If you've followed me for long, you know that I'm a truth teller. I'm so excited about today's guest post from expert strategist Rachel Thibodeaux because she's not holding back the truth about your cash flow-or lack thereof! List and take notes
I could write an awesome intro, along with some small talk, but I'd rather get right to it. Some topics are too critical (or juicy) to beat around the bush. I think you would agree a lack of cash flow and perhaps lack of clients fall into that category. Let's get to it! The 5 reasons your cash flow is not flowing are:
1. You sound like everybody else.
In case you were not sure, this is really, really, really…really wrong, yet all too common. Entrepreneurs, sales professionals, would-be game changers tend to check out their competition. I get it, believe me, but beware. If you're not careful, you'll start sounding like them. And some of your competition sucks. Even if you're doing and saying the same as the super stars in your industry, it's not really you. You're not being authentic, and the marketplace is smarter these days. Consumers are much better now at spotting fakes, boring content, and average. None of which tend to lead to an infusion of cash. Want to test this? The next time you're scrolling through the news feed either here on LinkedIn or Facebook (including ads), pay attention to how many posts you zoom by. Or perhaps you give them 4-5 seconds of your precious time before you realize…DOH! This sounds no different from the last 10 posts I skipped. This is a sweet spot for me, and an area in which my clients have seen excellent results.
2. Your marketing, at best is sorely lacking.
At worst, it's on life support. Marketing is everything to a small business folks! Everything! Did I say it was everything (ok maybe not quite everything but about 75/25)? One of the top reasons small businesses fail is lack of exposure. That translates into lack of marketing. I find (yes I've also been guilty) many entrepreneurs, particularly women entrepreneurs, don't market nearly enough. When they do, often it's a hit it and quit it thing that's not strategic or systematized. Marketing should be constant and varied. It's not about executing a great campaign for a month, then doing nothing else for a month or longer. It cannot be share referrals with other business owners while doing nothing else. Then complain that you gave someone seven referrals and only got two back. Maybe they'll give you eight next month. You should be doing something at least 5-6 other things along with the referrals. Keep that pipeline full. A low or empty pipeline will be the death of you. A little dramatic perhaps, but I think it's warranted here.
3. You think selling was created by the devil.
Let me assure you it was not. Selling is not evil. It's not just for used car salesmen. It doesn't have to be “icky.” It won't turn you to stone. Sales generates revenue and that thing not focused on enough: profit. For my ladies, especially, I'm begging you, to embrace selling. Perhaps you'll have to get creative to make it work for you, but it's imperative you make it work. If you're an entrepreneur, whether full-time, part-time, or aspiring, you will need to sell. There are countless books and resources out there to help you sell more effectively. The thing is, it's also about mindset. Nothing will work until you release any blocks/hang-ups you have about selling. It's difficult to be a superstar salesperson if you feel guilty about it. Perhaps you should feel more guilty about the income you're taking from your family by failing to improve your sales.
4. You are not leveraging technology enough, especially video and live streaming.
Video has become such a powerful tool and strategy for establishing the know-like-trust factor. It also plays a major role in growing your brand and positioning yourself as an authority. A few super interesting stats to consider:
1) Over 100M hours of video are watched EACH DAY on Facebook
2) Video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%
3) One-third of ALL online activity is spent watching video
4) Periscope, the live-streaming app that launched in March 2015, is the fastest-growing social media platform EVER! It took less than a month to hit 1 million users!
If you're allowing fear – whether of video, trying something new, or tech – keep you from leveraging these tools, it's time to get over it. As I often say, you don't need to be perfect. You just need to be effective. Video is proven to be effective!
5. Your follow up sucks.
I've talked about this before. I've written about this. I coach people on this. It's something that shouldn't be difficult and should be a given in business. Yet, too often it's not. I cannot tell you how many service providers I've met, asked them questions about and expressed interest in their product/service, had them take my card, and never heard from them again. It's amazing! If someone expresses interest in my products and services, I'm like our Shih Tzu dog when we're eating something, I don't take my eyes off them. I'm calling, emailing, sending messages by birds, whatever it takes. The fortune really is in the follow up! Rarely is a deal closed in one meeting. More commonly, it takes 5-12 interactions to close sales (with high-ticket items leaning toward the higher number). For the love of God (as well as the love of cash flow…or at least strong like) follow up! I have an awesome resource to help with this when you click the link above.
If you're guilty of any one of these things, it's not so good. If two or more apply, we need to chat like yesterday. Cash flow is not insignificant. More than even sales, cash is money in the bank. It matters a lot to a small business, perhaps more than to big business. The latter tends to have more access to credit and other creative financing. Decide to not go another quarter, month, week, or day with little to no cash flow. Whether it's me or someone else, get help!
Rachel Wilson Thibodeaux, also known online as the SWAG Strategist, loves God, her husband, growing a business, shoes that make her taller, and chocolate. Ok, sometimes, unfortunately chocolate takes priority. Rachel is also an award-winning speaker, brand and business strategist, LinkedIn authority, Amazon best-selling author and founder of SWAG Strategy Solutions (SWAG -Strategic Women Achieve Growth). She is also the creator of the Brand. Sell. Profit.™ system, designed to help her clients BRAND with more clarity, SELL with more confidence, and PROFIT more consistently. Rachel works primarily with women entrepreneurs, “side-preneurs,” and service-based business organizations to get them more clear, more strategic, and more profitable. She focuses on improving the bottom line with more effective brand and marketing strategy. Rachel’s sweet spot is helping those long on ideas and vision, but short on clarity and strategy. Rachel often says you don’t need to be perfect to be successful. You need to be effective. Connect with and follow Rachel on Twitter and Periscope @swagstrategist, as well as join her private Facebook group, Brand Sell Profit. To take advantage of limited, complimentary Brand Sell Profit sessions each month, email firstname.lastname@example.org.