Six Old-School Ways to Grow Your Business

Old School WaysWhen I started my own business more than 20 years ago (I know, that makes me sound old!), most of the tools I use today didn’t even exist. I remember being so excited that I figured out how to sign up for AOL – and then being immediately discouraged because nobody I knew was using email at home. Very few of my friends had computers outside of work. Social media hadn’t been invented – in fact, Mark Zuckerberg was in elementary school. We had yet to discover the vast capabilities of the World Wide Web.

But there I was…a new bride in a strange city, with no contacts, no history and no job. Yet, remarkably, I managed to grow a successful freelance writing business from my apartment with nothing more than a computer, an old fashioned portfolio of my work, handmade business cards and a whole lot of determination.

Of course, I’m grateful for the evolution of technology and the ease with which I am able to do business today. I don’t know what I would do without smart phones and virtual assistants…without Quickbooks and online bill pay…without CRM databases and shared calendars…without web conferencing and screen sharing. But I think we’ve forgotten some of the basics. I think there are a few tricks from the “old days” that we need to incorporate into our digital lives.

Six Old-School Ways to Grow Your Business

1. Pick up the phone. Not the one you use for texting – but the one you use for speaking to other human beings. You would be amazed at how effective a 20-minute phone conversation can be in qualifying leads and working with clients and business partners. Now I’m not suggesting you chat the day away. But I do want to encourage you to take conversations offline every once in a while. After all, business is really about relationships and you’ve got to nurture those relationships if you want them to grow.

If there is a prospect, or a client or a potential business partner connecting with you via social media, email or texting, then consider scheduling an appointment to talk on the phone. (If it’s appropriate, then take it a step further and meet in person – in real life!)

2. Create a list of prospects. There are all sorts of fancy database programs (called CRM for Customer Relationship Management) that will help you keep track of information and conversations with customers and prospects. Those tools are helpful for automation and organization but for most of us, they fall short when it comes to mining the field for customers. That’s because those programs are often too robust for what we need – which is a simple list of prospects.

You can use a Word document or Excel spreadsheet or even a legal pad to keep track of leads. Just add a name and email address to the list each time someone expresses an interest in your product or service. Then, make it a priority to reach out to those folks on a regular basis. Keep the list updated by making notes about your conversations and removing or adding people frequently. If you make it a simple process, you might actually use it!

3. Give yourself quotas and deadlines. These strategies are alive and well in many successful organizations – they just seem to get lost when you are self employed or running a small business or ministry. It’s so easy to ignore the numbers and let things slip another day…or another week…another month…another year. We’re too busy putting out fires and managing the daily operations that we don’t accomplish the bigger goals. But if we’re racing the clock, trying to meet a quota or a deadline, we tend to perform better. So instead of saying you want to “get more clients” and “make more money,” go ahead and quantify your goal and give it a deadline. Then write it down and post it on the wall where you can see it every day.

4. Ask for the referral. If you are not comfortable with sales then you probably find it difficult to ask for business. And unless you come from a sales background or the direct sales industry, you’ve probably never been trained in the art of sales. But you have to start somewhere. [Read more…]

Invest in Your Small Business by Joining the Sisterhood of Christian Mompreneurs

One of the most challenging aspects of owning your own business is being your own boss. That means making your own decisions. And figuring stuff out all by your lonesome. As much as I love the freedom and independence that comes with the job, it can be lonely and overwhelming.

That’s why I am forever grateful for the Sisterhood of Christian Mompreneurs – a community of smart, successful women who support each other in business and ministry. If you’ve ever considered joining our circle of support, now is the time to do it – and I’ll tell you why!

Three Reasons Why NOW is the Best Time to Join the Sisterhood of Christian Mompreneurs

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20

1. You are about to enter your best year ever in business or ministry! How do I know? Because I know God has great plans for you and the coming year is filled with his abundant blessings!

IMG_0410So, as you take that next step to build or expand your business or ministry, you’ll need the guidance of others who have gone before you…and the support of others who are walking alongside you. That’s exactly what you’ll find in the Sisterhood. You’ll find prayer warriors, accountability partners, business colleagues and mentors. You may even find clients or customers.

Among them are writers, photographers, fitness professionals, real estate agents, financial consultants, musicians, therapists, artists, speakers, coaches, caterers, craft makers, nutritionists, teachers, doctors and more! Some of these ladies are just getting started and others have been in business for years! Some of them are working from home with babies on their laps, and others are enjoying the season of empty nests and grandchildren. What binds them together is their faith and their commitment to supporting one another.

2. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to running a business while raising a family. I invest a great deal of time and financial resources into learning new strategies and resources that will help my business – and yours. I attend conferences, connect with industry leaders, invest in software programs, hire assistants, and sometimes pull my hair out trying to learn the latest and greatest tools and technologies. And it’s part of my mission to share all of that with you.

The ladies in the Sisterhood can tell you first-hand that I use our little group to experiment with my newfound knowledge. So you’ll be learning as I am learning – and benefiting from my mistakes! [Read more…]

21 Conversation Starters on Gratitude

21 Conversation Starters on GratitudeIt seems like everywhere I turn, folks are talking about gratitude. In fact, I did a Google search on gratitude that yielded 75,800,000 results. That’s a lot of thankfulness! But what exactly are these “grateful people” talking about? Well…they’re sharing tips and strategies for creating a practice of gratitude. And they’re explaining the benefits of assuming an attitude of gratitude.

If you’re like me, you are 100% on board with all that gratitude talk. But…when it comes down to it…and the mashed potatoes are getting cold…you’re in favor of a quick blessing in place of the family tradition of sharing the long list of things you are thankful for. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels that way!)

So, this year, instead of cramming all our gratitude into a 20-minute prayer before dinner, I thought we could discuss gratitude all day long. Or maybe even all week long! Instead of just listing or naming the things we’re grateful for, I thought maybe we could go deeper…and really share the things in our lives that deserve our thanks. Because I believe gratitude requires more than a passing nod or a brief mention at the dinner table. I believe we need to celebrate gratitude by devoting entire conversations to it. After all, we are throwing an entire party in the name of gratitude!

Are you with me on this? Then, print the following conversation starters and pass them out at Thanksgiving dinner. Ask your family and friends to use them to generate meaningful discussion about the things they are most grateful for. Ok, let’s get this party started!

21 Conversation Starters on Gratitude: [Read more…]