Attending a retreat can often sound like a luxury. After all, the term “retreat” implies you’re getting away from your business, not working on your business, right?
Yes, a retreat can be an opportunity to “get away from it all”, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be working on your business. On the contrary, sometimes our best work happens when we take some time away from the office because it gives us a perspective we can’t get when we’re in the office day in and day out.
So, to help you understand that attending a retreat can be an investment in your business, just like any other investment, here are some returns you can expect to enjoy after you’ve made that investment (and put in the work required by the retreat).
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs and small business owners making is failing to create a plan for their business. Or maybe they create a plan when they first start out, but then they shove it in a drawer somewhere and forget to check in with it to make sure they’re achieving the goals they set out to achieve.
Trying to run a business without a plan is a great way to waste time, energy, and resources. When you don’t have a goal with a solid plan attached to it, you’re more likely to get pulled in all different directions instead of identifying a plan of action to achieve your goal and sticking to it.
Business retreats are a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Many business-oriented retreats provide a time specifically for networking, but even if they don’t, just being in a room with other entrepreneurs and small business owners can be a great opportunity to connect with them and bounce ideas off of them, which brings me to my next point:
If you’ve never been on a business retreat before, or if you have but it’s been a while, my next Quarterly Retreat might be just what you need. Take some time to identify what went well this past quarter and what could have gone better, then map out a plan of action for making the last quarter of 2021 your best quarter yet, all while networking with other, like-minded entrepreneurs. You can find out more about the retreat and buy your tickets here.
There are a lot of ways you can raise money for your nonprofit, but one of the most effective (and fun) is to host an event. But planning a nonprofit fundraising event is easier said than done. The bigger the event, the more money you can bring in, but it also means more work for you and your staff, so you need to maintain a balance between bringing in enough money to fund your nonprofit without biting off more than you can chew.
Having said that, there are ways to simplify the process of planning a nonprofit fundraising event, regardless of how large or small it ends up being. You just need to follow these steps:
Set a Goal Before You Start Planning a Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Decide on the Type of Nonprofit Fundraising Event
This is where you need to decide how big your nonprofit fundraising event is going to be, but you also need to make sure it’s a fun event that people will want to pay money to attend. If you’re a large, well-known organization, you can host a ball (or get a volunteer or donor to host it for you), or a charity luncheon. If you’re smaller and more community focused, maybe you host an event in one of your local parks.
When deciding on the type of event, you should also determine how big you want it to be. Can you handle a room (or park) with hundreds of people? Or should you try to keep it to a few dozen? If you’re selling tickets for the event, make sure you cap the ticket sales at whatever your upper limit of attendees ends up being because you don’t want to end up with more people than your space can accommodate.
Get Your Space and Your Supplies
Once you know the type of nonprofit fundraising event you’re going to host and how many people you’re going to have, it’s time to start looking for spaces where you can host the event. If you want to host it outside in a park, be sure to get a permit from the city/village, and you might want to consider a backup venue in case the weather turns against you. If you’re hosting it inside, see if you can get someone to donate the space for you.
You’ll also probably need seating, food and drinks, and maybe items to raffle off if you’re doing a raffle to raise money. Most, if not all of those things can be donated by local companies or individuals, so ask around and see who would be willing to help you out. Anyone who donates should have an opportunity to promote their business at the event, which leads nicely into my next tip:
Ask Businesses to Sponsor Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Promote Your Nonprofit Fundraising Event
Rinse and Repeat
After your event, it’s important to take stock. How did it go? Did you reach your fundraising goal? Did people enjoy themselves? Would they come again if you hosted another nonprofit fundraising event? You need to take stock of what went well and what could have been done better before you start planning your next nonprofit fundraising event.
Whether you’re planning a nonprofit fundraising event, or looking for other ways to raise money for your organization, it can help to have a Strategy Rockstar on your team. Helping nonprofits run a better organization is one of my specialties, as well as one of my passions. You can schedule a call now to see how I can help you plan a better nonprofit fundraising event.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners, most of us don’t have time to take a vacation, so how can we afford to set aside time for a retreat? Whole days away from the office? In a row? Who has time for that?
