Keeping in Touch (with your customers)
6 Easy to action ideas to Keep in Touch with your existing clients. Show them some love and let them know you’re still around and being fabulous!
Dump It, Deal with it, Delegate it! Weekly Planner
Career Change: 5 Simple Steps
Be Your Own Coach
My Story – Hospitalisation or Resignation?
In 2007, I knew and had known for a long time; professionally I needed to be doing something else. Graduating with an International degree in English & Education and working in management in a corporate environment just weren’t fulfilling my dreams. Not that I knew what my dreams were! I was working hard, stressed most of the time, unfulfilled and unhappy and at some points feeling pretty desperate. I turned 30 and knew something had to change.
I approached a Life Coach. I didn’t know anything about what ‘they’ did at that time. However, at that point I felt out of options. It was a brilliant, liberating and a frankly luxurious experience. I was able to be completely honest about who I was, what I wanted, REALLY wanted, and how I thought I could make it happen. And this was all done without judgment, presumptions or second guessing or making bizarre suggestions about possible career options; which I’d had a lot of until this point.
There and then I knew I would be resigning from my well-paid, comfortable, secure job with all the trimmings; car, pension, phones, laptop, yearly salary increments and a rewarding share scheme. I’d got quite a big mortgage, a self-employed husband and no savings. Arrgh! Most people thought I was mad, some people brave, whilst others, I think, just stood back and watched, waiting for it all to go horribly wrong. It never did. Deep down I knew if all else failed that job would still be there, ok in a different guise and different company, but essentially a job. But, I didn’t want any job. The coaching had made me see I wanted to be self-employed; running my own business, working with people I loved working with, helping them to achieve their own successful business too. So, I retrained and embarked on running my own coaching and training business.
Nine years into my own business I now earn more than I ever could have working full time in a job. I work 4 days a week, have flexibility, generate money for amazing adventures for my family and do all the best things life has to offer. All whilst running a business that completely fulfills me, helping others do exactly the same achieve their own dream business.
We carry around a belief that we don’t have choices, that we’re trapped in jobs because of bills to pay, children to maintain etc. They’re only the trappings we allow ourselves to get into. Release the chains! Make choices that work better for you and the people you want to surround yours. To quote a favourite: ‘Life isn’t too short; it’s too long to be unhappy.’ If you want to create a business that you’ve always dreamed of get in touch now.
Want to make that same leap of faith? Get in touch to find out how you can do it too.
Birmingham: a hot-spot for Business Start-Ups
Birmingham, UK is a thriving city for Business Start-Ups, featuring in the news in recent years for all the right reasons. So, if you’re looking for some convincers to start-up your own business in Birmingham; look no further: ‘Midlands’ beauty businesses booming’, ‘new entrepreneurs threaten established order in West Midlands’, ‘Birmingham bucks the UK retail trend’, ‘Birmingham named as the start-up hotspot’. All stories point to thriving entrepreneurialism and a hot bed for career changers to business start-ups.
Here are 5 reasons why Birmingham is the best city for your business start-up to thrive:
1) Birmingham is not only the second city, but it’s also the second largest economy in the UK: ‘a major engine of UK growth outside of London’.
2) Business networking groups in Birmingham are ubiquitous. They consist of a variety of different formats to suit all attendees; always well attended, sometimes free and business always being passed.
3) From Birmingham you can access over 98% of the UK’s market – consumer and business, all within a 4 hour travel time. Real easy opportunities for you to expand your start-up reach.
4) Birmingham has a huge number of famous brands – this tells you that it’s a place that businesses thrive. They were all start-ups once:- Birds Custard, Typhoo Tea, Brylcream, Cadbury’s, HP to name a few.
5) With nearly 2 million people in Birmingham, it’s big enough to offer a plenitude of business opportunities to explore, but small enough that it’s easy to get to know the rest of the local, friendly business community; where knowledge, advice and expertise is readily shared and offered around.
Still need convincing? Check out my ‘Be Your Own Boss’ workshop that will give you even more reason and motivations for you to get your start-up business off the ground.
Before going on holiday – 5 small business owner tips
1) Get updates on any outstanding opportunItIes that are bubbling away in the background and make contact with any potential businesses where you think issues are likely to rise whilst you’re away. This will ensure everybody is happy that you’re aware and in control.
