#1 Barrier to your business growth

The #1 Barrier to business growth is frequently lack of customers. Does this sound like your barrier?

Me – I’m an ‘80s YUPI throwback – and it shows.

Like when I was asked what Michelle and I do, and gave the flippant reply, ‘We’re business barrier busters’. My equally long-in-the-tooth friend said, ‘What – like Ghost Busters?’, and he began to laugh and sing the movie theme song, ‘Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!’

Anyhow, it stuck.

I liked it, more than the dry corporate speak, ‘We’re business strategy consultants who blablabla …’ We even named one of our programs Barrier Busters. Because it exactly describes what we do.

So who do we help?

We mostly help small business and NFP’s identify the barriers which are holding them back. Barriers that prevent them growing to their full potential.

Then we help bust down those barriers.

Notice the word ‘help’?

How do we help bust down barriers?

By showing how to do it. Like ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ by Eurythmics – another 80s icon (now I can’t get that tune out of my head) – is a song all about empowerment.

We’re a bit empowerment mad (better than being power mad, right?).

That’s how we get testimonials like these:

‘Dragon Sisters coaching has helped me with my business in practical and visible ways. I put the techniques into practice and got amazing results – I got four appointments with new clients all in one afternoon! I was so excited I had to ring up my DS coach and tell her, “Wow! This really works!!’
Karen, Business Development Manager, Qld

“Prior to working with Dragon Sisters, I went to a lot of expense and effort to strategize the marketing for my business development – with no real results. I had folders full of information, but not the detail of how to translate this for my own business.

Now, I am able to get the strategic positioning, content creation, marketing and business development support, for the specific outcomes and results I want and need for my business. Within 7 weeks I could see measurable, significant improvement. Finally, someone understands me and my business! Michelle has been the angel on my shoulder.” Dee Waterson, Ignite Yourself

Did you notice that Michelle has achieved angel status?!Image courtesy of Prawny at FreeDIgitalPhoto.com

Funnily enough no one ever calls me an angel …

The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ pops into my head (now that’s even older than me).

If you’re having the devil of a time working out your number 1 business barrier – not getting enough customers – you might like a copy of our e-book, just drop us a note and we’re happy to share, FREE!

I’m off to listen to Annie Lennox singing ‘There Must Be An Angel’, while Michelle polishes her halo …before jetting off to Bali tonight for the Refresh, Reframe & Relax retreat.

Yvonne

PS – if you would like to learn more about our services check out our website

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

 

HOW PERSONAL DO YOU NEED TO BE?

How personal does personalizing your brand need to be?

Answer: not that personal!

If you read our blog last week, you’ll know what this is flowing on from. By the way, yes, Claire the Client is still speaking to me …. I can put my Diplomatic Dragon hat on when I need to.

Credit to Claire, she hasn’t been scared off her Facebook page because of one blunder.

It’s not untypical to blur the lines between personal and personalization.

What’s the difference?

If it’s such a potentially blundersome burden, why bother?

Sure, it’s far simpler to just keep to safe, boring, banal business marketing messages, and if that worked, that’s all any of us would be doing.

The down-side of being an SME, solopreneur or boutique business is that you don’t have vast marketing collateral, budgets, and resources.

What you do have is access to the same digital and social media mediums that every business (and every consumer) around the globe has. Businesses as big as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin brand.

Did you know … ?

The brand name “Virgin” arose when Richard Branson and Nik Powell formed a record shop. They considered themselves virgins in business. Branson has described the “V” in the logo as an expressive tick, representing the Virgin seal of approval.  Source – Wikipedia

Virgin has come a long way since those early days. But it’s always been synonymous with Richard Branson, who from the beginning personalized the brand as his own. And he still does. Anyone who follows him on social media will see a great deal of personalization still goes on. He mentions his family fairly frequently, alludes to his early years, shares his experiences, life and business lessons, his causes and his philosophies.

Small Operators & Personalization

The up-side to being a small operator is that it is far easier to personalize your brand than it is for a huge conglomerate unless they have a personality like Richard Branson heading it up with an inspiring story behind the brand and the man.

You might think, yeah, great, but who’s going to be interested in me – I’m a solopreneur, not a corporate giant. I sell pool pumps not rock star record labels. Which is exactly what is in your favour.

You are small, independent, agile!

It’s far more attainable to create brand personalization for you than it is for ABC Inc. – Absolutely Boring Corporation Incorporated has a marketing department and advertising agencies trying to create a point of difference between them and their close competitor Marginally Less Boring Inc.

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is how to create customer engagement with their ABC or MLB brand. Thousands and millions are spent on trying to humanize and personalize their brand to create some sort of connection with their prospects and customers.

