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Why You Need to Think Bigger About Your Next Business Goal

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When I’m feeling cheeky, I will admit to having retired two husbands with my business.

My first marriage ended (it’s better for everyone involved). And my second, well, okay…

Technically, we’re not married. But we own a house together, pay the bills together, and he survived about 25,000 miles of travel with me in one 12-month period. So, give me a pass on the shorthand.

Now, a few months after I retired my first husband and hit the biggest revenue goal I could imagine at the time, I started looking for a new goal.

I felt rudderless without a challenge to work toward.

I asked everyone: How do you dream bigger when you’ve just achieved more than you’ve ever dreamed of?

How do you dream bigger when you’ve just achieved more than you’ve ever dreamed of?

Now, I realize that sounds like a really quality problem to have–and it is.

But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Here’s why:

You can’t create what you can’t see.

When you’re a student or working in a corporate career, your goals are based on what’s in front of you, what you’re exposed to.

You eye the scholarship. You fantasize about the acceptance letter. You want the promotion. You look for a raise.

You can see yourself attaining any of those things because they’re right in front of you. You see people achieving them and know they’re possible. They might be a dream, but they’re dreams you can see yourself living.

With business, it’s often very different.

I didn’t know I could dream of running a million-dollar company. I didn’t know I could dream of hiring a team of fabulous employees. I didn’t know I could dream of speaking on stage in front of hundreds or thousands.

Before I was connected to people who were dreaming those kinds of dreams and–more importantly–working those kinds of plans, I didn’t have a clue about my potential as an entrepreneur.

Every step of growth my business has taken has been a direct result of my connection to someone or something that allowed me to finally visualize a bigger goal or challenge.

When I retired my first husband, I didn’t know how to think beyond, “I want to make $100,000 per year and retire my husband.”

I had no close relationships with people who had achieved that.

When it came to ambitious colleagues and friends who took their businesses as seriously as I did, my well was damp at best.

As a result, my business suffered from my lack of vision and creativity. It kept growing but not at the pace it could have.

I worked harder instead of smarter.

I pushed for incremental successes instead of exponential steps forward and new ways of creating value.

Now, you might be thinking, “Tara, I haven’t hit the goal I’m working on right now. How can you expect me to look beyond that?”

Here’s why I expect you to–and why I believe you must:

The action you take is dictated–consciously or unconsciously–by your vision and goals.

Try this thought experiment.

What would you have to do differently to reach your goal for 2017 in the next 6 weeks, without working more in your business?

Your first reaction might be panic. But your second might be a pretty creative way to reorganize your business and your time to achieve more, at a faster pace, than you originally let yourself plan for.

That’s why you need to be connected to people who push you, challenge you, and take their businesses as seriously as you take yours.

Those connections help you take dramatic steps forward in your business–starting with the way you spend your time and the action you take right now.

They help you get creative about how you’ll achieve your goals and see new possibilities all around you.

The decisions I make and actions I take today are based on the vision that I can now see myself living, and that vision was inspired by the possibility I’ve glimpsed in the lives of people I know.

It’s such a relief to make big decisions with ease and take action that supports those decisions.

And, it’s all thanks to the ambitious and open business owners I’m connected to on a daily basis. They’ve helped me dream bigger dreams and take different action.

On Monday, I’m going to share with you how a completely different kind of connection–with people who have businesses wholly different than my own–helped to dramatically transform my vision for my business.

Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek of what we’ve created for you to solve this problem.

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Creating Systems to Grow Your Business with 1-800-GOT JUNK? founder Brian Scudamore

Creating Systems to Grow Your Business with 1-800-GOT JUNK? founder Brian Scudamore

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How what you DO for business often isn’t your real business focus. Dig deeper to drive success.  
  • Why staying close to your roots even when your company grows keeps you focused.
  • How duplicatable systems, checklists, and the franchise model can free business owners up to focus on the next big thing.

Each week during our Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast we pull back the curtain to reveal the secret sauce of some of the world’s most inspiring small business owners. Even though Brian Scudamore, the mastermind behind junk hauling company 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and this week’s podcast guest, might not be your typical small business owner any longer, the franchise systems he’s built keeps him close to his small business roots.

Every big business started as a small business.

– Brian Scudamore

While the umbrella home services organization O2E Brands that Brian now leads (includes 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 Day Painting, You Move Me, and Shack Shine) has lofty financial and visionary goals, more than 50% of the company’s franchise partners do just over $1 million in revenue annually. While that is a sizable and meaningful number to O2E Brands partners, they are still small businesses. Brian’s team spends a lot of time communicating and asking questions of these small business owners to find out what’s working and what’s not.

Because people have ownership, they are giving us feedback as owners, as partners to say how we can build this bigger and better for everyone.

