Growing your business is hard at any time, but with a pandemic to factor into the process, many business owners are struggling.
And it’s not surprising.
We’re living through one of the most traumatic experiences in history. We can’t leave home, enjoy a relaxing holiday or see loved ones. Businesses are shut and people aren’t spending like they were.
And if you’ve lost someone due to COVID, well, that’s a lot to deal with.
This is why I want to say:
Be kind to yourself.
You’re doing great, so cut yourself a little slack.
Growing your business will be full of setbacks.
I’m not going to downplay how worried you might feel right now. However, when your appointment book is empty and people aren’t buying what you offer, it’s tempting to keep changing the way you market yourself until something works.
What it can’t do is get you in front of your audience if you take a scattergun approach to your audience outreach.
What’s stressing you out right now probably isn’t as bad as you think. And stress makes things feel worse than they are, causing us to overreact when things aren’t going to plan.
And one of the first things to suffer is your marketing.
Why you need to give your marketing time.
Marketing your business won’t produce results overnight. Or the next night. Or the night after that. When it comes to marketing, you need to give it a minimum of six months.
Yep, you read that right, SIX months.
Whatever you’re doing now needs to be given time. If you’re not getting any comments, likes or shares, it’s tempting to rip up your messaging and try something else.
But doing this confuses people. Your messaging becomes blurred and you end up putting off customers who would otherwise be your biggest champions. Very few people invest in a product or service from one or two social posts or articles.
At first, they watch from the shadows, listening to how you can help them until they trust you enough to part with their money.
And the same rule applies to your website too.
Google needs time to rank your site, so if you keep changing your message, it gets confused about what it is you’re offering. Yes, you can tweak a word or two, but be aware that rewriting every month or two is doing your ranking more harm than good.
How long your need business needs to succeed.
If you quit your job in the middle of the pandemic and launched your business, kudos. You’re a much braver person than me.
But regardless of a global health disaster, here is something that applies to every new business:
You need to give it three years.
Starting a business with a plan of being self-sufficient and profitable within six months is unrealistic.
You need to give yourself three years before deciding if it’s going to work or not. Yes, you might be lucky and business is booming within 6 to 12-months. But for many, those first two years are a struggle.
When I started as a copywriter, those first 24-months were hard. There were weeks when I had no work and months when I scratched around to pay my bills.
I get how you’re feeling right now and want to say:
Hang in there.
Work out a business and marketing strategy and stick to it. And be consistent in what you do, like:
- Blogging regularly
- Posting helpful stuff on LinkedIn
- Showing up on the social media platforms where your clients hang out
- Creating helpful ebooks and guides
- Surrounding yourself with other people in your industry
And do this day after day.
Keep showing up, even when you feel it’s pointless, and your name and face will get seen. You’ll gain a following and start turning leads into sales. But you’ve got to give it three years, and even though that sounds like a long time, it really isn’t – it flies by.
Come my third year as a business owner, clients who’d started out wanting me to write one blog post every three months and had now grown so big, needed me all the time. And they recommended me to their clients, which landed me more work and allowed me to start making a living from writing – something I seriously doubted in years one and two.
Well, now, most of my time is dedicated to writing for The Good Alliance and all our awesome clients.
Pretty cool, right?
Take the next step in growing your business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a coach, charity, writer or designer, growing your business takes time. And it can sometimes feel pretty lonely, so if that’s the case, why not join other like-minded business owners on our Facebook Community page?
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Matt is a freelance copywriter, specialising in whatever you throw at him. He’s also an author, runs writing workshops in schools and has hyper-mobility in his thumbs.