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I have a special guest, Jennifer Glass. Jennifer, how are you?
I am doing great, Nathan. Thanks so much for having me.
Thanks for being here. Jennifer Glass is the CEO at Business Growth Strategies International, LLC. BGSI, through its various divisions, provide a robust best in class solution for business owners looking to grow their business and revenues. She had been a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations causes and continues to work with many non-profit organizations, serving on their board, including Vice President of Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, along with other groups as a volunteer for the causes she believes. She’s frequently asked on numerous stages including being a two-time Top College Speaker, the Small Business Development Center Organization that works with thousands of small businesses. It’s very impressive, Jennifer. Take us back. What were you doing before all of this and how did you get to where you are now?
I can tell you that way back when I first started figuring out where I wanted to be. I was making a whooping $8 an hour in a Chinese restaurant, clearly not making anything big. I realized that there was no way that I was going to get where I needed to be. I ended up looking at a couple of different opportunities. I went to work for a voiceover internet company when tech support was sitting across from me and they were saying, “Caller, if you can hear us, press one on your keyboard,” way back at the early stages. I was lucky enough that I learned the ropes in business and marketing from that. I still wasn’t at the point where I was interested in being financially. I looked at a bunch of different things. I read tons of information, gurus and all of them. Eventually, I found coaches that put me on the path where I am now to being in a position where I am coaching clients now and helping them build their million-dollar businesses.
Talk to me about $1 million business because that’s a nice clean number. That’s what everyone wants. They want that million-dollar business. You’ve got the 2 Comma Club in ClickFunnels. What’s the most common thing that prevents someone from taking up a good business idea and getting it to that million-dollar mark?
There are a couple of things. One is when you say, “I think.” Another is, “Yeah, but I like it.” Those are two areas that are major detractors in the mindset of many small business owners. When you’re sitting there and you’re saying, “I think,” or “Yeah, but I like it,” or “It worked in the past,” that’s another one. We all think the internet back in 2015 was such a great thing and it made millions of dollars for anyone that wanted to do anything on the internet. The rules of marketing have changed. We have changed. I have this conversation with my Chamber of Commerce board in terms of the number of messages that we see every day. We’re bombarded with millions of messages. If you’re going to go and you’re going to say, “It worked for me in 2015,” or “It worked for me last year,” that’s not going to say that it’s going to work for you now.
Never go in and sell; rather, always offer value.
Many small business owners get stuck in that routine where they think, “I’m going to do exactly what I did in the past and it’s going to work.” Some things will, but many things are not going to. A lot of people have to get out of their own way and let somebody who has fresh eyes on their business see what they can do and go from there. I’m not saying that you have to work with me as a coach or work with you as a coach or work with anyone. If you have a mentor that you believe in, ask them, “What am I doing? Where can I change things up in terms of my business? I had been stuck at this $150,000 revenue mark for the last two and a half years and I can’t seem to budge.” You’re still doing the same marketing. You haven’t changed and you haven’t been looking at creating new relationships and new programs, you’re not going to grow. As one of my coaches say, “If you are not putting your product to bed, you’re not making enough sleep, someone else is.” That’s why you need to constantly be innovating. You need to re-think what you’re doing. If you’re stuck in the past, you can’t feel looking to the future.
Innovation and marketing are one of those things that everybody is like, “You’ve got to market your business,” then there are so many different channels. You’ve got LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. It can be overwhelming as an entrepreneur. Do you have any insights in figuring out what is the right channel, what is the right strategy without dumping tons and tons of money on ads and figuring out what’s working that way?
It really comes down to looking at what industry you’re in as well as where your avatars are. I’m just going to throw it out there. For those of you reading, how many of you know what an avatar is? I’m not referring to James Cameron’s blue people. We love those blue people and if I remember correctly, so did the Academy, but that’s not what we need in terms of an avatar. We need to know who our ideal prospects are. If you don’t know who they are, that’s one of the first things you need to figure out. You need to go back and say, “I have John who’s a B2B person and he’s selling whatever widget you’re going after.” That’s your ideal prospect. You need to be where John is. John is on LinkedIn because he’s a B2B guy as are you. That’s where you need to be. If you’re selling something like food, cosmetics, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, that’s going to be where your avatars, your prospects are going to be. That’s the first thing that you want to look at.
The other thing is also to ask your current customers, “Where are you hanging out? When you’re online, are you on Facebook more or are you on LinkedIn? Are you on Instagram? Are you on Vine?” Where are you in terms of what’s there? If you’re trying to reach a younger crowd, talk to your kids. My teenage daughter is cluing me in on all of these other networks because like they say, “Once moms get on the network, that’s when it’s mature.” That’s when it’s dying because the moms are on there. If that’s the network you want to be on because that’s where you need to be because you’re going after moms, that’s again where you want to be because that’s the place that they’re hanging out.
