Does your business growth feel slow or sluggish? Do you have trouble engaging with your audience or feeling like you have their attention?

2 women sitting in chairs facing each other

On this episode I’m sharing 3 reasons your business might be stuck, based on my own experiences and on the issues that come up most often with my clients. I’m also giving you some ideas on how to change things up if you see yourself reflected in any of these areas.

#1: Your Audience

It is so important to have clarity about your ideal client, customer, listener, or reader. Here are some of the mistakes you might be making around your audience.

It’s not specific enough

This is a mistake many business owners make, especially when they are first starting out. But if we don’t get very specific about who our ideal client is, we will end up serving people we really don’t want to serve. 

My example: When I first started out as a VA, I did not have any guidelines for who I was going to serve as my clients, and this meant that I could get referrals for anyone and everyone. I thought this was a good thing, casting a wide net to find more prospects. As you can guess, it backfired big time when I ended up working with someone on a website project who put me through the ringer then dropped the project halfway through due to money issues. He was definitely NOT my ideal client.

Over time I learned to start narrowing down who I wanted to serve and getting more specific on the types of businesses I wanted to work with!

You don’t know them well enough

Once you know who your ideal client is, you have to get to know them. How can you connect with that audience if you don’t really know how they think, where they hang out, what their needs and wants are?

My example: When I was first building my blog, I was gearing it towards women who were moms in ministry, like me. While I did get to know them a little bit, I sort of figured the things they would want and need would be just like my own, so I didn’t spend enough time getting to know them well. So I ended up creating content for them that was sometimes too general and sometimes didn’t hit home for them. 

When I set out to launch the Christian Woman Leadership Podcast, I went about it very differently. I created a FB group, did a survey, and got feedback from my audience directly BEFORE I launched the show. I’m confident that this work getting to know my audience ahead of time is what helped my podcast take off so quickly.

You’re serving 2 different avatars

This is a challenge for many entrepreneurs. We want to help people at different levels of business or at different stages in life, or even two different types of people. Especially when starting out, I recommend not splitting your audience. 

An example: My client Natalie of The Ops Authority started out working with business owners who needed her operations skills to help them create clear paths to move forward in their businesses. Then she started coaching and mentoring other women in the operations space and created a certification program to train these women

When she started her podcast, she was trying to reach both of these avatars: the visionary business owner AND the operations professional. The topics would be similar–all about operations–but the problem was that her audience was split. She was trying to speak to 2 different types of people with 2 very different sets of problems and issues. Once she went all in on operations minded women who needed mentoring and training, her business skyrocketed.

#2: Your Offer

You obviously need to have something that someone can buy in order to have a business. Whether it’s a service, a digital or physical product, or your time, if you’re in business you have some sort of offer. But is it the right offer, created and presented in the right way for your audience?

You create your offer in a vacuum

I see many entrepreneurs making this mistake. You have an idea for a product or service you think that your audience will want, but if you don’t spend time connecting with them or testing out the idea it can fall flat. 

My example: I spent a lot of time creating and developing a course but I hadn’t spent enough time testing out the content ideas. I got a little bit of interest, but I definitely didn’t get the results I wanted for all the time and energy I put into it. 

You have too many offers, or too much customization

Having too many things can be confusing for clients. And it can stretch your resources and time too far. If you have say 3 packages or main service types you offer, it can be much easier to market and sell, and easier to systematize. If you have too many customizable options, you’ll spend a lot of time on the backend creating custom proposals and completing that custom work. 

My example: This was an issue I had early on as a service provider. I had basically decided to do anything and everything, so I ended up with too many things to offer clients, which was confusing for them and overwhelming for me.

You’re not solving a problem that is important enough, specific enough, or clearly spelled out

This is a mistake I see often. We try to solve all the problems our client has in one product or service, or we try to solve a very general problem. This is common in the coaching space. I see a lot of coaches with offers like “reach your goals”, “live your purpose”, or “fulfill your dreams”, which all sound lovely, but are very hard for someone to visualize or to understand what it would mean to work with you. 

Get specific: what problem are you solving? And make sure it’s a big enough problem that people need your help in solving it. 

My example: When I started my membership site, I wasn’t solving a specific enough problem or a big enough problem. So the need for someone to join wasn’t very compelling. I was providing community for leaders and ongoing growth opportunities (and I’ve enjoyed the women who did sign up very much), but the problem solved wasn’t clear and specific.

“Don’t be afraid to get more specific.” -Esther Littlefield

#3: Marketing

The last reason your business might not be moving forward in the way you want is your marketing. I talked about marketing in last week’s episode but today I want to hit on some of the things that could be holding your business back from the kind of growth you want. 

Your communication doesn’t connect with your audience

This is why knowing your audience well is key – so you can talk to them in a way that resonates. If your communication is vague, confusing, or uses too much industry jargon, it’s not going to connect you with your audience.

You start promoting your offer before you have clarity and confidence

If you start talking about a product or service you are going to offer but don’t have clarity on what it is yet, it’s a problem! This doesn’t mean we can’t tease future ideas, but knowing what you’re talking about always helps with promotion. If you’re not completely confident on how your product or service will impact your customers lives, don’t share it until you are. 

My example: I created a course about marriage based on my own experience. But I struggled with confidence on whether or not it would help other women. And since I hadn’t gone through the materials with anyone in a 1:1 or even group setting before creating the course, it made sense that I was unsure!  I do think that it was a good program but it could have been better if I had approached it differently.

Your marketing focuses on you rather than on the client

If your marketing is focused on you rather than the client, it will not land well. This can show up through employing spammy marketing techniques like dropping links on posts or in groups with no explanation or attempts to connect, or friend requesting someone then immediately DMing them about your business. As Christian business women, I know that we always want to live out our values and make sure we are operating in integrity, so our marketing should reflect that.

Another way this can play out has less to do with lazy, questionable techniques and more to do with how you present yourself and your product or service to your ideal client. You don’t want to focus on your qualifications, your accomplishments, what you would like to gain. Turn it around and make sure your descriptions and promotions talk about the client and their needs first. 

“We want to make sure that our marketing is in integrity.” -Esther Littlefield

Join the challenge!

If your business is stuck or not growing the way you want, I want to help! I hope the tips I’ve shared have been helpful but I want to go deeper with you to support your growth and that is why I’m offering the FREE Communicate & Connect Challenge coming up March 1-5

Through this challenge you will learn to:

  • Feel confident introducing yourself and talking about what you do online or in person
  • Create curiosity about what you do rather than confusion
  • Connect and continue the conversation with your ideal clients

PLUS: Learn how to set yourself apart so that your ideal customers or clients are excited to work with you

Sign up for the challenge at today!

Connect with Esther:

If this podcast was helpful, consider leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app.

Pin it for later:

graphic for pdocast episode: 3 Reasons Your Business Might Be Stuck