This is a guest post contributed by SixthDivision, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.
This is what I call ‘Six Laws of Implementation.’ What I found working with people for the last 10 years is that, for successful businesses, there are really three things that each business needs.
- The first thing is that you need to be open to new ideas and strategies.
- The second thing that you need is the ability to attract leads to your business.
- The last thing you need is machine that can take those leads, convert them into clients, and then take those clients and make them happy.
And in all reality, it would be pretty sweet if that machine could do most of the work for you, and then tell you what is happening at every step if the way.
That’s what we do. We help you build a killer machine so you can make more money, be more efficient and save more time, and so you can actually see what is happening in your business.
So, to get started, I want to challenge you to do something while you’re reading this report. Take the approach of, “how well am I doing that”, or “what can I improve from that”, instead of “am I doing that already?”
What I’ve found is that most of us have default settings as we’re attending conferences and consuming new content. Our brain is wired to look for something new and shiny, and as soon as we come across something that we’re already doing, we tend to mentally “check out”.
Don’t do that here. Instead of discounting what we’re going to discuss because “you’re already doing that”, ask yourself, “How well am I doing that?” It will totally change what you take away from this.
By the way, this is a great lesson in life, just in general.
Okay, so why this report and why the Six Laws of Implementation?
I’ll answer that question with a question. Have you ever been to a conference, gotten lots of really good ideas, and then didn’t implement as many of them as you’d like?
If you said yes, we’re in the same boat. So, think of how you might feel after you leave a conference. You go to a conference, you got tons of really really good ideas, and you get really excited. You go home and are stoked that you have all these great ideas that you and your team can implement. Then what happens? It all starts to fall apart.
Some things will get implemented…most of them won’t. So we’re going to talk about six laws as to why that happens, and see if we can get more stuff implemented.
1. Always wear glasses
Okay, so what does that mean? What happens if you have glasses or contacts and take them off? It’s blurry. And, if it’s blurry, you miss stuff. If you put your glasses on, you can see that opportunity is everywhere. And I mean Everywhere.
Here is what I’ve found. In order to implement the right stuff, we’ve got to get the right ideas. Now, those right ideas are everywhere around us. They’re not exclusive to a select few.
Anybody can have them.
You wanna know how I know that? Because there are people that do have them, and I’ve met them and talked to them, and they’re no different than you and I, except for one thing: they wear glasses.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” by T.S. Eliot.
It’s one of my favorite quotes because, what it represents is that there are lessons everywhere…and I mean everywhere.
So I can go to any conference, and I have the power to come back with pages and pages of notes and things that I can take and apply in my business.
So, I was in Orlando the other day and ate dinner at Disney Mania. While I was eating dinner I stopped and wondered, “holy crap! It’s the middle of the week in October and this place is crazy busy.”
And there are lessons to be learned there. There are lessons of success everywhere. And the reason why is because success is, has, and always will continue to be success no matter what industry you’re in, and no matter where you are.
So look for it.
And when you look and you find things, don’t stop and say, “oh that won’t work for me because of X Y and Z”. Say, “you know what? I can’t do it exactly that way, but I can do A, B and C.”
So have you ever seen a company’s video on their website and thought, “Oh, it’s awesome but I can’t do that because I can’t afford it.” Well, you may not be able to afford to go hire someone to produce a video for your website, but guess what? A Flip camera costs about $200. Do you know how much iMovie costs? It’s free if you buy a Mac.
If I were to show you the first video that I ever did (which I never will because it’s way too embarrassing), you’ll see how horrible it was. I used a Flip camera on a tripod. Every time somebody would walk by, I would get nervous. It was the most stupid thing ever. Just do it. Don’t come up with a reason why it won’t work. Look for the reason why it will, and adapt to it.
So…law number one, always wear glasses.
2. You are not the plumber
You are not also the developer, the designer, the implementer, or the videographer. You are the business owner.
Think about this…if you’re spending time developing and writing code for your website, does your business make money? Or, what about if you’re spending time figuring out how to install WordPress? Or, if you’re figuring out how to get to blog written?
Is that how your business makes money? Does your business make money when you’re designing things? Does your business make money when you’re the one that’s inside Infusionsoft configuring everything and pushing the send button? Does your business make money when you’re figuring out iMovie?
Now, I realize that all businesses go through phases. So, at the beginning, sometimes you have to wear a bunch of hats. But if you don’t have a plan for when you’re not wearing those hats, you have to keep wearing them over and over and over and over again.
I looked up “entrepreneur” in the dictionary, and this is the definition that I found: “A person who organizes and operates a business.” The part I like about that is, “a person who organizes a business”. I have no responsibility as an entrepreneur to do any of the work. My job is to organize the resources to make sure that the products or services can get delivered.
Interestingly enough, I did NOT find the following definition for entrepreneur: “A person so highly talented that he/she must perform EVERY function in the business so as to save it from impending doom.” I thought for sure I’d find it, but I didn’t. Yet so many of us act as if that’s our calling.
Here’s another quote, “In the absence of a clearly-defined goal, we become strangely loyal to daily trivia, until ultimately, we become enslaved by it.”
Without a clear goal of how we are not going to be the videographer, the web developer, or the copywriter, we will get sucked in and we’ll keep doing it over and over and over and over until ultimately, we don’t even know how to operate and we start to feel badly if we’re not the one doing it.
