🎙️Show Notes for Episode 014 of the IC PodcastJun 17, 2021
Scaling up is one of the most exciting times in your IC business. This is a time where you know that your product offerings are good, you have clients coming inconsistently, and you have a regular cash flow. This is what you’ve been working towards. So how do you ensure that your systems and processes will sustain your business growth?
Lay a strong foundation wherever you are in your IC business so that you scale from solid ground and avoid re-work later.
In this episode, I share with you six tools that will scale, to ensure that your IC business can continue to grow smoothly and without roadblocks.
[01:52] Tool #1 Trello
[05:03] Tool #2 A website
[07:03] Tool #3 Email System -
[10:26] Tool #4 Habit Tracker
[12:37] Tool #5 CRM
[15:09] Tool #6 Groups
RESOURCES MENTIONED —
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- The 26 Minute Lead Generation Method for Independent Consultants
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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*
Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I'm Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can to listen on To find out how.
Welcome to Episode 14. Today, we're going to talk about six of my favorite tools that will help you scale your ice business. So last week, if you didn't catch that episode, I focused on six of my favorite tools to help you save time in your icy business. And today, I want to share with you six more tools that will help you scale your ice business. So, so excited to get started. Thanks to those of you who reached out, I am feeling so much better. So all is well over here. And I'm excited to dive into today's context. I love tools and apps and software that helped to make business more effective. And that's what we're going to talk about today. So I'm going to walk you through the six tools that will help you scale your business. And then we'll put all the link links in the show notes. So if you want to check out any of these tools, then you'll have the direct link right there ready to go. So with that, let's dive in, there's going to be six of them. Some may apply to you some of you may already be using it, and some might not apply. But listen to the end, because there's a good variety here for you. And I know there will be something you can leverage for your business, if not more than one tool. So with that, let's dive into the six tools. So the first tool that I'm going to share with you that I've used to scale my business is Trello, you may already have used it, you may have used it incorporates is kind of a, I guess the best way to describe it is that it's a con Bond-style tool that can help you organize information. There's a lot to it. But the way that I use it, and I wanted to share with you today is a way to organize your products and your service offerings. And what I mean by that is by now if you're looking at starting to scale your business, even if you've just had a couple of clients, so far, not 10s or hundreds of clients, but even just a few clients, the more that you can put this activity into your week to week, the more you're going to be able to scale later. And if you've already had a lot of client experiences under your belt, this is a great way to start scaling as well. So let me tell you what I mean by that. What I mean by that is, as you are delivering projects for clients, you will start to see repetitive tasks, repetitive approaches, and repetitive frameworks that you leverage in order to make your client successful with whatever the goal of your projects is. And the more that you can think about that not just in a one-off scenario, in a one-off way of how one client might be using the tools that you're using to create deliverables for them or outcomes for them, for example. But the more you can think about it both for that client specifically, but also in a broader framework, the easier it's going to be for you to productize your services, and ultimately teach other people to do what you're doing for clients. And therefore start creating some team members that are delivering against the work just like you are repeating the steps that you're repeating, and you teaching them the way to deliver to clients. So hopefully this is making sense. But at the end of the day, though, use Trello what I do is create really step by step by step processes that I use to deliver to my clients and capture that as I go as I'm delivering to clients so that eventually it creates a template, a template to Ty's service of a framework of repeatable steps that again, you can use to make your delivery more efficient for your clients because now you've got a repeatable process that's captured and codified, but that also eventually you can use to teach other people to do the same thing. So Trello is a very easy way to organize all of that and capture it as you go versus five years down the line. You're ready to start expanding and then you have to try to recreate the wheel and rethink what you do just what comes naturally to you. This use of Trello will allow capturing as you go and collect that intellectual property that you're creating. So that's the first tool Trello. The second tool is, are you having a website. So you may already have a website, or you may be relying on linking to your LinkedIn profile and are not yet there yet. But having a website can be really important as a lead gen atomizer. As well as a way for people to search and find what you do as a solution for what it is that they're looking for. So if you don't yet have a website, a few things to consider, Squarespace is a really simple option