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Fast Track Your Growth

Certain entrepreneurs experience rapid growth. Do you often wonder how you can do that, too? Then break out of the pattern of selling your time. Start to highlight the solutions you offer. Consider ways to productize your services.

Follow these five simple steps to accelerate your business growth:

1. Execute, Don’t Perfect

Entrepreneurs commonly offer “ala carte services.” That’s because it’s easier to take the path of least resistance and follow a traditional model.

Eventually, however, your business will reach it’s growth limit. That’s when you start to explore your options.

Have you thought about how to productize your services? It’s simply a way to package, or bundle, your services together.

It’s easy to over-think what goes into the perfect package. Don’t worry; you can create more than one package. The best way to test your packages is to go with “good enough” and start offering them to potential clients.

You’ll receive specific feedback from your clients about your packages:

1. Value. Awareness about what your clients value.

2. Unimportant. Discover which services you thought were important, but your clients don’t really value.

3. Overlooked. Your clients ask you to include these services into your packages.

These insights are priceless. Consider the feedback. Then adjust your packages accordingly.

2. Feedback is Golden

No matter how big or small your business is, you want to remain client-centered. Consider your clients wants, needs and desires as you productize your services.

No matter how big or small your business is, you want to remain client-centered. Consider your clients wants, needs and desires as you productize your services. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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A difference exists between the three:
  • Wants. What services do your clients commonly request? Consider wants as something that isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will make things easier. For example, if you offer bookkeeping services they will also want tax-related services and QuickBooks training. Adding these services to your packages would solve a specific problem and attract a certain type of client.

  • Needs. What tool, process or service does your client need, although they may not ask for it? These items are necessary to get the job done. Consider the reports, practical work or information your clients require.

  • Desires. Desires are luxury items that they would like to have. Maybe you offer a Help Desk and technical support for your clients. Or, you include a set number of client meetings in each package.

Add and Subtract

To develop a solid package, do this simple thing – add what is needed and eliminate what isn’t.

Add: First, ask yourself, “What do my clients need, want and desire?” Consider the biggest problem your clients face when they first meet with you. Your package solves that challenge. It includes tasks specifically required to resolve that problem. What other services do they typically need once that problem is solved?

Remove: Next, list the services your currently offer which you don’t enjoy or aren’t necessary. Then eliminate these things. You’ll realize that some activities drag your business down. So, remove the unproductive elements from your packages.

3. Audience

As you pay close attention to your clients requests, you’ll become more familiar with their needs, wants and desires. Well-designed productized services will attract your ideal client. If that’s not happening, then adjust your packages:

1. Revamp your message. Review your marketing materials. Is your messaging client attractive? For example, your website probably talks about you and your service. However, it overlooks your client and their specific concerns. Because of that, your marketing materials aren’t very inviting. In fact, they seem more like a pitch. As you productize your services, revamp your website to discusses the problem you solve, what they can expect and how to get started.

2. Adjust your expectations to match the client’s needs. The other option is to get feedback from your current clients, especially your ideal clients. Ask to meet with them. Listen to what they need, want and desire. Pay attention to how they state those things. Then ask them how you help them. After those meetings, review your productized services and make any necessary changes.

4. Price Your Productized Services

Never sell yourself short. It’s easier to price for value when you productize your services. Follow these effective ways to set your price:

a) Determine your value. Pricing your services is highly uncomfortable. Your self-worth influences your rates. Realize that people will mirror your value. So, you need to deeply connect with your value before you can expect others to value what you offer.

Never sell yourself short. It’s easier to price for value when you productize your services. Read the post on how to set your price. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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b) Price for value, not for time. Your ideal clients will happily invest in your packages once they recognize the value. It’s up to you to connect the dots. Educate them about the benefits of each package you offer.

c) Focus on benefits, not features. The problem you solve has greater value than the things you do to solve that problem. Most entrepreneurs mistakenly focus on what they do, these are known as the features. On the other hand, your clients invest in your productized service because it solves a problem. For example, an entrepreneur who spends countless hours each week searching for misplaced papers hires an organizer. She hires the organizer to reduce time spent searching for important documents, not because she wants color coded files.

d) Increase your perceived value. The best way to increase your value is to develop expertise in a specific area and then offer consultations for that niche. When clients are ready to resolve a problem, they want an expert who’s dealt with their problem before and can effectively solve their need.

e) Return Ratio. The clients need to feel they are getting more benefits in comparison to the costs they pay for the service. For example, can they make an additional $50,000 this year from your $12,000 service? Or do they continue to lose $2000 each month because of a problem that you can resolve for $6000? How can you clearly define your solution to their problem and what’s possible once that problem is solved? Emphasize those things to differentiate your brand from your counterparts.

f) Increase your profit margin. Over time you’ll gain expertise. As your level of service improves, you’ll attract better clients. Don’t hold off on increasing the price of your packages. This is the easiest way to increase your profits. And remember, continue to remove any unnecessary services in your business.

5. Test and Execute

A basic principle contributes to your success: execute and insight. Continue to modify your packages until you get it right. Study successful companies to learn about their growth journey. Remain open minded to new ideas.

Final Thoughts

Always pay attention to your client’s needs, wants and desires as you productize your services. Regularly update your packages. As technology develops, add in new ways to deliver your services that are faster and less expensive. It’s your job to educate your clients about how your packages solve their specific problems. Your value lies in what you know, not what you do. If you are ready to develop value packages, then let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary strategy session.

The post Accelerate Your Business Growth: Productize Your Services appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Why Follow When You Can Lead?

Simply because something appears logical, doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Don’t follow the status quo. Choose to take initiative, even if it’s contrarian. Set up a business that suits you. And, remember to highlight your strengths rather than diminish them.

Maybe you’ve been following conversations about value based pricing. There’s more to it than simply setting a price.

Value based pricing includes these three core factors:

1. Define. Identify your ideal client.

2. Determine. Clarify their problem.

3. Develop. Design solution-focused packages.

As you can see, your packages aren’t about the ribbons and bows. Their contents solve your clients primary concerns. Design your packages so your clients know exactly what to expect.

In fact, well thought-out packages strategically separate you from similar services. They showcase your core values and clarify your approach. Once you follow this strategy, enrolling new clients becomes easier. It’s easier for them to recognize your value. Price, at that point, becomes secondary.

Find Your Core Values

During an informal staff meeting with his employees in 1997, Steve Jobs talked about marketing in a novel, fascinating way. He claimed that even the package design needs to elevate the customer experience. According to Jobs, your values influence your marketing. The world is a complicated and noisy place. Find ways to stand out and get noticed.

Apple’s core value embraces innovation. “People with passion can change the world for the better”.

