Prepare For Your Next Business Milestone
Do you know what it takes to get to a million dollars in your business? Did you know that only 2% of women-owned businesses ever reach the seven-figure mark?
This season, I will be joined by some incredible guests to discuss exactly what it takes to make this happen and to share some of the lessons learned, the obstacles, the mindset challenges, and even some of the discomfort that they face when it comes to building a successful business. We are going to share the mindsets and the ways of thinking of different women and different types of businesses to inspire others and increase that 2% statistic to be a larger number.
To start the conversation in episode 50, I’m talking about the importance of finding models of success, having awareness of where you are at in your current business journey, paying attention to bottom-line profit, scarcity mindsets, knowing how much money is enough, and knowing your numbers in general.
Ready to dive in? Turn up the volume and let’s get started!
What’s in This Episode
- Why I despise income earnings marketing
- The percentage of women who exceed the seven-figure mark
- Know and understand your numbers if you want growth and success
- Lisa Larter’s Revenue Ladder
- Stop playing it safe with business coaches
- Why bigger sales won’t always mean bigger profits
- Avoid falling for someone’s Top Line until you’ve heard their Bottom Line
What To Do Next
- Join The Strategy Lab, Lisa’s insider entrepreneurial community that is learning, tackling, and coming together to support and challenge each other on all things business. Click here to join!
- Join Thought Readers and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs in this popular book club for business owners.
- Subscribe to receive this podcast and regular weekly strategies to grow and shape your business. You’ll also be the first to know about upcoming courses, programs and exclusive LIVE training.
- Join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn and share your insights from the show.
Books Mentioned in This Episode
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
Next week for episode 51, Emily Countryman discusses her approach to business, why you do not need to begin with the “end in mind”, and the pivots retail owners were forced to make during COVID.
CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE FULL TRANSCRIPT
Lisa Larter (00:01):
Welcome to, She Talks Business. If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or aspiring mogul, chances are you want to learn more about marketing and mastering and monetizing your business. She Talks Business is where you’ll learn all of that and more. My name is Lisa Larter and I’m an entrepreneur, high school dropout, wiener dog enthusiast and your host. Let’s get started.
Lisa Larter (00:24):
Hello, hello, and welcome to She Talks Business, episode number 50. Can you believe it? 50 freaking episodes. I can’t believe it. I’m so happy and excited to be back here with you this week. If you didn’t read my blog last week, you should check it out because I actually wrote lessons learned from starting a podcast of 50 episodes, and there’s some really juicy stuff in there that you might appreciate.
Lisa Larter (00:57):
Before I jump into this next season, which I’m really, really excited to talk to you about, I just want to do a big shout out and thank my team for stepping in and doing a team takeover and for helping me with the podcast over the last few weeks. I really had mixed feelings when Cass Bald originally reached out to me and said, “Hey, how can we help?” I wasn’t sure whether it would be appropriate. I was worried that we might lose listeners. And I have to tell you, her and Adan and the team stepped up, and they did a stellar job, and they gave me a much needed break from recording. And I am just super grateful and appreciative to the time, care and attention that they gave to the show. So if you had a chance to listen to some of the team takeover episodes, I’d love to hear which one was your favorite.
Lisa Larter (01:55):
My favorite episode of course was number 44, Lessons Learned from Lisa. And that was my favorite for probably not the reason that you think. It wasn’t my favorite because they were talking about me. It was my favorite because I had no real conscious awareness of the lessons or the impact that I was having. And so when I listened to these women talk about the lessons that they’ve learned from working with me, I really felt humbled, and I felt grateful that I have been able to impart wisdom unintentionally in their lives. And I felt just so … I don’t even know how to describe it. It was so interesting for me to listen to them talk about me and to hear them say the things that they said. I have a whole new level of appreciation and gratitude for the two of them, for not only what they shared, but how they wove those lessons into valuable lessons for other people.
Lisa Larter (03:07):
So from the bottom of my heart, Cass and Adan, I just want to say a huge thank you. It felt a little uncomfortable to give up the reins, and you guys did a stellar job, and I will always be grateful for the fact that you took over, and you took over and you did it with class and style and provided tremendous value. That is the ultimate in having a great team is being able to pass the baton over and see someone else do just as good, if not better a job than you do. So thank you both, ladies.
