Creating Your Process, Strategically with Anne Hill
Creating Your Process, Strategically with Anne Hill

Creating Your Process, Strategically with Anne Hill

Okay, we’re more than halfway through 2021, are you making steady progress toward your vision? Do you remember what your vision even is?

Life happens! Client work happens. Business happens. And it’s okay to change your mind and your direction if it aligns with where you want to go. The important part is knowing what you value and your vision.

Today on the podcast I am talking with Anne Hill, CEO of Hilltop Virtual Solutions and small business systems and operations expert. Anne shares with us how to identify and follow your values in business, and why it’s important to create a plan—even if you don’t stick to it.

Listen in!

Mentioned in This Episode

About Anne Hill

Anne Hill is CEO of Hilltop Virtual Solutions and small business systems and operations expert. Anne has a passion for helping small business owners have more confidence and clarity in the decisions they make. Anne is a certified director of operations and is driven by the bigger picture of things. She is committed and dedicated to helping small business owners understand the metrics in their business that allow them to make the right moves and the right times. Anne brings over 15 years of her corporate operations background as well as the experiences in her own business to help in the areas of processes, procedures, and team growth/hiring for small businesses. Anne implements strategies that are tested and proven to provide business owners a solid foundation in their business to successfully grow and scale.

Learn more about Anne by visiting her website or find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.


Abby Herman 0:08
Either and welcome to Episode 136 of the content experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find out what works for you, what increases value for your audience and or grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and frankly, your values and belief systems. You get to do business in a way that works for you. Okay, so this episode is releasing and we are more than halfway through 2021. We are well into quarter three, how are you feeling about this year?

Abby Herman 1:16
It’s looking a lot different from 2020. Thank goodness. But are you actually accomplishing what you set out to do at the beginning of the year? Are you making steady progress toward your vision? Do you remember what your vision even is or what your goals are for this year? I mean, I am kind of a kid but really, I don’t know about you. But I get so involved in the day to day client work conversations and content creation that sometimes I lose sight of what my actual plan is. And friends, that’s where strategic mapping comes in. This is something that I’ve done a few times with certified directors of operations. A designation that today’s guest holds a strategic map can give you the guidance that you need in order to grow because you have a plan and you know what’s coming next, and where you need to focus. But before we get to the interview, I want to welcome you to the content experiment podcast. This podcast is full of no nonsense support to help inspire you to get your message out there and give you the actionable steps you need to make it happen. So you can get on with business your way. If you like what you hear, hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss another episode. If you’re a repeat listener, and you haven’t already left a rating or review, I would be so grateful if you’d hop over to your favorite podcast app and do just that. It only takes a minute. And it is so helpful and appreciated. Now, I mentioned in this episode that our guest was a guest expert in the content mastery lab, my membership community. And actually, as I’m recording this intro, she was our guest yesterday. And it was so good. So good, so much more information than what we’re able to get into here in the episode. Content mastery lab is the membership community where we talk about content creation, idea generation, market research, social media strategies, and all the mindset blocks that get in the way of our own visibility plus a whole lot more like being strategic in your business for one. In the lab, we focus on little tweaks and changes in our content to get the best ROI ROI of our time investments. Because big sweeping changes take a lot of time, effort and a lot of money. And they don’t always pay off like we expect them to or like we hope they will.

Abby Herman 3:48
So stop floundering with trying to figure it all out yourself and start creating content with a confidence that you’re on the right path. And if you love today’s episode and want more of an you can find a recording of her guest expert session if you join us today, either monthly or quarterly or you can commit to a whole year for extra one on one time with me and quarterly planning parties where we work through your content together in an intimate group, head to the content slash lab for more information and to sign up and use the coupon code podcast to try out your first month for $1. All right back to our guests. So our guest is in hell CEO of hilltop virtual solutions and small business systems and operations expert and has a passion for helping small business owners have more confidence and clarity in the decisions they make. And as a boy mom of two baseball enthusiasts, dog lovers certified director of operations and is driven by the bigger picture of things. She is committed and dedicated to helping people business owners understand the metrics and their business that allow them to make the right moves at the right times and brings over 15 years of her corporate operations background as well as the experiences in her own business, to help in the areas of processes, procedures and team growth and hiring for small businesses, and implement strategies that are tested and proven providing business owners a solid foundation in their business to successfully grow and scale. Are you ready to hear from Anne, let’s get into it. Here’s our conversation. Hi, and thank you so much for joining me today. Hello, I am really excited to dive into operations and some of the behind the scenes stuff that a lot of us draw the curtain on and hide and but I think it’s such an important part of business and, you know, moving forward, so I’m really excited to chat. Before we dive in, though, could you share with listeners what you do and who you do it for?

