Over the years, after working with hundreds of clients, I noticed people generally fall into one of two categories:
Either they overcomplicate their strategy… Or they don’t even have a strategy.
Whether you find yourself on the edge of burnout from spinning a gazillion plates, or you feel too overwhelmed to pause and set your next goal…
The Optimized Business Bonus Podcast Series is the life-raft you need to dial in your strategy using the same systems that took us to a Multi-Million dollar marketing powerhouse.
I get it… sometimes the concept of a “business strategy” seems so broad and it feels hard to get the zoomed-out clarity you need.
So I’m going to dive into the overarching components of our winning strategy and share all of my best tips (and mistakes!) so you can set, and crush your business goals.
In Episode #1 of The Optimized Business Series, I’ll give you a bird’s eye view on:
- How to figure out what’s working and what’s not… and when to pivot.
- When to get tactical with your strategy, and the two key areas you need to focus most.
- How to divide your efforts between your growth, your marketing, your lead generation, and your sales.
- How to make sure you’re hitting those goals that don’t come with a metric.
- And why I don’t have a 5-year or even a 1-year plan!
After you listen to today’s episode, send me a DM on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) and let me know if it’s inspired you to re-think your strategy and dive deeper into an area of your business.
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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hello, my friends. I am so excited to be here today. I am doing another bonus podcast series for you guys. So last month I did a bonus series with six episodes that we’re talking about the great reset and basically last year, what I went through in a difficult year, but then how we turned that around and had our best month in December and all the lessons I learned from that. And it was such a hit. I got so many messages, so many people reaching out, sharing how much they liked the content. And it’s really simple for me to do podcast series on my pod podcast for you guys on my public podcast. So I decided why not do another one? And I kind of pulled my audience and asked what you guys wanna hear. And a lot of you guys like the high level strategy that I’m able to bring you business strategy, marketing strategy, and then some of you even like to hear like the leadership, personal development side of things.
So I decided let’s talk about how to have the most optimized business, this, like, let me lay it out for you in five episodes, five bonus episodes, each one, having a specific theme. So today we’re gonna talk about business strategy as a whole, and I’m gonna give it all to you. I’m gonna give you guys all my best tips. I read a lot of books. I try a lot of things. I make mistakes. I learn from them. I’m still learning, but I think I can bring a lot of value in this way. So there will be five total episodes. And I’m calling this the optimized business series because it’s going to talk through business strategy, marketing, your operations and delivery leadership, and then your personal growth as a CEO. So those will be the five episodes. And it’ll be right here on the podcast. You’re already listening to.
So today I want to dive into the specific topic of business strategy, which can be like so broad and so hard to really get clear on. I think sometimes for people. And I also think people, I think people do two things. One, I think they overcomplicate their business strategy, or they think that their is a strategy has to be something super elaborate and complex in order to be successful. So I think there’s that camp of people. And then two, I think there’s people who don’t even think about it at all. And they’re just kind of like every day, waking up and like reacting and wondering, you know, what, what to do, um, and not really thinking through a strategy. So here’s one thing about business strategy that I think is really, really important. So of course everybody needs to have kind of like a general idea of what their business strategy is like, how are you going to generate leads?
How are you going to generate sales? What’s the problem you solve for your audience? What, who is, is your audience like what’s your growth plans, but I don’t think that you can ever have a strategy planned out, you know, the next three years, like every single month and every single thing we’re gonna do because a good strategy should and is going to frequently pivot and change based off of the market, based off of your audience, based off of data that you get on, what’s working and what’s not like you might try something and it totally doesn’t work. And then you need to pivot. And if that pivoting, wasn’t a part of your plan, it’s actually gonna hurt your results and it’s gonna make it harder for you to create that success. So I think this is a place that a lot of people struggle with.
It can be really hard. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs, myself included, we’re we’re planners. Like we like to have organization, we wanna have a plan. We’re trying to create stability in a world business owner that doesn’t have any stability, right? Like there’s nothing really stable about being a CEO, being a, being a business owner, cuz you have a lot of risk that you’re up against every single day. So having a plan, you know, allows you to try to create that stability and it’s amazing and good and recommended to have strategy and goals, but you have to balance your business strategy with just a percentage of it that is open to pivoting and is open to adapting within your strategy as you need. Like I said, based off of feedback from your audience based off of, you know, trying something that you thought was gonna work amazing.
