written by Racheal Cook MBA
Burnout is a massive problem for women entrepreneurs.
Let’s face it, we’re not only starting and growing businesses, but we’re also raising families, and caring for aging parents. We’re doing so many different things on top of growing this business!
But one of the key reasons burnout is such a massive problem for women entrepreneurs isn’t just that there’s so much to do…
… it’s that we don’t always have a clear plan for how we are going to show up and run our business on top of other responsibilities.
This is not about the latest trendy tips, tricks or tactics.
It’s the foundational strategy that we all need if our goal is to take our business to that next level, where we have predictably profitable $5K, $10K, $15K+ monthly revenue coming into our business – the level of success where we can hire support, systematize our business, and actually enjoy our life without the nonstop hustle and burnout.
That was the dream for my client Nichole Lynn.
She is someone who has just blown me away with how she’s implemented this next unsexy success secret!
At first I was a little nervous because the majority of my clients are service based business owners – and Nichole is the owner of The Solid Bow.
She sells hair bows!
When Nichole introduced herself to our group, she shared that she’s been in business for years making pretty good revenue, and she’s also a homeschooling mom to seven kids, hasn’t had a weekend off in forever, and had basically no support system in place in the business or at home.
She was wearing all of the hats in her business.
She was doing everything herself – from designing each new seasonal collection of bows, to ordering from her manufacturing partners, to hand packaging each order, to serving all of her clients, not to mention acting as the entire marketing and sales department, plus the customer service department… she was doing all of the things!
AND SHE WAS EXHAUSTED.
She was hitting burnout hard.
And it became this self-perpetuating issue because her business was very much operating day to day – with no wiggle room to slow down or take time off – leaving her in constant burnout.
Nichole didn’t have any white space between the things happening in her business – they were all happening, all at the same time, leaving her to feel like she could never catch up or get ahead.
Her approach to generating revenue was to discount and run a flash sale for her bows.
NOTE FROM RACH – Many service based businesses operate this way – revenue is primarily driven by discounting, running flash sales, or big launches that create a ton of pressure for the entrepreneur.
Suddenly the business is surviving launch-to-launch… and one failed launch could mean the death of the business.
Running a business like this can cause tons of unintended challenges:: Clients expect discounts and only buy when things are on sale. This squeezes profit margins, causes cash flow problems, and overall makes it more difficult for the business to thrive because it’s operating in survival mode vs running with plenty of margin, profits to reinvest into the business, and systems to keep everything going.
And this was the game changer for her.
Instead of jumping into all the content inside the online program, Nichole used what she learned at The CEO Retreat to select the right strategies for her specific business that would make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort, and move her business forward.
She realized that there were a few things she needed to adjust AND she didn’t need to implement everything she was learning all at once in her business.
Shift 1:: Promote Yourself to CEO
Some of the biggest shifts for Nichole were the internal ones that happened as she really started to examine her relationship with her business.
Mainly that her business was running her – she wasn’t running it.
And being in that reactive state was holding her back from the business and life she truly wanted!
By upgrading her CEO Habits, Nichole was able to start showing up more powerfully in her business. She started having weekly CEO Dates, using a model calendar, and using her CEO Planner to track where she was spending her time and energy.
Within a few months, she had created not only more profit margin in her business but margin in her calendar – and was planning her promotions for new seasonal bow collections MONTHS in advance!
Shift 2:: Price for Profits
Nichole started thinking about her pricing strategy. What would happen if my business didn’t depend on discounts? What if I didn’t offer discounts on the next new collection launch?
At The Solid Bow, Nichole launches new bow collections for each holiday and season on the calendar – so she is always sharing something new to buy with her audience. But what would happen if she didn’t run a discount-driven sale but also charged a premium price for the specialty embroidered bows?
After all, she had a truly premium product. Her bows are beautiful and incredibly well made. Moms would message her saying, “They’re indestructible. I used to buy cheap bows on Amazon or big box store, and they would fall apart! I couldn’t wash them. Your bows are amazing.”