Its ‘think different’ marketing campaign recognized the people who changed the world and thought differently. Job’s noted that, “Some of them are living, some of them aren’t. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see, you know that if they ever used a computer, it would have been a Mac”.

State Benefits, Not Features

Don’t simply slap a bunch of your services together, then call it a package. Give careful consideration to how you design your packages.

Don’t simply slap a bunch of your services together, then call it a package. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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By the way, your opinion isn’t the most important consideration. That’s not what’s going to enroll a new client into your package. The initial conversation revolves around them. They need to first decide whether, or not, to hire you.

As a result, most entrepreneurs naturally emphasize features. They talk about the services they offer.

Go ahead and put yourself in the clients seat. Consider what’s necessary from their point of view. The features, those services you offer, talk about your product and your business. But those aren’t the most important consideration.

The Main Act

Features are like the roadies in a concert. They set the stage, however, no one purchases a ticket to watch the roadies set up.

The main act is the benefits and outcomes. That’s what your clients need to hear first. If they believe you can solve their biggest challenge, then they’ll sign on with you. Therefore, benefits talk about your client’s key problems and the value they receive.

Design packages that emphasize the outcome rather than the features.

Systems Liberate You

Review all the services you offer. Then break them down into different stages with concrete outcomes.

This starts to define your systems. As your business expands you can replicate the processes. Teaching your team the same processes frees you up from the day to day work. It’s a highly strategic way to scale your business.

The Center Stage Effect

Ever heard of the center stage effect? It claims that people will choose the middle option when given three choices. That’s why so many businesses offer three types of packages.

Ever heard of the center stage effect? It claims that people will choose the middle option when given three choices. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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More is not better. Too many options will cause confusion. With two choices, people will choose the lower option. A single choice forces a yes or no decision.

Design Your Packages

Your packages ought to be progressive. Think about the American Express credit card. They offer three options – green, gold and platinum.

  • Green. The green card offers the basic services and targets price sensitive clients. The sign-up bonus and bonus categories aren’t available with this basic, no-frills card. You receive one point per dollar spent. It’s annual fee is $95.
  • Gold. The gold card has all the capabilities of the green card, plus some additional services. You earn 2 points per dollar when shopping at supermarkets and 1 point per dollar for all other purchases. It’s annual fee is $160.
  • Platinum. The platinum card provides everything the gold card does and offers some unique services in addition that are targeted toward its premium clients. Annual fee is $450 and sign-up bonus is 40,000 points with 1 point earned per dollar spent on all purchases. There are additional perks too: a $200 credit toward airline fees and elite status with Hilton and Starwood properties.
Value, Not Price

As the center stage effect shows, most customers buy the gold card. The center stage effect works best when your communication is clear and specific. Well-designed packages can sell themselves. Social proof adds credibility and speeds up the buying decision.

Remember to weave your core values into your packages. Once you create packages, you can sell your services based on value rather than price.

Ready to design your packages, but not sure where to start? Book a complimentary consultation with Loren and learn how to position yourself in the market.

The post Design Your Packages for Value, Not Price appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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To Niche or Not to Niche

The decision to niche is counter-intuitive. Choosing to focus on a specific population seems constrictive, like it narrows your choice. You quietly wonder, How can a niche actually grow my firm?

That’s true for accounting professionals who lack a plan.

I firmly believe that attorneys crave to have someone take their bookkeeping off their hands. The decision to specialize actually sharpens your focus rather than narrow your reach.

The common question, where do I find attorneys who want to work with me, can now be answered.

5 Tips to Build a Sound Niche Strategy

If you lay awake at night wondering where to find new clients in the legal profession, then you’re not alone.

Rather than attempting to be all things to all people, you deserve to work with clients who fully appreciate what you offer. If that sounds appealing, then follow these five essential steps.

  1. Be Specific About Your Niche

Either you’re creating clarity or you’re causing confusion. Specialists know exactly who they serve, what they do and how they help their clients. Whereas, generalists serve a wide variety of professions.

The majority of attorneys specialize rather than practice general law. As a result, they’ll feel more confident with an accounting professional that’s chosen to specialize too.

Basically, they’re seeking experts. Generalists may offer exceptional services. However, they are rarely positioned as experts. The perception is that their knowledge lacks depth about the nuances within the legal profession.

Referrals from associates or surfing the internet are the two most popular ways to find an accounting professional. Within 7 seconds that attorney is either going to read more or keep searching. That’s why you want your website to stand out from the masses.

Either you’re creating clarity or you’re causing confusion. Specialists know exactly who they serve, what they do and how they help their clients. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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By the way, websites with a long grocery list of specialties rarely hold my attention. That’s especially true when I’m seeking a subject matter expert rather than a jack-of-all-trades. The only exception is when someone’s been referred to me by someone I trust.

Attorneys seek accounting professionals who clearly state how they will make things easier for them. Your niche strategy has you:

  • Speak directly to attorneys.
  • Become keenly aware of their specific needs.
  • Explain how you solve their biggest challenges.

Test your messaging. Does it spark curiosity to know more about you and what you do? Or repels them, causing them to quickly bounce away and continue searching?

  1. Emphasize the Solution

Be crystal clear about the solution you offer. Clearly describe what you do and the outcome they can expect. Specifics are better than generalities. Especially if you want them to contact you for an initial consult.

Sarah is an accounting professional who guides attorneys from confusion to clarity. Some of her clients have been stuffing all their receipts into shoe boxes. Tracking money extends beyond their comfort zone. However, the stress of not knowing their finances is now interfering with their growth.

They’re highly sensitive that their finances are a mess. Since Sarah understands their hidden fears, she quickly eases their biggest worries. Their bodies relax as she explains her process in plain English. By the time she asks her final question, they’re eager to sign on and get this bookkeeping challenge resolved.

Sarah realizes they’re already overwhelmed. So she spares them all the details about how she cleans things up. Instead, she shares some stories about similar work she’s done for other attorneys. This comforts them that they’re not the only one like this.

Of course, attorneys talk with each other. Sarah’s clients are telling their associates about her work. They’re no longer experiencing shame about their messed up finances.

What about you? What problems do you solve?

  1. Know Your Strengths

What specific skills or talents do you offer? Consider the parts of your work that you enjoy most and that separates you from other firms. My clients affectionately call this their superpowers.

School teaches you to excel at a wide range of subjects. But higher education encourages you to choose one specialty. Firms that specialize can charge higher fees.

A lot of people will give you well-meaning advice. Listening to them, and second-guessing yourself, is detrimental for your firm and will extinguish your passion. It’s your business; you get to make the rules. Remember to set it up around your strengths rather than someone else’s.

