When I was studying for my MBA, my most challenging class was statistics. And even though I managed an A- in the class, it took every one of the few analytical brain cells I had to do so.
So when I sit down to analyze the statistics of my business every year, I’m still surprised to find myself engrossed, fascinated, excited and practically dancing for joy. Armed with this critical data, now I know exactly where to spend my time and efforts going forward to receive the highest and best rate of return.
I ran a total of about 10 reports, but let me share some of what I learned specifically from my shopping cart’s reports:
The backend system I use (Infusionsoft) has the ability to run sales reports in a variety of ways. Below are four of the reports I run, what my results are, and how you can apply the results to your business:
a. My Monthly Sales Totals…
…showed me how many sales I made each month, and from that information, I discovered that my best month financially was November, followed very closely by December, then January.
I reviewed my marketing and sales activities (in other words, the offers I made) for that month, and what I found was this:
In November, I opened the Lively Biz Business Club membership for the first time.
In December, I opened the Lively Biz Accelerator small group coaching program for the first time.
In January, I offered a handful of spots for private Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats with me, which always sell out very fast.
While the Club has a low price point, I designed and followed a specific launch plan, which resulted in a lot more enrollments. If you only have higher price points in you business model at the moment, consider if you can add a lower-priced leveraged offer to your menu of services.
Both the Accelerator and the Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats have higher price points, so if you’ve already developed some products or programs at the lower-priced end of your funnel, consider adding a more comprehensive program at a higher price to your offerings to increase your bottom line.
b. My Sales by Campaign…
… showed me which special offers were the ones you were most interested in taking advantage of. Now I know which offers to consider repeating, or offering on another product or program in the future.
This is something you can do as well. Guessing if a special campaign you ran worked well or not doesn’t make good business sense. Tracking actual numbers does, however, and it’s super-simple to do if you have a backend system that has that feature.
c. My Sales by Clients/Customers…
… showed me who my top clients/customers are, what they’ve bought, and how much they’ve invested in my offerings. And since I know that one of the most effective ways to grow a business is to make additional offers to those who have already bought from me, you can bet that not only will I do that, but I’ll do it in a way that makes them feel special – because they are to me – by offering them special access or discounts or additional benefits as my way of thanking them for their continued business and loyalty.
If you track this information, you can do the same and increase your sales and your customer loyalty at the same time.
d. My “Where did you hear about us” Report…
… showed me that even though I thought that some of my online networking efforts weren’t really paying off, mainly because I didn’t think I was focusing enough time on them, I was wrong. It seems even the small amount I had been doing was making an impact.
So now I know the top three places to really focus those efforts going forward. If you’ve found online networking to be a struggle for you, tracking this information makes what can seem like an overwhelming marketing activity (some lists are SO active) into an extremely manageable and once-again enjoyable one.
I gleaned all of this information from just four reports from Infusionsoft. And this doesn’t include the reports I ran for my web stats via Google Analytics.
Measuring the results of your business activities is critical to your success, and anyone can do it (it’s really one of those “if I can, anyone can” kind of things). I really want to encourage you to take a look at where you’ve been over the past 6-12 months, analyze that data, and make some strategic decisions about where you want to focus your efforts going forward to get where you want to be.
I’d love to hear which of these tips you’re willing to embrace today. Feel free to share with me below.
If you haven’t spent a few minutes thinking about, visualizing, writing, or creating a vision board about what you want to bring into being in 2019, take at least a few minutes today to do so.
Mine is to complete my manuscript of Book #2. 🙂
Truth be told, that’s been on my dream list for more than a few years (and at least since my first book was published in 2014), but as much as I wanted to write my next book, I wasn’t really doing anything about it.
Do you have a dream like that too? Here’s what I’m doing that’s helping me stay on track that may help you too.
1. Write it down
Write down your dream every single day. I’m serious. Add this 10-second ritual to your morning to support you in achieving your dream. And handwrite it – that makes all the difference.
I write, “I’m a NY Times Bestselling Author” every single morning. Will Book #2 get me there? Who knows? But I’m setting my intention and sending it out to the Universe every single day. I won’t be surprised when it happens – giddy, but not surprised.