2) Enlist a Personal Assistant. If you’re a sole trader, micro or small business owner without a PA services, enlist their help! If you don’t know of anyone, peopleperhour is a great place to start. Transferring your emails across to a capable and trusted PA is worth its weight in gold – it will give you complete peace at mind that everything important is being dealt with or at the very least being acknowledged and it ensures you won’t miss any arising opportunities. I can recommend Nikki Radvanyi of The Solihull Concierge
3) Get your social media up and running in your absence by using one of the many social media scheduling tools: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite etc. It’s easy to set up and means your business can be working hard for you and still keeping your online presence while you’re relaxing by the pool. Follow tip no. 2 and your virtual PA can also be managing any responses, so you don’t miss a thing.
4) Plan for your return to work. Any tasks that need doing in the first couple of days when you return from your holiday get done before you go away. This will keep your mind from wandering of stuff to do as soon as you return and will leave you completely stress free whilst enjoying your well deserved break.
5) Leave your phone at home! (Make sure your holiday companion takes theirs for peace of mind). This will stop you having sneaky peaks at emails or social media platforms. Take a notebook for any business type thoughts, idea’s, to-do’s that spring to mind – jot them down – this will keep them out of your head giving you the chance to relax and forget about the trials and tribulations of business back home.
More Business Growth
There are always tasks you can be doing to sustain and grow your business. I think the key here is not to rest on your laurels. So, let me share three successful pointers that will help you strategise for some short and medium term business growth.
Three simple business growth strategies to build the correct foundations for your business, so it can grow successfully: working when you want, where you want, with who you want.
Firstly, ‘Know your Customer’ – Develop a broad description of one of your Ideal Customers – think about someone, or a company that you’ve worked with in the past who ticked all of your perfect business growth boxes. Being self-employed means you should be able to pick and choose who you want to work with! Let’s go ahead and create the ideal. Once you have this description, think about 1) what their end-goal is, what language would this customer use to identify their current issue 2) What is their greatest hesitation in trying out your offering and 3) What is the best way to engage with this customer? Once you’ve answered all these questions you thoroughly understand your ideal customer which in turn means you can relate all of your marketing material (namely web content) to talking directly to them and answer all their questions before they even arise.
Leading us very nicely into ‘Marketing’ – as a growing business you should be spending at least 40% of your time on marketing activities, that’s 15 hours in an average 37 hour week. Even if you’re not actively looking for business growth keep your existing customer’s happy, make sure they are not going to leave you for your competition; so, focus your time and energy on them. There are so many routes to your existing and new customers, which ones work best for you and more importantly your customers? Brace yourself for a lovely, long list: networking, blogs, website, social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc, speaker slots, newsletters, flyers, exhibitions, business cards, video promotions, door-to-door, surveys, editorials, direct mail (making a come-back!) and let’s not forget the good old-fashioned telephone. So, take your pick, select around 8 potential marketing methods, plan and implement over the next 3 months, ensuring you have your objective in mind; your most wanted response and your customers’ call to action.
Final step: ‘Give your Customers Choice’ this has had a profound business growth effect on my business and the business coaching clients I work with. Package up what you have to offer. For example, my Life and Business coaching service is offered in 3 different packages (4 if you include pay as you go) Breakthrough, Mastery and Utopia all tiered in pricing, whilst also offering discounts on each package. As consumers, whether it’s domestic or commercial we all want choice and options. This creates a real clear picture for a customer what is on offer and what will be achieved or gained from the option. Your customer is so much more likely to buy from you if you’re offering choice. Here’s to more business growth…
Contact me to find out more about working with a Business Coach
Winning more Business
I’ve recently secured a training contract working out in Dubai once a month; everyone I tell (rightly so!) says ‘how did you do that!?’ So, thought it worth putting pen to paper to share how I did it. I feel the need to warn you in advance it wasn’t rocket science; however I’m not sure winning business ever is. I think the winning of this business opportunity can be broken into 3 achievements: networking, perseverance and delivery.
I was at a networking event in August of last year and bumped into a contact I’d made several years earlier and had previously done some training work for, again through networking coming to fruition. My contact Paul, said he knew someone looking for trainers out in Saudi Arabia, would I be interested? My initial thought was not overly keen. This aside I’m always one to embrace any new opportunity – if it sounds interesting and worth pursuing I say yes and establish the hows and ifs later. So Paul connected us up.
