Entrepreneurs need to make good impressions — whether online, in person or on the phone. Make a great first impression so when you wrap up a conversation the person with whom you were interacting feels good about him- or herself and feels as though you truly listened to what they had to say.
Conversational skills are crucial to growing a network and a business. It could make the difference between closing a deal or having that person walk away with a bad taste in his or her mouth and deciding not to work with you.
Make A Great First Impression
Physical impression. Know how they say you only get one time to make a first impression? It’s true. Even if you’re a solopreneur who works at home in pajamas most of the time, if you’re going to a networking meeting or hosting a video chat or even getting on a phone call — get dressed. You don’t have to don a suit and tie, but you should project a professional appearance. It’s been shown that even if you dress up for a phone call you will project yourself in a more professional manner. If you’re at a networking event or a conference, don a conversation starter piece — for a woman that could be a scarf or pin or even the purse she’s carrying. For a man it could be a unique tie or briefcase. This is a great way to connect and when you follow up after the meeting you can say, “I was the man/woman wearing the XYZ” it will help raise recognition.
Get others to talk about you. If you want to really make an impression, get others to talk about you. They can introduce you and say, “Wow, did you know that Joe is an expert at…” It’s much better to hear from someone else that you have a talent than it is for you to toot your own horn.
Start a conversation about the other person! Ask, “What are you doing?” “Do you have any exciting projects in the works?” When you show an interest in them, you are opening the door for that person to take an interest in you. Avoid politics or religion unless you know the crowd with whom you’re interacting.
Tell a story. This doesn’t mean you have to give a recitation of your accomplishments, it truly means “tell a story.” Practice your elevator speech in a way that is more of a storytelling conversation than your reading your CV. If someone asks, “Oh, how did you get into that line of work?” Have your story ready. Highlight your qualities through the insights you share and the stories you tell.
Remember, not every conversation has to be a sales call. Be natural. Let the conversation flow. If you’re asked, “So, what do you do?” Share!
What are your best “first impression” tips?
How to make sound business decisions is a question many coaches get asked by their coaching clients regularly. Making sound business decisions sometimes stops entrepreneurs in their tracks. They worry they will do something wrong. They fear they will make a “bad” decision and the entire business will implode.
I feel that not making a decision is the worst decision an entrepreneur can make.
How To Make Sound Business Decisions
The difference between a successful entrepreneur and one who doesn’t succeed could be as simple as making decisions and following through. To do this, you will want to have a mission and a vision and even checklists to keep you moving forward.
To learn how to, and why you’re not making decisions, you need to identify those areas in which you struggle to confidently choose A or B.
Here are ways in which to make decisions with confidence.
- Ask for help. If you’re not making a decision because you don’t have all the facts or are simply perplexed, ask a colleague or work with a coach.
- Gather the data necessary to make an informed decision.
- What value is the decision bringing to your business? What could be lost if you don’t make a decision?
- Will the situation you’re in be made better or worse by your lack of decision making? What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
- Do you pay attention to your gut instincts? They can sometimes be your best guide.
Do you sometimes get frozen in place? Is procrastinating making a decision holding you back from higher business success? When you have those times when you simply can’t or don’t make a decision, do you know why? Take time to determine why you’re not making a decision and you may be on the right path toward becoming a decision-making pro!
Amazon is being blamed for the demise of many brick and mortar stores, but still there are many brick and mortars that are opening their doors and others that are thriving. How to set yourself apart from Amazon is something that business owners need to consider when opening a store front — whether physical or virtual.
You may not be able to compete head-to-head with Amazon, but you can certainly still thrive in this marketplace.
How To Set Yourself Apart From Amazon
- Offer a wide variety of items. No longer can a business rely on selling one item and one item only. Amazon thrives because of its diverse mix of items. What can you do to expand your offerings?
- Embrace a niche. You can’t be everything to everyone — like Amazon is — unless you have the budget to do so. Do you? It not, you need to embrace a niche and market the heck out of that unique niche in the marketplace.
- If you’re a brick and mortar, become a destination. Give people a reason to come other than to buy a product. Host events. Make shopping an adventure. If you’re in a tourist town, truly make your store a destination. Offer lessons, host parties, bring in speakers.
- Reduce your expenses by leveraging technology. Look at how you connect with customers and find ways to leverage technology to make it more cost effective and keep yourself in front of your ideal client.
- Be on social media.
- Have a social mission. What does that mean? Partner with a charity or group whose mission you and your business embrace and make sure your customers know that when they shop with you they are also supporting XYZ.
- Tell your story. People don’t have a connection with Amazon — they shop there because it’s easy. Build a connection with your customers by sharing your unique story. What sets you apart from Amazon? It’s your personality! Share that!
