by Gwen Bortner | Training & Instruction
As we head into the last part of the year, how are you feeling about the goals you’ve set so far? Think about the goals you’ve reached: Did you feel a sense of fulfillment when you did so? Have they brought you closer to the vision you have for your future? What about the goals you didn’t reach—how has that affected your overall trajectory?
At this point in the year, we often start to feel a sense of dissatisfaction; like we started the year with all this enthusiasm and hope, but somewhere along the way we lost interest in the process. If you’re looking at the goals you set and wondering, “Why did I want to reach that in the first place?” you’re not alone! In fact, chances are the issue is that you’ve been setting the wrong types of goals in the first place.
4 Reasons You’ve Been Setting the Wrong Goals
1- You based your goal on other people’s expectations
How many times have you done something in your life just because someone else expected you to? We’ve all been there! For every decision from where to go to school, to the people we include in our wedding party, to the type of business we build—chances are, someone else had some influence on the choices we made for ourselves.
If you’re not feeling enthusiastic about your goals, chances are it’s because you based those goals on someone else’s ideas about what your business should be. Whether it is a family member, a coach, or even your employees—basing your goals on someone else’s expectations is a sure-fire way to lose your motivation on the way to achieving those goals.
2- You have been trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”
So many times, we think we have to achieve a certain level of sales or income, drive a certain type of car, or live in a certain neighborhood just to feel like we’ve “made it.” We see other people with businesses like ours, and we think we have to earn 6 figures because they do. The thing is, in all my work with clients, I know that having a 6-figure business (or even a 7-figure one) doesn’t at all guarantee happiness.
Something to consider: would you still want a 6-figure business if it meant you had to work 80 hours a week in order to maintain it? Is it worth it to you to earn all that money even if you don’t have time to enjoy any of it? Setting lofty goals for yourself can be very motivating, but if you’ve set a goal because you think your business has to look like someone else’s in order to be successful, it’s time to re-evaluate.
3- You stuck to what felt safe or reasonable based on what you’ve done so far.
Safe goals may be relatively easy to reach, but rarely are they motivating. If you’ve been setting goals based on what you’re fairly certain you can reach, it might be time to step outside your comfort zone and allow yourself the space to dream big.
It’s possible you’re just continuing to set incremental goals out of habit at this point. What if you threw away the instruction manual and thought about what you REALLY want, for life and business? What kinds of goals would you set then?
4- You’ve already invested in the process, so you didn’t want to change directions.
When you start a book, do you force yourself to finish it, even if it’s terrible? Or do you allow yourself to put it away, and pick up something more entertaining? In the grand scheme of things, whichever type of book reader you are doesn’t really matter, because you haven’t lost that much time to a bad book. However, this same type of attitude translates to your business as well.
Just because you start something doesn’t mean you have to finish it. That goes for adding a new product line, hiring new staff, exploring a new service option, and even building an entire business. If you’ve reached a point where something is no longer serving you or igniting your enthusiasm, it’s okay to stop. Sometimes a change in direction or even an entirely fresh start is just what you need to find success on your own terms.
If you think you may have been setting the wrong types of goals this year, the good news is, it’s never too late to change direction! And if you want to make sure to set better goals next year, I have a solution for that, too.
The Quarterly Tune-Up is my group coaching session designed to help you:
- Set the right goals for YOUR life and business
- Make a plan to check in on those goals and readjust as needed
- Tackle your To Dos and make consistent progress in your business
- Benefit from the wisdom and insight of other entrepreneurs who are in the thick of it right there with you.
If you’re ready to give yourself a great on-ramp next year or your next quarter, let’s chat about how the Quarterly Tune-Up can help you.
by Gwen Bortner | Training & Instruction
How often do the following scenarios happen within your company on a regular basis?
- You spend too much time answering questions that should have been directed at someone else.
- Someone who works with your company has to send three different types of messages for one issue or question because they’re not sure where that message will be seen first.
- An emergency comes up and nobody quite knows who to tell about it or how.
- A situation that isn’t an emergency is treated like one because the communication on what defines an emergency wasn’t clear.
- Someone sends out a mass email to people who didn’t need to be included in that conversation or hits “reply all” to an email when only one person needed to see their response.
If any of those scenarios are happening in your company, then you are losing time and money because of communication problems. The best way to solve those problems is to establish a clear and efficient communication system for your company, and then teach everyone how to use it.
