Manifesting clients, customers, and cash… NOW!

makeitrainToday I’m going to share a very cool, actionable technique that you can use to grow your business. Whether you want clients, customers, or even just cash, this quick technique will work – and work quickly – to manifest what you’re looking for.

How do I know this? Because I just did it! I wanted to find 2 new clients for 2 new spots in my roster… But not just any clients, clients that I would love. I did this process, and within a week I had two absolutely amazing clients who are already making progress!

So, how do you “make it rain”?

Many people state that “the universe abhors a vacuum.” Of course we know that this isn’t an absolute, otherwise outer space would be filled with junk BUT we do know that here on our terrestrial planet, as terrestrial beings, we fill spaces.

You have an empty closet, it ends up full.

You find an empty lot, someone builds a house.

You have an empty counter, it is a constant battle to keep it from filling up with junk.

So what do you do when you want new clients, customers, or cash to appear in your business?

You create an empty space.

There are two ways to do this, and I’ve found it is most effective when you use both.

The first is to put together new client files and folders, ready and waiting for your new clients. Completely blank, of course – full of potential. By creating a space for these new clients, you are more likely to fill that space.

You may find by doing this process that you actually don’t have all of the supplies you need to serve the clients you want (as I did.) Go out and get the supplies! That way you’re fully prepared to serve the clients you intend to bring into your business, and nothing will be subconsciously sabotaging you from doing this.

This process will make the end result seem more real, tangible, and achievable.

The second way to bring new clients, customers, and cash into your business is to create a visual representation of your business AND the space you want to fill.

First figure out how many total clients, customers, or dollars you want in your business. Then using a whiteboard, chalkboard, or even a piece of paper, draw circles (or stars, hearts, squares, trapezoids or even tangential quadrilaterals) to represent this number. In the case of dollars, you may want to do this in chunks (i.e. 5 circles each representing $1,000 rather than 5,000 circles to represent $5k.)

Fill however many spaces as you can with your current clients, customers, or cash-flow – this is acknowledging your current abundance and making your goal very clear. The remaining empty spaces are there, waiting to be filled.

Now set it somewhere that you can see it every day, and go about your business. Keep your goal in the back of your mind if you wish, but don’t dwell on it or stress – it will happen! Sometimes the results have come in less than a week for myself and my clients, so don’t be afraid to be ambitious.

Go ahead, give it a try – then come back and share your results!

5 Blogs to Inspire You To Step Up

biggergame

I’ve been writing a lot lately about inspiration, playing a bigger game, stepping up and changing the world even when you’re afraid. I’m doing this, right now – stepping up and doing a soft-launch of projectRADIANT next week, breaking down what successful companies are doing and laying out their game plans for others to implement.

There are some big, big companies coming down the pipeline with their interviews – big, scary, OMG I have to actually talk to that awesome CEO companies – and it is absolutely magical.

I know what happens when you step up and play a bigger game, and many of you are starting to learn. But in celebration of the upcoming release of pR, I thought it would be appropriate to hear the opinions of other highly successful people on the whole “step up and do something big” philosophy.

5 Blogs to Inspire You To Step Up

1. Kevin Colleran’s “Go Big or Go Home” on The Wall Street Journal

Kevin’s key points: true entrepreneurs do something that is a little bit crazy, that changes the world, they know why they’re the right person for the job, they time things right, fail fast, and pivot even faster. It is well worth a read.

2. Seth Godin’s “Thinking Bigger

Of course Seth Godin doesn’t really need an introduction, but if you haven’t read this piece on his blog yet, you should. There is only one central thought here: “Ask bigger questions.” That is what takes a business from “idea” to “remarkable.” Check it out.

3. Mike Michalowicz’s “Don’t Overthink It”

It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mike and his ideas, and this is one of my favourites. Simple, to the point, and with a fantastic and relatable example, Mike tells you to stop living in your head and swing for the fences (or the woods.) This 3 minute read could change your whole year.

4. Dave Navarro’s “7 Steps to Playing a Bigger Game”

This is less “blog”, more “opt-in page” (and no, I’m not an affiliate.) But if there were ever a sales letter or opt-in page worth reading, this is it. Dave actually lays out what he believes the 7 steps to stepping up, including his thoughts on reducing the number of steps it takes to achieve your goals which is one of the best ways you can hack your own psychology to help you achieve greatness. It’s a long read, but well worth it.

