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Three words that changed my life {and might just transform your profits}

Let me introduce you to three of the most powerful words in our entrepreneur’s language.

Think.

Tank.

Time.

For the overworked, overloaded, and overstretched reading this, I can guess you are shaking your heads and saying, “Ha…has she seen my calendar. Does she get what my life is like?”

And, my answer is yes. If given the opportunity, between clients, kids and commitments my calendar would become a 40 hour a day spot where I would never find room to breathe.

I’ve been there.

I’ve done it.

I have the t-shirt and the sleepless night to prove it.

And, a few years ago I had to make a choice to set serious boundaries because my work life had overwhelmed my life, seeping into my evenings, my dinners, my breakfasts, my Sunday mornings, until it felt like a vine that was strangling every ounce of joy.

I thought I had overcome this little problem until the last few weeks hit.

You see, a lot has happened.

We’ve sold a business.

We’re opening a new business {across the country, because I believe in making everything very simple}.

We’re moving our current businesses to another epically incredible level.

And, this little part-time consulting practice? Well, it’s grown…fast.

Truth be told, the consulting part gives me amazing joy because I’m working with clients one-on-one and the results have been incredible. A few weeks in people are doubling their revenues, hiring the staff they’ve needed for years and taking control over their businesses. A few months in and I don’t recognize my clients—their lives and their businesses are totally different.
And, these kinds of results make me passionately dive in to see how we can make it better, grow it and help even more people.

This has meant growing a new and extremely talented team to provide incredible support for our customers.

This has meant months of training to make sure that we can see and use every person’s specific zone of genius {Total Fact—I have many team members that are far more talented than I am—we make sure to work in the areas that we are great at, which means our clients get the best results}.

This has meant lots of new technology implementation, headaches and processes.

Add all of these projects together, and, this has meant a lot of meetings, not all of which I needed to be on. Let’s face it, I was excited and I wanted to hear about everything {hello, type A, a role I had gleefully given up}

Meetings are lovely. So are bookkeeping, graphic design, Facebook page management, SEO research and website maintenance.

The problem is that they can remove any time to actually focus on deep diving into our business. And, as an entrepreneur, these aren’t necessarily the roles, I’m now called to fill in my business.

We feel busy so we must be doing something right. But, in reality, it’s the wrong kind of busy. It’s the busy that stagnates businesses and prevents long term growth.

Why? These roles are not directly producing revenue, growing my company, and building my client base. They are better served by a contractor who is focused on them at a much lower hourly rate than I currently charge.

And, I need to be doing things like:

  • Analyzing this month’s numbers and looking for trends in what’s going right and what could use a tweak.
  • Sitting down with my team for intensive training {and let’s not forget having the time to analyze who might need to be hired next to fill a crucial void, putting together the hire and training a new team member }.
  • Developing the plan for the next stage of our company.
  • Having time to actually connect with former clients and re-establish a relationship with them.
  • Having time to meet with new clients and establish relationships with them.
  • Planning out our goals {and the exact action steps on how to reach them} so I’m never just busy…every single action step has a purpose that keeps my business moving forward.

See where I’m going?

To do those things, I need actual white space—unscheduled, quiet time to move forward.

Enter Think Tank Time.

I didn’t invent this. In fact, thanks to a little bit of luck, I just realized it was what I’d been looking for.

My husband is currently an advisor to an amazing man, with a schedule that makes mine look like it has nothing on it. I called a few weeks ago when I was planning a surprise trip for Dan and wanted to make sure that I could pick him up half an hour early to get to the airport in time for our flights.

The response: “Don’t worry, it’s a TTT day.”

Me: “TTT?”

Response: “Think Tank Time—It would be hard to get much done if he didn’t have time to actually move forward on crucial projects. When we open up space on his calendar it’s filled right away, so we leave these pockets for our big projects.”

{Light bulb Moment}

So here’s my question—I’m just learning how to make Think Tank Time work for me in this new phase of my business. How can you make it work for you? Email us at support@lisekuecker.com and share your stories. I’m looking for a little inspiration and can’t wait to learn from you!

Why 157 kids taught me all I needed to know about dramatically changing my client’s results.

We’re buying a new car.  Actually two of them, since while I would drive my 8 year old Volkswagen until the day it died, my husband has refused to drive to me with jumper cables ever again.

While Dan and Remy {plus his bestie Jack} hopped in the very cozy coupes for test drives, I hung back at the dealership with one of my favorite books—The Talent Code.

For personal reasons, I love this book, because I have always believed that you were born a genius and there’s no other way to become one.  This belief has stopped me form doing more than a few things I loved because I wasn’t naturally great at them.  The Talent Code, flat out denies that…yes, 10,000 hours of practice is really necessary to become great.

Regardless of how many times, I’ve picked up this book, I’ve always glossed over Gary McPherson’s long term study on children’s musical development {shocking you say—yes, I am nerd}.

