Category Archives for "Caring"

Remains of Roman Agora

Your Lifestyle Purpose in the Wider Community

Trade has always been at the heart of community.  Some say prostitution is the oldest profession.  But humanity must have established trade for all professions to emerge.  Professions emerge to meet needs and wants from the wider community and so trade is normally closely related to community.  Lifestyle purpose in the wider community is relevant and important.

Think Global, Act Local

People used this slogan during the eighties as globalisation moved centre stage.  We have seen massive changes since then in the way we understand trade.

The silk roads across Asia existed for at least 1000 years, probably a lot longer.  They link China to the Mediterranean Sea.  They still do, or would, were it not for conflicts in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.  Plundered wealth from the New World added a new dimension to world trade, as Europe found a new source of wealth.

Mostly, people bought from merchants who lived close by and so localised trade.  Those merchants traded with other merchants and so brought more exotic products to local communities.

What has changed is not that the world has started to trade between far-flung countries but control of that trade.  Large corporations centralise power over the markets.  They accumulate wealth by controlling the products on the market.  Local traders must find a small niche to help them find their place in the economy.

My aim here is to suggest trade happens anyway; we do not need corporations.  Any small business helps create space where local economies thrive and adds value to products and services.

The Agora

The agora or marketplace, is where the local economy happens and note it is the core of any community.  Community does not create wealth, wealth creates community.  Look at what happens to neighbourhoods that do not have an economic centre.  They become estates where people live with little autonomy.

The wealth of a community offers freedom to its members.   With more money in circulation, there are more opportunities for small businesses; capacity offers niches for new enterprises.

Everything else that is public or Negotium, takes place in the Agora.  This is the place for government, for law courts, places of worship, news, debate, entertainment …  It is where people bring what they develop in Otium and  use it to build community, usually through business.

Practicalities

It is hard to see a way forward in the present day.  With too little wealth in the economy, we do not see the Agora as a whole; we compartmentalise our lives, fully assisted by electronic media.

The world is on the brink of massive changes as climate change increases and competition over resources becomes more pressing.  We need to look to the past to inform how we exist in the future.

For now, remember the way you use your time is important to you, your family and friends.

Communication is currently easier than it was throughout history and we should use it while we have it.  At the same time, it is the human mind that transforms information into value.  That value is not solely monetary, it is in the relationships that trade properly depends upon.

Ultimately the outcomes of our business are not financial so much as relationships, the common causes we make together.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Preparation is one benefit from your lifestyle purpose

How Your Client Benefits from Your Lifestyle Purpose

And so we move from work in private (Otium) to the public dimension (Negotium).  Here you find opportunities to deploy not only the skills of trade but also your private passions, interests, skills and enthusiasms.  So, let’s consider how your client benefits from your lifestyle purpose.

Your Coaching

It may not be obvious how your life-experience, passions and interests benefit your client.  They purchase your services because you have expertise or experience.

Remember the way your life-experience informs your work is most likely implicit.  For example, someone who offers health therapies may find conversations with business owners easy because they already use conversations to put their patients at ease and help them open up.

The key lies in preparation for each meeting so that you know what to offer the client as they struggle with a particular issue.

The implicit promise made by coaches is they listen to their client to free their speech.  This is valuable because most offers on the market assume the client needs a proven solution to a known problem.

There are benefits to the business-owner who can automate their offer.  It saves time and increases the number of clients they can handle.  It is difficult to automate coaching.  Actually it is impossible to automate coaching, although it may be possible in part.

Preparation is crucial and we see Otium‘s importance.  The coach must prepare for each meeting, reviewing their client’s records, preparing questions and suggestions for the client to consider.

Types of Question

It may help to have a set of questions to use for all clients.  These move the sessions with the client forwards.  They change slowly, through experience.  Without such structure, it is likely the sessions will never move forward.  They decide what you consider.  It helps get everything relevant on the table.

The coach may prepare subsidiary questions for the client, based on their answers so far.  The client will act between sessions and so it is important to discuss their actions and results.

And there will be questions formulated and asked during the sessions, in response to what the client says.

