Drop Culture … Is it sustainable?

There’s something happening in the retail world and it’s becoming more noticeable … “the drop.”  This sales tactic, relies on releasing a limited-edition product, collection, or service without much advance warning.  The idea is to create hype around the drop thus, facilitating a sense of urgency to buy due to the perceived scarcity of the offer.  Whew.  That’s a lot of fancy business words.

In short, this Drop Culture, has been around for a long, long time.  And we’re seeing more and more of this type of strategy and marketing because … it works.  In fact, pairing the Drop Culture with today’s advertising on Social Media, makes for one super-effective way to reach current and prospective customers and clients.

But can “the drop” work for every business?  Is it sustainable?  Listen to the podcast to hear our thoughts and how we’ve used “the drop” to drive revenue.

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Women

Back in the stone ages … 1989, Stephen Covey wrote a book called, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and it had a profound impact on the world, selling 25 million copies in 40 different languages worldwide.  Covey coined the idea of having an abundance mentality, which means you believe there’s always enough resources, ideas, or paths to success for everyone.  Success and abundance will never run out or become scarce.

What are these 7 habits? Here’s the cliff notes if you haven’t read the book yet …

  1. Be proactive- achieve extraordinary results by consistently executing using resourcefulness and initiative to break through barriers
  2. Begin with the end in mind- develop an outcome-oriented mindset in every activity they engage in
  3. Put first things first- eliminate energy and time-wasting tendencies by focusing and executing on your team’s wildly important goals with a weekly planning
  4. Think win-win- lead teams that are motivated to perform superbly through shared expectation and accountability process
  5. Seek first to understand, then be understood- create an atmosphere of helpful give-and-take by taking time to fully understand issues, and give candid and accurate feedback
  6. Synergize- use teamwork to achieve your goals
  7. Sharpen the saw- continuous improvement

But back when this book was written … about 29 years ago … it was really meant for men in business.  Totally fine.  But what are the 7 habits of highly effective women today?

This week, we discuss our 7 Habits of Highly Effective Women, which include:

  1. Start with yourself
  2. Make a plan and work that plan
  3. Navigate the jungle gym
  4. Be courageous
  5. Work beyond obstacles
  6. Achieve happiness vs. balance
  7. Sharpen the saw  (I think every successful women needs to keep learning and focusing on continuous improvement.  The 7thHabit stays the same.)

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

What are the 3 New Workplace Truths?

Let’s face it.  Business has evolved A LOT since career women wore suits with shoulder pads, carried bulky briefcases, and sported white sneakers with nylons rushing to the office.

The Internet, smart casual, and side hustles have changed the way we do business.  What is smart casual or snappy casual, anyway?  Talk about confusing.  Glad we just wear leggings to the studio.  But I digress …

In what we’re calling the New Workplace, there are some fundamental truths that apply to all businesses big and small.

  1. Consumers shop where there’s community, rather than cash registers
  2. Traditional marketing is DEAD
  3. Those who influence and manage teams will find workplace success

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Today’s conversation will discuss these three things and why businesses that focus on these truths will thrive.

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

Why I’d Rather Be Brave Than Perfect

I’m really struggling. My life is pretty much weathering one crisis into the next.  There is always a problem in my business.  Always something that needs to be fixed.

Sometimes I let dishes pile up in my sink.

Sometimes I vacuum up enough hair in my house to make another dog.

I wish I could eat salad for lunch, but I just can’t.  I like sandwiches.  With bread.

I will never live up to my inner critic about teaching Pure Barre classes.  And I’m ok with that.

Why?  Because I’d rather be brave than perfect.  I’d rather be doing something rather than nothing because I’m paralyzed with fear.  Moving forward is better than standing still—in business and in life.

Women today seem to value the appearance of perfection above being real.  Making mistakes is taboo.  Admitting that you make mistakes and don’t have all the answers is self-destruction in many social circles.  Other women will look down on you.  You’ll be judged.  Well, f*ck that!

Here’s a newsflash … nobody’s perfect at work, at home or in life.  We’re all dropping the ball and failing at something.  And that’s ok.

When was the last time you heard someone be praised for being brave?  When was the last time you even heard that word in a conversation … I know, I can’t think of a time either.  In today’s podcast episode, we talk about why it’s better to be brave rather than seeking perfection.  When was the last time you were brave?

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Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and 7 other platforms.

Follow me on Instagram and see what I’m working on in my business each day @shesonhertoes

I’m super-passionate about leading and managing my hardworking team.  Check out my courses How To Hire A Rockstar Team and 5 Days to Time Freedom to keep developing your leadership skills.

