THE C-WORD SERIES: COURTESY, CONTENT & CONTAINERS
A new take on the ‘C-Word’ in business!
My mentoring sessions are more and more steering towards small business coaching for individuals who have chosen to turn their long-held passions and side hustles into income-generating businesses. The perspectives and energy dynamics in doing this, are both my fascination and skill. It’s super exciting to be a part of and it is certainly shaking things up.
I have watched different businesses in my ‘sector’ flash, dazzle then fade, and others plateau after rapid growth, while some have continued to successfully evolve and grow beautifully in the time that I formally started my own meditation and healing business, seven years ago. And in the last 18 months, this activity has accelerated.
What makes the difference between the ‘flash, dazzle and fade’ attempts, and the small businesses that gain traction and loyalty and continue to grow, even through a global pandemic?
After much market observation and trend tracking, I am confident in saying that the answer, my friends, is that the winners always and consistently apply the ‘C-word’ in their businesses and dealings…eight variations of it, in fact!
In our first instalment of the C-word Series, you read about Clarity and Connection. In this second instalment, we’re taking a look at three essential C-words: Courtesy, Content and Containers.
Kicking off with what I believe is one of the most underestimated superpowers of small businesses:
Common courtesies bring a human element into business and when you’re a small business in a crowded space like mine, always, without fail, you will be remembered by how you make a potential client or collaborator feel, rather than what you tell them. Courtesy exhibits empathy, respect and presence. It exudes confidence and professionalism, and in my experience, courtesy leads to more business. Establishing a rapport in initial communications is key, even if you are not selected for the gig.
Graciously expressing gratitude for the opportunity to pitch or deliver; being generous with ideas and content; being on time; following up; doing what you say you’re going to do promptly; tagging people properly on social media when sharing offerings or expressing gratitude; not mass-tagging others to push your agenda (I can’t stand this…instant delete and block from me!) are all forms of common business courtesy.
I know! I know! It’s obvious right? Well it’s becoming less and less common and it makes a point of difference in the market. Perhaps it’s the speed of the digital age? Or these small, but oh so important gestures are seen as old fashioned, but certainly in my business they make a huge difference.
I have won several large corporate programs in the last six months through referrals from other corporate clients, because of a great rapport. Other jobs have come in through service providers from previous jobs, who were managing the online events, and then recommended me to their other clients, because they gained a positive impression. Even pitches that I didn’t win in the past due to budget constraints or changed programming, have yielded in months following, because they positively remembered the interaction we had during the pitch.
And I recommend others from a similar ‘felt’ connection. Last year, for example, I put the word out asking for recommendations for a personal trainer for my teenage daughter. I was inundated with names and contacts. Personal training is a massive scene here in Singapore and obviously competitive. Several potentials took to messaging me every day, asking if I had made a decision (not courteous). Once we had decided who to go with, I made sure I messaged everyone we had spoken with, directly thanking them and informing we were going with someone else. Some replied courteously with a lovely grateful thank you, but others disappeared after daily chasing. What the vanishing PTs don’t realise is that I was messaged by close to twenty other people asking for personal trainer recommendations. And yep, you guessed it, I passed on the names of the courteous trainers and not the vanishers!
Courtesy comes from a vibration of generosity, and generosity is highly magnetic!
In my space of coaching, holistic and alternative health and wellbeing, you ARE your brand and it is essential to align your content authentically to who you are and what you stand for. Now more than ever, content is king. Content is how people find you and then decide whether there’s a fit. Fresh content maintains search engine optimisation and social media planning turns sporadic posting into a weave of messaging that draws people to your offering. And it takes planning!
When I engaged Marie Nadal Sharma from Them You & Me Digital last year, this was the first thing we tackled. I had reorganised my business structure from a previous sole proprietorship called The Meditation Teacher, which naturally had an excellent Google ranking, to my own name, Danielle Van de Velde (as my offering had substantially expanded from teaching meditation), and overnight, I disappeared off the search engines.
Marie reviewed all my blog posts and social media and distilled from it all, patterned messaging. We set about defining the pillars of my offering (and me) and then put in place a blog posting and social media plan accordingly. It was a relief to know that I had been instinctively doing this with my messaging, but my goodness, has the forward planning and structure made a difference. My community has grown substantially, as have my engagements, and as yet I have not paid for any advertising. I have been interviewed and invited to many talks and last year attracted a book deal off the back of my blog posts.
Get clear on what you stand for. Write authentically in your own unique voice. Generate regular fresh content. With a good bank of content, you can repurpose it down the track in many different ways to maximise the leverage from the effort. And if you need help, engage someone like Marie, who can give you the structure and smarts on how the digital marketing machine actually works. It’s worth it!
One of the main reasons I love captaining my own business ship is the autonomy and self-determination in my direction, messaging and offerings. And the cues for where to steer my ship, whether to accelerate or slow down, re-launch previously popular offerings, or invent new ones, almost always come via conversations and interactions day to day.
Clarity and connection activate a radar in the system for themes and new directions. Often, you will see repeated themes jumping into awareness through conversations, encounters, and other content, signaling to you that this is important and could be met with an offering. Repeated feedback from clients and your community is like gold for strategic planning and unless you are executing a formal client survey (which is also worth doing in a planning cycle), then this information comes through as a dawning realisation. The key is to catch it.
There are wonderful data collection and collaborative platforms available that are constantly getting finessed as we continue to operate in a largely decentralised mode…however even the Notes function on your iPhone will do it. The trick is to set up containers where the ideas can be easily captured, in context of your offering and what you stand for. I also include in my containers, links to relevant articles that I can reshare later with my own commentary, memes that speak directly to me as well as photographs of experiences I have had that have yielded an insight or revelation. All of this is excellent raw material for your social media planning and also generation of offerings. I have a specific bucket for blog post ideas. You’re reading now an idea that started forming about three months ago. Every time I encountered another C-word in business, or witnessed one in action, I popped it in my ‘Blog Post Container’ with a short note to remind me of the point. I have enough ideas in there for around twenty new articles and every week I add in new ideas.
Courtesy, Content and Containers, three C-words that give your small business a serious edge.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of the C-word Series for a look at Completion and Clans!
If you have any questions or thoughts on Courtesy, Content, Containers, Clarity and Connection as being essential to small business success, do get in touch. You can also book the online or in-person private sessions on Intuitive Healing and Mentoring.
Visit my website to explore other courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.
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