Living in the media and corporate world for most of my working life, I didn’t need a business profile. I just put my head down and did as I was told.
When I started building my own business, however, I suddenly had to learn how to promote myself. Earning an income was now totally up to me. No weekly income to fall back on. No big marketing budget. Just little old me.
Starting off with no capital and not even sure if anyone wanted what I was selling was daunting. My background was very old-school and right off the bat, my new business was confronted with all these new-fangled ways of connecting with people. It seemed there was new social platform popping up every second day, each one declaring they were the best one for my business.
Don’t even start me on all the coaches who could (apparently) show me the right way to make a six figure business in under a micro- second?
As tempting as it was to jump right in with all those things competing for my attention, I knew I had to get the basics right first.
- Who am I.
- What do I do.
- Why do I do it.
- Who do I do it for.
In other words, I needed a good handle on:
- My story (bio).
- My products (and my unique selling proposition).
- My reason for being in business.
- My perfect client (target market).
I had to make sure my business profile was as pimped as possible so when people went looking for services in my niche, I stood out.
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So many small businesses owners I have met or done business with are neglecting this step. They rush into getting their product or service to market and forget to build their story. As Seth Godin says marketing is no longer about the sell, it is about the tell. People want to know you care. When they begin the business journey with me, they want to know I care before they care how much I know. My business profile had to reflect this.
1. The story of me
Who is Annette? What has she done? Why is she doing this? Where has she done it? Is she a real person I can like and trust? Not a philosophical question, but real questions my prospective clients would be asking when they checked me out on my website and social media platforms.
As my bio is one of the first things a person sees, I needed to write a bio that sounded like me. If the reader met me, I wanted them to think ‘oh, yeah, she is just like she sounds in her bio.’
My bio had to showcase my personality and sense of humour but also capture my expertise. It also had to read like a story not a resume. After all, I was not going for a job, I was (and am) building relationships based on trust.
For the record, the first bio I updated was LinkedIn. Google yourself (go on … do it now because your prospective client already has). What comes up first? Your LinkedIn profile. I use my bio on all my platforms. There’s a long one (on LinkedIn and my website) and a two shorter versions for speaking gigs and my media kit.
2. Exactly WHAT am I offering?
It’s tempting to be everything to everybody, to tap into the full breadth of my skillset, but trying to achieve this will lead to burn out. I have over 30 years in the media and corporate communications, there is A LOT I can do. To cut through the clutter, I needed to stand out with services that meet the needs of my target market. I brainstormed the problems they have and came up with solutions – my service offerings.
I also remained focused on what I am good at so I could deliver what I promised.
This process is constantly evolving. I understand my target market. I talk to them regularly. I listen to what they are saying. This way I can keep adapting my primary services to stay relevant.
When I first started out, I was delivering online programs through webinars. I had no idea how to market that product offering so quickly shelved it. I focused on what I was hearing – people needed someone to do PR for them; they did not have time to learn. Now that I have that process nailed, I am branching out into workshops and training again.
3. A picture speaks a 1000 words
To make my bio more powerful, I needed a great profile picture. An image has the power to do many things without opening my mouth – instil trust, create connections, show people I am real.
I started with a snapshot of me … but it really did not look professional. As soon as I was able I hired a professional photographer to take some great images of me. I update them every six months – because I change; I put on weight, I lose it, my hair grows, I cut it. You get the picture.
4. My perfect client
In the beginning, I was tempted to be everything to everybody. When I was asked who my target audience was (I had to Google what that meant) I replied ‘everyone!’ Surely everyone needs my services.
Perhaps they did (and do) but you cannot market to everyone. I had to hone my audience to a specific type so when I market I speak their language, I understand their pain and how I can help them.
Not knowing my target audience was like standing on top of a mountain and shouting, hoping someone would hear me. Taking the time to truly get to know my audience has been a game changer – I fill workshops, I sell books, I secure done for you clients – because I know what they want and how to help them.
With my business profile totally pimped out, I hit the road every day, knowing with certainty my message is cutting through, the people who need me can find me and my business will keep on delivering.