Why Awareness Matters (A Whole Lot) For Your Business Success

Definitions are always a good place to start. What is awareness?

Awareness- knowledge or perception of a situation or fact (Oxford Dictionary)

People attribute business success to many factors, but I think we might be inclined to think that those with three Cs succeed:

  • Charisma- They have the “it” or “woo” factor.
  • Capital- They have the money to make their dreams a reality.
  • Company- They have the right people around them to promote them.

When businesses fail, we’ve heard that the majority fail in the first five years due to lack of finances. Interestingly, that’s the number two reason, according to Forbes (2017), with the number one reason being that the product or service that the person put on the market did not meet the market’s need. Interesting, huh?

Certainly having charisma, capital, and being in the right company help, but if you have all these advantages yet lack awareness of yourself and your market, you could still end up falling into the large category of businesses that fail because they didn’t meet their market’s needs.

Couldn’t we say that lack of awareness is at the crux of the failure to meet the market’s needs?¬†

Awareness is needed through all seasons of business. Perhaps a person started with lots of awareness of the market and tons of solutions to boot, but times, technology, and needs change. Hence, the way a business runs, the team it acquires, and and the services and products it offers must evolve. Continuous awareness.

The third reason businesses fail is they don’t find the right team (CB Insights, 2019). Awareness of one’s personal strengths and weaknesses, awareness of the skillsets of others, or the awareness to foresee the consequences of keeping the wrong team players onboard all play into why business owners may not have the right team players. Typing that just made me flashback to the first time I had to fire someone. It was horrible. Like I was sick to my stomach. But the thought that made me more sick was what was going to happen in my company if I ignored my own awareness and the lack of awareness this person had about the effects of her actions on the organization.

We see the consequences of the lack of awareness in business on a daily basis: the person who posts WAY too much stuff on their personal or business social pages; the person who you don’t hear from except when they are trying to sell something; the business with zero personality; products that are a dime a dozen and have no stand-out factor in the market yet they are heavily pushed on the market; a company thinking that lowering their prices will move their products, when the real issue is the brand’s messaging hasn’t adequately communicated a value worth the pricetag no matter what it is.

It is certainly easier to look at others’ lack of self-awareness or market awareness, but it is more important to always be examining our own.

What do you plain suck at doing? For me, it’s paper organization. In college, people saw I had systems for everything- studying, test-taking, and putting my research together were areas I shined like a superstar. BUT, for the love of anything you hold dear, I prayed you would not ask me to borrow my awesomely bulleted notes, because the second I tore my notes out of my spiral notebook, they’d be lost forever. You would return them to me, and they would never again make their way back into my notebooks (which is why I kept spirals). I’ve tried every paper system under the sun, and spirals are still what work best for me, because I cannot maintain organization of small items and papers. A harder suck pill to swallow is that I stink at being a boss when the shite hits the fan; however, I excel at being a consultant to organizations (there’s a big difference!).

Over the years as I’ve expanded, rescaled, or morphed my business, I’ve found it so helpful to stay mindful of my awareness. I develop what I can strengthen and don’t beat myself up anymore over what I don’t do well. There are people and technology solutions for those things. The important thing is that we know what we do well. Reading books, taking assessments such as DISC or the Gallup Strengths Finder or the now-popular Enneagram help us take assessment of our strengths, know where we need support, and also recognize how others perceive us.

Be open to feedback. Stubbornness is different from resilience. A resilient business examines itself and its potential market to make ever-shifting decisions to match its offerings with the market’s needs. A stubborn business or business owner does not recognize or ignores the input of others more knowledgeable or errantly wants the market to change their behaviors rather than assume responsibility for the shifts needed to provide to the needs of the market.

It’s a new year, and January is a great time to start writing your business reading lists, find virtual or in-person events, join networking groups and chambers and begin cultivating relationships with people you will actively seek feedback and guidance from. What do you think you can do this year to grow your awareness as a leader and to welcome the feedback of trusted peers and mentors? Where could some simple steps towards increased awareness propel your business. How could these steps shed light on how you need shift your messaging services or product offerings?

