Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 2: The Little Things Mean Everything!

iStock_000053379052_Medium.jpg

Welcome back to my four-part series about Maximizing Customer Relationships— I am so happy that you’re back to learn more! In Part 1, I shared my first of seven secrets to create long-lasting and profitable relationships. To recap, Secret #1 is standing out from the crowd and being unique. After reading Part 1, I hope that you spent some time identifying your niche and now you’re ready to think about WOWing your customers during the buying process. Are you ready? Let’s dive into Secret #2: Before the Buy and Secret #3: The First Purchase.

Secret #2: Before the Buy

There are so many components of the buying process that actually occur before a customer even hands you their payment, and you cannot overlook these aspects! Every small detail about your brand can sway a customer’s opinion of your business and whether or not they want to enter into a relationship with you. Remember, your goal is to maximize relationships and this starts the very first time a customer Googles your business. I’ve outlined four key components to focus on that all occur before a customer buys from you—keep reading to learn these secrets to success!  

Website

First, you need to have a great website that reflects your brand and speaks to your target market. For most demographics, this means your customers are researching you on their cell phones, so your website needs to be mobile-responsive! You don’t want people zooming, scrolling, scrunching, and getting frustrated. This leads to the next component; is your website easy to use? In the tech world, this is called UX—user experience. Are your clients able to navigate easily and quickly find the information they are looking for? Finally, your website needs to be beautiful. A customer will instantly judge your credibility based on what your website looks like, so enlist the help of a designer or get some inspiration from other brands with a great aesthetic.

Something Special—Meet Your Stylist  

If you’re connecting the dots, you’ve already realized that Secret #1 and Secret #2 go hand-in-hand. Your business needs to stand out from the crowd (Secret #1), so you can engage with customers before they buy from you (Secret #2). One way that my hair salon stands out from the crowd—before  a client does business with us—is with a tool called Meet Your Stylist. Meet Your Stylist is the best marketing tool ever created for the hair industry! Meet Your Stylist is a customized survey that matches clients with the hair stylist who is the best fit for them based on their personality, lifestyle, and relationship preferences. How awesome is that!

With Meet Your Stylist, clients no longer feel like they are on a blind date when they visit a salon for the first time! Basically, we are eliminating any fear that the client has by controlling their first meeting, before they even step into our salon. Although Meet Your Stylist is designed specifically for hair salons, you can think of other tools to create the same outcome. Consider developing your own survey for clients to determine if they would be a “good fit” for your service. Get creative, think outside the box, and do something special for your clients before they even buy from you!

Google is King

Friends, Google is still the number one search engine, by far! Because of this, your Google ranking is incredibly important to the success of your business! If a client Googles “jewelry store in Madison” are they going to find your business on the first page? Factors such as your website design, SEO, back-links, reviews, and more are considered when Google ranks your website. So, a great way to boost your ranking is by having a ton of great reviews!

When I started Be Inspired Salon in 2010, I needed to gain credibility, and fast! To start boosting our Google ranking, we ran a brilliant promotion—so, here’s what we did. In 2010, Groupon was huge, so I sent a marketing email that said: “Better than Groupon! $60 for $30!” If a client visited with this email, we would provide them $60 in services for only $30. In return, we asked that they leave us a Google review. Within a few weeks, we already had 80 reviews! While we no longer run this promotion, it created a great foundation, and today we have over 230 reviews! Throughout the US, I have only found one other salon with more reviews than us. This is a terrific testament to the great work that my team does and people want to know about it!

Messaging

A final piece to consider that occurs before a customer’s purchase is your messaging. Messaging includes all of the small details that clients will notice! For instance, if a client visits your business’ Facebook page does it say “Typically responds within 24 hours” or does it say “good luck” (not really, but you know what I’m saying!). I am a strong believer that you need to respond to a client within the same day that they contact you. If you’re out of the office, you need to set up an automatic reply that includes a specific date that you will respond to them by. Also, are you setting up appointments with your clients? If so, are you reminding them and confirming their meeting? Again, messaging is all about the small details that make a client excited to do business with you!

