this concept into practise. Figure out who your ideal customer or client is. Work out why they love you. What problems do you solve for them? How do you make their life better, easier, happier? How do you save them money, help them lose weight, make their lashes thicker?
[Tweet “Figure out what VALUE you bring to your customers, what DIFFERENCE you make to their life and then work out what that’s WORTH to them #tgmb”]
Figure out what VALUE you bring to them, what DIFFERENCE you make to their life and then work out what that’s WORTH to them. This might mean you’re 3 times the price of your local competitors but so what? Customers always need a choice, some people (me included) will always choose the most expensive option if it represents better quality and value. You don’t have to compete on price – it’s time for you to step out of your comfort zone and change the way things are done around here!
[Tweet “You don’t have to compete on price – it’s time for you to step out of your comfort zone and change the way things are done around here!”]
4. Not Being Yourself
I can’t tell you the number of times I read ‘about’ sections on social media or websites and I’m yawning before I’ve got to the end of the first paragraph. “Our business is the foremost provider of blah blah services in the North East region of the UK”, “We are proud to be the current holders of the blah blah award for blah blah”, “Our team is professional and highly qualified blah blah blah”. Yawn.
How does that make you interesting? How does that make you stand out from the competition? How does THAT entice anyone to work with you?? IT DOESN’T!
Stop being sterile! Just because the big corporates sound like that, doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, it’s exactly why you shouldn’t! They probably feel like they have to have a certainly level of sterile professionalism in their marketing if they’re a multinational conglomerate thingy but you’re not. You’re an awesome, fabulous micro business brimming with passion, purpose and personality. There’s nobody like you. You’re one of a kind. So STOP BEING BORING.
Avoid ‘boring’ like the plague.
[Tweet “Your marketing should have your personality running through it like a stick of Blackpool Rock #tgmb #bizitalk”]
Stay away from ‘sterile’. You can still be professional and be YOU. I’d much rather see a business talking about an award like this “WE WON! We won’t bore you with our acceptance speech but we were voted the totally most awesome supplier of knitting needles in the Universe. Ok, maybe we’re exaggerating a bit – we actually won ‘haberdashery supplier of the year for the North East region’ but our version sounds funkier. We wouldn’t be here without you so we want you to share our award too – here’s a picture you can print off and stick on your wall’… Do you see what I mean? I’d MUCH rather buy from them than someone who says “We are proud to be the current holders of the blah blah award for blah blah”.
It’s time to infuse your personality into and through your business as if it was a stick of Blackpool Rock. The BEST news is that when you do this, your competitors can’t touch you. They can’t copy, they can’t compete because you’re not just selling products, you’re selling YOU, your TEAM, your PASSION, your PURPOSE, your ZING. It puts a whole new spin on all of your marketing and I’m telling you it’s your time to shine. Today! (I can see you glowing already.)
5. Not Being Consistent And Persistent With Marketing
You’ve tried that idea once, it didn’t work, so you gave up. If I had a penny for everyone who told me something similar in the past month I’d have at least 24p by now, which would nearly buy me half a Curly Wurly.
Marketing takes time.
Lots of time. Marketing is an ongoing process. It’s not something you do once and then give up. So stop being flaky and start marketing like you mean it!
I teach my clients that they need to give their marketing 3-6 months before they really see the results. 3-6 months and that’s AFTER you’ve sussed out your ideal customer and started focusing all your marketing on them. It’s ages. I know. And that can be quite depressing, especially if you’re short of money and desperate for sales but I don’t want to build your hopes up.
Don’t get me wrong, if you get your marketing approach right then you’ll sell stuff during that 3-6 month period, of course you will, but if you carry on marketing, and marketing, and marketing some more by the end of 6 months you’ll REALLY start to see the effect.
Think about it.
How long does it take you to properly take notice of a new business out there? Maybe you see them posting a bit on social media, maybe you walk past their shop occasionally, maybe you see an ad in the local paper.
Eventually, when you’ve got time in your busy life you might check out their website or pop into the shop. And you might even buy something, but you’ll probably just take a look around and file it in your head for ‘when I need it later’.
People buy when they are ready to buy, not when you need them to. Your urgency is not their urgency. And if you stop marketing in the meantime and they go searching for you and can’t remember your business name, they might not find you.
Whereas, if you’ve tempted them onto your subscriber list with a juicy offer, you send them lovely deals and show off your wares in a monthly e-newsletter, you post every day on social media and you blog every couple of weeks to keep your website content fresh, you stand a MUCH better chance of being found (and you’ll probably find that people spend more with you because you’re showing them stuff they love all the time).
Phew! So, how many of these mistakes have you made or are you still making?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments if these struck a chord! Don’t beat yourself up about them but DO look at them from a new perspective and fix them going forward. I want your business to be the best it can be, you deserve it after all the hard work you’ve put into it so don’t let these 5 silly mistakes hold you back!
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:
- What it costs you to make/provide your product service including time, materials, overheads like rent, rates, electricity, water and staff
- 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)
- What you need to charge to make a decent profit and give you a business that makes you money.
- 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?