If you ask most people, they will tell you 2020 has been a tough one. Maybe most lost their jobs, or got furloughed. Businesses losing revenue, losing clients or been shutdown. People are stuck at home, feeling lonely, and without money without any vacation plans. Even worst is the fact that too many are stuck at home with too much “family time”.
Even the quietness is too deafening at times. Even the small things, like wearing a mask, having to wash hands, sanitize when entering places of business are starting to get irritating. Whatever it is, this change has brought forward a thinking that 2020 has been, and is going to be a tough one. Regardless of your situation change can be tough. I know it.
BUT… there is one thing that most of you are forgetting: Change can be good. Change can be positive. It can be a new lease to launch something new. If you were dependent on a paycheck, then this opportunity can be the greatest thing that will ever happen to you.
Allow me this opportunity to make things clearer…
More and more people are doing business online. More and more people are finding out how they can cash in on marketing their skills online. Linkedin has so far been the most popular outlet to reach potential clients for services, while facebook has been popular to reach customers for products. This article talks about how to create a profitable online business.
So how does one potentially reach their target market?
And once they do how do they present compelling evidence of their skills/experience/accreditation?
Once they find a client how do they deliver the services?
How do they arrange payment? Especially in a country like Sri Lanka, where money transferring sites like paypal is banned?
As you can see starting an online business (as exciting as It sounds) can be somewhat of an endeavor that can hit a lot more brick walls than scoring homeruns. But knowing how to circumvent the above questions can make you hit less brick walls (at the beginning) and will let you score more home runs later. Trust me on this… This is how I made things possible. Let me elaborate on this…
Creating Your Image/Profile
EVERYTHING STARTS HERE! We dress to impress… so when we do online business you dress to impress, and it starts with building (or at times hyping) your image. Every professional do this (more often the more successful ones). This is the single most important factor when you start to “networking online”. Your profile is what will attract people. Be it your Facebook, LinkedIn or your website profile. People (those who want to do business with you) will be contacting you just by what is on your profile. When done correctly this will be your greatest asset during the startup phase.
(1) Find the strengths in what you have to offer. Don’t go on a biblical rant about your resume, qualifications, experience and titles.
(2) Keep it straightforward: What you do, how long you have been doing it, for whom you have provided what you do in the past, and their testimonials. My website homepage is all about testimonials.
Identifying Your Prospects
EVERYONE WANTS TO CONNECT WITH EVERYONE! This is a bad business model. Connect with those who you can offer a service. What good did your 2000+ strong connected LinkedIn profile has done to you? Avoid this fundamental pitfall that everyone is falling prey to.
(1) Once you create your perfect profile, connect with the “ideal prospects” that are serious about closing business online. Focus on those who you actually want to do business with.
(2) Demonstrate how you are able to help your “ideal prospects” by creating value.
Engaging Your Prospects
E-mailing, back and forth messaging never really close a business deal. You need to engage your prospects verbally (preferably visually). This will accelerate your chances of closing a deal and turning a prospect in to a client. Nothing builds up trust than a virtual meeting or a phone call. I always remember my former boss Thomas Plojhar reminding our team on creating “feelings, understanding and trust”: The only way possible to do this is by a phone call.
(1) If you have never done business online then you need be prepared for your first call. Keep your answers short and direct. Be prepared to give a quote when asked. DO NOT stumble this. Even if you quoted less, be happy if you get the deal closed.
(2) Always try and end your response with a question back to your prospect so as to get as much information as you want. This also gives them the allusion of being in control and they will appreciate you asking questions.
Create Value to Your New Clients
NEVER! Give your new clients the impression that you are in this for the money. Always try and give them your best effort, your best work. In short give them value for what they pay and always strive to exceed expectations. This is how I built up my client base. I was even willing to negotiate on the pricing, and always delivered more than what my clients expected.
(1) Focus on creating value to your clients. NOT to you! This is fundamental when getting started. You can call your shots much later when you have established yourself.
(2) Always be prepared to overdilver and under promise. If you say your will finish/deliver by a certain date then deliver the work prior to it. Keep them involved in the process. Notify them of changes and delays.
Turn Your Clients to Fans
Those who have really made it to the top in online business are the ones who turned their clients in to fans. Rock bands and rock stars have fans, so you should aim to be a rockstar yourself. Your clients will be the blood that drives your business. Give them an experience (doing business with you) that will be memorable. These fans will be the ultimate cheerleaders that will put you on the online map.
(1) When you do great work, and always deliver value over money, your clients will become your followers. They will become zealots. Like customers who make certain brands their religion.
(2) Be the face of your company. Always strive to be the Steve Jobs of apple. The best way to do this? Put yourself in front of a camera and champion your business to the top.
Generate Confidence – Ignite Your Audience – Think BIG! Think SMART! Think Video!