Breaking Down Your Business | Small Business | Business Owners | Entrepreneurship | Leadership

Brad: If you're not scared, like if you're not making a promise that makes you go "Jeez! Can I say that?" You're probably not making a big enough promise. Welcome to Breaking Down Your Business Episode 343.

Jill: Yes it is.

Brad: [crosstalk 00:00:15].

Brad: I'm [Brad 00:00:18] from Anchor Advisors.

Jill: I'm [Jill 00:00:21] from the Founding Moms.

Brad: How's the eggnog going?

Jill: It's delightful and delicious.

Brad: Do you want some? Do you have some left over for tonight?

Jill: We'll see. We'll see. I don't know. I don't know. It's delicious. It's delicious. Are you going out tonight?

Brad: No.

Jill: Partying?

Brad: Amateur hour.

Jill: What? But it's going to be a whole new year in like a couple of hours.

Brad: It is, yeah. And I'll be asleep.

Jill: All right.

Brad: Because I'm... Whatever.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_343.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Brad: One of the things that I think is a difference between charging by the hour and charging by the project is that, when we charge by the project, we're charging for a result.

Brad: (singing)

Brad: Welcome to Episode 342 of Breaking Down Your Business.

Jill: Woo.

Brad: You can find the show notes for this episode at breakingdownyourbusiness.com/342.

Jill: We're going on tour, I think. The voice is hurting me a lot right now. This is Bruce, another Bruce, and we're happy to be here.

Brad: I'm Bruce from Anchor Advisors.

Jill: I just was going to say we're happy to hear ourselves. That's so embarrassing. I'm Jill from The Founding Moms.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_342.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Hi, we are trying something new this week. We are including whole transcription in the show notes. This time we used machine transcription and it got a little messy. Next time we will do better.

Enjoy!

Brad: 00:26 I'm Brad from anchor advisors. Jill from the founding moms. And today we're talking about how do you go about raising prices for your services. We've been talking about raising prices in general. Yeah. And today we're going to get into the nitty gritty. That doesn't sound fun, but before we do that, Joe. Okay. All right. Let's just put ourselves in a frame of mind here. Let's, let's get into a mood. So let's say that you're sitting down with a client, Hey, is this a romantic mood? Let's do you have romantic modes with your yes. Mood. We're getting home to, we're getting into the mood raising prices. Oh, got it. So you're seeing that with a client and you're about to tell them that this thing that you've been doing for them for like $4,000 now it's going to cost them $5,000 okay. How are you feeling?

Jill: 01:13 What's going on inside you? I should tell you, you didn't raise your prices enough, but you, you mean me? The client? No, I mean you the, if you're, if you're, I'm the one member, this news to the client. Oh, extremely fearful. Fearful, extremely fearful that they'll say so what kind of Iran? Oh, so you think they're just going to drop you like a hot potato? Yeah, of course. That's, that's the reality of my mind. That's not the reality of the [inaudible]. So, so your expectation, the thing that's most likely to happen in your mind is they're going to fire me. Something bad will happen. Something bad. There'll be upset at least. Yes. Yeah. Interesting. And so, so when you're feeling that way, what did you think? I was going to say? I'm just listening. I'm trying to be with you here. Okay. So when you're feeling that way, how confident do you think you come across?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_341.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

We told you to always raise your prices last week... but how high is TOO high? 

"Which is the bigger risk? That your prices are too high or that they're too low?" - Brad

What someone says about your pricing has nothing to do with whether your prices are too high or too low. And if no one's complaining - you're priced too low. Pricing is based on two things:

  • how much value you can establish in the customer's mind. Some people will say no. That's okay. Why waste your time trying to explain the value to them? Accept that you're not the right fit and move on.
  • the confidence you have in the price you're offering. 

"There's always going to be someone complaining about your pricing." - Jill

Jill thinks that that confidence depends on what you're selling and that it's different for product- and service-based businesses. And that there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. But overall, you need to know that what you're offering is worth many times what the value is. People want to know that you're going to make a big difference in their life if you're asking for a larger amount. And something will shift in your brain when you get a yes to a higher price. Jill and Brad discuss putting yourself out there with confidence, and what to do if your clients can't afford the higher prices (good news: there are reasonable options!).

What do you think? How high is too high?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_340.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Ready to raise your prices in 2020? Jill and Brad will tell you how.

"Higher-paying clients value what you do more." - Brad

Brad is a firm believer in raising your prices, and he thinks you should be charging a little more as often as you can. The increase doesn't have to be anything crazy, but each time you price yourself, you know a little more than you used to. Raising your prices allows you to give your team raises or hire extra help in the coming year if you need it.

"You should all say no more often... you never know." - Jill

Jill voices the concern of many business owners: what if they try to raise their prices, and it doesn't work? That's a risk you take, but it's better than the alternative... that you get priced out of your business while others don't. But it's critically important that when you raise your prices, you're clear about why. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no, but they may come back in the future, or they may find your value appealing and be able to come up with your asking price.

Jill, Brad, and Saul then talk about timing, an inside look at their pricing processes, and how you tell your clients that prices are going up.

Ready to raise your prices?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_339.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Systems are great, we said. You'll love them, we said. ... except when they go wrong.

"It's almost always user error." - Brad

Sometimes systems can go wrong - especially where automation is concerned, says Jill. Brad has a system with an automation that's connected to a Google form and somehow, he accidentally sent the same email to the same person a couple of times. Sometimes the software changes, but you don't know. The point is - there are a million things that could go wrong.

"Be more forgiving of yourself when a system goes awry." - Jill

But at the end of the day, isn't maintaining your system less work than not having them at all? Brad thinks so. Plus, it never hurts to audit your systems, especially automated emails: Check that the links still work and that the flow is what you think it is.

Ever had a system go wrong? 

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_338.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

What are "systems" anyway? To Jill, it means organizing what you need to do in a process that's easily replicable. And, Brad adds, they should happen without you touching them.

"The very best systems are actually automation." - Brad

Jill has systems has for onboarding leaders for her Founding Exchanges while Brad has one for his invoicing - there's even a system for how these podcasts get published. Systems are useful because they get things off of your plate, and they get done in a way that the quality is good (and if they're not good, then you know something isn't being followed or that something needs to change in the system).

"A system has to be functioning." - Jill

Systems can just be a checklist, a Google doc, a video... whatever is the most helpful to you and your team. But systems are great because it leads to more consistent performance and decreases the need for you, as the business owner, to check up all the time. Plus, the more you get into it, the more fun it is. And it frees up your time, which is something every business owner can appreciate. Also, if someone quits, systems make it so much easier to transition.

What "systems" do you have in your business - and if you don't have them, how can you get started?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_337.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Business owners wear too many hats. Systems turn the insanity into sanity. They help you (theoretically) to make sure everything gets done on time.

"From a business owner's standpoint, what is your job?" - Brad

As a business owner, what is it that you do? Business owners have to:

  • sell. No one is going to sell as effectively as the business owner does.
  • recruit and train. You need to be responsible for who's in the business.
  • own the brand. What does the brand mean and is it consistent?
  • do strategy. Where is the business going?

