My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
Do you like heist movies?
I frickken love ‘em! All the Ocean’s movies (ahh… Clooney. #swoon), The Italian Job, and to some extent Mission Impossible, they’re so much fun even if they are a bit over the top and completely unbelievable.
My favourite part of any heist movie is when they’re putting together their “team” to do the job.
They usually show this in a series of short scenes, each featuring a different specialist that will eventually join the heist; the demolitions expert, the safecracker, the getaway driver. Once assembled, nothing will be able to stop this crack team of baddies!
Can you see where I’m going with this?
As the owner of a small business, you need to assemble a crack team of your own! Only, instead of pulling off a heist, you’re going to make your small business a huge success! So, what specialists should you make part of your kick-ass team?
Have you heard that 93% of communication is nonverbal? That might be truer now in the digital age than ever before. Your branding and graphics matter. A lot. Yes, there will be text, but it’s the graphics that make the first impression, drawing people in, giving an overall feeling to your brand story, and communicating your message.
That’s a lot of pressure!
And it’s certainly one area where you don’t want to DIY it. Dabbling in Canva on the side does not make you a graphic design pro. And your audience—ie. your potential clients—can totally tell the difference.
If you want to put a truly professional sheen on your small business, you’re going to want a design whiz on your team. A talented graphic designer can give all of your branding gorgeous polish, making sure that you’re putting your best visual foot forward.
They’ll also ensure that your good looks are consistent across all of your brand assets. Your website, business cards, and social media content; everything should feel cohesive and complementary.
Remember, when engaging a graphic designer, always ask to see their portfolio. If you like the kind of work they do, then you should give them a shot to see how they fit with your brand. It’s important that they “get” you and what you’re going for.
By the way, hiring a graphic designer doesn’t mean that you have to hire a full-time employee. Nuh-uh! This is 2019, and you can engage an amazing graphic designer (and any of the other pros on this list) on a subcontractor basis.
Recently I wrote a blog about how I’m taking the wheel on my own copy. In the past, I was under the impression that hiring a copywriter for all my content was the best way to go. The mistake I made though was not developing my own voice first.
If you’re just starting out I’d highly recommend writing your own blogs, emails, and social media content. But if you can swing it, I’d also have a copywriter on your team. Not just to polish up your own writing, but to also take on some of the more important sales copy pieces — your marketing emails and sales pages. The sales pieces need a bit more than just fancy words to make them convert and a good copywriter will be able to help get people clicking on that ‘buy now’ button.
Again, when looking for a copywriter, make sure that you see examples of their best work. You want to base your decision on how compelling their storytelling is, how well it communicates its message, and what ROI others have gotten from working with them. Even if their portfolio of work is good, you might want to hire them on a trial basis to make sure their style meshes with your message.
Hiring an ad specialist is almost non-negotiable if you’re doing any pay-per-click advertising and marketing.
An ad specialist is someone who creates marketing materials to get your message out into the world. They should work alongside your graphic designer and copywriter, but their expertise really comes into play when it comes to positioning your calls to action to get you the response you’re looking for. More clicks. More sign-ups. More clients.
One thing that most solopreneurs don’t realize is that hitting “boost post” on Facebook or “promote” on Instagram is not an effective advertising strategy. More often than not, it’s also a waste of money.
An ad specialist knows how to run sophisticated ads either using the Business Facebook account (which is separate from your regular Facebook account folks and way more powerful for targeting and retargeting), and/or Google AdWords. This stuff isn’t child’s play. It’s pretty sophisticated, and the results can be amazing when used right.
And it’s not just your ads, it’s your entire funnel.
Where are the ads driving visitors? How are they being tracked once they get there? What calls to action (presented beautifully by your graphic designer, and compellingly by your copywriter) are the best strategic decision throughout every step of the process?
You need a combination of eye-catching graphics and compelling copy if your ads are going to be effective, and an ad specialist knows what will be effective, what the psychology is behind each step, and how to retarget people who showed interest in your offerings but haven’t yet converted into paying clients. This is definitely someone you want on your team!
*Gasp* A virtual assistant? Why would you want one of those on your team when you could do everything yourself?
Well, that’s just it. You rarely can do everything yourself. If you can DIY it then yes, you could save a few bucks. But if you already have enough on your plate and you don’t want to spend your evenings tinkering with shopping carts and landing pages, then a VA is the perfect solution.
Virtual assistants can help manage your website, keep all of your systems up and running, and even handle some *light* design, copy, and marketing work, giving the rest of your team a hand when necessary.
The trick with a virtual assistant is to find one that has the expertise to handle your most common, recurring tasks. You want someone who’s a pro, a keener, and really dedicated to your success. Before hiring, it’s worth checking their references and testimonials to confirm that you’re choosing someone you can rely on when the going gets tough.
This is often the one that most people try to DIY and then regret later on when the government comes knocking asking to see receipts and questioning why you’re claiming your daily Starbucks coffee or that spa day you treated yourself to.
It’s also usually the first team member I tell my clients to get – yes, even before hiring me.
Without proper records, it’s impossible to truly know the state of your business. And if you don’t know the state of your business you could be heading into the rapids without a life vest.
You need to have a good understanding of your business and your cash flow, and a great bookkeeper or accountant will help you with that. They’ll make sure you claim what’s claimable, know what your cash flow is like, make the right changes to your business at the right time, and can often help save you a ton of money.
Do not underestimate your need for a good person in your financial corner.
Boom. There you have it. Five members to add to your crack team of professionals! You might not be able to pull off an epic heist with them, but you’ll have all of your bases covered when it comes to building your small business!
So, what are your thoughts? Do you already have a team assembled at your small business? Or are you doing pretty much everything yourself? Let me know in the comments below.
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