Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

“Your customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves.  Tell them how you take away the problem they want to be rid of.” We are Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams, founders of Wide Awake Business. In March we launch our new book, Customertopia, at our retreat, Lead Her Up, for women small business owners […]

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“Your customers don’t care about you. They care about themselves. 

Tell them how you take away the problem they want to be rid of.”

We are Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams, founders of Wide Awake Business.

In March we launch our new book, Customertopia, at our retreat, Lead Her Up, for women small business owners making at least $500K in their business.

In Customertopia they’ll discover the insights about their customers they must have in order to be seen and heard in today’s noise, crazy, changing, challenging markets.  They’ll be guided on how to uncover those insights, how to use them and then how to put them to work to create a business that’s machine-like, fun and profitable…rather than something that’s different everyday which is highly unprofitable, unpredictable and stress-producing. We share and guide small business owners to the real path to build a business that grows.  Businesses grow when you build your business from your customer’s point of view, from them in to you, and you speak the language of your customer.  Then you have what most small business owners want—an easier, simpler and more profitable business!

We’re sharing this in detail because many of your readers want to know, not just the problem we had, but how we pulled ourselves out of it.

Like many businesses we were deeply affected by the recession of 2009.  We lost about 75% of our revenue as our clients retracted their business development efforts, pulled back on their marketing, sales and team development.  Our Ideal Customers no longer wanted the things they were desiring before.  They wanted something else, something different.  But customers don’t send you a letter telling you what they want!  You have to become a detective to determine their new desires. 

We watched their behavior, talked to our prospects…asked them questions that revealed their desires for themselves and their businesses as their businesses were hurting, too.  We reworked the services we offered based on the information we were gathering, and we, frankly, cut back how we were personally paid.  We didn’t turn things around right away.  One of the lessons we’d share with our readers is to be patient when you make changes. Be persistent and consistent in conveying what you do for your clients, particularly as you make changes.  Don’t pull the plug immediately on new things you try to reinvigorate your business…but also don’t hang on too long to things that aren’t working for you.  That’s called “busy, but not productive” work. 

When we got stuck, didn’t know exactly what to do, we sought help from those who did know.  Any of your readers who feel stuck should do the same thing…hire a business mentor who can see your business with fresh eyes to target the efforts that can end (not productive) and what to start (that will turn the business).  This is one of our “Super Powers” at Wide Awake Business!

Our efforts to regroup, to align to the new requirements of our Ideal Customer enabled us to first survive the recession, and then to conquer it and begin to grow again.

What we experienced will sound familiar to many of your readers.   Where there might be a difference is: are they still doing too many things themselves?  Doing rather than leading their business?  Getting stuck and not know what to do next so they sit still?  Feeling overwhelmed and stressed about how to grow?

That’s what we’re masters at:  taking businesses out of the stuck stage, getting them focused on only the executions that move them forward.

Some of the new things that popped up as the year progressed we didn’t anticipate in January put exciting opportunities on our plate.  This coming March we have created a leadership retreat for women small business owners, called Lead Her Up.  This is a small, intimate, invitation-only retreat for women owners making at least $500K in their business.  Many of our Wide Awake Business clients are women who own small businesses, $500K to $8M.  They have had a difficult time pulling themselves out of “doing” the work instead “leading” the company’s work.  And they don’t have a network of women in similar positions to them.  We’ll work with them to build their leadership talent for themselves, their team and their Brand.  Plus integrate them into a facilitated Master Mind of women peers for support and advancement.  These are just some of the things Lead Her Up will deliver.

Martha Hanlon:  [email protected]


Chris Williams:  [email protected]

530-878-1491 �x�T

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