Anything that you don't do should be the responsibility of someone else. That's where systems come in.

"You don't own it because it's the scariest role to take on." - Jill

What are you handing off in your business for someone else to do so that you have room to breathe? And are the materials your team needs easily accessible to them? Brad recommends getting a pack of notecards with one task that's written on each that needs to get done in order for your business to succeed. With your team or by yourself, arrange those cards by skill or tool. Each of the piles you end up with is a job.While you may need to do these tasks yourself, eventually you might be able to outsource to a VA (learn how to hire a VA here).

Who takes care of what in your business?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_336.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

How do you handle the operations in your business? HR, IT, accounting... all of the foundational things. Isn't accounting the most fun part? 

"Accounting helps you answer questions that you might have about your business." - Brad

Even if you hate accounting, it provides value to you in your business. Some business owners hire accountants, and some do it themselves. But if you're not understanding cash flow or other accounting principles like an income statement, you might constantly worry where the money might be coming from or wonder whether you can afford what you want to buy. A good bookkeeper should go over an income statement, cash, and receivables once a month to make sure that you're on the same page.

"I have such an aversion to the word 'accounting' that every time you say it, it hurts." - Jill

There are also indicators of future revenue in your business, and you can figure it out by organizing your budget. Some business owners run their business blindly, but if you figure out your budget and pay attention to feedback and results, you can tweak it with a little help from data and a spreadsheet.

Do you do the accounting in your business or other operational items?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_335.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:26am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Would you ever use an influencer for PR purposes?

"Who influences you as a business owner? Who influences your crowd?" - Jill

Whether you like Kim Kardashian or not, when she launches something, people buy it. But even if Kim isn't your favorite example, there are other celeb influencers out there who use their platforms to spread a positive message.

And the truth is, there are influencers in every industry.  In Jill's crowd, for example, Brene Brown is a huge influencer. In Brad's industry, David C. Baker is at the top of the list. When The Founding Moms got mentioned in Sheryl Sandberg's newsletter last year, that press hit was gold - Jill's business was viewed by a rather large audience because of it. 

"People who are paying $15k for an Instagram post? Don't." - Brad

Brad does a lot of legwork on LinkedIn. If one of the influencers he follows writes something, Brad tries to engage in conversation by leaving a comment. Even if he doesn't get a response, other people see that comment. Some might view this as a waste of time, but Brad sees it as a way to get in front of his target audience. And Brad and Jill disagree as to whether an ideal target audience would see things on a platform like LinkedIn rather than a local newspaper. But by engaging on social media, reaching out for partnership and/or collaboration, or an email mention, influencer outreach can pay off. 

How do you feel about influencer outreach?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_334.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

You've gotten results from your press outreach! Now what?

"Showing people that some media outlet covered you gives them perceived validation." - Jill

Most people will do a happy dance (sometimes for two hours) and then post on their socials allll about it. But, Jill says, you could be doing so much more. Any time you get a press hit, you should be promoting it anywhere and everywhere - and there are creative ways to get around the promotion being entirely self-serving.

Getting press is a little tedious, but the payoff is well worth it. You can also take that link and then send out new pitches to the outlets who may have skipped you before, with the new link weaved in. Feel free to add those news sites' logos to your website too, which furthers your credibility

Want more press hit follow up tips?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_333.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

How and where can you target your PR?

"People who need what you serve are already looking at [software companies]." - Brad

Jamie Van Cuyk is a business consultant who focuses on helping employees and teams find the right people for positions. But she's having trouble with strategic visibility. Most of her referrals are word of mouth, but now she wants to use the online space to help people find her. Currently, she's trying a little bit of everything, but Jill thinks that's her first mistake. How can she reframe her marketing so that she's not mentioning "hiring" which some people find boring? 

"You need to constantly be evolving." - Jill

Jill continues with PR tips:

  • Reach out to your local paper - find the editor that applies to your business. Start building a spreadsheet.
  • Reach out to 10 papers, 10 podcasts, etc.
  • Narrow your focus - find stories that apply to your business. Who writes them? Reach out to those professionals too. They may write about you!
  • Tweak your pitch as you go and figure out what's working and what's not.

Where do you target your PR?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Guest:

  • Jamie Van Cuyk has a track record of managing high-performing teams and educating business leaders. Through small business consulting, I’m going to help you find, develop, and retain the effective employees you need to feel confident and adequately supported as you move your business forward. Visit her website.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_332.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

"Why would press want to cover MY business?" is a question every small business owner asks themselves.

"You're asking the wrong question." - Jill

Going after press is a time-intensive endeavor, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Essentially, you get listeners or viewers or new customers for FREE, says Jill. All you have to do is find your angle - your business is worth it to someone.

"Did Jill just insult me? I think she did." - Brad

Figure out why your business is better than someone else's. Give your contact one of these three reasons that you're pitching:

  • the "why" of your business
  • an event you have coming up
  • some new thing: new partnership, new launch, etc.

Lead by asking a question, and the next paragraph should answer that question. Rephrase the question from the beginning, and sign off.

Want more pitch tips?

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_331.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Jill and Brad delve into PR!

"We all put out into the world what we actually need." - Brad

Melissa Ronda, weight loss nutritionist, calls in to discuss how she's struggling with her price points because she's pricing according to a group structure that she may or may not achieve - and she's experiencing resentment and stress. They talk about co-dependent behaviors and asking for what you need - and of course, tell Melissa to raise her prices and to get feedback from her clients.

"For every PR professional listening, Brad's got it all wrong 'cause he doesn't know how to do it." - Jill

Is PR lying? Brad hates it, but Jill thinks he may not have covered the basics: the pitch, sending that pitch to the right people, and following up. You can't just throw a press release out there and wonder why people aren't getting back to you. You need to think of your audience and tell them why you're press worthy. Jill and Brad discuss what makes an interesting pitch, media lists, and why followup is so important.

What are your thoughts on PR? 

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Wanna join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST-EVER offline event? Meet them THIS FRIDAY at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Guest:

  • Melissa Ronda is a weight loss nutritionist who has made a career out of helping women realize what they are capable of. Visit her website here.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_330.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

At the end of your sales meeting, how do you have the confidence to close?

"I never leave a meeting without a next step." - Brad

Brad had a period early in his business where he went 27 meetings without closing. He spoke with a business coach who told him to go to four more meetings and figure out what went well, what went poorly, and what he needed to do differently. It was only at appointment four of four where he actually asked for what he wanted - and got the sale. He learned how to apply next steps to his meetings in order to close.

"I don't want to have to wade through all your words to figure out what I'm buying; I just want to pay for you to fix it." - Jill

Closing is different depending on the type of business you have. And if a prospect gives you "homework," like a proposal, figure out what it is they're questioning before you spend your time... and then leave without a sale. But people spend hours on proposals - which could be a sign that they're not doing the same thing over and over again - but you also could be putting yourself in trouble in the process.