Anne Hill 6:03
Yeah, so as Abby mentioned, here, my name is Anna, I am a certified director of operations. And what that basically means is I specialize in in the back end of the business, I work with business owners, typically in the b2b realm, and typically service based business owners and help them with the the back end of their business, that things that have to do with getting their systems in place, getting their processes in place, if they don’t know what they are, you know, talking through and working through what they want that to look like in their business, to make their business something that can be a consistent, repeatable process for either themselves or for others to be able to help out with as they build their team.

Abby Herman 6:50
Yes, can you share a little bit about how you work with clients, what that looks like, and then how the way that you work with your clients helps you to live the lifestyle that you want.

Anne Hill 7:01
So I have a few different ways that I work with clients, I do work with some clients that are ongoing, where you know, monthly, we are working together really weekly, daily, we’re working together on things and really helping them in their particular business. And then I also do a bit more on a consulting basis where I can come in and work through different strategies, different goals with them, and help them achieve what it is that they’re looking for in their business. That helps me to live the lifestyle that I would like to live through, really giving me freedom in my schedule, giving me freedom in in the day to day things that I do with businesses and allowed me to, you know, pick up my kids after school and be there and be present with them much more than I was when I was working in the corporate realm prior to this.

Abby Herman 7:57
Yes, that is definitely a big perk of being able to be home and be around for kids or, you know, furry kids or partners or whoever. So yes. So you work behind the scenes with a lot of businesses, and I want to talk about something that’s not necessarily could be operationally, you know, could be focused on operations, but maybe not. A lot of us, myself included, I’m totally throwing myself under the bus here and into this group of people. We’re really good at portraying this really amazing outward facing image, when really sometimes behind the scenes things are a little bit of a hot mess. When you work with clients, what do you see that’s like missing from behind the scenes? Or what do you see behind the scenes that isn’t serving the client? Or if they just would fix this one thing or these 20 things? Maybe that things would run so much more smoothly? And those outward facing images would actually be the reality behind the scenes too?

Anne Hill 9:03
Oh, I think that’s really interesting and very true that there’s times when I’ve gone into businesses and literally just been like, What on earth? How have you survived the way that you have so far? So I think there’s a few things that I would bring up with that one. So when I do work with businesses, I will dive into a lot of different things to just really not necessarily expose it, but just bring it to light that hey, these are things that for your business and for the success of your business, we might want to address whether that specifically I will do or help connect them with people that do it for them. It can vary depending on what it is. The one thing in particular that I would say that I see more often that surprises me, has to do with contracts and the legal realm. Not having a contract in place or potentially never having a contract.

Anne Hill 9:59
That was designed specifically for your business. But just one that you grabbed like a template here and there that you got down the road and you, you adapted, as you’ve, you know, gone through things. That part has shocked me, just for, you know, the legal protection of your business. And the other side is operating procedures, documenting operating procedures and having that in place as team members are coming on. It may feel like to some business owners that they either have to have these things in place before they bring a team member on. Or they may feel like well, I just don’t necessarily No, we just do it this way. I don’t know exactly why or what it is that’s being done. It’s just what we do. And that makes it really hard to add a team member when you’re trying to take the time to train them and show them what you want them to do. And if they’re not making the same decisions you specifically would be making, but you don’t have anything for them to reference it makes it very hard for team members. So those are probably the two things that I see most often that are not in place that I would have expected to be in place based on the size of the business or how long they’ve been in business or that sort of thing.

Abby Herman 11:14
Yeah. Okay, thank you for validating me, I feel a little bit better. But I mean, I do have contracts in place and have for quite a while some of them probably need to be updated with. But the operating procedures, that is something that is I think personally that it’s kind of difficult to create when it’s just you doing the work because you know, like, you know all the steps and you’ve been doing it forever. And I found when I brought on my Operations Manager last fall, I found that she couldn’t actually read my mind. And so there were things that were missing from the steps. So something that we’re doing now that I’ve added a couple of other team members, a couple of other employees to my team as we, we have a team call every Monday and so every Monday we Maddie, the operations manager, she pulls one of our slps standard operating procedures, and we go through it as a team. And you know, okay, what’s missing from this? What are we forgetting? What’s the step that you know, we need to add in here. So we’re, you know, really trying to get a good handle on them. And then the trick after that is actually following them? Well, yes, I am guilty of not always following them and doing things out of order. And you know, but we’re working on it. So.

