Boost Your Profits! 7 Key Places Small Business Owners Need to Measure to Boost Profits – (Part 1)

Simple Steps to Boost Your Profits!

Is your business growing every year?  Not just in sales revenue, but more importantly is your business ahead right now than you were this time last year in net profits?

Whether your goal is to increase your total net profits by $10,000 or by $10 million, you need to isolate individual values that collectively contribute to that end goal. Remember that performance measured is performance gained.

My own business has grown both revenues and net profits every year for 7 years in a row. There are the seven key places I measure in my business that gives me laser direction for what I need to do to continue to help more entrepreneurs while at the same time, boost profits.

Whether you are a small business owner or a solopreneur you can start measuring these same 7 areas in your own business to help you boost profits:

#1. Measure your time.

How you spend your time makes a significant impact on how much you can boost your profits. Instead of asking at the end of each year, “where did all the profits go?” start a habit of asking at the end of each day, “where did all my time go?” We all know the old adage time is money. Time is the first place I ask clients to measure and evaluate. I often help my clients design what their PDR forms should look like (personal daily report) based on their specific duties and function. On the PDR form, or even on just a notepad, jot what you accomplished and how long it took you to complete each task. Once you accumulate a 2- to 3-week snapshot you can then begin to identify not only your efficiency and productivity, but also your effectiveness.

Your effectiveness is what = the VALUE of your time.  So, what is your time worth?

While efficiency is important, you can be efficient at all the wrong things. You won’t really be aware if you are not measuring and getting an audit of your time.  Remember that performance measured is performance gained.

#2. Measure your marketing results.

Another way to boost profits is to look for ways to stop bleeding profits.  If you are not measuring your marketing results you may not realize how much you’re wasting in profits from marketing that is not getting great results.

First, do you log in every prospective call?

  • how did they hear about your company?
  • what product or service they were interested in?
  • what grabbed their attention and interest in calling you as opposed to calling your competitors?
  • what is their contact info?
  • if they found you online, what keyword phrase did they search?

While this may sound like basic business practice it is one of the most common areas I see being skipped even be many established businesses. You can’t determine what would be a more effective approach to your marketing if you aren’t measuring how your current and past approaches have worked.  Marketing mistakes bleed resources, and the biggest mistake is when it’s done arbitrarily. Remember that performance measured is performance gained.

#3. Measure your conversion efficiency.

If we want to boost profits, naturally, we need to boost sales. While sometimes sales might happen from a one step process, the average sale goes through a 7 step process. You want to the end result — to boost profits. You will boost more profits if you boost conversion in the 7 steps in your sales cycle.

  • Are you measuring how well each step in your process in converting?

Examples:

  • For the catering industry they need to convert inquiry calls to an appointment to sample their food.
  • The health club industry needs to convert the first call into a compelling reason to come visit now.
  • Service industries whose calls are mainly from price collectors can still create a compelling incentive to get the prospective customer to sample their company whether it is in the form of a valuable newsletter or educational video.

The sample stage is an important phase in your sales cycle. You don’t want to simply react to the year end profit number without examining how each phase in your sales process is actually performing. Remember that performance measured is performance gained.

QUESTION: What is the one biggest block that keeps you from measuring in your business? Please share your comments and questions below.

© Copyright 2016

The Power of Heart Centered Entrepreneurs

Many people believe their role as an entrepreneur should primarily be driven by sales and profits. While your business does need to turn a profit to sustain itself as a business focusing solely on sales is a sure recipe for struggle. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t just all about the numbers and what’s in it for them  – they’re servants as well. They’re known as heart centered entrepreneurs.

By approaching your work with a servant heart, you can fuel even greater success. You can create real value with your business because the only way you succeed is through helping others succeed.

Here are 5 ways to tap into the power of being a heart-centered entrepreneur:

#1. Make a difference.  Motives matter. Motives reflect where our heart is. We all know that dogs can sense fear. How much more can people sense motives of pure selfish gain?  While I’m all about the importance of personal goal setting to help you hit your sale targets, when we’re talking to our audience we need to switch from thinking about our goals and think about making a difference to help them achieve their goals.

Do you have a difference-making mission?  Take a look at which mission statement reflects a heart-centered entrepreneur:

  • •   Our mission is to become famous for being the #1 business coach  in the country.   Versus:
  • •  Our mission is to change the lives of 1 million entrepreneurs to help them create businesses that give them greater freedom and fulfillment.