But if you're giving your prospect a few things to do with the expectation that you can discuss in your next meeting and they don't do it, it's a sign that maybe you don't need or want to work with them in the first place. As you get better at closing, you can afford to be selective.

How do you close with confidence?

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Only a few more days 'til you can join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST EVER offline event! Meet them October 4 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_329.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Are you a Type 1 or Type 2 thinker? The difference may be playing out in how you sell, too.

"There's a lot of turnover in those first few years when you go out on your own." - Brad

Alastair McDermott helps consultants of all kinds by generating leads and building their websites. But he's considering simplifying his business, which might alienate a good chunk of his audience that describes themselves as DIY'ers. What should he do?

Jill thinks he may benefit from carving out more of a niche while Brad suggests he does a little more market research on the types of audiences he wants to work with.

"Even if you tell people to back off, they don't know how to do that. Is that teachable?" - Jill

If you're trying to close a deal too fast, Brad says, you're telling people that you're not good at sales - and also that you may be a little bit desperate.

Is your sales process fast or slow?

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Only a few more days 'til you can join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST EVER offline event! Meet them October 4 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Guest:

  • Alastair McDermott helps independent consultants and specialized consulting firms get better quality leads on their website.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_328.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Last week, Jill and Brad discussed what a salesperson does. Today, they're talking about the sales process. Is it driven by the customer?

"As a salesperson, you need to lead the conversation." - Brad

Do you wonder why people would want to buy from you anyway? If you ask some of the right questions, you may gather insight.  Either they don't know of you at all, or they know a lot  - they follow you on social, they spend time looking through your website - and overall, it's good to know where you stand.

"Salespeople are not good listeners." - Jill

And if you're leading the conversation, you need to be able to ask questions and get answers that will help you help your customer. And you also need to listen, which as Jill points out, is very counterintuitive. And you might not be the solution for what your client and prospective lead needs, but you might be able to figure that out with them together.

Once you've asked your questions, you may be able to come to a diagnosis - and you might be able to figure out the problem even before your lead has articulated it. Talking that through and recognizing additional problems leads to trust, which is vital in the sales relationship. Then you move on to the confirmation and feedback stage... and then, signing on the dotted line.

How does your sales process work in your business? 

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Only a few more days 'til you can join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST EVER offline event! Meet them September 13 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_327.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Are salespeople the best or the worst?

"If you really want to grow your business, don't keep it a secret." - Brad

Catherine VonVanno of 20Four7VA calls in to discuss leads. So far, she's had warm leads but she wants to start reaching out to people who might not know of her VA service and go the direct marketing route. Does she try to handle internally, or go with a marketing agency to help?

The question of direct marketing and radio ads leads to a discussion about what kind of prospective clients may be out there who aren't really internet savvy. And how would you educate your market?

"They can explain why you need something without making you feel bad." - Jill

What is the job of a salesperson and how do you know when you've found a great one? Do salespeople just exist to take you on that last mile of the sales journey? What function should they play in your business - and how do you feel about them as a consumer?

What are your thoughts on salespeople? Listen in

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Wanna join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST-EVER offline event? Meet them September 13 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Sponsor:

If you’re a manager or business owner, chances are you juggle many HR tasks and are trying to keep up with the ever-changing employment laws. HR 101 from ComplyRight is a free online training program that will give you a solid understanding of employment law so you can handle typical workplace issues like a pro. The six courses include General Legal Obligation for Employers, Recruiting and Hiring, Classifying Workers Correctly, Managing Your Employees, Preventing Workplace Harassment and Discipline and Termination. Explore ComplyRight’s free courses at www.complyright.com/courses.

Guest:

  • Catherine VonVanno is the president and executive director of 20Four7VA, which provides virtual assistant solutions to eCommerce businesses.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_326.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

We spend a lot of time thinking about the "before" of clients - how to get them, what we'll do once we have them - but what happens for the "after" part?

"This experience could help you to see more clearly and to have that empathy with where your clients are." - Brad

Jim Taylor of Launchways calls in to discuss how to make sure that sales don't outpace operations too much. And as they head into their busy season, how can they make sure they can still turn a profit and take care of their existing employees? Jill and Brad recommend that Jim make additional hiring choices to help... and of course, consider raising prices to deal with overflow.

"Get some feedback because that's going to help you improve your business." - Jill

Then, Jill has some Fs for you (not those kinds of Fs) to help with the "after" of your client relationship.

Which "Fs" do you give your clients?

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Wanna join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST-EVER offline event? Meet them September 13 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Guest:

  • Jim Taylor is the CEO of Launchways, a company that solves customers’ growing pains by helping them build a scalable people infrastructure to support long-term growth. Visit their website or LinkedIn
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_325.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Every website has some common problems that need to be addressed for a better customer/user experience. Jill and Brad talk about what those are.

"When anyone goes to any website, they don't want to have to figure out what they're doing there." - Jill

Questions you need to focus on:

  • What is your CTA? You need one.
  • Where is your contact info? If you have a contact form, make sure it's actually working.
  • How's your messaging? Is it helping potential customers or is it all about you?
  • Does your branding reflect what you're actually like? Don't just slap on a template or copy what someone else is doing.
  • Are you giving visitors a reason to stay?

"When people get to your website, what is the feeling that you want them to have?" - Brad

Not sure if you're making some of these mistakes? Get feedback from another person.

How's your website?

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Wanna join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST-EVER offline event? Meet them September 13 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_324.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Brad's a little confused about what customer experience actually is, so Jill and Brad call CX guru Jeannie Walters to help him out.

"Whether you know it or not, you are providing a customer experience." - Jeannie Walters

Jeannie explains that customer experience is the journey someone takes before they become a customer all the way to when they either cease to be a customer or become a lifelong advocate. The businesses who do it well are proactive about the experiences they're providing.

Done right, it can lead to more referrals and more value. However, most businesses don't factor in what customer experience might mean, and instead just focus on making the sale and getting the customer. But you can decide what sort of customer experience you want to deliver and build that into the way you do business leading to positive results for everyone involved.

"If I told you that by tweaking a line on your invoice... would get you three new referrals, wouldn't that be worth it?" - Jill

It used to be that you needed 12 positive experiences to overcome one negative one - and now you need 22. It can seem overwhelming. So if you're just getting started with customer experience, what can you do? Start with repair and little changes. It feels like a lot of work but with feedback from your customers, it makes a huge difference.

What customer experience are you providing?

Hang out with Jill and Brad!

Wanna join Jill and Brad for drinks at their FIRST-EVER offline event? Meet them September 13 at Park & Field in Chicago to get your shouting on. RSVP here.

Guest:

  • Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Visit her website and sign up for her 21-day CX challenge.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_323.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Have you had a great experience with a brand that leaves you feeling good? For Jill, it was a follow-up email after leaving a review for blinds. For Brad, it was tea that traveled all the way from England with a personal note and a recommendation.