Anne Hill 12:35
So I don’t I don’t think you’re alone in that either. I do find most often the business owner is the one that does not follow the way that we lay them out.

Abby Herman 12:47
Yes, terrible. And then I know it wreaks havoc on everyone else when that happens. But I feel like Personally, I feel like I’m just going in so many different directions all the time. That to go back to even like my project management system that we’re using, we use click up to go back and check things off. Like it just doesn’t happen. But yet I expect everyone else to check things off when they’re done. So I totally acknowledge that I have work to do in that arena. So Alright, so as we are, as this episode is going live, quarter three has just started were a couple of weeks into quarter three, and people are looking toward the end of the year, as we all do around this time of year and we’re looking at like, how are we going to finish off the year? What’s that going to look like? And then probably maybe three months from now we’re looking at, alright, what’s 2022 gonna look like? What’s the New Year gonna look like? So you help us specialize in helping business owners really strategically map their business and the direction that they’re going to go? Can you share what that means? And what is a part of the strategic mapping process?

Anne Hill 14:05
Yes, so I will come in and do really, it’s usually over two to three visits with a with a client, where we will really do a deep dive in a lot of different ways in the business and get get into things that sometimes bring to light challenges and sometimes bring to light successes that have happened in the business. But it there’s really seven key pillars that we look at in the business. One does have to do with financials, which definitely seems to be an area that people aren’t always as willing to open up and share about but it is an important part of running a business. And then we have visibility would be number two. Number three looks at the product. Whether you’re creating a new product or whether you were developing or refining the offers of the services that you provide. Number fours operate. And looking at what’s efficient, what’s not efficient in the operations in the back end of the business. Number five is looking at team growth, if you’re wanting to expand, if you’re wanting to add on team members, either on a contract or an employee basis, number six has to do with the client experience. And the number seven just has to do in general, with personal growth and development. As business owners, I think that area does tend to get pushed to the wayside more often than we should to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves too.

Anne Hill 15:33
So we look at these seven key pillars in that strategic mapping that you were mentioning. And what I like to do really in that first session is really get that brain dump, where you have so many things that are just running through your head, you’re being pulled in so many different directions. And we map it out initially for a 12 month timeframe, looking at four different quarters. And we map it out and dive into each of those pillars and look at what’s working, what’s not working. And after we’ve mapped that out and kind of gotten all the information down, we’ll look at it and take it kind of quarter by quarter. And like you had mentioned at that six month point throughout the year, we start reflecting what worked in the last six months, what didn’t work, where do we want to be in the next six months, I think it’s important to really look at it and really map it out for the year though, because you want to make sure that you have that vision of where you want to be and where you want your business to be going. But then it needs to be only focused on a quarter at a time or even a six month timeframe at a time, not really more than that, because so much can change in life. So much can change in business. So as especially as small business owners, most of the people that I work with tend to not have a team bigger than maybe eight to 10 people. And so you know, so much can happen with your team. So much can happen with you individually. And being able to make those adjustments and pivots is important. But you still want to have that overarching kind of map of where you’re trying to get to, even though everything is truly going to be broken down into smaller pieces.`

Abby Herman 17:12
Yeah, so how do you figure out so you talked about doing a brain dump? So what do you do? The things that were the thing that didn’t work? The thing that you want to do in the month or a year coming up? And then and then what do you do with that information? How do those pillars, those seven key pillars fit into the whole strategic map?

Anne Hill 17:35
So after we really get that brain dump, and we sometimes get a list longer than then people want to look at it one time, we look at it and start to prioritize things, what matters right now, what matters and a few months, what’s going to matter in a few years. Sometimes the things that we will put on that initial brain dump may not be something we might have it kind of in a parking lot. It’s something that we know in the future we want to do, but it’s probably not realistically going to happen this year. There’s too many other steps that might need to go in place first, but we start to prioritize it all and map it out. Is it something we want to be doing this quarter? Is it something that we want to be focusing on for three quarters? Is it something we want to do summer of 2022, and start really mapping that all out. And once it’s mapped out and prioritized, then it helps us to really know where our focus needs to be. and not feel like something that’s going to happen in summer of 2022 needs to be at the forefront of our mind. We have it as a reference of where we want to get to, but it doesn’t necessarily take up the brain space right now. Yeah.

