You’re listening to the Flourish and Grow to CEO Podcast, episode eight
Are you a lady boss making 50 to a hundred thousand in your business? And you’re ready to break through that six-figure barrier.
Have you done a great job of creating a nice life as the ultimate gig master, but know, your inner CEO is calling you to greater Heights. You’re in the right place. If you want to create and implement solid fundamentals in your business without sacrificing fun.
I’m Pam Ivey, I’m certified in small business management and I concentrate in the areas of training and certifying real estate assistance, coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs in online business, marketing growth and profit acceleration. And I take men and women business owners aged 40 + two bucket list destinations around the world for a month at a time to work, explore, and live in community.
And I’m Jane, Garee known as the sales strategist for the non-sales person. And I work with business owners who want to increase their conversion rate, shorten their sales cycle and have more impact and influence with the work they do all while having more fun with selling,
Hey everyone. And welcome back to the Flourish and Grow to CEO podcast. So glad that you’ve come back to join us for the all encompassing topic of Operations. It really does encompass so much in our business. So let’s start with a definition. Operations is the work of managing the inner workings of your business. So it runs as efficiently as possible. Let that sink in for a minute, cause that’s a lot, but really it’s everything behind the scenes that makes your business run efficiently and continue to make money. So it’s really the supportive work behind the scenes. And Jane, you were talking about how you see operations from a sales point of view, right?
I really do because when you talk about operations kind of in general, that is never the sexy sounding part of your business, unless you’re naturally predisposed to like operations, but for most business owners, I would say that is not the thing that makes them go. Hee pee! I’m going to get out of bed today and handle operations. But efficiency is actually one of my core values. And that plus the fact that I genuinely love having sales conversations with people, I just find them so fascinating and fun and they really do serve people. So when I started thinking about operations, as a means of supporting me, being able to have more sales conversations faster, quicker, and when are running smoothly, it also enables you to serve more people at that higher level. So now I love operations because all it means to me is I’ve got systems in place. I’ve got a process it’s working, it’s hitting my core value. One of my core values of efficiency and when operations are running smoothly, it actually allows me to go work on the part of the business that I most love, which is having those conversations with potential new clients and or serving them. So if you can find kind of your hot button when it comes to operations, so that it lights you up in the way that needs to happen, it can be a good thing.
Absolutely. It supports everything we do in order to get clients and continue to earn in our business. So that totally makes sense. So the specific definition of operations it’ll really depend on your own industry and the stage of your business. So sometimes improving operations means thinking strategically about your systems and processes like Jane mentioned other times, it means being part of the, on the ground work to bring every aspect of a project from tiny to huge right to reality. Oh my God, you guys, I know that Daniel, our audio editor is going to edit it out, but
I’m talking apparently and Jane is bored. Cause she’s watching YouTube all the time. We have some music and talking in the background, right? Jane
I wasn’t bored funny videos last night cause I liked to do that before I go to bed sometimes, but apparently YouTube on pause for too long. It’ll [indescribable sound of shame]
All right. Where was I? Okay.Talk about service companies. Cause that’s most of us are, so we as service companies, we can divide our operations into a couple of key buckets. One is client facing in the other is business-related. So start by thinking about your client interactions. Think about maybe what could happen more quickly or perhaps the customer is experiencing some unnecessary notifications. If so, I want you to consider how your current processes for communicating, collaborating, and managing projects affect the services that you’re offering. For example, if client projects are continually coming in over budget, one big operational concern would be the methods used to calculate your estimates at the beginning of a job. If you do projects, just really keep in mind that operations is key to running a business. That’s always getting better and better at what it does by taking a look at how your business is run and asking yourself questions about existing processes. You’ll be able to define and optimize what operations means for you and business. It’s one of my,
Like really big
Points and my teams that I’ve ever worked with really know that this is a big one for me is systems and processes. And that’s like writing everything down in any activity that you do on an ongoing basis over and over again. One I’ve learned to, because let’s say I ha I’m doing something technical. I’m making an update to a website or something. If I only do that once a month, oftentimes I’m going to have to go back and try and figure out what I did to make that happen. So I’m wasting all kinds of time and there’s one of Jane and my core values as efficiency. You’re wasting all kinds of time trying to find your notes or something that you’ve made done, how to do something. If you have processes and you keep it in a central home Jane and I use a system called Teamwork and it’s at Teamwork.com and they have what’s called notebooks.