That connection you have available at your finger-tips. Literally, with meaningful, personalized, creative content, you are a click away from growing your brand and your business. The faint-hearted can be heard heckling, you’re also literally one click away from crashing and burning with one wrong post or one adverse comment.

Faint-hearted never won fair mother lode. The mother lode is an engaged target market that likes your brand enough to buy into it. They like You!

Here’s a comment from one of our blogs last year, which demonstrates the point perfectly:

Kyleigh McCollam says:
September 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm
It’s so true! People don’t buy the products, they buy into the people or brand selling them!!

Thanks Kyleigh of C’est le Style for your feed-back 

So back to personalization – people like to know who they are dealing with digitally – the same way they would in a person to person interaction.

Why Personalize

Personalization is about giving people enough information about yourself and your brand to help them to feel comfortable that you and your brand are authentically aligned to their expectations, interests and values.

Being Personal is what you do on your personal Facebook page, and even there, there can be an element of getting too personal. Who hasn’t read posts popping up on their newsfeed and cringed? Thinking, too much information (gak!), or somebody hasn’t taken their med’s today before hurriedly scrolling on.

Facebook is a publicly, globally accessible platform. Besides, there’s a big data revolution going on and a lot of changes; who knows what might ultimately end up where. Microsoft just bought out LinkedIn. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

How to stay safe

It’s really pretty easy to stay safe, though. Just post or publish authentic representations of Brand You with one question front of mind:

Am I happy to own this no matter who sees it?

Warm Wishes

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

When you want to head-butt your client….

This blog should maybe have been titled Confessions of a Dragon due to the bit of truth-telling I’m about to ‘fess up to. I’m not sure that this will get past editorial censorship. After all, it’s probably not a good thing to admit that you’ve wanted to leap across your desk and head-butt a client.

Yesterday, I could have been mistaken for a real-live dragon. A dragon with steam coming out of my ears, breathing fire, fang-snapping, snarling ….the whole bit.

But hey, I’m only human.

Except when I’m being a dragon.

And not the noble nerves of steel kind. More of the oh-boy-you’re-getting-on-my-last-nerve, cranky kind – being a real old dragon – the sort that school kids and parents run and hide from at Parent Teacher meetings.

Is the client in question still a client of Dragon Sisters after yesterday?

Let’s see, shall we …?

Here’s the back-story

This client, let’s call her Claire the Client, is one of our Smarketing clients. What she’s interested in is connecting with her target audience, converting them to serious business prospects, to sell them her product.

Claire’s progress has been great in nailing down her target market and connecting with them – mostly digitally and largely through Facebook. Her FB following has increased, her database and her subscriber list have grown enormously.

Fantastic!

Claire’s now ready to really move into converting. She knows there’s plenty of interest in her product. All she has to do is keep doing what she’s doing.

Why?

Because you never let up on keeping and growing connections; that’s your sales funnel, and she’s just started implementing her conversion strategy.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Checking up on client pages, especially when they’ve just started flying solo, i.e. been let loose on managing their own page. At Dragon Sisters we aren’t fond of managing FB pages, so most of the time we’re teaching folk how to implement Smarketing on that platform for themselves. And as I mentioned, Claire has been going great guns.

Until yesterday, when she shot herself in the foot.

BANG!

Social media suicide.

Claire should have been hopping around toeless, yelling her head off for a doctor.

Preferably a spin doctor.

Yet she wasn’t.

Because she was blissfully oblivious to the impact of the post she’d put up. A post which over 11,000 of her target market followers would see – and not be impressed with.

The first rule of social media marketing for business is you are your brand.

One of the things we stress about Smarketing is that social media success, in terms of branding for audience engagement, is that personalization is key.

Professional personalization

This means that carping is the equivalent to committing hara-kiri, not death by disembowelment, but rather, death by disengagement. The post Claire had put up was a personal rant which put a severe dent in her brand credibility.

Seeing this I wondered if Claire’s brain had been anaesthetised. The joke post I’ve seen on Facebook “that wasn’t me texting last night, it was the wine” sprang to mind.

How do you ask a client if they’ve been drinking on the job?

It was very tempting to ask Claire that question the minute I got hold of her. Since no sane or sober person spends months building a seriously engaged following, only to shoot it out of the sky just when it’s really beginning to fly.

I also couldn’t ask a client have you lost your mind? No matter how crazy they were making me!

The moral of the story is this: you can’t get cocky, careless, or complacent, no matter how great you think you’re doing.

That applies to me too. So, I didn’t leap across the desk and head-butt Claire.

Probably because you can’t do that on Skype.

Warm Wishes,

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.