And then it didn’t work based off of, you know, trying to, to launch this new thing and, and it works amazing and it’s like, we need to do more of that. So being able to make decisions in the, in between places is really key. So that’s one big thing about business strategy that I think I it’s, it’s sometimes difficult for me, but I think that we do do it well, and that is basically set big goals. So we set an annual goal revenue, how many new clients we want, how many new members to our program we want. And then we break that down into quarterly and monthly goals, but the actual how and how we’re getting there is not planned out for the entire year. And I wouldn’t do it that way because that doesn’t leave room for me to say, oh, well that actually didn’t work as well as we wanted it to.
So we should change here, you know, and if you get too stuck into doing things because they were written on paper because you planned it in January of that year or December or whatever, you’re actually gonna end up hurting your business strategy. So having that flexibility is an important piece of your business strategy. And the other thing with in general business strategy that so many people it’s like, I feel like you hear this all the time, but nobody really fully takes it seriously because it’s so hard for entrepreneurs, but remaining focused and not overcommitting your business resources so that you can do what you are committed to really well is key. So what I mean by that is, you know, every, every business has limited resources and for you right now, that could be just you, right? You’re you’re your business. You are your full business, or you could have a few team members.
And the more that you pile on for everybody, whether it’s marketing projects or delivery or offers that you’re selling or whatever it is, you know, things that you’re putting resources to. The one thing that we have a limited amount of is time. So whether it’s you or your team or both, you’re going to have a limited amount of time that you can put into what you’re doing. And so remaining focused, especially in the beginning, like, especially if you’re somebody trying to get to seven figures, get to one, 2 million a year, you have to only do a few things really well. And you’re gonna learn that lesson the hard way if you’re not doing that. Right. And one thing I consistently see is entrepreneurs who aren’t quite there yet compare themselves to other entrepreneurs who are there and think, oh, well, that person has, you know, three companies and investments and they’ve got this project and this project.
And so I can do it too. And you always need to look at where you are at and just remember that everything you say yes to there’s a no somewhere else. And so if you’re saying yes to more opportunities, somewhere, something is gonna give and most likely it’s that you’re not able to do what you could already do really well or what you’re already committed to really well. And you’re gonna spread your focus. Okay? So those are some general, you know, tips just around your business strategy and taking into consideration, you know, what you work on, how many offers you sell? You should just have one core offer until you’re at least at a million dollars a year. And know there are no exceptions to that. I have done specific podcast on this before, but people think, wow, I can, you know, I’m the one who can do this different.
It’s like, no, I’ve never seen it done. I’ve never seen it done well where somebody is able to have multiple offers and scale them built to multiple millions unless they have an investment and they can buy a team and resources. Okay. So business strategy in general, when you look at your business strategy from a, a high perspective, it needs to take in considerate into consideration the following marketing and lead generation and improvements to your delivery, your offer, what you sell and if this is relevant to you, your retention rate. So if you’re a service business or you have a membership or you have something that people stay in your retention rate, and so you have to see your business from the big picture and it, the entire perspective versus just one piece of it. So versus just focusing all in on marketing and then ignoring all of your delivery or looking at, you know, your delivery, but ignoring your marketing.
Both of those are going to effort, resources and improvement put into them always. And the, the thing to realize though, is what, what happens in a business is generally you’re going to put more energy and effort into one of those places, and then you’re gonna break the other one. So for example, we had a ton of effort into our marketing. In January. We had our best month following our previous month, that was our best month. And we broke that record and had our best month. We signed 11 new clients. We signed almost 30 market, like a pro members. We had our existing clients. And after that, now I have to pivot and I have to go back to our delivery and I have to make sure everything’s working. And so we put a wait list on our agency. Um, we market like a pros a little bit easier to scale.
