We often hear that “selling is hard”, “many small businesses fail”, etc. And while all that’s true, today, instead, we’re going to focus on the positive things you can do to create wealth in your business.
What I’ve done here is taken bits and pieces from EOS, Dan Kennedy, Profit First and several other books, what has strengthened my business over the last four years of personal challenges and combined them into a “hitlist”. Obviously there are more things, but these are the ones that stuck out in my mind.
(Important note: A focus on these things is what’s kept my business strong and profitable despite the last 4 years of personal challenges.)
- Do the numbers make sense? Does what you’re selling for how much you’re selling it for make sense given everything that goes into creating it? Has your business left room for the marketing costs?
- Do you have a complete marketing system? Call it an Escalator™ or a funnel or a really kick-ass follow-up system, the name’s not important — what is is having the component parts: identifiable (and reachable) audience, media (social media, direct mail, tv, video, radio, etc.) that’s viable for where your business is, and where it’s going, content (educational, motivational, inspirational, entertaining — all dependent on your audience), and you need the systems (marketing system, follow-up system, shopping cart/way to accept payments, content delivery system, website, etc.) to pull it all together.
- Do you mind the money? Do you know how much money you put into, and take out of (via salary, owners draws, expenses the business pays that you would have to pick up fully personally — such as internet, phone, etc.) your business each month/year? If you’re not paying the business bills, are you looking at the details at least monthly? Is your business funding itself or are you constantly adding funds to it — successful businesses allow us to take funds out to invest in other areas (retirement accounts, real estate, etc.).
Speaking of minding the money, keep debt as low as possible and live below what the business creates (if this isn’t currently possible, we need to speak about #2 above). This is another way of saying invest in what you need now, not what you may need 6 months or a year from now unless you’ve built it into your business plan. So many business owners buy things “just in case” and end up with shelves (or a hard drive) full of unused tools and information.
- Do you have a healthy and productive relationship with money? Our relationship with money is so personal to our experiences, our childhood and countless other things that we need to have a good understanding of where we are so we can move to where we want to be.
- Do you know your numbers? Funny, I debated about this line: “your numbers” vs “the numbers” and want you to feel ownership and acknowledge, that “yes!” they are YOUR numbers. There’s the money from #3 most definitely, and there’s also your lead conversion figures, your business’ churn, each program/product/service’s profit margin; if you’re unsure which numbers to track, pick up a copy of Know the Numbers of Your Business on my site, it comes with a spiral notebook and CD that you can plug-n-play.
Are you realistic that you need to invest in yourself and your business in order to achieve your goals? Whether a mentor, professional training, marketing systems or, more likely, all of the above.
- Where’s the leverage? Briefly mentioned above is pulling money out of your business for leveraged investments like retirement and real estate, but what about leverage within your business? Here are just a few ways to leverage your business TEAM (time, energy, assets, money): continuity/membership programs, partnerships where you have access to other people’s lists, working in a distraction-free space (library, coffee shop, etc.), an epic referral program (speeds up the “trust” factor, check out Deb Brown’s site at www.TouchYourClientsHeart.com for info on getting referrals), other people’s experience (the Ivy Lee model for productivity), etc. The ultimate goals here are to break the time-for-money link and the time-for-trust link.
- Do you provide value or overwhelm? Focus on providing your customers with value that they can take immediate action on and give them a realistic expectation of results-timeframes. The “$100K in 100 days” mantra that many preach can be realistic if you have certain things in place or are willing/able to work your fanny off and are in the right place at the right time (I was able to generate $103K just starting out in 6 months — and I sacrificed a whole season and lots of sleep to do it, not recommended). More likely however is that you need time for your prospective customers and clients to get to know you and, ultimately, trust you (see #6 for a way to significantly shorten this).
- Do you do good elsewhere? Whether donating time, money or things, do you create good karma/increase your vibe/generate positive energy (whatever you call it) outside of your business, or through your business? Some examples of things to consider: Donate a portion of profits (if not profitable, consider donating your time or services) or affiliate income to a cause you support (some of mine are a local animal shelter, a food bank and providing drinks and healthy snacks for those at a chemo center).
- Do you do the work? The easy, immediate answer is, of course, “ABSOLUTELY!”, but when was the last time you kept a time log of what you really, truly do during the day? How much time are you spending on social media? How much time planning? How much time figuring out what to do next? How much time actually implementing?
These 9 things may not be the be-all-end-all of a successful business, but I promise your business will be a lot better off by incorporating them than not.