Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

October 2013

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Acquiring clients is job #1 for any small business.  And, with so many strategies available both online and offline, the real challenge is knowing where to start. Here are 6 steps to help you develop the steady volume of clients you want.

1. Allocate time each week for client acquisition. As much as we would like to believe “if we build it, they will come”, that rarely occurs. We simply must spend a portion of our time marketing our business. Time spent attaining clients is what Michael Gerber, author of the E-myth, refers to as “working on rather than in” your business. 

2. Create your client acquisition goals and plan. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Enough said!

Learn more about setting goals. Download the free goal setting workbook. (Click to Tweet)

3. Select your favorite client acquisition channel. Not all lead generation channels are created equal. Be choosy! Find a method of acquiring clients that is a match for you and how you like to work. You’ll be more motivated to follow through.

4. Fill your pipeline. Every business experiences  a natural turnover of clients

. Clients move on for a variety of reasons. Be sure to factor client turnover rate into your goals.

Don’t stop when you reach your initial goal. Once you have built your new client momentum, it’s much easier to keep your pipeline filled than it is to rebuild your momentum every time you need clients.

5. Let your former/current clients know the full scope of your services.  In all likelihood, those with whom you’ve done business for years may not realize new or changing services in your business. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. (Click to Tweet) The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics). Don’t ignore former or current clients.

6. Provide consistent, outstanding customer service.  We’ve all experienced the frustration of being caught in “customer service purgatory”. In fact, 71% of consumers have ended their relationship with a company due to poor customer service. (Click to Tweet) Globally, the average value of a lost customer is $243 (KISSmetrics). Not to be confused with people pleasing, customer service is making a comeback. Ask Amazon or Zappos about the value of customer service on client acquisition and retention.

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For many small business owners, trying to please everyone is a recipe for disaster. As Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

People pleasing, also called “over-responding,” is easily confused with customer service. In some situations, over-responding is a required action to remedy a client situation. For most circumstances, however, it’s a knee jerk reaction – a compulsive response – that puts the needs of others before your own.

A “Yes” Waiting to Happen

My very first coach made a keen observation of my behavior early in our coaching relationship. As she put it, I was “a ‘yes’ waiting to happen.” She was right. I was in a continual state of pleasing others. I put the needs of others before my own. And, in my role as a strategic business coach, I’m not alone. People pleasing is a common reality, especially among women business owners.

When the desire to please others dominates your business, it’s not pretty. It pulls you off course, causes unnecessary distractions and interruptions, and leads to the neglect of critical business development activities. Eventually, business growth suffers.

Hidden Cost of People Pleasing

There’s a huge price to pay when business is driven by people pleasing.  From underearning to burnout to working extended hours, people pleasing leads to a lack of motivation, billing errors, waste, poor processes, and worst of all, owner frustration. Do you want me to continue?

Every frustrated, burned out small business owner knows only too well how many opportunities are missed in the pursuit of pleasing others.

Me First

Are you ready to overcome your drive to please others? Here’s how you can make that happen today!

1. Determine “me” time is valuable.  Needless to say, it’s mentally challenging to make yourself a priority – unless, and until, you decide your needs, and those of your business, are equally as important as the needs of others.

2. Overcome the “selfish” feeling. Once you decide that your needs are just as valuable as others, the fear of appearing “selfish” can throw a wet blanket on the best of intentions.  “You don’t do it at other people’s expense,” Dr. Phil states matter-of-factly. “For you to take care of you– to nurture your mind, to nurture your body, to nurture your spirit — why does that have to be at [others’] expense?” Good point, Dr. Phil.

3. Schedule “me” time each week. This can be time for exercise, lunch away from your desk, business development and growth activities, or all of the above. If you have adopted a weekly ongoing planning process, the start of each week will have clearly defined “appointments” allocated for activities that move you and your business forward.

4. Respond appropriately to client requests.  What may appear to be someone else’s “emergency” doesn’t have to become your own. With time allocated to critical, forward-movement, business growth activities, it’s much easier to take action to meet the needs of others – and make sure your needs are met, too.

Who pays the biggest price for people pleasing? You do! Even though putting your needs first feels odd and you feel guilty, try it for 3 months. You may be surprised by how much more you’re able to give to yourself – and others.

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The Art of the Ask: How to Ask For and Get What You Want in Business

The benefits of business coaching are well known. Small business owners, for example, report an increase in productivity, profitability, and performance (to name a few) when they consistently work with a business coach.

But not all small business owners are ready for business coaching. While their business may be in dire need of assistance, advice from Confucius himself will go unheeded if they aren’t personally ready and willing to invest the time, resources, and energy in their own success.

We call this readiness the “coachability” factor—the degree to which a business owner has self-awareness, accountability, dedication, motivation, and a willingness to change and learn.

Are You Coachable?

Small business owners who are truly ready to engage a business coach share common coachability traits. Coachable business owners are:

  • Open to change: Change is at the foundation of business coaching. Whether it’s personal change or organizational change (usually both), you have to be open to the new possibilities change can bring.
  • Willing to learn: When you are receptive to business coaching you learn how to think in new ways, learn new behaviors, learn new skills, and (perhaps most importantly) learn what makes you tick. A good business coach will be able to help clarify what you’re passionate about, and then develop the skills and behaviors that enhance those qualities.
  • Humble: You must accept the fact that you don’t know everything. In fact, it’s impossible to be great at every aspect of running a business. If you were the best entrepreneur, manager, accountant, writer, product developer, and salesperson (we could go on), you would be superhuman. Business coaching helps you get better at what you do best and surround yourself with people who can help you succeed.
  • Honest: You need to be comfortable telling your business coach everything (well, within reason) about your business. You need to be honest with both yourself and your business coach to truly get at the heart of each of your challenges so you can achieve your goals. In time you may very well find that working with a business coach is a lot like working with a fitness trainer. When you work hard and put in the time and effort, you quickly start to see results (without all of the sweat).
  • Self-aware: Part of being able to change is understanding the need for change in the first place. The desire to create awareness regarding your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and behaviors and how these traits impact your company’s results is a huge factor in being open to business coaching.
  • Accountable: You are ultimately responsible for your company’s success and failure. Your business coach will give you advice and direction, but if you don’t make yourself accountable you won’t be able to progress nearly as quickly. Set small, attainable goals with your coach and make a commitment to achieve them by your next strategy meeting.
  • Dedicated: It may go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. Business coaching is not a one-time miracle fix. In fact, it’s not a one-month miracle fix. Dedication is critically important. When you’re dedicated to the business coaching process you set aside the time, resources, and energy you need to achieve success.
  • Motivated: Coachable business owners are motivated to try new things and challenge themselves, be proactive and collaborate with their business coach, and work hard in all areas of their business. Motivation and persistence are the driving forces behind all successful small business owners and are essential to the business coaching process.

Are You Ready For Business Coaching?

If you score well on these coachability factors you are probably ready to start working with a business coach. The first step is finding a coach that is a perfect fit for you and your business. As you begin speaking with prospective business coaches, ask about their track record with businesses similar to yours and remember that business coaching is ultimately as effective as your willingness and ability to be coached.

Synnovatia is a business performance firm that specializes in working with small business owners to help them achieve their goals and grow their businesses. Contact us to setup your consultation to see if we’re the right fit for your business by calling 800.398.6428.

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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