As a business owner, growing your company is one of your top priorities, but as a small-business founder, you know what a challenge it can be when you’re juggling all the things required to keep the lights on. You may lack the budget for big marketing campaigns or the time to focus on growth when there are so many other aspects you have to manage.
So, if you’re a founder in this position, how do you grow your business while pushing all the buttons? Many of you might be ready to have a conversation with me about delegating, but some may still be in the solopreneur space.
I pulled together my top ten business hacks that have helped Bright Moments so, so much. Ultimately these pieces have helped us grow successfully over the past 2 years.
1. Have one place for your ‘punch list’
Business Hack #1 is simple- stay organized by having one place for your lists.
Sure, you’re going to have multiple projects and things running at the same time! But one central location will ensure you don’t miss the details or deadlines. My top two favorite project management software options are Asana and Trello. [heart eyes]
You know what, I want everyone to be able to work more efficiently (smarter not harder!!) and so I am sharing the list of tools and resources we use every.single.day. at Bright Moments! Just click this button to get it right away!!
2. Take control of your documents and content
Have you ever had a great idea for a new blog post or a tool for your clients to use, save it in a document or voice memo and then go to find it weeks later only to come up empty-handed?
Use the standard filing system in your online ‘filing cabinet’ to find things easily! And then when you have a team, they can find things too!!
Some top or parent level folders we always recommend:
- Business Development
Think of them as our business’ departments. What would it look like if your company had multiple people working in each area of your business?
3. Consistent Branding
Have you noticed that I use yellow and blue a lot in my pictures here on my website and on Instagram? I’m always trying to incorporate my colors in what I wear and the images I share, being consistent with my branding. That means the fonts I use, colors using my logo where appropriate and other consistency helps keep my brand top of mind with the people who view my things.
4. Use apps and software to your advantage
While being accountable for your own productivity could be a daunting task, nowadays, it’s totally manageable. For those of us with untraditional careers, there are plenty of resources available to keep us motivated and organized. After all, “there’s an app for that.” As an entrepreneur responsible for a team of other entrepreneurs, I use all sorts of apps to keep myself organized and to stay on task. Here are my top 3:
The ongoing list of projects, launches, and everything in between is in Asana and the shared drive. Asana was designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. This has been a great way to share files and move projects along.
An easy way to find a meeting time for two people, we use Calendly to set up all meetings outside the team (and sometimes internally too!). The paid version has allowed multiple options for Embrace Change meetings including different discovery calls (coaching and consulting), a variety of client meetings, and a choice for others to just chat when the above options don’t fit.
HoneyBook is an all-in-one project, invoicing and payment management tool. HoneyBook’s robust features help small businesses manage everything. Other key features include document management, appointment scheduling, streamlined communications, payment processing, and proposals.
5. Have one offer
I promise it’s so much easier to become known for just one thing than it is 10 different things. Having a single offer saves time, effort, angst, investment, and – if you’re anything like me – it means it’s much harder to hide away doing the fussing, which can often be a cover for procrastination, self-sabotaging through unnecessary delays and keeping you away from the real work of attracting, winning and helping clients.
By the way, your first signature offer doesn’t need to be world peace. Something that helps the people you most want to work with, uses your strengths, that feels fun, and is likely to be an easy yes for potential clients is perfect. Just don’t sell yourself short by only offering hourly sessions. Be sure to package your services in a way that is manageable.
6. Strategize multiple blog and social media content ideas in minutes (mind map)
Start by writing down your main topics. These are the topics that you write about most often and the topics that your readers/followers/audience have come to expect from you. Next, it’s time to create our mind map. Start a brand new blank document (aww, so fresh!) and type your topics down near the middle of the page. Leave some space around your topics because you are about to get all mind mappy and you’ll need some room for all of your brilliant ideas!
Start with your first topic & write down some sub-topics. These will be anything that falls under your main topic. Topics that your readers care about and are aligned with your blog’s mission. Once you’ve got the sub-topics written out, you will want to expand on those sub-topics into micro-topics. Don’t worry, this is the last step before we start the real brainstorming. So once again, take your sub-topics and break them up into 2-3 micro-topics.
Now that you’ve got your micro topics, it’s time to brainstorm. Now that you’ve narrowed down your field you can get laser focused on content for that particular micro-topic. I usually create a list of 5 titles for each micro-topic.
Pinterest: Whenever I get stuck with content ideas, I go to Pinterest and do a search for a micro-topic and take a look at what’s been written before and which ones are getting lots of re-pins. This almost always sparks some creativity!
If you do go with either of those strategies, make sure that you are inspired & don’t simply copy someone else’s compelling headline. It’s always best to be original and fresh when writing headlines & blog posts.
Ok…so guess what ladies (and gents!), if you’ve followed the steps listed out above you, should have yourself a good 20-30 blog post ideas. Plop those headlines into a calendar and BOOM…you now also have a content calendar. Pretty easy right?
7. Use canned responses (especially emails!)
How many times have you sent basically the same email, with a few small tweaks here and there (client name, dates, etc)?
Canned responses help you easily—and quickly—respond to situations that reoccur often. There are many situations where this might come in handy:
When someone sends an email for help with your service or product, have an email ready to go that lets them know you’ve received their message and are on it.
If you get the same questions about specific resources or tips, create a canned response instead of writing a new email each time.
Canned responses can be used to send routine documents or paperwork.
8. Use video when explaining things
Most of us are visual learners, so why not use technology to your advantage and create simple videos when explaining things to your team or clients? I have a whole free training about it, just click below.
Using video helps the recipient retain information as well as leave a great impression while sharing your personality.
9. Use voice memos during travel/work out time
(SEE #1 for the link to download my free list of Tools and Resources we use every day!)
Who else is getting early-onset carpal tunnel or neck and shoulder pain from typing all.the.dang.time??? The relief I get from being in front of a screen is in a simple tool available on my phone and computer–voice recording!
It’s great to share ideas, content, updates, whatever with your team or to yourself. I mean, doesn’t everyone have those GREAT BIG IDEAS in the car, on a walk, working out, or over a cup of coffee?
10. Map your Client Journey
Similar to mind mapping, creating the steps your client takes from lead to sale and then on the flip side as they walk through your program or service is helpful for many reasons.
I think of each step as a box starting with A (new contact at a networking event) and going to Z (archiving the project). This will help you determine the communication breakdown, what your sales funnel looks like, how else you can support your clients.