Sales Masters Guild Mentor, Jo Driver, looks at six common challenges that face the Small Business Owner and some tips and advice to overcome them.
I sometimes long for the days when I started in business. Computers were only just starting to be installed in offices, and the Internet and email were very much in their birth stages. Your office phone was at your office desk, and your only methods of communication were face to face, the telephone or letter. Marketing material was more thought out and targeted, as it cost more to print and deliver, for news you had to switch on the radio or TV or read a newspaper. Everything took longer but somehow it seemed that a lot more productive work was achieved and better business relationships were formed.
Nowadays the entire world and all the information we need is at our finger tips from the mobile phone that is with us 24x7 yet many struggle with time management and the perfect work / life balance seems non-existent for many.
Here are six of the common challenges I hear now from many small business owners and a few tips of advice to help overcome them.
1. Finding Customers
How do I find them? What marketing works best? Which channel of marketing do I need to focus on?
To find your customers you must first start with identifying who your ideal customer type actually is. ‘Everyone’ or ‘Anyone’ doesn’t work for any business. The marketing message you put out needs to be the right message that your ideal client will relate to. Then you need to identify where and how you will find this type of client.
2. Getting known for what it is you do
You could have the best product or service, but you will never succeed if people are not aware of your existence, and this is a huge challenge when first starting out. You will need to invest money into some form of marketing that will increase your visibility and raise awareness that you exist. Go out networking and meet other business people; they may be your ideal client or if not they might know someone who is.
Internet / digital / social media marketing can be helpful by making your brand easy to find when your target customer is searching for the products or services that you provide but there are other traditional marketing methods too. You need to be trying and testing different marketing strategies to identify which works best for you.
3. Time Management
There isn’t enough time in the day. We work long hours every day and yet we rarely get time to do some of the things we know we should be doing because we get sidetracked by ‘stuff’.
Plan your week, plan your day, making sure you are being pro-active and not just reacting to everyone else’s needs. Who is in charge of you? Are there tasks that could be outsourced allowing you more time to concentrate on sales, income generating activity and working on the business? Emails are a big thief of time so unsubscribe to those you don’t read anyway and only look at your emails at set times of the day. Pick up the phone, rather than using email, text, or some other type of message to arrange that meeting, discuss a project or catch up with a client. It really is much quicker, which takes me onto the next challenge.
4. Speaking to people!
So many business owners have ‘phone call phobia’. There are times where you need to get off the computer! Step away from social media and stop avoiding picking up the phone! A conversation can have so many benefits. An email carries no tonality and can often be interpreted in many different ways. We are all so bombarded with emails, so many of them are ignored or deleted. Schedule time into your day to pick up the phone and call a contact or two for a catch up. If you do two every day, that’s 10 a week or 40+ a month, you’ll be amazed at the impact it could have on your sales growth and your client relationship.
5. Lack of Focus
This goes back to planning. Have a master plan and be clear in your mind on what it is you want from your business. That plan is then broken down into smaller steps that you can take action on and work towards achieving your goal. Having these clear objectives written down with time-scales will help to keep you focused. Plan your week and your days, create your priority list. Stop the distractions, turn off the social media and the emails etc. Move these to the end of the day, once you have achieved the priority money generating tasks. Remember, ‘Where Focus Goes Energy Flows’.
The majority of people who set up their own business say they don’t enjoy selling. Unfortunately you won’t have a business without ‘sales’ and as business owners we are all in the ‘sales’ business, we just sell different stuff. The major challenge that struggling business owners fail to master is how to sell without appearing to be selling. The only reason ‘sales’ is often perceived as an undesirable subject, is that so many sales people do not sell in a professional way. Selling is not about trying to persuade or convince people to buy, but helping people to get what they want, and solving their problem with the service or product you provide.
These common challenges come up time and again with Entrepreneurs joining Jo’s Mastermind Peer Groups. Discussing with others almost always shows that they aren’t alone.
You can find out when Jo’s Mastermind Peer Groups run or book yourself into one over on her Mastermind Peer Group booking page.
Jo Driver is a Sales Masters Guild Personal Business Mentor.
Jo’s transition to becoming a business entrepreneur began back in 1995, starting her own Training and Consultancy business. Jo has also built a Health & Wellness business and is a co-founding partner of JRD Property, a property investing business.