5. KissMetrics “Lessons from Richard Branson”

I love Sir Branson. He is an amazing example of what you can do if you’re willing to take a stand for a product or service you believe that people deserve – and yes, that is really how he thinks. His Five Tips for Success about half way through will help you see why he has been so successful (especially if you implement #5.) Just go and read it, you know you want to!

So that’s it.

Those are the 5 posts you should read today if you want to step up and play bigger. What blogs or articles have you found inspiring on your path? Share in the comments!

On Courage and The Pain of Playing Small

You must make a choice to take a chance or nothing will ever change.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

– Wayne Gretzky

What is it you really want?

Not just what you think you can have, but if there were no more obstacles, no more barriers, nothing stopping you – what would you shoot for? What do you really, really want?

How much money would you have?

How big would your company be?

How much (or how little) would you work?

What kind of impact would you make in the world?

What would you do for your family?

What would you do for yourself?

Push beyond your current reality.

Don’t think of your limitations, ignore your limiting beliefs (you can’t have X without sacrificing Y, for example), and create a picture of exactly what your ideal life would be like. Stretch it – make it even bigger. Then bigger. Make your vision for yourself and your business so big that you hardly believe you could ever have it.

Think to yourself what that would give you. If this ideal life were magically dropped in your lap right now, how would you feel? What would you do? Who would you be?

Pretty amazing, right? The way it would feel to live your ideal life is pretty incredible.

Now ask yourself…

What is stopping you?

Your logical brain (coming from your limiting beliefs) will likely have a few answers for you. You may think…

“I don’t have enough money.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“My parents never taught me how.”

“I don’t have the right connections.”

“I’m just a mom/dad/coach/startup/kid/senior/whatever.”

Go ahead and listen to those thoughts for a minute. Take them in. How does it feel to think that way? How does it feel to focus your income goals on “what you need to survive”? How does it feel to think of yourself as “just an” anything?

That is the pain of playing small. And I’ll give you a hint – you aren’t meant to play that small. If you were, it wouldn’t be painful to think that way. It would be natural to think of yourself as insignificant and unimportant, and you would be happy and embrace it.

Feel the weight of all of those limitations, and then ask yourself…

What would it be like if all of those limitations disappeared?

Really and truly – if you had enough money (or didn’t need it), if you were good enough (or didn’t need to be), if everything that was stopping you just went away… How would you feel? What would you do?

Here’s the big secret: did you know that you have the power to make those limitations disappear?

You do – in a split second, if you wanted to.

If you want to move past all of your limitations and embrace your ideal life, you only have to have one thing:

Courage.

The courage to push through every “no” and keep going until you get a “yes”. The courage to stand up and ask for support from big people, big names, and claim your big impact. The courage to earn a lot of money without having to work yourself to death (yes, most of us have limiting beliefs around “working hard=making money”).

The courage to get up every morning and keep working toward your ideal life no matter what.

So – do you want it? Do you want the courage to stand up and claim what you really want in your life and your business? Do you want to play that big game, and achieve everything you have ever dreamed of and more?

Then fake it.

Not in a dishonest, pretend you’re the king of the world kind of way. Act as if you have the courage to do it now. Act as if nothing is stopping you, as if you’re willing to push past any obstacle and not let anything get you down.

Act as if you have the courage to reach for your dreams today.

Because if you’re playing small, if you’re struggling to make ends meet or to get that next sale or to have any kind of impact at all, it isn’t going to get better. Doing the same thing over and over again will not get you different results.

If you stay on your current course, the worst thing that can happen is X. If you make a choice to take a chance, the worst thing that can happen – it is still X. Your failure will not be any more catastrophic than if you hadn’t stuck your neck out at all, but your success has the potential to be that much bigger.

Fake the courage until you have it, because “you miss 100% of the shots you  never take.”

So share in the comments below – what shots are you going to take today?

 

The Biggest Mistake You're Making in Your Business… (and how to stop making it today.)

jumpingoffbridge

“I don’t want to be too… ‘corporate’.”

