One of the most common questions that I’m asked is, as an agency owner or a freelancer, what should I be focusing?
In my opinion, it’s difficult to know what you should focus on unless you know what you’re looking for. That’s why I want to go through the 11 key entrepreneurial terms and what they actually mean.
The better you can understand these words, the better you can understand what you need to focus on and what resources you need to consume in order to get better at that particular word.
Definitions are important. They make a big difference in our understanding of where we’re going to apply our energy.
It might seem pedantic to go over the difference between marketing and sales, but if you can understand the difference between those two terms, it’s gonna help you better understand the holes in your business, what needs to get fixed, and what needs to be improved. By also understanding these 11 key entrepreneurial terms, you’re going to be better equipped to create plans and strategies for yourself and for your customers that help with growth without worrying about, “What exactly are we talking about?”
Have you ever been in a meeting with a customer and they’ve just kind of talked round and round in circles you like, I haven’t actually got a clue what the hell you’re talking about?
Marketing in my opinion basically means attention. John Jantsch in his book, Duct Tape Marketing calls it, “Getting your audience to know, like, and trust you.”
Essentially, marketing is the way that you get an audience to say, “I’m interested in that.”
The more marketing you do, the more interest and attention you are capturing. The way that we measure marketing’s success is by how much attention we are getting.
The strategy basically means the plan. What is the plan for getting people from A to B? In this particular case, we would say, what is our marketing strategy? Which is to say, what is our plan for getting attention in our market?
Strategy is often used as a word for people who don’t really know what it is that they’re defining, and I’ve heard everything from sales and productivity to tactics and planning called strategy.
Don’t overcomplicate it, strategy is basically what is the plan?
A strategy has to have a goal. A strategy without a goal is the equivalent of a plan without a goal. Unless someone can tell you what is the goal of our strategy, they don’t have a strategy, they have a bunch of stuff that they want to do.
In my opinion, sales are two things. It is, first of all, working out whether it makes sense for two parties to work together. So if you’ve captured the attention of an audience and done your marketing, moving into the sales piece is the conversion piece.
This is where you’re then saying, “Does it make sense for us to work together?”
4. The Close
The close is the exchange. You can do an enormous amount of sales, but without the close, you don’t make any money.
The big problem I have is people often say, “Well, marketing’s an expense. You can’t really justify any of the costs, and you can’t prove costs.”
You also can’t prove costs with sales. I could do tons of sales activities and never make any money without the close, which is physically where the customer gives you the money and you say, “Here is the next step for us working together.”
Your sales and your marketing don’t mean anything. So, the close is the sale. Make sure you remember this. Closing is responsible for 100% of your revenue.
Feature is basically what you deliver. The way that I like to define this is something that can be replaced.
Now, this is a really interesting idea around what a feature is because if we take the camera that I’m working with, for example, it would be 4K filming.
That is a feature of the camera. It’s not a benefit. That’s a feature. Why is it a feature? Because it can be replaced.
I could buy something that does 10 ATP, or I could buy something that does 8K
Benefit is basically a better future. If something doesn’t sound like a better future, that makes someone’s life easier or happier or better, then it’s probably not a benefit.
Ultimately, a benefit is answering the question, who cares and why? After talking about a feature, 4K film is a feature. Why do I care? Because it makes an outstanding viewing experience and it makes it look like I’ve got a much higher production quality.
The benefit is something I want. The feature is the thing that I use.
You might know that you need to do marketing, but you might not know where to start. Maybe you feel like your business is a little bit stuck and you’re not growing at the pace that you want it.
A lot of the time, agency owners and freelancers can feel like they’re swimming in a seat of information without any real idea of what’s important.
That’s where Sell Your Service comes in. I basically started The Sell Your Service YouTube Channel because I want to help businesses like you make as much money as you want, selling what you want so that you can feel like you’re making a meaningful contribution.
Value is thrown around all over the place, and it drives me bananas because a lot of the time people don’t really know what it means.
Value means difference. You can replace the word value with difference. So, when someone says, “Oh, it’s extremely valuable.” What they’re really saying is, this will make a big difference.
Value does not mean cheap. Also, people kind of put the word out there and they say, “Well, that’s great value.”
What you want to replace it with is the word difference. Understand that if something makes a big difference, then it is valuable. If it makes a small difference, it’s not valuable.
Vision was something that I always really struggled with because I thought it was a little bit of a wonker corporate talk, frankly, but actually, it’s basically about where do you want your life to go.
In a year’s time, where would you like to be? Where would you like your business to be? It is essentially the forward-facing version of where you are heading within your business.
Another word that you can use is imagination. So, instead of saying vision, imagining where you want your business to be in 12 months’ time.
People get niche really, really wrong, in my opinion. A niche specifically is a problem that you solve for a group of people that no one else wants to serve.
It is basically the audience that you are obsessed about getting results with. A lot of people think niche means industry, and yes, that is one way of cutting up a niche, but there are a lot of other ways of cutting up a niche as well.
In my opinion, if you have a defined audience or a group of people that you like to work with and you solve a particular problem and you get them a particular result that no one else wants to serve, that’s your niche. That’s how defined it has to be. A niche is not an industry.
I have a real problem with the word brand because people throw it around without really knowing what it means. A brand is an expectation. That’s essentially what a brand is. What do people expect from you?
The best analogy that I’ve heard for branding is even if you like or dislike Apple, if you were asked to design an Apple hotel or an Apple car, chances are most people would get that pretty similar. It’s basically saying, what do people expect from you?
Here’s the important thing about brand, no amount of creative design, graphic design, work, content, or anything like that can ever build a brand expectation. If you replace the word brand with expectation is built over years and years and years of delivering the same results over and over and over.
It’s got nothing to do with your logo. It’s got nothing to do with how you look, and yet so many branding experts immediately go into the logo. I’ve never had a branding expert come up to me and say, “Hey Mike, I want to redo the brand. I want to build a brand for you. It’s going to take five to ten years.”
But that is the truth. Your brand is an expectation. An expectation is built over decades, not with a few fancy logos and graphics.
You can replace the word tactics with the word tasks. What are the things that you are going to do? What is the list of bullet points that you are going to do?
A strategy is usually made up of a bunch of tactics. Tactics are things that you can go away and physically implement. Strategy is the overall plan that you need to do.
I hope that list of 11 entrepreneurial terms clears things up a little bit. I know for me there were a lot of revelations, particularly around things like branding and niche when I got first got started. I’m sure that you can think of examples around you every single day that follows some of these examples.