Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

When Should You Break the Rules?

By Karen Dodd on Mar 01 2011 • Filed under New Clients by Design

Entrepreneurs succeed because they break the rules.

I just read a great article by author and life coach, Martha Beck, in which she asked the question: "Where should I break the rules?" She made the point that if everyone kept all the rules, we'd still be practicing traditions like child marriage, slavery and public hangings. Even though she was speaking of life in general, I started thinking how relevant her question is to how we market and grow our small businesses.

Innovators Are Natural Rule-Breakers

Think about it – if innovative thinkers of the entrepreneurial world hadn't changed the way we market and sell to our niche, we'd still be in the dark ages of "pushing" ourselves and our services on people by using high-pressure techniques. Thank goodness, even the old label of the "used car salesman" has changed, with many consumers having had a great experience purchasing a previously enjoyed vehicle.

At the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit, the Dalai Lama said "The world will be saved by the western woman." I'm pretty sure if questioned further, he'd say the "western business woman"! We've already broken the rules by no longer forcing women to choose between a fulfilling career or business, and a loving hands-on relationship with her children. The fact that more multi-million-dollar businesses are presently being run from home, using technology and  virtual teams, attests to this. If you think about it, Mary Kay Ash was probably one of the greatest rule-breakers of all time when she introduced the idea of doing business in the comfort of our homes and receiving the pay and recognition that so many wives and moms were seeking.

Where to Break the Rules In Your Marketing

Has all the great rule-breaking already been done? No, not even close! Thank goodness that as long as we entrepreneurs still having beating hearts and innovative minds, we'll continue to burn new frontiers in the small business arena.

In coaching clients to build their marketing and client attraction blueprints, I repeatedly find that the toughest part for them is to figure out their niche. Solo-entrepreneurs often become overwhelmed when trying to differentiate themselves from everyone else in their market.

In determining what the author of Be Different Or Be Dead, Roy Osing, calls your ‘only,’ one of the best ways I've found to stand apart from the crowd is to look at what everyone else is doing in their marketing and do the opposite! I don't mean to argue for arguments sake, but sometimes you need to take a stand, do something controversial and just plain re-invent the way you do what you do.

For example, when everyone else in my field was still coaching their one-on-one clients in person, I started doing mine on the telephone. That saved enormous amounts of time for both myself and my clients. We didn't have to dress up, put gas in the car and waste precious time traveling.

When a lot of leaders in my industry were doing live events in order to get their name out and ultimately become profitable, I was doing everything by teleclasses and webinars. I still do the majority of my business virtually. Both these things have allowed me to literally reach people all over the globe without ever having to leave my house.

Breaking the Rules to Attract Ideal Clients

Think about it – is your ideal client someone who wants to be chased, sold, or followed-up with the 7 – 10 times the sales trainers advise you to? Do you like to be on the receiving end of that yourself? I know I don't.  Instead, "pull" clients toward you by doing things that your competitors aren't, to attract your perfect clients.

For example, what high-value, high-demand and low-supply information could you make available for free on your website, in exchange for someone's email information? In addition to receiving valuable information, it gives people a sampling of what working with you and your company would be like, with no risk.

What experts could you bring to your clients to learn from that they can access for a small membership fee? Again, this gives your ideal clients an opportunity to get to know you, see the value you provide and to stay with your company longer. Put on your thinking cap and figure out what you can do in a way that no one (or very few) of your competitors are doing.

Each time you do something different and it works, you set the bar a little higher for everyone else and you become a leader in your field. When you become an innovator whom others follow, you eventually become a visionary. And when you become a visionary, you get to be the change that you want to see in the world.

So go on out and break some rules and until next time remember to market authentically and attract New Clients by Design!


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