Small Business Coaching for Women, Small Business Mentor - Client Attraction

The Client Attraction Blog

How you can take extended, unplugged vacations

Fabienne Fredrickson
September 3, 2015

During my month-long vacation in August (partly in France, partly here at the beach in Connecticut), people kept asking me the same question.

“How exactly are you able to take as much time off as a business owner, without checking in very much? I thought entrepreneurs are supposed to always make themselves available? How on earth do you do it?”

Well, it’s simple actually.

You CAN take (mostly) unplugged, extended vacations, IF you take a few precautionary steps ahead of time, as I explain in this week’s content video:

Imagine taking this December off. Or maybe even August next summer?

In this week’s new four-minute video, I share a few pointers that we use and teach our Leverage students of the Business School to successfully take several weeks off (maybe even months?) at a time, without losing business or your sanity.

In fact, being away can actually produce one of your highest revenue months of the year, as some of our students are experiencing.

Once you watch the video, please share with me in the comments below how much time you would like to take off each year and what you’re going to do to make that happen, OK?

By this time next year, let’s all have a nice extended (and unplugged) vacation planned, shall we?

Sending love,
Fabienne

p.s. Know someone who works too much and could use some more time off in their business? Please send them this blog… They will hug you for it. 😉

 

Four things you need to create a group program

Fabienne Fredrickson
August 11, 2015

CreateGroup-SmallWhen you’re working to make your business scalable and leveraging what you already have going on, there are four things you need to consider before you formulate a group program.

1. Get very clear about what you want
Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Get really clear about your vision and the big picture you are aiming for. This is a great time to brainstorm and be creative to see what comes out of your ideas. It’s also a great clarity exercise. You need to be clear before starting any execution.

2. Investigate systems and experts who can help
The idea of leveraging your business is to work with a lot more people. This is not something you can do well on your own. You need a team in place to help you execute and keep track of all the elements and client service. There may be alliances that can help fill in the gaps or people who specialize in a part of your plans who you can rely on. This is about “due diligence” preparation so everything lines up smoothly when you are ready to roll out the program.

3. Set criteria for success
By establishing criteria for success, you can determine if the program met your expectations once completed. Think about how much time you want to invest and the money you want to generate. Naturally, you want to feel passionate about the program, have it turn a profit and you want to feel good about your relationship with the team. You don’t want to find out after everything is done that it took too much time or didn’t deliver the anticipated income. Find out how you can address this early on and plan ahead to ensure success.

4. Prepare a timetable
When undertaking a big project, decide on your delivery date. That makes it easy to work backwards on the calendar to plot each step along the way that needs to be completed. Then, you’ll know exactly when you need to start if you plan to be ready by a certain date. Share this timetable with everyone on the team and discuss any concerns. To achieve your goal and complete the project on time, everyone involved needs to agree to the timing.

Your Client Attraction Assignment

While working with a team, one thing that can be very helpful is to have regular status meetings where each member reports on progress made and discusses problems or roadblocks that are encountered. You’ll stay informed about each piece and where you might need to jump in or get extra assistance. Teams that communicate well tend to work better together and achieve their goals in a more satisfying and timely manner.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

What’s your exit strategy?

Fabienne Fredrickson
August 6, 2015

When I first began my business, I just focused on staying afloat and (barely) making my bills.

For me, that first period of going solo was all about sheer survival!

I needed to put my nose to the grindstone and just focus on that particular day, and then the next, and then the next.

If that’s what you’re doing, brilliant!

Keep going…

But…

Don’t stay there forever, like the woman whose story I talk about in this week’s video:

Sadly, she kept focused on the day-to-day, every day for her entire career.

This mistake, as you’ll see, was very costly for her down the line.

Hey, I get it. You might still be in the first few years of business, maybe you only have one employee, maybe you have none…

…but it’s never too soon to start thinking about your exit strategy.

Yes, even NOW.

You know, if you’re strategic and you plan now, perhaps you could retire with millions. 😉

And the best thing is that being strategic about this now can actually help you grow your business now, so it’s a win-win.

