Build A Better Business 5 Day Challenge

As business owners, we wear a lot of hats—CEO, Director of Marketing, Scheduler, Head Janitor, Costco Supply Shopper—the list goes on.  But seriously, can someone please let me retire from IT Specialist?!

Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of each day … but haven’t made a dent in your to-do list?  Does it seem like you’re working just to pay American Express?  Are you on the verge of massive burnout?  #beenthere

Then, the Build A Better Business 5-Day Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time for you!  The Challenge starts, Monday, May 14th!

Oftentimes, as busy business owners, we are so focused on the day-to-day and getting our massive to-do lists complete that we fail to recognize if all this work we’re doing is really moving our businesses forward.

What do I mean by that?  Well … if you’re doing lots of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business is benefiting.  In fact, you might be doing your business more harm than good by doing everything yourself and not delegating work to others.

Yep.  It’s time to take a cold, hard look at how you can build a better business over the next 5 days and whether it’s time to hire an employee to help you take your business to the next level.  Each day, I’ll walk you through a quick, mini-lesson, on how to become more effective and efficient in your business.  You’ll spend about 15 minutes each day making some small improvements—these are the exact steps I took before I took a big leap forward and hired enough employees to help me run my business.

The Challenge starts Monday, May 14th.  Here’s what you can expect over the 5 Days …

Day 1: Find the Remedy to Never Having Enough Time  

I’ll show you how you can easily and quickly determine where you’re spending your time. This is gold!

Day 2: Prepare for Change

Even after 1 day, you’ll be ready to make a change to build a better business.  I’ll walk you through how to plan and prepare.

Day 3: Create the Right Business Environment

“If you build it, they will come.”  Right?! Yes!  I’ll help you get started on an important step before considering hiring a new employee.

Day 4: Double Down on Extra Time

At this point, you will have extra time.  I know it seems too good to be true!  I’ll help you determine the best way for you to maximize your priorities as a business owner.

Day 5: Design Your Ideal Day

No explanation needed!  You’ll create your ideal schedule and I’ll give you the tools to actually make it happen. #forreal

Completing these 5 steps was a huge eye-opener!  And … totally transformed the way I worked in and on my business.

All you need is about 15 minutes each day for the 5 days starting Monday, May 14th.  Are you ready to build a better business?  Are you in?!

I’m in! I want to Build A Better Business!

Click here to receive access to a special Challenge Google Drive with each day’s quick, mini-lesson.  Remember … you’ll only spend about 15 minutes each day building your better business.  I’ll also be on Instagram Live at 6:00 AM EDT to walk you through the steps.  6:00 AM!  I know, but it will be great to start the day off thinking about all the good things you can do to make your business better … and it was the only time that I could consistently join you for these messages all week.  For you night owls … just watch the videos later in the day.  No big deal.  Follow along @shesonhertoes on Instagram.

Click here to gain access to the Google Drive with all 5 mini lessons to Build A Better Business!

It’s Time. Time to Focus on Other Things.

One of the tough things about being an entrepreneur and owning a business is you always have to be “on.”  You’re the one who motivates your team and keeps them moving to grow the business.  But at some point, you have to ask yourself … who is there to motivate me?

And so, I find myself at the ActionCoach 2018 Business Excellence Forum in sunny San Diego with my business coach, Mary Ann.

She's On Her Toes Hotel Coronado.JPG

Here’s our view … the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

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Selfie on the beach–look at that blue sky!  Juust a little windy.

If you recall, I attended last year’s conference in Houston and won an award for Best Service Based Business Under 25 Employees (Click here to read all about it).  I left that weekend feeling inspired and looking forward to putting into action all of the great things I learned.

But … this year is a little different.  Why?  Because I’m not necessarily looking to pick up useful tips for the daily operations of my business.  Instead, since my team, led by my managers, Emily and Christina, are already doing that, I need to focus on giving up parts of my business to them.  This time around, I will be learning how to bring about my most transformative identity shift … becoming the visionary for my business … and that’s it.

That means I’m going to have to stop teaching (at some point soon), which is something that I really like doing and is meaningful to me.  The simple fact is, I have 20 teachers, so I really don’t need to be filling that role.  I’m not even the best.  Several of my teachers do a much better job than I do.

Why am I clinging to this role?  Teaching is something that most of the owners in my franchise value and many of us are extremely proud that we are teachers.  Teaching the Pure Barre technique and showing our clients how amazing class is defines us.  It’s why we opened our studios in the first place.  And in the beginning, it probably is important for an owner to be a teacher and set the standard for the experience in your business.  But with most things, your role evolves and eventually you need to ask yourself, “Is teaching what’s best for moving my business forward and growing?”  I think I’ve just answered that in the previous lines:

I have 20 teachers.  I have 2 managers leading those teachers.

Time for me to focus on other things.