"Empathetic customer service can go a long way." - Brad

Jill and Brad talk to the Pitch Whisperer John Livesay, a speaker who's in high demand, but he's not sure how to scale, especially because he can't be everywhere at once. They recommend that the consulting aspect of his business be delegated, and to raise his prices for speaking gigs.

"You're saving you time; you're not saving me time." - Jill

When it comes to showing the human aspect of your business, how can you do it? Personalization takes time and effort. In today's hurried world, some of that personal touch gets lost (don't get Jill started on calendar links and Brad recently talked about automated pitches on the Offline podcast).

Are we automating things that shouldn't be automated?

How do you make your business more welcoming?

Guest:

  • John Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, is a sales keynote speaker and shares the lessons learned from his award-winning sales career at Conde Nast. In his keynote “Better Selling Through Storytelling,” he shows companies’ sales teams how to become irresistible so they are magnetic to their ideal clients. Visit his website here.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_322.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Oh, summer. That time when all kids, everywhere, come down with the affliction known as "boredom." Jill and Brad have found some creative - and not so creative - ways to keep their kids busy. But what happens when your employees (the "kids" of your business) start complaining? How do you handle that?

"It's excellent to clarify what they're missing versus your expectations." - Jill

If your employees are reaching out because they're bored or they're done with their tasks, the problem might be that you as their boss haven't done a great job of explaining their responsibilities. And if they're getting unruly, Jill thinks it might be because they're having a bad day and she'll take a step back.

Brad will address it one-on-one because he doesn't want that attitude to become the new normal. But if someone has a consistent attitude, they may be unhappy with their position.

"Good employees verify boundaries with you." - Brad

If the employee has a sense of entitlement, both Jill and Brad take steps to call it out. They'll ask questions to get to the root of the problem. Jill and Brad talk about the difference in reaction between entitlement and unruliness, plus how they work to set boundaries.

What do you do when the "kids" get unruly?

TOMORROW! Want more info about hiring when you are trying to grow? Brad's doing a webinar, How to Win the War for Talent: Actionable Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent at Your Business, on July 31! Just sign up at this link and let Brad and two others help you be better at hiring.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_321.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What has happened in the evolution of your business? Jill and Brad reminisce about how they felt when they first started their businesses... and what's changed.

"When you're 23, what do you have to lose?" - Brad

Jill began her first business around the age of 23 and felt pretty confident. Brad started his business more out of necessity and he didn't want anyone to know how scared he was feeling - and faking otherwise just meant he felt like he couldn't ask anyone for help.

"The stakes are higher now." - Jill

Now that they're more experienced in running their own businesses, the old fears are gone, but some of the anxiety remains. Once you're established, the fear changes: How will you deal with the loss of revenue? Maintaining your reputation? Once you have some success, holding on too tightly can also cause your business to fail.

Perhaps the thing that's changed the most? Not being afraid to ask for help.

How have you and your business evolved?

Want more info about hiring when you are trying to grow? Brad's doing a webinar, How to Win the War for Talent: Actionable Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent at Your Business, on July 31! Just sign up at this link and let Brad and two others help you be better at hiring.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_320.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Want more info about hiring when you are trying to grow? Brad's doing a webinar, How to Win the War for Talent: Actionable Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent at Your Business, on July 31! Just sign up at this link and let Brad and two others help you be better at hiring.

"No small business owner knows what they need or want in the beginning." - Jill

How do you hire people when trying to grow your company? Why is it so hard? We're so busy, and on top of all of the things we're doing, we now have to worry about the hiring process. Everyone's looking for the quick and easy shortcut, but sadly there is none.

We're also not great at recognizing what it is we need. A lot of small business owners think that if they just had someone else who was exactly like them, they'd be fine. But that doesn't exist either (and you don't really want that). Brad has a system for figuring out what he actually needs for the task at hand.

Also, you'll probably need to spend more on hiring quality people. You can mitigate risk by hiring part-time to start out.

"Always be hiring." - Brad

You can start collecting resumes with Google or some software so that when you're ready to hire, the talent pool is there for you. You can also meet face-to-face with people to see how you feel about them, but it doesn't mean you have to hire everyone you meet.

And once you have hired, if they're not working, don't feel bad about moving onto the next person.

How do you hire when you're trying to grow your business?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_319.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Brad's back from the ConvertKit Craft + Commerce Conference, which celebrates creators across platforms. He met some really interesting people and got a lot out of it... and now he's going to reiterate what he tells people all the time: CHARGE MORE.

"You can spend that time doing something you enjoy. " - Brad

Lidia Varesco Racoma's design aesthetic is clean, understandable and adaptable. She's been in business for a while, and as she grows, she needs to outsource responsibilities. But which one and how do you get over the feeling that you need to check their work?

"I might not be as parental. I think I'm more of a teenager running the show." - Jill

Sometimes there's a parent-child dynamic that sneaks into the company. Is it a good thing? And how do you deal with it? Jill and Brad discuss.

Do you parent in your business? 

Guest:

  • Lidia Varesco Racoma is an art director and designer with over 20 years of experience and a passion for marketing. Visit her website.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_318.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Kids take up a lot of our time and energy. So why would we choose to build our businesses at the same time? But if it's all chaos all the time, you might as well!

"There's a whole new method to the madness." - Jill

Do kids help or hurt your business? Kids are great for your business, says Jill. They make you figure out how to be more organized with your time. And when you're starting out your business, the skills you learn as a parent - like multitasking - are useful, says Brad, but it becomes less so as the business grows.

"I have kids. I have a business. Make it work." - Brad

When Jill built her businesses, it wasn't like she had everything set up right away. She experienced a lot of trial and error. So when Maddie Boening of Sunstone Candles leaves a voicemail about how to connect her brand message to her brand, Jill knows there's a whole lot of trial and error that goes into something like that. It's extremely rare that you have everything ready to go, even brand messaging. So now's the time to do it, starting by writing a brand message in your own voice. If you're not sure how, ask your customers, your friends, your followers!

Do kids help or hurt your business?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_317.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

We get a voicemail from Nedra Rezinas who talked to us on ep. 133(!!!). She really loved listening to our episode 311, "How do I build trust with prospects?"and thought it was helpful.

"I see a lot of people using email like it's a text message." - Brad

How do you go about making your content last and last? You want to get your blog posts out in front of a lot of people - can you repurpose it? And how do you promote it?

"When you say the word 'LinkedIn,' my brain goes to mush." - Jill

Is Twitter dead? How do you use Instagram for your business? And is LinkedIn great or is LinkedIn GREAT? Jill and Brad give some tips on what you're creating and where to share it in order to make what you're putting out there last and last.

What tips do you have for making your content last?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_316.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Brad hates the word "content". He thinks that whatever you put out, it's got to be of a quality that people would pay you for it (and sometimes, they do).

