Wine Recommendation from this Episode: 2020 Dove Hunt Dog Chardonnay
I started my business Crystal Media in September of 2012. Over the past several years I have learned A TON. I could probably speak for several days on all the lessons, but there are three specific things that I can equate significant business growth to, and I’ll be sharing them in this post!
Before I dive in, please Subscribe to the Crystal Uncorked YouTube Channel if you haven’t already. Thanks in advance!
Lesson #1: Build Your Team and Have an Integrator
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I absolutely love this African Proverb. It is SO true. There is no way my business would be where it is today without my team. I learned this lesson kind of slowly, however. I have done things pretty slow in my business, that’s just been my pace, which is actually funny because in the 5th grade I won an award for doing everything so fast, haha.
My first hire within Crystal Media was a part time contractor named Pauline in 2013. I knew I needed help managing client’s social media and Pauline stepped in, learned the job and thankfully, has been with me ever since. Over the past almost decade, I’ve brought on 12 additional people, mostly employees but some have been contractors.
Not everyone worked out of course, there’s been lots of lessons learned throughout hiring and firing that we’ll explore on future episodes. Even though I brought Pauline on early within starting my business, it took me several years to have actual full time employees on payroll.
I was scared to make the investment, I worried I wouldn’t be able to pay my people.
The funny thing about this way of thinking is, it’s so backwards! When you have people that can support the business, it helps grow the business! And, it helps free up my time, the owner, to focus on more profit-driving tasks. But, I needed to slowly get comfortable with taking on the financial risk of having people on payroll.
I also had to figure out how to train and manage my team. For me, this was a tough lesson. I learned early within Crystal Media that I’m not a good manager. “Hi. My name is Crystal and I’m not a good manager.” I feel like I’m making a confession but it’s true, I wasn’t great.
I struggled with the time that needed to be given to employees to train and support them to make them great. I’m someone who throws people into the fire expecting them to figure it out. And, I also didn’t have systems in place to streamline training and to streamline our own time and effort within the business.
I truly believe that being a good manager is an art, I don’t think just anyone can do it.
Here’s where I got super lucky. Pauline, my first employee, IS a fantastic manager. She actually told me I was not a good manager and told me the challenges she was having because of that. I’m so glad she was honest with me because it was eye opening, I truly had no idea until she said something. We were able to work through the issues and then one day I was driving listening to a podcast where the host talked about the book Rocket Fuel.
This book changed my business.
Short story, it talks about how businesses should have a Visionary, and an Integrator. It reviews how it’s challenging for a Visionary to be in the day-to-day of a business, and that a Visionary needs an Integrator to make the vision come to life. It’s a winning combination.
After reading this book I schedule a meeting with Pauline and asked her to be my Integrator. It took us a solid year and a half to fully be in our roles, but this one change in my team made a world of difference. I was happier. My team had more support because Pauline was in charge. We got better with systems and process (although this feels like an ongoing task), we experienced more business growth and everything felt more enjoyable.
Almost every entrepreneur I speak to that’s having any kind of issue with their team, with their own workload or with their level of enthusiasm in the business, I always ask if they have an Integrator. If they don’t, I tell them to read Rocket Fuel. Game changer!!
#2: Get Yourself a Coach and/or Mentor
Since starting my business I’ve had one mentor, two coaches and have been in two group coaching programs. My business has been profitable every single year. I think that’s pretty awesome. I’ve never had business debt outside of some credit cards that I paid a few months later. I attribute this success and business growth to working with my mentor Patricia Norins.
The first thing that Patricia said to me when we met was “how big is your list?”. The next was, “what’s your budget?” Both questions I was like, “ummm…..about 50 people” and “ummm….I don’t really have a budget”. I’ll share more about this on the podcast with Patricia, but the first thing she had me do was create a monthly budget of revenue and expenses, and gave me a system to tracking and knowing my numbers.
Without that system, and level of attention to my numbers, I doubt I would have been profitable every year. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have been.
Not only has Patricia helped me with my budget, she’s helped me on so many levels when it comes to mindset, marketing, partnerships, strategies, goal-setting, and just overall accountability. She’s made me a stronger business woman and I’m SO grateful for her time, advice, and her friendship.
