Business Growth for Women Entrepreneurs: What’s holding you back?
By AnnemarieCross on August 30, 2012
Have you ever found yourself struggling to grow your business and reach the goals you’ve set?
You’ve tried everything you can think of including business networking, social networking, creating relationships, attending talks and seminars to name a few – yet, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to reach your goals?
It can become very frustrating – can’t it? I know.
Because just like you, I’ve experienced many drawbacks in the process of building my business and there were many hurdles I have had to overcome.
As I look back I realise there were 5 things I was doing that were not serving me and had been keeping my business stuck.
After making some important changes, it became much easier for me to be more focused, while knowing exactly which business activities to work on so I could get more clients, increase the income I was generating, and regain my sanity, all of which had previously seemed impossible.
Want to know what those 5 business barriers were? Here they are.
Do you recognise any?
If you do, I encourage you to make the changes I did many years ago so you too can refocus and get back on track to building the business of your dreams.
Business Growth Barrier 1: You’re following the advice of too many mentors and business coaches
We all know that when it comes to owning a business, having a little help won’t hurt. And investing in a mentor/business coach to help you and your business get going is certainly something I recommend.
However, there was a time when I was trying to learn from too many people. So many in fact, that it came to a point where everything became confusing. Most of materials they shared and the advice they were providing were conflicting, and this added even more to the confusion.
What should I do first? Website? Grow my list? Joint venture partnerships?
I was running around trying to implement everything everyone was telling me to, and it got to the point where I was exhausted and still no closer to my business goals.
So here’s what I did to keep my business (and my sanity) intact:
- I selected and invested in one business coach/marketing mentor and began to work on implementing the steps she taught me.
- I unsubscribed from all the other newsletters I received, many of which I never read—trust me, it’s liberating.
- I identified a ‘few’ key people who were ‘technical’ experts (specifically in different topics that my business coach was not offering advice and/or support) and continued to follow their advice.
By making these changes, I was able to set a clearer path for my business’ direction. I had a key system in place and an action plan that I knew would continue to work.
More importantly, I was no longer overwhelmed with conflicting and confusing advice.
Business Growth Barrier 2: You’re giving up too soon
You’ve spent ages developing and launching your new product and/or program, and despite all the hard work you’ve put into your launch, the number of clients who have invested in your program is extremely disappointing.
So, you give up.
While this is a very frustrating and disappointing situation to be in, it’s important that you don’t give up too soon.
I realised that it would take time to build up my profile and reputation and for a while (with all the tweets, posts, articles and regular newsletters I was sharing), it felt like I was talking to an empty room.
While I was tempted to give up – thank goodness I didn’t.
I continued to offer helpful tips and resources and before long people were sharing my information with their own communities and asking me for my support.
When you’re implementing the right steps you WILL start to attract prospects that will get to know, like and trust you, and when they’re ready, will invest in your services and programs.
Don’t fall into the trap of implementing a few marketing strategies and then giving up when results aren’t immediate.
Business Growth Barrier 3: You’re unfocused in the services you provide
For me, running my own business and being my boss is something I am very passionate about. However as an entrepreneur, it’s very easy for me to get distracted.
I operated a career coaching and consulting business for many years and when I first started to offer business coaching to women entrepreneurs – one of the ways I built my reputation and credibility was through a comprehensive blogging, online marketing and social media strategy.
The results I generated through my marketing and social media strategies soon attracted the attention of various business groups and associations and I received many requests to speak and share my social media business growth strategies with their members.
However, as I continued to speak about how I was able to leverage social media to build my visibility, inadvertently I was building my reputation as a social media specialist and not as a business coach for women entrepreneurs.
I was then approached by people who wanted to hire me to teach them how to leverage social media, and before long I was training clients, designing and conducting social media courses for educational institutions and social media consulting services.
However, while I show women in business how to boost their visibility with various social media and online/offline marketing strategies, my intention was not to become known as a social media strategist, but rather a business coach and marketing mentor, which unfortunately was happening.
Realising this, I made some drastic changes in my business to refocus by only accepting speaking opportunities, clients and joint venture opportunities that aligned with my intention to become known as a business coach and marketing specialist for women entrepreneurs and women in business.
Is it time for you to refocus and streamline the services and programs you provide?
Business Growth Barrier 4: You’re mesmerised by the ‘shiny object syndrome’
With so many new technologies and applications being developed every day it can be very tempting to implement the latest tool(s) in the hope that this one ‘will make the difference.’
Unfortunately, it can be a full time job keeping up with everything. Truth is, you don’t need to have all of the latest tools and technologies just because someone wrote an article about how this tool revolutionised their business.
Just because it worked well for the author, doesn’t mean it will have the same impact for your business. There are many things to consider to see if this tool fits your specific needs and that of your business.
To make things (and my life) simpler, easier, and more effective, here are the steps that I took:
- I made sure the tools I was already using in my business were working for me and that I had streamlined processes in place to leverage them. [There’s no point adding more tools if you haven’t mastered and/or leveraged existing tools.]
- Rather than spending countless hours searching on the internet for the latest and greatest technologies, I identified key resources that would do the research for me. www.socialmediaexaminer.com or www.mashable.com are websites I found helpful with lots of step-by-step how tos and reviews.
- If during my research I found a tool that sounded interesting and showed potential, I’d do further due diligence to see how other people were using it in their business. If the tool fit my criteria, I would learn as much as I could about how to leverage it, followed by integrating it into my content development strategy.
Business Growth Barrier 5: You’re not taking regular action on the RIGHT activities
There are only so many hours in the day and if I didn’t schedule the most important tasks I should be working on and outsourcing other tasks to my amazing team, I would not have been able to get as much done as I have, but rather would have remained feeling overwhelmed, being busy working on the wrong activities.
Here’s what I did (and continue to do each and every day):
- I identified the activities that would get me closer to my goals and required my expertise to get there.
- I scheduled time in my diary to work on those activities and turned off any distractions that I knew would be a distraction (i.e. social media)
- I set up systems and processes around the other tasks (i.e. administration, article posting, website management, answering emails and enquiries etc), which I then outsourced to my team.
By eliminating these five business barriers I have noticed an incredible difference in my business’s growth. And so will you!
Are you game to take the necessary steps?
Business Coach & Marketing Mentor for Women Entrepreneurs
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