We talked a little bit about what’s holding people back. Let’s talk about the success, the businesses that you’ve seen that then maybe they were struggling along there, they were staying put and then one day they were able to execute a strategy and get over that $1 million marks. Do you have any good examples of some creative or innovative ways that people were able to go in and really change their business?
I’m going to give our readers one really great one that’s not going to cost them anything. How many of you would love that one? I know I will. Joint ventures. For those of you that don’t know what a joint venture is, think about it as mutually connecting people. I’m going to use an example of a florist. A florist does a lot of weddings. This florist can connect with the jeweler because they’re going to start doing the engagement ring. They’re going to have the caterer, they’re going to have the venue, they’re going to have the officiant. They’re going to have the photographer, they’re going to have the DJ or the band. They’re going to have the printer for the invitations. They’re going to have the dress stores that the bride can get her dress, they’re going to have the tuxes that the groom can get his tuxes and the groomsmen and all of those other related businesses on a piece of paper. Every one of those down the line has the same piece of paper and say, “Here are the people that we work with.”
All of a sudden now that’s a way to get more leads because, “I went to the jeweler, I got the ring, now I can go and I can do all the other pieces. I’m up to the point where I’m looking at getting flowers. I still have a ton more to do and now I know exactly where to go from here.” Each one of those places has this and it’s a way to start jumpstarting your lead generation. Do you look at how you maximize that? How do you take that a step further and look at bringing and re-marketing, re-targeting people that maybe wants your website and seeing how you can market them in different areas and upsell? If it’s the florist, what do you do?
You start going after the groom and you say, “When is your bride’s birthday?” You already know the anniversary because you’re doing the wedding. You start getting them in a program on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s and all of those. You start saying, “We’re going to automatically send out this program. It’s a year-long program and for only $197, we’re going to send bouquets to your wife on all of these special days.” It’s that upsell. You can look at all of these additional programs there. It’s not going to cost you anything in terms of the generic, “How do you do that?” You’re just increasing the number of transactions. With the re-targeting, re-marketing, you’re going after them to find new ways to sell more product.
Peter Pru, I don’t know if you know who that is, but he preaches that all the time. We had Seth Green on before talking about joint ventures where getting leads are great, but if you can connect with other people that have that same audience. Those kinds of partnerships are golden and one of the fastest ways to scale your business and I’m assuming you agree.
I’ve been doing that for quite some time. I use what I preach.
Talk about some other growth hacks that you’ve seen that the average business owner probably wouldn’t think about.
One of the biggest things is also a difference between networking and relationship working. We’ll show you how this all ties into growth. Everyone goes to a lot of networking events. I know that as Vice President of my Chamber of Commerce, I’m at a ton of events. I get people coming up to me, giving me their card and saying, “Let’s do lunch.” I had a dentist come up to me at an event I was at. She gave me a pen instead of a business card because she wanted it to be unique. She said, “Let’s do breakfast Friday morning. I’m not seeing patients.” I said, “I’ll call you. We’ll schedule it and we’ll get that all taken care of.”
If you’re not touching base with people on a regular basis, you’re not top of mind.
The problem is so many people leave a follow-up to chance. They don’t actually follow-up. As they say, the devil is in the details. You have to follow-up. It’s also creating value. It’s not about, “Here’s my card, tell me how I can help you.” For me and a lot of people I’ve seen starting to do this, as I coach my clients all the time, they have to do this. Never go in and sell them. Always offer value. I didn’t go in and I haven’t made a single offer, but I am giving value to the people that I’m speaking with. I go and I share probably way too much. I talk, “You can do this, you can do that.” I ask them also, “What are your big goals this year?” Very often they’re going to tell me whether it’s personal or business goals and if I can help them, very often, “Have you heard of FreeeUp?” That’s free with three Es. That way when you look it up, you’re going to have that.
It’s a marketplace where you can find people that can help you. You’re operating on a shoestring budget and you need something that somebody can do for you. I don’t have to even be fulfilling that need, but as soon as they do and their need is fulfilled, now that Law of Reciprocity kicks in and they want to work with me. That’s one way that you can start generating more business because people will like you. Another light is remembered that it’s not just that single follow-up. Many people say, “I’ll send that email, I’ll go on LinkedIn, I’ll connect with them,” or Facebook, whatever and then assume that it’s all done. If you’re not touching base with these people on a regular basis, you’re not top of mind. You’re in the back of their mind or worse, you’re in a pile of business cards sitting on their desk that’s waiting to be thrown out. You need to have that communication.
There’s a statistic that says the average number of touches that we have before somebody who wants to buy from us is between eight and twelve touches. If you don’t have that, how are they going to remember you? Look at all the ads we see on TV and marketing messages we’re seeing on Facebook and everything as we’re scrolling through our feeds. We have to have those constant touches to make us say, “I want to buy from this person, from this company, this service, whatever it is for that.” You need to have drip campaigns put in place. When you do that, you can literally turn the faucet when you want more leads and turn it off when you don’t because now people are coming to you when you’re properly having that pipeline filled. Those are some of the ways that you can really start growing your business and get to that $1 million business no matter where you are.