Secret #3 The First Purchase

At last, you’ve made it to the first purchase! Before we get ahead of ourselves, take a minute and ask yourself What are my standards for a client’s first purchase?” Hopefully, you have some concrete ideas that you consistently apply with every client. Now, I have a tougher question: are these standards written down? Developing a training manual is a time-intensive process, but if you write it once, you can use it forever! A training manual or employee handbook is a great strategy for ensuring consistency, especially when new employees join your team.

When you meet a client for the first time, you have to treat it as though you will have a relationship with them for the rest of your life. Keeping this in mind, you can’t forget that the little things mean everything! If you have a brick and mortar business, what should happen when the guest walks in your door? What do they see, smell, hear, and feel? Are you greeting people by looking them in they eye, shaking their hand, saying their name, and smiling? Again, these expectations should be written in your training manual so you can hold everyone accountable.

Finally, don’t be afraid to splurge in areas that will help you gain and retain clients. For instance, when a guest enters my salon someone from the front desk team offers them a beverage menu. That’s right! We have enough high quality options that they require a menu. This is one area where I’m not afraid to splurge because I know this amenity keeps customers coming back. On our menu, we serve Wollersheim wine, V Bourbon by Yahara Bay Distillery, reverse osmosis water, locally roasted coffee, and locally sourced tea. How do you plan to go above-and-beyond to make clients feel valued during their purchase?

Rapid Recap

Don’t forget that our goal is to maximize customer relationships! By breaking down the buying process and examining every detail from before and during the purchase, you are sure to find areas for improvement and ways to maximize client relationships. As you probably know, it costs more money to attract new clients than retain existing clients, so don’t be afraid to go above and beyond! Make sure to check back for the next part of this series where we break down a client’s first visit and their “checkout” process—I have some great tips to share!  

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 1: Stand Out From The Crowd

iStock_90502785_MEDIUM.jpg

In your current work, do you interact with customers? For most people, the answer is a loud YES! For better or worse, customers are often at the heart of most companies, so maximizing relationships is essential for building a reputable and profitable business.

Whether you’re an employer, employee, independent contractor, or entrepreneur, you need to WOW your customers before, during, and after the buying process. Trust me, I’ve been in all of these positions in the beauty industry, and I’m excited to share with you my seven secrets for maximizing customer relationships!

First, take a moment to reflect on this question: what does it mean to YOU to maximize customer relationships? Spend a minute jotting down a few thoughts. Do you have your answers? Here’s what maximizing customer relationships means to me:

  • Increased revenue and decreased discounts and deals
  • Increased positive morale among the team

To achieve these results and others you’ve identified, you need to follow Secret #1: Stand Out From the Crowd! If you want to WOW customers, you have to be different from your competitors. Thinking about your business, how do you already stand out from the crowd?

When I ask this question during workshops, attendees often give an answer similar to: “We provide our clients amazing customer service.” Although this is a genuine answer and customer service is indeed important, I bet that your competitor says the same thing. Who wouldn’t say that they give great customer service, right? Keeping that in mind, how else can you stand out from the crowd?

As you might know, I founded Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI in 2010. Working in the beauty industry, maximizing customer relationships is the key to success. The hard truth about hair salons is that the national average retention rate is only 30%. That means only 3 out of 10 clients will return to a hair salon for a second time! Considering those statistics, we need to continuously WOW our customers, and we do that by standing out from the crowd.

At Be Inspired Salon, we separate ourselves from the competition by focusing on three specific services: curly haircutting and styling, bridal hair and makeup, and hair color. It is tempting to try and be good at everything, but finding your niche is what will make you stand out from the crowd. Think about some famous brands—you will often identify just one product or service that separates them from their competitors. For instance, Pandora Jewelry makes more than just charm bracelets, but that’s what most people identify with their brand. There’s so many more Converse—Chuck Taylor All-Stars, Apple—iPhone, Chanel—perfume, Ugg Australia—sheepskin boots, Fossil—watches . Are you following?  All of these brands create more than one product, but it’s only one product that makes them stand out from the crowd.     

