This is Not How You Grow a Business

This is Not How You Grow a Business

I see lots of business owners saying they are behind, that they are not going fast enough in their business and it’s frustrating them.

If you feel like this I’d like to reframe it for you.

Building a business is a long game where you learn from experience and get better over time.

🚗 You know those ‘learn to drive in a week’ courses where you learn enough to pass your test but then you have YEARS of learning what it’s really like to drive on different roads, in different conditions and with other (often dodgy) drivers on the road?

It’s a bit like that.

You can learn enough to get going in business pretty quickly but the rest takes time.

  • Every mistake is a lesson
  • Every disappointment is a learning curve
  • Every flop is a chance to try again
  • Every bad customer is showing you who you DON’T want in your business.
  • The knowledge to grow your business comes FROM the experience of running it
  • You can’t rush that

You’re not behind, you’re going at exactly the right speed for where you are now in your business and your life.

Love, Claire xx

A Business Lesson from Prince’s Safecracker

A Business Lesson from Prince’s Safecracker

I was listening to a podcast on the way back from the school run one morning and they interviewed the safecracker who opened Prince’s (the singer) safe after he died. Random, I know, but bear with me.

This man had been cracking safes for over 20 years. He studied them. He had honed his skills and perfected his art. He had files and folders of measurements and technical drawings to help him do his job.

He explained that modern safes, especially the one Prince owned, are unbelievable and deemed uncrackable. It’s not like in movies where they listen for clicks, that went out years ago.

The only way to crack them is to get through the multiple layers, including one made just of ball bearings that wrecks drill bits, use an endoscope and reverse engineer the combination. They have minute tolerances – if you are a couple of millimetres out when performing just one of the complicated steps it will fire a re-closing mechanism that wrecks all the work you just did. It was fascinating (well at least I thought so!).

Anyway after an hour he was able to swing open the door to the safe and the roomful of people gave him a round of applause and it made me think of you. Why?

Well, think about the spectators. To them they had watched a man take an hour to open a safe.

What actually happened was a man only took an hour to open an uncrackable safe because of the 20+ years of practise, experience, research, learning and persistence he had behind him. Understandably he is expensive to hire but you’re paying for the years not the hours.

Now, think about how much you have learned over the years to get to where you are today.

All the practise you’ve had, the mistakes you have made, the shortcuts you’ve worked out, the art you have perfected, the skills you have developed.

The end result is what you sell in your business and you under-charge because you think people won’t pay what it’s actually worth.

This is my reminder to you that your end product or service is the result of years of experience and the ‘right’ people will value that and will pay the right price. Focus on them.

Would You Turn Down £500?

Would You Turn Down £500?

“When you turn down £500 cash (50% discount) in your hand today because they are not your super client!!!! ARGH!!! lol Off to lie down!”

I love this post!

A lady in one of my Facebook groups posted it and it started a big discussion that might not have gone the way you might expect. Instead of bemoaning the fact that she had ‘lost’ £500, everyone in the group was cheering her on and saying how well she had done!

And they were right!

She’s a very talented photographer and puts a lot of work into every client project.

She made me laugh because her next comment was “My head was going ‘just take it, go on’ but my mouth kept saying nope!!!… I know it was super cheeky of him to ask for that kind of discount but I’d have only had myself to blame if I’d have taken it!” This is the power of knowing your Super Customer. She knew that if she had taken that money and discounted her prices by 50% even though she really needed the money and it was right there, ready to grab, several things would have happened:

She would have under-valued her service.

It’s worth what she charges for it and if she had taken 50% less then she is telling the Universe and herself that she’s not really worth what she charges. It might sound woowoo but if YOU don’t value your time and expertise, how can you expect anyone else to?

She would have begrudged the work

It wouldn’t have flowed, it would have felt like hard work and she would have been carrying out the project knowing that the customer wasn’t prepared to pay the proper price.

If someone else had come along, who was prepared to pay her usual rates, she would have had to say ‘no’ because she was booked up with this ‘half price deal’

The customer clearly didn’t value her enough to respect her pricing – he was looking for ‘cheap’

And that always spells trouble.There’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting but when you are dealing with someone’s time and expertise and livelihood and you want cheap, that’s a different matter. Clients who want ‘cheap’ under those circumstances often become nightmare clients because they don’t value you or respect you.They are hard to work with. They are tricky – they try to squeeze ever more from the deal, stall signing it off and then become troublesome payers, if you invoice them.

