Systems: This Is What Happens When You Have The RIGHT Systems But In The WRONG Order

Systems: This Is What Happens When You Have The RIGHT Systems But In The WRONG Order

I recently held a virtual workshop where I talked about the three biggest mistakes I see many business owners making in their business, which leaves them feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and basically stuck.

One of those mistakes I shared was having the right systems in place, but in the wrong order.

Let me explain a bit more…

Over the 16 years I have been in business, I have become aware that there is a very specific order in which to build your business, and if you do any of this out of order, then at some point you’re going to cause some problems for yourself.

So, I took these steps and created a 3-step business management model. I refer to these three steps at the 3 “Ms” to Online Business Management Success, and it is this business model I follow and teach my private clients to follow too.

Put simply, the three steps in the 3 Ms model are:

  • Step 1: Manage – build the foundations for your business by creating your core systems
  • Step 2: Market – create visibility so that your target market knows who you are and what you do, and then build your database of potential clients and customers
  • Step 3: Create Multiple Streams – when you get to the “bursting point” in your business repackage your expertise into various products and programs to leverage your time

I’ve written and talked about this specific business management model a lot previously, so I don’t want to focus on the process today. Instead, I’d like to share with you the results you get (or don’t get) when you do things in the WRONG order.

Scenario #1: Creating & Launching an Info Product Without Having a List in Place

Rather than focusing on building your list (step 2: market), you spend time creating a product (step 3: multiple streams) because that’s what you’ve been led to believe works … create a passive product that people can buy on your website and you become an overnight success!

So you create and launch your product, but you don’t get any sales!

Why? Because you don’t have anyone to sell to!

This is a classic case of going straight to Step 3 and completely missing out Step 2.

Scenario #2: Running an Advertising Campaign to Get New Subscribers/Leads

Let’s say you run a Facebook ad for your ezine, and it’s a huge success and you get a ton of new subscribers (step 2: marketing). If one (or more) of these new subscribers are then interested in working with you, what processes do you have in place to turn that subscriber from a potential client into a paying client? I.e. your client conversion system – and this is actually a part of your contact management system (step 1: manage).

So if you don’t have this system in place before the marketing, you’re going to have to scramble to get this set up and you could actually lose the potential client in the process.

This is an example of marketing your business (step 2) before managing your business (step 1).

So even though in the two scenarios above, you had the right systems in place, you were implementing them in the wrong order. The result is that both of these scenarios will have a very real impact on your bottom line:

Scenario 1: You put in hours of YOUR time creating an info product with no sales. What is your hourly rate? Multiply that by how many hours it took you to create the product and there is the cost of your lost revenue opportunity. That time would have been better spent focusing on getting new ideal clients so that you can fill your business and generate consistent revenues.

Scenario 2: You lose the sale because you don’t have your systems in place. The client goes elsewhere. What has that lack of systems just cost you in terms of business revenue?

Where are you struggling to get the right systems in place? Share in the comments below; I’d love to help.

© 2017 Tracey Lawton Training & Consulting LLC

Tracey LawtonAbout the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. Get your free Systems Checklist TODAY and see if you have all of your bases covered.

 

3 Simple Steps To Manage Your Budget And Cashflow

3 Simple Steps To Manage Your Budget And Cashflow

Along with paper piles, budget and Cashflow is another area that can be a huge source of overwhelm and frustration! 

And I bet the very title of this article made you think twice about reading it 🙂

In your corporate days you would have had a bookkeeping/accounting department that took care of all of this for you – they paid the invoices, they tracked the receivables, they tracked the income, and they told you the bottom line!

Now that you’re running your own business you are also the Chief Financial Officer, and it can be very overwhelming.  However, it needn’t be… let me share with you three simple steps that you can put in place to manage your budget and Cashflow.

But first, let’s start with what is a Cashflow projection?

One important area of your Financial Management System is that of a Cashflow projection.  Put simply, a Cashflow projection shows whether your anticipated income will be able to cover your expected (projected) expenses and this report is very beneficial to you in your business.

It is an annual report and, if set up correctly, will show you how cash will flow through your business throughout the current financial year.  I’ve been using a Cashflow report in my business for many years and find it invaluable.  Just recently the chance to participate in a high-profile teleclass series came up, and because I have my financial systems in place, I knew straightaway that it was something I could take part in!

Step 1 – Create Your Cashflow Report

This is very easy to do using a spreadsheet.  Create a column that lists all of your expenses, i.e. office supplies, legal & professional fees, membership, advertising etc. and a column for each month of the year.  You will need to create formulae that will tell you your total income, total expenses, and subtracts the expenses from the income, and also carries forward any amounts from month-to-month.  This is so you can see how your finances are ‘flowing’ throughout the year.

Step 2 – Input Your Data

Taking your financial data from your bookkeeping system input your actual income and expenses, and list any projected expenses in the appropriate row/column.  Your Cashflow report will now show you at-a-glance any time periods for which you will need to be especially aware of.  For example you may have a lot of expenses in one particular month so you’ll know that the previous month you’ll need to make sure that you have the funds kept back in your bank account to take care of those upcoming expenses.