So it, we didn’t have to put a wait list on that, but we did have to put a wait list and close the doors on our agency on our den full or you, um, because I had to make sure like we have capacity and we can deliver. And so norm that’s a normal kind of push and pull thing that happens where you go all in on your marketing, you spend a month or two months, and you’re doing all these things and you’re getting leads and you see your sales go up and then you do have to flip that and say, okay, now I need to make sure that my delivery is not gonna break. That everything is still solid, that I have enough support, enough resources, enough process. And the other thing is realizing that with your business, it’s never going to be perfect. Like ever there will always be something broken.
And I don’t think people talk a about this enough, because it’s not about getting to the place where your marketing is working perfect and your delivery is working perfect and everything is just working perfect. And you log on and you have nothing to do. Like I think sometimes we think that’s where we’re trying to get. But the reality is if you’re growing, if you are growing your business, it is breaking. And that is true for every single company. Like look at the big companies out there, do you think they do everything perfect. The ones who have way better process and way better setup than we do they don’t, but it’s a matter of how you delegate your resources into fixing what’s broken and making sure that you, as the leader are tuned in into what is the most critical thing for myself or my team or both to focus on.
So backing up just a second to, to, to the, the fact of taking into consideration, both your marketing and your lead generation, and then your delivery. When you look at your business strategy, this means like in a tactical basis that you should always have goals and focus around your marketing, but also your delivery. And that’s where people kind of mess up, I think is they’ll set goals around like new clients or new customers or new leads and, and the growth of their business. But just as important is that you’re setting goals around your delivery. So that could mean, and team members to be able to expand your capacity, that could be improving a process that you need to improve. And I’m gonna talk deeper in a operations and delivery episode in this series just specifically about delivery. But the point is like, when you are taking a step back, let’s say that next week, you are gonna take a step back as a CEO.
And you’re gonna just analyze your entire business where it’s at today and what you need to do to improve it. When you do that. And when you look at your business strategy, you need to have equal amount of effort and thought going into both your growth, your marketing, your lead generation, your sales as your delivery and process and the actual like core of your business. And so many people forget this. Now I’m not saying that at both times, you’re gonna put 50% of your resources and your time into both. You’re gonna put your resources in your time, into where it’s the most in. And again, if when you do that, you’re gonna break the other one. Like your marketing blows up. You do really well. You get that working. Now, you have more customers, and now you need to pause, not pause your marketing, but slow it down potentially, and go focus on your delivery because an increase in leads and customers is gonna naturally cause gaps in holes in your delivery.
And so when you step back, if you were today or next week, like just step back and look at your business, you have to just make sure you’re considerate as a whole, all of those things that are going to impact your business. And we cannot forget how much delivery and retention impacts your business. It costs you more to find a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. And so you can’t forget that with the overall profitability and success of your business. Okay. So when I look at my business strategy, what I do is that, and this is not just coming from me like this is from having coaches learning, like learning what some of the best companies are doing and also trial and error. But I focus on having a simple, you annual goals. So personally we have a revenue goal for the year.
And then because of the nature of my business, we have a goal of how many clients that we wanna add to our agency, the max amount of clients that we’re gonna lose, cuz we know we’re gonna lose some, but we have a max amount. We cannot lose more than this. So that gives me a net positive number by the end of the year. And then I have how many new market, like a pro members we’re gonna add. So I have these big annual goals and, and they’re not over like they’re very easy, right? You cannot misunderstand those goals. And that drives everything that we do. And from there, we come up with quarterly goals. So I will then say, okay, based on this annual goal avenue or adding new clients or not losing more than this many clients, we have these quarterly goals that are going to support these annual goals.
And then I take those quarterly goals. And some examples of some of our quarterly goals is maintain an average of a 95% retention rate from our agency clients. Another one is to get our clients live from within 30 days, max, from when they pay to come on to work with our agency. That’s another goal. 80% of our clients live within that timeframe. That means we build their funnel. We do all the things we need to do and they have their ads live within that timeframe. So that’s a metric that we track, you know, for marketing. One of them is to add 4,000 new leads to our list for the quarter, because I know if I add that many leads, naturally I have a number of how many are gonna turn into applications and then sales, right? And so you’re figuring out like, what is the bigger metric or project, but the thing is you have to be able to track it.
