Self-employed entrepreneurs may find growing their businesses challenging. This is because they do everything themselves leaving little time to work on nothing but the day to day. However, whether you’re a consultant, coach, bookkeeper, or service provider, there are some essential elements of any growth plan able to help you achieve your business goals more efficiently.
As CEO of The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers has helped a variety of self-employed entrepreneurs boost revenue and reach their growth goals for the last two decades. She recently offered some helpful insights in a phone interview with Small Business Trends. Here are some top tips for managing growth as a self-employed entrepreneur.
Growth Tips for Self-Employed People
Be Specific About Your Target Clients
An essential part of any growth strategy is having a very clear picture of who your target client is. This doesn’t just mean laying out a few demographic details. You have to dig really deep into the exact type of business or individual who you’d ideally like to do business with, including how you can go about actually reaching those customers.
Rewers says, “A lot of self-employed entrepreneurs really underestimate how much effort it takes to pin down that perfect target client.”
Focus on Ongoing Accounts
Part of determining your ideal clients and shaping your offerings should be based around keeping those clients for a long period of time, rather than simply selling them a single product or service and then moving onto find new clients. Getting those ongoing accounts can save you time and offer some basic security so that you can work on actually growing your business.
Rewers says, “The process of finding clients, losing clients, and then finding clients all over again isn’t very efficient.”
Look in Your Local Community
If you’re feeling stuck when trying to determine or get in touch with your target clients, Rewers suggests taking what some might feel is a sort of old school approach. Rather than going after international clients that fit into your niche online, you might have better luck by going after those who fit into your niche and are also located in your area so that you can communicate with them in person.
Rewers says, “We have all of these great ways to communicate with people around the world. But proximity still carries the greatest power. When you can go and actually meet with clients in person and connect with them on that level, it can be really powerful and help you gain more clients.”
Consider Your Expertise
When shaping your offerings, it’s also a good idea to think about your personal expertise. Focusing on something that comes pretty naturally to you can help you grow your business more quickly than if you were to choose a niche that you have to learn about.
Solve a Specific Problem
Another mistake entrepreneurs tend to make when choosing a niche and shaping their offerings to fit it is to focus on what they do instead of how they help clients. You have to frame the discussion of your products or services around what they offer to those who use them and what particular problem they can help solve. Otherwise, no one is going to care about your messaging.
Focus on Urgency
In addition, Rewers says the problem you solve should be something your ideal clients consider an urgent need.
She says, “It takes a lot of time to educate clients about why they need something. If you can pick something where there’s baked in urgency, then you can save tons of time and frustration as you grow.”
Find Clients with Financial Resources
Another essential thing to consider when it comes to your target audience is their financial resources. If you go after clients who simply don’t have the money to do business with you, then it won’t matter how great your marketing messages are. In fact, Rewers suggests pinpointing a couple of big clients or accounts that you can target early on for ongoing business.
She says, ““If you’re able to get just that one big account early on, you gain that security that is so essential to growing a business. With the money you earn from that account, and that you know you’re going to continue to earn if you have them signed for several months or years, you can invest it safely into the areas of your business where you really want to see growth.”.”
Focus on Selling Over Content Creation
When it comes time to market your business, Rewers says she sees far too many businesses all trying to do the same thing, which creates lots of noise but doesn’t target potential clients as well as you’d hope.
She adds, “You always hear that content is king, but unless you’re a media outlet, that’s just not true. Content is a commodity. People think they can just create a piece of content and share it on LinkedIn or their blog or whatever other outlet and the clients will come. But your time could be better spent communicating directly with the decision makers who are in close proximity to your business.”
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any content marketing in your strategy, but if you’re spending the majority of your time on those tasks, Rewers believes it could be time to rethink that.
Think About Scaling Early On
Another major mistake Rewers sees is business owners waiting until they hit the “time/money wall” before they actually think about scaling. This time/money wall is the point where you simply can’t spend any more time on your business in order to grow it. To avoid this, Rewers thinks it’s a good idea to come up with a plan early on for scaling before you get to the point where those actions become necessary.
Secure Some Bench Members
One of the ways you can make sure your business is set up to scale is by securing what Rewers refers to as “bench members.” These are basically independent contractors or outside helpers who you can call on when your business is ready to grow.
Photo via Shutterstock
Great post Annie. Very important to be specific about your target client prospects. I’ve used all of your growth tips with great success for over 35 years. I started a parking lot litter removal business on a shoestring budget and grew it into a profitable 6 figure income per year enterprise.
You need the mindset of a learner. Don’t be contented with what you already know. You need to continue expanding yourself and to continue learning.
It is important to also go out of your shell. So many self employed people are used to work at home that they don’t even challenge themselves out of their comfort zone.
Fine article. You raised some very good points, with which I agree.
Lately, I have re-assessed these things, such as target audience, ongoing accounts, and the local community. There is potential opportunity out there – mainly “outside the box”.
Thanks for sharing. Tweeted to my followers.