Is it really such an unanswerable question?
Forty-two minutes into my call with Matt, the ambitious cofounder of a tech start-up, I said, “I’m still not sure what you do, but I know I can help you.”
Somehow, in two short years, Matt and his partner hit multiple six figures without ever being able to answer the simple question “What do you do?”
Their first few dozen clients managed to figure out the value this company could bring them, without much help from its owners.
But Matt and his partner knew they couldn’t take the business into seven figures this way. They had massive potential and huge genius, but they were stuck and just couldn’t figure it out.
They were making it harder than it needed to be. And, if you’re like most of the experts and entrepreneurs I help, you probably are, too.
There IS a Missing Piece
Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about a plain-old elevator pitch.
Yes, the partners needed the words to entice investors and to network at conferences, just as we all need a concise response to “What do you do?”
But what if the answer to that question went deeper and did more for you? What if it could…
- define and fulfill your long-term vision for your business?
- illuminate your path to higher-six or seven figures?
- reveal exactly which niches, clients and markets to pursue or avoid?
- provide a simple yes or no answer to every decision you, as a business leader, face?
And it can do more. Much more.
If you do it right, it can.
That’s because the real question isn’t simply “What do you do?”
Imagine for a moment zooming out from your business and looking down at your whole life. Picture yourself seeing it with the perspective of an astronaut looking down on planet Earth.
From this place, ask yourself the real question: “What am I here to do?”
Take a walk in nature or at night under the stars, or hop in a pool or bath as you ponder this enormous life question.
If you’d like to dive deeper into this exercise, download my free guide, Follow Your Genius to Joy: A Blueprint for Moving from 6 to 7 Figures
Whenever you answer the tiny, immediate question of “What do you do?,” this larger, global perspective will be contained in it.
How? Read on…
Get Clear on the Value You Bring
When you’re ready to accelerate to higher-6 and 7 figures, get clear on your value and how to communicate it.
When you’re able to communicate your value quickly, you get a huge competitive advantage, particularly in fields where you may be viewed as a commodity: fields like software, manufacturing and, yes, coaching and consulting.
Value is the essence of what your clients receive from you. It isn’t so much what you “do,” but how that transforms or benefits those who receive it. Value can be tangible or intangible, logical or emotional, or all the above.
The reason many experts and entrepreneurs hit barriers to growth is that their value isn’t obvious or is difficult to communicate. How would you know if that’s the case with you?
5 Signs Your Value Is Unclear to Potential Clients
- The clients you’re working with are not a perfect match for you.
- You’re getting pushback on your prices and being paid late.
- You’re overly-dependent on referrals (in which someone else is explaining your value).
- Or you never get any referrals—because even your own clients can’t explain what you’ve done for them.
- It takes you a long time to get new clients (lengthy sales cycle), and the cost of acquisition (marketing, sales conversations, advertising, bidding) is too high.
And here’s a weird thing I notice: Often the reason your value is unclear to potential clients is…it’s not super clear to you!
Don’t feel bad about it. For a lot of experts and entrepreneurs, their value is invisible to them.
It’s so easy to do the thing that is their gift that it’s kind of like fish swimming in water: they don’t even notice it.
My job very often is to tell someone, “Teach me who you are and what you do.” I listen to them, learn about them, talk to their clients…and then I tell back to them what that value is. I’ll say:
“Wow, you are amazing! You don’t even realize it. It’s just too easy for you.”
So many times my clients have shrugged it off: “Oh, that? Doesn’t everybody do that?” And I’m like, “No, everybody doesn’t do that. You do that. Quite specifically, you bring these gifts and these skills together. Other people don’t do that.”
I believe lack of awareness of one’s own genius and impact is a big reason why some people underprice their offerings or don’t get paid what they should. What they do is so easy for them and comes so naturally to them that they’re not always aware that it’s a gift or a differentiator or a unique value.
When I help my clients – ethical experts and entrepreneurs – to become aware of just how much their contribution is really worth, they almost immediately double their prices (at least) and go on to attract better clients who bring out the best in them.
The Opportunity That Comes with Knowing “What Do You Do?”
This value you bring your clients forms the basis of your unique business identity. It is your brand.
When you think about your vision for your business, you want to build your brand around what you want to “own”—what you want to be known for or known as. In this, you’ll see that “what you do” is actually “who you are,” “what you’re building” and “why they need to know you.”
Your people, those you serve, will begin to associate certain qualities and expectations with you. When they think about this, they think about you. Those things become paired.
When that happens, people more quickly “get” your unique brand value, and—remember that list from earlier? These challenges are resolved:
- You attract clients who need exactly what you do—they’re a perfect fit.
- You’re paid on time for your full value (most of my clients raise their prices 100–800%)
- Your reputation grows, and you attract tons of clients with less effort.
- Your clients are excited to talk about you, so you get more referrals.
- The explaining time is less because people quickly “get” why they need you, which means a shorter sales cycle and a lower cost of acquisition.
Think BIG about Where You’re Going with Your Business
So often, I hear small business owners say, “Nah, we don’t really need a brand.” This usually means they misunderstand what a brand is. They think it’s a visual identity, a confining set of qualities or an academic exercise that won’t have practical impact.
This small thinking limits their potential.
If you want to get your six-figure business into seven figures, you want to determine where you’re going in the future. You have to plan out:
- Where am I now?