Lisa Larter (03:44):
All right. So as we move into this next episode, I’m really excited. This next season is all about what I’m calling Million Dollar Mindshare. And the intention here is to really talk about what it takes to get to a million dollars in your business and to also share some of the lessons learned, the obstacles, the mindset challenges, and even some of the discomfort that people face when it comes to building a successful business. I’ve got some amazing, amazing guests lined up for you. And this season is likely going to go to the end of May. It may even go into June because I’ve got some solos planned where I want to share some things with you, like I’m going to today.
Lisa Larter (04:36):
I’ve got some fantastic guests. Stephanie Allen is coming back to do a hot seat because she’s just engaged in some coaching with me. And one of the reasons that she’s coaching with me is she wants to build her own million dollar business, so I thought it would be fun to do a hot seat around the questions that she has around that. So I’m super excited to share all of that with you.
Lisa Larter (04:57):
I want to start by telling you that I absolutely hate income earnings marketing. I hate it when people talk about their seven-figure business, and I feel like it’s all smoke and mirrors. And sometimes it is boastful and it’s not 100% honest, and it’s just something that I have never really done a lot of. I don’t know. It feels weird to me to brag about money. It feels weird for me to brag about having my biggest month in sales or my biggest sale ever or my biggest year. It feels uncomfortable.
Lisa Larter (05:37):
And so you might be like, “All right, Lisa, so then why on earth are you doing this whole season on million dollar mindshare?” Well, let me tell you. I went to one of our annual networking meetings for The Trust in Miami. The Trust is a private networking organization led by Ali Brown for women who run seven- and eight-figure businesses. And I love going to these meetings because I love being around these really, really smart women, and I love learning from these women. But something really interesting happened, and it didn’t happen to me, but it happened to another group of women while we were in Miami.
Lisa Larter (06:18):
We were in Miami, on South Beach. We stayed at the W Hotel. And every day for lunch, Ali had this beautiful little courtyard area set up for us where lunch was catered and there were a bunch of tables. And of course, we all sat and chatted and had our lunch together, out in the beautiful Florida sunshine. And one day while we were there, a server or someone who works in the hotel, an employee, a young female employee who works at the hotel came into the luncheon area and walked over to one of the tables to have a conversation with some of the women because she wanted to see what seven and eight figure women look like. She wanted to meet women who have done this because she aspired to have a better life for herself down the road.
Lisa Larter (07:10):
And I realized, I had this aha moment that when I first started my business, I was looking for models of success. I was looking for women who had done what I aspired to do. I was looking for those who had gone before me. And I realized that when we share our successes, we help others see what’s possible for them. And when we don’t talk about our successes, then we actually limit the potential of other people. And so, that’s why I am doing this whole season on million dollar mindshare, because I want to share the mindsets and the way of thinking, different women, different types of businesses, in order to inspire others.
Lisa Larter (07:56):
One of the guests who was at our meeting is a woman by the name of Dana Jacoby. Dana has been responsible for over $2 billion in exits. She’s helped people sell their businesses. And one of the things that she talked about at the event is that less than 2% of women-owned businesses ever exceed the seven figure mark. 2%. That is a crazy, crazy low percentage of women-owned businesses. So my hope and my intention is that this season inspires a larger share, that this season helps people to see what is possible for them, and that we can creep that number from 2 to 4 to 6 to 10 to 20% of women-owned businesses and make it something that is a new normal, instead of something that only a small percentage of women are ever able to do.
Lisa Larter (08:49):
That leads me into the next point that I want to talk about, which is my own awareness. We had a guest speaker in Miami who has a ridiculously successful business, a retail business that is leaps and bounds above where my business is today. And I’m not going to talk about what this individual’s annual sales are, but let’s just suffice to say that it is significantly a different league from the league that I play in. And this woman was very impressive. She is actually the owner and founder of “It’s a 10”, and I was blown away by how confident and self-assured she was in terms of the business that she has built.
