Are you embarrassed by how disorganized your business is on the back end?
(Don't worry, you're not alone). It's not your fault if knowing the ins and outs of business structure and the systems you need to operate smoothly doesn't come naturally to you.
This is why in today's episode, we're talking about the four key elements in your business structure that will move you beyond the six-figure mark so you can generate more revenue and create a bigger impact without so much hard work and hustle.
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You're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast Episode 66, all about the four key elements within every successful business structure. If you're struggling to maintain a consistent five-figure monthly income, today's episode is definitely for you. If you're a multiple six-figure earner, you're not excluded from this conversation, either. Because if you are missing any one of the four critical elements to your business structure that we're talking about today, chances are you will eventually cap your growth, and your income will plateau. So to avoid this problem, listen up. This is all coming up next. So stay tuned.
When I first started my business, all I knew was that I wanted to help people. Maybe you got into business for the same reason, or maybe you wanted to have more financial freedom and flexibility too. For me, it was because I'd come from a nine-to-five environment where my life was my work. I was burnt out and exhausted. I'd always dreamed of working for myself, but I didn't know how to make that transition.
Then when I was diagnosed with cancer at 25, it sent me in a whole different direction, and it was glaringly obvious at that moment that I needed to make a change. I wish that I could tell you that I made a complete 180, went into my business for myself and made six figures during my first year in business and the rest is history.
But that's not exactly how the story goes.
There were four things in my business structure that were missing, which were directly responsible for why I had such a difficult time in those early years generating any kind of real revenue.
The first year that I opened the doors of my business back in 2017, I made $33,000. Nothing to write home about, right?
We all have different journeys, maybe you made less than that your first year in business, maybe you made five times that. This is not about comparing ourselves. This is for me to lift the curtain and show you that without the four elements to your business structure that we're talking about today, it's going to be really difficult to
Because not only did I only make $33,000, that first year in my business, I reinvested all of it back into the business and took a loss. So at the end of that year, I was no further along than where I had started. In fact, I was further behind, if you're looking at the numbers on a page. I had certainly grown as a person, I had grown in my business knowledge, I had grown in my experience as a coach. But from a revenue perspective, I was failing miserably. I didn't make a dime.
So if you're struggling to generate that consistent revenue in your business right now, I'm going to say something that might sound crazy: it's not a cash flow problem that you have. We dove into why back in Episode 64, so if you haven't listened to that one yet, go check that episode out to get more context for what we're talking about here today.
Lack of revenue in your business is not because you're not making enough sales, it's not because you don't have a big enough email list, it's not because your messaging is off (though any or all of these could be contributing factors). The real problem is that you're lacking one of the four elements I'm about to share with you.
First though, I want you to understand that if you're sitting here listening to this, and you're on the other side of six figures, than all the more reason you need to pay attention. Because here at The EffortLESS®️ Life that is our zone of genius: helping entrepreneurs who have made it to six figures, and realized they can't scale beyond that because they can't work any harder to get where they want to go.
And if you're listening to my voice right now and six figures still feels like light-years away, then hopefully this episode will help you gain insight into what you need to get in place to avoid the cash-flow and inconsistent revenue problems so many entrepreneurs experience.
So let's talk about what these four elements are:
Business Structure. Support. Accountability. Systems.
We're going to take a deep dive into each of these and talk about what they are, why they're important, why you need them, and what it's costing you not to have any one or more of these in place in your overall business structure.
Let's start with your overall business structure. What is a business structure? Maybe you've heard the term business structure thrown about, but usually, it's without any context for what that really means. I remember in the beginning stages of my business I didn't know the importance of having a business structure or why I even needed that. Your business structure is the backbone of your business. Think of your backbone in your body. Without it, you can't function, you can't move, you can't operate. It's the same for your business.
There are two elements to your business structure, and here at the EffortLESS Life®️ we teach you how to put them in place. The first is your outward-facing structure. This is what others see and experience in terms of your brand. The other one is an inward-facing structure, which is what happens behind the scenes.
It's like building a house. Your inward business structure is what's inside the walls - the pipes and studs and support beams. The outward structure is what everyone sees on the outside.
