I was looking at an episode of “The Profit” on CNBC hosted by Marcus Lemonis. Lemonis is the chairman and CEO of multibillion-dollar corporation - Camping World and when he's not running the company, he's searching for struggling businesses in need of cash. He tries to help turn each company around by offering cash for a piece of the business and a percentage of the profits.
In this particular episode he was asking the owner of a candle making company about profit, debt and how many customers he had. Quite a bit of debt was racked up at $29,500 versus the $600 liquid assets available. At the time of the show, this outfit had near zero funds but at the very least the owner was committed to the cause.
Marcus then told the owner that he was more or less a startup. The guy got very defensive!
At startup stage you are actually searching for a repeatable and scalable business model.
If you’re in debt, not making a profit and without customers and repeat business then you don’t have a real business… yet!
If what you’re in feels more like a rollercoaster then you need a solution fast.
We all know the feast and famine cycle: one minute you’re feeling on top of the world. You’re busy busy, working on a project, income is flowing and you feel in control. As the project winds down you start getting anxious. You aren’t sure where your next client or project is going to come from. You feel anxious and more than out of control. You need to get another paycheck – yesterday!
To avoid this roller coaster you need to look at a couple things:
If things started off going well for you, but business is starting to dwindle it might be time to go back to the drawing board and look at what you’re offering and to whom. Clarity is almost always a wise first step. You need to be clear on the offer. If you’re getting more “I’m not interested”, or “that’s not what we want” comments, then your offer might be wrong.
You need to figure out who your ideal clients are. What are the problems that they are having? This is simpler than you think. You just need to ask people. Once you know what they’re experiencing and what their real needs are then you can figure out which services and solutions would be the right ones to offer.
Another option is to keep your offer but focus on another market. Your ideal client may not be the ideal client for what you’re offering.
Michael Zipursky a coach to elite consultants says that marketing isn’t about ONE action. It’s a series of steps and actions you take which are orchestrated to win the attention of your ideal clients.
The number one solution that allows you to build a sustainable and profitable business is to start working on creating a marketing system: a process that consistently attracts qualified leads and opportunities. As Michael shares, “you need a system that puts your well-honed message in front of your ideal clients and instantly resonates with them.” The result: Real buyers take notice and raise their hand saying “I’d like to learn more about that….let’s talk.”
Every month that goes by without you getting a client is costing you money. If you’re too busy working in your business and not able to spend enough time working on your business then you are going to suffer. The time it takes to drum up new business, depending on what business you’re in can be significant. For some weeks, for others…it can take month! And when you don’t have enough client business then your mind starts to play tricks on you. Self-doubt usually creeps in. You doubt yourself, and your ability. Before long you are in a place of desperation, taking projects and doing work that’s not best suited to you, but now it becomes all about paying bills and meeting expenses. This is not a productive place to be, and one that will reap very little profits long term.
If you haven’t started, it’s time to begin today, creating a system to fill your pipeline with opportunities and potential high valued customers interested in talking to you and learning from your expertise and guidance.
If you’d like help with this send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for the FREE guide: “Turn your marketing into profits”
Giselle Hudson writes a weekly column for the Business Day paper.