Lisa Larter (09:35):
But there was this really odd thing that happened for me, which was I realized after spending two days with these women that the women that impacted me most were the women that were in the room that were just a few steps ahead of me. And so I’d like to coin it the ladder analogy. When we are all climbing the corporate ladder or we’re climbing the revenue ladder in our business, we need to know where the next rung is. And when you’re on one rung, it’s possible for you to reach up maybe two rungs ahead. But to reach up 10 or 100 rungs ahead of you is really, really hard to do. And so as you are building your business, it’s really important that you surround yourself with people that are a few rungs above you, because when someone is just far enough ahead of you that you see what is possible for you, it actually creates possibility instead of separation, where you look at that person and say, “Yeah, but that’s them.”
Lisa Larter (10:44):
So I look at Carolyn who built “It’s a 10”, and I think her story is remarkable, but I have a lot of yeah, buts. Yeah, but it’s a product-based business. Yeah, but she started it a lot of years ago. Yeah, but it’s different than my business. And so the yeah, buts, the yeah, but naysayers come to play. But when I hear somebody else in the room who has a similar business to mine talk about doing $3 million a year, or they talk about … I don’t know. Talk about investing. Like, I’m talking to somebody else, and they’re talking about a six figure hobby. All of a sudden, those things feel possible for me because the gap between where I am in my business and where they are in their business isn’t that great.
Lisa Larter (11:34):
So surround yourself with people who are a few rungs above you, a few rungs ahead of you on the journey. And if you work with a business coach, don’t work with a business coach that is just a little bit ahead of you. Your business coach should always be further ahead of you, but you want to work with somebody who’s done what you aspire to do on a grander level. Otherwise, it’s going to take you a lot longer. It’s going to be harder for them to stretch you because the gap between where they are and where you are is too tight.
Lisa Larter (12:08):
And I see this happen all the time. People hire people they know, like and trust. They feel safe around them because they’re kind of like them. And these coaches are really good at making them feel good about themselves, but they’re not very good at stretching them. You want to work with somebody who actually creates a bit of discomfort for you, so that you will reach a little bit higher than what makes you feel safe on the ladder. You may feel your arms and your legs shake a little bit, but you’re going to go for it. And if you don’t work with somebody that stretches you in that manner, you’re going to continue to play safe. And it’s going to be a lot harder for you to reach your potential as quickly as you are capable of.
Lisa Larter (12:50):
We learn a lot from what is possible for someone else. We learn that what is possible for someone else is possible for you. So here I am, I’m in this room full of these brilliant women with all these different types of businesses. And one woman shared that she did a million dollars in profit in her business last year. And another woman stood up and said, “Hey, that’s really great. I’m happy for you. I never want to diminish that you did that. That is amazing. We are all super happy for you, but is there anybody else in the room that’s done that too?” And lo and behold, a bunch of other women stood up. What I loved about what this second woman did is she normalized what was being perceived as an exception. So when you see what is possible for someone else, look for other people that have done it too. Look for proof that it’s possible for many people, because then it will feel more possible for you too.
Lisa Larter (13:50):
I can tell you that the highest profit level I have attained in a year in my business is half a million dollars. But when I heard this woman say that she has generated a million dollars, and then I saw all these other women stand up and say that they’ve done that too, all of a sudden, I was like, “Hey, I want to do that.” Imagine what that allows you to do when you start building wealth for your family and building value in your business, when you get to a point that your business can actually generate not only a million dollars a year in sales, but a million dollars in profit. It is staggering.
Lisa Larter (14:27):
The next thing I want to talk about is bigger sales don’t always mean bigger profits. So when you’re looking around and you’re looking for these possibilities and you’re looking at the ladder, don’t be afraid to ask questions because there are a lot of people out there that use top-line revenue earnings as a marketing pitch. And they say, “Hey, my business did seven figures here and seven figures there,” but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I want to know what happened beneath the iceberg, beneath the water. What was the bottom line? We need to talk about the bottom line more because if you have a seven-figure business, but you’re not generating a minimum of six figures in profit and you’re not paying yourself an income, that don’t impress me much.
Lisa Larter (15:15):
So bigger sales don’t always mean bigger profits, but bigger sales can mean bigger profits if you really understand the financial side of your business and you structured it in such a way to guarantee that you generate those profits. So don’t be fooled by people who only talk about the top line. Pay attention to people that actually share what goes on beneath the surface so that you understand what’s going on, what’s really going on. It costs money to run a business. It costs money to hire a team. It costs money to invest in marketing, to invest in a coach. You don’t just get to keep everything that’s at the top line. So the health of a business, while we may think it starts at the top line, it really ends at the bottom line.
