Backup is Key

I am going to be clear and consistent on this. You must have backup in running a business.

It’s fantastic if you have a support team around you. I commend you for asking for help and getting support. But what happens when a team member needs time off? Do you have people cross trained?

You need backup for your backup.

This is the difference between building a company or working for clients with limited resources, unable to grow. What is the vision for your company? Where are you going?

Are you training your team on various skills?
Or are you totally vulnerable and leaving important tasks to one person alone?

For instance, I want everyone on my team to have some knowledge of Infusionsoft. Why? Because when Liz, who normally schedules the newsletter to go out, is traveling, she shouldn’t have to worry or feel pressure to get something done when she’s not in town and I shouldn’t have to worry about it, either.

Backup steps in. Backup steps up.

My daughter, Alex, is seeing this firsthand. She is a new manager and is leaving for a few days to travel with me to San Francisco next week where I’m speaking. She is realizing she needs people to cover her role, in her corporate job. There’s no scrambling in her absence, just business as usual.

Everyone needs time off. Everyone needs a vacation. Everyone needs days to travel, sick days, mental health days. You name it.

You should be able to take the days off you need and your team should, too.

Train your team up and watch the support grow to new levels. This is important whether you run a small business with a handful of employees or a corporation with specific departments.

Each department is a small business and there should be members that can backup any other member. When pressure is low, productivity is high. Making someone feel like they are the only person who can handle a certain task is not fair. Not for the business owner or the support member.

Just the other morning, I was submitting an application for a speaking engagement, and everything was sent in by the due date. But they came back to me, asking for additional information and a VIDEO.

I was literally in bed, after a night of celebrating with family members, (my niece got engaged!) and had no makeup on and thought, how am I going to get this all done? I can shoot the video, but I don’t have time to submit the additional answers they need in the document.

One of my team members (on a Sunday, mind you) stepped up to help me get everything sent in before day’s end.

Backup steps in. Backup steps up.

I am so thankful for my team and I want them to feel just as supported as I do. If they need a day, they get a day!

How do you train your team so no one feels added or unnecessary pressure? Share with me on the SSC Facebook page.

If you want to talk further, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and let’s have a conversation.

Reflection Exercise

Reflections__free_photos___1402132_-_FreeImages_comI did some pretty amazing things in 2016 and I KNOW you did, too! During my time off last week, I took some quiet moments to really reflect and I encourage you to do the same.

We are coming into the last month of the year and I have a short exercise for you to do to help facilitate your reflection and give you action steps to move forward.

Take out a notepad and write these answers out, if you’re old school like me. Or type your answers. Whatever fits you best.

  1. What have I accomplished this year? List your top three.
  1. What was my biggest financial accomplishment?

For example: did you sign the biggest contract ever or meet a new revenue goal?

  1. What milestones did you reach in your business AND in your life?

For example: did you hire a support team member or pay in full for that family vacation?

  1. What event did you attend or hold that really worked, reaped the most benefits?

Now look at your answers.

#1 – How did you make those accomplishments happen? What actions did you take to reach those goals? Can you do the same things in 2017 and can you do them even better? For example: if you spent more time on social media and found you added new clients using that strategy, make sure your plans for 2017 include an even bigger online presence. If you found you speaking as a tool to move high quality clients through your pipeline, set up those speaking engagements for 2017. Find out what else you can be doing and decide who can help you.

#2 – Why was this your biggest financial accomplishment? Did you raise your prices? Did you ask for a retainer rather than an hourly fee? Was the client a more ideal one and it just worked better? How can you model all of your packages and pricing after this one for 2017? Review your current contracts and prices. What needs updated for the coming year? What action steps can you take to find more clients and more projects like this one? Use it as a model.

#3 – Celebrate!!! You know I’m big on this. Give yourself a break and get out there and enjoy this fantastic life you’ve created. It will pump you up for an even bigger 2017. If you hired your first support team member or your tenth, you deserve to celebrate that. Let everyone cut out of work early on a Friday and take them out for dinner before year-end and buy that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting. Celebrate the life milestones, too. Did you send your child off to college? Or finally get that in-ground pool put in? These moments happened because you worked hard to secure that income. Part of growth is realizing how far you’ve come in a year and letting that confidence and inspiration propel you to even greater heights.