If you don’t have a plan now for how you’ll exit your business down the line, and start to put some measures in place even now, you might just lose it all one day.

This new kind of thinking requires a shift in mindset.

Watch my new 4-minute video to learn why it’s important to start thinking now about your business in a really long-term way.

And so, this week, I want to make sure to ask you this:

What’s your long term exit strategy for your business? If you don’t have one yet, would it be beneficial for you to start thinking about that now? Why?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I want to read about how this gets you thinking and support you in making those shifts now, OK?

Until next time!

Sending you big hugs,
Fabienne

 

How to handle losing clients

Fabienne Fredrickson
August 4, 2015

Losing Clients-SmallHave you ever had a client stop working with you before you completed the project or were finished with your goals? This is not an easy thing to handle and sometimes business owners take this hard. Your ego gets bruised from rejection of this kind.

Well, you’re human so it’s not surprising that you felt the sting. Sometimes clients do not want to finish your program and ultimately it is their decision to make. However, how you handle this is essential to building a business with a good reputation and staying in good standing. Below are four suggestions to help you work through the abrupt end of a work relationship.

1. Take the high road

Above all else, you must handle this ending in a positive, professional manner. Be polite, maintain an even keel and stay calm. You want to part ways with good feelings as much as possible to end on a good note. How you handle the exit leaves a long-term mark, so take the high road whenever you can. Send your client love and wish them the best in the future.

2. This too shall pass

Positive self-talk can help you move past this rejection quickly. It might feel personal, but often your client’s decision is all theirs and has little to do with you. Some people aren’t ready for success or to do the work needed to get the results they want. This resistance can put a strain on your working relationship and manifest as missed appointments and unfinished homework, among a myriad of other things.

3. Review feedback honestly

If you did receive specific feedback, take time to think about it carefully and evaluate if there is any truth in it. Put yourself in the client’s shoes to see if there is room for improvement. You might actually discover something that changes your process, product or service for the better.

4. Therapeutic exercise

Derek and I have both done this exercise. Go into your email, click on compose and type “Working together” into the subject line. Then, draft an email about what you wish you could say to them. Talk about how you felt, what you liked, what you didn’t like and what hurt. There’s no need for blaming or accusations, but present your case.

Do NOT send the email – it’s just for you. This works like a catharsis to get it off your chest and help you let it go. Save it to your drafts or delete it, but make sure you do not hit send. You could also do this in a word document. This is a great way to move on and express yourself without any repercussions. You’ll feel better right away, or the very next day.

Your Client Attraction Assignment

When a client leaves unexpectedly, that might be a good time to review your process. See if you can come up with a step that can be inserted before leaving. Perhaps you add something to your policies about ending the relationship so you address this before it happens. That extra step might give you the chance to turn things around.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Three ways to delegate like a millionaire entrepreneur

Fabienne Fredrickson
July 14, 2015

I’m thrilled to introduce you to one of our standout students of The Client Attraction Business School™, Katie Mazzocco, The Small Business Systems Strategist. Please welcome Katie as a guest contributor to the Client Attraction blog. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Please post your comments and questions below. ~ Fabienne. Connect with Katie on Twitter here.

Millionaire-SmallAs entrepreneurs we started out having to master every aspect of our business: marketing, sales, technology, content creation, customer service, client delivery, web design and more. It’s amazing how quickly we become control freaks and how much it benefits us, at least in the beginning.

Ultimately, as we grow, the propensity to micromanage slows us down and holds us back from growing our income and impact in the world. There’s only so much that one person can do alone, and the same is still true if you have a micro-managed team.

So there you are in a Catch-22: the mindset and mechanics that used to fuel your small business growth in the start-up phase now hold you back and prevent the growth you want.

To reach big numbers in your small business, you need to shift to a new mindset of productivity and delegating. (Click here to tweet this.)

Here are the necessary action steps to achieve your dream:

1. Strategic Planning

If you don’t know where you’re going, you definitely won’t get there. You need to know where you’re going (goals), how you’re going to get there (strategy), when you need to take action to make it happen (timeline), and why, to keep you inspired and accountable (purpose).

