Recently, I have repeatedly found myself in the company of veteran self employed professionals or business owners who feel they have come to the end of their entrepreneurial journey. These people are ready to quit and go back into the 9-5 race because they are struggling to find new clients. Running the business has become an uphill struggle and the recession has completely dried out their client base.
Surprising, when I start to probe, it becomes apparent that ALL these business owners had one thing in common. They had relied completely on one strategy and one strategy only pre recession – the magic word of mouth. They had failed to adapted their approach since the recession. They had refused, were unable or did not know how to adapt even when they saw the casualties of the recession piling up in the media. I have to give these business owners credit. Surviving solely on word of mouth is not as easy as it sounds. They must have been delivering services that were good enough for their clients to keep referring them. So where did it all go wrong.
Growing your business based on word of mouth referrals was totally realistic pre recession but it has become increasingly apparent that you need more ammunition in your arsenal to keep your business ticking. You need to be generating leads from several channels; word of mouth is simply one of these channels. Relying solely on word of mouth may not be your issue, but whatever it is, I’ll bet there may be other approaches you can adapt to give better results than what you are currently getting.
Are you one of those thinking of giving up? Before you do, I just have some food for thought for you.
- Have you considered going back to basics and honestly assessing what else you could be doing in your business to generate more leads.
- Do your past clients know you are still in business? Have you been communicating with them?
- Instead of waiting for business to come to you, what can you do to get in front of your ideal clients?
- How can you get your business in front of hundreds if not thousands of your ideal clients as cheaply as possible?
Don’t give up until you’ve honestly given the above questions some thought. It is hard work being self-employed, it is even harder than you thought it would be. I know. I was also shocked by the amount of work involved at the beginning. If it were easy everybody would be doing it! Fortunately you’ve had a taste of the rewards, flexibility and independence self-employment gives – Is it worth working hard for? Ohhhhhh Yes!
Remember, a problem cannot be solved with the same mind and attitude that created it. Give it another go but this time promise to do things differently, stay focused on the things that get you results. Try new approaches, measure the results and keep trying until you get your break through.
Need more motivation? Read Motivation 101 for entrepreneurs to keep up the momentum.