When I started out in business as a Graphic Designer my biggest challenge was scaling my profits. I loved my job and felt like my business was booming. I was offering Design and Print for the first 6 months, by year two I introduced signage and vehicle graphics, and then in year three Website software started to emerge without the need to have a website developer to build websites for local businesses. This was brilliant, I couldn't be more proud of myself. Within a few years I could offer clients Design, Print, Signage, and Websites all done and delivered by myself.
I was super happy, doing the job I always wanted to do and seeing customers happy with my work. However looking back now, what I couldn't see was personally my days had become longer and the customers got more in demand as their businesses grew. I had grown to a level where I had started to become a starving Graphic Designer, it's not a nice place, it leads to projections of the fault where we blame customers who don't value our time when actually it's us who have not demonstrated our value clearly. I knew I didn't want to take on staff, I thought everyone moans about their job and working in general through previous employment experiences. I didn't want to deal with that on top of a busy work schedule. I knew I wanted to grow and get more customers, but I had to complete the work coming in from my existing clients first.
Yes, I did earn a good wage, but I wanted to build something more than that, something with meaning. So I knew I needed change, but I didn't know what. This evil circle lasted three more years!! before I got that ah-ha moment and started to take action.
Still, to this day I follow and embrace lots of successful professionals from all kinds of industries, I'd often look to see what marketing they’re doing, not to just be successful, but to be in the top 10% of their industry. I remember constantly looking at The Body Coach, to see what he's up to, (to which, even that grew too fast for me to grasp anything) I was constantly asking myself, what's so special about this plan that makes him stand out from the thousands of personal trainers in every town.
Subconsciously I noticed many successful people were offering fewer services with less experience and knowledge in the industry, yet their business was booming! How is that possible?
Then one night it hit me, I was up late working to my standard 2 AM and Gordan Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares USA was on in the background. Gordan Ramsey was going from restaurant to restaurant and turning their businesses around from going under - to the most successful restaurants in town.
Regardless of it being restaurants, I wanted to know how was he doing this over and over again. I knew it was nothing to do with staff or the restaurant's location to be repeatable throughout the industry.
Then I see this pattern emerge. He was taking restaurants with 'huge' menus (pages of meal options) and packaging them into a small selection of starters and mains and desserts (6 of each Max!). He was offering less!
He was simplifying the offering, which he explained to the restaurant owner, making it easy to manage and perfect. Have a simple menu, then every member of staff understands the process and their roles, from the chefs preparing the meals to the front staff serving customers. This resulted in the customers being completely satisfied, they keep returning and inviting their family and friends.
It suddenly made sense, I'd hate going out to restaurants with huge menus as id never know what to choose. The same worked with designing logos. If I gave the business owner too many choices, they got confused about which one to go with.
I went straight on to The Body Coach website, I could now see he was doing exactly the same in the fitness industry. Joe had one product he sold that he'd perfected with time. To date (4 years later), he still sells that single product, It's been so perfectly fined tuned that his customers follow the steps and end up seeing results to which his business too gets noticed, remembered, and shared.
I had been so busy studying the tactics, what they posted on social media, and what wording they had used (thinking there was some SEO terminology secret). I completely missed the strategy behind the business model. I was in the mindset, that the more I offered, the more business I can attract. Whereas in fact, I had to do the total opposite and niche down to a specific service offering to then be recognised as a specialist. I needed a business strategy.
What is a business? It's simply an idea to make someone else's life better
- Richard Branson
If you have a solution to a problem and it's in demand then you have a business idea. The greater the problem solved, the greater your business will be!
Pursue simple! Dog Walking is a solution to a problem for many local people in your area, how much that's in demand you need to find out. It's not about having the best product or service, everyone thinks they have the best product and service. Ask an audience of 500 business owners do you have an outstanding product, the best part of 500 hands will be raised.
My response to that is I believe you… now let's see how much we can sell.
- Find a problem and solve it with a well-packaged promise.
- (The bigger the problem solved, the bigger the demand!)
- Keep it simple. Get fancy later... if required!
- Design and build an easy-to-navigate website.
- Establish an expert reputation by educating.
- Provide unbeatable customer experiences.
A successful business does not have to be new and exciting or complicated, actually, some of the most successful service businesses are the ones that follow simple systems and processes to deliver great customer experiences.