Now, think about how YOU will be unique, and don’t be scared to think outside of the box! Standing out from the crowd is the first secret to maximizing customer relationships, and I have six more that I can’t wait to share with you! Make sure to check back for the next post in this four-part series when I share secrets to maximize relationships before the buying process and during the first purchase.

Do you have other ways that you stand out from the crowd? Engage with me on social media; I can’t wait to connect with you!

The Value of Failure

iStock_30079366_MEDIUM.jpg

Have you read Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s new book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy? Well, there is a reason it is a New York Times best-seller! Many know Sheryl Sandberg as the best-selling author of Lean In and the COO of Facebook. Equally impressive, Adam Grant is the top-rated professor at Wharton and has written two other bestsellers that I highly recommend! The duo’s newest collaboration, Option B was written after Sheryl’s husband died suddenly at only 48. In Option B, Sandberg and Grant discuss facing adversity, finding strength, and building resiliency—experiences we can all learn from.

While there are so many worthwhile lessons to share from Option B, one that I couldn’t wait to share with you is about failing and learning at work. Think about it, we are accustomed to sharing our greatest triumphs and quickly passing over our failures. Look at your resume, it only highlights accomplishments, yet not mistakes. But, what if we spent just as much time discussing our failures as our successes? How could that benefit us in the workplace?  

Why Focus on Failure?

To demonstrate the importance of failure, Sandberg and Grant share the results of a research study aimed at predicting whether a space flight will be successful. Now, you might be wondering how space flights relate to you or your business, but hang in here with me. These researchers tracked every space launch for five decades, and guess what they found to be the greatest predictor of success? You might think it was past successes, but actually the greatest predictor of success was how many times the company previously failed! In fact, the bigger the failures the greater their chances of success on the next try! While that might seem counterintuitive, we actually spend more time analyzing bigger failures than smaller ones.

Sheryl and Adam give several examples from the Marine Corps to a small business that makes gloves to show that businesses who focus on learning from failures, outperform companies who quickly pass over them. So, how can you take the long view and implement systems at your company to reflect and learn from failures?

Start by making it safe to talk about failures. If you’re the leader on your team, start with sharing your mistakes. Could you imagine sharing your yearly performance evaluation openly with your team? This would show your entire team how you’re working to improve, just like you expect your employees to. After you share your mistakes, ask others to share theirs. The more people talk about their failures, the less people take it personally. This creates an amazing ripple effect: people share more mistakes, people become more open to feedback, the more feedback is provided, and the better you become!

You can even turn sharing your failures into a fun exercise. That’s right, even failure can be fun! One of Sheryl’s colleagues at Google would bring a stuffed monkey named Whoops to her team’s weekly meetings. After every team member shared their mistakes, they would vote on the biggest screwup of the week, and that employee would get to keep the monkey until next week! Of course, after sharing the mistakes, you have to also spend time to share how the mistake can be avoided in the future, and what you learned from that failure.

What will you start doing at your company to celebrate mistakes? Whatever it is, be open and patient with your team. It will take some practice to be willing to share failures, but you will start to see the benefits of a learning-mindset in your team!

Does this inspire you to focus on failure at your work? Share your thoughts and lessons with me on social media

Finding Your Time

iStock_77733729_MEDIUM.jpg

Have you read any productivity books or blogs lately? Productivity is a HOT topic and one that we can all learn from. But, with all of the information circulating about increasing your productivity, you might be wondering where to start!

If quitting your multitasking habit or only checking your email three times a day is too scary, I have one exercise that is easy and can make a huge difference in your work! This practice is all about finding the best time of day to work on certain tasks—finding your time.

Pay Attention to Your Body Your first step towards finding your time is to begin noticing and paying attention to your body. For example, do you wake up early to respond to emails, but already feel exhausted by 9:00am? That’s a sign that you should either sleep later or save emails for the afternoon. On the other hand, are you the most creative after eating lunch, around 1:00pm? Then, start scheduling your creative projects for the afternoon. Are you catching on? By scheduling specific tasks for the time that you’re best suited to work on that project, you will save time, frustration, and you’ll create better work!