So the difference between a goal for let’s just use one of the ones I just said, which was get 80% or more of our clients live within 30 days of paying their deposit. Now the difference between saying that and get our clients live faster or something that’s more generalized. I ha I couldn’t get to the end of the quarter and say, did we do this or not? So every single goal you set, because some are not always gonna be metric based. I find that the quarterly goals are generally, but every single one may not be metric based, but ha you have to be able to look at it. And without a doubt, nobody like you, anybody on your team, or even if you’re explaining it to me would be able to say, did we accomplish this or not? It’s a yes or no question. And so you don’t want your goals to just be like improve this or, you know, work on this or, you know, make this better, like more fluffy goals.
You’ve gotta be able to set a goal that says, by the end, did we do this or not? And it’s a yes or no question and is no confusion around that. And so I will set quarterly goals that help us achieve our annual goals. And they have to be able to be tracked like middle of the quarter. I’m gonna know exactly where we’re at with those quarterly goals. And if we’re not hitting them, then we have to figure out what we have to do to be able to hit those. And so then we back up those quarterly goals with specific monthly goals, monthly goals generally end up being more like project based versus metrics. So for example, like let’s just use this onboarding one I’m talking about our quarterly goal is to get 80% of our clients live within 30 days of them putting down their deposit.
Okay. And so our monthly goals around that are, for example, this month, we’re working on a timeline so that the team knows cuz there’s a lot of steps that happen in our onboarding. We do a strategy call. We send a strategy presentation, we then have funnel work that we have to work on for clients which involves our copy team and then our designer and then our funnel builder. Like there’s a lot that usually happens. We’re auditing email sequences, we’re auditing webinars, we’re writing ad copy. Like there’s a lot of people that touch it. There’s a lot of things that happen. And then there’s also the client approval piece where we’re sending things and we need them to approve in a certain amount of time. And we all wanna do it within that timeframe, that max amount of timeframe. And so one of the things we’re doing this month is we’re creating a timeline so that we know know at every stage where we have to be and how many days it can take in order to get there on time.
Another thing we’re doing is we updated some of our email communication in our onboarding to make sure we’re clear, like we need this back by this date from the clients. So those are more project based like task based almost that the team is working on. And, but they’re all backed by the quarterly goal. So we sit down every month and I do this by department because my team is bigger. You may not, it. I just be you and a team member or it might just be you. But we sit down and say, these are the quarterly goals. What do we have to do this month to move forward those quarterly goals? And then we just cross them off throughout the month. And this keeps everybody super focused, super clear. And it makes sure that we hit our goals. Like we hit our goals now that is like a year planned out.
Right. And I think that at is a good amount of time to plan out in your business, but having a strategy where you’re like in five years from now, I’m gonna do X, Y, Z. You know, some people can pull it off and maybe I’m wrong here. I mean, I do, I do still need to, to have some more business experience, but I’ve been doing this for a while and I can tell you that there is no way three years ago, or five years ago, I could have planned what I’m doing right now, like too much has changed. And your industry changes, your audience changes. Your offer sometimes needs to pivot the market changes the, you know, the economy changes like there’s too many factors. So you can have generalized, you know, like a direction that you wanna go. But Don spend all this time planning out every single step for the next five years.
So having like really long, like 10 year business plans and, and things that are really thought out, it, it doesn’t really work that well. And it’s also hard to comprehend because if I was to sit down and try to plan my next five years, I might have some ideas, but it’s just so far away for my brain to comprehend like the to-dos, but I can do that for the next year. No problem. So I think it’s okay to have that like big, you know, whatever they call like big hair, a dishes goal. I don’t really like that word, but I think it’s okay as a CEO to have that. And I will tell you, I did like three and a half years ago, say I’m gonna build the software. And I didn’t know when that was gonna happen or how that was gonna happen or what exactly it was.