Choose the Method
Start by choosing an app – email, Slack, Asana, Trello, Google Hangouts, or whatever you prefer – and then make sure that everyone has a login for that app that is specific to your company. If you have already been using one of these apps, that’s probably the best one to use, because then you won’t have to train your people on how to use the technology, only on how to use it for communication.
If you haven’t used anything other than email, you may want to consider trying out a task management or “instant messaging” style of app to see how it works in your company. Think about the number of people who work for the company, the types of communication they will need to use, and which app supports both of those things and is within your desired price range.
The next step is to define a few key areas for communication:
- How you are going to use this app for communication
- When to use a different method of communication, if necessary
- The expectations you have for response time and working hours
- How you will organize the app into separate categories, channels, etc.
You need to outline these areas very clearly for everyone involved, and then hold people accountable for following these guidelines. When you hire a new person, give them access to the communication app and the guidelines for using it right away.
Everyone in your company needs access to certain information, but they don’t need access to every detail. When you establish categories or channels within your selected app, you can grant access to each channel for only the people who actually need that access.
Another part of this step is to grant access to certain people; in other words, to establish a chain of command. The customer service representative doesn’t need to email the CEO every time there’s a question they can’t answer, unless those are the only two employees in the whole company. If you’re spending too much time answering questions and putting out fires that other people should be able to handle, then make sure you establish a chain of command for communications, and hold people to that protocol.
It may take a little bit of time for everyone to adjust to a new protocol, but within about a month you should see improved results with clearer and more efficient communication all around. You set the standard by following the communication system yourself, and remind your employees and contractors when they step outside those guidelines. Pretty soon, your new system will flow smoothly and will help to streamline your business.
If communication isn’t your only system-wide problem, maybe you need a little more help and the support of other CEOS who are doing the work right alongside you. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, click here to learn more about my Operations Engine mentoring program for CEOs who are ready to go to the next level in their business operations.
by Gwen Bortner | Tasks & Goals, Training & Instruction
How happy are you with the way you typically set goals for your business? Do you keep your goals once you’ve set them, or do you struggle to follow through? In my last post, I outlined the crucial first step in the goal-setting process: quarterly review. Today, I’m walking you through what to do once you’ve completed your review, and you’re ready to sit down and set your goals.
Most people are actually pretty bad at setting goals: they tend to default to one of two options, neither of which are great. The first option is to set a goal that is so easy to reach, that there’s no real challenge involved. Then they don’t end up seeing any real growth, because the goal wasn’t ambitious enough. With the other option, some folks set goals that are too ambitious, to the point where they’re almost impossible to reach. Then they get easily discouraged because they never feel like they’re getting anywhere. Most entrepreneurs fall into the second category, in my experience.
This is why it’s so important to look at real data before you set your goals, and then to make sure the goals you set are intentional and logical as well as aspirational.
Not One Goal, But Three: Good/Better/Best
Earlier in my career as an entrepreneur and CEO, I participated in Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year goal-setting program. During this time, I learned about the concept of good/better/best goals. I still use this process in my own goal-setting, and I encourage it for my clients as well.
In this type of goal, you have three levels:
- A good goal is one that would yield a satisfactory result, and reaching it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. With this type of goal, you should be able to reach it around 80-90% of the time, barring unforeseen circumstances. You should be willing to bet a thousand dollars on reaching this goal, but it shouldn’t be so easy that reaching it is just an absolute default guarantee.
- A better goal is something that will be a stretch, but also still possible. You should definitely feel like you’re pushing yourself to be able to reach this goal, but in the end, you should actually reach it between 40 and 50% of the time. This type of goal is possible, but not easy.
- A best goal is one where if you reached it, you would probably pass out from the excitement. It’s still feasible, but very unrealistic. Reaching a goal like this only happens 5-15% of the time, because several factors have to line up for you to hit that goal. (Note: This is where entrepreneurs often set their only goals, and that’s why they get discouraged because they almost never actually reach those goals.)
Set the Right Types of Goals
Using the data from your review, choose one to three areas of your business that you want to work on for the coming quarter. For each area, you’re going to set a good, better, and best goal.
Before you actually write down your goal, consider this: there are only two types of goals you can set, and you will want to be intentional about the type you choose. Activity goals are things you will do, while outcome goals are results you will see. For example, an activity goal is, “I will write a newsletter every week.” An outcome goal is, “My newsletter will have a 50% open rate every week.” You can control an activity goal, but you can’t fully control an outcome goal.
