Top 10 things all small business owners need to focus on right now
Hi, I'm Tracey Watts Cirino, the author of Beyond Common 12 Essentials for Success in Life in the Workplace, and the founder of Beyond Common Inc., where I love to share all of the latest business results strategies and help coach & consult small business owners to create systems that drive profitability so that we can add more success, joy and happiness into your life!
Today, we're going to dive deep into the.....
10 most important things all small business owners and entrepreneurs need to focus on right now.
Business owners are often pulled in so many different directions that they find themselves putting out fires and running over here and starting a project over here. And then at the end of the day, they're so exhausted, they're so spent, and then they have nothing to show for it. When I first begin consulting with many of my business owner clients, these are the top 10 things that we always start to focus on. And now, more than ever since it's been over seven months since the pandemic hit, the United States and small businesses all across America are struggling. So I hope you’ll find this blog post both timely and helpful.
Let’s dive in and go over the....
Ten Things Business Owners need to focus on right now!
First of all, make sure to update all training programs and systems and make sure everyone in your organization is on the same page. Bad training can cost you tens of thousands of dollars every year. So please do yourself a favor and clean this up while you can. That is a huge one. Also, focus on things that drive profitability. If an activity doesn't make you more profitable, you probably shouldn't be doing it anymore.
So my dear friend, Daniel Mason Johns always said numbers don't lie. People do. And I love it. I've asked permission to steal that from him.
Yes, numbers don't lie. People do. So if it's not driving your profitability and you need to look at this to make sure you have to measure what you treasure.
Look at your profitability and make sure that the things you're doing in your training programs drive your profitability or enhance your customer experience in some way.
If the numbers don't show that you're enhancing your customer experience or driving your profitability, then why are you training people to do it?
I know it sounds like duh, but remember, sense is not common and we need to make sure that we have clear training programs in place that make it clear for everyone on our team. So if what you're doing doesn't make your customer experience better or enhance your profitability in some way, maybe drop it. It could just be a total waste of your time.
I know it's crazy, but you could be wasting your time doing stuff that doesn't matter. So definitely take a look at that number to streamline your systems and processes, no matter what systems and processes you have in place.
Check to see if it's still serving you.
So if it's like I just said, if it's adding value to your customer experience or adding to your bottom line, awesome. Keep doing it! It's definitely a system and process that's serving your company in a good way. It's creating a great guest experience. Your customers are happy and that is driving profitability. Awesome!
That one's a winner! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
But if it's not, clean it up and streamline it.
There are so many businesses that are filled with things that no one knows why they're doing it? But oh, we've always done it this way, but no one knows why?
No one ever thinks of asking why? People just do it. This is costing your company tons of hours that you're paying for with nothing to show for that cost.
It's costing you, you’re time and attention, and causing you stress to follow up and making sure people are doing it. But if it isn't driving a better customer experience or profitability, then don't do it, streamline that system or just get rid of it.
Number five, get really clear on why you're here. It means that you really make sure that you have a clear mission and vision and clarity of your purpose. Your purpose for why you're in business.
You should have clarity around why you're here.
We're in business to do X, Y and Z. The more clarity you have on your mission, vision and purpose, the better it is for you to streamline all of your systems and create the processes and training programs that are required for your specific business.
It's really kind of like the glue that holds everything all together.
So you can get really clear on why you're here.
Ask yourself why does your business exist?
What is the purpose of what you're trying to do?
How do you actually help people?
Take Apple, for instance. Apple wants to enhance our lives and make sure that we use all this amazing technology so that we're better connected and we aren't not trying to sell stuff on everyone.
So this technology makes our lives easier. We carry it with us everywhere to the bathroom on a walk. We're constantly in touch. We can face time with anybody at anytime. This technology serves a purpose in our life to create more connection and help us enhance our life experience, even our connection, relationships with others. Apple's not trying to sell us a phone, they are selling us on our dream of a better more connected life.
So really be clear about why you're here and really clear on why you're doing this specific training program, this specific system or process.
The more you have clarity around all of this, the more you're able to scale your business and attract more of, the type of customers and team members that will really benefit from everything your company has to offer.
