2013 Goal Setting for Doulas, Part 3
Doulas and other small business owners may need to procure help in order to achieve their goals. Help might be in the form of hiring a professional (for example, a web designer), or it may be in the form of getting the whole family on board with the idea that mom has specified “work times” that need to be respected, perhaps even hiring a babysitter so that you have a dedicated business development time each week. Figure out what you need to make it work! Building a business is a creative act.
The idea of the “Master Mind” group was first proposed by Napoleon Hill in his now-famous book, Think and Grow Rich. The Master Mind concept involves a special type of professional support group wherein a dynamic exchange of marketing ideas takes place. I participate in two Master Mind groups: a “Wise Women Marketing Group” that is childbirth-industry specific and one that involves entrepreneurs from a variety of industries (we’re talking heating and cooling businesses, carpet cleaners, and so on) and includes both male and female members. Each group comes together once a month and each member is allotted a specific amount of time (anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or so, and we set a timer!) for all group members to focus on your business.
The group can critique your overall business plan, or provide feedback on a specific marketing piece you have developed (e.g., brochure, flyer) or copy you have written to promote a new product. Or, they can brainstorm new outreach venues, networking opportunities, or marketing strategies strategies … whatever you are working on or need help with. Group members can also share resources and professional contacts for contractual services (such as business coaches, graphic artists, web designers, accountants, etc.). It’s a pooling of brain power and resources.
In the industry-specific Wise Women group, we have a lactation consultant, a childbirth educator/doula trainer, a postpartum doula, a birth photographer, and a retired homebirth midwife now starting up a new business as a home funeral guide. Lots of diversity, but no overlap or direct competition. It’s really helpful to have a group industry insiders, each with her own realm of influence, sharing a dynamic exchange of ideas.
The beauty of the broader Master Mind group is that each of us can also benefit from the perspective of folks who are not in our same field. This group will cause you to identify assumptions you are making about your audience and help steer you away from insider jargon abuse. Every birth junkie knows what you mean if you call yourself a “MotherBaby advocate,” but an expectant father may draw a blank (or worse, feel excluded). Master Mind group members can often help by simply observing, “I don’t know what this means.” You will also be drawing from a wider, more diverse range of contacts, experience, knowledge, and skills. And, here’s a secret: If a marketing technique works in one business, it can be adapted for use in another. Bundled services, “upsells,” coupons, gift certificates, and referral rewards work for doulas too!
And last, but not least, the groups can be a means of helping you hold yourself accountable to your goals. If you are meeting once a month, or twice a month (like I do) to focus on marketing, you will need to prepare something to bring to that meeting or what is the point? The meeting serves as a deadline of sorts and we ALL benefit from deadlines. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely job at times. If that’s one of your obstacles, what can you do about it?
Join us next week for the final installment of our four-part blog series on 2013 Goal Setting for Doulas as we develop the marketing calendar tool.
Patty Brennan is a DONA International Birth and Postpartum Doula trainer, owner of Center for the Childbearing Year (Ann Arbor, MI), and author of The Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful MotherBaby Business. She is offering a workshop on Building Your Birth-Related Business on Saturday, January 26. Early registration discount available through 1/5/13. Earn 6.5 continuing education credits along with business-building strategies.