My Latest Business Mistake

Well … I did it again.  Last year, I told you about how one hiring mistake almost cost me my business (Read about it here).  And now, I find myself trying to fix another pretty big business mistake.  Not quite of the same magnitude as I’ve dealt with before, but moving in that direction.  F*ck.

And just like last year, there’s no one to blame but me.  Double f*ck.

What’s this big mistake?  A little background first …

As you’ll recall, for the last 12-ish months I’ve been working on giving my team more responsibility so that I can spend less time working in my business every day.  My team is focusing on the day-to-day tasks while I am working on more big picture things—like how to make more money, how to innovate, and how to add more value to our clients.  I’m working on some pretty big things for She’s On Her Toes—this website is getting some professional help and I’m creating some great courses on how to hire the right employees—so stay tuned for that!  I also have time to participate in Leadership Winston-Salem (Learn more here).  It’s been great for me, more time to do the things that are important to me.  And … I thought we were making great progress with my team.  Until it all came to a screeching halt.  Cue the dramatic screeching music!

My team is currently being led by my manager and my assistant manager.   They have been empowered to run both of my Pure Barre studios, take care of our clients, and ensure all of our employees are working to their ability and contributing to the success of the organization.  And they both do a great job.    But, I have failed them in a pretty big way—a way that limits their potential and our ability to keep growing this business.

I expected them to be able to take over and do all the things that I’ve been doing without teaching them how to anticipate and create a business plan.  Sure, they can perform daily tasks and get the basics done.  But, where they’re struggling is running reports, calculating retention, interpreting sales figures, and planning in advance.

They can easily provide great customer service.  However, they are blissfully unaware of the importance of managing expenses, calculating margin, and analyzing trends (both the good trends and the bad trends).  As a result, we have not been meeting some of our goals and it’s really frustrating to watch.  I know my team is capable of being more than where we are right now.  When you see a group of people working hard, and just not getting it done, when they are completely capable of doing so, it’s just the worst.  And it’s all my fault.  I haven’t been a good leader to them.  I haven’t been helping them focus on what’s important and planning.  But that’s all about to change!

The solution … my managers are going to start having their own meetings with my business coach, Mary Ann (Read more about coaching here).  And they start next week!

This lapse in leadership hasn’t been good.  Am I going to beat myself up about it?  No.  I truly think the sign of an effective leader is the ability to realize when things aren’t working, have the courage to change them, and don’t look back.

Why I’m Exiting My Business

I’ve been dreaming of this moment for years—the time when I can start exiting my business.  No, I’m not going to sell it.  Were you worried for a second?  I mean, I’m going to step back and let my Team run it for me—you know, so I can actually live my life and do the things that you probably take for granted like go out to dinner with friends, go on vacation when I want to, or just have one day off each week.

We’ve been dabbling in this for a while, but it’s time to cannonball in.

Let’s review the definition of a business.  According to my business coach, Mary Ann, the definition of a business is:

A commercial, PROFITABLE, enterprise that works…WITHOUT YOU.

This means that you are free to work ON your business not IN it.  The business is fully functioning without you. 

As much as I hate to admit it, my business is almost functioning without me.  Damn.  Guess I trained my Team too well.  Just kidding!  This is great news—I just have to stay out of their way and not screw things up.  How am I going to do that?  Let me tell you …

Empowering Management

The first step to exiting and reaching that place where my business is no longer my life is to empower my management team to take care of all of our daily operations.  My Manager, Emily, has recently been recognized as an “approved manager” for Pure Barre meaning, she now has an @purebarre.com email address and greater access to all the information needed to keep the studios running on a day-to-day basis.  In addition, another employee will be expanding her role as an Assistant Manager later this summer.

In order to empower my Manager and Assistant Manager, I’m going to spend at least the next year working with them to fine tune all of our processes so they become simplified and easy to complete for anyone working at the studios.  We’ll also be working on tracking key metrics so they can report back to me on how the studios are performing—instead of the other way around.  For a smooth transition, I’ll create a monthly calendar of to-do’s gradually giving them more responsibility.

Figuring Out My Next Big Thing

So, this is going to be really difficult for me.  I’m not sure exactly what I want to do next—but I can’t do nothing.  I have a few ideas and I’ll have to spend some time figuring out which is the best one to pursue.  Oh, and did I mention, I have a book coming out?  Publishing seems to be ahead of schedule, so late July or early August for the release!  Shameless plug, but promoting the book should keep me pretty busy.

It will be extremely important for me to have my next steps mapped out following my exit otherwise, I could boomerang back, not leave the business, and most likely make my managers miserable in the process.  This is definitely not going to be easy—but I have hired some amazing employees and it’s time for them to step up so I can step back.

In Thursday’s post, I’ll delve I little deeper into how this transition is going to unfold and then on Friday, a super-serious discussion on hair ties—which ones are the best, which ones actually hold your hair up without breaking it, and possibly answer that age-old question of “Where do all my lost hair ties go?”

Until then, stay on your toes!

How did I get here?