The new pricing plan – stop discounting and charge MORE for the newest styles and specialty designs.
This move transformed her business and ensured it’s survivability in 2020 when COVID-19 hit. Not only was she able to keep her overseas manufacturer in business, but continued to re-invest into more stock due to high demand from her customers!
Once Nichole embraced this new mindset of pricing for profitability and understanding the profit margins in her business, she was able to come out with an exclusive offer – Bow Club – where her customers could purchase a limited time collection each season of 6 Bows. Demand was so high in the first release that she completely SOLD OUT and pre-funded the next season of orders from her manufacturer.
No more stressing over the cash-flow juggle!
Shift 3:: Create a 12 Month Profit Plan
Nichole also made the decision to look at how she was preparing and launching each new collection of bows. She booked herself a 2-day retreat in a hotel just so she could plan ahead.
Remember, this is a mom of seven who runs her business from home!
But she realized she needed to have dedicated time to sit down and plan out the next few promotions on the calendar so she could get ahead of everything. There is a ton that goes into each new bow collection launch::
» Ordering from all the suppliers
» Taking pictures of bows
» Adding bows to online store
» Creating all the marketing materials
» Posting on social media
» Teasing the new collection to her community
» Sharing with her wholesalers so they can increase their sales
» Not to mention – shipping all the bows to her customers
» Plus many more steps!
Could you even imagine how stressful it would be to try to do all those things the week of a new collection launching?
It was chaos before – but Nichole put herself back in the drivers seat during her retreat. She decided instead of letting her business run her, she was going to run her business differently.
Since she started implementing these three shifts, I’ve been getting messages like this from her::
Nichole’s business has complete transformed in just a few months::
» Nichole is making a huge leap from a stressed out solopreneur to confident CEO. Instead of feeling like this launch is the most stressful thing on her calendar, she now has a clear plan with the right pricing, marketing plan, and sales strategy.
» She’s been able to buy back her time and get support at home and in the business… and that could only happen when she was able to press pause to make a plan.
» The Solid Bow is now generating MULTIPLE FIVE FIGURE months, with new collections selling out within hours. And instead of the launch chaos, CEO Nichole Lynn feels confident and in control of her business.
It is really hard to zoom out from the day-to-day and get that big picture view of your business when you’re in the hustle and grind. That’s when it feels like you’re always putting out fires and everything is an emergency.
As much as I wish we could all implement all the things right now, that’s just not how this works! We have to get really strategic about what we choose to focus our time and energy on.
And because Nichole was able to zoom out and get crystal clear about the key shifts she needed to make in her business ASAP, she quickly saw results within a couple of months.
So I’m not sharing Nichole’s case study to say that we all need to quit our businesses and start selling cute hair bows…
… the point is that pressing pause to create a plan can work for ALL BUSINESSES.
In the last 15 years I’ve been consulting small businesses, and I have seen this same strategic planning process that Nichole used work for businesses in nearly any industry: manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, finance, and yes the creative and coaching businesses I serve today.
The strategic planning process works, whether you have a service-based business, a retail business, or a brick and mortar business.
Strategic planning truly is the missing piece for a lot of entrepreneurs. This is why so many are finding themselves in that hustle and burnout mode, because they’re constantly head down in the day-to-day, jumping from emergency to emergency, and never truly getting ahead of their business.
If this is starting to resonate, then download the 12 Month Profit Plan Workbook and take a deep breath!
In the next installment of The Unsexy Secrets to Sustainable Success, we’re walking through all 7 steps to create an actionable 12 Month Profit Plan for your business!
1:: One of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs? BURNOUT resulting from just winging it in our business without a clear strategy.
2:: If you want to burnout proof your business, don’t be afraid to press pause and focus on the top 2-3 strategies that will begin to shift your business out of survival mode.
3:: Predictable profits start with a clear PLAN for how you’re approaching your marketing and sales strategy, each and every month.