The Riches Are In The Niches With Allison Strickland
Accelerating Sales to Scale your Business
Whether you’re starting a new business or changing the direction of an existing one, picking a niche is the best decision you can make as a small business owner. And Allison Strickland can confirm that.
She is a Salesforce developer for a large life sciences company and owns two of her own businesses in the same niche: healthcare and higher education for healthcare.
In this episode, Allison explains why the riches are in the niches and how she plays in communities to gain clients. She also shares her story on how to run a consultancy business on top of a full-time job and kids.
03:43 – What are the problems Allison solves for his clients? She helps healthcare professionals with their tech and Salesforce systems.
06:37 – Setting prices at an early stage. It takes a lot of research.
08:08 – The best way to get clients, according to Allison. Referrals and communities.
10:30 – The riches are in the niches. Finding a niche as a business owner is the best decision.
14:20 – Cons of picking a niche. When charging higher prices, you lose clients.
17:43 – How to run a consultancy business, a full-time job and kids. Being intentional with your time.
24:16 – The Sales Deep Dive. Allison’s sales habits.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
Setting prices at an early stage
Allison started her business as a sole proprietorship because it started as a friend and family deal and people she knew very well. And year over year, it began to grow some more. It wasn’t until year three that she converted her company into an LLC primarily because she also started another company that she wanted to have a little more protection around. So she built the LLC and put both companies under it.
So when it came to setting prices, she took the matter seriously and did a lot of research on it. Her point of reference was the Salesforce salary she made at her full-time job. And from that, she figured out her hourly rate, and that’s how it all started.
Since then, a lot of things have changed, and her prices have increased. Why? It got to a point she needed to raise her prices to lower the amount of clients and continue to bring in more revenue. In Allison’s words, “that’s a perk of growth; charge higher prices do less work.”
The best way to get clients, according to Allison
That’s how Allison started, as a friend and family business. People who knew her had connections in the industry, and they were reaching out to her because they knew that she had provided the same solution they needed for another company. So when clients were coming to her, she realized she could start turning that into a bigger business.
After some consideration, she found that the best way to market her services was in the communities she was already part of. And for Allison, that was healthcare and higher education for healthcare. So we’re talking about university programs, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
And the approach was very simple: Answer people’s questions. For her, being a voice who is able to solve a problem for another person puts value behind your name. And after you provide value over and over again, people will go directly to you.
The riches are in the niches
Having a niche market in mind is the best decision you can make as an entrepreneur and small business owner. It’s easier to cast a net in a specific area where there might be fewer fish but bigger than cast a net with thousands of little fish and hope you get one.
For Allison, that happened organically because she was already in a niche as a professional. And from that, it was so much easier to niche down. But if someone is starting out, looking for that ideal client, but struggling to choose a niche, Allison recommends asking yourself if you’ve had a client before that was the bomb and thinking about what you like about them. That’s a good place to start. But why choose a niche at all? If you want to charge higher prices and be the go-to person, you have to choose a specialty.
The Sales Deep Dive
What are some daily sales habits that help you accelerate your sales?
I think many of my sales habits have brought me consistent customers in that I get repeat business. And a lot of that is staying in touch. So, if I haven’t heard from a client in a while, maybe three to four months, I shoot them an email and just say, hey, how’s it going? How did this project turn out for you that we did together a couple of months ago?
Do you need anything else, or there’s anything upcoming? If you have something in the works, let’s talk about it right now because then I can also anticipate income. I think staying connected, even if you’re not doing active work for them, is very important. It keeps you at the front of their mind. And the other thing that I do is stay active on social media.
Where do you and your team find tips to improve your sales and marketing process?
I think it’s just staying on top of what’s good in the industry. I’m tip-dipping into TikTok a little bit, but I’m not quite there yet. LinkedIn is always like a very rapidly changing place. So staying on top of what’s changing and the best practices for LinkedIn, I think, is important. Every couple of months, I’ll kind of go and see what changes have happened with LinkedIn.
What have you learned in your business you wish you had known earlier?
I wish I had acted like a business a little sooner than I did. I mean having my books in order and getting my LLC a little sooner. The United States has a crazy tax code, and it’s insane. So being able to maximize what I was able to keep instead of giving it to the government.
I have a VA. I wish I had hired one sooner. It’s hard to think that you’re letting go of money to pay someone else to do what you could be doing. But also realizing that you do have a max capacity, I think, is also important, and I’ve seen nothing but growth after hiring her.
About Allison Strickland
Allison Strickland is a Salesforce Developer for a large Life Sciences company and owns two of her own businesses, Shea Hawk Solutions and ATStudy Buddy.
Her focus of Shea Hawk Solutions is helping health and wellness-facing businesses and entrepreneurs improve their operations, develop online courses, and create an effective marketing strategy.
ATStudy Buddy is a passion project and is an online test-prep platform for athletic training students preparing to sit for their national certification exam.
Allison is also a certified athletic trainer and built her businesses and expertise in Salesforce organically and through a lot of hard work.
She is also preparing to start the dissertation phase of her PhD in Communications. In her free time, Allison spends time with her two sons, ages 6 and 3, and loves to run and read.
Connect With Paul
Thank You for Tuning In! Subscribe to our YouTube channel HERE
Join the Cloud Consultants Collective – A free community where Cloud Consultants share success tips on how to scale. Click here.