Being a business owner offers a lot of freedom in a multitude of ways. We have autonomy in making decisions that range from how to structure our schedule, to how much hard we want to work and how much money we’d like to make. Everything we do is ultimately our choice.
However, when entrepreneurs seek out consultants, marketers, trainings, and mentors, our business decisions are often influenced by these outside forces. After six years of studying, coaching, and training, I’ve learned that there are four big rules that I just can’t (and have chosen not to) follow in running my company.
These are four big rules that I’ve been taught, and have tested over the years. In the end, I’ve rewritten them to fit my personal views, principles and personality.
1. Don’t Overdeliver: While it can be a tendency for entrepreneurs to sell themselves short and give too much away for less than what’s worth, this can be easily adjusted and balanced. However, what I take issue with is the strategy of purposely offering less than what clients need so they have to continually invest to get what they want. This creates frustration, disappointment, and potentially a reputation management issue.
I have found that the more value I give to clients, the more likely it is that they will continue to work with me and send me referrals. Happy and satisfied clients also write fantastic testimonials, reviews, and give glowing word-of-mouth feedback which will ultimately be a better business building strategy over time.
2. Always be selling: While revenue is the most important asset for any business, cash flow is impossible to create without clients. And when marketers are sending a barrage of “buy buy buy” offers, subscribers and clients can become turned off. It’s imperative to not view people as ATM machines.
A better phrase to follow is: “always be giving.” In looking for ways to provide value, build relationships, and come from a place of service, prospective clients and current clients will want to stay connected indefinitely, and will refer others in our direction.
3. You don’t need a website: Many marketers love to say that you don’t need a website or a list to build your business. The logic is based on the ability to create revenue by connecting with the right people and having sales conversations. This is absolutely possible, it’s how I started all of my businesses. However, a more accurate statement would be: you don’t need a bad website.
While it’s true that most entrepreneurs aren’t website marketing experts, and it’s a waste of time and lost revenue to spend time and money doing the wrong things for a website that ultimately won’t provide an ROI, the right website will build a list quickly and create revenue more easily than networking and making phone calls. Plus, a great and effective website will help you build your business around the clock.
4. Follow the money: The strategy of following the leader and creating a business that is on someone else’s business model is potentially the most dangerous of all. The popular mantra is to “find someone who’s successful and do what they’re doing.” However, there are many pitfalls to blindly following the leader.
One of the coolest things about being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to be creative. We can be creative with the services we offer, our marketing, and the culture we co-create with our team members. Part of the creativity process is allowing our own gifts, talents, passions, and instincts lead us in the right direction.
What happens when we follow a model that isn’t a good fit for who we are and what our long range plan is, is that we create a business that is a far cry from the original vision and mission we had when we first started out.
The key is to create a business that encompasses proven models and strategies, but also allows our own brilliance to clearly shine through. It’s great to have access to mentoring, coaching, trainings, templates, checklists, and processes, but they will serve you best when you apply your own creative stamp.
Which of these risky rules do you break and why? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to know your thoughts.