🎙️Show Notes for Episode 026 of the IC PodcastSep 09, 2021
Today, I want to focus on the last one, which is the E in double, to ESTABLISH your ongoing business processes and routines.
These six processes and routines should serve as the foundation for your IC business, to ensure you meet your business goals without sacrificing your personal life. Ultimately, they’ll enable you to shut the door to corporate as your plan B and you feel confident and secure in your IC business.
Listen in to learn what these six systems are and how you can use them to uplevel your business and create that security and certainty that's so possible for you.
On this episode, I will discuss:
[03:22] Common blocks that hinder you from establishing repeatable systems in your business and how to overcome them
[05:51] System #1
[08:10] System #2
[10:02] System #3
[12:35] System #4
[15:10] System #5
[17:33] System #6
[20:43]The three questions to ask yourself to determine which of the six systems you need to implement first
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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 too. Listen on to find out how.
Welcome back to Episode 26 of the podcast. Today we're going to focus on the six must have systems that you can't afford to neglect in your consulting business. Now, this is part six of the six episode series that I've been sharing with you to give you a glimpse into the double method I created. The goal is to help icees like you independent consultants, like you double your revenue without working more. So if you haven't caught this series yet, you can go back to episodes 21 through 25, and hear the first five steps of the double method. But today, I want to focus on the last one, which is the E in the double establish your ongoing business processes and routines. And what that is, is I want to share with you what those six ongoing business processes and routines are that you want to have in place in your business so that you're not constantly in that feast or famine cycle, so that you're not constantly on the independent consulting roller coaster. And so that ultimately, you've kind of shut the door to corporate, and as your plan B and you feel really confident and secure. And that sense of freedom in your consulting business, which I'm guessing are the reasons why you left corporate in the first place to become a consultant. Right? So you could create that income and the impact and the independence that so many of us have as independent consultants. And I know you want that too. And so I want to make sure that you've got this line of sight into the six systems so that you can really uplevel your business and create that security and certainty that's so possible for you. So what I'm going to walk you through today are those six ongoing systems that you want to have in place in your business, so that you can continue growing your revenue, continue growing your impact without working more actually work less. And it may seem overwhelming, right six things at the end, I'm going to give you the questions to ask yourself to figure out which of those six users focus in on first. Alright, so we can really dial it down into something very actionable for you, in addition to the big picture, and also stay to the end, because I have something exciting to share with you. All right. So with that, let's dive in. And the first thing I want to address a lot of times, you know, when we start thinking about establishing these repeatable ongoing systems in our consulting business, the immediate thing that comes to mind are some blocks, right? So I want to share those with you first so that we can overcome those. And then you can really hear what these six systems are, and start thinking about how they apply to you in your business. So the blocks I commonly hear are I don't have time, Melisa like I'm right now delivering against a project or a client, and me, I know I'm going to be working with them for the next several years. So I just don't have time to worry about my business right now. Nor is it really necessary because I've got this client that I'm working on. I hear that so often or my business is not big enough, yet, I don't need some of these systems that I'm going to share with you in a minute in place because my business isn't big enough yet. Or the other common one that I hear that you might be thinking of is kind of a take on the first one, right? I've got clients for the foreseeable future. So this isn't an issue, creating these ongoing processes. But what I'm going to tell you today is while this seems very logical at the moment to have these ideas like I don't have time, or it's not really necessary right now, I can sure assure you that thinking in this way, is going to end up creating regret in the long run. I hear it all the time on a weekly basis. In fact, I wish I had you know when someone's project comes to an abrupt end, or you're agreeing to extend your project even though you know, it's not good for you or your business, you're being underpaid. Whatever the reason is for you. It becomes a regret at the end of the day either because something happens that you weren't expecting and you weren't prepared for or you look back on what you've done as a consultant over the last several years and realize that you've been kind of going project a project and not really building a sustainable business and therefor leaving money on the table, and working more than what is necessary to make the income goals that you have. So you cannot afford to avoid these six systems, even if your business is running really well right now and you've got project work and, and you're making