Once your website has achieved a noticeable amount of traffic, you’ve hopefully landed your first group of clients, vendors and are now busy providing your best work to a growing audience. What you do next can make the critical difference between years of stagnated growth and finally being able to strategically drive your brand into the stratosphere.
To get your project where it is now, you’ve been fighting for respect, begging for sales and struggling for each second of everyone’s attention. You know as much as anyone, it hasn’t been easy!
Coming from where you’ve just been, it can be awkward to use your new leverage (rising web traffic and market influence) to confidently ask for previously hard-to-get meetings, to request consideration for solid strategic partnerships and to hopefully increase your revenue from those who are profiting handsomely from your efforts.
It’s time to learn your new place on the totem pole. Before you were a weak little fish, now you’re quickly becoming a shark. If you want to get further ahead with your new business, let’s start throwing your weight around!
1: Get Your House In Order.
Before you begin taking strategic measures to raise your profile and expand your business, it’s important to first get your existing house in order and to be as efficient as possible in handling the customers and traffic that you already have.
Taking things to the next level means freeing up your time and increasing your capacity to handle more business. Start by honestly answering these questions:
- Are you handling everyone’s needs to the best of your ability? Can their experience be better?
- Are there things taking up your time that can be outsourced to a qualified third party service?
- Is marketing automation a good option for you? What about accounting?
- Should you consider hiring someone? Even a part-time, virtual assistant?
- Is your SEO optimized? Is it, really, optimized?
- Are you wasting money on monthly expenses that you don’t actually need?
- Have you researched all available resources to look for ideas for services that will help optimize everything from the get go? [View them here.]
- Have you used the competitive analysis tool recommendations on this site to see if your competition is doing anything that you should be? [View them here.]
- Have you explored A/B & Multivariate Split Testing options to ensure you’re maximizing your current site audience? [View them here.]
The goal for your business is a perfect execution, which will require a constant attention to detail and never letting your ego get in the way of shifting some of the workload to qualified vendors, employees and services.
“In life, you need many more things besides talent. Things like good advice and common sense.”
– Hack Wilson
2: Get The Best Advice Possible.
The most brilliant and powerful entrepreneurs rarely go at it alone, choosing instead to surround themselves with the best available advisors, strategists, and high-level consultants. The top athletes in the world wouldn’t have ever come close to their full potential without having had at least one experienced coach pushing them to perform their best. This is true for any kind of high performing individual.
Smart people always aim to be the dumbest one at their table.
Not surprisingly, low performing individuals have a tendency to do mostly the opposite. They assume that they know everything. They feel more comfortable listening to whatever information supports what they wanted to believe. Continuous education throughout their career is rarely a priority. And, while they may still be the dumbest one at their table, they’ve done a pretty good job at making sure this intellectual bar was pretty low to begin with!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve operated on both sides of this fence. When I was in my mid-20s, I was terrible about understanding that I didn’t know everything. My closest friends, love them as I may, weren’t entrepreneurs. And while I managed to muddle my way through it all — inefficiently at best, the exponential gains didn’t come until I completely surrendered to being a student of everything and everyone around me.
Getting the best advice possible isn’t only about making sure that you’re operating to the best of your ability, it serves as a constant reminder that there is always another level and that mediocrity isn’t something that you’ll tolerate.
Knowing what I know today, I would have easily made 3x the revenue on my last two businesses. I can’t wait to see what I learn next and how that changes things in the future.
Go out and seek counsel from the people who will help to challenge what you believe, who won’t sugarcoat things to keep you happy and who will keep your game razor sharp throughout each and every one of your triumphs. Read books. Lots and lots of books.
And if you believe that you’ve finally become the best that you can be, it’s time to find a better quality of advisors.
“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.”
– James Joyce
3: Make Sure Everyone Understands Your Value.
We have a natural tendency of gravitating towards those who we view as being successful, noteworthy, knowledgeable or who have the influence to amplify what we are working on. It is what it is. You might say it’s why the Kardashians are a thing. So while humility may well have a useful place in your personal life, you need to be willing to suck it up and brag a little when you are working to capitalize on your new professional successes.
If you have something that legitimately increases your credibility, it’s important to regularly (and tastefully) make sure that everyone in your industry knows about it. Shout it from the rooftops. Get them talking. Then keep the conversation going.
- When you have had a substantial jump in consistent website traffic.
- When you’re delivering an impressive amount of leads, sales or business conversions to those you work with.
- When you have partnered with a well-known brand, celebrity, product or event series.
- When you receive positive press attention, accolades, awards or endorsements.
- When you release an innovative or acclaimed new product, piece of content or artistry.
- When your brand or business now has the ability to massively influence your following.
You’re not trying to overhype things, or to be inauthentic in selling yourself as something that you aren’t — that will backfire spectacularly (especially on social media), but it’s hard to compound your successes when no one is talking about them.
One size most assuredly does not fit all when showing off victories. Your techniques should always vary depending on who you’re reaching out to. Be nuanced with some, brazen with others.
I’ll usually treat this as a full on marketing expense, every so often allocating a decent budget for promoting towards people who are relevant to a growing business. Get creative in what that means for you.
Sometimes a simple Facebook post will do, other times you should print marketing decks, direct mailers or even drop off boxes of delicious cupcakes to help wash down the accompanying 8.5″ x 11″ branded folder that’s full of your latest professional accomplishments.
When someone needs something to help them look good, who are they going to call?
“Without initiative, leaders are simply workers in leadership positions.”
– Bo Bennett
4: Take Action. Start Scheduling Meetings.
Once your business is efficient, the best available advice is in place and you’ve established some positive buzz around your recent wins, it’s time to take the money shot.
If your buzz went well (and your mentors recommended some good contacts), it’s possible that you already have more people calling and e-mailing you with pitches for various opportunities.
Take the calls, answer the e-mails, but now is no time for being lazy or limiting yourself only to those who took the time to reach out to you. Have the initiative of scheduling face-to-face and phone meetings with everyone of relevance. And don’t wait to do it, either. It’s important to always ride the coattails of your last successes while everyone is still talking about them.
You’re not trying to hard sell anyone on anything, but merely having one-on-one time with the right people will usually enhance your business relationships and can easily result in increased revenue.
How to break the ice? Tell them that you would like to meet and share some of the things that you’ve got going on, learn more about their upcoming endeavors and to see if there are any ways to further collaborate or work together on anything in between. Simple as that.
Don’t forget. What is one of the easiest ways to get what you want? Try asking for it. – JC