Be Patient & Practice. Finding your time will take some practice and patience—this is OK. Spend a few weeks experimenting with your tasks and scheduling. Maybe you’ve always wanted to exercise in the morning, so you give it a try but you’re ready for a nap by lunch time. Recognize that what you want and what you need might be different, so try switching your workout to the afternoon. You won’t find the perfect time the first time, but don’t give up!

Be Flexible. If you’re lucky enough to be a leader and have a team who reports to you, be flexible with their needs. As you may know, I am the founder of Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI and my team of stylists are ALL millennials. After building my team, I quickly realized that their work preferences differ—often significantly—from mine. Sometimes as leaders, we expect others to follow in our footsteps simply because we did it this way and we know it works. However, I’ve learned to compromise, set boundaries, and be flexible. If you have an employee who wants to come into the office at 6:00am and leave at 2:00pm, be open to their needs! Don’t get stuck in a traditional mindset at the expense of happy and productive employees.

Are you ready to find your time? Give it a try, and share your results and other productivity tips with me on social media!

Say NO to FOMO

What Is FOMO?

Have you heard of FOMO? Recently, I've been seeing this term everywhere! I've heard it in podcasts, on my favorite Instagram accounts, and even in finance articles. So, what the heck is FOMO? 

No, it's not a scary genetic illness. FOMO stands for "Fear of Missing Out." Yep, you know the feeling. Here's a very real example: a group of your friends invites you out on Friday night. Even if you were planning to stay in and watch a webinar, you become so scared that you're going to miss out on a fun night with friends. And, here comes the FOMO. 

You don't want to be the one who misses a hilarious inside joke or is excluded from all the fun Instagram pics. So, you spend hours agonizing on whether or not you should go. This is FOMO, and it can kill your energy and happiness. 

My FOMO Story

I first learned what FOMO means during a sermon about being face-to-face and fully present in the lives of those who we care about. Many people can relate to this feeling of being pulled in so many directions that some of your personal connections suffer. But, my fear of missing out is related to missing business or educational opportunities. Now, you might be thinking: “That doesn’t sound like Kati—she is always on the top of her game, constantly learning, and building her business!” Yes, that is me, but my priorities have recently shifted.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I recently welcomed our first baby boy to the family! Baby Nash has become the sunshine of my life and fills me with joy. But, I've become a victim of FOMO.

I'm constantly worried about education and business opportunities that I might be missing out on while staying at home with my family. With a newborn, I’m limited in the events that I can attend and be present for. I know the working-mamas can back me up on these struggles: Where do I find a decent babysitter? Will I be mom-shamed for attending an out-of-state conference with an 8 week old at home? How could I miss baby’s first smile, laugh, words, and the list goes on!

Say NO to FOMO

Now, it’s not fair for anyone to experience FOMO—especially when you’re a hardworking, thoughtful, and compassionate person. So, how do you combat these feelings and say no to these negative emotions?

  • Gratitude  

A great place to start is with gratitude. For me, I think about how thankful I am for a healthy baby boy, a loving husband, and amazing friends and family. When I’m present for Nash’s first words, I will be thankful for that moment.

For you, this practice might look different. If you’re a graduate student and your FOMO is related to going out with friends, take time to write down how thankful you are for having the opportunity to further your studies, attending the university of your dreams, and learning from top minds in your field. Everyone has something to be grateful for.  

  • Take Your Time

FOMO will not disappear immediately, but it can get easier with time as you begin to define or realign your priorities. For example, I recently received an invitation to volunteer for an event that I really care about, but the time and location are totally inconvenient for my life. On the first day that I received the email, I had a bad case of FOMO. I kept thinking about the participants who I would let down and how much fun I would have at the event. But, when I came back to the email a day later, I didn’t feel FOMO and politely declined the invitation. Oftentimes, you can come back to an idea or feeling with a fresh mind and a clearer perspective on your priorities. Make a decision and don’t look back.

  • Trust

As a follower of Christ, I trust God’s timing and the path for my life. I know that I am exactly where I’m meant to be right now, and I know it’s true for you too! Remember to treat yourself kindly, stop comparing yourself to others, and enjoy exploring the unknown.

