If You’re Serious About Your Health … Get a Vitamix!

I’ve been living in blender hell for years.  My basic blender just didn’t blend … anything.  Forget about trying to crush ice, it couldn’t even blend fresh fruit.  So, I dreamed of someday getting a Vitamix.  Life would just be better.

And then the day arrived.  I realized I had an extra $350 and got myself the Vitamix 5300 (certified refurbished), in black with the cookbook.  And life really did get better.

How?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  When you own a powerful blender like the Vitamix, you can easily eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Since getting my Vitamix, I’ve been able to blend … everything!

Shes On Her Toes Vitamix Smoothie

I’ve been able to consistently eat breakfast, which has always been a problem for me.  I can blend anything (including ice) with ease to make smoothies.  I’ve made soup on a weeknight.  And been able to put pesto and other healthy sauces on just about everything.  But the best thing about my Vitamix is that I can make my own almond milk.

Now, making your own almond milk might seem super time-intensive and only for “those crazy health nuts.”  But it takes about 45 seconds and saves me about $10 a week.  As a bonus, I know I’m not eating any hidden sugars or additives—check your nut milk labels!  Your seemingly “healthy” almond or cashew milk is likely loaded with sugar and other additives and preservatives.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight (I use the raw, sliced almonds from Trader Joe’s or Costco)

3 cups water (I used filtered water)

And … that’s it!  All you do is put almonds and water in the Vitamix and power it up.  Crank that baby up to 10 for about 45 seconds and … you’ve got yourself some almond milk.  You can pour the almond milk into an air-tight, glass container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  You can strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag to make it more like what you’d buy in the store—if you don’t strain, you’ll get the full fiber from the nuts and the consistency might be more grainy.  I don’t usually strain my almond milk–it’s all about your preference.  And yes, you can put homemade almond milk in a Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother to make an amazing latte!

If you haven’t already made the Vitamix part of your daily cooking and eating routine, I highly recommend it!  The ease of use and cleaning of the machine makes it possible to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  And by adding more variety into your meals, let’s face it, cooking is just a lot more fun—who doesn’t want that?!

Did you know that you could actually win a Vitamix by participating in the Pure Health Challenge only at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons?  Well, you can!  The Pure Health Challenge is all about consistent Pure Barre classes partnered with a healthy lifestyle for lasting results.  From October 30th to December 31st, we’ll challenge all clients to:

  • Take 4 Pure Barre classes each week
  • Use the Pure Health Meal Plan to make healthy choices (the recipes are amazing!)
  • Have fun and connect with our Pure Barre community

Each week, you’ll receive entries for taking class and attending the Challenge events (grab a calendar at the front desk when you’re at the studio).  The more entries you have the more chances you’ll have to win the grand prize of a Vitamix 5300, black (certified refurbished) blender!  I’m excited about the Pure Health Challenge and will be participating myself—this is a great way to keep on track with my health and fitness goals through the Holiday Season and into the New Year.  Hopefully many of you will join me!

Check out these links to learn more or purchase:

Vitamix 5300 (Certified Refurbished), $359.99

Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag, $8.99

Libbey Glass Milk Bottle with Lid, 33.5 oz., $9.92

If you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share to help grow the She’s On Her Toes community.  And if you haven’t already, please follow She’s On Her Toes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @shesonhertoes.

 

Why You Need to Hire These 3 Personalities to Run Your Membership-Based Business

Not gonna lie, owning a business with a membership-based model is pretty stellar.  Having reliable, predictable revenue coming in each month gives any business owner a lot of confidence when planning a budget, knowing when to reinvest money back into the business, or when it might even be possible to give your hard-working employees a bump in pay.  A business with a membership-based model has a lot of options that a business relying on one-off sales simply does not.

There are, however, some unique considerations when hiring a team to run a membership-based business.  You can’t rely on one type of salesperson to take care of your members or clients.  Since clients may be visiting your business multiple times each week or even every day, it’s important to match your employees’ personalities with those of your vast, diverse group of clients to provide excellent service and keep your clients coming back for more.

Here’s why your membership-based business needs the following 3 personalities:

The Natural

We all know someone who could sell ice to an Eskimo or a ketchup popsicle to a woman wearing white on a 90-degree day—basically, a sales natural.  When you walk into a business and you are greeted by The Natural, you feel welcome and at home.  Everything is easy.  They’re easy to talk to and you feel comfortable.  So comfortable in fact, that you can’t help but find something to buy.  Whether it’s a product or service, you are excited about your purchase.  Maybe you frequent the business more often or start spending more time there because The Natural is so friendly.  Hell, you might even become friends!

And it’s obvious why having The Natural around benefits a membership-based business model.  You can always count on The Natural to win the trust of your clients and make the sale, over and over again.

 The Friend

But not all clients respond to The Natural.  In fact, many prefer the quieter demeanor of The Friend.  You know … someone who is just so nice, you can’t help but want to be around them.  The Friend might not be as out-there or gregarious as The Natural, but hiring The Friend to serve your clients is critical.  The Friend is honest.  The Friend is trustworthy.  The Friend would never push you into making a bad purchase—they’re looking out for you.  And that’s why many of your clients prefer to be helped by The Friend.