  • Strength. Identify your superpower.
  • Fun. Make a list of the things you enjoy most. Consider which things you do easily and would be thrilled to do these all day, every day.
  • Benefits. Then figure out what benefits attorneys receive from your services.
  • Educate. Finally, educate attorneys about the specific benefits you offer which are related to your strengths.

The magic happens when you decide to lead with your strengths. Imagine your clients are lost in a dark cave. Then you show up with a flashlight, illuminating the path forward. I want you to be the one that’s guiding them into the light.

  1. Seek, Find, and Connect With Clients

Most accounting professionals dream of magically being discovered by their ideal clients.

Your clients need to know you exist. Don’t wait for them to find you. Create a marketing strategy that attracts them to you. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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If so, then attorneys need to know you exist. Don’t wait for them to find you. Make it easy for them. Create a marketing strategy that attracts them to you.

  • Research. Find out where attorneys hang out, both online and locally.
  • Join. Join communities, like civic organizations or country clubs, where attorneys spend time.
  • Step up. Get involved in those communities. Volunteer at a not-for-profit, accept a board position or step into a leadership role.
  • Connect. Get better acquainted by setting up coffee dates.
  • Schedule. Some of those attorneys will ask how you can help them. That’s when you offer a complimentary strategy session.

You don’t need to attend every networking event. You’ll simply exhaust yourself. That’s the mistake I initially made.

I decided to go on a network meeting diet. Since I work specifically with accounting professionals, I cut back to one or two specific groups that seemed like a good fit for me. That was a lot more manageable.

There’s a reason why networking matters. You gain visibility. Attorneys start to know you and what you offer.  Your consistency and follow through leads to credibility. That develops trust. Finally, consistency leads to profitability. You develop referral partnerships and attract new clients.

  1. Be Strategic

Your marketing strategy develops over time. Through trial and error you’ll discover which activities deliver the best ROI. Continue to review and re-evaluate as you gain insight from experience.

Your niche strategy positions you as the go-to professional. It’s designed to develop your niche, offer targeted services and expand your business.

  • Be clear about your strengths. As an accounting professional, you possess a wide variety of skills. Set time aside to figure out how your strengths benefit attorneys.
  • Picture your ideal client. Be selective and cherry pick your clients. Attorneys who want to negotiate your fees or expect services beyond your specialty are not ideal clients. Stay true to your strengths and seek out clients you enjoy working with.
  • Create an avatar. This is also known as a client persona. It’s similar to Disney developing a character for their next animated movie. Describe your ideal client. Give that avatar a name, then fill in the details about that attorney’s life. Identify her exact challenges and how that impacts her. Figure out how she describes those things so you’re using her words instead of accounting terms. Then create all of your messaging and marketing campaigns for your specific avatar. Although it takes a little effort, it’s well worth it.
  • Remain flexible. Small accounting firms can easily pivot; whereas, change is more complicated for an enterprise business. Continually adjust as your client needs adjust. Explore ways to expand your skills. Plus, focus your time on those activities that get the best results. As you grow, start to optimize your time by delegating specific tasks that are below your pay grade.
Client Success Leads to More Clients

A solid niche strategy attracts ideal clients and increases your income. Proactively market and educate attorneys about the solution you offer. As a business coach to accounting professionals, I understand how matching your service to clients can be a challenge. If you are struggling to define your specialty and clarify your goals, then let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary private strategy session now.

The post Don’t Get Lost in the Noise. Your Niche Strategy appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Sell Value, Not Time

There’s hot discussion about Intuit’s recent bookkeeping services test, called QuickBooks Live. Many small bookkeeping firms worry that Intuit plans to offer bookkeeping services. Losing clients is their primary concern. Can a small firm truly compete with an enterprise business?

Those concerns that spread through social media strings were not based upon fact. Joe Woodard, from the Woodard Institute interviewed Rich Preece, Senior Vice President and U.S. Country Manager, QuickBooks at Intuit. The company doesn’t plan to compete with accounting professionals.

That’s great news for accounting professionals. However, the initial fear response, and how to proactively resolve that fear, is worth a deeper look.

Fear triggers a reaction, causing higher level thinking to shut down. As a result, the desire to resist change becomes even stronger. Technology and automation can now do the basics. Bookkeepers who avoid the inevitable will experience the same outcome as travel agents that couldn’t compete with Priceline.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In order to remain viable, the solution focuses on higher level advisory services.

It boils down to three things.
  1. Ask a different question.
  2. Your business model.
  3. Your customer market.
Ask a Different Question

You can’t compete on price. Therefore, you want to ask a better question. What changes can you start to put in place now so you’re well-positioned once Intuit offers bookkeeping services?

Break with Tradition

The traditional bookkeeping firm offers ala-carte services. With that model, time determines the cost of each service. As a result, the rate for services remains open-ended rather than capped.

Talk with any client and you’ll quickly discover they’re far more concerned about their time than your time. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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This backward business model emphasizes your time. Talk with any client and you’ll quickly discover they’re far more concerned about their time than your time.

Spice Up Your Business Model

Savvy accounting professionals realize what their clients truly want. The traditional way of offering their services isn’t the best business model. Rather than trade dollars for hours, become more client-centered. Lead with what they value rather than what you value.

The value conversation can seem confusing at first. Here is how DuctTapeMarketing plainly explains value based pricing:

“Here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what you’re going to do, here are the results we can expect and, by the way, here’s what it costs.”

Don’t Work with Everyone

What if there are more than enough clients for everyone? You can effectively capture your fair share once you define your ideal client.

Consider the travel agents. The ones who remained in business targeted an ideal client that didn’t want to deal with Priceline. Those agents found clients who weren’t price sensitive. Many of these clients highly valued their own time. They happily handed over their travel requirements to a trusted professional.

What does this mean? Well, many small bookkeeping firms cater to everyone.  This ignores the fact that the marketed is hugely diverse. Different types of clients develop different needs, wants and desires.

Packages Offer More Customer Satisfaction

I empower my clients to package their services. They consider the various needs for each type of client they serve. Then they develop packages which address the specific needs for that ideal client. It’s why value based pricing is highly effective.

Glen, a local attorney, started to search for a new bookkeeper. He meets with Nancy to discuss his bookkeeping needs. As she guides him through a value consultation, she discovers that he needs payroll and tax services too.

He didn’t realize that her firm offers all of these services. Toward the end of the consultation she describes her 3 packages. Together, they review the differences and discuss which best serves his needs.

Although he originally came to her for bookkeeping, she’s now handling his tax and payroll too.

Nancy charges premium prices for the package that offers all three services – bookkeeping, taxes and payroll. Her two smaller packages don’t include all three services.

