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Too many brilliant and talented entrepreneurs are struggling just to get by. In fact, many of them are so focused the day-to-day operations of their business that they never get a shot at really thriving because they never get past survival mode.
Today I’m trying something a little different on the show.
This episode is very unique because I’m essentially hosting a live case study discussion between marketing strategy and branding expert, Dave Barcos, who is helping his client Lou Radja to step back, evaluate his speaking and coaching business, and take it to the next level.
In this conversation with Dave and Lou, you’ll begin to understand why some of the best entrepreneurs, the ones who really care about what they’re doing, struggle with getting their business to the point where they can make a bigger difference and create a real name for themselves.
I start this conversation by asking Lou Radja about his background and why he sought out the help of Dave Barcos in the first place.
What ensues is a lively discussion between Lou, Dave and I about Lou’s business struggles and how Dave has stepped up to help Lou understand his biggest strengths and implement a new strategy for engaging with his customers.
Here are the questions that I asked Lou along with his replies, including input from Dave and key insights gained from each topic.
Question #1: How did you come to the conclusion that you needed a marketing strategy for your business?
Lou was building his business from a position of survival and being focused on the next gig so planning was out of the question. This is the way that most businesses are born. Someone starts something and then all of a sudden there’s this little business that’s up and running.
After Lou landed his first client, the sole focus became getting his business off the ground and finding the next client. Creating a strategy for growth never really entered the picture. As a result, Lou was stuck in the mode of putting out fires and reacting to whatever seemed most important.
Lou remained in this position for nearly three years before realizing that he needed some help. At that point, he reached out to Dave Barcos to help him take a step back and put the ‘Why’ before the ‘How’.
Key lesson: It’s never too early to start putting the ‘Why’ before the ‘How’. It’s so critical to understand who you’re serving, why you’re serving them, and the unique value you have to offer. Don’t get so distracted by the day-to-day business activities that you forget about planning a sustainable strategy for client communication and growth.
Question #2: What was thing you realized that you needed to change in your business right away?
The first thing Lou had to come to terms with was realizing that he was the product. As a speaker and trainer, Lou began to understand that people were buying the messenger before the message.
Lou had to answer the tough questions like:
- Why should my audience pay attention to me?
- What is my value proposition?
- What differentiates me from others in my space?
Lou had to slow down and take a couple of steps back so that he could gain some clarity about his message and how he wanted to present himself to the world.
Key lesson: Embrace your story and define your message. It’s imperative to clarify the value that you can deliver.
Question #3: What results have you achieved since you’ve started embracing your story, defining your message and putting a marketing strategy in place?
Lou shares the intangible results and tangible results. The intangible results are:
- Having the confidence that comes with clarity – clarity of knowing what you’re about, what your business is about and knowing the end result that you seek.
The tangible results are:
- A boost in repeat bookings from 40% to 65%.
- Clarity from his customers about why they are hiring him.
- More referrals because customers now get what Lou is all about.
- Having a strategy for touching his customers multiple times and demonstrating the value that Lou can provide.
Key lesson: Experience is not the best teacher. There is a big difference between experience and evaluated experience. Having the opportunity to evaluate your experience is when you grow and get better.
We also discuss:
- The lottery mentality in startups and why building a strong lifestyle business isn’t considered a success in many circles.
- Why it makes a lot of sense to build a business inside of a small ownable community and then scale it from there.
- The benefits of connecting with your authentic reason for building a business and a brand.
If you take even one insight from this interview, you and your business will be better for it. Thanks for listening and be sure to check out what these guys are up to. They are both class acts!
Links for Dave:
- Connect with Dave Barcos at The Startup Brand
- Connect to Dave directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Say hello to Dave on Facebook LinkedIn
Links for Lou:
- Connect with Lou Radja at LouRadja.com
- Connect to Lou directly at email@example.com
- Say hello to Lou on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn