When bootstrapping hurts your business

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you’re selling?

Marketing costs. There’s no denying it.

Hard cash, your time, resources – whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business.

So I get that the popular questions I get asked about marketing are versions of “what the cheapest, quickest or easiest way to get my next clients?”

Bootstrapping mindset.

Sometimes critical. But often a dangerous place to stay for any length of time.

In today’s vlog, I’ll give you an example and share the three key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business.

When bootstrapping hurts your business. How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is that you’re selling? Watch my vlog below and I’ll share the 3 key questions you are responsible for answering, as the marketer of your business.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 21 February 2018

 

If you’re bootstrapping, email may be your first choice of communication over and above direct mail. A letter in the post is always going to be far more expensive to produce, print and deliver than a single email.

Email is going to be the cheapest, quickest and probably the easiest way to market your new service, programme or workshop.

But is the most effective? And does it reflect the value of what it is you are selling?

Let’s say you’re wanting to invite HR Directors and Managers along to a seminar you’re running. Will they get to see that email you send them? Probably not. And if they do, what’s their response going to be? Click, delete?

If on the other hand, they received a letter in the post. A well put together invitation with a booking form. Would they see this? Probably, yes. But if they’re busy or it comes in the post along with a dozen other brochures and sales letters, your message may get lost.

And if they do see it and read it, what reaction do you think they’ll have? Maybe interested, but would it be compelling enough for them to respond?

Let’s take your marketing up a notch. What if you sent a big package in the post? And you sent it overnight by courier and it needed a signature on delivery? A box containing a beautifully crafted brochure, the same invitation to attend that seminar and possibly a treat such chocolate. Obviously far more expensive and thought needed to send, but will they see your message? I’d say almost definitely. And if they did, what’s their response going to be?

Obviously, you can’t guarantee that the person receiving that package in the post is going to be your next client but you can guarantee that you’ll get seen and that they will have an opinion about the level of service you offer.

As a marketer of your business, you are responsible for answering these 3 questions:

  1. What’s the message your prospects want to hear from you?
  2. How do you get your message noticed by the right people?
  3. How do you get the right people to respond and take action on your message?

Bootstrapping puts blinkers on you when you try to answer these questions. So even if you aren’t trying to be cheap, but you’re trying to be quick and easy … you’ll not be going to do the right thinking around answering these questions.

As noise levels are at an all-time high now for most of your prospects, you simply can’t afford to do cheap, quick and easy anymore. You’ll lose out.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend bucket loads of cash to make your marketing work, but you do need to spend time and resources on the thinking around your marketing.

Let me know what kind of marketing campaigns you’re putting together? Are you going beyond the cheap, quick and simple email? I’d love to know,

In the meanwhile, do less be more and play bigger

Read More Articles

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you're selling? Marketing costs. There’s no denying it. Hard cash, your time, resources - whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business. So I get that the popular questions I get asked...

read more

Following up and the rule of 3

The art of following up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can follow up simply and easily without an overcomplicated online funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up. Following up leads and prospects is critical...

read more
Following up and the rule of 3

Following up and the rule of 3

The art of following up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can follow up simply and easily without an overcomplicated online funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up.

Following up leads and prospects is critical to the success of your business. If you’re going to go to the effort of building a list of subscribers to try and find new clients, then following up on anyone who shows an interest in what it is you offer should be part of your weekly – if not daily – marketing activity.

And yet, why don’t you follow up?

The art of the follow up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can create a simple and easy follow up process and avoid an over complicated funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up. Until next time, do less, be more and play bigger x

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 14 February 2018

 

There are 3 main reasons why business owners don’t follow up.

1) You let the process become too emotional – there can be a lot of fear attached to following up – fear of being rejected – fear of being humiliated – so if you let yourself listen to these fears too much, you make up stories why you shouldn’t follow up. “I don’t want to pester them – they know where I am if they need me” … which actually makes no sense because you have no idea whether they are too busy for you and you certainly can’t be assuming that they know where you are if they do need you.

