Women who own businesses are badass. Throw a coupla’ kids into the mix? You’re pretty much a superhero, right?
But most female entrepreneurs I’ve coached don’t feel badass at all. In fact, most of them feel like some weird variation of Sheryl Sandberg meets Britney Spears circa 2007 (remember that head-shaving meltdown??) and they’re desperate to figure out how they can “have it all” without losing their sh*t.
I see women Googling the same thing again and again:
“HOW TO GROW MY BUSINESS WHEN I’M SO FREAKING BUSY??”
Here’s the conundrum: When you’re working full time IN your business, where do you find time to work ON your business?
“I’m working full time while simultaneously building my business up, and there aren’t enough hours in the week to make it work.”
Ladies! It’s time to bring order to your chaos. Let’s take stock of what you’re doing and make some changes, shall we?
Step 1: Envision
I’m a big fan of envisioning where you want to go and then setting goals to get there. It gives you focused direction and makes it easier to cut the crap that’s not serving your growth. Plus, it’s fun to take a minute and reflect on your badassery – you built something and now… you’re ready to grow. That’s kind of a big freaking deal.
If you’re tempted to skip this step because it doesn’t feel “beefy” enough, don’t do it. When you’re unclear about your vision, you have no True North, and the odds of getting lost in the chaotic shuffle are pretty darn good.
ACTION-ITEM FOR STEP 1
Write down the five-year vision you have for your business.
What does it look like? Who is your target market? What are you providing them? What’s your business model? How much money are you making? Who’s on your team? What systems do you have in place to support you? What does your business look like a year from now? How about five years from now?
Step 2: Prioritize
You have a lot to do, don’t you? And if you have shiny object syndrome, good luck getting it done! My advice? Stop chasing things that aren’t close to the money-making-activities and say GOODBYE to busy work.
Do you have a product or service that makes a difference and is worthy of buying, right? If you don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board, but assuming you do, stop obsessing over your website or sinking hours into stuff that has little impact on your bottom line.
The truth is, if you want to move the needle forward in your business, you need leads that turn into sales, which come from marketing your business. Everything else can wait.
ACTION-ITEMS FOR STEP 2
Make a list of everything you need to do. Now put a star next to the things that are ACTUAL money-making activities or tasks, aka, sales and marketing. Do these first. Put them in your calendar and be fierce about getting them done. They WILL move you and your business forward.
Then, each day when you wake up, just rinse and repeat as you go down the list. Some of this stuff could take a few weeks, so don’t feel pressure to do everything at once – pace yourself!
Now, we all have those to-do’s that are not priorities but are important to you to get to “one day”, you know, the ones you don’t want to forget…? Create a separate list and title it: “Future To-Do’s” and tuck it away for when you’re ready to tackle them. This is a very important list because it gives you the opportunity to get it out of your brain and on paper. When you have too much in your brain, that’s when overwhelm and forgetfulness can occur.
Step 3: Let Go
Let go of commitments and “shoulds” that don’t move your life and business forward. Those networking events and conferences that bring in zero leads or fail to produce productive connections? Let them go. That volunteer job you dread? Let it go. Making the bed just because you “should”? Let it go.
ACTION-ITEM FOR STEP 3
Make a list of your business and non-business-related commitments and tasks and calculate the worth of each one.
Will it help you achieve your goals? Is there an ROI? Will it develop your business in a way that moves you forward financially? Is it totally necessary? If it doesn’t contribute to the forward motion of your business or life, SLASH THAT SUCKER! And here’s where you ditch the guilt – you don’t have to do everything, you know.
Step 4: Assign & Delegate
When it comes to your business, the best place you can be is in your expertise. Do what you do best and let others do the rest. If you need help with sales, get help. If you stink at programming and design, hire them out.
Short on funds? Sometimes, you have to spend money to make money, and once you’re prioritizing the way you should, your sales will increase because your spending more time IN your business, on activities that bring you closer to the money.
WARNING: Do NOT hire anyone if you don’t plan to fill your new-found time with MONEY-MAKING ACTIVITIES. If no new money comes in, you’ll be resentful that you spent all of your money for “nothing”. You’ve gotta be committed to sell if you want to enjoy the support you are bringing on board. And… selling is the name of the game, isn’t it? If you’re not selling then how can people enjoy your incredible products and services?