What are you doing to set your business apart?
It’s hard to believe that the first quarter of 2018 has just wrapped up. Did you meet the goals you’d set? Are you ready for goal setting for the second quarter? Goals should be revisited, looked at, massaged and re-worked to keep up with the trends in your business as it continually evolves.
Goal Setting For The Second Quarter
Take some time before this week ends to look at the goals you’d set for the first quarter, measure their successes and failures then set goals for the second quarter. If you’re new to goal setting here are some tips to set goals that make sense and will help you be more successful this year.
Keep in mind there is no one size fits all for goal setting, but here are some tips to consider:
- Do you have a mission, vision and purpose for your business? Keeping that front of mind will help you keep your eye on the prize when it comes to achieving your goals.
- How do your business goals align with your personal goals and with any personal growth you want to achieve. Remember to set “stretch goals” — those that will help you step outside of your comfort zone. Continue learning to stay fresh and current.
- Will achieving the goals you’ve set help you with your personal satisfaction? At the end of the day, if you don’t love what you’re doing and if you don’t feel you’re making a difference, you will be working for an empty goal. Set goals that not only enhance your business but your self of self worth.
- Do your goals need to change the world? Will the goal you’re setting move the needle in your business? Do you set goals that get your business known and seen and does it make changes in your corner of the world? Set a goal to enrich the lives of those with whom you interact.
- Did you meet your financial goals for the first quarter? What financial goals — income and expenses — will you set for the second quarter? Are you falling short? Why? Have you exceeded them? Congratulations!
Keep your goals in plain sight. Visit them often. They are living, breathing entities that will help your business continue to grow.
Do You Run Your Business From A Coffee Shop? Do you know there are rules of etiquette that should be followed if you’re doing that? Why? Because, just as you are an entrepreneur, so too is the coffee shop a business that needs to make sales and turn over tables in order to stay in business.
If you’re running your business from a coffee shop there are “rules” you should be following to make it a happy relationship for the two of you.
Do You Run Your Business From A Coffee Shop?
If you’re at a coffee shop you’re likely there because you’re inspired by the ambiance, in love with their coffee, making use of their Wi-fi and holding meetings there if you don’t want clients to come to your home office, right? It’s a great situation for you, but is it so great for the coffee shop owner?
Here are some rules for being a good customer if you’re growing your business at the local cafe.
- Pay “rent.” Buy food. Don’t just ask for a cup of hot water in which to dunk your the tea bags you’ve brought from home. Buy coffee every couple of hours and splurge for lunch.
- Don’t spread out and take up a large table. Stick to a small two-person or one-person table so you leave the larger tables open for other paying guests.
- Park on the street — don’t take up prime on-site parking if you’re going to be there for the entire day.
- Keep it down. If you’re taking calls or listening to webinars, keep the volume down. This is especially true if you’re talking about sensitive topics. Also, if other people are in the coffee shop, they are there to enjoy themselves, not listen to you.
- If you’re not buying lunch, vacate the table at lunchtime to make way for paying customers. The owner will thank you and will continue to welcome you.
Do you use a local coffee shop as your base of operations? Do you find it conducive to getting work done?
Making your business dream a reality may be something that you’ve been struggling with. How do you take the leap of faith in yourself and go from employee to potential employer? It takes focus and fortitude and a few other things as well!
If you’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, what’s stopping you? Overcome some of these fears and see whether living the life of an entrepreneur is the life for you!
Making Your Business Dream A Reality
- Face your fears. The fear of failure has stopped many an entrepreneur with a great idea in his or her steps. Be willing to fail — call it an experiment then move on.
- Be focused in your efforts. If you have myriad business ideas, choose the one that speaks to you the loudest and focus on that one. Bring in your other ideas once you’ve mastered the first.
- Start small and lean. You can print business cards at home if necessary. You don’t need a fancy office space. Work from a home office and meet at coffee shops until you can afford your own space — you may find you never need your own space. Create a small product to kick off your endeavor. Add on more options as you grow. You will want a website, but you can even get those for free and many are easy enough for those without much technical knowledge to build themselves. Save your money until you’re making money before you focus on a website with a lot of bells and whistles. If your’e selling product, though you may need a more robust site.
- Use social media to help share your message BUT don’t share a message until you know what it is!
- Look for a “team” or an accountability group. It is nice to have like-minded business people to bounce ideas off of and to help you through rough patches and with whom you can interact and offer insight. Mastermind groups are great for start-up businesses especially when new endeavors can feel so isolating.
Don’t give up on a business idea because you’re afraid. Look for a mentor or a business coach or a mastermind group who can help you formulate your message and get you moving down the road toward business success.