I recently chatted with an entrepreneur who is incredibly smart, so educated, so qualified to do the work that she wanted to do in the world, but by the time she came to chat with me she said:
“Rach, here’s my challenge.
I have taken training, after training, after training and it feels like I’m constantly shifting direction… and as a result I’m not getting where I want to go.”
Have you ever felt that way, like you’re just continually adding more pieces to the puzzle, but now it feels like you don’t even know what that puzzle is supposed to look like?
I know that when I first started in my business, I didn’t know the direction I was going. I was trying to figure it out as I went.
It wasn’t until I finally saw the big picture that things started to fall into place.
That’s why I created The Ultimate Business Growth Checklist.
The business growth checklist shares the bigger picture – the lid of the puzzle box – so you can see clearly what needs to happen step by step to grow your business. Download your 100% gratis copy below
Not all strategies are meant for every entrepreneur.
The strategy that makes sense for you right now depends on your stage of business.
Many of the popular strategies that are talked about all the time are meant for people who are a bit further along in their business.
For example: I hear from entrepreneurs all the time to are focused on creating an automated webinar funnel, but they don’t even have a brand, or a business strategy, or a proven offer in place.
It’s like they’re trying to run before they can really walk.
When you try to skip ahead, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of frustration! You’ve got to do the foundational work required to ensure that those strategies actually get results.
There is no shortcut to real sustainable success.
You MUST start by building a solid foundation first.
Understanding the stages of business growth and working your way through the business growth checklist is one of the things I teach in my CEO Retreat.
Let’s talk about each of these stages, so you can figure out where you are on this journey and what you need to focus on to reach the next stage of business growth:
Stage 1: Startup
The startup stage is a stage we all have to go through. It’s just like you can’t skip being a toddler; we’ve all got to go through this, we’ve all got to figure out the foundational pieces of our business.
This is the most challenging stage of business, and I’m going to be honest, a lot of people don’t make it past this stage. They get stuck here and stay here for a long time.
Your Focus in the Start Up Stage: VALIDATION
If you’re in the startup stage of your business, the number one use of your time and energy is spent on validating your business idea and validating your products, programs, and services.
If you don’t take the time to validate that people actually want and will pay for what you have to offer, you’re going to find yourself running into a lot of problems as you try and implement higher level strategies. All the marketing and sales strategies in the world can’t save your business if people don’t actually want your offers!
So, how do you validate your products, programs, or services?
You get out there and you talk to people. There is no validation without actually talking to actual human beings.
Inside the CEO Retreat – we talk about having a minimum of 5 real people conversations to validate product-market fit for each of your potential offerings. Several of my clients have taken on a 100 Conversations Challenge to really dive deep into what their dream clients want and will happily pay for.
Your Primary Marketing & Sales Strategy: 1×1
The next piece of being in the startup stage is understanding your primary marketing and sales strategy.
Now this is important – I’m assuming you are in business to make money.
I’m not talking about a Silicon Valley startup with venture funding… or people who just want a hobby business and don’t need to actually become profitable so they can pay themselves.
That was not the reality for me! And for the majority of my clients – coaches, consultants, teachers, service providers, and creative entrepreneurs – their business needs to make money asap. We don’t have years to waste!
How do you generate revenue within the first few months of starting your business?
The fastest path to cash is focusing on one-to-one marketing and sales.
Now, I know what you might be thinking…
“But Rach… everybody’s talking about list building… and launching… and regular content marketing… and growing my Instagram… and doing webinars… and… and… and…”
I hear you!
Those marketing and sales strategies are designed to help you grow an audience and start selling at scale. And when you start hearing about the potential for 5-Figure Webinars – it’s way more exciting than having 1×1 conversations!
But here’s what people don’t tell you about those strategies – it takes time to grow an audience!
Let’s say your goal is to generate $5,000 in sales for your business.
If you focus on having 1×1 conversations with potential clients, you only need to enroll 5 clients into a $1,000 program, product, or service to achieve your revenue goal.
1×1 sales conversations traditionally convert really well for most people. It’s not uncommon for 1 in 4 conversations to turn into paid clients.
So you need to talk with 20 potential clients to get 5 private clients.
On the other hand… let’s say you try to focus first on something like a webinar to sell that $1000 offer.
Most online marketing strategies convert at 1-2% on average. Yes – there are some who talk about converting at 8% or 20% with their online marketing and sales strategies – but those are very uncommon.
So let’s do that math here:
500 Webinar Attendees X .01% Conversion Rate = 5 Sales
Ask yourself what is easier in the beginning? Have conversations with just 20 people or try to get 500 to attend a webinar?
It’s much easier to bring in cash flow quickly during this start-up stage when you focus on 1×1 marketing and sales strategies first. Then you can move on to more leveraged strategies without stressing over your bills each month.
My goal for you is to get through that startup stage as quickly as you can. I have seen people get through this startup stage in as little as a few months when they’re willing to do the work to validate that they have the right product/program/service for the right people at the right price point.
Stage 2: Success
The success stage is actually a stage that many people are happy to stay in! This is where you can create a lifestyle business that is focused on doing work you love and pay your bills with ease.
Your Focus in the Success Stage: GAINING EXPERIENCE
As you shift out of the startup stage and into the success stage, the good news is that you validated something. You know that you have something people want to buy! Congrats!