Ask yourself, what is the specific difference you want to make?
Are you running a purpose driven business?

#2. Empathize with your audience.  Your audience is your target market. When you are talking to prospects, whether in person or through a blog post, video or speech, you have to push aside trying to “sell” yourself or your services.  As a heart centered entrepreneur push aside thinking about how much you’re trying to win the sale. Instead:

  • •  Take a few minutes to really connect with the pain your audience struggles with.
  • •  Know what their burning desires are.
  • •  What makes them tick?
  • •  What keeps them up at night?
  • •  What stresses them out?
  • •  What challenges are they dealing with on a day-to-day basis?

#3.  Stop selling. Start serving. Do you see your audience as prospects you need to “sell” to or do you see them as people you want to serve?  As a heart centered entrepreneur is everything you say or do serving you more or does it serve them more? What’s the subconscious inner dialogue that runs through your mind?

  • •  “I want you to buy this, so I can make more money?” or
  • •  “I want to help you stop struggling with _____ so you can enjoy more _____?”

#4. Check your attitude. A true servant heart is someone who is humble. You can only truly serve from a place of humility. Arrogance and pride stifles success.

  • •  Think of someone of influence you admire for their humility.
  • •  Think of a seemingly “successful” person who is also arrogant and prideful.

Write down what it is these two different influential people say or do that projects humility or arrogance.

#5. Be a blessing.
You can be a blessing to people beyond just the business services you provide. As a heart centered entrepreneur you can be a blessing just by a warm smile, a sincere inquiry about how they are doing, active listening when they speak, gestures of thoughtfulness beyond what you normally do anyway as a business service.

Recently, a friend and colleague of mine, named Alan, pointed out an area that I could be a blessing – one that I was actually withholding.  (Ok, I’m still a work in progress!)

He wanted to interview me about my LinkedIn coaching program, so he asked me what led me to decide to create a specific training program around using LinkedIn to attract clients.

I told him my story of how I stumbled upon LinkedIn. I sold my last business to focus on being at home full time with my 3 young children. Luck would have it shortly after I sold my business my husband lost his job. Overnight, we went from both of us working to neither of us working.

That was a period of a lot of stress, worry and anxiety for me. I found myself in an unfamiliar territory, which brought with it the fear of the unknown. In addition to fear and worry, I also had some doubt. I wanted to start another business, but I knew I would have zero marketing budget and with 3 little ones at home I had very little time.

Since I always started with a sizeable start up capital for marketing at my past businesses it made me doubt it was even possible to start a new business with no marketing budget.

After much thought and prayer I decided to find a way, since the alternative (get a job and work for someone else) felt far more suffocating.

During my quest, the one thing I found I could market myself with no money and very little time was on LinkedIn.

What’s interesting to me about the story I just shared is that I’ve never actually shared this part of the story before. I’ve been asked this same question before, but I realized this time I revealed more to the story with Alan because he was my friend first and my colleague second.

(Hmmm, maybe I should treat everyone as friends first …)

Alan then went on to tell me what a tremendous blessing my story was not only to him, but to his audience as well.  The lesson Alan taught me that day was discovering that simply sharing my past pain and challenges and how I got through it was by itself a way I could be a blessing to more people.

Thanks for that lesson Alan!

We all experience trials, setbacks, failures and challenges. So, what’s your story of pain?

QUESTION: How can you turn your adversity into blessing others?
(please share your comments below)

© Copyright 2016

Are You Failing Enough? — 6 Benefits of Failure to Fuel Your Business Growth

We naturally do not think about all the benefits of failure. As entrepreneurs we just don’t like to fail. We prefer to avoid and even fear failure in our businesses. In reality, failure is nothing to be afraid of. These 6 core benefits of failure can serve as a powerful tool in any business arsenal – and when approached with a success mindset, failure can even fuel our business growth.

  1. Failure teaches you how to avoid mistakes.

    Most of the time, failure

    Thankfully, failure shows us what went wrong, and points out our poor decisions. It allows us to identify our mistakes – and if we’re ever faced with a similar opportunity, we’ll know exactly what to do. Most opportunities aren’t once-in-a-lifetime. The benefits of failure is it teaches us how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

  2. happens because of mistakes we made. Whether we were careless with our finances, or let a lucrative opportunity pass us by, it isn’t always possible to make the right call. After all, we’re only human; and dropping the ball occasionally is part of the human condition.
  3. Failure makes you more credible.

