Your business is beautiful, but like any baby, it takes a watchful eye to nurture as it grows.
Perhaps you’ve been at this for some time, and your business is starting to grow up, but occasionally you throw up your hands in frustration that the business won’t do as it’s told.
“Why can’t you keep money in the bank?” you interrogate your business. Or, “I just need you to deliver products on time; is that so difficult?” Or, “Once in a while, can’t you just leave me alone?”
Of course, you’re not usually bemoaning the shortcomings of your business itself. More than likely, you’re blaming yourself, your employees, or your customers for the problems you face from day-to-day—but that’s a mistake.
You should be blaming your business systems for the problems you’re facing because your business has one job: to generate wealth.
How Do You Define Success as an Entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, you have one job.
That may be hard to believe because you know that your role changes from day-to-day, and you’re often wearing (too) many “hats” at once, but it’s true.
As an entrepreneur, your job is to create a system that generates wealth.
When you achieve that, you’ve achieved success. If you haven’t achieved that, you still have work to do. Even after you’ve achieved that, your job is to hone the systems you have, and create more systems that generate more wealth.
As an entrepreneur, you have the unique and one-of-a-kind role of actually generating wealth.
That’s radically different than every other path to financial wealth, because most people save, trade, or steal to accumulate money. Even investors are making educated trades to make a profit, but only entrepreneurs actually create wealth from scratch.
Think of this as The First Law of Financial Dynamics (which I just made up). It states:
Wealth cannot be created from scratch, it can only change form—unless you’re an entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, you have a sacred duty. You get to participate in the miracle of creation by generating new wealth, and when you do this well the entire world around you benefits in five distinct ways:
- The product your selling improves your customer’s life
- The job you create improves your employee’s life
- The income you earn improves your family’s life
- The money you spend improves your provider’s life
- The profit you accumulate improves your own life
Of course (and unfortunately), you don’t have magic powers. You can’t snap your fingers to generate wealth, you need to work to create the systems that generate it—but you need to work smarter, not harder.
For long-term success, your business needs to be efficient, effective, and enjoyable to operate.
- Efficient because you have limited resources at your disposal. If you waste time or money then you’re wasting potential profit (A.K.A. wealth). Beyond that, if your business isn’t efficient another entrepreneur will be. In that case, whatever success you have now won’t last for long.
- Effective because you need to make a difference. To build a reputation of change, you need to successfully transform the lives of your customers in some way, whether small or large. You need to build a reputation and presence in your market, offer a compelling promise to potential customers, and serve those customers consistently once they sign on.
- Enjoyable because life is too short to do anything otherwise. For the years your working on your business, it’s not uncommon to spend half of your waking hours (or more) building the business. As you systematize your business success, those hours should lessen, but if you’re going to build a lasting business you need to systemize your success in such a way that you enjoy the work that you do.
The Systemizability Framework: A Blueprint to Beautiful Business
As an entrepreneur, success is creating a system that generates wealth for your family. To do that, and to do it consistently, your business needs to be efficient, effective, and enjoyable to operate. For that, you need a blueprint that clearly illustrates your path to success.
This blueprint isn’t a detailed set of standard operating procedures, a binder full of charts and data, or an org chart of the people you employ—it’s a 3-step framework to building a beautiful business.
It may be tempting to think that your business is unique, to think that no one has ever faced the specific set of challenges and complexity that you face in your industry, with your business model, and today’s set of unique circumstances.
To some extent, that is true—but there is a common pattern to business that makes or breaks an entrepreneur’s success, and thus, a common path to success.
3 Steps to Systemize Your Business
Step 1: Fix Your Finances
The goal of finance, first and foremost, is to make sure that you take home profit at the end of the day.
Along the way, that means making sure that money is paid when promised (both coming in and going out), and no more money is promised than you already have.
Most business owners track their money looking backward, detailing every dollar to see where it was spent. The problem with this approach is that by the time you’ve tracked it, you can’t un-spend it—the only organization that benefits from this habit is the IRS.
Looking back at your finances helps you pay your taxes. It doesn’t help you generate profit beyond the small advantage of having historical data to inform your future plans.
Your finances should help you drive your business the same way visibility tools help you drive your car. You have a large front-facing window and a very small rear-facing mirror because you need far more visibility looking forward than you need looking back.
Step 2: Master Your Marketing
The goal of marketing is to spread your reach, making sure your target customers know that you exist and that you’re the provider they should be working with when they’re ready to buy.
In marketing lingo, this is the journey from prospect to lead. Everyone is a prospect for your business, though some are better prospects than others. You need to get to know your target customer. What sets high-quality prospects apart from the rest?
???? Once you know what your target customer eats for breakfast, you need to get in front of their face (that's where your empathy advantage kicks in).
What marketing models are already working in your industry, whether for you or someone else? Should you consider paid advertising, or start with a free live event? Will you publish content on your website, or give away samples at local events?
Once people discover that you exist, you need to offer them a decision.
Specifically, you need to present them with a yes-or-no decision, an opportunity to give a small yes to the value you offer (although, at this point, without a price tag attached). This could be trying a free sample, taking a minicourse, or downloading an ebook—anything that requires your target prospect to consciously opt-in.
Not everyone who sees your offer will take you up on it, even if it’s free. Those who do, however, shed their identity as prospects and become leads. Leads are potential customers for your business, and that’s where your sales process comes in.
Step 3: Supercharge Your Sales
The goal of sales is to complete the transaction that moves people from interested to invested, paying you (via your business) for a promised product or service.
In most businesses, there is a path directly to purchase, so your target customers can skip the line and put their money down if they’re ready to buy—but it’s a small percentage of your potential customers who will start out this way.
Your sales process, then, needs to pick up where your marketing process left off, detailing the process your target customer goes through after they move from prospect to lead.
As a lead, they’ve opted into some kind of sample solution, so your first step is to make sure it’s wow-worthy itself. After all, this is their tip-toe into transformation and your opportunity to convince them to buy.
After your target customer experiences your sample solution, what happens next?
How do you introduce each product to your customer, and what promise of transformation will you make? What are the options, at what price points, and where should your customer begin?
Is there a journey from product-to-product, and can any customer skip a step along the way? How much of this process is automated, and how much is closer to direct sales?
The goal of your sales process is to make a promise to potential customers and get them to accept. Once they accept (and money changes hands) they move from lead to customer, and your sales work is done.
Congratulations, you made a sale! Before moving on to sell any other products, make sure to fulfill every promise that you’ve made with the sale, with a systemized solution.
What’s Your ThriveScore?
I’ve designed an assessment to calculate your progress, wherever your business is in the process of systemizing success. Click here to take the assessment and get your business ThriveScore.
Question: Based on that score, what zone is your business in? That should determine where to focus your energy next.