I probably hear that 4-5 times a week. There is this negative association with corporations, as though doing anything that they do makes you somehow less noble, less helpful, almost evil. Like to be fully corporate, you would have to run your business with a board of advisers that meet in a shadowy back alley – outside the fringes of the law.

I’ve heard that a bit more than usual this week, and it was my call to say this to you:

Stop saying that.

Do you know why corporate marketing looks different from small business marketing? Is it because they’re evil, or manipulative, or distant and uncaring?

No, no, and no.

It looks different because it is. Corporations are marketing on a massive scale. They’re building brand associations, they’re creating a platform, they’re reaching hundreds of thousands, millions, and even billions of potential customers with their marketing.

They’re partnering with big name brands, getting major media attention every time they use the washroom or hire a new janitor, and just generally dominating their market.

Corporate marketing can feel impersonal because it can’t be one-on-one to hundreds of millions of people. How many personal emails or phone calls have you received from someone at Coca-Cola or Pepsi to get you to buy their products? That isn’t because they don’t care about their mission or their customers, it is simply that they’ve found more effective ways to reach you.

Many of you are probably saying “but I don’t want to be as big as Coke or Pepsi, so this doesn’t apply to me.” But, my friend, it absolutely does – and I know it does because I cause breakthroughs around this very challenge every week. For people just like you. (This is where you lean in and read intently…)

Being “corporate” isn’t what you’re afraid of.

In fact, being “corporate” just represents what you’re really afraid of. Something that scares the sh!t out of many of you, really.

Yes, there are some corporations that hurt people – no denying it. There are also people that hurt people, and with the negative focus of modern media, it is getting harder and harder to avoid hearing about them.

Microsoft has done some semi-evil things over the years (anti-trust lawsuit, anyone?) But did you know that they provide good paying jobs to over 100,000 people worldwide? That the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working to solve world hunger with grants that also create dozens of jobs in developing countries?

But I forgot – you don’t want to be “corporate.” Why is that? Well, I think…

You’re avoiding playing a bigger game.

Because calling Sally over at Sally’s Health Spa to partner on a presentation to 10 of her best customers is easier than calling up Centrum and partnering with them to present your offerings to 10M people worldwide, right?

Because calling the local newspaper editor to share your story is easier than calling a journalist at People Magazine or TIME or The Wall Street Journal, right?

Because sitting there selling your own time and knowledge is easier than creating a product that can be replicated with or without you, right?

When you *are* the business, either you’re there and making money… Or you’re not there, and not making money. It is easier to do that than to scale, because your business getting bigger means you need to work a lot more – right?

Because staying small is easier than getting big, right?!?

But is it really?

A phone call to Sally and Centrum will take the same amount of time, and Sally is less familiar with promotional partnerships than Centrum is… She’ll probably take more convincing.

A call to the local newspaper editor won’t likely get you far, unless you’re in the local “clique” of important people… And because he is the only editor, it will probably take you weeks to chase him down. A quick email pitch to the editor at WSJ could be done in 5 minutes.

Selling your time and knowledge is easier at the beginning, when you don’t have a product to sell… But it is impossible to scale, and you end up owning your own job if you don’t evolve beyond that. “Well, if I want to make another $5k this year, I could work another 15 hours a week…” *shudder*

When you own a business and you grow enough to put someone else in charge, you sit around and help steer the vision of the company when you have time… All while getting a nice income from your creation.

Staying small isn’t easier than getting big.

Really, it isn’t. There are hundreds of thousands of companies out there trying to stay small. There are hundreds of companies calling Sally and John the Editor, hundreds of thousands selling their own time and knowledge.

The playing field opens up for the few who step up and play a bigger game. There’s just less competition the closer you get to the top.

So what are you really afraid of? Is it being corporate? Is it playing a bigger game? Is it working too many hours? Is it solving world hunger and creating 100k jobs?

No.

You’re afraid that you’re not good enough.

Who are you to call up Centrum, or WSJ? Who are you to create a product that sells millions of units per month, or to hire someone else to run your company? Who are you to build a company that helps millions, employs hundreds of thousands, generates billions in revenue, and doing it all while you’re enjoying your life?