I’m here in Houston, Texas for the ActionCOACH Business Excellence Forum (BEF).  And I’m up for an award—Best Service Based Business with over 10 people.  Yeah, I know.  I forgot to mention that.

Honestly, I was just super excited to attend and have my business coach, Mary Ann, invite me to go with her.  All I cared about was listening to some great speakers and leaving feeling inspired to keep making positive changes in my business.  Maybe meet some great people.  Get my picture taken with the founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars (he’s so tall!).  And of course, … eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Tiempo.  Maybe more than once.

I didn’t really tell that many people about the award because I didn’t get what a big deal it was.  Oops.  So, as I’m looking out over the crowd of 500+ business coaches and their top-achieving clients all dressed up in black tie garb, ACCEPTING MY AWARD (which apparently over 400 businesses applied for) all I could think about was: How did I get here?

 What I mean is, what was the course of events that led me to get to this podium and accept an award that was judged and presented by the great grandson of Winston Churchill?  Oh yeah, that guy was pretty cool.  Got to talk to him after.  And as he was saying what I’m guessing are some great things about Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons—I don’t really know, because I was literally freaking out thinking, um, what in the world am I going to say at the podium when he’s done talking?  Yep.  We all had to give our “thank you” speech and being the moron that I am, I had nada.  Words came out of my mouth.  I’m pretty sure I thanked Mary Ann, mentioned that I wouldn’t be here without her help.  Oh, and in my stellar wrap up, told the whole room of brilliant business minds that I was thrilled to accept this award from the great grandson of Winston Churchill because I own 2 English Bulldogs.  Nice tie in.  Are you kidding??!!  Ugh.  But seriously, how the heck did I get here?

Financial Planner & Advisor, Josh Donley, Mosaic Capital

See, the reason I hired Mary Ann to coach me was because I wanted to sell my businesses.  Back in May, I had had enough.  I was having some cash flow issues and every month was super stressful to ensure that I had enough money to pay my employees, rent and our other expenses.  It literally got down to pennies making sure my accounts weren’t overdrawn.

It seemed like I was just spinning my wheels working to pay American Express.  I wasn’t having any fun.  If that was what business ownership was all about, that was not what I had signed up for.  And I was ready to exit.

I was talking everything through with Josh and he said, “This just isn’t worth it.  You don’t need all this stress.  You could get a job anywhere, make more money and be less stressed.  Let’s exit and figure out a way for you to sell.”  So, he called a Winston-Salem business broker, Ron Buck.

Winston-Salem Business Broker, Ron Buck, Murphy Business & Financial Corporation

For those of you who aren’t aware, a business broker is basically like a real estate agent for businesses.  You hire one to help you find a buyer or you can hire a broker to help you find the best business opportunity.  The broker keeps everything moving and is an intermediary between the seller and the buyer making sure the business valuation makes sense for both parties.

When Josh talked to Ron, he didn’t use my name or my business name.  Ron was very enthusiastic that he could find a buyer for my business especially because it is a membership-based model with predictable reoccurring revenue and relatively predictable expenses.  He suggested a number, which seemed fair.  But then he said this: “I mean, it just seems like she’s not as profitable as she could be.  If she made a few changes and got the business to a little higher level, I could get $XXX instead of the number I just mentioned.”  Um, I’m not going to tell you what the numbers were, but let’s just say that I wanted the higher one.  Like, really wanted the higher one.  Ron suggested that I talk to this business coach he knew, Mary Ann, who would help me create a plan to exit.

Business Coach, Mary Ann Hauser, ActionCOACH

My first meeting with Mary Ann required a lot of tissues.  I was just spent, exhausted and overwhelmed with all of the “un-fun” things I was having to deal with each day running my businesses.  I remember saying, “I have a f*cking MBA from Wake Forest.  Why can’t I make this work?  Please help.”  We talked a little more and as we reached the end of the meeting, she asked me if I was ready to start coaching and how I would like to pay for her services.  I had no extra money.  I handed her my American Express card and thought: “What do I have to lose?  If I don’t do this, I’ll probably be filing for bankruptcy.  If it works, then sweet!”

That is how I got here.  Josh, Ron, Mary Ann.  I’m so thankful that they led me to be on that podium holding that award.  Now I can sell, sit on the beach and never hear:

“The mic won’t work.” 

“Do we have more batteries?”

“We’re down to 1 case of water.”

“Carolyn, we’re out of soap, paper towels, other paper towels that we use, World’s Best Glass Cleaner or fill in the blank _____.”

“You know what you really should do …”

Fade to black.

Just kidding!

Actually, the opposite.  I’m in the process of figuring out how to open more studios and keep growing.  I’ve realized that I’m just not done working on my business.  There are so many things that I need to implement.  We could be even better than where we are now.  Sure, one day I’ll sell.  But not today.

I have a lot of great ideas for future posts from hearing all the amazing speakers at the BEF.  You’ll just have to stay tuned for next week’s topic.

Until then, stay on your toes!