How to Know What’s Next in Your Business with Liz Watson
How to Know What’s Next in Your Business with Liz Watson

How to Know What’s Next in Your Business with Liz Watson

Are you good at making decisions for your business? No matter what stage you’re in, it can be HARD. What if I do the wrong thing? What if what I decide to do is the wrong thing…and I need to shift? What if it costs me money?

And sometimes, this is such a challenge that we end up paralyzed.

When you’re working from a strategic plan, decision-making is much easier to do. And on this episode of The Content Experiment podcast, guest Liz Watson is sharing how being strategic, measuring results, and making decisions all go hand-in-hand.

She also shares the impact of your personal life on your business, how to know what to stop doing, and why knowing your values is one of the best things you can do to support good decision-making.

Tune in now!

Mentioned in This Episode

About Liz Watson

Liz Watson, founder and operations strategist at The Impact Trail, serves small business owners that care about people, planet, and profit. She helps them map out strategies and measure metrics that matter so they can make the next right decision to optimize their business and ultimately make an even bigger impact in the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook or visit her website.

Transcription

Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to Episode 142 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 what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you.

Abby Herman 0:39
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.

Abby Herman 1:03
Today, on the podcast, we’re talking about how to know what’s next for you in your business. We are in constant decision making cycles in business, where should you publish your content? Which products should you produce next? Which contractor or new hire is right for you? And do you hire a contractor? Or do you hire an employee? Should you invest in that new program? Is that networking group really for you? It is so hard to know what to do next. Thankfully, today, we have Liz Watson, an operations strategist to help.

Abby Herman 1:38
So first, you need to know what’s important to you and your business, your mission and vision. But then you need to decide which area or areas of your business you need to focus on to reach your vision. That’s where strategic mapping comes in. Now, we talked about strategic mapping in Episode 136, with Anne Hill, but we’re looking at it from a different lens today. As a member of the Content Mastery Lab community, Liz has a unique position of looking at how you can know what’s important in your business content wise, and how to make the next best decision. And she walks us through these decisions in her three step framework.

Abby Herman 2:19
Of course, because she’s a member of the Lab, this podcast episode is brought to you by Content Mastery Lab, my 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. Sometimes it takes some time to be brave enough to share our message. And sometimes it takes some time just to get the message right. In the Lab, we focus on little tweaks and changes in our content to get the best ROI of our time investments. Because big sweeping changes take a lot of time, effort and money and they don’t always pay off like we expect them to. Stop floundering with trying to figure it all out yourself and start creating content with the confidence that you’re working on the right path.

Abby Herman 3:13
And you can join us monthly or quarterly, or 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 thecontentexperiment.com/lab for more information and to sign up. And if you use the coupon code podcast, you can try out your first month for $1.

Abby Herman 3:39
All right, so back to our guest, I’m chatting with Liz Watson and I want to formally introduce you before we start our conversation. Liz Watson is founder and operations strategist at The Impact Trail. She serves small business owners that care about people, planet, and profit. She helps them map out strategies and measure metrics that matter. So they can make the next right decision to optimize their business and ultimately make an even bigger impact in the world. Here is our conversation.

Abby Herman 4:14
Hi, Liz, thank you so much for joining me today.

Liz Watson 4:17
Thanks for having me, Abby.

Abby Herman 4:20
I am super excited to have this conversation and really dig into the planning part of our business. So I’m so happy that you said yes. Before we get started, can you share with listeners what you do and who you do it for?

Liz Watson 4:36
Certainly. So my business is called The Impact Trail. And I serve small business owners that care about people, planet, and profit. So I help them really establish strategies so they can optimize how they operate and also establish metrics so they can really then use that information- well strategy And metrics to help make the right decisions in their business.

Liz Watson 5:02
And I think that that is so necessary because I think we all go into, at least I did, go into business ownership, they can get them to do all of the things. And without actually thinking about the impact of what I was doing, or the impact of how I was organizing my schedule, or marketing myself, or working with clients or anything. So I think it’s really valuable to take a step back and look at that a little more closely. As you continue to grow and develop as a business owner and as a business. So.