that you can use to create your own. So like drag and drop, that's a great one, I use Kajabi, which is really an all-in-one tool that you can leverage for your websites, for your blog, for landing pages for email marketing. So it's an all-in-one tool, and it's more expensive because of that. But for me, I find that having everything in one place and not having to connect all of the different tools has been really valuable. I will give you a word of caution. I started off with WordPress and regret that dreaded that very complex and takes a lot of knowledge about how to create websites in order to get WordPress set up and, quite frankly, to maintain it. So for me personally, that's something that I shut down and replaced with Kajabi. And so I wanted to share that with you as a regret that I've had in my business in the past having to do some rework on my website because WordPress was just more powerful than what I needed, you may find otherwise for you. But something to consider. It's not just about getting it set up. But it's also about maintaining it and needing potentially needing a developer to maintain it. Whereas with Kajabi, or Squarespace, those are those aren't requirements, something you can maintain very easily on your own. Okay, tool number three to scale your IC business is an email system. So again, you may already have an email set up. And when I talk about email, not talking about your email address, I'm talking about an email marketing system that you can leverage to do really two things, two very simple things as you're scaling your ice business. Number one, collecting emails of potential clients, current clients, and past clients so that you have that as an asset for your business. This is not something you want to collect in, like your personal contacts in your Gmail account. Having an email list is an asset for your business, and will help you to scale and grow as you bring on more clients. So an email system or an email list is a way for you to communicate with those prospects with current clients and past clients at scale. And so a few use cases of where you might use an email system number one, you may have a scenario where someone comes to your website, they have are interested in potentially a white paper that you have or an assessment that you have on that website, they can put in their email address and get added to your list. And in return, you send them that white paper or assessment or whatever it is that you are offering to them for free in exchange for their email address. And then you have a record of them as a prospect, someone who's interested in the type of work that you do. The other use of email is to what they call marketing, nurture, and nurture your people who could be interested in working with you over time. So after they initially opt-in for some kind of value, like a white paper, then after that you can keep nurturing them like once a week you send them an email with a little bit more a tip or a resource or something that they should be considering as it relates to the types of problems you solve for clients. Or you could do that on a monthly basis where you're sending them potentially an article that you've written, it's a way of keeping those prospects you Top of Mind with those prospects. And also a more simple way to communicate with current and even past clients from a retention perspective and from an upselling perspective, and a follow on business type perspective. So the third tool that I was sharing with you today is an email system. I started off with a tool called MailChimp, you may be familiar with it, it's pretty straightforward and easy to use. In fact, it actually lets you set up some very simple web pages. If you're choosing between a website and an email system, you might start with MailChimp, and set up a couple of landing pages. So your website isn't very complicated, but at least has a page or two, and then start capturing people's emails when they visit it. So, MailChimp is a really simple tool to use for that purpose. As I mentioned before, I use a tool called Kajabi, which gives me a combination of a website and email all in one. So for your own purposes, figure out what's going to be best for you. But those are two really good places to start looking. Okay, tool number four, I love using a habit tracker, as I'm scaling my business. And quite frankly, even as you know, starting out new business processes. And what I mean by that is a very simple app, where you can keep track of business habits you're trying to start. So an example might be, you're wanting to get very consistent with your business development process so that you've got a consistent lead flowing pipeline of new prospective clients, I share with you something that I call the RAM method, it's a way for you to spend 26 minutes every day, working on business development, just a little bit every day. But staying consistent can really help you fill your pipeline. And so the RAM stands for reconnecting, attracting, and meeting, those are the three steps of it. And so you can put those three steps into a habit tracker, and literally, go in and just check off every single day that you complete those activities. And similarly, you might be wanting to get more active on LinkedIn, post three times a week, or engage with other people's posts to get your name more visible out there. If one of those is your goals, from a more visibility perspective, you could also put that into a habit tracker, and really keep track at a more macro level, of how consistent you are being with your new business development-type activities. And, you know, there's a lot of satisfaction in seeing all