Let’s be honest, in life and in business, the first time you do something, it usually doesn’t go too well. And that’s normal - you don’t know what you don’t know. You have never been through that process before and have no idea what to expect. You have a vision of your ideal outcome, but have no idea how you are going to get there. I
If you’re looking to start a new professional services business, here are 5 mistakes most of your contemporaries have made that you can avoid:
Having a clear brand message, voice and identity is the only way you can successfully communicate with your target client and ultimately grow your business. In the end, strategic branding gives all of your marketing and business development efforts direction and purpose. It makes your ideal client or customer take notice, makes them like and trust you, and ultimately makes you memorable for the right reasons.
I love Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough with Jimmy Fallon. The thing is, when I’m fishing, I don’t put Ben & Jerry’s on the hook. That's because no matter how much I love it, the fish seem to like worms. This is the thing with branding and why it isn’t about what you like. So many professional business owners make their brand about things that are important to them. They do it with their copy, they do it with their imagery, they do it with their content. It’s a very common mistake to make, but if this sounds like you, the good news is that it is really easy to fix. Put everything through the filter of what is important to your client, and you’ll be surprised how much more fish you’ll catch.
I’ve had friends tell me they had a $20,000 budget and spent $18,500 on a website… no strategy, no branding… just a website. I’ll be honest with you, it is easy to do, but completely backwards. The first thing you need is a strategy, then the brand assets to make you stand out, then a website to pull it all together. If that means a smaller site without the bells and whistles, don’t be shy to do that. It is far better than over investing in a website - especially in the first couple of years of running your business.
Starting out in business you are going to have some big holes in your knowledge and that is ok. What is not ok is to rely on others to fill them. In the end, having a deep understanding of how your business works, how your sales process works and how everything comes together is your responsibility. Embrace the chance to learn, get help where you need it, but always be in control and make decisions from a position of understanding, not confusion. That way, you can properly assess success.
We see this a lot with firms that start ads campaigns. They want the outcome, but only organise a partial solution in order to get there faster. This partial solution doesn’t often fill their knowledge gap, so whilst they get their ads campaign, they completely drop the ball on the sales and follow up process. They then get disappointed in the service or solution that was provided to them, when actually the problem was in their execution or expectations.
Do you know exactly what your key points of difference are as as professional? Do you know how to advertise these in a way that will grab the attention of your clients and make them care? Do you actually articulate them in your branding and marketing? Oftentimes clients shop around before deciding who they want to ultimately work with. And the businesses they are exposed to during this process will often offer a similar product or service to you. Keeping that in mind, if you are not showing this potential client why you are the expert for their specific problem, you may find that your competitors who do will end up getting this business. Being focused and specialised is the key ingredient to standing out as the expert and ultimately the best choice.
Starting something new doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems, as long as you’re armed with the information you need to achieve the success you’ve envisioned. And if you need help getting there, that’s ok! We’re happy to help. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org