2) You don’t have a system to follow so when you get busy, you forget. If you keep the names of people of you’ve spoken to or emailed in your head or on a to-do list somewhere, it’s no surprise that you find yourself two months later after an initial phone call, and you never scheduled in a follow up in your diary.

3) You over-complicate the process by trying to build online funnels with upsells, down sells, double opt-ins and autoresponder sequences. I see this one a lot because the creative brain of an entrepreneur is attracted to shiny shiny and it’s also far easier to distract yourself with creating landing pages and writing emails than it is to pick up the phone.

So can you see how you can distract yourself from the actual process of following up?

To make sure your follow-ups happen you need to create a repeatable, simple process.

And if you can delegate this process, then even better.

With all follow-up processes, I teach the power of 3.

3 emails, 3 letters, 3 phone calls, 3 messages.

3 is enough to send out over a two week period without being a pest. And 3 is enough for you to create, write and execute without it becoming a huge project.

Often I have people ask me about autoresponders with 10 or emails in them. Or they want to create a 6 month follow up.

But make this too big, and you’ll never find the time to complete it.

So start with 3 emails,3 letters or 3 messages over a two week period to begin with. You decide which form of communication is going to be best of your prospect.

If they don’t respond to any of the 3 within that time period, then put them back into the prospect pot and try a different approach next month.

So if you’ve sent them 3 letters, then the next month try 3 phone calls. If you’ve tried phone calls, try 3 special delivery parcels next month.

The important thing in following up is that you keep following up, even when you get a no.

Because a no is often where the conversation starts and a no now, may mean a yes in a few months time.

Finally, I want to make sure you keep track of your prospects that you’re following up. As I’ve mentioned already, keep these in your head or rely on your inbox to keep track of them and you will forget.

There are a tonne of online CRM systems so if you want to subscribe to one of these – do it. But before you distract yourself with a new tool, often the best place, to begin with, is a spreadsheet.

Name, contact details, date of initial contact and date of next follow up – keep it simple and you’ve got a place to go to at the start of each new week so you know who needs what from you.

Until next time, do less, be more and play that bigger game.

 

Read More Articles

When bootstrapping hurts your business

How can you ensure your marketing reflects the value of what it is you're selling? Marketing costs. There’s no denying it. Hard cash, your time, resources - whatever way you look at it, it costs to market your business. So I get that the popular questions I get asked...

read more

Following up and the rule of 3

The art of following up. Why it’s critical to follow up, why you don’t follow up and how you can follow up simply and easily without an overcomplicated online funnel that drives you nuts in trying to set the whole thing up. Following up leads and prospects is critical...

read more

The space between your pendulum swings

How to create the space that allows you to reflect, review and connect with your bigger vision and be able to grow your business. Today I want to draw your attention to the spaces between your pendulum swings. The space between where you push forward and you pull...

read more
VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not

VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not

Today I want to bring up the question of VAT registration and the implications on your business if you’re not.

If you’re already registered for VAT, congratulations. But if you haven’t and you’re not even sure whether you should be even thinking about this, then this video is for you.

Today I want to bring up the question of VAT registration and the implications on your business growth if you’re not. So if you’re registered for VAT already, congratulations. But if you haven’t and you’re not even sure whether you should even be thinking about this just yet, then this video is for you. Do Less. Be More. Play Bigger.

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Wednesday, 7 February 2018

 

First of all, I must make clear I am not an accountant so before you decide whether to proceed with VAT registration, please ensure you’ve talked your decision through with your Accountant and know the legal requirements of what happens when you do.

What I want to focus on today is your thinking on being VAT registered.

I’m all for keeping business as simple as possible. So not registering for VAT when you don’t need to, is certainly one way of keeping your life simpler.

However, let me share with you my VAT story.

I became VAT registered in 2016. For 2 years previously, my turnover bubbled just under the VAT threshold. I never found I had to make the decision … I always made just enough to stay under the threshold.

