Business Strategy Consulting
When I first started my business I was elated to get my first paid gig. It was $25/hour to ghost write blogs for an OBM who had a team of subcontractors to help with client projects. I’d never owned my own business. And I wasn’t well networked or professionally skilled for this new endeavor.
Within four months I hit $1200/month which was the bare minimum I needed to make for my son and I to barely survive. Three months later I had my first $2k month, but had to nearly kill myself to get there. I worked 18 hour days and that took a toll on my health.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this wouldn’t be sustainable. I also knew that persisting would pay off. I just had to figure out how to do that, and not be so hard mentally and physically on myself.
I had to figure out how to work smarter, not harder. And fast.
By this time I had a handful of clients, one was another OBM. And she was offering a Genesis web design course, a beta round for $200. From working with her on client projects, and getting to know her personally throughout the months, I KNEW she knew her stuff and that if I figured out a way to scrounge up the money, I could increase my income significantly.
Now, when I say I didn’t have the $200… Folks, I DID NOT HAVE the $200 to pay for this. I wasn’t making $2k/month EVERY month because physically it took too much of a toll on me. And my $1200 months… didn’t cover things like car insurance and other necessities. We were literally just surviving with a roof over our heads, our utilities paid, and $50/week for groceries for myself and my 16 year old. Thank God for Aldi! But I digress…
Pulling $200 from a $1200/month bare bones budget was very painful. Scared doesn’t even begin to describe it.
But I did it anyway.
That was literally the first time I invested in anything for my business. I hadn’t purchased any tools or programs… I had been running my entire business with free tools, bootstrapping everything.
The course started in February of 2016. And by April of 2016 I was making $4k/month. In another two months I was making $8k/month regularly. But quickly I learned there’s only so much work that myself and my small subcontracting team of two could handle. I needed help managing a business that was outgrowing my limited experience that was struggling to handle it all.
So I invested in business growth consulting with a coach who could help me grow my business strategically and not burn myself out.
What is Business Growth Consulting?
Business coaches and consultants help small business owners tweak & optimize their businesses so they can achieve the level of growth and efficiency. They’re usually paid up front or on a fixed schedule as they work through regular sessions.
A business coach can be the single greatest investment you make in your business if you go into the search for the right coach with the information you need to make a decision based on what your unique business requires, and what style of coaching works well with your personality & motivational drive.
Any business coaching package worth the investment will include these four pillars of service in their sessions to increase your revenue and accelerate your results: strategy; tools, resources, and processes; metrics; and accountability.
Let’s talk about each of these four pillars individually.
There are many stages and phases to growing a sustainable business. The basic phases are growth, transition, or maintenance. And the basic business lifecycle stages are startup, growth, or maturity. Each of these stages or phases require different strategies to achieve the best results. Some coaches specialize in only one of these stages or phases.
You’ll need to know which stage your business is in to set the appropriate goals for growth & scale to the next phase. Your available budget and resources will need to match your strategic plan & goals or you won’t be able to implement it in the long run. Then your investment in coaching won’t have the ROI you were expecting.
In addition to a strategic plan, you may also want guidance and help with implementation. It’s important to know whether your business coach just lays out a plan you must implement on your own or also provides support as you implement and execute the plan. From developing clarity of services, short & long term goals, and the path to achieve those goals, the right business coach and business growth consulting can help you get the results in your business you’ve always wanted.
Tools, Resources, and Processes
Once a strategic foundation is laid, and the path to your goals is created, it’s time to build the infrastructure of your business. When the right coach lays out your custom strategy, they should take into account which tools, resources, and processes need to be put in place to successfully create a sustainable future for your business. They’ll take the heaviness, bulk, and mis-spent resources, and redirect them to the RIGHT resources that will move the needle forward in your business… making it a well oiled machine.
This creates a productive and profitable foundation that’s necessary for long term growth. You’ll be able to leverage their knowledge of proven tools, systems, and resources to focus on efficiency and accelerated business growth while reducing the demands on you as the business owner, and even other subcontractor and freelancer expenses.
Creating this infrastructure will ensure you don’t burn yourself out as you scale and grow. Otherwise you won’t be able to handle $4k+ months of done-for-you projects.
Consider these at a minimum…
- File organization, workflows, FAQs, a How I Work & onboarding procedure, emergency procedure, offboarding & review procedure, project management… #allthethings!
- Choosing a CRM, implementing and customizing it for your unique business needs, services you offer, and clients you serve.
- Financial automations need to be created and implemented.
- SOPs need to be instituted for all tasks and processes you intend to outsource. Let’s face it, you can’t #doitall if you intend to grow.
And so. much. more!
Without a good deal of systems and automation, the amount of work becomes overwhelming, details can easily be overlooked, and mistakes can compound. QUICKLY! And I’m not exaggerating for effect when I tell you that 17hats, my CRM of choice, saves me probably five hours a week of admin work in my business. And that’s just ONE tool and one aspect of my business.
Imagine your level of efficiency and profitability if all aspects of your business are strategically systematized…
This infrastructure will also help you…
- create the right pricing structure for profitability from the beginning
- get legal in place
- think about the financial aspects of your business and identify where and when your budget is best invested
- learn how to start seeing opportunity for growth around you
- think outside the box for your business
There are different kinds of metrics that matter for your business, and we’re not talking vanity metrics here, folks. We’re talking cold, hard data… statistical facts that will show you which parts of your business are weak and which parts of your business that are going strong. And, as your business grows, you need to be able to see… at a glance… which factors are promoting the health and financial stability of your business and which are not.