    Another surprising benefit of failure is it helps you earn your badge of credibility. Entrepreneurs who never fail just are not relatable. Embracing and sharing your stories of failure makes you more vulnerable, which makes you more relatable, which makes you more credible.

    More importantly, it shows that you’re willing to keep trying, even when the going gets tough. Whether you’re talking to investors, business leaders or other entrepreneurs, it’s these traits that are most highly valued. Failure isn’t a mark against your reputation. It’s a badge of credibility.

  4. Failure cultivates your support system.

    Failure doesn’t need to be a lonely experience. You don’t have to cope through your struggles alone. If it were not for failure you wouldn’t need a support system – another great benefit of failure. By sharing these experiences with friends, peers and business advisors, failure can forge strong, supportive relationships that empower you to succeed at greater levels.

    Talking about failure will help you to accept it and move on, and understand that it’s a crucial part of being an entrepreneur. Each individual account of failure has a story to it. Each story is just another lesson that serves as an important building block to your success.

  5. Failure keeps you humble.

    Business success takes strategy. It also takes heart and leadership. Leaders can’t lead from a place of arrogance. But, it’s a sad fact that success makes many people arrogant. Arrogance leads to under estimating the preparation required to succeed. Of course, showing up unprepared often leads to more failure.

    Humility is a powerful benefit of failure. We all need reminders that success can quickly disappear. By bearing failure with good grace, and feeling humbled by the experience, you don’t take success for granted. You’ll realize how fleeting it can be – and you’ll strive to work harder and smarter for it next time.

  6. Failure helps you focus on the goals that matter most.

    Entrepreneurs all strive for success, but many lose sight of the reasons why. Failure reconnects you to your goals. The emotions you associate with your failure are clear-cut indicators of what you really want from your business. Failures force us to re-evaluate our goals and ask ourselves the question:

    “What are we missing the most in our lives right now?” Perhaps it’s:

    • feeling validated in our talents
    • financial security
    • finding work-life balance
    • freedom of expression
    • friendships with like-minded people
    • fulfilment in making a difference

    Understanding these desires will allow you to refocus. When you rebuild your business, you’ll do it with the “why’s” that drive your goals – and you’ll be more successful at achieving them because of it.

  7. Failure is a valuable stepping-stone to success.

    Each business decision you make has multiple possible outcomes and dozens different paths to take. Every mistake you make allows you to cross-off one of these paths; eliminating a wrong choice taking a step closer towards the right choice.

    One myth that can sure paralyze you during a failure is believing that success is overnight.

    Remember: you can fail a thousand times. You only need to succeed once.

    I’ll leave you with a powerful quote:

    • “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.Failure is delay, not defeat.It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

QUESTION: What was the best lesson you learned from a failure? Please share your tips in the comment box below.

© Copyright 2016

Overcoming Self Doubt as an Entrepreneur

Self-doubt can sure kill your business success and prevent you reaching your full potential. But, it does not have to. To help you overcome self-doubt in a healthy, productive way, practice my 6 tried-and-tested approaches to helping you conquer your gremlins, so they stop getting in the way of your business success.

  1. Expect that self-doubt is going to happen.

    Whether it’s in sports or in business when we don’t expect the attack that’s when we knocked off our feet. Self-doubt is normal. Don’t be so surprised when it happens to you. Attacks of self-doubt are apart of the game. Even the most talented entrepreneurs experience self-doubt at some point throughout the year. Being aware and expecting self doubt will happen makes this invisible missile, visible, so you can see it and fight back to extinguish it.

  2. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

    Many entrepreneurs subconsciously respond to self-doubt by retreating into their comfort zone. They lose faith in their ability to take on new challenges, and learn new skills – and even deliberately they hide from them. It’s crucial to remember that nothing incredible ever happens within your comfort zone. The most life-changing business opportunities all happen in unfamiliar circumstances. Leaving your comfort zone is part-and-parcel of being successful – and remembering that will help you overcome self doubt.

  3. Quit beating yourself up.

    Entrepreneurs are notoriously hard upon themselves, especially in times of failure. But, being your own harshest critic is a double-edged sword. It helps you win when it drives you to set hold high expectations of your self. The other side, however, can stab your business success if you keep beating yourself up for every business failure that happens.

    Stop thinking you failed because you weren’t good enough – that only sets you up for failing again. In other words, self doubt is borne from low self-esteem. Thankfully, we can combat this. Realize when your negativity is fueled by your own judgment, and make a conscious effort to be kind to yourself. Have some self-compassion.