VAT threshold back then was £82,000 I believe so for 2 years on the run, my business did £78,000 or there’s about. Back then I had a real hang-up about VAT. Because of course, by registering for VAT, my prices had to go up by 20%. I started to think that I could absorb that 20% – just make all my prices inclusive of VAT and I’d take the hit. Because I had convinced myself that my clients just wouldn’t stand for the price increase. I was charging £1,500 for one programme which meant with VAT, that would go up to £1,800 – that was a lot of money.

Now the problem with this thinking was that I was getting caught up with ME. I was getting caught with the rejection of someone thinking I was too expensive. I was making assumptions that my clients would care so much about paying VAT that they simply wouldn’t buy from me.

This went on for the best part of two years. Crazy!

All it was doing was creating an invisible glass ceiling on my growth. What was happening was that – although I wasn’t turning business away – I was certainly giving out invisible signals that I didn’t want any more than £80,000 worth of business because I simply couldn’t charge VAT.

I was restricting my growth. It had to change.

Once I decided enough was enough, the actual process was simple. Apart from messing up with one particular client – she simply slipped through the net when it came to communicating about the VAT changes – no one batted an eyelid. I didn’t drop my prices because of the VAT increase and it made absolutely no impact on my sales.

In fact, of course, it opened up the door to receiving more because I wasn’t capping my revenue potential.

So why tell you this story. If I had my time again, I would have gone VAT a very long time ago. I should have gone VAT registered when I become a limited company.

VAT simply means that the government sees you as a business that’s adding value to the economy. You’ve grown so that you are more than simply a self-employed freelancer just making an income. And when you consider that we pay VAT on almost all other goods and services, why is it any different to what you provide?

Our thinking about a growth problem such as VAT can create a huge bottleneck. And by sharing my story with you today, I want you to consider whether you are doing the same.

VAT registration is more than simply more than meeting a revenue threshold. It’s your thinking about your growth. It’s your thinking about your positioning and what NOT being VAT registered says to your audience.

So don’t let VAT be your bottleneck. And don’t wait to be forced into it. Because either you could land yourself with a huge VAT bill by not be prepared, having not charged VAT for your last 3 months or so of client work. And in my experience, it just didn’t happen – I held myself back by not opening up that possibility of making more than £80,000.

Of course, please speak to your Accountant and make sure you get professional advice in this. But don’t let your thinking about VAT hold you and your business growth back.

Until next time – do less, be more and play bigger.

Book a Catalyst Call

Speak directly to Karen and get a strategic audit of your business.
Come away with a plan and specific actions to take.

The space between your pendulum swings

The space between your pendulum swings

How to create the space that allows you to reflect, review and connect with your bigger vision and be able to grow your business.

Today I want to draw your attention to the spaces between your pendulum swings. The space between where you push forward and you pull back.

I’m now in my 14th year of business so I know what it takes to make a business success out of selling expertise and talent and working from an office at home.

I learnt very early on that the practical side of marketing and selling oneself was only one half of the equation. There’s often a huge inner battle going on whenever any decisions are being made on pricing, positioning, making yourself visible – generally putting yourself “out there”.

So no matter how amazing your product or programme is – how beautiful your website is – some days you simply don’t feel good about your marketing because you’ve created all sorts of stories about whether you are going really up to the job of following through with your business plans. 

How do you create the space between your pendulum swings? Without space, you get stuck in the trenches and that’s no fun you’re hard at but feeling frustrated with your results. If you want to grow and take your business forward, you have to create space. You can’t wait for it to come to you. You have to take responsibility and create it yourself because when you do, that’s when the magic starts to happen. Until next time, do less, be more and play that bigger game x

Posted by Karen Skidmore on Thursday, 1 February 2018

 

One day I’d wake up and give myself a good talking to and realise I just need to dig deep and get on stuff. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean you don’t do it. And a lot of stuff you do in your business feels hard the first time you do it because you’re new at it.

