Marketing is her passion and helping entrepreneurs create profitable and inspiring businesses is her forte. If you’ve not yet met Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching, then we think its about time you did!
Stephanie Ward is a marketing and business coach on a mission to help (small) business owners expand their business. Stephanie has always been fascinated by marketing and her business and marketing background in the corporate world were good foundations for her to start her own business Stephanie says
“[…] there was plenty for me to learn because while there are general marketing concepts that are relevant for both corporate and small business owners, marketing for a small business is largely a different animal than corporate marketing. And since most business owners aren’t experts in marketing, and they are looking for a way to promote their businesses, in a way that fits for them. What I offer is a perfect match.”
Firefly Coaching helps small business owners solve problems in three areas. The first area is where Stephanie works on is helping clients create a profitable and inspiring business model. Secondly, to identify the most effect marketing messages and thirdly to apply the best marketing strategies that fit with the business owner and works with their target group.
Stephanie is convinced that whilst its great to develop elaborate plans, there still needs to be plans the owner can implement themselves. If the business owner can’t then the ideas are pretty much useless.
Its not all been easy for Stephanie as a business owner herself. Even though challenges are as normal as day and night for a business owner, Stephanie has had to stay focused and learn how to prioritize things. Stephanie remarks:
“I take the same advice I give my clients which is to create an idea folder to capture all of your ideas so you never worry about losing them. That also makes it easier to maintain an overview of all of the possibilities so you can choose where to focus your time.”
The future is now
As every business owners knows, expansion and growth are important aspects of running a business. Stephanie’s ideal is to expand her own reach so that she can support even more passionate business owners across the world and help them create prosperous and meaningful businesses. Exactly how this will happen is not yet 100% clear but Stephanie realizes that the ‘how’ isn’t as important as knowing where you want to go. Once the destination is clear, the ‘how’will figure itself out. Another aspect of growth is the constant search for inspiration, mentors and role models.
“I get inspiration from my clients and people I meet that share their business challenges and ask me questions. And I always find business and marketing inspiration when I travel. Seeing how other cultures operate differently and also having fresh eyes to see what already exists can trigger new ideas. Traveling also helps me come up with new metaphors for existing business or marketing concepts.”
As for role models, Stephanie has many. Seth Godin is probably her most remarkable and Stephanie recommends literally everything he creates. Looking closer to home, Stephanie is inspired by her late father who never gave up and demonstrated what true perseverance looked like. Her mother who is a lawyer, started her career in he 30’s and was the first women in her law school class. Stephanie says
“She is a tremendous example of what a woman can achieve and she also instilled practical values that have guided me in my life and business.”
On a mental and spiritual level, Stephanie is inspired by The work of Byron Katie en how the investigation of our stressful thoughts have helped here personally as well as professionally.
The definition of Success
“My favorite quote about success comes from Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” (she is another role model of mine). This quote captures what a successful company is to me. And for me it’s also about making a difference in the world. I want to help as many people as I can make a living doing what they love because that changes their life and the lives of everyone around them including their families and clients. It creates an immense, positive ripple effect. It’s also important that I find my work meaningful, which I absolutely do. That’s why I call myself a Meaningpreneur, because I’m doing work that I love and it also makes a difference for my clients’ lives.”
Success comes with its ups and downs and once mistake Stephanie felt she made was not sending out an ezine (newsletter) until three years into her business. Stephanie advises all business owners to start building their list immediately whether you have a website or not. A fantastic resource which Stephanie recommends is Mailchimp which also offers a free service for up to 2000 subscribers. Stephanie adds
“The point is that email marketing is not dead, in fact it’s as effective as it ever has been. It’s the best way to stay in touch with people who are interested in your business and build a relationship over time. It’s smart to build communities and share information on social media as well but not every message will be seen and you don’t want to build your main building on someone else’s property. This is a link to some of my posts on the topic of list building.
Stephanie doesn’t have any regrets with regards to how her business and services have developed but we asked Stephanie what advice she would give to readers if she could go back and do it again. Her response was
“If I had known that it would have been better to start with one target group when I began I would have done it. When I started my business I was coaching three groups: career changers, executives, and small business owners. In 2005 I decided to let the other groups go and focus only on small business owners. This is what I advise my clients to do now as well. When you have a laser focus in your business on who you serve and how you help them there are many benefits. When you focus, your marketing is easier, you are seen as the expert in your area, and you can grow faster. And once you’ve successfully mastered one group, you can always add a group later if you want to.”