eBusiness Blog

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

Communicating to maintain effective client relationships

How you communicate directly impacts your client relationships

How often do you get yourself in trouble because a situation has been misunderstood?

How often do you have to tell people what you “really” meant or that you didn’t like how you learned about a situation?

How upset do your clients and customers get about a product being unavailable?

How much do you dread letting them know that the product isn’t available because of how they will react?

All these scenarios often have nothing to do with what you need to communicate but rather with how you deliver the message.

How you deliver the message plays out both in what I like to call big “C” communications – big corporate announcements and organizational strategy – and in little “c” communications – emails and difficult conversations for example.

Believe it or not, much of the way we think and behave is unconscious. What we value, what we believe, our memory of a situation and past behaviours all feed into how we receive and deliver information.

When we become aware of how we come across we can take control of how we communicate with others.Click To Tweet

And this isn’t just the “soft stuff” of business.

Neuroscientists have been studying human behaviour for decades. I turned to Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton to provide some scientific backing for what has been intuitive for me for a long time.

Here are four ways neuroscience tells us we can help our audience be receptive to our message. To conclude, I’ll give you five practical tips to put this science into use.

  • Mirror your audience’s actions and behaviours

    Have you ever walked into a restaurant or bar and noticed how people are interacting with each other?

    Have you noticed groups of people who seem to dress similarly, or how married people seem to come to even look alike over time? Matching and mirroring is when you take on someone else’s style of behaviour as well as their skills, values, or beliefs in order to create rapport.

    This will make your audience feel comfortable and more likely to listen to what you have to say. You can deliberately match and mirror someone by:

    • Body postures and gestures
    • How quickly you breathe
    • How quickly you speak or move
    • How your voice sounds

    CAUTION: You don’t want to mimic people. There is a fine line between moving in rhythm with someone and fitting in, or mimicry. People will know if you are being insincere.

  • Listen so you know what people are looking for

    If you want to really have people buy into what you are saying, then you must truly be present and LISTEN. And that means making sure they know they have been heard.

    Acknowledge their point of view, understand where they are coming from and above all, be patient.

  • Build rapport when communicating virtually

    To build rapport in today’s age of virtual offices, make sure you:

    • Speak more slowly to ensure people can hear you
    • Make sure you have people’s attention before you make your point
    • Use people’s names more often than you might in face-to-face meetings so they feel included and heard
    • Visualise the person at the end of the phone line as you listen to the conversation
    • If you are in a video-conference, look into the camera and appear to be visually present (no escaping to Facebook during teleconferences here!)
    • Summarise the meeting afterwards and confirm via email what was decided upon
  • Use multiple ways of communicating to make sure your message gets across:

    Find out who your audience is. If they are audio listeners, the words you use will be important. If your audience is more visual, then graphs, charts and pictures will help them remember information.

    Kinaesthetic audiences will focus on the tone of your voice and the feeling they experienced upon receiving the information.

So what does this mean for your daily interactions with your clients?

  1. Ensure you have their attention before sharing your message.
  2. Did they understand what you had to say? Ask questions to probe their response to your conversation.
  3. Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to – use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
  4. Follow-up with email after decisions are made to ensure you’re both on the same page.
  5. Have you inspired them to act? Find out what they care about so you can better motivate them to participate in your desired outcome.

Following the tips included in this article will shape how you deliver your message and guarantee improved communications with your clients.

Take some time to truly understand and internalize these techniques and you will be well on your way to avoiding difficult situations.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


Top 10 Tips to Building a Balanced Business

Top 10 Tips to Building a Balanced Business

I started my business to create more work/life balance.

Honest. Ok. You can stop laughing now…. Anytime!

If you are still laughing at the naiveté of my younger self, then you must be in business for yourself as well.

You know all too well about the many long hours you put in; the constant drain on your time and your bank account; and the passion that comes from working day and night on either a) something that you love or b) something that you are now so far into that you can see no way out.

What if I told you, you could build a business that was balanced from the get-go?

Well, I guess that involves understanding what it means to be “in balance” in your business.

Most people assume the definition of work/life balance involves spending less time at work and more time doing something other than work that you love.

