The current year is setting the stage for brand new heights when it comes to designing fresh business strategies. In this first part of a two-part series, Crista Grasso explains the art of leaning out your business to access more opportunities, causing bigger customer impact and more efficient processes. She goes deep into five scaling patterns that will spell out success for most entrepreneurs this year, focusing on why businesses must aim to be simple, relatable, and unique at all levels.
In this episode, I discuss:
- Pattern One - Connection
- Leveraging video
- Adding personalized touches
- Creating experiences
- Pattern Two - Differentiation
- The importance of Intellectual Property
- Opportunities in your market
- Pattern Three - Value
- Upskilling yourself and your team
- Pattern Four - Leaning Out
- Why you should simplify
- Leveraging metrics
- Pattern Five - Customer Centricity
- Summary of the 5 Success Patterns for Scaling
Tune into Episode 1 of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast or keep reading below.
Scaling Patterns For Success In 2021
Since it's still early in the year, I wanted to take the time to walk you through what I'm seeing from the businesses that I'm working with, and what I'm observing going on in the industry, and share with you the ways that you can simplify to scale. Here are 5 of the top patterns and opportunities for success from my perspective that will be super important for 2021 as well as years to come.
The first pattern that I'm seeing is connection. I'm sure that you're seeing this as well. People are craving connection much more so than they were in prior years. This is a trend that we're going to see continuing as well as deepening in 2021.
You are probably noticing that video is a big focus now. Part of the focus on video is the craving people have for connection. They want to know the companies that they're buying from. They want to know the people that they're working with. You can't get away with some of the more generic messaging and hiding behind the computer in the way that you were able to in the past. Without being able to connect with people in person in the ways we were able to pre-COVID, video is becoming more and more important.
When you think about connection in your business, and you think about your customers and your target market specifically, consider how you can better connect with them and if adding or increasing the use of video makes sense (it does in most markets).
Here are some other things to ask yourself as you look at how to deepen the connection you have with clients and leads.
Can you offer more smaller circle or higher touch experiences for people? Maybe you add a VIP tier to some of your programs or services that create that small circle, intimate experience. Maybe you give people the opportunity to work with you or your team more directly, and become less of simply a number in a giant pool of other people.
Are there personalized touches and things that you can do? When new clients sign on to work with me, whether they work with me privately or whether they join my mastermind or one of my group coaching programs, one of the things that I do is to send a personalized handwritten note and I also send most people my 90-Day Lean Out Planner.
Sending an actual physical product as part of a welcome pack when they sign on goes a long way in creating an incredible and memorable onboarding experience. Think about if there is something like that that you can do in your own business, or if you already do something like that, is there a way you can step it up to further that connection with people?
Intellectual properties make any business extraordinarily valuable.
As you look at your marketing calendar for the year and plan out your launches, think of connection. If in the past, you would have sent a bunch of emails and done some social media posts for a launch, maybe now you want to do something live with people and add in a live training or challenge or Q&A to build that connection.
You might have things well dialed-in in your business, but it's a good idea to think about connection and how you may be able to mix things up and bring more of that connection in 2021. That is going to be a big differentiator.
Speaking of differentiation, that takes me to number two. The second pattern that I'm seeing is differentiation. The days of vanilla messaging or that shiny exterior that lacks a lot of substance is over. People are much savvier now. They're online much more. There are a lot of new people trying to get their message out as new people are starting businesses, and taking up a lot of the online space. You need to have and share a strong point of view.
What does your business stand for and believe? What do you stand for and believe that's different from what others may be doing?
One of my big things is I think hustling is BS. I do not think that you need to hustle to grow your business. Hustling long-term will put you out of business. That is part of my strong point of view. I help people simplify how they grow and scale their business and how to lean out so they don't burn out.
"Hustling long-term will put you out of business." - Crista Grasso Click to Tweet
What is your strong point of view? How can you share more of that?
This is not a year to be vanilla or to sink into the background. This is a year to be bold, to stand out, and to share your message even if it's polarizing, even if you're alienating some people. The people who get it and agree with your message, those are the ones that you want anyway. Those are the ones who are going to be customers for life, and who are going to grow in scale with you, and help you take your business to the next level.
While differentiating has always been important and will always continue to be, I think it is especially important in 2021 due to the surge of new people going online and there being much more noise to compete with.
Another important consideration when you think of differentiation is developing your own assets in your business, your own protected intellectual property.
One of the things that I teach people how to do is to add planners, workbooks or journals into their business to create a physical product that compliments and amplifies the results that people get from working with them in more of an online world. Having some form of physical product to go along with that has a huge value add and helps you to differentiate.
It’s something to consider if you don't already have that. In addition to adding a a physical product that's customer facing, what are the assets and intellectual property that you can be building behind the scenes in your business? Those are the things that make your business valuable. If you were ever to sell your business, those are the things that are extraordinarily valuable.
Another piece of differentiation is embracing what makes you you. There is a lot of pressure to do things a certain way and they often get ingrained in how we think we need to run a business. Sometimes we don't even notice that we're modeling some of what other people are doing instead of embracing what makes us us and our business unique.
You want to do business your way. That will help differentiate you. That will also help your clients build that deeper connection to you, and to ultimately become customers for life and very loyal.