money. So don't let that fall into that trap and hit the regret in the future. So hopefully, I've got your attention now. And we can dive into the six systems that you want to have in place. So I'm going to walk you through the six systems. And I'm going to use a client example to just illustrate what that looks like for each system, and what the benefit of having that system is. Because on the surface, you might guess what the benefit is, but I want to share with you some real-life examples of what you might not be thinking when you think of these systems. Okay, so the first one is a goal-achieving system, do you have a goal-achieving system in place in your business. And notice, I purposefully did not say a goal-setting system. This is a goal-achieving system. Are you at a place in your business where you set targets, annual targets, quarterly targets, even monthly targets, and you know, for sure that you're going to hit those most people aren't? Most people are at a place where they might even just mentally set a goal kind of in their mind, like the client that I'll share with you. In her mind, before we started working together. Her idea was I'm just going to replace my corporate income and have more flexibility. That was her mental goal, right? There was no goal-achieving system behind that, in fact, she hadn't even written down the goal. And when you don't write down the goal, or have this very specific target in mind, you have no way to base it on what's working and what's not working. There's no baseline that you're establishing no evaluation process. And for her, that's what was happening. So she was constantly just kind of mentally gauging whether or not she was on track. And usually, she was wrong. She was either not giving herself credit for what she had accomplished or what was working. And she was overlooking things that weren't working in her business, just kind of not wanting to think about them. And the underlying reason why she was doing this as she felt like she had no control over achieving the goals anyway. And so, you know, why bother? Why spend time on this. So once we got the goal achieving system in place for her, she was able to start achieving the goals that she set for herself, whether it was kind of the bare minimum goal or the stretch goal every single time, just by having a system in place that she followed, so that she wasn't overlooking this and just hoping for the best hope is not a strategy, as they say, right. So that was the first element is and these don't have to go in any particular order. As I'll share with you at the end, you're going to want to really pick out the one that makes the most sense for you to dive into. And I'll help you do that. But really think about it. Do you have a goal-achieving system? Or is it just a goal-setting system? Or is it no goals at all? All right. So now let's look at the second example. The second example is setting your financial system up. So you probably have an accountant or you do your own taxes and accounting and that kind of thing. This is something bigger than that. This is you really understanding your targets quarterly annually monthly, what those look like understanding your actuals your revenue, your expenses, your profits, and then planning ahead. A lot of times this is a big thing that we miss, as independent consultants are really looking at our business as a business and thinking ahead of time, what are our taxes going to look like? And what is a reserve fund need to look like? For that client story that I've been sharing with you? What we did for her is really take a step back and figure out what a reserve fund needs to look like in my business. And for her, it was, you know, saving aside three months of not just salary, but what it took to run her business. So that then if there was an issue where she, for some reason didn't have clients, she was able to really have the runway to focus on landing that next client that made the most sense for her and her business and not feels forced into taking something at a low bill rate just so that she had cash coming in the door. This was so important. It gave her such a peace of mind to really run this as it runs her consulting business as a business and to have this reserve fund to have the money to be able to run her business from a bigger picture perspective versus from the perspective of I just need, you know, a paycheck every couple of weeks like I did when I was incorporated. The peace of mind that this type of system brings to you is something that you just can't live without. Right so so important. Okay, number three, and we talked about this a lot on the podcast. But you definitely want to have a lead generation system in place. paying clients is the lifeblood of your business, right. And when you master the first step of those paying clients, which is lead generation, then your business can become so simple, and so secure. So secure that you don't really need to keep worrying about a plan B of having to go back to corporate, right? When you get to the place where you know, the number, how many leads you need, the average contract value of each of those leads, and what your, you know, the average close rate is those three simple numbers, and how to influence them when one needs to go up. In order to get to where you want to go financially, you're able to hit your revenue targets every single time, when you get to the place where you have a lead generation system, where you know exactly how to influence the number of leads that go into the top of the pipeline, and increase those number of leads if you need to, or just the quality of them, if you need to