The Trap of Working IN Your Business, not ON it

Don’t Get Stuck in the Weeds!

Danger! Danger! Most of us start our entrepreneurial journey with a passion. A passion to serve, to share our expertise, or just for the love of what we do. With that, we jump into our business with both feet, hands and everything else and devote as much time as we can spare for the creation of our baby. But there comes a time when operating from passion and not strategy is going to hold our business growth back – in a big way.

If your desire is to grow and scale your business, then you will need to start looking for other people to do the doing so that you can be doing the visioning and strategic planning.

What are some of the ways and reasons that you are keeping yourself stuck in the weeds?

You LOVE the what of what you do.

There is certainly no shame in that! But if you love it so much that you are still doing the day to day, then there will be a cap to how many new clients and new projects you can take on, and therefore the amount of revenue you can take in.

You like to feel needed.

Looking at a packed to-do list every morning certainly will make you feel like you are needed. It may even give you a sense of security. But is that what creates value in your business and is that the best use of your talents? Perhaps you need a revised vision of how you are needed by providing the strategy and direction for the people who work for you. It’s a shift of focus, but you are needed even MORE at this level.

Chaos becomes your best friend.

When someone asks you how you are doing, how often do you answer “BUSY!” In our fast-paced world, it has become a badge of honor to be “BUSY!” Being super busy can be addictive. And stressful. Be wary of this one, as it’s a great way to reach burn-out fast. You are not doing your business or yourself any good by burning out.

No one can do it as well as you can.

Perfection paralysis or fear of delegation is so common and one of the primary ways of getting in your own way. You are afraid that if you delegate to anyone the task will not be done correctly. You need to accept that there will be many differing ways to get the hoped-for result – not just yours. Be open!

No idea what it would look like if you weren’t the worker bee.

If you have been a solopreneur for any length of time then you may not have any idea of how your business could function any other way. As I pointed out in a previous post, it’s time think like a CEO and move from doing to leading.

In all of these cases, you may be afraid of taking the big leap of bringing in people and creating a team. Bringing on your first part-time or contract person is a big leap to a solopreneur’s identity and can cause a lot of fear, understandably so. Or maybe you have done that and have a small team – maybe even a largish team, but you are still hanging on to too much of the doing.

The skill set you have mastered, and grown so comfortable with to create your business is NOT the same skill set that is required to manage people and think strategically. But you will need a new skill set if you want to grow.

I love helping solopreneurs move into the entrepreneurial realm and start to experience real growth. Let’s schedule a call to discuss your business and how I can help you.

Do You Hate Sales? Then Don’t Sell.

Change Your Mindset: Invitation Only

I used to dread the thought of selling. It didn’t fit my personality; I hated feeling spammy or pushy. I just dreaded the whole process. But business doesn’t happen, and revenue doesn’t come in, without the selling.

The game changer for me was moving from selling to inviting. It’s an offer, not a push. Need a visual? Picture an open hand and an inviting gesture, not a grabbing motion followed by a clenching, yanking movement.  To comfortably offer an invitation you have to have confidence in the value of your offer and of yourself. You have to believe that you can help a potential customer in some way. Help them solve a problem, or grow, or get healthy. You have to really know in your heart-of-hearts that you have a product or service that you know can help your prospect.

You have to be so confident in your value that there is no NEED to push.

What would you do with a friend? Invite, don’t push.

There are so many points in the sales process where, if you shift your thinking to offering an invitation, you are far more likely to get to the next stage.

Invite someone to connect on the phone for a Discovery Call. Or an initial conversation. Whatever you want to call it.

While on the call, once you have assessed their needs and if they are a fit for what you have to offer, invite them to hear about your services.

Invite them to choose among the 2 or 3 options you have presented. (That might sound like this: “Of the 3 packages we discussed, which one feels like the right fit for you at this time)? No pushing required!

Invite them to get started with you by scheduling your first appointment, even before you have collected any money.