ACTION-ITEMS FOR STEP 4
Make a list of things you can delegate because A) they’re a time suck, B) you aren’t good at them, or C) you hate doing them. The closer you are to your zone of genius, the more money you’ll be making.
How much money can you budget to take just ONE of these tasks off your plate? Now pick the thing that you’re willing to pass off and PASS IT OFF!
Still short on cash? Exactly how much extra money would you have to make per month to bring on that first hire? Form a plan, set a date to achieve your goal, and go for it!
Over the next few months, as you’re making more money, do it again, rinse and repeat.
Step 5: Systemize & Automate
If you want to work IN your business, you’ve gotta stop spending so much time working ON your business, but here’s the catch…
If you have yet to harness the power of systems and automation, you’re gonna be drowning in a big ole’ pile of BUSY as you recreate the wheel every time you do something. You don’t need that chaos!
When your processes are systemized and automated, your business begins to run itself. And guess what? More time to bring in the bacon!
ACTION-ITEMS FOR STEP 5
Time to systematize so get ready. First thing’s first: grab some coffee, tea, or wine and settle in. This is a HUGE part of running a successful business, but it takes some effort on your part – especially if you’ve not systemized any of your business yet. If some of this stuff isn’t applicable to your business, just move on to the next thing…
I’ve added in some bulleted tips below for the activities that you will want to consider systematizing – that will give you the highest ROI and make the biggest impact on your business.
Here we go!
Create a protocol for the following items:
- Communications with customers
- Communications with staff
- Tracking “to-dos” and accomplishments
- Who’s responsible for what tasks
- How does the phone/email/ text gets answered
Prospecting & Sales Process
- Create a sales funnel to capture prospects and build your list
- Designate dedicated time to lead generation, social media strategy, and authority-building
- Get a CRM to systemize, automate, and templatize your client process and projects
- Capture and convert leads
- Manage projects: proposals, invoices, emails, questionnaires, templates
- What cash do you need to run efficiently?
- Where is that cash coming from?
- How many clients do you need to keep a healthy cash flow?
- What happens if you’re low? High?
- How can you systematize?
- Performance expectations
- How do you attract great candidates?
- How do you assess those candidates?
- How do you make an offer of employment?
- How do you onboard a new employee/contractor?
Billing and Payroll System and Bookkeeping System
- What software do you use?
- When do you bill?
Customer Service Protocol
- How to collect feedback from customers?
- How to treat customers – what is the company culture?
- How to handle customer issues?
- Feedback to each other
- Feedback to employees/coaches
- Feedback from customers
Company Policies & Procedures Manual
- Create as you go
Bonus Step: Boundaries
You MUST have boundaries to grow your business. That means having the courage and respect to say “no” to things, people, and commitments that won’t serve your highest good. It also means that you have to protect your time and schedule from shiny objects!
Of course, you’ll still make time for fun, family, and free time, but when it’s biz time, cut the distractions and get ‘er done.
ACTION-ITEMS FOR BONUS STEP:
- Set business hours so you know when it’s work time and when it’s OK to play
- Make time for play – if you don’t, you’ll be resentful of work
- Let others know your schedule so you’ve set respectful expectations
- Be present during your work and play time blocks by eliminating distractions
- Don’t go online when you need to finish a project
- Turn off notifications and other annoying, time-sucking distractors
- Put signs outside your door when you’re in work-mode so nobody disturbs you
- Don’t overcommit – learn to say no.
- No thank you
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but I can’t commit right now
- You know I would love to, but I just can’t right now
- Maybe next time
- I just can’t right now
- Bummer! I can’t – I’m already committed
Use these steps as a jumping-off point for growth, and get started now!
When you’re asking yourself, “how do I grow my business”, I want to emphasize how important it is to focus on the things that will bring you closer to the sale and closer to the money.
Sales and marketing can be the hardest part of building a business, but they’re the “Miracle Grow” you need to level up and make more money.
Having trouble getting motivated, setting up systems or achieving the right mindset for growth? I’m always here should you want to explore coaching.
Click HERE to find out more about how I can support you and we’ll get you moving towards your dreams and goals STAT!