With so many changes coming at you all the time I’m surprised I’ve stuck it out as long as I have. I was thinking about this the other day, wondering how I’ve been able to do it and here is what I came up with:
I’m a curious, self-taught kind of guy. I like learning new things and since the world keeps changing all the time, I’ve got to keep educating myself to stay ahead of the pack. I’ve reached a point now where it’s time I gave back.
It’s time to do what all those other people did for me and share what I’ve learned so that all those just starting out can pull off something like what I’ve built and managed to keep going over the last decade and a half I’ve been in business.
Take what worked for me and apply it to your business. Think about your plans and the goals you’re trying to reach and see if you can find something in my experience that might be useful to you.
By learning everything you can and putting it to use in your business, you’ll keep up with things in your industry, beat back the competition to become a success.
Because we’ve all had to stand on the shoulders of others to get where we are, I firmly believe in learning what you can, and then passing it along. This is what I’m trying to do now.
These are the fundamental principles that I owe my success to. Try them out for yourself, and you should be well on your way:
1. Set Goals, Make Them Crystal Clear & Make a Plan of Action
Goals are just words unless you have a plan of action. Set at least one tangible goal for your business each year. Make sure every employee knows what the goal is and how the business as a whole plans to go about achieving it.
Let everyone know what their role is, what they are expected to do towards reaching the goal. This is whether they work in the marketing department or customer support. You’ve got to spell it all out clearly, clarifying everyone’s responsibilities from the outset. And if training is needed, get it done.
Make the rest of this year’s goals front and center for everyone on the team. Break it down into small chunks so everyone can see what’s being accomplished every day. Small rewards go a long way. Do that, and the rest should take care of itself.
- We want to make "$X" in revenue from now until the end of the year.
- We want to increase our customer base to "X".
- We want to increase our customer satisfaction by "X%".
- We want "X" subscribers to our email list by the end of the year.
2. Develop a Structure to Build Recurring Revenue
One thing to keep in mind is that there’s no forcing this. Sure, we all know passive income is great and that there’s no better way of providing business stability. But you must be offering products and/or services that your customers actually want on an ongoing basis, preferably month-after-month.
To do this, you’re going to need to shift your focus from a one-off sales model to that of having monthly retention. Creating recurring revenue certainly comes with it’s own set of challenges, with churn being the big one. Once you get someone’s business you’ve got to constantly come up with new ways of keeping it. This is no easy task for sure, but one well worth tackling.
An example of this would be to turn a service you offer right now into a packaged product that you can offer at a monthly subscription.
3. Find Ways to Earn Multiple Streams of Income
Having several sources of income is extremely important if you’re going to get established. Be on the lookout all the time for opportunities to make money from your products and/or services.
There are tons of ways you can go about this. You might sell monthly subscriptions, or maybe ad space on your website or a newsletter or develop and promote a more advanced version of an existing app. Create another division. A great example of this is Homestar, they have all kinds of divisions, wrapped around one key business driver, which is home maintenance.
Just keep your eyes open to new opportunities for additional income streams. The name of the game is to increase cash flow while maintaining quality. If you want to hang in there long term, this makes it a whole lot easier.
4. Don’t Ignore Your Personal Goals
Have fun, be with the people you love, take time out of your day to do things you want to do, which may not be business. It’s important to look at things through fresh eyes and taking time away from the biz on a daily basis will help you do this.
Without having a big ego, think about the impact you’re having on others and even the world.
I’m serious! You need to set some personal goals of your own as a human being. I’m not talking about business goals. I’m saying that what we do every day has an effect on everyone we come in contact with.
I plan on creating a legacy of helping others find the kind of success I’ve enjoyed in business.
I want to teach others about the basics of what works and what doesn’t. But unless I actually do something to build this legacy it’ll amount to nothing. To make this happen I’ve got to set some personal goals.
Listen to the lyrics of Michael Jackson, “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Side note: I did a project on Man in the Mirror in junior high. Who would of thought I would be using Michael's lyrics again in 2017!!
By improving ourselves we can change the world. That’s the beginning. If you focus on self-improvement, if you continue to educate and improve yourself mentally and physically, then it follows that the other aspects of your life will improve too.
If you approach the world with a positive vibe, behave in positive ways, you will attract positive things in return. Your task is to make sure you maintain your positivity in everything you read, the people you surround yourself with, and in everything you say and do.
5. Speak Your Truth
Do you just adopt industry buzzwords and speak about numbers, or do you, and by extension your employees, convey loud enough for everyone to hear, your company’s values?