#4 – Make sure you get this event on your calendar for 2017. Don’t just look at the first quarter and fill in where you want to be. Look at the entire year and make sure the time is set aside to attend training, workshops, retreats, masterminds, speaking engagements. And also schedule time for your own events. If you know the date NOW, you are way ahead of the game.

Another bonus question would be what didn’t work? Don’t focus on the negative. Use the experiences to move forward.

Reflect.

Get those calendars out and after you’ve added in the work events, get those family and vacation events on there. If you do all of this before the calendar turns to Jan. 1, you just set yourself up for one amazing new year.

If you want to share any of your answers on the SSC Facebook or LinkedIn pages, please do! I want to know how your year went and what you’re ready to accomplish in 2017. If you want to chat with me further, you can always reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

Will it be big or small?

IMG_6017It’s our wedding anniversary tomorrow and as we talked about what we were going to do this year to celebrate, it got me thinking about presents.  

You might find this strange, but it brought up the image of a slide I use when I teach about packages and pricing. Business on the brain all the time, I guess!

The slide shows different size boxes, representing different types of packages.  

I have no idea what size box I will receive as a gift, it might be small it might be big.

Honestly, I will be happy with any box that is filled with VALUE.

That is the key to packaging and pricing.

Your packages need to be the right fit for your client. Some clients want that big package filled with information, access to you, feedback, worksheets, etc.

While others, want something small. One training, one report, one course.

It doesn’t matter if one package compared to the other includes more. What matters are the client needs and what level investment they want to make.

Get out of your own head and into your clients when developing packages. Listen to them. Hear their pain points and create a list of ways you can help or support those pain points. Then get to work on package options.

I suggest thinking of three packages: small, medium and large. Every single one has value and meets the client where they are.

Understand that packages can and will overlap. It makes total sense that they do.

If you want to learn more about creating packages, you can watch a video I made on it here.

If you want to know what I will be doing to celebrate my anniversary, stay tuned to the SSC Facebook page and LinkedIn page for updates!

My Vegas Trip and Lessons Learned

Vegas Trip & Lessons LearnedVegas. You get an automatic picture in your brain as soon as you read that word. Bright lights, crowded streets, casinos on every corner, amazing live shows, fine dining. And the feeling that often surrounds Vegas is excitement! It’s a place you go to have fun, walk on the wild side and if you’re like my family, try your hand at a little gambling.

There are games of pure luck, like the roulette wheel and the slot machines. Then there are games that require a little more skill, like Blackjack and Poker.

In Blackjack, for example, there are some rules that you ‘should’ follow. Rules that aren’t technically required, but if you don’t follow them, and you’re sitting at a table of seasoned players, you might get an annoyed sigh or a glance in your direction.

For instance, when you hit instead of stay because “you might get a low card” or you don’t stay on a lower hand even though the cards the dealer are showing makes for good odds that they will bust.

Strategy comes into play. Yes, luck is always there. You might hit and you might get a lower card and you might stay and the dealer still might win. If you know what I am talking about or if you are not a card player let’s talk the facts about what is important here, knowing the risks and calculating them, is the best way to win the game, be it Blackjack or business.

In business, we evaluate the risks and create our strategy. You might be deciding if you are ready to open that business you have talked about. You might be ready to stop running your business as if it is a hobby and instead become a CEO of your business and run it with a financial plan and solid strategy. Maybe you are ready to expand or reevaluate your marketing efforts. Sometimes you need to hit. You need to go for it. You need to take the action. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. And sometimes, you need to stay. Maybe it’s not the right time. You need to get a support team in place. You need to do further research. Look at the risks and make the plan.

blackjackAt a Blackjack table, you have mere seconds to make a decision. In business, you have more time, which can make you slow down and lose focus. I’ve always said, “what CAN you do today.” Take some kind of action.

And if you need help, ask! Even at a Blackjack table, the support is evident. At the tables, I was not sure if I should or should not split 6’s. I asked the dealer for her advice and with a lovely smile she told me should would recommend splitting according to the rules of the game. They are there to guide the table and I personally have always found them to be incredibly helpful. As  you know, I also believe in asking for help in my business when I know it will help me move forward. I ask a mentor, a coach, a colleague or my team.

Your support team wants you to do well. They want success for you. Your success directly affects theirs. You are a team and you all want to walk away winners.

Look at your business today. Are you using strategy or taking risks without research? Are you asking for help when you need it? Are you taking action or staying stagnant?

If you want to talk about this, let’s chat. Send me an email to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and we will figure it out together.