And it’s a living document where you can add your processes and update them on a regular basis as any changes are made. So it’s on the fly and it’s always up to date. And it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re able to provide clear and concise documentation for your team, it leaves very little room for things to be miscommunicated. It also leaves little room for your team, not to know what to do or you, or for them to be confused. So these are the biggest time-wasters in a business, which just drives me bananas. So really documentation makes it easier to onboard new employees and saves your business from being reliant on any one person. And that’s really important too. So really we can look at operations as the three PS. I read this somewhere at one time and this really hit home for me. Operations looks after processes, people and the product or the service that you provide. So with processes, but it also includes staffing like recruiting and onboarding and training, supply management. And for us in a service business, that could be our equipment like our computers or technology that we use. Like the Teamwork that I talked about, like infusion soft for some people or Ontraport, I know Jane you use.
I do you use Ontraport
Your administration is included in Operations, all of your finances. So your budgeting, you want to look at cost reductions, customer service and support strategic partnerships, your project management, and of course profitability. So it is a very big umbrella that operations, right?
It is a really big umbrella. It encompasses so much, but it’s the, that holds everything together. So it’s a big deal.
Absolutely. It’s the foundation foundation. It’s the foundation. So planning and budgeting fit into there, your business process management and measurement as well. So your analytics, not just financial, although that’s super important and you should be looking at that on a regular basis, but also the drivers of your client analytics and your prospect analytics. How many leads does it take me in order to get X amount of clients?
That’s huge. This is the thing. When I, when I work with my clients, we talk about the numbers a lot because most people do not know their numbers and you really can’t grow your business or even make the income that you want to make minimally. If you really don’t understand the client acquisition process and the client acquisition data. So one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make is they just kind of pick this random income number they’re going to make for the year. And then it becomes kind of, I’m just, I’m not going to worry about how I’m just going to manifest it and there’s nothing wrong with that. And we certainly talk about the whole inner game and why that’s important. So that’s good. And we still need a strategy and a plan. So in other words, if you know that you have a 50% conversion ratio, you have to talk to 10 people to get five clients.
So you need to stay on top of that. Like anything in life I can say, I’m going to pick something. I’m going to build a house, but there’s no plan. I’m going to lose X amount of pounds. But if there’s no plan and I don’t really have anything to implement in a systematic way, it’s going to be a little challenging to meet that goal. So knowing the data, being able to analyze the data, then you can create a specific and strategic plan to make sure that you hit your goals. And that’s all that data is in the operations.
Absolutely. Oh my goodness. If we want to hit a goal of $10,000, that’s kind of out there, right? But if we can put numbers to it, we can put it into much more perspective and make it feel so much more attainable, so much more doable. So say we want to make $10,000 this month. And we’re a course provider. So we teach we train and our course is a thousand dollars. Well that means we need to get 10 students, just 10 students that month into our program. So it doesn’t that make it feel so much more realistic and doable. Then I want to make $10,000 this year. And that’s it right?
What is what a lot of people do. And I think that’s such an exercise in frustration and utility, because if you just pick a random number out of the sky and you don’t really have a plan and you don’t have a strategy and you don’t have any data to support that either a, this is what we need to do or B here’s where you need to recalculate reroute. Then you don’t hit the goal. When you don’t hit the goal, you get frustrated and you think, well, I don’t work or my business doesn’t work or people don’t want what I have. And really none of that is true. You just haven’t done the calculations of the data. So in other words, you haven’t pulled together the operation side of your business to know this is what needs to happen. So that these next several things can then happen.
Absolutely. And if you ever told me when I was in high school, that I would really like math, I would’ve thought you were off your rocker, but these kinds of numbers like totally juiced me up. It just makes everything seem so attainable when you break it down like that. If I want to make a hundred thousand dollars a year, I only need a hundred students. As I do have a course, that’s a thousand dollars. So a hundred students in a whole year, that sounds so darn doable. But if you tell me, I want you to make a hundred thousand dollars with your course. I think I, how am I going to do that? Right,
Right. It really, the analogy I always use is just trying to lose weight because at some point most of us have tried to lose some, nobody would say I’m going to lose 20 pounds and I’m not really sure how that’s going to happen or say, I’m going to lose 20 pounds. And I’ll just kind of be in the flow and I’ll eat what I feel like when I feel like it. And if I’m in the mood to work out, I will know, you would say, okay, I want to lose 20 pounds. You’d probably pick a little bit of a deadline. And then you would calorie count or you would eliminate certain types of food or you would, and, or you would schedule in your calendar. These are the times that I’m going to do some cardio. So you would have a very specific strategy with implementable steps because you would know this is what I need to do to hit this goal.
