The #1 mistake to avoid to build a successful online business in 2022
I know you pour your heart and soul into your business – but are you making this key mistake? I’m going to do some industry myth-busting, and help you avoid making this one critical mistake in your online business.
The #1 lie you’re being told
If you’re growing an online coaching or service-based business, chances are you’ve seen lots of different experts, teachers, and gurus teaching you how to grow your business. While many of them are very credible and do have valuable expertise, there is also one big problem I’m seeing in the industry – and that is the idea that the ONLY thing you need to master to grow a successful business is marketing.
While marketing is a crucial aspect of your business, it’s absolutely NOT the only thing you need to focus on if you want to build an online business that can stand the test of time.
So let’s get right into this shall we?
The difference between marketing & business coaching
Everywhere you look in the online space there are teachers telling you how to grow your business. And I’m not one for hypocrisy – I totally get that that’s what I’m doing too – I’m sharing education, resources, and tips that are all focused on growing and running a successful business.
But the problem is this: most people claiming to be business coaches or teachers are actually digital marketing experts. I’ve noticed a widespread phenomenon in this industry of people selling marketing advice disguised as business advice.
Now don’t get me wrong – digital marketing is important. It is a crucial part of your business, and it’s a skill you definitely need to learn and develop if you want to get in front of your ideal customers and sell more of your products and services.
It’s just not the ONLY skill you need to learn and focus on.
In the early stages of your business, learning how to effectively market yourself is one of the most important skills you will need to develop; you are already an expert in your field and have a specific way that you support your clients and customers. But the initial challenge is always: “how do I find people to pay me for my services?”. This is one of the foundations you feel the most strongly about building because, let’s be honest, we all have bills to pay!
Now while finding clients might be the most urgent challenge – as a new business owner you’re also going through a massive amount of learning in other areas (they just often take the back burner to marketing).
- You’re learning how to package your products and services
- You’re refining your sales skills
- You’re learning how to effectively manage your time
- You’re learning the keys to effective delegation
- You’re learning how to manage customer experience
- …and more!
But the reality is that often the Marketing side of your business takes precedence – it’s urgent (you need to generate revenue) and it’s also the sexiest selling feature for online coaches to sell you on.
Once you start to bring in revenue, you’re likely to find yourself realizing just how much help you need in the other areas of your business. When you only focus on marketing and client acquisition, there will be fallout in other areas of your business, and this is where a technical business coach can come in and help you with a more sustainable growth strategy.
So, what happens when you only focus on marketing
When you focus exclusively on building out your marketing strategies, you shoot yourself in the foot. While it’s important to focus on client acquisition, it’s equally important to focus on client fulfillment and retention. When you spend all your time on marketing via social media and other channels, you can often find yourself burning out with content creation and keeping up with the various platforms. Now instead of being an asset to your business, your marketing is becoming a risk – it’s causing you to feel overwhelmed and burned out, which impacts every area of your business (I mean, you are your brand, right?!).
Some of the possible side effects of focusing exclusively on your marketing may be:
- Booking too many clients/calls and not being able to fit them all in your calendar
- Overlooking back-end client experience that leaves your clients not feeling cared for
- Becoming overwhelmed and burned out by a content strategy that is not sustainable
- Poor client experience leading to low retention and a lack of testimonials and referrals
All of these possible side effects are preventable – but they require you to actively build a business strategy that is stable and sustainable – this is why technical business coaching is so important to help you look at all areas of your business, so you can grow steadily without it costing your sanity.
The four key areas you must focus on to grow a well-rounded business (that can actually stand the test of time)
So how do you know if you’re focusing on all the right things? There are four foundational pillars of a business that each need to be developed. In the corporate world, we see different functions or departments that are all overseen by the CEO. We can take a similar approach when building an online coaching or service-based business and practice being the CEO who integrates those 4 pillars.
Let’s break down some of the key things you need to focus on to build a stable online business. There are lots more topics within each pillar, but these are some of the most common and important you’ll want to cover as your business grows: (of course, the details will change depending on your business model, but many of the elements listed below are universally important across business types)
- Developing a suite of products or services that meet your ideal clients needs
- Refining and incorporating feedback into your offers to improve them
- Designing new revenue streams that encourage your clients to come back for more
- Understanding your key messaging and ideal platforms
- Developing content marketing systems
- Getting to know your ideal client and how to speak to them
- Growing your audience with connection and authenticity
- Streamlining your processes to reduce overwhelm
- Creating systems and automations
- Using the right tools and software
- Personal development and mindset
- Hiring and team building
- Leadership + delegation
So now that you know the 4 key areas of your business you need to develop, how do you actually make sure you’re doing it without driving yourself crazy? I’ve got some tips for you to get started:
3 tips for growing a sustainable & successful business:
If you want to grow your business to have long-term and lasting success, these tips are for you!
- Take a skills-based approach – a lot of this will be new, so take the time to think about what skills you need to develop, and seek out trainings + experience for you to grow and practice those skills (even things like leadership and confidence are skills that can be built!)
- Block out time in your calendar to assess and strategize in your business – don’t only look at how you can grow revenue, but also how you can increase client retention, improve team experience, and free up more of your time – really try to take yourself out of the day to day and think big picture
- Finally, practice analyzing your business – business analysis is a whole skill – take some time to determine where you feel strong vs. where you want to grow. Prioritize those growth projects and start to seek out experts that can help you get there.
Conclusion: How to make sure you’re building a business that will last
I always say building a business is a marathon not a sprint. That’s why it’s so important to be conscious of building something the right way – I want you and your business to stand the test of time, which is why it’s so critical to actually develop the skill of running and operating a business (as well as all the individual functions of that business).
Business Building Resources
Snag all my fave tools and resources from 12+ years of building businesses!