Finding yourself spinning your wheels being “busy” but going nowhere fast? Read on to learn the 5 drivers to fast track your business growth.
This is a guest post from Paul Higgins, founder of Build Live Give. Over to you Paul…
We are in the era of startups – full of exciting changes and new opportunities, however with the potential for success also comes challenges.
I had a successful career in the corporate world and left to start my own company. It was either courageous or as my wife said – damn stupid!!
At first, it was great. I got to work from home, make my own schedule, and spend more time with friends and family. I loved the freedom and flexibility. It was fresh and exciting.
But little-by-little, things took a turn.
I wound up working way more hours than I did in my corporate job. I made enough money to pay everyone except myself and I began to wonder if starting my own business was a mistake.Making enough money to pay everyone except yourself? Read this. Click To Tweet
It took me 5 long years with many wrong turns and missed opportunities. You could say they were valuable lessons learnt, however many were purely due to stubbornness and pride.
In 2011, I was diagnosed with a non-fatal kidney disease. This forced me to leave my job as a Director of Coca-Cola. On the positive side, it was the push I needed to finally pursue my dream of running my own business.
After years of grinding without paying myself, I hit a fork in the road. Pay myself or go back to corporate. I felt guttered, tired and ashamed. I was desperate to make it work and I reached out for some help. I joined a group of like-minded business owners in a paid mastermind. It was led by a successful business owner who had gone through exactly what we were struggling with and had come out the other side.
The first step was to answer a series of questions on what I wanted to achieve, why I wanted to achieve it and what I was currently focused on. It helped me reflect and see my business from a new perspective.
From this, we came up with 5 key focus areas which gave me the power to stop wasteful activities. I was shocked how hard I was working on the wrong things!There are 5 key focus areas which give you the power to stop wasteful activities. Learn them here. Click To Tweet
We then had a weekly call where I updated the group on my one action from last week, my biggest win and my key challenge. Then the coach gave his advice on what to do and I committed to one action for next week. This accountability was exactly what I needed. I also learnt by listening to other people on the call going through the same process.
Within 6 months, I achieved my revenue goals and pushed back the move to corporate.
I went from 60+ hour workweeks to having the freedom to take an 8-week vacation with my wife and kids through Europe.
If you’re an ex corporate/career person running your own business and working 70+ hours/week, earning a fraction of what you did at your old corporate job, then these five profit drivers can help change your life.
Why take 5 years when you can fast track your success from applying what I learnt the hard way?
Profit driver #1 Personal productivity.
I had a client who was continually apologising for missing actions and deadlines. It was exhausting for both of us. I asked them to do this simple exercise;
- Log all their tasks for a week in a excel spreadsheet
- Categorise them into the following columns a) What you can eliminate b) What you can delegate c) What you can automate d) What you can do
- Then hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) to handle all the tasks in column b).
This one exercise saved this person 50% of their time.
TAKE ACTION: Create a spreadsheet (or download our template here) and log your tasks into the 4 buckets and hire a VA.
So by learning how to step out from underneath your business, you’ll have more resources to devote to driver #2:
Profit driver #2 Your ideal client.
This will help you stop wasting time chasing bad leads or working with clients that cause more headaches than they are worth. Knowing exactly who your customer is doesn’t just save you time and headaches, it helps you know what marketing strategy is best for your business.
Instead, you’ll get focused on the clients who will grow your business the most while making your life easy.Another client was confused as to who was their ideal client. We did an exercise where they went through their customers over the last 12 months and picked out three clients they loved working with and also where they had achieved success for them.
We then went and asked a series of questions to these people to better understand them – what were their fears, frustrations, desires and wants etc We them a gave a gift for their time. We took these learnings and came up with three distinct profiles for ideal clients and used this information for marketing and screening potential clients.
TAKE ACTION: Go through the exercise of selecting 3 clients and asking them questions to better understand them and create a qualification filter in your leads process.
Profit driver #3 Your perfect business model
The third profit driver is your business model. With more time and a clear vision of who you want to serve, you can step back and find the model that’ll boost profits with less effort. I agree with the principle of doing non-scalable things at the start of a business.
You need to be at the coalface and listen and observe client behaviors first hand. Keep things simple and manual and keep costs low.
I worked with a client who was running a high end coaching mastermind. We looked at three industry leaders and found a similar pattern to their business model. We mapped it out and highlighted the gaps to my clients model.
The key gaps included a podcast, weekly email, paid subscription forum, a high level subscription mastermind and an annual event. Knowing the gaps, we worked on implementing them which resulted in a 4x increase in profit. We addressed the big ticket items in the business model rather than chasing tactical actions.
TAKE ACTION: Look for best in class in your industry or niche and document their business model and implement the gaps.
Profit driver #4 Sales – maximize your profits
Some founders say they don’t like selling – I get it. I like to reframe it as providing people the right information to move from where they are today to a better outcome. If you believe in your product then providing it to a client will only help them.If you believe in your product then providing it to a client will only help them. Click To Tweet
I was working with a client who was spending many hours a day producing and consuming (mainly the later) content on social media. They were not spending time on selling. We blocked selling time in their daily routine, we role played a sale to come up with a sales process and we debriefed sales calls to improve the process. Yes it was uncomfortable at the start, however with continual coaching and practical experience sales were made.
Sales is something you need to systemise. I spent 18 years in sales at one of the best selling companies in the world and I could always correct a country’s performance through improving their sales process.
I recommend you read a book called Ready Fire Aim by Michael Masterson on the importance of sales for a business with turnover of less than $1m.
Profit driver #5 Your high performing team
Growing my own business and helping hundreds of business owners do the same taught me the four key elements for growing a team.
If you want to hire top talent who are invested in the success of your business, you need to learn the 4 big people plays:
These drivers were learned from 1st hand experience. No corporate BS here!
One of my clients was working 70 hours + a week – more than what they did in their old corporate job!
They were simply taking on the work not been completed by their team because they thought this would be easier than addressing the true cause – an underperforming team.
We implemented a capability review assessing performance and potential. By objectively ranking each person and sharing this with them we were able to address the elephant in the room.
Some people agreed with the feedback and made great positive changes in performance whilst others didn’t and they left.
Within 3 months the client was back to 40 hours a week and the team was performing at their peak. Ultimately the business grew, more people came on and the good people who stayed were promoted. A great result.
TAKE ACTION: Research how to do a capability review with your people. Happy to share my methodology at Build Live Give.
If you want to learn more about these five drivers and become part of a community of ex corporate/career people all helping each other to fast track success, please check out our FREE Build Live Give facebook group.
It’s tested, it’s proven and we are here waiting to help you.