Build a Business that Works for You

Do you work for your business or does your business work for you? 

I think all business owners and entrepreneurs could benefit from answering this question.

If life were to catch you off guard, or perhaps if you wanted to take a couple days or months away from the business would it continue to thrive? Would it just survive? Or would it shrivel up and die?

Life is unpredictable, and we probably started a business to create freedom and flexibility in our lives. So this is another reason why systems are so important: documented & duplicatable systems keep you from becoming a slave to your business, so you can have the success and freedom that you work so hard for.


1. Remember Why Your Started

We want our businesses to provide maximum value and impact, in a consistent and seamless way and we can accomplish this by building businesses that are independent and intentional.

Why did you start your business?

Many people would say they wanted to create a better life. A life with more time, more money, more flexibility, more freedom, and more fun. 

Yet, many business owners find themselves working tirelessly, and often end up with the complete opposite. Don’t feel bad if this is you, because at one point or another all entrepreneurs get lost like this, so they are pushed to figure it out if they want to succeed and evolve.

It’s crucial to regularly come back to the center and remember why you started. It’s important as well to regularly evaluate the purpose your business was supposed to serve in your own life.

Remember that your business is there to serve a purpose for your life too, not just everyone in and around your life.


2. Create a Business that Doesn’t Depend on You

The key to growing your business is structuring it in a way that it won’t depend on you.

You want a business that works to serve your life, delight your customers, and engage your team. The goal is a business that can be independent and grow in alignment with your vision and values with or without your supervision.

Developing systems that clearly describe how your business will look, act, feel and perform can help you accomplish this. Think of this like your business blueprint.

Having clear guidance ensures that in the event that you are not active in the day to day operations of your business, your team will confidently know what to do thanks to clear intentionally prepared systems.


3. Get Systematized

Once you are clear on why you started and what your business’s purpose is, then you can start focusing on developing the systems to support & maintain that.

Systemization is about freeing up your business from being dependent on any one person. This makes sure that your customers’ experience doesn’t change as your business may grow, expand, and evolve.

Business Systems & Business Processes: What’s the difference?

A Business System is like an overarching or core element that you are looking to implement in your business consistently. A system helps your business run like a well oiled machine.

Business Processes are the building blocks that make a business system effective. The processes are all of the things you do in order for the given system to work.

Business Processes can also be known as standard operating procedures or SOP’s, and are commonly used like checklists. Essentially any process can be given to an employee and completed without training. Processes are known to consistently improve customer service & customer experience.

The system is the goal, and the processes are what make the system effective, so all must make sense & work together.


Why Systems are Essential

Systems are essential for expanding your organization, improving business functions, adding new people and products, growing your revenue, improving profit margins, escaping your business temporarily, and even your final exit of the business someday.

Systems are often up for debate among many small businesses leaders because some find developing these systems to be redundant, time consuming, and boring. Especially, when there is a seemingly endless list of other tasks to do first.

Many small business owners are stuck in a difficult position. A position in which many don’t have the time to work on their business because they are too busy working in it.

They also can rarely take time away because they haven’t been able to develop the systems and processes needed to run smoothly on auto-pilot. So not all business owners are able to navigate their way out and some become stuck-shackled to their business.

Which leads me to the conclusion that there is a false lack of urgency around business systems, which makes sense but it can be costly.

How Systems & Processes Can Save Your Business

  1. Can save you valuable time
  2. Can save you on labor costs
  3. Can prevent errors & inconsistency
  4. Can bridge communication gaps
  5. Can provide you leverage & scalability
  6. Can make your business a more valuable asset in the future
  7. Can increase consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness
  8. Can build your authority & credibility

There are plenty of benefits that strong systems can provide, like enhancing employee buy in, and building a community of supportive followers that trust you.

Even though systems are overwhelming and time consuming, they can be the key to unlocking the full potential of your organization.


What Business Systems are Most Important?

Technically, anything in a business can be systematized but there are really four foundational types of systems to implement regardless of industry, or the current size of your business. These are always a good place to start.

