No matter what type of business you are running, there are a few universal business truths, and a few things that MUST be done in ALL businesses to achieve true success.
When women come to me and tell me that they want to launch a business, scale a business, or are struggling in their business, the FIRST thing we do is identify how many of these things they already have in their life or business. I truly believe that if you do not have most of these set up, you will struggle! If you truly want to scale your business, follow these “simple” tips!
Tip 1 – Have a Roadmap!
I know it’s not sexy! I know as entrepreneurs, we often like to “wing it”. But every single business that I know that has scaled to a half a million dollars, has a roadmap for how they are going to get there!
And most of the start up businesses that I know that are successful out of the gate, had a plan.
One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read (and one of the books that I still base much of my business on today) is Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. One of Covey’s habits is “Begin with the end in mind” is one of my guiding principles. In his book, he describes climbing up a ladder to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall. But I also liken it to just getting in your car and driving all day long – just to end up somewhere you hadn’t planned on going. These are two examples that you may be able to relate to – but now imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars to drive across the country – only to find out that you went the wrong direction! When you are launching and running businesses, it is imperative to know where you are going, and what you want to achieve!
When I left corporate to open my first fitness studio, I had a business plan. As a fifteen year veteran financial and business planner, I couldn’t imagine running a business without a roadmap! I swear that it was one of the ONLY things that helped me scale to a six figure studio in less than six months! Because I had that roadmap for my business, when I decided to open my second studio only eight months after the launch of my first, I already had manuals, systems, training, and the complete plan for how we were going to launch and scale the second studio.
By that time, I had a team of 30, two managers, thousands of clients, and revenues of almost a half a million dollars – only about a year into my business. Can you IMAGINE how quickly the business could have gotten off course if I didn’t have an end destination and just let the business go in whatever direction the team allowed it to?
Recently on my Turning Lemons Into Lemonade Podcast, I interviewed Maureen Lake. Maureen had been a long time educator, who was ready to leave the school environment to be a business owner. Maureen and her daughter, bought an established, and struggling business. She credits the fact that she joined Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program as the number one thing that she did in her business in the first year. Because she was leaving education and was a first time entrepreneur, she had no systems and no processes. She had a rough idea where she wanted to go, but not any specific plan on how to get there.
A few years ago, I met a woman at through a coaching program. She had built one of the most beautiful brands I had ever seen, but she never really had a plan for the brand, so despite a beautiful brand and great marketing, she just set it aside and moved on to the next thing. The money and time that was spent in this venture was significant, and up until this point, completely lost! Imagine investing $25,000 and a year into a business, and then shutting it down. It happens a LOT – mostly when you don’t have an end game and a blueprint or roadmap to get there!
Tip 2 – Know EXACTLY Who You Want To Serve
I took Marie Forleo’s B School in 2012. It was a huge life changer for me. Although many of the topics were things that I knew extensively from working with my clients in corporate, the LIFE CHANGING piece of learning that I took away from B School was to Know Your Ideal Client Avatar!
When a woman business owner comes to me and tells me the struggles she is having in her business, the FIRST question I ask her is “Who is your PERFECT, IDEAL client that you would serve all day long every day if you could?”
You’d be shocked at how often that question is met with a confused look? First, they often don’t know how to answer who they serve. But second, the thought never occurred to them that they could build a business working with only their dream clients! As the business owner, how much better would your life be if you knew EXACTLY who your dream client was, and that you had a full client list of ONLY those people?
B School taught me to create that Client Avatar (that I now call my DREAM CLIENT).
So let’s get started:
You can download your Ideal Client Worksheet here:
- Who is your ideal client?
- Do you have a client that you’re already working with that is your PERFECT, DREAM client that you would work with all day long if possible?
- What is their name?
- Are they male or female?
- Why are they your perfect client?
- What is their biggest problem that you solve?
- How do you solve it?
- What are the benefits they experience after they work with you?
- Where do they shop offline?
- Where do they shop online?
- What other businesses do they follow online?