Abby Herman 18:45
So if I was, and I’m not doing this, I at least I don’t have plans to do this right now. But if I’m launching a group coaching program in January of 2022, what does that look like as far as planning? So I say, Okay, I’m going to launch this thing. So that would fall under the product development, right? What else do I need to be aware of? I mean, that’s just not going to happen overnight. It’s just, you know, No, that doesn’t know. And so what do I need to do to prepare for that? I guess.

Anne Hill 19:16
So from there, we really start to dive into what it takes to each basically from each overarching theme, you start to dive down a little bit more and a little bit more. So then you’re going to look at launching a program in January of 2022. What do I need to do in order to make that happen? What sort of things do my team members need to do in order to make that happen? Is there somebody else I need to be hiring on? Is there somebody I need to contract work with for graphics or various things like that for making videos? And you just start to look at Okay, what is my checklist of things that need to be done for this? And then from there, you also start to take those and see. Is there anything from that that I need to focus on now, in order to make my goal happen in January of 20, over the next six months? Or is it something that I don’t need to start doing until three months from now, and then I can still meet my goal. So it’s looking at realistically, and then also strategically, based on where you’re at in your business, looking at what has worked thus far, what has not worked thus far? What timeline makes the most sense for starting these items, this checklist that we now have? And what? What can wait and what needs to happen now?

Abby Herman 20:30
And would you do that from the lens of Okay, I’m launching this program in January, what are the financial pieces that need to be in place? What are the visibility pieces? What are the product development, the launching, but what are the operations pieces that need to be in place? Would you go through all of those pillars and try to determine within each of those pillars, what you need to do to meet that that Product Development Goal

Anne Hill 20:54
There, ultimately, there is an element of all of that that definitely does contribute to it, especially something like launching a program. It is something where you do need to go through each of those pillars and really figure out, you need to figure out really what your goals are with it. But not only the goals, but what those metrics are that matter for each of those, and then having those benchmarks for you to be trying to reach and working towards with it.

Abby Herman 21:24
Yes. Okay. I like that. So I told you before we started recording that I’ve been through the strategic mapping process a couple of times before, but I never actually thought about it in that way. Until, you know, when you and I started talking like you, there are all these pieces that are involved in every part of your business. So if I wanted to launch a YouTube channel, what are the financial pieces that need to be in place? What are the visibility pieces? What is personal growth? Do I need to feel comfortable in front of the camera to launch this? Yeah, and what should my client experience be? You know, so what happens after they watch the video? What’s that experience going to be? So? Yeah, I like that. Okay. I never thought about it in that context, I guess. So thank you for that I asked myself lots more questions,

Anne Hill 22:20
with well, and with the business you want to look at, because most businesses, they have kind of a signature offer or a signature thing that they do. And that tends to be your first focus when we’re working through a strategic map with somebody is really what that main offer is. But as you’re mentioning here, there are you know, with these different products, or these different items that you end up offering, or providing as a service, there does tend to be that kind of map. And some of it may be the same, some may be different to help you reach that goal of that next product or that next launch or that next item that you’re providing.

Abby Herman 23:00
Yeah, and I’m really excited because as of this, this podcast being released, you will have already been inside my membership community, helping the members kind of walk through this process together. So I’m really excited to see how awesome those have already turned out because we’re doing things a little backwards this time. So can you talk a little bit about the importance of having a plan? I know a lot of business owners really love the ability to be flexible, and they like to be able to, you know, do what feels good to them in the moment. And that may not always be the best idea. Can you share a little bit about why?

Anne Hill 23:47
Yeah. So I mean, the plan really helps you know what it is that you’re working towards? It helps you know that you have goals that help you to figure out what you should be doing, and what should be the focus and priority of your day, your week, your month. If you don’t have a plan, then it makes it very hard to walk into your business each day and know what to do, why you’re doing it and what’s going to help you stay motivated when things don’t quite go as planned. There’s always going to be times when things happen that we don’t expect. And the question is can you recover from that? Can you bounce back from that? And if you don’t necessarily know where you’re working towards, have that vision of what you’re trying to get to and plan out how you want to get there, then it makes it very challenging to keep going.