The more time you can spend on clarifying and refining that message of, why am I here? That really will serve you and your customers and your team members so well. I think there is a statistics. I can't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but I think there's a statistic that says for every hour you invest in , why you're here, the mission and vision you will create, over the length of a 10 year business. I think it's something like 10,000 hours of more quality work that can allow for profitability. I can't remember the exact statistics, but something like that. Something about the fact that the more that you focus on the front end. Putting systems into place with clarity around why you're here, the less messy broken systems and things that have no purpose or use within your organization. This will really help you continue fine tuning all of your systems and process.
To me that's a huge win for business owners.
Number six is communication, I like to say communication, communication, communication in this day and age with there being so much uncertainty, we need to be constantly over communicating with our staff, our clients, and our community.
We need to make sure that everyone knows how much we care about them and how much they matter to us. And no matter what you do for a living, no matter what purpose your business serves, at some point there's a customer somewhere.
That's what I call your boss. Some of us have ten thousand bosses, some of us have six hundred bosses a month. It just depends what that looks like for you.
I really wanted to talk to you today about the top ten things that I think all business owners need to focus on right now.
Since we're on, communication, and that is one of those things that in this day and age, more people than ever want to know that you're there for them. And when you over communicate with your staff, your clients, you make sure that everyone knows how much you care about them and that they matter to you. Recently, I've been doing this process of interviewing hundreds of people for an upcoming project I am working on, and so many have shared that they had felt so abandoned by different types of businesses during Covid and all of the crazy things that are going on in the world right now.
So please know that I am giving you this up to date and most current information, hot off the presses, coming off of hundreds of interviews. And please know that it ran the gamut of every type of business you could think of. The clients and customers that felt so good about where they spend their money, who they do business with, felt that people over communicated with them and had their back during this. They really felt like this business over here made me feel like they care about me and we're in this together. Other businesses completely ghosted their clients and now those clients are choosing not to do business with those businesses anymore.
Please know that your customers want to hear from you. They want to know what's going on. They even want to know if you're OK and if you're not, what they can do to help.
I know it's crazy, but this is what's happening right now in this as we speak.
So make sure you over-communicate in every possible way when it comes to social media. Remember this, only two percent of the people following you are even hearing what you have to say.
I know, right? Two percent of all the followers actually hear what you have to say. My suggestion is to share so much that you're almost sick to death of hearing yourself say the same thing over and over again.
Once you get to the point that you're like, oh, my goodness, I'm so sick of my own voice hearing myself say this, then you will know that everyone has heard you. Trust me when I tell you this, I've been so guilty of this in my businesses so many times.
I used to think that because we email people, because we called all of our customers, because we posted everywhere on all of our social media that somehow our customers would know exactly what was going on and everyone that we're doing business with that they just knew.
And when I looked at the statistics that two percent of people actually know what's happening, that's all who gets to see what you're sharing with them on social media that made me say OK. We need to call again, leave more messages, send multiple emails, and tell people what you're trying to tell them in a new way. We just needed to do more and stop assuming anything.
Trust me, the more grateful and appreciative your clients will be for your dedication to over-communicate, especially right now, no one's going to be like, oh, you've already told me that. More people would be like, wow, that's so great. Did you hear this? And they'll start spreading the word for you. Please know that. Yes, you have to make sure people know what's in it for them.
Then over-communicate, because that's what's so helpful right now in this world, filled with so much noise and clutter and chaos.
Number seven on my top 10 list is ask for help. Yes.
Now is the time to not do things alone. Do not do it alone! Ask for help!
No one needs to be drowning at all. If you feel like you're drowning, know that there are so many people who would love to help you.
There are people who are seeking and craving connection. They want to be a part of something that's bigger than themselves. They want to help you out.
So please ask for help. I often do this. I just get my notebook out. I keep it simple and grab a notebook and a pencil and say, OK, who do I know that can help me with this specific thing?
Sometimes you have to take a few moments away, maybe clear your mind, meditate on it a little bit, ask the questions of the universe.
Who can I ask for help or who do I know that so great at video editing? I'm going to share a story with you. I actually forgot about this. We have a ton of training that we've been doing. I have been creating so many new videos, we have so many videos that we need edited. Some of them need to be edited for our programs and courses that we offer.