Let's start with the inward-facing structure, because this is the one that many entrepreneurs know about, but that they don't actually have in place in their business. This is your organizational structure. This is the vision for the perfect ideal business that you want to build, the perfect team that you want to build, and the roles and responsibilities and KPIs of each and every member on the team.
When you start out in business, the priority is making money. So most entrepreneurs build a website, start marketing and selling, and then delivering whatever it is they've promised to their customer. So I get that building a team and getting the right business structure in place might not be top of mind for you when you start out, because you think, That's just so far off the radar, right now I need to generate money, I need to get cash flow in the door, I need to get to the point where I can actually afford to hire someone.
The problem is when you go to build a house without a plan, what happens? A *ish show. Without a clear blueprint to know what you're building, you'll wind up with a shoddy, poorly-built, falling-apart house. The same goes for your business. Without a clear map of your business structure in place (including your customer journey, your team org chart, and more) you'll fall into the trap that most entrepreneurs fall into: doing everything yourself, and building for the sake of building.
The outward-facing part of your business structure is your client journey. It's what your clients and potential clients see and experience from meeting you on Instagram for the first time, all the way through your funnels, onto your email list, from start to finish from meeting you, to working with you. There's a lot of pieces and parts here, including your funnels, your marketing strategies, your paid advertising strategies, your organic traffic strategies, your lead generation sales mechanisms. There's a lot that goes into the outward-facing part of your business structure. How will your ideal client know how you can help them when they meet you for the first time? Is your messaging clear? How are you communicating with them? How are you showing them the potential transformation that they stand to achieve and working with you? Having that client journey mapped out as part of your business structure is so necessary. And because many entrepreneurs don't have the structure in place, it's costing them time, it's costing them effort, and it's costing them money because they are bottlenecking their own business by doing everything themselves.
So let's move into the number two element that causes major cash-flow problems in business, lack of support. Maybe you've tried outsourcing. Maybe you've hired people who just don't work out. The people you hire don't want to take responsibility, don't take initiative, and don't seem to understand the needs of the business. All of these problems will continue until you recognize that part of the problem was linked to your inability to communicate, your challenge to let things go, and to let someone else actually take on that responsibility. What does it mean to get the right support in place in your business? This again is two-fold. First, it's your team, because your business is only going to grow to the degree to which you grow. Once you reach your limit, your capacity for growth - your energy, your well-being, the amount of time that you have in a day, those things are all limited resources. Once you reach that limit, you will not be able to grow beyond that. That is where your team steps in to take the ball and run with it. This ties back to your organizational chart and your hiring processes and how to define your core values so that you attract A-players who share those core values, and who will uphold those values and support you and work together in achieving the greater vision. Then it's the tools you're using to support the growth of the company. There are very specific tools every business owner needs to be using in order to simplify their workflows, enhance communication across the team, and proactively solve problems before they happen.
The third element is a lack of accountability. This boils down to three things, the metrics you are tracking, your personal schedule, and the outside guidance you're getting from a trusted coach or mentor. Notice I said coach or mentor, not plural. One person who can support you and get to know your business, and work with you to help your business reach that next point in growth.
Let's talk first about what it means to be accountable to your metrics. What if I told you that you do not have to hold your team accountable? No more babysitting, no more micromanaging. This is a foreign concept to many small business owners! You hear the words metrics, KPIs, key performance indicators, thrown around — they're all the same thing. The reason you need them, and the reason why every person on your team needs them, is because the metrics are meant to hold everyone accountable.
Imagine for a second you have a team. You, as the visionary leader, meet with them once a week to review what everyone did that week, and what's on tap for next week. But if you don't have a clear plan for your growth (clear business structure / map), and you don't have any kind of system to track that growth, then how do you actually know if you're moving in the right direction or just building for the sake of building?
Metrics also help you identify your A-players when growing your team. When you create a culture on your team of everyone has metrics that they're responsible for, which includes tracking them, reporting on them, and setting goals to grow them, then very quickly your A-players will rise to the surface and you'll be able to identify those who don't take personal responsibility and who aren't fully invested. You want to see those metrics growing incrementally week after week after week.