Podcast Episode 16: Is it possible to find more time each day? Part 1

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

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 find time freedom.  I’ve created a new course called 5 Days to Time Freedom. In as little as 5 days and you’ll determine where your time is being spent and whether it’s time to outsource or hire an employee to help you take your business to the next level.

Check out the course, 5 Days to Time Freedom

 

Did I Accomplish My Goals for 2017?

Last December, I announced that my one-word mantra for 2017 was “GROWTH.”  Specifically, growing my business by either opening another studio, acquiring another studio, and increasing our retail sales by selling more workout apparel.  And since it’s about a week from the end of the year, I can confidently report that I accomplished NONE of these things!  Was 2017 a total failure?  Of course not.  Here’s why …

After evaluating these three choices, I realized that there were actually some better options out there.

Selling More High Margin Services

In addition to selling classes at my Pure Barre studios, we sell performance workout apparel including leggings, tanks, tees, and anything else you might need during a heart pumping, sweat streaming workout.  And that’s a great complement to taking class—clients are always going to need the right apparel to enhance their experience in the studio.  But … there’s this thing called margin.  Gross margin is defined as the total sale minus its cost of goods sold, divided by the total sale, expressed as a percentage.  Put more simply, the gross margin of a clothing sale is much less than the gross margin of a sale from our classes.  Put even more simply, it costs us much more to sell clothing than it does to generate income from classes.

After careful evaluation, it makes more sense to think of new and innovative ways to sell more classes and generate revenue from other high margin services or products that have a very minimal cost of goods sold, rather than chase lower margin sales from clothing.  Selling clothing will remain an important part of my business, but we will be focusing our time on creating more high margin sales opportunities.

In fact, we’ve just rolled out Pure Barre Elite, which will allow clients to purchase 2 special classes each month including an Intensive class which is usually 75 minutes and focuses on a particular part of the body, like thighs, seat, abs, or arms for more intensive work.  The 2nd class will be a more instructive class called Classic Elite, which will give clients more understanding of the Pure Barre technique through hands on corrections and tips on form.  Both classes will keep our most loyal clients challenged and learning throughout the year.  A win/win for everyone.

Diversifying My Income

Financial advisors continuously advise their clients to diversify their investments to mitigate risk, so it only makes sense to diversify my sources of income as well.  Building the audience to www.shesonhertoes.com has allowed me to earn some additional income from book sales and soon from the course I’m writing called How to Hire a Rock Star Team (It should be ready in a few weeks!)

Starting a New Business

Finally, after considering my options of growing the studios by either opening a new location or acquiring an existing one, I have come to the conclusion that I’d rather start a brand-new business.  There are a few reasons for this: 1) I’d really like to start something from scratch and develop the business plan, branding, and building of my own unique concept.  2)  I have a new interest (It’s complementary to fitness!) and I think it makes a great business idea.  3) Since my team is doing an amazing job running the studios, I have the time to work on something new.

What is this new idea?  I’ll tell you about it next week.  I’m really excited about this new challenge!

Until then, I hope you have a Merry Christmas!  And … 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!

When Things Just Don’t Go Your Way in Business

Have you ever reached a point in your business where things just weren’t going your way?  I’m struggling with that right now.  Nothing is happening fast enough and some things just aren’t happening the way I want them to.

I’m at a point in my business lifecycle where I need to think about how the studios are going to continue to grow.  In my Winston-Salem studio, we currently offer 48 classes each week and have been experiencing capacity in all classes of about 75%.  This means that almost all of our classes are full and our most popular times have long wait lists.  Some people might call this a “good problem to have,” however, I’m not so sure.  If new clients want to start taking class with us, they might have a hard time signing up for the class times they want, which would in turn make them unhappy and not choose to become long-term members at Pure Barre.

I thought the best way to move forward would be to open a third location, but I’m running into some obstacles.  What kind of obstacles?  Well, I thought I found the perfect space to lease, however, the convenient parking just steps away is not available for public use anymore.  In addition, the buildout to create the interior of the studio is cost prohibitive.  So … then I found another space that isn’t perfect, but could work.  Now I’m running into some pretty significant problems with that space too.  And this is barely the beginning of the process.  Like not even the beginning—before the beginning.  The preamble, the preface, the prelude.

Should I accept that things just aren’t working out and move on?  Or should I just be patient and keep working towards this goal?  And also important, should this really be this hard?!

