Online business owners – service providers - and even coaches – can easily “open their doors for business” without a firm business plan in place. Some may test the waters to see if they attract any clients and some start out doing this online work as a side gig while working their full-time job. So, if this is how you opened your business, do you have a business or a hobby?
A hobby traditionally is an activity that brings you pleasure that you do in your spare time. A business, on the other hand, provides a service or products to clients, has regular business hours, and strives to make a profit. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you are working a business or a hobby:
Do you have firm business hours or are you working sporadic hours as your family or full-time job allows?
Do you make the most of your business hours or work time, working as efficiently as possible, or do you get distracted with social media or other behind-the-scenes tasks?
Do you have a business plan, even for one year, which includes expected profits?
Do you make opportunities happen or do you wait for them to come to you?
Do you withdraw every penny from your account after clients pay or do you give yourself a pay structure and reinvest some of your profits into software, training, or other business expenses?
You should have an idea now about if your business is truly a business.
Get a Business Coach to Guide You
Not everyone needs a business degree to start a business; sometimes a unique product idea or a strong desire to offer services is enough to get started. However, hiring a business coach is necessary to set up your company to grow and generate profits. You don’t know what you don’t know and without a business coach, you will make many trial and error mistakes, some of which could cost you substantial money. Instead of closing your eyes and hoping for the best, a business coach will create a business plan with you and will guide you through the next steps of the plan with tried and true business advice and strategies.
A good business coach also serves as your accountability partner, someone who wants to hear from you about your progress and who will call you out when you don’t do as you promised. Oftentimes knowing someone is expecting results is enough to spur you into action because they don’t want to let down the coach. So, if you want to turn your hobby into a true business, call now to set up a discovery call.
Good business coaches are able to look at a company objectively, ask pertinent questions, and guide the owner through the process of creating a plan for future growth. Consider a business coach your objective third party, the one who can sort through the processes that work and those that don’t work and help mold the company into a profitable entity.
For any business owner with an online presence (and EVERY business should be online!), there are many passive ways to build income streams into your website and products that will bring in extra money while you focus on serving your current customers. Passive income is good and will help your bottom line while you actively market your business. You’ve invested good money into your business and your website; why not make it work harder for you?
1. Affiliate Marketing is a simple way to make a commission by recommending products or services to your audience. This process is similar to telling your friend or neighbor about the great pizza place where you just ate dinner. Simply sign up for the product’s affiliate program and place a unique link within a product review on your blog or on a web page listing all the business tools you recommend. Every time someone clicks on your link, they are brought to the product’s site and if they make a purchase, you get a commission. Affiliate links can also be added to eBooks or other digital products you sell. However, review the Terms of Service for all the social media platforms before posting an affiliate link.
2. Creating upsells in your sales funnel is another overlooked place where you can bring in extra money. Do you have a basic sales funnel in place, where you make an offer to your broad audience and then have more focused, more expensive offers for them to choose from overtime? These additional offers bring your customers down the funnel toward your most expensive offer. Now, for each main offer in your sales funnel, think of an upsell your customer would find valuable. This may be free admittance into your private Facebook group or maybe it’s a report, checklist, form, or eBook for a nominal fee that is a no-brainer add-on to their order. For your more expensive offers, add a more expensive upsell, like a trial period in your membership site. The key is to choose relevant upsells that will benefit your customer and that makes sense to couple with the initial product purchase. In other words, don’t create an upsell that doesn’t make sense.
3. Back-end efficiency is important to any business, whether it’s strictly online or whether you also have a physical location. Assess whether you’re working most efficiently and can offer solutions to make customer service, billing, and customer fulfillment (just to name a few areas) quicker and more accurate. Very often business owners are too close to the situation to see how everything flows (or doesn’t flow) together, similar to why having someone else proofread your sales copy is ideal because they are more likely to pick up typos, strictly because they didn’t write the copy.
If you need more help deciphering which passive income streams you’re wasting, book now to schedule a discovery meeting.
As the great Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” With all the moving parts of a business to look after, it’s no wonder that some things fall through the cracks, thus affecting your business growth and bottom line profits. Let’s examine 5 mistakes that will diminish your profits if not fixed right away.
