Last week I went to a meeting full of other business women. My favourite bit of this event is the beginning. We all grab tasty vegetarian and vegan food from upstairs and as we tuck in downstairs, we get to tune into those on the same table as us. The electricity in the energy was palpable; an energy that we all contributed to creating. Three things struck me during and since the event that I would like to share with you because they may help you if your business is not as you would like it to be.
The person that caught my attention first did so not because of what she did but because of how she was being. She was so obviously full of fear. You could see the anxiety in her face. This was matched by the words coming out of her mouth which echoed this sense that running your own business can be tough especially when you are the “new kid” on the block. She had come to the conclusion that she would need to spend a whole chunk of money on marketing that she could ill afford to get her business off the ground. This is a myth and a trap many fall into.
The first place to start is to invest in you. I remember when I first heard about self-care in this way around five years ago, it sounded alien. My thoughts were that is ridiculous; and who has time to do that anyway? It seemed impossible to me then with two under two. And yet your presence is key to whether you will have a flourishing business. If you make people feel good then it is as if you have the Midas touch. People can’t get enough of you.
At this point you may be saying ah, ok so I need to fake it until I make it do I? Yes and no. If how you are being is inauthentic people spot it pretty quickly. Let me show you what I mean with another example. Initially I was very taken by one woman there. She took great effort to connect with people before the event writing a positive line here and there on the FB event page. I know I felt good when I read the comment addressed to me. I felt seen and glowed for a bit. However when I got to the event, that person made no effort to connect or come and say hello and when I attempted to make contact, I could not get near her. Some of this was due to the fact that she was the main speaker.
That brings me to my second point; it was a well-delivered speech in that it followed a formula. The formula was give away a few small bits of information for free then offer a great prize to one person and something for everyone as a way to get people’s business cards and so grow your list. A few days later, you get an email offering you a free gift if you register your email address and effectively sign up for the newsletter. Tad Hargrave calls this kind of marketing posturing. The business owner comes across all confident and in the short term may get lots of leads or initial business and yet if they are not being true to themselves, people drop away or demand their money back.
So how do you sell effectively? It is all about coming from a place where you respect yourself and the other person that you are in dialogue with. You are clear about what you offer and recognise that there won’t be a fit with everyone. What is essential is that you start from a place where you focus on building relationships with others. If you are starting out then you are an unknown quantity; few people know what you can deliver. What you want as a small business is referrals and endorsements from others. And yet it goes further than that. I collaborate with people at the moment because I love their space and I love their energy. We cross-refer people and buy from each other and as the money flows in both directions, our businesses and reputations are growing. Yes it may seem counter-intuitive and it does take longer but one thing I can promise you is that it is a much more sustainable model. No one person can do it all.
In short the sooner you change your mentality from just looking for the next client and start asking yourself how can I serve this person, the magic will happen. Reciprocity is powerful and is a key tool in the new ways of doing business, which are all about interdependence rather than dependence or independence. I would love to hear what experience you have had with new paradigm ways of doing business or other examples of where people are not doing business in a conscious way.
Kate Griffiths works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. Contact her to attend the next one on 14 February. She also teaches mindfulness so if you want to get your week off to a great start, book a place on her next four week course starting on 3 February.