When clients review her packages, they don’t attempt to negotiate her price. Her small bookkeeping firm doesn’t cater to potential clients who are fishing for individual services. They’re simply not a good fit for her.

Examples of Packaging

As consumers, we purchase packaged services all the time. McDonald’s customers love to buy the classic meal deal since the fries work well as a side and the Coke washes it all down.

When a client looks for services, what they really want is an easy fix. Packages bundle everything together, offering a one-stop solution for their business problems. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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Telecommunication services offer phone and internet services together because a large number of customers want both. Similarly when a client looks for services, what they really want is an easy fix. Packages bundle everything together, offering a one-stop solution for their business problems.

Clients Have Different Needs

Not all clients need the same level of service. A tiered package system solves that concern.

Consider the 3 types of clients a small bookkeeping firm serves.

Start-up Business – New businesses need more basic tools. Since they’re tight on funds, they’ll appreciate a starter package. Consider the tools, systems and guidance that set them up correctly. As they ramp up, they’ll eventually upgrade to your next package.

Growth Phase – Growing businesses require more tools, reports and guidance. This package adds in more frequent reporting, more complex analytics and advisory services to strategically grow their business.

Mature Business – They’ve successfully navigated from growth to stability. Do they continue to push for expansion, consider a lucrative merger or prepare for exit? They want your premium services that solve these specific business problems.

Protect Your Firm from Cut-Throat Competition

That’s why Intuit’s bookkeeping services doesn’t mean doom and gloom for smaller agencies. Rather, it’s an opportunity for these small bookkeeping firms to elevate their business model. Attempting to compete with Intuit is futile.

Similar to a recession, some businesses significantly grow during a downturn cycles. That’s because many firm owners will resist any sort of change. They’ll simply close their doors.  Or, respond too late. The firms that recognize the hidden opportunity will position themselves to gain a portion of that market share.

Follow these five steps to adapt and grow.
  1. Client. Start to redefine your ideal client.
  2. Choose. Choose a niche that values customer service more than price.
  3. Customize. Develop packages that resolve their exact needs, wants and desires.
  4. Communicate. Educate your niche about your expertise.
  5. Claim. Position your bookkeeping firm as a trusted advisor.

Provide consultations in your packages. These clients value your insight. They recognize how the insights you offer can quicken their growth and avoid costly mistakes.

Don’t Blend In

Average firms blend together. Your ideal client appreciates a client-centered approach. Consistently be mindful about what’s in it for them. Start to emphasize the results and benefits. It is one of the strongest marketing tools you can use to attract high-value clients.

You don’t need to sell your time. The “going rate” in your industry discounts your expertise. Seize the opportunity that’s been handed to you.

Start to raise the standard of your small bookkeeping firm. If you’re ready to package your services and increase your rates without losing clients, then schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

The post Intuit’s Bookkeeping Test: A Blessing or a Curse for Small Bookkeeping Firms? appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Why Follow When You Can Lead?

Do you often find the traditional way of doing business feels stifling? Blindly accepting things as they’ve always been has never been your style. Because of that, you tend to lead rather than follow.

Your colleagues simply settle for the status quo. However, your curiosity has you question everything.

Through research and discovery, you implemented some really interesting breakthrough solutions for your business. Yes, they’re unconventional to the traditional “rules.” But, you’re used to pushback and conforming simply isn’t your style.

With your business, you get to make the rules. So you block out time in your schedule for innovative thinking. Finding creative, unconventional solutions is the fun part.

Disruptive Impact

You seek growth beyond the traditional 10 or 20 percent each year. Basically, small thinking attracts mediocre ideas and mediocre opportunities. Your creative side thrives on BIG ideas. Disruptive businesses inspire you, causing you to wonder how to achieve similar results. Let’s agree if they can do it, then you can do it too.

For instance, Netflix has disrupted the entertainment industry by killing video rentals and significantly cutting the demand of traditional cable TV. The company operates on a simple premise — people will watch what they want when they want instead of conforming to a TV schedule.

Companies, like Netflix, do things differently. How does that wisdom apply to your business?

Network up is an advanced move for #entrepreneurs. Develop a network a people who are already making things happen. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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Uplevel Your Network

Internet marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk claims that colleges and books can’t make you successful.

His key to success includes networking up. That’s where you develop a network a people who are already making things happen. Follow his lead to carve out your own path and embark on your growth journey.

Who do you want to connect with that knows more than you and is doing bigger things than you? Create that list. Then figure out what you can do for them.

Innovation Loves Variety

Diversity extends beyond gender and ethnicity. Mix up your network with people who run in different circles. That’s because thought diversity challenges the status quo.

Get creative. Take different ideas from other places and connect them. That stimulates innovation.

As Steve Jobs said,

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Odd Couple Connections

Reach out to a variety of businesses that serve your clients. For example, commercial pest control and computer tech. They’re different professions, but clientele overlap. A client that runs a computer tech company recently told me how he connected with a commercial pest control business to discuss referrals. Since they share similar clients, basically small business owners, they now cross refer. Business is about relationships. Sometimes the odd relationships yield the most profitable referrals.

Peter H. Diamandis is the founder of a progressive company known as Singularity University, a Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies. According to him, you should create “unholy alliances”, that is, partnerships with companies working in fields different than yours. Many familiar big tech companies have achieved business success from such odd partnerships — Apple and Music, Microsoft and Gaming and Facebook and Oculus.

Instead of working toward meager growth, aim for exponential expansion. #Moonshot thinking leads to breakthrough insights. Read the full post #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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Audit Your Business Model

Elon Musk is a pioneer in disruptive thinking with his ventures that others solely dreamed of pursuing. He is making space travel affordable. Plus, he put an end to traffic jams by creating tunnels through his Boring Company and ultrafast transportation via Hyperloop. According to him, you must consistently question all assumptions about your business model.

Regularly audit your business to discover which assumptions slow your business. These are the bottlenecks. How can you reinvent your business? Maybe there’s new technology that reduces costs or a highly effective marketing strategy. Challenging your own assumptions becomes easier with practice. Once you clear the bottlenecks, you will wonder why you didn’t do that sooner.

Moonshot Thinking

Instead of working toward meager growth, aim for exponential expansion. Forget 10% increments every year and focus on 10x growth. Incremental thinking emphasizes ways to make your current capabilities better. Whereas, moonshot thinking leads to breakthrough insights.

The Moonshot Thinking Formula:
  1. Identify. What big problem are you ready to tackle?
  2. Search. Seek a radical solution to that specific problem.
  3. Discover. Find the breakthrough technology that might make your solution possible.
  4. Challenge. Sometimes the technology is being applied for a different purpose than the one you’re looking to solve.

