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.

My Why

So incredible!  Yesterday, I attended the annual meeting and luncheon for the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce … and Pure Barre Winston-Salem won the Truliant Best Small Business in Winston-Salem award for 2017!

I mean, seriously?  What an honor.  Winston-Salem was literally built from small businesses growing into large corporations (think RJ Reynolds, Hanesbrands, Krispy Kreme, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, BB&T and the list goes on) paving the way for thousands of other startups and small businesses to make their mark on the city.  And now, my business has been recognized as being the best.  Thank you!  To the Chamber, Truliant, my amazing clients, and my incredibly talented team of hard-working employees—Thank you!

So why do I do what I do?  Being a small business owner isn’t always glamourous.  It can be really hard sometimes.  But, I am motivated by the idea that there is nothing worse than wasted talent in this world.  You know, the idea that everyone has great potential and can accomplish great things.  And for me, that starts with being physically fit to accomplish all those great things.  When your body is strong, your mind is strong and you can do just about anything.

Every day, I get to see my clients do amazing things in the studio that I know help them do amazing things outside of the studio.  I’ve been fortunate to see clients who walk into Pure Barre completely unsure of themselves and their physical capabilities, transform into confident and strong individuals.  I’m extremely fortunate to experience these things on a daily basis.  It’s inspiring.

What if you were at the center of a workplace where everyone was pushed to be their best?  What if your business was bigger than yourself?  What if you could wear leggings EVERY SINGLE DAY?

Yep.  Life is pretty damn good.

I’m Interviewing Someone: What the heck should I ask them?!

The only thing worse than preparing to be interviewed, is preparing to interview someone.  I mean, what the heck are you supposed to ask them?!

Should you try and throw them off with “If you were an animal, what would you be?”  Or test their reasoning skills with something like “How many quarters fit in a school bus?”  It’s tempting to ask some off-the-wall stuff, but what do those kinds of crazy questions really help you understand about the candidate?  When you only have a limited amount of time for an interview, every question counts.  Each question should be prepared in advance to help you better understand if the candidate should be hired or not.

When conducting an interview, there are 3 types of questions that will help you determine if the candidate is the right fit for the job and your business.  First, you want to find out how they think they’ll add value to your business.  Second, you want to understand how they’ll overcome any challenges that come with the position.  And finally, you want to evaluate what types of questions they have for you.

How will you add value to my business?

This seems simple enough, but it’s easy to dance around this topic in an interview.  As an employer, I’m most interested in learning why someone has applied to work for me and why they think they’d be a good fit.  In other words, why should I hire you?  What makes you the best choice?

Typically, I like to ask an open-ended question like this: “Tell me what you know about (insert the business name) and why you would be a good fit to work here.”

Asking an open-ended question gives the candidate plenty of opportunities to show they’ve done their research on your business and understand what makes it unique.  This type of question also allows the candidate to highlight their strengths and any prior experience that is relevant to working for you.

It’s a softball question, yet you’d be surprised—many people simply don’t put in the time to learn about the companies at which they interview—which makes it really easy to separate someone seeking a job from someone who is genuinely interested in working at your business.  If I interview someone who can’t articulate what my business does or how they’d contribute in a positive way, then I will not be hiring them.

Do you get easily discouraged?

Every job has its challenges.  During an interview, it’s important to understand how a candidate would overcome these challenges and not get easily discouraged.  The best way for an employer to figure this out is asking the candidate to explain past experiences in which they overcame adversity or demonstrated the ability to meet a challenge head-on.  Questions like:

Tell me about a time when you started working on a project only to be told later that there were major changes.  How did you handle that?

Have you ever found a mistake in something you were working on?  What did you do to fix it?

Tell me about a time where you were confronted with a big obstacle or problem to get something finished.  What happened and how did you deal with that?

Tell me about a time when you were frustrated at work.  What did you do to overcome this?

Candidates should be able to easily articulate past examples from work or life that demonstrate they are capable of being flexible, handling stressful situations, and moving on from past mistakes.  The more detail given, the better.  Everyone has countless examples of overcoming adversity or meeting a challenge.  If the candidate finds it difficult to answer these types of questions, they either aren’t prepared or are afraid to be honest about how they handle problems—not qualities I’d be looking for when building my team.