Make no mistake, The Friend, can make the sale.  But, The Friend is more concerned with ensuring your clients get genuine help and honesty when contemplating a purchase.

 The Achiever

Every business needs The Achiever—the ringer!  You know, it’s 5:00 PM and unfortunately, you had to make a big return … um, we need to make $600 in the next 2 hours otherwise we don’t make our daily sales goal … or we’re $15,000 shy of our monthly goal and it’s the 30th.  Ah!  Who do you task with saving the day and making it happen—that’s right, The Achiever!

When presented with a seemingly impossible challenge, The Achiever, finds a laser-like focus and gets it done.  The Achiever is highly motivated by challenges, SPIFS, a bonus, or even recognition of being the best.

And I wouldn’t know anything about this motivation, even though when I worked at Victoria’s Secret during the summer in high school, I won every single SPIF just to prove I could do it—including a contest to open the most Victoria’s Secret credit cards.  I opened 25 in one day!  I think the second-place finisher opened 7 over the 2-week contest.  It was a landslide and I won what seemed like a life-supply of underwear.  Turns out it was just enough for 4 years of college, but I won it!  Whoop!

But back to your membership-based business … you’ve gotta hire The Achiever because there will be a time when you need someone to rise to the occasion and save the day, ‘er goal.

Fortunately for me and my membership-based business, I’ve managed to hire several Naturals, Friends and even a few Achievers (besides me).  It’s worth noting that The Natural and The Friend could also turn into The Achiever under the right circumstances—the personalities do have some crossover.

If you own a business with a membership-based model, take a look at all your employees.  Do you have a good mix of the 3 personalities to match your vast, diverse group of clients?  If not, make an effort to incorporate some ways to identify either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever in your next round of interviews.

I spoke with several members of my team before writing this post and they all easily identified themselves as either The Natural, The Friend or The Achiever.  So, if you’re trying to think through each role in my studios, give it a go and post a comment.  I’d love to hear which personality you are in your own business.  Or if you’re an employee, which of the 3 personalities you most identify as your own.

If you know someone who would enjoy this post, please share to help grow the She’s On Her Toes community.  And if you haven’t already, please follow She’s On Her Toes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @shesonhertoes.

On Thursday, I can’t wait to tell you all about my new Vitamix blender and how it’s literally changed my life.

Until then, stay on your toes!

 

3 Reasons Why the Future of Sales is Female … And Why Your Business Should Care

While women have made inroads towards more influence in management at many major companies, selling is still a male-dominated profession … until now.  With women making most if not all of the major purchasing decisions for both themselves and their families, women are the ones in control of spending.

And women want to buy from other women.  Why?  Because when women make purchasing decisions, they require a high level of trust.  And women trust other women … which means, the future of sales is female.

But, historically women haven’t always achieved top-seller status to out-perform their male co-workers.  Sure, there are many women that excel in selling, but for the most part, the cut-throat environment of traditional sales leaves women feeling unfulfilled and uninspired.  However, as selling evolves into a role of serving or problem-solving, and manipulating a customer gives way towards creating lasting relationships with clients, women are poised to lead the way for 3 reasons …

Women are natural influencers.  Let’s face it, women love to spread the word.  Whether it’s telling everyone about the best place to get a latte, or informing about where customer service was not up to their standards, women want to share these experiences with their friends, family, and … anyone they meet.  We want to help each other out.  We’re all trying to save time and money all while living our best lives and that takes communication and learning from others.  We, as busy women, simply don’t have time to process all of the information thrown at us each day.  If we can get recommendations or help from friends, then that makes it easier for us to decide where to shop or spend our hard-earned money.

What does this mean for your business?  Damn, well you better be f-cking awesome!  Since businesses are built on the support of existing clients and new prospects which include referrals from your raving fans, your business has to be relevant and most important—consistent in how it interacts with customers or clients.

Women listen.  Women are great listeners and listening leads to problem-solving.  We’ve all had the experience of wanting to buy something, and a salesperson not listening to us and trying to get us to buy something else—basically what we don’t want.  So frustrating!  And then you leave having wasted time and you still have to figure out how you’re going to find what you’re looking for in the first place.  Double frustrating!  Is it cocktail time yet?  I mean, because all I want to do is rant about this recent bad experience—so no one else has to go through what I just did—circling back to the natural influencer idea!

Since most purchases seek to solve a problem experienced by the buyer, listening is key to ensuring that your business will continue to grow.  The future of sales is all about creating lasting relationships and we all know the basis of a great relationship relies on trust, respect, and the ability to listen.  If you don’t already have great women employed at your business to listen to your clients and help solve their problems, you better start hiring some now.

 Women aren’t afraid to hustle.  That’s right—women aren’t concerned with putting in extra effort to create value.  We go above and beyond for what we care about … think work presentations, birthdays, special occasions, or even everyday meals and experiences for friends and family.  If it’s important to us, we do our best to ensure that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.  We’re always thinking about how to do more.