Both types of goals are valid, but when you’re setting your goals, it’s important to have at least one outcome goal that will positively influence your business. The outcome goal is often just about income, and it will be tied to activities, but the outcome is the goal you should reach for.
Think about it this way: if you set an activity goal, and you do the activity, what happens next? The outcome is uncertain, but if you do not see any positive results from your efforts, you’re stuck in a holding pattern. On the other hand, if you set an outcome goal, you will naturally change up the activities you try until you find the “magic formula” that yields the outcome you were after. You’ll be more likely to achieve success because you were pursuing an outcome rather than checking an activity off your To-Do list.
For each area, you identified to work on, set a good/better/best goal, and try to make sure that most of these are outcome goals.
Check-in: Do these goals feel right for you?
If you have three major outcome goals with good/better/best levels for each one, that’s a good place to start. However, it’s important to take a look at those goals and examine them with a critical eye. Can you reasonably work toward all three goals at one time? Will reaching those goals bring you the growth or stability you’re after in your business? Is it a stretch that will challenge you without overwhelming you? Do these goals line up with your vision and mission?
One final item to consider: Is there a goal that you need to set around your own behavior, that would move your business forward? Maybe you need to look at your finances every week, delegate more work and stay out of it, or thank a different employee for something specific every day. As the CEO of your company, nobody performs an annual review for you, so you’ve got to do it for yourself. Personal development should always be part of your goal-setting process, so while you’re listing your goals, make sure to pick one thing that you could be doing better and add it to the list.
Do you want some support in setting strong goals and holding yourself accountable for working toward them?
Let’s talk about how our Quarterly Tune-Up sessions may be the perfect fit to help you set your goals and keep with them.
Click here for more information to schedule a conversation with Gwen.
by Gwen Bortner | Marketing, Training & Instruction
Have you reached the upper limit of your productivity in your business? Are you doing all you can, but it still just doesn’t feel like you’ve grown your business to where you want it to be? If you’ve been running things as a CEO who is also the face of your business, there’s only so much growth you can handle on your own. If you’re ready to scale your business, it’s time to make some changes.
What’s Your Level-Up Goal?
The first step in scaling your business is to determine how far you want to take it. You don’t have to scale from where you are today to Amazon-like levels in the next calendar year. You get to determine how far you want your business to go, how big you want it to get, or how much income you want to earn from it. Nobody else can tell you what this goal should be; that privilege is all yours.
Once you have determined what the “next level” of business looks like for you, it’s also time to consider how much you’re willing to change. If you’re doing all you can right now and it isn’t enough to grow your business to the desired level, then something has to be different if you’re going to get over this plateau.
Here are three options for you to consider as potential scale models for your business:
Option 1: Hire More People
One of the easiest changes you can make to scale your business is to clear your own plate of everything that isn’t 100% necessary and essential for you to do. If you ARE the product or service you’re offering your clients, then you need to focus your energy on only the tasks that directly involve providing that product or service. You should spend all of your time consulting, coaching, or teaching – then hire someone else (or several people, more likely) to do everything else. This is an option to scale your business without really having to change anything about the offering; all the changes happen behind the scenes, where your clients and customers won’t even realize they’re occurring.
If you’ve done that and it still isn’t enough, then the other hiring option involves actually outsourcing some of your services to other people. You can bring on more coaches, consultants, or teachers and train them to provide the same services you’ve been providing. This way you can serve more clients and keep the same offering without having to work 70 hours a week to do it. If you go with this option, you may have to change your sales pages and product names to make it clear that not every client will be working with you directly.
Option 2: Change Your Offering
If you’re not comfortable hiring other people to work with your clients, another option is to change the product or service you’re offering. If you’ve been providing 1-on-1 services or custom solutions to every client, you can grow by changing those parameters. Instead of 1-on-1, offer group coaching sessions. If you have already been working with groups, consider booking larger venues or combining more than one group into the same training. This way you can deliver the same information to a larger group of people at once and make more money for each session that you offer.
Another idea is that Instead of delivering your services in person, you can offer them online. Either film yourself and create a free-standing product (like an online class or a self-paced workshop), or still do real-time events but cut down on your travel time and expenses by offering them via Zoom instead of face-to-face.
Option 3: The Best of Both
The third option is to combine options one and two to find the solution that works best for your business. You could hire people to conduct online services while you still travel and offer them in-person for a higher rate. You could let your clients start off by working with an associate, and then they can “graduate” to a higher level and work with you at a higher price point. You could convert your offerings to self-paced, online courses and sell those at a lower price point while still offering in-person, live events for folks who prefer that option and are willing to pay more for it.
