We are going to be talking about your most profitable growth opportunities in 2022. I’m mainly just excited that it’s going to be 2022 because your girl’s tired. I don’t know about the rest of you but this year, I think it’s the combination of 2020 and 2021 just being so out of this world exhausting, and I am really looking forward to starting to wind down 2021 and starting to rest, and allow myself the space to dream and create what I want for the next year in 2022.
It’s also the time of year that I have no idea what year we’re in anymore but we’re talking about your most profitable growth strategies. These are the ones that don’t cost you a lot of time or money to execute. What many people don’t realize is that selling costs money. Whether you’re running ads, creating content, hosting a podcast like this one, emailing, going to events to source leads, there is a cost in time, money, and energy.
Ineffective and inefficient sales strategies are doing more to burn out business owners than the actual delivery of the service sometimes because we have to realize that the burnout is occurring for business owners in three places:
Sales and marketing, meaning we have ineffective and inefficient strategies for marketing, and selling in our business. A lot of you are on a content creation hamster wheel that you can’t seem to get off of. I know some of you love creating content. I’m there with you. I love creating content but you know what I love more? I love sitting in my chair and reading a book actually. If I really am honest with myself, I really just love sitting there, reading a book and listening to some really good music on Spotify. That’s it. Yes, I do enjoy creating content. Yes, I do enjoy being creative. Yes, I do enjoy connecting with all of you and sharing the things that I share but I also like doing other things.
Too much time being spent on sales and marketing, that’s a place where business owners are being burned out.
Pricing and undercharging is another area where people are burning out. You’re under charging for what your actual skill level is, what your expertise is, and the service that you provide, and you’re probably—and this is the third place you’re burning out…
Over delivering from a place of people pleasing, or what that turns out to look like in our business is the customer is always right or working with misaligned clients. These are not bad people. They’re just not the right people for the work you do. That is where you are spending a lot of your time and energy in ways that you don’t need to.
I want to help you find the most profitable growth opportunities as you consider setting your goals and direction for next year.
One thing that I hear consistently is that business owners who run businesses that rely on word of mouth or referral believe that they’re doing something wrong. This is not true. In actual fact, when you run a business based on word of mouth and referral, you’re doing everything right. Since when did running Facebook ads, selling to masses, casting an overly wide net become the resistance of how businesses are supposed to work? That has never been the case among small businesses. Maybe among large household name brands, but let’s be honest, is what you’re trying to do here be the next Apple, Nike, Dyson? Because if you are, you would get out there and start looking for funding, for VC money, patenting your idea and being prepared to work 24/7 for years. That’s what it takes to be Nike, to be Apple, to be Dyson, to be a household brand name. I don’t really think that’s what you’re trying to do. I think you’re looking to build a small business that allows you to provide for your family, have some sweet luxury upgrades, but most importantly, achieve financial independence and spend more time. Time is what you all want with the most important people in your life. At that point, you’re better off focusing on creating the life you want than the brand recognition that might make you famous or not.
It starts by reimagining things. Actually, it starts by imagining that there was no internet.
Listen, the internet is amazing. I have so benefited from having my business leverage the tech tools made available by the internet. This podcast is being brought to you by the internet. I’ve had some really amazing conversations and have been able to really get to know my best fit clients, and my not-so best fit clients by using things like social media. I’m not saying that the internet is bad. I think it’s going to continue to provide opportunity for us but it’s also going to continue to provide distraction. That’s really what I want to do in this episode. I want to remove the distraction. I want you to think of how businesses ran before the internet and how many, many businesses still run today without using social media in particular. I want to give you an example of two businesses that I spend a lot of money with and neither of them particularly uses the internet or social media.
But first, I have to admit that I don’t ever buy anything from an ad. I don’t. I have friends actually who are like, “I love ads. I buy everything from an ad.” That’s just not how I spend my money. Know your buyer. I think that is really important. I think it’s also really important to understand what people are buying from ads because I was like, “Okay, friend, I get that you love ads. What are you buying on the ads?” It’s products, it’s clothing, things like that. We’re talking here to service-based businesses. Where do I and how do I, as a buyer, find service-based businesses that I want to buy from?