True entrepreneurs take risks and leverage the path of most resistance. Astro Teller, the head of Google X, believes that 10x goals are easier than 10% increments because they invoke people’s passion rather than tactically aiming for small increments.

Bold Action

When you go for 10x growth, expect some resistance. Your friends may not believe in you. Elon Musk’s close friend showed him a dozen videos of rockets blowing up because he believed that SpaceX would never succeed. But, Musk persevered anyway.

As you shoot for the moon, embrace the risks. Then turn obstacles into opportunities. Don’t allow other people to stop you from pursuing your vision. When failures occur, turn them into lessons instead of disappointments.

Adopting moonshot thinking is easier said than done. If you need more clarity about your vision, it’s a challenge that you’re ready to take on, then let’s talk during a complimentary consultation.

The post Moonshot Thinking: Break Free from the “Business as Usual” Trap appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Employed or Self-employed

Your education prepared you to be employed, rather than self-employed. So you spend countless hours thinking about raising your rates. But, you keep them where they are because you’re not sure how. Most training courses overlook pricing and how to package your services.

Because of that, the decision to finally raise your rates is gut-wrenching.

That’s exactly what Julie, who’s a bookkeeper, experiences. She offers ala carte services, following the traditional hourly billing model. The Work with Me page on her website lists about 30 different services. Her website fails to grab the viewer’s attention. Nothing remarkable stands out.

Marketing doesn’t interest her.  And that’s okay. On the other hand, Julie wants to raise her rates. She’s been thinking about it for two years. Although she’s aware of value based pricing and offering packages, nothing’s happened.

“I’m now turning away new clients. I’m maxed out; regularly working sixty hours a week. And, I’m tired.”

Her current way of doing business limits her income. When I asked about her social life and exercise, she laughed. Work has replaced time with friends, or going for a run.  Unfortunately, it’s a common problem that I hear.

The Upper Limit

Like many of my clients, Julie’s facing an upper-limit problem. Her business reflects her hard work. Wearing all the hats in her business got her to this point of success.  But, she’s now maxed out. The cost of continuing to operate like this, however, is way too high.

Your education prepared you to be employed, rather than self-employed. That's why pricing is confusing. Read the post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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I firmly believe your business needs to support your lifestyle. The value based pricing solution untangles her time from her income. Her body physically relaxed when I shared the plan to reclaim her personal life and increase her income.

Thinking, thinking, thinking consumes time and drains your energy. As a result you tolerate the status quo for way too long, because change feels risky. The transition from thinking to action actually offers relief. Something internal shifts when you finally decide to get it done.

Julie admits she undercharged for her advisory services because she didn’t know how to price it.

Her most valuable offering, her knowledge, was buried among her general service offerings. Basically, her clients took her business development recommendations for granted. Once Julie values her expertise, her clients will value it too.

Mental Blocks to Packaging Your Services

Not knowing how to transition from an hourly rate to value based pricing is the biggest hurdle. First, packaging her services is counter-intuitive.

Like most hard-working bookkeepers, Julie maintains a high standard for herself. But, listing every single service overwhelms clients. They’re coming to her for solutions, not a laundry list of services.

The fear of losing clients stops her from doing things differently.

Fortunately, ideal clients realize the value of her expertise.  Those clients actually prefer packages to hourly billing. They choose the package that best serves their needs. Plus, the price is agreed upon before she starts the work.

How to Package Your Services

Don’t solely list the services you provide in each package. Julie’s homework is to think from her client’s point of view.

Questions to ask include:
  • What problems do you solve for your clients?
  • How will this impact their business?
  • Why choose you? What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
  • How do the multiple services you provide work together for optimal results?

The question of how your service changes your client’s business for the better is more important than the tasks you do or the tools you use. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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Packages emphasize the results rather than the work she does. The question of how her service changes her client’s business for the better is more important than the tasks she does and the tools she uses.

Become Their Trusted Advisor

Like most bookkeepers, Julie doesn’t enjoy the sales part. We discussed how to enroll clients without ever pitching them. Discovering their needs, rather than talking about her service, establishes trust and authority. Trusted advisors understand their clients deepest concerns, offer the right solutions and utilize the necessary tools to get the job done.

Eliminate the Fluff

Julie doesn’t need to list all 30 services in her packages.

The first step to package your services:
  • List all the services you offer.
  • Remove the ones that seem redundant or frivolous.
  • Eliminate the services you don’t enjoy doing.
  • Some services are primary and others are secondary.
  • Highlight the primary services.
  • Place the tasks, or secondary services, under the appropriate primary service.
Clarify Your Boundaries

Rather than adapt to a traditional model, create the business that best fits your lifestyle. You don’t have to be all things to all people. Offer the services you enjoy most. Then eliminate the ones that bore you.

Packages help you avoid scope creep headaches. Develop a service agreement that clearly defines what’s included and what’s excluded before you begin working together. This educates potential clients about your system for dealing with change requests. It is better to clarify your boundaries in the beginning so that there is no misunderstanding later.

Shifting to value based pricing is a proven strategy that attracts high-value clients. If you’ve been postponing this move because you’re not sure how to package your services and offer value based pricing, then book a complimentary strategy session with me today!

The post How to Package Your Services and Stop Competing on Price appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Stop Being the Best-Kept Secret

Do your clients fully benefit from all your skills and knowledge? Research reveals that most accounting professionals undervalue their expertise. Although it seems counter-intuitive, serving a select population significantly raises your value. Plus, it’s easier for new clients to find you.

Sometimes a niche population chooses you. You gradually notice that most of your clients come from a specific industry or share a similar issue. Either you already built a reputation because you previously worked in this industry or your clients came from word of mouth referrals.

More often than not, you decide on a specialty rather than a niche choosing you. Committing to that choice is one of the toughest things to do.

So you wonder:

  • Will I eventually get bored?
  • What if attorney are the wrong niche?
  • I can serve other markets, but they won’t realize I can help them.
  • What if my credentials get challenged? I don’t have enough experience with the legal profession to call myself an expert. 
  • Another firm is already serving attorneys, is there enough for both of us?

Omri Erel on Product2Market considers brand loyalty one of the major benefits of developing a niche market. Your clients know you provide what they need.

5 Top Reasons to Choosing the Legal Niche

Choosing the legal niche is an easy way to earn more money without additional time spent working. This strategic move allows you to charge a premium rate for your services.

1. Set Your Business Apart

Let’s face it, generalists constantly compete for clients. That’s because the only differentiator between you and another provider is time and cost. Both of those things are commodities, which makes it difficult for a potential client to recognize your value.