of these checkmarks, you know, across a month, for example, and the progress that you've made. And so one of the habit trackers that I love the most I have an iPhone, I think these are on both Android and an iPhone is called strides. And so it's you can set up the habits, you can say I want to do four out of seven days a week, or whatever the rules are that you want to set up for yourself, and then use that as a method of getting into consistency with your business. So that again, you're scaling it. Okay, number five, tool number five is establishing CRM type tool. Now, I'm going to put a caveat on this, that I use a very, very simple process for this, which is Excel. If you've got higher volumes of prospective clients that you really want to keep track of where you are, maybe they're coming in and expressing interest in what you do as a consultant. And then you have a next step, which is sending them some initial information, or scheduling an assessment with them. And then you have a next step where you schedule a meeting with them and you've got multiple steps of your sales process, it can be really powerful to put that into a CRM type of a tool so that you're keeping track of who all those prospects are, and what stage of the sales process they're in. So again, it could be as simple as what I do, which is just keeping track of these things in Excel. But my sales process is extremely simple. Someone says that they want to talk to me about potentially being one of my clients a coaching client, we schedule a call, we have the call, and they decide if they want to go forward or not, which is essentially what the process looks like. So there are not a lot of steps involved that I need to keep track of. So I have all lists all captured in Excel, it gives me the ability to capture things like my close rates, like calculate my close rate, for example. And to look back at trends on who's coming into my pipeline, and what's happening with them. So keeping track of it in some way is really important, regardless of the type of business that you're doing. Even if you're selling to one or two prospects every year, it's really helpful to have those data points to look back upon. If you've got higher volumes that you're supporting or multiple steps of your sales process that you want to keep track of. One of the tools that I really like the most and have used in the past is called pipe drive. So that's another tool that you can set up where you can really keep all of your prospective clients and your sales process and ultimately your customers all in one place and have the ability to track where they are in the sales cycle and do the kind of analysis that I was just describing in terms of looking at the data on your close rate and things like that. So that is tool number five to scale your ice business, a CRM type of tool. And the last one, tool number six, is a little bit of a stretch, it might not necessarily be a tool Exactly. But I really want to encourage you, as you're thinking about what elements of a business are important as you're setting yourself up to scale, really thinking purposefully about what types of groups you're in? Where are you going to meet both potential clients, as well as where are you going to meet other independent consultants or people who might be interested in being an independent consultant, or a subcontractor that you can pull upon as you are delivering against projects that you win? So you want to create a pipeline for yourself both prospective clients and know exactly where to find them, you know, where those prospective clients are congregating if you will, and then on the other side of the coin, knowing where those groups are, where your ideal subcontractors are hanging out, so you can start building relationships with them and have a pool of people to rely on when you're ready to start bringing in subcontractors into your projects. So some examples of these types of groups are associations like, you know, the association that might relate to your industry, for example, that type of association can have really two things, right? Groups of potential clients who are interested in the topic that you help solve the types of problems that you help solve. And then similarly, other consultants who also saw solve those types of problems and would really love someone else to bring them business, such as you when you land new business and need to bring in subcontractors. So one of the organizations that I love the most in this regard is called MBO. MBO partners. And we'll put a link to their organization in the show notes is a great place to meet other independent consultants and create those relationships, and have had other consultants that you can pull upon when you're ready to staff up a project. So with that, those are the six tools that will help you to scale your icy business, even if you're not quite ready for that stage yet. Or if you are in that in the middle of that stage and need to put some more infrastructure in place. These are really really important tools to have up and running for your business so that you can bring in new prospects, nurture them, keep track of them, and create new consistency with these business development habits. So hopefully this was helpful today. I'm excited to share with you the topic for next week and tune in again next Thursday. Take care.
Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you liked today's episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don't miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find a benefit, and finally put the ideas from today's episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.