A quick online search brought up these definitions, all rooted in a similar thought:

“Work-life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation). This is related to the idea of “lifestyle choice.” – Wikipedia

“Work-life balance is knowing what feeds your energy.” – Jacki Zehner, CEO of Women Moving Millions

“Work-life balance is about getting more sleep.” – Amy Errett, cofounder of Madison Reed

“My secret to having work-life balance is to schedule in my fun.” – Monif Clarke, CEO of Monif C. Plus Sizes

And…

“Work-life balance means making decisions around where, who and what you’re going to sacrifice, because you can’t do it all,” – Nike Taranto, Cofounder of Plated.com

I also turned to Richard Branson for his tips on achieving a healthy work/life balance. That man seems to be always having a good time, and with his success, I figured he must have some “secrets” up his sleeve.

Here are his:

  1. Rise Early
  2. Limit Screen Time
  3. Write lists
  4. Make time for sports
  5. Make time for loved ones
  6. Embrace something new (or do something new every day)

I like how Branson just ASSUMES you are going to love what you do every day. It didn’t even make his list!

So what I’m hearing from the above is work-life balance involves prioritizing; doing things you enjoy; having fun; and sacrificing some things.

I agree with all those statements – except for the word sacrifice.

I believe in choosing what’s most important and prioritizing what will make you the MOST happy, fulfilled and successful in your business and in your life.

Here is my definition of work/life balance:

“You are “in balance” when you are happy.”

Yikes, now that’s a new can of worms to open, not only am I asking you what it means to be balanced, now I’m also asking you what it means to be happy too?

So, let’s translate that to starting up a business that you love to work in.

What do you need to be happy (and consequently balanced) in your business?

Here are my top 10 tips to being balanced and happy in your business:

  • Start a business doing something you love
  • Hire out the pieces you don’t love doing yourself.
  • Honour your need for rest when you need it
  • Cultivate the important relationships in your life so you don’t replace all of them with work
  • Run your business from somewhere you love being, day in and day out
  • Set up your business so you, as a person, thrive in it
  • Decide up front what it means to be successful in your Balanced Business – and make sure you count more than money in your Success Variables – what does success mean to YOU and to your business?
  • Surround yourself with people you enjoy working with and who share your values in your business.
  • Do something just for you every day.
  • Know what YOU need to be happy.

Yes, when you are running your own business, it all starts with you. The more you know yourself, your limitations, your personal gifts and what fills your tank, the more you can create a life and a business that you love to be in and where you will feel balanced, no matter how much you work and no matter what other people may say.

Because, if you are working most of the time and LOVING it, I would argue that you are balanced.

All this because you get to define it and you get to create your own Personal Business Equation – which defines success on your terms.

What do you need to feel in balance in your business or anywhere for that matter? The more you know that up front, the more you can be assured you will be enjoying the fruits of your labour for many, many years.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


Why Business PR Starts with Knowing Your Ideal Target Audience

Why Business PR Starts with Knowing Your Ideal Target Audience

How well do you know your ideal client or your target audience?

In business, there are many ways to go about getting clients. We have the service-based business where we take on clients where we work with them one-on-one or in small groups, and we have the kind of business where we are selling a commodity.

Each kind of business takes a different sales approach. The first is often more relationship-based, and the second is often more product-based.

Service-based businesses

If you’re selling a service, how often do you, as a business owner, take work that isn’t a perfect fit?

The live client is there and in front of you – so yes! You’ll take the work.

But what if you only took work that was a perfect fit for you and your business? Do you even know what a perfect fit is for your business?

Understanding your ideal client is more than knowing their age, their demographic and where they hang out online.

It’s about knowing yourself and your business offerings.

What is it that you offer that’s unique to you?

Why would people want to hire you over anyone else?

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you get really clear on what your strengths are as a business and who you’re really after in an ideal client:

Analysis of Core Strengths:

  1. If a complete stranger were to come up to you and you had no idea their background or what their interests might be, what would you tell them that you did?
  2. What do you know you do better than almost anyone else you know?
  3. What is it that you love to do and would gladly do for free? No matter what?
  4. What’s your track record? What are your most favourite clients or projects and why?