It will also show you if you can afford to make an investment in your business, whether that’s signing up for a new service or membership club, taking out an advertisement, or buying new equipment.

Your Cashflow projection can also be used as a budget planner.  You can plan out when annual memberships are due and put those in ahead of time.  You can also add in an amount for when your taxes are due.  This will provide you with a really good feel of how cash is flowing through your business, month after month, throughout the year, and you can also tell how much you can take off for owners draw, but still leave enough to cover the anticipated expenses.

Step 3 – Schedule In The Time

Now that you have your Cashflow report in place, it’s important that you update it regularly so that you can stay aware of how cash is flowing through your business, and take any actions necessary so that you have enough to cover all of your anticipated expenses.

I recommend scheduling in at least 30 minutes once a month to update this critical financial management report.

A Final Thought…

Having an annual Cashflow projection will provide you with all of the information you need so that you can keep on top of your business financially and know where you are.

If you have a bookkeeper taking care of all your financial records for you, ask them to prepare your monthly Cashflow report for you.

Where do you need help with your financial management system? Post in the comments below; I’d love to help.

© 2017 Tracey Lawton Training & Consulting LLC

Tracey LawtonAbout the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. Get your free Systems Checklist TODAY and see if you have all of your bases covered.

 

Test, Analyze, Course-Correct

Test, Analyze, Course-Correct

The month of January has just flown by — I feel we were just celebrating Christmas and poof! it’s the end of January!

One of the reasons I think is that (as well as a trip to San Diego) I’ve been knee-deep in a client’s launch campaign for one of her online training programs.

We’ve also been testing several different marketing strategies too to see what works best.

That’s one of the big advantages of an online business … if something isn’t working out as you’d hoped, you can easily course-correct.

This is some of my favorite work to do, and I love to help my clients figure out the system they need to get set up to make a launch campaign run smoothly.

So, as you’re busy planning out your next big launch, keep these three stages in mind:

  • Pre-launch: this is where you do all the major planning and strategizing and usually takes several weeks.
  • Launch: this is where you launch your event/program and is a relatively short time-frame.
  • Post-launch: once the initial launch phase is over, you want to ensure that you continue to get more sales, especially if it’s for a product that will be available over the long-term.

You can read more about these different stages here.

And, as always, if you have questions or comments please post below.

Why It’s A Good Thing To Delete Your Subscribers

Why It’s A Good Thing To Delete Your Subscribers

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through my subscriber database and cleaning it up — deleting subscribers, products, and autoresponders.

I ended up deleting over 3,000 subscribers!

While that might sound a little scary (after all, why would I want to delete subscribers that I’ve worked so hard to get?) it’s actually a very good exercise to do.

If you’re at all familiar with your own email open rates, you know that only a certain percentage of your subscribers open your emails, yet you continue to send emails to this same group of people.

Did you know that you when you continually send email broadcasts to people who NEVER open your emails it affects your email deliverability?

So, for that reason it’s a good idea to really take the time — at least three times a year — and segment your subscribers between those who open your emails and those who don’t.

For those who don’t, you can pop them into a re-engagement campaign to try and reactivate them. And if they don’t open your emails after that, simply delete them.

By regularly taking the time to clean up your list you’re emailing to a high quality group of subscribers who do open your emails. Plus your open rates will increase, which makes you feel like you’re not emailing to crickets!

There a couple of others areas where you can clean up your client database too, and you can read about them here.

And, as always, if you have questions or comments please post below; I’d love to help.

Photo: flickr, sammynetbook

How To Create A Marketing Calendar

How To Create A Marketing Calendar

You make more money in your business when you have a plan!

And creating your marketing calendar is the first step in the process.

One thing that kept cropping when I was teaching at a recent event was the fact that so many of you are getting overwhelmed with your marketing; not so much with the list building or connecting with potential clients, but your actual marketing planning, i.e. what email to send when, what to promote when etc.

Just a couple of examples of what I’m talking about:

  • You’re taking part in a Giveaway Event that has specific promo dates, but then you realize that these dates are slap-bang in the middle of another promotion.
  • You’re being asked to speak at events or telesummits and don’t know how this fits into your overall marketing plan.
  • You want to launch a new product or program but are not sure how all the different moving pieces fit together.

The busier you get in your business the harder it becomes to keep a handle on things.

For all of these scenarios there’s one very easy solution … create a marketing calendar.

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A marketing calendar is a very powerful business planning tool, and an essential one for your business if it’s to grow and flourish. With a marketing calendar, you can see at a glance:

  • Upcoming promotions that you need to prepare for.
  • If any of your promotions conflict or overlap with one another.
  • If you can accept that offer to speak at a telesummit or event (and be able to promote it too).
  • Whether you need to move things around a little to allow for an unexpected opportunity.
  • What you need to be doing and by when.

This is the exact process that I do in  my business — in fact I’ve just done this for 2017.  And the exact process my private clients get taken through when we create their own marketing calendars, using my strategic Marketing Action Plan (MAP) tool. So today I thought I’d share that process with you so you can create your own marketing calendar.