The final piece of connection I want to share is making sure that you look at opportunities in your market to do and go where others won't or can't. I talk about this a lot when I'm helping people create physical products so I'll use that as an example, but you can translate this to anything that you do in your business.
Most people will not ever take the time to create a planner. They will think about creating a planner or a workbook for their business, but they won't do it because it's hard. It takes time, money and energy. By default, most people will do the easiest things.
How can you do the hard things? How can you do the things that are going to help you differentiate yourself, and help you stand out because others aren't going to be willing to do them?
If you do the hard thing and invest time, money and energy into the right hard things (not just any hard thing), you are going to give you business more of a competitive advantage. Especially when the things you choose to do are going to be super valuable for your clients and help them get results in a way that your competitors aren't going to be able to, because they simply aren't willing to do the hard stuff.
Think about what that means for you and your business. For a lot of my clients, it's taking their signature offer and adding some physical product like a planner or workbook to it. For you, it may be something different, but think about your customer, your market, and what you can do. What's that thing that you know everybody in your market wants to do, or you think would be super valuable for your clients, but most will never take the time to do?
That's what you want to be thinking about.
You want to be focused on providing the maximum amount of value for your clients. This goes along with number one and number two. When you think about the results that your clients want, what is a way that you can get them results and best of all, what is a way that you can get them results that others in your industry may not be willing to do?
Another piece of value is what I consider up-skilling. This is self-development for you as the business leader and also development for your team. How can you up-skill yourself and your team so that you're able to continuously provide more and more value to your clients?
Number four is what I call leaning out. Smart businesses in 2021 are going to lean out. They may not use that language, not everyone knows what leaning out means. Smart business owners, and I'm guessing you're probably one of them, are very much going to be focused on leaning out in 2021, because there's far less tolerance for waste.
Leaning out is doubling down on the things that add the most value to your clients and the most profit to your business, and eliminating everything else. All that 'everything else' is waste. People don't have tolerance for waste anymore.
I don't think they ever should have, but people are much more careful in their business now with the volatility and the unpredictability of what's going on in the market. People are paying much more attention to what they're putting their time, money and energy into.
Things that aren't helping your customers or aren't helping your business and adding profitability, they've got to go. When you think about leaning out, you're going to want to go all-in with the fewest number of things possible. Ask yourself - what are the things that are going to make the biggest impact on your customers, drive the most profit for your business, and position you for that next level of business growth? Those are the things that you're going to want to go all-in on. Get rid of all the rest of the noise.
"Go all in with the fewest number of things possible." - Crista Grasso Click to Tweet
Don't waste your time trying to do 400 different little things. Pick the few things that are working well and have the most opportunity. Double down and go all-in on those.
You always want to keep things super simple. I'm a big fan of simplicity in order to scale. When you look at your business, look at where you can simplify, which is another means of leaning out.
Where can you eliminate complexity? This is both back of the house so the things that you and your team do, your processes, your systems, the way that you approach running your business. You want to eliminate any complexity there and simplify. It's also front of the house. Think about your customer experience. How can you simplify their experience? How can you make it much clearer what you do and who you serve, and eliminate any confusion for them?
The final piece of leaning out is metrics. You do need that real analytical data to know what to focus on, what's working and what isn't. All things in business are part art and part science. Make sure that you've got the balance. Good decisions are based on a blend of your intuition, knowledge, insights, and observations as a business leader, backed by and rooted in actual data and metrics so you can see what's working and what's not.
Be Customer Centric:
The final success pattern is customer centricity. If you think about it, your customer base is what will allow you to grow and scale your business.
As I talk to people about setting a vision for their business, one of the key facets of vision that many people are missing is the customer. As you think about the future of your business, and you're thinking about your role in the business, you need to also be thinking about your customer.
What does that customer of the future need and want from you? What are the services, the offers and the things that you're providing to them?
You want to be thinking about that now and starting to make it a focus for 2021.
Those who are able to combine customer centricity with connection, differentiation and value, and those who run their business lean and eliminate all of the waste, noise and things that aren't adding value and profit - those are the ones who are going to win the game in 2021 and in the years ahead.
To start taking leveraging these patterns and opportunities:
Start by looking at a combination of connection and value. Look at where you can do smaller circle, higher touch, and higher value experiences for your clients.
See if there may be VIP options that you can add if you have things that are more group related and you don't have that now. If you do have that now, look at how you can either step it up or make sure you're emphasizing that aspect of your offer because it's something people are going to be looking for.
Next, you're going to want to differentiate and embrace what makes you you, and your business your business. You're going to want to take the unique point of view that you have and put that out there, and avoid the sea of sameness in following all of the "shoulds" that you often hear in business. I'm going to dive into this a bit in the next follow-on session to this one.
Ultimately, you want to stay lean. Figure out what's working and go all-in on just those things. Go all-in on the fewest number of things possible and get rid of everything else. Avoid the urge to split your focus across a whole lot of different things, and double down and go all-in on those few things that are going to make the biggest difference. Make sure that you've got your measures in place and make sure when you're looking at your measures, your metrics and your KPIs. You're making sure that they're the things that are beyond vanity metrics, and the things that are going to move the needle and make a big difference in your business.
Finally, stay customer-centric and put your customer at the core of your business in the decisions that you're making.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this 2-part series.
Which ones are you implementing in your business this year?
by Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale. Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast. She is also the founder and CVO of the Profitable Planner Co and Criscara Jewelry.