Perseverance and Tenacity
Perseverance and tenacity: two words often associated with attributes of an entrepreneur, self-employment, being your own boss etc are so true. To get to a point of making an initial connection took several months and to take that step any further took a further 2 months of deafening silence. But, I knew that this opportunity was worth investigating and being patient. I later found out that the silence was down to ‘finding trainer’s’ not being a priority for them at that time. Sometimes, we can interpret this silence as ‘disinterest’ and therefore abandon the business opportunity completely. Once it became the right timing I was invited to present and train them on a business related topic of my choice.
When you find yourself presented with an opportunity that ignites your passion, delivery becomes the easy bit. I was able to deliver a 30 minute workshop that showcased my skills, got them excited about my capabilities and helped me understand more about what I could offer. I have since written 9 business development courses for them and am now awaiting dates for delivery in Dubai, likely start June – all this from a casual remark at a business networking event.
Attend networking events, follow up any leads with tenacity and deliver enthusiastically and passionately.
If you want to learn more tips that you can implement for further business growth check out my upcoming workshop: Grow your business with Dazzling Results.
Springboard your Business with Dazzling Results
Never one to run out of ideas on how to grow and keep growing my coaching business, here’s the top 5 actions I have taken this year that have reaped the most success. In no particular order:
1) Give your customers choice – The rule of 3. I have always advertised that i offer coaching in three different options; however, that’s not to say this has always been shared and proffered within a coaching consultation. Something was clearly holding me back; lack of confidence in the packages. This year I have re-branded my three coaching packages: Breakthrough, Mastery and Utopia, all showing what can be achieved via each program including a clear and transparent pricing structure. What product or service can you package up and offer so that your customer is given choices?
2) Gratitude Ritual – Don’t think me strange, just always open to new ways of thinking. I read a short excerpt in Red magazine two weeks ago and have been practicing it ever since with great results! Here’s how it works:
- Spend 5 minutes last thing at night or 1st thing in the morning, (I do it in bed) lie back and close your eyes, bring your attention inward and upward to your third eye centre, the meditation point on the brow between your eyes.
- List 5 things you are grateful for.
- Next, tell yourself, ‘tomorrow (or today) will be a great day. I can feel it.’ List the things you want to happen, then turn the possibility over to the universe.
Since, I’ve been practising this, some amazing things have been happening. I’ll share them with you once you share yours with me! Go on; what are your grateful for and what do you want to happen?
3) Website Focus – Invest time focussing on your website and its content. For the past 3 months, having set a goal in January in increase the coaching enquiries I received through my website this is what I’ve done, with the results now being realised:
- Create and add a promotional video showcasing what results and benefits your customers can expect to receive by using your products and services. Phil Arkinstall at Ark Media comes highly recommended for Promotional Videos. Check out his work.
- Add a few case studies about what difference your customers have experienced through using your products and services
- Check Google Analytics – the information provided via Google about what your website has been up to month to month.
What changes, updates and refreshes does your website need? Take a look at your website from your customer’s point of view.
4) New Product Offering – Being a business owner is today’s fast-paced, technologically and innovative market means you have to keep your products and services fresh, ahead of the competition and deliverable in an efficient, timely and fresh way too. Think about the current market, is there anything going on associated with your offering that you could enhance and deliver to help your customers further. For me it was developing an ‘Outplacement Services’ Career Coaching Program, to companies who are making redundancies or down-sizing or want to offer coaching to managers and directors to help them achieve more in the company. What new product of service offering can you develop to keep evolving your business?
5) Networking – anyone who knows me, knows that I love networking. Networking DOES work! Find the right networking group for you and it’ll work wonders for your personal development and should bring you a great return for your business too. There are loads out there and more groups and events opening up near you each month. Good sign eh!? If done right, networking will keep you on your toes, keep you ahead of your competition, keep your growing your business and instil you with focus, motivation and inspiration and keep you loving your work. What new networking event can you attend this month?
Want to discuss any of the business growth areas above get in touch with Clare.
March into Action!
March is an ideal time to reflect on your year so far. January and February have gone in the blink of an eye. So, those goals you set for your personal and your professional life, back in January; how are you achieving against them?