whatever it is, then you're able to get rid of that feast or famine. There is no more roller coaster needed, because you have dialed in that exact formula for yourself and your business. And that client that I was mentioning to you what she figured out for herself through a lot of trial and error, through a lot of lead generation techniques that were not effective. A lot of lead generation techniques that she hated, might have been effective as she hated doing them right. What she ended up figuring out is that she could engage in quarterly speaking, speaking to her ideal clients, in some form or fashion, usually through conferences, sometimes in person, sometimes virtual, or at different companies, like partner type companies that had access to her ideal clients, who already had that audience. She spoke to them once a quarter and was able to create those leads automatically. So it wasn't even something she needed to work on every week was just her getting ahead of her business calendar and figuring out and strategically mapping out those speaking opportunities so that her lead generation system was constantly being filled up, that pipeline was constantly being filled up. So again, it creates such security and predictability when you've got this in place and dialed in for yourself. The next system number four is a sales system. So do you have a sales system in place that you know exactly what the steps are of the system, how it works, where you might need some, you know, improvement in, and what's working really well and get yourself to the place where it's really dialed in? So you've got that certainty in your business so that you're able to close work at a close rate that leads to and exceeds your revenue targets. And so for the client that I was just describing to you after trial and error, and really figuring it out, she realized that she had been letting the client the prospective client lead the sales process. And thinking it was a positive thing because she was flexible and customizable to each one of their scenarios, and to their internal politics. And while that's really important, what she realized is that when she flipped it on its head, and she was the one taking control of the sales process, where she was walking the client through the best practice of how to really dive into the area that she focused on and come up with a solution and then internally get buy-in for that solution, and then ultimately sign a contract when she figured out her specific three-step process for sales. And there was never any question or worrying or self doubt about how she would you know, figure out how to overcome her awkwardness in the sales process, her feeling of inadequacy in a sales process, her worry that she's not a salesperson at heart. And she had this really solid three-step process that she could lean on to get that close rate, which I think for her is at like 75% or something now. So this is what's really important with that sales system is creating that level of certainty so that you're able to have something to lean on. As you guide potential clients through understanding their pain points, designing a solution for that, and then ultimately setting yourself up to close the contract and deliver against it. This will help you to avoid also being underpaid and underutilized because you're able to really shift that dialogue from one Have more tactical to one have much more of strategic dialogue. So get that sales system in place, if you don't have one yet. The next of the six is the client delivery system. So this is where you are going in and really mapping out for yourself, what does it look like, in a repeatable, predictable, and profitable way for me to deliver business to my clients, and constantly tweaking that and capturing your best practices, because as we know, every client's a little bit different. So having almost a sub-process in a place where you're capturing all of those best practices so that you can leverage them over and over again, creating that toolkit of what you do to deliver constantly looking at should I be the one delivering this? Or does it make more sense to have a subcontractor or some kind of a support system person do this work, and constantly question how you're delivering and whether it makes the most sense, both for the client to get results, as well as for you to be profitable and repeatable in what you're delivering for clients. And so that's what the client that I've been sharing with you, what she was able to do is really dive into what she did, delivering to each one of her clients and figure out what the common themes and common threads and common tools were that she was using, and then get to the place where she was really had documented that framework in a way that covered 80% of the scenarios with her clients, and made it so much easier for her to deliver because she wasn't constantly recreating the wheel, it made it possible for her to subcontract some of the workouts to her virtual assistant and to, you know, other hourly type consultants that she brought on. And for her to deliver in a more profitable way, and free herself up both for more time off, but also for her to work on multiple engagements at one time, and start in continue growing her business, her revenue, and her business, while at the same time not sacrificing on her flexibility on her freedom on her time off. And that's why it's so important to get to the place where you have a really solidly defined client delivery system that you can lean on, your subs can lean on. And that, you know, you can create really powerful results for your clients time over time, with the least amount of effort.