The categories of metrics depending on the type of business you have are…
- Sales metrics
- Marketing metrics
- Financial metrics
- Human Resources Metrics
- Project Management Metrics
- Product Performance Metrics
For the purposes of helping online service providers, these are the metrics to monitor for the long term health of your business.
- Sales metrics
- Cost of lead acquisition
- Lead conversion rate
- Average lead value
- Lead sales cycle
- Marketing metrics
- Website traffic
- Website traffic source
- Keyword ranking
- Domain authority
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Email list size
- Email open rate
- Email click through rate
- Social followers
- Financial metrics
- Net profit
- Profit margin
- Cash flow
- Human Resources Metrics
- Revenue per subcontractor
- Project Management Metrics
- Project actual costs
- Project planned costs
- Other Important Metrics
- Monthly recurring revenue
- Monthly recurring operating expenses
- Annual recurring revenue
Two years ago I made an important discovery. I was most productive, efficient, and effective at running my business when I co-worked with my online service provider buddies. So much so that I try to get someone to co-work with me almost every single day of my work week, even if it’s just for a couple hours.
It’s so important to have someone holding your feet to the fire in your business that I have made all my core courses into group programs. Because accountability is the missing link to success with self-study courses and the reason why most people don’t get the results they want.
Most people don’t have the motivation and focus on their own to accomplish what they set out to do. We have short attention spans and are easily distracted. It’s our nature to stop and fix the noisy wheel that won’t stop squealing instead of maintaining all the systems that are running silently, even if not effectively for your business.
Having an accountability partner is key to achieving your goals and can increase your chances of succeeding with that goal by 85%. Because you learn how to OWN the work getting done to grow your business instead of letting outside influences affect your focus. This is necessary for success.
You have to make the decision to accomplish a goal, write it out, set a deadline, make a plan, and commit to that plan to increase your chances of success. Consider these statistics…
- When hear an idea, you’re 10% likely to work for it
- When you make a decision to work toward a goal, you’re 40% likely to work for it
- When you write out a plan to accomplish your goal, you’re 50% likely to work for it
- When you tell someone else your decision and plan, you’re 65% likely to work for it
- When you have an accountability partner, you’re 95% likely to work for it
Now tell me, who’s going to find an accountability partner today, not tomorrow?
Why is business coaching important?
The truth of the matter is, you can’t see the forest for the trees in your own business. You are emotionally attached and focused on the details. That will never serve you or your bottom line because you’re making emotional decisions based on your own opinions and beliefs.
A business coach puts the details in perspective with the big picture for your business and can help remove your subjective limitations from your business and look at every single thing with an objective perspective that will create change and growth. You’ll be able to execute with a step by step strategic plan that focuses on your goals.
But mostly, think about what you REALLY need to move forward. Accountability? Systems and processes? Lead generation? Ideas for services and free offers that people truly need? You’ll need to look for a coach that has marketing content written with these exact needs in mind for your business.
Most business coaches also have a strong network of experts and resources, because they aren’t an expert at everything. You’ll need to know that when an issue comes up in your business that they have the right people to turn to and who can help shore up your weaknesses in your own business and implement all the pieces of your strategic plan.
What makes a good business coach?
Here’s the problem with lots of coaching programs, groups programs, and even self study courses that coaches sell… they focus on only big picture tactics. They don’t address the mindset and implementation phases enough, or at all. They don’t break down the strategies into bite size action pieces that lay the foundation to bring in the results you need.
These coaches get their clients and students all hyped up on emotion instead of focusing on the tactical. Business coaching & consulting should be about helping small business owners and online service providers grow a real business with their custom unique selling proposition within their zone of genius by laying a sustainable foundation to scale and grow.
When picking out a business coach, you want to strategically focus on two points… results, and social proof.
You want to make sure they can get RESULTS! How? Look at their reviews and testimonials. Reach out to the people they worked with and ask them how that coach helped to grow their business. Check out all their social platforms, read all comments, all feedback, and anything else you can find that’s a conversation about their ability to get results!
Look for video reviews. And really listen to what clients have to say… are they describing feelings or actual results this coach helped them achieve. Because the last thing you need is a business coach everyone loves but doesn’t help them achieve results. RUN from anything promising overnight success or unrealistic results.
If you need to scale your existing business, look for someone that’s scaled their own and scaled others businesses, consistently and repeatedly.
And you definitely need to know what their coaching style is like. If they have a tough love style, this will help you deal with your mindset issues as they come. If they are a hand holder, this will help you have built in accountability for implementation.
Lastly, I would make sure they aren’t afraid to coach you even when you’re being uncoachable, ESPECIALLY when you’re being uncoachable.
We all have resistance to change, to feeling unsure or uncomfortable. We have times when we’re less motivated or not motivated at all. Those are the times when we need a coach the MOST… someone who will challenge us to see a bigger vision for ourselves and our businesses, reach higher, try harder or try a different approach.
How much does coaching cost?
I want you to pay attention to this next marketing principle… price sets the expectation of value.
When I first learned of that concept, I had the same reaction you probably just had… what does that actually mean? And what does that mean in the context of how much a business coach should cost?
You want someone who charges in relation to the results they can help you get, not someone who costs less. Hiring a business coaching is not the time to go looking for someone cheap who services bottom feeder clients. They don’t respect themselves, much less you, your work, your boundaries, or your processes.
As an example of pricing, here are a few of my rates. My group programs start at $500 and 1:1 coaching costs $1k/month.