What are some common mistakes that you see people make along the way outside of marketing when people are scaling and growing their business? I’m sure you’ve seen lots of maybe poor management, poor hiring and poor other things that have to do with the business. Any insights there or something more consistent that you see across different businesses in different industries?
One of the big ones is operational. If you have $150,000 business and you moved to a $500,000 business, let’s say nine months, twelve months from now because you implemented all of these marketing programs that can help you in your business. The problem is that if you didn’t change some of the operational ways that you’re managing the process, you’re still operating on a $150,000 program. If you’re still using the same people, you didn’t increase your team. You may need to hire people because you need more productivity still coming from your team, but you also are going to need more people to cover. You can’t push someone 150% of their productivity just because you want to. Very often when companies are downsizing, they think, “I’m going to push people to 120% of productivity.” What ends up happening is they burn out.
You need to keep people motivated. You need to keep them running on full so that they see where they want to go. You also, as the business owner, have to show and buy into the picture along with your team. The same kind of work that your team is doing, you need to do because then they see when the boss is doing it, “If they’re doing it, I’ve got to do it too.” You lead by example. It’s not lead by delegation and that’s one of the things in the beginning stages you need to do as you mature in business. If you look at McDonald’s as an example, you never see a McDonald’s owner in McDonald’s because they have systems and processes in place. They know that if they have ten people working in a particular location, those ten people are assigned to the task that they’re assigned to. They know that the job is going to be done according to specification. Flip the burger after two minutes and ten seconds, put the bun on for 32 seconds and this much mayonnaise, this much this, this much that. It’s all down to assignments.
That’s what I mean operational and also systems and processes. You need to have that. You also need to have financing. Somebody that wants to scale, they think they’re going to make it up in sales. Many businesses are operating on a 30% to 40% margin. If I’m operating on a 30%, 40% margin and I increased my sales from $150,000 to $500,000, that’s great on paper, but what is my actual margin? If I don’t have the right cashflow and the right financing options available to me as I’m scaling, I may not be there to meet demand. Especially if I get Whole Foods as an example if I’m in the food business. I get Whole Foods to buy from me. Congratulations. Whole Foods is a major deal. The problem is on the backend if I cannot meet my deliverable, not only is Whole Foods never going to work with me again, I’m going to have to pay the penalty. Many business owners don’t realize that. You want to know everything is running exactly where you need it to be and you have to plan for that as time goes by.
One thing I will make a pitch for it because I do it all the time. The Small Business Development Center, you mentioned that in my bio that I worked with the SBDC. There are centers across the United States and in many foreign nations, I think there are similar programs as well, where your taxpayer dollars are paying for this. Many of the services they offer are at no cost to you because your taxpayer dollars are already covered. If you need help, reach out to me. I will get you in touch with the Bergen County Small Business Development Center in New Jersey and they will connect you wherever you are, in terms of making that connection for you.
If people want to learn more about you and if people want to get in touch with you, how do they do that?
They can definitely go to my website, BGSIAcademy.com, as in Business Growth Strategies International Academy. They can also reach out to me on LinkedIn under Jennifer R. Glass. On Twitter, @TheJennGlass. I love hearing from people. I’m all about community. When I see my clients grow, when I see other businesses grow in their community and I see people are hiring more people and making more donations in their communities, that’s what I’m all about. I loved the money, but I’m really all about the community because that’s what makes us all stronger. As our schools are better, as our police are better and everything, we’re all better. That’s exactly why I do what I do.
Thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. It’s a very valuable insight. Definitely reach out to Jennifer. I think she can help your business in a lot of different ways. Thanks again.
Thank you so much.
Jennifer Glass is CEO at Business Growth Strategies International, LLC . BGSI, through its various divisions – provide a robust and best-in-class solution for business owners looking to grow their business and revenues.
Ms. Glass has been a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations/causes and continues to work with many non-profit organizations serving on their board, including as Vice President of the Teaneck (NJ) Chamber of Commerce among other groups, and as a volunteer for the causes she believes in.
Ms. Glass is frequently asked to speak on numerous stages, including being a two-time top college speaker, the Small Business Development Center – an organization that works with thousands of small businesses each year and presents on topics such as “QUICKLY Get More SALES & REVENUES the EASY Way,” “The 3 Secrets to Getting More Customers,” “Does Success Equate to Happiness?” and “The 9-Point Sales Process to Getting More Revenue.”
Ms. Glass recently co-authored “Reach Your Greatness” with ABC’s Secret Millionaire, James Malinchak and has her book, “It’s All in the Bottom Line” scheduled to come out shortly.
Because of the work Ms. Glass has done over the last 15+ years, she has been featured in numerous media outlets, recognized as a leader in business by more than 1,000 organizations, the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, several top global accounting firms, commercial and investment banks and was even named as a top woman in business leader by Acquisition International Magazine among other publications.
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