Liz Watson 5:34
Certainly, yeah, it’s not a one and done, right. Yes, we need to keep looking at it. Right.

Liz Watson 5:38
Absolutely. So can you share a little bit about how you work with your clients? And how does the way you work with clients help you to live the lifestyle that you want?

Liz Watson 5:51
Such a great question, because really, that’s what we need to find as small business owners is, I believe in that idea of building a business around the lifestyle that you want. So I love that you asked that question.

Liz Watson 6:06
The way that I’m serving my clients has transformed over time. But now my focus is more on using an intensive model, or some people may know of it as a VIP day model, where it’s really us having dedicated time together. So depending on the service, it could be one to three days, but where I’m dedicated to your business to help you get done what you want to get done. And you value the time because you’ve got other things that you want to get to, but you want to make some strides in your business. So I love the idea of having dedicated time instead of stretching things out, it’s good for both of us.

Liz Watson 6:42
And then from the lifestyle perspective, for me, it helps me then take some time to do the things I love, like going and taking locks out in nature, and even being able to take time out. When I need to spend time with my kids to get stuff done. They’re both young adults, and my son is graduating high school. So knowing that if I need to do anything with them, I have the flexibility to do so. So I love the freedom that it brings, and also the value that it brings to my clients.

Abby Herman 7:14
Yes. Because I think when we decide that we’re going to make changes in our business, we’re like, Okay, I’m ready to change, I want to change now. Like I want it done now, and working. And it’s important to have, you know, longer term goals and to work toward those longer term goals. But I love the idea of being able to sit down and do it all in, you know, one to three days, get that plan in place so that you can move forward, because I think that a lot of us are very much action takers. quickstart.

Liz Watson 7:44
Right, right.

Abby Herman 7:46
So you are a certified director of operations. And I know that you incorporate that learning and that training into what you do. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that, can you share, because one of the things I really want to talk about today is making those strategic decisions in your business. And how do you know that what you’re about to do or what you’re planning is the right thing to do. So can you share a little bit about your decision to get the certification? And, and I think that if I remember, right, so I know you and I met in person, right before everything shut down march of 2020. We happen to be at the Lakeside Women’s Conference together. And if I remember, right, you were just starting the DOO process at that point. Is that right?

Liz Watson 8:32
Well, yep. Pretty close with that. Yeah. That was wild that week. Yeah. Probably one of the- that week the last couple events I went to in person.

Liz Watson 8:40
well, and I remember being at the airport to get home from Milwaukee thinking, and is the flight actually going to take off? Or am I going to get home? A little weird. Yeah, like, what made you decide to go for the certification? And how did you know that like that was the next right step for you and your business?

Liz Watson 9:02
Well, I had a career of 20 years and a corporate position in project management. And I was at a point where I knew that I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to end my work career there or in that space, I guess if I want to say not that it was a bad employer, I just realized it was really no longer right for me, and I wanted something different in my life. So I started looking and I came across and learned about the Director of Operations certification through the Ops Authority. And as I kept learning about it, um, it you just mentioned being quick start on the Fact Finder.

So I kept digging in to try to understand what is this all about and realize that so many of the things that were talked about with that program really resonated with me because I realized I had a lot of experience in that area, but with project management experience that carries into so many things, but it wasn’t just that, yes, I had corporate experience But what I found was so many of the things that I learned through my corporate experience truly could apply to small businesses. And as I was on a journey to figure out what I am going to do next in my life, I started networking with small businesses, and I loved it. I loved the energy, the passion, they were having fun, they were actually interested in you as a person on what you needed to help you move forward in your life or your work. And I just loved that energy.