--

Do you have a FOMO story, or tips to combat these fears? Share below or reach out to me on Instagram! Together we can say NO to FOMO!

What Not to Do as An Entrepreneur | Part 3: Be the Boss

You’ve made it to Part 3—congrats, you are a rock star entrepreneur!

Have I mentioned that it takes an adult about 21 times to hear something and retain it? Well, I know that I haven’t said it 21 times, so here is a recap of what we have covered: do not co-own; there can only be one CEO, do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions, do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period, do not do all the work yourself, do not go too big too soon, do not build it until you’ve sold it, do not avoid investing in advanced education, and do not avoid paying yourself.

So far, we have covered hiring and the money. Now, it is time to really be the boss. These tips may be the toughest to actually implement. This is the real stuff that someone has to do, and that someone is you! Let’s dive in! 

Do not send your opinion in an email or text.

Why did I have to learn this lesson the hard way?! Near the opening of Be Inspired Salon, I began collaborating and cross-promoting with other related businesses (massage, nails, nutrition, skin, etc.). At one of our meetings, a representative from another partner organization was basically a hot mess. They were really rude to others during the meeting, and instead of focusing on the company they were there to represent, they mostly focused on their side business; it was embarrassing to witness. Just imagine my road rage on the way home from that meeting.

After the meeting, I emailed their boss with a laundry list of reasons why we could not work with them—because of that individual. Subsequently, that company let her go. About three weeks later, I was served. The individual sued me for defamation of character. Yeah, it was way too late to recall that email! Although the legal side of things worked out, I learned the importance of face-to-face communication.

Following that debacle, my attorney got real with me and said: “Kati, you got a mouth on you, and you need to stop it.” I suppose a D personality does come with its downsides. He explained that if I have an opinion to share, I need to grow up and have a real conversation. Communicating face-to-face or on the phone fosters greater sensitivity, and you really are less abrasive—this was a great lesson to learn. 

Do not get lazy on the details.

Another perk of being a D personality type is that I really enjoy the big picture/vision of the company, but am not so fond of dealing with the details. One day I was given the challenge of cutting our business expenses by 6%. Challenge accepted!  I dove into last year’s expense report to see what areas we can cut. There are two times to spend money—to get new customers or to keep the customers you have. 

While tediously examining the details, I kept finding charges that I didn’t recognize. After some investigating, I learned that TWO of our old merchant service companies were never successfully cancelled when we switched to a new service. The person who was responsible for canceling the old service never did, and I had been paying for two services every month for nearly two years. It was such small amounts that I didn’t notice it when I looked at our overall financial reports. Two years of being nickel and dimed really added up. I was out the money without any leverage for reimbursement. By the way, I learned this lesson about a week ago, so you are never too good to make mistakes. Take it from me, don’t ignore the small stuff!

Do not get prideful, your ego will screw you out of your potential.

Okay, okay, I can admit that sometimes it seems like I have an ego problem. Even though I’m confident, I can be borderline cocky, and need to continually check myself. I know that having an ego and/or being prideful can really turn people off.  As a result, I’ve lost out on amazing relationships.

So, how do you address this? My business coach handed me the book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. This book helps you identify unconscious behaviors that are getting in the way of your success. Typically, when you’ve reached a higher level of success, the one thing that is getting in your way from getting to the next level is your behavior. Personally, I learned that not all my opinions need to be shared; people won’t be like me—they can still be amazing regardless; I still have so much to learn—more maturity that needs to take place; words are powerful—how and what you say can make or break someone’s soul. What behaviors will you uncover? 

Do not listen to the people who haven’t done it.

You will encounter a lot of naysayers. When I say a lot, I mean a lot! But they haven’t done it, so they don’t know. How many of you with children have gotten parenting advice from people without any children? Then, you get the point here.

There are people with all the advice in the world, but they haven’t taken one entrepreneurial risk themselves! Instead of listening to your cousin who took one business class during undergrad, find the people who have done it and done it better than you. Then, surround yourself with those people. After all, you are who you hang out with. Find your dream team.