Analysis of Ideal Client:

  1. Describe the last client who hired you. What was their:
    1. Gender
    2. Age
    3. Income bracket
    4. How did they hear about you?
  2. Now do a review of the clients who have hired you over the past year. Create a spreadsheet analysis of their commonalities.
  3. Rate, on a scale of 1-10, how much you enjoyed working with each one of them.
  4. What are you learning?

Product-based businesses

What if you’re selling a product?

It’s the latest, greatest thing to hit the travel community or the housewares department.

This involves a broader approach to your sales and still requires you really getting connected to why your ideal client (or target audience) would buy your product.

This can really help when designing PR campaigns to reach them.

What are your target audiences looking for?

Why might they buy the product?

What else can you do to cross-promote the product? E.g. If you are selling a travel accessory, writing articles and creating content that creates an experience for the reader would be a great way to promote your product.

But the catch is you need to know where they hang out, what they read, where they get their news, and what they like to do for fun.

Analysis of Your Product:

  1. Is your product a luxury or needs-based product?
  2. Is your product something that will be repeatedly purchased or is it likely a one-time only purchase?
  3. What need are you filling when people purchase this product?
  4. Can you create an experience around this product? i.e. is it just coffee that you’re selling or are you selling friendship and a relaxing moment in your day?
  5. When would people likely think of purchasing your product?

Analysis of Ideal Customer:

  1. Describe your ideal customer – why would they purchase your product?
  2. What do you know about your ideal customer?
    1. Gender
    2. Age
    3. Income bracket
    4. Where do they purchase your product?
  3. What’s the need you are filling when they purchase your product?
  4. What other things do your customers have in common? For example, if they are purchasing a travel-related product, what else might they purchase and where?

The more we know about your ideal customer or client the more we can use different marketing and communications techniques to reach them.

Here is a list of different ways that you can advertise to your ideal client or customer without them feeling like you’re selling to them:

  1. Blog articles
  2. News media stories that mention your product or establish a need for your product
  3. Speaking Engagements at events
  4. Client or customer contact events
  5. Referrals from previous customers or clients
  6. Social media posts
  7. Sponsorship of causes you care about
  8. Posting opinion pieces that raises your company’s profile
  9. Entering contests that promote your business
  10. Giving away product promotion pieces that have people remember you

The better you know your ideal client or your target audience, the more likely these PR tactics will reach them and turn into sales for you!

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


A ‘How-to’ Guide for Earning Small Business Media Exposure

A 'How-to' Guide for Earning Small Business Media Exposure

You have dreams of being a guest on Oprah Winfrey. The Today Show is calling your name (they just don’t know it yet!)… Even a short media appearance on the local breakfast show would be great.

Ok. Can I just have a few lines in the business section of the city newspaper? Anyone??

What does it take to get that traditional media exposure you are coveting? If they only knew about you, you’d be busier than all get out! You just need one big break… right?

Right?

Wrong. (unfortunately)

Building a media presence for your small business takes time, consistency and the know-how to get yourself noticed in front of media audiences who are interested in what you have to say.

And notice I am using the word “earning” media exposure instead of “getting” or “securing” media exposure.

Yes, you have to earn it.

Unless you are paying for it (which is called advertising, by the way) it is not up to you if you will get covered, how much you will covered, or even what the media might say about you. That, my friend, is all up to the media outlet who is telling your story for you.

That’s not to say you can’t exercise some influence, however. You can absolutely doll yourself up (meaning, your business) and make what you have to say attractive to the potential media outlet.

It is important that you have something to say that people want to hear.

Here are nine steps to earning traditional media exposure for your small business:

  1. Know What You’re Selling

    This may seem obvious to you, but often this is the first stumbling block for my   clients. They know what they are selling, and what their services are, but can they explain it in a way that people will clearly understand?
     
    If you were called for that appearance on The Today Show, for example, what would you say? What is your story? Is it compelling?
     
    It is important to develop your key messages and be able to deliver them clearly, concisely, and with impact.

  2. Know Who You’re Selling To

    Who is your key audience or ideal customer? Who do you think would most benefit from what you are selling?
     
    Another way to think of it is why do you want people to know about you? What do you want them to do with the information?
     