Here is what I want you to understand: You don’t have to be good enough.

I mean, you already are, but you don’t have to be the best to have a huge impact and enjoy your life. You don’t have to create something amazing from scratch, or be the biggest innovator. Facebook is a publicly traded corporation worth billions, and they were a MySpace copycat. Apple is the same way, and they pay royalties on upwards of 100 patents for every single iPhone they sell.

You don’t need to be the best to have a huge impact, to change the world, to become a millionaire or a billionaire. In fact, to play a bigger game, you only need these:

brass-balls

They’re big, they’re brass, and they are the only difference between Bill Gates and that dude down the street who builds PCs in his basement. Mr. Gates had the “equipment” to walk into IBM’s office and strike a deal to put his operating system (one that he didn’t even create, he basically swiped it from Xerox) on every single PC they built, and pay him for it. That is what made Microsoft what it is today.

Now ask yourself, and be honest:

Do you want to help lots of people?

Do you want to be financially free?

Do you want to enjoy your life?

Do you want people to admire you for your accomplishments and your contribution to this world?

Then stop playing small.

You don’t have to sacrifice yourself and your priorities, you don’t have to be something you’re not, you don’t have to work like a dog or lie, cheat, and steal. You  just have to have the courage to step up, to put yourself out there, to align with people who are bigger than you are today, and to keep pushing until you make it.

Here is your challenge:

Do one thing, every day, that takes courage.

It could be that call to a big name magazine, or a partnership proposal to a Fortune 500 Company, or pitching a guest blog post to The Huffington Post, or sending one of your products to an A-List celebrity asking for their support.

Do one thing every day that pushes you into a bigger  game.

Even if you decide to stay small anyway, being small is a lot more fun when you’ve got big support.

– Cheryl

5 Circles: Should I be using email marketing?

emailmarketing

This is going to be fun! This week on the 5 Circles Series we’re going to be discussing email marketing. Email can be used both B2B and B2C, it can generate sales, create brand awareness, build relationships, share ideas, inspire people, and grow your business.

But should you be using it?

The short answer: yes.

The long answer: yyyyyyyeeeeeeeeessssssssss. (That was longer, wasn’t it?)

Seriously though, there is literally no reason not to use email marketing in your business. Every email you send is a form of marketing, if you’re smart enough to include business info in your signature! So let’s get down to it:

Should you use email marketing?

Marketing Circle: Social

You’ve heard about Twitter. You know about Facebook. The value of networking with people is unsurpassed. I have personally helped brands to grow their following using all of those mediums. But do you know which tool in the social arsenal worked the best – out of every possible method? Email. If you do nothing else from the social circle, make email your focus – you will *not* regret it.

Best-fit Archetype: Communicator

Do you love writing? Is creating new content one of your favourite parts of running your business? Have people told you that you have a knack for communicating your ideas in a way that reads, and flows, very well? Then you are likely a communicator – the archetype of most writers, bloggers, and media moguls. Sharing information (yours, or someone else’s) is your favourite past-time, and email marketing is an amazing way to share your information with your newest raving fans!

Secondary Archetype: Expert

If you love being the centre of attention, then email marketing might be the right fit for you. Experts are well suited to informative newsletters that position them as the source of must-read information on the topic at hand. Be sure to use other mediums (video, images, audio) in your email marketing if writing isn’t your forte!

How does it work?

Essentially, you create an “opt-in” or “landing” page – a place where people who are interested in your business can gain more information in exchange for their email address. Offering free, helpful information is a great way to get people to subscribe. If your brand is well-known and trusted, offering a discount can be effective as well.

Once they subscribe to your email list, you have the ability to send them information, special offers, new content, and anything else your heart desires. If you use ecommerce in any way, or have online response mechanisms (like appointment scheduling, for example) email marketing is likely to drive a high percentage of your sales.

