Category Archives: 10 years 10 Business Tips

10 Years 10 Business Tips – #10 – Maximise your own skills and outsource the rest

This is the final blog post in my 10 years celebration series and oddly, lands on my birthday!

So, it’s happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to my business. Although I’m a little bit older than 10!

So this post is about maximising your own skills and outsourcing the rest.

I first came across this principle whilst reading the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, so many small businesses try to do EVERYTHING themselves. I realised very early on that I simply couldn’t do this.

Within one year of starting my business and was still working full-time in the dental laboratory I employed a virtual PA to work within my marketing business.

She worked around 10 hours per month and sorted out all of my accounts and dealt with phone calls and managed my diary. I still have a virtual PA to this day and simply couldn’t do without one.

You MUST invest in your business!

I’ve also invested heavily in technology.

I started managing my client work manually on a spreadsheet but it soon got out of hand, I use Act! Premium a customer relationship management software to keep track of prospect and clients… I seriously could not do without this piece of software.

When I first started I also did a lot of my tasks manually, for example I used to search monthly for the range of keywords my clients want to be found for, I did this manually on Google and entered the results in a spreadsheet.

TIRESOME!

There is now extremely powerful software that can not only search for hundreds of keywords but also compare where clients rank against competitors, there is so much data it simply is not possible to do this manually.

Website design is also something I’m not good at. I can do the content and make it work but I’m not a designer! I see too many small businesses attempt to do websites themselves, believe me I can tell when I see one.

I firmly believe it’s worth investing in a good website designer as well as branding designer to get things on point, looking good and working well. I’ve got a few on the recommendations page of my website.

So the key is, understand what YOU can do uniquely that NO-ONE else can do… And then outsource or delegate (to either a human or software) the rest.

That way you can build a successful business which is scalable beyond what you could do on your own.

SORTED…

10 Years 10 Business Tips – #9 – Develop a positive mindset

It sounds simple doesn’t it, think positive… But I realise it is not always quite so straightforwards.

It takes time.

It takes effort.

But it’s worth it.

When Bill Gates created Microsoft he wasn’t thinking “This is pointless, no one in the world has a computer”, rather he was thinking “How can I make this new product accessible so everyone in the world DOES have a computer!”.

When Steve Jobs created the iPhone he wasn’t thinking “This is pointless, no one knows how to use a touchscreen phone”, Rather he was thinking “How can I make this new product so intuitive that EVERYONE CAN use touchscreen phone”.

If you ever think “This won’t work” then STOP.

Reframe.

Re-think the question to “How can I make this work?”

If you have a product or service that people want, if you have a way to deliver it that is uniquely yours and if you have the passion behind your idea then you will not fail!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 7 – Develop your network

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but is also one of the most important.

The first step is to identify similar businesses which share your customer demographic. The trick is to be really clear about who your ideal customers are, where they hang out, what they like to do etc?

Once you know who your ideal customers are you can then identify similar businesses which do not compete with you directly but share the same customers.

Examples that have worked really well for me are:

  • Video production companies.
  • Business coaches and consultants.
  • Training and education businesses.

In some instances I’ve been approached by these businesses looking to share common interests with me, other times I have approached them.

The key is to have something which is mutually beneficial to offer both your clients, that way you get a win/win situation for both your business, their business and all of your clients!

It’s about looking for commonality between businesses and then helping each other.

An example could be that I could approach a video production company and ask them to give me some top tips on how to produce videos for a business website. I could then reciprocate this and write them some top tips on how to market and attract more customers to a business.

We could reciprocate these articles, perhaps on our own blogs.

The video production company gets some excellent content helping their customers with their marketing.

My customers get some excellent content helping them with their video production.

It’s a win/win/win for both companies and all customers.

Working together like this also engenders a sense of friendship, trust and community and I found the building my business based on these values has been both sustainable and beneficial.

Begin working together… Sharing together… And building the rewards together!

Live frugally

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 5 – Live frugally

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Live frugally

I do this in my business and in home life.

Business

Many businesses think they make a profit but they don’t.

Profit is what is left AFTER the owner has taken out what they want from the business.

Profit is what remains with in the business each year, it can be used for a variety of reasons but it is not drawn by the business owner.

Keep your drawings and costs under control, whilst keeping turnover high to ensure you make a genuine profit.

Home life

I draw the minimum I can out of the business, I keep costs at home as low as possible while still enjoying the lifestyle I want to enjoy.

This allows me to keep the maximum amount of profit in the business, this can be used to make calculated and planned investments.

As a small business owner, personal finances are inextricably linked to our business. If we always live to our means the reality is that we will push ourselves and live outside of our means.

Stay humble. If you can’t afford it you can’t have it.

Just because you run your own business or have X profession doesn’t mean that you should earn a particular amount. If your business doesn’t generate it then you don’t own it!

I remember once being called into a practice, the practice owner told me they were in desperate need, their business was about to fall apart, they were about to make their team redundant, they were about to lose everything… Apart from the brand-new Mercedes AMG parked in the driveway.