Coincidentally, I’m reading a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance written by Angela Duckworth.  Duckworth set out to determine what sets high achievers apart from everyone else.  She asks: “What makes the highly successful so successful?  How do they do it?”  She explains that a special combination of intense passion and perseverance (beyond determination, more like steadfast direction) creates the thing that makes all high achievers special.  In other words, they have grit.

She even includes a test to determine your level of grit.  I’m sure it’s no surprise for anyone that knows me personally, my grittiness score was pretty high.  So why aren’t I just charging ahead on this third location to make it work, like I have with everything else?

Good question.  I’m not sure I have the answer right now, but I think it falls somewhere in the middle of: “I really don’t have to do this” and “There are a lot of other things I’d like to do with that money instead.”

I’ve got some decisions to make.

Unlucky for me, my TV broke this weekend.  But lucky for you, that gives me more time to write until I figure out which model to buy as a replacement.  On Thursday, I’ll give you the in’s and out’s on a very serious topic: what mascara I wear when I teach and take class.  Trust me, you’ll want all the details on that!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance 

Why Having Multiple Revenue Streams Will Take Your Business from Good to Great

You know that you should diversify your investments.  You wouldn’t want to invest 100% of your money in one stock.  You’d want to diversify to an index or simply across multiple stocks in several industry sectors to protect your money and minimize the inevitable ups and downs of the stock market.  But what about diversifying your business revenue?  Have you thought about safeguarding your business by adding multiple revenue streams?

No.  That’s ok.  I didn’t consciously think about it until about eight months ago.  But in order to run a successful fitness studio (or business), you need to have multiple revenue streams.  Here’s why…

You will protect your biggest asset

My business is my biggest asset.  I’m guessing your business is your biggest asset as well.  And while I don’t sit around constantly contemplating the sale of my studios, it’s important to remember that they are an asset of value and a great deal of that value comes from the predictable revenues or memberships that have been sold.  I am always working to make sure that our reoccurring memberships which we call Pure Barre Platinum (12-month contract) and Open Barre (month-to-month no contract) equal my fixed costs and salaries.  The more reoccurring revenue or membership revenue that your business can count on, the more stable the business is—the more valuable it becomes.  Working to grow reoccurring revenue also has the added benefit of reducing your stress because you’ll know how much money your business is expected to earn each month and there won’t be any worries about how you’ll pay your rent or your employees.

 You can increase wallet share

I discussed this in last week’s post about the value of your distribution channel, but if you can find a product or service to sell one client, you can probably find something else to sell to them in the future—you can increase wallet share for your business.  What else could you sell to your existing client base?  For my business, it’s workout apparel and accessories.  If a client has a membership, selling them workout clothing is a great second revenue stream.  It makes sense—clients would need workout clothes to take class.  What else could you sell your clients to gain wallet share?

 A cash infusion can fuel growth

Developing an additional revenue stream could mean a cash infusion for your business that can fuel growth or allow you to reinvest in the business.  What does this mean?  For my studios, we sell student semester packages three times a year.  Since the students pay for several months in advance, that’s three times a year we receive a significant cash infusion to save for tax payments, purchase additional equipment, make studio improvements or simply add to the studio savings account.

Diversifying your business revenue will take your business from good to great and ensure your biggest asset remains your biggest asset.  But how do you develop multiple revenue streams and increase leads?  That’s what I’ll delve into in my next post—how to increase leads and ensure you have a steady stream of leads to grow your business.

Until then, stay on your toes!

How to Succeed at Owning a Franchise Beyond What the Franchisor Supports

Statistically, franchised businesses are able to bring in greater revenues than independently-owned businesses.  The U.S. Small Business Administration has found that on average, a franchise can earn five times the first-year revenue of the average independent business and over 95% of franchises that open are still successfully in business five years later.

Since franchisees typically get more training and have more resources than independents, this makes sense.  In addition, the business concept of the franchise has been tested and proven.  So why, if you own a franchise, does it seem so hard?  Why do franchise owners struggle?  Why does it seem like at times you can never get ahead operating your franchise?

I own and operate 2 Pure Barre franchises both are successful.  That is, both are profitable and will run without me there.  I can be out networking, working on my businesses, sleeping, or on vacation and know that classes are being taught and purchases rung up.  Don’t get me wrong, I work really hard—but so does my team.

