As a speaker and a business development consultant and coach, I am often asked: How do I close the gap between where I am and where I want to be?
There are many ways to answer this question, but my answer is: Achieving business success is all about doing the right things, in the right order, at the right time.
Easier said than done, right?
Before we talk about how you can increase your chances for success, let’s take a moment to understand why many business owners get stuck.
Firstly, they don’t have a clear enough or a strong enough why, or they have lost their connection to their why. Without knowing why you get out of bed every day and why you do what you do, you will find it almost impossible to stay focused on your short term goals to achieve your desired outcomes.
Another reason why business owners become stuck or stay stuck is that they haven’t clearly defined what these desired outcomes are for them. It’s no wonder that most small businesses owners are struggling and are finding it hard to take their business to the next level, when many are changing their desires from week to week. If this sounds like you, why not make yourself a cuppa and take the time right now to get really clear about why you do what you do, and what it is you want. What specifically do you want to achieve over the coming 12 months?
Once you have clarity around what you want to achieve in your business, and why you want it, you will find it much easier to source the internal and external assets to achieve your goals and build momentum.
Some business owners get stuck directing too much of their time to low income activities, rather than high income and high impact activities. You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? It’s the classic 80:20 rule; 20 per cent of your efforts will produce 80 per cent of your results or vice versa, depending on your business and your discipline. Imagine what your results could be if you focused on doing the right things, in the right order, at the right time.
Now you know some of the key reasons why business owners become stuck and stay stuck, let’s dive into the critical elements that can help you move forwards and close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
Success Starts With: Knowing your Gap
The best place to start closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be is first determining the gap. Take a piece of paper and a pen right now and write down what your current revenues look like. What about your profits, number of customers, and your average transaction value? Note the number of hours you work and the number of days you have off throughout the year. Now, jot down where you want to be in all those key areas.
The difference between the two is your gap.
Another great way to look at things is to simply write down the revenue figure you would like to be achieving, for example, $1 million. If you were currently earning $600 thousand, your gap would be $400 thousand. Depending on your point of view, your gap may seem like a lot or a little. But know this: Your gap is how much it’s costing you when you don’t take full responsibility for your success and do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. When you know your gap, you can work backwards to determine what you must do; such as how many goods and services you should aim to sell in the coming year, and at what price.
Success Starts With: The Right Mindset
Success in business and life comes down to one fundamental ingredient: a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset. Put simply, it’s about adopting a glass-half-full attitude for success. We may all drink from the same glass, but how you view that glass determines your level of success both in business and life.
In short, our thoughts create our beliefs, which then determine our behavior: the actions we take. These actions determine the results we get. This means if you want to increase sales, make more money, and create more time to do the things you love; it starts with a conscious decision to do so.
Success Starts With: Understanding your Business
You are in the Sales and Marketing business. Until you completely understand this, your business will be no different from, and no better than, any of your competitors. There are more and more franchised brands coming to play in the market, and so more and more choices for your prospectors and potential customers. For this reason, it is vital to understand that you are not in the business of selling coffee, or making burgers, or cleaning pools, or mowing lawns. You are in the Sales and Marketing business. Your business is all about what your product or service does for the customer, not the actual product or service itself.
Your marketplace is so fiercely competitive, so cutthroat, and so unforgiving, that you must do something to distinguish yourself from your competition. A differentiating factor for your business could be something as simple as remembering your customers’ names. Make the effort to make your customers feel welcome, like they belong with your company. Would you go back to do business with someone who made you feel unwelcome?
Success Starts With: Taking Action
Most people I talk to believe that knowledge is power! I believe they are only halfway to success with this attitude. Only applied knowledge is power. It’s not what you know; it’s what you do with what you know that really counts! Start today, take action, and don’t give up, and you will be amazed at the results you can achieve.
Success Starts With: Eliminating the F Word
They say the F word can hold you back, but I also believe the F word can fuel your success. I’m talking about Fear, of course. Fear can be defined in many ways, and it can appear in many forms. I have been privileged to learn from some of the best in the business, and each one of them has shared their wisdom around the F word. The most important thing is to lean into fear when it’s necessary, and walk away from it when it’s holding you back.
However, knowing what to do and when is an art form. You cannot start to change until you become aware of what needs changing. If you find fear is holding you back from achieving what you want, become aware of it, feel it, and then walk away from it. This one tip alone has supported me in achieving what I want many times over. Instead of fearing feeling afraid, embrace it, and understand why it’s there. Then you can look at your goals without fear getting in the way.
The Most Profitable Thing You Can Do for Your Business
The most effective, the most cost-efficient, and the most profitable thing you can do in your business is to build a database of your present and past customers, and then do something with it. Build strong relationships, follow up with them, and invite them to return business with you again and again. If you’re a retail store and you are not collecting emails and mobile numbers form your customers, you are missing countless opportunities. Had a slow morning? Simply send out a lunchtime promo via SMS, or a call out for last coffees in the afternoon. In our business, we send out an SMS to offer free strategy sessions, take up flash sale promotions, and more. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate system, plan, or strategy, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either. As long as your plan is targeted to unique wants and desires, fears and frustrations of your customers, this system is an invaluable asset.
Stop the Leaky Bucket Syndrome
As small business owners, we sure know how to leave a stack of money lying on the table. Most business owners are losing traffic because they don’t have a solid lead capture system, losing leads because they don’t have a solid lead nurturing system, and losing customers because their conversation system is either not good enough or not there at all.
So how do you turn leads into qualified prospects, and how do you move them across the finish line and keep them coming back for more? The answer is simple: You must implement a Lifecycle marketing framework into your business.
Essentially, Lifecycle marketing is a framework that will help you attract more qualified leads into your business, convert qualified prospects into customers, and help you create an outstanding customer experience so that your customer retention statistics go through the roof. After all, success is not simply about bringing in more leads; it’s about attracting the right leads, closing sales faster, and turning leads into raving fans and advocates for life.
Take a moment now to think about how you can start plugging the holes in your funnel.
Go through the short exercises outlined above, map out a clear plan of action for at least the next 90 days, and take consistent daily action towards your goals.
If you need any further help getting any of these ideas into action, and to start laying more solid foundations for the coming 12 months, you can also book a personal strategy session with me. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Tania Allen is the founder of Vision Alliance and TaniaAllen.com. A transformational leadership coach, business growth and franchise expert, she helps business owners create a business and life they love.
You can contact Tania at:
1300 76 49 20