I had a general idea of what it was, but I didn’t. So I didn’t put energy and effort into actually pursuing it, but I did have it in my head of like, I am gonna do this thing. And so that’s okay. I think having, having a big goal or a vision, but don’t spend a bunch of time because if you do planning on every step, it’s just, it’s not gonna go the way that you want it to go. Unpredictable things happen. You’re gonna have to pivot and you need to have the ability to pivot. So instead have your big, huge goal, have your vision, have that be something you daydream about, or you just have in the back of your mind and you don’t know exactly how you’re gonna get there, but you have it. That could be like, I’m gonna have a 10 million company or something big.
Right. But then you need to get really specific on your annual, quarterly and monthly goals. And then within those, that’s gonna give you room to pivot and adapt because if we try something one quarter or one month, and it doesn’t work, we take that into planning for the next quarter or for the next month. And we take that into consideration or it does work and we’re like, we need to do more of that. So what do we wanna do more of? So my, my strategy is that I plan, I know SP specifically our annual goals. I see our annual goals every single day on my huddle. I know exactly where we’re at, where we’re tracking for the revenue goal for every goal. I know where we’re at, and I know if we’re on track and that’s really important. And then same thing with monthly. I see it every single day.
And then quarterly, I look at once a month to see the progress we made that for that quarter legal. And then I make sure that every action, every project, every resource that we spend in our company is moving us towards these goals and not, you know, just for fun or like we thought we should do this. Or somebody said, I should do this. Like it is backed with intention. And the thing is for most entrepreneurs, for like 99% of you, there is never gonna be a shortage of ideas. Like you guys don’t, I don’t, you don’t have an issue coming up with ideas and things that we could execute the key and the difference between success in somebody who flails around and doesn’t, and actually get momentum, is choosing what to execute, choosing. What’s gonna move the needle. The most I could sit down right now and name 15 things that I should be doing, or I could be doing in my business, but I don’t have the resources to execute all those things.
I don’t have unlimited time. You know, my team doesn’t have unlimited time. I Don have unlimited budget, right. To hire team members to do things. And so it’s my job to make sure that what we are putting our resources in is actually going to move us towards our goals. And it’s my job to make sure that the goals we set are actually good goals are actually going to result in growth. I wanna see, or the results that we wanna achieve as a company. Some people, I do think set goals that it’s like, they don’t mean anything to them, or they’re like, well, I just saw somebody else do it. So I’m gonna do it. Or it’s like, well, I think I should add leads to my list. So I picked our random number or whatever it is, your goals, you have to be bought in to your goals.
So you have to believe you can accomplish them. You have to be bought into it and you have to understand them and the why behind them. And as you grow a team, that’s also important. Like if I just sat down with my team and I was like, guys, like we’re gonna add a hundred clients. They’d be like, well, where’d the number come from? Like, how are we gonna do it? And can we even do that? That’s you know, is that crazy? You don’t want your team to feel like that because then they don’t trust anything. You say, like, if you set goals that they’re like you were smoking something, when you set those goals, then they’re not gonna trust any goals that you put. But if you set goals that they can see the finish line, it might be hard to get there, but they can see it.
They can feel that it’s possible, then you’re gonna have buy-in and when you have buy-in, it’s really powerful. So the other one piece I wanna add that I just like, kind of touched on, on the goals, but this is something I started changing recently. So I set a ton of goals for myself, personally, relationships, my health, and then the business, I set those like four main goals. I have a few others that are like personal related to my software, whatever goals. And I look at them every day and I haven’t always done that, but this is something I started this year and it is crazy powerful. I have on my whiteboard written down every, the exact goals that the exact goals we’re gonna achieve as a company like revenue, clients, new market, like a pro members. And then every single morning when I sit down and do my planning and I do my little morning routine, I look at my goals, my annual goals.
And I basically just ask myself, am I moving towards those? You know, am I moving the needle that day towards my annual goals? And I have found that really powerful because it makes it so I don’t forget the goals and I’m constantly aligned. And there’s something like subconscious there, because as you drill it into your brain just becomes a reality. It becomes like this is what I’m doing. So I think at that is, is been really powerful and something that I, I recommend. So I’ll say a couple more things on business strategy when you have, if you’re looking at your business right now and you’re like, it’s not going well, like we’re not signing new clients or customers. We’re not selling, we’re not getting leads or, and, and our delivery’s a mess I’m in the day to, you know, I’m overwhelmed. I, I don’t even know the next step to take your job as a leader is to step back and audit and assess, and then use that to make decisions considering everything and, and that big picture and kind of making decisions where you can get specific.