If they can’t decide or are on the fence, or have to check with someone (and this is a show stopper for many!) that’s OK! Ask them how long they might need for the decision-making, and invite them for a “circle back” call to decide if and when you will be working together. Schedule that call right then and there.

Both of you want to know if you should continue the conversation or not. If they ultimately don’t want to move forward, or if they don’t show up for the call, that’s fine. They were not the right client for you!

None of these steps are pushy. None of these steps have to feel uncomfortable, awkward, or invasive. Invitations are polite and respectful of you, your product/service, AND your prospect.

Sales can be a comfortable and authentic process that feels easy and natural, just like any conversation with someone new. If you walk away without closing, guess what? You now have a new network contact that you can tap in the future because you chose to invite, not push, your offerings.

Speaking of Discovery Sessions,  I’d like to invite you to join me to explore your business and how we can work together.  Click here to schedule a 30-minute call.  I’d love to connect with you to help you grow your business!

Are you a True CEO? Move From Doing to Leading

Time to Put on Your Big Girl Pants!

In 2003 I had a booming media buying agency. Business seemed to be rolling in faster than I could keep up with. I was a one-woman band for the first few years and loved every part of the business. But now I was drowning! I knew I needed some help, but wasn’t sure what kind or how much.   I had to do SOMETHING!

I hired 2 people – one a second-in-command (now I would call that an Online Business Manager) who took on as much as I could give her. The second was a part-time admin who dealt with invoicing and various back-end details.

After defining their roles and training each of them (which took a bit of time!), I took a step back and realized that a huge amount of work had been shifted from my desk to theirs. That was just what I wanted, but what I didn’t expect was how I was going to feel about it.

I would go home at night thinking:

“If I’m no longer the one DOING all the work – then what value am I bringing to the business? What am I going to do now?”

 It was a major identity crisis for me! I had spent the past 3 years of my business as the DOER. It was what I was good at, and I loved it – perhaps too much, which was why I was struggling now. It was what people paid me for. It was the place I knew best and felt the most comfortable.

And suddenly here I was – less doing on my plate and feeling like I wanted to take it all back because I didn’t know what else to do with myself!

Thankfully I had a great coach at the time who walked me through this and helped me to redefine my identity from WORKER-BEE to LEADER. It was a process to realize that I could still provide huge value by sharing my knowledge and expertise with my staff instead of being the person doing the work.

I find that when people struggle with delegation it can be based on a number of different things, but is often based on an underlying fear of losing their identity. If they aren’t careful, entrepreneurs can default to ‘taking it all back’ simply to hold on to that comfort zone.

If you are suffering from the same issue, here are some ideas:

  • Notice it – We can’t change that which we can’t see!
  • Honor it – Your identity has been the foundation of your success to date and it deserves to be honored! Also acknowledge the amount of expertise that got you here.
  • Redefine it – What new identity will serve the next level of your growth? Maybe it’s the shift from DOER to ADVISOR (like it was for me.) Maybe it is something else.
  • Shift it – This is key! Operate as though the new identity is in place. Make decisions from the position of being a leader. Spend your time in that new identity. It will probably be really uncomfortable to make this shift and the lure of going back to your old identity may be strong, but the only way to make the change is to stay in that mindset until your new identity becomes your norm. And it will happen!

Make no mistake, being a leader requires a completely different skill set than you have been relying on up to now. It may help you to hire a coach for this process. Or perhaps consider enrolling in leadership training, to build your new skills and your confidence.

Realize that this transformation will not happen overnight. It’s like any muscle that needs to be strengthened – It will get stronger if you keep using it.

Get Out of Your Own Way – Pt. 2

Obstacles to Business Growth

Part 2 of 2.

Last week I covered 4 obstacles that can get in your way. This week, I’m finishing up with the final 4.

5. “I have a good sense of where I want my business to go, but can’t figure out how to get there”

This is when growth and transition are the hardest. The processes, procedures and structures you carefully put in place for the first stage of your business may not be right for your next stage of growth.

