Perhaps my favourite and even slightly intimidating thing about life and business is how you can never know enough. I like to think of knowledge as infinite because it is just so large and expansive that one can never hope to reach its limits in a lifetime. With that said, knowledge can arm you with the tools you need to succeed in business, that no one can take away.
A few months ago I took a break from design because I wanted to give my clients a lot of value within my design packages. I learned about branding and design in college but still it wasn’t enough. For me to be able to give my clients something that is even more than they expected, I needed to know even more than they expected from me.
So I took time away to learn and educate myself extensively on branding; the development, strategy and theory. I took what I learned and changed my business model from the inside out and I saw the results, they were astounding! Best part? I can now help my clients with the same thing. I help them develop their brands, create strategies, etc. all before I get to design their brand identity. I increased my design package prices and both listed packaged includes every aspect of branding, not just visuals.
RELATED: Brand vs Brand Identity
Cool right? You too can arm yourself with the necessary skills needed to improve your business and give your clients of customers the best service you can give, and this will all go hand-in-hand in attracting more of your ideal customers and thus generate more revenue for your business. I’m going to list some of the few ways you can improve your business without breaking the bank; you will only need time, patience and perseverance. Ready? *claps hands* Well, let’s go!
Read as often as you can
Hey, I’m probably biased towards reading as I am a self-confessed bookworm (this month I challenged myself to read all of the published A Song of Fire and Ice books by George RR Martin and I’m currently on book 5 and what more, my brand is built around telling stories, haha) but reading has definitely changed my life for the better. There are so many good books out there and it sometimes stresses me out knowing that no matter how many books I read, I will never get to read all of them, yikes!
I read more fiction than I do non-fiction but I told myself that as long as I’ve a business to run, then I will read business books and learn from experts and other business owners and boy, what a great decision that has been! Depending on the niche you are in, what you hope your business to be and what you would like to learn, there are a ton of great business books out there that will definitelyaid you in your quest to be a kickass business owner with a kickass business. Heck, you won’t even need to limit yourself to your niche when it comes to reading books that will stay relevant to your business.
For example, in January I read Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman. I don’t run a business where I will need to import from products from China. Instead I wanted to study Alibaba’s successful business model from an insider who was there from the beginning. I learned SO much from the book and I even applied what I learned about developing a simple mission, vision and value statement to my own business. Yep, I recommend that book.
Dear business owner, do not be intimidated by reading, even if you are not much of a reader, one book a month or even every two months may do wonders for your business! Many of the great business books are written by successful business experts who chose to share their expertise with you and you should take advantage of that.
Sign-up for some online courses
Online is where it’s at right now, and with the advent of e-courses popping up everywhere, I’m rather grateful that I have easy access to learning opportunities online. The biggest advantage of online courses is that you can study or learn whatever you want to in the comfort of your home and you don’t even need to get out of pyjamas! There are a lot of awesome paid courses out there and if you cannot afford to pay for one or two right now, there are a lot of awesome free courses as well.
Depending on what areas of your business you feel you need to improve, be it getting more visitors to your website utilising social media or taking awesome branded photos for Instagram with your iPhone…there’s a lot of variety for every need. Some free e-courses are more fluff than helpful content because many people just want to get on the e-course train without ensuring that they have something of value that they can teach but hey, at least you won’t have to despair that you have spent money on something that didn’t end up working for you. I personally love Mariah Coz’s free email courses which I have found to be very comprehensive, valuable and actionable and I actually got to apply what I have learned from the course to my business.
With paid courses, reputable instructors offer you your money back guaranteed if their course didn’t work for you but if you’re unsure before purchasing, shoot an email to the instructor with any question you may have and hopefully they’ll be able to reassure you.
Be careful though, only sign up for courses that are specific to what you want to achieve in your business other wise you’ll find yourself signed up to a lot of courses that you wouldn’t even have the time to go through and implement in your business.
Other than business owners and bloggers you look up to, you can find courses on a subject you want to learn on websites like Skillshare and Lynda and you can even study an online course from some of the biggest universities in the world…for free! This is amazing and you really do have access to premium content that will go a long way in improving your business right at your fingertips!
Regularly study and change your processes accordingly
This is something that can be rather easy to do and that will have the biggest impact on your business. After creating our businesses, we sometimes forget that as we grow and change, our processes need to also change to reflect that change and be able to bear that growth. I bet there’s so many little changes you can make to your processes today that will actually change improve your business. Now, I know close to nothing about cars but let me dare say that it’s akin to an oil change and brake pad maintenance.
If you’ve been a visitor of this website since earlier this year, you may have noticed that I made little changes to my website; mainly my homepage, my blog graphics, my services page (including the addition of a branding package for e-course teachers) and my contact page. I made it easier for visitors to navigate my website, made it clearer for new visitors to know what I offer and also reconciled all the visual elements for every aspect of my visual brand. Other than that, I changed my client process and drastically improved the value that I offer to my design package clients.
What made me make the changes? With my website I studied my analytics, wanted to decrease my bounce rate and increase my average page views and give visitors an optimum user experience and then set to making the necessary changes to achieve those goals. With my inside processes, I studied what I wanted my services to be like, I decided I wanted to treat clients like royalty and give them a high-value service and before I could do that, I had to make some changes.
Since making all those changes, I’ve seen -and I am still seeing (!) - a lot of benefits. I encourage you to regularly study your processes and change them so that you can improve your business. It can be as little as changing the social media platform you focus on to one where most of clients hang out so you can do more direct targeting or even changing your homepage (or your ‘start here’ page) so it better reflects what your business offers.
You really do not need to spend an arm and a leg to improve your business; a little does go a long way and most of the time, it’s something you can do yourself and something you can do today.
Which books do you think helped improve your business? Do comment with some suggestions so I can go shopping!
Talking of improving your business, I’m hosting an Instagram challenge from next week Monday, the fourth of April. The challenge will be all about improving your brand, with the objective being to make you more creative in maintaining your brand’s consistency and cohesion with every photo you take and post on Instagram. It’s a 15 day challenge and at the end of the challenge one lucky person will be chosen to win a brand design package from me! Awesome right? Sign-up below for early access and to also double your chance of winning. I will be posting the low-down here on Friday so be sure to tune in to get the deets.