  1. Marketing System- You use this to generate a consistent flow of leads into your business. Nearly half of small business owners run marketing entirely on their own and most of these do so without a plan. Without a plan, your results will be completely random and uncontrollable. Marketing is a journey that you need to guide your prospect through in order to reach your desired goal. So creating a marketing plan and systematizing that will ensure that your efforts are the most effective.
  2. Sales System- Used to nurture leads, follow up with them, and hopefully convert them into paying customers. Here you will want to build on their interest in your offer, and really push the benefits of taking your relationship to the next stage. Your ultimate goal in this phase is to build relationship and establish trust.
  3. Fulfillment System- This system focuses on the reason you want to turn your customers into lifelong supporters, fans, and friends. You want to increase the chances they will buy from you again, and refer new business to you more regularly. Here you’ll want to think about how you plan to deliver a memorable experience, and how to foster an environment that keeps your customers coming back for more.
  4. Operational/Administrative Systems: these systems are regularly procrastinated or pushed to the end of the list. This is mainly because these are less exciting and more tedious systems to develop. Once you develop the systems for everything behind the scenes, then your business will change entirely. These activities take place on the back end of your business and include things like planning, goal setting, project management, communications, scheduling, maintenance, book-keeping, taxes, payroll, etc.

How to Easily Make Sense of a New System

These 4 simple elements can help you breakdown any essential task into a duplicatable system with less confusion & overwhelm.

  1. Process: Step by Step Actions
  2. Tools: Required devices, apps, software, etc. needed to complete objective
  3. People: The Person or People involved in each step of the process
  4. Strategies: The tactics, tips, or techniques you use

Example: Publishing This Blog Post

  1. Process: Research, Title, Outline, Write Draft, Revise, Create Graphic, Schedule, etc.
  2. Tools: Google, Google Docs, Word Press, Canva, etc.
  3. People: Me & One other person, etc.
  4. Strategies: SEO, List Building, Copywriting, Creative Writing, Graphic Design, etc.

Scaling a business is all about creating duplicatable systems that anyone in your organization can understand, implement, and improve upon with time. Once you are able to step back so that you can create the systems that your business needs to thrive, you will certainly reap the rewards of a business that works for you.


Inspiration for this blog comes from the highly valuable book: The E-Myth Revisited.

To learn more in-depth about topics like this every month join our community, attend a Boss Board, apply for the incubator program, or reach out with any questions!

Social Media Basics For Marketing Your Business

It’s common knowledge that social media has transformed the way in which the world operates, and the business world is no different. Social media has been growing rapidly for almost 2 decades, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Social media platforms are not only a way to keep up with friends, family, or the latest news. It is also offers an opportunity for businesses and brands to make deeper connections, create an impact, and discover new opportunities for growth.

As of recent statistics, there are currently 3.78 billion daily active social media users which is about 48% of the global population.

So many of us already know how to use social media for personal purposes, but do we know how to effectively use it in a professional capacity? Let’s find out.


How To Use Social Media For Your Business: The Basics

1. Start With A Why

In many ways, business is what leads our society into the future. This means that your business idea is much bigger than you alone and should require careful thought, reflection, and consideration. Take the time to gain clarity about the reason that you want to launch this business, product, or idea.

It’s important in the realm of social media, that businesses be more transparent and engaging than they may have been capable of or comfortable with in the past.

Social media puts you in a place of leadership and influence over your audience, so it comes with an added responsibility for their well being too. Which is why it’s important for a business to lead with it’s why, before it tries to sell it’s how or what.

That will really be the difference maker whether or not your content is inspiring or manipulating your audience on social media.

2. Design your content strategy around your customers

This falls in line with establishing your why (purpose or desired impact) before establishing a how (strategy or system)  or a what (product or service). 

 According to Simon Sinek in his famously valuable book “Start With Why” he says that: “A WHY is just a belief, HOWs are the actions we take to realize that belief, and WHATs are the end results of those actions. When all three are in balance, trust is built and value is perceived.” 