Abby Herman 24:41
Yes. What about Is there any flexibility in when you have a strategic map and you know exactly what the next steps are going to be? I know that there are people out there who do want to have a little bit of flexibility. Can you share what that might look like with someone who has a clearly defined Strategic map.

Anne Hill 25:01
Yeah, definitely. So as we were mentioning it, the initial map out goes for a 12 month time frame. From there, though, and with many of the clients that I work with, I do check in with them, and we revisit it on a quarterly basis. So every three months, we basically are looking at it and saying what’s worked, what’s not worked? And then looking at it and saying, Is this still the vision and where we want to get to? Because sometimes that vision can change a little bit too. And, and it’s okay, if you know, there were maybe over that quarter, maybe there were 10 things you were supposed to get to, or you were you had planned on getting to? And maybe you only got to five of them, maybe you only got to three of them. That’s okay, so then the question becomes these other items that we didn’t get to these other projects, or the other things that we were working on in our business, are they still priorities are not. If they are, then yeah, we’re going to shift them into the next quarter. If they’re not, if there needs to be a pivot, if there needs to be some sort of a change, then then that’s okay, that’s the the luxury of being able to make the plan is that you can shift and you can pivot, but you need to at least have it mapped out so that you know where you’re getting trying to go to. And when you get to achieve where it is that you’re trying to get to.

Abby Herman 26:19
So what if, because I work with, I work with people who are very passionate about lots of different things, you know, they’re they’re multi passionate, they’re, they want to do really big, deep things. And at the same time, I find sometimes clients or people in the membership community, or even just people who I talked to, in networking and things like that, kind of switch gears a lot. So they have this thing, this goal they’re working toward, and it’s fantastic. And then there’s this shiny object over here, you know, that, Oh, I’m gonna go do this for a little while. And then oh, I’m gonna do this. And, and I get, you know, like, okay, so if you have a strategic map, and you have not accomplished all of the things that were on the map for this quarter, we can push it to next quarter. But when it comes to the point where it’s like, okay, we’re pushing things, every single quarter, nothing is getting accomplished. And the vision is not being realized, because we’re all over the place. But how do you like to take that, and rein it back in?

Anne Hill 27:29
A lot of that is having the strategic conversations with the business owner, in really, where especially the businesses that I’m in on a regular basis, and and more of that, whether it’s the retainer, you know, monthly quarterly basis, that sort of thing. It’s really having the conversations with them of this is something that you want to do that sounds great. But is it something that we should be prioritizing right now or not? Does this help us reach where you have told me you want to get to? And it’s, I think, a lot of it, is that accountability? or is it truly that shiny object? Or is it truly the new vision that we’re working towards, and figuring out which one it is, and taking the time to figure it out is definitely needed. But it’s also important to, to have the vision that you’re trying to work towards, you don’t want to be always going for the next best thing without ever really reaching any goals?

Abby Herman 28:33
So, yeah. So what I hear you saying is that maybe for some business owners, it’s not something that you can do by yourself, like, you need to have that accountability, and someone to, like, bring reality back into your picture.

Anne Hill 28:48
Yeah, and definitely there, there are people that do this through their coaching, you know, working specifically with a business coach or working specifically in different coaching capacities, and having having that coach that they are constantly checking in with and working, you know, strategically with, and then also those of us that really specialize in that operations role. That’s one of the big things we forget where I heard it, but I’ve heard people say before, were the the Yes, maybe people were not the No, we can’t do this. And we’re not the Yes, let’s do it right now. But that yes, maybe this should be pushed later. Maybe it should be done now. But let’s have that conversation and figure out what makes the most sense.

Abby Herman 29:32
Yes. I love the idea of having accountability or and just or just having like that outside perspective. So there are a couple of people in the online space, who I have not worked with and who will remain nameless, but I’ve seen them over the years change directions so many times that I don’t even know what they are or what they do anymore. I don’t know what their offers are. I don’t know how to get it with some of them. I’ve frankly just stopped following them because I’m so confused. So yeah, I think that having that accountability is really valuable. So if you don’t have a team or you don’t have a team, at the level where they are being a strategic partner with you, having someone like you available, seems like it would be a really good and helpful experience.