Best Practices:

  1. Let people opt-in! I see so many companies, especially product companies in FMCG/CPG sectors (but some service-business owners, bloggers and online entrepreneurs as well) hiding their opt-in form. Put it in your header, put it in your sidebar, put it in your footer, include a link in your content, do a popup – make sure that if someone lands on your site and wants to be on your newsletter, they can. I’ve seen 4 blogs this week alone that expected you to follow them on Twitter for their latest posts. << Don’t do that.
  2. … But don’t force it. Yes, email marketing is likely to be one of the biggest drivers of your business moving forward if you utilize ecommerce or have an online response mechanism in place – but because the costs involved in email marketing services (I use Mailchimp) increase pretty much with every subscriber you have, you really want a responsive, engaged list of subscribers… Not a huge list of people who could care less about your existence. Engagement doesn’t only come from the content of your newsletter, it also comes from the sources of your subscribers. Make sure that everyone who subscribes to your list really wants to hear from you.
  3. Offer something of value in exchange for their info. Seriously, nobody wants your “newsletter” (or at least, they don’t know yet that they want your newsletter.) They want the answer to their prayers, the solution to their problems, the “more, better, faster” to their “less, worse, and slow”. Offer them something they can’t resist – something you would/should charge for – for free, in exchange for their information.
  4. Segment your lists. Don’t send the same offers to someone who is a loyal buyer of your products that a brand new, wet behind the ears subscriber gets! Your most loyal people get your best insights and info, and get the opportunity to move up to higher and higher levels of investment in your products and services. It’s called a sales funnel, and it works.
  5. Give a [email protected] That number, from 0 to infinity, staring back at you from inside your email marketing dashboard is not a magic machine that spits out more and more money the bigger it gets. That number is the number of people who have bothered to give you time and attention out of their valuable day. Maybe they’re reading your email instead of playing with their kids, doing their chores, finishing work for a client, I’ve even gotten responses from people who thanked me for my inspirational messages while attending a funeral (not kidding.)
    You don’t know what those 10, 300, 6,000, 250k people are doing today, but they’re not digits and email addresses – they are people. Write to them, share with them, and treat them and their time with respect. Earn their respect. That is how you generate money from email marketing – use it to build relationships with people whom you can help.
  6. Write epic sh!t. << Enough said.  (Thank you, Corbett.)

Warnings:

  1. Stop using Feedburner. I know, they’ve improved their features and you can now X, Y, and Z. That doesn’t matter. Stop using Feedburner/blitz/deliveryguy/razzledazzle/whatever today. Be professional, use branded email marketing that comes from your own email address with your own spiffy signup form and confirmation emails. Nobody is impressed by your Feedburner follower count more than they would be impressed by your newsletter subscriber count, and with the RSS-to-Email capabilities (Google it) that exist today, you’d be crazy to put all of your eggs in the soon-to-die Feedburner basket.
  2. Don’t beat your subscribers over the head with offers, unless that is what they signed up for (which is really only true if you’re Groupon. And you’re not Groupon [probably. If you are, hi Groupon!]) They signed up for value, deliver them value – and if you can add to that value with well-placed, timely offers of additional help and support (aka your products and services) then do so. Train your subscribers to expect regular content and offers, and lots of value. They’ll love you for it.
  3. Ignore everything on this list (except the Feedburner thing. Seriously guys…) Don’t do email marketing the way anyone says you “should”. Some people say to email daily, others say monthly. Some people say you should include 10+ images, others say none. Do it your way, test, track, monitor, and improve – and who knows, you might actually end up learning what your ideal clients and customers really want along the way!

So there you have it. Is email marketing right for you? If the sky is blue and bears are you-kn0w-what-ting in the woods, then yes. Do email marketing. Build a database of people who want to hear from you, who find you valuable, and want to learn more about what you can do for them. You will not regret it!

Want to use this article on your site? Go ahead! Just include this byline at the end:

An ex-corporate marketing maven gone rogue, Cheryl Woodhouse is a Business Growth Mentor and Certified Master Law of Attraction Practitioner who helps small business owners to use their business growth as a tool to design their ideal life – one that includes plenty of profit. She has the uncanny ability to pinpoint the perfect business model for your goals, using your unique skills and abilities as a guide to create a strong foundation for your success. She then uses her mad skills in marketing to eliminate the overwhelm and frustration in your business, guiding you to choose 5 highly profitable core activities, and ditching the rest. You can find out more about your ideal marketing methods on her blog at CherylWoodhouse.com

3 Steps to Confidence in Business

As if we women faced enough issues in motherhood and life, one that often comes up is the issue of confidence and self esteem. The old stories always come up…

“I don’t know how to run a business…”

“I’ve never sold products before…”

“What if my clients/customers find out that I’m new?”