Translated into business, extra hustle means extra revenues.  If your business maintains a culture of going above and beyond for your clients, they’ll remain loyal and you’ll be able to forecast continued sales growth.

If you haven’t already started adapting your sales process to accommodate the ever-increasing purchasing power of women, you need to start now—including hiring a great team of women to take care of serving your clients.  Since women want to buy from other women … the future of sales is female and your business must be ready.

Check out my book, She’s On Her Toes, and learn how I created a hiring process to only attract the right candidates for my business.  I also have a 52-page workbook that you can use (even if you don’t read the book) to help you get started creating your own hiring process.  Download the workbook here.

Instead of Selling, Focus on Serving

Selling.  It’s kind of a dirty word.  What do you think of when you hear the word “sell” or you think of men and women who make a living in sales?  Does the image of the stereotypical sleazy salesman come to mind?  Some dude working at the used car lot wearing an unfortunate outfit.  Maybe a mustache.  Pressuring you into making a purchase or perhaps lying (or at least bending the truth) to try and close the sale.  None of us wants to be in that type of terrible sales situation.  We want to feel in control of our purchases and be confident that we spent our money wisely on something of the best value and highest quality.

It seems traditional sales strategies aren’t working because people have so much more information about what they’re buying before the sale is even made.  You can’t really “pull a fast one” or sell a product or service that doesn’t live up to the advertisement or expectation of the shopper.  In some cases, customers might have done such extensive research that they now know more about the product or service than the salesperson.

How much research do you do before making a purchase?  If you’re like me, at the very least, you do a Google search to locate the item you want to purchase and see how much it costs.  But for larger purchases, I’ll conduct a search on Amazon to compare features and prices, check out reviews, or even inquire on Facebook to get recommendations from friends.  That’s a lot of effort to research and no money has even exchanged hands!

But what if selling was approached in a radically different way?

Because here’s the twist … none of us wants to be sold to, but … we all want to buy!

What if instead of using traditional sales methods in business, we instead focused on serving the needs of customers or clients by listening to what their problems are and then solving those problems with the products or services available from our business.  Rather than selling, the focus shifts to serving your customers or clients to create lasting relationships and confidence in your business.  To build a better business, instead of selling, focus on serving.

This summer I was fortunate to attend a conference and hear Sharon Lechter speak.  Sharon co-authored Rich Dad, Poor Dad and writes for the Napoleon Hill Foundation as well as being an entrepreneur herself.  She spoke to us primarily about her book, Think and Grow Rich for Women, which is a more modern version of Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic, Think and Grow Rich. Check out my book reviews at the end of this post!

During her presentation, she discussed the influence of women over making purchasing decisions.  In fact, …

Women account for 47% of all workers in the United States.

90% of women identify themselves as the principle household shopper.

Women make 62% of all car purchases.

1 in 5 home buyers is a single woman in the United States and single women have contributed more than 1/3 of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994.

And women control about 60% of all personal wealth in the United States.  Globally women control 30% of personal wealth—the rate at which women are increasing wealth is outpacing the rate at which men are increasing wealth. 

This brings up the question, if the overwhelming majority of women are the principle shoppers for their household, making the majority of car purchases, and increasingly likely to purchase a home without a man’s stamp of approval or his money, why aren’t more companies changing the way they do business by hiring more women in their salesforce and adopting sales strategies that focus on getting the approval of the female decision-maker?

In her presentation, Sharon also talked about how most sales training was geared towards men.  You know the whole, “if you don’t sell, you suck” philosophy.  While it might be true, it just doesn’t have the same motivational response with women that it does with men.  Hummm … wonder why?!

There are typically 7 steps in the traditional sales process including:

  1. Prospecting for leads
  2. Setting an appointment
  3. Qualifying the prospect
  4. Making a presentation
  5. Addressing the prospect’s objections
  6. Closing the sale
  7. Asking for referrals from the prospect

Unfortunately, this process is too limiting for today’s retail climate because it creates an environment where the salesperson is primarily focused on maintaining control over or even manipulating the buyer’s decision.  The salesperson creates the need and then tries to get the buyer to purchase.  In traditional sales, it is also assumed that all buyers are on the same path to making a final purchasing decision—in today’s marketplace, there is no one path to closing the sale.

The concept of serving, however, involves a completely different process and philosophy to execute—this is a more client-oriented approach that includes extensive discovery and discussion.  When serving clients, the process looks more like this:

  1. Identifying a prospect
  2. Allowing the prospect to experience value
  3. Building rapport and explaining value
  4. Determining whether your product/service is the right solution for the prospect
  5. Offering the prospect the right value for his or her needs
  6. Gaining trust to complete the purchase
  7. Building a lasting client relationship

When a business focuses on serving its clients, there is no control or manipulation of the buyer.  The business and the buyer have to work with each other throughout steps 2-5 to determine if a purchase is made.