In fact, taking time to attend that retreat could end up being the best thing you can do for your business. Here’s why:
Retreats Give You Time to Focus on Your Personal and Professional Development
Those books and webinars can also be sources of inspiration that go untapped. Maybe they bring up some ideas for you and you think, “I should do that,” but then you have to pick up the kids from school or walk the dog or make dinner, and you never get to take action on those new ideas.
By contrast, a retreat gives you both the inspiration/motivation and the opportunity to start working on your big goals right away.
Work On Your Business, Not Just In Your Business
Running a business can be so busy and chaotic that sometimes we forget to stop and make time to work on our business. What big goals do we have for our business? What systems and processes do we need to put in place to achieve those goals?
Taking a step back to make those assessments and put those processes and procedures in place takes time, which is why many entrepreneurs and small business owners never get around to it, and that can prevent them from moving forward in their business.
When you attend a retreat, you have a chance to step back and look at (or set) your big goals for your business and figure out how you’re going to reach those goals. Don’t let your big dreams for your business die as dreams without ever having seen the light of day. Attend a retreat and commit to making those dreams a reality.
Build a Support Network of Other, Like-Minded Entrepreneurs
People often say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they tend to leave out the fact that Rome wasn’t built by just one person, either. It required a team (several teams) of people working together to achieve a common goal. (It Takes a Village training has more information about building a network)
The Power of Collaborative Work Spaces
Return to Work More Energized
When was the last time you took a retreat? When was the last time you devoted a day or two to just work on your business? If it’s been a while and you’ve been thinking it might be time for another (or your first!) retreat, my quarterly retreat is coming up, which makes it the perfect time to schedule your next retreat for your business.
How many times have you had a great meeting with a prospect or potential referral partner ... only to never hear from them again? It’s frustrating, but if you flip it around, you realize they probably had an equally great meeting with you … only to never hear from you again.
You’ve probably heard the famous quote from Tim Sanders: “Your network is your net worth”, but have you ever stopped to think about what that quote really means? Have you figured out how to tap into the awesome power that is your network, or are you just sitting by the phone and hoping it will ring?
If you’re ready to be more proactive in your business and start getting clients in the door, here are some networking tips you can use to make your network work for you. For even more information, check out my free course in my Online Academy called Networking Effectively to Reach Your Goals.
1st Networking Tip: Invite Them to Sign Up for Your Newsletter
I use Acuity as my scheduling software and I have it linked to my Active Campaign account, which is the CRM I use for my newsletter, as well as keeping my prospects organized so I know when and how to follow up. That way, every time someone schedules a meeting with me, they automatically get an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which has become a great way to build my mailing list.
It’s important to remember that, in order for this networking tip to be effective, you need to maintain an active newsletter, which means sending something out to your subscribers at least once a month, if not every week or every other week.
2nd Networking Tip: Invite Them to Connect on Social Media
Social media is a great way to stay top of mind with your network and remind them of the value you provide, so if you have a Facebook group for your business, invite prospects to join your Facebook group. If you’re in a B2B industry, you might want to invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
As with your newsletter, this networking tip will only work if you’re active on the places you invite them to connect with you. If you have a Facebook group for your business, make sure you’re posting regularly in that group and inviting members to participate and start discussions. If you invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn, make sure you’re actively posting, liking, sharing, and commenting on other people’s posts. That will help boost your visibility on LinkedIn and make it more likely the people in your network will actually see your posts.
3rd Networking Tip: Wish Them Happy Birthday
Everyone likes a little recognition now and then, especially on their birthday, so whenever someone schedules an appointment with me, I like to ask them when their birthday is so I can be sure to send them a birthday card (or at least a Facebook message) on their special day.
Facebook and LinkedIn also make this really easy by asking people when their birthday is as soon as they sign up. If they make their birthday public, you’ll get a notification whenever someone in your network is celebrating their birthday. It only takes a second to send them a quick message wishing them a happy birthday, but it can do so much to keep you foremost in their minds while building goodwill.
