As a strategist I am often hired to create a “What is…” conversation blueprint. Why is a content and marketing strategist using architect’s tools? I find it’s hard to build a business without understanding the structures that support it’s growth. Someone has apparently repeated the story about how Facebook Ads or Boosts can fix everything that folks are starting to believe it. A measure of the coach or expert’s worth is how much integrity do they place in making sure you are ready for their instruction or if you even have awareness of what is required to succeed. Seems to me most entrepreneurs and small businesses need that business blueprint, or recipe to understand what each skill set looks like for their particular goals. Once awareness is gained, effective decisions can be approached.
I’m a country girl from a rural town in the South, but where I am from a coach’s role is to identify what it takes to obtain the goal, train you in how to strengthen your skills, practice with you and supervise your practice until you can execute your skills safely without supervision. None of that involves paying the coach doing it for you. It involves learning to learn, opening your heart and your books to figure out what is truly going on in your business and being willing to monitor and adjust your actions until what YOU define as success is coming together.
Whether your skill set is bringing innovation to a process, providing services to your clients, or simply doing a specialty work that supports other business’s success, it’s wise to know the components of building your business. Whether you’re talking paperwork, financial tracking, customer service, content marketing or sales and marketing, before coaching deep can be effective for your business you have to be on the same page of experience as your expectation requires.
An example: In a call I was privileged to be on this week I heard one of the attenders share that they have a new book coming out in a couple of weeks. They’ve spent the last four months getting that book written, edited, and preparing for release. However, on a coaching opportunity call with a high end business coach, the coach asked “What are your plans for getting this book into the hands of readers and buyers” and the caller went very quiet. We can get so wrapped up in the daily grind of the next thing that we lose sight of the actions that matter besides the urgent that shows up. In this case, the high end business coach is not a fit for the beginner in business.
Successful businesses nor books develop customers without a plan of action. While it’s important to write, edit, and choose covers for books, the author who desires to have book sales must also realize its just as important to have a plan for how that book is shared. Launch plans, websites, social channel presence, advertising, events, book talks, keynotes, book parties, hangouts, interviews and PR. It’s how the business of being an author works. I’ve surely heard some very interesting conversations lately:
“Books are only a calling card, they never make money”
“I’ll just get this out there then I’ll work on understanding how to sell on my second book”
“Book sales don’t matter, I just need this on my LinkedIN”
“Oh, I’ll hire xyz to run facebook traffic to a landing page and THAT will take care of sales”
Outcomes planning for me would ask “How much did it truly cost to write and publish that book if you’re not planning a return in audience, investment or income from the effort?” “What will be the cost of actual acquisition of each reader?” After they have purchased your book, what’s next? Personally I wouldn’t choose to invest in any project or process without a significant understanding for it’s use in my business outcomes.
For most, they have not begun to consider the time, effort, investment that the project book has taken…and are very surprised to realize if they were not speaking, working on workshops, engaging in PR along the way that it’s very hard to raise a platform of influence or buyers without relationships built long before the new book arrives.
Too many times I’ve heard the stories personally, the client investment in “assistance” alone in tasking on the book such as editing and ghost support has already been over $1400 to $5000 not including the time involved away from her practice while writing it which cost her additional income since she “took off 90 days” to write it. It doesn’t include the money that was spent on cover art, on editing, on shopping publishers, on a sizzle reel, on FB ads recommendations that were poorly advised and executed before there was even an effective landing page, blog, or website to continue the conversation and relationship with the readers.
That brought the total invested in the creation of a book to a much higher investment and they still they had absolutely no idea how to sell the book. That works if your income affords it, but for most beginning to middle experienced entrepreneurs, that’s a steep price. Compare that to the client who spent an hour a day writing a book over 90 days, who decided to first use their blog and social channels to share content and build a following, so that when the book was published, 342 of their 3000 followers purchased day 1. A humble beginning but the book has already netted $2736 in profit in 30 days with a profitability of $8 per book after shipping/handling…and now the author has options with going forward with their next book again on their own or with a traditional publisher who watched the process and now has approached them for a book deal. Small steps, experience gained, firmer understanding of how a system may work for them. More importantly in the process, the client learned that the book lead to doors opening for consulting, teaching courses on how to do the skill set the book discussed, and other revenues that make the book’s presence much more financially meaningful than the $2736 earned from it.