If you’re a service-based business, this is really how you need to be thinking. Put yourself in the mindset of your buyer. I’m discerning about how I spend my money. I almost exclusively buy services based on referrals. How you sell needs to align with how your best-fit clients will buy. I took a look at some of the businesses that I buy from, accountants, orthodontists, dog trainers, tutors, massage therapists, makeup artists, hairstylists, I mean on and on, and on, I buy from a lot of small businesses.
One of my best examples is when we rescued our first dog Bradley, it became very apparent, very quickly, that we were in over our heads. My mom mentioned that her friend uses a dog trainer that was referred to her by her son who’s a veterinarian. For this dog trainer, one of his best referral sources is this veterinarian. It makes total sense, like what’s your first stop with a new pet? The vet. This veterinarian makes these referrals. That’s one referral partner, then the next thing is the people who he works with then start to make referrals. He’s got this very large referral network that is starting to evolve.
We called this trainer and did an initial series of training sessions in our home, and we paid about $1,500. This was basically a small bite. This is how we got to know Chris. Chris is an amazing trainer. He has trained the canine unit for the NYPD when he was on the force. He’s now retired. When he came to our home, when we started to hear about how he got into dog training, it was as a young guy, I think there was maybe a trainer who lived in his area, in his neighborhood or was a friend of the family or something and he started to really apprentice with this person, and he just fell in love with training dogs. He’s an amazing trainer.
He holds weekly classes, does private sessions. He has a board and train program. He also boards dogs. He’s kind, compassionate, and gentle with the dogs but direct and firm with the dog owners in such a way that just keeps you coming back. You know what? He gets results. My dogs are better for working with him than for not working with him. We’ve gone on to use him for boarding, additional sessions. This summer, we sent both dogs to him for a two-week board and train or what I call boot camp. There are times when I just need a break from being a dog mom. Maybe we’re not even going away on vacation and I send the dogs for just even a day or two or three to be boarded, then he does some extra training while they’re there. It’s really a huge relief for me as a human mom, as a business owner, as a wife to have some place that I trust, that I can send my fur babies when I need to.
Now, I’ve also followed dog trainers online. They’ve been helpful with tips and things like that but this wasn’t something that I wanted to DIY. I am not a DIY person. I’m willing to make this investment into the health and sanity for me, and for my dogs. I would recommend Chris to anyone who asks. If I ever hear anybody who’s getting a new dog, I’m the first one to be like, “Oh, by the way, I have a great trainer if you need one,” because he’s referable. He’s unique. He gets results. This is what makes him so referable. Gosh, if he actually asked people for referrals, I’m sure that he would get even more referrals.
Here’s another example. During remote schooling, I realized that I needed help, my kids needed help, so for the first time, we started looking for tutors. When I realized we had a problem, I had a trigger event where COVID hit, we went to Google Classroom, I was overwhelmed, the kids were overwhelmed and we needed support, so the first thing I did was ask my friends and my kids to see if they knew anyone. I said to my kids, “Are your friends talking about tutors? Do they go to tutors?” Sure enough, my son’s friend goes to a tutor. It’s funny because he likes this tutor so much that sometimes, when they’re hanging out and they’re riding bikes, they would ride their bikes to this tutoring center and the woman who runs the tutoring center would just engage them in conversation. She would give them a postcard or whatever. I already knew that she existed because she had this relationship with my son’s friend. She was really kind. My son came home and he was like, “Dad, there’s this tutoring place that I go and hang out sometimes, and I say hello to the owner over there.” I’m like, “What?” This was the time when he was 14. Like, “What is this?” I had to go check her out.
