How are “lint” and “Lent” related? Allow me to explain in terms beneficial to you as a Sidecar driver…
Lint – that fluffy stuff that’s created by and collects in your dryer, composed of clothing fibers, human and pet hair, skin cells, dust and many more things that I needn’t get into. You get the picture. It’s our laundry’s waste product and thankfully we have the opportunity to get rid of it.
Recently, my husband and I decided to tackle the big lint job – remove the hose and brush everything out of it and the dryer itself. We were left with an unnervingly large, disgusting, yet satisfying pile of gray lint of which to dispose. Upon reconnecting the hose and drying another load of laundry, we found our dryer to be working at peak performance once again; more efficient at its job. All around, our efforts were productive at clearing a blockage to effectiveness.
So your Sidecar is zooming right along. That’s terrific! The question now is, “What’s next?” Are you content to chug along on your current course or do you want your Sidecar to go even farther? If that’s your goal – to grow your Sidecar to even greater heights – it’s smart to make a plan to get you there by the best route possible.
Like for any journey, it’s best to fully prepare ahead of time when contemplating going the distance. While spontaneity is exciting, it’s not the prudent way to approach the expansion of your business. Regardless of your sense of readiness, there are still potential risks that can befall an unplanned or poorly-planned execution. Take these actions to help ensure smooth sailing:
Many Sidecars start up for the enjoyment and edification of the driver. You may not initially even think about customers as you indulge in the opportunity to exercise your Sidecar ambitions whenever time permits. But every Sidecar eventually needs a target audience – a group of ideal customers to serve. Identifying and finding these ideal customers are a much better strategy, than, say, throwing your efforts at the wall and hoping something sticks with someone. But who are those “ideal” customers who are likely to lap up your offerings like there’s no tomorrow? And, once you determine who they are, how do you actually locate them?
Here are some tips to help you identify those ideal customers for your Sidecar:
I recently interviewed Saturday Sidecar driver, Barb Mason, designer behind bobbi kahn design jewelry. She clued me in on the ins and outs of selling at a vendor booth. Barb sells her necklaces, bracelets and earrings online but primarily from her booth at events and fairs throughout her local area. She’s been doing this for several years now and has learned a lot about the booth-selling experience.
Some Sidecars operate from a fixed location, some are portable, some are virtual – and some may be a little of each. Could your product or service be offered for sale at a booth? No matter what you sell, chances are there’s a fair, conference, seminar or other event at which you could set up a booth to showcase and sell your wares. Even if your business is regularly home-based or operates online, booth sales represent an opportunity to take your Sidecar on the road. Booths allow people to interact with you and your product or service in person, giving a face to your business.
As a Sidecar driver, running your business is a solo operation. We’re an independent lot so that’s not usually a problem. But what about the times when we and our Sidecar could use a little support, whether it be financial advice, mentoring, training or emotional shoring-up? Rest assured, those types of support do exist for us solo entrepreneurs so we aren’t left twisting in the wind when we just can’t go it alone.
Especially if your Sidecar is your first foray into the entrepreneurial realm, you can learn a lot of others who have been there before you. And don’t underestimate the inspiration and emotional support you can give and receive from other Sidecar drivers who are no farther along their entrepreneurial road than you. Just knowing you’re not in it alone is sometimes the most empowering message of all.
Reflection – each season of the year brings it about. It’s the predictable cycle of the year that gives us pause to take stock, evaluate, look behind – and ahead. Each season brings its own joys, its own challenges and its own particular color palette.
As autumn is now displaying its stunning and remarkable color transformation, let’s reflect upon our Sidecar. How has it grown in the last year? How has it changed – transforming from what it was at its inception to its present state? Your Sidecar may look nothing like it did when it was a mere seedling. Over time, small businesses tend to go where the wind takes them, sprouting new branches, growing in new directions as needed to find the most favorable and fruitful conditions. It can be a very satisfying exercise to reflect upon the changing colors of your Sidecar, enabling you to more fully appreciate all that it is and all that it’s become.
Sidecar drivers often need to conduct interviews with clients before they begin working on a personalized project. Collecting enough of the “right” information from clients is paramount to fulfilling their needs; it also makes it easier for you to do your best work on their behalf. This sort of interview usually occurs when embarking on a new project and is intended to establish what needs to be done, when, how and for how much.
Here are some ways to make the most out of a client interview?
As Sidecar drivers, it’s easy to become so transfixed on our goals (making a particular sales or production goal or introducing our product to a new audience, for instance), that we neglect to appreciate the progress we make in every single hour we spend behind the wheel. Not that there’s anything wrong with “steelyfocus” and keeping your “eyes on the prize,” but you can glean a lot of inspiration and satisfaction by remaining aware of where you are at any given moment. Appreciate what you’re experiencing on your way to attaining those goals and you’ll discover even deeper rewards of having a Sidecar of your own.
The term, “social media marketing” can seem intimidating to Saturday Sidecar drivers. While the technological jargon of using sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest sound a bit less foreign as social media marketing becomes more mainstream, actually using social media as a way to market your Sidecar may still seem a little daunting. It need not be, however. You, yes, you, can use social media to promote your Sidecar to build relationships and increase your reach to new customers.