How to take control of your business the right way
So you've read all about What to do when your business starts evolving and now you're ready to move forward. But maybe you're feeling a little stuck like Amy was when she first read all about rediscovering your core values and how to use them in business.
Since this topic first appeared to my email list, I got a ton of feedback about how much the concept of using your core values in your business was (basically) a game changer. There were also quite a few questions about the nitty gritty though, and I want to dive into Amy's question because you're really going to get a lot out of this exchange.
Bonus: I even added some more great tips to this blog post!
Before we dive in, here's a reminder of the 5 questions to ask yourself when your business is growing.
- If I don't do 'xyz' will it prevent my business from growing?
- Does this change make running my business easier?
- Do I know 5 people that would love and benefit from 'xyz'?
- Is 'xzy' in alignment with my core values?
- Does this change (ultimately) allow me to live a life I love?
Got it? Good.
Need more info about that list before you continue reading? Click here.
Now let's get to the juicy Q&A that's going to help you make better decisions for your business.
Do you always try to follow a path that lines up with all 5 questions? I’m in an interesting phase of my business where some ideas that are in total, perfect, magical alignment with my core values do not allow me to lead a life I love (whether it’s because they don’t bring in the money I need to live in my city comfortably or the time freedom I need to feel sane.)
Wondering if you ever run into that issue (I’m sure you do!) and prioritize some questions over the others.
Here's my answer...
The 5 questions are mostly a starting point and in a perfect world they would all be used to determine if something is a good fit.
Above everything - profitability is key and if business decisions don't have a clear path to profit then something is missing.
I totally run into the issue you're facing with something aligning up with my core values but maybe doesn't immediately bring in real American dollars.
But I only move forward with something if it works with my overall selling strategy.
Essentially, something that doesn't bring in immediate cash flow is only okay if it is a part of my overall marketing sales funnel to turn my audience into buyers.
If something doesn't make me $$ upfront, but serves my entire audience it is okay.
- Free for everyone
If I'm giving something away fo' free in my business - everyone has to have the opportunity to get it. Otherwise I'm just doing free work and that's never okay, unless it's for my mom (she's the ONLY exception). Now, free doesn't mean I'm just giving things away without getting anything in return. If I'm giving away a downloadable file of any sort, it's in exchange for an email address.
- Provides value for everyone
The free stuff I give to my audience has to be valuable, not fluffy. If it's a free download, it's helping my audience actually do something. If it's content on this blog, it's actually helping my audience with tips. If it's my newsletter, it's giving my Inner Circle everything first before I expand on the content in blog posts.
- Sets me as an expert
Obviously being an expert in your niche is what you want to do - so anything that I give away for free is boosting this. I'm not giving away desktop wallpapers. I'm giving away things that are going to both help my audience and showcase my expertise. This is a big thing to consider, because it needs to make sense with what I do and the actual services/products I offer.
If something doesn't make me $$ upfront (or is very minimally paid) and requires 1-on-1 attention to one person/business it is not okay.
- Only helps one person
Free work or work for very little pay is only benefitting one person. Of course it's a great deal for the person getting the work done - but not beneficial to me or the growth of my business! Both parties need to benefit from a transaction or else it isn't sustainable.
- Drains my resources
If something doesn't work in the grand scheme of my selling strategy, it's time to automate or eliminate! Everything in business takes time, so it's important to know what that's worth.
- Does not help me reach my entire audience
Working with me 1-on-1 is not available at a discount. My time is premium so if I'm not helping all for free or a few for my set price it doesn't make sense.
Now I'm going to add in a little extra advice...
Leading a life you love should be part of your core values and any business decision you make should ultimately have a path to profit.
Whether that is giving free value to your audience (and anyone that finds you!) to turn them into raving fans, or making sure that you are well compensated for your 1-on-1 time... there needs to be a reason for what you're doing AND it needs to fit into your sales strategy.
Here's an example where I give away something for free, and WHY it makes sense for me:
I give away 2 free coffee chats every Friday. You get exclusive access to this as a member of my Inner Circle (aka, email list). Why do I do this?
- This offer is available to everyone
- It's an incentive to join my Inner Circle
- Boosts the value you get from me
- We get to know each other
- It helps me learn what YOU need help with, so that I can provide it
- There are clear boundaries (only 2 times available, isn't a consultation, if you ghost me you can't reschedule)
- Overall it's a part of my strategy to get to know you, understand what you need and evolve my offers accordingly. Plus, it's totally fun.
- I can stop it at any time
These coffee chats aren't just a way for me to grow my network - they also provide super important insight for my business. Why am I now offering strategy sessions and strategic coaching? Because I'm kick-ass at it (for real, 'Strategic' is my #1 strength from the Strengths Finder test) and after a dozen coffee chats it was clear to me that my audience needed help with this in their business.
At the end of the day, you own your business and the decisions within it.
Your core values will not force you to compromise if you really take the time to consider them.