That’s how we found the tutoring center that my kids now go to. They are phenomenal. I’ve gone on to recommend them a thousand times over. Why? Results. Results. Tangible. Put your hand on them, touch them, see them. Results. My daughter went from needing academic intervention services in math and testing below grade level to, in less than a year, making high honor roll and testing above grade level in math. She went back to school this year ahead of the other kids in class and is holding Zoom tutoring sessions of her own, helping her classmates. My son went from being totally unmotivated to really loving his experience at this tutoring center, so much that he keeps begging the owner to hire him as an intern. Suzanne, it’s actually called The Tutoring Center. It’s a franchise. She’s the owner. She is kind, compassionate, cares about my kids’ success. At least I get the feeling that she cares about my kids’ success probably as much as I do, so she gets all my money. My kids will go to that tutoring center until they graduate high school. That is years and years, and years of me being a huge fan, a huge fan and a referral source for her.
You know what, it’s a commitment. Their program has them going there two times a week. It’s something we need to consciously budget for but I cannot wait to pay Suzanne and the wonderful tutors that she employs there. Think about how you buy, think about how businesses thrived before there was an internet, then do those things but use the internet to help you make it easier. Why is there so much sex appeal in being randomly discovered through a hashtag? Why do we want to leave our livelihood to these happy accidents when there are people who are right in front of us that we know or that we can find easily who are willing to give us money through word of mouth or referral? But meanwhile, we’re giving ourselves heart attacks, chasing these new shiny leads through the front door. You know what, they’re harder to convert, they’re colder. Most small business owners do not have the sales skills to make that conversion, at least not initially, that’s why it becomes so much harder to do it that way, especially if you’re a service based business owner because you should not be or usually are not selling an impulse item that people are going to buy for $27 or $47. That doesn’t always make sense in that business model.
Here are your most profitable growth opportunities or things to think about as you start to make your way into the new year.
Focus on leads you already have.
This is where everyone says to me, “I have no leads.” This is why in The Bold Profit Academy, we help you find your invisible leads. Most people are really having a hard time discerning between what is traffic, what is a lead, what is a prospect that’s ready to buy, so we do the best we can to help you identify your ready-to-buy prospects and help you categorize them, and prioritize them in your sales activity, so you can generate revenue more quickly. That’s one.
Use simple tools to reach your ready-to-buy prospects.
Think low-tech. Think about the least amount of steps. Think one sales activity per day because the more complicated you make this, the more tech you put into this, the more costly that lead becomes. Some of the most costly ways to make a sale are Facebook ads, webinars, and things that require a lot of tech and investment behind them. Learning, a lot of learning and tweaking, and dialing things in, that’s a huge source of time, money, and energy. Some of the easiest ways: email, asking for a referral, focusing on and delivering the best quality results to your clients, getting clear on what the results are that you deliver so that the person you’re delivering it to, your client, knows exactly how to communicate the result they got when they share that with others.
Telling somebody, “I had a life-changing experience,” that’s too broad. What changed their life? What specific things did you do to help them with, so they could then go and do what? That is what they’re going to talk about. Promoting something like, “I’ve had the most life-changing experience. They’ve really helped me get unstuck. They’ve given me momentum,” this is a very vague language. It does not lead to great referrals. Speaking of referrals. Ask for them. Put time on your calendar. Make sure you’re regularly asking for results.
Not asking for results is leaving money on the table. You’re not leveraging the work you’re already doing with your clients. I’m a big fan of leverage. Leverage to me is work once, deliver many times. Leverage with referrals is deliver the work to your client, they get a result, they go tell other people. Work once, deliver many times. They’re going to go out and say, “This is the result I got.” They’re going to share that. They’re going to talk about you. People are going to come find you. Leverage that. Ask for referrals.
Get hyper clear on who your target market is.
This is when you become really referable. This is when you start to branch out from your early adopters, the people who just buy from you because they’re always going to buy from you because you’re so and so like, “We just love Tara. She makes us feel good about herself. She looks successful. I don’t know what she does but I’m going to buy from her because I want that thing she does, she has,” whatever, early adopters do that. But then you have to start going into the group of people who you’ve been warming up but they don’t quite get how you’re going to help them. They don’t quite understand if they’re ready. They don’t quite understand if they’re the right person for you. You want to help those people make a decision and help them identify whether or not they’re a good fit for your work. You need to do that by being really clear and specific on who your target market is. You need to be able to understand them better than they understand themselves.