Some of them need to be edited for workshops that we teach virtually with big groups, and some of them just need to be edited for social media.
I had a client a few weeks ago who was saying, hey, what's going on with your business? What are you up to? And I said, I'm really looking for an intern, somebody that loves video editing. I just happened to put it out there.
Do you know that she emailed me yesterday and said, hey, here's this girl, Mary Beth , and she is interested in doing video editing?
And I'm like, wow, that's so awesome!
Hannah on my team is amazing at videos, but there's so much coming at her that we need some help here. Had I not felt comfortable enough to say, OK, this is an area where we need help, somebody wouldn't have come to my rescue. And I'm so grateful that my client thought of me and reached out to someone that she thought would be a good fit for my brand.
Now, in the next day or so, I'll be able to talk to Mary Beth about it and we will figure out how we can help each other. Don't be afraid to ask for help because you never know who is out there that wants to help, because that's going to be helpful for them so that they can learn and grow. You've got skills. Things you are really great at that are going to help them as well. So it’s a give and take and it's all amazing to help each other out in this way. To me it's a WIN WIN WIN!!!
Do not be drowning. Ask for help. Loneliness and isolation is not good for anyone. Make sure you ask for what you need. It's super, important to your overall health and well-being, not only just to your business best practices. Now that brings us to my next point.
Number eight is to barter and trade services with other businesses or even find freelancers who have the skills you need.
Maybe they need something that you offer and maybe they have something that you really need. Don't be afraid to look at bartering and trading services and skills. Now is a great time to really focus on your strengths and ask for help. You just never know what that could be. It's really an awesome time to think about, hey, my friend over here is so amazing at clarity and figuring out exactly what is missing within a process. So I'm going to ask her for help with that.
Then I'm really good about taking a bunch of crazy, wild ideas and putting them together and seeing the end result, like I'm so good at that. I have a friend that's like, hey, can you help me with this? And we're going to collaborate and barter and trade and it’s really a wonderful thing to come together and help support each other in this way. Don't be shy about thinking of people that you already know, like and trust who would love to help you in an area you're struggling and would love your talent and skills in an area that you have mastered and you have a lot of strength around.
If social media is one of those things that you're struggling with. I am sure you already know someone that's automatically so good at it and just putting it out there that you need help is really good.
I really feel like this is how we can all come together as a small business community globally. We can come together and help each other.
Don’t be shy and struggle and suffer in silence. Speak up barter and trade with people. It's really a good business savvy way to do things now more than ever.
Come together as a business community, help each other, barter, trade, and find people. They talk about this gig economy that people just want to help for a certain specific task. So hire people to do that or trade services with them to do it, whatever you need. It's so great when you just put it out there.
No.9 is cut all unnecessary expenses. This one people get funny about because I know as a business owner you want to save the world. You want to help everybody and do everything but you need to cut out anything that is not adding value or helping your business thrive. These things need to be cut and this is the part that's sometimes hard to say, but you even need to cut out team members that are underperforming.
They just may be better off somewhere else.
I promise you, sometimes a person will just do better and thrive in a different environment if they're not thriving in your environment or they are underperforming. If that is what's been going on. Do them a favor and let them go so that they can find the right position, because by releasing them from their underperformance, you're actually helping them out and not limiting them anymore. I know sometimes it’s so hard and we're like, oh, but they have potential.
If you don't see them currently performing at the potential that you saw in them, if they're always underperforming and you don't see progression or growth, then it may be time to let them go. As a business owner now more than ever, you can not afford to have anyone underperforming at all in your company right now.
Most people want to feel appreciated and fulfilled and they know they are appreciated and they're feeling great fulfillment when they're a part of something that helps them grow and perform in a way that's best for them and it helps stretch them out of their comfort zone.
People innately know that, so it's not a shock if that's not happening.
Sometimes they might have quit, they just haven't told you yet!
That's the thing that happens. It's never a good idea to keep people on the team that are underperforming. Now, more than ever, you don't want to waste any valuable resources. Plus the people that are thriving and striving to better themselves and be better for you and your Company, might feel like, well, why is this person still here? They're making it difficult for me to do my job.
