Another week is almost done and what's been accomplished? For me, besides celebrating a birthday I've learned so much about what gets me going each day and how my business ideas are developing. That is the value of talking with others about your ideas. When you have to sit with several people in a week and describe what you do and what your ideal client is, you really hear your own personal excitement (or not) ebb and flow throughout the conversation.
In order to get out and market yourself, you need to really understand what you can enthusiastically sell. If it's a product, you better be really excited about it and what it can do because if you aren't who will buy it? The same with the services you want to provide. If you cannot articulate what value-add you bring to the table by someone hiring you then the same thing will be true ...who will want your service?
Sometimes in the development of our business, we aren't really sure. You start out in one direction and then as you test the waters you find that the need you were planning on filling really isn't out there...or now that you're in there providing the service you're finding that it's not that exciting and self-employment isn't very glamorous. This is part of the process ... it's almost like a new relationship. In the beginning things are great! It's new exciting and one never knows what's around the corner. New business the same. It's a new routine, a sense of freedom that you hadn't experienced before...it's exciting and the unknown gives you a thrill...but as the days go on and things become more familiar and more routine you begin thinking; "Do I really want this involvement?" "Did I do the right thing here by starting my own business?"
When these thoughts set in it's time to get out there and meet people. Remember, networking is key to building relationships than can help you build your business. Networking doesn't usually occur in the comfort of your home office. People just don't walk up to your door and say, "Hi, I hear you have a quality service to offer? I'd like to come in and hear about it." Sure would be nice if they did, especially for those of you who disdain cold-calling. But getting out in the field, changing the scenery and meeting people helps you get refreshed and re-energized. Being open to hearing what their stories are out there and what people are looking for is critical to knowing the market & your customer. Remember, when you are networking you are always working to establish relationships - practice being good at it. Practice being able to listen and reflect back what you've heard them tell you are their concerns and their needs. That's the key - hearing and reading between the lines. If you don't work to develop this skill...how will your potential customer know you understand their needs?
Believe me, if you take a chance and do some extemporaneous walk in and introduce yourself calls...I guarantee you that you'll find yourself getting excited all over again, just like you were in that new relationship and when you decided to build your own business. It happens to me every time and I am always glad I did it.
So that's my week - what's yours been like? Learning more about who we are, what excites us and what we're all about is the hard work, but in doing this you are that much closer to defining your business and understanding how you will be growing and shaping it in the weeks to come.