This is the best way to grow your audience, by building trust and providing value first. So in order to do this the right way you will need to know who your audience is, what they stand for, and what they need most. 

It’s interesting that social media forces business owners of every size to learn ways to relate more closely with their customers, as if they were a local small town shop. When in reality a great number of interactions are done online and through social media.

This has given businesses the ability to stay at the forefront of their customers’ mind at any given moment, which understandably has its pros and cons.

3. Find the right balance of quantity and quality

A common concern among business owners about social media is whether or not they are posting enough, or too much, and if what they are posting is good enough to “work”.

The effectiveness of your content can really come down to many factors. So you have to decide what is the best balance and strategy for you, your business, and your audience. 

Ultimately one of the biggest deciding factors in this is: good intent. If your intentions are good, it will show and that alone will draw the right people to you.

Consumers are more able now than ever to recognize a company that has bad intentions or hidden agendas. It’s important to get to the core of what your intentions are with each piece of content before dedicating the time to creating it. Is your goal to get someone to “click through” or is your intention to make a meaningful connection and provide as much value as possible?

Social media is a real and exciting opportunity to unleash the power of word of mouth, but you have to give people good things to talk about. Your audience will be happy to see more quantity from you if your content is quality but more importantly created with good intentions at the core.

4. Keep track of your progress

There is a common phrase stating, “what gets measured, gets managed”. Which is understandably true because results do in fact count, and trackable results are in fact usually desired.

So in order to measure our progress, we should try to develop an understanding of the metrics that are easily quantifiable, and those that aren’t. For example, things like company culture can’t exactly be quantifiably measured but are still just as significant. It’s good to make sure that we don’t neglect the things that aren’t easily trackable, but are still essential to the brands and businesses overall success.

Let’s Break Down The Important Social Metrics That We Are Able to Monitor:

There Are Basically 4 Different Types of Trackable Metrics:

  1. Awareness: These Metrics highlight your current and potential audience.
    1. Brand Awareness
    2. Audience Growth Rate
    3. Post Reach
    4. Potential Reach
  2. Engagement: These metrics show how your audience is interacting with your content.
    1. Applause Rate
    2. Average engagement rate
    3. Amplification Rate
    4. Virality Rate
  3. Conversion: These Metrics show the effectiveness of your social engagement.
    1. Conversion Rate
    2. Click Through Rate (CTR)
    3. Bounce Rate
    4. Cost Per Click (CPC)
    5. Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
    6. Social Media Conversion Rate
  4. Consumer: These metrics help you understand how your active customers perceive and feel about your brand.
    1. Customer Testimonials
    2. Customer Satisfaction (CSat) Score
    3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

For full descriptions and how to track these metrics yourself click here.

5. Experiment and mix up your formats

Social media really follows social trends and human behavior, so it’s best to stay flexible in your strategy and execution.

Experimenting with different styles and formats can help you get familiar with what may connect best with your audience and find ways to more effectively communicate with them.

This can also include playing around with a variety of hashtags for your posts. Hashtags are like SEO for Social media. If you don’t really understand what SEO is, that’s okay. SEO is essentially related to what we search for on google and the same goes for Hashtags on social media.

The goal is to intentionally use relevant keywords and hashtags so that your content can be more quickly accessible for your audience.

Does your brand know how to use hashtags in a way that gets the most value out of them?

Let’s find out.

10 Types of Hashtags To Use On Your Social Media Posts

  1. Industry Related Hashtags
  2. Niche Specific Hashtags
  3. Brand Related Hashtags
  4. Image, Visual & Design Related Hashtags
  5. Caption Reference Hashtags
  6. Community Hashtags
  7. Target Audience Hashtags
  8. Event Hashtags
  9. Celebration/Holiday Hashtags
  10. Trending Hashtags

According to a recent Instagram statistic, posts that include at least one hashtag, attract significantly more engagement than those that feature none at all.

