For over a year, Business Growth Consultant Joanne Stevens had thought about running a high priced programme to help companies accelerate their performance but because she didn’t know where to start, it never moved beyond the idea stage.
Joanne admits she used to take a very haphazard approach to marketing her business which meant her time and energy was taken up working with existing clients and searching for new ones.
“I didn’t have a structured approach to bringing in new business. I had created very few marketing assets: I had a website that was nice if anyone happened to find it and that was it.
“When it got quiet, I went out looking for work, mainly via networking. That wasn’t proving very fruitful.
“I was also, as many solo business owners are, kind of isolated in it as well because there was no one to kick me to do anything, no accountability. Marketing always got left to last really.”
Unfortunately, her haphazard marketing approach meant that although Joanne’s three-year-old business was sound, very few potential customers knew about it.
“I’m an accountant by trade so the numbers all worked, the business strategy was all solid – it was just nobody knew about what I was doing.”
That meant her dream of offering a high-priced programme for businesses remained just that – a dream.
She began searching for a programme that offered practical rather than theoretical ways to attract new business and some form of mentoring from business experts and found it with Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme.
“I wanted something that was actually going to give me practical steps to promote my business. I was a marketing partner at my old accountancy practice and brought in £250,000 fees each year, so I already knew a lot of the theory. The problem was that I wasn’t applying it; what attracted me to Digital Lighthouse is that it looked like it was a chance to help you apply it and implement it as a small business.
“The biggest attraction was working work with [Digital Lighthouse’s Founder] Jonathan Jay, who has a proven track record in his own business and in helping other business owners.
“What I liked about Digital Lighthouse was there was also the opportunity to have things done for you like a tips booklet, a landing page and a website. I’ve been on so many courses where they tell you what you need to do and you go away and never do it because you just don’t know where to start.”
Digital Lighthouse taught her the value of creating a range of products and services – from a free booklet to entice prospective customers into her sales funnel to a high-priced mentoring programme. Within three months of joining Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme, Joanne had learned so much that she was able to launch her ‘Business Growth Academy’ to provide companies with a 10-month group or one-on-one mentoring programme to accelerate their performance.
“I created some good sales copy to launch it and that converted well. It’s brought about £40,000 worth of business for me.”
Four companies paid £9,000 each to join Joanne’s first programme.
“I spent an entire day with each company and dissected the numbers in their business. I went in and looked at what was actually going on. I found out the key drivers to their business and designed key performance indicators based around that. I gave them cash flow controls and the infrastructure they needed so that they were in control of their business.”
Participants then have nine months mentoring in different areas of their business.
Joanne brings in guest speakers, experts in their fields, to teach participants how to use what they learn to improve their business.
“It’s all very practical: last week they went away with three action points on seven areas in marketing and a six-month marketing plan that’s relevant to their business.
“It’s about giving people back control of their business and making sure it’s leading them to the life they want rather than them running around for the sake of their business.”
The results have been “phenomenal”, reports Joanne.
“One company has £400,000 of quotes out there and their turnover target for the year is only £300,000. Another has had a record sales month and the reason being is that now they know what they need their business to do, they are far more focused on getting it.”
Two of the four companies have decided to launch a joint venture programme too, she says.
“One’s an estate agency and the other is an interior design consultancy. They’re going to work together to create a show home offering to demonstrate how home owners could present their houses for sale. They’re putting a package together at the moment.”
Within the next six months, Joanne will launch two more programmes and then start to roll them out in different geographic areas.
“It’s early days but now that I’ve got a model that I can replicate, I think the turnover from the Business Growth Academy is going to quadruple by the end of this year. I now have a platform for much more strategic growth.
“The beauty is that I have a business model where every three months, if I want too, I can put £60,000 on my bottom line for what effectively ends up being a couple of days a month work.”
The success she’s helped her Business Growth Academy clients to achieve has given her the confidence to charge individual clients a lot more for the services she provides.
“I knew that what I did was good but I didn’t have the confidence to put a sensible price tag on it – I went by what everybody else was charging. When I started my business, I was charging £500 a day; now if you want to work with me one-to-one you have to pay me a minimum of £1,500 a month and my fee for my one-to-one session and two follow-up calls is now a £2,500 package. So my perception of the value I provide has just jumped because I know I get the results.
“It’s funny, the more you put the price up the easier it is to say ‘no’ if it’s something you don’t want to do.”
Digital Lighthouse is also helping Joanne to create the marketing material she needed to entice prospective customers into her sales funnel – namely, a landing page and a free tips booklet.
To promote her tips booklet to her target audience, Joanne has followed Digital Lighthouse’s advice and formed strategic alliances with six local companies.
“I used to be a partner in a mid tier practice so I know every professional in the area. In the last couple of months I’ve gone back to my professional contacts who have the sorts of clients I want and got agreements with them to send out my promotional material to their database and inviting their clients to sign-up for a free downloadable version of the tips booklet. One of them has a database of 15,000. There’s also an accountant who has 1,000 clients on his database.
“The people who sign up for the free booklet will then receive automated email messages inviting them to attend one of my free seminars.”
Automating her marketing efforts is something else she’s learned from Digital Lighthouse. “It’s made me think about the bits I don’t need to do and automate a lot of it so that it happens whether I’m busy or not.”
By the end of her year-long participation in Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme, Joanne hopes to be in a position where she can outsource all her accountancy work.
“I can have a bigger impact if I outsource all the accounts work. My interest lies in the Business Growth Academy now.”
So in 12 months, Joanne will have completely transformed her business, created a steady stream of prospective clients, automated her marketing, perhaps quadrupled her income and be doing more of what she enjoys – helping other business owners to accelerate their success.
“Digital Lighthouse really helped me turn my ideas into a reality.”