Getting Productive & Profitable
with Heidi DeCoux

5 Things that Will Make or Break Your Business

There are 5 essential things that will make your small, service-based business a wild success!  These essentials have helped hundreds of businesses like yours to become successful – almost overnight ­– by making these small, but profound, tweaks.

If your business is not yet a wild success, look at these 5 things.  Look at what’s working and what’s not working.  Then take the simple steps I’ve outlined below to improve in these 5 areas.

1.     Have an Avatar: an Ideal Client or Customer

ideal client avatar

Photo Credit: Stelmakh Studio

Both true and cliché, “the riches are in the niches.”  The most successful small businesses identify one specific target market to work with.  It’s counter-intuitive. But narrowing your focus – like a laser – grows your business faster with higher return on investment.  If you market to everyone, you fail to marketing to anyone.

Create your avatar.  Be as specific in your description of your avatar as you would be if you were writing your autobiography.  Then, market to that avatar.

2.    Client-Focused Communication

Craft your communications from the perspective of your audience – from the perspective of your avatar.  As your avatar, ask yourself “What’s in this communication for me?” (Just like I am thinking about you as I write this to you, for you!)

This is harsh, but no one else really cares (except maybe your mom) about how cool you think your business is, or how happy you are to be of service.  They only care about what is in it for them.  (Likewise, you only care what’s in this communication for you, right?)

Here are 2 examples.  This week I received the following post-card promotions in the mail from two companies..

The first post card:  This postcard featured an unrecognizable, blurry image and the words:

You’re Invited to help launch my business

“Well, thank you, but I don’t know you, and I don’t know if your party is any fun. Sounds like work!”

It gets worse. The backside of the card read:

Please come help me launch my business and learn what the world is just finding out about this Anti-Aging sensation!  [Date, time, location, phone number].

Would you be interested in attending?

EPIC marketing fail.

The communication wasn’t compelling.  It was even repulsive.  And not because it hit the wrong target market.  I’m genuinely interested the topic of anti-aging, which is probably why I’m on the mailing list.  But

  • I saw zero value for myself in this event!
  • I have no idea what this company is about!
  • I have no idea what an “anti-aging sensation” is – sounds like a ploy or a scam
  • I have no idea what’s happening at this event – sounds like I’m going to be put to work!

Did I mention this was an EPIC fail?..

The second post card:  This postcard featured an image of a happy & successful businessperson, the company logo, the URL of their website, and the words:

Isn’t it time you had the most complete and tightly integrated automated marketing system available today that delivers EVERYTHING you need to fully automate the process of converting prospects into lifelong customers?

“Why, yes! It is time!”

On the back of the card there was an image of what they are selling and a clear and compelling call-to-action:

Visit our website and download this new book and you’ll learn how to build your own automated marking system that converts prospects in to lifelong raving customers.

WIN!  (By chance, I know the sender of the second post card.  This little piece of mail gets big conversion rates.)

This marketing postcard clearly and concisely told me what’s in it for me, and what I need to start getting some!

Start your client-focused communications by referencing your elevator speech (and if you don’t have one, make one, pronto!).  Your elevator speech clearly and concisely articulates what you do to for your target market in under 30 seconds.  Focus on the results you get for people...

3.    A Profitable Pricing Structure

If you’re crazy-busy running your business, seeing clients, or caring for customers, but yet you’re STILL not making bank, then you probably don’t have a profitable pricing structure.

Generally, new business owners drastically underestimate how much time and money it takes to service a client and to market the business.

For example, a typical coach spends time preparing for each session and making notes afterward. Then a coach must do some marketing, free consults, etc.  All that time is non-billable. So if this coach charges $75/hour for a coaching session, this coach might only make $30/hour after factoring in all the non-billable time.

Know what your time is worth.  Get paid for at least some, if not all, of your (previously) non-billable time!

4.    Several Sources of Leads

Most small businesses need between 5 and 8 sources for new leads, sometimes more.  If you have only one or two lead sources in place, it becomes very difficult to make your monthly income goals.

The key to milking your cash cows is consistency.

  • If one of your lead sources is YouTube, then schedule consistent and regular releases of new videos.  Put it in your calendar and stick with it!
  • If one of your sources is speaking engagements, then decide how many talks you will give each month.  Then make as many calls as it takes to get that number of engagements on the books each month.
  • If one of your sources is Facebook, follow the simple step-by-step daily action guide available in Social Media Marketer.

It’s important that you select your lead sources based on your offerings, your ideal client avatar and your strengths.  If the thought of giving a presentation makes you sweat, then speaking engagements probably should not be one of your lead sources.

Wordpress Website Design by Clear Simple Marketing

Photo Credit: Clear Simple Marketing

5.    An Effective Online Presence

Make it easy for people to find you online!  Then make it even easier for them to do business with you once they’ve found you.

Your website is a bright oasis in the dark desert for your customers!  Put up huge neon signs & spotlights to guide them in from the darkness.  And when they

arrive, the proverbial water jug had better be right in front of them – don’t make them wait, or struggle, to get that life-sustaining sip of water.  Lead them to take action: Drink!

If you don’t have a website, rock your LinkedIn profile until you can get one.  If you are in the market for an affordable yet beautiful and effective WordPress website, check out this WordPress website design package.

If you’re just starting a business, or your business is not yet WILDLY profitable, check out Up, Running & HIGHLY Profitable. With this program you get one-on-one support from ME!  I’ll help you customize each strategy for YOUR unique business.  I will walk you through any road blocks you encounter while implementing. Follow the program and in 12 weeks you will have a sustainable and highly profitable business.

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About Heidi DeCoux

Heidi DeCoux owns and operates Clear Simple Marketing which provides small business owners with the tools and assistance they need to be highly productive, super organized, and wildly profitable while pursuing their passions.
Want to know how to get more clients + increased revenue?  Get instant access to Heidi's free on-demand workshop: "The 3-Step System for Breaking Free From the Feast-or-Famine Cycle".  Click here now.


  1. Great article Heidi! I think client focused communication is key — and easy to sway away from when you’re so excited about your own products/services — you kind of get wrapped up in your own little bubble. Thanks for the reinforcement,
    mridu :)

  2. timely great tip
    thank you for sharing

  3. Sherry Borsheim says:

    Great marketing strategies and reminder where business owners need to focus their time!

  4. Brilliant stuff here. It’s funny having to tell people that having an image on their websites or an avatar that follows them around while they’re online is an important aspect in helping to build trust. They’ll give so much information about themselves away to practically anyone without thinking about it then get scared to put up a picture.

    I also totally agree with your post on pricing. I know many people who have priced themselves out of business by charging too low. I did the same thing when I first started because my mindset wasn’t clear & I didn’t have any real direction on how I should be trying to do things. Great advice here.