This just means that followers really do engage actively with hashtags. If you can dedicate some time to specifically researching hashtags on platforms like Instagram, you could seriously boost the potential impact of your social media presence.

Utilizing hashtags and doing some research into which tags are best for your content can make a massive difference to increase the effectiveness of your social media efforts.


So to wrap this post up, many of us clearly see that that there is a lot of information to take in when it comes to social media marketing for a brand or for a business. So this is quite literally just the tip of the iceberg. 

Brands are continuing to develop their social media strategies, and they absolutely should. There are an abundance of options when it comes to content marketing, and businesses are trying it all in order to discover what works best for them.

Social media isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing. It can take a significant amount of time and energy to maintain. Which means that it is helpful to be clear on what your foundation is, and what vision for the future you are hoping to inspire before you click post or publish.


Would you like to learn more about social media and content marketing tactics for your business? Let us know!

5 Actionable Steps to Take While Contemplating Your Business Idea

When thinking about starting a business, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. We tend to overthink about what to do first, then procrastinate what to do next, and worry about what to do last in order to climb the mountain of success all the way to the top.

Starting a business is a long journey, and there are countless paths that you can take to reach your destination. So it’s important to have self awareness and the discipline to know which path is the right path for you.

If you are contemplating a business idea, and are wondering what to do first, then we have created this article to help you take some simple but effective steps to find out if starting a business is right for you and how to pave your own path towards success.


1. Recycle Your Resume

Your resume is not only crucial when applying for jobs, it can also become a unique tool to help tell your story.

Your resume tells potential customers, vendors, bankers, and partners who you are as well as what skills and expertise you have.

Put Your Spin On It

  • Use your current and past jobs as an opportunity to spin your past into new lessons or inspirations. Every job can probably teach you something, or remind you of something you already knew but didn’t pursue.
  • Explain how your past jobs have prepared you for the journey you are on now.
  • This can also tell a story about your vision for the future.
  • You can really spin it into whatever story you want to tell, don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

Update or create your linked in profile

LinkedIn is still a very influential and powerful platform when it comes to making professional connections. There is still organic reach meaning that you don’t need ads to get in front of people who want what you have to offer (see #2 Below).


Benefits of Maintaining Your Linked In Account

  1. Access to its Powerful Job Board
    • Broad spectrum of job opportunities and you can even apply to jobs via the networking platform itself.
    • You can receive regular emails and alerts related to your job search.
    • Ability to discover and utilize keywords from job postings.
  2. Offers the Benefits of a Personal Website Without Building a Website 
    • Personal websites are great for showcasing your brand while also highlighting your expertise and personality. Linked in offers a simpler shorter solution that is easily just as trusted & effective.
    • You can upload a professional profile picture and write a personalized summary that showcases your unique brand personality.
    • You can also access the “featured” section on LinkedIn where you are able to highlight your content like blogs and podcasts. So over all this profile should contain everything that you need to present yourself, and your brand with confidence, and clarity without all of the costs of a traditional website.
  3. Helps Boost Your Google Ranking
    • Ranking on Google’s first page is becoming increasingly more difficult. But, Linked in with its trusted and powerful network, is sometimes able to boost your page higher in google rankings than a website or online portfolio.
    • Google yourself. If you haven’t done it already, now is the time. See what pops up, because it’s a guarantee that other professionals will google you before ever setting up a meeting. Google search is pretty important, so we want to take it pretty seriously.
  4. Portable Professional Network 
    • Gone are the days of stuffing business cards into your wallet. Even though business cards have carried great importance in the past, they no longer serve the same purpose and often end up in a junk drawer or worse… the trash.
    • Linked in is a better way to keep up with your professional connections along the way. Keep them saved in your connections so that one day you can quickly reconnect if either of you want to.
  5. Get a Peek Into Company Cultures
    • Not only can individuals create and maintain LinkedIn pages, so can companies.
    • If a Company uses the platform effectively, you should be able to understand a lot about them and what they do, as well as their company culture and the overall employee experience too.
  6. First to Know About Industry Related News, Events, and Opportunities.
    • Just like any other social platform, there is a timeline where you can view content, news, and other media from those that you connect with.
    • Here, you can get access to the professional communities of social media, that tend to share more networking and professional opportunities and related news.