It’s just not enough to publish one Facebook post or a couple of tweets every week. Likewise, ignoring your email list is also detrimental to your business. If you don’t keep up with a consistent marketing plan, people will forget your name, will forget how they ended up on your email list, or forget why they’re following you on social media. These forgotten people need to be won over yet again and they need to hear and see your company name on a consistent basis before they decide to spend money on your products or services. An online business coach and consultant can offer solutions and ideas to make your marketing more consistent and more effective.
Are you stuck in the old school way of doing things, like making phone calls to confirm appointments instead of using SMS technology to send text message reminders to confirm? Even posting on social media can be automated using platforms such as Hootsuite or Meet Edgar. Yes, these automation tools cost money but compare the monthly or annual costs to the cost of an employee or a virtual assistant doing the same task. The old school ways are much more time-consuming, thus costs you more money in the long run. A tech coach and consultant will be knowledgeable about the latest technology that can help you automate while sticking within your budget.
What is your company’s mission? What is your Unique Selling Point? If you can’t answer these two questions, you need to revisit your messaging and your business image. Branding is more than your logo and business colors; branding is your overall image and what you promise to your customers. A business coach can ask the right questions that help you drill down to those core principles that drive your business.
What processes do you have in place for your bookkeeping and paying your monthly invoices? Do you have any idea what your income vs expense spreadsheet looks like? Do you have a habit of buying training classes that you don’t have time to use? There’s no reason you should be surprised at tax time with how much (or how little) profit you made in the last year. Businesses that are positioned for growth have good money management solutions in place and a business coach can help you create a budget for your business along with solid processes for handling your monthly expenses.
Think of reinvesting as a way to grow your business. Instead of taking the extra profits out to pay yourself every month, keep those profits in the business and use them to hire a virtual assistant, purchase software or training tools that will help your business, or invest in a business coach. Each of these reinvestment options will help your business run more efficiently so you can have more time to serve your customers and prospects. Of course, you should pay yourself a salary every month. It’s the profits (or a percentage of the month’s profits) that should remain in the business to help it grow. As you can see, a business coach can help you get these business mistakes rectified and offer more solutions for your growth. Call for a discovery call
Are you trying to learn everything about everything in an effort to save money? Sure, it’s tough to admit you need help but if you continue being everything to everyone, you’ll burn out and resent your business.
Years ago when I was first starting my business I was in an online conversation about the importance of choosing a niche for your business rather than just saying, “I want to serve EVERYBODY.” Of course, you want to make money so instinctively business owners tell themselves that it’s better to appeal to more people than a selective few. But somebody in the conversation responded by saying, “Do you want to be known as Walmart or do you want to be known as Sephora?”
The point is Walmart appeals to everyone but they depend on the sheer volume of customers to make their profit. Sephora, on the other hand, appeals to a very specific demographic which has the disposable income to spend and they don’t shirk at those retail prices. So Sephora can make the same profits as Walmart by serving a more selective customer base.
A similar argument can be made for why business owners should work with business consultants and tech specialists: owners can’t possibly know EVERYTHING there is to know about business as well as knowing everything about their chosen niche. There’s just not enough time in the day and you’d stretch yourself too thin.
Business owners are more focused on their business niche (rightfully so) providing relevant services and products for their customers whereas consultants, coaches and tech experts have a greater understanding of business practices overall and work with businesses in many different niches. If you’re trying to learn everything you can about efficient back-end processes, for example, you’re taking time away from your money-making marketing efforts to your niche customers, which could negatively affect your profits. Whereas your consultant can give you advice about efficient back-end processes plus help you implement them while you continue with your marketing efforts.
Think about large corporations. Does the company president know everything there is to know about the inner workings of the company and the daily processes? Probably not, that’s why there’s a CFO and department heads; they focus on their own specialties and advise the president, who then makes decisions based on that input. The same can be said about your company; you’re the president of your company and your coach or consultant can advise you about which steps will yield the most profits. If you’re ready to work with a tech coach, We’ve got some openings in our calendar for new clients so call to book your discovery call.