There are three important people in your business: you, your clients, and your staff. Each one has a different path to your business; experience with your business; and exit from your business.
We call these “journeys”. And you must plan each one in advance, or people will get lost along the way.
To take control of your business and grow quickly, the three Journeys you must map are:
The Entrepreneur’s Journey
The Client Journey
The Staff Journey
In my new book, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief”, I provide sample Client Journeys and Career Roadmaps. But the book is really about the Entrepreneur’s Journey from Founder to Farmer to Tinker to Thief. So let’s start there.
The Entrepreneur’s Journey
Owners of new businesses are called “Founders”. They do everything themselves–make the bread, buy the flour, stock the shelves, work the till, and pay the rent. They work all hours and embrace the grind. But Founders must quickly move from “self-employed” to “business owner” quickly to avoid burnout and bankruptcy.
Owners who begin to replace themselves in some roles are called “Farmers”. They leverage their time to work ON their business instead of IN their business. They hire staff; they begin marketing; they focus on profit instead of cash flow. Eventually, they need to level up their skill to lead their team and build their own wealth platform.
Owners who have built a business that runs without their attendance on the rudder are called “Tinkers”. Tinkers develop their leadership skills and build their wealth platform. They work toward functional retirement. They develop multiple streams of income, and make cash flow investments. Many start second businesses. Eventually, they think about how to create a legacy for the people coming behind them.
Owners who have created a wealth platform and want to built a legacy are called “Thieves”. Like Robin Hood, they want to distribute their wealth (money, wisdom and time) to those who need it most. They mentor other entrepreneurs; they create cash flow engines for their children; they dedicate their time to helping their communities.
How To Travel Farther
To reach each level, an entrepreneur must fully satisfy the requirements of the previous level. There’s no such thing as a part-time Thief.
I wrote a checklist at the end of each chapter in the book (i.e. “Are You Ready To Be A Tinker?”) The checklist isn’t just a scorecard: it’s a guidepost. If you check ten boxes on the “Farmer” checklist, but two remain unchecked, then those are your next priorities. Work on those things with your mentor.
The Client’s Journey
You must have a clear plan for every client. In the fitness industry, that means following the Prescriptive Model for coaching exercise and nutrition. But in any service business, you must have a clear picture of the client’s journey, including:
- Where new leads come from
- How new leads connect with your business
- What happens at the client’s first visit, step by step
- What the client’s first purchase will be
- What happens when the client makes their first purchase
- What the client’s next appointment will be, and when
- How you communicate with the client between appointments
- Who’s responsible for retaining the client long-term
- What happens when a client decides to end their journey
- How you communicate (and potentially bring the client back) after they cancel with you.
How to Be Their Guide
A clear Client Journey Map will help you spot opportunities for more revenue, a better client experience, and a longer lifecycle. It will also help the owner pass responsibilities on to her staff without worrying about client experience, sales or retention.
Good entrepreneurs guide their clients from one step to the next. Bad entrepreneurs make their clients guess.
For example: a good spa owner will schedule a client for her next treatment at the end of her current treatment.
A bad spa owner will wait for the client to realize they need their hair done.
A good therapist will tell their clients “We need a month of intensive treatment, and then regular visits for X months to build you a margin of health.”
A bad therapist will say “call me if it hurts.”
Clients pay you to solve their problem. That means guiding them to the answers instead of praying they’ll figure it out on their own.
The Staff Journey
Good entrepreneurs create a platform, and allow staff to be “intrepreneurs” on top of that platform. Staff can leverage the business’ resources, knowledge and leadership to build their own services or products. And they can reach their own “perfect day” without taking the risk of opening their own business.
Every staff person should have a Career Roadmap that they build with the entrepreneur. The Career Roadmap should answer the questions:
- What’s your Perfect Day?
- How much do you need to earn to get there?
- How much time do you want to spend working?
- What’s on your Love/Loathe list?
- What can you improve right now?
- What’s the next step for you?
- How will we measure success in the next three months?
How to Lead Them Farther
A good entrepreneur will tell their staff, “You’re better at calling our clients than I am. You remember their birthdays. You smile on the phone. They love you. You take over these two steps of the Client Journey.”
A bad entrepreneur will think, “No one can do it as well as I can.”
Good entrepreneurs work through their own Journey with their mentor. They identify roles and tasks that are below their Effective Hourly Rate, and move those to staff. As the entrepreneur grows, the staff follows them up the ladder.
Plan a quarterly Career Roadmap meeting with each of your staff. Work backward from their goals. Draw them a map.
The Three Journeys influence each other. They don’t just intersect, they overlap. And each depends on the success of the rest.
Mapping the Three Journeys means taking control of your business, instead of just letting everything happen TO you. Strategic planning works even better as a story.