What questions do you have for me? 

This question might be the most overlooked in an interview, but it is important to give the candidate a chance to get their questions answered.  Or … for you, the employer, to see if the candidate is prepared and has intelligent, thoughtful questions.  If the candidate asks questions directly related to something previously discussed in the interview, then I know they are actively engaged and interested in working for my business.

Having the candidate ask you questions is a great way to figure out if this person is really passionate about working for you, or they simply want a job and a paycheck.  If someone doesn’t have any questions for me at the end of the interview, I know they aren’t serious about working for my business.

Each question in an interview should help you make the decision about whether to hire someone or not.  First, you want to find out how the candidate thinks they’ll add value to your business.  Second, you want to understand how they’ll overcome any challenges that come with the position.  And finally, you want to evaluate what types of questions they have for you.  By asking interview candidates questions in these 3 categories, you should get closer to making that final hiring decision with confidence.

5 Steps Every Employer Should Follow During an Interview

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, hopefully you’ve realized that the core message I’m trying to communicate is that in order to run a successful business, you MUST hire a great team to run it for you.  This means that your team runs the day-to-day operations, freeing you up to think of “what’s next” or any other “big picture” ideas that will lead to more innovation for your clients.  I’m excited to announce that we just had a chance to prove that our hiring process still works … because we just held some interviews to hire one more front desk associate.  And we found a great candidate who will be a good fit for my team and my clients!

In my book, I go into detail about the hiring process that I’ve used to build my amazing team.  In my workbook, you have the opportunity to create your own process specific to your business.  But here are the 5 most important steps every employer should follow when holding an interview …

Hold a Group Interview

Group interviews are great because they save you time and you can see how the candidates react to each other.  Are they too aggressive?  Are they rude?  Did one cut another off to get more talking time in?  Did one just say the same things as the others without coming up with original answers?  All great things to learn as you’re building your Team.  Did I mention, group interview save you time?!

 Have 2 People Conducting the Interview

Having 2 people conducting the interview is really beneficial because one person can do the talking and ask the questions, while the other can take notes and focus on each candidate and their behavior.  I’m sure many of you have interviewed someone and you’re so focused on what the next question is and what’s coming up next that you don’t really listen to the answers the candidate is giving.  Having that second person ensures that you’ll be able to focus on the candidates and what they’re saying and doing—and how that might help or hurt your business.

Rank Your Choices Before the Interview

Staying organized throughout the interview process is key.  And ranking your choices before the interview helps keep the process manageable.  One of the benefits of ranking each candidate on a 1 to 10 scale is that you can compare and contrast your feelings about each candidate to help you make the best hiring decision.  For example, if one candidate enters the group interview with a 1 ranking, but another candidate was more impressive after you meet them in person, you have some good information to review and analyze to make the best hiring decision.  If a candidate enters with a top ranking and is the most impressive, then you can feel pretty confident you’ve found your ideal hire.  Going into an interview with an idea of who would be the best fit and most qualified is important.  Using the interview to confirm your rankings is a great validation.  If you’ve already ranked your choices, you can easily tailor your questions to each candidate so the candidates can either continue to support their high ranking or reveal that they actually aren’t the right fit for your business.  This is a really important step!

Give the Candidate an Out

This might sound mean, but I always have a point in the interview where I say, “If any of this doesn’t sound good, you are welcome to leave.  We totally understand that this might not be the position for you.”

No one has ever left because, of course, my business is amazing and working for me would be your dream come true—ok, just kidding.  But no has one left.  If they did, that would be totally fine.  It would ensure that I was only selecting the best people that WANT TO WORK FOR ME.  Another self-selection point reached.

Follow Up with an Exit Questionnaire

In an interview, the employer has all the power, so it’s important to let the interview candidates have the last word.  Allowing each candidate to complete an exit questionnaire gives them the opportunity to tell you anything they maybe didn’t get across or emphasize during the interview.  In my experience, highly ranked candidates take this last step seriously further expressing their interest in your business and confirming that they are the right fit.  And anyone who isn’t the right fit … will communicate something totally bizarre and give you another reason to not hire them.

