Tag Archives: Creative Business

What’s Holding You Back in Your Small Business? {And My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World}

Facebook Business

I have to confess, my ethnicity held me back for many years. For 40 years in fact, I felt like a 2nd-class citizen. Being born in Sydney to migrant parents, and growing up in an “Anglo” area, I never quite felt “good enough” (or white enough). As a kid I would have killed for a shop-bought white-bread vegemite-sandwich like everyone else around me. Instead I sported home-made-salami and mum’s home-pickled-artichokes on chunky-pana-de-casa for lunch. However, rather than relishing my differences and celebrating my ethnicity, I slunk into a cycle of unconfidence and under-valuing myself. It was a tough gig.

I have run multiple successful multi-million-dollar businesses since I was 19, and in business I have always been confident. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, being “good” at business has always come naturally to me. My mum always says I popped out at a quarter to nine on a Monday morning, bright and chirpy, ready to do business. And at 6, I was “selling” mudcakes from the window of our cubby-house to any willing passer-by, already a budding entrepreneur.

But even as an adult, at 40, I was not really “owning” my true talents. So on the eve of my 40th birthday (4 years ago) a series of catastrophic events in my personal life led me to an epiphany. And in that place of insight, I realised that my “ethnicity” was holding me back in business and in my personal life too. I felt I had nothing to offer, because I was never good enough, or so I believed. I needed to let go of that “ethnic” chip on my shoulder. It was more of a boulder, and it was holding me back from being who I really wanted to be. I decided I needed to let go of the “ethnic filter” that I was seeing the world through and that was my excuse for not taking the next step in my career. I needed to release myself from the yearning to be like “everyone else”. It was time to grow up. And it was the best thing I ever did. Because in doing this, The Like Effect was born, where I am now able to share what I have learned in my 24 years experience of business and help others avoid the inherent pitfalls of running a small business.

What changed for me significantly on the eve of my 40th birthday, was a realisation that I had the choice to focus on sharing my talents and what I was “good at” with the world, rather than focus on what I wasn’t good at. I made the conscious choice to believe that I have value. And slowly slowlyI started to believe that what I was good at, was worth sharing, and that my extensive experience in private, public and corporate business, could indeed help somebody else.

Business Facebook Mentoring in Byron Bay

This week I have helped other small business owners from Connecticut to Utah, from Sydney to the Gold Coast, from Lismore to Ballina, from Byron Bay to Bangalow, from Mullumbimby to London. And that’s just one typical week for me. And I have to say, that when I see my work in action these days, and I see that I am helping other small business owners kick some business goals of their own, every single week and every single day, I am truly humbled. But the confidence I have today hasn’t come easily. It has been a steep learning curve the last 4 years to be fully myself, and I didn’t get here by accident….

By the way, I am not sharing this story with you as a way of “personal purging”. My blog is not a place for me to vent or dump on you, my precious readers. I am sharing this piece of “personal me”, this side of my humanity, because many small business owners that mentor and workshop with me, have serious doubts about the value of their product and suffer the lack of confidence to price their products correctly (which is a reflection of their own lack of self-worth). And so I have shared my story with you today because one of the major restraints I see every day holding back many small-business owners, is THEMSELVES.

If you suffer from undervaluing yourself (and your products), then you may feel better to know that learning to “get out of your own way” is one of those universal challenges that many small business owners have in common, regardless of culture, country or education. You’re not alone.

Especially as your business starts to grow and expand, your insecurities will no doubt rise up with a vengeance and threaten to swallow you up. Or worse, your weaknesses could bottleneck your business and stop it from progressing and flourishing.

So, tell me, is there something holding you back? A belief that you are not good enough? A habit that devalues what you do? A voice inside your head that drives you to under-price your product and be in a constant cycle of discounting? Are there external forces (or people) bringing you down?

Until you stop blaming your race, education, parents and other external factors, your business will never grow. To truly take-off in your business, you have to believe that you (and your product) has value……

Having overcome this challenge myself over the last 4 years, I can say from experience that having belief in yourself takes some practice, daily practice. And if I have been able to overcome my fears, a shy geeky girl from non-English-speaking migrant parents who felt too uncool to share her talents most of her young (and adult) life, so can you. I can’t tell you how so incredibly empowering it feels to be sitting inside your own personal power. And that once you have felt the bliss of what this feels like, and tasted the sweet fruits that this personal power can yield to you, you will never want to look back.

