As a full-time business owner, I completely understand the many hats an owner must wear. Even before I was running City Girl Savings full-time, I was wearing all the hats, PLUS the corporate worker hat! It can be tempting to want to focus on “all the things” that come with running a business, but there’s value in focusing on a few key areas. Then, once those areas are mastered or in a state of autopilot, you can shift focus to other things.
The question then becomes, how do you know what areas to focus on first? How do you decide what are the most important aspects of your business? Last year, I listened to Fix this Next by Mike Michalowicz and found it incredibly insightful. I definitely suggest reading or listening to it.
Based on my own experiences though, I’ve found that focusing on the 5 areas below will help you see growth in your business. Take what can work for you and your business and implement it. Then, work to identify other areas of focus for your business to grow!
5 Areas of Focus to See Growth in Your Business
#1 Customer Experience
You may or may not know this story, but my first sale for City Girl Savings came 8 months after I launched the business. Let me rephrase that – my first order came 8 months after. I didn’t make money off of it. I was struggling to get people to see the value in my custom budget plans. So, I offered to create a budget plan for a Twitter follower in exchange for a review. I kept my word and she kept hers. I still have the review to this day. Here it is:
Even though the budget plan was free, I did my best to deliver the best product and experience. Her tweet led me to 8 back-to-back sales of my custom budget plans. One thing I’ve always prided myself on is delivering a quality customer experience. Whether someone is purchasing a $10 kit or $2500+ in 1-on-1 coaching.
Focusing on the quality customer experience has allowed me to receive business through referrals, keep clients coming back and grow my community. Customer experience doesn’t have to be solely focused on your customers (though it absolutely should).
Think of customer experience for your overall audience and community as well. Deliver valuable, useful, helpful information to anyone who follows your social media, subscribers to your newsletter, or pays you or not.
#2 Your Email List
Speaking of subscribers to your newsletter, an area of focus to see growth in your business is your email list. Not sure what I mean? An email list is a curated list of email addresses that customers and leads have given you. Those emails are stored in an email service provider (like ActiveCampaign, who I use) and you can send emails to everyone or segments.
I wish I had known about prioritizing email lists when I first started City Girl Savings. While I was collecting email addresses through people who found my website, I wasn’t doing anything with them. Over time, those people forgot about me and City Girl Savings. Now, I make it a point to reach out to my email subscribers once or twice a week!
Your email list can be a source of revenue, provide feedback when you need it, and a means of referring work. The great thing about an email list is that it’s 100% yours. Your Instagram following? Not yours. Your TikTok following? Not yours. If both of those platforms (or any other social media platform for that matter) decided to shut down, all those followers would be gone. If those followers were on your email list, you’d still be able to connect with them!
Not sure where to start? I learned from Amy Porterfield that offering something in exchange for a person’s email address is the way to go. Create a useful resource related to your business and offer to send it to people interested when they give you their email address!
#3 Building a community
Take it from me, when you have a community that supports your business, you’re doing something right! This community can be your newsletter, your social following, your clients, or people who constantly advocate for you! Building community – one that consists of clients and non-clients helps establish you and your business.
People can get information about you and your offers. People can see what past clients have to say. People can refer friends. The CGS community is vast, but where we see the most traction is our Facebook Group. The engagement is amazing. Most people aren’t afraid to speak up, ask questions or share progress. We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on community and its paid off!
#4 Sales and profit
If your business isn’t making money, then it’s not a business – it’s a hobby. When I first started City Girl Savings, I wasn’t as focused on the sales as I should be (obviously, if it took me 8 months to get a customer). I was torn between not wanting to ask people for money and seem “sleazy” and wanting to see if my idea could truly be something sustainable.
Here’s what I learned: It’s okay to ask someone to spend money on you/your business. It’s okay to want to make money in your business. It’s okay TO make money in your business! None of these things make you “sleazy”! I learned that in order to impact as many people as I could, I had to make money! The more money I made, the more I could spend my time running CGS and helping people.
Start focusing on sales to see growth in your business. Once the sales come, start focusing on profit (the money you keep after expenses are covered). A profitable business is the goal for every business owner. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before the doors close.
#5 Getting clear on your message
Okay, are you thinking “can you get clear on what you mean when you say ‘getting clear on your message’”?
Valid thought! What I mean is that you should be very clear about who you’re talking to and what you’re offering when creating and distributing marketing materials. It’s easy to think that you are serving everyone with your business, but that means you’re serving no one.
Who is the dream customer for your business? What do they look like? What do they need help with? What are their fears, dreams, hopes and wishes? When you can get clear on who your business is talking to, you can create clear messages for that type of person.
Getting clear on your message means the right people receive the words or offers you share. They turn into customers or community members. They refer friends with similar views. Any time you put a message or offer out into the world, make sure you’re speaking directly to the dream customer base for your business.
Focusing on each of the areas above helped me see tremendous growth in my business. Obviously, I recognize that we’re all different – all of our businesses are different, but certain things apply across the board, just in different ways. If you’ve neglected any of the areas above, give them your focus and see what happens. We all deserve to thrive in our businesses, so let’s put ourselves in a position to do so!
What areas of focus do you currently have in your business? What areas drive your business forward? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!