– Brian Scudamore

A Strategic Focus on People

We are taking ordinary businesses like junk removal and making them exceptional through people and customer experience.

– Brian Scudamore

When Brian first aspired to expand beyond Vancouver and create a national brand for his junk-hauling service 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, his strategic focus was on finding partners. He sought to find people who wanted to own their own businesses, but desired an entry to business ownership through proven formulas and systems. Today, his team calls these partners ENTRYPRENEURS and they all have the 4 Hs: They are hands-on, hard-working, hungry, and happy.

Franchisees: Perfect Crowdsourcing & Duplicating Model

Franchising has been the perfect crowdsourcing model if you will. We have all of these wonderful, brilliant minds of people contributing ideas and experiments toward making all our businesses perpetually better.

– Brian Scudamore

Critical to the efficiencies and increased probability of business success for franchisees is that Brian created checklists, processes, and systems that provide the roadmap to execute and become successful.  His ADD tendencies forced him to systemize his business and uncover its primary focus. An admiration for the founder of McDonald’s Ray Kroc’s brilliance regarding creating consistent processes also fueled his business mindset.

Everything I do, I try to create simple checklists. I don’t like to reinventing the wheel. Just keep doing what works.

– Brian Scudamore

Take a listen to the podcast today to get even more incredible insight from Brian about what moves him (HINT: It’s not a money thing), the plans for O2E Brands and even more incredible insight that can be easily applied to businesses of any size.

Be sure you don’t miss a single episode of the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast which was recently named one of the top 24 Exceptional Women-Hosted Podcasts for Entrepreneurs in 2017 by Entrepreneur magazine. Simply subscribe on iTunes.

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Rethinking the Fashion Ecommerce Industry with Brass Clothing co-founders Jay Adams & Katie Doyle

Rethinking the Fashion Ecommerce Industry with Brass Clothing co-founders Jay Adams & Katie Doyle

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How emotional intelligence was more important than data intelligence to the cofounders of ecommerce site Brass Clothing.
  • Why product is secondary to connection with your customer.
  • How the value you provide consistently for the customer isn’t just about the product.

The friendship between Jay Adams and Katie Doyle, cofounders of Brass Clothing, began when they were freshmen in high school. They never imagined they would create an ecommerce fashion line together to satisfy not only their own needs, but the fashion needs of a community of passionate women.

Fast forward from freshmen year to when they were both budding professionals—Jay worked with apparel manufacturers and Katie with online fashion retailers—and shared a mutual frustration with the lack of quality and integrity in the fashion world as well as the toll fast fashion was having on the environment and people’s lives. They launched Brass Clothing in September 2014 with a line of five dress styles to solve the problems they had in their own wardrobes and to take advantage of the opportunity to provide something better to like-minded women.

In this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. episode we learn about their unique product development and marketing approach that has fueled the growth of their business.

Unique Approach to Taking The Product To Market

We really were trying to take sort of a minimum viable product approach. Not very typical in consumer products, but for us it was really important for us to test our concept and see if there were other people interested in what we were doing.

– Jay Adams

Taking a minimum viable product approach wasn’t the only way Jay and Katie diverged from other ecommerce sites and consumer product businesses. In the spring of 2015, they were ready to attract more customers with their spring/summer product, but they wanted to do it in a financially feasible way so they used a Kickstarter campaign.

When it came to marketing their business, Jay and Katie continued to buck the trends of ecommerce and focused on connecting with their community rather than rely solely on what the data would tell them to do.

Tap Into People’s Emotions And Their Whys

When Jay and I started Brass, we knew we wanted to make products that women loved. Not only just great clothing, but we also wanted to create a brand that people loved. And really build a community around our brand with like-minded women.

– Katie Doyle

Typically, marketing for ecommerce sites is very data driven. Just lean on Google Analytics to tell you what people want. Jay and Katie wanted to focus on the emotional side. They really wanted to build a community. Connect with their customers. Develop relationships. As a result, emotional intelligence was more important to them than the data intelligence.

Listen. Learn. Adapt.

We’re not about cool-girl fashion, we’re about relatable fashion. We’re about connecting with our customers. We’re about helping her. Providing value all along the entire customer experience. Product, emails to the follow-up.

– Jay Adams

Listening to their consumer base continues to be a priority for Jay and Katie to help improve the product and the Brass Clothing experience. Their best-selling items have nearly 200 reviews, and Jay and Katie assess the feedback they receive from their customers to determine how they can improve. In the podcast they share several ways their products and experience have evolved based upon customer feedback including using models in all shapes and sizes to market their products.

One of the most valuable and special parts about ecommerce and direct to consumer brands is you get to own that relationship and communication with the customer.