We teach to all of our clients at SixthDivision that you need to build your team of key success players. That breaks down into two parts.
Part one is your employees. Here’s a little exercise to do. Write down two things that come to your mind that you do in the business that you should not be doing. And then, write down which of your employees you’re going to give that responsibility to. And make it happen. Today.
The next part is contractors. There are a lot of people who are a lot better at a lot of things and anybody on your staff is ever going to be. You don’t need to take their expertise and try and build it on your team. You have them.
So one principle that I’ve seen is that really successful people are willing to pay for speed and expertise. So be willing to do it. As my good buddy Casey Graham says, “You have to pay next level, to get next level.”
So when you think of your key success players, look at everything your business needs. Then, divide the responsibilities between employees and contractors. What happens is that you start to have a plan. You may not be at a place where you can afford to outsource, so that’s fine, but you’ll have a plan that says, “this is what I am going to start doing because I know I am the entrepreneur, and this business is not going anywhere unless I become the business owner”.
You are not the plumber.
3. You are not a snake
Do you know how a snake eats? It swallows its meal whole. I found a picture of a snake swallowing an alligator (I’ll spare you the image).
When we’re doing things in our businesses, we try and swallow things whole. We try and take everything all at once and make it all happen. Good luck if you do this, and let me know how it goes.
What we teach at SixthDivision is this concept of a Small Business Success Machine. What we try and do is to get people to take their vision from this big thing and break it down into chunks that they can actually implement. So we’ve identified that there are five divisions in your company. You have Vision, Marketing, Sales, Fulfillment, and Finance.
So here’s what you do… You take all of your ideas that you have, and you organize them by division. Then, you stop and you identify within the each division what systems you have running in your business, and where you can apply your ideas.
For example, if you have a free report you offer, you have a free report system.
If you have a campaign that runs month to month, every single one of those has a system.
Each product or service you offer or sell is its own separate system. Now here’s the power in this. When you implement, you don’t implement like a snake and try and do everything.
When you implement, think to yourself, “Okay. Today, I’m going to take all the marketing ideas that I have that pertains to my free report that’s on my website and I’m going to go and implement those. Then tomorrow, I’m going to go look at all my ideas that pertain to my clients, my services, etc., then I’m going to implement those.”
The key is clear, laser sharp, isolated focus. You don’t want to implement all your ideas. You want get them organized into the division, and organize them to the system. That’s where you implement. That’s when you can actually get stuff done.
You’re not a snake.
4. You cannot implement strategy
Think of the last conference or webinar or tele-seminar you attended where you got some really good ideas. My guess is that most of those ideas are still not implemented.
What I’ve found is the reason, is that eighty to ninety percent of what you have written down on your notes after any given event is strategy. And strategy cannot be implemented.
So here’s what people do. When most people implement, they start with an idea, they immediately start trying to do it, and they get frustrated. Now, here’s how successful people implement. They get an idea, they create what we call an Executable Blueprint, and THEN they start doing it.
This is really easy when you put it in the context of a house.
Think of your dream home. If you talk to my wife, she can tell you what our dream home is going to look like, and how she wants it. I cannot take her to a general contractor and say, “build whatever comes out of her mouth”. Right? That sounds a bit stupid.
That’s what we do in our business. We say to our team, “I’ve got a bunch of ideas…go do it”. So the first thing we need to do is to just call off our ideas, then break them down by division, then break them down by system, then create an executable blueprint for each one of these items.
Some of the things you have will be very tactical. You can just go do them. Most of the stuff that you write down, however, is strategic.
That means you have to break it down into a project plan so you can get specific. Then, you can give it to your team, and go implement.
At SixthDivision, we teach this process called Unpack Your BrainTM. Once you get down to the level of the system, Unpack Your Brain is a process where you go through to map out how you want that system to work.
What do you want to have happen every time somebody signs up for a specific service? When a lead comes in the door, what do you want to happen? When somebody buys a product, what do you want to happen? When somebody requests a consultation, what do you want to happen?
It’s a way to take all of the ideas you have and unpack them into a process.
You cannot implement strategy.
5. Ninjas don’t start as ninjas
So the process we teach, helps make sure all of your systems are more systematized and run automatically. There’s a process they all go through…an evolutionary process.
There are three phases: Organize. Optimize. Customize. You can’t jump phases. You might think you can, but you can’t. Trust me, I’ve been doing this a long time. You cannot jump phases.
The organize phase is all about sealing the cracks and getting basic reporting. For example, when you go to conferences, people like to talk about really fancy things like split testing, and they show you all these crazy things that people have done, right? That is not where you start. Ninjas don’t start as ninjas.
The very first phase is identifying what your systems are, then going into each one and identifying how you can seal the cracks.
Where are people failing? Is your $15 an hour person out front screwing all your marketing effort because they don’t know to answer the phone and can’t talk? Maybe. You need to go through and seal the cracks, and then you have to have basic reporting.
This is potentially a 6 to 12 month process to get all this dialed in so you know exactly what’s happening from top to bottom across your business.
Next is the optimize phase.
In this phase, we go back to try to figure out how we can convert more people. We look at our sources, where we are going to get new leads, our content, and what would need to be updated. By the