But she didn’t give in to temptation or pressure.

She said ‘no, thank you’.

By doing that she showed him that she values herself and her service.

She proved to herself that she is brave and bold and confident enough in her service to not have to discount.

She showed the Universe that she’s prepared to stick it out and wait for a better client who loves and values what she does, and she’s made room for them by saying ‘no’ to bad business.

She’s let that ‘bad’ client go and find someone else to work with, someone cheaper who maybe doesn’t value themselves as much. That’s their call, but she’s not prepared to compromise at that level.

She’s freed up time that she would have spent begrudgingly working for him.

She knew that the £500 she rejected could have cost her much, much more in time wasted, energy sapped and confidence battered. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ when you think about it.

She’s done herself proud.

And I am really proud of her, as are the other ladies in the group.

It’s hard to say ‘no’ to the money, especially when it’s being dangled in front of your face and you’re feeling a bit broke. But it’s harder to deal with the consequences of saying yes.

3 Words You Need To Stop Saying

3 Words You Need To Stop Saying

There are 3 words that pop up in my Facebook groups day after day and they are so destructive.

  • They make you feel stressed.
  • They make you feel you’re not good enough.
  • They pile on pressure where there doesn’t need to be any.
  • They make you feel overwhelmed and paralysed.
  • They never let you move on and do the good stuff.

Maybe you have said them too? If so, you need to stop!

What are they?

“I’M SO BEHIND”

Have you said this?

If you have, you are definitely not alone.

I think we often say it out of habit but it’s a habit we need to break.

Why?

Because it doesn’t help you ONE LITTLE BIT.

It doesn’t help you move on. It doesn’t make you feel like tackling anything; in fact it does the opposite.

When you say ‘I’m so behind’ you immediately feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. You feel you have to ‘catch up’ before you can move on.

How does that help? It doesn’t!

You are NOT Behind

The truth is you are not ‘behind’ because there is no deadline. You go at your own pace.

If you haven’t got around to setting up your email list, updating your website or watching all the classes and courses you have bought it’s probably because they felt TOO BIG TO TACKLE and you’re a busy person, right?

If you want to stop feeling like this, think about your business right now and use my TEN-MINUTE LIST method on it.

The Ten-Minute List Method

STEP ONE: GRAB A NOTEBOOK AND PEN. Do a brain dump, get all your big jobs and ‘to-do’s out of your head and onto paper until your brain is empty (work, business, personal, all of them) so you have processing space in your brain to think.

STEP TWO: BREAK DOWN ALL THE BIG JOBS into their tiniest possible tasks (ideally these take 10 minutes or less to do).
‘Finish my website’ (huge job) is actually lots of tiny tasks such as write product descriptions, sort payment links, find images, add blog, do product photos, it’s made up of lots of tiny tasks.

A TINY TASK could also be replying to an email, writing a Facebook post, taking a pic for Instagram, booking an appointment, writing a paragraph of a blog, updating a price on your website, creating a FB post in Canva, watching 10 minutes of a class, scoping out a blog, doing a bit of research, making a call, sending a text, coming up with product or service ideas, anything your business needs.

STEP THREE: CREATE A TEN-MINUTE LIST. Put all your TINY TASKS onto a list you can have with you. I have mine on a notepad app on my phone but you can also scribble your ten-minute list onto paper and carry it around in your pocket or bag.

STEP FOUR: TACKLE ONE TINY TASK AT A TIME and cross it off your list. You will soon see your list shrink and your feeling of accomplishment grow as you whiz through your ten-minute list. Honestly, I’ve achieved massive things in tiny windows of time just because they were there on a list and I could tackle them even when I was busy.

Even HUGE projects can be broken down into tiny tasks and tackled in ten-minute windows.

  • If you are waiting for the kettle to boil, do a tiny task.
  • If you are parked-up waiting for the kids in the car, do a tiny task.
  • If you have an hour spare, do a few tiny tasks.
  • If you have a ten minute window between other things, do a tiny task.

