How to choose the right business model (and why 80% of your profession are doing it wrong!)

How to choose the right business model (and why 80% of your profession are doing it wrong!)

Have you ever stopped to think why you run your business the way you do?

Most people have ended up with their current model based on one of two reasons;

  1. It’s because it’s what everyone else in your profession is doing
  2. You’ve followed advice to teach you what is the most profitable or easiest to run

Running your business like everyone else

First, you may have the same business model as everyone else in your profession, not because of choice but because you don’t know any better. There’s no judgment here; what you don’t know, you don’t know. You may have spent a lot of time learning about marketing and getting clients, but you’ve probably never given much thought to how to design, set up and run your business.

Doing what everyone else in your profession does has its upsides because you know what works already. Why reinvent the wheel? However, there is a big problem with this. Just because most of your colleagues or competitors run their business in a particular way doesn’t necessarily mean they are all doing it correctly.

But … 80% of your profession are doing it wrong

If we take the Pareto Principle, which statistically proves that 80% of output comes from 20% of input, then we could theorise that 80% of the success in your profession comes from just 20% of businesses in that profession.

If we flip this the other way, 80% of businesses in your profession create just 20% of the output.

Hmmm …

Let’s stop and think about this and wonder how true this is.

Could we conclude that no matter which profession or business sector you operate in, too many people seem to be struggling? Look around at the faces at your next networking event or industry conference; how many of those businesses would you say are flourishing?

The reality is that many are experiencing one or more of the following:

  1. Overwhelm; procrastination over marketing initiatives and new product ideas because busy-ness is taking over the day-to-day, and there’s no space to work creatively on projects that will grow the business
  2. Overworked; stuck in the never-ending to-do-lists and client delivery
  3. Underpaid: competing on price and charging by the hour or the time spent with clients, which often leads to over-delivery and doing far more than initially promised to try and keep clients happy

This paints a pretty depressing picture, especially if you realise you may be in this average 80%!

What about the top 20% of your profession?

Are they creating 80% of the output?

There will be, of course, all sorts of reasons for the success of these top 20%, and yes, there is every chance that they are using technology to create massive growth advantage opportunities to allow them to stand out as leading experts in your profession.

You’ve probably already seen colleagues and competitors create new ways of sharing their expertise. From expanding their offerings to serving groups of clients, large and small, through to creating digital content and cutting-edge use of AI, the opportunities to do something ‘different’ and grow the number of clients you work with are open to you if that’s what you want.

This leads me to the second instance, where many of you may choose your business model based on what’s been taught to you as the most profitable or easiest to run.

Running your business because you’ve been taught this is the way that will make you the most money

The internet became mainstream in the late 1990s, changing our lives. When I started my first business in 2004, email marketing and blogging began emerging for small businesses. When the doors opened to mainstream social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, digital growth skyrocketed and advances in technology today, don’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.

Unsurprisingly, the explosion in selling digital content since 2015 has led to tens of thousands marketing experts teaching digital ways of making money and growing a business from your laptop on the beach, particularly within the consulting and coaching professions.

Because technology has been the reason for the success of a lot of businesses which are very visible online, it’s easy to get sucked into believing that digital is the only way to grow a business.

But this is simply not the case.

Many marketplaces are now flooded with digital offerings that it’s hard to break in and claim your space, especially when so much of the content can be of poor quality. Your client base may already begun to distrust this form of learning or support. I am sure you have already experienced digital learning and Zoom fatigue over the past few years.

You also have to consider that plenty of businesses in this top 20% bracket are running different or more traditional business models. You may not even realise they exist because you don’t get to see their marketing campaigns or brand presence on your Facebook or Instagram feed.

I remember a client told me once that she was impressed by the number of people I would attract at my live training events despite her needing to see more marketing about it. She wasn’t seeing it because I wasn’t targeting her; she was already my client. So be aware that there is plenty of success around you that you are not even aware of; because it’s not being marketed to you, you don’t see it.