Owning a Pure Barre franchise is great.  The Franchisor gives me support that I would not otherwise have if I just owned my own barre or fitness studio.  And I do have some independence while making marketing decisions that best fit my location and client needs.  If I don’t like something, I can call or email and express my unhappiness—if it can be fixed right away, it is.  Bigger changes might not happen immediately, but at least I’m being listened to.

It is important to remember, however, that the interests of the Franchisee and the interests of the Franchisor are often at odds, which starts us off on how to succeed at owning a franchise beyond what the franchisor supports …

Understand that the Franchisor and Franchisee Care About Different Things

The number one concern of the franchisor is revenue growth.  As long as your franchise continues to grow revenue, the franchisor is happy.  See, the franchisor collects a monthly royalty and as long as that monthly payment keeps getting bigger, all is good.  The problem with that is that as a franchisee, your primary concern is your net income growth—or profit.  If your profit is growing you’re happy.  As a franchisee, if you could gain more profit by lowering expenses and not increasing revenue or even decreasing revenue, that’s awesome.  Good work!  Unfortunately, the franchisor doesn’t see it that way.

This juxtaposition of interests does not make franchise ownership bad and it doesn’t mean doom for your business.  It is just extremely important that you understand these conflicting interests—the better you understand this, the more successful you’ll be.  If you’re looking at your monthly reports from the franchisor and think you’re killing it because your top line is growing—what are your own financials telling you about your net income growth?  If you aren’t making any money (negative net income) or just scraping by to pay your bills—that’s not awesome.  IF YOU’RE NOT PAYING YOURSELF—YOU NEED TO BE.  I know a lot of franchise owners that don’t pay themselves regularly but talk about how their business is doing well.  Hummm … really?

Only you are keeping tabs on your expenses and working to control costs while growing the business.  Generally speaking, the more profit you can make from your business, the happier you are as the owner.

To succeed at owning a franchise beyond what the franchisor supports, you must look beyond franchisor-produced sales reports which only track revenue growth and focus on growing your net income.

Buying an Operating System Does Not Include Buying a Company Culture

Owning a franchise is great because you essentially purchase a working operating system.  You don’t have to develop anything brand new.  The product is already created.  The sales strategy is already planned.  You just have to execute it.

Unfortunately, this operating system does not include your own unique company culture.  I’ve written about the importance of creating your Mission, Vision and Culture statements in a previous post.  Even if your franchisor has these things (mine didn’t), it makes sense for you to expand on the culture statement because you may place value on some additional points that will make your location excel.

If you don’t define your business culture, your employees will, and they might have other ideas than you—like, bad ideas that will limit your business growth and success.

To succeed at owning a franchise beyond what the franchisor supports, you must create your unique company culture—write it down and hire only employees that believe in that culture and act according to its guidelines.

Being a Business Owner Does Not Mean You Know How to be a Leader

Buying a business does not instantaneously make you a leader—damn.  If only it did.  If your franchise requires that you hire a team of employees to run it, you will need to learn how to manage and motivate them to run the business.

I probably spend a good 90% of my time trying to figure out how to keep my team motivated and how I can better support them to sell more.  Does this shock you?  At this point, I have hired an incredible team to help me run my businesses.  Since they complete the day-to-day operations, that frees me up to work on supporting them and working on activities that enhance my businesses.  It’s great—but getting to that point does take time and calculated effort.

If your franchisor offers leadership training or management training—sign up and take it!  If nothing like that is offered, then it’s on you to invest in yourself and learn how to lead and manage (maybe start by reading some of these books and listening to some of these podcasts).

The key to business management success is actually, to invest in yourself by attending seminars, reading books and learning from other business owners.  The more you invest in your own leadership training, the more you can give back to your team.

To succeed at owning a franchise beyond what the franchisor supports, you must invest in your own leadership and management training and make it a continuous priority. 

Notice that all of these things could easily be applied to succeed at owning an independent business.  There’s no secret sales strategy or silver bullet to franchise ownership or business success in general—sorry for the big let-down.  It all boils down to knowing your numbers and operating your business within those means, creating your company culture and hiring only those who believe in it, and making it a priority to invest in your own leadership and management training.

Approaching business ownership by applying these three principles isn’t sexy.  It doesn’t involve a killer Social Media plan or some cool video that goes viral.  So maybe that’s why more franchise owners don’t jump at working on these things.  If the foundation of your business isn’t rock-solid, then you’re going to keep struggling—whether you own a franchise or not.

In my next post, I’ll let you in on a little secret—your distribution channel is more important than the product you sell.  Say what?!  I’ll explain on Thursday.

Until then, stay on your toes!