Today’s #businesslunchclub discusssion: Delegation

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Great discussion today on #businesslunchclub on Twitter.

The conversation today centered around delegation, and specifically around something that @IAC_Heather calls “the 3 Strikes, You’re Out” rule. The conversation was primarily between @IAC_Heather, @askleo, and myself (@AaronHoos), with @Hazewalker chiming in towards the end.

The “3 Strikes, You’re Out” rules are 3 simple rules to help you know what to delegate. The rules are:

  • 3 strikes rule 1: Is it something that you don’t personally have to do; is it something that someone else can do or be trained to do for you?
  • 3 strikes rule 2: Does the alternate person that could do it for you have an hourly wage less than your billable wage?
  • 3 strikes rule 3: Could you use that spare time on revenue generating activities or to increase your quality of life?
@askleo talked about the challenges of finding the right person and training them appropriately. And I talked about the challenge of being a sole operator for so long that it was difficult to “disassemble” projects I normally do automatically and identify which portions of the tasks should be done by me and which portions should be outsourced.
@IAC_Heather used the example of a babysitter when responding to @askleo, pointing out that parents do the best job of raising their children but they still “outsource” to a babysitter from time to time. She also recommended the use of Camtasia to capture processes to enable faster training.
I was curious to know what people outsourced (which is relevant to a conversation I had yesterday with a friend who suggested that he only outsources items that don’t add value to the client relationship). So far, I’ve only outsourced administrative work but kept my value-adding work and most of my sales efforts as my own tasks. @IAC_Heather outsources as much as possible (except where liability might be a concern) and, just as Business Lunch Club was wrapping up, @Hazewalker added this helpful advice: As long as you are unwilling to delegate, you cannot create a business that runs without you.
Good conversation in today’s Business Lunch Club!

A business lesson from Dr. Frankenstein

It’s alive! It’s alive!

Shelley’s Frankenstein reanimated the dead… and so should you.

Every business has assets that it has invested in at some point — an ebook, a training manual, domain names — but they are just sitting dead and unproductive.

You’ve paid for it. So why aren’t you using it?

Have you invested in business assets that you are no longer using? I’m talking about:

  • Training material sitting unused on a shelf
  • Domain names that just go to an unproductive, generic “coming soon” page
  • Websites that haven’t had a click in ages
  • Business plans that are at the bottom of your desk’s junk drawer
  • Marketing, Advertising, and sales material that no one’s using because it’s out of date
  • Seminar or conference content, but you don’t give seminars anymore
  • Print books that look nice on your bookshelf (but haven’t been opened)
  • Ancillary products that you’ve been giving away but aren’t sure if anyone uses them
  • New business or new niche ideas in a “to-do” list that isn’t getting done
  • Technical manuals for long-forgotten software
  • Autoresponders that are neither automated nor getting responses

Here’s why this is a common problem among businesses: Perhaps there was too much work involved in implementation; maybe the business got their ebook and sales letter from their freelance writer but then were left wondering “what do I do now?”; maybe it was easier to provide verbal training than have someone read the training manual; maybe a domain name was bought before market research revealed an important element about the niche.

… And so the investment’s value is lost.

It’s time to revive those assets and generate a return on your investment

I work with clients to help them to resurrect these once-dead assets and rediscover value.

  • Perhaps, with a small investment, that old training manual can be repurposed as an online webinar for new employees.
  • Perhaps those domain names can become tools in your business to reach new niche markets or as the doorway to an employee-only portal.
  • Perhaps that ebook can be reworked to become a revenue-generating ancillary product.

These are exciting innovations because most of the legwork has been done already.

So, where to start?

I’d suggest that you raid your office closets and miscellaneous folders and look at what you have. At the same time make a list of business goals you have. Then, try to connect the dots. Perhaps you want to test a new market and that old ebook and unused domain are the perfect investments to be stitched together. Or maybe you need to regain more time in your day so that training manual can be shortened and repurposed for new staff instead of them relying on you for verbal training.

You may run up against something that you don’t know how to do (like getting that ebook and sales letter and turning it into an actual site). You may need to bring someone else in on that. Get in touch with me because I might be able to recommend someone, depending on the project.

And very likely, you’ll have a wheelbarrow full of business assets that you don’t know what to do with. That’s when the fun begins! Get creative.

  • Push a bunch of assets together to turn into a sellable information product.
  • Post your technical manual for sale somewhere to someone who is still using the software that you’re not using anymore.
  • Put those domain names up for auction or create a new initiative that will allow you to use them.