Completion of the sale is only possible if the business has done 3 things:

  1. Shown value to the buyer
  2. Determined that there is a fit with both the business and buyer
  3. Trust has been established

The advantage of focusing on serving rather than selling to build a business is that you’re ultimately building long-term, lasting relationships rather than one-off sales that might result in referrals.  By implementing a process of serving, you flip the traditional sales model on its head and instead of creating a need to buy, you are offering a solution that is valued for purchase.

I think you can see how a business built on serving would appeal to a woman consumer—and even a male consumer!  But what’s really interesting is that a process of serving is ideal for the woman salesperson to execute.  If working in an environment focused on serving, women win—whether they’re selling or buying.  On Thursday, I’ll share with you “3 Reasons the Future of Sales Is Female and Why Your Business Should Care.”

Until then, stay on your toes!

In the meantime, check out the links to the books mentioned in this post.

Think and Grow Rich for Women ($12.20):  I really enjoyed hearing Sharon Lechter speak and her book was just as insightful.  When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937, he included 13 Steps to Success—but at that time all the major business minds and heads of companies were men.  Sharon goes through each of the 13 Steps and applies them to the lives of modern women.  I love her concept of living “one big life” instead of trying to find the elusive “work-life balance” that never quite seems attainable.  A must-read!

Think and Grow Rich ($15.25):  While you might be tempted to skip this book and just read the newer, more women-focused Think and Grow Rich for Women, you’d really miss out.  This is a classic business book that almost every successful business mind has read.  I think it really emphasizes the point that the fundamentals are long-lasting and always the first place to start when looking to build or grow any business—whether it was back in 1937 or at the present in 2017.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad ($7.99): I actually haven’t read this yet—it’s on my list!

10 Things to Avoid When Budgeting for Your Business

Earlier this week, I shared with you the importance of using the last quarter of the year to prepare your business for big things in the new year.  One of my must-do’s as the year comes to a close, is to create a new monthly budget for the next year.  It’s a great exercise to see where you might run into some cash flow issues and also see what you can expect to earn from your business—hypothetically, but hopefully in reality too!

Creating an annual budget is a great time to re-evaluate all of your business spending.  Do you really need to spend money on that product or service going forward?  Can you find a product or service for less and still get great value?  These are all things to ask yourself as you scrutinize your predictable monthly expenses.  But there are a few things that you want to avoid when creating a new budget …

1. Found it for less … careful, don’t just switch right away.

Oh man.  This one is so hard.  Real life instance … I just learned that I can get all my payroll processing done for about 3x less than I’m paying now.  That’s a significant monthly savings and annualized, would save me well over $2,000 next year.

It’s tempting to want to switch and pay less immediately, however, a more appropriate time would be beginning in 2018—an easier transition for me, my employees, and my accountant to manage.

If you find a product or service for less and can easily make the transition, start paying less now.  But, if it would make sense to wait and start at the beginning of the year, wait and save on extra headaches.

2. Being too optimistic … overestimate your costs.

It’s always a little sobering when you take a look at your total spending from the previous year and realize you’ve completely overspent in some categories.  For me, this happens when I look at things like spending on promotional items that we gave away, and costs associated with putting our big events together.

It can be easy to be too optimistic and say, “Well … that event cost so much money, we’ll have to cut back next year.”  But, can you?  If you had to rent equipment to hold the event, will it be less next year?  Maybe ask yourself if you purchased equipment, would that be a better investment and use of your money?  Would you end up saving?

A great example of this for my studios is renting sound equipment for our Pop Up classes.  We were renting equipment from a local company and each time it was costing between $200-$400 depending on the type and amount of speakers needed.  Earlier this summer, we decided to buy the same equipment we were renting for about $450, which paid for itself after 2 events.  A wise use of funds and money that we can save next year as we book more events outside of the studio.

Weltron WAS-TUBE 5 Portable Bluetooth Active Tower Speaker ($455.04)

Samson Airline 77 Headset Wireless System with Fitness Microphone ($299.99)

3. Just forecast the big expenses … lots of small expenses can add up quickly, forecast everything.

 We’re all pressed for time as business owners, but that doesn’t mean you should cut corners on your budget and only forecast your big expenses.  Honestly, that really doesn’t make sense because most of your big expenses are likely fixed—meaning line items like rent, utilities, your salary, insurance, are defined as costs that don’t fluctuate as your sales increase or decrease—they remain fixed and predictable.  As in, you already know what they are!

Variable expenses, however, do fluctuate with an increase or decrease in sales, so you should be careful to factor those changes in your budget.

And lots of small expenses can add up quickly to big numbers.  $250 here, $500 there, eventually that adds up.  It’s important to scrutinize everything to make sure you’re not overspending or paying for subscriptions that you aren’t getting a lot of value from.

4. Reinvest cash right away … whoa, create an emergency fund first.

 You’ve had a great month and finally have some money to pay for a larger expense for your business.  Maybe it’s some new equipment or updating your space with new paint or furniture—before you make a big spend, create an emergency fund to cover your rent and other fixed costs for at least 2-3 months.

