I have just submitted my entry for the NSW Business Chamber Awards. I contemplated entering and if it would be a best use of my time. Especially since the Serena Dot Ryan business structure and markers of success have been so different this year compared to the previous year.
I remember entering in 2017 and the process of completing the submission was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the previous 2 years. After hitting submit I immediately felt a wave of positivity. I realised how much I had achieved and how rarely I sat down and documented let alone celebrated this. I am incredibly humble and thankful to have won the 2017 Macarthur Region Business Awards for Excellence in Small Business.
This year I almost didn’t enter the awards. Then I realised how important it was to share what I have achieved. That I had taken some bold steps, changed the business model and fully embraced opportunities I had been presented with. Even sharing this now is hard, but I am determined to support and inspire others like you, who is reading this now, to forge your own path maximising what you have available to you.
Tim Ferriss states ‘the measure of the quality of a man’s life can be measured in the number of hard conversations they are willing to have.’
How many times do you say no? I love saying yes. I love problem solving. However this habit is one that can lead to not getting paid very well, being spread too thin and not being able to produce quality work.
Things had to change, I needed to learn to say no, and, charge what I’m worth.
Whilst I hard started adjust pricing and say no more, I became aware both of these things needed to be done consistently if I wanted a chance of longevity in business.
June 2017 we took on our first USA based client.
By November 2017 I realised 90% of our client meetings were online via Zoom or Skype calls. The biggest overhead we had was an office, that in reality didn’t need. Staff were already working flexibly and remotely. I gave notice for our office premises. This enabled to the freedom to work from home or go to client offices.
This decision alone financed the annual trip to Social Media Marketing World in February 2018.
Pro tip, I also got an annual membership at the Museum of Contemporary Art for just $75. I use the MCA members lounge as my Sydney office base when I have city based meetings.
I then looked at the next large overhead, staff.
Clarity of goals is key for every body. Every staff member sets goals for 3 key areas, Personal, Physical and Professional. Plus role descriptions incorporate rewards based on skills that have been acquired and company success that has been achieved. As of January 2018, everyone is working remotely with this structure in place.
The 3rd biggest overhead we had was my time. When the business started in 2014 I would do coffee chats with people who were interested in the Serena Dot Ryan services. These free coffee chats could take up to 10 – 15 hours per week with no guarantee of a sale. Burning through time like this was another inefficiency. To remove this overhead I implemented the POWER Hour system.
POWER Hours now replace coffee chats.
They take the experience of ‘getting to know you’ and transform it into a one hour consult with an audit of a business online presence and a list of actions they can take to improve their online presence.
End result; each coffee chat is transformed into an appointment like going to a medical specialist and getting an assessment and script to improve your health.
Once these shifts were made, it has meant that overheads has reduced, the type of client enquiring and booking a POWER Hour is in line with what the business vision and values, and it increases the opportunities for the Serena Dot Ryan team to do higher quality work efficiently.
It has been hard to break my own mindset that I have grown up with, let alone that of others that growth is the only indicator of success.
Becoming financially literate has helped me to see that before you push for sales you need to see what savings and efficiencies you can implement first and by doing this, these milestones should also be celebrated, not just the milestones of growth.
I’m thankful to enter awards like the NSW Business Chamber Awards so I have the opportunity to share our achievements over the last year. I believe every business owner should enter awards or share more of their challenges and successes at least once a year to enable them to reflect on what has worked and what could be done better.
I can speak from experience, when businesses have these insights they are better equipped to make decisions to future proof themselves and their businesses.