So if you have held back on creating or updating your Linked In profile, then this is your little nudge to just do it! 

There are tons of serious benefits to having a Linked In profile as an entrepreneur and if you aren’t in then you’re out, you know?


2. Learn From a Small Business

  1. Small business owners wear a lot of hats, and it’s hard to really visualize that kind of multitasking without seeing it first hand.
  2. Working in a “big business” usually means that you have a pretty defined job role, and your role is pretty clearly lined out.
  3. Working in a small business (less than 10 employees) is great for a part time second job while you are working to grow your business or even working at another company while building your business in your spare time.
  4. An advantage to working in a small business is that you are more closely linked to the top tier of the company and you can more quickly access opportunities to grow within the business.
  5. Getting a front row seat to watch another business can help you better prepare for the volatility of business and learn how to ride the ups and downs more smoothly.
  6. Go for job interviews. This is an amazing, cheap and clever way to sell yourself and your experiences. You don’t have to accept a job just because you attend an interview or a meeting. Interviews are great practice to learn how to pitch yourself and your services as well as improve your storytelling and interviewing skills.
  7. Interviewing with multiple people, or working in various roles can help you understand more quickly what you dislike just as much as what you do like. Just simply taking the time to be open to opportunities can help lead you down an amazing new path you didn’t otherwise see.

3. Take Personality Tests

Following your curiosities is one of the many powerful secrets to uncovering your true potential and passions. 

Personality tests are our answer to the many questions that we have about ourselves. This natural curiosity leads us to want to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the other people around us.

Personality tests are growing more and more trusted by professionals and are becoming a more integral part of our current recruitment processes.

Aside from the more obvious professional benefits, on a personal level it is really beneficial to know more about ourselves and each other in order to be more conscientious colleagues and humans in general.

While there is not one specific personality type that makes a successful entrepreneur, there are a number of traits that are bound to make you more naturally inclined to be successful in the business world. Some of which are:

  • Risk Tolerance
  • Visionary Perspective
  • Empathetic Nature
  • Innovative Thinking
  • Disciplined & Determined
  • Ability to Embrace Failure
  • Etc.

Evaluate Your Goals:

It’s important to understand where your ideas and goals are coming from. 

Try to think both in the short term and the long term, because even though business is a long term game, it requires consistent short term action to make it last. 

Getting super clear on who you are, and what you want out of your life will help you better understand yourself and your ambitions to take clear concise actions towards your dreams.

5 Personality Tests that Encourage Personal & Professional Growth

  1. Enneagram: 9 Personality Types
  2. Type Finder: Myers Briggs 16 Personalities
  3. DISC Assessment: You In The Workplace
  4. Big Five Test: Score Yourself Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
  5. Holland Code Career Test: Learn which jobs suit your interests, talents, and aptitude.

4. Ask For The Sale

I’m sure you have heard it before: Know your worth.

It takes some time to know how to price and sell yourself or your business. Everything is based around value, and value is perceived. So you can truly charge whatever you think that you are worth. Here are some bits of advice you should consider before your business sells anything:

-Don’t give away your products or services for free. Even if you only charge $20 to start out, you are at least gaining the practice of valuing yourself.

-Your prices are never set in stone- you always can and should change them as you grow and figure out the future of your business.

-Don’t worry about underpricing yourself. When first starting, your first sales are going to help you develop a system that works for you while also hopefully gaining some feedback about what is going well and what needs to be improved. This way, when things start to pick up traction you already have some basic knowledge and experience to build on.

-Don’t give away 100% of your products. Always establish boundaries and limits of the quantity you are comfortable with using for promotional purposes. Limiting the number you are able to give away, means that you have to sell the rest and that establishes more urgency which is crucial in an effective selling process..