- Where do I want to be?
- How do I get there?
For example, I have a client, Cara, whose immediate goal is to get from low-six figures to $2 million in about 18 months. I think we can do it in less, and here’s the key:
Cara has two potential paths. She can be known for (a) working in her niche with leaders at corporations or (b) working with CEOs of midsize businesses.
Both are perfectly good routes, but if she takes route (a), well, it’s like trying on a certain outfit in the dressing room—it has implications for the rest of your wardrobe. Automatically you know what your shoes are going to look like, what accessories to rule out and what kind of care you’ll need for the fabrics. There will be ramifications of that decision.
So how does Cara decide?
Click here to see more of Cara’s story with specific Case Studies highlighting the results of my clients who have doubled their businesses.
For one thing, she notices her current brand identity—path (a)—has led to some negative experiences with clients who really didn’t value her, didn’t pay her on time, didn’t prioritize the work and had her redo things. They’re not a fit, so she’s already realizing, “I don’t think I want to work with that kind of client.”
What about path (b)? Having come out of a $50 million business that she basically ran, Cara thinks, “I might like to work with businesses like that. I think I can make my biggest contribution there.”
So her brand doesn’t need to be, “I am the consultant to [this C-level function] for global multinationals,” which would have required something very different from her in terms of identity, infrastructure and platform.
Instead, she can appeal to these smaller companies with her brand promise, the one she’s working with me to develop. She’ll speak specifically to the issues they experience, which are very different from those corporations experience.
Because she was one of them and knows their world, it’s simple for her to craft brand messages that promise, “If you have these kinds of problems and want to have these results or outcomes, then I’m uniquely suited to help you.”
When she, like so many other clients I’ve worked with, delivers these results to them, her value and her business will grow and grow.
The Brand Illuminates Your Growth Path
So far, I’ve talked about two steps, each of which could mean a six-figure bump to your annual business revenues:
- Know your value and communicate it clearly.
- Build your brand around that unique value.
The third step is perhaps the most powerful:
Achieve your business potential through your brand.
I’m often asked what kind of work I do with businesses that are earning $10 million. Perhaps surprisingly, I work on the exact things I do with those earning $150,000: clarifying their brand value and how they talk about it (messaging) and aligning their growth path with their brand identity.
That basically means this: helping them figure out their “what do you do” so they can then BE it!
Here’s the deal: What is working when a business can get to $1 million or $2 million or even $10 million in revenues is that the owners know how to build the business (obviously). They know how to attract clients and delight them with value.
In almost every case, that’s been done by building relationships and making valuable offers (whether or not that value was clearly articulated).
However, very often, what’s not working, and why owners bring me in over and over again to these kinds of businesses, is…
…they are always working too hard.
They’re forced to explain things longer, price services lower and rely on sales teams to “freelance” by coming up with their own version of the brand message.
And eventually, they hit a wall. They know they can’t grow beyond it. They’re exhausted from trying!
So they call me.
When I develop a brand with them, it’s not an academic exercise. We’re not making the website prettier. We’re illuminating the path from here to their potential. We’re writing the messages the sales team will use to shorten the sales cycle and get higher prices. We’re defining the new role this business will play for its customers and in its community.
And now, the brand will do the heavy lifting for them. The brand will pull its weight!
Just imagine having your brand do more of the work for you creating demand before you even meet the client.
Close the Gap between Here and Your Potential
I think we’ve all been there. You can practically SEE your potential. You know there is more to do with your genius, but you get stuck.
What’s the specific hitch when it comes to growth?
There is so little margin for error. There’s a lot to lose.
I hear, “We’ve got clients. We’re good with clients. But we’re afraid to take on more because we’re so busy, and we really need to be strategic about our next step and growth.”
Cara knew that, too. We planned how to bring $2 million into her business. She knew she had to be very intentional with what she chose, because didn’t have time for mistakes. She would hit capacity and not be able to backtrack on these big decisions.
So she has to be clear about the answer when she thinks, “Do I want to go in this direction with that million dollars? Here’s another million dollars I want to pursue.”
Her brand identity will illuminate the right path for her.
Knowing her biggest impact can be made with the CEOs of midsize businesses, she will build out that identity by publishing and speaking on topics that establish her as a thought leader with those CEOs.
She’s appearing at conferences around the world to build her brand as a global expert, a quality especially valuable to her CEO clients.
Most importantly, she’s creating case studies by delivering stunning results to current clients.
That has required her to make tough choices, like saying no to opportunities that were very appealing but not in alignment with the brand she’s building. By doing so, she says YES to her big vision and gets closer to it every day.
Create Exponential Value for Your Business and Your Clients
Earlier, I promised that a brand could…
- fulfill your long-term vision for your business.
- illuminate your path to higher-six or seven figures.
- reveal exactly which niches, clients and markets to pursue or avoid.
- provide a simple yes or no answer to every decision you, as a business leader, face.
You’ve seen here just a bit of how I help my clients get clear on their value and build brands that help them achieve their higher six- and seven-figure potential.
I’d love to share with you some specific Case Studies highlighting the results of my six-figure clients who have doubled their businesses, added $100K (and even $1 million!) in revenues and experienced more joy by working with perfect clients.
If you’re ready to pursue and fulfill your own massive potential, just click here to see the Case Studies and find out how you can double your revenues without exhaustion.