This is THE time to look outside of yourself for support, direction and new ideas. You can’t possibly know everything! Join a Mastermind or Group Coaching program. Seek one that is a paid program (skin in the game creates a more focused result). If you can, find one that has several members that are more advanced in their business than you are. Be sure you are a bit outside your comfort zone so that you have to stretch to participate. You will grow and your business will thrive as a result.

Find a Business Coach, even for a short period of time (3-6 months is the shortest I would recommend) to help you see beyond your own walls. Others have been where you are.

6. Who am I to….

 Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head at every stage of business, no matter how successful you are. If you feel you need more courses, training, certifications, degrees etc to establish your credibility, spend some time documenting the experience you DO have that create your expertise.

What jobs, clients, life experiences have you had that add up to true expertise? You are valued by the results you produce, not for the certifications and degrees that you have.

7. I don’t have any MONEY!

 It takes some money to start a business. Start with what you can afford, and grow from there.

Seek out Free resources first. There hundreds of podcasts, blogs, free courses, and apps and tools available online. There are groups like the SBDC, and SCORE who offer free counseling. Take advantage of those!

Source for money. There are ways to get money when you need it. The SBA offers loans at a very reasonable rate. Some banks are more small business friendly than others. Friends and family (although those choices can be fraught with issues), or your own credit cards are potential sources for start-up costs.

You can always find a part-time job or start contracting with your area of expertise until your cash flow crunch is behind you. I’ve done it – It’s not the end of the world. It’s a transitional solution to a short-term problem.

8. I’m too late to the party. (It’s all been done before.)

 It has all been done before, but not by you. It’s VERY rare that a business concept will be a one and only. You will always have competition. But you will have your own spin on your niche too. Let your personality shine, develop your own methodology and framework to the services that you provide, and stand out from the crowd.

Each one of these obstacles can be overcome with mindset shifts or changes in your approach to your business. I’m always here to help you figure out how to overcome your obstacles and create and grow a profitable business. Contact me for a free call, and let’s discuss.

 

Get Out of Your Own Way – Obstacles to Biz Growth

8 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Part 1 of 2

Every business goes through stages, from the seed of an idea to startup, to increasing levels of maturity and growth. Each stage has its challenges, and none are easier than the last.

In those transition periods, things can feel out of control. Many of your carefully crafted processes are no longer working, and you and your business just feel like you are bursting at the seams.

These are growing pains, as my mom used to call it. Businesses, at all stages, have them.

After working with hundreds of small business owners in the past 7 years, here are the most common obstacles I’ve heard about time and time again, and what you can do about them. Do you hear yourself in any or all of these complaints?

1.“Everyone is starting a podcast (or virtual summit, or YouTube channel). I should too!”

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome can strike at any time, and at any and all stages of your business. When you look around you at your competitors or others that you feel are in your league, they seem to be doing more, accomplishing more, are more famous, earning more, doing more than you are.

Just stop. If you are still in business after a year or two, you are doing just fine. And you are enough!

Create a thoughtful, just-right-for-you strategic plan for your business and stick to it. Earmark new projects, platforms or courses for the next time you are in planning mode. This is your business. Design it for yourself, not everyone else.

2. “The only one who can do it is ME ME ME!”

You built this business by yourself and know every inch of it. You know what needs to be done and can do it faster and more accurately than anyone else. But if most of the tactical work is being done, or closely supervised by you, you are severely hampering your own growth. At some point, you will need to let go and train others to fill in for the majority of your functions, so that you can act as a true CEO.

What does that look like? It means building CEO time into your schedule. Block off a half-day each week, a full day each month, and perhaps a weekend each quarter for planning your future next steps. These are strategic planning blocks, not doing blocks. In fact a CEO doesn’t do much day-to-day doing. A CEO is creating content, finding and nurturing high level partnerships, planning and strategizing the future.

