how to start a small business

Weekly Pep Talk: Fighting FOMO

We have all heard it preached: the comparison game is a bad one to play, especially when it comes to your small business. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is all the more prevalent in the small business community because of social media. And while I don't want to demonize Instagram and Facebook, I want to offer some context and tools to combat small-business FOMO. 

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1. Success is not always quantifiable

The number of followers someone has is not necessarily an accurate measure of their profitability or integrity as a company. I cannot tell you how many times I have come across other wedding photographer's profiles that had 3-4 times the amount of followers as me but were doing half the amount of weddings and making half the amount of money. This is NOT me bragging--simply saying that followers and likes do not equal profit margins or even reputation. There are several small business owners that I know that have a strong presence in their community and a robust referral system that have less than 1k followers on Instagram. The next time you come across a fellow business owner/competitor that has a greater following, remember that quantity doesn't not guarantee quality, and that an actual sale with actual people who will sing your company's praises is always better than a few extra digits on a social media platform. 

2. Different doesn't mean Better or Worse

When you see that someone has been featured, shared, or picked up by the big shots, don't freak out. Stressing over how you can get noticed is just going to take your focus off the things that are going to directly influence your business. Their experience, whether it was being published in a magazine, featured online, or whatever, might differ from your experiences, but it doesn't make them better. So your products or services haven't been published yet? That's okay! The experiences you have with your client/customer base is unique and integral for the growth of your business and keeping up the grassroots connections with your clients is infinitely more important to pursue than just being featured. Sure, being featured can be really helpful to growing your business, but if that is your main pursuit you could forfeit your integrity as a business. The next time you feel that FOMO creeping in when you see a fellow business owner share their news of being published, don't hate! If you truly want to be next, you have to be ready for it by ensuring the quality of your company in the waiting seasons. 

3. Missing Out on Something is Inevitable and HEALTHY

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The simple truth is that it is impossible to be at everything and do everything all the time. For those of us who have tried, we can all safely say it is not sustainable. We fail, usually miserably, and compromise our health and sanity in the process. We cannot possibly be amazing at instagramming, storying, blogging, product photography, client meetings, business development events, brainstorming, finances, taxes, inventory, email, etc., all the time. Something has to give, and guess what? That is true of everyone. So you get on Instagram and that person just posted a perfect photo and it is getting a ton of likes and comments, and you start feeling self-critical and anxious that you're not doing that. Just pause. Chances are if they are doing Instagram really well, there is something else that they're missing out on to make room and time for their IG posts.They chose prioritize that over something else, and that's okay. For your own sake, prioritize and do the core things well. Master the first things first. Yes, you're missing out on some things, but so is everyone else. If you miss out on a BD event or a popup shop to create more inventory or design better stuff, you might miss out on some sales or meeting new clients, but that doesn't mean you're missing out on chances to grow and learn in other ways. If you miss out on posting to Instagram today because you need a break from social media, that level of engagement can't be compared to the time of peace and rest you gain in an un-plugged space.  

 

Fight that FOMO friends! 

Joanna

 

The Do's and Don'ts of Meeting with Clients

You've received an inquiry and the potential client wants to meet with you. It's the next step on gaining a client, a sale, and perhaps, if you do it right, a new friend.  These meetings can't be taken lightly or flippantly. 

DON'T assume: The number one mistake to make during a client meeting is assuming that the client is going to book with you. It doesn't matter if they have made you all the guarantees. Until you have a signed contract, every time you're out with a client, you should always be selling yourself without being salesy. How does this translate? In everything you say and do, aim to instill relational trust and educate them on why they should buy your product or service. Dress appropriately, always pay for their drink, dinner, etc - and always be informative and friendly. 

DO let your personality come out: The first few minutes of your meeting is usually filled with small talk. Ask the client about the details they have shared with you in their inquiry. Ask them about who their pulling for in the Superbowl. Here's where you show a little of your personality and see if you click with your potential client. 

DO choose a comfortable, neutral location- we typically suggest coffee shops as they are relaxed, casual, and your tab can only get so high (great for new business owners with small expense accounts). Always ask a client's location and try to meet them in the middle. 

DON'T start off with numbers. Leave the details til the end - this should be a conversation that makes your potential client feel engaged and appreciated. They are not only trying to confirm your qualifications but also want to make sure they feel comfortable working with you. Thus always wait til the end of the meeting to go over contract specifics. 

DON'T do all the talking. Part of the reason for meeting with clients is to learn what they want past the straight forward package or product. Ask them to explain their vision or plan. Ask them what about your service or product is their favorite. For example, if you're a florist ask them what is the general theme they desire to communicate through their arrangements. If you're a water color painter, ask them if they want a certain tone captured in the art piece. Get a feel for their vision. 

DON'T  push a contract signing. Never ask if they are ready to sign but instead give them a window such as "No need to sign today but I'll touch base with you in a week to see how you're feeling" etc 

DO define the next steps. You have spent the last hour getting to know their vision, and informing them on what you have to offer. Now lay out to them the next steps. Be careful not to pressure them here. For example, you can offer to send them samples, or a contract to read over and explain that you will follow up in a week at which point they can inform you on if they want to proceed, take more time to consider or move on. This DTR conversation with your client will keep you from unnecessary anxiety and give the client some direction of what to do next. 

DO end well. Shake their hand, and thank them for their time. Always.

-Jo and Jess