Now your focus is making that thing better.
This is where I see a lot of people make mistakes that hold them back from a predictably profitable business. A lot of times I see people launch a program for the first time and they do all the work that goes into it: they created the program, they filled the program, they ran the program, and then they come back around and say,
They want to create something all new, which puts you up against a whole new learning curve and it means you’re regularly starting over in your business.
If you’re constantly starting over – you never MASTER anything.
Anyone who you’re following that is a successful entrepreneur didn’t just launch something once and then say, “Okay, I’m done with that. I’m going to create something new.”
They create a signature offering.
They deliver it again and again, each time improving the experience which in turn increases their clients success.
They learn how to market their offering. They improve the marketing. They add more and more case studies and showcase their clients success.
They learn how to sell that offering. They test their sales strategies to improve their conversion rates.
This is how you create an ASSET in your business that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue for your business – and serves hundreds of clients.
Your Challenge in the Success Stage: FEAST OR FAMINE CYCLE
The challenge here in the success stage is now you’re officially in business. You have clients coming and going, you have things you’re selling and promoting, and trying to juggle all the moving parts can feel overwhelming at times.
If you want to get out of that feast or famine cycle, this is the stage where you have to be putting systems in place, especially a marketing and sales system that helps you to bring in clients and cash flow throughout the year continuously.
Your Primary Marketing & Sales Strategy: From 1×1 to 1xMany
You may be shifting from primarily marketing and selling your offerings one on one to creating more leverage so you can market and sell your offerings to many people at a time.
In your marketing strategy, this shift could include moving from networking and referrals to starting to create content, grow a list, be featured on podcasts, or writing guest posts. These strategies allow you to start growing an audience.
As you grow that audience, you may want to continue selling one to one via conversations until your audience is large enough to begin selling via more leveraged sales strategies.
Remember – the numbers don’t lie!
Most entrepreneurs having sales conversations (free strategy sessions or clarity calls) can see 25% of those conversations turning into a paid client.
So that means you have four potential client conversations and one new person is becoming a paid client.
Compare that to an online marketing style launch, where you’re promoting just via email, via a webinar, or via a video series. The conversion rates drop dramatically. You’re lucky if 1-2% of your list becomes paying clients.
Are there people who get above that? Sure! I’ve had launches that converted as high as 8%! But… things average out to the 1-2%.
That’s why you want to have a real marketing strategy to grow your audience and a predictable profit plan to ensure that you generate the sales you’re looking for.
As you review the Business Growth Checklist, you may be wondering when it’s time to start thinking about next level strategies.
Until you’ve got about 80% of the Stage 2 tasks checked off, you should not be stressing about Stage 3 activities. They’re going to distract you from putting the systems and the strategies in place that will make your business predictably profitable.
Stage 3: Scale & Sustain
This stage is when you are ready to make the shift from a lifestyle business to a multiple-six or seven figure business.
The most significant thing I want to share with you, and I want you to be thinking about if you’re considering making this shift from the success stage, where you’re…
- paying yourself a comfortable salary
- your business is predictably profitable
- you might have a small team to help you support the day to day
…The most significant thing I want you to understand if you’re considering shifting to the scale and sustain stage is you’re no longer a solopreneur at this stage.
You need to be thinking like a real CEO, like a real business owner, and that means getting out of your way and putting a lot of new pieces of infrastructure in place behind the scenes.
Your Focus in the Success Stage? GROWTH
At this stage, you have a proven product, program, or service that delivers real results to your clients… and you are able to scale this offering to $1,000,000 or more in sales without working more.
So what does that mean?
That means your offering is a leveraged or passive product, program, or service.
You’ve already created it and optimized this offering so that your clients get real results.
You’ve already promoted this offering – so you know what marketing and sales strategies work.
You’ve already mapped out a customer experience plan so that you can serve more people and your team can easily take care of them without you needing to work more hours. You know you can serve 100 people – or even 1000 people – just as easily as 10 in this offering.
Or, maybe you are in a slightly different business model. Maybe you are growing an agency style business where you could quickly scale those services to a million dollars or more by having other people on your team deliver on those services.
Your Challenge in the Scale & Success Stage: BUSINESS MODEL CHANGE
As you start shifting into this final stage of business growth, your challenges arise with building the systems and structures that can market, sell, and serve lots of clients at once.
Your programs have to be able to service a lot of people at the same time; your marketing needs to be able to attract a much broader audience, your sales need to be able to convert to many, many people at the same time.
This episode is part 2 of the 6-part series: The Path to a Predictably Profitable Business.
If you’re ready for that consistency, you’re ready to know that your business can support you and your lifestyle with ease, while also helping you do the work that you love – here’s a title summary of what this series has to offer:
1: How to Start a Business (And Get Paying Clients ASAP)
2: What to Focus on FIRST with the Ultimate Business Growth Checklist
3: How Designing a Baseline Revenue Gets You Paid Every Single Month
4: The #1 Mistake Keeping Women Entrepreneurs From A Predictably Profitable Business
5: Do You Have a LEAK In Your Predictable Profit Strategy
6: My Go-To Strategy to Plan for Predictable Profits
Follow along each week as the blog and podcast guide your business growth, and click below to download this free action guide!
Keep learning! >>> Check out the next post in this series: How Designing a Baseline Revenue Plan Gets You Paid Every Single Month