Along the way I found some simple yet very powerful steps that helped to unstick me from holding myself back in doing what I really wanted to do when I grew up. And finally at a ripe age of 40 years young, I realised that coaching others to be more awesome versions of their already-talented selves and to help other small business owners find the juicer paths in their business, was the path that would bring me most joy and bliss in my life. And because I am a sharing-kinda-ethnic-gal…..

Here are My Top 5 Tips to Help Rock Your World….

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People. Eliminate toxic situations (and people) from your life. While you are caught up with who said what to whom, and which competitor is copying you now, you would’ve missed another golden opportunity to meet a new customer or discover a supplier that could change the course of how you could do things, for the better. *Negativity will only hinder your growth*

Cast Your Seeds onto the Most Fertile Soil. Don’t waste your time being caught up in unfertile activities. Focus on the Juicy tasks, only…

2. Streamline Your Business so that the stressful tasks are outsourced. Also outsource the tasks that you are not good at. For example, if you are not good at book-keeping, hire a freelance book-keeper. This not only frees you up to do what you are good at, it will also make you feel more confident in what you are doing, because you are spending less time sucking at what you’re not good at. *Your time is better spent on strengthening your talents. The more you do what you do, you will grow more confident, as you get better and better at it, every day.*

Sharpen Your Saw – Every Day – Get Better at What You’re Good At. This is where the well of confidence will spring from…

3. Seek Solid Support. From your partner. From a friend. To help you see what you are already great at. To help you navigate the sometimes uncertain waters of the business world. To help you weather the criticisms and stormy events you may encounter. And if help is not forthcoming, seek help from a mentor. You may be a team of one (or three) but you are a team none-the-less, and you are the captain of your ship. So seek out some extra team members to help you run your business. You are not Robinson Caruso, you are not meant to do this alone. And you don’t have to add full time staff by the way, but seeking out some support could be the sanity-saver you need. *It’s okay to seek guidance so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes that countless other business owners have already encountered before you. Learn from their mistakes.*

You didn’t sign up for “good enough” – you signed up for AWESOME. So get the help you need to be a better version of you, so that your business will not only survive, but also flourish into the future…

4. Make a “Dream” board and pin everything on it that you really desire in your business (and life). I don’t mean this in a hippie-dippy kinda-way, I mean this in a visual/inspiring/”these are my goals” kinda way. Because if you haven’t got a vision, then you won’t know which daily steps to take, to bring you closer to your goals. *Having a vision, a goal, a mission statement, whatever you want to call it, ensures that you are only focusing on the tasks that are relevant to your goal. Everything else just drops away as unimportant* 

A Ship Without a Rudder is a Ship Going Nowhere. Having a daily direction gives your business meaning, purpose and a road map…

Which brings me to my last point….

5. Take Focussed Steps Every Day, to bring you closer to your goals….. Change the board around. Remove the goals that cease to be important. Add goals that have bubbled up as being important to you right now. Be prepared that the goal posts may change, and that’s okay. Changing goals is inevitable when you are living a conscious and aware life. So don’t just be “busy” at the tasks that scream for your attention the loudest. Make the conscious choice, every day, to focus on the priorities THAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT, TODAY. *Focus daily on your most important goals and you will find that the accumulation of these steps over the course of a year, will add up to a highly focused, meaningful and fruitful year in business*

Masters Focus on what They are Good At, that’s How They Became Masters. Share your talents, share what you are good at, practice daily, focus on important goals daily, not just “busy” work, and you will reap the rewards…

And if you still don’t believe me, here’s some food for thought….

Facebook business

I still struggle sometimes with “comparing” myself with other people, but that’s part-and-parcel of breaking the “perfectionist” cycle that I encased myself in. But that’s a whole other blog post….

