Here we are at one year at working from home; while the challenges are plentiful, so are the opportunities.
More than ever, the words commitment, focus, differentiate, market, relationships, managing emotion, and accountability are the key behaviors that we must act upon to be successful.
These behaviors are exactly what we find in the strategic framework that I created 18 years ago.
No matter what stage your business is in when you work within this framework, business owners grow, and revenues propel. The choices we make to be effective happens when we create a full commitment to a direction or an activity. Commitment is the defining factor for action or strategic business decision-making. Here is an example of how commitment can make a difference.
MAKE A FULL COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF, YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.
One common mistake business owner makes not to go narrow and deep in picking their target audience and offers. Instead, they go broad, trying to cast a bigger net. We cannot be someone to everyone, but we can be someone to somebody. When we commit to a target audience, it allows us to commit to a direction for sales and marketing and will definitely lead to other segments.
An attorney was passionate about working with many markets, including families with children, gay couples, divorced couples, and elder law. Still, she couldn’t find her ideal market or generate enough business. She committed to focusing on one target client for 30 days. She chose families with children. Determining who they were, led her to understand where they were located and how to reach them.
By committing to picking a target market, she landed several families as clients and landed numerous speaking engagements in front of the right fit audience. Before the end of one of her first meetings with a client, this client turned to the attorney and said, “I love you! Can you work with my mother?” She was able to practice her elder law as well! This example shows that committing to one market does not mean saying “no” to others, but rather, focusing on one market may help lead you to other markets. Your focus must be finding the right niche, and the rest will follow.
In our world of so many options, priorities, and challenges, it is hard to know where our commitments lie.
As we enter the last few weeks of the year, I want to send you blessings for peaceful holidays and wishes for a good year ahead. I thought it would help share my top inspirational and productivity resources to look at while you are kicking back and taking time to reassess your next steps.
In this email, I will share my top three recent must-read business books with you. You should then check your inbox in the next week for my top five applications and other resources that I believe in because they work for my clients.
I once called my mother and said, ” I can’t stop buying books” She replied, “if you are going to be addicted to something, it’s a good addiction to have!” I love to read and believe it’s imperative to stay on top of industry trends and find peace and solitude in words.
These three books below are my current top choices:
EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence by Justin Barrel
In the time of Covid-19, running a business virtually and meeting the demands of our personal and professional life, we need the skills to manage emotions. As an EQ Trainer, I found this book to provide practical strategies that will shape our emotional reactions and provide practical skills to practice and implement immediately. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it.
The Road Less Stupid by Keith J. Cunningham
As small business owners, we all have many great ideas and too often run our businesses without taking enough time to examine our approach or make strategic decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the philosophy, and the questions this author asks. I feel it greatly aligns with my coaching style, thinking strategy, planning, and execution. I loved this book.
The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
We feel more overwhelmed and distracted at work and in our personal lives now more than ever before. The author’s teaching is very aligned with the systems and frameworks I’ve developed at SBR. If you’re looking to get a jump start on business productivity for the new year. This is a great read (you could actually work with me to help you implement it).
Stay tuned this week for more on my top business resources!
Thanksgiving is the time of year to reflect on what we are grateful for. Even though life as a small business owner has many challenges, the contribution your offerings make to your clients’ lives is enormous. I am thankful for you and for allowing me to be a part of your journey.
It is indeed a crazy time, and there is a lot to navigate. I feel like the essential skills necessary are to live in gratitude, manage our emotions and behaviors, and take a real hard assessment of where we are, where we want to go, and what it will take to get there.
In March, when we all got word, we knew the world was no longer the world it was. I was sitting in my office reassessing my own next steps when I received a call from a woman who was booked solid for delivering training and talks. In the past ten years, she has spoken in 14 countries and is committed to providing her audience with the knowledge they need, more now than ever. She was literally put out of business or, better said, stopped in her tracks. She went to a networking meeting and put out the word about who she was looking for, and guess what? Someone said you need to talk to Shelly Berman-Rubera. I am proud and grateful to say that Bonnie Low-Kramen chose to work with me to bring her company virtual. This began a fantastic business development journey of successfully pivoting.