Just think about that. I know it's a sensitive subject, but you will be doing better for the greater good of everyone by letting go, of anyone that's underperforming. So cut out expenses of any kind that it not adding value to your company.
Get rid of anything that isn’t adding value to the bottom line, the profitability or to the customer experience, really just anything that is not adding value to your company in general.
Don't feel bad about it. Just do it.
And number 10 is that self-care is everything. I want you to consider your mindset and anything you can do to show yourself a little love as the Holy Grail right now. Anything and everything you can do to get your mind set right, and do something every day to take care of yourself.
Something that brings you joy, something that makes you smile, something that brings you some type of pleasure in some way. Do that thing every single day.
I don't care what it is because it's different for everybody. I just care that you're doing something for you that makes you feel amazing and you're taking care of yourself! I can will share another story. Today, I got up super early and I went on a walk outside with my neighbor, who I am so grateful for because she really is my accountability partner in making time for exercise in my life. Then when I got back home from our 5 am walk, I did a bunch of writing and journaling and I was on fire today for our team meeting.
It was awesome! Our whole team said wow, you're on it today. So now that makes me feels awesome.
I felt so on fire, so good because I started my day by doing things that genuinely bring me joy and happiness.
Now this morning at 5 a.m., I could have crawled back into bed, hit snooze for the day, and I could have listened to the voice in my head that said, oh, it's so cold.
You deserve more sleep. Go back to bed. It's okay. You're crazy to go out there.
I mean, I could I could listen to all those crazy thoughts, but I decided that, you know what! These are just thoughts and I am in charge!
I'm doing this for myself! So I got up. If I would have hit snooze and given into the voice in my head that said you deserve more sleep.
I would not have had this wonderful experience that made me feel so good.
It made me start my day really feeling like I took really good care of myself today. Sometimes those crazy thoughts in our head, you just can't listen to them. Sometimes you have to put those to the side and do what you know is really good for you anyway.
Which is for me today, was getting up early journaling, going on a walk outside and really, having time to clear my head and be 100% present.
That was what I needed.
So, for you to keep your mindset strong you need lots of self-care, you need to cut out and limit all negative news and pretty much all non-sense media.
If it doesn't lift you up and make you feel good, motivated or inspired, you probably don't need it, especially not right now!
You need to just get rid of anything that brings us down.
If you're going to come out of this stronger than the way we went into this whole pandemic situation, then we want to create space for your personal wellness and create business systems that keep you thriving so that we can scale our businesses.
You definitely will need to put into practice all the things on this top 10 list so you don't become one of the failed statistics.
Definitely start with the top 10 list that we just went over.
Start with one that you feel like would be easiest for you.
You're more likely to continue to do the other 10 on the list. If you start with one or two that are pretty easy for you, then you'll have some success to celebrate and it'll make it easier for you to do all of them. Let's get one done so we can start to celebrate you!
If you would like more help with setting up your success habits, then I'd love for you to check out my book, Beyond Common, 12 Essentials for Success in Life and in the Workplace.
I wrote this book as a guide book to help you navigate and forge your own path to success. If you need even more help setting up your training systems and your programs so that you can get more results from your business and from your business systems.
Then check out my results training for the Beyond Common business owner. Where we dive deep into the 5 biggest mistakes business owners make when training their teams and setting up your business systems.
If you're the type of person and I was guilty of this, for so long. The type of person that's like, oh, I've been dreaming of this perfect training program and a system where everything goes in and flows perfectly, I'm just going to daydream about it. 😂😂😂
But I've no idea how to get started?
If that's you, because trust me when I tell you that was me at one time, I want you to check out my results training course because I know it will help you.
It's a foundational training workshop. It will help you get started with setting up your training programs in a way that will really drive your profitability and it will elevate your customer experience so you can deliver on the results that you've been looking for, even the ones you've been daydreaming about.
These are a few things that we have going on that can help you if you're looking for more help. It has been such a pleasure hanging out with you, and I look forward to seeing you again really soon.
Take care and be well!
Thanks for reading our blog!
With Love & Gratitude 💕💕💕
Tracey Watts Cirino