Why all business is national
In this 4th episode in our series on "Sales and Marketing, I am going to talk about why all business is national. Now I know what you're thinking because if you listened to last week's episode, I just said all businesses are local. And I convinced you why you needed to have a local presence in your community.
You are sitting there going "Kristin, and now you're telling me you have to be national. What is going on?" So here's the thing. The reason that you need to have a national presence or virtual presence is that you never know who's going to want to buy from you.
I remember when I got my first out-of-state client and I was thinking that I couldn't do this since I'm in Connecticut. I had some clients in Massachusetts, but I was licensed in Massachusetts. Because as a CPA, you're licensed by the state. And so having a client from Massachusetts is fine because I'm licensed in Massachusetts. But then I got a client that was way upstate and I'm had to say taxes are taxes, and bookkeeping is bookkeeping.
Your business is national so you have to have a virtual presence
If you're a virtual assistant, executive assistant, or graphic designer, it doesn't matter where your clients are. But I think that sometimes you put up hurdles for people to work with you virtually. And so I want to talk about some of the hurdles that we have to get out of the way so that you can work with people anywhere.
So first off, for those of you that have a storefront or a location, you need to make it easy for people to find you online and to order from you online.
For instance, I like to order flowers for people all over the country. Typically what I'll try to do is find a local florist. Sometimes these local florists make it so hard to order from them. They don't answer their phone. Or they have terrible hours, especially leading up to a holiday. They don't have sample photos on their website of the possible things you could order. And they just make it difficult to order online.
Make it easy for customers to contact you on your webpage
You want to remove as much friction as you possibly can. Now, listen, you don't have to have an online order form, especially if you're a service-based business, but you need to have information to make it easy for people to contact you if they want to work with you. So make sure that you have a form on your website for people to fill out.
Don't do the email me thing because is a lot of times when you put an email link, the email link will try to open Outlook and most people don't use Outlook. So if you put an embed a form on your website, then people can contact you directly, instead of trying to send you an email.
Get a virtual phone number
You can also have a virtual phone number, like a Google number that will allow people to leave you a message. But it doesn't interrupt your phone.
To ensure your business is national, make sure your Facebook page is active
Make sure that you have a Facebook page that is active. I can't tell you how many times I go to Facebook pages for businesses that don't have a post in like a year and a half. And all I can think is if the business still open. Since there is no activity on the page, I just don't know. So you want to make sure that you're posting regularly, so people know that you're still around and that you're still active. Do the same thing too if you're on LinkedIn or wherever else your business shows up.
Make sure your information is current
Make sure that your information is current. So if you moved and your phone numbers and address has changed make sure to fix all that information. So that way, the most accurate information is available there. That also goes for your hours as well. Make sure that your hours are accurate if you have them listed on Facebook or Google or anywhere else. That way people don't show up when you're closed.
Since your business is national you'll have a different perspective
If you want to work with people anywhere in the country, you can post about your business locally and what you're doing locally. But you don't want to be over-focused on that either. So you want to make sure that you focus on a broader area as well. That's important even if you want to get the majority of your clients locally. Being in some business groups with a broader focus will give you a different perspective.
Joining these national groups and getting exposed to businesses all over the place, will show you the differences in mentality. For instance, in New England, the malls close at 11 pm on Saturday. But here in Florida, they close at 7 pm.
Get exposure to other places and types of business
So it's important to get exposure and to other places and other types of businesses. If you want to niche down, then having a more national or regional presence makes that a lot easier. Because if you want to focus on a particular type of business, you are going to learn how their whole system and fee structure works. Then you can be a good bookkeeper for these types of businesses.
There are a lot of different types of businesses you can specialize in, but you need to have a national presence. We've talked about this in Bookkeeper Training School. There is Shopify and Woo Commerce.
When you work with virtual businesses, they're used to working with people all over the country. It can sometimes be a lot easier to sign with businesses like that because they're used to working with people all over the place.
You can work with anyone anywhere
You need to be a local business, you need to be involved in your local community, but one of the amazing things about what we do, and I think the pandemic has made this all a lot easier, is you can work with anyone anywhere.
Whether you're looking for clients anywhere, or you're hiring people to work for you from anywhere. It's just amazing what is available to you. But you've got to get out there and find the opportunity.
How do you find clients nationally to make sure your business is national?
How do you find clients nationally? Knowing your ideal client, who you want to work with. I'm a big fan of networking in Facebook groups and just being friendly and nice. If you listened to the episode I did two weeks ago about discovery calls, it's not about being salesy. It's about getting to know people, being helpful, being nice. Most people want to work with somebody that they like and trust. And if you're salesy, they're not going to trust you.
When I look for Facebook groups to join, I'm looking for really active groups. But I'm also looking for groups that are not very big. I'm looking for groups that have less than 5,000 people in them. You want to go where you know your ideal customers hang out. There are so many business groups on Facebook. You can find a group for everything now. And if you can't find one, you can start one.
What I like to do on LinkedIn is when you set up your account, connect all of your email accounts and then look for people who are on LinkedIn. And then once you send invites to them and they accept, you can see their networks. A lot of times that's a great way to get outside your local area. Connect through the people that your contacts are connected with. A lot of people know a lot of business owners and can help connect with other people.
You can also use Clubhouse, which is now on Android. Clubhouse is a voice-only app where you can join rooms. You can raise your hand. You can create your rooms. It's almost like the old party line telephone system where it's just a whole bunch of people that are listening in. It's almost like an on-demand talk radio where people just create a room and talk about any topic they want to. You can join the room, raise your hand, ask questions, or comment. It's a little bit more casual than when you're watching people on a YouTube interview or Facebook live.
Clubhouse is a cool platform that you can get involved in. It's by invite only right now. So you have to find somebody that has invites. If you're in Empower Bookkeeper Network, I'm giving out a lot of invites that way. So that's another way to connect with people anywhere.
Instagram is a good way to find people. You just have to put yourself out there. So some searching, and digging.
There are national groups as well that you can join. We're members of the US Chamber. I know Forbes has an entrepreneurs group you can join. You can join mastermind groups. There are many different ways you can connect with business owners either free or paid. And I do find that when you're in paid groups, the quality of the group is typically a little bit better, than the free groups.
Your business is national, what is your national strategy going to be?
Hopefully, you got some ideas and are starting to think about what your local strategy is going to be. And what your national strategy is going to be. And you are finding out how you can identify some groups where you can do some good at a local and national level. You can grow your business both ways.
If you have not listened to last week's episode, please make sure that you do so. Because I think it'll give you some interesting ideas.
Here's the thing. You want to have a multi-pronged approach so that your business can grow. I can't tell you how many times our local economy hasn't been doing well, but nationally things are going well or vice versa. And so by being able to pivot and say, I'm going to spend more time on local clients right now because we're doing okay here. That allows you to make your business recession-proof.