I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t have a Mercedes AMG, but I’m suggesting that that may be a symptom of why their business was in such disarray, perhaps they just spent too much!

Keep it under control.

Stay humble.

Only buy what you can genuinely afford.

Invest in technology

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 4 – Invest in technology

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Invest in technology

I appreciate that is not always possible to do this in every single industry and every single sector, however the principle remains.

A great example of using technology is that each month I wanted to report to my clients on where they were found in their Google search results.

I had multiple phrases for each client e.g.

  • Dentist in -location
  • teeth whitening – location
  • dental implants – location
  • and so it went on…

When I first started I simply took these phrases, typed them into Google and put where the client was in the search results into a spreadsheet.

But as I grew I realised this was taking SO much time.

So I invested in technology, I purchased some software which did this for me.

I now pay around over £10,000 per year on various pieces of software, all of them help me stay effective and deliver a service to clients which is not possible manually. I now regularly track over 50 words for each client and plot them against where they are with their competitors… A task which is simply not possible to do by hand.

Maintain your customer database

Since the word go I’ve also used Sage Act! It’s absolutely fabulous. I maintain my entire database of every single person that I’ve ever spoken to, I know what I said, who are said to, what was said and what the next steps are.

It’s shown me that sometimes it can take many years for a client to come to fruition… My record so far is 7 years!

So my advice is to look for ways to utilise technology to manage your clients, even if it’s just managing your relationship with your clients then do it… It will make you more efficient, help you deliver a better service and help you grow.

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 3 – Help other people

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Help other people

Many businesses have their primary objective is making money or selling.

I firmly resolved to make my businesses primary objective to help patients find local dentists and to do that by helping my clients reach patients in need.

I knew that if I did that extremely well then money would be an outcome of that, rather than an objective in itself.

I remember I had one particular dentist who continuously contacted me asking for advice.

I can remember sometimes getting frustrated,. How was I going to make money out of simply helping people on Facebook all the time? Doesn’t this person know that I have a business?

But I stuck with it, clearly there were boundaries but after a little while this person asked if they could pay me to help.

Client number 2 was now on board.

What I began to realise now was that I needed to up the amount of FREE resources and information that I put online. I doubled my efforts to create free content by way of downloads, blog posts and social media updates.

The result was that people could now find lots of information themselves which cut out this initial continuous contacting stage.

By the time client number 3 came on board it was simply then contacting me to say that they had read lots of my content, liked what they had seen, had tried lots of stuff already but now wanted me to help further.

Client number 3 came on board after a 10 min phone call!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 2 – Fake it till you make it

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Fake it till you make it

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but do you remember Roland Rat Superstar?

He just turned up on TV one day and announced that he was a superstar.

That’s exactly what I did!

When I first started out I knew I had a passion for marketing, I knew I had a passion for helping small businesses, I knew I had a passion for dentistry and I knew I had a passion for connecting dental practices with the local community.

But I had absolutely no history. No credibility to back up what I was saying. No clients. No testimonials.

All I had were my credentials in dentistry and an MBA (Not to be sniffed at, I agree)

So I just started writing blog posts, Facebook updates, creating YouTube videos and doing free webinars.

Initially I was talking to know one, no one saw what I wrote or listened to me.

But I started telling everyone that I was the expert.

People started to follow me.

People started to like what I was saying.

People started to read my blogs.

People started to follow me on twitter.

People started to contact me and ask if I could help them.

My business was born, I had my first client!

I used the Roland Rat Superstar approach and fake it until I made it… But I guess that’s what many businesses do 🙂

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 1 – Plan the business backwards

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Plan the business backwards

Sounds weird right?

But this is exactly what I did.

When I set the company I worked out what I wanted/needed to earn in a year.

I then worked out what all my costs for the year would be.

I then calculated how much retained profit I would want to make each year.

Earnings + costs + retained profit = necessary sales

I then knew what my sales needs to be in a year.

I then looked at the number of days that I wanted to deliver my service each week, how many hours in each day I wanted to do this, what I wanted to do for each client and therefore worked out how many clients I could deliver extreme quality to in a year.

I deliberately use the term ‘deliver my service’, because that’s not the same as number of days worked. I planned in time to work ON my business from the word go, so from the outset I was only ever delivering my service 4 days per week and working ON the business 1 day per week. The calculations were therefore done on 4 days, not 5.

Necessary sales/clients I can cope with = revenue per client

So now I know how much I need to charge each client.

Research

I then began researching how much marketing agencies were charging and whether my expected fee per client would fit.

It didn’t!

However, because (being the eternal geek) I had all of this in a spreadsheet, I simply manipulated the variables until it came to a reasonable amount to charge each client.

The spreadsheet allowed me to manipulate what I wanted to earn, the costs, the number of days per week I was delivering the service and the number of clients I had.

By manipulating these variables I came up with a plan.

Plan

I then replicated my spreadsheet for the next 5 years, I planned in growth of the number of clients and growth in costs.

Then, and only then was my business ready to get started!

Oh yes, I did all of this prior to taking on my first client!

I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on this process, please do let me know in the comments below.