Let’s get honest about how it is to run a top 20% business.

On paper, you may have a business that is well within your profession’s top 20%, especially if you are measuring its success on key performance indicators such as turnover, market share or social media followers. But, if you are a regular reader of my blogs and articles, the reality of trying to run a business in the top 20%, measured in this way, is that it may be burning you out.

If you feel you may be getting burnt out by trying to run a business in the top 20%, you will probably be experiencing one or more of the following:

  1. You’re overwhelmed; you’ve stepped up and created your expert status but don’t like the visibility and constant pressure to perform.
  2. You’re overworked; you can’t keep up with what you’ve promised your clients and can’t come up for air long enough to hire the right people to help you grow.
  3. You’re underpaid; your turnover may be great, but there’s not much left for you once you’ve paid your team, advertising invoices and running costs.

Again, another depressing picture, perhaps.

But you won’t be the only one to have created a business that is burning you out because this practice of growing a business based on following someone else’s formulas and business model is rife.

This is why I want you to see the possibilities available by a business model that allows your business to give you the time, money and energy you want and not have it running you into the ground.

You have a choice.

It may be that you are still looking for a formula to follow because you don’t know which direction you should be going in. And creating a formula for your success is what I want to help you with, but based on a choice that gives you the freedom to grow.

You have a choice on what business infrastructure, processes and team to have in place to give you the right business to help you achieve your creativity, purpose and money aspirations to be your authentic self, do good in the world and make money in the process.

You can choose the design, setup and how you run your business based on how you want success to look for you, just the way you can decide on the right car to drive every day.

Choosing which car to drive is similar to choosing what kind of business to run

Choosing which car to drive is similar to choosing what kind of business to run

There are so many different types of cars on the road because each of us has another reason for choosing our mode of transport and to varying stages of our lives.

Starting out, you’ll probably drive any car you can afford, a small hatchback, or even stick to your bike, especially if you live in a city. Families may drive a big SUV. Some may like fast cars. Others choose their mode of transport based on environmental impact and may even decide they don’t want to own a vehicle and instead use Uber or rental cars for longer journeys.

No one car is right for everyone.

And so it is with your business model.

You can decide on several different business models, but that’s not to say you have to pick just one.

You’ll likely decide you want a hybrid, like many electric cars are entering the market. But a word of caution here: be careful of mixing in too many as you may be in danger of creating a convertible SUV that runs on pedal power; no matter how innovative that may be, you’ve got very little chance of getting it off your driveway!

There’s every chance your business model will also change and evolve as you go on your business journey, just as a couple may swap their compact convertible for an SUV when they begin their family, or a city dweller who relies on their bike may realise they need a car when they move out to the suburbs.

As you and your business grow, you may develop new skills or be attracted to new marketplaces and audiences. You will also stretch your thinking over the years and imagine more significant and different opportunities as you grow confident and shift many limiting beliefs.

So, it’s essential to know that your choice of business model becomes part of your longer-term thinking. You may even need to swap your small hatchback for that super fast sports car quicker than you thought if your business takes off!

If you would like to know more and want help with how you shape the way you run your business, then I invite you to join me on my next live Ignite Workshop. It’s a great place to learn more about how business can work FOR you rather than have a business that works you into the ground.

Click here to see the next dates and book your place. 

Meanwhile, I hope this has helped you step back from doing what 80% of your profession does or try to work hard to follow the latest marketing formulas and digital trends.

Has this opened your eyes to realising that you can grow a business to suit you and how you work best?

Until next time,

 

 

3 essential pillars of successful business planning that prevent burnout and pave the way for sustainable success

3 essential pillars of successful business planning that prevent burnout and pave the way for sustainable success

It’s easy to get caught up in busy; the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and business.

Finding the time for strategic planning can be challenging, especially if you are a busy consultant or coach who manages work around a family or eldercare.

And yet, if you don’t find the time and space to plan for your business, you are in danger of getting stuck on the busy treadmill, heading for burnout. 