Right, the sixth of the six systems for you to be able to grow your business in a way that doesn't require you to work more is an assessment system, like an evaluation process. So that you know, you know, upfront, you already know through those other you know, through the goal setting and financials and your lead generation numbers, you know what the targets are. And so putting an assessment system in place so that you are periodically and predictably evaluating where you are against those targets in a subjective way, nonjudgmental way, right. A lot of times we avoid doing this kind of work because it feels bad to acknowledge that some things aren't working, or you're not where you want to be. But if you don't just take your head out of the sand and really look at this logically and figure out what's working, and what do I want to do more of what's not working? What do I want to take away from my processes? What do I want to add to them? What do I want to adjust, and constantly iterate through how you're delivering what you're delivering, and the way that you're delivering it and the schedule upon which you're delivering it, constantly evaluating that, you know, every month, in some cases every quarter, every year, to get yourself to the place where again, you've got your line of sight on the big picture. And you're able to drive out those results that you've been looking for the income, the impact the independence that drove you to become an independent consultant in the first place. So those are the six systems that are really important for you to put in place so that you're able to continue growing your independent consulting business so that you feel that sense of peace and security and certainty and have the freedom and the income that you wanted when you first started this business and why you're continuing in this business. Those are the systems that you really want to dive into and continue building out and refining you probably have most of these in place. If you don't, then that's probably the first place to start. And if you do have them in place, it's really digging in more and figuring out where can you refine those key elements of your business so that you do reach your business goals, and it's inevitable that you do so today I just wanted to show you what's possible. What you can and dial in to have everything that it is that you want in your business, the doubling of your income year over year, while at the same time working less and less and less. It doesn't have to be a situation where you're choosing between making money and the amount of time that you're spending making that money. You can have both. And that's what I wanted to show you today through these six systems, and the client example that I included along the way. So now two more things before we wrap up. The first is to figure out which of the six systems would be the best place for you to start, ask yourself these three questions. So number one, what would make the biggest impact right now. So think about those six systems goal-achieving financial lead generation, sales, client delivery, and assessment system, which one just, you know, use your intuition, which one of those six would make the biggest impact in your business right now, right now. And then ask yourself, which of those six focusing on which six would make the biggest impact in the future? Like, if you look out a year, two years, or three years, which of those six systems if you were to focus on it and really dial it in would make the biggest impact on your future business? And the third question, which I love the most, is, which of those six systems Am I avoiding the most, you might say sales or financials, or lead gen, or goals even set a goal achieving system. Those are some of the most common ones that I see people avoiding. And we avoid it because we think we're bad at it. Or it makes us feel terrible when we look at the numbers, or when we work on lead generation. And we feel like we're not good at it. We're not seeing the results. That's the biggest flag for you to say that's the one to dive into the one where you feel like you're avoiding the most. That's the reason why you should go do it. All right. So after you answer those three questions, what would make the biggest impact right now, focusing on which of those six systems would make the biggest impact right now, focusing on which the six systems would make the biggest impact my future? And which of those six systems Am I avoiding the most? So based on those answers, choose one area of focus for yourself for the next 90 days. And commit to that and dial it in, dive into the details and get yourself to the place where you've got a repeatable system that's documented that you know exactly what it is you're doing, why you're doing it, when you're doing it, how it's being done. If you're the one doing it, or someone else is going to be doing it, all of those things. Now, it doesn't need to be perfect, right? That's just you getting your starting point. And then you're gonna want to assess it and figure out is this working or not, and what do I want to adjust from there? Alright, so those are the questions that help you decide which of these six areas would be the most impactful for you to focus on for those next 90 days? And then I'm going to close out by saying do not miss my upcoming masterclass It is Friday the 10th. So I believe this episode will go live on Thursday the ninth so it is tomorrow if you're listening to it right now. If you've missed it, and you're catching this episode later after September 10, not to worry. In either case, go register we'll put the links in the show notes. It's Melisaliberman.com/ feast-famine-blueprint, and you will be registered to attend life or to receive the replay of the masterclass. And the master class is the blueprint to break free from the consulting feast or famine cycle. So we're gonna really dive in and help you get even more than what I've given you today around the blueprint to break free from this feast or famine cycle that so many of us as consultants are in. Alright, well, thank you for tuning in today. Hopefully, this was helpful go pick one of those six systems to dive into and focus on for your business. And I look forward to talking with you again next week.
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 it beneficial 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.