2. Create a container for your dream
In my case, that’s Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor and project management tool created specifically for writers, but that really doesn’t even come close to covering what it actually can do. In my case, it gives me a separate place to write my book. Not jumbled up with Word or Pages, which creates just one long document.
Scrivener works the way my brain works. When I wrote my first book, I created a table of contents, chapter headings, and some of the front and back matter in Word. I printed those out, 3-hole punched them and put them into a physical binder. Then I would add pieces of content I’d already written by printing them, punching them and adding them to the binder wherever made the most sense. I’m a visual person and if I can see how something fits together, it’s much easier for me.
But Scrivener does that for me! I created a binder and I add chapters as I go, that I can easily re-organize however I want. And the best part is the cork board, where I can stick post-it notes of content I want to be sure to include in my books somewhere – stores or tips or concepts I want to expand on.
What container do you need for your dream? Is it specific software, or a course, or an artist’s date (like in The Artist’s Way) with yourself once a week to work on it? Is it a coach or mentor or a friend who holds you accountable? What will support you in moving steadily towards your dream?
3. Ask for help
Ok, now I’m going to get pretty woo-woo on you. I’m going to share something I learned from Christy Marie Sheldon many years ago called What Would It Take. Now, I don’t know why this works, and honestly, I don’t care. But it works for me and when my clients embrace this, it works for them too.
Here’s what you do. Think of your dream. Then ask this question to the Universe.
“What would it take for <fill in your dream>”?
An example of one of mine is: “What would it take for me to become a NY Times bestselling author?”
Now, here’s the trick. You’re NOT asking for the HOW. You’re putting it out to the Universe to send you the HOW. That may look like an idea that pops into your head, an email that shows up, the course or program or book or a conversation with someone that will help you move closer to your dream.
Sidenote: If you have a hard letting go of the HOW (like, ahem, me), this is an excellent practice for you.
I ask my WWIT when I’m getting ready in the mornings (I actually have WWIT written on my bathroom mirror to remind me) and it’s not the same every day. I ask about what’s the priority for me in that moment, so it might be “WWIT for me to manifest an extra $20k before my birthday?” or “What would it take for us to be awarded enough financial aid for the kids to stay at their school?” or “What would it take for us to find the right next cottage to book for the whole summer?”
By the way, those were ALL ones I’ve put out there and here’s what happened: I made/manifested (pick your preferred word) $22k in 6 weeks (10 weeks before my birthday). We received an award package for the kids’ tuition that was way beyond what we could have ever expected. And we’re heading into our third summer at the perfect ‘next’ cottage.
I don’t question it, I just do it. And perhaps the lack of attachment to the outcome helps too. 😉
4. 15 minutes a day
Now to get back to the practical… I work on my current dream for 15 minutes a day. I write for 15 minutes in Scrivener, usually early morning, though sometimes it happens later in the day. But I can always find 15 minutes to write even if the muse is missing and the writing is crap. Writing from a blank page is always hardest. Rewriting is easy. But you can’t rewrite it you don’t get something down first.
Sometimes I write longer than 15 minutes but never shorter. We’re 21 days into 2019 and I’m at 9069 words. At this pace, I will end up with at least 100k words by the end of this year, which roughly equals about a 210-page manuscript, which is more than enough to publish it.
How can you chunk down your dream in 15 minutes a day?
If you’re not sure, ask yourself what’s ONE thing you can do today to move forward towards your dream? If you’re still not sure, do a mind-purge of all the things it’s going to take for you to achieve your dream and keep it handy. Look at it every morning and pick one thing. Even if that one thing can’t be completed in 15 minutes, you can at least get started and keep working on it in your 15-minute dream-achieving time, right?
There you have it. This is how I make stuff happen. A little woo and a little practical equals a lot of dream-achieving. Try it, and let me know what happens!
Is your business starting to feel stagnant?
Or is it at a standstill completely?
Are you just not as enthused about it as you used to be?
Or does it feel just OFF and you’re not quite sure why?
There are many reasons this could be happening to you (especially with how much has changed in online business) but some of the more simple things to look at are if your current look and feel, messaging, and model are aligned with who you are and the work you most want to do as well who you want to do it with and for.