Routine strategic planning leads to the best results because it keeps your goals at the forefront of your mind. This regular planning also enables you to identify when you’re off course so that you can get back on track.

2. Systematize

I hear people say all the time that they don’t have time to delegate. The truth is you have time to delegate, but you just haven’t taken the time to create clear, repeatable systems so that it’s easy to do. Any millionaire entrepreneur will tell you that the “self-made millionaire” is a myth. It takes a team. To run a successful team you need systems. It’s that simple.

3. Delegate

Once you’ve documented your systems, use them to efficiently communicate tasks, expectations and processes to one or more team members. Be sure to create an open line of communication while also cultivating independence in your team members.

Your Productivity Assignment

Do you know what you want to delegate next? Make a list of routine activities you do that do not directly use your unique talents (tasks like formatting weekly ezine, editing videos, bookkeeping or scheduling). Now choose one and schedule time for you to document that system this week. Then delegate it, reap the rewards and repeat the process with a new task.

FSP_Katie_HeadshotSmile_092215Katie Mazzocco, The Small Business Systems Strategist, is the creator of The Chaos to Cash System™, the proven step-by-step process that teaches you exactly how to transform your chronic-overwhelm and business plateaus into increased profits and systematic business growth through systems and strategic delegation. To get your free report How to Transform Your Chaos Into Cash™ and receive Katie’s productivity success videos on increasing your income and expanding your impact in the world visit www.FullSpectrumProductivity.com.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Three strategies to improve focus and productivity

Fabienne Fredrickson
June 30, 2015

FocusAs a small business owner, there are countless people and projects clamoring for your attention, which can make it difficult to focus. Distractions often prevent you from getting your work done. Yet, executing strategies that bring you fast cash are essential to build your business quickly.

You may think there are not enough hours in the day. However, the true solution is becoming focused and sticking to your plan to complete projects. Let me share three empowering strategies that will help you improve focus and spike productivity.

1. What are your biggest time wasters?

When you think about what distracts you from work, it may be any of these activities:
• Email
• Personal phone calls
• Social media
• Errands
• Not delegating enough
• Non-money-making activities
• Other people’s priorities

Take out a piece of paper and write down what activities are the most distracting to your productivity. Getting clear on what takes you off course and competes for your attention is the first step to improving productivity. Think about what gets in your way on a daily basis.

2. Allow yourself to say no

I know you work hard, so have a little compassion for yourself. Making yourself feel bad will not help change the situation. As an entrepreneur, you never get to the bottom of your to-do list and it’s time to accept this as a fact. Take a moment to consider what you need to say “No” to in order to clear your desk for priority projects.

Here are three steps you can take situations to say “No” and guard your time:
• If what you are working on is not generating money or a big game changer, stop doing it.
• Set strong boundaries with family, friends, colleagues and even clients if needed.
• Hire childcare if you need it; even two hours a day can improve productivity.

3. Use Tools that Boost Productivity

Try any of these suggestions to become more focused and enhance your productivity.
• Get away from your desk to disrupt your routine. Try a café, the library or even work at home once a week to be super focused during this time.
• Close all non-essential windows on your computer like Facebook Twitter, email, etc.
• Let calls go to voicemail and return calls later.
• Use an egg time or countdown clock on your phone or computer for focused time periods. When the timer rings, you are done—no matter how much you’ve accomplished.

Please keep in mind you are human and tomorrow is another day. Whatever you don’t finish will be there tomorrow, but having an end time is just as important as setting time aside to focus on priority tasks.

Your Client Attraction Assignment
I encourage you to also make a list of what you need to stop doing or delegate to free up time for more important, money-generating activities. Since there are only so many hours in a day, the better you get at using your time productively and not allowing yourself to get distracted, the more you‘ll accomplish.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Four ways to raise your rates without resistance

Fabienne Fredrickson
June 22, 2015

RaiseRates-SmallHow do you know when it’s time to raise your rates? I found the best system was to raise my rates as my business started to fill. Once your company is growing and you are in high demand, it’s easier (and feels safer) to raise your rates.

