Breakthrough to a 7-Figure Business
with Barbara Zuleger
Barbara Zuleger is the owner of Performance Partners Coaching. She recently took one of her clients from running a six-figure business and helped her scale to seven figures, then diversify into another venture. Here she shares her tips for how to develop and grow your company.
The Seven Building Blocks of Growth
Zuleger suggests seven building blocks for growth. These include:
- Planning. Do we have a plan in place to reach our goals? Are our foundations solid enough to build upon?
- Marketing. Do our products or services hold potential for profitable expansion? At base, marketing is just about communicating what the product is and what value it will bring to its customers. When you are starting out, don’t overthink it.
- Sales. How are we getting customers to engage with the business?
- Customer Service. Do we have a team in place well-suited to address customer concerns?
- Product Development. Even if we have a successful line of products, are we still developing more to launch into the marketplace?
- Team-Building. From hiring and onboarding to creating the right mix of skills and abilities. Have we created a team that works effectively towards a unified goal?
- Personal Development. This applies particularly to the leaders / owners of the business. Are you as a business owner capable of leading your team to new heights?
80% of female business owners say, “it’s not about the money”. However, money brings empowerment. It may not be about personal wealth, but growing the company to a seven-figure business allows you to do so much more with your resources. This may include non-profit ventures and helping a greater number of people, all made possible by accruing profitability.
Case Study: Landscaping Business
One of Zuleger’s clients, a landscape designer, was new to being a business owner. Zuleger talks about “bottlenecks to breakthroughs”. These are blockages on the road to success. Zuleger’s client’s main bottleneck was mental: she couldn’t formulate what she wanted or was able to attain. She also had difficulty letting go of any aspect of her business.
Zuleger worked with the client to find external reasons to build her team and grow the company. Now, ten years later, the designer has created systems and processes which allow her to delegate effectively. Zuleger facilitated this client’s growth by analyzing her business according to the above seven building blocks and systematizing her processes, so they were consistent and delegable.
The end-product was a smoothly running and expanding seven figure business.
Delegation and Team Building
Often the feeling that “there’s nobody out there I can trust to do this job” really diagnoses a lack of definition of the business culture. A key tip Zuleger offers is not to hire someone to match your team. Instead, look for an employee who fills a gap. Identify what personality type and skillset is missing and hire with that deficiency in mind.
Break down hiring challenges into four steps:
1. What’s broken?
2. What does it looked like when it’s fixed?
3. What’s the gap between those two things?
4. Who will best fill that gap?
It is also vital to properly define lines of communication and responsibility.
Defining what Success Looks Like
A major roadblock according to Zuleger is company owners not knowing what success looks like for them. This must be defined or redefined periodically. Once owners know this, they can shape corporate and personal goals.
The landscape design client was having a hard time accepting that a seven-figure business was an acceptable goal. But success can be thought of as achieving a consistent quality of life for you and those you care about. For many this formulation provides better motivation than money in the abstract.
Breakthroughs happen one brick at a time. Zuleger helped her client take small steps to achieving the result she wanted.
Teamwork Achieves Breakthroughs
Partners and mentors can be helpful to identify what is getting in the way of success. Selecting the right mode of thinking is key too. We tend to gravitate towards our own preferred solutions, whether it be hiring staff, doing research, focusing on marketing et cetera.
Zuleger talks about the DISC system for identifying personality types – with the four quadrants representing Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness and Steadiness. It can be helpful to identify what your colleagues and clients need in each interaction. It’s okay to ask how someone would like to be communicated with.
Processes and procedures are helpful and are a good way to delegate. Define the procedure clearly and then you’ll be confident that you can delegate it.
A Planning Process for any Scale
Zuleger has great advice for business owners who are just starting out. If you are getting by but not yet growing, you need to be strategic about your business development. A strategic plan might be broken down thus:
• A Three-Year Strategic PLAN, comprising
• 12-Month GOALS, broken into
• Quarterly OBJECTIVES, and
• Weekly TASKS.
This systematic approach works for businesses of all sizes.
Lifestyle and Asset-Based Businesses
If your brand is very much tied to what you personally deliver, you must decide if the revenue and freedom you have is sufficient to meet your needs. If not, you need to find ways of building assets that generate revenue independent of your personal activity. Innovation will be required to find the USP in what you deliver which can nevertheless be scaled.
How to Handle Failure
Only 20% of new businesses last more than six years and just 4% of start-ups make it to a decade. Therefore, disappointment is rife. Coping with this requires self-care and giving yourself a break. Refocus on the “why” of what you’re attempting to do, to re-energize yourself.
Focus on the big picture. How does what you do contribute to the world around you, from your immediate family to the world at large? Answering this question can prop up flagging motivation, helping maintain positivity.