I was doing a little reflection/ brainstorming around gaps I see in a lot of small businesses and thought to share some of the ideas here, in case some might be “just the thing” someone needs to hear right now. Here are some key points I’ve learned in my 10 years as a business consultant and many years as a spiritual counselor and intuitive trainer.
10 Steps to Success Through Visionary Leadership
- Match your sales process and tools to your audience. I know probably 1k+ different business technology apps. Most of them are pretty darn terrific, but for different use cases. You aren’t looking for the perfect set of apps. You’re looking for the perfect handful for you. For example, I would recommend totally different CRM tools to those who serve sole proprietors or consumers than I would to those who serve corporate clients. Get the tool that supports the process you need to use to get great sales conversions.
- Know your numbers. Whether it is ROI (return on investment) from different marketing approaches, ROE (return on effort), cashflow, sales conversion rates, or sales forecast projections, make sure you have some way of tracking this information (a way that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out, or stick your head in the sand) and then make the time to regularly look at these numbers and use them to make better and better decisions. Any business that’s a half-way decent idea can succeed if you learn from the numbers and keep refining over time. And few businesses will ever get out of start-up mode if they never do this. And with the right tools, this really doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, if you believe in the power of manifestation, which I do, then this will be miraculously fun. Think of sales forecast projections as “calling in” the results you want, then letting the universe get to work on your behalf. To quote the great Joan Sotkin, “Money likes to be counted.”
- To emphasize further, be sure to measure your return on effort, not just return on financial investment, in all areas of your business. That’s important in marketing, but it is also important to be able to evaluate the return on time you’re putting into various activities, and make sure your hours are going as far as they can.
- Test and track results of your current activities and also validate new ideas before you go all in on them. Feedback is the key to success.
- Pick the top activities generating the highest returns, then let everything else go. Less truly is more. If you get 50% of your revenue from 1 activity and the other 50% from 9 other activities, it makes no sense to do all 10 things. Yet until you know which is which, you don’t know what to stop doing and you just feel like you can’t afford to stop doing anything, because you need all 100% and then some. But the returns shift once you streamline your activities. You may actually see a 200% return (compared to today) on just half as many activities.
- Retest at least once a year, preferably a couple times a year. Things change in the environment, and that will affect what works best for your business. Don’t get stuck using a wrench for every effort, just because that was the right tool when you first achieved success.
- Review your financial reports, cash flow, P&L, and Balance sheet each month (or at least each quarter). Make decisions about what sells more or less for a given amount of effort, what involves more risk, your current tolerance for risk taking, and patterns of revenue growth or decline that require attention.
- Run CRM reports to see where prospects are getting stuck in your sales process. This applies to specific people, who need extra engagement, and trends across records. Segment your prospects so you can reach out to them in custom ways.
- Clarify what the separate functions of your business are then make sure that you’re attending to them all, not favoring the things you most easily understand and ignoring anything unclear. You don’t have to call it “marketing dept.,” “sales dept.,” “operations dept.,” “finance dept.,” etc. And actually that can get you stuck really fast if you do, because you may simply not know what an operations dept. does, even if you’re familiar with the term. You know businesses have them, but you don’t know why YOUR business should have one. Instead think of it as job functions that need to be fulfilled to make the business work well and be able to grow revenue efficiently. What are the activities that need to get fulfilled regularly to do that, beyond just marketing, sales and product/service delivery?
- Utilize your inner guidance system as you work on any and all of this — feeling the best answer among seemingly equal choices. What feels good is the best answer. This can be applied in deciding what online tool you will use to schedule sessions. It can be used if you are pursuing guest blogging opportunities and want to decide which sites to pursue first. There are a number of decision points.
You can’t go after every opportunity at once, but there is a guidance system available to you that has access to the wisdom that considers the flow of events happening around you. Using that guidance in combination with what you know of practical business approaches is a winning formula.
For example, you may use marketing knowledge to decide what niche all the blogs you seek to write for will be in. Create a list of 10 possibilities, then feel how your body responds to as you think about each one. Let guidance be half the decision-making process. If it feels like a “no,” even if your mind is saying “yes,” realize there is a reason to choose something else. This will avoid wasted effort and get you the best return on everything you put your time into.
As always, track your results and see what patterns you can see in practice. Which blogs were easiest to get guest spots on? Which had the highest readers to your article? Which had the highest click-thru rate to your offer at the end or in your bio? Which had the highest conversion rate of actual sales or whatever conversion target you were tracking?
Continually track and evaluate the results of your decisions, both pragmatic and intuitive, so that you can improve over time, and your success is truly inevitable. So just enjoy the ride, without worrying whether you will reach the destination. Visionary leadership means using your inner genius to see what others miss, and then translate that into practical activities to create results in our physical world. Think of it as the c² in E=mc².
Learning to skillfully work with these concepts is what will deliver results that are nothing short of miraculous.