All these stages of preparation can and should engage the whole person.  What can the coach draw on from their experience to help their client?  This will range from directly relevant experiences, eg work in the same industry; common human experiences, eg family life; through to unique experiences that introduce a new perspective.

Stability

Knowing the coach has a lifestyle purpose is one way to decide whether the coach can deliver.  A coach overly focused on profit, for example, may be prone to burnout, stress, loss of perspective.  A coach who turns up for meetings tired or rattled does not present the best opportunity for the client to make progress.

Also, a coach aware of their own lifestyle purpose will be sensitive to the need for a similar purpose in the client.  There is no problem where lifestyle pervades business, especially for self-employed people, where marketing themselves is their business.

Large companies may frown upon employees bringing their own lifestyle purpose to the workplace, perhaps undermining the company’s consistent message.  But this is not true for the self-employed, they are the message and if they can find an approach that draws on what they enjoy doing, their enthusiasm will communicate.

That sense of being at ease with business and life is a big draw to people; to communicate that ease to their clients increases trust.

These benefits extend, of course, beyond the client to the wider world.

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Coach - marketing your implicit promise

Marketing Your Implicit Promise

The real challenge to marketing your implicit promise is, how implicit should be?  You move from Otium to Negotium when you market.  The preparation you do as a private person, ready to invest in your client, is crucial.

Three Types of Consultancy

Let’s revise three approaches to consultancy.

  1. The expert consultant is someone hired to solve a specific well-defined problem, eg a website designer. Expert consultants act as temporary staff members, contributing specialist skills.
  2. Non-directive consultants – start from the assumption the client is the expert. I normally refer to them as coaches.  A coach draws out the expertise of the client.  These are people who listen their clients into free speech.
  3. The hybrid coach, uses both coaching and expert consultancy. Usually, they help the client meet their objective as a coach and provide advice and guidance in the coach’s specialist area.

I guess most coaches are type three – hybrid coaches.  Their role as a coach is their implicit promise.  How implicit does their coaching promise have to be?

Marketing Your Implicit Promise

Coaches do not offer technical solutions.  Hybrid coaches need to be clear when they stop coaching and switch to teaching.  The challenge is to help the prospect understand the distinction.

The coach offers adaptive as opposed to technical change.  This means the coach helps their client change their behaviour.  Their aim is to name behaviours that prevent the client reaching their goals.

Changes in behaviour imply changes to the techniques the client uses to meet their goals.  Adaptive change drives technical change.  Many problems people encounter emerge when technical changes demand adaptive change.  This is why people find new techniques don’t work because they demand changes for which they are not prepared.

How do you market this?

You put the client in the driving seat.  Not only are they the expert in their business or life, they also drive the coaching.

It is their responsibility to choose what they discuss with coach, what they implement and how they implement it.  The coach may offer accountability but it is the client’s responsibility to make sure change happens.

I am not there to tell clients how to run their business or life.  My responsibility is to create the space wherein the client can share their thinking.  When we get it right my role as coach is to boost their thinking, help them go further, faster.

We may spend a lot of time rejecting possible approaches.  If the client has difficulty making decisions, we name barriers and seek ways to approach them.

My clients set the agenda for the meeting.  I create the space in which we discuss their agenda.  I might challenge the agenda, eg by asking why they want to discuss this topic.  But it is always the clients’ agenda.

I help the client by using my structure.  I have questions for the client between sessions.  These help the client name the issues to discuss next and help me understand the client’s perspective.

Where we need to discuss technical approaches, we may move to a more didactic approach.  I offer a done-with-you approach or recommend third-party support.

What the Client Needs to Know

The client needs to understand their problem.  I use an enrolment interview to help them.  Then we discuss whether I can help.

If we believe I can, I explain my approach.  Some people seek technical solutions and so are not interested.  For others, clarity about their business or life is more important than taking immediate action.  This is not to say they put action on hold until after the coaching.  Indeed, action is essential throughout the coaching.  It provides the raw material on which we can reflect together.

If this interests the client, we can discuss terms and conditions.

How to Recruit Clients to an Enrolment Meeting

This approach to marketing means you do not have to sell outside the enrolment meeting.  The aim of your marketing is to get consent to a meeting.