I love doing this kind of work. It’s a creative challenge. It does generate an additional workload for you in the short term, but consider that you are likely going to be resurrecting something that you had once invested in but weren’t using productively. And if done well, many revived assets can mesh with and build upon your current brand to add to your current success!

Fix your marketing problems

From time to time I’m asked to set up and manage Google AdWords campaigns for clients or I’m asked to advise them on how they might improve their campaigns. I’ve found that many clients would get their Google AdWords report but wouldn’t know what to do with it. So I developed this tool a couple of years ago to help me guide my clients’ thinking in their AdWords management and help them to create contingency plans prior to starting up their first campaign.

AaronHoos_businesswriter_marketingfixquadrantIt works like this: There are basically 4 potential outcomes in every Google AdWords campaign — high or low click-throughs and high or low conversions — and each of these 4 outcomes might occur in different degrees of severity. The purpose of this tool is to prompt the user to consider what action they should take for each potential outcome.

So here are the outcomes:

A. Low Clicks/Low Conversions:
What this means: People might be seeing your ads but aren’t clicking. Or, they’re not seeing your ads enough.

What to do: Start by increasing what you bid on your ads and then look at how your ads are written. If you’re running one ad, or several ads with only minor variations, consider mixing them up with dramatically different ads. Have someone else look at your ads to see if they make sense and if there’s something you might have missed. Since your click-throughs might only be 1% of impressions and your conversions might only be 1% of click-throughs, you’re better off trying to get traffic to your site before you worry too much about your conversion rate. Also, make sure that you haven’t defined a target audience that is too small (i.e., running your ad only between midnight and 4AM and targeting Spanish-speaking people in Witchita Kansas).

B. Low Clicks/High Conversions:
What this means: This is a great place to be because the people who are clicking your ads and going to your site are seeing the value you offer and are buying. So the problem is on the ad side.

What to do: Start with your keywords. Are you using keywords that are too narrowly defined? Try broadening them. Make sure your bid rate is competitive. Don’t do much to change your ads right now because they seem to be effective, but instead work at trying to have your ads seen by more people more often; keywords are going to be your ticket here, probably.

C. High Clicks/Low Conversions:
What it means: I suspect that this is the most common problem in Google AdWords; it’s also a money-loser. If people experience this for too long, they sour from AdWords.

What to do: The ads seem to be attracting people, which is good. But there are two likely problems: It’s possible that the landing page needs work to do a better job of presenting the value you offer. There’s another possibility that is often missed, though. It could be that there is a misalignment between the ad and the landing page. Perhaps your ad is offering discount shoes but it takes the prospect to a landing page that only shows high-end sandals. So, the first place to start is to make sure that there is alignment between the ad and the landing page. If there is, then look at the landing page and make revisions. Highlight the benefits, make it really clear what the next step for the prospect is, and highlight the benefits again. Oh, and make sure you close the deal with a clear call to action. Once you’ve revised your landing page, make sure you review it with the ad again, just to make sure there is still alignment!

D. High Clicks/High Conversions:
What it means: You might be surprised to learn that I don’t think this is the ideal place to be. Probably because it means that your price is too low or, if your AdWords ad is selling a service it could mean that you’ll get an overwhelming number of orders that you can’t handle on your own.

What to do: If you’re selling a product, raise your price. If you’re selling a service, either raise your price or find out if there is a way to scale your staffing situation through temp workers, virtual assistants, and even family who can help out in a pinch.

Is there a sweet spot?
Ultimately, you should aim to have your clicks and conversions in the middle of the upper-right quadrant — not too high that you’re losing revenue or are overworked, but not any lower, either.

But wait, there’s more!
Although I use this tool primarily for AdWords, it does have broader applications and I have used an augmented version to help manage other marketing channels. By swapping out “clicks” for some other type of metric you can easily adjust this for many other types of marketing.

Favorite video: SBA Business Plan (part 1 of 8)

Consistently, the businesses that succeed are the ones that create and implement a business plan. As a result, I advise clients to get a business plan and I will often assist or entirely write a plan for a client.

In this webinar (which is part 1 of 8), the idea of a business plan is introduced and then, in the webinars that follow, the idea is elaborated on. Overall, I like that the SBA puts out this kind of material but I do have one criticism: They say that you don’t have to have anyone else do your business plan because you’re uniquely qualified to do your own business plan. While I understand what they are saying, I’ve seen a lot of businesses whose owners needed help because they couldn’t figure out what they needed to do to turn their idea into a product and then get it out to the market.

Here is webinar 1 of 8