Liz Watson 10:28
So I’m like, Oh, you know, if I do make a change, somehow, I want to serve that space and do that. So as I researched and learned that about myself, I found the Director of Operations certification, I realized, I think this is really a good fit. And to make that decision, it was, I already have this natural skill set, I just need some additional insight to how can I help use it to serve small businesses, and then experiencing all the generosity that Natalie Gingrich with the Ops Authority offers on all of her content through her podcast through her website, I appreciated her help giving she was and how authentic she was, and just knew we were going to be a good value match, too. So that was another factor in my decision.

Liz Watson 11:16
Yeah. And Natalie is one of my favorite people on the planet to which I think you and I talked about last March, as well. So to any listeners, if you’re in that service provider space, and have that project management or, you know, business management experience, I would definitely check out her podcast. Yeah, she is very giving and very knowledgeable and supportive of everyone that I’ve seen her come in contact with.

Abby Herman 11:43
So as you worked through the do program, can you share a little bit? Were there any aha moments as you worked through it that reminded you that Yep, this is the right decision, or that validated that this was the right decision for you in your, the trajectory of your business?

Liz Watson 12:03
Yeah, I guess as part of the program, we certainly have modules of information that we learn, but part of it is also practicing it. So as I got the opportunity to practice and do homework, right with, I think, any good program, you know, things that you need to accomplish. And I was able to practice that I realized, yeah, this felt good. This feels like something that fits me and my personality, and how I like to do things. So I think that really made a big difference of having that opportunity to try things out through the support of a community before you actually, you know, offered it out into the world.

Abby Herman 12:38
Yes, I think that that is so important to be able, I think it kind of goes back to experimenting. I like to talk about The Content Experiment, you’re experimenting with little things. And so you’re able to actually go inside and experiment with things with that supportive community before you go and actually do it with clients. I love that. And I think that that definitely helps to validate that you’re on the right path, and that you are making the right decisions and doing the right things in your business to be able to do that instead of making, you know, these big, sweeping changes that I think a lot of people make, it’s really hard. It’s expensive. It’s time consuming. It’s scary. To be able to make smaller changes and smaller decisions, I think is really helpful.

Liz Watson 13:26
Yeah. And I really like that about your programs and how you structure that to have it be that safe place to experiment.

Liz Watson 13:33
Yeah, absolutely. So moving on and talking about decisions and making decisions in your business. Because I think every day we’re making decisions, right? We are deciding, you know what content we’re going to create, we’re deciding what investment we’re going to make in our business, we’re deciding where we want to align ourselves or who we want to align ourselves with. And it’s like this constant decision making cycle that we’re in.

Abby Herman 14:00
You actually have a framework around making decisions in business that I really want to talk about. And first, I want to kind of have you give an overview of what that framework looks like. And then later on, I would love to dive into talk about how you can apply that framework to your content, your marketing, your visibility, and all of that. And bonus that you are in The Content Mastery Lab membership. And so you have seen how I do that in the process and all of that. So I would love to bounce ideas and talk about how that fits together. So that totally wasn’t planned haha. So can you share with us the framework around decision making, what it is and how we can apply that to everyday decisions in our business?

Liz Watson 14:47
Certainly. So yeah, I’d really like to look at it as three major buckets. The first is strategize. Know where you’re going. Really take some time to understand the mission and vision that you have for your company. And also make sure it’s in alignment with your values. So it’s really starting there.

Liz Watson 15:11
And then to me understanding and getting clear on that foundation. And then once you have that, then looking at really what are seven common areas within any business size of those things behind the scenes. The operations, the stuff that it takes to deliver once you’ve actually marketed and sold to someone. The seven common areas and pillars, I like to say that you need to go through to put some strategy around so that you’re not just guessing and hoping this is the next right thing to focus on, is getting clear on your foundation, and then looking at each strategic pillar to get clear on areas that you could take actions you and your team could take to make progress that not only ensures you’re delivering on the mission of your company, but it’s also helping you get closer to the vision that you have for it down the road.

Liz Watson 16:05
Yes. Okay. So we strategize. What do you think is the best way to really discover your mission, vision and values? Do you have any tips for that or not necessarily, maybe not necessarily discover it, but to revisit it and make sure I am aligned with my mission, vision and values.