-Lastly get used to asking for referrals and reviews. These can change your whole business trajectory if you receive good ones. Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool around town, no doubt.


5. Find Your Financial Flow

Yucky finances I know…but this is probably the most important step you need to take when even considering starting a business.

As an entrepreneur or solopreneur, you will wear a lot of hats and you will likely have to teach yourself a number of things too. One of which is bookkeeping

Bookkeeping for your business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be so hard either.

Let’s Get Clear on Some Important Terms First:

  1. Revenue: Your Income before paying expenses.
  2. Profit: The difference of subtracting expenses from revenue. This amount is what you have available to leave in the business itself or withdraw.
  3. Expenses: Bills, and other things that you have to pay for to keep running your business.
  4. Fixed Cost: An expense that doesn’t change with changes in volume of goods or services produced by your company. (ex: rent, salaries, utilities, etc)
  5. Variable Cost: An expense that varies depending on what a company is producing. 
  6. Equity: Money obtained from investors, or yourself, in exchange for ownership of a company.
  7. Debt: Money that comes in the form of loans from banks that must be repaid over time.
  8. Cashflow: The amount of money flowing in and out of your business. Free cash flow is the amount left after paying expenditures and free cash flow is a way to measure the profitability of your business.
  9. Burn Rate: The amount of money that your startup is expected to spend over a predetermined period of time, usually measured in quarterly or yearly cycles. A growth period rate pre-revenue.  Ideally you can then continue growth from profits.
  10. ROI: Return on Investment 

Track Your Progress

Many people hope to start a business in order to make an impact or provide value. Although how could we ever know if we are being truly impactful if we don’t have a way to measure our impact. 

KPI’s are “Key Performance Indicators”. These are super important to get familiar with if you have hopes to run a successful business of any kind. 

A Key Performance indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates the effectiveness of a company and how successful they have been in achieving their key business objectives.

What gets measured, gets managed.  Don’t be overwhelmed with KPIs in the early stage, as you will start simple with one or two KPI’s and then gradually add more.  Letting your data tell a story and help you make better decisions is the ultimate goal.

As you learn to track your progress using Key Performance Indicators, you will be able to establish more reachable money goals, budget, invest, and save more effectively.

Keep Things Seperate

The last thing that we want is financial trouble. So it’s important to keep your start-up finances separate from your personal finances. 

By keeping your finances separate you will be able to better manage your business growth and make sure that you are staying on top of your responsibilities. In addition to that, it will help save you a substantial amount of time and money.

Having all of your finances go through a personal account, could lead to more confusion and more time communicating with a financial professional, which also means more billable hours and less money in your bank account.

As your business grows, you won’t want to be the accountant/bookkeeper forever. You will eventually want to hire someone to manage your finances and taxes for you. And I can guarantee that they will insist that your finances remain separate. So it would be best to just keep them separated from the start 

Lastly we should talk briefly about Debt because statistics show that 8/10 people in the United States are caught in the web of debt, which is seriously substantial. 

If you are able to pay your debt off before starting a business, it would be advantageous to do so. Although that isn’t a possibility for everyone, and different types of debt play different roles in someone’s financial situation too.

So when considering starting a business, make sure that you also make a detailed list of all debt that you have both personally and professionally, and try to pay off what you can before committing to a business venture that could require additional financial responsibility from you as you grow.

Now that you have a foundational understanding of start up finances, do your best to get comfortable with your numbers, and get super clear on what your business will accomplish, and how you plan to monitor that progress. 

By keeping your finances clean and separated, and developing a system to monitor your progress, you will be able to start your business more confidently instead of cautiously.


Now, it’s important to remember that every business is different and depending on your business model you may have different steps to take in order to get started but generally speaking, these 5 action steps will help you get more clear on what exactly you desire to do, how to plan for it, and how to maintain it once you are up and running.

Do you have questions about how to make your business idea into a reality? Reach out to us and our community of business leaders will help you get the ball rolling.