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Welcome To The 30 Day Business Confidence Challenge

Welcome to thirty days of building your courage and increasing your self-confidence in business. Don’t underestimate the power confidence and self confidence can have on you and your business it’s an ongoing thing in my life and business .

As we spend this month learning and thinking about courage and self-confidence which can be in flux throughout our business life let’s keep our focus on working through the things that can keep us from thriving in our business,.

For the next 30 days you will receive an email from me (kevin@thebusinesssuccessdojo.com) giving you some exercises or tasks to do that will help you build your confidence and courage in business. I will also remind you that the supporting Facebook group is a great and safe place to share your experiences and connect with fellow business owners looking also to build their resolve in business. The group is here https://www.facebook.com/groups/30daybusinessconfidencechallenge/

Over the course of this thirty day challenge, we’ll explore what the connection between courage and confidence is, why they are important and of course (and most importantly) what we can do to become more courageous and increase our self-confidence on a daily basis. The end goal is to have a bag of tools to help us continue to become more confident in business after this month of exploration is over. Of course, I also hope to see a big boost of courage and self-confidence throughout the challenge itself.

If you’ve been struggling with your own feelings of self-confidence and self-worth, or simply been too scared and intimidated to go after your dreams, you know that this is an important topic. Increasing your level of self-confidence will make you feel better about yourself and help you move forward in life and business. Most importantly, how courageous and confident we are has a direct effect on how happy and accomplished we feel. In other words, finding your courage and self-confidence is something well worth pursuing.

Are you ready to join me and commit to a month’s of exploration and working on your own levels of courage and self-confidence?

Like anything that involves human growth and self-improvement, it’s not always going to be easy and I will ask you to step out of your comfort zone from time to time though i will be with you as you go through this.

That being said, I promise you it is well worth working on this particular aspect of your business and you can gain quite a bit by sticking with me and giving it a try. At the very least, commit to reading each daily email and blog post. I’m sure you’ll get something out of it and hopefully, you’ll decide to jump in and implement what I’m sharing each day. We’ll continue tomorrow with a look at how courage and self-confidence are related.

To your success

essex small business uvp

How To Make Sure Your UVP Really Connects With Your Customers

In my last post I dragged you all kicking and screaming into the here and now getting into what a UVP is and 5 things to avoid when creating them. This post is going to round off your UVP so you can move forward with confidence and work on the next part of your business.

Does Your UVP Resonate? Are they just cold words or are they identifying and meeting the emotional needs of your customers?

Knowing your customers well is one of the most important success factors in your business. It’s absolutely critical for growth not just in a small business but any size business. Although  understanding your customers or avatars is important in all aspects of your business, it’s particularly essential when you are crafting your unique value proposition.

To create a winning UVP, here is some of what you need to know about your customers:

Who They Are
You should know as much demographic information as possible, including things like age, gender, income, location, family,hobbies

What They Need
You have to thoroughly understand their problems, questions and concerns. These are the things that prompt people to take action. They’re the problems you’re going to offer to resolve for customers.

What They Buy
Know your customers’ current suppliers. What companies are meeting their needs right now?

How They Buy
Find out about your customers’ buying habits. This includes how much they buy, when they buy, how they pay, and anything else you can discover about their purchasing patterns.

How They Feel.
Finally, beyond hard data you need to understand how your customers feel about their problems and purchases. What makes them feel good or bad about the shopping experience? What do they expect from companies and products? How do they feel about the companies they currently buy from, as well as about you?

All of the above will help you create a unique value proposition that resonates with your customers and helps them understand why they should buy from you. If you don’t know the answers to this already and it’s not a ‘made up’ customer research using surveys to your current clients , ask questions, source out people talking about your area of expertise on social media and see what they are about. This may sound like hard work but when your UVP hits the mark and  it starts to connect it will save you alot of time and heartache.

Testing Your UVP  – The ‘What’s in It for Me’ Test

Creating the perfect unique value proposition is complex. It’s not easy, but there’s a simple test to help you refine your UVP and make it more suitable for your customers. It’s the ‘What’s In It For Me’ test, otherwise known as WIIFM. I know this isn’t new but it’s as true today as it ever was

The test is simple, Your UVP should answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ in a way that people can relate to. If it successfully does that, you may have a winner.