That’s my 2-cents worth Peeps – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, as this kinda-stuff moves me. And seeing my clients start to really believe in their product and the possibility of their businesses really flourishing online, also makes me feel that I have done my job…… And if I can help even one person believe in themselves more, then I have fulfilled my purpose…..

So if I have helped you rock your world, I would feel as famous as a rockstar if you shared this blog post with your friends in your favourite online space…

Thank you for reading. And here are the buttons to share with….

Read reviews about the awesome work I do, here Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

With Incredible Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Both Photos from facebook.com/UnitedHumanists}

How to Find the Voice of Your Business

business coaching

It’s no surprise that Virgin mogul Richard Branson (one of my business heroes) has a cheeky brand. And unashamedly so, he makes no excuses for letting his cheekiness seep into all of his businesses. From cheeky taglines in all of the Virgin advertisements to Facebook campaigns that are always fresh and a little bit left-of-centre. I love them.

Here’s a campaign that just came out a few days ago, for the “Virgin Produced” company…..

business facebook(c) Virgin Produced

And, here’s another cheeky Virgin post on Facebook from just the other day! Love it!

business mentoring(c) Virgin

So why is Sir Dick’s brand so unconventional? It’s because Richard Branson is himself cheeky. His personality therefore seeps through all of his business dealings including the marketing of all of his companies.

And of course, even the name of Branson’s whole empire “Virgin”, still lies somewhere between avant garde and shocking. We are all quite used to it by now, but I remember when “Virgin Music” first burst onto the scene in the 80′s, we were all a little taken aback. His style and attitude, even in business circles, was definitely “progressive” back then.

Branson is brash, a risk taker, and therefore, so are his companies, in every aspect. And so I bring you to my point that the “Voice” of any business follows the personaility of its’ owner. “The Voice” of a company starts at the top. It’s the only place it can start, really.

Following a presentation I gave last week at the Stella Group in Lismore, NSW, my inbox was flooded with lotsa folks asking me questions like….

How do I find the Voice of my Facebook Page? How do I find the Voice of my business? What is the process to do this?

You see, the topic of my talk was….

How to find The Voice of Your Business on Facebook

When I am coaching my clients, my advice is that the “Voice” of your Facebook Page actually starts with the Voice of your business. The Voice of your business stems from the business owner themselves, and this starts with your own story.

I always believe in leading by example, so I am happy to share my story with you. If you’re interested in reading a tale of what drives me, here’s my full story or a short bio here. If not, let’s push on so I can explain where I’m going with this post…..

But suffice to say, my bottom line is…. I was born to help. Some of my clients affectionately nickname me Dr. Francesca. If you’ve had the time to read my story, you’ll understand why….

If you don’t have the time to read my full story, here’s a brief snippet….

I wrote my first “computer program” when I was 14 years old, almost 30 years ago. This was a decade before the Internet was even invented. It was a high school assignment (I was lucky to be at a progressive school for the times)  and we were asked to program the rules of Snakes&Ladders with a 1 player and 2 player option. I remember being mesmerised by how you could join the dots together and how you could make the pieces of a concept fit beautifully, almost like composing notes on a page into a song. And I remember feeling equally distraught when the whole game fell apart when the structure wasn’t programmed right.

I was fascinated by this new phenomena called “Information Technology”, and I could see, even 30 years ago, that this “Technology” was no passing fad.

I could see that if we could program these machines called “computers” to do tasks for us automatically, that the whole of humanity could perform every task more efficiently. I knew this had to be a good thing, and something of a revolution in the way we did things. This was in the early 80′s after all, when things just clunked along pretty uncohesively, compared to the level of automation and ease we have now with iPhones, iPads, internet banking, WiFi, the list goes on!

So let me explain where I’m going with this post…. (stay with me on this one, I am telling you these stories for a reason, but stick with me because in a minute I’ll step you through a powerful exercise that will help You find The Voice of Your Business too)….

From that process of programming a simple Snakes&Ladders game, I became fascinated with automation. I was in awe of processes that linked together. I went on to learn about this new way of thinking in the IT degree that I later studied at University.

Combine this fascination with my inner “doctor” drive, I would have to say, that my heart and my story can be summed up as….

