I love consulting. It’s an absolute joy to help people grow their business. Working as CMO at my company puts me in a unique position to provide a down-the-road perspective for my clients, but I’ve also observed some trends across the board. Here are 3 small business lessons from my consulting clients. Perhaps your business can benefit from these:
1. Merely wanting to help others isn’t enough.
None of my clients do it just for the money. They’re hungry to grow and succeed. But they’re also all kind, generous, and sincerely believe they are helping people. Sometimes this is the hardest part!
Solopreneurs: I’ll hit on solopreneurs here because businesses with employees usually have established procedures in this area. Solopreneurs operate completely on their own and don’t have an outside perspective. Some clients hire me to help them transition between making a sidejob into a full-time occupation. It can be a delicate and scary transition.
Forming a business plan, creating targeted marketing campaigns, and setting prices as a solopreneur can be difficult. We take time to drill down why they are in business, what success would allow them to do, and how they can offer their services to help more people. Here are a few questions I use:
- How much money does your business need to make for you to feel comfortable?
- How comfortable are you with marketing yourself?
- What skills can we develop together to do this effectively?
- Who is your ideal customer?
2. Charge more money.
Upon initial evaluation, I found all my clients charged too low. We compared their rates to their desired annual income level. When some clients realized how much they needed to charge, they were shocked. In the case of one extremely qualified client, I coached him to practice talking into a mirror and telling himself that his rate was $5,000…and believe it. There is a stigma that to charge high prices is greedy. But the real issue is knowing the value of your product or service.
Early in consulting, I charged too low. Some of that was due to doing quid pro quo for other services or to get experience in different sectors. Then I realized my clients were getting professional services, personal coaching, and 1-on-1 marketing training that would last them well beyond our consulting term. Some of them had ROI over 20 times what they paid me within a few weeks. I got over my fear of charging more very quickly.
This is the same self-realization I walk my clients through. I’ve encouraged some in service industries to quadruple their rates and see what their market would bear. And you know what? People buy from them because they are worth it. You probably are, too.
3. Make sure busyness doesn’t suffocate the business.
My clients are often so busy working in their business that they often can’t work on their business. They’re crafting a widget or answering the phone! Consulting blocks out time and forces intentionality to get above the day-to-day work. We establish action items, discuss progress since the last discussion, and plan for the next one. I hit on solopreneurs earlier, so these are things I work through with established businesses:
- What are the specific tactics, offers, or products that move leads through the transition points of the Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer progression?
- Have you distinguished your product/services between the four quadrants of old customer/old product, old customer/new product, new customer/old product, new customer/new product?
- Who will spearhead marketing efforts once the consultation period is over?
Creating calendars and campaigns around these topics gives a lot of traction to the business and keeps the business owner above the day-to-day. It’s the strategy that allows tactics to be implemented. And it’s awesome. I’ll be sharing a few of my client success stories over the next few weeks. For the time being, ask any questions–I’d be happy to respond on my blog.
Question: What is your biggest takeaway from these lessons? How can you implement them in your business? Share below!
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