3. “I am EXHAUSTED”

Owning and running a business is not easy. We all know that. Especially in times of transition, it’s easy to run on all cylinders, work more than a normal workweek, and not pay attention to anything but your rapidly growing business. You will burn out, and your family and your business will suffer.

Before you get to that stage, build self-care into your schedule.   Decide what replenishes you. Is it time with your family, incorporating exercise into your life, a walk, reading a book, going to a movie? Schedule repeating blocks of time on your calendar and make this non-negotiable.

4. “My to-do list just grows and grows”

The common thread I see with female entrepreneurs at all levels of business is that they have forgotten the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Sweetie). In the rush to find new revenue streams, build new packages and courses, new formats for their content, streamlining what’s already in place goes right out the window.

Have a strategic plan and stick with it. You will have built your next 6 months or year during your CEO time. Once that is in place, don’t deviate. Find the top 3 tasks (or one task!) that you, as the true CEO need to accomplish each day. Don’t build out another activity until the ones already in place are smooth as silk, with processes in place and the correct team members making it happen.

If you find your own to-dos are getting out of hand, stop and re-evaluate. Are you doing more than you initially planned for in your strategy? Do you have the right or enough support staff underneath you? Are they getting the job done? Do they know what they should be doing and what your expectations are? Consider outsourcing some of the tasks if you are not ready to expand your team.

Stay tuned for 4 more common mistakes in next week’s blog!

Imposter Syndrome – Flip the Script!

Feel Like a Fraud? It Happens to the Best of Us.

 

When I start working with clients, one of the first subjects we deal with is mindset. One of the topics that always, always comes up for the female entrepreneur is “Who am I to think I can do this?” …or teach this, or provide this service, or whatever. The fear is all the same. And, if you let that fear run your show, it will keep you from reaching for your dreams.

Here is the Definition:

Wikipedia: Impostor Syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenonfraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychosomatic pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

The truth is, the further you go in your business or career, the more risks you may have to take, and the more likely it is that Imposter Syndrome will show up. If you have experienced feeling like a fraud at any point in your life or career, chances are you have chalked up your accomplishments to luck, charm, connections, or some other external factor.

Psychologists tell us that the personality types most likely to have Imposter Syndrome are perfectionists and overachievers That’s right: The superwomen. That sounds like most entrepreneurs to me!

So let’s talk about how to break through it.

Identify what is shaking your confidence. The more you can pinpoint and define the issue, the more able you are to confront it head on with some actionable solutions.

Remember your real life value and all that you have achieved. I’ve started a “Look back 2018” document where I record everything that I have accomplished, big or little, biz or personal. I add to it on an ongoing basis. It builds confidence!

Stop comparing yourself to others. I know, easier said than done. There will always be someone else that is farther along than you are, so what’s the point? Stay focused on your own path and capacities. You may need to opt out of newsletters, and curtail your social media habit to keep your eyes on the prize.

Look at your own language, both internal and external. “I think, I feel, it may just be me, but….” Stop right there. Consciously upgrade your language with more confident, assertive phrases and you will reframe your own self-image. “In my opinion,” “I have a question, and I’m sure I’m not the only one,” are examples that communicate much more strength. Be on the lookout for words and phrases you can eliminate or tweak.

Understand that there is no “right way.” I’m sure there are multiple techniques for conducting specific surgeries! If you perceive that someone has “cracked the code,” or are the ultimate expert, try looking to them for guidance and influence, rather than making yourself wrong.

Take a calculated risk. What would you do if you were not afraid or insecure? Write it down, tell someone else, and take even a small step in a new direction. If you don’t succeed, so what? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t let Imposter Syndrome rob you of your own progress and ultimate success.

Everyone starts somewhere. Your perspective and point of view will be unique and will resonate with just the right people. If it doesn’t, then they are not the right client or customer for you.