So, you use marketing to be creative any way that addresses your business purpose, using lifestyle choices to support your marketing.  The enrolment meeting has its own dynamic and the experience is different from the marketing campaign itself.

Let’s say you are a coach and a musician.  You could deploy your coaching skills to your marketing campaign.  This might be to offer an audience an experience that helps them understand your offer.

Alternatively, you might use your skills as a musician, even though your music might have little to do with your coaching.  Why do that?  The big advantage is it creates some distance between you and other similar coaches.  The trombone playing coach is likely to stand out!

Of course, there may be intermediate approaches you could take up, combining coaching and musical skills.  The aim is to be memorable and present yourself as a rounded human being; someone to know, like and trust.

To neglect your lifestyle aim is to lose a critical dimension to your business.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Three brass monkies

Your Business Offer of Yourself

Your business offer of  yourself?  When I discussed offers under business purpose and financial purpose, I considered offers of a vision and a service in exchange for money.  Here the offer is of yourself.

Whatever form of coaching you offer, there will be an implicit element that relates to your contribution as a coach and what is Otium for the client.

Lifestyle is never irrelevant and in a future post I shall write about the benefits to the customer of your lifestyle choices.  Your implicit offer is to pay full attention to your customers.  Business owners get few opportunities to talk at length about their business to someone ready to listen.

Paying Attention

The biggest challenge every coach faces is to listen actively.  The aim is to listen the customer into free speech.  To speak freely about their business, their life, whatever preoccupies them is of immense value.

You formulate questions that have never been asked and so move the client’s thinking into a new perspective.  The coach understands they are not an expert in their clients’ lives.  Indeed it is a disadvantage to have prior deep knowledge.  The coach is an expert in asking the questions that deepen the clients’ understanding of their own business or life.

Most people recycle ideas they pick up from elsewhere.  The word education at root means, to draw out. Coaches are educators par excellence because their aim is to free their clients’ speech.  Coaches free clients from the ideas of others so they arrive at a new place no-one has visited before.  Contrast this with the role of the trainer who plants new ideas into their clients’ heads.

With free speech, the speaker discovers

  • Things they did not know they knew
  • The unique perspective from their experience and personality
  • That their dreams are rooted in reality and so not necessarily unrealistic
  • They have dreams and mostly pay them little attention

The listener when fresh and not preoccupied, responds to their client with the right questions.  Start with questions prepared in advance and then progress to questions in response to the reality of the clients’ responses.

Spending Time

The coach must be prepared with questions and with time.  Free speech cannot be rushed.  It takes at least 20 minutes to get to the point where someone speaks freely and after that there comes a point where stock is taken, conclusions drawn, action steps decided and agreed.

The coach does not normally take action steps for the client but will have some of their own; the steps to remember and work out how to build on what has gone before.  They need time and space to mull things over, remember key ideas and check the client remembers next time.

Preparation

You can see the important thing is preparation.  The coach turns up prepared and ready to listen, helping the client remember what went before.

Training assumes proven methods to be conveyed, understood and applied.  This can be creative but the bulk of the speaking is with the trainer.  It answers the question: How?  How can I do this?  How can I apply this to my business?

The coach helps the client answer the question: why?  Without a why there is no point in asking: how?  Most of what we do asks: How?  This is why so much does not work.  We literally do not understand what we are doing.

The trainer turns up with a programme and whilst flexible, they know where they are going.  The coach turns up with a few questions and an open mind.  They are ready to listen the client into their own reality.  They cannot do this when preoccupied, rushed, prejudiced, opinionated.

The coach then has an implicit promise to market.  How?  I’ll make some suggestions in my next post in this sequence.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

rose bush

How to Make Business at Leisure!

The Romans had two words to describe the relationship between home and working life: Otium and Negotium.  These delineate the relationship and help us answer the question: is it possible to make business at leisure?

This first post in a sequence about work-life balance, focuses on Otium and I shall consider Negotium in a future post.

What Do You Want?

Otium is often translated as leisure.  However, this is not a good translation because it separates home life from working life.  It is perhaps better translated as what happens in private in preparation for working life.