- Where would you find them on a Saturday night?
- Where would you find them on a Tuesday night?
- Do they network?
- Where do they network?
I once had a business coach tell me, “The riches are in the niches.”
It sounds like a great little quote, but let me tell you more about WHY this one single phrase may literally transform your business. If you are marketing to everyone, you’re really not marketing to anyone. But if your marketing message is CUSTOMIZED to your best clients, then it is much more likely to speak to THEIR problems, dreams, and desires!
Marketing is all about promoting your products and services in such a way that your prospect is eager to do business with you! We all know that very few clients buy from us the first time they meet us. So our marketing and branding becomes all about remaining top of mind when the customer is ready to buy. The BEST way to do that is to have a crystal clear marketing message that says exactly what you do and who you do it for!
If I say:
“Hi, I’m Amy Mewborn. I help people make more money and have a better life.” It sounds nice – but it really doesn’t say ANYTHING about what I do, how I do it, or if it’s a fit for you. If you were my ideal client, there is nothing in this that says, “Oh I have to do business with her.”
But if I say:
“Hi, I’m Amy Mewborn. I help women launch and scale six and seven figure businesses!” That tells you that I work with women who are starting businesses or have businesses that need growth. It doesn’t tell you how I do it, but at least it is descriptive enough to help it either resonate or not….
Now, if I were really speaking to my ideal clients, I COULD say:
“Hi, I’m Amy Mewborn. I help struggling women business owners scale multiple six figure businesses through events and masterminds meant to help improve their marketing and operations.” That tells you that I most LOVE to work with women that already have businesses and are looking to scale. It also tells you that my ideal way to work with my clients is through events and masterminds (in person face to face). So if THAT person is looking to grow their business, they know a LOT more about what I do and how I do it!
A few years ago, I received a call from a business owner friend who was launching a new online program. She was so frustrated because a bunch of clients unsubscribed, people weren’t opening her emails, and she wasn’t getting sales – all bad things. When we started talking, she said something VERY telling that explained the whole problem – that she had missed entirely. She was selling a program to clients who wanted to learn how to use social media to promote their book. On her list were a bunch of people who had never written a book. There were a bunch of people who SHE was managing their social media surrounding their book. These emails and these promotions had NOTHING to do with these people! And by her emailing them this promotion, she actually made it look like she didn’t know her very best clients!
One of the things that we teach in all my programs is segmenting your client list and using nurture systems to warm up your prospects, always speaking to THEIR needs, and what BENEFITS you provide to them. But if you don’t know EXACTLY who you serve, how you serve them, and what the benefits are to them in working with you – your marketing (and your business) is going to fail!
Tip 3 – Know Your Numbers!
I once had a coach tell me that, “What you measure is what improves.” I didn’t quite get it at that moment, because if you’re measuring the past, how will that help your future?
But let’s break it down like this:
When you focus on revenue, you do everything humanly possible to increase revenue.
When you focus on new clients, you’re constantly looking for ways to get new clients.
When you focus on getting more social media followers, you’re spending more time and energy on social media.
When you focus on increasing profitability, you may be focused on increasing revenue, or you may be focused on decreasing expenses!
The best way to build a healthy business is to identify the things that DRIVE your business success. (In most businesses this is new clients, closing ratio, and profits.)
I often meet business owners who are measuring gross income. I was ABSOLUTELY one of those business owners! A few years into my business, I was running three businesses, and my gross revenue was ALMOST $1,000,000! I KEPT pushing to get to that $1,000,000! But in the process, I was MISERABLE! My staff was bloated. I was spending money on growth growth growth, but less and less money was coming home to my family! I felt like I was working for everyone else – and it was KILLING ME!!! I would wake up at 5:30 am to check my emails to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. I was getting emails and calls from my managers at 9 pm. And I was getting texts from my consulting clients at 1 and 3 am! A business that I had LOVED was destroying my spirit – all because I was measuring the wrong things.