Often times, a simple ‘refresh’ of what we’re doing, that’s more closely aligned with who we are today and the work that makes us light up inside, and being of service to just the right people, can move the energy and rekindle your enthusiasm.
Here are 3 simple ways you can hit the refresh button in your business today:
1. Look and Feel
When you look at your website, what does it feel like to you? Does it make you smile? Does it give off the energy you want it to? Does it work the way you want it to? Do you love it?
When you look at your marketing materials, ask yourself the same questions. If you’re not feeling it with your stuff, chances are that your target market isn’t either.
As you grow personally and as your business grows, your look and feel should change to reflect more accurately your current state of being.
Where in your business can you refresh the look and feel to more accurately reflect where you are in your business today?
Think about the main message you deliver to your market. Is that message still accurate? Has it changed over the last year? Does it feel like it needs to change to more accurately reflect who you serve and how you serve them?
As you become more clear about what it is that you do and to whom you do it for and with, you’ll want to adjust your message accordingly.
For example, my message for many years was about mentoring women entrepreneurs to break through to 6 figures and beyond so they can live the life they ache for. And while that is still true, it became clearer to me what really matters is not the 6 figures necessarily, but what really matters to them personally – and that’s reflected in my new brand, Lively Biz.
A Lively Biz is playful, purposeful and profitable and part-time. It inspires you to live your life first. It allows you to enjoy this crazy entrepreneurial journey without making you crazy. And it enables you to make a lot more money.
Take a mini-audit of your offerings. What parts of the work that you do do you love to delivery and in what way? What parts could you let go of and feel really great about?
For example, after two years of year-long coaching programs, I reduced them to 8-month programs. When I restarted a monthly membership, I changed from live teleclasses to pre-recorded ones. I now offer virtual retreats in addition to in-person retreats. All of these changes better suit my chosen lifestyle and resonate with my best clients as well.
What changes can you make in your business model to better serve you?
While the message and the market of your business may be different, there are some stumbling blocks that seem to pop up for even the seasoned entrepreneur.
Here are four of the ones that I frequently coach on with my private clients:
1. Not moving ahead even when they know what to do.
Almost always, this is a fear-based immobility. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success (the later seems more prevalent for entrepreneurs, including myself).
We come up with all kinds of excuses as to why something isn’t getting done, but most often it has nothing to do with anything other than fear of the possible result of moving forward.
If you’re afraid of failing, remember that in our online world, we get to test things out with very little risk. My favorite strategy is to ‘fail fast’. Put it out there, see what happens, tweak until you get the result you want.
If you’re afraid of success, then you need to take a look at your Big Money Why (BMW – see #4) to see how you can make it more powerful and motivating (tip: money is never enough of a motivator, believe it or not). And you need to put a process in place for how you will handle the abundance that’s too come.
2. Being self-disciplined enough to make and stick to self-imposed deadlines.
The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you’re your own boss. The tricky thing about that is most, if not all, of our deadlines are self-imposed. Which makes them very easy to move, doesn’t it? I know because I’ve struggled with this one more than once.
If we go back to knowing what your emotionally driven motivator is for the success you desire, you’ll be more likely to stick to those self-imposed deadlines – but only if that BMW is strong enough.
Here’s a simple but very powerful tip for you in sticking to your own deadlines: Make them public. When I launched my first info-product, I told my ezine list that they would be able to buy it on a certain date, which gave me about 3 weeks to get it done. And done it was.
3. Claiming leadership status and fully stepping into the role of the CEO of your business.
Once an entrepreneur gets the foundational pieces in place for their business, it’s actually easy to stay in the start-up phase, because it’s comfortable. And because often they don’t know what the next step is, what the next layer of the business should look like, to take them to the next level.
The sooner they can take on the leadership role, by becoming the CEO of their business (even if they don’t call themselves that), the faster the growth of both the entrepreneur and the business.
One of the ways you can step more fully into that role is by delegating. So if you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re still doing too much of the managing of it, and especially if you’re doing all the admin work, and you haven’t hired an assistant yet, it’s time. Start with one small project and add from there.