It’s all about using those tiny windows of time to get things done on your tiny task list.

Tiny tasks add up to HUGE results. And if you really need to tackle a BIG TASK that needs more than ten minutes, book out a couple of hours in your diary and make it happen.

You’re not behind and you can do this.

Love, Claire xx

The Runny-Jam Approach to Business

The Runny-Jam Approach to Business

This week I picked a load of plums from our plum trees and decided to try and make plum jam. Now, this was my second-ever jam-making experience because a few weeks ago I made gooseberry jam and it turned out brilliantly, so I set out with a bucketload of confidence on my plum-jam adventure.

I did what the recipe said, did the test at the end on the freezing plate to see if went wrinkly (which it did) and so I put it into jars and waited for it to set. I waited and waited. It never did. No idea what I did wrong but it was a pourable liquid (which isn’t really the desired effect).

So, I did what I would do in business; I figured out how to fix it because I certainly wasn’t going to bin it.

I Googled. I bought pectin. I boiled it all up again and put it back into jars and it’s perfect. (Well, truth be told I added a bit TOO much pectin so it’s a bit TOO set for my liking 😆 but it’s usable and delicious. Job done.

And while I was reboiling my plum jam I thought of you.

I wondered how often you have binned an idea, a product, a service in your business because it didn’t turn out how you wanted or expected first time around?

  • Maybe you have half-finished projects that didn’t turn out as expected?
  • Maybe you have samples that never made it past sample stage.
  • Maybe you have online folders full of files that didn’t make the grade.
  • They are your equivalent of runny jam.

Instead of starting again, I want you to take a look at which of your runny-jam projects you might be able to fix and go on to sell.

I bet you find something you can use. Let me know if you do!

Love, Claire xx

Are You Moving Forwards or Standing Still?

Are You Moving Forwards or Standing Still?

I was chatting to a lady in my group recently and she said she felt her business wasn’t doing anything.

It wasn’t growing. It wasn’t moving forwards. At best she was just standing still.

She was a bit fed up about it and was asking for help.

So I asked her how she knew it wasn’t growing.

She said she just felt that way.

So I asked if her numbers were telling her that her business wasn’t growing.

  • Were her sales over the last 12 months better or worse than the previous 12 months?
  • Was her average sale value larger or smaller than this time last year?
  • How about her repeat business – were more customers returning for repeat sales than a year ago or fewer?
  • Was her website traffic better or worse than last year?
  • Were her social media numbers growing or shrinking?

Now, to her credit she admitted she didn’t know because she hadn’t tracked any numbers but she said she would head off and try to find out.

It’s really easy to forget to do this (or not even realise it’s a thing). You’re busy IN your business and handling whatever else life throws at you so it’s not surprising numbers don’t get tracked but here’s the thing.

The numbers in your business give you really valuable information.

  • They tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
  • They tell you about patterns in your business.
  • They tell you about opportunities you might be missing.
  • They tell you where to focus your energy and attention and where NOT to.

(This is one of the main reasons I designed my Awesome Marketing Planner by the way, because too many people weren’t tracking their numbers and they were missing out on sales as a result.)

So, back to my lovely lady. She couldn’t get all the information but she had a lot of it.

Turns out her number of sales was slightly better than the previous 12 months.

Not only that but this year her average spend was way up, so even though the quantity of sales wasn’t massively improved she was making quite a lot more money per sale (she just didn’t feel busier).

Also, she found out more of her customers were coming back for repeat purchases than the year before and there was a pattern – they tended to buy her best-seller and then come back for more of that, plus try other variations so she could now put bundles and offers together to encourage them to spend even more each time on things she knew they would love.

And finally, her social media numbers were pretty static because she wasn’t posting engaging content and she knew this, so she tried some of my engagement suggestions and all of a sudden people were seeing her posts and taking action (including buying).

So I guess there’s a lesson here. Know your numbers. Even if you don’t like numbers it’s not like maths at school, these numbers are telling you what to do in your business and how to make more money and it’s easy to know them, just start tracking them from today. Do it every day, every week, every month. Make a habit of it then use these magical numbers to grow your business and make more money. OK?

Love, Claire xx

PS: if this resonated with you please comment and let me know, I love hearing from you!