"It's very different to know your boundaries and then to actually do something about them. " - Jill

Web designer, podcast host, musician, and mother of twins Gretchen DeVault calls in to ask how to deal with burnout. Brad and Jill advise her on why sleep is so important, scheduling a day off every now and then, turning off tech, and consider outsourcing some of her responsibilities.

And how can she cover that cost? Raise prices!

"Speak in your own voice and tell your own stories." - Brad

Content used to be a thing that set businesses apart but now we're drowning in it, says Brad. So how can you stand out from the noise? They discuss lazy content, consistency, and inspiration.

Where are you in the stages of entrepreneurial success?  Listen in

Guest:

  • Gretchen DeVault is the co-founder and lead web designer and strategist for Tiny Blue Sky. She has 15+ years of web design and branding experience and an established record of producing award-winning work that drives business.
  • Gretchen is also a business expert and shares her love of all things entrepreneurship as co-host of Lean the F*ck Out, a weekly podcast for female entrepreneurs.
  • She is also a singer/songwriter and guitarist for the indie pop band The Icicles(along with her husband Zane), and shoegazer band Voluptuous Panic. Her music has been licensed in commercials for Motorola and Target, as well as several independent films.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_315.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Anchor Advisors has gone virtual!

"A whole bunch of your competition is gone." - Brad

There are certain advantages that come with being in business for a long time.

"If you just wait through the tough stuff, you're gonna come out okay." - Jill

Jill and Brad talk through what the value of longevity in your business means: what they thought then compared to what they know now, what competition looks like, who their strongest friendships are, and Jill's realization that patience really is a virtue.

What lessons have you learned from being in business as long as you have?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_314.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Wanna receive Jill or Brad's newsletters? Find Brad's at Anchor Advisors. Find Jill's at Founding Moms.

"You can't sell anything to people that they don't already need. " - Brad

Mel McSherry calls in to discuss mailing lists: How can she do it authentically without being salesy? Brad says that if Mel has a valuable service, she has to sell it. Jill advises her to continue doing and interacting with people as she already has been, just in an email format, and she'll be able to succeed. But she needs to be aware of the fact that even if people are subscribed, they need to be invested in what she's doing if they're going to get updates about it. So think about what it is that her audience needs?

"We need to know what's challenging for us versus what's not." - Jill

Brad breaks down the stages of entrepreneurial success:

  • Phase one: startup - try things
  • Phase two: growth - this is where the work is
  • Phase three: stability - your team helps with expansion

Where are you in the stages of entrepreneurial success? 

Guest:

  • Mel McSherry is an International Business Development Coach and Speaker. She predominantly works with women business owners who are exhausted and overwhelmed by what they think they need to do in order to be successful. She helps them slash their stress by showing them how to prioritize their profits, their time, and themselves correctly so they can create the money, the business, and the life they want, fast! Visit her website.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_313.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Have you ever turned that corner from "diligent followup" to "annoying stalker when you're checking in on a proposal or pitch?

"I feel like if they were gonna respond, they would have responded." - Brad

Jill and Brad fundamentally disagree on this issue, and even on the receiving end of relentless pitches, Jill only gets annoyed if she knows the sender is a bot or writing templated emails. She knows how hard pitching is, so she's likely to respond with a "not interested," rather than delete - which is what Brad does.

"The 'no' is an acknowledgment that they got my pitch. No, to me, is maybe." - Jill

Jill tells a very interesting story about how she campaigned to be on the Stephen Colbert show, an endeavor that lasted 3 years. So... perseverance wins? They discuss the internal and external reactions of following up, what people might think and what's really going on in people's lives, and how ego gets involved. Brad has some tips to help.

How do you deal with followup?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_312.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

You've met someone to collaborate with. How do you decide if you want to work with them? Jill looks for people who are direct and efficient. Brad looks for punctuality and reliability.

"Your mind-shift into 'I'm helping you; I'm not taking advantage of you,' is very genuine. " - Jill

Writer, interviewer, and documentarian Nora Kerr calls in to ask how she can reach more people and generate sales leads with limited time and resources? Jill and Brad think partnerships - and not more referrals - may just be her answer.

"We have to realize that people are very superficial." - Brad

So how do you build up trust in business? In person, eye contact is exceedingly important. On the phone, Brad is totally present and Jill paces to keep up her energy. They also talk about the vibes they get from someone based on how dressed up or down they are.

How do you build trust with prospects?

Guest:

  • Nora Kerr is the founder of Memoir for Me. After graduating years ago with a creative writing degree (and writing her thesis on her family's gift of the gab!) and spending many hours in a darkroom, Nora started out in publishing and then worked for many years in IT. But in 2015, after a deeply personal experience preserving the story of her own father, she launched this business and returned to doing what she loves best: listening and documenting. She brings that same passion she had for her dad's project to every family and every story. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_311.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Jill's recently made some changes over at The Founding Moms, going from monthly meetups to weekly masterminds.

"I'm not even sure I know what a mastermind group is." - Brad

Audio branding and content marketing expert Tina Dietz's company is in a period of rapid expansion and she doesn't know who to hire first. They talk through pain points and trust issues.

"I want facilitators and listeners more than problem solvers." - Jill

So what is a mastermind, anyway? Usually a small group with an agenda that aims to solve whatever business problems group members have. Jill and Brad talk through masterminds and what the benefit of having peers listen, talk through, and get clarity is.

Are you part of a mastermind group?

Guest:

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_310.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

What's the value of going to a conference? Brad just spent over $1000 for a ticket to a conference in Boise, not to mention airfare and accommodations. Is it worth it?

"If you know 'we make the most money doing x,' immediately, you know what the focus is." - Jill

Web developer Nicole Guzman calls in to discuss how her web design studio has been catering to general interests, but she thinks it may be time to focus on one area. Jill and Brad talk about the pros and cons of working within a niche and how to market effectively.

"Conferences are really great for the 'stuffing your head full of ideas' phase." - Brad

How do you evaluate what a conference is worth as an attendee? Is it worth it if for nothing else than to get away from your business for a few days? Plus, when you're attending the conference, you're focused on it, rather than it and also a million other things.

Do you think conferences and offline events are worth it?  Listen in

Guest:

  • Nicole Guzman is the founder of GooseWorks, a full-service branding and web development agency based in Newburgh, NY. Find her on Instagram.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_309.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

As business owners, how do you get it all done?

"Musicians are not famous for their analytical spreadsheets." - Brad

IN-STUDIO (!!!!) guest and trumpet player Victor Garcia stops by and talks about being a musician and with it, being as organized as you can as well as how to figure out time-management (while still taking time for yourself).

But how do you put a price on what you offer? Jill and Brad discuss the perils of "exposure" and how to charge what you're worth.

"I remember certain things better when I'm constantly interrupted." - Jill

Brad frequently gets interrupted, and he loves when he can turn his phone off and not be bothered by anything. How do you manage interruptions and get things done? Jill and Brad talk about all the interruptions and notifications that go along with being in the modern world... and how time batching and blocking to get more done will help.

How do you feel about interruptions? 