I’m passionate about helping people. I’m excited about connecting the dots. I’m driven to putting the systems and processes together that make life and business easier. I was born to do this job. I was cut out to mentor business people and to help them join their own dots between business and technology

So here’s how I coach my clients to “tune in” to “The Voice” of their own businesses…

First Step, you need to write your story. Yep, I mean on paper.

  • write what first sparked you to start your business
  • what captures your curiosity now
  • what still excites you in your business
  • what drove you to where you are now
  • ask yourself, “what am I passionate about in my business?”

This is Step 1 on Day 1 of a seven-day exercise. You see, over the course of the next week, you are going to do a little exercise that will help you tune in to “The Voice” of your business. It is simple yet powerful. And by the end of 7 days, you will understand exactly what your Voice feels like, looks like and sounds like. So why are we doing this over 7 days? Because this gets the best results, and I will tell you why it does, at the end of this post…oooh, a little surprise is in stall for you :) No peaking!

Step Two is to paint a picture. Yup, with paints, coloured pencils, watercolour, oils, crayons (I’m not joking by the way). Take a fresh piece of paper. It can be anything, butchers paper, a paper napkin, a proper stretched canvas or a lined scrap-pad. Whatever you have lying around. And….

  • draw what your ideal business looks like
  • what the heck, draw what your ideal life looks like
  • be sure to include as many details as you can, go nuts, truly, don’t be shy, the more details you can fill in, the more powerful this exercise will be for you and the more benefit for your business
  • have some fun with this, this is your time to shine baby
  • remember, no-one is watching and there’s no-one marking this, so pour your little heart out into this drawing. This exercise is more about the ideas and the content so don’t worry one iota about the quality of the artwork
  • draw what your ideal customer looks like
  • draw it all and get this all out of your head

And see how good it feels to have….

  1. your story written down, and
  2. your dream business and life drawn into a picture

Remember you don’t need to paint like Rembrant or write verse like Keats. This is not your Masterpiece or your Manifesto. This is part of your overall Business Masterplan, so let it flow, and let it take any shape or form. There is no right or wrong answer, though the only requirement here is to be real, honest and authentic with yourself.

Now you need to mull over what you have written and drawn for a few days, let it wash over you, and come back to this process in 3 days time. It’s really important not to skip this “mulling” step. So perhaps print this post and place it into your diary 3 days forward as a reminder to pick this exercise up again in a few days time. But to give this your best shot, I recommend not doing all these steps at once….

[3 days have passed now and we're ready to move onto Step Three....]

Step Three is to write the sensory values of your business. Whether you have a new or existing business, write down (on a separate piece of paper), what you want your business to

  • look like (is there a white or orange glowing lamp in your B&B foyeur? or do you want your cabins to feel like a Hawaiian cabana by the sea? or a black and white old fashioned photo? sepia maybe?)
  • feel like (do you want to walk into your restaurant and feel like you have bitten into a slice of watermelon or do you want to feel like you’re walking into a cafe in a Rue in Paris?)
  • smell like (is there a vanilla scented candle burning in your shop or can you smell freshly roasted coffee wafting in the background?)
  • sound like (is your business fast and racy with contemporary music playing eg a DJ or Zumba class, or does your business sound calm and peaceful with quieteness or birdsong eg a Yoga class or a quiet retreat)
  • write down all the sensory values of your ideal business, how it looks, feels, smells and sounds like
  • whether you have a shop-front or online business, home-based business or separate office, whether you are selling professional services or tangible goods, everyone can identify the look, feel, smell and sound of their business and their products. This is an important step in order to identify the voice of your business.

You see, what I want you to be doing here is to be connecting with the emotion of your business. How you feel about your business is how your customer is going to feel about your business. And this single factor, how your customer feels about your business, is one of the most significant factors that determines whether a customer will buy from you….

Step Four. Unique Selling Point or UPS. You need to write down on another piece of paper….

  • what is different about your business compared to your competitors
  • what is different about your products compared to businesses similar to yours
  • what is different about the service that you offer compared to other businesses in your industry

They key here is to understand that what you are selling is not the product itself. What you are selling is what is unique about your business. For example, if you sell handbags with detachable covers, the fact that your handbags have a detachable front cover is your unique selling point, not the fact that you are a seller of handbags.