It’s a lot to think about, but it’s worth the investment of time to think about.

Dream bigger, and your dreams will be more attainable when your awareness is at its highest!

Geneva

 

 

3 Ways to Communicate Your Value and Pricing

If you sell something, it costs something.

A massage. Photography. Design Services. Clothing. Mental Health Services.

The business formula seems simple enough. You have something to sell. You price it. People buy it. More people buy it. You end up with a mansion on the beach. If only it were that simple.

Your mansion days may come- we should all have big dreams! But often business goes more like this. You have something to sell. You price it. Not so many people buy it. You wonder if you should lower your price, post to social media more often, or update your graphics. You’re just not sure how to get more people to bite on the amazing stuff you have to offer.

Price is a factor in buying behavior, but perceived value is a much stronger pull towards handing over the money.

How do I increase my perceived value and convert more sales? Get your sales message on point.

If you are not saying the right thing, they won’t buy. If what you say resonates with the right people, they buy. Good copy and messaging strategy converts. Poor copy doesn’t, and it won’t matter how many messages you throw out into the world either in person or online, if it’s the wrong message.

All you need are some simple strategy shifts! Let’s look at 3 thoughts you may have had and how to shift mindset to move your messaging.

Communication Challenge 1: I need people to understand all that my pricing entails- the product or service but also all my time to prep, edit, or create.

It’s easy to want to get into a discussion online or in person about all the time you pour into your craft and hence the reflection of your time investment in your pricing, but at the end of the day, the customer is not concerned about you. They want to know what’s in it for them.

The best place to start is to figure out your value proposition. What do you do or sell that is unique to you? Think about process and product. What do you do best and what credentials say so? What benefit can a customer receive from doing business with you that your competition cannot deliver? To figure this out, take a look at a few of your competitors. Do some investigation. Clearly define your difference(s). Like get out paper and pen and write down a Venn diagram to compare and contrast.

Once you know your value proposition and you’ve defined it to paper, you have to start communicating that message at every networking opportunity, on your social platforms, and in your email campaigns by connecting it to the emotional trigger that will make them buy. Does your client value exclusivity, luxury, value, family, beauty…? Align your value proposition with their desires, and you will never have to explain your pricing again.

Communication Challenge 2: I need people to understand my price reflects the quality of my product.

If you sell a thing like clothes, jewelry, baked goods, or art/crafts, you really have to focus on finding your people when it comes to having customers who are fine with your pricing- start with hour value proposition defining as stated above. Look at who is buying from you and what they are saying in their emails to you or testimonials. Then, find more people like them who want the same things- to support small business, to have something they love, to not take chances buying a shirt that is too small on Amazon and then fuss with return, to have a showpiece in their homes.

Once you really dig through a survey or current customer testimonials of why they buy, your customers will have pretty much fed you the verbiage you need to communicate your value to more people like them. Start thinking about how you can find more people like them, and keep in mind people keep company with other people who often have the same buying habits or want to keep up with the Jones’. Referrals and word of mouth are important for all business types, but when we think about how much it influences the way we buy, we’ll realize the power of using messaging to market the people already buying from you to share their “circles of people” with you. Think about how many times you were looking for something, and a friend or family member shared how much they love their___________ and how worth it it was, and next thing you know, you’re on the same buyer rabbit trail.

Communication Challenge 3: I want my customers to know just how much love and passion I have for what I do!

This is a beautiful sentiment to want to get across to your potential and current clientele. All of us should be in love with what we do so much that we want to ooze that love onto others. The best way to write copy to convey all your love, energy, and passion is storytelling. Check out last week’s blog and social media posts to take a deeper dive into this topic, but stories will convey to your audience all your passion and tell them why they should be part of your story (brand).

If you haven’t yet realized it, when you jumped into business, you were unwittingly going to get an honorary degree in psychology! Keep your customer’s thought processes ahead of your own, and your messaging will win over new fans and retain past customers with little effort to selling.

Dream Big and Shine On!

Geneva