The past 18+ months have not been easy for business owners. You’ve had huge challenges to face and decisions to make. You may have entirely pivoted your business or have completely re-evaluated your business and life goals. From working with many businesses throughout 2021 I know lots of entrepreneurs are reviewing their businesses to creating a new way of working. Often they found themselves up-levelling unexpectedly.
If you’ve decided now is the time to uplevel your creative business, here are 5 steps to get you there quicker.
First impressions count
You have just a few seconds to make an impression on a potential client, making visuals the most important first step in your marketing. If your current branding, imagery and visuals are not in alignment with the type of client you want to work with, or weddings you want to produce, there will be a disconnect between what your client wants and what they see you offer, meaning potential clients will be lost before you even get a chance to connect with them.
When evolving your business it’s essential that your images reflect what you want to attract. Now is the time to be critical of your online portfolio, web images and social media and remove anything that doesn’t look or feel right before updating with new.
It may be that your current branding needs a complete revamp, or you need to book a brand shoot to create a portfolio of new imagery that reflects your new direction. This could involve significant investment, so I always recommend working with a professional at this stage is recommended to ensure you get the maximum benefit and results.
Evolve your client experience.
Whether this new stage of business means bringing in more orders (and therefore more admin) or fewer clients with a higher spend (and therefore bigger demands) you’re going to need a system to manage the sales process, project admin and finances from beginning to end, remembering that the higher client spend the higher the expectations for a seamless service will be.
Whether implementing a new CRM or upgrading your existing one (an excel spreadsheet isn’t going to cut it anymore!) this is also an opportunity to review your customer journey and ensure it’s managed every step of the way, be that via automation or another system.
It’s also a great time to think about how you can improve the client experience on a tactile level, perhaps upgrading your brochure or deciding to send out client welcome or thank you gifts as an unexpected extra.
Investment & managing finances
Growth inevitably means investment, either in time, money or both, so it’s important to understand the value and impact investment will have on the overall profitability of your business.
This extra demand on finances means you’ll also have to keep a close eye on your cashflow, so work out what you need and set a realistic budget that will allow you to make it happen. You can also work out how long it will take you to pay back that investment and the return (ie. how much more you can make vs doing nothing) to see if it’s all worth it!
Marketing & PR
No matter how much work you put into developing your business behind the scenes, if no-one knows about it then it’s not going to have an impact!
With any significant business change, what worked before may not work now, so use the opportunity to review the media, marketing and social platforms you have been using to get your business out there and consider whether these are still the right places to connect with your ideal client going forward.
If you haven’t had a solid marketing & PR plan up until now, this would be the time to implement one! Mapping out your annual plan as well as the publications you are going to target will help manage your time as your business grows.
At this stage you may even think about taking on marketing, social media and PR help, outsourcing or employing a freelancer to implement your marketing plan, secure valuable coverage and free up your time to focus on your clients.
Automation & Systems
At any stage of business anything you can do to save you time is appreciated, but now it’s a necessity. Those demanding clients aren’t going to wait for a brochure/quote/response to their time-sensitive question, and you can’t possibly be in two places at once, so you’re going to rely on automation and systems to help you stay on top of everything.
Think about the repetitive tasks you do frequently in your business – social media scheduling, responding to enquiries, sending brochures, issuing invoices, creating quotes, scheduling meetings – and research the tools that will help you automate those tasks.
If you can, integrate these systems with your customer journey and you won’t just save time but will also inevitably contribute to a more seamless client experience too.
Being a business owner is full of scary decisions, but the bigger the risk the bigger the potential reward, and you need a strong mindset for the challenges ahead.
Working with a coach or consultant can help you work through any blocks that are preventing you from making big decisions or putting off growth, as well as helping you develop and implement a strategy for change.
If you would like help to up-level your business, book a call to talk about your growth plans and how I can help get you there faster with 1:1 coaching/consultancy. No cookie cutter approach, 100% tailored around your specific needs.
Unsure whether your business is ready for the next level? Read my blog post ‘8 signs you are uplevelling’ to find out!