If you have been woolly about your business planning over the past few years and beginning to feel exhausted by work, then this is for you.

In this article, I want to share the three essential aspects of planning that are often overlooked and can help prevent burnout: setting money goals that mean something to you, defining your joy metrics, and reviewing your time and energy flows.

Setting Money Goals That Mean Something

Let’s start with setting money goals that mean something to you.

Most clients we work with tell us they are rarely motivated by money. Yes, they need an income and would like to have more money to enjoy their lives more, but they don’t like to set money goals because they tell us it’s not what motivates them on a daily basis.

And when they do feel they ought to set a money goal, they pluck a figure out of the air or default to the infamous ‘6-figure’ goal.

Without clear money goals that mean something to you, you can drift from year to year, taking whatever work comes your way.

1. Work out your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’

Consultants and coaches often only focus on setting big money goals income, which can frustrate them when they don’t get it. It’s like one of those 6-figure goals that get thrust down our throats as an approved sign of success; you may have felt great when you first came up with it, but years later, when you still haven’t achieved it, you feel frustrated and lose your confidence.

Knowing your minimum ‘need income’ is – what you need to live on – and your ‘enough income’ – what would make you happy and give you a better lifestyle – not only helps manage your expectations and emotions but also means you make better commercial decisions about your prices and sales targets.

2. What do you need to sell in order to give you the income you want?

Your business revenue isn’t your income, yes? You have costs and taxes to pay before spending any hard-earned sales.

But knowing this logically is one thing; it is easy to forget this amid a busy month, especially if you are self-employed or selling your time for money.

Ensuring you know what your monthly revenue needs to be to give you both your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’ helps you manage your expectations and set realistic sales targets so you know how much is enough to get you what you want.

You may even realise there’s less to do than you think needs doing to achieve it!

We love it when this happens with our clients; it’s easy to over-complicate business and work harder than you think you need to.

3. Review your costs and monthly outgoings

Money can leave your business as quickly as you bring it in at times if you don’t keep a close eye on your figures. So, when looking at money goals, this is a great opportunity to run through all your regular expenses and subscriptions and make sure you are still using them or they are adding value to what you do.

Cancel anything that you aren’t using or won’t help you move your business forward, and this will instantly improve your profit margins without getting more clients!

4. Review your prices

Again, this is a great opportunity to review your charge rates and prices. You must give your current clients notice if you need to increase your prices. So review now and prepare for a price increase if it needs to happen.

Working on your money goals can throw up all sorts of emotions and feelings, especially if you don’t feel you have a good relationship with your money (and yes, this is very common, so you aren’t alone!).

But don’t stick your head in the sand and tell yourself you’re too busy to do money goals. 

Even if you aren’t motivated by money, your business needs money goals to be able to give you a simple, less stressful work week; otherwise, you work harder than you need to get what you want.

So, if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your health and well-being!

Setting Your Joy Metrics

Let’s dive into the next cornerstone: defining and setting your Joy Metrics. 

While money goals are important, what’s the point if you are stressed and miserable trying to achieve them?! 

It’s why so many of us left jobs to start our own businesses; we wanted to have more control over our time and who we wanted to work with and make a difference in the process. Yes?

This is why I believe it’s equally vital to prioritise your well-being and happiness in your business planning.

Joy metrics came up recently for one of our Momentum members.

Kaye had just renewed her one-year membership and had spent the first year of Momentum getting to grips with her business numbers and money flow. Going into her second year, I saw how much pressure she was still putting on herself, and I asked her whether it was time to measure her joy, too.

Tracking your finances can feel heavy at the best of times, and it can be easy to lose sight of how important happiness and enjoyment are to you if you let money pressure build-up.

So, how do you measure something like joy to help you in your business planning?

1. Identify what specifically brings you joy

Reflect on your past few weeks and identify what parts of your business and life have brought you the most joy and fulfilment. 

Is it your impact on clients, the quality of your work, or how your week flows?