Recap

Now that you have read all of my What Not To Dos, write down your three biggest takeaways. These could be the biggest surprises, the most relevant suggestions for your life, or the most challenging for you. Bookmark this series, save your notes, and revisit them annually! You will always find a new application from past advice.

Do you have other ideas to share? Comment below!

What Not to Do as An Entrepreneur | Part 2: Money, Money, Money

Welcome back! You’ve made it to Part 2 of the What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur series. In Part 1, we covered decisions to avoid when determining whether to work with others. By the way, did you know that it takes an adult about 21 times to hear something and retain it? To help you out, here’s a rapid recap of Part 1: do not co-own; there can only be one CEO, do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions, do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period, and do not do all the work yourself.

Today, we are talking about the topic on every entrepreneurs’ mind: money! We are going to get real about when to save and when to spend. Think: big money, no whammies!

Do not go too big, too soon.

 Notice that I’m not saying: don’t get too big, too soon. You can get big and blow your business up—please do! But, don’t go too big, too soon—this was my first lesson as a new entrepreneur.

When I started Be Inspired Salon in 2010, I was looking at spaces that were about 1600-1800 square feet which is the traditional size for a salon. Looking at these big and beautiful spaces, my imagination was running wild with #salongoals. But, the main problem with my big dreams was that I only had one other employee—what would I do with all that space?!

So, I took a step back to re-evaluate and found a different space that was 750 square feet—a lot smaller than the average! I am very grateful that I didn’t go too big, too soon because good things came in that small package. Fast forward to 2013—we were able to expand our salon, double our working space, and increase our profits by 838%! Start small, blow it up, and then go big! 

Do not build it, until you’ve sold it.

When I built my salon, I knew we could sell what we offered, because I had already sold my services to a huge clientele. On the other hand, my software company—Meet Your Stylist—started in the other direction.

My salon had been using the Meet Your Stylist software with amazing results, so I assumed that other salons would love it as much as me. But, I quickly learned that not every salon owner is like me—nor thinks, and takes action like I do. Essentially, I was shocked to find out that most salons do not budget for marketing and advertising; let alone know how to execute, manage, and track their return on investments. 

I definitely wish that I would have sold the Meet Your Stylist software before building it. Here’s another example you may be able to relate to. Let’s say you want to create a 12-week training program of some sort. Instead of building the program, in hopes of people jumping on board; first, sell the program! You can build the content after or as you go. It’s possible, and it will save you time and heartache.

Do not avoid investing in advanced education.

The law of thermal nuclear dynamics is unavoidable. You’re either growing or dying; you cannot stay the same—harsh, but true. Think about working out. If you don’t work out for a month, your lattes will catch up with you, and you will not maintain. To make sure you are always growing and getting better, invest in seminars, conferences, webinars, podcasts, books, classes, anything you can get your hands on! And, I believe you value what you pay for.

In 2012, I felt like I hit a wall in my business. I knew that I didn’t know everything. Although I was great at marketing, I didn’t know much about cash flow forecasting. At that point, I was ready to learn more and my teacher appeared—funny how that happens. At a BNI Meeting of local professionals, I heard an excellent speaker who was a business coach, and I knew that I needed to learn from him! 

So, I invested in a business coach. This was no easy decision considering the steep price tag, but I needed it. It was that same year we had an 838% increase in profits!!! Yes, that number is correct. I never knew that we could earn over $1 million in revenue in just 1,150 square feet. I sincerely recommend that everyone invest in a business coach! You know what your strengths are, and your coach can help fill in the gaps.

Do not avoid paying yourself.

As an entrepreneur, you have to build your wage into the budget! If you don’t, why are you doing it at all? Yes, we all have a passion, but we need something sustainable. The point of being an entrepreneur is to make money while you sleep.

For example, I am physically present at my salon about four hours per week. When I am not there, I am watching the numbers, schedules, and building up our team from the behind the scenes. ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars said that an entrepreneur is someone who can walk away from their business for three months and it will survive and thrive without you. Obviously, it won’t start this way, but that needs to be your end goal.