(more…)

The Big Out: How do I build a business that’s actually saleable?

Last Wednesday a major event happened. I sold one of my companies.

 

I didn’t sell it because I was tired of running my business.

 

I didn’t sell it because I was in debt or financially unstable.

 

I didn’t sell it because I wanted something new.

 

I sold it because I built this business with a plan that one day it would provide a substantial nest egg for our family. I knew from Day One that in order to sell this company it would need accounts receivables and financials that warranted a serious price tag for my buyer and his banker.

 

In every decision we made over the last eight years, we considered this possibility.

 

I thought about it when I bought equipment and chose not to overspend.

 

I thought about it when I mapped out my packages and built hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounts receivable {that’s just invoices that we’ve sold and haven’t been paid on yet}.

 

I thought about it when I changed my pricing and grew my profit margins substantially.

 

I took emotion out of my decisions because in the end, I knew that this business was part of a much bigger plan for my family. I made decisions based on the numbers first and my dreams at a far second. And, on Wednesday, I confirmed my decisions were right, when I looked at my bank account and saw peace—peace in the future; peace in the ability to do less work because I had a nest egg; and peace that I could live the life of my dreams.

 

Whether you’re building a practice from the ground up or you’re years in, you can start building a saleable business. But, there are three things that your buyer {and their bank and appraisers} will want to see in order to complete the sale at your dream price.

  1. Net Profits: Gross Income – Gross Expenses = What You Actually Make, otherwise known as Net Profit. For your buyer this means looking at two very important things:

Is this business making as much money as it could be making?

Is this business spending more than it should be?

 

Let’s start with Gross Income. I think we all know our business has left something on the table. Maybe we could add another program, become better at sales or increase our prices. From a buyer’s perspective, they’re going to wonder why you didn’t make these changes, which could result in a much lower offer.

 

So take off your owner eyes for a moment. Right now, what could dramatically increase your sales? Is it packaging for long term income? Is it hiring a sales manager to draw in new business? Is it learning Facebook ads and building a funnel of new clients? If you were buying this business today, what’s the first thing you would do to bring it to the next level?

 

Gross Expenses are one of my favorite things to dig into when I look at buying a business. My number one reason for turning down businesses that are offered to me is always an inflated rent.  So take a good hard look especially at your rent, your salaries, and your software expenses. What would a new owner do to get these expenses in check? What would they not tolerate—is this something you should let go of and alter now? Do you have a fear of change?

 

When you take off your {probably slightly overwhelmed} owner’s shoes, you can see potential. Then it’s only a question of making the decision to do it!

 

  1. Gross Receivables: Every time someone signs a contract with you promising future payments, you build Gross Receivables. For a buyer, this means your business has guaranteed income in. For a buyer’s bank, the higher the Gross Receivables, the better investment a business is.

 

So what happens when all you sell is a single session, a pre-paid package, a month of services? You eliminate the possibility of Gross Receivables.

 

For your business, this isn’t good—you personally have no guaranteed income.

 

For your buyer, it’s even worse. They’ll have to hope that they keep as many of your clients as possible to warrant a high price tag. Their question will be: Are the clients there because they are loyal to the business or to the business’ owner?

 

Chances are it’s a little bit of both. But, you can resolve this by simply building packages with long term income. And, trust me….you won’t complain when July hits and you have another great month!

 

  1. Business Infrastructure: Is your business running steady with a great, well-built team that has clear systems they operate under? Or is it in constant chaos, filled with last minute decisions, no clarity and zero direction as to what comes next?

 

The fact is, the greatest value my company offered was in its systems. They were exceptional. I only walked through the doors a few times a year.

 

I had great hiring systems, which enabled me to build a 7 Figure Team that grew my business for me.

 

I had great compensation systems that kept my team motivated.

 

I had great sales systems that were easy for my team to learn and grow my revenue {and their paychecks}.

 

I had great customer systems that kept our clients going strong and our profits compounding.

 

For that new owner, they knew they could walk into a business that was running strong and just keep the current systems rolling on ahead. No major effort. No hard work. Just keeping the status quo.

 

Out of these systems what do you need help with today? What needs to change? And, how will you ultimately build them?

 

What do you need to do today to build a saleable future? My friend, there is nothing better than seeing what you’ve built and knowing that you can sell it for great profits in the end. It truly is a beautiful thing!

If you want to dig a little deeper into how to prepare your business for sale {just in case the day comes you are ready!} click here for my Selling Out in One Year checklists and workbooks. Don’t be scared by the 19 pages… this is all the steps we took over the last year to sell our business for amazing profits!

Click Here to Download the Workbook

When Is The Right Time To Add Another Product or Program To Your Business?

About once a day I get an email, Facebook message or text asking me, “When should I add  _________________ to my business?”.

 

Maybe it’s adding a Health Coaching Practice to your Pilates or yoga studio;  an acupuncture service to your chiropractic practice, or a nutrition program to your functional medicine practice.