And if you can’t see many joyful parts over the past few weeks, go back to a time when you did feel joy in your work and ask yourself what has been missing recently.

2. Set your joy scores

Identify the top 2 or 3 things that bring you joy and write out your definition of what a 10/10 score would look like for each one, as well as a 1/10 score. You want to quantify and qualify each extreme score to give you a benchmark from which to measure.

Don’t worry about ‘getting this right’ … this will be very personal to you, so trust yourself to do what you feel is right. Everyone will have different answers depending on what’s important to them.

3. Regularly assess your Joy Metrics

As often as you track your business numbers and money flow, measure your joy for each one on a score of 10. Yes, this will be subjective, but if you consistently measure against a perfect 10 score and a horrid 1 score, you should be able to see what’s improving for you.

When you can measure your joy in this way and be able to add up and compare scores across the coming weeks alongside your business numbers and money flow, you will have some clear data to help see where and what you need to improve on to set yourself up for success next year.

Managing Your Time & Energy Flow

Let’s move on to the third cornerstone of your time and energy flow.

Time and money are your two most precious resources.

You CAN NOT make more time and energy … nor can you manage them.

What you can do, though, is manage yourself and regulate your pace of work.

1. BIG Events

First, look at where your BIG events are coming up over the next year; what will you need to be on top form and feel great for? Perhaps you are moving house or have one of your children leaving home for University or changing schools. Maybe you are predicting that you may have to step up and take on more care for one of your parents.

And with work, what BIG projects are coming up? Are you planning to write a book or launch a new programme, or have you scheduled some big keynote talks in your diary?

Knowing what BIG events will likely happen will allow you to take this next step …

2. Time Block

Add buffer days and down weeks to your diary now. I do this in my own diary at the start of every planning cycle, including blocking out Bank Holidays and holiday time.

For example, I have a big business exhibition in a few months, so I’ve blocked out the rest of the week as I know I will be exhausted from being on my feet all day. 

You may need to take three weeks out at the start of next September to help your child move to Uni; block this out in your diary now.

3. Energy Tracking

Thirdly, start getting conscious of how your energy naturally flows. This is particularly important for women whose natural hormone cycles run over 28 days and yet work 24-hour day cycles, expecting to have the same productivity every day of every month.

Consistent productivity isn’t something we can hope to achieve, so knowing how your body naturally ebbs and flows throughout the months can greatly impact how you plan your weeks.

I liken this to opening up your weather app to find out what shoes to wear; it’s not a perfect prediction, but it helps you prepare for the worst and not get caught in a downpour in your best suede boots!

If you want help, I created a brilliant 28-Day Energy Tracker for my Ebb & Flow® programme. You can get a copy here.

So, how do you feel about business planning now? 

Setting these money goals, your Joy Metrics and beginning to take steps to manage your energy flow, will all help you flow more elegantly throughout your year and avoid burnout.

And, I hope, will help you find more meaning in your work and pave the way for long-term sustainable success. 

5 Small Business Trends You’ll Want to Jump on Board With in 2024

5 Small Business Trends You’ll Want to Jump on Board With in 2024

There’s always a lot of talk at the start of each new year of business trends and predictions.

But in recent years, so many are focused only on technology and speed.

Yes, there’s no doubt that technology has imploded in recent years, especially with the advancement in AI, but it feels to me that we are unnecessarily speeding up an economy and the way that we live our lives that is already spinning too fast for most of us to handle.

I want to shine the light on the small business trends that will help us slow down; to go at a pace that helps build deeper relationships, stronger resilience and enhance our joy we get from our work.

Here’s are the five small business trends that I see ready to fly this year …

1. Simplifying how you do business

We have had an implosion of digital tools in recent years, all designed to increase our reach, speed up our marketing and make it possible to do almost anything online.

But this has meant we have lots of ‘should do’ and ‘must do’ stuff marketed at us, particularly with the surge of AI ‘productivity’ tools.