Step 1: Create your Year-at-a-Glance Overview

Even though I teach chunking everything down into 90-day Marketing Action Plans (MAP), I have to start with the big picture in mind. So the first step I take is to create my Year-at-a-Glance overview.  I have a template that I use specifically for this purpose, but you can easily create your own using Word or Excel. Basically, you list out your months and then identify what you’ll be focusing on that month by way of promotions.

There may be some months throughout the year that you do the same thing each year, so go ahead and add those, i.e. every December I focus on a Business Planning program, so I will go ahead and add that at the start of the year for December.

When thinking about each of your 2017 months, what do you want them to look like?

What products/programs/services do you want to focus on for each month/quarter?

What list building activities will you be doing?

What email promotions will you be doing?

And what “fun” things do you want to build into your life, i.e. vacations, hobbies etc. Each quarter should have some personal goals in there too – it’s not all about business.

At this stage, it’s just an overview; all you’re doing is getting a feel for what you want your business to look like. Don’t over-think this too much.

Step 2: Transfer Everything to Your Marketing Calendar

I have two separate calendars — a regular day-to-day calendar and a marketing calendar.  And this is what I recommend you do too — create a calendar solely for your marketing activities so that you can lay it all out.

One of my favorite tools for creating these calendars is to use Google calendars. It’s easy to set up; it’s easy to move things around; and it’s easy to overlay it with your regular business calendar. Also, as Google calendars sync with your smart phone (and iPhone/iPad too via the Google app), you always have instant, up-to-date access.

If a Google calendar’s not your thing, you can also use a dry-erase planner from your local office supplies store, and hang it in your office. The dry erase feature means that it’s easy for you to move things around without it becoming too messy. Post-It notes also work well too!

Whichever method you choose (and you might have your own preference) creating a marketing calendar is essential to the success of your business … and your sanity!

Where are you struggling to create your marketing calendar? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to help.

(c) 2017 Tracey Lawton Training & Consulting LLC

Tracey LawtonAbout the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. Get your free Systems Checklist TODAY and see if you have all of your bases covered.

 

3 Simple Steps to Plan for a Successful 2017

3 Simple Steps to Plan for a Successful 2017

As we head into the start of a new year, if you’re:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with getting your systems in place – Get More Clients System, Financial Management System, Business Planning System, just to name a few;
  • Stuck in “analysis paralysis” because you have so many ideas you don’t know where to start; or
  • Trying to stay on top of all the different moving parts; ezine, listbuilding, product launch, marketing system, financial stuff,

then take a minute right now to follow these quick and simple steps to ensure you start 2017 off on the right foot.

And the answer to all of this overwhelm and chaos you’re experiencing is really quite simple … you need a plan!

Listen, I know that many of you shy away from creating a strategic business plan. For some of you it’s simply a huge stumbling block. For others, you think having a plan makes you feel boxed in. In fact the very opposite is true.

When you do have a plan in place, you have a clear path to follow. And it changes your business and your life for the better.

You no longer feel overwhelmed and frustrated; instead you sit down at your desk easy day knowing exactly what you need to be focusing on that day.  That’s what planning does for you and your business.

So today, I’m going to share with you my top three simple steps so you can get your business started on the right track in 2017:

1. Be clear on the purpose of your business; why you’re setting it up and what results your services will deliver for your clients. This is also known as creating your Big Picture Vision.

Your Big Picture Vision consists of two key questions that you have to think really hard about and answer.

  • What is your PASSION?
  • What is your WHY?

When you put these two answers together you create your Big Picture Vision, and this is the framework that you build your business around.

2. Get clear on your ideal client – be really specific on who that person is. Creating an ideal client profile is a big sticking point for many business owners.  Without an ideal client profile marketing becomes hard, and your message becomes very general.

Many business owners are afraid to pick an ideal client profile for fear of limiting themselves in terms of not getting enough clients, but the opposite happens.  When your marketing and your message are very general you don’t really attract anyone because they can’t relate to what you’re offering … it doesn’t talk to them specifically and address their concerns, their issues, and their problems.

The clearer you are in identifying your ideal client, the clearer your message will be, and the easier your marketing will be … and you will attract your ideal clients and more of them.

Because you are talking specifically to them, when they come across your website/see you at a speaking gig etc. they can immediately say, that’s me!”. That’s the result you want your marketing messages to achieve.

3. Plan your activities in 90-day blocks of time. (I call these Marketing Action Plans (MAP).) Ninety days are perfect for creating a really focused, action-oriented plan.  It’s far enough ahead that you can create some long-term plans, but not so far ahead that you feel overwhelmed.

Your 90-day plans need to be specific and measurable, and identify who is going to do the work, if not you.  Plans should be:

  • Action oriented
  • Have specific tasks
  • Assigned deadlines

So if you don’t know where to start when it comes to creating a plan for your business, start with these three simple steps, and you’ll soon get your business on track.

Where are you struggling to create your MAP? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to help.

(c) 2016 Tracey Lawton Training & Consulting LLC

Tracey LawtonAbout the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. Get your free Systems Checklist TODAY and see if you have all of your bases covered.