The best way to answer the WIIFM question is to clearly emphasize the benefits of your offer and explain briefly how your product or service is different from those of your competitors. It needs to demonstrate how your offer better meets your customers needs. If you can communicate this effectively with your UVP, you’ll answer the ultimate question.

Why Your Customers Ask WIIFM

People see marketing everywhere, social media, websites, TV, boars on the side of the road, newspapers, radio the list goes on and on. Every second that you’re on the internet, watching TV, driving or listening to the radio, you’re absorbing these messages. We’re bombarded with many more today than ever in the past.

What this means is that in years past, you had more time and space to present your message. Customers had time to discover it for themselves. Today, the message needs to speak louder, clearer, and faster. You have to be NOTICED fast then keep thier attention

‘What’s in it for me’ is the central, deciding question that customers are asking when they encounter a marketing message such as yours. If the answer isn’t given quickly and satisfactorily, they’ll move on so fast you’ll be forgotten in a heartbeat.

Focus on Benefits

The central theme of your message should be the benefits you offer. Benefits shouldn’t be confused with features. Don’t describe the features of the product, such as what it does. Instead, describe the end result that the customer experiences or feels by using the product or service. In other words, explain how it solves their problem and makes their life better.

Your WIIFM answer is what a potential customer is looking for when they encounter your UVP.

Your Unique Value Proposition  – Image Matters

To create a unique value proposition that works, you need to emphasize the benefits you offer and what makes you unique among similar companies. But there’s one more missing piece of the puzzle – your image.

Your UVP should convey a particular image that shows people the vibe or culture of your company. This is an important part of resonating with your customers. They need to feel like you and your company is on their side, part of their tribe and holds the same values at heart.

Language is also a major factor in image. The language you use in your message needs to speak directly to your market. If your target market is young hipsters, then use words they would use in every day conversation. If your market is corporate businesses, stick with more professional language that’s relevant to their business. we decided many years ago violence in our language would not make our prospects feel good. Phrases like ‘explode your business’ were never going to work well and made us feel uncomfortable

Even if you have some crossover in your ideal customers, such as a combination of young and old, stick with one type of language in your image. For example, Apple may look like their products are targeted at a young generation, but older people love them too.

 

You can get ideas for the right language to use by looking at websites, companies, products and marketing messages that are popular with your target market. They’ll show you the type of image and language the market likes. You can then take this image and add your own personal touch to it so its authentic to you and the values you hold in your business.

Remember the UVP is a really important part of your connection with your prospects, don’t overlook it as something that you’ll do later or won’t really make a difference, all of the smaller aspects that add up to your marketing image and pan talk to each other , individually valuable combined make it fantastic.

To your Success

essex small business uvp

What’s Your UVP? Don’t Have One? Are You In the 1980’s?

USPs went out with the Ark. Here at the Business Success Dojo we love UVPs. A UVP is a Unique Value Proposition. And you don’t want any old UVP, you want a winning one (check out this article on how these 15 companies use their UVP).

Where do you start with creating an amazing UVP? well start by realising you are not the best

 

You might think you’re the best at what you do. Hopefully, that’s how you feel about your products or services. You have great confidence and you want to convey this to your customers. You know that once they come into contact with the value you offer, they’ll know this for a fact and they won’t go anywhere else. But for the purposes of crafting a good unique value proposition, forget about being the best for the time being. No matter how wonderful your products or services truly are, you won’t get this across with your UVP.

What’s important with a UVP is what makes you different from your competitors. It’s not that you’re the best,  but that you’re the only one that does what you do the way you do it. This is what you need to identify and this is what will resonate with people, they will realise your uniqueness and be drawn to that. Take a second to consider that every small business and company out there knows and truly believes it is the absolute best at what they offer. But they can’t all be the best. The reality is that each one can be the top in its particular focus or corner of the market.