My “A” team, My Mom

This past weekend we celebrated some wonderful events in my family. A wedding and my Mom’s birthday. InterestinglyIMG_6090 enough, I was at a meeting last week and when a comment came up of who is on my “A” team, I realized my mom made the list.

An “A” team is key people in your business that you go to to discuss new ideas, help navigate

a problem or situation, run strategy across, or help you think outside the box.

I use my “A” team…

~ when I develop new business ideas and need to know if they bring value

~ when I’m unsure if an idea is good or it’s derailing me from my primary objective

~ as a resource when I make a big decision and want to run pros and cons to evaluate

my best course of action

~when I can’t get out of my own way

~when I want to brainstorm

The list goes on and on.

The important question is do you have an “A” team and are you using it?

Let’s circle back and I’ll explain why my mom is on my “A” team and tell you who else makes the list.

My mom was a business owner and manager and is a great numbers person. In her retirement, she did all my bookkeeping and accounting in my printing business to keep busy. She knows how to look at the numbers in a business and look at a strategy. She also comes with X years of experience in life. I am a smart daughter who is not going to share what birthday she just celebrated.

She is on my “A” team because I frankly got tired of going outside and looking for input, sharing it with her and then her saying to me, “Yes, Ivy, I told you that several months ago, glad you decided to listen.”

The rest of my “A” team consists of my coach and a couple of key colleagues who we have been in the journey of building our businesses together for the last several years. If you call 5 to 15 years several.

To develop your “A” team look for people who are objective, non-judgmental and have your best interests at heart for your business.  

I like my “A” team to be


~smart

~have a heart

~know and respect giving me straightforward and honest answer

~know and understand my short and long term goals

~be the ones I can reach out to and when I communicate my exact needs they respect them and respond promptly based on the importance and the time frame of the question

To gather your “A” team, look for a great colleague, coach, leader, mentor and/ or mom – whomever fits!

Share your “A” team with me on FB or LinkedIn. If you are unclear about who belongs on your “A” team and want some feedback or strategy around it, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

P.S. Wanted to share a recent podcast I did on Smashing the Plateau with David Shriner-Cahn! I talk about believing in your goals, overcoming self-doubt, the importance of team and so much more!

Listen in and let me know your #1 takeaway. http://www.tendstrategicpartners.com/episode-214/

Cheers to your Success,

Ivy

Burger or Lobster…

After moving my daughter, Alex, into an apartment in downtown Burgers or Lobster... Ivy Slater - Slater Success CoachingManhattan a week after we moved my son, Bryce, into his apartment in LA, my husband Michael and I needed a good meal before collapsing!

We went to Burger & Lobster and let me tell you, the insight I got after looking at this menu made me so excited to write this week’s newsletter.

I am assuming most of you have heard the teaching about packages and the recommended offering of three different ones.

Don’t confuse the buyer.
Keep it simple, right?

People always ask me if this actually works in business. They feel like if they have more options, they will sell more. They fear limiting themselves and losing income.

Burger & Lobster is a perfect example as to why this concept really does work…

Michael and I sat down and realized there were only drinks listed on the menu. No food. The waitress came over and asked if we’d been there before (we hadn’t) and she said, “We serve burgers and lobster.” We smiled at her, replying that yes, we’d read the name of the restaurant but…

She then made it 100% clear. They had three things on their menu: burgers, lobster or lobster roll. They all came with a salad and fries. The other option was a combo: ½ lobster and burger with a salad, fries and dessert.

My family teases me because I’m usually the one asking the waitress or waiter a million questions, but this time, I didn’t have one! We both ordered the combo, burgers medium rare. Simple. As. That.

Don’t you wish closing a sale could be that easy? Well, let me tell you. It can! If your offerings are clear and simple, it’s a no-brainer for a potential client.

We were eating around 3:30 in the afternoon, after lunch, before dinner and we still had to wait for a table. So the concept works.

I encourage you to think about your offerings this week.

Are they simple and easy to understand?
Are your choices clear and accomplishing exactly what the client needs?

Or is your variety too large? (think a Chinese take-out menu with many, many options)

If you are struggling with keeping your packages and business simple and know this is costing you business, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Here’s my little secret…

If you know me, you probably think I’m an extrovert. I come across as Here’s my little secret... Ivy Slater Slater Success Coachingoutgoing and confident. At least I hope you think I am, I work really hard at it, so here is my little secret…I’m just as nervous/scared/anxious/ as you when I meet new people.