Think you are the only one? Famous actors, artists, CEO’s and the most successful people are the most likely to experience Imposter Syndrome. Consider it a symptom of success. You are in good company! But manage it so it is only a tiny voice that does not cripple your progress. Assume the power pose! You got this!

Note to Self: You Matter!

Self-care Should Be On Your Calendar

This really is a note to self, and if this is all TMI, just feel free to move along. But if I’m up to my neck in this issue, many of you may be as well.

I’m a hard-charging kind of gal. Type A for sure. But I’ve had to completely reframe that in the last year and pull way back.

My husband has had several strokes, one quite recently, and is no longer able to do much for himself. I’m the caregiver, and I do so lovingly and very willingly. But with his latest stroke, He needs help with everyday activities and as a result, my caregiving responsibilities have gone through the roof. Again, I’m happy that I CAN take care of him; one of the benefits of being an entrepreneur!

So yes, as an entrepreneur, I have a lot of flexibility. But as a caregiver, I have to remember that the work I do on my business has to wrap around my husband’s health needs right now. So, I can only get done about half of what I’d like to get done on any given day or week. Even though it shouldn’t, it frustrates me. Sometimes a LOT.

This is not unlike having infants and very small children at home. With so much work to do at home and serious constraints on my time and energy, it is tempting to scrap self-care and use that time for work instead.

As I’ve heard so many times, the caregiver has to take care of herself. This was all theory until the last few months.

I used to spend some afternoons or whole days out with girlfriends for lunch, exploring new neighborhoods, or doing a little retail therapy. But that’s not an option right now, as I can’t take that much time away. However, I still try to have every Saturday be MY day as much as possible.

That starts with NO BUSINESS. I don’t check email, social media, Asana – any of it. In fact, the only reason I open a laptop is to binge-watch something entertaining. I find if I can spend a day away from a screen and my business, I’m totally refreshed the next day. Truth!

Give yourself permission. Ah, this is a big one. As women, we tend to be the caregivers in general. As entrepreneurs, we are in “go mode” most of the time. In fact, many entrepreneurs I’ve worked with tell me that they believe that if they are not VERY busy, they are afraid that they are not producing, and therefore may fail.

Pretty big mindset issue right there: NOT doing is against our nature.

What does self-care look like for you?

Put some time into figuring out what will make you feel rested and refreshed since that really is the objective.

 It may be an afternoon with a good book, lunch with friends, a day at the spa, time alone, or a visit time with close friends. Yoga? A bike ride, a hike, spiritual reading time? Self-care is different for everyone.

Block out dates on your calendar. Really. I’ve already talked about the power of managing your calendar. It may seem ridiculous to actually schedule playtime, but I’ve learned that if it’s not on your calendar, and you don’t’ protect those time slots, they will slip away and may never happen.

Make self-care blocks unmovable! I schedule blocks months ahead, and then insert the details of what I want to do as something comes up. I would suggest scheduling one block per week to begin so that you are consistent.

Want some additional inspiration? TedTalks has a number of great videos on the subject of self-care.

Like anything else worth mastering, this is a process, and it takes practice. I started out by saying this was a note to self because I’m still grappling with this. I hope you can at least start your practice of self-care and make it a non-negotiable in your life sooner rather than later.

Know Your Numbers

You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Understand

I know. It feels like hopping on the scale. That dreaded moment that many women agonize over (me too!) when they get on the scale to check their weight. Time’s up! Was I good, or bad? Is there shame or self-doubt? Jubilation?

Body image aside, we need to get over that fear regarding our businesses. You need to know what your numbers are at all times. I strongly recommend at LEAST a monthly check-in. Don’t wait until the end of the quarter or (ye gads!) the end of the year.

If you have ongoing ad campaigns, then tracking those efforts is critical. How else can you improve or eliminate what is below an acceptable metric? How else can you do more of what is working well? You will be investing your time and/or money in your efforts, so measuring on a regular basis is key.

What numbers are we talking about? You get to decide.

