The chances are you’ve been living, breathing and thinking about your business ever since you decided you were going to go it alone.
Hungry, eager entrepreneurs will think of nothing else during the development stage of their new venture, over the course of a few months, the thinking and planning gets deeper and more detailed until we have a clear picture of what it is we do, who we’re going to sell it to, how the mechanics of the business are going to work and how the business is going to look in the future.
Most of us will assume that everyone else can see the whole picture too.
This assumption might be based on a few conversations or a few emails, a landing page or some early web pages that you may have written.
But do people truly understand what it is that you do?
Did you miss anything out when painting the picture for your audience?
When you meet someone and give them the quick 2 minute overview of your business during a chance meeting, do they truly understand, or do they face you nodding away wondering what the hell you’re rabbiting on about? – Come on, don’t tell me you’ve never done this!
Take the time to think about really defining your business offering so you can clearly communicate it in different settings.
If you can deliver the same pitch every time you speak to prospects, your message will be crystal clear and well received.
Create 3 verbal pitches that you can recite from memory.
SHORT PITCH: What are you selling? Is it a service, a product or a combination of the two? What does your offering do for others? Why would I buy from you? Why do I need it? If you met me at coffee break at a seminar, what would be the best way for you to get me to understand EXACTLY what you do and what the benefits are in 2 or 3 short sentences? It may only be a few dozen words, but they need to leave me completely clear on what it is that you do, and it also needs to make me want to genuinely ask for your card so I can contact you.
MEDIUM PITCH: You’ve got 2-4 minutes at a networking event to communicate in reasonable detail what you are offering. What would be the advantages of using your product or service, and what would be the disadvantages of me not using you? This medium length pitch gives you the opportunity to tell people about the passion you have in your business without boring them with a long-winded presentation. What simple, effective and impactful statements could you make that will make fast, powerful connections with your audience? How can you create a desire by focusing on the main benefit of your product, and also push hard on those pain points that your audience will feel if they don’t engage you?
LONG PITCH: Write a 10-minute speech or convert this into an introduction email. This is your opportunity to go into more detail and build a detailed picture using points that really reinforce your beliefs and your message. Don’t leave any stone uncovered, demonstrate the common pitfalls of purchasing when using your product or service and the usual result of those dangers. Then explain in detail how you’re going to prevent them from having to suffer these problems, and how you’re going to deliver them to a place of pleasure or safety.
This is your opportunity to sell yourself without any time limitations, usually reserved for later on in the relationship once you have already captured their attention with either your shorter pitch, or other marketing communication that has led them to want to know more.
Make a show of it. Think Apple Product launch.
Why is your product life changing?
Write out your short, medium and long pitch. Review after 24 hours and then again after 1 week until you have refined them and can recite and talk into them without reading from a script.
Future marketing of your business
Brochures, emails, landing pages and video scripts will need to be written once your prospect decides he/she needs to know more.
They like what you’ve pitched so far, now they are warmed up and ready for more detail.
Describe how your product or service either makes your customers happy or steers them away from pain or discomfort.
What value for money are they going to get? Is there a return on investment that can be predicted?
What social proof statements could you make that will capture the attention and interest of your customer and lead them to feel like they really HAVE to buy what you are selling?
What is the worst thing that could happen if they decide not to buy?
Can you describe situations that have happened because someone didn’t make an investment in themselves?
Describe the product features briefly but expand on the benefits to your customer in illustrated and emotional detail, creating perceived value and an irresistible desire to buy with you.
Explain the negative impact that not investing will have and touch on the pain points in a strong, authentic and logical way.
Do not exaggerate points, be enthusiastic without going over the top.
Creating a win win for you and your customer is essential for future sales and referrals. Using over-emphasised points to manipulate sales may lead to a remorseful buyer who will never be your best advocate.
Write an article, advertorial or landing page describing exactly what your product has done for previous customers, and also what has happened to customers who did not use you and either failed or got caught out by a shoddy competitor.
Use case studies in an engaging story-telling format in both scenarios, backed up with down-to-earth statements reinforcing that you are the only company to consider doing business with.
How are you going to deliver this?
Define the customer experience by talking them through the start to finish process and how they are going to engage with it.
Briefly outline how you will deliver the value to them through your product and service. What will be expected from them to ensure it is used to its full capabilities? What are they going to need to prepare before use? Will they need any other knowledge, tools or facilities in order to make full use of it?
Explain in layman’s terms how the product has been created, or how the service has been designed and for what reason.
Briefly recap what is the problem it solves, and how proper use is going to deliver that solution.
Explain any common shortcomings users may experience and how they will be overcome. What preparation will they need to put in place before beginning?
Will they need time? equipment, more knowledge, research?
Meet the expectations of the client so there are no unexpected hold ups, or frustrations. Write a 2-page statement in instruction manual style describing the entire process.
How unique is your business?
What do you do that’s different to others working in your market? What are your individual strengths and values that flavour the business you are running?
You will have a unique selling proposition (USP), that no-one else has. Have you figured out what it is yet?
Why would I use you and not someone else that is cheaper?
What am I going to get that’s better?
How are you going to leave me feeling?
Can anyone copy what you are doing easily once you have reached a level of success?
What is your price point?
The fastest way to the bottom is to copy what others are doing in the market and then compete on price.
What can you add on to your business that goes the extra mile?
What can you do that will add more value that no-one else is doing?
Something as simple as setting up an online community, a WhatsApp group, or product updates & support can be the difference between someone buying from you or your competitors.