So I think number one, I always look at my job to be looking for the holes. So instead of having the delusional perspective, that there is nothing wrong in my business and there’s no holes. I’m like looking for them actively. I’m like, all right. Like tell me where the problem is to my team. Like tell me where you guys were struggling. Tell where we had a, you know, a not great situation. Tell me where there was a gap. Tell me where there was a learning experience. I’m like relentless with that. And so if it’s you and a team, or just, you, you have to be relentless with that because that is gonna tell you where the opportunities are. And then that is gonna allow you to choose. What’s most important to improve right now, then act quickly and acting quickly is also key. But if you’re looking at your business right now, and you’re like, everything’s broken, like we’re, everything is not working.
Then you have to ask yourself, what is the one place that’s gonna make the biggest impact today for me to improve, likely if everything is not working, then you need to get your marketing working because without leads and sales, your delivery doesn’t matter because you have nobody to deliver it to, but you need to decide, you know, if I was to work on one thing for the next week and I was to solve one problem in my business, what would that be? And I think where we get overwhelmed is we feel like, oh my gosh, I have like a hundred things to do. Everything is broken. Nothing is working well, my business sucks. I’m failing. And then we don’t take action cuz we stay in this like overwhelmed paralysis state. So instead, if you can kind of get specific and say, what’s the one thing that’s going to make the biggest difference.
That’s going to move of the needle the most and then focus on that and move to the next thing. And you know what, you’re gonna repeat that process over and over and over again, like that is the cycle of business. And just constantly looking at that and looking at where those holes are. And then pairing that with choosing what’s the most important to improve, cuz it will never ever work to try to do everything. It will never work to try to fix everything at once or to stay in that overwhelmed state. And then the final thing I’ll say just on business strategy as a whole is I think this takes kind of letting go sometimes of our ego and knowing when it’s time to make a bigger change. If you’re in a situation where you’ve tried, like everything you can think of, you’ve tried, you know, marketing tactics and you, you tried to sell your offer and it’s not selling or you have really like, you truly know, I have exhausted and put in my work and resources to make this work and it’s not working.
Maybe it used to work and it’s still not working. You need to, to know when it’s time to make a bigger change. And that’s something that oftentimes that decision has to be made by the CEO. But if you’re feeling like truly like this is how I felt last year, middle of last year where I was like, we are working 10 times harder in our marketing, like we’re doing everything better than we used to do and something isn’t right. And so I knew like we need to change our offer. And that’s what we ended up doing is we made our offer better. So you need to, to know, you know, if you’re in that situation and it’s important that you’ve tried everything you can. Cause I think people get in that situation, they tried one thing and they’re like, well, I’m gonna quit. That’s not what I’m talking about.
But if you’re in this situation where, you know, your effort, your energy, the resources that you’re putting out is like insane. And you know, it’s good, but like something is off because it’s not working. Then you might have to change your offer. You might need to pivot your avatar. You might need to make a bigger change. And you’re gonna know this. If you have truly exhausted everything you can possibly think of. Like if you sit down and you’re like, well, I could try these four things then you’re not here. But if you sit down and you say, well, we’ve already tried all of those things and you know, we’re doing more than we used to, or this used to work on less effort cuz that’s common right now. It’s like, I think you have to work harder as a business with marketing and to get things working.
And you, you know, you look at that. And so if you are at that place, then you need to really step back and ask yourself, is there a deeper level problem such as my offer, the, the audience that we’re targeting, the industry that we’re in, those things are obviously deeper level, but sometimes when you identify those issues and you make a shift in a change, it makes a massive impact. Like I saw last year after we did that and was able to flip it around and have our best month in business and then follow that again with another best month in business, which was amazing. So those are all of my business strategy, tactics and advice for you guys tomorrow, I’m gonna go deeper on marketing and specifically how I look at my own marketing, how we build process for our clients marketing, um, and how we create those successful marketing strategies. So I’ll see you guys right here tomorrow.