You’ll be in a much better position as a business owner if you have some flexibility with your cash.  You never know when an emergency might arise.  Like … clients forgetting to turn the sink off when leaving the bathroom and it flooded.  Twice in 4 days.  Yeah, that really happened to me this year.  For heaven’s sake!  Turn off the faucet before you leave the bathroom!

Fortunately, we have some flexibility to pay for unexpected events like this.  And you should too.  Do yourself a huge favor and create an emergency fund.

5. Stay with your book keeper or accountant because they are cheap … your financial professionals should keep pace with your growing business.

 Maybe this seems like a contradiction to the first point.  I mean, isn’t a budget supposed to reflect spending the least amount on all products and services for your business?  No way!  There is a time to save and a time to spend for good service and expert advice.

If you’ve had the same team of financial professionals since your business opened, now is an excellent time to review those relationships.  If your business has grown significantly, you might benefit from hiring a better book keeper, accountant, and financial advisor.  Set up some interviews and see what’s out there.

Last year, I totally overhauled my team of financial professionals and I am extremely happy with my decision to do so.  I have a new accountant who costs more than my previous one, but he actually saved me about $6,000 by reviewing and amending 2 years of my previous returns.  And I actually found a better book keeper for less—hot damn!  That’s like tastes great and less filling.

In a nutshell, your team of financial professionals needs to be keeping pace with your business.  If you elected to hire the least expensive back when you were starting out, it might be time to re-evaluate those relationships and hire someone who can actually add value to your business now that it’s bigger or more profitable.

6. Spend $0 on education … courses can have great value to your business growth.

 Serious entrepreneurs have a budget for furthering their education.  I’ve invested more in continuing my business learning last year, but I could do a lot better next year.  My challenge—and I challenge you to do the same—is to create a monthly budget to purchase books, courses, or attend seminars that will help you grow your business.

I was fortunate enough to attend 2 business seminars this year where I left feeling re-energized to improve my business.  And I’ve recently been accepted to Leadership Winston-Salem 2018, which will help me network with other local business leaders.

Bottom line—you need to invest in yourself and your business leadership education.  Even if it’s $50 or $100 each month, set aside those funds and learn.

Not sure where to start?  Check out this post where I give you my top business book reading list.      

7. Keep your marketing on auto-pilot … be ruthless and cut marketing that didn’t work.

 It’s so easy to just set it and forget it with marketing.  You might do the same ad over and over again.  Or keep advertising in the same ways because … well, they seem to be working.  Really?!  Have you been tracking your advertising and marketing campaigns to KNOW if that money is being spent wisely and bringing you in new business leads?

Since there are still a few months left in the year, this is a great time to be ruthless and actually track where your new leads are coming from.  It’s as easy as keeping a tally of where new clients heard about your business.  If you spent money advertising in a local magazine and no one is mentioning that advertisement, then … maybe it’s not working and you should use those marketing dollars elsewhere.

Remember, you are never obligated to keep purchasing advertising because you’ve always done it.  Marketing and advertising dollars need to have a quantified return on investment (ROI).  If any of your advertising is coming up 0, it’s time for a change.

8. Pay the government early … if you’re disciplined, keep your cash!

 Warning: this tip isn’t for everyone!  But … if you’re disciplined, keep reading.

Why pay the government early?  Why give them an interest-free loan?  If you are disciplined, keep your cash for taxes in a separate savings account to be paid out when your accountant determines your final tax liability for the year.  News flash, getting a refund simply means you’ve overpaid the government and could have used that money for something else.

9. Remain anonymous to your bank … get a small business banker who can help you secure a line of credit.

 If you don’t have a dedicated small business banker at your bank, look into getting one.  When you have an existing relationship with a banker, things can be a lot easier for you and your business because you don’t have to stand in line with everyone else, you can simply pick up the phone or send off an email and get answers and great customer service.  My banker, Tracy, at BB&T is amazing and she’s saved me so much time I can’t even quantify it.  Really!

This goes along with #4.  After you’ve created an emergency fund, it’s time to look at securing a business line of credit.  The best time to ask the bank for money is when you don’t need it.  Even securing a small line of credit—like $5,000 or $10,000—can give you piece of mind if something happens and you need fast access to cash.

This year, I established a line of credit for my business and it literally took an hour of my time.  I can keep it undrawn for emergencies.  I can use it to invest in my business.  I can use it to invest in another business.  Or I could refinance debt if needed.  Establishing credit and using it wisely is really important.  Go look into it!

10. Finish and forget it … keep evaluating your budget as the year progresses.

 Creating a monthly budget is hard work, so you might be inclined to forget about it and not look at the document for a while.  That would be a huge disservice to your business!

Now that you have a forecasted monthly budget, use it as a tool.  Evaluate your forecasting each month.

Do you need to adjust for higher prices on products or services going forward?

Are you spending less than you thought and could reallocate some of those funds elsewhere?

If you totally busted your budget, why?

What happened that you could better plan for next month or next year?

Your budget is a working document.  It’s a plan or a blueprint to help you out.  Keep refining it and use it to be better prepared next time.  And if you made a mistake budgeting, don’t beat yourself up.  Learn from it, do better next time, and move on.