Taking the time to incorporate these 5 steps into your next interview process will greatly increase your chances of hiring the right employees for your business.  As I mentioned at the beginning, in order to be a successful business owner, you MUST have your team running your business and completing the day-to-day tasks.  This allows you to focus on “what’s next” and keep your business relevant and exciting for your existing and future clients.

But if I’m interviewing someone, what the heck should I ask them?!  What are the most important interview questions?  I’m so glad you asked …  I’ll discuss how to create a list of interview questions that lead to great hires on Thursday.

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out my book, She’s On Her Toes here.

Check out the 52-page workbook to create your own hiring process here.

 

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.

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.

Shes-On-Her-Toes-Speaking.jpg

 

  • 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.

Shes-On-Her-Toes-All-Moved-In.jpg

 

  • 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

My Employees Don’t Need Me Anymore. What’s Next?

Yesterday, I walked into one of my studios and my manager told me she was working on our August schedule.  Great.  I sat down expecting to be asked a question about how to do something or to help her out with a problem.  Instead, she told me she didn’t need me to work that much in the studio or to teach.  I was immediately filled with mixed emotions.  I was so happy that she had things under control, but I was also a little sad.  My business has taken a lot of my time and energy—ok, almost all of my time and energy since I opened my first location.  What am I supposed to do now?

I’ve been asking myself “What’s next?” a lot recently.  My business turned 5.  I wrote a book and am anxiously awaiting the final steps in the publishing process—so close, about a week left until the book is available for sale!  I’ve hired a great manager and now an assistant manager, and will be focusing on training them to run the studios on a day-to-day basis.  So, what am I going to do now?  How will I occupy all this new-found time?

While I’ll always be involved in my studios to some degree, I’m thinking about starting another business and entering the ranks of serial entrepreneurs.  I’m still in the discovery phase and not ready to announce what I’m planning, but when you are your own boss, it’s important to diversify your revenue and protect yourself financially.  So, if starting a business is risky, why would owning multiple businesses be better than owning one?

You Won’t Be Starting from Scratch

If you started one business, find a second that complements your existing business, so you won’t be starting from scratch trying to build a brand-new client base—sell to your existing list. My next potential business endeavor is very complementary to my Pure Barre studios.  In fact, it’s the same business model of working to get every client on a membership to earn reoccurring, predictable revenue each month.  That’s what I know how to do—create a sales process that works to convert first-time clients into members and create an environment that people want to keep coming back to visit day-after-day, week-after-week, and in a lot of cases year-after-year.

My clients will also be very interested in this potential business idea and will most likely want to try it out (just an FYI, it’s not fitness).  Starting any business is difficult and challenging, but if you already know who your client is, where they live, where they hang out, and that they already support your existing business, chances are they’ll be interested in checking out your next business, which means you won’t have to build an entirely new client base from scratch.

Diversifying Revenue Protects You Financially

Financial advisors are always telling investors to diversify their holdings, meaning don’t put all your money in one investment, especially don’t put all your investment savings in the company you work for.  The same is true for businesses—if you can start one business, get it established and find a trusted manager and rock star team to help you run it, starting another business will help diversify your income like you’ve been advised to diversify your investment portfolio.

There are two ways to diversify one’s income, active and passive.  You can actively start another business or get a second job to earn income.  Or you can earn income passively, by renting real estate, selling a book, or adding dividend-earning stocks to your portfolio—you’re not actively working towards earning the money, this income is just showing up into your bank account.  Earning both active and passive income is a great way to diversify and protect yourself financially, especially if your business is cyclical.

You’ll Never Be Bored

By starting another business, you’ll get to learn new skills, solve new problems, and expand your capabilities as an entrepreneur.  With all these new challenges in store, you’ll never be bored and will always be learning.  Besides the obvious personal and leadership development, starting another business can also expand your network and possibly lead to other opportunities to serve in your community.  All exciting!

I don’t know about you, but the more I have going on, the more I can get accomplished.  Since I have a great manager and rock star team to help me run my studios each day, it’s time to start looking at my next opportunity.  I mean, when your employees tell you they don’t need you anymore, I guess you have no other choice but to listen!  But they’ll always need me to sign their paychecks …

I’ve been reading several of Tony Robbins’ books, so I’ll give you a run-down on them in my post on Thursday.  I might even have another update for my own book.  Eek!