    Once you know your ideal customer, you can better tailor your message and marketing and communications strategy to reach them.

  3. Know Where Your Customers Hang Out

    Now that you know what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to, where do they hang out? What online media do they use? What traditional media do they use?
     
    How can you reach them? What television shows do they watch? What do they read? Where do they consume their media?
     
    All these factors must be considered as you are developing your media relations strategy.

  4. Make a Media Outlet List of Contacts

    Now that you know what media you would like to appear in, who do you need to reach to earn that appearance? Do you have a relationship with them already?
     
    If not, depending on how big your media ambitions are, you would be wise to hire someone to help you who does know who to talk to and who has a relationship with the media, or you can introduce yourself and go from there.

  5. What Would Interest Them About Your Product/Business?

    Once you know who you want to reach, get familiar with their media outlet. What kind of stories do they like to tell? And how?
     
    Do they do on-camera interviews? Do they do 30-second clips at the end of a new cast? Do they publish in-depth interviews?
     
    How the message will appear can help you frame what and how you share your story with them.

  6. How Can You Tell An Effective Story?

    For example, if you are a sporting equipment company and you want to cover your new product line, there are a number of ways you could go about gaining interest in your product.
     
    You can simply share the factors that make your product great. Or, you could promote the person behind the idea who created the product.
     
    Another way could be to host an event that promotes your product and invite media to the event so they can see your product in action.
     
    There are many different ways to tell the same story.

  7. Pitch Your Idea

    Now that you have your plan together, it’s time to pitch your idea.
     
    Most news outlets prefer email. Make sure your email subject line is to the point and attention-getting. And be sure to include information about your story idea in the body of the email.
     
    You can attach it in a document as well, but the fewer “clicks” a media contact has to take to review what you have to say, the better the chance they will actually read it.
     
    And that’s the first step. You can follow up with another direct message or even a phone call to ensure they received your email, but it’s best not to start there.

  8. Tell The Story

    Once you are successful in gaining the attention of your media contact, it’s time for you to tell your story.
     
    The story may have already been in the body of the email; however, you may also have the opportunity for a media interview or to meet your media contact at a live event that you are appearing at.
     
    Be sure you are ready to answer those questions from the media and if you only have 30 seconds to tell your story, make sure those 30 seconds count!

  9. Repeat

    Whew! That was a lot of work. Great! You earned some media attention and scored a few interviews and some media coverage. Fantastic! Pat yourself on the back and be open for more opportunities to do that again.
     
    Depending on your product, you may have opportunity to develop relationships with key media and pitch ideas monthly. Other businesses may just go out twice a year or even annually. Still others may not go out at all. It’s up to you to decide what you can manage and how often media exposure would benefit your business.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


Why Solopreneurs Should Create a Communications Plan for Their Business

Why Solopreneurs Should Create a Communications Plan for Their Business

Small business owners and solopreneurs often think communications planning is for big business.

Yes, communications is the stuff of corporations, governments, and not-for-profit organizations, and it can benefit you, the small business owner or solopreneur as well.

Large organizations who are keen on reputation management, media relations, rolling out annual reports and extensive internal communications programs rely on their communications team to craft the message, to write and create the material, to deliver the program and to keep the organization top of mind with their target audience.

These are all things that you need to do as well, no matter how big or small your business is.

Here is a quick quiz on whether or not you need to bring a communications expert onto your team:

  1. Can you answer what your business does in one, clean, sentence?
  2. Do you know what reputation your business has?
  3. Do your customers/target audiences know your name?
  4. Is your website current and does it accurately reflect you and your business?
  5. Are you clear on how much you need to talk to your customers/target audience and do you have a plan for that?

If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” to any of the questions above, then you could definitely benefit from hiring a communications consultant to help you through some of these things.

A good consultant will start by asking you about your business. Why did you start it? What do you love about it? What do you want people to know about your business? What call to action do you want your target audience to have once they hear your message?

Once you can answer these questions, you can start creating a communications plan for your business.

The funny thing is, many business owners think they know the answers to these questions; however, once they try to voice it, they stumble.

