Why doing less not more can lead you to greater financial success in your business

Ellen Donnelly

It’s (almost) all about the money, honey

Now more than ever as business owners, earning enough money to stay afloat is the number one priority.

In a world of rising costs and a looming recession on the horizon, it is right that we are being more deliberate about where we are spending money — but more importantly — how we are making it.  

Of course we also got into our businesses for the impact we can have and for most of this community it is pursuing our purpose that gets us out of the bed each day. Yet without money coming into our bank account we won’t be in business long enough to take on the projects that can give us those opportunities.

Penny pinching and pausing Netflix subscriptions can only get you so far. The best antidote to money worries is ensuring that there is enough supply of it in the first place.

So that comes from making more sales.

As a business coach for early stage founders, here’s a strategy I can advise for making more sales and creating more financial security in your business.  

Do just one thing, and do it really well.

Business owners in the services industry can easily become an extension of their clients’ needs. Once a relationship is established, the initial programme of work often gets adapted and suddenly the range of deliverables look nothing like the initial brief.

Repeat this process with other customers and over time, a business owner can soon find that the suite of offers they have available has evolved quite significantly. The entrepreneur realises just how capable they are of offering a range of support to whoever might benefit from it (and pay them in return).

However, to keep money coming in, instead of coming up with a bunch of different ideas of products or services you can sell, maybe you only need one.

I loved this thread on LinkedIn, demonstrating that it is best if you can identify one idea people want, but scaled like this.

Matt Ragland, author of the post, shows us that we can do different things and have different price points for our services to suit different customer types BUT they should all come back to the ‘one thing’ we are really good at offering.

Perhaps you’re a nutritionist who works with individuals, companies, and schools and provides advice to their various needs?

You might be better off becoming a nutritionist with a specialism in the impact of gut health on our mental health. Then offering different ways to share this advice.school/individual/company cares about that need then great — give it to them. If they want something different but nutrition related? You aren’t for them.

I believe there are 4 key benefits to be found in focusing on your ‘one offer’.

1. You get to hone your messaging really tightly and be seen as the go-to expert. Messaging is crucial in a sea of competition, where buyers are looking for short-cuts. “Can this person solve my problem”? If all your case studies point to yes, they will feel more confident you’re the one for them.

2. Your knowledge will soon compound. Perhaps you don’t feel like the expert in this one offer yet, but with focus, you will quickly amass knowledge that others haven’t and fast-track yourself to the top.

3. Other people become your marketing channel. As it becomes clearer to them what it is that you do (and the fact you are the go-to expert of it) it becomes easy for them to tell others how brilliant you are – and ultimately buy from you.

4. For yourself, you will find that focusing on one thing makes your life easier. You no longer have to deal with the cognitive load of task switching and learning about new things or client needs all the time. Instead you can double down on your craft and find a simplicity in the focus.

If it’s that simple, why are we not already doing it?

The most common objection that I hear from entrepreneurs and service providers who do more than one thing is the inability to narrow down.

Either because they have found themselves in positions where clients are offering them money for other types of support, or, due to the age-old dilemma of not knowing which product/service/niche to choose.

Both valid points and I am guilty of falling into both traps myself especially during times when I am operating more in scarcity mode. But remember, there is a reason that some people seem to make it big whilst others stay merely ticking along for years on end.

Those who do make it big have often gotten there thanks to these ‘risks’ they have taken to make their dreams a reality. When you take a risk you are making a trade off.

Turning away certainty for uncertainty is a trade off not everyone is willing to make.

I often say to my clients: “what’s more important, some money now, or more money later?”.

It’s natural for us to want the immediate results and take what is right in front of us (the known). It is much harder to say no to the known in favour of an unknown. Choosing to do just one thing brings a set of unknowns and hope that your decision will pay off.

But provided you have done some market research and identified a demand, then as soon as you can get clear on your one thing and word begins to spread far and wide about how brilliant you are at doing it… hopefully the numbers will begin to speak for themselves.

About the Author

Ellen Donnelly

Ellen Donnelly is Founder and Chief Coach at The Ask. She provides early stage founders and startup communities with coaching, workshops and content so that they can build businesses doing work they love. She’s a Londoner with a decade working as a talent consultant for tech startups before training as an ICF accredited coach and building The Ask.

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