And it’s just gotta be the same way in business. It’s so many people don’t actually put that piece in. So if that’s you, that’s not your fault. That goes back to what we talked about in, I think it was Pam was our first podcast where it’s this whole concept of being a gig master. And that’s what I’m saying. It’s not your fault. It’s never your fault because what you should do is give yourself a pad on the back for getting up every day and saying, how am I going to create some income today? Because as a business owner, that’s gotta be your number one priority. How are you going to create income? How are you going to drive revenue? So we’re doing that. The operations piece is just your anchor, because it’ll give you a roadmap of how and what you need to do to get there.
Absolutely. I think that was so well said. I’m just, I’m just thinking, because you know, we haven’t gig masters now who we’re talking to, are people who are ready to get out of that gig masters situation and start growing the business and having it more automated, more enjoyable, really, but more predictable, more sustainable income and grow, right? Let’s go back to processes for a second because we just kind of brushed over that or, you know, talked about at a high level. But let me just tell you one of the easiest ways to create your processes is to actually write things down or, and, or record your screen as you’re doing something. And there’s a program out there. And of course, we’ll add it to our resources list in the show notes called loom L O O M. And I think it’s loom.com and you can grab a free account there and you can actually record your screen.
So anything that you’re doing is shown and you’ll know step-by-step how to do it next time, or when it’s time to take on team, or if you have team, you just give them the video. It’s pretty wild, it’s easy and it’s free. I just love that kind of stuff. The other thing is, if you currently have a team, every time they do something new, have them document it, we’re working with a newer team with our podcasts. And that’s what we’ve asked them to do. Every single thing that they do, we’re asking them to go into our teamwork, which is our project management account, create a new notebook for this specific process and record each step. So we have processes in case someone has to step in for someone else, or we have to replace someone, it’s easy peasy. We’re not starting from scratch over and over again. I can’t stress enough how important these systems and processes are to have in place. I wish I had them from the beginning of my business because I struggled over and over again, trying to remember what I did last month.
You’re so right, Pam, about the writing down and the documentation of your processes, otherwise known as what you are doing, because here’s the good news for everybody. Number one piece of good news. At some point you are going to be able to outsource. You’re going to be able to afford to do it, and you’re going to definitely want to do it. So just know that day is coming. When you have everything written down and you’ve got your processes documented, that means your outsourcing is going to be a much smoother transition. Somebody can pick up the ball and run with it because they’re going to know exactly what they need to do. So write down, document your process and just know, Hey, good news for me in the future. I won’t even have to do this. I can outsource it. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is it’ll help you get more clarity on what you’re doing in your business, what you’re not doing in your business, or what you need to reconfigure in your business. And I know, especially for creative types and a lot of us business owners, entrepreneurs, we tend to be highly creative, getting that process down in some type of rich and format. It’ll just remind you if you’re going off track or maybe you’re having a day where you, it’s kind of tough to focus. You’ll have a document that you can actually pull up and say, Oh yeah, this was my process for getting these types of results.
Have you been sitting in my office? It just sounds like you know me, because I have to do that, I have to pull myself back to earth a lot. Cause I’m, you know, a typical entrepreneur, a new idea a second.
Yeah, it happens. You know, a lot of times I feel sort of split personality because I’m the typical entrepreneur. There’s a new idea every 13 seconds, like start a lot of things. I usually have to hire people to get them finished. So there’s kind of this woo, you know, squirrel part of my personality that is very present in every day. Interestingly enough, though, I’m also somebody who I have a plan. I want to work the plan. There’s a place for everything and everything has its place. So I think that I am not alone. And that’s what causes a lot of internal stress and anxiety for business owners. Because the part of your personality that shows up and says, I’m going to make something happen. I’m going to create something from nothing. I’m going to get this going, Oh wait, here’s something else I can create from nothing.
Oh wait. And then there’s over here. That thing that I want to do, that’s really normal. And you may also naturally be wired to like a plan and have things in place and keep them orderly and keep them organized. So yes, I speak from experience and it’s not a joke how much internal stress that can actually create. So finding the rhythm where you are allowed to let your creative flag fly high. And you’re just all over the map and create some space in your calendar where you can clean off your desk, where you can organize your files, where you can keep things orderly and organized because otherwise you’ve really got these two parts of your personality that are at war with each other, and that will derail your business.
You just hit on an amazing point there, Jean it’s making time to work on your business. That’s exactly what you were saying. And we got to do that. I know when we’re rushing from client to client, we’re so busy. We forget that we’ve got to work on our business as well, instead of just, you know, the day to day working in it. So it’s so important to put some time on your calendar.