And on Friday, the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I’ll share some of my top picks for Fall boots—because it’s never too early to make your Fall boot purchases.

Until then, stay on your toes!

How I’m Exiting My Business

I guess I got your attention with my last post titled “Why I’m Exiting My Business.”  To be clear, I am not selling my business or giving up on it—nothing could be further from the truth.  I have reached a point in my business lifecycle where it’s time for me to assume a new role—the role of supporting my Team.  It’s time for me to have some business freedom!  I have hired a great Team including a Manager who is extremely competent and have another stellar employee assuming more responsibility as an Assistant Manager.  My teachers are doing really well taking care of clients and helping them understand the Pure Barre technique and improve each class.  And my front desk associates are proficient at our sales process and working with the teachers and managers.  Basically, they’ve got this!  So where does that leave me?

This blog is all about explaining how to hire a great team, motivate them, and lead them to success.  (Spoiler alert: my book is also about these same things!  Coming out in late July or early August!  And, if that’s not enough, I’ve started working on a course that will teach you how to hire that Rock Star Team.)  But in the beginning stages of your business, it’s just you.  You have to do everything from teaching classes, taking care of your clients, selling, cleaning, restocking supplies, and a host of other unexciting and oftentimes dirty jobs—after 5 years, I have lots of bathroom “surprise” stories.  Two drink minimum, please.

For those of you having difficulty visualizing what I’m talking about (maybe because you’re trying not to visualize the dirty jobs), this is what your business lifecycle looks like at the beginning.  You support your clients.

Business-Cycle-I.jpg

 

But 5 years in, this is where I am.  I’m supporting my Team and they are supporting our clients.

Business Cycle II

 

Do you see the difference?  In the second image, you give all the responsibility to your Team and you focus on doing whatever it is that they need to be better at their jobs.  Ok … maybe we’re not 100% there yet.  But we will be, very soon.

It’s important to note that if you aren’t hiring the right people or people that don’t fit within your business’s unique culture, you’ll likely never get to the point of supporting your Team.  You’ll stay stuck supporting your clients and doing everything yourself.  No rest for you.  No vacation for you.  No other opportunities for you.  Since your business should serve as your vehicle to a better, more balanced life, that’s pretty lame.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Over the next year, I’m going to spend my time working with my Manager and Assistant Manager so that they are running the business without me and I’m solely focused on thinking up more ways to increase our revenue.  Since I won’t be overseeing the studios’ day-to-day operations, I’ll have plenty of time to devote to my new role and I am anticipating working remotely at times.  In fact, my goal is to be able to take a whole month away and be confident that everything is happening without me.  Dare to dream!  So how am I going to get to this point?

The first step in business freedom is to teach my managers how to track our key metrics, the most important being retention.  In the fitness business, client retention is the main driver of your future sales.  What?  Did you think attracting new clients is?

Sure, bringing new clients into your studio is extremely important, but since most are initially purchasing your introductory offer which is significantly discounted (we offer an Intro Month, which is four weeks at $99), you’re really not increasing or driving sales until they make that leap to their next package.  If you have 20 new clients walk through your doors and start taking class, but at the end of their Intro Month only 1 sticks around and purchases another package, that’s not good, and an indicator that something you’re doing isn’t working to keep these people around.  It’s also a lot of work for you and your team for lackluster results.  Forming a solid retention plan is the best way to drive and predict your future sales.  As I’m teaching them about retention and how to track it, we’ll also be recording all of our work in a manager manual—that way, if any of them go on vacation someone else will know exactly what to do in their absence.  Business freedom here I come!

Going forward, I’ll be discussing this transition in more detail and how it will allow me to gain business freedom as well as start working on something else that should be on every small business owner’s mind, diversification of income.  But more on that as this new journey unfolds.  Maybe the next book?!

I know you’ve been waiting for it … a super-serious discussion on hair ties will be posted tomorrow.  Which ones are the best?  But seriously, where do they go when they get lost?

Until then, stay on your toes!