4th Networking Tip: Let Them Know What You Do
Whether you struggle to get a return on the time and money you invest into networking events, or you’re just not sure how to follow up with the people you met (whether individually or at networking events) I can help. Schedule your FREE clarity call now to see how I can help you tap into your network and build relationships that will take your business to the next level.
If you run or work in (or even volunteer at) a nonprofit, I don’t have to tell you about the struggles of fundraising. It’s a challenge every nonprofit faces, and while it’s true there are outside factors that can affect your nonprofit fundraising efforts, I don’t ever want my clients to have to rely on outside factors. You should be able to take control of your own success, and that’s exactly what I help my clients do in their business, whether it’s a nonprofit or a for-profit business. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to boost your nonprofit fundraising efforts, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Get Your Nonprofit Tools in Order
Gather (and Use) Donor Data to Improve Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
Once you have a cache of donors in your system, you can group them by different qualities, such as how much money and how often they’ve donated, when they last donated, geographical area, gender, income level, etc. Knowing when they’ve donated in the past can tell you when they’ll be more likely to donate again, which should inform your decision about when and how to reach out to them to improve your chances of getting them to help your nonprofit fundraising efforts.
Use Different Platforms for Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
While calling and emailing your donors are both great ways to get directly in front of them and convince them to give, it’s important to take advantage of all the platforms at your disposal, including social media. Strategic use of social media can help you stay top of mind with your donors between events and major giving seasons, so when you’re ready to reach out to ask them to donate, they’ll be more likely to oblige since they’ll have seen all the good work you do from your posts on social media.
Ask About Matching Gift Programs to Improve Your Nonprofit Fundraising Efforts
Many companies offer to match donations made by their staff up to a certain dollar amount, so once you get a donation from someone, ask if their company has a matching gift program. They might not even know if their company has a matching gift program, so if you ask them to check, you’ll be much more likely to get that extra donation.
As a marketer and Strategy Rockstar who spent years helping nonprofits boost their revenue before going into business for myself, I have all the tools to help you take your nonprofit fundraising to the next level. Whether you need help identifying and using the right nonprofit tools (which is one of my specialties), or making the most of the revenue you have coming in, I can help. Schedule a FREE clarity call now to see how I can help you be more strategic, intentional, and successful in running and raising money for your nonprofit.
Sales calls are a big part of how I get clients in the door for my business, and as I’ve been shifting some things in my business and doing some realigning lately, I’ve really been increasing my focus on doing those sales calls.
At the same time, I know a lot of people struggle to do sales calls. They’re usually worried about coming off as too “salesy”, so if that’s something you struggle with, let’s go over some of my favorite tips with you so you can start making more sales calls to grow your business.
Effective Sales Calls Are All About Selling with Service
The first thing you need to do to make effective sales calls is to stop feeling like the word “sales” or “salesy” is a four-letter word. Of course no one likes to have someone trying to convince us to buy something we don’t want, but don’t we love it when someone tells us about something we do want that we didn’t even realize was available? Or we didn’t realize was so affordable?
Think about the other use of the word “sale” as in “This item is on sale”! Who doesn’t love it when things go on sale?
So stop thinking about the word “sale” as a bad thing and start thinking about the service you’re bringing to your clients. Even if you’re selling a product, the idea still applies that you’re providing a service by letting your prospect know it exists. Maybe you’ve decided to discount your products/services for a while and you’re just calling to let them know about it. Who wouldn’t want that?
Identifying Your Prospect Before Making Sales Calls
I have a whole blog post on how to identify your ideal client, and while the people you call should certainly fit the definition of your ideal client, you need to get even more specific. They should be people you met with or had a conversation with who expressed some interest in your product/service, but weren’t ready to buy yet. Or they could be someone you met at a networking event who mentioned they struggle with a problem you solve for your clients, so you can call to discuss that problem with them. The idea is to stay top of mind with these people, and few things will accomplish that better than picking up the phone and having a conversation with them.