Which One is Right for You?
The right solution is the one that feels the most right for you and your business. If one of these options scares you, that doesn’t necessarily make it the wrong one; it may be that it’s time to take a deep breath and take that plunge. On the other hand, if one of these options feels like it isn’t authentic for your business, then that one is definitely wrong. One of the best parts of running your own company is that YOU get to decide what is right for you and your business, and set your goals accordingly.
If you’d like some help figuring out how to scale your business, or which scaling method is best for you, click here to book a call with me. I’d love to help!
by Gwen Bortner | Training & Instruction
Groundhog Day has always been one of the “strange” holidays celebrated in the US, passing each year mostly unnoticed until the release of the 1993 movie by the same name. Suddenly, the day had a whole new meaning. What would you do if you kept repeating the same day over?
Since its release, Groundhog Day has been one of my favorites – I have watched it so many times, I can practically say the entire dialog along with the movie. Although it’s a comedy (possibly Bill Murray’s best), there are still many great lessons tucked away among all the laughs and one-liners.
by Gwen Bortner | Training & Instruction
Marketing has always been one of my weaker areas when it comes to running a business; it has just never come easily to me to figure out how to sell what I make to the right people. Recently I came to the realization that maybe that’s because I was trying to make my business fit into someone else’s idea of what marketing should look like.
My strength has always been in the area of relationships. If you’ve read any of my work in the past then you probably know that I’m an off-the-charts extrovert, and I work best when I’m working with another person (live, and IN person if possible, or at least face-to-face through the magic of Skype). I get my energy from one-on-one interactions with other business owners, and that’s when I’m able to bring my best work to the table.
The Traditional Way
The “marketing gurus” of the Internet will tell you that in order to market your products you’ve got to create a hands-off “funnel” for your customers to fall into. Get them onto your website, hook them onto your email list, put them through a series of stock emails and explain to them why they need this thing you’re selling.
If you’re talented in the area of marketing copywriting, email sales pitch composition, and sales funnel creation, then that’s a great option for you! You can probably make a lot of sales following this traditional path. If you’re more like me, though – if you work well in the moment and it’s the act of talking to someone that most inspires you to be helpful to them – then you probably aren’t having a lot of success on this traditional path, either.
Playing to My Strengths
Since I’ve struggled with traditional marketing methods, I started to think outside the box: what if, instead of following the traditional path, I made my own that allowed me to focus on my strengths? If I work well in one-on-one conversations, then that’s probably the best way for me to connect with and serve my audience!
Once I figured that out, I started holding “discovery sessions” with some small business owners who are members of a Facebook group with me. In these sessions I asked them to tell me about their business struggles, which helped me to identify the common elements of struggle in the audience I hope to serve. In order to make the sessions helpful for them as well, at the end of each one I gave them a piece of advice or an insight for them to apply in their own businesses, to help them get on the way to solving their bigger struggles.
What about YOUR strengths?
Creative marketing is about serving your audience in a way that’s authentically YOU. Here are some ideas to consider for “thinking outside the box” in your marketing adventures:
- If you’re like me and your strength is in having actual conversations, get out there and participate in events that allow you the opportunity to connect in-person, like trade shows, sales events, and conferences.
- If you find it easier to talk than to write, consider using an audio or video element in your marketing. Shoot a quick video at your desk and explain something to your audience, instead of wasting hours poring over a blog post that turns out to be mediocre because you were trying to work in a medium that isn’t your best.
- If you are a visually creative person, spice up your marketing message with visual elements! Take beautiful photos, create info-graphics, or include a free download of some sort of artistic content.
- If you like to offer quick tips and “nuggets” of information, use social media as your method of delivery. It doesn’t take long to compose a tweet, a Facebook post, or an Instagram caption, and in these single-serving moments you’ll find ways to connect with more customers.
- If you do better when you’ve got the space to really hash out an idea, use an email newsletter as your primary method of marketing communication. Take your time and deliver quality content straight to your audience members’ inboxes.
How will you incorporate a new creative marketing strategy into YOUR business? How will you play to your strengths instead of following the crowd?
If you’re feeling stuck and you’re not sure where to go from here, or how to best utilize your strengths in YOUR business, I’d be happy to talk to you in a FREE 20-minute Discovery Session, like the ones I described in this post! Click the button to get on my calendar.