Of course, your accountant and the IRS will want to know your revenue and your expenses, so those are a given. One of my favorite books, “Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” has recommended healthy percentages of revenue, profit, operating expenses and taxes based on where you are in your business.

But those are not the only things, by far, that you should be tracking. Here are a few key things (frequently called Key Performance Indicators) that you can be measuring monthly, and these will vary based on the business you are in:

 

Revenue
Expenses
Net Profit
New customers or clients
New leads
Size of email list
FB page likes
FB group participants
Instagram followers
Pinterest followers
Podcast interviews conducted
Speaking gigs given
Free discovery calls
Strategy Sessions
Page views
Networking events attended

 

Some of these are very dollar oriented, and others are softer measures, but nonetheless, important to track growth. You are expanding your revenue as well as your visibility (online and offline), so the more improvement on the latter, the more likely it will reflect in revenue.

Strong tracking leads to solid strategy.

Once you are tracking regularly, you will know how many cold calls (or ads, or event attendees, or outreach of any kind) you will need, and at what cost, to yield x number of discovery calls. With time, you will see that 10 free discovery calls will usually net you 2-3 new clients. (A 20-30% conversion is not bad for the early stages. As you get better at sales, or have a seasoned sales team, that number should be much better). Your numbers will be different if you are running a chiropractic business, or a high end consulting firm, but the model holds. This will set you for a realist lead funnel.

Once you have your metrics in place, you will develop some benchmarks that will allow you to create realistic and stretch goals for each area.

You will be able to identify what is going well or which areas need improvement. It will allow you to create an action plan based on results that will allow you to improve.

Think of this exercise as an “aha” moment rather than a call to judgment.

Lack of motivation is the symptom. Accountability is the cure

Accountability – Who Does the Entrepreneur Answer To?

I was recently listening to a podcast when the owner of a pretty happening biz said that she stopped doing her podcast because it took a lot of work. She didn’t feel the urge to continue and no one was pushing her to do so. It got me thinking…

If you are the alpha dog, who do you need to answer to? You don’t have a boss, although you probably have clients or customers. But there is no one truly setting the bar, except for you. Are you letting the bar slip?

Here are a few things that may keep you from being the most productive and profitable business owner you can be:

You’ve lost your sense of urgency or momentum. If your business is in the black, and you have been achieving your goals (yay you!), it’s easy to become complacent. The sense of urgency you once knew is no longer there and may dilute your “get it done” attitude. Not a good thing to lose!

Confusion, or “dithering” as my mother used to say. Spending lots of time doing not much. This is what happens to me when I have too much on my plate. I hop from one project to the other, not getting anywhere but frustrated and tired. This is a complete waste of time and I know it even when I’m in it!

Procrastination. A close cousin to dithering. There are important projects or tasks that have been on your to-do list that keep getting moved to the next day or week, or just (intentionally) forgotten about.

Flagging motivation. There are mornings for all of us when getting out of bed is a debate – Why bother? Are you stuck and unmotivated?

Loneliness at the top. This can be an unexpected problem, especially for entrepreneurs with a big team or those who work from home. Have you started to feel isolated with your work?

Solutions: Build in Accountability and Motivation

Stay accountable to yourself by checking your numbers weekly or at least monthly. I like crunching numbers, so this is fun for me, but it’s not fun for everyone. But getting a reality check, which is what measurement is all about, is a great way to look for ways to improve your business. ( I’ll talk all about this in a later post), but think of it as a chance to improve (hurrah!), rather than a judgemental report card (boo!)

Be accountable to yourself with a tool. I use Asana for my projects, both personal and biz. I use it for my team, of course, so we are all on track. But I use this for personal accountability as well. Whether it’s defining a project like setting up a new membership site (big) or clearing out my garage (small and personal), Asana helps me not only define the tasks under each project but more importantly, set a deadline for each. THAT is what keeps me achieving those goals!