Find your voice, one that conveys your company’s truth, what it stands for.
Out of this you’ll create your mission.
Get your people to embrace it so you can control your voice in every message you convey as an organization. The point is to provide your clients and customers with continuity no matter who they may be interacting with at the company, whether it’s the guy in customer service or you, the head honcho.
Being consistent is important when building trust. And trust is vital for success. This is what builds loyalty and without that there isn’t any growth.
With a consistent voice, your business can last forever, well maybe not that long.
6. Be Excited & Enthusiastic
Remember, you set the tone. Your job is to educate every employee and customer every single day about all the amazing things the company is doing. This is not a sales job as much as it is a teaching job.
You are the company’s biggest cheerleader and your excitement about all the incredible work being done at your business must come from the heart. In every interaction, be enthusiastic in your belief that you, your company and your team are the best at what you do. The vibe you give off is that you’re willing to take on anyone and everyone. This is what will win you a lifetime of customers.
You and your company are on an amazing trajectory, and the entire team is coming along on this ride.
Stay on top of your game through education. Learn everything you can about your products and services and keep up on whatever is going on in your industry.
And never skip a chance to share your love of what you do by educating others.
Everyone around you, customers and employees alike, will genuinely get how sincere you are and before long they’ll share your excitement and passion.
It’s contagious you know.
7. Make Time to Exercise
My wife and I work together, so we’re both of the same mindset, which helps a lot. We live what we do, so we eat wonderful fresh nutritious foods and feed our son and daughter the same! Most of the times...sometimes they sneak some candy in. :-)
To compete in business and be at the top of the heap, you’ve got to take care of yourself physically. Who wants to come into the office everyday hung over from the night before, looking like hell?
How on earth are you going to build enthusiasm for what you do when you look and feel like that?
Nope, you’ve got to present yourself as full of vitality and ready for whatever gets thrown at you!
If you’re the leader you need to look like a leader, someone worth following! To put it bluntly, you have to look the part! This is the only way you’re going to convey success, to show people how you’ve transformed your life.
If you can transform yours then they (with your help) can transform theirs. And if they see it in front of their eyes, they’ll believe it. That’s the idea.
8. Keep Your Promises
When you’re completely reliable with clients, when they know your word is your bond, you’ll have their respect. This is the cornerstone of business, without respect you’re just a joke. You can’t build any kind of foundation if you’re full of empty promises and hallow words.
9. Get Your Pricing Right
When you first launch a product, it’s generally a good idea to offer a free trial. Who won’t try a free sample? This lets customers see the value.
Next, you can include a few more features while still keeping the price down. For example, if you’re promoting an app, you can offer it at a one-time cost with a low monthly subscription to access pro features.
Once you’ve got your customer base, start bundling your products for a fixed price. People love package deals and they’ll keep coming back to see what else you’ve come up with.
In time, you’ll figure out what your customers need and want most from you, you can then make those your premium paid products. Once you know for sure what you’ve got that people will keep on paying for, you’ve reached a milestone. Celebrate! Take the crew out for a night on the town!
Keep a close eye on your numbers. Keep track of what’s consistently selling, who your most reliable customers are, and the profit margins in each product segment.
These are the basics. Know your numbers so you can price your stuff competitively while staying profitable. By offering top quality products along with great service, you’ll enjoy long-term success.
10. Keep Your Head on Straight
When you’ve got your priorities straight, your values make sense. Take care of yourself first and the people you love, and then you can go about making money and getting the things you want out of life.
It’s pretty clear, doncha think?
Set high standards for yourself, first and foremost. This means you’ve got to take good care of yourself physically and emotionally.
Stay positive! Commit to taking good care of employees and customers as well. These are the people you count on to make your business what it is. Don’t ever lose sight of that.
You can make all the money in the world but that can’t buy customer loyalty and dedicated employees who will go the extra mile time after time to make sure the business succeeds.
Make a habit of acknowledging everyone’s contribution. Show your appreciation and make it personal.
Remember that it’s the people who come first in your business. You can always work out the other details in your business, like the cash flow, infrastructure, materials, manufacturing, etc. Put people front and center. Make sure they are well taken care of.
Your real foundation is your people. By focusing on helping everyone do and be his or her best, your business will thrive. Otherwise, it can just as easily fail. As long as you keep your priorities straight, you will keep on doing what you love and enjoy the success that comes with a job well done.