The other day I was listening to Chalene Johnson on Donald MIller’s podcast. She described herself as being the one who goes out into the woods with the flashlight, looking for the way to go so she can show everyone else how to move forward. That person ends up making lots of wrong turns before finding the perfect path, but is eventually able to go back and lead everyone in the right direction. This illustration totally resonated with me, as I feel like that has been my exact role when it comes to business strategy, development and growth. I go out there, try lots of things, make a ton of mistakes, but then come up with something that really works...to pass on to you!
As we saw incredible growth through 2016, we also saw lots of room for improvement. We did a lot of things right last year, but there were definitely some mistakes we made along the way. Here are a few lessons we learned by making those mistakes.
You Must Establish and Consistently Communicate Your Core Values
While I am good at casting vision and communicating that vision to my team, I realized last year that I never really communicated our core values. I didn’t really do a good job of letting my team know the key factors that would distinguish us as an agency. Once I finally nailed down the core values and communicated those values to my team, the team was better able to focus on doing work consistent with those values.
Limit Your Client Load
Sell on value and price appropriately. Don’t take on more people than you can handle. Overworking your team only leads to poor quality. Ensure that you are able to meet the needs of the clients you take on, and that you and your team have sufficient bandwidth to do excellent work, all of the time.
Simplify and Focus
It is important to have diverse streams of income, but you can’t be a master of all trades. I learned this lesson the hard way, and had to scale back significantly last year. However, once we did finally simplify and focus, we had some of our biggest months ever. Choosing to spend your time and energy on a few things allows you to do those few things exceptionally, which is critical for lasting success.
Give Back Even When You Start Small
If you only net a dollar this month, go ahead and give 10 cents for that dollar that was earned. Don’t think for a second that it will be easier to give when you have more money: it will likely be much harder. We should have started doing this way earlier in our business, and learned the hard way how difficult it can be to get into a habit of giving once the 10% checks are a whole lot bigger. So, no matter how small it may seem, get in the habit of giving right away and you will find it much easier to continue as your business grows.
Leverage The Strengths of Your Team Members
I have a team that is truly eager to please most of the time. Because of that, some ended up offering things that weren’t really in their wheelhouse. This led to subpar work, and often only added to the workload because things had to be redone. Keeping your staff in their lane is critical to success. This allows them to focus on the things they are good at, and produce excellent work on a consistent basis.
Charge What You’re Worth
For a long time I undervalued my services and over delivered thinking this would create client loyalty. What we found is that it mostly created stress, sleepless nights and extreme overwhelm for my team. People didn’t stick around because of it and at times became pretty high maintenance. If you don’t charge enough, people simply won’t appreciate your services as much, so charge what you’re worth.
I don’t mind going ahead with the flashlight to find the very best path for female entrepreneurs in today’s marketplace. However, please know that while I’ve built an incredible business with an exceptional team, I have also made countless mistakes along the way. My hope is that I will always be able to learn from those mistakes and pass that information along to you so that you can avoid them in the future.
If you are looking to accelerate the growth of your business in the coming year, then my Business Accelerator Workshop will give you the cutting edge tools you need to do just that. Everything I’ve learned is laid out for you to learn the skills necessary to truly grow your business in a way that makes sense to your bottom line. If you are interested in learning more, check out the BAW here!