By identifying the right people to call before you even pick up the phone, you’ll be more likely to make those sales calls, because you’ll be more comfortable with the conversation you’re about to have. It also makes it more likely you’ll actually get a sale (or at least a warmer lead) out of the call, so take the time to make your list and check it twice before you start making sales calls.
Create a Script for Your Sales Calls
Remember that selling is all about service, and while that certainly applies to the actual products/services you’re selling, it can also apply to any aspect of business. People work with those they know, like, and trust, and few things will get them to like and trust you better than helping them out with a problem they have.
If they happen to mention they’re struggling with a pain point you solve for your clients, that’s your opening to let them know about your offerings. If they don’t, you can bring it up by saying something like, “Hey, last time we spoke you mentioned you were struggling with XYZ. Is that still true?”
Listen During the Sales Call
You probably have more than one product/service to offer, so if they say no to your first offer, let them know you have other options that might fit their needs and/or budget. It’s not about being pushy, it’s just about letting them know what’s available. If they still say they’re not interested, that’s fine. Thank them for their time and let them know you’re available if they have any questions.
You will get a lot of voicemails (which is the other reason it can help to keep a script handy), and you’ll get a lot of rejections, but the process of making sales calls is a numbers game. The more no’s you get, the closer you get to your next yes.
Whether you’re struggling to make sales calls or to get results from them, it can help to talk to someone who’s been there and done that. I help my clients with everything from identifying the right prospects for making sales calls, to implementing the processes and procedures that allow them to provide their products and services as promised, without delay. So if you need help with any or all of those things, don’t hesitate to schedule a FREE clarity call now to see how I can help you take your business to the next level.
Nonprofits are always trying to make every dollar go further, but I see a lot of organizers missing out on one of the best ways to optimize their funds: software. The right software can help you do everything from gather and implement data on your donors and volunteers, to schedule and promote events faster and more effectively. If you’ve been wondering which nonprofit software you need for your organization, here are some of the first things you’ll need.
CRM Nonprofit Software
Whichever CRM nonprofit software you end up using, make sure you can sync it to your calendar so you can automatically send updates to your donors every time you schedule a new event. That way, instead of writing and sending an email, you can use that time to focus on other tasks for your organization.
Social Media Scheduling Nonprofit Software
We all struggle to find the time to post on social media, which is why you need to use one of the available options for social media scheduling nonprofit software, many of which have a free option before they require you to pay (although the free options have limited capabilities).
Not only does social media scheduling nonprofit software allow you to do your social media in batches, it also enables you to get the most out of your social media efforts by scheduling those posts for the times when they’re most likely to be seen. Depending on the nonprofit software you choose to use for your social media scheduling, you can also get reports on the effectiveness of those posts to see how many views they’re getting, how much engagement, etc. That allows you to tweak your social media efforts as you go to make sure it’s driving the results you need for your nonprofit.
Nonprofit Accounting Software
Just because the money coming into your business is in the form of donations doesn’t mean you don’t need to track it. You need to know how much money is coming into your business, where that money is coming from, how much money you’re spending on your nonprofit, where that money is going, etc., so make sure you choose the right nonprofit accounting software.
Quickbooks is probably the most well-known accounting software, and while it does have a lot to offer, I prefer to use Square because I find it’s more intuitive and easier to use. That said, feel free to compare and contrast to see which one is the best fit for your nonprofit.
Volunteer Nonprofit Software
Helping nonprofits implement the right technology into their organization is one of my strong suits. If you know you could be doing more with the right nonprofit software, but if you don’t know where to start, or you just don’t have the time to set it up yourself, schedule a FREE clarity call now so we can talk about your options
When you get a job with another company, you usually get an employee handbook, or at least an employment contract, outlining what’s expected of you and what the company will provide in return. There are a set of rules you need to follow and those rules are simple and straightforward. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of starting your own business.