Generalists constantly compete for clients. That’s because the only differentiator between you and another provider is time and cost. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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As you begin to specialize, you may experience a feast and famine cycle.  During the dry spells your phone stops ringing. That’s when you’ll wonder how your business can possibly survive.

Things do get better. Clarity emerges from your decision to specialize. You become crystal clear about the specific solutions that legal practices want and need; these solutions often extend beyond bookkeeping.

That’s exactly what Kim did. She decided to offer bookkeeping and tax solutions to attorneys.

She started attending their association meetings. One specific attorney couldn’t keep her bookkeeping records up to date any longer since she’d gotten so busy.

When it was Kim’s turn to speak, she didn’t talk about the fact that she does Quickbooks Online. That was too vague. Instead she shared her solution for busy attorneys. She works with them to increase their income, reduce their tax bill and maintain their bookkeeping.

This particular attorney introduced herself after the meeting. Kim’s targeted message got her attention. She was currently seeking a bookkeeping solution that would free up her precious time.

Furthermore, attorneys know other attorneys. They flock together. Pretty soon word-of-mouth had other busy attorneys knocking at Kim’s door.

Kim’s clear message stood apart from other bookkeepers. She no longer competed with the generalists who offer a broad spectrum of solutions. Eventually Kim let go of 30% of her old clients that no longer fit her services; plus, she doubled her income.

2. Clients Are Attracted to Specialists

Consider what grabs your attention when you’re looking for a service. Do you prefer a business that offers a wide variety of solutions? Or one which specializes in your exact problem?

You may save money up front with a generalist. Sometimes, however, the problem doesn’t really get fixed. Then you need to hire another company to clean up after the first job.

Typically, a specialist offers a less frustrating experience and completes the job faster. Value based pricing emphasizes expertise instead of time. Although the rate is higher, it’s more cost effective in the long run.

Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Solving a specific burning need shortens your sales cycle. Potential clients either view your bookkeeping service as the solution to their problem. Or, trust you to achieve a specific result.

Solving a specific burning need shortens your sales cycle. #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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3. Identify a Specific Set of Problems

Wondering how to claim law firms as your niche?

  1. List the top specific problems that attorneys struggle with.
  2. Which do you solve?
  3. Identify what’s possible after their problems are solved.
  4. What new problem arises once the first one’s fixed?
  5. Know your solution for the new problem.

You’ve now identified their unique concerns, how you resolve their biggest challenge and the benefit of getting the job done.

4. You Are the Solution

Some accounting professionals claim they specialize with legal firms. However, their messaging is all over the place.

Their website and marketing materials create confusion because they discuss a variety of things that don’t truly apply to law firms. It’s like they said they specialized, but didn’t really commit to the legal profession.

Well, a confused mind doesn’t buy. Instead those potential clients move on. They continue searching for an accounting firm that specifically solves their problem.

Create a clear message which describes a legal firms realities. Emphasize the ideal solution you offer. Then teach them how you solve their problem.

5. Meet Exact Needs to Make Your Business a Success

Become keenly familiar with the ins and outs of legal firms. You gain expertise with each and every client you serve. Plus, you’ll discover sub-niches that you originally overlooked. This starts to distinguish your accounting firm as the go-to resource.

As you create success for your clients, you build success for your business. Then business starts seeking you out instead of you chasing new clients.

Find New Clients

Choosing the legal niche is your first step. Next, define your ideal client. Then, stop being a best kept secret. Go out and let them know you exist.

Identify where attorneys hang out. Educate them about the solutions you offer.

  1. Online groups and chats. Participate, listen to questions, answer questions and become known in their community.
  2. Network locally. Go to their association meetings. Meet attorneys face to face. Offer to speak at their meetings.
  3. Social media. Write articles and post them in virtual communities like LinkedIn groups.

Don’t expect attorneys to magically find you. You have to give first before you can expect to receive.

It’s okay to freely give away rich information. Don’t worry about sharing too much. You won’t ever give away everything you know. Give enough and attorneys will seek you out because they’ll resonate with your message.

Be the Legal Firm Solution

Now that you understand the top reasons to specialize with legal firms, you may discover that you possess a specific expertise. Deciding which area is the right one for legal firms is a balance between your skill set and your mindset.

Success leaves clues. Choosing the legal niche can be very rewarding. If you’re ready to develop your specialty, then let’s talk. Schedule your free Grow Your Ideal Business consultation. We’ll discuss the strategy to grow a highly profitable accounting firm.

The post Top 5 Advantages to Choosing the Legal Niche appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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The Strategic Plan

If you don’t define your destiny, then you’ll aimlessly wander. A clear vision influences everything you do.  It’s like the beacon sitting on the top of a lighthouse.

If you don’t define your destiny, then you’ll aimlessly wander. Read how to take charge. #shestheboss #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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Recently, Steve and I decided that we wanted more clarity about our destiny. So, we scheduled time to develop our strategic plan. Our phones, text and email were shut down. We spent the entire weekend defining our future.

First, we reviewed the past year. We celebrated our joys and wins. Next, we listed our failures and the insights we gained from them. Finally, we acknowledged the hidden blessings that were sprinkled throughout the year.

Define Your Future

After our year in review, we defined our future. Our strategic plan focused on four highly important areas in our life. Then each area had three specific subcategories.

An entire afternoon was devoted to carving out our future.  We wrote a short paragraph describing the ideal circumstances for each area of our life. Rather than strive for something achievable, we stretched beyond the sure thing.

After each activity, we read and discussed what we wrote. Tears, laughter and dreams were shared. Much of what I wanted, Steve wanted too. Of course, we had some separate aspirations.

Rather than solely focus on the dream, we chose to voice our perceived limitations. Yes, we listed our limiting beliefs. Because we created a safe space, we felt comfortable being vulnerable and transparent.

I believe that negatives can be turned into positives; we did that with our fears and worries. Each limiting belief had an opposite positive belief written next to it. Surprisingly, that exercise challenged me. This section of our strategic plan is resource we can turn back to throughout the year when overwhelm or doubts arise.

Co-dependency Ruins Your Business

Because I’m the boss, it’s my job to give Steve direction. We discussed expectations during our strategic planning retreat. As a result, we’re expanding Steve’s role over the next 12 months.

Working together requires clear boundaries. If our marriage wasn’t strong, then working together would cause more problems than it solves.

Working together requires clear boundaries. Otherwise, it would cause more problems than it solves. Read how to make this work. #shestheboss #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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That’s exactly what I see with many of the couples that we coach who are in business together. Since I’m working with service-based entrepreneurs, they often lack clear boundaries. Instead of leading their team, even if their teammate is their spouse, they end up micro-managing or picking up the slack.

By the way, those tendencies cross over to your customer relationships too. When you find yourself working harder than your client, you’re in an unbalanced relationship. Although you may believe you’re helping that other person, you’re really not.