Taking the time to create a forecasted monthly budget is a huge advantage to your business as you start the new year.  Invest some time now into creating a working document that will be a good tool to predict your cash flow and profitability.  Avoiding the 10 items discussed will help you build a better budget and hopefully help you prepare for more opportunities for business growth.

 

Planning for Big Things in 2018

It’s hard to imagine bigger things happening in 2018 than what have already happened in the last few weeks

I bought a house and moved.

Celebrated 5 years of being in business at Pure Barre Winston-Salem and 3 years of being in business at Pure Barre Clemmons.

Had my first book signing for She’s On Her Toes.

And spoke to several hundred women about my best hiring practices outlined in my book.

But … the beginning of the last quarter of the year signals that it’s time to plan for big things for my businesses in 2018.  That’s right, it’s that magical time of year when I start to do the following:

  1. Set monthly sales goals
  2. Plan marketing events to drive traffic and create leads
  3. Evaluate all spending and create next year’s budget
  4. Set management and leadership goals
  5. Develop my next book idea

The first step … getting organized.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the best tools that I have in my business owner organization arsenal is my Day Designer Planner.  I decided on the Mint Lizard design for 2018, but it was a tough choice stacked up against, Black Spotty (which I had this year), Black Stripe (which I had last year) and White Marble.

I love The Day Designer.  You can get a version of it at Target, but if you’re serious about keeping your schedule, goals and “to-dos” organized, you’ll want to spring for the Flagship Edition ($59).  If you amortize that across the year, that’s less than $5.00/month to keep your schedule together—totally worth it, if you’re as busy as I am!

But it’s the layout of the planner that is what I like best about it.  Each day gets its own page starting at 5:00 AM and finishing up at 9:00 PM—perfect for me because sometimes I have to teach an early class.  The appointments are on the left and the “to dos” are on the right, so your whole day is right there on one page.  There is also a spot to prioritize your top three “to dos” which is always helpful when you have lots to accomplish in limited time.

Another great thing about The Day Designer, is the free printable pages that allow you to either try out The Day Designer format and/or work on specific planning opportunities.  If you’ve never used The Day Designer, I’d start with the Free Daily Planning Page and How to Design Your Week pages and see if you like them.  For the more advanced, check out Fall Bucket List, Packing Checklist, Brain Dump, and Books to Read.

Check out the free printable pages here. 

Ok … but back to planning big.  Each week, I’ll create a list of all the steps I’ll take to complete each of these 5 tasks to start business off strong in 2018.  The first 3 are all kind of interrelated, so I’ll tackle them together.  First, I’ll schedule some time to develop our monthly sales goals based on historical information and what I think will happen in the future.  I’ll be working on that this week to set myself up for creating our marketing and event calendar either next week or the week after.  It’s all about doing one thing at a time to get all this work complete.  With a little planning and time management, it shouldn’t be too difficult—which is why it’s important to take the time for your business planning for next year … NOW.

If I’m being honest, I’ll probably save #4 for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I usually have some time to think when I’m driving home to see my family and setting management and leadership goals is definitely a “thinking in the car” activity.  I get some of my best ideas driving!

Leaving … #5.  I had the opportunity to hear an amazing speaker at a conference in Vancouver, Sharon Lechter.  Sharon co-authored Rich Dad, Poor Dad and writes for the Napoleon Hill Institute as well as being an entrepreneur herself.  During her presentation, she discussed how influential women are at making purchasing decisions.  She also talked about how most sales training was geared towards men.  You know the whole, “if you don’t sell, you suck” philosophy.  While it might be true, it just doesn’t have the same motivational response with women that it does with men. Hummm…wonder why?!

Anyways, Sharon’s message was that as women in business, we either sell or we serve.  As in taking the time to understand our clients and serve them to the best that we can.  I’m working on developing a whole customer service training for my team around this philosophy and I thought … wouldn’t this make a great topic for my next book?!

I still have to develop the topic further, but I think it’s so interesting to ponder the sales paradox and how women can actually overcome it.  What is the sales paradox you might ask?  Well, it’s simply this …

No one wants to be sold, yet we all want to buy.

But we don’t want to buy just any old thing.  We want to make purchases that are meaningful and make us feel good about parting with that money.  With each purchase, we aren’t just acquiring stuff or receiving a service.  We’re expressing confidence that we’re using our money to support a great business or that we really value the item we’re taking home.

And because clients are increasingly savoy about what research they’re doing before parting with their money, businesses will have to adapt and shift their sales training to one that emphasizes better serving their clients—it’s all about serving and earning the repeat business of your client base.

And who better to lead the way?  Women of course!  The future of sales is female because women naturally want to help each other out and provide whatever service they can to their friends and community to do so.

I mean, take a look at your social media feed.  How many of the posts are about places people have eaten and had a great time, or products they’ve been using and want to share because they are life-changing or helpful life hacks?  We don’t have to tell the world about our favorite things, but we do … because if it helps someone out, that’s pretty great.  So yeah … I’ll be refining this topic and getting to work writing book #2.  Good times!