We don’t have to have funnels to have a successful business.

And yes, you can decide to only work face-to-face or have a local business serving local people if this is what makes you happy.

Over-complication is out … simplification is in.

2. Happiness goals will trump revenue goals

We operate in a push-drive economy where progress and achievement is measured by 5-figure months or 10X-ing your income.

And this is often pushed upon us by people who can work like this, all the time.

But most of us can’t sustain our energy or motivation to work like that, especially if you are in your 40’s, 50’s or beyond.

This is how I tried to operate in my 40’s. I worked with mentors who incredibly successful, but they were teaching me ways of doing business that weren’t suited to me; they just burnt me out.

Happiness goals may not be seen as sexy as achieving 7-figure success, but this is changing and we are going to see more people celebrating businesses that give them joy and sustainability over big money goals.

3. Health goals will be critical to your financial success

Taking a ‘Health First’ approach will be more important than ever as we enter 2024.

There are positive signs that our economy is going to improve, but probably not until 2025 … and there’s a good possibility of a change of government later this year which could spin things further.

Keeping your head down and taking a ‘just work harder’ approach is not going to work anymore, which is why we are going to see more business owners incorporating health goals into their business plans.

We’ve been doing this with our clients for the past four years and the difference to their results has been amazing.

4. Small will become more attractive

When you look at business growth strategies, they often come with words such as scale, double or bigger. Business growth doesn’t always have to be measured in financial terms.

Look for other ways to measure your growth if you are very happy to stay small.

And staying small doesn’t mean you have to play small, and if working less hours or working with less clients or finding work that less stressful is important to you, 2024 is a brilliant year to celebrate your smallness as more people will want the personal, human relationship that small can give them.

5. Experience over transaction

Our High Streets were beginning to die way before 2020; the lockdowns simply accelerated the process that was already happening because of the ease and increased trust of buying online. But as most of us move over to the likes of Amazon for our every-day transactional buys, the demand for experiencing products and services have been steadily rising since we started to value human exchange and relationships again, and some food stores are even beginning to bring back cashiers again and doing away with the self-service tills.

The same trends are happening in the world of small business.

Whilst there will always be need for transactional buying for commodity services such as accountancy, HR, legal, coaching, marketing support and the like, we are craving more human experiences and a deeper connection for longer term services and human-led programmes.

Finding ways for your clients to access more of you without burning you out, and thinking about how to wow your clients with onboarding and customer service support, will grow you from strength to strength as we move away from recession in 2025 and your clients have bigger budgets again.

Which ones resonate with you?

Have you experienced any of these already in your business?

If you want to discuss how you bring any of these (or all of these!) into your business this year, I invite you to schedule a free call to talk through your plans for the year ahead.

No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

Are you an over-thinker? Does your brain only know how to solve short term tactical problems?

One of the biggest barriers to growing my own business over the years hasn’t been because I didn’t have enough clients, or good enough products, or even enough time; it’s because I lacked the mental clarity and the space to think strategically.

Over the past 18 years of running my own coaching and training businesses, I have been working around my family. My children are now 20 and 22, but I won’t forget those crazy school day schedules in a hurry. My head was always full of to-do-lists.

What to cook for dinner, and did I have enough in the fridge or did I have to stop off at the supermarket on the way back from pick-up? What are they going to wear for World Book Day next week? Did they have the right trainers for hockey season? (and why do they need different sports shoes for every different sport FFS?!) … the lists never stopped.

This mental ticking off carried over into my business.

I had trained my brain to think in short term decision making and although this meant I was a very good problem solver, this wasn’t helpful for thinking about my business growth.

I was often knee-jerking from one product launch to the next and I would get bored of a programme or a workshop and want to do something new, even when what I was promoting was working really well, and I spent my week making tactical decisions and reacting to what was coming into my inbox.

And I know I am not alone.

Whether you are a parent or not, this kind of mental overloading happens regularly with service professionals such as trainers, coaches and consultants. Because you are often working directly with clients and you are good at solving their problems, you are giving a lot of your time to each new piece of work or proposal that comes in.