If you find yourself constantly setting goals, thinking about things you want, could, should be achieving, but never actually do; then here are 3 simple tips to get you coaching yourself.
1) Purchase a Notebook. One you can carry around or have in your car. Jot down a list of your achievements in the last month, either as you go or at the end of every month. This simple coaching technique will act as a great motivator – you will not want an empty list! It will focus your mind, give you momentum and keep you thinking about and taking action on what’s next to achieve.
2) Use positive affirmations. If it’s good enough for Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Michael Phelps etc, it’s good enough for you! Visualising the end result of you achieving your goal alongside powerful positive thinking and personal coaching techniques make it possible for you to achieve what you want. Create 3 affirmations, write them down, say them out loud and share them with like-minded trusted people. Coach yourself to positive success. Here’s an example from one of my current clients: ‘I am running an extremely successful business that brings me £3k per month, whilst also providing high degrees of flexibility, personal satisfaction and personal freedom’.
3) Be open to all opportunities…That come your way. If it sounds scary and exciting, looks scary and exciting, feels scary and exciting – it’s worth getting involved in! Great things are achieved when you step outside your comfort zone. As I’ve been writing this, I received a call from the YMCA, Sutton Coldfield. I shall now be getting involved in their Sleep Easy Campaign (sleeping rough!) in Sutton Coldfield town centre on Friday 28th March, 7pm to 7am to raise money for youth homelessness. Outside of my comfort zone – absolutely! Coach yourself to more positive success.
Good luck. If you want help setting your goals and you know having a coach on your side would help you achieve, get in touch to find out more.
Spreading February Love
February will see me giving away; yes, giving away, a 5 session Coaching Break-through block!! All you have to do to win is contact me, tweet me, facebook me in 140 characters or less, by February 26th, as to why you should win. So, what do you win and why would you want to win it? The what: Breakthrough Blocks are designed to do just that: ensure you have a major breakthrough on solving a Life or Business issue. Whether it’s changing your career, finding career direction, starting up in business or developing an existing business. Maybe you’re asking yourself the question ‘what should I do with my life?’ or you ‘need to make more money, gain more clients’. The why: Coaching will help you achieve your goals by questionning what it is you want to achieve and why, and by getting you to put the steps in place to getting you closer. Coaching gives you accountability.
The coaching sessions are designed to challenge your thinking, get you the results you’re aiming for, and overall be a fun and engaging experience. You can expect the sessions to take place every 3-4 weeks and be very action orientated. You will be the one taking action! So, if coaching appeals to you, get in touch with me, describing in 140 characters or less why you should win this fantastic coaching prize worth over £600! Be bold, be daring, be risky, be intriguing, be surprising. Most of all GRAB my attention!
Closing date for your chance to win a 5 Session Coaching Break-through Block is Wednesday 26th February 5pm.
5 Reasons to use a Life & Business Coach
There will be some people whose eye light up, and they’re immediately engaged when I say I’m a Life and Business Coach. Others return my statement with a blank stare and a look that says ‘what the heck does one of those do!’ So, here are 5 reasons why you would choose to use the services of a Life and Business Coach; in no particular order:
1) You’re in a career that is leaving you completely unfulfilled, unhappy and lost at the thought of what you want to spend your future doing. Working with a coach will give you the time and space to help you understand what makes you tick, understand your key skills and strengths and will enable you to map out what resources you need in order to make career change happen.
2) A great coach will equip you with the skills you need to address development areas that are getting in the way of achieving your goals. This could be confidence building, presentation skills, stress, anxiety, self-belief techniques – removing those obstacles will mean you can get on and achieve what you want to.
3) With so much going on in our lives, it’s really easy to lose focus, motivation and become generally lack lustre. Life Coaching will help you put your life back into its natural order, focussing your mind on the areas that have slipped; whether it’s your health, wealth, leisure activities, personal growth or family; coaching will challenge you to think about what makes you happy, what’s important to you and inspire you to put the steps in place to restore the equilibrium.
4) Coaching will help you work out what you want to achieve for your future. Setting goals of what you want to achieve and working out the steps you need to put in place will ensure you’re on the right road to making change happen. Coaching will challenge your ideas and make sure that your future goals are a) compelling enough for you to achieve and b) that they’re in line with all areas of your life, that are equally important to you.
