Being in business can be a challenging journey. At every level, new challenges arise. You don’t typically think that a successful business owner has the same (or more) challenges that beginning business owners do, but running a successful business comes with its own set of challenges too.
One of the most frustrating times is when your business plateaus (that is, it sticks around the same income every month versus growing). And for many, this can happen just before hitting the illusive “six figure” mark.
I want to share with you 3 strategies that we use over and over again to ensure that we don’t get stuck and that our business keeps growing.
1. More Focus and Better Time Management
I realized I needed more focus and to manage my time better. I was wasting too much time on things that were not important.
What did I do? I figured out a way to get my calendar under control.
When we got started, we had tons of ideas and we quickly got overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done. Add client work to the mix and it becomes out of control. We ended up only working in reactive mode leaving no place for opportunity or fun.
So this is what we did… and we still do:
#1. I have designed what is called my ideal week. Michael Hyatt has a great blog post about this where you can download a template, I strongly encourage you to read it.
Your ideal week needs to include both business and personal, so everything goes.
#2 We set up 90 day goals, and then I define a strategy to achieve those goals. We break it down into 2 week projects (thanks Nathalie Lussier and her accountability tool in the Heartquarters for that!)
That gives me a clear picture of what needs to happen, what I need to do or delegate and what the priorities are. I can then break it down into smaller tasks that I can put in my calendar in blocks of tasks. I try to have each block be at least 2h, but 1/2 day is even better. it gives me less context switching and is much more efficient.
#3 I create a weekly planner. I usually do this on Sunday afternoon. This is where I plan my week, referring back to my ideal week.
I put in all appointments, deadlines and non negotiable tasks. One of them is working ON my business, and it’s non-negotiable.
Once I started to treat my business as a VIP client, things really started to fall into place, it’s so easy to have client work go first and let the business side of things slide, but not anymore with that kind of planning! Don’t get me wrong, clients always come first but by treating my business as a VIP client, I make sure that I allocate time to develop and grow my business as well as work for my clients.
Do I follow the planner to the T? Rarely, but at least it gives me 1 to 3 goals and that gives me my focus for the day.
Before I start my day I make sure the schedule still makes sense, then I check back again in the evening to see if I accomplished what I was supposed to do, and then I switch things around for the rest of the week if I have to.
2. Understand That You Can’t do it Alone
Very early on (in 2013 when I did B-School), I realized that I couldn’t do it alone, so I started to build my “network”. Being an entrepreneur can feel very lonely when you work from home, especially when you are in France in the middle of nowhere. But it does not have to be. So this list below is just for me and could be different for you but I need 5 different kinds of people in my network:
– I need my clients (income)
– I need my peers, need to be surrounded by people that understand what I do, that can support me, that can provide me with feedback and accountability
– I need a coach/mentor. For mindset, strategy, support, accountability, an outside view of my business because we’re blind to our own things
– I need partners: they play a big role in the success of my business right now. I partner with designers who do web design and I do development. For these partnerships to work it needs to be a win-win.
– I need a team: my business partner/husband, a VA, probably an OBM, my accountant
Building a network takes time and is an ongoing effort. When people ask me how I manage to land those big clients and even be on their radar in the first place (we’re just developers after all 🙂 ), my answer is simple : I build strong relationships that are win-win and I am open to opportunities as they come. That’s how we became developers for James Wedmore, Kate Northrup, and how we developed Melanie Duncan’s latest launch the perfect lead magnet where we did the free video series launch and the sales page, and many more exciting projects.
3. Build a Marketing Business Strategy
We all have heard you need to build your list.., you need an opt-in.., the money is in the list… but the opt-in is just the beginning.
Nathalie Lussier says that “strategy is the cure for shiny object syndrome.” It’s definitely been true for our business. Building our website was a huge piece of our marketing strategy. It’s a list building machine that works 24 hours a day, even while we are asleep. But that is not where we sell, ever.
I know that I have 3-4 seconds to convince my visitors that I can do something for them so I need a catchy opt-in to get them on my list so that I can build this relationship, so that they get to know me, like me and trust me, and that all happens in my email sequence, that’s what’s also called a sales funnel.
So where are the sales taking place?
For several years now, we’ve been looking at websites goals differently. Because beautiful websites don’t sell. Websites don’t sell. I see websites as list building machines that work for us 24/7.
In these funnels, I map out the flow of the processes and it helps me see what needs to be done and in what order. That’s also what we do for clients who hire us for their online marketing strategy.
With these simple strategies, implemented and re-visited frequently, you’ll be well equipped to reach your next level goal whether it’s $10k or $100k.
If you don’t have a strategy in place yet, put some time in your calendar for this week to create your strategy now!
Your turn in the comments below! What do you do when your business “plateaus” and is at a stand still?