A few years ago I taught a business boot camp at a local university. It was for people who had business ideas, but weren’t quite sure how to go about implementing them. It was a “how to.”
Everyone in the class had the similar needs:
- They had an idea and wanted to grow it into a sustainable income.
- They’d set aside some money to get started but weren’t sure if they had enough.
- They had a plan. (Kinda-Sorta)
What they didn’t have was “The fourth bullet point.”
How do I make this real? -How does it go from being an idea to a reality?
Here is some of what I shared with them.
You don’t have a business if you don’t ever sell anything. You have a hobby!
Let that sink in for a minute.
I’m going to ask you do something that will require a leap of faith on your part. I’m going to warn you that you are going to have to do this over and over, because like your favorite guilty pleasure – It ain’t going away any time soon: Fight the urge to believe that God, The Universe, The Angels and all the Saints are going to do the heavy lifting for you.
I know, I know! you are full of passion, desire and enough energy to supply power to a small country.
Maybe even The Universe.
Know what I mean Vern?
Who do you share it with?
You don’t know. So you fret and worry and wonder just what the heck you got yourself into. Who is going to buy my stuff?
When I started my business I decided the whole world needed me. I mean, why not? I confused love with need.
The whole world may have loved me but the whole world wasn’t buying from me.
They never have and they never will. I am a really great guy but not everyone needs what I offer.
Without your ideal client you have nothing to sell because if no one needs it why should anyone buy it except for the people who “get it.”
“Oh, John, please. This is cruel and unusual punishment. I have no clue who my ideal client is. I’ve tried and tried….”
Look in the freakin’ mirror for gosh sake’s. Read your journal and don’t burst out laughing when you read the things you wrote.
- What turns you on?
- What can you NOT live without?
- What resonates with ya?
People don’t buy a product or a service. They buy us. They buy honesty, integrity and relationships. They buy YOU because you believe in your product or service. You cannot live without it.
Let me share an example with you of someone who nailed it by sharing themselves with their readers. It’s a blog called Defining Yellow written by Kourtney Benson. It’s all spelled our plain and simple and you know almost immediately if you want to follow her. A picture is worth a thousand words. When you click on Defining Yellow I’d ask you to read her ABOUT ME page and her PURPOSE Page.
When you are finished ask yourself if you know who Kourtney is, what she does, and why she does it. Kourtney wants to work with people like herself. That’s who she surrounds herself with. She’s very direct about who she is. So much so, that I wrote and asked her if I could share her blog with you guys.
Forget about your competition.
Don’t research them, don’t spy on them, don’t lie awake at night wondering and worrying about how they are doing exactly what your doing and worse yet that they are brighter and way more good looking than you are They are not going to steal all your customers!
Your business is different from anyone else’s . It’s your DNA. There will never, ever be anyone who is like you in the past, the present or future. The imprint you put on your business is one-of-a-kind!
You are not they and they are not you! Wanna know why?
Your competitions needs are way different than yours and I gotta tell you that many of the shipwrecks I see from new startups come from trying to do what they’re not prepared to do. It’s like going from your church softball team to the major leagues in fifteen minutes.
I know, I know, As one of my sons put it so eloquently: “Why are you stepping on my dreams?”
The people you choose to serve don’t want something from you they can buy ANYWHERE. They want what you and only you bring to the table. That’s the person you want to attract.
Your competition, the people who you worry about? They aren’t worried about you. They’re too busy being themselves. Follow their lead!
Start small and start now.
Once you’ve gotten the “have to’s” out of the way – legal requirements, insurance etc. it’s time to begin planning.
The first question you might ask yourself is “How do I know what I need?”
That’s where knowing and understanding who you your ideal client is – the one your business will serve and what their needs are.
Their needs. Not ours.
Let that sink in as well.
When I fist started my business I was working with a company that hired me to coach it’s management team. They had me on a monthly retainer which made it a really sweet gig. One morning the COO was telling me about a move he was going to make. I told him I didn’t agree with his decision. He told me he din’t really care if I agreed with him or not.
After the initial sting subsided and I worked through what he said I realized he was right. I was looking at things from my perspective, not his. He was doing what he felt was best for him and his team. It wasn’t my company and while my service was appreciated and valued, I wasn’t part of the team.
Let me put it this way. You have a water leak in your basement. You call a plumber and the plumber fixes the leak. You thank the plumber. You don’t want their opinion on how to remodel your house and when they give it to you it just does not resonate.
Start with what you know. Leanr along the way and when you are starting out lead with the best version of yourself and forget all the horse hockey you’ve been reading about.
Start small, start now