Bonnie said she was looking for marketing and a sales funnel for her online executive assistant trainingcourse. I looked at the scope of the work and had to be honest with her about what I saw was the difference between what she WANTED and what saw she NEEDED.
On May 26th Bonnie hired me with a strong initiative. She wanted to launch her online course on July 16th! I said, “Bonnie, can we reassess the time frame? This is way too big a project for July 16th.” She said, “No way. The assistants need me, and I need to be there for them. We have to launch.”
I went to work, assessing where we were, where we were headed, and what we need to do to get there. Most business owners are way too busy working on their business and delivering products or services. They don’t have the time, energy, and often the resources to take care of the business’s foundational and operational needs. It is essential to understand how the brand/persona shows up, what the website is doing and saying, and very importantly, what’s the buyers’ journey, and does it lead to sales?
I pulled together a big picture strategy and called Bonnie. Bonnie, “What you have going on and what you are planning is way bigger than you, and this is way bigger than me. Do I have your permission to get the right people in the right place and build our team to make this happen? Are you ready to run down nine roads at the same time?”
What were the roads?
Foundational signature and LinkedIn
New branding and brand images
Totally new website
Course sales page, affiliate page, production, etc.
Two virtual 2-day event
Sales and Marketing
A lot of content writing
Bonnie said yes to the investment of work, the time, and the money. Off we went to strategically execute and give birth to a whole new way of doing business. It started with basic things like her email signature (Wisestamp). We were going to be doing a lot of outreach, so the email signature had to be contemporary and spiffy, say what it is, and offer a place for potential students and clients to schedule (Acuity). We must make it easy to engage. While this may seem foundational and elementary, we often do not think about the seemingly little things when we are so busy working.
Next, we looked at her LinkedIn profile. I gave her a customized formula, and we revamped the LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile will likely come before your website in a google search, so the power of LinkedIn is incredible, and the ability to network within LinkedIn is even better.
We revamped an email outreach campaign, launched the sales page and course, and yes, all on deadline. Her website was then launched on schedule later that summer.
It was a small business miracle…
We sold 46 courses in pre-sale and SOLD OUT her two-day virtual event.
14 weeks. We did it. Send stretchers!
This virtual pivot success story can happen to all business owners, speakers, and thought leaders.
If you can resonate with Bonnie’s problem, you might find this assessment helpful. This is the assessment I took Bonnie through, and now it’s your turn.
We’ll go through some questions like, “What do I want vs. What do I need?” “What does my client need right now?” “What’s my 30 day strategy?”. We’ll find you help and trusted resources. I can help you find the team you need to get the job done on time and efficiently.
Do not be frightened by the amount of work involved to make your dreams come true. That’s why we need a team. The value of working with a strategist is to be able to get beyond the wanting and move to how we can get there. It is hard work, but the effort we put into business strategy and tactically building our offerings is what makes running a business effectively the exact vehicle for delivering you!
I wish you a safe, healthy, and peaceful Thanksgiving.
I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones safe and adjusting to what I refuse to call the new normal. Wow, what six months this has been for us, both personally and professionally. I am pleased that I am busy at work and certainly grateful for being a Certified Emotional Intelligence Trainer during these unprecedented times.
Emotions are running high as we operate our business and live with the new demands. As if running a business isn’t hard enough, this is certainly pushing us to find new coping mechanisms. In-person meetings are moved virtual, and to Zoom at home. We find ourselves in a fixed position, in a chair, and on a screen for hours at a time, and we need to deal with that to prevent being Zoomed out.
Many people are not comfortable being on Zoom, but I believe we have to learn how to accept this is a very new meaningful way of communication. I made this short video with my colleague videographer Anne Bost to help you with your own Zoom set up and make you feel better on the camera.
Some of us are feeling Zoomed in and fine WFH and seem to be more productive and focused on learning how to work in new ways and pivot the business. We need strategies for both handlings being Zoomed Out and Zoomed In. I hope the following will help.