Codependency occurs in all types of relationships, professionally and personally. You’re not codependent in one aspect of your life and adhering to firm boundaries in all your other relationships. It typically doesn’t work that way. Over time, frustration and resentment builds up.

This hurts your company’s productivity. Don’t confuse co-dependency with leadership. Since many of our clients have high standards for their business, they naturally pick up the slack.  Our clients learn to lead, rather than rescue. As a result, they transform their employee mindset into a CEO mindset.

The Journey Together

The journey to build a business together comes with celebrations and challenges. An open mind is essential. Our strategic plan keeps us on the same page.

When I first started business coaching, I rarely disclosed anything about myself. My training as a therapist taught me to guard my private life.

Consistently working with a business coach, and participating in mastermind groups, turned things around. I gradually realized there was more to gain by being vulnerable and not knowing it all. Sharing the human side, including flaws and mistakes, requires courage.

Your Inner Circle

Although Steve is married to the boss, there are times I need to seek outside support. My inner circle includes my business coach and mentors. They offer valuable insights from a different perspective than Steve’s.

How well defined is your strategic plan? Successful business partnerships lead to professional growth and enrich your marriage. If you’re ready to confidently own your position as the CEO of your business, then let’s talk. You’ll clarify your vision during the complimentary strategy session.

The post Your Strategic Plan Defines Your Destiny appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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The Sacrifice We Made

Early in our marriage I stayed home to raise our children. Steve’s 90-minute commute meant timing his drive to avoid rush hour traffic. Because of that, he was out of the house early and home late. Of course, this took a toll on all of us.

Although I never planned to be a stay-at-home mom, we agreed that was important. We rearranged our lifestyle to make that work. And, I postponed my career for nine years.

Trading Time for Money

Steve sacrificed his time for money.  He often talked about walking away from his corporate position. Financially, however, it didn’t seem realistic. He suffered from golden handcuffs. Since he was so highly paid, any career move would lower his income and reduce his benefits.

During the past ten years, we’ve gradually reversed roles. As my business coaching continues to grow, so does my income.  As a result, I’m now out-earning Steve.

Retire Your Husband from His 9 to 5

About 5 years ago, we sold our counseling agency. Steve finally stepped away from his 9 to 5. That move freed him up.

Giving back to him what he gave to me is one of my burning desires. Finally, he no longer does unfulfilling work simply for a paycheck.  Instead, he pursues activities he enjoys. Plus, the work he does for me highlights his strengths.

Yes, I’m the boss. Working for me is different than when I worked for him. Therefore, I don’t want to minimize the unique challenges we’ve experienced along the way.

Let People Talk

People hold onto tradition and old-fashioned ideas without ever questioning them.

We’ve worked side by side throughout our marriage. Most of those years, we followed the traditional model and he was the boss. Now, however, we’re pushing against the status quo.

Since Steve cares what people think about him, working in my business took some courage. Some people were judgmental. Their thoughts, however, were none of our business. Taking the higher road, we decided to ignore narrow-minded input. After all this is our life, not theirs.

Fortunately, we’re  professionally trained to challenge limiting beliefs and faulty thinking. The ability to work through our concerns and overcome obstacles is a skill. Because of that, we chose the less popular path rather than the well-worn traditional road.

Carefully Choose Your Role Models

If you and your husband are determined to take your business to another level, then it doesn’t matter whether outsiders talk or not. Realize that the Oprahs of the world don’t achieve success by caring too much about what others think.

Retiring your husband from his 9 to 5 can feel as if you're stepping into unchartered territory. Read how to make this work. #shestheboss #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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At times it felt as if we were stepping into unchartered territory. Locally, we knew trust fund babies. But we didn’t know any other woman who retired her husband from his 9 to 5.

Fortunately, my first business coach had navigated this process. She had already accomplished what we were in the process of doing. Therefore I could stand on her shoulders, learning from her trials and tribulations. Her guidance saved us years of frustration and mistakes. The time, money and access to her insights sped up our success.

You deserve a mentor in your life that fully understands your ambition and how to successfully navigate the course, personally and professionally. Don’t over-think this by waiting for ideal circumstances. Let a mentor guide you through all the ups and downs that occur along the way.

Running into a Brick Wall

Before we took the leap, retiring Steve from his 9 to 5, we hit a brick wall. Some obstacles arose that we hadn’t anticipated. All progress suddenly came to a screeching halt.

I’ve hit the brick wall head on before, so it temporarily derailed our momentum rather than totally throw us off our path.

Here’s how the brick wall grabs my attention.
  • Direction. There’s a new direction that I’m supposed to take which lies beyond my comfort zone.
  • Hesitation. A part of me wants to move forward, while another part hesitates.
  • Conflict. Internally there’s a conflicting belief or personal value. That’s why I’m stalling.
  • Resistance. Because of that, I don’t know how to move forward in a way that feels genuine or authentic to me.
  • Reframe. The resistance disappears once I shift my perspective. Then I’m free to get started in this new direction.

The first time I slammed into the brick wall it seemed like an impossible hurdle to overcome. I now know better. It’s a nudge that I’m stalling because of an inner conflict. Something’s out of alignment.

I grow from these experiences. That’s because I’m only given hurdles that I can rise up to and overcome. By the way, the outcome is always better than I anticipated.

Building the Plane

Being the primary breadwinner is becoming more common for women in America. In 1987, only 12% of couples reported that the wife earned more than her husband. In 2017, the number grew to 28%. A new reality is emerging. The old belief that you cannot out-earn your husband is slowly disappearing.

Another business coach taught me about building the plane as you fly it. That means planning only gets you so far. Start to view your strategic plan as a guide, not a mandate. That’s because some circumstances remain hidden until you get moving.

As you know, business growth isn’t always logical. What occurs in the real world often contradicts the theory that’s taught in school. If we were going to take the safe and narrow route, Steve would opt for the steady paycheck with benefits.

Because we decided to build the plane as we fly it, we didn’t have it all figured out. And yes, planning offers a blueprint. However, even planes that file a flight plan frequently get thrown off course due to weather conditions.

We’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. But like the plane that veers off course, we simply adjust and course correct.

Don’t Become a Statistic

Don’t allow your success to ruin your marriage. The divorce rate under normal circumstances is high enough. Make sure that your relationship can weather you being the boss at work. Trust, respect and communication are core for a long-lasting joint venture.

Now that Steve’s on my team, I’ve connected with other highly successful women who’ve followed a similar path. Also, a growing number of women plan to retire their husband from his 9 to 5. It makes sense for them to add him to their team.