– Jay Adams

There’s much more in the full podcast including how content marketing was crucial in the launch of Brass Clothing when Jay’s article, The Myth of the “Maxxinista” went viral, how Jay and Katie enhanced their products by embedding services (see the book by Dave Gray, The Connected Company for more on the concept), and how continuous improvement, even on tried-and-true products, is the key to success.

We look forward to sharing next week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast with you. Subscribe on iTunes and tune in weekly to learn directly from today’s most inspiring entrepreneurs.

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Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

The Nitty Gritty:

    • How the founder of DailyWorth and author of Worth It uses a two-prong approach to set financial goals that are ambitious.
    • Why failure is an opportunity for learning and growth and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.
    • How you view your identity and feelings of self-worth impact your ability to create financial goals that get you to the life you desire.
    • How having a little “Steve Jobs” in you isn’t a bad thing. Just ask Amanda who established the roots that gave her wings!

It’s easy to assume that Amanda Steinberg, the founder and CEO of DailyWorth, the leading financial media company for women, and author of Worth It, has super powers when it comes to setting business and personal financial goals. But in this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast she shares with us that while there were times when she appeared to outsiders to have it all together—$200K annual salary, $700K home—she wasn’t experiencing the “exhilaration of affluence.” So, she reset and can now teach you what she learned.

Two Approaches to Setting Financial Goals

It’s not about the speed of our growth, but about the unit economics. That’s what investors want to see. How much do we have to spend to acquire one customer? What is our profit margin on that customer? That’s actually more important for me to master and perfect…

– Amanda Steinberg

Whenever Amanda is setting financial goals there are two strategies she always takes to planning: a top-down and bottom-up approach. In top-down planning you look at your entire market and assume there are no limits on your marketing, capital, and talent resources. Once you have a framework for the possibilities, you bring it back down to earth to assess the possibilities through the realities you have. How many people are on your team. What you know about your sales ability. What capital you have.

You find a number that is both really ambitious and realistic relative to your resources.

– Amanda Steinberg

Battle the Imposter Complex when Setting Financial Goals

Oftentimes entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, struggle with self-worth when setting financial goals. We don’t set an audacious goal, because it feels like it’s bigger than what we can do. We worry about how we will be perceived—too aggressive, “She has a lot of Steve Jobs in her, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” (how Amanda was described once), or a failure if we don’t achieve the goal. Amanda learned something as a video-game playing kid that she suggests you employ as an adult when you fail:

“Treat it like a game. Then failure doesn’t feel like a reflection on you it’s just a normal part of the learning process.”

Set goals that feel a bit uncomfortable to you. In her book Worth It, Amanda explores the Good Girl to Lady Boss transition women are in the midst of and explains how to facilitate your own identity transition to create your life and your money on your terms.

Learn more about Amanda’s journey and what you can do to create more financial security in your life by establishing three crucial roots that then give you the wings to live the life you desire.

We’ll be back next week with another inspiring entrepreneur, but in the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

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How To Use Other People’s Ideas for Fun & Profit (Without Copying)

Joanna Wiebe on marketing her new content marketing and writing app, Airstory

The more you learn about copywriting (or sales and marketing in general) the more you realize that half of your job is using other people’s ideas.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating for copying other people’s work.

Is that clear?

Okay… what I mean is that…

Business is always a process of identifying what works and creating from that knowledge.

Copywriters do this by paying attention to what really grabs their attention, turning that into a formula, and then creating completely original content on top of that formula.

Now, copywriting is a particular passion of mine. I love learning about how it works and I love the way it trains me to think differently.

And when I think copywriting, I think Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers.

I had the chance to talk to Joanna about her approach to marketing a brand new project that Copy Hackers has been working on, Airstory.

When I asked her how she was approaching the marketing for Airstory–which Joanna describes as what would happen if Google Docs & Evernote had a baby and let Trello raise it–she said she was really inspired by a marketing campaign that Blue Bottle Coffee had come up with.

They decided they wanted to use the idea too.

Blue Bottle had created a beautiful video “course” on Skillshare that explained the process of brewing exceptional coffee from start to finish. As Joanna told me, the result of watching it was that you couldn’t think about coffee the same way again.

In order for her to use the idea… 

Joanna needed to reverse engineer it.

Her goal is to get people to rethink the way they’ve always done a frequent task: content marketing specifically and writing generally.

After all, that’s what Blue Bottle did. It’s not really about the videos, it’s not really about putting it on Skillshare. The really important part is to understand the mechanism that made that campaign go viral: rethinking the way you do a daily task.

Further, Joanna told me, the real idea is teaching people to be a better consumer of your product so that they’ll only want to choose your product in the future. It’ll be the only one that now meets their standards.