Well, I have a lot of work to get done.  So, I’ll leave you with this … what can you do to improve your business next year?  Take some time in the last quarter to set your goals for 2018 and create a budget.  When you have a direction mapped out for your business, you might just make it all happen!  Crazy!

I know I’ve been a little delinquent in my posting, but I’m feeling inspired and refreshed from my break.  On Thursday, look out for 10 Things to Avoid When Budgeting for Your Business.  I think you’ll get some great ideas about how to use your time in the last quarter to set yourself up for good things next year.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Your Wins

Oh my!  It’s been a wild few weeks for me—literally everything happened in September.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  To recap …

 

  • I attended the annual Pure Barre Conference where I was asked to speak about my best practices for hiring and leading a rock star team, to 500+ owners. Just a little nerve wracking!  That’s a lot of ladies.

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  • When I got back from Conference, I bought a house. Oh yeah, and moved.  The moving part wasn’t so bad because I decided to get rid of almost all of my furniture.  This seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that there’s no place to sit, might have been a little rash.

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  • Just a few short days after moving, we celebrated some big milestones at my Pure Barre studios—Pure Barre Winston-Salem reached its 5-year Anniversary and Pure Barre Clemmons reached its 3-year Anniversary. And I had my first book signing.  So of course, we had to throw a big party to celebrate!

She's On Her Toes 5 Year Celebration

The three of us have been together since Day 1–cannot believe it’s been 5 years!

  • And the day after the party, I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and basically had to save my own life. Good times.  Sorry … no pictures of my face turning purple.

 

After this swirl of activity, I’m pretty content to get back to basics, like heading out to the grocery store and buying more than one meal at a time, walking the dogs, writing more regularly, and spending time with friends—hopefully at my new house with a place for them to sit.

But as much as I just want to get back to “real life” where a major event isn’t happening by the minute, it’s important to take the time to celebrate my and my team’s business wins, both big and small.

When you own a small business, every sale is important.  It all adds up.  And my team is doing some really incredible things right now—they’re achieving the same level of sales that we had last year with one exception, I was the one driving most of those sales.  This means, that they’re working together and will surpass the standard that I set by the end of the year.  Pretty cool.  I’ll drink to that!

We’re just about to head into the final quarter of 2017 and all year we’ve been gaining inches.  A little progress has been made each month towards our sales goals and towards my goal of giving my team more responsibility to run the studios without me there every day.  It hasn’t seemed like that much has been happening.  And I’m notoriously impatient.  But I can see that we’ve been doing some really great things and they’re adding up.

Our focus going forward into Q4 and 2018 will be to create a stronger health and fitness community amongst our clients.  Next week, I’ll explain how I’m developing more robust customer service training for my team so we can keep growing our client base and daily sales.  I’ve also been reading some amazing books and I can’t wait to fill you in so you can be inspired for a strong finish to 2017!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Why Do You Have to Hire Employees, Anyway?

Later this week, I’ll be attending our annual Pure Barre Conference where I’ll be giving a speech titled, “How to Hire a Rockstar Team: Learn the Key Steps to Create a Hiring Process” … and I only have 5 minutes to talk.  I could literally go on for hours about this topic, so taking it down to 5 minutes is pretty tricky.

But why do you have to hire employees anyway?  Wouldn’t life and business be so much easier without having to hire anyone to run your business?  In short: No.  Let me explain why …

In some businesses, it’s possible to do everything yourself and avoid hiring a team to take care of things for you.  But the nature of a fitness business isn’t like that.  So what is the definition of a fitness business anyway?

In my book, She’s on Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, And Got Back On My Toes, I explain the following definition:

Definition of a Fitness Business

A fitness business is a commercial, profitable enterprise that can be run without you so you can be a role model in the health and fitness community you are creating.  This means you are free to work ON your business, rather than IN your business.

 So, do you get what this means?  In order for your business to continue growing and for you to be the leader of your studios’ fitness community, you HAVE to hire a great team to help make it happen.  There is absolutely no way that you can operate a fitness business, teach all the classes yourself, keep up with your clients, manage all of your finances, market and do all the other daily activities required to keep your studio open without hiring employees.  It makes me tired just thinking about doing all that work.

Let’s take a look at what this looks like using some pictures …

Business Lifecycle 1

At the beginning of your business, you might have a few employees, but for the most part, you are doing all the work.

  • You are taking care of most customer or client needs.
  • The clients are spending money and supporting your business.
  • Finally, the business is supporting you with a paycheck or owner draw.

Does your business lifecycle looks like this right now?

By hiring a rock star team, you are going to change your business lifecycle to look like this:

Business Lifecycle 2

Instead of you taking care of your client needs, your employees will provide service to your clients and you will then support your team.

  • So, you support your team.
  • Your team supports your clients.
  • The clients support the business.
  • And finally, the business supports you … and the cycle continues.

Does that make sense?  You are going to evolve into a true manager and leader of the fitness community and your employees will run the day-to-day operations of your business.  Not gonna lie, it’s amazing.

