As the primary account managers for Evolved Finance, Corey and I have visibility into the businesses of many successful online entrepreneurs. On our monthly calls with our clients, not only do we analyze their financial data but we also have an in-depth discussion about how they ’re driving sales, how they ’re managing their business and what their long-term goals are.
Over time, it has become apparent what our most successful clients are doing to stabilize and grow their businesses. Although each business we work with has its own unique challenges and success stories, the entrepreneurs that run these businesses seem to share some common characteristics that are key to reaching their goals.
1) They are clear on their business financials
Every client we work with understands that wrapping their heads around their financials is an absolute must for their success. That ’s the primary reason they switched from their old bookkeeping practices to working with us. We wrote a separate post about the importance of financial clarity, which you can read here.
2) They focus on the most profitable aspects of their businesses
Part of growing a successful online business is knowing which revenue streams are paying the bills. Over time, many businesses will launch a variety of products and services in order to maximize earnings potential and create growth. Our most successful clients monitor their revenue streams closely so they can see which ones are providing the most financial benefit. We ’ve seen other online entrepreneurs grow their product and service offerings too quickly, spreading themselves and their teams very thin as they try to chase every dollar that comes their way. That ’s where utilizing the sales data from your CRM can be hugely helpful to focus your sales and marketing efforts on the revenue streams that support the business the most.
3) They plan ahead
Planning ahead is essential to take your business to the next level. It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations that you forget to take some time to step back and think about what ’s next. Our most effective clients are always thinking ahead to their next product launches, marketing efforts, and financial goals. The ability to visualize and strategize the next move is a crucial skill set all entrepreneurs need to develop if they want to see their business grow.
4) They take advantage of opportunities, even if it means making a shift in how they operate their businesses
A savvy businessperson sees opportunities and takes advantage of them. For instance, we ’ve seen clients totally drop a product launch in order to shift their efforts to projects that provide a better return on their time and effort. Corey and I have run into this in our own entrepreneurial endeavors as well. Recognizing an opportunity that could provide huge results is half the battle; the other half is being brave enough and strategic enough to take advantage of the opportunity so that it provides tangible benefits to the business.
5) They take calculated risks
Most online entrepreneurs know that taking risks is part of the game. Going into business for yourself is a big enough gamble as it is, but most of our clients know that taking risks doesn ’t have to be a sink or swim situation. They never invest more than their business can afford and they take baby steps when moving into territory they haven ’t traversed before (new product launches, services, ways of running the business, etc.). Much of being an entrepreneur revolves around failing, but it ’s important to make sure those failures don ’t break the bank or put your current success at risk.
6) They invest back into their businesses
There is no doubt that you can have a low six–figure business just by utilizing effective sales and marketing strategies, but our clients who grow way past this range understand that you need to put money back into the business in order to grow, whether by hiring the right people, investing in infrastructure, or developing bigger and more robust product offerings. The confidence to invest back into your business almost always comes from having a clear vision and strategy around what you are trying to accomplish.
7) They understand the value of working with people who are good at what they do
The larger your online business becomes, the more you ’ll need to rely on the help of others. This can come in the form of hiring employees, contractors, consultants, or even partnering with other entrepreneurs. Our most successful clients understand that the people they choose to work with need to be great at what they do. Hiring the cheapest employees you can find, or partnering with people who do not share the same vision or passion for your business is a recipe for disaster. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is doubly true when it comes to bringing people on to work in your business.
8) They keep their personal and business finances separate
When you ’re running an online business, it ’s easy for your personal life and business life to intermingle, especially when it comes to your finances. If you ’re using only one bank account for both business and personal use, your financials become cloudy and complicated. This also makes your bookkeeping and accounting more convoluted, which can increase your accounting bill at the end of the year and make it easier to miss out on tax write-offs. It ’s amazing how much more focused and clear your business becomes when you separate it from the rest of your financial life.
9) They live within the means that their businesses provide them
If you don ’t think your personal expenses have an effect on how you run your business, you are mistaken. Our most successful clients understand this better than most, making sure to live within the means that their business provides them. This way, if they have a slow month on the business side, they aren ’t scrambling to pay their bills in their personal life. After all, the more money you take out of the business to pay yourself, the less money you have to invest back into the business to help it grow.
10) They think about their businesses… A LOT!
Every online entrepreneur we work with is constantly thinking about his or her business. They understand that if you ’re truly passionate about what you do, your business will always be top of mind, especially if you want a business with any sort of stability or longevity. That doesn’t mean they neglect the other aspects of their life, but they do understand that they need to not only be aware of what ’s going on with their business right now, but also have a vision for what their business will look like in the future.
There is no single way to get your online business to where you want it to be. Hopefully, by seeing how other entrepreneurs have created thriving businesses, you can learn from what they ’ve done and apply those principles in a way that makes sense for yours. After all, nobody knows the intricacies and unique challenges your business faces better than you.