Whether that’s writing email copy. Or planning out a blog series that you want to position your latest thinking about an important topic within your industry. Or getting yourself up on a stage at a large conference. I get that a lot of this stuff is scary.

There’s a tonne of stuff I’ve pushed myself through on and got done. I’m sure you’ve done the same.

But sometimes all it takes is one crappy email. Or read a comment on someone else’s Facebook post. Or you overhear a friend or relative say something negative about you.

And if you’re tired. Or pissed off with something that may not even be work related … it’s easy to shut yourself down and you pendulum back again as you let doubt creep in and fear strangle your boldness.

These swings can happen daily. Sometimes the swings are weeks apart. You feel in flow and everything goes great for a while. And then you get tired of pushing through and you get in a funk and you pendulum swing back for a few weeks.

It varies from person to person. From season to season.

But how often do you feel the space? That space right in the middle when you’re not pushing forward and you’re not pulling yourself back.

A pendulum has momentum. If you swing yourself forward hard into pushing and it’s easy for that pendulum to swing back in the same force and wipe you off your feet. You push forward and it swings back again. It’s exhausting – particularly if this is happening every day!

So space. Time to reflect. Time to breathe.

I find it incredible that in my first 6 or 7 years in business I don’t think I breathed much at all. It was go go go and then retreat. I don’t remember breathing into anything. Feeling space and energy to be more strategic about what I was doing.

I was just doing.

So space.

The point in the day where you kick off your shoes and shake out all that sitting.

The point in the day where you breathe – big belly breathes – to fill your brain with oxyen.

Perhaps even a whole day where you take off and work in a local coffee shop or hotel reception area.

It’s the proverbial helicopter – seeing the woods for the trees. This space between the swings that allows us to reflect, review and connect with our bigger vision – our mission – our desire to grow and play bigger.

So what can you do this week to create this important space?

5 minutes is sometimes all you need. Perhaps you in serious need of a whole day.

But without space, you’re stuck in the trenches. And that’s no fun when you’re working hard and not seeing the results you really want.

If you want to grow and take your business forward, you have to create the space to do this. You can’t wait for that space to be created for you … it starts with you

Until next time.

Do Less. Be More. Play Bigger.

Don’t squeeze me too hard

Don’t squeeze me too hard

What do you do when you have a new idea? Not just any idea but the kind of idea that catches you off guard … gives you that flash of inspiration. You feel exhilarated and your eyes shine brightly with opportunity.

What happens when you start to think about getting that idea turned into reality? Do you fly by the seat of your pants, take big action and strike whilst the iron is hot?

But what if you take on too much and realise you are spinning way too many plates as the idea slips down your to-do list. Perhaps the idea sounded great in your head but now that you’ve said it out loud, it feels too big and scary and you talk yourself out of it.

Several years ago, I found myself burnt out from taking big action on new ideas after following the traditional SMART goal setting tools and work-harder mentality. It was quite frankly exhausting. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and to a timescale … my head starts hurting again just thinking about this stalwart of planning tools.

After years of playing SuperWoman and pushing hard on my ideas to turn them into action (and yes, the big pants over my jeans was a never a good look), I went the other way in extreme. I was burnt out and all I could do was try to free flow it, pretending I didn’t really care about the outcomes but then getting anxious and stressed when I didn’t make the sales I had expected.

What I teach my clients today is a balance in the middle of these two places.

SMART push energy and work-harder mentality can burn you and your big ideas out. Squeeze too hard and you squeeze the life out of your idea.

However, the other extreme of free flow and expecting the unicorns to listen to your daily mantras and poop success out onto your desk without taking any action, doesn’t cut it either.

It’s a fine and delicate balance of holding your idea lightly enough to be playful and curious, whilst formulating a plan to take action in a considered and inspired way.

Now before you think I’ve gone all woo woo on you, let me bring you back to planning.