Step Five. Solve a problem. Write this down on another piece of paper….

  • identify what problem your product solves. This is what you are selling. Hint. You are not selling stilettos, you are selling longer, sexier legs.

Step Six. Let this all wash over you for 3 more days. Let the voice of your business simmer, bubble and brew for a little while.

Step Seven. It’s Day 7 and you have now mulled over this for a week, in the background, while you have gone about your regular activities. And if you have done every step in this exercise, you should now be able to lay out in front of you, five bits of paper with these ingredients on them….

  1. your story
  2. your dream life/dream business
  3. the sensory values of your business
  4. your unique selling point
  5. what problem your business is solving

You now have the ingredients of the voice of your business in front of you, and more importantly, out of your head. And this all stems from your own personality, your passion and what drives you, what you are curious about and what you are most excited about in your business. THIS is The Voice of your business.

All the subtleties and nuances of the voice of your Facebook Page lay in the ingredients above. And now that you have let all these ingredients simmer and brew over the last 7 days, it’s time to serve up your beautiful soup. Your dinner party guests are arriving now, and they are arriving in the form of your customers. So go make them something delicious and memorable, go make them a meal they’ll never forget :) And I’ll be here cheering for you xx

PS. Oh, so why do we do this exercise over the course of a week? It’s because by allowing your subconsious to bubble up over a period of time, you are more likely to bypass your thinking brain and connect emotionally with your heart. Once you access how you feel about your business (not what you think about it), only then can you access the true heart and passion of your business. And it is this heart and passion that your customers will be connecting with too, the instant before they buy from you. It is this heart and passion that will open the door to The Voice of your business :)   And if you need a l’il help to find the authentic voice of your business, click here, I’m born to help :) Or if you’re more into DIY, my book “Novice2Ninja” was birthed to help too :)

Cheers

Francesca Esposito-Rose

Helping You find the Voice of Your Business Online

For more posts similar to this, check these out….

The Juice in Your Business

The Voice Feature on Facebook

 

 

 

Top 10 Compelling Reasons Why Small Business Needs Facebook

Fact 1: According to Social Bakers, about 60% of the Australian population are using the Internet in one way or another

Fact 2: and about 50% of the Australian population are using Facebook Personal to connect with their family and friends

Fact 3: but the number of small businesses using Facebook for Business is only around 14% according to Sensis statistics.

Business FacebookPhoto © Francesca Esposito-Rose

Businesses that are not using Social Media in their businesses risk being left behind in the 90′s. Here’s my Top 10 reasons why you need to “get social” in your business….

  1. Your customers are already online – you need to meet them there. There are almost 1 Billion people across the globe using Facebook. You need these eyeballs on your business. Treat Facebook as a new market you never had access to before.
  2. The traditional way we trade is said to be in decline – you need to get out of the 90′s and look towards the new era of online economics. We are entering the “Social Media Era”. Embrace it.
  3. All the big companies are on Facebook – your small business needs to get on board the Social Media train to stay competitive.
  4. “Getting Social” is a great way to connect with your current and new customers. Having a Facebook Fan Page says “I’m listening” to your customers and allows you to have a two-way open conversation. Treat Facebook as one big subscriber list, but with pictures.
  5. “Being Social” as a business makes you transparent and shows that you care about your customers; it shows that you are authentic. Facebook allows you to reveal the people behind your brand and allows you to be more human. Facebook allows you to reveal the human voice of your business. Read: personality.
  6. Facebook provides the most powerful marketing tools available on this blue planet and is the most targeted and cost-effective advertising you can ever lay your hands on.
  7. Everybody is equal on Facebook – Social Media is not run by the big boys. On Facebook, small companies can be big too. The playing field for business has just been levelled - everyone now has an equal chance of being found.
  8. Facebook is not going away any time soon. Users are committed. You need to get with it and make Facebook your friend and add Social Media to your current marketing activities. My ebook “Facebook Business Success in 10 minutes a day” will teach you exactly how to do this quickly and effectively. My easy 10-step method is designed to get your business kicking arse on Facebook in no time at all.
  9. Facebook is rivalling Google as a search engine. You need these eyeballs on your business.
  10. The viral potential of Facebook is ginormous. The ability for friends-of-friends to refer and talk about your business is huge.  You need to tap into the magic of this. The potential for your brand to be exposed on Facebook is phenomenal. Get on this.

