Progress or Momentum: What Solopreneurs Need Most
A few months ago, I was feeling a little stagnant in my business. While progress had happened, momentum felt stalled. There I was sighing loudly while staring at my computer screen thinking, "this just isn't working!" Then, I had an ah-ha moment.
I thought to myself, "Where have I been effective in the past? What has yielded results? What problem do I know I can help others solve?" After pondering those few questions, it dawned on me. "Promotional campaigns!"
In my marketing career I managed many promotional campaigns. I had a budget and an annual plan of promotions. With those promotions, we drove sales for specific services, we educated about who we were as an organization and created special offers. As marketing director, I chose channels to deliver the message, crafted creative and positioned our brand to drive sales. Thankfully, I was able to direct vendors including creative, public relations and digital marketing agencies in both strategy and creative assets for these promotions.
Together, we created lots of momentum!
So, what's the difference between progress and momentum?
Progress means: to advance, move toward a higher stage. Momentum means: the strength or force that something has when it is moving forward. In physics - momentum is quality of motion. The greater momentum, the harder it is to stop.
I want my business to be unstoppable! I want momentum as I move to my next level. How about you?
Glenn Llopis, author of The Innovation Mentality sums it up as, “Progress is good, but if the process of creating progress doesn’t convert into momentum, then you don’t have the right amount of strategic focus to help it become something more evolutionary!”
Evolution. That’s what I felt with that stagnation. The needed to evolve just a bit.
Promotions are why there are holiday offers like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Promotions are why there are named days for everything from International Coffee Day (Oct 15th) to Area Code Day (Nov 10th). Promotions are a part of the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place and promotion). Promotional campaigns create momentum.
As a solopreneur, how do you move beyond making progress and instead generate momentum in your business? Here are a few tips to follow as you use promotional campaigns to help you create unstoppable momentum:
- Find and focus on what you do best – ask yourself those core questions I mentioned earlier and see what one thing lands at the top of your list. Have you heard people complain about it? Do you know you can help them fix it? If yes, it’s time to promote it. Already done so? Maybe your promotion is off the mark. See if number 7 in this list can help you!
- Listen to the majority – get feedback from many but focus on one voice (for now). This can be difficult to do since you’ll likely feel “everyone can benefit from my service.” But momentum doesn’t come from serving the infamous “everyone.” If you haven’t heard it yet, there’s a reason why we say, “if you speak to everyone you speak to no one.” Get super specific and run it for one campaign cycle.
- Find more people that like what you do best – be repeatable. Once you’ve helped one person solve one real problem, you can do the same for others. Who needs those same results? They’re out there, now it’s time to find them. Promotional campaigns make you more visible so those people find you!
- Select a single dimension to measure – At the beginning it may not (only) be sales that you are measuring. Maybe it’s adding to your email list, getting more visible or testing a special offer. The value you gain by simply adding to your client roster may be your goal (for now). Define what success means for you where you are at. Document it and keep moving with deliberate action. The cycles of promotional campaigns which have a beginning, middle and end, can help.
- Plan a long-term strategy – sometimes we’re just too close to the day-to-day. That’s when big picture thinking helps build momentum. Take the 30,000-foot view. Define your growth strategy, stay current, find the right partners and stay competitive. Loosely planning an annual promotional calendar can help with this step. Companies and organizations do it… why shouldn’t us solopreneurs do it too?
- Stay competitive – I don’t really want to look at what the “other guys” are doing. I also know there is real value in seeing what my prospects see and being prepared for it when they ask. It’s a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Promotions can serve as a way to highlight how you are unique.
- Use outside expertise – One of the toughest challenges as a solopreneur is not having a traditional team. Your “team” may not be at the water cooler or in a conference room but instead who you deliberately choose to trust. It's that person who you can tell that you don't know it all and they won't judge you for it. For me that created "team" has been a mix of having my own coach, finding mentors, and discussions with certain select peers. Find your inner circle and see if they can help you craft your next promotion. And if it's not their expertise, you know you can ask me!
What I love about promotions is they aren't forever. They provide a super focused effort for a limited amount of time. They allow for that evolving I mentioned. They help us gain a more strategic focus which helps create more momentum.
So, how is your business momentum going? Want to be unstoppable? Get in touch because I know I can help.