It’s kind of like the triple on its work on your business, not in it. And it is you’re serving clients. You’re doing the things on your business is the mentality of the CEO. I’m creating a strategy, I’m future pacing. I’m designing things. I’m thinking critically about what I want my business to look like in the future. So that’s working on your business. It’s also working on yourself. So that goes back to the inner game that we talk about. You’ve got to really set aside ideally daily sometime to be doing self-development and working on yourself. Because if you don’t stay on top of that, everything’s going to go sideways. And then I jokingly refer to the third on. You got to work on your desk. And what I mean by that is like right now my desk kind of looks like a bomb, went off on it.
So I need to put in my calendar some time to work on my desk, get things back in order, get the visual clutter down. Science actually proves that when you have a lot of visual clutter, it affects how you’re processing things. So the cleaner your environment is the more orderly it is. It’ll create more efficiency in your business. I work. Yeah. I work with a lot of creatives and I’m thinking of one in particular, he’s a photographer. And I would hate going into his house because it was, it looked like quarters. It was really rather scary. And of course I would never say anything, but he always said, yeah, yeah, I know it’s a mess. I know it’s a mess, but this is how I work. I’m a creative. And I thought, I just wondered how much more he would actually get done if he created some semblance of order and organization in there. And that’s not a judgment because I look at my own desk and I say the same thing. So it’s real, you don’t want a lot of visual clutter. You need to have an operational system. And that includes your physical workspace.
It’s really true. I learned really early in my corporate career that I can’t have anything else on my desk other than what I’m working on. Or it pulls from my attention. Yeah,
It does. It pulls focus really quickly
When people walk into my office and go, Oh my God, your desk is so tidy. If they only knew it was thrown in my drawer. But, but it’s, what’s on my desk is only what I’m working on at the moment.
which is pretty well, everything over into a bucket or a bin or a basket or something when I just didn’t have time to really go through what was on my desk. But I thought, man, I am never going to get this project finished because all I can see is this clutter in this disorganization. So
Everything’s saying, Hey, I need your attention. You need to look over here. I need this to get done
Well, it’s because it needs your attention for your business and it’s serious, or it just needs your touches because it’s fun, you know? Yeah. You hit the nail on the head of sparkling notepad. That’s real. Here’s this horse I got when I was in Hawaii. I mean just, you know, crazy stuff sitting on your desk, but little pull focus for sure. It will.
Absolutely. So I think that’s really key. I’m glad we talked about that. Something else that’s so important in operations is our customer service. You know, we worked so damned hard to get customers into our business. We need to work even harder to keep them there because we know, and we’ve heard over and over again. I know you’ve heard it, that it’s so much less effort and cost to keep a customer as opposed to getting a new one. Yeah. So one of the things, just an example for operations for our customer service is to provide a client welcome packet if that fits for your business. And some of the things you can include, I was just thinking, I used to do this for my clients and they loved it. So the key points of contact, this is what you can include in that packet, how your meetings are scheduled and when they’re scheduled your business hours and your vacation holiday schedule expected response times to inquiries, how to handle requests, emergencies, and maybe some key expectations of client participation.
Because I think one of the most important things that we can do with our customers is to manage their expectations. Because when we meet those expectations or exceed them, we create really happy customers. One of the other things I used to do Jane with my client welcome packet when I was either a virtual assistant or a coach was I would include this really fun questionnaire. And there was some serious questions on there, like their birthday and stuff so that I could follow up. But one of them was, tell me something about yourself that I would ordinarily never know or find out about you. And one of my clients, this is so cool. One of my clients wrote back, my mom was the voice of Wilma Flintstone seriously. And he was an actor himself. So he was an acting coach and he had acted in, I think it was Phantom.
He traveled all across the us and, but his mom was the voice of Wilma Flintstone. And how would I have ever known that if I didn’t ask some fun questions?
Yeah. That’s wild. I love that. I’ve just always been so curious about people. It’s probably why I really love the role that I’ve always played as a salesperson because I’m constantly in these conversations with people. And I just, I love hearing their stories. I always say, I’m that crazy person on the plane then instead of putting on their headphones and put my nose down in a book, when somebody starts telling me a story, I kind of lean out to go really well. Then what happened? What what’d you say? What’d she say? I’m just so fascinated by people and their stories. Absolutely. And it, it builds that relationship even faster with your client because you’ve got something really cool to talk about.
Okay guys. So that’s it for operations. And for our episode this week, remember all the resources that we mentioned in the episode will be included in the show notes, located at flourish.biz. That’s F L O U R I S dot B I Z