By Maura Vella, entrepreneur and senior business advisor with Cultivate Advisors
Having owned and run small businesses since 2006, I’ve endured a perfect storm of massive deflation + competition + scandal (+ a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic). I’ve also enjoyed an against-the-odds, gritty comeback, which led to a 1,000% profit increase over one year in my seven-figure business. This experience empowers me to say that your business can flourish, just like mine, when you embrace these 10 things that I learned over that year:
I learned the importance of zooming WAY out.
In the past, I would find myself “too busy” to do anything other than the day-to-day operations, thinking I just needed to keep my head above water. When I conceded that this tactic wasn’t bringing growth in the business, nor was it creating much joy in my life, I realized that taking myself out of the weeds and into that helicopter view was one of the most powerful moves a business owner can make.
I learned how to really understand my financials.
I consistently carved out time to review and reflect over the prior months’ key metrics and financials to help forecast and plan out the future months. This exercise also helped me understand how sales were important, but looking at them alone isn’t helpful for the overall financial equation.
I learned that marketing to generate leads isn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong, marketing is huge to bring about awareness to our brand. But it’s what we do with this awareness that converts these leads into buyers.
I learned that sales isn’t sleazy, it’s about educating.
Why do many of us cringe when we hear the term “sales”? Slowing down to recognize that our clientele not only appreciates, but also benefits from our sales approach helped me realize that it was our duty to share and sell our service.
I learned how to create a client journey that is authentic to our brand and culture.
It’s not just about that first sale—it’s about the relationship-building and stellar experience that my team and I provided to our clients time-over-time.
I learned that creating systems is the easiest way to scale up and leverage my time.
Creating systems for even the smallest of tasks allowed me to understand what has worked in the past and replicate it for the future without reinventing the wheel each time. The result? I could easily train others to perform the same tasks with the systems that had already proven to be successful in just a fraction of the time.
I learned that empowering my team to make their mark was imperative in pursuing the company’s vision. I knew that I could not do all of this alone. Communicating the importance of my team’s value with them helped me earn their buy-in to change. It allowed them to contribute their insights and express concerns. Ultimately, this communication taught my team that their purpose-driven involvement impacted our company vision and the lives of our clients.
I learned that aligning myself with an experienced advisor became one of my most important investments.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Setting my ego aside to learn and grow my skill set, especially in the areas where I hadn’t yet tapped into, helped me achieve my vision quicker and easier had I struggled to get there without guidance.
I learned that I didn’t have to do everything myself.
I somehow believed in the fallacy that doing it all, without help or backup, was powerful and admirable. After learning to share my knowledge, and delegate tasks to my other team members, I found much greater satisfaction when everything wasn’t dependent on me.
I learned that throughout the process of cultivating profitability, I could also create more freedom and time for myself.
Bonus! Rolling up my sleeves and building a strong foundation rewarded me with both more money AND more time. So much so, I decided that it was my time to share these tactics with other business owners hungry for growth and change.
Whether you’re just starting to grow, or you’ve already seen success, it is never too late to incorporate some of these tactics into your business.
About the Author…
Think a crow pose has nothing to do with business? Maura Vella’s love of yoga led her to build a chain of thriving yoga studios, which she led for more than a decade. Uniquely in tune with how to identify clients’ strengths and uncover areas for improvement and growth, Maura now guides small businesses to unprecedented success as a Cultivate Business Advisor. Through data, not guesswork, she creates financial goals and structured systems along with the soft skills to make business owners into business leaders and have fun doing it.