Three Tips For Moms In Business

Moms in business for the first time in years after starting a family face many bumps in the road along the way. It can be pretty frustrating trying to balance a loving family with restarting a career. It can be even bumpier for a mom starting a career for the first time. But thankfully others have gone before us and can teach us a lot, such as the 3 tips for moms in business: Networking and Associations, Conferences, and Coaching; 3 ways to hit less bumps on the road and have more success.

1) Like anything else in life one great way to make connections and find success is through associations and networking. For moms starting a business online there are actually a lot of available options for connecting with others. This is not only beneficial for business success, but it’s wonderful for connecting to others going through the same thing you are- being a mom with kids trying to run a business. You can learn from those who went before you, connect with those in the same boat, and even help others who come after you. You can find all sorts of websites, blogs, forums, directories, etc that can help you associate and network.

2) Conferencing is a great way to not only learn and grown, but also to do business. From connections and new friendships to making sales, conferences were made for moms. There are many in person conferences you can attend, both for women and in general. The same is true online, you can find all kinds of web conferences, webinars, and even more personal chat, web chat, and Skype conferences you can be a part of. For moms in business, conferencing is a must at some point along the road.

3) Coaching makes a player better. We all know that a great coach will make a player, who listens and has passion, much better. The basketball legend Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson, who coached him to 6 NBA championships. Bela Karolyi coached gymnasts Dominique Moceanu and Kerri Strug to Olympic gold in the 1996 Olympics. Coaches, through understanding and experience, bring out the best in those they teach. The same is true for any area of life. For a mother starting her own business online, a coach is priceless. A good coach will not only coach you on your career and business, but also in life, how to manage emails and soccer games. A good place to go next would be a website specifically geared towards mom coaches.

Moms in business from home today have a lot of informational resources available through the internet. Moms can network, belong to associations, conference with similar entrepreneurs and customers, and be coached by those who have walked in the same shows. Moms can have businesses and families at the same time and be happy.

How to Market and Advertise A Tutoring Business

As an independent tutor, it can be difficult to stand out from the large franchises when first starting your business, so keep in mind that first impressions are everything, and your marketing is key to growing your tutoring business!

It is important to give a professional, business-like first impression. Having business cards made is a great way to start. I recommend having your picture on your business cards so that it will help personalize your tutoring services and make you stand out from the big franchises. You should also include the specific subjects you tutor, along with your website and contact information.

Once you have your business cards, take a minute to send a personal note in the mail to teachers in your area with whom you would like to receive referrals. Let them know about your services and include several business cards along with your letter. This is an inexpensive way, once again, to send a personal touch to teachers and potential referrals in your community.

Printing flyers with the same information as your business cards and including a testimonial is also a great way to advertise your tutoring business. Most communities allow flyers to be placed in newspaper boxes as well as libraries and community bulletin boards.

Most counties and cities will have an official tutor directory. If you call the Education Department in your city or county, you can ask them how to be placed on their list. Usually it is a small, one-time fee (if any fee at all) and this list will continue to produce leads for you.

For internet traffic you can list your business on Google Places (this is free) as well as on Craigslist to help you get referrals from the internet. There are also tutoring directories online that advertise your tutoring business at a small cost (usually a monthly fee).

Having yard signs made can be costly but can also yield great results. You can post them at busy intersections or in your front yard to attract new clients.

In my opinion, the best way to market and advertise your tutoring business is through referrals and word of mouth. Once you have been tutoring for 6 months you will notice that many of your leads are coming from referrals. It is a great idea to have a referral program and offer a free tutoring session for any referrals that you are given.

Also, if you notice that a certain teacher or school administrator is sending you referrals, it is a great idea to send them a thank you note and even a thank you gift, if appropriate.

Happy Tutoring!

Looking for Business in All the Wrong Places

Jerry’s web marketing business swung between super for two or three weeks to strangely quiet with new business the next month… or longer. Because the clients signed on for six-to-twelve month contracts, there was work to do with optimizing site structures, competitive research, building and configuring special search engine-friendly site maps, and all the rest. However, the growth of the business was a serious concern for Jerry and his loyal project managers, as well as cash flow, as new clients brought in the most new revenue.

When I sat down to talk with Jerry about his growth plan, he started to tell me how with only a few hundred thousand dollars, he could open additional sales offices in the suburbs of major cities, where many white collar businesses operate. “Great,” I said after he had gone into more details and further away from his day to day concerns. “Just tell me what you would train your sales force to say and who you would have them say it to as a first step in building your sales pipeline.”

Jerry looked at me with a flash of sternness in his eyes. That was enough to let me know the four word challenge would be coming up soon enough. Then he launched into what I call the “inevitability sales pitch.”

“Well, it used to be that a business would buy a phone book ad or a newspaper ad and customers would find them by flipped through the pages. But now, things are different. People are online and businesses need to get their web sites found. Buyers are surfing the web these days. Too many businesses have web sites that are outdated, hard to find, and poorly designed. They’ve got to get out of the shadows and be found in Google and Yahoo and Bing. We have special ways of getting our client web sites found by people looking for local businesses to do business with.”

“All true,” I stipulated. “Now tell me, how are you finding prospects and once you do, what do you do to win them over to becoming a client? Tell me about the last few clients you signed on.”

Jerry began to explain that his cousin, who ran a hair salon, had sent him a few prospects. After all, she was a satisfied customer. With Jerry’s techs running the hair salon web site, his cousin had gotten more calls, more appointments, and more customers than she had in the last two years combined. She was thrilled with her decision to work with Jerry and his team and she enthusiastically told customers, whenever the subject came up. She was a perfect success story.

“Ok, great. What else?” I prompted with my business coach “hat” on.

“Well, I go to a lot of networking meetings. In fact I met the car dealer two months ago, and he signed up last week.”

“Ok, great. Referrals and networking. What else?” I prompted again.

“Don’t you get it?” Jerry raised his voice. “Businesses have to get on the web with better sites in order to get more business. And we can help them do that.”

And there was the famous challenge – “Don’t you get it” – that signaled his argument had come to an end and he was now ready to listen to new ideas.

Unfortunately, not all business owners have the opportunity to “lay it all out” and assess whether the business development plan is as solid as Swiss cheese or granite. You’ve got to start with where you are because it’s hard to make progress without taking a hard, honest look at where you are now and the results your current processes are delivering.

Too many companies are like Jerry’s was — and some of them are pretty good sized businesses with payrolls and offices and perks — that have grown and plateaued because they rely on what got them to where they are now instead of what they need to do to get to the next level of stability, predictability, growth, and so on.

In Jerry’s case, his top three priorities needed to become addressing the weaknesses of a poorly formed set of criteria for good prospects, the need for a series of messages to educate a qualified prospect to make them feel the need and urgency to do business with Jerry’s company, and a lack of a pipeline process to prevent people from slipping between the cracks.

In a strong economy where business is flowing easily, it’s easier to grow without good tools, training, and systems. However, in tight (i.e. scared) economies, you really need to raise the level of your business development in order to grow.

Advanced lessons to extract:

1. Take stock of your business development activities and rank their effectiveness.

2. Ask yourself if the methods you’re using are truly scalable. In other words, if you invested 5x or 10x the resources, would they yield a proportionate response or a less favorable response?

3. A business development pipeline is a system, not just a series of tactics or activities. With a system, you can analyze which parts are performing on par and which need attention to make sure you are getting the best results.