And even if you think you can solve this by trading your time with online products and digital programmes, if you are a natural over-thinker, as well as good at what you do and clients keep buying from you, you will still do a lot of tactical thinking and reacting to everyday problems that keeps your mind focused on the here-and-now.

So how did I shift and create the mental space for strategic thinking so that I could make the time for business planning and spotting the right opportunities for growth.

Firstly, I had to recognise that getting better at time management wasn’t the solution.

If your brain is trained to be solving short term problems and you get a buzz out of a busy delivery week, there’s every chance you will make yourself more efficient at getting stuff done, rather than creating the space needed for strategic thinking.

Secondly, I began to address my working week rhythm’s and flow. To begin with, I couldn’t simply plug in a whole day to take off for business planning; my diary was booked out for weeks and it seemed that I didn’t have the time. The trick I discovered was to block out days out for thinking ‘on’ the business 6 weeks or more in advance, and this has become my go-to advice for everyone since.

Go to the point in your diary when you have spaces in your delivery calendar – and yes this may be two months or more – and block out two or three days. Don’t worry about what you are going to actually do during this time at this point; the important thing is that you carve out the time in advance now so that you have a firebreak in your schedule.

I also addressed how I started my working week. Monday mornings became time for me and the business and this now looks like weekly review of campaigns and implementation plans, team meetings and finances. Again, this acts like a firebreak and I can reset myself, no matter how busy the week before was.

Finally, I needed a process to follow. I knew that if I left strategic thinking time to its own devices and simply went with the flow, I would fill my head with more thoughts and ideas that never had the chance to be executed. I have found techniques such as journaling to be helpful to a point, but I needed a way to structure my ambitions and vision into a way that could be implemented.

And buying beautifully designed planning diaries (and yes, I have most of them on my bookshelf!) rarely helped me because they often over-complicated the process or distracted me by giving me lots of irrelevant boxes to complete.

So over the years, I crafted my own planning process that simplified what was needed to scale my business, and it worked so well that we now teach it in our Momentum business growth programme. The Grow Strong planning process is based on the 90 day planning principles, but rather than have a back-to-back quarterly cycle, I run it three times a year on a trimester basis.

What this does is allow space between the implementation time to review and reflect (as well as catch your breath which, as I got older, I needed so much more of!) and slows the pace down.

And it’s this slowing down that actually speeds up the business growth.

I know it may sound rather counterintuitive, but for a classic over-thinker like myself and for many of our clients in the Momentum community, it’s been instrumental to creating the space for strategic thinking, respecting your health needs as well as being able to behave more like a CEO, rather than someone who runs a busy business.

So where are you at? Are you an over-thinker? Has reading this made you realise that your brain may be trained to solve short term tactical problems, rather than the long term strategy needed to grow your business?

And if you’ve already identified this, what have you done to slow down your tactical thinking and create the time and space for business planning?

Next steps: If you know you want to scale your business but you’re not sure what your next steps are, then an easy first step to take is my Scale Scorecard. You simply answer 21 questions and then my system will make a recommendation based on your responses.

This is a game changer – saves you time, focuses your effort, and gives you clarity all in under 3 minutes. Better still, I’ve made it free for you!

Click here and get your custom recommendations.

The 3 simple rules for sustainable business growth

The 3 simple rules for sustainable business growth

There are lots of ways of how to take your business to the next level, but having been working as a business coach for more than 15 years, there’s no doubt that the general theme to most business growth strategies and tactics is ‘how to have more’.

This is why I changed tact in my own business about six years ago. So much of my focus was around marketing and product development; teaching how to build email lists, create one to many programmes and plan out marketing campaigns. Over time, I began to realise that, although what I was teaching was good and was getting results for my clients, there was a lot of effort and energy in having to ‘feed the machine’.

As soon as one marketing campaign was over, it was time to start the next one. Then the next one. And then the next one.

