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Friday Digital Roundup

The Friday Digital Roundup is a witty take on the weird world of the internet. With fun stories from around the globe, it’s the only email newsletter you’ll actually read and enjoy!

We do love writing it, but clearly not as much as people like receiving it - just look at the response we got when a technical hitch meant it wasn’t sent out on time!

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Spaghetti Blog

Thursday 23rd May 2019

The Simple, Sensible, and Successful Actions we Took to Grow our Business Nearly 80%

Fri 26th Apr 2019
By Todd

I was reviewing our business recently and looking over the figures, marketing, data, and the areas we’re working on this year.

Since soft launching our business at the beginning of 2013 and then eventually quitting the day jobs and starting a ‘proper’ company and then going limited in the space of just six months, it’s been a very interesting, emotional, draining, but successful decision.

As I looked thorough our business with a top-down view there were some very interesting findings. I thought I would lay these down to share with you.

These are the simple actions and changes that we’ve made over the years and they were powerful. These are the ones that really changed our business for the better.

I’m not selling anything with this. There’s no funnel or tool at the end and there’s not need to ‘message me for the ‘cheat sheet’!

If you want to grow your business, then here are the key things that have added 25-30% profit to our business in the past year and nearly 80% growth since our first year of winging it in the world of self-employment.

We’re all different, so choose the ideas that suit you. You’ll have heard of many of these before, so I’ve explained each one, and more importantly, what it did for us.

The Simple, Sensible, and Successful Actions we Took to Grow our Business Nearly 80%

Sunday night planning

For about 18 months now I’ve been using a copy and pasted note in my iPhone notes that I add work and tasks to on a Sunday night. You could use an app or anything more techie but this works for me.

 

Here’s how it works…

Each weekend I copy and paste a note into a new note. A ‘to do’ list in essence.

Then I add in any specific tasks for that week to help me achieve everything I’ve set out to do and been booked to do.

Then I look at my diary and work out when I can get the work done. In my diary I time block set hours that can be moved to other days/times, but not deleted.

 

WHY? The focus it gives me is immense and so powerful. I set the intention. I rarely fail. I also don’t over-promise myself as often as I used to, although I’m still working on this!

 

Daily bank reconciliation

I’m a huge fan of the accounting software Xero. The software is brilliant and it’s cloud-based. It also links directly to my Bank, Dropbox (for receipts) PayPal (for receipts) and my CRM. We can easily add in mileage from TripCatcher too.

 

Here’s how it works…

Every morning, before anything else, I check and reconcile my bank. I check-off payments from clients and I reconcile payments out.

I synch Receipt Bank and make sure every payment in or out is accounted for. I’m not an accountant but I need to know this.

 

WHY? Doing this daily keeps me on top of my money, stops Xero chasing late payers who’ve already paid me, and I sort problems now, not in a week/month’s time when I’ve forgotten what’s happening!

 

Daily CRM task check


Each day, I (try) to check my tasks in Capsule CRM.

 

Here’s how it works…

There are reminders, alerts, and tags from my team, and also tasks I need to manage and set back to my team.

I’ll check the ‘feed’ to see all actions from the past 24 hours so I know what everyone’s doing and I’ll check on my pipeline to see what needs converting, invoicing, and more in the sales side.

 

WHY? This means I’m on top of leads, sales, tasks, my team, and me. Leaving stuff like this for weeks (as I did before) was costing me sales and clients.

 

Time blocking

I mentioned this above but it’s SO IMPORTANT I decided it needs its own section.

 

Here’s how it works…

I use iCal. It’s very simple to set an appointment and repeat it… FOREVER. So I have.

I time block:

  • Monday 8-6
  • Tuesday 9-5
  • Wednesday 8-12

I can move them, split them, but not delete them. These blocks set the time that I need to do the work that I have to do. This includes mostly content and social media creation, but I also do all the tasks mentioned so far in this time, too (Xero, CRM, Inbox, etc..)

 

WHY? Otherwise I book in too much work, too many meetings, one too many calls, and yes – I go networking too much as well.

 

I got a VA

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is brilliant if you’re a growing business. I didn’t have enough work to hire someone full time, and part time wouldn’t have worked as I needed stuff doing as and when it happened, but throughout the 7-day-week.

 

Here’s how it works…

Dee (my fecking amazing VA) checks and manages my diary and appointments. Dee books venues for training events. Dee finds hotels and train tickets. Dee manages the client comms for the largest part of our business. Dee sorts forms, bookings, events, and basically repeated stuff that we’ve (together) built processes for.