Another interpretation might be self-development.  This is closer but perhaps still misses the point.  Self-development is sometimes tied to work.  What training do I need to do my job properly?  This is important but I would argue it is Negotium – a part of your public life.

Otium is much more about accomplishments and experiences that make you the person you are and equip you with something to share.  From the business perspective the question is not so much what you need to do to meet the needs of your business as what you uniquely bring to your business.

For example, my background is in community development.  Now I offer coaching in marketing.  I occasionally get told by more experienced business people that this background is not professional enough.  Maybe there is some truth in this but actually, it is my life experience that adds value to my offer.

I have experiences to draw on, skills I have practiced over the years, which are of great value to my chosen business.  When you work in a situation where there are too few resources, you have to be resourceful.  Running a small business and community development are not that far apart.

Flourishing

So, the question becomes: what do I want from my life?  Imagine you have a rose-bush in your garden.  The worse possible outcome will be for the buds to wither and drop off.  What you want is the buds to open and the bush to flourish.

As a gardener you need to carry out various activities, eg feeding, watering, pruning, weeding to help the bush to flourish.  The same applies to life.

There are three dimensions to this in constant flux.

  1. You need a cause, something to commit to, a change you want to see in the world. Your business is likely to be your main cause and so this is Negotium.
  2. You need a vision of your own personal future, the person you wish to be. This may be a range of activities and interests that help you become this person.  This might include activities such as sport, hobbies, music, reading, religion, etc.
  3. Your relationships, again moving towards the public. This includes family and friends but also things like public worship, political activities, etc.

However, there is a fourth dimension, serendipity (and of course its opposite, the unhappy accident).  Life throws up opportunities and disasters. Our triumphs and tragedies can all transform into something of value.

The Catholics call this experience formation and it has both dimensions – activities of our own choosing, disciplines, and those that we have to take in our stride.

Seen this way the boundaries between business and leisure are less clear then perhaps we believe.  The question becomes: is the aim of your life to achieve your business aim, your financial aim or your forgotten aim of becoming a human being fully alive?  Are all three possible?

We aim solely for financial success at our peril.  Many business owners understand their business aim is integral to financial success.  How many forget the human being at the heart of it?

The challenge is to unscramble what we want out of our lives and businesses.  This will be the topic of my next post: what is my business offer to myself?

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Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Benefits from financial success include investment in the world

Who Else Benefits from Financial Success?

You start with a financial vision, reflected in your pricing and marketing.  This results in benefits for your clients, your outputs.  But actually, your clients’ experience includes outcomes beyond immediate benefits.  The client who solves their immediate problem experiences improvements in the rest of their lives.  They join their vision to yours and see their vision realised as they improve their performance.  But who else benefits from financial success?

The real value of financial success is to see your business purpose realised through changes in the lives of people around you, your business outcomes.

Other Businesses

Your success inspires others, gives them hope.  These do not always become competitors.  If you increase prices, you are likely to need fewer clients and so there will be more people in the market than you can handle.

It is possible your success will increase the market.  Your response could include:

  • Expand and take on staff
  • Work in partnership
  • Offer training to help others engage with your new market

Your vision is important here.  You don’t want your market flooded with fly-by-night coaches who do not understand it and discredit your approach.  Supporting those interested in supporting your vision can result in greater expansion and benefits to all involved.

Investment

Investment is not limited to money.  With more money and time, you can invest in causes; into the vision behind your business.

Your reputation and expertise becomes valuable to others and various causes welcome association with your business.  In the early days you are likely to have credibility without being well-known.  You can choose what you support and present your credentials when you need to.

Should you invest for free?  Investment implies payback and I always advocate working out of self-interest;  remember the basic rule of mutuality: “I help myself when I help others.”  So, yes, by all means choose causes that support your business aims, including financially but remember generosity is your aim.

Family and Friends

Others who benefit from financial success are family and friends.  It’s not that you have more money to spend on them.  Your success is likely to be modest in the light of claims made by many marketers.  Remember the Pareto principle, 80% of the money made through business will be held by 20% of businesses.

This partly accounts for business failures.  However, you don’t have to be in the top 20% to be viable as a business.  Just aim for sustainability.