A growing number of women plan to retire their husband from his 9 to 5. It makes sense for them to add him to their team. #shestheboss #getpaidwhatyoureworth
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What I pay attention to will grow. Our work relationship, like our personal relationship, deserves attention. I’ve never taken Steve for granted; that simply leads to problems.

Ready to retire your husband from his 9 to 5? Then avoid these common problems which can split you apart.
  • Growth. You’re growing apart rather than together. Personally, you’re growing at a faster rate than he is.
  • Roles. Egos create conflict. Because you’re the boss at work, it’s affecting your partnership at home.
  • External pressure. It takes a strong man to dismiss any comments from friends and family about working for his wife.
  • Ambition. Your drive for success overflows into your personal life. You’ve sacrificed your social activities for networking activities.
  • Personality conflict. Your different work styles sometimes clash. You unknowingly shut down his point of view and discourage his suggestions.
Your Best Support and Advocate

As my CSO, Chief Support Officer, Steve provides support in a variety of ways. He’s my best advocate, constantly sharing about our work together. As my life partner, he knows me better than anyone else.

We hold hands all the time. Sometimes it’s to celebrate a win. Others times it’s to offer comfort.

The rewards of working together are worth the risk.  If you’re ready to retire your husband from his 9 to 5 and add him to your team, but unsure about the details, then let’s talk. The complimentary strategy session is a dedicated conversation that offers clarity about your best next move.

The post She’s the Boss: Retire Your Husband from His 9 to 5 appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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Our role reversal

During the majority of our marriage, we’ve worked side by side. Steve was the program director of our counseling agency. I was the lead therapist.

Now our roles are reversed. I’m the boss and he’s working in my business. Because most of Steve’s career he’s been in a leadership role, he’s happy to step back into a support position.

She’s the boss

According to the American Express 2017 report, women entrepreneurs brought in $1.7 trillion in sales from 11.6 million firms in the United States. There are 11.6 million big businesses where the wife is the boss. These women owned businesses provide employment to about 9 million people.

Our country’s economy relies on mom and pop businesses. But there’s a twist. Women are no longer standing behind their husbands. The tables are turning, and some very smart men now support their wives.

Many of the businesses I knew about where she’s the boss and her husband plays a supporting role had some different circumstances than mine. Basically, the husband had a complimentary skill set. This added obvious value to her business. He was the tech guy, great at sales or offered admin support.

The mistake I made

Adding Steve to my team was a no-brainer. We already knew we work well together.

My initial mistake was asking Steve to do the things that I didn’t enjoy doing. Many of those things he didn’t enjoy doing either, but for different reasons. So we had to re-think his role.

What was the best way to utilize his strengths when we share some overlapping skills? Since this wasn’t clear cut, his role continues to evolve. There’s been a lot of trial and error.

We've made mistakes along the way. However, the benefits of working with your spouse far outweigh the negatives. #she'stheboss #couplesbusiness
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We believe the benefits of working together far outweigh the negatives.

  • Trust. I wholeheartedly trust my husband. We make a great team.
  • Input. Sometimes I need a different point of view. So I often run options by him before making a final decision.
  • Feedback. His questions often make my original ideas even better.  Basically, he notices things I’ve overlooked since I’m too close to the process.
  • Fun. We enjoy working together. We’ve worked side by side since the beginning of our relationship.
  • Skill set. Figuring out this piece got messy. At times, it felt like a hurdle. We have greater clarity now than we did in the beginning.

And yes, we don’t see eye to eye all the time. So we talk about how to work through those times.

Eventually, you will run into some of these challenges too.
  • Can you clearly explain your expectations?
  • How well does your husband follow your instructions?
  • Does he share new ideas?
  • How well do you tolerate mistakes or when he doesn’t do it your way?
  • Are you a control freak and stifling him?

Communication and trust are why you decide to work together. On the flip side, it’s also the #1 reason that your husband may eventually call it quits and work somewhere else.

Steve and I coach couples in business together that working together takes work, and they need a third party to help them figure it out. Steve is the relationship coach, smoothing out the rough spots. I focus on the business side of things.

A resource for the daily challenges

Let’s face it, daily challenges arise. Some easily get resolved. Others are more complex. During those moments, it can feel lonely at the top. Steve is my go-to person.

As my CSO, Chief Support Office, Steve listens to new ideas, shares his perspective on how to deal with tough problems and discusses business growth strategies.

Sometimes simply talking about what’s going on is all I need. Basically, then I can figure out how I feel about the situation. Maybe you’re like that too. But sometimes Steve immediately wants to fix it, and that’s not what I need. Rather than get frustrated with him, I now let him know where I’m at before we start to talk.

Although we talk about business stuff on a daily basis, about two years ago we started scheduling weekly meetings. It’s a dedicated time to for us to discuss the “big picture.” During our meetings we brainstorm business growth strategies.

Periodically we’ll really dive into the growth strategy. Sometimes we’ll attend a strategic planning retreat together. This year we’re going away for a long weekend to map out the plan.  More gets accomplished when we step away from our day to day routine.

Whether it’s your spouse or any another team member, people want to be heard and acknowledged for their contribution. #shestheboss #couplesbusiness
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What’s your balance between work and your personal relationship? We discuss our day before dinner time. But, I sometimes get ideas later in the evening. So stopping all shop talk by dinner isn’t a hard and fast rule for us.

Learn to listen

Yes, it’s my business. The most innovative ideas; however, spark from things happening outside of your industry. So I encourage him to bring his disruptive ideas to the table.

Although I’m the boss, I do my best to keep an open mind. I don’t know it all. And I don’t want to know it all.

Whether it’s my husband or any another team member, people want to be heard and acknowledged for their contribution. I used to say “no” too soon. My kids taught me to think it over, and sometimes sleep on it, before making a decision.

An unexpected benefit

As a speaker, I travel frequently. Often Steve joins me on the road. Since he does most of the driving, I’m free to schedule phone appointments or tweak my presentation.

As my CSO, Steve oversees all the details about the venue. And he’s great with people. So he’ll mingle and schmooze the crowd.

Then after my talk, he’s by my side answering questions, setting up appointments and handling back of the room sales.  His assistance is invaluable.

Here’s a bonus. Sometimes we’ll add an extra day or two onto our trip, depending on the destination. That way we combine work and play.

In the end, having your husband as an employee in your business can be wonderful. He’s available to discuss new ideas and problem solve. Plus, he’s your best support. You’re the boss. And he’s committed to your success.

If you’re looking to strengthen your work relationship and grow your business, then let’s talk. The complimentary strategy session is a dedicated conversation about you and your business.

The post She’s the Boss: Mistakes Learned from Working with My Husband appeared first on Business Success Solution.

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