Here’s an example of how these conversations often go:

Consultant: So, you want people to know about your business. What do you want them to know?

Business Owner: Well, that we’re awesome, of course!

Consultant: Great! I know you’re awesome, and you know you’re awesome. Why are you awesome?

Business Owner: Because we offer a great product. There’s nothing else out there like it on the market!

Consultant: Great! So, what does your product do?

This is where you start getting into what’s important. What do you do? What sets you apart from your competition? How will your customers find you? How often will you communicate with them and when? Do you have a feedback mechanism to hear from your customers? Do you even know what they really want?

A good communications plan will contain the following components:

  1. Background on your Business
  2. Business Goals
  3. Communications Goals (big picture) & Objectives (smaller picture)
  4. Target Audience
  5. Key Messages (for each target audience)
  6. Communications Strategy
  7. Action Plan & Timeline
  8. Budget
  9. Evaluation methodology (how will you know you’ve been successful?)

Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. You can even take a stab at this yourself, regardless of your communications experience.

And, the more you have pre-prepared when you meet with a consultant, if you decide to go that route, the more they will love you for it. Particularly the business goals. Nobody but you can tell you what your goals are.

What does success look like for your business?

Let’s start there.

What are your goals for your business?  For three months, six months and one year from now. Once you have your business goals clearly defined, the rest will flow.

And you’ll be well on your way to developing your first communications plan.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


Why Speaking Engagements Don’t Have to Be Nail-Biting

Why Speaking Engagements Don’t Have to Be Nail-Biting

So, you’ve finally launched your website. (check)
You’ve got a decent social media campaign going – you figure. (check)
You’ve got business coming in. (check?)

And now you’re ready for the next big thing: THE STAGE.

You know you need to add “speaking engagements” to your annual marketing calendar and you’re not sure where to start. Yes, nail-biting, isn’t it?

Well, if you picture yourself on-stage “a la Oprah” and your knees start shaking, not to fear…. It doesn’t have to start that way. In fact, I can guarantee you it didn’t start that way for Oprah either.

Speaking engagements can simply mean this: you speak one-to-many vs. one-to-one. What you may say to one person, you now say to more than one at the same time.

You don’t even have to stand up.

In fact, I did a speaking engagement recently where I got to sit down the whole time. It was a very casual presentation to a group of about a dozen female entrepreneurs in a pub. It was casual, it was fun, it definitely wasn’t intimidating, but it definitely was a speaking engagement.

I had to write an intro about myself, they promoted me to their membership, and I spoke in front of people with my prepared text. That was a speaking engagement.

So, if you are just starting out in your business and you do not yet have a line outside your door of people clamouring to hear you speak.

Here’s a “how-to-guide” to launching that line-up and securing that first speaking engagement:

  1. Write your signature talk

    Honestly, this is probably the hardest part. What are you going to say? I would recommend developing a relatively short, 20 – 30 minute presentation where you speak about the core of your business.

    The goal? To generate interest in you and your business. I definitely don’t recommend selling from the stage at this point, your whole goal will be to generate interest in you and your business by providing value in a 20-30 minute presentation.

    You want people to walk away feeling that talk was a good use of their time and for them to consider contacting you in the future for possible work opportunities.

    At the early stages of talk-giving, you are asking your audience for important collateral – their time — in exchange for your time and knowledge. It’s important to make you worth their time.

  2. Know your target audience

    Who do you want to have hire you? Once you narrow down your target audience and your ideal customer, you can start sourcing where they hang out and what they might want to hear in a short, 20-30 minute snippet of information delivery.

    The better you understand your people, the more value you can deliver in a presentation you prepare.

  3. Identify where your target audience gathers.

    There are groups everywhere these days who gather in the name of networking, promoting their business and learning about topics related to their business or personal growth.

    Identify where these groups are and identify the best ones for you to connect with. Check out meet-ups, networking organizations in your area, and eventually conferences and gatherings where participants pay to hear a number of speakers talk.

    Aligning yourself with organizations who already have a following of your ideal customer, will provide endorsement of you and give you a leg-up before you’ve even hit the proverbial stage.