The way to do this is to identify the unique qualities that make your business different and emphasize the benefits those qualities give your customers. They’ll find out that you’re the best after they’ve seen you testimonials and given your business a try. There will definitely be some overlap in places. For example, you may be doing a lot of the same things as one of your competitors. However, if you do just one of those at a level worth shouting about, then go ahead and do it, if you feel this is something you may find difficult then you are really going to struggle when talking to prospective clients and marketing your business. Saying you are the best at something isn’t in my book bragging its letting people know this is your expertise, this is what you are truly awesome at, this is your experience and the product of years of learning and implementing and they need to hear this.

Alternatively, you may be doing the same things and have many of the same features, but your competitors haven’t emphasized them all. Pick one that you know people are looking for help with, such as a quick response time, and use that as a central point of your UVP. You’ll then become known for that feature or service, even if your competitors are providing the exact same thing!

When you are writing your UVP try to avoid the following 5 things

 

Too Many Words

Your UVP is for your prospects to understand with a single glance. This means the best UVPs are quick and easy to read. Don’t use vague wording, be very specific and avoid technical terms. Of course, you should also avoid words a casual reader wouldn’t understand, and not substituting words for numbers.

Out of Focus

If your UVP’s focus is too narrow or too broad, this can be a problem. If it’s too broad, you’re casting your net too wide and you won’t appeal to anyone. If the message is too narrow, it will alienate or shut too many people out. Make it specific but not so specific that your target audience is smaller than the number of retired astronauts over the age of 95.

Not Unique

The U in UVP stands for ‘unique’ and that’s what your proposition needs to be. It will be different from what your competition is offering. Check out your competition to see what they offer so that you can work out how you can use your own unique strengths to set yourself apart.

The Wrong Message

The message of your UVP needs to resonate with your audience. Otherwise, you’ll drive them off. It needs to appeal to your market’s desires and feelings. In order to do this, make an effort to understand your market. Know your customers and how they feel about the companies purchase from. How will they perceive your product after reading the UVP?

Set It and Forget It

Finally, a unique value proposition will change over time but it’s a gradual change. You may be able to use the same one for years, but trends and market conditions change. Keep listening to your customers and make changes to your UVP whenever their problems, desires, emotions or passions shift.

Let me know in the comments you UVP and if you haven’t made one yet then get going it will really help you and your customers connect

To your success

The story of me and The Business Success Dojo

I’m kicking off the 30 day blogging challenge with an introduction with why i have started the new arm of our business ie The Business Success Dojo

The Beginning Of My Business Experience

Starting out in business in 2002 was a challenge. It all sounds so simple; you decide what you want to offer as a business and hey presto off you go you startup business phasehave instant success…Or do you? Being a small business owner or entrepreneur opens you up to a whole world of decisions and responsibilities that often most people are just not ready for. I remember when I started I was so excited. I was out there ready for the work to flow in. I had my phone, my fax machine (remember those) where all the important orders would come in, I was ready. However, after a week of silence, I very quickly realised that people were not going to come rushing to me just because I had made the bold statement of being open for business.

Come on where are the clients?

So problem number 1 for me was ‘where do I get clients from’. Even now this is the biggest question Sarah and I get asked. Fortunately, we now have the experience and skills to help make this happen, however, back in 2002 I had no idea at all.  So like most people you look for help, where do you turn? friends? family? Wait a minute the Government will help! Of course!  They’re encouraging people to go out there and start a business! So off I went and made an appointment to see a ‘government authorised’ local business advice service.

Well, what an experience that was!  Being as green as I was back then I sucked up every word that they said. I totally believed that they had the experience and knowledge to make me a success all of this. I did zero research. Without even knowing the person, I just trusted the government agency that was willing to help.

Unfortunately, their advice didn’t work out for me. They had no real idea of the business I was in nor did they know how to reach the type of clients I was looking for. They gave me a great big list of things to do that cost me a whole load of money with no return  Looking back I don’t blame them, as I found out they were middle managers that had never actually experienced real-life business and the issues they face. They had learned from an out of date ‘course’ what should happen but not what actually happens. I felt very alone.