Look for your USP. What made you think you were good enough to start this business?
What gap in the market did you spot?
Spend some time discussing this with other like-minded, or bigger thinkers. Get plenty of perspective on this before defining your final offering.
Standing out will ensure you can sell at the higher end of the market or at more volume depending on your business model.
Write a list of 10 things that you’re offering does that is rare in the marketplace.
List at least 3 things that you will do that NO-ONE else is doing.
Is this the best way of doing it?
Have you taken the time to write out the entire structure of your business before jumping straight in to starting?
There’s a fine balance between being able to write out a detailed plan and over-thinking and consequently shelving your idea.
Starting a business based on your own feelings and experience can work, but often it can lead to being over-optimistic.
For example. If your town doesn’t have a bowling alley but you love to bowl, it won’t take long for you to feel confident that a bowling alley is just what your town needs. But did you consider the number of people in your town, the average age, the distance to the nearest competitors alley, the location of the building you are planning to convert……. you get the picture.
It’s essential to find yourself a really good group of thinking partners during this planning stage to make sure you have the best head start before quitting your current position and investing your time and money into a project that may never work. Go through the steps in this program before investing any operational time into this business if you can, once you get busy, you may find yourself without the time to do any clear thinking.
If you’ve already started, as difficult as it may seem, take some time to stop and clarify what’s happening, and ask yourself, is this the best way to be doing things. Be aware, that you’re going to hit a few roadblocks along the way, take care not to allow them to dampen your enthusiasm, talk though your frustrations with someone who has experience in business and see if you can find a way around.
If you can deliver the same pitch every time you speak to prospects, your message will be crystal clear and well received
The best results will always be in proportion to the size of the problems you are willing to take on, so know this before you face them and mentally prepare yourself for some challenging times. Have you considered how much thinking and implementation is going to be required as you guide your business through the start-up phase?
If you have planned to have yourself at the coalface, and you being responsible for the entire operational department, you may find that carrying out reviews and re-planning stuff that didn’t quite go as expected will be stressful, rushed and challenging.
Time will be scarce, energy will be low because you’re working too many hours to increase activity, your decision making may suffer.
Always plan in some thinking and development time for yourself without cutting into your personal R&R time which will quickly lead to resentment of your job.
Always ask yourself “How can I” instead of saying “This won’t work”. Explore the options, and mastermind with people where possible.
The Renegades forum and weekly call are the perfect platform for you to be amongst big thinkers who will help you stress test your ideas and see different solutions to problems you’ve hit a wall with.
Write out 3 different ways that you could deliver your service or program using 300 words for each scenario.
Is there a need or could you create one?
Are there already other companies delivering the offering that you are planning to use in your business? What is the estimated size of the market you are planning to enter? What types of people usually buy in this market? What age, gender, occupation, culture?
What would make you different from your competitors if you are trying to break into a market that’s already operational? Use your previous observations and exercises to use this time to really figure out if your plans to flourish are realistic or over-optimistic.
Use research from sites such as the National Office of Statistics, Credit Safe, FSB to find out what other companies are doing what you are planning. How can you be sure that you are going to be able to take some of the market share? Give 3 solid reasons how breaking into an existing market is going to work for you.
Also list out the 3 main threats you will face. If your idea is unique, give 3 examples of companies that have started up with a unique product that has never been launched. How did they create a market?
Write out 3 detailed reasons why people don’t yet realise they need your product, and how it’s going to benefit them.
Using Online Polls
Create an online poll that gets perspective from your target audience. Build a set of carefully thought out questions that will give you the information you need with coercing answers. Try your best not to influence people’s answers by using leading questions that steer them toward the answer that you WANT them to give you!
Before sending out your poll, consider where you are going to get a list of people that are reflective of the demographic you will be selling to.
Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one and most of them stink!
Make sure your answers come from the audience that represents your ideal customer type. You may need to set up a Facebook page or buy a list in order to build your list, asking the world what their opinion is will not give you the accuracy you really need.
Some of the work you will do at this stage will help you later on when creating your ideal customer Avatar.
Write a list of the 10-15 fears that you feel may be a threat to your success.
Write a list of the 10-15 reasons you think customers definitely need you.
Write out 20-30 questions that will give you the solutions and answers to both lists that leave you confident your business ideas are sound, and your thinking is straight.
Make a list of 30 people you think you will be targeting with your business. Open a free account on Survey Monkey or other online poll and post your survey.
Review your answers and either adjust/improve your plan or create a follow up post with new questions until you are happy that your customer feedback matches your offering.
Who else is selling into your market? What keywords would you use in a Google search to find you or your competitors? How big is the market share? Have you looked at their website or signed up for any free offers or trials to see what they are doing? Have you run a credit check on them to see how their business looks financially?
This is all really useful information when starting out. Use the internet to find out as much about your market as possible, but also be selective about how you process and accept this information. Use the most respected and authentic sites for your information, false information and BS is everywhere.
Experian, Credit Safe and Equifax are great for financial reports, most will give you the basic company information such as turnover, liabilities and assets free of charge, so you can see how healthy the business is.
Use sites like semrush.com or wordstream.com to find out what your competitors are using for keywords, then search those words and see what else comes up.
Find the keyword that brings the most results that resemble what you are offering. Use a spreadsheet to log information on what your competitors are offering, and at what price.
Make enquiries with your competitors posing as a potential customer if you cannot find the answers online.
Look on every page of their website.
Do you need to review any of your previous work based on the information you uncover?
Hard work, but so is running a business that hasn’t done its homework!