When you are young (and yes, I mean in your 20s and 30s!), you have the energy for this. Your body forgives a week of back-to-back late nights with extra cups of strong coffee. You thrive off the busy weeks and love the thrill of creating the next new thing that you want to sell.

But in your 40s and 50s … well, I don’t know about you but the midlife shifts and extra family responsibilities (children and/or eldercare) mean that your mind, body and soul wants to slow down. No matter how exciting or fun your work is, it’s harder to keep up and too much adrenaline and cortisol starts to show up as fatigue, brain fog or one of the many other peri-menopausal symptoms many women can experience, especially when living a full and busy life.

This was me. And I realised that many of my clients were experiencing this too.

What I was teaching and coaching my clients wasn’t sustainable.

Flip to today, and I now run a business coaching and training company that focuses on sustainable growth strategies. Yes, we still work with our clients on marketing strategies and how to get clients, but the emphasis is on playing the long game and planning, and then deciding on which growth strategies apply to get them the best results.

And no matter what those strategies are, there are three simple rules that I now always apply; are they trackable, repeatable, delegatable.

Let me go through each one in turn.

Is it trackable?

When you first start out, you have no idea really what is going to work. But over the months and the years, you get data on what does work. A huge problem though is very few business owners track this data; they keep it all in their heads (or worse, they only focus on social numbers such as social reach and engagement) which means the decisions they make are based on emotion (or in the case of social numbers, ego).

Some examples of basic data you want to track are:

  • Number of leads you get each week/month
  • Number of conversations you have each month
  • Number of sales you make each week/month
  • Number of new customers each week/month
  • Average spend in first 90 days
  • Average lifetime spend

Knowing this kind of data means that you can begin to make decisions commercially, as well as emotively (we need both … data only gives one part of the picture, yes?). So in everything you do, in particular with regards to your marketing, ask yourself ‘Is this trackable?’

Is it repeatable?

Once a business is up and running, the things that you do each week are often on repeat. The way you reply to emails, write and send proposals, market and run events, deliver your programmes or work on client projects. Again, the problem is that the business owner is often too busy to take the time out to see this, and then be able to do something about it.

How many times have you searched your outbox for an email you sent to a prospect that you wanted to use to send to someone else?

How many hours have you spent formatting a proposal or client acceptance letter from scratch, and found yourself typing the same words over and over?

It’s the same with marketing campaigns; why create something new when you can use what you did last time and adapt it to your new offer?

The energy used to start everything from scratch is exhausting (or worse, searching folders for a document you know you’ve saved somewhere!) so there has to be a time in your business when you start to switch your thinking. If you ask yourself ‘is this repeatable?’, you’ve got the beginnings of a process that needs writing out and seeing what templates, checklists or repeat actions can be created.

When you follow a process, you can then use that precious brain power for working on the bigger vision for what you want.

Is it delegatable?

Which takes me nicely into the third rule; delegatable. If you are busy delivering work for your clients, there’s often not much time left in your week to be thinking and creating these repeatable processes. Which is why setting the delegate rule is instrumental to your success long term.

To begin with, you may not have anyone you can delegate these repeatable tasks and processes to. If this is the case, start by making a list of what comes up over the course of a week, and you will have written the first draft of your job brief. You can’t grow a business without help, so it’s critical that this rule comes into play if you don’t want to burn out in the process.

These three rules are simple questions to start asking yourself from today. Why not write them on a post-it note and stick it on your computer screen; this can help remind yourself to ask these questions as you go about your day.

Of course, this isn’t a quick-fix, especially if you are working flat out, but these three simple rules and questions will begin to change your thinking as a business owner, and ultimately engage your CEO Mindset, and start to steer you along a path of sustainable growth.

If you want to discuss how you can put these rules into your business and begin growing sustainably, then let’s talk. Book a call with one of our Grow Strong business coaches. There’s never any charge for our first call together. Click here to check out times available. 