When making your schedule, try to have at least 30 minutes between zoom calls. Get up stretch, move your body, do 50 jumping jacks. Get the circulation and the blood going, group zoom calls, pick mornings to do zoom and afternoons no zoom, pick particular days on and off, and try to get a good chair. ( if you find one let me know)
Never before has picking a target audience had more significant meaning for your prospects. They must look at your LinkedIn profile and website and any marketing assets and know immediately who you work with and what outcome they can expect from you. Once you have that concretely, you can set about making a specific marketing strategy and copywriting that will attract new prospects and maintain clients.
I am inviting you to a complimentary call to answer your challenges. Please schedule here, and let’s get you some answers.
Now and in the coming weeks, so many more of us will be online trying to create new strategies to build our business and to work virtually. We as a nation, community, and business culture must learn how to adapt quickly, problem solve, and find ways to remain Vital, and Visible, to ensure that we continue to build revenue. We need to be smart and action-oriented.
Within 48 hours, we had to come up with an entirely new strategy to bring the company virtual because he no longer could see clients in person. I immediately came up with a checklist of what we needed to do. Luckily, he is technically savvy enough to have taken these suggestions and made all these changes within 4 hours to set the course for the new direction.
As a result, within 24 hours, Dr. Helfand was booked with 19 virtual clients for the following week as well as a two-day virtual Couples retreat.
Here are the seven things I suggest businesses do right now;
If you uncheck all the boxes in this infographic, you will be able to strategically work on the list one by one and track your progress.
A notification bar is a plugin for your website that allows you to make announcements and generate lead captures. (See here)
Google My Business
This is a business essential, and many businesses have not claimed their listing. Now is the time to get this done, and if you have one, then update it now. Let your audience know what you are up to.
Google My Business is a tool for website owners to manage online presence across Google, including search and Map. It allows you to create, verify, and edit listing information to help potential customers find your business. It also directly improves the SEO of your website and helps it rank better. Now is an excellent time to ask clients to post testimonials on that page.
LinkedIn is the number one place for B to B marketing. Its search engine power will help you to show up higher in the SEO. I have made numerous great connections there. It is time to update your profile and add documents, videos, and pictures.
I strongly feel that email marketing is more critical today than ever because you really have no other way to reach your audience directly. If you’re ready to do email marketing, you can sign up through me. The promotion right now is 30% off for three months. And by the way, this a great time to get your database in order, which most people tell me is a mess, and they have no time to pay attention to it. I suggest that you create an Excel spreadsheet with segmented lists that includes past and present client’s, prospects, family, friends, and affiliates.
Concept to Customer
People will now be buying for very different reasons, pivoting your business model and a new strategy includes new positioning and language for how you introduce yourself and how you talk about your business. It is critical to align your offering with what the prospects and clients need now. I can help you with this in my package “Concept to Customer”.
I am not a website designer or developer, nor do I sell websites, but I do know that the compelling, articulate, simple language and copy-writing combined with a great design for your website is critical. All marketing leads to the website. I can’t impress upon you enough what it means to have your concept, copy, and website up to date. Now is the time to do this!
The activity on social media is greater than it has ever been. The use of video now is more important than ever to give your brand a face and a voice. I know it is hard to do. I am forcing myself to do it.
81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool – up from 63% over the last year.
Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.
Videos attach 300% more traffic and help to nurture leads.
I have created a new offering entitled “Interview Video Marketing” and am able to help you get a video of you and some client testimonials done for your site and marketing. Check it out here!
Don’t forget your interactive checklist for these seven items to strategically work on the list one by one and track your progress.
I know there’s a curve of learning for each one of us, and you may be able to implement these steps, but if not, I can help you. You can book time with me, and we will get it done quickly.
I feel strongly that there will be two ways of which business owners will deal with this period of time, one is to sit and let this time pass and just think that we will go back to work as usual. The second is to laser focus on the areas in our business that we never have the opportunity to do when we are so busy working.
Going back to work after this pandemic is really not the same as going back to work after a vacation; the marketplace is different, the needs for each of us will be different, and how you show up needs to be different.
