A number of my clients have achieved exceptional results this year, exceeding their own expectations. This is despite often having seemingly few advantages in terms of capital, business experience and marketing skills, or even a supportive network of peers. None of them started out with much of a marketing budget, and most of them were cash strapped when we started working together.
This got me wondering about what they did that’s different to others? How had they achieved these results whilst others struggle? I also wanted to know what was the Return On Investment they got from working with me. I’ll tell you the results at the end of this post. I was shocked when I did the maths!
Take Kieran* who bought a struggling business a couple of years ago, and spent much of that time fire-fighting to stabilise it. In the 6 months since we started working together, he’s doubled his turnover month on month. How? We made one simple change which had a massive impact. I got Kieran focused on making sales whilst his staff ran the office. Kieran is a phenomenal salesperson, and I wanted to get him using his skills where they’d have the greatest impact. As a result of the momentum he’s creating, he’s now on track to take his business from a turnover of $528,000 in 2014 to $638,000 this year. In 2016, we expect his business to comfortably turn over $1.2 million with the changes we’ve already introduced. However once he’s recruited the first members of his new sales team and they start performing, sales will jump. When his new e-commerce site goes live (the digital marketing strategy is fully funded) we expect his turnover to exceed $1.5million in 2016. This is a business with huge potential so I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Here are my insights into the reasons why my clients get these results. Some of the reasons might surprise you. Others may verify what you already know, but perhaps haven’t been doing. Hopefully you’ll get some useful nuggets you can apply to your own business.
1. They have a financial plan with clear growth targets and monthly sales targets.
We monitor these closely to ensure they’re on target – every single month. This financial plan forms the foundation of my work with my clients. We use the system I developed over the 8 years I worked as a CEO. Without this foundation, my clients don’t get the same results. I know this because I’ve a couple of clients whose books were a mess when we started working together. Once they eventually gave their carrier bags of receipts and invoices to the book-keeper (see point #7) and we had accurate financial information to put together a forecast, their business started to fly.
2. Their sales and marketing strategy is the engine behind their growth plan.
We identified the 3 main sales and marketing channels that will deliver the quickest results– none of which were online initially as my clients couldn’t afford to invest in a digital marketing strategy. (And I’m not a fan of DIY marketing, especially when it comes to the complex digital world). The increase in their profits has since allowed my clients to create a marketing budget and they’re now in a position to fully fund their growth plans for 2016. Over the course of 2016, we’ll continue to increase the size of their marketing budget.
3. They don’t do ‘DIY’ sales and marketing.
This is a BIG hobby horse of mine as I’ve noticed that those who get caught up in DIY marketing, struggle in business i.e. don’t make money or at least not very quickly. When I’m working with clients, we work out the costs of funding the key sales and marketing channels that will drive growth in their business, create the budget, and then bring in an expert or staff to run that channel.
That said we all have to start somewhere so there may be some DIY marketing in the early days of our business. But what my clients don’t do is spend precious time learning marketing techniques that are best left to the experts.
4. They build their network.
Business opportunities come from our relationships. I once heard a saying that ‘our net worth is in our network.’ This is so true. BTW my VA has written a great article for her blog on the 7 Ways Networking Can Boost Your Business. (If you’re in or around London on Thursday, 7th January, I’d love to see you at Sara’s inaugural business networking meeting).
5. They do not learn how to do ‘digital marketing.’
This includes SEO, content and social media management. They have enough knowledge to be able to appoint a competent digital marketing agency and monitor the results, but then they let the experts do the rest.
This is another hobby horse of mine! I see so many people get caught up in the online marketing world – often with poor results. It’s a huge drain on time, is hard to ‘do right’ and it’s often not necessary, at least not in the early days. Let the experts do what they’re best at, and recognise we can’t be good at everything.
6. You’re unlikely to catch my clients on social media.
Seriously! If social media is an essential part of their marketing strategy, they have somebody manage this for them.
7. They delegate/ outsource anything that they should not be doing (as soon as they can afford to do so).
This frees them up to focus on income generating activities e.g. book-keeping, answering the phone, HR, IT support, dealing with email, handling their social media etc. This is often a major sticking point with small business owners as they believe they’re ‘saving money by ‘doing it themselves.’ There’s a direct correlation in results. The quicker you delegate activities that can be done more cost-effectively by others, the faster your business will gain momentum and grow.
8. They hire slow and fire fast.
They’ve all had at least one ‘recruitment disaster’ so they understand the cost of poor hiring decisions and have put in place robust selection and on-boarding processes. This has enabled them to appoint staff who are the right cultural fit for their business.
9. They put in place systems.
Once you’ve got past the start-up phase, and have a steady flow of customers, it’s essential to introduce systems – automated where possible – so that your business will run smoothly as you scale up. Two of my clients from the trades industry have just started to use Commusoft, a software application that’s bespoke to their needs.
10. They’re all coach-able.
Not everybody is! By this I mean they get their head down and follow the plan we’ve put together. When they make a mistake, they learn from it and (usually) don’t make the same mistake again. This allows them to keep steadily moving forward.
11. They’re focused and highly disciplined.
None of them are trying to run more than one business at this point because the one they’ve got isn’t robust enough to do so – yet. Plus their business skills aren’t developed enough – yet.
12. They have grit and persistence in spades.
Michael Hyatt, whose work I love, has recently written about why persistence is the one quality you need to hit your goals.
Who has grit and persistence is Sam* whose 30 year old family business was three months away from closure after a series of ‘bad years.’ Sam was inexperienced in business but what he lacked in knowledge, he made up for hard work, determination and focus. Over the last 10 months, we’ve doubled turnover through a number of changes to his marketing strategy. This has enabled Sam to fully fund his marketing strategy for 2016 – including a new website with full SEO. On the results we’ve achieved to date, Sam expects turnover to more than double in 2016. This will mean expanding his staff team, Sam intends to be in a position to start a ‘buy to let’ property portfolio in 2017 and marry his fiance.
Hopefully you’ve found some useful nuggets here, and these have helped to reinforce your own learning on this rollercoaster ride that is running a business. I would love to know what your key learnings have been this year so please do share these in the comments box below.
*Names have been changed.
Now I said that I’d share the ROI my clients get from working with me.
I analysed the results over the past 12 months as it takes the first quarter for the changes we make to start having an effect. The ROI on working with me ranges from 30x their investment for businesses turning over less than £100,000 to 40x for businesses turning over between £100,000 and £250,000 and increases to 70x for businesses where turnover exceeds £250,000. The reason that ROI increases so steeply is because the level of growth becomes exponential as the business has more to invest in their growth strategy.
If you’d like to get this level of results in your business….
… I have just 1 spot available for 1:1 coaching in the New Year.
BUT I am taking applications for the Mastermind Group I’ll be co-leading in the New Year with sales and marketing experts, Emma D’Arcy and Christina Jones. We’ve got some awesome people on board already and we’re just 5 days into our launch process. If you’d like a sneak peak inside our Mastermind Group, hop over HERE and take a look.
Will 2016 be the year you look back at as the one that transformed your business and took it to the next level?
And finally a testimonial from Megan Harrison, Online Course Creator and Infusionsoft Consultant.
Working with Denyse has given me so much clarity and confidence in growing my business. One of the areas she helped me with the most was creating a financial forecast that let me see exactly what monthly revenues I need to hit in order to hire additional employees. Having this type of clarity has been a huge catalyst for growth and takes away any overwhelm caused by uncertainty.”
You can listen to Megan’s testimonial on this video.
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