Once I made the conscious decision that I wasn’t chasing that seven figure number any more, I started making VERY deliberate decisions to start SIMPLIFYING! Rather than measuring gross income, I started measuring PROFIT and TIME OFF! This was completely novel to most! But I had already had a stroke about 10 years prior, and I knew that a “magic number” really wasn’t going to improve my life or get me the things I really wanted in my life. Especially when the things I really wanted involved more international travel and not being accessible to my business!
Tip 4 – If you don’t like it – don’t do it!
As entrepreneurs, we often think that we have to do everything! And we often think that someone else just can’t do “it” as well as we can! I will tell you right now, it is THIS mentality that will single handedly destroy your business!
First, it is impossible to scale if you are doing everything. Second, there are some things that you can do, buy you hate! If you hate it, it will OFTEN get pushed to the bottom of the to do list!
Unfortunately, just like in our fitness life, if you’re great with cardio, you do a lot of cardio, and no weights and flexibility. If you’re super strong, you’ll likely lift weights, and skip the cardio. And if you’re a dancer, you’ll likely do all the flexibility – and skip the strength and cardio! The problem is, you need ALL of them to have a balanced fitness routine, just like you need ALL of “them” to have a balanced business!
I believe every business has four main pillars:
The Leadership and Management Pillar
The Marketing and Sales Pillar
The Systems and Operations Pillar
The Finances and Profitability Pillar
If you’re a great sales person, you may spend all your time selling, but never put in the systems you need to truly run a scalable business! If you don’t have any systems, you will never be successful hiring, because you have nothing specific to train them in!
If you’re a great systems person, but hate sales, you’ll put systems in all day long, but that won’t make you any money, and your business will go bankrupt!
I’m a systems person. I’m a marketing strategist. I CAN sell, but it’s not my favorite thing to do! So when I was running the studios, I hired SALES managers! I created all the systems and strategies, but they were the ones who had the sales conversations. When I went into the studios, I wanted to teach classes and get to know the clients, not worry about whether or not someone was buying their next package! If I didn’t have someone else handling the sales, the business would have failed because I didn’t want to do it!
There is only so much time in the day. If you’re spending your time doing something that you hate or something that you aren’t good at, you are likely NOT doing something that you are good at that could help your business grow.
Tip 5 – Spend your time on highest value activities
Inherently we kind of all know this one. It SHOULD be second nature. But many of us still continue to fill our time with “stuff” that really doesn’t move the needle forward! When I was pushing toward the million dollar income level, I found that I was FORCING so much – and I was literally working myself into the ground trying to find the “next thing” that could help! The problem was that my to do list was SO long, that I probably couldn’t have finished it all in three lifetimes!
Because I had not yet hit my goal, I kept thinking, “I just need to do more. I just need to work harder.” And I just kept finding more and more to do, even though I knew that a lot of it really wasn’t contributing to my desired end result. Many mindset coaches call this an Upper Limit Problem – that every time you’re making a big breakthrough that scares you, that you try to sabotage it in some way. I do that with spending my time on busy work, vs MEANINGFUL work!
I know that I have this struggle, so I hired one of my amazing coaches SPECIFICALLY to deal with this challenge! What I have instituted into my day is now simple, and HUGE in my business. At the end of each day, I list the TOP THREE things that will make the BIGGEST IMPACT in my business that I need to do the next day. Then I can’t do ANY of the other items on my to do list until those three key things are done. One of the other things that I started instituting was that if something didn’t make it into the top three things for an entire week, it went into a notebook of “Maybes”! This was stuff that I MAY get to one day, if it still made sense. But rather than keeping it on my to do list, and feeling bad about myself, I freed myself to eliminate the excess “stuff” that I was doing, just because I had time.
Along with this, comes one of my other huge tips!
Tip 6 – Take time off
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely most creative when I take time AWAY from my business! One of my favorite ways to unwind is to go on vacation, and sit next to a pool with a great book and an umbrella drink! It feeds my soul – and I NEVER leave without a huge list of ideas and inspiration! Some of my most successful systems came to me from my workout time or my pool time!
