Step 4: How to Kick-Start a #Smallbiz (#TipTuesday Series)

by Liz daRosa @lizdaRosa

This is the final post in the Kick-Start Your #Smallbiz series. We are going to talk about the ‘final’ step which is Sell It! Let’s recap, you identified your Passion, you determined your Brand (how you want to be known & recognized) and you Own It! (tell people, show people). At this point you should be living your Brand in all that you do, so now is the time to monetize it.

There is no magic bullet that will result in you earning millions – sorry! Much, if not all of your success as a smallbiz owner will depend on YOU. Here are some actions to take that will give your smallbiz a fighting chance at success.

Embrace Your Passion (your Product/Service): If your passion is a Product, do testing and more testing before you put it out there. Give away some products and ask for reviews on blogs – bloggers love to get new products and provide reviews. It allows them to be seen as leaders in their field and gives them a post for their blog. This helps you (exposure to their audience) and helps them (positions them as knowledgeable about trends) – win/win!

If your passion is a Service, give it away for referrals (paying customers) and recommendations. Again, this creates goodwill with people in your market and gives you testimonials to use as you work towards building paying customers.

The key to this step is to build relationships along the way. Don’t send your product to a blogger for review & a write-up and not support the blogger. Follow his/her blog, comment on posts and work to develop a long-term ‘real’ relationship. Your support of the blogger won’t cloud a reputable bloggers feedback on your product but it will show you are someone they should keep in their close professional network. The blogger will remember your support when someone in their network asks them for a referral, hopefully your name/product pops into their head. Then you get a referral and a paying customer!

Bring the Product/Service to Market: As part of this process you should have identified the demographic of your customer/client and how to reach them. Here are some ways to bring a product/service to market.

Example of a Niche Product/Service: Take Life Alert, for example, this niche product is for individuals living alone, who are aging and/or frail. This demographic is retired and watches a lot of television. The commercial shows an elderly woman who fell on the floor but is saved because she has a Life Alert necklace.

This tugs at your emotions. You see your Grandma or aging Mother fall to the floor, the guilt of letting her live alone can be enough to propel you to the phone to buy her a Life Alert necklace. This was a great branding campaign of a product and service. A television commercial was a great way to bring the Life Alert necklace to market because of the emotional response attached.

My Product/Service: If you’ve been following my blog you know what products and services I provide. Every day I have to be in front of my market and show them I can help them improve the quality of their work-life. My market looks for this type of career advice, job tips and motivation in various forums. I need to know where they go, who they are and what they need to show I can fit those needs.

I track metrics on my blog site, my LinkedIn profile and my Twitter feeds as to who my prospective customers are (their location) and the conversion of paying customers. This information allows me to see where I get the most positive traction for my products (resumes/cover letters) and services (coaching/motivational support). I can then tweak my strategy in some areas, focus more energy and expand my reach in other areas.

The topics that resonate with my blog Followers show higher levels of interest and what I should focus on as I plan my posts for April. The Top 3 posts from March were:

Spring Clean Now #SparkJoy in Your Life

7 Inspirational Quotes to Give YOU #CareerSpark

Own It, Minimize It & Move On! (#MotivationMonday)

While this is only one month of data, it is helpful as I plan. In April, I will provide more posts on very specific take-aways to ignite a spark & provide motivation in work-life. It’s essential when running a smallbiz to listen to your customers (in this case those who follow my blog) since they are your intended market. Even though most people who follow the blog will never become paying customers hopefully if they see value in the blog they will refer others to check it out. Those new followers may become paying customers or refer others to the blog, and so on.

Here are the ways I’m connecting with my market and the referral source of my customer conversions.

Top 3 Sources of Customer Conversions, January – March 2015

Twitter                        Most Customer Conversions (2x as many as LinkedIn)

LinkedIn                     Solid stream of potential customers, those converted approached me!

Blog                            Followers are also connected with me on LinkedIn or Twitter

To-date Twitter has attracted the most customers for me, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop my other efforts. I still do face-to-face networking and see that as a highly valuable stream for new customer conversions. I hope that ends up as a top 3 source of conversions in April.

The data for March tells me that my efforts on Twitter are working so I plan on increasing those efforts and hope that will result in more customers. Additionally, it shows me that maintaining my blog is effective in providing additional ways to connect with my Twitter and LinkedIn networks. I am constantly looking for ways to expand and develop my reach.

More About My Network/Customers

Top 2 Continents – Where My Customers Live, January – March 2015

North America                        Overwhelming majority (4x as many as 2nd place)

South America

Where My ‘Followers’ Live, January – March 2015 (Blog, Twitter & LinkedIn)

North America: U.S. and Canada

South America: Columbia, Brazil and Peru

Europe & the Middle East: the U.K., Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel

Africa: Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa

Asia: India, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Japan

Republic of Russia

Australia & New Zealand

It’s great to have a truly international group of individuals taking the time to view my site, my profile and my tweets. This shows me that motivation and strategies for navigating career success while staying motivated is an universal issue.

I’m not putting this data forward as the end all be all, but more to illustrate the importance of keeping your eye on your metrics to determine if you are reaching who you ‘want’ to reach. Your data will inform necessary adjustments and will show if you unintentionally reached another group and need to hone your efforts to convert them to your customers.

Your plan to Sell It is dependent on your strengths, your passion, how you need to brand yourself and what you decide to use reach your market. It may be a full social media campaign across multiple platforms simultaneously or a slow roll-out one platform at a time. Your smallbiz may work better with a different type of marketing campaign that doesn’t involve social media.

When can you talk on Wed April 8th? Sign up for Your FREE 20 minute Kick-Start Call!

When can you talk on Wed April 8th? Sign up for Your FREE 20 minute Kick-Start Call!

Have you gotten started on making your smallbiz a reality? Do you have a smallbiz that needs a kick-start? I’d love to speak with you to see if I can help you reach your potential customers, rebrand yourself or put that social media campaign into action. I’ve set aside next Wednesday the 8th for FREE smallbiz calls – do you have 20 minutes to see if I can help you?

Your Career Coach, Liz

About the Author: Liz daRosa is a Coach who helps motivated individuals get the most out of their careers. She grew her Twitter following 650% in 3 months which has resulted in a stream of paying customers. Liz offers a free 20 minute kick-start call to smallbiz owners or those who want to start a smallbiz. She blogs at Your Career Coach, Liz and tweets here.

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