Often when I talk to mums in business at this time of year the major topic of conversation is how to balance business with family during the school holidays. It’s not always easy and it’s worth exploring a few strategies to see which ones work for you.
This is when your confidence in your business can get a bit shaky. Sometimes we have an impending sense of overwhelm and we’re not always sure we know how to deal with it.
Here are 5 simple fixes to boost your confidence in your business and your business goals.
1 – Clarity
When you run a business, it is important to have clarity on WHO you are; WHAT you do; WHO you help; and HOW you help. You need to be clear and it needs to be clear to your potential clients too.
One woman I worked with told me “My stuff works for everyone. I can help anyone.” No doubt, she could help anyone however wanting to help everyone dilutes your marketing. It means you cannot be specific in your marketing messages and in your branding. And if your potential clients don’t ‘get’ who you can help and how you can help, they’ll move on to somebody whose message is clearer.
I know I can help anyone with confidence … however if I was trying to reach managers in retail AND recent technology graduates AND women in finance AND AND AND …. I just can’t get specific enough in the stories I tell, the case studies I share, the branding I use. Jack of all trades, master of none.
The very first simple fix to boost confidence in your business is to get absolute clarity.
2 – Consistency
The second simple fix is about consistency in what you do and how you do it.
Consistency applies to your branding, your social media profile, your website, your networking, your email marketing, the way you present yourself – everything. When you show up consistently, this helps to build trust. When people trust you, this builds your confidence.
Consistency is not the same as frequency. For example if you send out an email newsletter – it needs to be emailed on a consistent frequency, whether that’s daily, weekly or monthly. I’m sure you’ve been on some mailing lists where you don’t hear from the business for months and suddenly you get a flurry of emails. Instantly you are on the alert. What’s going on? What are they trying to sell? Whereas if you consistently send out an email newsletter every week, your subscribers will generally be ok with the odd week when you send an extra email or two.
Be consistent in what you do and how you present yourself. This builds trust which in turn builds confidence.
3 – Overwhelm
We all have days or weeks when it seems there is too much to do. Too many demands on our time. Too much vying for our attention. We all face overwhelm at times – the trick is to identify your coping strategies.
To cope effectively with overwhelm, it is important to look after your wellness: physical, emotional and mental wellness. You can’t fully separate these three areas.
Working harder and longer is perhaps a useful short-term strategy however it is not a long term solution. When you are in a permanent state of overwhelm, that’s when you get that rabbit in the headlights feeling. Your brain literally cannot cope and stops processing effectively.
When you look after yourself, you are in a much stronger and more confident place from which to look after others and to look after your business.
More ideas on how to cope with overwhelm here.
4 – The numbers
Even if you hate numbers and spreadsheets, when it is your business, YOU are the CEO and Finance Director, and you must pay attention to the numbers. You need to forecast sales, understand the costs, identify poor performing products or services, etc.
Many women seem to hate dealing with numbers. If that’s you, this is one aspect of your business that you can outsource however even if you outsource the actual number crunching, it is still your responsibility to review your income and expenses on a regular basis (i.e. weekly or monthly) so that you can manage business performance.
It is not just about the financial numbers – think too about the performance numbers. This is a specialist area for me as when I first started my business, I worked as a performance consultant to law firms. (I’m one of those weird geeks who just loves Excel). Performance numbers are your key performance indicators or KPIs.
Not sure what your KPIs should be? Ask yourself “What can I measure to judge the performance of my business?”
What’s important to understand about key performance indicators is whatever you measure is what gets your best attention. You can only manage what you measure. It’s important to measure the right things.
To use a simple analogy, let’s pretend I’m an apple farmer and you are one of my apple pickers. I am going to pay you 10p for every green apple that you pick and 5p for every red apple. At the end of the week, do you think I’ll have more green apples or more red apples? Similarly if I paid you by weight … you will pick the biggest, heaviest apples. If I pay you per apple picked, you will focus on the number of apples you pick.
Get confident in your numbers – financial and performance – and this will give you greater confidence in your business goals.
5 – Simplicity
There are so many business gurus out there. If you listen to them all and follow all their advice, you will have no time to enjoy your business. Simplicity is beautiful. There’s no need to try and do everything. A micro business cannot do all the marketing across all the platforms that a large corporate might decide to do. Decide what to focus on. Make that decision based on where your potential clients hang out (is that Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) and the type of marketing that you enjoy.
Focus on the type of work that you love, the clients that you get the biggest buzz from. I still do some law firm performance work. However I focus all my marketing on the activities that I enjoy (writing and speaking so blog, Facebook, email newsletter) and targeted at working mums.
The other thing about simplicity is if you keep it simple, it stops you trying to be perfect.
Simplicity breeds confidence.
Focus on these 5 simple fixes – clarity, consistency, dealing with overwhelm, the numbers and simplicity, and your confidence will grow. When you have confidence in yourself and your business, your clients will have confidence in you too.
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