This episode is sponsored by Spoka.com. Spoka Meet is a video conferencing tool perfect for small businesses for those who need to get more done with less. Anywhere you can find an internet or phone connection, you're simply able to meet. When your signal is spotty, Spoka's eco-mode fixes it like magic. You get unlimited meetings, unlimited recordings, and dial-in/dial-out capabilities for 45 countries all for $11.99/month! Try it for free for 30 days at Spoka.com.

Guest:

  • Victor Garcia is a musician who is as versatile as he is creative. His trumpet talent heralds his international acclaim. He sings and plays percussion and bass and congas. His songwriting, arrangements, and charts have led him to professorial positions at Roosevelt University, Loyola University and the University of Illinois in Chicago. Visit his websiteor follow him on Instagram.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_308.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Today, Brad's not handing out money, but he and Jill are brainstorming ways to make business owners more of it.

"That's your moment to shine and tell them why you're more valuable." - Jill

Pat Porrey calls in to talk about hiring staff. The women who work for her are going from 1099 contractors to actual employees. As this happens, she's not able to compete well with other agencies in her area. So how can she handle it? It all comes down to mindset.

"Every deal that you don't close is a missed opportunity." - Brad

How many different ways can Jill and Brad think of for business owners to make more money?

  • RAISE YOUR PRICES!
  • Offer multiple price points.
  • Customer retention
  • Get creative in your offerings
  • Close more deals - get better and sales
  • ... and more

How can you make more money? 

This episode is sponsored by Spoka.com. Spoka Meet is a video conferencing tool perfect for small businesses for those who need to get more done with less. Anywhere you can find an internet or phone connection, you're simply able to meet. When your signal is spotty, Spoka's eco-mode fixes it like magic. You get unlimited meetings, unlimited recordings, and dial-in/dial-out capabilities for 45 countries all for $11.99/month! Try it for free for 30 days at Spoka.com.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_307.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Jill and Brad are in a new studio, and it's much cooler. In this episode, they're talking about strategic partnerships and what they actually mean.

"Figure out what's in it for them." - Brad

Relentlessly practical Randy Kirk calls in. He started a new business of mastermind groups, and it's been going well. But he's looking for referrals from group members, and it's not happening. So far he's been reminding them in a group, but not doing much else outside of it. Jill and Brad talk him through why that might be - and one of the reasons is that business owners are very future-oriented.

"Optimism is a beautiful thing at the beginning of a partnership." - Jill

Partnerships can be planned out with the best of intentions, but you really have to think about it. Try doing one thing instead of everything, because there are a million reasons your partnership might not work.

Are you thinking about growing a strategic partnership?

This episode is sponsored by Spoka.com. Spoka Meet is a video conferencing tool perfect for small businesses for those who need to get more done with less. Anywhere you can find an internet or phone connection, you're simply able to meet. When your signal is spotty, Spoka's eco-mode fixes it like magic. You get unlimited meetings, unlimited recordings, and dial-in/dial-out capabilities for 45 countries all for $11.99/month! Try it for free for 30 days at Spoka.com.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_306.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Jill's email list is prodigious. What's that like? She's always pleasantly surprised when people respond.

"It's scary but it focuses you like nothing else." - Brad

Gerald Jones calls in and tells Jill and Brad about his podcast, Buy Black | The Voice of Black Business. Through his podcast, he created a business coaching program and he wants to transition to doing that full time. The problem is, he's got a full-time job, a family, and a mortgage to pay. How can he do it? Jill and Brad offer some tips.

"Write the thing that you would love to get in your own inbox." - Jill

Brad recently changed the frequency of his email list and lost half of his subscribers but he feels good about it because the people who are there are super engaged. He and Jill talk about email tips and why you shouldn't be afraid to start your own email list.

Do you need tips on how to grow your email list? 

This episode is sponsored by Spoka.com. Spoka Meet is a video conferencing tool perfect for small businesses for those who need to get more done with less. Anywhere you can find an internet or phone connection, you're simply able to meet. When your signal is spotty, Spoka's eco-mode fixes it like magic. You get unlimited meetings, unlimited recordings, and dial-in/dial-out capabilities for 45 countries all for $11.99/month! Try it for free for 30 days at Spoka.com.

Guest:

  • Gerald Jones is a veteran, consultant, and coach who has spent his life leading teams and empowering people. He specializes in helping business owners free themselves from self-employment and become the CEOs of DOPE BUSINESSES. He is passionate about service and teaching people to develop a servant leadership style. In everything he does, he believes in giving people the tools to bring their dreams to life and being there to help them overcome obstacles along the way. Listen to his podcastor visit his website.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_305.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Saul turns the tables on Jill and Brad.

"It's very dependent on the situation." - Jill

Saul wants to talk about virtual assistants and has the co-hosts (and those of us at home) do an Iron Triangle exercise. On each corner of the triangle, he has them write the words good, fast, or cheap, saying that they can only pick two of the three. He wants to know, when is it advantageous to do something that is cheap?

"What is the difference between hiring an employee vs. a non-employee? They're both people we need to manage." - Brad

Jill works with a lot of startup entrepreneurs and small businesses who don't have a budget for anything other than a cheaper option. Brad's chosen the cheap option twice: once when considering buying a desk from Ikea, and then when considering hiring a designer for an e-book he's writing. Jill lists examples of what's considered affordable, but Saul points out that affordable and cheap might be two different things.

Brad thinks that people need to manage the virtual assistant the same way you'd manage an employee. And the investment in the relationship is the same.

Looking at the other side of that, where did they spend a lot of money? And what did they regret more: When they went cheap or went more expensive?

What do you think? 

Sponsor:

This episode is sponsored by Spoka.com. Spoka Meet is a video conferencing tool perfect for small businesses for those who need to get more done with less. Anywhere you can find an internet or phone connection, you're simply able to meet. When your signal is spotty, Spoka's eco-mode fixes it like magic. You get unlimited meetings, unlimited recordings, and dial-in/dial-out capabilities for 45 countries all for $11.99/month! Try it for free for 30 days at Spoka.com.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_304.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Do you remember your favorite manager? What made them so great? Jill and Brad swap stories.

"I like trial by error." - Jill

Dr. Michelle Mazur calls in and tells Jill and Brad all about the 3 Word Rebellion, which also happens to be the title of her new book. The book's been doing really well, and she finds herself overwhelmed. Where does she begin to get more help in freeing her up so that she can focus on the business that the book is bringing in?

"It's not a job we ever signed up for, but we're in it." - Brad

Jill and Brad talk about whether they would consider themselves to be good managers and what that means. And if you want your business to grow, being a good manager is one of the ways to do it, Brad suggests.

Are you a good manager or do you want to be a better manager? 

Guest:

  • Dr. Michelle Mazur is the host of the Rebel Rising podcast, and the author of three books, including 3 Word Rebellion: Create A Message that Is Bigger than Your Business. She is the founder/CEO of Communication Rebel, helping change-making business owners, entrepreneurs and speakers become thought leaders by taking a stand with their 3-word rebellion.