Liz Watson 16:25
So regarding that, if you have not identified the values, I think that’s the best place to start or dust them off and really look at them. And for small business owners, a lot of times, it really starts with you as the owner, as your business grows, your values can be refined, and will change over time. But if it’s the first time you’re doing it, really go out and search in Google and find you know, core values and start looking through some lists and, and dig in and see which ones really resonate with you, if you haven’t done it before, or dust off the ones I certainly recommend not that you’re going to redo your values all the time.

Liz Watson 17:06
But when you’re revisiting the vision that you have for your company, which I think should be once a year, it certainly doesn’t hurt to pull out those values, because you may have experienced something and realize that you want to tweak them as you move forward or refine them. Because I think core values, there’s benefit in not just having a word, but actually a phrase associated with it. How are you describing what that core value means to you and to your company? And it’s such a great thing to share with your team, and also your prospective clients. So they just get to know you better. So I think it’s getting clear on those values.

Liz Watson 17:40
And then as I mentioned vision, taking a look at that once a year. And think of it as three to five years from now, what would you like to see from both a personal perspective for you, as the business owner? And also for your business? What lofty goals do you have two to five years from now that you’d really like to reach? But don’t forget about you as the person of what role do I want to play in my business in that timeframe? Because that could evolve. Or what do I see happening in my personal life during that time span? And how do I want to be able to show up for that? So don’t forget about those pieces, too.

Liz Watson 18:18
Yes, I think that so often, we forget that I call us micro businesses, as you know, really small businesses less than 500,000 in revenue, just a couple of team members. I mean, I feel like we’re micro businesses, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But I feel like sometimes we do forget that what is going on in our personal lives has a huge impact on what goes on in the business like I, by the time this comes out this time will or have already passed, but I just made some decisions in my own business of things that I was going to let go of, or that I was not going to do. Because I know things that are coming up in my personal life that are going to impact that and impact my ability to be able to get to do some of the things I wanted to do this year. So yeah, I think that that’s huge.

Liz Watson 19:09
I love how you bring that up, because I encourage my clients to think about what should you stop doing? You don’t have to keep doing all the things you’ve been doing in those seven areas I talked about. I asked that of everyone. What should you start? What should you stop or what just needs to be refined based on what you’ve learned? So that’s great to hear. You’re taking steps

Liz Watson 19:29
It’s hard. Hard to do, but it’s necessary for my well being, my mental health for my team’s well being and all of that it’s necessary. So yeah, yeah, I’ll thank myself later.

Abby Herman 19:47
Okay, so strategize is the first step in your framework. What is the next step?

Liz Watson 19:51
Then it’s measuring. Take a look back at where you’ve been as a company, for example, you know, look at the last 12 months. Pull Some data based on whatever’s going on in your business, not that you have to have anything formalized. But what data could you pull to help tell the story of what’s been happening in your business over the last year? And then take a look at those and identify well, which would be the good key metrics to focus on for growth as we move forward as a business?

Liz Watson 20:19
And so do you have thoughts on what those metrics that we’re looking at should be? Or does it depend on Where we’ve been? Does it depend on where we want to go? How do we know which metrics to pay attention to?

Liz Watson 20:33
Yeah, I think it’s a combination of things. Some of it certainly is, where do you want to go understanding your strategy? But there, you know, really, there are common areas here, too, that you want to look at? What are some financial metrics that make sense to track for your company? We are businesses, so we should be tracking profit, right? So not just revenue, but profit.

Liz Watson 20:54
But there might be some other components that make sense in the financial realm. You’ve got a bucket of sales and marketing metrics, which we’re going to talk about in a little bit. That’s certainly an area to focus on.

Liz Watson 21:05
And then operationally, what other metrics Can you track such as regarding team members or other items to monitor how efficiently you’re running your business? So it’s really in those three main buckets and depending on where you’re at, because we could track every little thing in the world, there’s lots of data, and lots of metrics, but I think it comes down to starting to collect them.