When I walk into a room full of strangers, I don’t find it particularly easy to strike up a conversation. Once I’m in a conversation, I’m fine, but I’ve never been a person that found mingling very natural.

I have friends that are super natural at this and I’m quite jealous!

They walk into a party or a networking event and just slide right into a circle of people, introducing themselves and fitting in.

I’m more awkward. I look for people that seem nervous, too, and tend to gravitate toward them. I’ve shared this tip with you before, there is always someone MORE nervous than you.

Find that person! My goal in this moment is to make them feel comfortable and welcome, this takes the emphasis off of me and I know I am there to help someone else.

I take all my anxiety and nervousness and put that energy into learning about the person I’m meeting. I listen a lot more than I talk and that has helped me find more clients and make more sales than any other marketing technique.

The conversation is bigger than the close.

I don’t go into a conversation thinking about a sale. I go into a conversation thinking about a conversation.

We are all humans. We all have things in common. Whether it’s our kids, a favorite TV show, music we love, an illness in our lives, our passion. There is always something to talk about. If a conversation turns to sales, GREAT. I can turn on that switch in an instant. But if you go into a conversation with that switch already on, you lose the genuine connection.

I’ve met hundreds of people that never turned into clients. But the conversations I had with them turned into much more. Some of them became mentors, friends, people who sent referrals my way, or even became members of my own team.

The conversation is bigger than the close.

The best way to grow your business is to have more conversations. Friendly conversations, conversations that make you think, conversations that make you happy/scared/excited. Have them and learn from them.

The conversation is bigger than the close.
If you want to have a conversation with me, get on my calendar. I want to learn about you and your business. I don’t want to sell you. If what I have to offer can help, we can talk about it. If not, it’s just one more conversation on our path to growth. Until next week!

$100 For A Bottle Of This?!

People invest and pay for value! It’s true. During my retreats last Slater Success Coaching Ivy Slaterweek, one of the activities we did was take a private tour of a five-year old distillery, Hillrock Estate. It was interesting and exciting to learn about the development of the business, the marketing and sales strategies, as well as how they’ve grown since their inception in 2012.

One of the facts we found most interesting was that their first bottle was not put out to market at a low price point. In fact, it cost $100! And five years later, their products consistently range from $80 to $100 per bottle, including Bourbon, Rye and Single Malt.

The SSC retreat ladies had a lot of questions…

Your first bottle at such a high price?

Don’t you start low and build up?

Did people actually pay that?

Slater Success Coaching Ivy Slater 2I sat back listening to this and realized it’s such a common thought amongst business owners. That a low price point is the only way to start.

I don’t agree with this thinking at all, by the way. Why do we always want to start small? Do you really want to play small?

Hillrock had a lot to say in response to those questions…

They told us they knew from the beginning they were going to enter the market with a product that had value and wanted to set themselves apart from the little guys. They felt they had too much integrity to put out a product that was not high-quality, and they consulted with the best people in their industry to make sure their standards were exceeding the average.

I got to thinking about the beginning of SSC. I came into this business with little self esteem and hence did not see my value.

I was running a seven-figure printing business and didn’t see the correlation in the experience I brought as a business coach. I invested in training in one of the top international coach certification programs, yet still didn’t see the value I brought to the table.

I was new, so I felt I had to price as a newbie. I hear this so often, especially at retreats when we really dig into things like rates and value.

I grew and learned that the value is in the results in which the client receives. Once I figured that out, I stepped into my value. I now guide my clients to step into their value and shift their business perspective.

Here’s a great example: Just a couple of years ago, I had a client who launched a line of young girl’s clothes with a specific niche market. Yes, I love and endorse a niche market. The price point when launched was approximately $100 per dress for a 2-6 year old.

I can hear some of you saying “WOW, who puts their little girls in a $100 dress?”

They were so well received that it was picked up within the year by some of the top department stores. The buyers of this line as well as Hillrock, value high quality, something that is special and important to them.  

How do you price and ask for your value?

  • First, identity the pain points of your client and what the problem is you are solving.
  • Next, see the value in the results for the client.  
  • Step out of the “am I worth it”  – “am I good enough” emotion and see the importance to the clients in the investment.

This was a game changer for me when I struggled with this in the early days. Then I started seeing the results. Clients doubling their income and a client who went from $25 per hour to $20,000 per month. Get out of your own way!