There are some of you right now who just heard what I said and went, “Wow, she’s right. All the people who have bought from me have been early adopters. There are warm people around me who love me, who love what I do and I can’t figure out how to get them to buy. I’m really having trouble expanding my reach, expanding my platform because I don’t know how to attract these people who are cold, then get them to warm up and buy from me.” Some of you have this problem. I know it. I see it. You’re telling me about it. I’m talking about it to you right now. I understand. Spend time listening, asking questions, understanding the gap and their blind spots because this is where you can really help them assess if they’re ready to work with you, if you’re the best person to solve their problem or if you would enjoy delivering the service.
Here’s a nuanced example for me. If you need to have cash coming in the door now, now, now, now, now and you’ve got a lot of anxiety around this, and you’ve got a lot of desperation around this, you’re not going to be the best fit to work with me. I don’t operate a business from a place of frenzied anxiety. It’s not necessary. There are much better ways to spend your energy. To be honest, if you’re going to come at me and you’re like, “I need money now, now, now, now now,” I am going to tell you to go get a job because that is going to be the easiest way for you to have money coming in now. Owning a business does not guarantee you income ever, ever. I’m here to give you the skills, the know-how. I’m here to give you the accountability and the expectation setting that this takes time.
Now, do I have some quick turnaround actions that can help you keep more of what you’re making and help you accelerate your cash flow? Absolutely, 100%, but you need to be able to step into that. You’re going to have a hard time stepping into that if you’re operating from this place of hyper anxiousness. If you do want some quick turnaround actions that can help you keep more of what you’re making and help you accelerate your cash flow, then I want you to join The Bold Profit Academy. Because within the first 30 days, we’re going to give you the tools that help you find the money you didn’t know you had, spend with greater discernment, and accelerate your cash flow. These are the very tools I use in my business that have helped me run a business with ease, not freaked out about money, and build long-term consistent revenue. It’s also helped me make decisions and navigate some really tough times. These are the skills you need to run a business in any economy.
As a matter of fact, I’m going to be sharing one of these tools in the next episode. It’s the perfect activity to do while you have some space between Christmas and New Year’s. It can help you find $500 to $1,000 in your business. I do this exercise at least twice a year. To be honest, I’ve been doing it almost weekly for the last few weeks as I prep for 2022 and I’m finding a lot of hidden income that I’m able to repurpose to help me grow my business, and to grow my wealth before I even get to 2022, which is why I’m delivering this podcast episode to you next week.
I think it might even help you find the money to help you join The Bold Profit Academy if that has been something that’s been stopping you. In The Bold Profit Academy, we help service-based business owners build the skills required to generate the most profitable revenue, so they have more than enough qualified leads, create more predictable revenue, and know exactly what to do with their money. We do this by focusing on four curriculum areas: revenue acceleration, offer creation, aligning your sales process, and consistent cash flow with Profit First.
Starting in January, we’re focusing on revenue acceleration. We do this every January. If you want to get clear on your sales goal, find your invisible leads that you didn’t know you have, and take consistent action to create sales, then you’re going to want to join us. The first quarter, we’re breaking out and we’re doing three 30-day revenue acceleration sprints. This is going to help you bring in new sales activity during those months but it’s also going to give you that sales momentum for probably another 90 days. You can join right away or of you need to speak with me, you can also book a call with me for when I return from our company-wide shutdown. Every year, we close the business for the last two weeks of the year. It’s something that we plan specifically for, we plan our revenue for, we plan the team, we plan our customers for that time. I can’t wait to really step back and be reflecting on my life over the last year, and really setting some intentions for the new year. Anyway, tune back in next week for that one activity that I’m going to give you that you can do between Christmas and New year’s to help you find some more money.