Lisa Larter (16:04):
Here’s something else that I’ve learned, and I find it interesting. People with million-dollar businesses still struggle with scarcity mindsets. And I see this happen all around. I see sometimes the more successful some people get, the stronger their scarcity mindset becomes. It’s almost like they can’t believe they did it, and so they start to become cheap. They start to want to hoard their money. They start to behave in ways like they’re entitled, and they don’t look at the business through the lens of how are they creating abundance, how are they creating success for others through their business.
Lisa Larter (16:51):
And so just because you have reached the seven-figure mark, and just because you’ve generated profit and/or you’re paying yourself a decent salary doesn’t mean that you are going to shed the cloak of a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset can creep in at any time. And when you start to feel yourself holding back on things, I think it’s really important to unpack why. Why is it that you’re afraid to invest in coaching when the person that you coached with last time gave you, I don’t know, a $250,000 idea in one call? Why is it that you are afraid to invest in marketing when some of the marketing has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales on the upside for you? So really pay attention to where scarcity starts to creep in and ask yourself whether you are potentially preventing your ability to continue to climb up to the next level of the ladder because you’re hoarding your resources and therefore not investing appropriately.
Lisa Larter (18:01):
If you think about people who went from six to seven figures, most of them will tell you that they invested in their marketing, that they invested in a business coach or an advisor, that they invested in a Mastermind program, that they invested in things that helped them to reach the level that they wanted to get at. Don’t stop investing just because you reach a certain level. You need to continue to invest. Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to the bottom line because I think you should. But there’s an expression that a mentor of mine told me many, many years ago, and it’s “greedy little pigs will get slaughtered.” So be careful that you don’t become a greedy little pig. Be mindful of your money. It’s really, really important. But don’t fall into the trap of becoming so scarce with your money and your mindset that you actually prevent the growth that you are capable of.
Lisa Larter (18:57):
Speaking of growth, here’s the next thing I want you to consider. What is enough? I read The Psychology of Money earlier, about a year ago. It wasn’t this year. It was last year. And I love the book because one of the things the author talks about is what is enough. Do you actually know what is enough in your life, in your business? Do you know how much money you need to live the lifestyle that you want to lead down the road into retirement? Because once you know what is enough, you can be really intentional about growth.
Lisa Larter (19:29):
If you go back and you listen to … I don’t know what episode it is, but it was the one where I interviewed John Lee Dumas. And he talked about growing his business and then intentionally level setting his business at the $3 million mark. And he talked about why he is more comfortable running a $3 million business than a bigger business. The $3 million business allows him to have the cashflow that he wants in his business, to plan for his future and for his lifestyle, but it also allows him to have the free time that he wants. It’s important that you know this so that you can be intentional about growth. Bigger isn’t always better. But a lot of us are taught that every year our business needs to grow, grow, grow. And we’re looking at our sales growth year after year without actually looking at how much money we’re keeping, without actually thinking about how much money am I setting aside.
Lisa Larter (20:22):
I had this really interesting conversation with some colleagues of mine, not too long ago, about how much money does it take. How much money do we need set aside, invested, at what rate of return, in order to fund the lifestyle that we want to have once we no longer want to work? Those are the types of things that you, if you are a business owner, need to think about and ask yourself and get clarity on. Otherwise, you can fall into the rat race of just chasing money, and that’s not a fun place to be.
Lisa Larter (20:53):
You cannot, however, do that though, without knowing your numbers. Knowing your numbers really does matter, especially when you reach the seven-figure mark, and especially on the way to seven figure because larger amounts of cash flow and bigger sales can also allow for bigger mistakes. Keith Cunningham always says, “You don’t want to grow a brain tumor.” You don’t want to grow a problem in your business that has an extra zero on it. You want to understand what happens between the top line and the bottom line and what’s going on with your cashflow and how to actually work those numbers so that you can have enough for what you need right now, and you can have enough for what you aspire to have in the future.
