My 5 top tips for starting out in business

I recently got asked what advice I would give someone just starting out their business, so I thought, why not share it with you!

I’ve been running my own business since 2013, well it was a different business then. A social media agency called Heard Media. I pulled a fabulous team of creatives together and we worked with ‘good’ businesses like councils, charities and social enterprises to manage their PR and marketing.

By the way, the rather fetching image is from my first ever business photo shoot, from my Heard Media days! (free tip, make sure you're clear with the photographer what type of business you are in!)

Since then I’ve started the Blue Stockings Society for Entrepreneurial women (think we’re heading towards to 1000 members mark) and run the First Tuesday network for social enterprises, that in its hay day had 70 attendees each month.

I also started debbiedooodah where I coach clients on using social media to build and grow their business and lecture at various universities almost 2 years ago.

And here’s what I’ve learned over that journey!

1. Trust your instincts

You probably want to know where you want to be and have a vision of what you want to be doing. But other people will give you advice along the way, that may divert you from your true calling.

I knew I wanted to be a business coach, but I literally had to learn the ropes before I could support other people. So, in a very roundabout way, I’m where I wanted to be, it just took me 5 years to get here!

2. Your clients don’t always know what they need

I love the quote from Henry Ford ‘If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said more horses’. If you’re the expert in your field, package your products in a way that gives people what they need, rather than what they want.

While you do need to listen to market trends, you also need to bring yourself into it.

If I listened to what people told me they needed ‘just show me how to use twitter’, ‘I need to know how to build an audience on Facebook’, I would have delivered just that.

However, I’ve learned that if people don’t completely understand their offer, who they’re selling it to, their place in the market and have built up confidence, simply learning twitter is only half the battle won.

So my Clarity & Confidence programme is all about marketing yourself online, but we don’t even cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc until session 3. Because I know we need to build the brand and confidence of the offer before we start broadcasting it.

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3. Google is your friend

What to know something, google it! There is literally a wealth of information out there to help you achieve your dreams. Learn, learn and then learn some more! Find someone you love, read everything they’ve written!

4. Be yourself

Don’t hold back, throw yourself at it. Some people will love you, some people will hate you. You can’t please everyone. As one of my lovely clients says ‘don’t be beige’. Be yellow, be pink, be blue, but most of all be you! (oh that sentence does please me!).

5. Be consistent

Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. Going to start blogging? Make it a regular feature. On Facebook for business, be there regularly. On Instagram keep those posts coming.

People need at least 7 touch points with you before they get to know, love and trust you. And they need that to buy from you.

So show up, be your best self, share whatever it is that you’re doing with the world. Who knows I may desperately need you, but if you’re not showing up I won’t know you exist!

So best foot forward people! The world needs you and your amazing fabulousness!

And I’ve just recently re-written my sales page – would love to know what you think:

What to learn more (yes please), here’s my Work Smarter series!