  4. Introduce yourself to the group organizer

    Arrange a coffee date or meeting with the lead of the organizations you identify. Find out what they’re all about to determine if there is a fit for you to either join the organization yourself and/or become someone they would have come speak to their regular meeting.

    Be ready with #5 (below) if they are interested.

  5. Prepare your “sell sheet” or promotional bio

    You will need this to both promote yourself to be invited to speak and as well to promote to the membership of the organization, so members are enticed to come out to hear you speak.

    It should include your photo, a brief bio about you and why you are someone with something they want to hear.

  6. Let your networks know you are speaking

    Now that you have secured your first speaking engagement, let your networks know you are speaking. You will undoubtedly get a “I didn’t know you gave presentations! Good for you! I know another group who you could really help.” And then the word-of-mouth promotional chain begins and lo and behold, speaking engagement #2 is right around the corner.

After you have gotten a taste for how your Signature Talk is received, you can tweak and amend it to ensure you reach your ideal client and serve them in a way that turns into new business for you.

And, once the requests start rolling in for you to speak, and your time becomes more valuable, you can start charging for that talk. Look out Oprah!

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.


How To Tell People Why You’re Awesome In Your Business

How To Tell People Why You're Awesome In Your Business

In my life as a communications and public relations specialist, I have spent my career being asked: “Can you make us a brochure?” Nowadays that’s often been shifted to: “Can you help me promote myself?”

And always, I smile, nod, and say: “Yes, of course I can do that.” What do you want people to know about you?”

And that’s where people get stuck.

“Ummm, well, that they should hire me/buy from me/know about me, of course!” they say.

Then the conversation goes something like this:
“Ok, why should they hire you?” I ask?

My potential client is inevitably taken aback. Isn’t it obvious why people should hire them/buy from them/know about them?

Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but IT’S NOT OBVIOUS. People don’t know about you.

They’re not forming a line outside your front door. And even if they do know about you, they don’t necessarily know what you can do for them and why they should hire you.

Even the smallest businesses need a vision, a mission and a series of key messages so you’re ready to tell people who you are, what you do and why you’re awesome.

What is it you’re up to in the world?
What role does your business play in making that vision a reality?
And what are the three key things you want people to know about you and your business?

And always remember your Call to Action. Now that they know about you, what do you want them to do with the information?

This is also very important.

So let’s get started: You have a business, you are up to big, big things. All you need are a few clients and you’ll be rockin’ it. Ask yourself this question: If you (or your business) could wish anything for the world, what would it be?

Let’s start with your Vision. This is big. This is what you/your business wants most for the world.

As an example, Starbucks Vision is: To inspire and nurture the human spirit. Many of you may be surprised by this. Starbucks is nurturing the human spirit? That’s big isn’t it? Bigger than a cup of coffee, that’s for sure.

Moving along to your Mission: This is the role you/your business plays in achieving your mission. As an example, again from Starbucks, their Mission is: To inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

Being clear about the role of your business in achieving your vision is very important. Starbucks is selling coffee, and an experience, that you will likely feel good about. In fact, your spirit may even feel a little nurtured while you are taking that break in your day.

Breaking it down even further, if there were three key things you wanted people to know about you/your business, what would they be?

These are your three Key Messages.

I haven’t asked Starbucks, but if I were to go in and ask them what their three key messages were, they might say something like:

  1. We serve great coffee
  2. This is where you can go to relax and take a break in your day
  3. You will feel good after you buy a coffee from us

Further to that, there will be many, many supporting reasons why each of those three key messages are important and multiple marketing campaigns can be created to support the many sub-messages.

But it’s important to start with your top three things you want people to know about you/your business.

What are yours? Write them below so we can all see why we should hire you/buy from you/know about you.

After that, you are well on your way to being able to start writing that brochure/web page you’ve been struggling with. AND, best of all, people will know why you are awesome, and are more likely to buy from you as a result.

About the Author, Susan Elford

Kathryn Wilking

Susan Elford, PR Strategist & Leadership Coach, works with start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs to help them get real about their strengths and celebrate them so they get more of what they want; clients, exposure and success, while living a life of balance.

Visit Susan at www.elfordcommunications.com for traditional PR support and www.susanelford.com for a look into how she works with her coaching clients.