I have run my business out of my home over thirty-five years, which makes this pandemic a bit less of an adjustment for me. It is certainly not business, as usual. I thought I would share with you the strategies that I have used the sustain me to be the president of my company, take care of myself, my clients, and effectively run my business.
Here is a schedule that I pretty much stick to. I hope it helps you!
Take the first hour of the day to not rush, eat breakfast, read, meditate, or do absolutely nothing.
Exercise before work. You don’t need a full gym of equipment to move your body, stretch, mobilize, or strengthen. If this is not something you’ve been used to doing, now is a fantastic time to get started.
Shower and get dressed as if you were going out. (if you wear makeup put it on) just like getting ready for work, because you are! This creates a feeling of self-respect, self-worth, and a sense of being prepared for the day ahead.
Start to work on your three to five high-level activities, no more than that, and focus on them until noon. If you are not a sole proprietor and running a business with things to do, pick a few things that you would love to get done in your home, or get started learning something that you don’t usually don’t have the time to do.
Before wrapping up for lunch around noon, answer emails and calls from the morning, eat a healthy lunch, and move your body, stretch and or go for a walk.
Go back to work to either finish the high-level activities from the morning or proceed to your next three to five high-level activities.
3:30 to 4:30, end the day, make calls. I have found this a great time to reach people as they are winding down their day and are freer to connect and have a conversation, finish any emails that you haven’t been able to get to all day.
Before closing your day, organize your task list for tomorrow. Identify the three to five high-level activities that you want to get done.
After work, have a great dinner, rest, relax, relate, and try to laugh.
I also strongly believe in meal prep. I’ll share with you two recipes that I like to keep in the house.
This is an incredible time for practicing self-discipline and committing to personal and business development.
When else would you find the time to take a step back and really look at your approach to your business, technology, marketing strategy, website, your effectiveness and improve so that when we are back to full operation, and we will be, you are rested, prepared and like a fast speed locomotion ready to run down the track to success.
Yes, this is a terrifying time, but with optimism, resiliency, and discipline, we can turn something challenging into something very positive!
I am here to work with you. I know how to work strategically and quickly to help you ramp up. I have the most trusted resources and experts for websites, SEO and technology who work with me to provide you the most honest and affordable help to my clients.
Hard to believe it is the end of January! It feels like the month just flew by.
It was an interesting week last week. I had two new client inquiries, and both said the same thing, “I am shopping for a business coach.” I really never heard this before. This shows us that prospects are being much more selective and careful before they decide who to work with. They interviewed four coaches, and I was able to close both. While I was delighted this happened, I also spent time reflecting and understanding how I did that. This newsletter intends to share my process with you to make that happen… (read more)
I received their interested email, and yes, I immediately replied. At the moment after hitting send, something inside me said, “why not just pick up the darn phone and call”?
I was actually feeling that calling them was an intrusion as we have become so used to communicating via email. Both prospects were delighted! “Oh, thank you so much”! What a quick response, and thank you for calling me.”
I spent time discussing what was going on for them and did not time the complimentary call to 20 or 30 minutes. I was engaged in a discovery conversation.
I asked many questions trying to understand their challenges. I empathized with them and asked more questions.
What would you like to change?
What do you want?
Why don’t you have it now?
What in your business would you like to be different then it is now if we work together?
I asked what they were looking for in a coach and listened.
When it came time for me to say how I could help, I used this philosophy.
In today’s world, audiences have minimal attention span; they want the information, and they want it quick, clear, and concise. I remained focused on the value of my coaching and created a desire to work with me.
I only said what needed to be said. I kept it simple:
Who I work with,
What I offer,
and how I work.
Is this something you would like to do?
Can we look at calendars?
Quick, clear, and concise communication is essential and is true for everything your marketing your website presentations introductions. The key is to, in fact, deliver your most valuable information in the most compelling.
This is a method I have crafted for helping clients like you, by teaching the art of pitching, presenting, and selling what matters, to allow others to understand the value of your product or service.