Business Doesn’t Have to be Isolating

Problem number 2, which was really apparent after this experience, was that I needed to be around business owners and have access to resources that would help me. The business owners had to be more established ones that had been through the startup phase and knew the real-life version of business, not just the textbook version. I also wanted to have support when I needed it, access to those skills that I either didn’t have or didn’t want to learn, the most obvious one for this was the FSB (Federation of small businesses) which is still running now. At the time was a massive help and a big confidence booster for me. I also was able to dip my toe into the world of networking which lead me to meeting some of the business owners that were out there running their business and happily sharing their experiences.

Getting Through Those First Few Years

The first couple of years was really tough, I get why most startups fail it’s not through lack of desire or skill but lack of resources, knowing where to turn for advice and guidance, whose advice to take. Of course, things are easier now with the internet full of blog posts and resources. Search engines are a business owner’s friend and can be used very easily to check out the advice being given out. They’re also a great way of finding other business owners and groups to help you through the early years and onwards.

Skipping Through To 2014

Business did become easier, Sarah joined me in our business ventures (that’s another story ) and we have worked together for many years now. When Sarah joined the business she brought a whole new set of skills and resources to the business. The pressure was off and it was and still is a great partnership. We have over the years had coaches individually for business, for writing  for self-development amongst other things. These were all essential to our business continuing to thrive. For me there was one thing missing which was that safe space that could look at our business from outside of it rather than in it or in a paid for capacity so I contacted 4 people in business that I had got to know and I set up the very first Business Success Dojo with the 5 of us meeting virtually every 3 weeks.

The Business Success Dojo

One big thing that I learned in all these years of business was that I needed a space that was safe to ask my questions, to have a room of people that were experienced in business or that had different viewpoints to myself because they had different experiences. The Dojo has been launched to help business owners do just this in 2 ways either via our regular face to face meetings which have a unique formula or via our mastermind groups which I have run for a number of years now privately.

By giving business owners (with varying degrees of time in business) these environments of safety and support they find it’s much more fun being in business than going it alone. heir confidence grows and their business endeavours have a much higher chance of succeeding.

If the Dojo has got you interested in levelling up your business and surrounding yourself with people dedicated to helping and growing then feel free to contact me and let’s see how this can work for you and the group.

To your Success

 

 

Reflect On How Far You’ve Come

I  hope you’ve enjoyed this 30 part series of building courage and increasing self-confidence as much as I have. More importantly I hope you’ve learned a thing or two and started to put this knowledge into action. The confidence hacks are always a great place to start, but all the knowledge I shared over the past month will serve you well over time.

Let’s take a quick walk down memory lane and browse through all the different topics we covered over the past 29 days. Here’s a quick rundown: [Link to each article or blog post on your site for easy reference]

  1. Welcome To 30 Days Of Building Your Courage To Increase Your Self Confidence
  2. The Connection Between Self Confidence And Courage
  3. Courage Is A Habit
  4. Start By Looking Back And Seeing How Far You’ve Come
  5. Pick Something You’re Scared Of And Do It Anyway
  6. Focus On What’s Important To You
  7. Confidence Hack – Strike A Power Pose
  8. How Goals Can Help You Boost Your Confidence
  9. Confidence Hack – Write Those Goals Down And Check Them Off
  10. Do What You’re Good At And What Makes You Happy On A Regular Basis
  11. Confidence Hack – Keep a Journal
  12. Bad Days And Set Backs Are Part Of Life
  13. Confidence Hack – Do It Anyway
  14. Time To Talk About Negative Thinking And Negative Self-Talk
  15. Confidence Hack – Stop Negative Self Talk In Its Track
  16. Confidence And Courage Are A Balancing Act
  17. Confidence Hack – “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?”
  18. Put Your Shoes On In The Morning And Other Good Advice On Self Confidence
  19. Confidence Hack – Sometimes You’ve Got To Fake It
  20. Let’s Talk About Random Acts Of Kindness
  21. Confidence Hack – Start Volunteering
  22. Stop Complaining And To Focus On Solutions
  23. Confidence Hack – Eat That Frog
  24. The Power Of Being Prepared
  25. Confidence Hack – Make Yourself A Promise And Keep It
  26. Let’s Talk Diet, Exercise, and Sleep
  27. Confidence Hack – Cultivate A New Habit
  28. Avoiding People, Places, And Situations That Will Bring You Down
  29. Confidence Hack – Make A List Of Your Strengths, Skills, And Achievements

What has had the biggest impact on you? What tips and ideas have you found the most helpful? Those are the posts that you want to come back to again and again.