The style of planning I teach today is way different to what I use to practice and preach five years ago. Gone is the SMART goal setting but it’s still highly focused and action orientated Here are the 3 key differences.

  1. Less is more. One of the problems that a highly creative brain gives you is the endless stream of ideas. You often get stuck on the “How?” question but rarely on the “What if?” But too many What If’s and it can spin you out of control, as the ideas that come out of you multiply and before you know it, you’ve got a dozen or more projects on the go. It’s why you never quite finish that online course or get started on your book or finish your website if you’re trying to “do it all and more”.

    So when it comes to planning out your ideas for your business, it’s important to break your planning periods down into 90 days. 90 days is a perfect timeframe to keep you focused on doable actions whilst being far enough in the future to allow you get some serious shit done.

    Then the secret to making these 90 days work is to have no more than 3 projects or inspiration ideas to focus on. I do allow my clients to go up to 5 but at least 2 of these projects must be outsourced or delegated to another person to take action on.

    There is Gary Keller’s One Thing theory that I know a lot of people love but for me and many of my clients, having only one thing can feel rather constrictive. I thrive on variety, so I’ve discovered that I need more than One Thing to keep me motivated, But more than 3 and overwhelm sets in and I squeeze too hard on my ideas.
  2. Be playful and unattached. When you fly with a new idea it’s easy to get attached to the outcome. SMART goal setting is all about outcomes as you have to get uber clear on exactly what you want to achieve. The problem I’ve experienced with this approach is that I get so hung up on getting the SMART goal that SuperWoman kicks in with gusto. I push and make things happen which can work for a short while but over a longer period time, burns me out. And because I’m so focused on the end result, it’s easy to ignore or miss out on easier, simpler or better opportunities to allow the idea to come to life.

    When you take the playful and unattached path, you can actually enjoy the journey. The planning I teach is about breaking down your journey by milestones and signposts rather than strict target setting. The analogy I use is deciding which city to fly into at each leg of your journey but not getting hung by the terminal or the seat number you’ve got to sit in to get there.
  3. Be brave. The best ideas are the ones that scare you, ever so lightly. You feel a tightening somewhere in your body when you tell someone your idea. A slight rush of adrenalin or anxious thoughts rise up … not so much that you freeze or turn into a bubbling wreck … but just enough for your inner critic to say “Hang on … did you just say that? Are you sure? You could fail, you know. You could end up looking stupid if it doesn’t work out.”

    Your inner critic wants to protect you and keep you safe. And in order to do that, it prefers you play small. Now playing big doesn’t always mean big, hairy audacious goals. You don’t have to change the world or turn your business into a 7-figure empire with 10+ employees. If you do, great. But the less you worry about comparisons and being guilt-tripped into taking action on “should-do” ideas, the happier you will be. Believe it or not, you DON’T have to have a regular passive income or a huge list of tens of thousands or stop selling your time for money to have a successful business.

    Now I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but the clients I work with find it incredibly refreshing that I advocate going after dreams and business goals that fit their life values, family, health and wellbeing. Be brave and get visible but there is no real need to chase someone else’s dreams.

If you want to know more about the style of business planning I teach, then email me at karen@karenskidmore.com or give my office a call on 01428 607745. We can set up a time to speak and I’m happy to share more of my ideas with you and answer your questions.

The important message I want you to take from this is for you to hold your bright and shiny idea for your business in such a way it’s as if you are holding a ball of light. Play with it. Feel it’s energy. Throw it up in the air and see how it falls from time to time.

But just don’t squeeze it tight.

Know where you’d like to go with it. Visualise the outcome and allow it to be as big as you comfortably feel stretched. But keep your action taking in flow and allow opportunities to open to you. Enjoy the journey of making it happen rather than push hard and get burnt out.  

 

Next event happening 24th November - click here for more info

[et_pb_text admin_label=”16th June – Click Here To Find Out More” global_parent=”6843″ background_layout=”dark” text_orientation=”center” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ff

Pin It on Pinterest