Anne Hill 30:20
Yeah, it’s definitely something that I enjoy doing and having those conversations and really, you know, looking strategically at the decisions we’re making in businesses, so yeah, yeah.

Abby Herman 30:30
So you said earlier, you talked about strategic mapping for the year, so creating a year’s plan, and then you also said, you know, then revisiting it every quarter. So, I would love to talk about the value of creating a 12 month plan, when so much can change over the course of a year or even less. I mean, you know, we just have to look back to 2020, and see that so many people had to scrap in person event plans or travel plans or conferences, they had to, you know, they found 30 kids coming home and having to homeschool and like and that I don’t care how big or small your team is that throws a wrench in everything. Oh, yeah. So what is the value of having a 12 month plan or beyond? And then how do we kind of reconcile life inside your business?

Anne Hill 31:34
I think the value of the 12 month plan is that we all have big goals in our businesses, we all know where we want to get to, or at least have a vision of where we want to get to. So having the ability to really get it all down and all in one spot is an important thing. If we don’t plan it out for 12 months, it makes it hard to really see what our endgame is that we’re working towards. And so even though that 12 month point may not necessarily be exactly what that endgame is, it shows you working in that direction. And if we don’t map that out, then it makes it really hard if you just look at a quarter at a base at a time, or if you only look at a six month timeframe, it makes it hard to see what that endgame is and keep that motivation going with it. mapping it out for a year. It just helps you keep that forward momentum, it helps you keep moving the direction you want to go. And it helps like we were talking. I mean, I, for instance, have a group program that I have talked about launching for two years now. But if I hadn’t put it down that this is something that I want to be doing. I wouldn’t know that everything, all the steps that I’m taking on the way are getting me to that direction and getting me to that point that I want to be at with it. So if I don’t put it down somewhere, it potentially either gets lost, because there’s other things going through my head or it just always stays like this idea of vision. But never actually there’s something to just writing it down. There’s something to putting it and putting it down and telling others about it that helps it actually come to fruition.

Abby Herman 33:20
Yeah, I totally agree. I like having things written down, I have a calendar, a big year long calendar on my wall that has some of the big things that I have coming up on it. And it’s helpful to see like, Oh, crap that’s coming up. So in my head, there are three camps of people, there are the people who will create a 12 month strategic map, and they will stay the course they will, sometimes things might not get done. And they’ll move it to the next quarter, like you talked about and, and they’re okay with that. And they’ll just stay the course. Then there are the other two types of people they are, they’re the people who like, are so rigid with their strategic map that there is absolutely no room for flexibility and everything gets done, you know, like, they’ll work 60 hours a week to make sure that they get it all done. And then there’s the people who maybe accomplish one or two things from this quarter’s map. And then something happens in their life or in their business, they get really busy, you know, and they’re not able to accomplish the other things. So they’re like, forget it, I’m done. Like, I’m just gonna throw out the whole map and just fly by the seat of my pants. So obviously, the first, the first type of person that I described is probably the ideal like you can roll with it. Yeah, it’s a little bit flexible. Can you talk a little bit about the other two the two extremes? And how like, and maybe maybe like, do we have permission to be a little flexible? Do we have to be super rigid and how do we get back on track when we feel like oh, Didn’t get down a couple of things. So I’m just going to throw the whole thing, the whole thing out. And it wasn’t that big, like the intro to this question. Sorry about that.

Anne Hill 35:09
So definitely the ideal is to, you know, just do what you can and then shift it over as you need to your initial example is the ideal with it. The one group that worked 60 hours a week and is trying to be very rigid and get every single thing done. I’m guessing that that vision that they kind of so let me backup a little bit when we first go through a strategic map, what one of the first things we do is we really look at what is the business’s mission, what is their vision, and what are their values, and looking at those are going to tell us is working 60 hours a week part of their vision, is that something that they want to be getting to to lead the life into run the business that they had envisioned. If it is, then by all means, go ahead and work 16 hours, but I’m gonna guess that it’s probably not what their vision was. And in that case, then it’s really again, going back to that and looking at this vision isn’t matching, what you really are trying to strive towards and are working on is not helping you meet your vision, it’s not helping you work in the direction that we want to be going here. It’s not going to happen overnight. But it is important to really look back at that and see, what we’re doing and how we’re running our business right now help us work towards the goal. Are we seeing any movement in the right direction, the movement may not be specifically task related. It may be, you know, less hours that the business owner is putting in, but it might have slowed down the pace of them meeting those goals that they had expected. And that’s okay, if something is moving, then it’s helping them meet that vision. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the checklist item task completion type side of it.