5) Overall, Life & Business Coaching will give you the luxury of time devoted to you. How often is it we get to focus purely on ourselves? Our once day-dreaming selves now spend that time flicking through social media pages. Grab this time back to: talk about, and take action on what you want to achieve. Coaching gives you accountability, life-changing tools and your control back.
Becoming a Life Coach
Many people ask me: ‘How to go about becoming a Life Coach’. Here’s a few helpful tips and information to get you started.
How to find the right qualification
This really depends on what it is you want to achieve as a Life Coach and with your future clients. What problems or issues do you want to help them solve; fears, phobias, career direction etc. There are so many different qualifications and specialism’s out there. Which direction do you want to take? Follow your heart, after all it’s your passion and enthusiasm that will get to where you ultimately want to be. Research local, national coaches you admire and see what qualifications they hold. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a great qualification, as it enables you to have major breakthroughs, which in turn will enable you to help clients do the same with their obstacles.
How to get started
Other than the all important qualifications, the only other major initial outlay should be invested in a website, that; firstly, reflects your values, engages with your potential Life Coaching clients, advising them how you can help them through coaching and should more importantly be found by your potential clients. Be confident in the look, feel and content of your website; it’s the first port of call for your customer. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Do your homework, there are lots of great SEO companies out there, who will help get your site found more easily.
Getting to your clients
The great news is there are so many different and accessible (and free!) routes to market: your clients. A quick and comprehensive Top 5 list: 1) Networking – this will build your confidence in your product and service more quickly than any other marketing method, will get you quickly establishing yourself within the business arena and will enable you to build the relationships and trust necessary to getting your coaching business off the ground. 2) Have a website that you’re proud of, and will be found. 3) Run workshops, talks on your specialist subject; engage with the public and showcase how you can help. Do this for free to start with, so you can establish what works and where. 4) Use Social Media to get your message out there. The great thing about Social media is its free, just takes your time, which in the initial stages you’ll have plenty of. 5) Get some testimonials together; practice your new skills and techniques on friends and family who want coaching. Use their feedback as the grounding for your showcasing your experience.
So, what are you waiting for, Life Coaching is fulfilling and rewarding career choice.
Business Networking Awards 2014
This is the second year running I will be a Judge and Sponsor for the Business Networking Awards.
Being a judge is a great accolade; imagine being a Business Award Winner!?
The award ceremony celebrates businesses that network across Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Lichfield in the West Midlands.
There are 10 Award categories:
Professional Business of the Year – Sponsored by Roar Marketing
Trades Business of the Year – Sponsored by Pickerings Solicitors
Promotions/Events Business of the Year – Sponsored by Kimberley-Jane Designs
Networker of the Year – Sponsored by DK Electrical
Service Business of the Year – Sponsored by April UK
Best Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Northwood Lettings
Best Start-Up Business (under 2 years old) – Sponsored by Design Pit
Best Established Business of the Year – Sponsored by Meta4 Coaching & Training
Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Q&A Quality Management
Special Recognition of the Year – Sponsored by Four Oaks Financial Services
If you would like to see your Business name up in lights on Saturday March 1st at Drayton Manor, and you network in the 3 local West Midlands areas;
speak to your customers, clients, suppliers and ask them to nominate your business.
Last year’s winners have seen their businesses grow from the ceremony, through: great PR, confidence, credibility and great social media and publicity ‘fodder’.
So, what are you waiting for, get nominated and get nominating!
I Want To Change My Career
Are you finding that you are becoming increasingly bored of your work? Are you thinking about looking for a new job or even considering a complete career change?, Now is as good a time as any for you to make the very important step in your life. There really isn’t a great deal worse than being stuck in a job that you hate, watching the clock tick by, getting frustrated with office politics and waiting for your weekend to arrive. It’s a very common scenario – you may desperately want to change your career or find a new job but you simply don’t know where to start.
Don’t look back on your life and wish that you had made the leap sooner. If you want to change your career, stop putting it off and get the wheels in motion today. Life is for living; grasp the day and embrace all opportunities that are presented to you.
Making a change to your life can be daunting, there’s no doubt about it, but if you have a positive and motivating life coach to help you along your journey, you can make self improvement an enjoyable and life changing experience. Stop spending each morning dreading your daily wake up alarm – by making a change to your career now you can look forward to achieving, not only your career goals, but improving your life as a whole.