Liz Watson 21:30
And then understanding based on what your goals are, and where you want to go, which are the ones and really, as a small business owner, you should have a six to 10 Max, key metrics that you’re really focused on as the leader, consider that your executive dashboard, what do you need to look at at a certain frequency to go Aha, yep, got it. I feel good. I know what these mean, we’re in the right direction, or boom, I’m seeing something and now let’s regroup and we may need to make a change.

Liz Watson 21:59
So don’t overwhelm yourself with tracking every little detail. But sometimes you need to start tracking some things to understand, which are the ones that are going to bubble up that truly make sense to pay attention to

Liz Watson 22:12
Yes, great tip to really focus on what’s important and not have to track everything. Because if you track everything that’s going to waste so much time and so much effort. And then and then what are you going to do with that information? Probably nothing? Because change information? Yes. All right. So we’ve got strategize, measure, and then what comes next in your framework.

Liz Watson 22:36
So the next step is to decide using that strategy map that you’ve established, and combining it with the data from the metrics and using those data insights. So that you can make the next right decision. And it’s really, I’ve got all these ideas of how I want to better my business. And instead of them all sitting in your head, the strategy map helped you kind of get them on paper, if you want to say, and then the data is there to help you validate, here’s what I was thinking would be one of the next right things we should work on over the next quarter, for example. And the numbers can help you confirm that. Or maybe it’ll help you shift and realize No, that’s from what I’m seeing. Maybe we need to move this initiative up sooner and this one out till later in the year. So it’s really using the strategy in the data to then do that final step, which is to decide the next right thing to focus on as a team.

Liz Watson 23:34
Yes. So I actually have been through this process and gone through those seven areas of business with a director of operations, I’ve actually done it twice, and going through it with someone else. And having that outside perspective.

Abby Herman 23:51
So the first time I did it, it was just me in the do and the second time I did it, it was me, my operations manager and the dmo. And having the other perspectives was so helpful in me seeing reality versus You know, my rose colored glasses of perfection of what I want to have happen. And it is such an important process to go through, especially when you’re going through it with someone else, someone like you to make sure that Yeah, we are rooted in reality. We’re also aligned with our mission vision values. And we are making the right decisions of what can and should happen next.

Abby Herman 24:30
So yeah, if I could talk about that forever. It’s such an important and valuable thing to go through. So I want to talk about your framework as it relates to content and marketing. So because I think that Well, I know you can and should go through a process like this in your business as a whole. But if we could kind of narrow it down, since you know we’re The Content Experiment here, like Content Experiment, we want to talk about content. So can we apply your framework to content marketing, messaging visibility, and all of that and kind of walk through how someone can take that strategic look at what they’re doing? And maybe make those decisions on how they’re going to create their content in the future? Does that work for you?

Liz Watson 25:22
Yeah, sounds good. So let’s start with strategize then. Right, we talked about when you’re doing your overall strategy map, it’s these seven pillars, but guess what one of them is called visibility. So I think that’s the one that really ties with what we’re talking about today. How do you as the company owner or your brand, how do you want to get that more visible? So it’s thinking about all those things is right? Either I want to start a podcast, or I want to be a podcast guest, or I need to do enhancements to my website, or there are so many different ways that a business can be visible.

Liz Watson 26:03
And it’s thinking about or looking at what are you currently doing now, like I mentioned before, and the things that you want to continue doing, but what might need some refinements, or what might you want to stop doing? So visibility has so many components to it, but I think this category fits nicely into that. I guess I would say in my process, it’s once we get to the visibility pillar, it’s Let’s dive deep to understand how you’re visible now or how you want to be.

Liz Watson 26:32
Well, and how do you address that in terms of mission, vision and values also, so if someone so if you’re working with someone, and you’re going through this process with someone, and they say, I want to be a podcast host? How do you get them to think about how that is aligned or not aligned with their mission vision values? What does that conversation look like?