  4. Blame the tactics, not the talent.

    Many of my entrepreneur clients hire me for business coaching because they are frustrated with their flat sales. I understand though, that your frustration goes beyond just seeing depressing numbers on the board. Those flat sales can make you feel like you fell flat on your face. That can be a huge blow to the gut and our pride.

    Failing to reach your goals doesn’t have to be such a hard pain to recover from if you shift your focus to:

    • • re-evaluating your TACTICS instead of re-evaluating your TALENT.
    • • STOP drawing false conclusions that a failure is a reflection of your talent.

    I’m here to remind you and SHOUT to you – it’s not true!

  5. Get expert TACTICAL guidance.

    Let’s say you believe you’re a terrible cook. What makes a meal a success or failure have more to do with factors like whether you’re using a good or bad recipe, fresh or processed ingredients, cheap or quality made cookware, cooking time and temperatures – you get the idea.

    Half the battle with your business success starts from showing up each day with the right mindset. The other half has more to do with your approach. It’s important to re-evaluate the tactics in your business growth strategy. An outside expert can also give you better feedback on how well you’re executing on those strategies. Executing the wrong strategies can easily fuel that self-doubt. Implementing the right strategies can suddenly make you look and feel like a rock star!

  6. Build your inner circle.

    Feedback from your friends, family and peers can help you to improve your abilities; but it can also weaken your own faith in yourself. Often, well-intentioned constructive feedback, coming from a non-expert, ends up being the wrong feedback.

    As an entrepreneur it’s easy to isolate yourself in growing your business alone. But, isolation is where self-doubt flourishes. We all need to have an inner circle of 2-3 people who understand our industry and our challenges and can contribute insightful perspective on your strengths and strategies.

  7. Get busy, and stay busy.

    Productivity can help you extinguish self-doubt. When you’re working flat-out to make a deadline, you don’t have the time to reflect on your work; and you’re too busy to let negativity creep into your emotions. Reflection leads to self doubt, and self doubt leads to inaction. It creates a vicious cycle of doubt, where you become paralyzed by the fear of failure, and unwilling to start working again. To overcome self-doubt, make sure your schedule is packed with productive plans to keep you working towards definite deadlines.

  8. Get some momentum.

    Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to seek perfection. Every blog post, email, brief, design and pitch has to be ideal – and nothing less will do. These high-ideals can help inspire you to new heights, but they can also be the very thing that keeps you from moving the ball forward.

    Perfection isn’t always attainable, and in these instances, it’s crucial to start moving forward. Remember that ‘done moderately well is better than not done at all’.

    Success is about getting results. You don’t get results by simply standing still. You need to go up to bat and keep swinging. If you keep at it, while focusing on your approach (and not doubting your talent), you will eventually hit a homerun!

© Copyright 2016

5 Damaging Webinar Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve gone to the effort of setting up a webinar, it’s crucial that it runs smoothly. There are a host of common webinar mistakes to avoid, from technical issues to problems of promotion and awareness. Any one of these 5 damaging webinar mistakes to avoid can hurt your webinar attendance. Thankfully, I’ve created this short guide to help you identify the critical aspects of hosting a successful webinar:

5 Webinar Mistakes to Avoid

1. Covering too many topics

Webinars are fantastic way to add value to your customer experience. They allow you to market your skills, knowledge and expertise; and educate and help people in the process. As a result, you’d be forgiven for trying to include as much helpful content into your webinar as possible. After all, the more content you can include, the more beneficial your webinar is… right?

In the effort to provide high content many webinar speakers deliver too much content. Too many points make webinars too hard to follow. Trying to include dozens of topics in one webinar is more likely to overload your audience than educate them.Instead of skimming over several areas, it’s far better to cover one topic in-depth – and make sure that your audience really understands your content.

2. Forgetting to promote the webinar

Webinars are extremely effective at attracting visitors to your website and business – but they aren’t a marketing panacea. As with every form of marketing, raising awareness and promoting your webinar is key to unlocking its benefits. Well before the day of your webinar, set the wheels of promotion in motion – and raise awareness across social media, industry publications, email lists, press releases, other webinars and through your industry connections.

3. Technical glitches

Webinars are, unsurprisingly, pretty reliant on technology. Whether it’s your audio and sound system, your video feed or even your internet connection, there are dozens of potential technical issues that could rear-up and ruin your webinar. These webinar mistakes to avoid are some of the most damaging; but they’re also the most preventable. Simply running through your setup prior to the live-event will highlight any technical gremlins that need remedying; and allow you to fine-tune your sound- and video-quality.