 

WHY? Obviously, you can’t do it all… but that’s not why a VA is good…

A VA is better at admin and repeating tasks. A VA does processes like you do procrastination – bloody well. And a VA isn’t emotionally involved in your website so she uploads the blog and moves on…

… she doesn’t check comments, traffic, and the latest YouTube video on blogging for comments and traffic and…

… you get the point.

A year on and Dee has become one of the team and to be fair, if she left, I’d have the processes and stuff, but I’d be lost.

I’m able to do WAAAAAY more now. The other day I converted a sale that paid for Dee’s entire invoice for the previous month. I’d never have made that call had Dee not been covering the stuff she covers.

I also buy her expertise. I tell her what I’m doing, and she tells me the best way to do it. I tell her what I need her to do and she gives me the best way for her to do it. I buy her expertise, her skills, and she gives me time.

 

We invested in our website

How to increase your website traffic

On May 1st 2015, the Spaghetti Agency website went live, and the brand was born. This was a big investment and a big change, but it worked.

This year, we decided to review the site and sit back down with Edge of the Web and work on what’s next.

 

Here’s how it works…

What we did was look at the metrics of the site.

  • Lead generation.
  • Google health.
  • Current state of businesses and the offering.

Then we asked ourselves: “Is the website a true representation of this? And what else do we need to do if not?”

 

We found some key areas that needed attention: 

  • Services that we now offer but don’t talk about.
  • Lead generation needed improving.
  • Workshops load badly on mobile.
  • Some links and pages needed some minor edits.
  • The load speed was too slow, especially on mobile.
  • We had 100’s of accidental duplicated pages due to tags and categories on the blog.
  • We weren’t using the tags or categories properly.

 

We built a shopping list and then started with sections of it.

So far we’ve improved the speed of the site A LOT. It’s QUICK!

We’ve ‘hidden’ (no-indexed) 100s of Pages from Google that were not important for search.

We’ve added some page anchor links like /social-saloon so we can send people to exact sections of the site rather than asking them to scroll down to see it.

And we’re currently building an exit modal (pop-up) to increase the sign-ups to the Friday Digital Roundup, our quirky weekly email.

 

WHY? All this work so far has given us DOUBLE the traffic we had before. Not just double the times Google showed us – double the volume of people on our site!

 

We got a business mentor

We’ve been working with Claire McTernan for a few years now and a lot of the changes are driven/guided by her.

 

Here’s how it works…

I meet with Claire monthly, have accountability calls, and chat to her in between.

When you’re in business, you’re your own boss. That’s tough when you’re down, tired, lost, upset, confused, or at the end of your tether.

I don’t mind telling you that I’ve spoken to Claire when things were very dark and very very wrong in our business and in my personal life.

Claire gets me. She gets me, calls me out when I bullshit, and she gets results from us.

 

WHY? Because you can’t be accountable to yourself. Will power isn’t as strong as distraction, low self-esteem, comfort, routine and the other things that hold you back. And you need someone to question what you’re doing who isn’t emotional or financially involved in your business.

Claire has been with us while we’ve grown from start-up to Agency and nearly doubled the turnover and profits!

 

And we still went networking, posted on social media, spoke at events and spent less than we earned (most of the time)

That’s the big stuff. We do all the other stuff that you’d expect, but what I’ve realised in the six + years of doing my own thing and starting a business with Jo is that your talents will get you so far… and then you need help!

I’m the worst with help. Ask Jo. I like to be a one-man army! But since taking on Laura five years ago and then working with Claire and then hiring Dee, our VA, we’ve got a lot of help!

We have a graphic designer, an SEO specialist, and other people we call on when we have projects that need their expertise.

In May we’ll be growing the digital team again and getting more help so I can go back to working ‘on’ the business. It’s so easy to do that; slip INTO the business again.

Every time I doubt the need for help, I remind myself that in one day I converted enough business to pay for one of my team for a month. To be fair, there are often days I do that now.

What I want to work on now is doing it once a day.

That’s where real exponential growth lives!

I hope this post helped you.

How are you getting out of your own way? Do you plan for growth or suck it and see?

 

If you have hacks or tips to add then add them below in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

 

 


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Todd

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3 comments on this article

  • Ben Kelly at 14:05pm on April 26th 2019

    Been a subscriber now for a while, this is by far the best ive seen to date.

    My business isn’t at the same point as This and given me some great things to think about in terms of the way I do things.

    Thanks guys

    Keep up the great work

    1. Todd at 7:10am on April 28th 2019

      Thanks Ben. Build as you grow!

  • Stephanie at Ontraport at 20:06pm on May 6th 2019

    Love that you’re using your own experience to help readers in their own businesses. Our CEO has the same approach and it does a great job establishing trust to hear personal stories.

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