A self-employed business is a rewarding endeavor, one that allows you the freedom to deliver services that appeal to your expertise and interests. However, being an entrepreneur is also incredibly challenging. If you are running the show all by yourself, you run the risk of trying take on every role in the business, which can then hamper the growth of your company. If you’re keen to run a successful business while maintaining steady growth as you go along, the strategies below can help.
Master Your Target Clients
A smart growth strategy will include a plan or a picture of who your target clients are. Like any business, determining your niche audience is key to providing specialized services. If you are still swimming the waters when it comes to figuring out who you’d like to do business with, sit down and map this out.
Bear in mind that this mapping exercise exceeds demographics and should take into consideration the exact type of individual or company you’d like to provide services to. It’s also worth thinking about your expertise and what comes naturally to you. If you focus on your skills, you can grow that area of your business much quicker than if you have to learn a new niche. By nailing your target clients, you stand a much better chance at growing your company and your revenue.
The importance of networking cannot be underestimated, especially if you are self-employed. By expanding your contacts, you open yourself up to a greater number of opportunities, as well as potential customers and business partners. But networking also requires a bit of planning. To ensure you’re doing this in a smart way, consider doing the following:
- Capitalize on your existing contacts: ask around and find ways to meet others through the people you already know.
- Attend events relevant to your business: while it can be tempting to attend every event under the sun, make sure it’s relevant to your niche or industry. Social media, Eventbrite, and Facebook groups can be useful resources for this.
- Prepare an elevator pitch: you never know who you will meet at an event. To ensure that you’re able to summarize your business and its offerings without waffling, prepare an elevator pitch that lasts about one minute, or less.
- Follow up: once you’ve made a few networking contacts, follow up with them a few days later to keep the connection going.
Seek Partners or Cofounders
Running your own business takes a lot of fortitude. And while it’s empowering to steer the ship on your own, bringing aboard other partners or cofounders can greatly add to the growth of your business. Other people come equipped with skills that you might not have, and they can bring valuable ideas to the table. A partner may also have additional finances and they are an extra pair of hands, which will free you up to further expand the business.
Invest in Professional Development
Entrepreneurial skills can be learned on the job as you go along; however, to ensure that you are growing alongside your business, it’s important to invest in your professional development. Whether it’s taking business courses or joining a women's mastermind group, improving your skillset will keep you a few steps ahead of the game. Investing in your personal development will also boost your confidence and give you a competitive edge.
Value Your Services
When you’re first starting out, you will likely encounter clients who request to pay less for your services. While this can be tempting if you desperately need the work, by underselling yourself you also under-value your offerings. To ensure that your business is moving forward rather than sideways, make sure you value your services accordingly. Don’t undersell just because a job is available. By setting the bar high and keeping it there, you will attract clients who will also acknowledge your worth.
Leverage the Power of Marketing
Marketing is one of the most important processes you’ll undertake in business. This matters even more as a self-employed company, as the only person who knows you exist initially, is you. To ensure that you’re found amidst the rest of the commercial noise, make sure you leverage the power of marketing.
Whether you hire someone to put together a solid marketing plan or you do this yourself, you’ll want to ensure that your business is not only visible, but also easily found online. Your plan will need to include a strategy for search engine optimization (SEO) so that you can appear in the Google search results. Marketing also involves word-of-mouth and letting people in your network know about you and your services.
Focus on Selling, Not Content
One of the most touted pieces of advice when it comes to marketing these days is to produce high-quality content. While this is true, it’s important as a self-employed business that you focus less on content and more on selling. If you spend too much time on content creation, you can end up generating a lot of visibility but without targeting the market you’re after. Try to find a balance so that you can do both, but without sacrificing the growth of your business.