The value to family and friends is your presence, being there for them and not an absent benefactor.  Your aim is to find an equilibrium, where you balance work and lifestyle to be able to help others do so too.

This post brings my posts about the second, financial aim of businesses to a conclusion.  But it opens up the path for further exploration of your third lifestyle aim.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Woman considering benefits from high prices, by looking at a graph.

How Your Client Benefits from High Prices

Can you list benefits from high prices for your clients?  They boil down to how you structure your business.

Business Structure

How do you understand the way finance works for your business?  There are many possible financial objectives and your business may adopt several as it develops.  You can choose to maximise sales, revenue or profit, for example.  Your choice determines how you market your business.

So, when you estimate the money you need, decide the financial structure to meet that objective.  For example, if you seek maximum sales, you must increase traffic to your business and consider how quickly you convert as many as possible.

If you maximise revenue, seek clients who can afford your high-end offers. This may mean reduction in traffic and increased conversions.

Your clients receive a better service from you if you know what you are doing!

Their Confidence in You

When your client trusts you, they are more likely to share openly with you.  Price tells them how much you value your offer.  If they don’t think you value your offer, why should they trust you can help them?  Furthermore, if they see you as successful, you are likely to have inside information to help them be successful too.

This applies to all types of coaching.  Say you coach people for stress reduction.  If someone faces a crisis, they look for someone with a proven track record so they have confidence their coach can help them.  At a time of crisis they may want to meet more often or have access to their coach as things develop.  They will expect to pay more for this level of service.

The same applies for resilience coaching.  Someone in a responsible position wants a coach to equip them for the inevitable crises.  They expect to pay for an effective service.

It is easy to see why self-confidence is important.  If you do not believe you are worth a high price, how do you persuade your high-end clients you are worth hiring?  If you make a first offer of a high-end product, you can always downsell to a low-end product.  This establishes your worth and so long as the low-end product is clearly a lesser product, you establish your credibility.  Someone with fewer resources to commit can be reassured by the prices they cannot afford.

More Time

Your aim is to create more time for your clients as you increase prices.  With limited hours in the week, knowing how much you need to earn, work out how much you need to earn per hour.  Offer high-priced products and you need fewer clients and have more time to devote to each client.  This is true for both preparation and face-to-face time.

More Resources

With higher prices you have more resources to devote to your clients.  So long as you budget for resourcing your offers, there are many ways to improve your client experience:

  • Equipment, eg cameras, tablets, etc.
  • Room hire so that you can meet in comfort
  • Personal development, training and coaching for you.
  • Books and other reference materials for the clients
  • Hire specialist support for the client, this will normally be in the contract with the client
  • Hospitality for the client, eg meetings over lunch.
  • Spaces at events created by you, gets you an audience and is a bonus for the client.

Self-Confidence

Over confidence is a possible downside.  What happens if success goes to your head?  There is a species of arrogance, sometimes among successful coaches and consultants.  Many business owners see this and do not want to be perceived this way.

The main thing to remember is most people lack self-confidence.  Being under-confident is more likely to be your problem.  They ask: “What if I am not as good as I think I am?”  To which the obvious response is: “What if you are better than you think you are?”  It is possible low self-esteem deprives the world of your unique, valuable contribution.

Pricing is not the sole criterion for the successful entrepreneur; arguably it is the least important.  But reality dictates without sufficient income, other advantages of success are unlikely if not impossible.

Next time, I share ideas about other positive results from financial success, beyond satisfied customers.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Special offer

Should You Reduce Prices When Marketing?

You set a price for your offer and the next challenge is how to market it.  You need to consider how you manage your prices while marketing.  Specifically, should you reduce prices?

Do You Display Your Prices?

One frequent question is whether you should display prices when marketing.  If you look at coach’s websites you will see some do and some don’t.

