You’ve always dreamt about being your own boss, creating your own hours and building a business that you can be proud of. The days of working for ‘the man’ are over. It’s your time to shine but you’re not sure where to start. It’s more than printing a great business card, having an interactive website or a really cool product or service (many of us have that). The million-dollar question is how do I get the word out about my new business? Here’s a few steps to help you take your business to the next level:
Get out of the office!
I hate to break it to you but no one knows you exist but your close family, a few friends and others in your inner circle. You may feel like you have a ton of work to do and that you need to be in the office everyday but ask yourself, ” is it a good use of your time?” How many new people are you actually meeting by staying in the office everyday? That’s right none. If you expect to grow this business you need to be hands-on and start having cups of coffee, lunches or dinners with the influencers in the community that will help you grow your business. Set up a meeting with a local editor or publisher, or the President of an organization that you’re interested in joining. These people are well connected and most of the time (if they like you) will lead you in the right direction. Get out and start making some powerful connections today!
What are they doing right?
Just like the Miami Heat lock themselves in a movie room and watch thousands of hours of tape of the opposing team to see their moves, plays and techniques. You have to do the same! Start doing your research and find out your competitors story, find out what they’re doing right and how they have managed to grow and become a success. What types of groups or associations are they attending? What types of clients do they attract and why? What are they known for? There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with the competition – by doing so you may learn a thing or two. Set up Google alerts and stay in the know on industry news, conferences and networking events.
Who’s in your circle?
Who do you look to for guidance? Who do you bounce ideas off of? Who do you collaborate with? How do you hold yourself accountable? These are very valid and intimidating questions. I remember not knowing or understanding the magnitude of having a ‘circle’. It’s imperative to the life of your business. Yes, right now you are the CEO of Everything but in order to change that you need to create your circle. Whether you create a small group of professionals that meet once a month for lunch or you join a networking group in the community in the words of Robert DeNiro,”create your circle of trust.” It gets lonely in your office; the 9-5 conference calls and board meetings are a thing of the past. It’s time for you to create your own circle, which will hold you accountable for growing your business and stepping outside of the box. Your circle should be a group of professionals that you can use as resources and mentors. Start making a few visits and see which group of people are good fits for you both personally and professionally.
PR, Marketing & Social Media are not the same!
You can’t have one without the other, it’s a formula for success but it can be costly (trust me I know). Think of it like an Oreo cookie, can you imagine a cookie without the white filling? It just doesn’t make sense, right? When I first started my business I had zero dollars to invest in any of it – so I decided to do it all on my own. Was it hard, yes? Was it a great use of my time, absolutely not? You have to determine if this is a strong or weak point for you when growing your business. Determine if you are you a good writer. Can you pitch the media while selling your products or services successfully at the same time? You’ll learn very quickly that you get what you pay for and every business has their hands out. If you don’t invest in PR, Marketing & Social Media (the triple threat) your business will not have a shot. Try to find a company that a colleague is using, and obtain at least 3-4 quotes to review. Finally, sit down with an industry expert (in your circle) that can assist you in making the right choice. Then hire them! It will be the best thing for you and your future!
Remember, it’s your time to shine!
It doesn’t matter how you ended up here, the bottom line is you’re here and you should make the best of this remarkable opportunity. There’s no time like the present to make a significant shift in your business. Build an empire and design the live you deserve. Once you decide that you’re in this for the long haul the rest is up to you. You can have your piece of the pie if you stay ambitious, innovative and well informed. Good luck!