There’s an interesting cycle you can get into. You’re good at what you do so more and more people come to you asking for your services, you keep saying yes, so you get really busy, then you’re really busy, you don’t have time to stop and think, who is my ideal customer.
You can easily lose track of the time and advice you donate.
When you market to everyone, you market to no one. So when you’re starting out in business, you don’t ever want to say no. I get it, I’ve been there.
‘You can make more money, you cannot make more time.’
The most precious commodity we have is time. The biggest learning to date, for me is to value my time. My time in my business, my time on my business, my time with my family and my time for my self-care.
Do you know who your ideal customer is? You know, the customer who needs all your strengths. The customer who is good at what they do and terrible at what you do. The customer who is aware of their problems (that you solve), values what you do and is willing to pay for what you do.
I started out as an accidental entrepreneur. I wanted to be a digital marketer utilising my 20 years of experience, be a mum and work when and where I wanted. This it turns out was the catalyst to create my own business, aptly named, ‘Serena Dot Ryan’ (yes, my middle name is Dorothy).
I did what most people do when they start a business, they take on clients that say yes. There’s not much thought as to whether they are the right customer. The sheer excitement of getting customers and ideally ones that will pay is enough.
The fear of not getting customers put me in a situation of charging what I thought people could afford, rather than what I’m worth, I almost went out of business with this approach.
Then, I realised if I wanted to stay in business, it wasn’t just about figuring out how much I was worth, I really needed to improve how I was getting clients.
The fact is getting clients is no different to dating. There are billions of great people in the world however, when they get together with others they don’t always bring out the best in each other.
Business relationships are so much more than you have a good service or product and the client needs a product or service like yours.
You need to figure out who brings out the best in you and in turn you need to bring out the best in them. The best success is a mutually beneficial relationship, in other words, good people come together and make each other great.
So when starting a business relationship it’s important to be clear that you are a good match.
In June this year I put in place a set of questions that need to be completed by all potential clients. I’ve done this not just for my sake, but for theirs too. I want to make sure we are the right fit.
The questions enable me to understand their goals, content they have and who they are targeting. Quite simply if I don’t know their business goals, there’s no way I can know if I can help them.
All potential clients then book for a one hour power hour session. In the session I can then give them feedback and a list of actions they can implement. Then, if they want to have my help to implement the recommended actions, they pay for my time to help them going forward. This enables us both to have a mutually beneficial relationship right from the beginning.
The questions have been a great start, however it is definitely more than this. To help people to the best of my ability I need to focus on helping those that make the most of my skills, experience and passion.
One of my biggest weaknesses in my life has been my finances. I’ve struggled with maths and accounting. I failed accounting 3 times at university.
I bought my first property a lovely 3 bedroom house at the age of 20. Not a bad accomplishment for an independent single female. At 27 I bought my 2nd property, still as an independent single female. At 33 I had sold both properties and was heavily in debt. All my financial gain was lost.
On the professional front I studied a Bachelor of Commerce, I worked for MLC and then NAB in several administrative roles with Financial Advisors and the Superannuation Products teams. Then after studying Communications and commencing a career in digital marketing and advertising I worked for Visa and then had IAG as a client.
I have gained so much insight into the understandings of giving advice (general Vs specific) and how to effectively use Social Media to build businesses despite this. Awareness of the rules and regulations rather than to avoid Social Media is key.
I used to struggle with my failures with my finance and not talk about them. I’ve come to realise that the most important persons in a business structure are the Financial Advisors. As a business owner you must know your numbers and then ensure you are surrounded by those who can help you with your finances. I would not be still in business without good financial advice, this includes a good Financial Advisor, Accountant, Bookkeeper and Business Advisor. I now realise that valuing this advice and combined with my experience (including the failures) has got me to where I am today.
I’m so passionate about people understanding their business numbers, that when they complete their set of questions I give them and I see that they are struggling with their business numbers I recommend instead of them coming to me, they go to Business and/ or a Financial Advisor first.
The best clients I can have are those who are clear on their business financial goals and then come to me as I know how to successfully amplify them on Social Media to achieve their business goals.