The second thing is to be accountable to your schedule. Here's a really good example of this in my business recently. I created what I call a visibility schedule, because I wanted to spend more time in the role of visionary in my business and be more visible. How am I going to do this? What's it going to look like? How am I showing up? What platforms am I showing up on? How much time am I spending on these platforms? I broke it down to the nth degree, mapped it all out, then it just sat there in that document for a couple of weeks and nothing changed.
This is a perfect illustration of what many entrepreneurs do. They create the plan, they figure it out, they know what they need to do, but they don't actually implement it. It feels good to create those plans and to think I'm doing something productive because I'm creating this plan for growth. But what good does a plan do you if you don't implement it?
So I sat my butt down, I opened up my Google Calendar, and I scheduled everything out on a recurring weekly basis. Now that it's on my schedule, I can plan around it and I'm accountable to it. If you are the type of person who will say no to yourself but won't say no to others, then schedule things that you need to do with other people. For example, let's say you're toying with the idea of starting a Clubhouse club. It can be so tempting to start something and then not stay consistent with it. But if you start it with somebody else, and you're holding each other accountable to showing up every week, and doing that consistently, long term, I guarantee you, it's going to be easier to keep that commitment. You know yourself best, so figure out how you specifically can keep yourself accountable.
The final piece of the accountability puzzle is outside guidance. You don’t need to hire 14 coaches, or to read 23 books, or listen to 82 podcasts. What you need is one coach who can help you in one area of your business to reach the next level. Outside guidance for a specific area of your business, a specific coach matched to a specific area of your business. When it comes to hiring a coach a lot of people think the gap is between where they are right now and where they want to be. And so they go out there and they try to hire a basic business coach, a generalist, to try to help them in all these different areas of their life. And they think that if that person can just help them get where they want to be, then they won't experience the problems they're experiencing which exist in the gap in the in-between. But the gap is not between where you are and where you want to be. The gap is between what you know and what you're doing with what you know.
Let that one sink in.
It's a big one.
Let's assume that you have access to all of the knowledge and all of the training that you need to attain the results you want. Why haven't you been able to get the results yet? This is a common experience. We see entrepreneurs out there who have worked with experts, they have spent thousands and thousands of dollars and invested that money in themselves and in their business, and they're still not where they want to be.
This boils down to four things. They're either:
Your coach's job to help you get where you want to go is to help you apply the knowledge that you already have and to trust yourself in the process. And more importantly, their job is to ask you better questions than you've been asking yourself, to help you break out of old habits that don't serve you.
The fourth and final element here that we're talking about today that you need within your overall business structure is a lack of systems. What kind of systems? There are four main systems you need within your business structure:
Systems and SOPs are the secrets to spending more time in your zone of genius. They are critical to your business structure because without them, you will stifle your growth and it will take a lot longer to get things done.
In the weeks ahead, we're going to continue diving deeper into these various elements within your business structure. The goal for today was to help you see at a 30,000 ft level what it is your own business structure might be missing, and what you need to get in place so that you can get back on that growth trajectory.
If you've been a longtime listener, you might've heard me talk about a secret program that we have here at The EffortLESS Life®️, called the Visionary Leader Incubator™️. Inside this program, we teach you how to learn, implement, and execute everything we talked about here today, how to get those right systems in place, how to get the right support in place, the right business structure, and the accountability you need to spend more time in your zone of genius. Imagine what would be possible for you when you're out at the forefront of your business, leading your business toward your greater vision. That is where business truly starts to feel effortless. And that starts with having a solid business structure in place. So if this piques your interest, you can learn more about the program and apply at courtneyelmer.com/visionaryleader.
Now next week, I have a special guest who is dishing on mindset vs. strategy. Which one's more effective for reaching your goals? Our guest is revealing the surprising truth about mindset and strategy and how your brain is wired. That's coming up next week, so make sure you're subscribed to know as soon as that episode drops, and stay tuned. Until then, go to your EffortLESS Life®️!