Take a few minutes today to reflect on not only how far you’ve come, but more importantly how this simple 30 day challenge has influenced you and changed you for the better. What positive experiences have you had as a result of working on your confidence and courage throughout this month?

Confidence Hack – Make A List Of Your Strengths, Skills, And Achievements

No matter how confident and courageous we become, we all have days when we feel less than our best. It’s normal to go through times when you struggle with self-esteem and confidence. Today’s confidence hack is all about creating a little tool that will help you get through those days and find your self-confidence again. The idea is simple. Make a list of your strengths, skills, and achievements that you can look back on whenever you need little confidence boost.

Pick A Pretty Notebook

While you could jot your list down on a scrap piece of paper or make it a digital note, it will work much better if you start with something that’s visually appealing. It’s even more important to have this list in a format that you can hold and feel. The tactile sensation of writing your list down in the notebook, adding to it over time, and most importantly, having the book to hold whenever you refer back to it makes it seem a lot more real, memorable, and believable. Trust me on this. Go find a pretty little notebook and use it as your very own confidence journal.

Make A List And Add To It

Start by writing down anything and everything you can think of that you’re proud of or that you’ve accomplished. Make a list of your strengths and any skills you’ve acquired over time. Don’t forget to write down your various achievements as well.

This may seem a little strange at first, but stick with it and you’ll get more comfortable with the process. Remember that you don’t need to show anyone your confidence journal. Brag away so you are able to remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished when you’re having a bad day.

Include Pictures, Sketches, And Mementos

Visual aids can be very helpful in your journal. Feel free to turn it into a bit of a scrapbook. If you have pictures of big things you’ve accomplished (think graduation or that time you hiked up a mountain for example), paste them in there, or at the very least tuck them into the appropriate pages. Add other mementos like ticket stubs, postcards, and anything else you have laying around that reminds you of your accomplishments. Make it personal and make it real.

Add some color, some doodles, or some sketches. Make the journal your own and something you’ll look forward to browse through going forward. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. The only rule is to create the book and it’s something that can and should evolve over time.

Keep Adding To The List And Use It Often

Last but not least, make sure you use the confidence journal. Keep adding to it as you accomplish new things and are proud of yourself. During times when you’re lacking confidence, sit down and read through the journal. Once you see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished already, you won’t help but start to feel more confident.

Avoiding People, Places, And Situations That Will Bring You Down

We all have people in our lives that act as cheerleaders and who are great for our self-esteem. We also often have people around us who bring us down. Or maybe it’s a particular place or situation that makes you feel inadequate or self-conscious. It’s important to be aware of these people, places, and situations that will bring you down. When you know who and what they are, you can guard against them and if possible avoid them.

Become Aware Of The Negative Energy

Your self-confidence takes the biggest hit when you are unaware of the person or situation you’re walking into. When you feel blind-sided, it hurts, it and it’s hard to recover and rebuild your self-esteem and courage. I like to think of how these people, places, and situations affect us as negative energy. Your first task is to become aware of this negative energy and realize where it’s coming from before it hits you. By simply being aware you avoid being surprised. Try it.

Guard Against It And Neutralize It Going In

Once you are aware of what or who is bringing you down, you can start to guard against it. The basic idea is to neutralize the negative energy that’s being send your way. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to expect it going in and realizing what’s causing it. For example, if your cousin always gives you a hard time about your weight, it may help to realize that she’s putting you down because she’s not happy with her own life. If you feel judged at a local club by a group of people, it helps to know that they may be doing it to make themselves feel better. Realizing this going in will go a long way towards neutralizing things. Of course another way to guard yourself is to do what you can avoid interacting with the people that bring you down and of course avoiding the places and situations that make you feel bad.

