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Read and respond to changes in your marketplace before they hurt your business
With so much business activity centered online these days, it’s easy to think that if you’re not out there pushing your message too, you’ll miss all the clients.
But your message needs crafting with care: Clumsy sales material leaves you open to unwanted price negotiations and low-ballers. Well-crafted messages hit all the right emotional spots but only if they’re placed in front of the right people.
Whether you’re a freelancer, coach, or entrepreneur, you’re constantly giving out signals telling your clients and customers how to respond to you. And they’re doing the same to you.
The question is, are you both on the same page?
There’s a Wing Chun Kung-Fu training exercise called “Sticky Hands” that develops your ability to read and respond to an opponent’s intention before your eye sees any movement.
This exercise naturally makes the mind go quiet and hone in on messages your senses are delivering.
It’s more quiet-time than meditation because while meditation can feel unachievably zen, quiet-time is doable – we’ve all pushed away the noise and relaxed in the flow of a single thought.
This feeling of “sticky hands” and quiet time is what you want to bring in when your market seems to be getting away from you, and I’ll show you how to do that in a second.
By keeping sticky hands on your marketplace, you too will be able to read market signals and respond to movement by making appropriate changes to your business strategy in good time.
The right market is a mindset, not a customer avatar
Some years ago, 90% of my client-base came from Twitter and I never had to haggle on price. I was highly active and visible with a strong network of peers and followers providing tremendous support.
I shut down my Twitter when I relocated to the Middle East as Operations Director for some start-ups.
When I returned to the UK, Twitter had changed. Or I had. Social networks no longer held much appeal and the flavour of Twitter had changed anyway. It was a lot angrier and messier than I remembered.
I use social media for different reasons now. These days my clients come from a variety of channels and the demographics have evolved. By keeping sticky hands on my marketplace, I knew what to change and when. I still never have to haggle on price.
How to keep sticky hands on your market
The most obvious signal that something needs to change is when your customer base dries up.
But you don’t want to let it get to that stage. This is how you keep sticky hands on your market place so that you can feel minute tremors before they cause negative impact:
- Set your own strategies. Social-media managers/coaches have a vested interest in pushing social media for business. Don’t let someone else’s business goals drive your business.
- Learn how your business feels and fits your personality, philosophy, and targets. Don’t freewheel into your business. Every activity you do needs a measurable, trackable goal that fits your longer-term strategy. This way you know whether a tactic will support your business or move you away through wishful thinking.
- Differentiate between real targets and vanity targets. Don’t rely on social media engagement targets as a market-evaluation strategy – the vast majority of people do not leave likes or comments. Especially on sensitive products and services.
- Talk to your clients and peers regularly and not just about business. It’s a way to keep yourself abreast of the economic mood. Don’t rely on the news for this because economic fluctuations touch some people more leniently than others. You want to know how your customers are affected and how you can best help.
- Learn to recognise activities that don’t produce results. Everything you do should be trackable and measurable. It’s okay to try things and it’s okay for things not to work out. It’s not okay to keep doing something that’s clearly more effort than it’s worth. You’ll become jaded and resentful.
If you’re looking to develop your business in a more structured way, I offer 6-month and 12-month coaching packages helping you navigate your business. You’ll learn to sell, market, and write – all through the practical lens of your own business. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping tabs on your marketplace is proactive and keeps you in a position of control. One of the advantages of being a small business is that you can make changes to your business strategy quickly and smartly.
Be flexible because your marketplace is always up to something new.