Talk to us! Leave us a Google Voicemail or text us with your burning business question so that we can read it in a future episode at 708.872.7878. Or tweet at us using hashtag #jillnbrad. And leave us a review on iTunes — pretty please? Over here!

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_303.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

It's everyone's favorite topic: hiring! But why do business owners hate hiring?

"This isn't who we are; what's going on?" - Brad

Alex Membrillo is a Forbes expert, speaker, and digital marketer. His problem is that his A-team is complacent. How can he get everyone motivated again? When everyone was motivated, his team was doing things that intrigued and interested them. By looking at values and identity, and examining friendship and inspiration, changes can be made.

"We've all convinced ourselves it's a crapshoot." - Jill

Brad finds that a lot of business owners won't hire until they absolutely need to. Jill says that yes, every business owner has had a bad hiring experience and hiring isn't something that's really talked about when people launch businesses. Jill thinks it's luck, and Brad doesn't understand why people invest in sales and marketing, but not hiring.

Help Brad understand! As a business owner, do you hate hiring? Why? 

Guest:

  • Alex Membrillois the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi-location companies. Membrillo’s innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. He has been featured in leading national publications including The Business Journals, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. He has also served as an expert speaker for conferences including the American Marketing Association, SouthWired, and Vistage Executive Leaders, where he spoke on his unique approach to Millennial Management to over 400 CEOs.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_302.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Brad's got an employee problem. He's got a great guy, company wouldn't be what it is without him, but there are some performance issues. He's late on assignments... basically, he's the worst.

Also, Brad is talking about himself.

"The type of people who become business owners are not very good at getting things done." - Brad

Brad's gotta handle some things on his own. He hired employees to help him, but he still doesn't get all the things he needs to get done in a timely manner.

Jill wants to know why he has to finish one task to move onto another. Maybe, she suggests, that's not how he works.

They talk about what it means to be the boss, how employers are generally bad employees (or not), and how maybe he should fire himself from the tasks he's not doing.

"I guess that's how the Kardashians are famous." - Jill

Producer Saul turns the tables and asks about publicity. Is there such a thing as bad publicity in podcasting?

Brad thinks there's such a thing as bad press, but people who hate you aren't part of that. Jill wonders if a review like that deters someone from listening. Saul says, if anything, it might make someone more interested.

How do you respond to dealing with your worst employee?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_301.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

IT'S EPISODE 300!!!!! Jill and Brad go meta and talk about the podcast on the podcast.

"This podcast has made us Debbie Downers." - Jill

When Brad gets asked, "Should I create a podcast?" He always tells people no. Jill likened the experience of recording this podcast to running a marathon, where you expect everyone will cheer for you, but they don't all the time.

"We almost got made into a reality TV show." - Brad

They're always surprised when they hear back from anyone about the podcast. They've got 62 reviews -- and 60 of them are nice! And if you want to start a podcast but haven't yet, just be a podcast guest.

But if they haven't convinced you not to start a podcast:

  • think about the topic very carefully. Ideally, it should be something you have knowledge about and a passion for sharing.
  • don't think too much about the audio. Hire someone to do it for you.
  • make 10 podcast episodes - then throw them away. Then record 10 more.
  • but seriously. become a podcast guest. You'll learn how you sound to yourself and others, and how you interact on the fly. (Have you heard anyone speak as fast as JVN? Listen to Getting Curious)
  • Have an audience in mind.
  • Make sure that what you're putting out there is helpful.

How do you increase your creative output?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_300.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

As Jill and Brad close in on nearly 5 years of podcasting and almost 300 episodes, they reflect on how to increase your creative output.

"Here's a growth secret: Don't keep your business a secret." - Brad

If you've got a business, you've got to be creating things to put out into the world, Brad says. Jill hates the question, "How do you do it?" because she wants to ask the same question back. At The Founding Moms, Jill writes a daily email, she hosts this podcast, she has a monthly video course, a monthly webinar, a weekly Facebook live... she creates a lot. How? She does it with the help of her team, scheduling, and implementing systems.

Brad recently upped his monthly email to 3x/week and finds it easier. Writing once a month was stressful but writing every week has just become something he does. And it doesn't mean that he's always inspired to write, but with practice, everything becomes easier. They liken it to going to the gym: if you do it consistently, you just get used to it. In fact, Brad doesn't really believe in inspiration. Jill does... and thinks that you can even find inspiration in your competition.

"You can't run a business without creating." - Jill

What drives someone to create? This leads to a discussion around content, a word that Brad hates. People don't consume content. People don't create content. What they do is inspire, teach, and entertain.

How does someone do all the things they have to do? Where do they get the energy? Jill says that as long as she's communicating, she's fine with it. She was nervous about things when they first got started, but over time it's gotten easier. And the more you create, perhaps the more efficient you get.

How do you increase your creative output?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_299.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Brad's taking a page from Blair Enns of the 2Bobs podcast this week and asking, "What if you couldn't sell or retire?" They also talk to Scott Smith about the joys of being a lawyer and vulnerability.

"If the whole idea of being vulnerable is so that you can get to the next level, in fact, what you're doing is using people." - Brad

Scott Royal Smith is a lawyer who works with investors to help them get their time back and enjoy their lives. His business is growing faster than he can keep up though. This leads to a conversation about authenticity, vulnerability, and risk.

"Some businesses can't be rearranged that quickly." - Jill

Retirement's not an attractive option for Brad. Jill has already found a way to do what she loves with The Founding Momsand she hopes to continue doing it for a long time. If you could never stop doing what you're currently doing, would you change anything? Jill would want to speed things in her business up so that she would only be doing things she wants to be doing.

Brad has the ambition to make a dent in the universe. And he makes better progress when he's not rushing and when he takes time for yourself. What makes something like this sustainable?

What if you couldn't sell or retire your business?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_298.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

 

What’s In This Episode:

Jill and Brad get the most outstanding review they've ever received. And in case you've ever wondered, they've never been married and do not plan to be.

"Set up measurements so you know that your employees' work is creating progress in the business." - Brad

Brad recently sent out an email entitled, "What gets measured gets rewarded," but Jill doesn't agree. She doesn't think you get rewarded all the time for the things you measure. Jill trusts her gut and feels that when you only go on what's being measured, you might be missing out.

"Measuring things does not always provide a reward." - Jill

But without data, how do you know if your employees are doing a good job? You can't just go on "I guess," or "No one's complaining, so..." You want to know how exactly they're making a difference - and you can do that by setting up measurements. Teams need numbers, Brad says.

Jim Collins, of Good to Great fame says that there are always things you can measure to help you understand whether you're making progress or not, even if you don't believe so. Is Jill wrong? Or is Brad?

Do you believe that what gets measured gets rewarded? 

Direct download: Breaking20Down20Your20Business20EP20297.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Time for a big picture question: are you playing offense or defense in your business? Problems arise when we try to burn the candle at both ends. When you're on defense and want to get back on offense, what do you do? Even in defense, you need business development.