But as entrepreneurs, we wear our “hustle” like a badge of honor. That is why I created my current slogan. I help women escape the corporate grind to launch and scale six figure businesses – without the hustle. I want to CHANGE the mindset that we have to work all the time! I don’t know about you, but I launched my business to have more time with the people I love, doing things I love – not working more!
When Mike and I moved to Vegas in 2017, we picked our neighborhood, our lot, and our house all based on the principal that we wanted more fun and more time off! We live in the desert 25 minutes from skiing in the mountains. Our neighborhood has amazing gyms, trails, and outdoor activities. Our yard is huge and we built a fabulous pool with cabanas, umbrellas, and lounge chairs! This entire life was built to support how I am most creative – and so I could invite clients to come and “work” in this environment! It fosters creativity! It fosters fresh perspective! And I have instituted a four day work week most weeks – with MORE time doing the things I love!
Tip 7 – Surround yourself with AMAZING people who “Get” You!
“You’re the equivalent of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn.
I want you to pull out a notebook and I want to ask you right now:
Who are the five people you spend the most time with?
When you have a problem in your business or your life, who do YOU turn to for guidance and advice?
Do you have a board of directors or a group of like minded women who are helping you see the next steps in your business when you’re stuck?
A couple of years ago, my business was going through huge transitions. I had decided to set off my “golden goose”, the business that was bringing in almost seven figures of revenue each year!
I was doing what most people would consider ludicrous. I was eliminating the established and proven business that had a huge team that did much of the work. Instead I was going all in on my consulting business, which was new, had no income, and no clients.
What my mastermind girls understood that no one else did at the time was that I was EXHAUSTED! I was running three businesses at the time. I had a staff of about 30. My payroll and rent expenses were INSANE and although I loved the business, I had been running it about six years, and needed a break! The problem with building an almost seven figure business is that it’s a monster that continually needs to be fed – otherwise it’s going to explode!
The business environment, competition, marketing strategies, pricing policies – everything was changing! In order to go to the next level, or even just continue on the current path, the business was going to need much more than I had the energy to give.
On our calls, I would sit with these ladies, and I would describe the feelings of stress, frustration, lack of sleep, and worry! They knew that I was one bad piece of news away from a full nervous break down! They were the ones that were providing the clarity and problem solving support when I was just TOO tired and stressed to see it!
Today, I’m running a six figure consulting business that mostly allows me to work 4 days a week. I took almost a month off at the holidays to spend them with my family! This was NOT something I could do when I was running three different businesses! Although I was using my gross income as a scorecard for my success, I wasn’t doing anything or anyone (most of all me) justice in trying to juggle so much! But I needed people that would help me with that clarity!
Tip 8 – Hire people who have a desire to serve
You can teach skills, you can’t teach someone to be a good person!
As someone who teaches systems, marketing, and sales, I always tell my clients to hire amazing people. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach someone to be nice, kind or caring!
I learned this quickly in my first fitness studio! I hired an AMAZING fitness instructor with a really LOUSY personality! I was new in business. I was working my tail off to make money. And I had this one staff person who was making my life a living hell! She discounted everything I said. She thought she could do everything better – and often told everyone that would listen that she felt that way.
Despite being an amazing instructor, she was not a fit for my culture! I immediately made a rule – if I wouldn’t invite you over to my house on a Friday night and open up one of my best bottles of wine with you, I probably didn’t want you as a representative of my business!
As a business owner, any one that you hire to work with you or your clients is a representative of your business! Do you want someone with a nasty personality being nasty to your clients? Of course not! So don’t hire them!
A couple of weeks ago, a client from a few years ago emailed me panicked! Her manager turned in her two week notice. Upon further investigation, she found that she had taken a position in management with her biggest competitor. Unfortunately, this kind of stuff happens ALL the time! You can’t stop all of it. But if you develop a “no jerks allowed” policy, you’ll certainly keep it to a minimum!
Look for people with the values that are in alignment with your business, then teach them the skills you value in their position!