I believe success in personal and business life is having the ability to convey what you’re saying so that others get it what value and desire what you offer or want the outcome that you are proposing. The art of articulating everything of value about what you’re trying to say into personal and business life is a skill you can acquire, and I would love to work with you to help you increase your impact.
Forget The 2020 Plan – Focus On The Present And Action Steps
I don’t mean to be negative, but I have many different reactions and feelings to all this 2020 yearlong planning. To be honest, it feels like New Year’s resolutions, and we know that 90% of those are never kept. It is all about commitment.
This year my clients, newsletters, media, everywhere I go, I hear the 2020 plan, and so I sat down to make mine. This article is a result of my thinking about planning and what I really believe is a more effective approach to ensure a productive and more predictable success.
It is imperative to understand the need for Research, Evaluation, and Vision.
Research means looking at your current offering and making sure it matches the needs and wants of the current demands of your prospects or clients? It also means market research to take a good look at who your competitors are and what they are saying and doing.
Evaluation means gaining clarity of where you are and developing a strategic approach to get where you want to go.
A 2020 plan? Seriously? All the time and effort that you put into planning, in my opinion, is better off understanding your market, your position in the market, revenue streams, and the strategies that you want to put in place to grow your business.
My clients tell me that they love that I am one of the only coaches/consultants they have ever talked to that is not focused on and always talking about long-term and short-term goals but focused on revenue. Why? Because when we focus on bringing in revenue and creating cash flow, we will be able to implement a bigger plan.
Plans often fail, and they fail because life and business happen, and there is so much we cannot plan for. Many people make a plan, put it in a folder or a drawer and never look at it again. We are human; we get struck by life’s events, and also, we get stuck in repetition compulsion of doing the same thing over and over again. Time flies, it’s another year, and we didn’t do anything on the plan. So, it begins, in my mind, with current research on your business, evaluating what’s happening in your company, and implementing new ideas.
I think the more critical questions that need to be answered when looking at business development are these:
How much money do I want to make?
How am I going to make sure that I make it?
What are the streams of revenue that bring in money?
What is the low hanging fruit?
What has a longer sales cycle, and is the high hanging fruit?
Which has the highest profit margin?
How many of each of those came from what marketing strategies?
Which marketing strategies do I want to put in place?
How do the marketing strategies align with the target streams of revenue?
What’s the vision I hold for my company and my life?
Where do I want to be in six months, one year, three years?
What would that look like?
How much money would need to come in from what streams of revenue to make sure that I’m working in the direction?
When a client says to me, “I’m interested in earning $120,000 this year”, I say, “that’s great, let’s break it down into 30 days”. A 30-day approach is a winning approach! If we can figure out how to generate 10,000 this month and every month after that, we will end up with a great year. You know how many of each stream of revenue you’ll need, and that will be directly aligned to sales and marketing and getting what you want. If we create repeatable systems and structures when life throws us turbulence, the business will have enough cash flow, systems and people to carry on.
The reality of today’s fast-paced everyday ever-changing life and marketplace is very overwhelming and stressful, and to run a good business requires Focusing On The Present and Talking Action.I am much more interested in my clients and me, focusing on what isn’t working and developing an understanding of what needs to be done right now!
Let’s leave the plan in the drawer and go to work!
Hard to believe it, but there are only approximately 10 weeks until we arrive in the year 2020.
Are things better, the same or worse than last year at this time? We get so caught up in our businesses and life that we often tend to get caught in patterns and behaviors that do not serve us or our business, and “oh no, I promised myself this would be better or different this year.”
It is not too late to make great strides right now. Let me try to help you.
Think of ALL the things you must complete between now and the end of the year, to have a fantastic end to 2019 and a great start to 2020. If you’re like my clients and me, the list is vast!
Now – Imagine for a moment – that you were only allowed to focus on THREE THINGS on that list between now and the new year.
What are the top three things most important things, and I mean only three, if you were able to focus on them – to the exclusion of everything else on your listWHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Once you identify your top three, I encourage you to make a commitment to focusing on addressing them or reach out to me to work together and get them done.
Reply to this email and let me know what your three things are!
