I thought it might be useful to share the 10 myths I still hear Social Entrepreneurs saying when they're struggling to find customers and grow their business.
I've also explained why these myths make no sense and aren't serving you.
Myth #1 - I'm not focusing on a niche because my customers are anyone & everyone
Seriously, no wonder you're not reaching, attracting and securing customers! Without a clear niche you can't target your marketing, communications and sales. You're basically flying around in the air like a kite on a windy day trying to find a needle in a haystack. It's a strategy that will never work! Having a niche customer base isn't about limiting your sales potential it's about opening it up by focusing on where to target.
Myth #2 - People just want to know what I've got to offer not what difference or value it brings
As a social entrepreneur you have a unique opportunity to share your added value - the social or environmental impact your create through your business. People aren't just consumers, they're real people with dreams, desires, beliefs, values, wants and needs. When you tap in to these or connect to them you create opportunities for engagement and sales. More people than ever are interested in fairtrade, sustainability, ethically sourced or produced, circular economy, giving back, and making a difference through their purchases. You're providing an opportunity for them to fulfil these desires, so don't forget to communicate about the difference you make from their purchase or the value of the product or service you're offering.
Myth #3 - I need to a website to make sales
Bulls***! A website does not make a business. So many people I speak to think that once they have they're website up and running they've 'officially launched'. However that makes no difference if you haven't planned how to drive traffic to your website or it's cost so much that you start your business in a huge amount of debt. You don't need a website to make sales (even if you're an e-commerce business). Yes sometimes it helps but only if people already know you exist. [Bonus: Is your website actually working for you? Do you look at your analytics, is it easy for customers to make a purchase, are you sharing your story, value and impact in a way that engages people?]
Myth #4 - I don't send regular emails because I don't want to spam people
Your mailing list is one of your greatest assets. People have joined your mailing list because they want to hear from you. They expect to receive regular emails from you. If they don't they will think you are disorganised and not a very reputable brand. It is in your interests to communicate with your mailing list regularly to build your know, like and trust AND tell them your offers (YES! I mean sell to them)
Myth #5 - I need to be everywhere, doing everything!
Result? Complete OVERWHELM, inaction and paralysis. This usually results from not having a clear plan. No income strategy. No impact strategy. No customer attraction strategy. No plan of what to do when. No wonder you're overwhelmed. It's easy in the early days of business to manage everything but as you learn more, do more, commit to more - there's always going to be more to do. The skill is to decide what to concentrate on, what to delegate and what to release. A clear strategy helps you achieve this.
Myth #6 - My customers aren't on social media
I bet they are! You might not have found them yet but they're more than likely on there somewhere. There are 2 billion people on Facebook alone. 64% of all internet users have a social media account. There are 1.2 billion Instagram users, 562 million LinkedIn users and 335 million active users on Twitter every month! Now is absolutely the time to be on social media if you want to reach a wider audience of your target customers. Even if you're selling B2B social media should form a key part of your marketing strategy.
Myth #7 - Social Media is such a time-suck and not an effective way to grow my business
I agree, social media can be a huge time-suck if you don't know what you're doing, don't have a clue which platforms to focus on, don't know what to post, and don't have a system to keep it going consistently without you being on there 24 hours a day. Checking your phone every 5 minutes to like a tweet, respond to a post or reply to a message is not an effective way to run your business. But there are simple and effective ways to just spend a couple of hours planning and scheduling your content for the month ahead so you can focus your time on responding to enquiries and messages.
Myth #8 - We don't create enough impact yet to justify measuring it or collating data
As a Social Entrepreneur impact should be at the heart of your business. You shouldn't just look at impact retrospectively you should plan it in to everything you do. This way you'll always have an opportunity to notice if you're making any and collect the data you need along the way. Impact doesn't have to life- or world-changing it can just be the simple, incremental difference you make. But if you're not collecting it you can't communicate it, and if you can't communicate it people will question whether you're achieving what you say you want to achieve.
If you're just starting out and really don't have anything to demonstrate yet then communicate your vision instead! This works just as powerfully.
Myth #9 - Having a £100k/year Social Enterprise means working crazy hours and I just don't want that
This is your business so you get to decide how many hours you work, what you do and what it takes to reach £100k/year. There are hundreds of different ways to run a business don't limit yourself to other people's expectations and past experiences. The reality is most people don't take the time to decide how they want to live their life or run their business - they just do. If reaching £100k/year and only working 20 hours a week is important to you then find a strategy that makes that happen. It is absolutely possible!
Myth #10 - I'm not a CEO...
... I just set up this business ("Founder"), run it on my own ("Solo-preneur"), have it as my only source of income ("self-employed") and I'm responsible for the businesses strategy and decisions ("CEO")! Haha! You are definitely a CEO so start calling yourself one, be empowered by that title and take responsibility for what you have to do in your business to reach the goals you have for it.
How was it reading through those 10 myths? Could you recognise any as things you hear yourself saying or believing?
When we explore these its easy to see how we fill fears and knowledge gaps with myths that don't serve us. Dispelling these myths are important so you can discover new ways to build your business that actually work and get your results!
If you’re struggling with any of the myths I’ve listed below you might want to take a look at my Impact Communications That Convert - Live Group Coaching Programme here.