Ok, so we get the picture that hiring employees is critical to running a successful studio—or any business really.  How the heck do you do that?

You’ll have to listen to the speech!

Or check out my book, She’s On Her Toes.

After writing the book, I got a lot of requests to share my hiring process step-by-step in even more detail that what is in the book.  And … 52 pages later … a new workbook called How to Hire a Rock Star Team: A Workbook for Anyone Serious about Building a Rock Star Team to Compete in the Ultra-Competitive Business of Fitness was complete!

What’s in those 52 pages?!  With the workbook, you’ll learn …

  • How to build solid Vision, Mission & Culture Statements
  • How to write an exciting job description
  • How to post a killer advertisement
  • How to Conduct the perfect interview
  • How to ask the right Questions
  • Construct your interview process with maximum efficiency

Tips for leading and managing your Team so they can eventually say “We don’t need you”

Cost of the workbook is $19.95–it will literally walk you through how I created my own effective hiring process step-by-step.  You’ll have a totally tailored process that works just for you by the time you reach the last page.  If you’re interested in the workbook, please send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Buy She’s On Her Toes Here

Getting to the Other Side of Burnout

Have you ever experienced burnout in your job or running your business?  All of a sudden, things at work just aren’t fun anymore (and everyone annoys the sh*t out of you).  You are exhausted all the time yet somehow can’t get enough sleep.  You don’t want to do anything—except eat Chick-Fil-A.  And even the smallest problems seem too large to handle … yep.  Classic burnout signs.  And I had them all, especially the cravings for spicy chicken sandwiches and fries.

My burn out really snuck up on me.  Everything was great.  My business has been doing well.  My team was taking on new responsibilities and learning how to run my studios on a day-to-day basis.  I was writing all the time and my book was coming out.  All very exciting things, however, all very stressful at the same time.  See, giving increased responsibility to my team was great, but there’s a learning curve for them, which means stress for me.  And writing is something that I love to do, but with multiple posts each week, it was getting overwhelming.  I experienced lots of pressure to always be writing something amazing and insightful even when I wasn’t inspired at all.  Finally, as the book launch became nearer, I realized that people would actually have the opportunity to read it, and that freaked me out.  What if they didn’t like it?!  I hadn’t really thought about that … and now it was too late to literally stop the presses.  Thus, burn out ensued due to intense stress.

I’ve experienced burnout before as an employee, but how do you handle burnout when you’re the boss and everyone looks to you to set the tone in the workplace?  Crap, this is serious.  Since the tone of burnout is slathered in negativity, grumpiness, and exasperation, the best thing to do as a burnt out boss is simply not show up to work.  That’s right—get out of there so your employees have a fighting chance to not pick up on your negative, tormented state.  And so, I went out of town …

Luckily, I had already planned a trip to Vancouver, Canada, but it didn’t matter where, I just needed to get away for a chance to refocus and find the other side of my burn out.

While I was gone, it occurred to me that I was making all the “fun” things in my life “unfun” by putting too much pressure on myself.  I really enjoy being a manager of my team and see them come up with solutions to problems that arise in the business.  But there’s no reason to stress about it—they’re all pretty smart, they’ll figure it out.

I also enjoy writing, but posting 3 times a week is too much, so I’m going to cut back on posts, and will instead, focus on writing some other more exciting things (at least, I think they’re more exciting).  I’ve decided to start a She’s On Her Toes monthly newsletter with premium paid content—so stay tuned for that!  I’ll still post on the blog for free, but just once a week.  This will give me the opportunity to focus on writing amazing content without the grind of constantly posting and worrying that I’m not really saying anything important.

I’ll also be writing more for the studios with some new projects.  Next week, we’ll launch a new goal-setting tool that will allow clients to purchase a small workbook each month to inspire and help them set health and fitness goals.  I’m also developing a monthly meal plan that will be for purchase at the studios.  Each week will include recipes and a grocery list to make healthy eating simple and enjoyable.  Lots of exciting new things ahead!

I suppose I could have avoided burnout altogether by having more work-life balance.  But that’s lame!  Does work-life balance even exist for entrepreneurs?  Uh, no it does not.

When burn out strikes, it’s important to get out of your business to avoid your employees picking up on your sour mood.  Just get out of there.  Leave town.  Leave the country.  Spend some time thinking about what makes you happy about your business, why that’s changed, and then come up with some small solutions to get back to “fun.”  Get out of the grind and get back to what your next “big thing” will be.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out my new book, She’s On Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, And Got Back On My Toes

Want to Read She’s On Her Toes on Kindle? Now You Can!

Big things happening with She’s on Her Toes!  Hopefully you’ve seen that my book, She’s On Her Toes: How I Started A Business, Expanded It, Almost Lost It, and Got Back On My Toes is available for sale on Amazon and in my Pure Barre studios.

But now … you can read it on Kindle too!  If you’re interested in a great beach read …

Click here to purchase for your Kindle. 

Click here to purchase a paperback copy on Amazon.

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