Once she knew that, she could approach marketing Airstory with the “how and what” of the Blue Bottle campaign but with her core goal being to create better writers instead of better coffee brewers.

The videos and distribution channel for the marketing campaign became what I call the “building blocks” of her marketing. But her own product, brand, and customer perspective become what the building blocks are made out of.

You can do the same thing with any successful marketing or sales assets.

What’s more: you should.

I teach our Quiet Power Strategy clients to start looking at every sales page that catches their eye or every email that moves them to click as an opportunity to create a template.

That template is inevitably made up of building blocks that you can use if you only sub in what’s particular to your product, brand, and customer perspective.

Take this blog post, for instance!

  • The first building block (at the beginning) is a shocking or counterintuitive statement that seems to go against cultural norms.
  • The second building block (the bulk of the email) is an explanation of this idea referencing a conversation, in this case, one I had with a successful business owner.
  • The third building block (what you’re reading right now) is a call to action around how to apply this to work for you.
  • The fourth building block (it’s coming, read on!) is a final call to action to check out the whole conversation.

So what are you waiting for?

Listen to Joanna explain this whole process–plus how she interviews prospects to come up with product ideas and how she’s built out two teams to support both the training side of the business and the software side of the business.

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Turning Customer Research Into a New Product with Copyhackers and Airstory co-founder Joanna Wiebe

Turning Customer Research into a New Product with Copy Hackers and Airstory co-founder Joanna Wiebe

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How listening, watching and interviewing customers about the pain points of their process, helped the Copy Hackers team develop the basic idea of a new product.
  • What the jobs-to-be-done approach to innovation is and how it facilitates customer research.
  • How growth, innovation and building new solutions build on the battle scars you learned from other endeavors and creates opportunities and new responsibilities for your team.

Listen. Watch. Interview. And then build.

As Copy Hackers and Airstory co-founder, Joanna Wiebe relates in this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., these steps were foundational building blocks in the creation of the new business endeavor, Airstory, a drag-and-drop document builder. Think: Google docs and Evernote had a baby and let Trello raise it.

The more we listened to more and more people and how they wrote. . .they were all kind of clunkily putting stuff together. So, all of this stuff was happening, and we’re like, OK, well, maybe we can solve this. That’s where the basic idea of Airstory was born.

– Joanna Wiebe

Jobs-to-Be-Done Approach to Innovation

When the Copy Hackers team attended the Business of Software conference 2 ½ years ago, they knew they wanted to build something for the same audience they served with Copy Hackers and to solve some of the problems they kept seeing over and over again. Joanna attended a session at the conference led by Bob Moesta of The Rewired Group where she was introduced to the jobs-to-be-done approach to innovation. The jobs-to-be-done approach essentially tasks the innovator with figuring out what job consumers want to hire a product to do. When consumers buy a product, they “hire” it to get the job done. If a product doesn’t perform, it gets “fired” and there’s opportunity to build something to take its place.

The Copy Hackers team followed the jobs-to-be-done approach and set out to uncover what specific job needed to be done that a software could solve for a content team. Although they started the process by talking to writers, novelists, editors and literary agents, they ultimately determined large content teams with demanding deadlines such as Moz and Hubspot would be the target audience for their new product, in part because they had money to pay for a solution.

“We went through two years of iterating on it to make sure that it had stronger value that it could provide for people. We’re really only now getting to the point where we have a good structure in place, we have a solution here. Do we have something that’s enough to make someone switch?”

– Joanna Wiebe

Joanna describes how they uncovered the “secret sauce” to Airstory when they watched and listened to how these content teams were creating content. Hint: It had nothing to do with their age, gender or socioeconomic status as traditional persona work might make you think.

Effective Customer Interviews

“Interviewing people. Putting something together. Watch beta users. And then get to this place now that we’re onto something; maybe not 100%, but we’re onto something.”

– Joanna Wiebe

Soliciting customer feedback was crucial in the development of Airstory. As Joanna said, it’s essential to get inside the heads of your customers to determine what problem you can solve.

Listen to the full podcast to learn Joanna’s approach to customer interviews, how reverse engineering someone else’s solution to identify building blocks and create something unique is part of innovation, and how to apply lessons you learned on past projects to enhance your current and future work.

To get your weekly Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast fix, where we dig into the nitty-gritty details of marketing, management, business development and more with some of today’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, subscribe on iTunes.

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Tara Gentile is on a mission to turn the small business owners of today into the economic powerhouses of tomorrow. She's the creator of Quiet Power Strategy®, a business design system and entrepreneurial family. She's also the host of Profit. Power. Pursuit., which Entrepreneur named one of the 24 top woman-hosted business podcasts.