Alright, readers, this post is all about the behind-the-scenes; I’m talking about tips to uplevel your business. Sure, we will continue to talk plenty about your front-facing endeavors. But this backstage upleveling work is just as important as the front stage. With that in mind, let’s get to it!
Know and Build Your Systems
So that brings me to my first point, which is to stress that you really know the systems that you need to get built in your business. Identify those, and even, identify if you’re not the builder for some of the tasks. That’s okay, I promise! I am all about embracing your zone of genius. Sure, you should know how things work in your business, and you should do what you can, but we can’t do everything. We all can’t be good at everything. And we shouldn’t be like that. That’s not the reality of being a successful entrepreneur.
Instead, focus on your zone of genius and stay in that place. And for me, as an example, technology is not that. But guess what? I have awesome people that I can reach out to help with my technology. And that’s really, really important. That leads me to conversations around working with others. That’s really a way to uplevel: to barter.
Bartering Is Key
Today in a live discussion around starting your own online business management business, bartering was brought up. So I wanted to talk about where I fall on the spectrum of bartering. I am a proponent of bartering with some parameters. I believe in bartering with your peers to grow your business, because we don’t all have tons of money, especially in the beginning stages. I personally have had a great experience bartering with my peers. And I’ve talked about this in a few live streams and in other discussions.
So I’m curious, do you believe in trading peer-for-peer services? An example of this is when I needed my Dubsado set up. I knew I couldn’t do a great job; I could only get it to a certain level. When it came to designing, I traded with a fellow peer who was looking to infuse her design experience and start offering that as part of her Dubsado services. And so, I traded for some strategy session work. We had a clear agreement, and we executed it. And it wasn’t a big ongoing plan. It wasn’t open-ended. It wasn’t like I was bartering to give her seven months of my OBM services or something like that.
I use bartering to really grow my business for my own business: not for clients and not with clients. Never that. But I’ve bartered for strategy sessions before. I’ve given a strategy session in exchange for some branding work, for some legal work, etc.
If I haven’t made it clear: I’m a huge fan of it, and I’ve had really great experiences. That’s because I’ve stayed within my peer group. And I’ve been really clear with what I was trading or I was clear with the agreements that we put in place.
For the agreement, it was not some big fancy contract but it was spelled out so that we both felt good about it. We knew what the value was, what the start and stop dates were, and what the scope of work was. So, sound off! Let me know, in the comments below, where you fall in that spectrum.
But I want to say, in full transparency, bartering is what really helped me grow my business, I wouldn’t have a lot of things in terms of foundations in my business, or pieces of my business, because I can’t do it all. And if you’re somebody who can do it all, hands up to you, but that’s not me. And I don’t want to be that person. I want to stay in my space where I can get the most ROI for my energy. So I’m a fan of bartering. I think it’s really, really important.
So going back to that topic of building your systems in your business: figure out what systems you have, which ones need to be improved, and which ones you haven’t even started building yet. Assess what you can do on your own and who you need to barter with. Use your circles and online business groups for bartering and suggest what you can offer in return.
Don’t leave the barter agreement open-ended for two reasons:
- you don’t want to get put in a situation where you’re feeling that you have to over-deliver on something that you personally cannot deliver.
- You shouldn’t assume that people know what you do. So make it really easy for people to say, Yeah, I need help with that. Sure. This is what I can trade you for.
Plus, guess what that latter reason gets you? Testimonials! Testimonials can be part of the barter. If it’s a really good experience, then you’re understanding how somebody works. This can be a great resource for referrals for future client work. With bartering, you can learn how to either improve your systems or how to do things without being stressed out because you’re doing this comfortable, peer-to-peer system.
So it’s going to help boost your confidence, and you’re going to get experience. But, enough on my soapbox about bartering. I’m curious what everyone else thinks. Did you have tough times doing this?
To be sure, I’ve gotten some crap out there when I wasn’t clear on what I was looking for. And I was just eager and jumping in on things in bigger groups. However, if you barter in smaller groups where you really like getting to know the credible people and their trusted resources around you, then that’s a lot safer space to trade your efforts.
Giving Yourself Time
Okay, I want to talk about an incident that happened to me a few weeks back. I was hosting a master class, and it was amazing! Like it was phenomenal but what wasn’t amazing is what happened right before…
I ended up appearing like a giant mess right in front of the masterclass. My internet has been exceptionally bad, naturally as a result of lots of workers working from home during this time of COVID-19.
On the day of the masterclass, I literally am getting like no signal in my office; and my office is where the magic happens. I had to rebuild a completely new space for me, and I ended up tearing my living room apart. I had to set up shop in the living room, take my laptop out there, and get another computer screen because I needed to be able to talk and present. I had to haul lights down from upstairs because our living room was like a cave. It was freezing cold… it was the biggest disaster you could ever imagine.
But I set up a full shop in there and then I was like, “Okay, I got this. I’m ready to do the master class.” And then, my earbuds wouldn’t work. No kidding. Because I had unplugged my computer and did not properly restart it. In short, give yourself plenty of time for whatever task is ahead. No one likes working by the skin of their teeth. No one. Always have a contingency plan and be ready.
Undersell & Over-Deliver
Let me tell you about a stellar experience I had with a recent entrep I met in one of my Facebook communities. For my master class, I asked her if she would be willing to edit my presentation, so it’d be ready for an evergreen format. She quickly jumped in and led the process. She told me what she needed. And she gave me a very clear turnaround.
What’s amazing is she over-delivered on every angle. And I want you – my lovely reader – to really focus on that over-deliver; focus on that wow factor until it just becomes what you do. And I’m going to assume this is probably what she does, because not only did she deliver the edited version, she said, “Oh, and by the way, there’s a surprise in the Dropbox.”
And what could she possibly give me you guys? On her own, she took her personal notes sheet from our meeting and dropped it into my Dropbox. We had no discussion about this, and yet, she made it an editable PDF document for me
To me, that was the most impressive gesture. It was so incredible, and even if the task was easy for her, the wow factor was there. I’m never going to forget that she’s going to be top of mind when I think of video editing (or PDF editing!) for my clients.
She didn’t ask me, she just delivered and said here, “I think that this might be something that you would love.” I am so impressed by that. And that little tiny thing is such a big thing to me. And those are the things that you can do for your clients that will set you apart from the crowd. And so I can’t fully express how valuable that is.
The notes sheet…it was a need; this peer identified a need that was there. I didn’t have to talk about it. And that’s how you want to lead your clients. There’s plenty of things that each and every one of you can do that are so simple but that add that extra wow factor. For my clients and myself, that’s the best surprise in the world.
What can you do? What do you identify?
So, right now, ask yourself what can you do to improve your business systems? Where are you weak? Where are you strong? If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest starting positive. Ask yourself: what are your favorite systems that you built in your business?
Then, ask about the most important ones. Can you receive money? Can you collect money? Do you have good systems for collecting late payments? Or do you have policies in place? A system doesn’t always have to be about operations. But, do you have policies in place? Do you have things that are going to allow your business to run much more seamlessly without you having to be the one to manually control every piece of it?
Ask me for ideas if you need them, comment below, or fill out my contact form here. I so look forward to your uplevel tips. Sound off, readers!