1) Test your pricing on new clients
I began letting my rates creep up with new clients who signed on. At one point, I was increasing my fees every three to four months. I would wait to see if there was any resistance from the prospect I was speaking to, and when there wasn’t, I raised the fee again. This is a great way to test your pricing rather than taking your rates up in one big jump.

2) Grandfather current clients
Another thing I did was “grandfather” my existing clients to hold their rates steady. This was important to me for clients who had been with me for a while. This just feels like the right thing to do in most cases. Generally your clients commit to working with you over a series of months at a particular price—sticking with that is fair and appropriate.

One thing you want to do is ask current clients not to discuss their rate when they make referrals, so you can freely charge new clients the higher rate. Even if someone comes to you expecting the lower rate, I still advise that you stick to your new rates to be consistent with all new clients.

3) How to increase fees with current clients
If you want to raise your rates with your current clients, I recommend giving them quite a bit of notice. With a few months’ notice, they’ll have time to adjust to the idea. Be sure to explain any new services they’ll be receiving at the new higher fee so they can easily see how they’ll benefit from the change.

4) Add value to your offering
If you do start encountering some resistance to your pricing, it can help to throw something into your new package that wasn’t available at the lower price. Try offering a bonus that doesn’t cost you more time or money. You might have home study courses or other materials you can add to create higher value without taking up a lot of your time.

Your Client Attraction Assignment

When I started my business, I decided to go with a lower rate to encourage people to sign up. That might not be the right thing for you and your business. I recommend doing a little research to see what your competitors are charging and go with the average rate offered in the market place. This is a solid pricing strategy. You can do this again when you are ready to increase your prices.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Hire assistants that will keep you sane

Fabienne Fredrickson
May 26, 2015

Hiring assistants is a big part of leveraging your business to grow faster. You can’t be everywhere or do everything yourself. At some point, you will not have the bandwidth or physical ability to get it all done alone. Many small business owners struggle with how to hire an assistant and what that person’s responsibilities should be.

I have found hiring mistakes tend to happen when you compromise on what you need from your staff. There are times when you get frustrated because you can’t find the exact mix of skills and personality you desire. As a result, you decide the person in front of you is good enough. Sometimes that is true, but other times it turns out to be a disaster.

My first assistant helped with a variety of tasks. This worked okay for a while, but did lead to frustrating situations. Trouble cropped up when I tried to have one person take on several different roles. Often one area would go well, while other responsibilities weren’t handled with the same excellence. Usually the person wasn’t wired to do both aspects of the job. Segmenting the roles and responsibilities was more effective.

I discovered that it’s natural for people to excel at certain tasks, which is why it makes sense to let them shine where they do a good job. Then, I would pass on other activities to people who are good at those things. As my business grew, I started hiring different assistants to handle very specific assignments.

This kept me sane, to tell you the truth. Even though it meant I had to oversee more staff members, it actually made things a lot easier for me. I didn’t have to teach anyone the skills sets – I hired people who already had them.

I put together a document for myself called Virtual Team Components. The list included each virtual assistant (VA), the job function they performed and duties expected of them. Here’s an example of possible job functions:

Virtual Team Components
VA #1: Operations Manager
VA #2: Client Contact and Client Relations Manager
VA #3: Technology Manager
VA #4: Membership Site Coordinator
VA #5: Social Media Manager, etc.

I call this “going vertical” in terms of organizing your staff and the jobs they perform. Allowing your people to focus on what they do well will help keep you sane in the whirlwind that is your business.

Your Client Attraction Assignment

If you are ready to start hiring assistants, take time first to segment the roles and responsibilities. You can start small and add more help as needed. Isolating the tasks will help you find the right person for each role rather than force fitting the VA to several job functions.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Five steps for smooth employee transitions

Fabienne Fredrickson
May 12, 2015

EmployeeTraining-SmallAs a business owner, you have to make a lot of tough decisions. One of them is when to let someone go or hire someone new for your team. If you plan this well, you can create a system for employee transitions, having the person who is leaving actually train your new hire.

Let me share an example. One of my students followed this series of steps for bringing on a new social media manager.