Define each project then break it down into manageable tasks. If you are not making the progress that you hope for, the tasks may be too big and daunting. Break the tasks down into smaller bites and chew them one by one rather than trying to eat the whole meal in one swallow.

Re-examine your daily and weekly planning. It may very well be that you are dithering or stuck and unmotivated because what is on your plate is unexciting. Can you delegate the things that don’t need a CEO’s attention? (Remember the 4 D’s of productivity: Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete.) Remind yourself of which pieces of your work that excite you the most. Weave those into your job description. Save a little bit of dessert for yourself!

Download The 4 D’s of Productivity for more tips on how to use this powerful tool

 

Mastermind. I would say the biggest game changer in my entrepreneurial career and the best antidote to loneliness has been participating in Masterminds. If you want accountability, challenges, and fresh ideas on how to grow your business, my Mastermind program is for you!

A Mastermind is designed to utilize the perspective and experience of other entrepreneurs to take your business to the next level.

In my experience, working in a Mastermind format will speed up your business growth exponentially. You will have a group of like-minded women who will challenge you and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. No more hiding!

We will work in small groups of 6-8 so that we can truly help each other. I will carefully select entrepreneurs with an eye towards mixing up the industries and business types, as well as looking for entrepreneurs at different levels of growth to provide the ultimate resources for everyone.

Candidates for this program should have at least 2 years of ongoing revenue generation with their business to be eligible. If you are a new startup, this is not the program for you.

Interested? Sign up here for the waiting list.  I’ll send out more information, as we get closer to the launch date.

Have you KISSed your business lately?

Keep it Simple, Sweetie

Keep it Simple, Sweetie!

One of the things I see with entrepreneurs in the second and third years of their business is a tendency to overcomplicate things.

If you have made it through your first year or two then something is working. Congratulations! Really! Something like 20% of small businesses fail in the first year, and 50% within the first five years. Your products or services are resonating with your target audience often enough that they are keeping you in the black. And that’s when we tend to get cocky.

Before you fall into the rabbit hole of: “If THIS is working, how about this, and that, and more of that?” take a breath and think strategically. Different is not always better. If you want to grow your business, consider the following first:

Where is your revenue coming from? Do more of exactly that, but to a bigger audience. Increase your reach with affiliates, joint venture partners, collaborations of all kinds., online ads, or an increased marketing budget. Spend some energy exploring greater reach rather than something new.

Take a look at client retention. Are you losing more people than you’d like? Are credit card failures killing your profits? Are people signing up for a 3-month program and ditching early (and not paying in full)?

Are you building long-term loyalty? Are you returning to the people who have purchased your least expensive offer and invited them to your higher priced one with a specific value-add, or discount only for them? Focus on making your community feel more like a tribe and less like a number to gain repeat business.

If it’s working, just add on a bit. Add a new level of whatever you are already doing – create an advanced course, develop group coaching or design a Mastermind These offerings should be along the very same lines as your core service with value added for returning clientele.

If you are a local business or service provider – Is it possible to expand your geographic reach? Can you train others to do what you do and bring them under your umbrella? For example, if you have a dog walking service, can you bring established local independent contractor dog walkers into your biz, offering them the benefit of your marketing reach as you expand your terrain?

Value-add – VIP days add another level of service that is related to your current offer. Can you condense the best of what you are offering in a one-day format? These can be offered in person or virtually to also expand your reach geographically.

Add ONE new channel to increase reach. Start a podcast, write a book, create a membership site. Start with one. Get it humming and earning a steady stream of revenue before you branch out again.

Before you expand in any way, take a good hard look and assess whether your main revenue source is going to stand up to growth. Can you scale it? You may need to improve (or add) a dedicated customer service function, or a better onboarding process for new clients, or a stronger collections process. Put your energy here first before branching out.

Different and more is not the answer to growth. If something you are doing in your business is a top revenue stream, think more about how you can do more of THAT, rather than wasting energy creating new things.