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

Why down-sell products rarely work

Why down-sell products rarely work

There’s plenty to think through when deciding if your new product idea is going to be worth investing your time, energy and money in. Is it something that your clients *really* want? What price should you charge? How do you go about marketing it?

But there’s one question that gets forgotten … what job is this product going to have in your business? 

Let me explain with a story from one of my clients last year. She had been running her marketing consultancy for some years, and although it was going OK, she was struggling to expand it and increase her revenue. No matter what she did, her business didn’t shift.

Then she was given the idea of creating a membership product. What’s not to love about a membership product? Regular, consistent income … a perfect passive income! She threw herself into developing the idea; went on a course, learnt all there was to know about setting up and running a membership product and launched it.

When we started working together, she had been running it for around six months. It became very clear that she was spending 80% of her time with the clients that were generating 20% of her income. Her membership product, although packed full of value, was running her ragged.

She told me the reason she wanted to create this product was because she wanted something to offer the people who couldn’t afford her consultancy fees.

At first glance, this may seem to be reasonable … why leave money on the table? 

But her bigger vision was to scale up her consultancy business so she could outsource much of the delivery, and free up her time to start up a new business. What this membership product had done was to make her busier than ever, working more with the clients who weren’t going to help achieve her ambitions.

She’d created a down-sell product for people who realistically were never going to be worth more than a few hundred pounds a year, and yet ended up taking up most of her time and expertise.

In a very short period of time, she had closed down her membership product, which immediately freed up her time to focus on the right projects to move her towards her bigger vision, and four months later she had launched her new business alongside her current consultancy.

Of course, this isn’t about whether a membership product is a good idea or not. There are plenty of businesses who thrive having a membership product, serving hundreds of people every year, often as an up-sell or prospect product to their existing programmes and services.

The point is whether the job of your new product idea is going to help you achieve your bigger vision.

In the case of my client, it made strategic sense to NOT create a down-sell offer for the people who couldn’t afford her – because let’s be honest … it’s going to take a very long time before any of those people are going to be in a place to afford her consultancy fees (there are plenty of more effective and less time intensive ways of staying engaged with them if that’s what you want to do) – and instead focus her time and energy on what’s going to free up her time to allow her launch her new business.

So when you are pondering on your next new product or service idea, ask these three questions before your creative surge takes you too far down the launch path.

1. What is the job of the product?

Is it to give an easy, low risk way of acquiring new clients … will it be your core offering that you focus most of your time on … or to add value to your clients and increase their average spend … or is it a way of extending your client lifetime spend?

Know exactly what you want this new product to do for you and your business and keep this clear in your head as you set about the creation and launch process to ensure you don’t go off track.

2. Will it help you achieve your financial goals?

No matter how brilliant an idea it is, will it move you towards what you really want out of life and business … will it really increase your revenue and by when … or spread you too thin across too many products?

Set clear financial goals and quantify your expectations because there’s every chance you will also see you’ll need far less leads and sales to make this a success, especially in the early stages.

3. How can this product idea scale your expertise without you?

It may be that you are still very much your business, but if your ambition is to grow and scale, it’s never too early to start asking questions such as how much of your time is needed to create and deliver this product … what resources could help speed up the process and make it easier … and who can you ask for help?

One of the biggest shifts you can make to move from being a busy freelancer to having a profitable, scalable business is to change your questions from ‘How do I?” to what and who questions … it shifts you to not just being a business owner, but to being a CEO and opening up your growth potential.

For most people I speak to about growing a business, coming up with new ideas is never a problem. And it’s very easy to get caught up in all the fun, creative stuff in those early stages of a new idea. So before you get too far down the process of creating and launching a new product or programme, stop and think about it strategically.

It will save you months, if not years, of stress, worry and frustration.

Looking for your next step to take?

Let’s talk through your current product offerings and I can help you see where you could be running your business smarter – book a Next Level Business Strategy Session with me. There’s never any charge for our first call together. Click here to check out times available.

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

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