Adjust Your Life As Needed Until You Feel More Confident And Courageous

Last but not least, avoiding people, places, and situations that will bring you down is always an option. If you know a conversation with your sister will make you feel less confident, or you feel judged when going to a certain bar or club, avoid those people and places for now. I’m not saying you have to cut them out indefinitely. Instead, take a break and focus on building up your confidence and your self-esteem. When you’re ready, you can go back to spending time with those people or hanging out at those places and see how it goes. Often the experience is completely different for you when you approach it in a confident manner.

Confidence Hack – Make Yourself A Promise And Keep It

It’s time for another confidence hack. These are short little actionable tips that you can implement right away to grow your courage and self-confidence. Today is another great example of how a simple idea and a shift in thought and perception is all it takes to give you that confidence boost you need. It’s one of those hacks that works better the more you use it. Give it a try starting today and then make an effort to use it regularly.

The confidence hack is simple. Make yourself a promise and then make sure you keep it. That’s it. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. But like some of the other hacks I’ve shared with you already, it’s more powerful than you may think.

By making yourself a promise, you’ll accomplish several things. The first is that you define what you need to do. You can’t make a promise if you don’t know what you’re promising. The second is that you are committing yourself to taking action. To keep the promise, you have to do something. Which brings us to the last part of the hack. You have to make sure that you keep the promise you made yourself. By getting in the habit of doing that, you won’t let yourself make up excuses or put things off. Start right now by making yourself the promise to give this a serious try. I want you to promise yourself that you will keep the promises you make to yourself. It’s an important part of this hack and what will help build your self-confidence.

Think of it this way. Who do you feel is more reliable and who are you more confident in? The person that makes big promises, but doesn’t always keep them, or the one that will keep his promise no matter what when he’s given his word? It’s the second one. It’s no different when you’re dealing with yourself. With this one little commitment and shift in thinking you can greatly boost your confidence in yourself. Best of all, each time you keep another promise to yourself, you’re reinforcing that confidence.

Let’s look at an example of this confidence hack in action. Let’s say there’s something you want to get done in the morning. This could be going to the gym, reading a book, writing in a journal, or a specific task for your job or business. Define what it is you want to do and then set aside time for it each morning. Then make yourself a promise to get it done each and every morning for a week. Write it down and commit. Stick to your promise and after the week re-evaluate. Is it working? Is there something you need to change? Make those tweaks and then make another promise to yourself to do this task every morning (or Monday through Friday) for another week. Rinse and repeat.

Confidence Hack – Eat That Frog

In yesterday’s post I shared some tough love with you and explained why complaining about things isn’t a good long-term strategy. In today’s confidence hack we’re going to piggyback on that idea by eating the frog. Often the thing we complain about is something we don’t want to do. It’s the thing we dread and keep putting off. We spent more time worrying and complaining about it than is good for ourselves. Worst of all it makes us feel less confident and less competent. Instead of pushing it back and putting it off, we should get in the habit of tackling it head on, first thing in the morning.

 

What do frogs have to do with it you ask? Good question. It’s an expression I picked up from Brian Tracey who wrote a book called “Eat that Frog”. It’s a great read and I recommend you pick up a copy when you get the chance. The reasoning behind it is this. What if I asked you to eat a frog? Unless you’re into French cuisine, that does not sound like an appetizing endeavor. Instead it’s one of those things you really don’t want to do and you keep putting it off. If you just went ahead and ate that frog first thing in the morning, you wouldn’t spend all day worrying and agonizing about having to eat it. Instead of dampening your self-esteem and confidence, getting it done right away will boost your self-confidence and increase your courage.

 

While you probably haven’t been asked to eat a frog, you’ve been in plenty of similar situations. Maybe it’s the tough homework assignment in school, decluttering your closet at home, or doing your taxes. We all have tasks we want to put off, sometimes indefinitely. But doing this holds us back. We know we’ll have to get that homework assignment turned in eventually and that taxes will be due April 15th. We also know that getting ready in the morning will be much easier with a closet filled only with outfits we’d actually wear.

 

We also know that doing this work that has to be done early in the day when we have the mental and physical energy to do it will be much easier than trying to rush through it and pull an all-nighter at the last minute.

 

Going forward I challenge you to “eat that frog” and do the most difficult or most dreaded task first. Not only will you do a much better job with it and waste less energy and worrying about it, it’s also a great way to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

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