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You’ve likely come across a great many business owners’ social media declarations of how they built a seven-figure coaching, consulting or marketing agency. It’s worthwhile, even while regarding such self-promotion with the requisite grain of salt, to recognize its simple inherent and impressive calculus. The term, of course, refers to a company generating a million dollars or more per year in total revenue, which works out to roughly $83,333.33 per month!
Since 2006, I’d built and managed several successful businesses in diverse industries, but for one reason or another could not get past that seven-figure mark, at least for several years. In 2013, I passed the California bar exam and decided to start a law firm, and was determined to do things differently — to incorporate and deploy different strategies — including investing in business coaching and consulting. Since then, I’ve invested more than $300,000 in business, mindset, executive and leadership coaching and mentorship programs, and have had the opportunity to work with seasoned business owners who built seven- and eight-figure companies. As a result that process, I’ve distilled three core strategies that enabled me to break that million-dollar-a-year mark.
1. Rethinking the client acquisition process
As an entrepreneur on a mission, it’s easy to get trapped in the mindset of accepting every deal presented to you. One strategy you could use to attract and convert better clients — including those who are a better fit for your programs, who appreciate your expertise and are willing to pay you what you’re worth — is to rethink their acquisition process. Don’t sell your services by trying to convince a prospect that your program is the best thing that has ever happened to them. Instead, after finding everything you can about them — including pain points and the thoughts that keep them up at night — audition them, and let them convince you that your solution is what they’ve been looking for all along. Think of American Idol for a second; would you want to be the person on stage or one of the judges? Hopefully you voted for the latter.
Remember that you are the expert your prospect is looking to for answers and solutions. You have the knowledge, insights, experience and expertise to help, so use that as an advantage and position yourself as the expert who gets to pick and choose customers. The other side of this strategy means developing an ability to say no to those that are not a perfect fit. Create a checklist of the attributes and qualities that you want in a dream customer, and be firm about sticking to it.
2. Selling high-ticket offers is easier than selling low-ticket offers
As a lawyer who specialized in business formations, contracts and intellectual property filings, market value for my services ranged from $1,000 to $10,000, depending upon the complexity of filings and contracts. Regardless, these services required time and effort, and particularly after I hired additional support staff, margins were slim and did not leave much room for growth.
A strategic shift I applied was to solve bigger problems and charge more for those solutions. This allowed the company to stack more value into services, offer more resources to customers, and drastically increase profit margins, which could then be reinvested into the business and create a cycle of growth.
For instance, instead of just marketing a business formation service, we created a consulting program that allowed customers to access business strategy, marketing, branding and financing solutions. We packed these solutions into a bundle and sold them for $25,000.
Your initial reaction may be, “Which business owners have $25,000 to spend on coaching, consulting, or marketing?” Certainly, this was a question we also asked. However, if you analyze options in the marketplace, the opportunity cost in terms of time and revenue can often far outweigh a fee that covers an expert piecing together all the pieces of a puzzle.
Most savvy entrepreneurs base decisions on facts, numbers and logic, all easily incorporated into your presentations. For example, when we added statistics from a Small Business Administration report indicating that only 50% of companies survive past five years and only 30% last 10 or more, as well as reports that the four top reasons why businesses fail are lack of access to capital, cash flow, lack of demand and poor management, the bundled service price tag seemed very fair. So, conduct market research in your industry and find credible statistics that can back up why your solutions are worth the price. The effort will also bring better clients who are willing to pay what you are worth, and so will likely pay more attention and put in the work required to obtain the benefit of their investment.
3. “Who?”, not “How?”
The final strategic shift that can help break the seven-figure mark is to keep a phrase in mind: “Who, not how”, aka, the power of harnessing truly helpful talent — finding the areas you excel in and outsourcing everything that yields a lower return to a carefully-picked staff.
Here’s a simple image to show you how this process works. The innermost circle (the bullseye) is where you, as the CEO of a business, want to position yourself — the zone where million-dollar decisions are made. Working your way out, you will notice that each circle outside of the bullseye outlines functions of varying value, and the outermost is where you do not want to find yourself…encompassing functions that you need to outsource immediately or hire internal staff to manage.
There are plenty of offshore virtual assistant companies that will supply you with a trained (or trainable), highly functional and hard-working person who can perform the tasks within the outermost circle; the more you can eliminate from your to-do list, the faster revenue will increase.
Practice makes perfect
They’ll take time to hone, but embracing these strategic shifts will help not just change the way you attract, convert and service ideal customers, but also increase profitability, efficiency, output and help you sharpen your vision, channel focus and produce a greater yield for your time and efforts.