"There are seasons in my business. It's not the same every day." - Brad

If you're in defensive mode, it also means that you may be holding on to resources that you don't need (i.e., paying people you don't need, etc). In these moments, Brad suggests that you shrink your resources down to essentials and then building out to a better solution.

"Patience is a virtue, but that has nothing to do with you demanding something of your team or the betterment of your business." - Jill

In a callback to last episode, Saul comes on and asks, "Is patience a virtue, or is impatiencea virtue?" Jill says patience is a virtue, but it doesn't have to do with business. Brad thinks there are certain things that just aren't going to happen any faster, and sometimes, being impatient is just pointless.

Saul thinks that on a certain level, you have to have a sense of urgency in business. He doesn't think people will get stuff done without the sense of urgency. Is it proactivity, or impatience? This leads to a discussion about business owners' expectations and whether or not they are reasonable, as well as dissatisfaction and dysfunction.

Are you playing offense or defense? What do you think about patience?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_295.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Are you full of energy or borderline burnt out? If you're the latter, Brad's got a 5-day email course that he wants you to read, called 5 Days to Get Control of Your Business and Your Life. In it, you'll find a simple exercise to cut down your work hours down immediately, a magic phrase that improves the output of your team and empowers them to solve their own problems, a proven practice to enable you to set boundaries, and a way to start fitting in things that you enjoy.

If this is something you're interested in, you'll find it here. Sign up and let Brad know what you think!

"You've been working real hard for a while and you don't know your own capacity." - Jill

Nobody says that they're going to work until they're burnt out, so how does it happen? Jill thinks it's a natural thing to fall into. You think you can do it all, but you can't. She also thinks that for women, hormones are a factor throughout the month.

Age plays a role too, Brad says. There are limits and that's a good thing - but you don't learn that unless you are of a certain age and have the experience.

"Humans have limits." - Brad

Jill is the queen of impatience - no one ever works fast enough for her. Brad says he's impatient too, but he also doesn't think that he's working fast enough. But both of them have learned patience over time. If people have unreasonable expectations, the best way they find to deal with it is to talk through it. Jill and Brad give listeners tips for dealing with burn out.

How do you deal with burn out?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_294.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Are you ready to go or are you kind of crawling into 2019 a little bit burnt out? If you’re the latter, Brad’s got a 5-day email course that he wants you to read, called 5 Days to Get Control of Your Business and Your Life. In it, you’ll find a simple exercise to cut down your work hours down immediately, a magic phrase that improves the output of your team and empowers them to solve their own problems, a proven practice to enable you to set boundaries, and a way to start fitting in things that you enjoy.

If this is something you’re interested in, you’ll find it here. Sign up and let Brad know what you think!

"Start talking to folks before you throw something into the world by yourself and don't get the tone of the city or the people in it." - Jill

Ashley Quinto Powell of The Bossy calls in and she has a great opportunity to launch a Chicago chapter after founding her business in Madison, Wisconsin. She wants to know the best way to do a launch in the Second City (though she would prefer not to do a fun run). Jill and Brad help her to get practical and less vague.

"The first thing you want to do is to stop solving people's problems." - Brad

Brad's talking about the most popular Harvard Business Review article of all time, published in 1973: "Who's Got The Monkey?" The monkey is a problem that the employee doesn't know how to solve, so they leave it with the business owners. So, ideally, you want to make sure that your office is a no-monkey zone.

So when someone walks in with a problem, the first thing to do is to be really stupid, Brad says. It trains people to come to you with solutions.

How do you deal with the monkey?

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_293.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

It's a new year! Are you ready to go or are you kind of crawling into 2019 a little bit burnt out? If you're the latter, Brad's got a 5-day email course that he wants you to read, called 5 Days to Get Control of Your Business and Your Life. In it, you'll find a simple exercise to cut down your work hours down immediately, a magic phrase that improves the output of your team and empowers them to solve their own problems, a proven practice to enable you to set boundaries, and a way to start fitting in things that you enjoy.

If this is something you're interested in, you'll find it here (https://anchoradvisors.com/control/). Sign up and let Brad know what you think!

"Are you paying attention to the bigger picture?" - Jill

Are you working in your business vs. working on your business? Now, you hear that everywhere - but in the beginning, it was a reasonable question. And how would you know if you're working in or on? Jill's issue with the question is that it assumes there is a right answer.

In Brad's view, he thinks the goal should be that there's nothing that has to get done this week (as in a deadline) that he - as the business owner - is responsible for doing.

"When you're in the details, it's hard to have any perspective." - Brad

Brad uses Monday mornings to organize, and then by Monday afternoon, he knows what his objectives for the week are. He's not opposed to switching back and forth (from working in your business vs. working on the business) but he cautions against getting stuck on details.

As Jill is going through some changes in her business, Brad thinks that's great: we can only make changes as fast as people can absorb it.

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_292.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

What’s In This Episode:

Happy 2019!

Jill’s got a brand new book called The Best Business Book in the World (*according to my mom)! For anecdotes, biz tricks, tech tips, and tools, you can get her book on Amazon.

Do you ever think to yourself, "I really wish I could talk to Jill or Brad for an hour about MY business?" Now you can! Sometimes you just need a little help, or you have a question to ask that’s been bugging you. You suspect that it’s not really a whole consulting engagement — you just need an hour to talk something overwith someone who understands and can provide perspective. Book an hour with Brad here

"When you're starting a business, it's important to have a lot of ideas because you don't know what's going to work." - Brad

Blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur Gresham W. Harkless Jr. calls in to talk about his focus problem. He has a lot of ideas but how can he laser focus?

Jill suggests he use a whiteboard and write it out and test it out on his podcast or social media. Brad suggests Gresham pick one thing and do it over and over and get known for it. And use his creativity to sell exclusively to one client.

"As you're honing your entrepreneurial instinct, you need a lot of feedback." - Jill

What are your 2019 resolutions? Our producer, Saul, wants to react to situations in a more controlled and measured way. And say "no" more. And finish his album.

Jill's business resolution is to have more interest in accounting. And maybe figure out what's happening with analytics (even though she won't say the word). She's also going to raise her prices.

Brad doesn't make resolutions, but he is interested in changing his habits. So he's going to try to cut out sugar 5 out of 7 days a week. On the business front, he's upping his email game.

Want these show notes sent to your email? Get them every week by signing up for our mailing list here.

What are your plans for the new year? Let us know! 

Guest:

  • Gresham “Gresh” W. Harkless Jr.is the founder and Blogger in Chief for CEO Blog Nation (CBNation.co) and is the founder and digital marketing specialist behind Blue 16 Media. Blue 16 Media is a digital marketing company providing digital marketing services to small to medium-sized businesses and organizations. Central to his marketing philosophy is that You Are a Media Company: Developing a Marketing Strategy to Connect with Your Target and Reach Your Goals. CBNation.co is a community of niche blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners including video content and audio content (podcast). 
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_291.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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