 

Maybe it’s a smaller change.  I want to add Pre-Natal classes to my studio, I want to offer a fascia release technique.  I want to offer a new line of products in my businesses.  It’s totally complimentary, but a new element.

 

This is a great {and ridiculously important} question with huge potential.  In our businesses we’re always growing and our offerings should reflect that, but for me, the bigger question is “Is this the best time in my business to add ___________?”

 

I, for one, get bored easily.  A new product, a new service, a new certification…SIGN. ME. UP. TODAY.  The problem is that I can find myself with a shiny, new tool in my businesses arsenal, that’s filled with products that never really maximize their profit potential, while I burn myself out on constant creation and expensive marketing.

 

This is not a place I ever want you at.

 

So, let me share how I decide if it’s the right time to add a product to my business:

 

  1. Do I have enough time to execute this flawlessly?

 

If you’re trying to offer a major new service without a serious amount of planning, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

 

It’s not just the time a certification or training takes.  It’s the time away from your current profitable part of your business that it takes.  It’s researching your market, building a client profile, incorporating this into your offerings, and deciding on a final price.  It’s taking the time to become a real expert in this {while running your already busy business}.

 

For me, this means I book a lot of these types of ideas a year out and I don’t do this every year.  I prize my sanity way too much.

 

To satisfy the consummate student in me, I dig in deeper to what I’m already building a business in.  So ask yourself this today, “If I dedicate the 40, 50 or 60 hours that this new program will take, and redirect that time into becoming an even greater expert at my current service, what would that do for my business?”.

 

I think you might be surprised to learn it will satisfy your creative urges, while giving your clients even more of what they want.

 

  1. How much is this going to cost me?

 

When I ask this question, I normally get a one-sided answer.  The certification cost $2000.  The marketing will only cost me $350 because I‘ll be emailing clients.  I’m so excited to do this that I’ll feel like I’m on vacation, so it won’t actually take any of my work time.

 

While these answers are part of the truth, none of them really show you the true coast of adding this to your business.  So let me give you a quick list of what you should calculate:

 

Certification Cost

Any travel costs related to certification

Any apprenticeship costs related to certification

All print marketing costs {including new cards, flyers, posters, and materials}

All digital marketing costs {including new web pages and Facebook graphics}

How many hours of time you will invest in this certification and the hours to master it MULTIPLIED by your current average hourly rate.

How many hours you will take away from clients MULTIPLIED by your average hourly rate?

How many hours you will take away from your family, free time and white space to make this happen MULTIPLIED by DOUBLE your hourly rate {because this is your most valuable time}.

 

Now just review this.  There are times in life when we work a little harder to reach the next level.  But, these times can’t be all the time.

 

Have you left room for downtime in your life?  Have you impacted your financial wellbeing of your business?  Are you putting yourself in unnecessary debt to make this happen?   Is this the time to sacrifice or to release into where your business currently is?

 

  1. Is my top tier product performing flawlessly and maxing out it’s profits?

 

If this answer is NO, then your timing is wrong.

 

So often when our main business isn’t working perfectly, we start searching for another answer to make more money, bring in more clients, keep people excited about our business.

 

This is the quick fix, that may change our numbers for one month, but does absolutely nothing for our long term.

 

Before you change, add or build anything, you need to make sure your existing business is thriving.  If not, I promise you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

 

Let me give you a great example for our businesses.  We work with lots of athletes, so building an athletic training program was a great idea.  When we offered this the first time, we spent almost $700 on marketing, hours on programming, and our employees time on creating a fantastic program.

 

We didn’t sell one single package.

 

I have to admit, I wanted to scrap this program.  I had too many other items doing too well, I felt like I had wasted our money and I had no desire to make a mistake twice.   But, this wasn’t’ the best answer.

 

Instead, we surveyed everyone who had been interested and learned how they’d heard about the program, what they’d loved about it, and why they hadn’t purchased it.  I quickly learned we hadn’t sold any programs because our times were wrong for the athletes we were targeting, parents were nervous to enroll because coaches hadn’t jumped on board and that our marketing needed to get far more specific.

 

We re-opened the program three months later, in the Fall of 2014—new times, five coaches fully prepped and marketing that was spot on.  We sold 14 slots and got this program off the ground.

 

In the Spring, this program expanded to almost 40 kids and in the Summer we jumped to 88 athletes.  This Summer we are projecting just over $63,000 in revenue from our athletic training program.

 

Are you making this leap because you’re trying to fix  a bigger picture problem in your business?  Or are you making this leap, because your other programs are running so flawlessly that you have more than enough time to build something great?

 

If you want to dig a little deeper into how to prepare your business for sale {just in case the day comes you are ready!} click here for my Selling Out in One Year checklists and workbooks. Don’t be scared by the 19 pages… this is all the steps we took over the last year to sell our business for amazing profits!

Click Here to Download the Workbook