One of the coaches, Paul de la Garza, gave me advice that changed the way I looked at my speaking career forever. On a call in 2014 and I had a lot of anxiety around an upcoming gig, it was my “biggest gig”.
Paul said, “what makes it the biggest gig?”
Me: “They’re paying me $10,000, that’s the most I’ve received for a speaker fee.”
Paul: “Why is that your biggest gig though? You could have your biggest gig speaking to a group of five people, for free.”
Me: MIND BLOWN.
It’s not about the size of the speaker fee, it’s about the impact I can make on someone’s business or life.
It’s about helping people which is something I love during through speaking. Now, if only a few people show up to a seminar or webinar, I think to myself, “I might totally help one person in this room today, let’s do it!” If you’re a speaker, this mindset will help you not be nervous, and focus on adding a ton of value no matter if you’re speaking to two people or 2,000.
Finally, I joined two paid group coaching programs. I’m currently in Strategic Coach and I’m loving it. I’m a small fish in a big pound and I learn so much from the group, and the curriculum. Strategic Coach is all about thinking about your thinking as a business owner, and gives you lots of tools to be efficient in your business and with your team. If you want more info let me know, I’m a big fan!
I think it’s critical to surround yourself with inspiring people who push you to be a better version of you.
“They say” you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you’re an entrepreneur and don’t have a friend or group of people that push you outside your comfort levels, and inspire you to live in full alignment with YOU, then it might be a good time to find a grow to join. You might not find the right one right away (that happened to me!), but “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, “together” to me is not only my team but also mentors, coaches, and other entrepreneurs.
If you’re a retailer, check out my memberships community, Crystal Media Insiders. It’s full of inspiring, successful retailers and my team and I teach and support when it comes to growing your business using social media. It’s the best training for retailers in the industry who want to experience business growth using social media.
One of my favorite books is The Go-Giver which, was recommended to me by Paul de la Garza. It’s a story of a hungry businessman who seeks advice from a mentor and meets 5 go-givers who teach the business man the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success. What’s covered in this book is exactly how I’ve always operated. I know that when you give, when you help, you’ll always get. It might not happen right away, but it will. I always trust that.
At Crystal Media, our motto and something that everyone on the team deeply embodies is we’re “happy to help”. We often go above and beyond helping our retailers because we are truly happy to do so. It feels good to help!! And when you run your business that way, your business sustains, it grows, it flourishes. People have come out of the woodwork that we’ve helped years ago and buy everything we have to sell, because they’re in a place to do it today, and have never forgotten how much we helped them in the past.
Having a ‘happy to help’ culture has been critical to my business growth and success.
For example, a few years ago I was just feeling uninspired. I was in a funk. I didn’t want to feel that way anymore so I sat in my bed asking, “what lights me up? When am I happy?” and my answer was when I’m helping. So I pulled out my computer, wrote a Facebook post to our Insider members saying the first 20 people who respond to this message with their Facebook and Instagram handles will get a free social media review, personally by me. No one needed to buy it, all you had to do was respond.
And wow…the responses came flooding in!! And I got to work. I turned my in-a-funk energy into giving free advice to my Insider members, just for the sake of giving. After finishing the first 20 reviews I said to my team, let’s do more! I did over 80 social media reviews in one month, all for free and I didn’t ask for anything in return. If I saw an opportunity for us to help the retailer, I’d mention our program or service, but that was it. No hard selling. No limited time offer. Just gave advice for free.
Do you know what happened?
We had our highest sales in a one-month period without going to a show and speaking in person. Isn’t that cool?!
We saw tremendous business growth, just by giving.
My intention was never to sell. I never expected we would have had such strong sales, I just wanted to give. And, the feedback from the reviews was SO awesome and rewarding! People were so grateful, they couldn’t believe it was free, and it really made an impression.
So, what can you do to give? Are you giving enough? Can you add something unique to your business to really stand out and help your customers or your community? Make sure you read the Go-Giver! It’s a great book.
And also read Rocket Fuel if you need help with your organizational structure if you’re a business owner, it will change your business (and life!). And finally, surround yourself with people who will push you to grow and be better. Having a mentor and coaches has help me do this.
If you didn’t catch last week’s episode where I interviewed my boyfriend, watch it here. And the next episode is all about being BOLD, exactly how I like my wines.