Liz Watson 26:52
Yeah, great. Thanks for bringing that up. Because we talk about the mission, vision and values first, before anything else. So yes, it would be ensuring they’ve got some clarity in that space. So that when we get to a pillar, and they have a suggestion on that, then we go back to that, okay, but is right, if it’s creating a podcast, is that really the right thing, you know, for you to be spending your time on based on what your goals are based on, really based on what your vision is not so much your mission of what you’re doing now?

Liz Watson 27:21
Because that’s what your mission statement is, what how you’re delivering now. But what you want to be in the future. So we always want to talk about that first, and then when the ideas come out through that process, then it’s putting it up against that and going are you sure is that really the right thing that’s gonna get you closer. And even if it is an idea, we don’t throw it out, it may just go to a future bucket so that we don’t lose that you have that idea. But it just may not be the right thing to do either in the next quarter or over the next year.

Liz Watson 27:50
Yeah. And also, too, I think it’s important to so if you’ve been doing the podcast for a while, or you’ve been pitching yourself for a while, or you’ve been a guest in other people’s groups for a while, or whatever it is, to go back and revisit that occasionally to see is this still aligned with what I want to do and with where I want to go?

Abby Herman 28:10
I mean, I know for myself, I have dropped the ball there. And I have continued to do things that don’t really align with the direction that I want to go with anymore. And I have to stop and take a step back and think about it and then kind of recalibrate. Okay, what do I really want to do? What direction do I really want to go in? Is this still serving my audience in the way that I want to serve them?

Liz Watson 28:35
Right? And I really recommend you do that two to four times per year to really question whether what we’re focused on over the next 90 days is really going to keep us moving forward and towards the mark we really want. Yes, if not, let’s shift and that’s okay.

Liz Watson 28:52
Yep. Shifting is okay. That’s one of the things I love about being self employed is that I get to shift whenever the heck I want. As my life changes, as my business changes, as the ideas, the things that we want to do change, we can totally make those changes easily without having to go through all the red tape. So Exactly. Right.

Liz Watson 29:17
So in this process, you may put some things out that a year from now you’d like to do, but it doesn’t mean you’re held to that, right. It’s not losing sight of the great ideas, placing them somewhere honing in on the next 90 days, and then each 90 days where I’d take a peek and look. Alright, we thought this was going to be the next 90 days. Does that still make sense to us or not? If not, let’s just shift and yeah, make it work.

Abby Herman 29:41
Yes. Okay. So we strategize. We think about the visibility, what we want to start and stop doing within that container, I guess. So next is measure. So can you talk a little bit about how we measure those decisions are those things that we want to focus on.

Liz Watson 29:59
Certainly. So when it comes to visibility, there are many ways to be visible. Oh my there’s a lot of metrics you can track, right? They go, social media engagements, your email list open and click rates, your website traffic advertising leads landing page conversion, so many more. But ultimately, the most insightful and the most, the two most game changing visibility key metrics are cost per lead and value per lead, meaning with cost per lead, it’s just getting clear on look at what you’re spending on advertising in order to get the leads that you need to ultimately get clients or customers.

Liz Watson 30:40
So it’s focusing on, you know, confirming how much you want to spend, or need to spend kind of helping you set targets. So for example, if based on how you run your business, you know that boy, in order for me to get 10 new clients, I found I really need to have about 300 leads to get there, well, then you can figure out well, if I budgeted about $5, a lead to do ads and social media, for example, I need to spend about 15 $100, because I’m thinking of the 300 leads times the $5 to get about the 10 clients that I’m looking for.

Liz Watson 31:18
So it’s that kind of stuff, I’ve taken a peek at some of the numbers to go well, should I or shouldn’t I spend on advertising? If so, how much am I spending? And is it even giving me anything in the end? Is it valuable to spend that money? So cost per lead is looking at that advertising piece, and then the value per lead is more the return on investment per lead. So comparing that revenue that you’re bringing in with the leads that you’ve been able to obtain, and getting clear on the value of that.

