Is this you? You’ve been in business for a couple of years and you are now ready to take everything you have learnt and discovered about yourself and your business so far and use it to up-level.
The first year or two in business is what I like to call the discovery phase. You’ve thought of a business idea and you have put the steps in place to get it running. However, during those first couple of years, you discover so much about your business and it more often than not, isn’t the same business that you first set out to create. Yes the overall idea is the same but the types of clients, services, pricing etc… is different.
You see, it’s not until you work in your business that you can truly know how you want your business to run and how to best serve the clients you want to work with. Even the clients you want to work with can change in those first few years.
After you have been in business for a few years, you are clearer on who you want to work with. Clearer on how you want to best serve those people and the services you can put in place in order to do that. Clearer on how you want your business to run. This is why I always recommend that you don’t invest too much money into branding your business in those first few years. Things change, you change and your business will change.
However, now is the perfect time to take your business to the next level and I’ve mapped out the five steps to follow in order to grow your online business.
1. Map Out Your Business Strategy
The first step in growing your online business is to be really clear on your vision and goals for your business. Creating a business strategy will help you to gain clarity, define your goals and clearly set out how you are going to achieve them.
This strategy doesn’t need to be an extensive business plan like one you may take to a meeting with your bank (unless you do have a meeting with your bank). It only needs to be short and concise.
Things to include in your business strategy are your WHY. What is your reason for being in business. Often there’s more than one reason. For example, I have two whys, a personal why and a business why.
Next write down your VISION for the business. What does your business do. Who do you do it for. Where do you see your business going in the next 6 months, 12 months, 3 years?
Another important part of your business strategy are your GOALS. Take your vision and break it down into goals. How many clients do you want to work with? Do you want to take on any team members? Do you want to launch any new services or digital products? Break this down further into quarterly and monthly goals to make them achievable.
2. Create A Consistent Brand
Your brand isn’t just the visuals. It’s not just your logo and your website. It’s everything you put out there to attract your target audience.
Want to know more about the difference between brand and branding. Check out my blog post on Brand vs Branding – Is There A Difference?
The first step in creating a consistent brand is to discover your who and your what. You need to know who you are talking to and what you are talking about in order to deliver a consistent brand. Be really clear in your messaging across everything from your website to your blog posts to your social media posts so that your target audience knows exactly what you do and how you can help them.
Your brand identity is the next step in creating a consistent brand. Ensure that your brand identity speaks to your ideal client. Think about the words that you want your brand to portray. Does your current brand identity reflect these words? Is your brand identity consistent across all of your platforms?
3. Create A Marketing Plan
Do you have a marketing plan? Do you know how to plan out your marketing? So often, I see businesses investing in their branding and website only to then become stuck when it comes to attracting their ideal clients to their brand. This is why I created The Flourish Experience, a complete brand and marketing experience for online business owners.
Marketing doesn’t need to be scary however it is an essential part of growing an online business. The first step I do with my clients is to conduct a marketing audit. I take a look at my clients current marketing activity to see what’s working for them and what’s not. We then use this information to start to develop a marketing plan. You need to be where your ideal clients are therefore there’s no point being on Facebook if your ideal clients are on Instagram. You need to be visible there instead.
4. Review Your Website
Think of your website as your online shop front. It’s the place where your ideal clients will go in order to find out more about you and your services. It’s how they will make contact with you. If your website doesn’t clearly state what it is you do and who you do it for, then it needs to.
Review your current website and ask yourself why you want a new website. Does it reflect the types of clients you want to work with? Is it user friendly? Is it generating enquiries or are you getting the traffic but not the enquiries? Use Google Analytics to measure what’s working and what’s not.
5. Perfect Your Client Experience
When working with one-on-one clients and even one-to-many, the experience your clients receive when working with you is just as important as the service you are delivering.
For example, you may be a business coach working with female entrepreneurs. Your coaching package is say three months and you help them in taking their business forwards. The advice and support you provide is invaluable and you offer unlimited email support during the time working together. But then they email you and you don’t respond for two days even though you aim to respond to clients the same day or first thing the next day. The client is understandably going to get upset.
It’s not just the experience your client receives once they are working with you but the experience prior to working with you. One thing I ask my clients to do is to map out their processes. This means writing down every step a potential client goes through before they work with you right through to becoming a client and then after your time together has finished.
Once you have done this you can look at ways to improve your processes. Ways to do this can be via automations or outsourcing certain aspects.
This sounds like a lot doesn’t it but it doesn’t have to all be done at once. Break these down into smaller steps to achieve your bigger goal. Give yourself time to achieve those steps. I’ve created a free checklist that will help you. Download my free 5 Steps to Grow A Flourishing Brand checklist and get your business ready for growth.
If you’d like external help in growing your business, I work on all of these steps in The Flourish Experience. Find out more about how we could work together to create a brand that is thriving, visible and profitable.