I knew my priorities were messed up when my browser window got to the point that I had so many tabs open I could not even see the favicons of each one. My mind was running all over the place and I was scared to close any of those tabs. I had gone down so many rabbit holes researching this thing or that and was “actively” working on so many projects and closing any of them felt like wasted time. I had to do better. I had to figure out what was a priority in my business. What I learned and started to implement in my business was the Pareto Principle.
The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. So the key is to find what that 20% is. In business, I believe that 20% comes from 3 main areas. I’ve identified these three areas as must-haves and will create the most impact on your business: sales, leads and brand.
Your sales process is the number one thing you need to have in place in your business. If you aren’t selling then you don’t really have a business. A basic sales process has three main parts: invite, persuade, convert.
The invite phase centers on you establishing a connection with your potential client. In this phase you are providing some value that your audience feels compelled to give you their information or following. This would look like them following you on social media, signing up for your freebie or email list, joining you Facebook group or even signing up for a webinar or event among other things. You have invited them to be a part of your business world and they have accepted the invitation.
Now that your perfect-fit clients have accepted your invitation it is your job to persuade them. Although the term “persuade” can have a negative connotation the persuade phase is more about aligning the solution you offer with the problem(s) your audience is dealing with. During this phase, you will highlight the transformation your service provides. This is often done with mini-trainings, masterclasses, challenges, social media posts and stories and even your freebie if it is well-crafted. The persuade phase is all of the content you generate.
The convert phase is the selling phase. This is where you pitch your offers and share how your clients can work with you. You can have all the right offers but if you aren’t actively selling them and making it easy for your audience to pay you.
Lead generation is actually the first phase of your sales process called attract. Although this is a part of the sales phase I separate it from the other parts because it is often used incorrectly and focused on prematurely. As business owners, particularly in the online space, we spend so much time on this part that it is often used exclusively as the entire sales process.
The attract phase is what most people think of as marketing. This phase focuses on getting in front of as many potential perfect-fit clients as possible. Although this phase is probably the most talked about and sought after in terms of solutions it is the last piece that needs to be put in place.
Our signature brand development process has 4 stages: lay the foundation, build your toolkit, showcase your brand, and pitch your offer. These 4 stages walk you through deciding who your brand is and what it represents, how to talk about your brand, how to keep it visually cohesive and how to launch your brand online.
The first stage in building an expert brand that converts is to build the foundation. All the wonderful, amazing things you’ll create and the heights you reach aren’t possible, at least not in a sustainable and lasting kind of way, without a strong foundation to support it. The goal of this stage is to have a concrete understanding of the perception you want to build.
In this phase, you focus on building a brand toolkit that includes writing your go-to brand stories, crafting your offer suite including your signature offer, and developing an authority plan to showcase your expertise and build your visibility.
In this part, you focus on creating a visually cohesive brand. This includes your brand’s logo, color palette, fonts, image style, and other graphic elements. It also includes the way your brands communicates, such as word usage, brand-specific created words, and even the voice, personality, tone of your brand. All of these come together in the creation of your online home, your website.
This part isn’t so much a part of the brand development process in a strict sense but I include it as a way to easily put all of the clarity you’ve gained in a plan of action.
Overall, the 3 above processes should be prioritized in your business as must-haves. Like I mentioned before, these 3 processes will lead to the greatest impact on your business. As you grow in business you will spend varying amounts of time on each of these activities. They each build on each other in a never-ending staircase so it can be hard to determine which requires the most attention. When your priorities conflict I have a tiered system for helping to understand where you should focus your energy.
If you have an abundance of time and limited funds your energy should be focused on money-making activities. I would spend the majority of your energy developing your sales process (60%) and a smaller amount of time on brand development (15%) and lead generation (25%).
If you have a limited amount of time but you have disposable income I assume that your sales process is in a decent place. Since you are making money in your business you can use it to invest in your business. I would suggest that you spend the bulk of your energy, generating leads (50%), followed closely by brand development (40%) and then your sales process (10%).
This tier is not focused on income but mindset. Regardless of where you are in your business if your focus is on developing a business that not only makes an impact on your pocket but also an impact in the world you should make sure that you really understand your brand and make decisions that align with the impact you are seeking to make. You would spend the bulk of your energy on developing your brand (60%), generating leads (30%), sales process (10%).
The percentages mentioned are given as a guide to help you start to prioritize your tasks. As you progress through different levels of business you will gain a nuanced understanding of what your business needs. You should use data you’ve collected about your business to make informed decisions about where your business needs the most help. If you haven’t already I would start tracking all of your efforts and outcomes for the 3 processes above.