In this blog post we’re going to go over some strategies you can use to plot your own path to success, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
Perfect Your Goal-Setting Systems
Before you can plot your path to success, you need to define what success means to you. Only once you define your end goal can you start plotting a path to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Understand That The Path to Success Is Not a Straight Line
So don’t get discouraged when you don’t immediately find a pot of gold, or when you stumble into a roadblock on your path to success. Recognize that it’s all part of the process and come up with a way to work around that roadblock.
Sometimes we can’t see our own path to success because we’re too close to it, in which case it can help to have a coach helping you plot your path and guiding you through the steps. If you’re tired of trying to figure it all out for yourself, it might be time to schedule a FREE clarity call to see if coaching is right for you.
There’s a myth out there that if we’re smart, and we just work hard enough, success will come to us. And yet, most small businesses fail, and it’s not because of a lack of intelligence or a lack of hard work. Many times, it’s simply due to a lack of business strategy. To help you make sure your business doesn’t suffer the fate of so many other small businesses, I’m going to give you five strategies for building a successful business.
Develop a Vision for Your Successful Business
It’s true that visualizing your goal can help you achieve it, so start by developing a vision for your successful business. Decide what your idea of a successful business looks like. Does it look like you in a corner office managing a team of employees, each of whom manages their own team of employees? Or does it look like you working from home with enough freelance clients to pay your bills, but not enough to stress you out or force you to miss deadlines?
Once you know what your definition of success looks like, you can start creating a plan that will help you reach that goal.
Take a Look at Your Competitors
Define Your Ideal Client
Just like there are qualities that set you apart from your competitors, there are going to be qualities that set your clients apart from the people who choose to work with your competitors. Identifying those qualities will help you target your ideal client more effectively and create messaging and a marketing strategy for your business that automatically draws your ideal clients to you.
Define Your Business Goals
I’ve already written a whole blog post full of goal-setting tips, so I won’t repeat myself here, but I will stress the importance of defining your goals before taking any steps to work towards them. While a vision of what you want your business to look like is a good starting point, it’s not enough to build an action plan. Instead, you need to start with the vision, then define measurable targets you can use to determine whether you’ve achieved that business goal or completed a section of the roadmap towards success.
Get Help from a Business Coach
You might have heard the saying that we are often our own worst enemy, and as uncomfortable as it can be to admit that fact, there are plenty of times it turns out to be the case. That’s not to say we are intentionally getting in our own way or that we don’t know what we’re doing, it just means we haven’t been taught how to have a success mindset.
It sounds simple, right? Just think your way to success. It is simple, but simple is not the same as easy. Retraining your brain takes work, but before you can put in the work, you need to know the strategies you can use to develop a success mindset.
Think of Business Challenges as Opportunitie
We all face challenges in business and in life, and there’s an old saying that it’s not the challenges that define us, it’s how we react to them. If we immediately give up and say it’s too hard, we’ll never grow as a person, and that eagerness to learn and grow is a crucial ingredient in a success mindset. So, rather than focusing on all the things keeping you from achieving your goals, try to look at them in a new light and see if you can turn those business challenges into opportunities.
Learn About Learning
The brain is fascinating, and one of the most interesting things about it is that no two brains work exactly alike. Everyone is different and everyone learns differently. So, if you struggle to understand something or learn a new skill, you’re not stupid, you just need to learn how your brain works and the systems and strategies that help you learn. Then you can implement those strategies to learn whatever skill you need to learn to take your business to the next level.
Learn Positive Self-Talk
Going back to what I said in the last section about how you’re not stupid, if you ever find yourself calling yourself bad names, whether it’s stupid or anything else, you need to stop that right now. There’s another quote I like: whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.
Developing a success mindset starts with believing in yourself, and you can’t believe in someone you’re constantly calling bad names. Unfortunately for many of us, negative self-talk has become so habitual we often don’t even realize we’re doing it. So the first step is to realize when you’re using negative self-talk and start coming up with strategies to turn it around.
Get Help from a Business Coach
Whether you need help developing a success mindset, or you already know you can succeed if you just had someone showing you the path to success, a FREE clarity call with a Strategy Rockstar is a great way to get started.
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