“What if this business doesn’t work?”

“What if I’m not good enough?”

There are plenty of business materials out there to teach your how to market, sell, and build a business. There aren’t too many to teach you how to be confident in yourself while doing it. Without confidence, you won’t be able to make decisions… You’ll question everything you do… You won’t always put your best foot forward… You’ll be too afraid to put yourself out there. Your results and your business will suffer.

How can you prevent that from happening? By following these 3 steps to confidence in business!

1. Stop trying to look the way you’re “supposed to”. It’s hard to be confident in yourself when you’re not being yourself. Stop worrying about yoru company looking bigger or smaller than you are, using the right corporate lingo, making sure that the appropriate buzzwords are in the right places, etc. Be yourself, let your words flow without worrying who might think you’re too small/big/unprofessional/whatever. When people don’t burn you at the stake for doing it like we all fear they will, you’ll have a lot more confidence in yourself.

2. Get results quickly. This might sound obvious, but try to get some money flowing as quickly as possible. Get some quick wins. Your first job after building your product and figuring out your target market should be to get out there and sell it to someone. Don’t worry about websites and business cards and all of that so much in the beginning… I would say don’t even worry about incorporation and business licensing and whatnot. If you need a license to provide your product or service to anyone lawfully, get it. If not, worry about paying for your other legalities and technicalities out of your profits – not your pocket. The sooner you get a client handing you money for what you have to offer, the more confident you’ll be that people are willing to pay for what you have!

3. Share your knowledge. If you’ve developed a product or service in your niche, you likely have a bit if information that would be helpful to people seeking your products. Share it! Blog about it, write articles, tweet, answer questions in forums… Share your expert knowledge. People will appreciate your responses, and that appreciation will give you confidence! Nothing is a better self-esteem booster than someone saying “thanks so much for your advice… I really don’t know what I would have done without you!”

What do you think, mompreneurs? What are your barriers to confidence? How have you overcome them?

3 Steps to Getting Funding for Social Mom Ventures

get fundedHave you ever considered getting funding from investors or banks for your social mom business? Here are three steps that will take you from “hobby” to “investment” in no time!

1. Create a business plan. Not just some one-page business plan you found online, either. Banks and investors want to see a full business plan with financial spreadsheets and 5 year projections. They know that your business plan isn’t actually what is going to happen, but they want to see that you’ve at least thought this through, know what you’re going to do, and believe it is a viable business. Otherwise… Well otherwise it’s just a hobby. The template at SCORE is a great one that has gotten a few of my clients funded in the past.

They also want to see that you know how the funds are going to be used. Some people go to get funding, just assuming that they need money – in reality, they probably could have bank-rolled the whole thing themselves, and now face financial liabilities (accounting word for owing money) or reduced stock in the company. Any bank or investor is going to want to see that the funds they’re lending are going to produce a measurable return.

** Mom Tip : If you’re stuck, do the financial part first. Run the numbers and see how much revenue you’ll need to make. Envision the business actually running. Once you know what you need to make to make things work, figure out how you’r going to make that happen with your idea.

2. Research all funding sources. There are non-profits who do entrepreneurial loans based on ideas rather than credit scores, banks, angel investors, and even the IPO option. You can use your own savings, or borrow from family and friends. You could even start freelancing to fund your product development (hey, it worked for us!)

Try to be aware of all your funding sources, and suit the one that not only fits your business and yourself, but one that has worked with a lot of businesses in your industry in the past. Don’t just go knocking at the door of your daily bank, that is a recipe for disaster in 99% of all cases (unless you have the money yourself to run the business and are borrowing for strategic reasons, your bank has no desire to do a small business loan to an existing client.)

If you’re opening a bakery, find a bank, investor, or lender who has worked with bakeries in the past. If you’re opening an online business, angel investors might be all over it while traditional lenders and investors consider you risky.