If you’re struggling with this, STOP, click right here and schedule some time to chat with me.

I don’t go to events to find clients…I go to do something else instead

This past weekend, I had a group of 14 at the house. I always do a ton of entertaining in the summer, I don’t go to events to find clients_Ivy Slater2usually my kid’s friends make up a lot of the guest list, and I love to cook for them.

I’m always going to 3 or 5 different specialty stores to find the specific ingredients I want.

I look for fresh, interesting and unique.

When the weekend was over and I was going through the receipts from the many stops I made, I realized that how I shop for ingredients is the same way I network for my business and add potential relationships and clients to my pipeline.  

I look for events that will be filled with like-minded people. I want to go somewhere and connect with theI don’t go to events to find clients_Ivy Slater other guests.

I don’t go to find clients. I go to build relationships.

Those relationships turn into connections. Those connections turn into sales, referrals, friendships, you name it.

I attend at least one networking event per week and they are all different and unique (like my ingredients).

Some are geared towards women, others for business owners in a certain age range, others for coaches.

Just like I pick out a new cheese for a pasta dish, I pick out a new event to spice up my business.

I also spice it up by holding my own events. Even SSC Live, that is held annually, has a different theme every single year. I want people to learn as much as they can when attending one of my events, just as I expect to learn a lot when I’m the guest.

Along with learning comes those vital connections and building a pipeline. If you don’t have a pipeline in your business, it’s something you need to get into action immediately.

I fill my fridge with new ingredients just like I fill my pipeline with new people. Keeping everything fresh.

I add to that pipeline by consistently attending various networking events and building relationships with people from all levels of business.

Share with me how you are building your pipeline this Summer. If you’re struggling, STOP and reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com to talk pipeline strategies and plans.

Start Creating Packages that Sell

My daughter and I spent the weekend partaking in some retail therapy and it got me thinking about Slater Success Coachingpricing and packaging.

Are you in a dollars for hours business?

When you charge a client, do you end up really analyzing how much time, research and effort were put in in exchange for the revenue charged?

Honestly, this business model has never worked for me. I love vacations and time off. I love enjoying life. Like this past weekend, spent with family. And soon, I’m off to France for a couple of weeks. One of the main reasons I was shopping! Need some new, fun outfits for the trip.

If I followed the above model, time off would equal NO pay and that makes NO sense.

So instead of dollars for hours, I create packages with a fixed rate. I’m sharing three tips to help you create a similar model in your business:

 

Who is your buyer?

Create profiles of your current/potential clients. I like to call them avatars. I define where my buyers live, where they vacation, if they have a family, where they shop, the car they drive. This gives me a targeted approach in the marketing of my packages.

Example of one of these profiles: One of my clients designs dresses for young girls, specifically aged 2-5. These are fancy dresses, made for girls who really love to dress up. The buyer is often a grandmother, mom, or other relative in the little girl’s life who wants to spoil her! A woman who regularly shops at high-end stores like Neiman Marcus or Saks. She enjoys art and culture and appreciates the finer things in life.

 

What are the problems or pain points your clients are experiencing?

This is where you begin to build your package, giving the client what they need, solving their problem. A shoe store carries shoes, but they also cater to people who experience problems with their feet. They offer insoles, special socks, pamphlets on foot care. The store focuses on the big picture, the targeted pain point or problem.

 

What do you sell? Now, what ELSE do you sell?

Start putting your package together by adding in the essentials first. If a client needs coaching support, put in monthly coaching calls and action items, then begin to build on the package with other support factors.

When I was a printer, I did this often. I would add in things like local shipping, two rounds of proofs, etc. The client didn’t always realize how helpful it was, until it was offered.

While shopping this weekend, we were at an intimates store and the woman helping us asked if we had a special mesh bag to wash our purchases in? I didn’t think this was that important, until she explained how it kept the garments in the best condition for a longer period of time. I knew the small investment now would pay off big time in the future, so guess what…she got the sale.

She also asked if I wanted the laundry soap to go with the bag. Again, not something I would have picked off the shelf myself, but after the education I received from the woman, my interest level peaked and I made the purchase. If she wouldn’t have asked, I wouldn’t have bought.

Always offer more. Go above and beyond. Share how you can add value.

If you are unsure about your packages and pricing and are ready to get clear, let’s jump on the phone. Click here to schedule some time to chat.

 

Ivy