Often the challenges in starting or running a business are related to keeping up with basic business fundamentals and staying current and contemporary across all segments of the company while finding time to pay attention and execute on our own business while we are busy taking care of the paying client Here is a list of the fundamentals that I feel need to look at paid attention to:
How Are You Managing Cash?
The number one reason small businesses have problems is lack of cash, not lack of profits. We need proper cash planning, and an understand of the levers in your business that can affect your cash. How much should you have on hand? How do you make sure that happens?
Have You Developed a Data-Based Culture?
The more we track data and use data to make business decisions, the better our decisions will be. Tracking key performance indicators (KPI’s) for your business, and understanding why they go up or down, can help make decisions that will grow your business and keep on track.
Are You Practicing 30 Day Planning?
It’s important to develop a strategic and financial plan and track it regularly, as opposed to doing a long-written document, that is often not looked at. Planning is an ongoing tool that should be used to understand assumptions about your business and whether those assumptions are correct or whether we must adjust.
Are You Only Engaging In Marketing That Provides ROI?
Small businesses often tell us that they don’t understand marketing. Where should they spend money? Does it work? What works? What doesn’t? Don’t spend money unless you are going to be able to measure the results.
How Do You Stay Connected and Talk To Your Customers?
Every business should talk to its customers as often as possible. People like to talk, and people like to be asked their opinion. The negative criticism may be hard to hear, but it’s well worth listening and understanding how to change things to make your business better for your customers. Phone calls, surveys, emails are all effective modes of staying connected.
Do You Know Your Competitors?
We need to know and understand both your direct and indirect competitors. We always need to keep an eye on your competitors, understand what they are doing, how they market, what their pricing is, etc. You may be unique in your town or your industry and not have direct competitors—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have indirect competitors.
How Do You Stay Current?
Making sure your offering and positioning are matching what is needed n the marketplace is crucial to staying in front of the “right fit” prospects and clients. This is not a stagnant item, and it must be re-visited and researched and tweaked. Is your linked in profile compelling, and are you beneficially engaging on LinkedIn? And how does your website reflect you and your business? Is it up to date?
Running a business is hard work and making sure all systems are running efficiently is challenging but when we provide a service that makes a difference in the lives of others, it is also incredibly satisfying.
I love building businesses and stand ready to work with you!
It is hard to believe that September is upon us. That felt like a fast summer, and I hope you got to enjoy some downtime. There is no avoiding the fact that we are entering the last quarter of the year and a very exciting time to time to think, plan, and act strategically and doing so will not only ensure a great year, end but to set the wheels in motion for an even better year ahead.
How are you receiving support and the knowledge you need to move forward?
We all need it.
There are two opportunities to join me this October.
Looking for learning, focus, and accountability? Please read about the upcoming Business Development Mastermind Groups where only eight attendees per group will work to build their businesses and this unique 1/2-day event: Concept to Customer which will provide tactical information ready to implement immediately.
The Case Study:
In order to be successful in today’s highly competitive business world, we must find a way to take a step outside of the daily bombardment of demand. The day to day operations of our work and life routine rarely allow us to look at where our businesses are and what the plans are for moving forward.
All-day we deal with making and keeping appointments, prospecting, selling, developing, delivering, and collecting. We go straight from work to family, and we get caught in the never-ending battle to grow our business. The constant pressure and day to day are so much that we can get caught in physical, emotional, and financial overload. Our ability to think clearly becomes muddled, and instead of operating our business with full strategy, too often we end up spinning in circles, longing to do better, but we just can’t.
The only way to stay committed to our business and our life is to take a step back and take the space to listen to our-self.
It is imperative to carve out time to make concrete decisions about direction, the people we work with, our clients, and our marketplace and gain clarity about our position in it.
Often the day to day grind takes us from the very passion we felt about our business in the first place, the very reason we may have started it. Stepping back allows us to tap into our creativity and come up with a revenue-generating idea that could boost our brand and renew our purpose in our business.
Once we breathe new life and air into our activities and put the right people, systems, and processes in place needed, we will bring our business to the next level.
There is nothing easy about today’s world, but with thinking, planning, and acting strategically, great success is possible!