It’s about this time in the conversation that I am reminded that without an overview of what options in business are available, you often are reinventing the wheel. A blueprinting of what to expect along the path creates awareness. Choices can be made more wisely to build whatever a client identifies as success. Inexperience creates significant learning gaps, and those gaps can produce disaster if time and income are invested poorly. Some of the points of pain of authors/entrepreneurs I’ve witness lately:
Pain that they were not enough. The pain of not knowing how to sell their product or process so was focused that it became the elephant in the room. (by the way the key to selling is serving)
Pain that they were “had” by a slick seller who promised a “You can write a book” product delivery, but the slick seller didn’t engage that they alone, as business owner author, are responsible for learning to sell their book, their services, their engagments etc. That without engaged relationships, the chances of being invited to speak, share their book or engage an audience of their own was slim. An author’s success is dependent upon much more than having a book printed.
Pain that they bought a high dollar process when what they needed was a basic education and some experience selling and presenting before engaging in a way their business could not afford. Books can be profitable as a door opener, as a “hello card” to next step processes in your business, as a lower fee way to learn from you when your 1:1 fee cannot be obtained. Books and courses have the magical ability to begin relationships from print and letters and can continue online and off.
I’m all about getting expert experience in the work that I personally seek and professionally hire. (personally I am in the business of also making a living by being hired, so it matters to me) However, let’s add the common sense factor:
“I can only utilize the expertise and instruction I hire if I am ready in awareness to engage the learning and do the work of enacting the coaching experientially.” ~Sweetie
Olympic coaches do not take on beginners, nor do beginners compete at the Olympics. In fact, most Olympic coaches, when presented with a truly gifted athlete beginner will affirm their POTENTIAL but also affirm that they need to begin at the beginning of preparation for their sport long before they enter an olympic team sports training facility.
A strong business requires you to learn. If you’re ready to grow your business in a specific area or way, it’s true, “you’ll need to learn and that is expedited by hiring a coach” ~ however…let’s also remember that choosing a coach has rarely had anything to do with making six figures in 90 days unless you are very experienced at what you do and simply had no clue how to do the marketing of your business.
Strong programs, like Olympic athletic centers do not train for a big race for only 90 days. Their training begins long before the focused last 90 days before the event. It would cause physical harm to the body, life interruptions to the mind, and relationships would fizzle in such a scenario. Business is a day by day, inch by inch commitment to identifying, learning, and executing personal and professional skills…and then beginning again at a new experience level to identify, learn, practice, and execute the next level of responsibilities as your experience grows. It may not be sexy, but I see it every day in successful, long standing businesses that continue to grow.
Knowledge is indeed power, and the best lessons I’ve learned to run and grow your business are these:
- Know what you do, why you do it, and who benefits from the actions you do in business.
- Understand that running a business is definable…and as a business owner you need clarity on how you:
- Identify your product/process or purpose in business and who you are in that role.
- Who the best fit for your level of services, products or processes.
- What it truly takes to support your client’s success before, during and after the sale.
- Handle the daily requirements of the business legals, finances and staffing.
- Identify the actions that matter for YOU to engage versus what actions must be managed by you.
- Define success, both personally and professionally, experientially and financially. A number achieved in isolation in no way affirms a life experience success was met.
- Ask yourself what you need to be the best in your business. What is that in physical space, in environmental surrounds, in experiences with clients. Define where you best in your business.
- Choose to be open to learning. Develop and maintain friendship and professional strategic partnerships with others you respect how they do business. Hype is one thing, consistently happening …ongoing business success is another.
Successful businesses are all around us. Large and small, local and universal. If you’ve chosen to offer to the world what you do, hooray for you! The next step is to begin the processes of doing your business and intentionally choosing to learn and to seek learning and experienced teachers to keep you moving forward on your way.
Take time to identify the actions that matter and do the next “right” thing you know!