I believe it is better not to make your prices public, especially when you are starting out.  Here are some reasons:

  • If you are a coach, your offer is unique. Price comparisons don’t mean much.  The prospect who seeks the cheapest coach needs help to understand what they are seeking.
  • You sell benefits and so make sure your publicity covers benefits. If a prospect finds them attractive they will make contact.
  • At an enrolment meeting you can adjust your offer. Do this implicitly by listening to the prospect and then show them how your offer meets their needs.
  • One way to do this is the upsell. Suggest a basic package and add-on extras.
  • Alternatively, downsell. Offer a cheaper package if the prospect genuinely cannot afford the best fit deal.  This allows them to try your service and maybe they will invest further once they are sure you deliver what they seek.

As you become more popular and increase prices it might help to display your prices.  This means people who cannot afford the prices displayed will not contact you.  Do this if you find a lot of people turn you down for reasons of price but you still find enough customers.

If you become incredibly high-priced, I understand it can be better to hide your prices again.  This projects an aura of exclusivity.

Should I Reduce Prices?

Should you reduce your prices globally?  Usually, this is not a good idea.  You need to control the number of clients you can handle.  Lower prices mean you need more clients.

It may be better to introduce some low-end offers, especially if you find most warm prospects back out when they hear your prices.  This gets them on your books and offers an opportunity to check you out before making a bigger financial commitment.  Remember, if someone wants something enough, they will find the money.

If you believe your offers are not good enough for the price you charge,  consider the price you charge indicates something of your confidence in your offer.  To offer a lower price undermines your offer’s credibility.  If you are right it is the offer that needs improvement.  Something brilliant will always be easier to sell than something indifferent.

Should I Offer Discounts?

No, unless there is a real reason to do so.

During an enrolment conversation, you may find someone claims they cannot afford the offer that best fits their needs.  Here are a few ways to respond:

  • Make sure they understand the offer and its good fit with their needs. If someone wants something enough, they can offer find creative ways to meet the costs.
  • Would it help to flex payments?
  • Try to identify good reasons why they might receive a discount.

The point about discounts is, if you are going to make one, have a good reason to do so.

  • A prompt payment discount, if the payments come in on time.
  • A quick decision payment – I am not convinced by this, if someone wants your offer such a discount does not appear to make much difference.
  • Add a bonus. You can do this upfront.  An extra session in return for a quick decision, for example.
  • You can have surprise bonuses, for clients who pay on time. Don’t offer them in advance, that’s bribery!
  • Some people have discounts for charities or community organisations. The problem here is you could find you are making a lot of work for yourself that does not pay very much.

In the end, consider a downsell and leave your prices alone!

Marketing Prices

A lot hinges on marketing.  If you are clear about the benefits and believe you can work with the prospect, then the offer should sell itself.  Remember, your credibility hinges on your confidence and sense of self-worth.

So long as you deliver and exceed the expectations of your client, this will communicate in your favour.  Next time I shall look at how high prices benefit the client.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list, so you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

Believe in what you do

How to Set Credible Prices for Your Offers

Your business purpose should include credible prices for your offers.  But what is a credible price?  Here are a few things to consider:

Your Confidence

Your prices increase as your confidence grows.  You need to understand the value of your offer and it is possible, when you start with a new offer, your prices will be lower than you would necessarily choose.

But your confidence may not be a reliable guide to the value of your offer.  You may be better (or worse!) than you think.

There is no upper limit to what you charge and something I ask my clients to do is design an offer for which they can charge £100K.  I don’t expect them to sell one of these! It helps to think about what you could do for someone able to pay that amount.

Most businesses have more than one offer.  Getting the right price structure in place, so that customers can try you out before committing to a high price is part of the challenge.  I’ll return to this in my next post.

This is about confidence because you need to get off the hourly rate and charge for the value of your expertise.  If you charge an hourly rate you effectively tie your business to your competitors’ rates.  You also do not account for preparation time or the training and development you’ve paid for in the past.

If you don’t think your offer has value, why should your prospect?

Your Business and Lifestyle Needs

You need to cover your costs.  Say you set out to make £25K per year.  To do this you need more clients and so you aim to maximise sales.  Soon you hit the most clients you can manage.  You are still way off your target income.

What are the options?  You can

  • increase revenue by increasing prices,
  • find more time by employing staff, or
  • develop new offers that automate delivery or offer more value.

You can see your pricing strategy is bound to evolve as your business develops.

