You remember those days. You're halfway watching Beverly Hills 90210 and halfway listening to your Boys II Men CD when your favorite slow jam comes on, and your heart swoons for the guy you're crushin' on. You're 100% distracted. All of your energy goes into the note you are suddenly inspired to write to him...with appropriate doodling of your names with hearts around it, properly folded with "open here" instructions. Obviously.
Homework? Who cares!
Your chores? As if!
You. Are. Obsessed.
Nothing throws your heart into a flutter like a 90's slow jam. And that is exactly the vibe I want you to have about your business.
Kinda obsessed in a healthy way. Like it doesn't feel like work because you are so into your daydreams of what it could be (daydreams with a Jodeci soundtrack, of course), so you are totally willing to take action to make those dreams a reality.
You see, as a coach to fempreneurs I SEE the burnout. I see the women who, three years later, don't have the business they set out to build. Rather, they have the business that happened to them.
Or I see budding lady bosses working themselves into exhaustion trying to launch their businesses without a solid foundation, chasing whatever Periscope advice of the day caught their attention.
As Cher would say in Clueless, "Ewwww!"
And it doesn't have to be that way. For reallies.
So throw your top knot in a scrunchie, unhook one of your baggy white denim overall snaps, grab that Lisa Frank notebook (and stickers, duh) where you doodled all New Kids on the Block members' names, and take a few notes, sister.
Let's learn from the smooth R&B songs on my playlist (and a few familiar faces) from the best decade ever. That's right, you're about to slow jam your way into an even richer love for your business!
#1: "I Wanna Be Down" | Brandy
"I would like to get to know if I could be
The kind of girl you that you could be down for"
Brandy didn't say, "I want to figure out what kind of girl you like and I'll try to be that."
Nope. She said she wanted to know if she could be what he was looking for, just as she is. So let's take a cue from her, shall we?
It is vital. I mean uber important that you really, really, really know yourself, your talents, your personality, your preferences, your work style, your natural strengths and your weaknesses.
Then you can design your business around that.
That is what becomes your brand. As the business founder, your values, mission and vision set the tone for how you, your employees, your vendors and your customers do business within your brand.
You will naturally attract people who are drawn to the real you. Wouldn't it be nice to not try to please everyone, nor get butt hurt because someone decided to be a customer of another business and not yours?
So here is the tip of the year to eliminate that big hairy stress ball: When you get super clear on what you do best and how you do it uniquely, there is no competition. There's just a best fit for your businesses and the niche you attract.
Which leads me to the next stop on our slow jam journey...
#2: "I Wanna Know" | Joe
"Tell me what I gotta do to please you
Baby anything you say I'll do
Cause I only wanna make you happy
From the bottom of my heart, it's true"
When you know what you do well, then you can start to figure out who you can do it for.
What do your best customers have in common? Why do you like working with them? What are their problems? Why do you think they decided to do business with you over everyone else in your space? Where do they hangout online? (Hint: that's where you should be focusing your social media energy and/or advertising dollars.) What conferences do they go to (that you should be going to, too)? What type of written copy would inspire them? What motivates them to spend? Are they impulse shoppers? Researchers? Do they respond to cause-oriented business or do they act on scarcity?
Finding those common themes in your best or favorite customers will help you develop an ideal customer profile. Then, instead of trying to market to everyone, you market just to ONE person. That one person you have created becomes the symbol of your perfect customer. When you speak to her or him, you will attract others who share that ideal customer's traits in a more meaningful way.
See? Once you really get you, next you have to get into the mind of your ideal customer. And when you do, then you can make the magic happen and make them fall in love with your brand.
Ready for the next slow jam? Here we go!
#3: "Come & Talk To Me" | Jodeci
"Come and talk to me
I really want to meet you
Can I talk to you
I really want to know you"
OK...I'm going to use the most overused word on the Internet in my next statement, but here it goes: When you stand confident in who you are and what you do best and uniquely, and totally get how your ideal customer rolls, you then have every opportunity to authentically market your business to her or him.
Jodeci obviously knew a thing or two about wooing a gal. They didn't shout, "Hey, baby! Get with me!"
Nope. Instead they invited their love interest to share who she is with them.
Crazy, I know. Seems backwards, yet it is the best way to lure someone in. But how do you do that with the masses?
Content marketing (blogging, video, podcasting, etc...) is a way to have a two-way conversation with your prospects and customers. You first educate, entertain or inform them, and then open up the opportunity for them to respond to you and let you know what they think, feel and want. The end goal, of course, is to inspire action that will lead to sales, or leads, or the creation of brand advocates.
Even when you use traditional marketing, such as radio, direct mail or billboards, you still want to point them to action, which in today's business landscape is almost always sending them to your website (where they will dig around like a woman cyber stalking her blind date). So if your content game isn't strong, how will they find out all of the inspiring and unique things about you, and how can they self-identify as your ideal customer?
Customers and prospects who are properly wooed are like the newly love struck. They want to tell the world how happy they are! Don't you think that free word-of-mouth marketing is worth the time investment to market to your ideal customers properly?
So be sure to play Jodeci's card and invite your customers and prospects into your marketing slow dance. This is not the time for gangsta rap shouting, m-kay?
"Business Grind" | (My Play on R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind")
"I don't see nothing wrong
With a little business grind"
OK, I know those aren't' the real lyrics, but I tweaked them because I'm here to affirm you of something: When your corporate friends tell you that you are working too hard or your sibling says you are obsessed with your business, it's okay. They are well-meaning, but they just don't get it.
Your biz sisters all know you work 70 hours for yourself on your own terms to avoid working 40 miserable hours for someone else.
Once you attract those ideal customers to your business, you kinda have to deliver on your brand promise, and that requires a lot of hustle on the front end. Ideally, you will create so many killer processes and have such a stellar strategy for the future that you will be able to hire help, delegate the heavy lifting or even outsource the piddly, time-consuming tasks that don't maximize the value of your time.
But in the meantime, the buck stops with you, sister.
If you are being true to you, attracting customers you love and doing what you love, you will most likely feel energized by the hustle. And if you can "see nothing wrong with a little business grind," you will see that 90's slow jam inspired dream come true.