I sponsored an event a couple of weeks ago for people who are already awesome coaches — but want to become better business owners. And I had several people come up to me at the event to tell me that they need to hire me to rewrite their website, that they want to blog to bring in new business, that they need a lead magnet and a content calendar….
And I had to tell several of them that they weren’t ready yet.
Not every strategy is right for every business — or stage of business.
And these wonderful, eager people, who are probably excellent coaches who can help loads of people, were actually trying to procrastinate doing the real work of getting their first clients by hiding behind their computer.
I get it — because I did exactly the same thing. In my first year of business, I believe I succeeded in spite of myself. I got a few very good referrals that led to business that kept the doors open that first year. But I didn’t go after more of those kinds of referrals. I was hiding behind my blog and some Facebook groups, and it was really just dumb luck that got the ball rolling.
But you don’t have to rely on dumb luck! You can be smarter than me and learn from my dumbness. 😉
When you’re in Startup phase, you’re just getting started. Your revenue is probably be between $0 and $50,000 a year.
In this phase, your best methods of attracting business are through, networking, referrals, speaking, and similar. This is almost a 1:1 stage of marketing (and likely 1:1 service delivery as well). Your best ways of nurturing leads at this point are going to be personal emails, a newsletter, and maybe a blog or podcast, etc.
Even if you sell a product or an app, you’ve got to get those first buyers, those first reviewers in the door somehow. And very, very often that is through 1:1 outreach or what I sometimes call “hand selling” — that is, doing everything by hand, not by automation.
Here’s what you DON’T need: lots of marketing automation, 15 social media channels, a complicated marketing funnel, paid advertising. You probably also don’t need my Strategy Session yet — because you’re not focusing on content marketing as your main lead generation strategy.
What you do need is a K.I.S.S., more personal marketing approach. If you want to get your blog started or start an e-newsletter, my CIA course on how to build a solid editorial calendar would be a good place to start.
When your business is ramping up towards $100,000 in revenue, you have proven your business concept and are getting to the point that you want a little bit of scale and have systems that can benefit from some automation.
In the Momentum phase, you use the same strategies to attract new leads as in the startup phase, and perhaps add a lead magnet and email nurture funnel, and one or two social media channels.
Your best ways to nurture leads are to keep doing what worked in the startup phase and perhaps add some additional automated emails, and ramp up the promotion of your blogs and podcasts. This is might be a good time to do a Strategy Session with me so that all of your efforts are streamlined and part of a bigger strategy.
What you DON’T need at this point is a complicated launch, lots of technology, tons of segmentation, etc. You also probably aren’t ready to outsource your regular content writing at this point — though if you want to work with a copywriter on your website or sales pages, that’s probably a good investment.
When you reach the acceleration phase, you are making multiple six figures, and have an offer that scales, at least at a small level.
Now is when you can finally start trying all those crazy tools and tactics like: a tripwire offer, video launch, segmented marketing campaign, sophisticated email automation, gamification of your marketing, challenges, launches, etc.
This is when a Strategy Session is vital (with me or with someone else!) to ensure that all your content is working together to drive sales. It may also be that you have a ton of content at this point and want help figuring out how to repurpose it and make the most out of it. And, you may be getting so busy that you need some help being consistent with your content creation; it may be time to outsource some or all of the writing so that you can consistently get your message to your audience, while still having time to focus in your zone of genius.
What you DON’T need at this point is to try to do everything yourself any more. And that’s a big mindset shift. But when you get to this point in your business, you need to decide where your attention is the most valuable and delegate everything else.
But can you see that outsourcing your content writing before you even have a proven product or service is not a good idea? That you don’t need a complicated content strategy when you should be focusing on talking to people in person?
This is not to put anyone down; we all start in startup phase. It’s the nature of the game! And no one can tell you how long you need to be in one phase before you move on to the next. It took me four years of being in business before I had a six figure year, and I’m proud to share that fact, because I was growing slowly, deliberately, on my own terms.
And when you are at the right place to need our services, we’ll be here!