Value of Your Offer

This is the other side of the problem.  If you know how much you need to charge, is this something the market will bear?  This depends somewhat on what your competitors charge but remember customers choose you for a variety of reasons.

  • Your solution to their problem – this may be similar to your competitors.
  • The niche you occupy – your location, the market you aim for, your business story, the types of offers you make, etc
  • Your worldview – do they feel comfortable working with you?
  • Benefits from your offer – the way you explain them may be attractive to prospects.

Each needs consideration as you set your prices.  As these factors change, they present opportunities to increase your prices.

Your Competitors

You need competition because if there is none, you probably don’t have a market, unless you have found a new market.

The knack is not to compete for exactly the same market but deliberately seek to separate your prospects from the rest of the market.  You do this through the stories you tell and the worldview you promote.

Competitors can make brilliant collaborators.  You can work together to increase size of the pool of prospects and then fish for the prospect who finds your offer attractive.

Do not be worried by competitors who undercut you.  They won’t be around for long.  Your market is the people who can afford your prices.

Marketing

A lot depends on how you market your offer and manage your prices.  I shall go into this in greater depth next time.

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profit loss risk

Why Your View of Personal Finance is Crucial for Business Success

Over the last five Mondays, I reviewed five stages in realising your business purpose.  It helps to have a separate financial purpose, informed by your view of personal finance.  This encourages you to think about business finance independently of business purpose.

I often quote John Kay, a contemporary economist, who says:

“Profit is no more the purpose of business than breathing is the purpose of life.”

Breathing is not why you are alive but you must breathe!  Profit is not why you are in business but you must make profit.

So, let’s deal with two mistaken positions.

Too Positive about Finance

It is possible to focus solely on money.  You can accumulate wealth that generates income.  If you do this you can, through activities such as real estate, trading shares, referral marketing; generate a monthly income for your old age.  This way the need to work recedes as you grow older, meaning you choose when to retire or fund experimental business ventures.

This is not everyone’s cup of tea.  I question this approach when someone accumulates vast amounts of wealth, way beyond their capacity to spend it.  This has an adverse impact on the business economy.

Passive income is a viable approach to finance, possibly finance for your business.  But note it is about what you do with your income.  It is not about how you get finance from your business.  You can choose to build passive income but my focus here is how you get the finance you need to build the passive income in the first place.

The danger is financial concerns dominate business purpose.  This is why I suspect anyone who guarantees vast sums of money if I follow their method.  There are a number of very good reasons to question such claims:

  • It is not possible for everyone to increase their income in this way, for reasons of competition or because there is not enough money in the economy.
  • Your context is not the same as the person who is selling the method – they cannot know you will use it the same way they did or whether what you use it for works with their method.
  • You may not, for very good reasons, commit to the approach. You have other demands on your time, perhaps you misunderstand it or find you can’t do it or disapprove of it or …

The solution is to work out your financial strategy as you design your business.  This helps you assess the claims made by marketers.

Too Negative about Finance

The other common mistake to take a too negative view of finance.  Obviously, taken to extreme, this will lead to business failure.  If you are in business, you are open to the possibility to making money!

A negative attitude to money expresses itself in more subtle ways.  These include low prices, giving services away free or at cut prices, fear of asking for money.

This attitude betrays a lack of empathy for customers and prospects.  The problem is not so much your relationship with money as your attitude to people.

People pay for something if they believe they need it.  They find the money if they need your offer.  You want customers ready to make a sacrifice; they are the ones committed to the success of your coaching.

If you fear letting them down, you must ask yourself why you are in business.  You can solve their problem and so they will pay for it if they want your solution enough.  Your confidence plays a large part in conveying your ability to deliver the solution.

If you genuinely believe only bad people charge high prices, why are you, a good person, so determined bad people get all the money?  It is monstrous to think charging high prices is somehow dishonest.  We shall see in later posts other good reasons for charging high prices.

Conclusion

So, this boils down to pricing.  You need to find a realistic price that delivers the income you need.  You need confidence in your offer and its price to ask for money and close the deal

In my next post I look at pricing your offer and suggest price is integral to your offer’s credibility.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?