Abby Herman 37:00
Yeah, yes. So good. Yes. I totally agree. Like there’s, there’s definitely a happy medium to anything in business. And we can’t do it all perfectly all the time. And that’s okay. Yeah. And yeah, life happens. So life happens when you get back right on track.

Anne Hill 37:17
Yeah. And I think it’s really the same sort of thing with that. I’m the one that says, oh, okay, I didn’t hit anything from month one. So let’s just stop the whole thing, I’m not going to do anything anymore. That’s not going to help them move their business forward, either. And whether that is, you know, me being able to come in and check in with them on it, or if they have other team members, it goes back to the accountability with it. And then also, looking at those visions, looking at that mission and looking at where they want to be taking their business to and figuring out what steps need to be put in place to help them continue to move forward, even if they didn’t get as far as they thought they should or, or were able to, during that quarter during that six month period.

Abby Herman 38:02
Yeah, yes. So good. Yes. Alright, so before we go, if listeners are only taking away two actionable things from this conversation, to move forward in their business, what do you hope that they might take away?

Anne Hill 38:16
One has to do with making a plan, even if you don’t specifically stick to it, you know, make a plan and have the goals that you’re working towards in your business, so that you know where you want to be, and start planning what that looks like to help you get there. The second one has to do more. So it’s Well, like I said, it’s kind of tied with it. But it has to do with where I was just mentioning the mission, vision and values. I think one of the big actionable steps is really figuring out the values in your business. And figuring out you as a person, what your values are in you, as a business owner, what your values are, and they may overlap some they may be complimentary, they will be complimentary, I’m sure, especially for small business owners, but most of the people that I work with are either in the process of growing a team or already have grown a team and in order to have the business moving the direction that they want it to be really having everybody share those similar values is a huge thing, but it’s irreplaceable. It’s really the only way to be successful in your business.

Abby Herman 39:32
Yeah. And speaking of the people who you work with, you have a group program that you’re launching right around the time this podcast comes out. Can you share a little bit about the group program that you mentioned, yes it is on your list.

Anne Hill 39:45
It has been on my radar for many, many months and it finally is in q3 is when it is going to be launching. And that really takes some of these items that we talked about. Through in the strategic mapping, and it helps really dive into it in a small group setting, so it’s not going to be a huge group, but a small group setting to where we really can, you know, get into the nitty gritty with things, it’s going to be looking at those financials and and, you know, looking at some of the questions that we would want to run through setting up what the metrics are, so that you know, if you’re meeting your goals or not, and it’s going to be looking at the processes and, and if you don’t know what your processes are, we’ll be diving into figuring that out a little bit. And then also looking at some of that team, that team growth that I was mentioning, you know, figuring out when to hire, how to hire, and getting some of those questions answered that a lot of people are asking when it comes to adding team members and starting to grow their business.

Abby Herman 40:51
So yeah, awesome. And I’ll make sure that we have a link included in the show notes so that people can sign up for that or sign up to be on the waiting list. Yes, not quite launched yet. So where can people find out more about you and how to work with you?

Anne Hill 41:07
So I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook, primarily in the social media realm. And then I also have a website. It’s www dot hilltop virtual solutions, calm. Fantastic. And thank you so much for your time and for being here and all of your expertise. And yeah, I am ready to sit down and make another strategy myself.

Abby Herman 41:33
Thank you. It was a pleasure. Thank you. My biggest takeaways from this conversation include the importance of creating a plan. We already knew that though, right? And then permission to be flexible with it because life happens. client work happens, business happens and it’s okay to change your mind and her direction. If it aligns with where you want to go. Know what you value and know what your vision is. And if again, if you want more from an remembers she was a guest expert in a content master lab last month, that’s june of 2021. If you join now, you can get a recording of that session, go to and use the coupon code podcast to get your first month for $1 Pricing starts at just $97 A month after that. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. tag me at the content experiment and be sure to head to the show notes to grab the links to follow and on other platforms. The more you share the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.

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