For every task in your business, ask yourself, “Is this something I should be doing?”
Because remember, even if you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
If the answer is no, then pass it off to a capable assistant.
4. Having an emotionally driven motivator for your Big Money Why (BMW).
This is probably the most important one…
Money is NOT enough of a motivator, no matter how much you want it, or are attached to the ’6-Figure’ or “million-dollar’ mark. There has to be a reason behind wanting it, something that is so strong that it drives you and the business forward, no matter what.
If you find things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, or it feels too hard much of the time, or you just aren’t using your time and talent effectively, take a look at your Big Money Why. And if you haven’t done this before, then that’s your coaching homework.
In as much detail as possible, write out why you want the financial success you do. Is it to give to your family, is it to give to others, is it to create a charitable foundation, is it to take care of elderly parents, is it to enable your children to get the best education you can give them, is it to travel and expand your world view, is it to buy a nicer home for your family, is it to give experiences to those you love – they are a thousand reasons why, but you need to be very clear of what they are for YOU before you can make them happen.
At my annual Online Business Breakthrough Workshop, we focused a whole session on your Big Money Why, and it’s one of the most powerful sessions for shifting the attendees into passionate action in their business.
This year, we’ll be doing this session virtually as part of my Lively Biz Business Club.
Click here to get on the wait-list to be first to find out when the Club officially opens
I love to know how this resonates with you – share with me your thoughts below…
I am a big believer in making decisions and moving forward while course-correcting along the way.
And one of the ways I know my business grows is through making decisions and setting clear intentions.
So every summer while we’re at the lake, I review the last business year, releasing anything that no longer feels good and right for where I’m headed, and take with me the lessons and insights learned along the way while I set new intentions.
Then I get really practical. 😉
I decide what my intentions are for moving closer to my business and lifestyle goals and the big picture decisions that will help get me there. I share these in-depth with my private clients, so I thought it might be helpful to give you an idea of what I mean too.
For this business year (for me that’s September-May, with summer being allocated to travel, rest, and creative space), here’s what I’ll be focused on:
1. List Growth.
I’ll be leading a List-Building Mastery monthly training because I’m a firm believer based on my own experience and that of my clients that growing your list supports a thriving business. I’ll be focusing on specific strategies to growing my lists consistently each and every month, so that’s what I’ll be doing with private clients too.
If you don’t know Don Miller’s work, I strongly suggest you check it out here. I’ve been working through this material this summer and it’s been very helpful for gaining so much clarity and definition around what I do and for whom that I’ll be using it with clients this year specifically as well. Don’s free information is a super-helpful place to start if you know you need help in clarifying your message (and don’t we all?).
3. Facebook Growth.
Because Facebook is my main social media channel for connecting with more of my audience, I’ll be working on growing my Facebook page and group and will be sharing what’s working for me, my before-and-after results, and more with private clients. (My personal not-so-secret weapon for all-things-Facebook? Rachel Miller – check her out here).
I see this as imperative to growing my brand-new Lively Biz Business Club membership, which leads me to…
The Lively Biz Business Club launches this fall (private clients get membership for free, of course), so it’s going to be a lot of membership-focused stuff going forward! I’ve been a part of Stu McLaren’s Tribe for the past few years and it’s been invaluable for helping me create the foundation for what will ultimately be one of my two main revenue streams.
So now that I’ve covered the tangibles, a piece that’s even more important going forward is this…
5. Money Mindset
Yeah, that old clunker is still kicking around. With so much of my mental and emotional energy focused on intense family matters the last 18 months, much of the time I was just letting the flow take me and support me.
That said, without any effort on my part going forward from here, I’m not going to get where I most want to be!
My plan this summer was to focus some time on learning new business growth strategies and making a plan of action for the fall because that’s what I do and what I’m really good at.
However, I found myself reading three different books on money, re-opening a course I invested in over a year ago, and listening to inspirational audiobooks on my walks along the water (namely Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Wash Your Face and Tosha Silver’s Outrageous Openness – both excellent).
So, there you have it – a peek inside what’s happening here at Lively Biz.
I’d love to know what decisions you’re making and intentions you’re setting as well, so please share in the comments. 🙂