Owner: Loren Bartley
Competition question: Send us an email to [email protected] telling us a challenge you have faced within your business either during or when you first started and how you overcome this challenge.
A challenge you have faced within your business either during or when you first started and how you overcome this challenge
My biggest challenge since starting my business would have to be capacity! There is only one of me, only so many hours in the day and yet sooooo much to do! I know I am not alone with this. All Mum’s that own their own business struggle each day to balance building their business with family commitments as we strive to achieve the perfect balance (which we can never quite manage).
However, I was adamant to find a way to increase my capacity beyond the hours that I had to give. I achieved this through a couple of methods:
Streamline Systems & Automation
I realised fairly early on that I was using way too many systems to do things. I used Outlook for my contacts, Mailchimp for my email marketing, Eventbrite for my event bookings and Wishlist for online membership portals. Many of my clients and/or potential clients were replicated across each of the systems and none of these spoke to each other. A change in one system would mean I would have to go in and manually change it in all the others – that was if I even noticed, had the time and could be bothered! This was just not efficient, with my internal systems working against my business rather than for it.
To overcome this I invested in Infusionsoft. A content management system that was way more powerful than what I needed, way more harder to learn than I had the time to commit and way more expensive than I could afford. Regardless of this I jumped in boots and all, fuelled by the notion that if I was going to go to the painful process of changing systems that I only ever going to do it once. Infusionsoft had all the features that I hoped my business will be big enough to grow into within time.
It took me quite some time to learn the ins and outs (even though I am only using a fraction of it’s capacity), but the investment has already paid dividends. Some of the benefits so far include:
- Increased efficiency, resulting in more time for me to spend on revenue generation rather than mundane admin tasks
- Integration of contacts, email marketing, online bookings, shopping cart and a membership training portal for all my online courses, as they are all housed within the one system
- Instant payment into my account directly when someone purchases products/services from me online (previously I had to wait up to a month for payment in some cases with some of the online booking systems I was using)
- Greater knowledge about all clients and potential clients, including all online interactions they have had with my business
- Greater lead generation through automated processes, allowing me to have a much greater reach for my business
- More professional look for my business
I was running a lot of face-to-face workshops, with many people keen to attend, but unable to do so, limited by the dates and locations. So I took my most popular training program and converted it into an online training program – Facebook Business Success. This increased my capacity incredibly, allowing me to record the program once and then deliver it countless times using the CustomerHub training portal within Infusionsoft. I will continue to add value to this training program over time by adding new content and refreshing old. I also plan to roll out additional training courses using this system over time.
I am well aware that my capacity is also limited by my knowledge, ability and reach (amongst other things). I have made it a real focus for 2013 to create partnerships to overcome these limitations. I am achieving this via the following methods:
- Allowing other businesses to sell my online training programs as affiliates (they get a kick back – win/win)
- Joint ventures with other businesses, where we package up our products/services together and sell to our combined networks
- Associations with other businesses to increase the profile for my business. Some examples of how I have achieved this are Motivating Mum and Runway Digital
- Joining and now working one day a week at The Hub Melbourne, a coworking community that drives innovation through collaboration across diverse sectors, disciplines and generations – this is early days and I can’t wait to see what opportunities this will bring!
- Joining relevant online directories and actively participating in networking events (e.g. Mum Pages)
Outsourcing & Employees
I have also sourced experts to assist me where appropriate. For example, I have outsourced copywriting, design and bookkeeping. In addition to this, I have employed an Admin Assistant. Whilst I could do many of these things myself, there are better people out there that can achieve better results in far less time, making it a worthwhile investment. There is only one of me and only so many hours in the day, so instead of doing those tasks, I now focus on the aspects of the business that most need me.
Where to from here?
Whilst I have implemented these changes to overcome the initial challenge of not enough capacity, capacity still continues to be an ongoing issue for me as my business is growing at such a fast pace. However, if I had not of implemented these changes then it is likely that I would not be experiencing the level of growth that I am achieving. I will continue to keep an eye on my capacity and implement further changes as appropriate to ensure that my business and family life continues to develop and thrive.
Suite 303, Shop 336 Murnong Street, Point Cook VIC 3030
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