Lisa Larter (21:39):
Most people who run a business, they’re not relying on a pension for how they’re going to live their lives later on. You’re not part of a company that typically pays into that for you, so it’s really important that you manage your money and you know your numbers really, really well. And the best time to learn about those numbers was yesterday. If you didn’t learn about them yesterday, then you need to learn about them today. But don’t leave learning about the numbers until you reach seven figures because by then, it’s going to be too late, and you will have bled a lot of the profits that you could have kept out of your business unnecessarily because you didn’t understand how the money really works.
Lisa Larter (22:22):
The last thing that I think is important for you to know about this whole million dollar mindshare is a lot of this is really about the inside game. It’s really about your level of self-confidence. It is about your willingness to put yourself out there in your marketing and not be attached to what other people say, think or do. It is about your willingness to charge more and see the value that you bring to the table through your products and services. It is about your confidence to grow your prices over the long term in your business. And it’s really about your confidence to look at and understand the financial workings of your business. When you lack confidence around how you run your business, it makes it really hard for you to get to that next level. And I really believe that confidence comes from doing things that make us uncomfortable. It’s from doing things that we’ve never done before that give us confidence to do things that we’ve never done before again.
Lisa Larter (23:32):
So you’ve got to have a bit of courage in order to build confidence. You’ve got to have courage to put yourself out there. You’ve got to have courage to charge what you’re worth. You’ve got to have courage to hire a business coach. You’ve got to have courage to go to events and meet strangers. And you’ve got to have courage to really look at your numbers and ask questions about what they mean, so that you can be a better business operator. In a perfect world, you become a hands-off CEO, and you can trust other people to run the business for you. But no one will ever care about your business as much as you do, and no one will ever manage your money the same way that you do.
Lisa Larter (24:13):
You cannot put blinders on if you really want to build success in your business. You have to have the courage to learn the things that you do not know and the confidence to know that you are capable of learning. Just because you don’t know the difference between a P&L and a balance sheet right now doesn’t mean that you can’t learn that in under 24 hours. Just because you don’t really understand all of the inner workings of your P&L doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to get to those details inside of QuickBooks in the next seven days. Don’t hamstring yourself because there are things out there that you haven’t learned. If anything, make a list of the things that you know you need to know in order to build a ridiculously successful business, and then go find people to help you learn those things.
Lisa Larter (25:09):
This season of She Talks Business is all about sharing million dollar mindshares. I said it earlier. Less than 2% of women exceed the seven-figure mark. That is terrible. We need to change that. And so my hope is that this season and these episodes are going to help you grow and that you’re going to be able to grow that share, that percentage of businesses that are able to do this, so that we can collectively make it larger.
Lisa Larter (25:45):
I’ve got some incredible women lined up from all different industries, all different walks of life, all different stories that are going to share with you what their lessons have been, what they would tell an earlier version of themselves on the way to building this successful business, so that you can learn from those who have gone before you. These women are a couple rungs up on the ladder. They are relatable, they are accessible, and they are doing an outstanding job in their business. And I can’t wait for you to learn from them.
Lisa Larter (26:21):
The first person that I’m going to interview is Emily Countryman. She is a bold and brave and ridiculously smart woman who has transformed the weight loss industry. And I can’t wait for you to hear how she built bricks and mortar locations to serve her clients and how she pivoted during COVID to allow for her clients to still be engaged virtually at a time where many businesses that were operating bricks and mortar were unable to survive.
Lisa Larter (26:56):
We’ve got women like Emily and other women all lined up on this season for you, and I can’t wait to share it with you. But here’s what I would love to hear from you. If you’re listening to this episode of She Talks Business, I want to know what questions you have. If you could pick my brain or you could pick the brain of any woman who has achieved this milestone, what question would you ask her? Send me your question on Instagram. My handle is @lisalarter. Or email me your question, firstname.lastname@example.org. I will start to create a list of those questions, and I will ensure that those questions get asked on the show so that you can learn from the women that we are highlighting and sharing successes from.
Lisa Larter (27:42):
Thanks for listening to this week’s edition, the 50th edition of She Talks Business. I’m excited for the next season, and it’s really good to be back. Thanks for continuing to listen during our team takeover, and now I look forward to sharing with you myself again.
Lisa Larter (28:01):
Thank you for joining me for this episode of She Talks Business. If you enjoyed the show, you know the drill, leave us a review, tell someone about it and join the conversation on social media. Thanks for listening and until next time remember, done is always better than perfect.