In working with hundreds of professional women these past several years, and launching my new Breakthrough Vision marketing and Prosperity Marketing Mindset programs, I’ve uncovered one key truth that was hidden to me in the past:
If your business model is flawed, no amount of great marketing will help you make the money you need and want.
Here’s a case study of what I mean, using my personal experience (I’m sharing here the real insider story about small business – something you’ll seldom hear from thousands of professed “experts,” many of whom aren’t making a living).
I launched a career coaching practice after long, hard research about what it takes to be successful, and earning the credentials, experiences and know-how to be respected and recognized in my field, and to rise above the competition.
I followed all the core marketing and business development strategies that one needs to achieve national recognition, and be considered an acclaimed “expert” as coach, author, and speaker.
Throughout this 9-year development process, I learned some hard-earned insights about myself as professional and about what it takes for me to be a successful entrepreneur, namely:
1) I LOVE helping women achieve breakthrough in their lives and work, relationships, and in themselves – to create life and work as they truly want it.
2) I LOVE to help a select group of women. Here are my personal criteria for folks I’ll work with as clients:
– Above the line thinkers (those who believe they are accountable, capable, responsible and ready to commit to reclaiming their lives)
– Ready and able to do the inner and out work of real change
– Able to invest time, money, energy in the process of life and career change
– Not expecting an easy fix or magic bullet
– Not viewing me as the answer to all their problems
– Able to make the financial investment of working with me, without it adding stress to their already stressed-out lives
3) I DON’T WANT to work (and to be paid) only on an hourly basis (even if my hourly wage is substantial, as a coach or consultant). I DO want to have several different avenues of generating revenue, including one-on-one work, group coaching, speaking engagements, marketing and business consulting, and successful passive-income coaching and marketing programs and streams — top programs and resources that help a wide global network of women, without my having to necessarily provide them with direct, in-person service. I’d like to make money while I sleep!
4) I’ve EMBRACED what it takes to identify exactly what I want to create, produce, and sell in terms of products and programs, and have a solid plan for building those
But You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
I was trucking along these past years building my coaching business, and everything I was doing felt and sounded “right,” until about six months ago, when I finally realized, “You don’t know what you don’t know!”
Here’s what I realized I hadn’t known, in developing my coaching business model:
The Big Flaw
There was a big flaw in my business model. The FLAWED part of my model is that, after years of serving as a career coach for women, I realized that my business is simply too limited in focus and too narrow in terms of the types of products and services I offered, to be financially successful at the level I wanted it to be.
My narrow service niche (career coaching for women) — which I deliberately and intentionally designed — has turned out to be too confining and limiting for me. Career coaching alone isn’t tapping into all the many marketing, business development, communications, and strategic planning skills, talents and experience that I’ve earned in my 20 years in the corporate arena. I had chucked out the idea of using those marketing and business development skills (or, more accurately, before now it hadn’t even occurred to me to utilize these skills as a consultant) because much of my corporate experience had been so emotionally unsatisfying for me that I threw the baby out with the bathwater! But doing so meant I was stopping myself from serving thousands more women whom I truly want to support, in ways I’m uniquely capable.
As a result, the financial and emotional success results of my business were limited for me as well.
Here are several core nuggets of learning from these past 10 years of shaping my new professional life and business:
1) Marketing won’t help you, when your business model is flawed
No matter how strong your marketing is – no matter how well planned or executed – if your business, services and focus are too narrow or only tap into a very limited group of clients/customers, then your rewards will be limited as well.
Scrutinize your business model intensively – look at the niche you serve and the products and services you offer – and make sure there’s sufficient breadth, depth, and reach to make the money you need to, each and every month.
2) Marketing also won’t help you in you don’t know how to run a business or manage money.
There are 5 “M’s” that are essential to running a successful business. They are:
Don’t skimp on mastering these “M’s” or getting outside help to do it. Running a business successfully is a large endeavor, and you can’t do it alone.
3) Determine ALL the talents you have that you want to use, and create a plan to utilize them all
For me, I’ve learned that there’s another vast and growing group — women entrepreneurs – whom I want to help and support, along with all the women in corporate America who are in urgent need of career transition assistance. I know now that I want to offer career growth support, as well as top-level strategic marketing, business planning and development, and financial guidance to help women entrepreneurs create their businesses to succeed and thrive, from the moment their business launches and onward. And it turns out I have the experience and skill to do it.
4) Make sure that the niche you want to serve is big enough, and has the ability to utilize, hire and pay you
Another truism in business – if you want to be profitable, you have to make money. This is NOT a volunteer endeavor, this is a business. So make sure that the target group you serve is big enough to support your business, and full of thousands of people whom you can reach, who are in the emotional, financial, and behavioral condition to utilize your products and services fully, and can pay for them easily, without strain.
5) Spend money on marketing your business only after you have clarity – After you’ve developed a sound business model, then and only then should you invest in marketing your business and branding. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on marketing before you know what you need to offer and provide.
6) Think bigger about yourself – Identifying a defined niche and serving it well is essential, but in doing that, don’t limit yourself to only one facet of yourself and your skills. Use all of your talents and skills, and expand to new dimensions that allow you to use ALL of who you are, for the greater good of your business, and for the world.
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There’s a great deal involved in creating a successful entrepreneurial venture, and crafting a long-term career that you love and that brings you success and fulfillment. But you can do it! Get help to master the 5 M’s of business, and build a strong model and foundation for your business, get help where you need it, and be open to learning what you don’t now know. Then, you’ll be well on your way.
Take a look at your business model – can you see where there might a tiny flaw or crack that’s holding back the success you long for? Share your comments here please!