If you do your homework and know who to approach, you’ll get fewer “no”s before you get a yes.

** Mom Tip : Try talking with others in your industry, online or in person. Ask if they got startup or expansion financing and if so, who did they go through? Talk to them about your vision – they may be able to not only give you a name, but put in a good word for you.

3. Don’t take no for an answer. As much as I refuse to believe it, many mompreneurs still believe that women with children are discriminated against when it comes to funding. The numbers don’t lie… Less than 20% of all funds from angel investors go to businesses owned by women. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a statistic – be passionate, follow through, and refuse to accept defeat. You may get funded, you may have to bootstrap your way to the top and the fund other mom businesses when you see success. Either way, keep the faith and don’t lose hope. Your dream really can be a reality!

** Mom Tip : While investors may be less willing to back a mompreneur, it is an unfortunate fact that banks and lenders are more willing to back a mompreneur whose husband is making decent money (sexist, I know, but it is what it is.) If you’re in a situation where your husband could easily cover your loan payments (if your business were to fail) you’re in a better position to approach the banks. In my opinion, if the system fails you – you have nothing to lose by playing by their own rules.

It’s all about taking your business seriously.

Sure, we have a lot of fun over here. We goof off, go to the park in the afternoon, and write blog posts in our PJs. But we take our business seriously, too – it isn’t just our livelihood, it is our mission in life. We pay taxes, carry proper business ID, and conduct ourselves as real business people.

Just because we have way too much fun at work doesn’t mean that banks have to know that 🙂

How Community Building Helps Businesses

a community of momsCommunity building is so important to a business.

Sure, you can advertise in the Yellow Pages, put up a website, use Pay Per Click advertisements, you can even use television and billboard advertising – take out a full-page spread in a national newspaper if you want. But what will that do?

High cost per lead, low ROI.

Okay, okay – so “cost per lead” and “ROI” are typically thought of as big-business terms, but aren’t. You should know how much it costs you to get a customer, and you should know how much you get back for dollars spent in various ways.

For example, if you know how much your Yellow Pages advertisement costs you each year, you should find out how many customers you get from that ad – and the average amount of money those customers spend.

If your Yellow Page ad costs $240/year, and you get 12 customers from that ad (one a month, which is more than most businesses get from Yellow Page advertisements)…

Your cost per lead is $20.

Now, if we say that your cost of goods sold is $20, and your average customer spends $50, then we know three things :

1. That your Yellow Page ad is getting you about $10 in profit for each new customer.

2. That you can use any form of advertising you want, and as long as your cost per lead is under $30, you’re going to break even… And

3. That the lower your cost per lead is, the higher your profit per customer is.

We all know that online strategies like blogging and social media have drastically lower costs per lead than traditional strategies, but it gets even better – when you build a community around your business!

Within a community, you have the evangelists… They go out and sell your product or service for you. And no, you don’t have to pay them – they’re customers and community members who are so impressed with you and what you’re doing, that they want to convert other people to their way of thinking – they want to make other people buy from you.

You also have the technical support… These are users who know your product inside and out, and answer questions on your behalf to solve problems for customers – thereby increasing the value of your product, since “everyone knows how to fix it!”

You’ll have the beta-testers… Those who feverishly buy up every new product or service you release, and give you constructive feedback through your contact forms to improve the product.

You’ll have the re-tweeters… Not as prolific as the evangelists, but they believe in what you’re doing, so they share it with their friends through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

You’ll have the commenters… The insatiable commenters. They’ll discuss anything and everything you have to say. They attract massive amounts of attention to blog and social media posts by providing a level of interaction. Don’t discount “trolls” either – those who start arguments for the sake of arguing. Sure, everybody will respond to the arguments – but in the meantime, they’ll be reading your content to see what started it.

All of these personalities come out when you build a community around your company, and every one of them will give value to your business beyond what they may buy.

Communities are simple things. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that you can never “build” a community – you can just create great tools and hope that a community uses them.

That is what we do.

The right tools are never a guarantee of success, but if companies like Apple and Coke have taught us anything, making a cult following look easy takes time, effort, and patience.

Watch for our coming series of posts on things *you* can do to build a community around your business.