Small Business Owner? Watch Your Words.
Kids and Fortune 500s know it. Do you?
WELCOME TO THE ENTREPRENEURIAL PLAYGROUND
Sticks and stones will break your bones. But words…? Ah, words.
Words can bring your business to its knees.
Or, words can flip the business switch from surviving to thriving.
As small business owners, we have a lot to be mindful of. Expenses. Inventory. Clients. Invoicing. Retrieving our twice-reheated coffee from the microwave before it gets cold again. One thing we sometimes forget to watch (in addition to the coffee) is our words.
Think your small business doesn’t run on words?
Oh, friend. Let me count the ways.
ONE | WHO ARE YA?
Getting clear on who you are and what, exactly, you do is crucial.
Talk it out. Write it down. Be able to explain how you help in a single, SHORT sentence. You’ll know you’ve got it when people start to say, “Oh! I/my friend could totally use that.”
TWO | GOAL TIME
Leverage words to:
> Craft smart business goals (magic)
> Write them down (even better)
> Communicate them to people to whom you will be accountable (it’ll blow your mind)
THREE | GET THE WORD OUT
Okay, obviously. You need to share your business’s message. A lot. And effectively.
But this can sound less like “WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!” and more like, “Hi — I have something I think could help you. May I tell you about it?”
Using gentler, more relational language can help you:
> Attract your people (who feel more like friends than clients)
> Make great money (whatever that means to you), and
> Live a life you love (which we all deserve)
FOUR | CALIBRATE YOUR MIND
Watch the words you think about your business. Seriously, pause for a minute here.
There are so many influential thought leaders in the mindset arena. Find one who resonates with you. Give their ideas a test drive. Watch what happens.
FIVE | A GOOD READ
Be mindful of the words you read: books, blogs, articles, social media. Start becoming even the tiniest bit more aware of what your eyes (and psyche) are taking in. The world is full of writers whose words will help you — and your business — evolve.
Step one: Find them.
Step two: Read a few pages.
Step three: Read a few more.
SIX | HEARING VOICES
Who do you listen to, and what are they saying about your business? Run, don’t walk, toward supportive friends and family, positive influencers and thought leaders, and mentors who already are where you want to be. These are the voices that should guide you. Follow them.
SEVEN | PLAYING “TELEPHONE”
Serve your customers well. They’ll tell their friends. Simple as that.
EIGHT | MIND YOUR p’s AND q’s
You know all those typos and spelling errors you see in Old Navy ads?
That’s right. Because successful companies understand that presentation matters.
If you want to come across as professional and polished, your company’s writing needs to be…? Exactly. Professional and polished. The big guys know this — and they pay teams of copy editors to make it happen. The smaller guys need to know it, too.
Now, if you’re not Hemingway (or your picky seventh-grade English teacher), that’s okay. You be you.
But find a proofreader who knows the difference between its and it’s. Who gets hives when someone double-taps the period key at the end of a sentence and doesn’t notice.
Barter with a friend, or find a freelancer who fits your budget and your style. Either way: keep your friends close, and keep your proofreader right there over your shoulder.
FINALLY, NINE | HUMANITY FIRST
The conversations you have with your customers, the thoughtful questions you pose to your email list, the encouragement you offer a frazzled client: businesses are built on relationships.
And businesses are fueled — in so many ways — by words.