The Key to Smoothing Out Your Business Cycle – Part 2
The Key to Smoothing Out Your Business Cycles – Part 2
Hey there! Welcome back to Part 2 of this 3-part series on smoothing out your business cycles. Dealing with the ups and downs that everyone considers to be a 'normal' part of small business life – but a part that causes us huge amounts of stress and overwhelm.
In case you missed it, here's Part 1 where we introduced the Key and looked at how it applies to our Marketing cycle.
Starting a business is a romantic notion – it's us against the world, us against the big boys. We're shaking our fist at the corporate world and forging our way through the wilderness of entrepreneurship.
It sounds exciting and adventurous… until you're up against the wall for the 3rd month in a row and wondering where the money is going to come from to pay your mortgage, let alone your vendors.
I've seen it time and time again – and felt the pain of it in my own business. We have a month or two where we're flying high and then we come crashing down. It feels like our customers have totally evaporated and no one will ever buy from us again. Ever.
It passes eventually but it hurts every second of the way and I can't tell you how many women business owners I've seen close up shop and get a J-O-B because they just couldn't make the numbers work on a consistent basis.
The truth is that there is safety in having employment and for those people who come from the employee mentality, who have had corporate careers, the lulling siren song of stable, secure employment is almost too much to resist. I've seen woman after woman not take the risk to do what needed to be done to make their business successful and then disappear back into employment.
It breaks my heart.
My entrepreneurial heart. I am not an employee. I've never been good at it. I am meant to be here.
And if you're meant to be here with me then that means we need to figure out HOW to make it work. If there is ANYONE who has succeeded in your business niche, that means that you can too. You CAN make it work. You CAN succeed.
But you have to be willing to be very uncomfortable. You have to be willing to do what I call Fail Forward Fast. You have to ask for help – a lot. You have to find the people who have the knowledge and skills you need to build a business and to make it successfully, sustainably profitable.
We're going to talk more about numbers in the last part of this series. Today what I want to talk about is the thing that most entrepreneurs LOVE to talk about: your thing.
Y'know, the thing you do that nobody else can do as well as you. The thing that compelled you to start your business in the first place. The thing you love.
For me it's empowering women and changing lives. It's what I've always done. First as a Reflexologist, then as a Personal Trainer, and now as a Master Coach.
I live for it. I love it. It brings me exquisite, undescribable joy to watch a woman business owner open to the true possibilities of her magnificence – the positive and joyful impact that she can have on her clients, her family, her community, and her self… if she'll take the steps through fear to make it happen.
It's the best.
But if I just do what feels right in the moment I will never be anything more than a really good Coach. My clients will have inconsistent results and my reputation will suffer. In order to build a REAL business, I need to have…
Client Experience Consistency
What does that mean? It means (and blessings to Michael Gerber, author of the The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It for writing a book that finally had me GET this!) that consistency makes my clients feel safe.
While each one of my clients is wonderfully unique, HOW I treat them must be consistent. The lead up to every event needs to be the same, the email interactions need to be the same. Even how I answer the phone needs to be the same.
Because it makes them feel SAFE.
Safe. Nestled in a cocoon of love where they know exactly what to expect and expect to get exactly what they need.
Gerber points out that McDonalds isn't hugely successful because they have the best burger but because their customers know what to expect EVERY TIME they arrive at the golden arches.
Safety. How do you make your customers feel safe? How do you give them consistency?
Glargh! There's that word again! Consistency!
Yup, there it is again.
It goes against every cell in my body – and my Entrepreneurial ADD! – to put consistency as a top Value but it MUST be there or we will never have anything more than a job (with the worst boss in the world, btw!).
Consistency in our Client Experience means that our clients know what to expect each and every time they interact with us – and they trust that their friends and referrals will be treated the same way when THEY interact with us.
I admit, it's a lot of work at the beginning. I'm in the process of creating my Operations Manual and I'm not sure I'll ever be DONE, but at least I'm making it happen. I have Procedures written down for my coaching calls, for my events, and for my programs.
I'm writing the Procedures so that my 15-year old son could follow them. I want to make them that simple. I need to make them that simple for them to work.
It isn't always easy, taking the thing that I do and putting it on paper but, when I'm finished it gives me a great base upon which to constantly improve. I can't improve what isn't written down.
Neither can you.
I kind of have a crush on my Operation Manual. It brings me joy to look at it. To me it looks like money and freedom. It's pretty robust and getting better all the time as I work the systems I'm creating.
Here's the big win:
Once you have systems that work, you just need to work the system.
Over and over and over again.
And when you get bored of working that system, you can hire someone else to do it for you. And they will be able to duplicate your results.
Because it's a system.
Do you get it?
THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER!!
(okay, maybe not, but it's close – it definitely gets ME all jazzy)
Once you have systems that work, somebody ELSE can work them for you.
You can go on vacation and your business will still function – still make money! – without you there.
That's a real business.
So, not only is Consistency the key to smoothing out your business cycles – it's actually the KEY to turning your under-paying, over-working job INTO A REAL BUSINESS.
And isn't that exciting?!
Let me know if it gets you excited, and what your questions are in the comments below.
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Tagged as: How Can I Be Happy, Life Purpose, Stress Management, Work-Life Balance