1. Put training in the contract. In the employment contract, a new team member is made aware that part of the responsibility will be to train a replacement should you part ways. This sends a clear message that people will explain duties and responsibilities of the position before departing the company.

2. Create a checklist. Have your current team member develop a checklist for all training that will be covered. This will work like a table of contents and can go at the beginning of all documentation for the position. For social media, you would include how often to post on each platform, details if you use a scheduler, credentials and passwords, etc.

3. Write an operations manual. Have the employee write the operations manual for the position, explaining all duties and responsibilities. This must be specific, going over all the actual tasks they complete as part of that job. Now you’ll have a handbook so someone new can look up how to do a particular task. Documenting the duties is extremely helpful for creating a smooth transition between employees and having a reference guide once the transition has been completed.

4. Set up a calendar for upcoming projects. Have your new team member work with your outgoing employee to create a calendar of the projects that are coming up. This ensures everything is planned and organized so your new employee knows what needs to be accomplished without any gaps. For example, with social media, you can plan Facebook posts that cover promotional messaging, content sharing and posting of photos for a few months into the future.

5. Schedule web sessions. If your team is not on site, using software like GoToMeeting allows employees to share screens for training purposes. This is excellent hands-on training so the new hire can see exactly how things are done. Many people learn best by actually going through the steps.

Here are a number of safeguards to keep in mind:
• On occasion, when there is a problem with an employee, make sure there isn’t going to be a lot of animosity while training the new hire. If you pick up on this, you may need to rethink your training process.
• Watch over how the training is going. Ask your new hire if there are any unanswered questions.
• Make sure your operations manual document is locked, so that once it’s finished, no one can change it or sabotage the process.
• Be sure to review the manual to ensure everything is in there and nothing gets left out or overlooked.

Your Client Attraction Assignment
Do you have training or operations manuals for all the positions in your company? If not, make that one of the goals for your next 90-day plan. This is a big project for your employees, so be sure you give them enough time to complete it and do a thorough job.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

Two key factors to keep in mind during your business expansion

Fabienne Fredrickson
May 5, 2015

Business Expansion-SmallWhen I talk to students who need to start leveraging or expanding their businesses, I often refer to where they are as being “in the soup.” It feels like you are swimming in a mess of things that need attention, and keeping your head above water (or the “soup”) is hard. This is a challenging time for most small business owners.

In addition to working with clients, you have all the back office work, and many owners say they are working practically 24/7. No one wants that! I’ve had students talk about losing friendships, not getting the exercise they need and not taking any time off. Or, they feel stressed out with no end in sight. This is when you know something has to change.

The shift begins as you get clear about your new direction. Maybe you want a system that automates a particular process or need to hire staff to create a team. Your business might require more structure for running certain programs. Sometimes business owners need to duplicate what they do so they can step aside to let the team handle day-to-day tasks and work on the bigger picture.

A team will help you stop working so hard “in your business” so you can start to work “on your business.” That’s where the business expansion really starts to show up. When you’re ready to leverage your business and create systems, your business requires two very important elements:

1. Planning
2. Patience

Plan your moves step by step
One way to ensure you start on the path to leveraging your business is to creat a 90-day action plan. After you decide on your goals, map out the steps to get the changes underway. That’s the beauty of planning. Once you define your direction, you can clearly see what needs to be done next.

Seeing what needs to get done is one thing… making it happen is another, and it can still feel overwhelming. Breaking your plan down into manageable pieces helps you feel these smaller steps are very doable. Take time to map out the steps so you can attack them one at a time. Your 90-day plan organizes the work, provides a time frame and gives you a date for completion.

Patience is more than a virtue
Executing your plan will take time. Creating systems and adding structure – these types of business changes don’t happen overnight. This is why patience is essential for you to carry out your vision for expansion. You cannot hurry the transition if you want it done well.

Your Client Attraction Assignment
My students in the Leverage Track of The Client Attraction Business School often have a buddy for support and accountability. When you share your 90-day plan with your buddy, you are making it real and putting it out there into the world. Find a friend who will help you stay on track (and you will do the same for him or her) so you both complete your 90-day plans.

This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details. To speak to an enrollment coach, click here.

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