4. Not making the webinar interactive

Webinars should always be interactive, offering your audience a chance to engage with your expertise and have their burning questions answered.  Interactivity is what sets your webinar apart from a helpful blog post or online guide, and it’s the main reason the webinar community is so active and vibrant. Thankfully, you don’t need to overcomplicate matters. You can leverage Twitter for a live-action Q&A. Promote a unique #hashtag for your event and encourage your audience to tweet you their questions during the webinar.

5. Overcomplicating the login process

Most of these webinar mistakes to avoid focus on your presentation itself – but you can easily ruin your webinar before it’s even started.If you’re operating a paid- webinar, the login process becomes all important, allowing your audience to check-in, log-in and get involved. If this login process is particularly long-winded, requiring a ton of personal information and payment verification, your webinar attendance will likely take a sharp plunge. Plan ahead, and sort out registration and payment before the day of the webinar.

QUESTION: What steps do you take to make sure your webinars run smoothly? Let me know in the comments!

© Copyright 2016

Finding New Clients – 5 LinkedIn Misconceptions That Hurt You From Finding New Clients

Finding new clients

Thousands of businesses use LinkedIn to connect with new clients every single day – but for some reason, you can’t seem to imitate their success. Let’s say LinkedIn has never worked for your business, and you think that it never will.  Worst of all, you can’t figure out why.

I have the answer: the biggest barrier to LinkedIn success is your own attitude. 

Adjusting your LinkedIn Mindset

Finding new clients requires a positive attitude about LinkedIn — a belief that it can work for your business, and a willingness to find out how. To help you embrace the potential of LinkedIn, we’re going to look at some of the most common misconceptions – the limiting beliefs that are hindering your ability to find new clients. This is more than just opinion – we’re going to let statistics do the talking, and prove why you need to develop a positive LinkedIn mindset for finding new clients!

LinkedIn Misconception #1. ‘LinkedIn only works for businesses in the United States’

Most people don’t realize just how global the LinkedIn network is. LinkedIn has over 260 million users, in over 200 hundred countries – and less than a third of those users are based in the US. LinkedIn is huge in countries as diverse as China and the Netherlands, making it a viable source of clients for countries the world over. If you’re a local business, finding new clients through local groups and businesses is easy. And, if you’re international, you can target clients from virtually anywhere in the world.

LinkedIn Misconception #2. ‘Twitter and Facebook are better for generating leads’ 

LinkedIn alone accounts for over two thirds of all visits to corporate websites from social media channels. Facebook generates just 17% of these visits, and Twitter even less, at 14%. As a result, LinkedIn generates more leads for businesses than any other social network. If you aren’t active on LinkedIn, your business is missing out traffic, leads and clients.

LinkedIn Misconception #3. ‘LinkedIn has never generated any clients for me – why should it now?’

LinkedIn is a rapidly growing network, with a year-on-year increase in users of almost 40%. In other words, the odds of finding new clients increase by almost a half every single year. If you haven’t been able to generate new clients, you simply need to try a new approach – and abandoning LinkedIn altogether will cost your business more every year.

LinkedIn Misconception #4. ‘LinkedIn isn’t relevant to my industry’

Regardless of your business niche, you’ll be able to find special interest community groups on LinkedIn full of industry leaders and relevant discussions. All types of business people are active on LinkedIn – from post-graduates looking for experience and knowledge, through to CEOs of multinational companies to athletic coaches from high schools and universities and even facility directors who deal with building maintenance – so regardless of your target audience, finding new clients in your industry has never been easier.

LinkedIn Misconception #5. ’I don’t believe that you can generate leads by posting comments’

Commenting on LinkedIn discussions allows you to show your expertise, and develop relationships with potential clients. If you’re able to solve someone’s problem, they’re going to be grateful to you. They’ll view you and your business as helpful, authoritative and trust-worthy which increases their interest in working with you. Commenting is more than showing off – it’s helping people with your knowledge and thought leadership and nothing is more powerful for finding new clients.

In closing, the statistics don’t lie – LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding new clients, and if you and your business are struggling to capitalize on that, you might need to adjust your mindset.

QUESTIONS: Have any of these misconceptions stopped you from finding new clients? What other factors are still limiting your LinkedIn success? Let me know in the comments below!

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