For a full discussion of why getting your business onto Facebook is the smartest move you will make this decade, get my eBook Buy eBook Now Only $39.95

Can you think of more reasons for businesses to be on Facebook? Leave a comment in the box below or Like our Facebook page and join the conversation….. Let’s connect :)

Cheers Francesca

The Juice in Your Business

Today I answered a “Burning Question” on one of my favourite blogs DanielleLaPorte.com

The burning question was…

How do you say what you do? (Give your self credit.)

And my answer was…

I mentor businesses to find their voice online, establish client relationships and find the juice in what they do. I have developed a successful 10-step method to help businesses “get social”. I subscribe to grass-roots simplicity; half of what I do is marketing and methodology, the other half is focus. Half is science and strategy, the other half is inspiration. You can’t have the creative hand without the willing arm to move it. I help businesses connect with their passion and their customers….

This got me thinking about a major renovation we did a few years ago to support our re-branding of “SummerHills Resort-Style Accommodation” to SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay. This upgrade did 2 things. It immediately gave the juice of what we were offering (a quiet retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of busy life) rather than just calling our place “resort style accommodation” (this could be anywhere and any type of accommodation). Secondly, it converted the guesthouse to self contained villas which was in keeping with the Tuscany feel of our Byron Bay retreat.

Our builder Dave, was installing the new Tuscany windows on the last day of a long 4 month project. We had the whole renovation beautifully planned which had all gone according to schedule. So far. What could possibly go wrong on day 120 of a 120-day build, right? Well, we hit a major speed bump we didn’t see coming. The “wind-proof” window arms I had imported from the US to hold the windows open and in place without banging even with the slightest breeze, were the wrong size. These levers had taken 3 months to arrive and were ordered from the only place on the planet that sold these special gadgets to do this particular job.

I had guests arriving the next day into our brand new beautiful villas. They had prepaid for the accommodation and the last job was simply to install these windows! I thought we were home and hosed. {Aargh!} Imagine my panic! Within minutes I kicked into backup-plan-mode and started to envisage places I could ring to relocate these guests into different accommodation. Problem was, it was a music festival weekend and we were all booked out months in advance.

I sat on the step with my head in my hands. I knew there was no back-up plan coming to the rescue, when Dave found me and sat next to me. He said…

Francesca, I don’t believe in building problems, I only believe in building solutions.

Th reason why I’m sharing this story with you is to show you that your customers are not buying your products. They are buying your energy. They are not buying your services. They are buying the message behind your brand. In this one statement, Dave gave me comfort and also confidence that the job would be completed on time. Those few kind words reminded me why I had engaged him as a contractor to begin with – because I believed in him as a capable person, not as a capable builder. His exemplary building skills were secondary to my decision in choosing him. The juice he gave me was strong confidence, clear committment and unwavering vision to do whatever was needed to get the job done. And that’s what he did. He put his tricky Ninja builder-brain to work,  burnt the midnight oil to weld and modify the levers for the windows to go in and the guests were checked in the next day. {Phew!}

So my question to you is….

 What is the juice you give to your customers? Do you build houses or create dreams? Do you mow lawns or manifest beauty? Do you take photos or capture joy? Do you massage bodies or nurture souls? Do you counsel patients’ problems or offer wellbeing solutions?  What is the essence of what you give in your business?

Business Mentor

Answering this question is a stepping-stone to your Facebook Business Success   and also the first step we cover in the 10-step strategy in my book. Getting clear on the essence of what you do is your first step to kicking arse with your Facebook for Business Page.

So I’d love to know, what is The Juice in your Business? I’d love for you to leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts or go to www.facebook.com/TheLikeEffect and join the conversation…. See you there !