--- 

We all have a money story; what other tips can you share with our community—comment below! You’ve almost made it to Part 3 where we get real about Being The Boss—you don’t want to miss these tips. See you soon!

What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur | Part 1: HIRING

I am super excited to kick off a three-part series about What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur! First, I promise that this series will not be negative, and you won’t close your computer crying with crushed dreams. But, I do want to get real and share some tips that I wish I was told when I started my entrepreneurial journey.

As entrepreneurs, we are often told what we should do. Go to this event, hire that consultant, start this investment. But, what about the habits, partnerships, and decisions that we should avoid? A great quote to reflect on states: “success is what you don’t do.” Well, what the heck does that mean? Think about a weight loss journey. What you shouldn’t do is go to Happy Hour three nights a week, nor should you eat processed foods. When you stop these negative actions, the positive actions can actually be effective! But without—it’s unlikely you’d achieve your goal. Hence, success is often what you say no to.

As an entrepreneur who manages five brands, I have made my fair share of mistakes (keep reading and you will see what I’m talking about). To be honest, you will still make mistakes after reading this series—every entrepreneur does—but I hope that I will help you avoid the big ones and learn from the little ones.

Do not co-own; there can only be one CEO.

There’s a reason companies have one CEO. Have you ever partnered with someone? How did that go? Typically, partnerships will not work because there is not clarity around their roles. Have you ever taken a DiSC personality assessment? Well, I will share that I’m a D—if you know me, this is no surprise. D’s are dominant, driven, and task-oriented. Primarily, I just want to get it done. For me, another owner will not work, period.  Someone (me!) has to be in charge. I believe that the 80/20 rule applies here: 80% of the time co-owning will not work.  

Do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions.

 I once heard a great quote that states: “If you want a lot, make it easy; if you want the best, make it hard.” I have impulsively hired and really regretted it, so take your time!

Another great piece of advice I was given was, “Be slow to hire and quick to fire.” If someone isn’t getting it done within their current role, you may try to reposition them. If that still doesn’t work, you have to let that person go. Deep down, you will know if that person is not working for your team. Channel your inner Olivia Pope and trust your gut.

Think about these impulsive decisions that you may be guilty of: have you ever joined something that you really can’t afford, then totally regretted it? Maybe you purchased an expensive app that you have only used twice, or bought a business membership that really wasn’t worth it? Now, you are stuck with a service that you can’t afford. You get the point. Do not get desperate. 

Do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period.

This is a really challenging lesson for me and one that is hard to admit. So, I am going to be candid and share a tough experience. When I first hired a software developer for Meet Your Stylist, I thought that he could build the right software for the right price. However, I quickly learned that he didn’t actually like to work. Rant Warning: the project took a year longer than it was supposed to, he was terrible at communicating, he would disappear for days, countless technical glitches…trust me, I could keep going.

At that point, I had one customer and the software was continuously failing. Although my one customer was very gracious and understanding, I was completely embarrassed. I was freaking out and totally scrambling for a solution.

When I consulted with a reputable software company, they explained that the developer’s software was a nightmare—there was code on top of code on top of code. Basically, I would need to start over if I wanted the software to work. That hiring mistake cost me $30,000. I took that mistake up the you-know-what. Long story short, if you think a project will cost you $40,000, budget $80,000—you will either pay in dollars or tears.  

Do not do all the work yourself.  

If you try to do it all, the work will be mediocre. ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars explained this best when he said: “Saving a wage is costing you a fortune.” Eventually, you need to find strengths in others and build your tribe. As an entrepreneur, what do you do that you aren’t that great at, or drains your energy? Hire those tasks out. Do you struggle with product photography? Hire an intern! Do you hate writing your blog? Hire a blogger! Don’t try to be great at everything. Be great at being an entrepreneur, and fill in the rest by building an awesome tribe!

--- 

Which of these tips comes as a surprise to you? Share your thoughts below! Then, check back for Part 2: Money, Money, Money where I dish on some important financial decisions to avoid!