Liz Watson 31:49
So for example, if you do a challenge, and you make $10,000, and you had 100 people sign up, well, then your value per lead is $100. So the 10,000 divided by 100. So if you know that okay, about the value is about $100 per lead, and I’m considering doing some advertising, well, spending five to $10- $20, whatever it is per lead you spend on advertising and I’m making 100, then I don’t it feels better, right? Then I can make that decision to go.

Liz Watson 32:19
Yeah, that first $20 seemed a little bit steep to me. But if I look back at what truly is the value I’m getting by doing that, then it’s an easier decision to make, you can have more confidence about it, and use it in that space. So cost per lead and value per liter are really the higher level ones that you would want to get to from that executive dashboard level.

Liz Watson 32:41
Yes. And that makes so much sense to so that you are actually making informed decisions about how you’re going to continue with advertising or whatever in the future, instead of just throwing money at it and saying, Oh, well, I you know, my first $100 I only got two leads, I’m gonna throw more money at it and more money at it. And are you really getting the leads that you want? I think it really helps in taking a minute and investigating, okay, well, this isn’t working, I’m not getting the leads that I want with this money that I’m spending. So how can I change? What do I need to change in my content? Or what do I need to change in my methodology so that I can get the leads that I want? Because I see so many people throwing money at the problem, and it’s not going to solve things.

Liz Watson 33:28
Right, exactly. And through all of this, don’t feel that you did that. And then oh, I have to scrap everything, right, the whole sales funnel I have just isn’t working. And we’ve got to totally start over and scrap it. So in addition to knowing those two top metrics, it’s really suggested to them that you focus on that funnel that you have, get clear on the journey your clients are taking so that they can get to know, like, and trust you and then ultimately become a customer or a client.

Liz Watson 33:59
Yeah, so think about that process and simplify it, simplify it. So it’s easier for them to go through but also easier for you and your team to manage. And when you look out and break down that funnel of whatever that may be from reading that awareness, getting to a point where maybe they do a discovery call.

Liz Watson 34:21
For example, if you’re a service provider down to the point where they actually say yes, I’m going to be your client and pay you to look at each step. Don’t scrap the whole thing. Take a look at each step and understand the volume. Oh at this stuff. There are so many people that engage on my social media posts. And then the next step, there’s so many people that selected my opt in, for example, and then also look at the conversion of each step.

Liz Watson 34:21
If I move from step two, stop, are they coming along with us on the ride, and then you’ll find a ha it’s not the whole thing. That is not working. It’s this one step and then full On that step to fix and track maybe the metric around that thing. Because really, it’s just all about giving you information that you can use to either confirm what you’re doing is working or to help identify the gaps. So you can fix stuff. But don’t feel like you have to fix everything, just go step by step, and see which areas need that tweak.

Liz Watson 35:23
Yeah, it’s all about the journey, you need to have a journey for your audience members to go on, you need to have a path for them to take into making that purchasing decision. So yes, I want to talk really quickly to see you talk about paid advertising, I want to talk quickly about unpaid content, so free content that you’re putting out there.

Abby Herman 35:43
So a lot of people, myself included, like to be guests on podcasts, for example. And we put something out there, we ask people to sign up for something when we’re a guest on a podcast. And I think it’s really important to measure the success of each of those episodes, each of those guest appearances, if you will. And you can use something as simple as I’d like to use pretty links. So I use a link that I’m customizing for the audience that’s listening on someone else’s podcast, and I can see how many people are clicking on the links, I can see how many people have listened to, well not necessarily listen to the episode, but clicked on the link and or clicked on the link more than once.

Abby Herman 36:31
So it really depends what you’re measuring really depends on what you’re doing on the activity, the visibility activity that you’re doing. So yeah, maybe I get 50 clicks from one podcast episode, how many of those ultimately converted into customers? Or how many of those went ahead and opted into the thing that they even clicked on? So yeah, it’s really important to determine what is the thing that needs to be measured? What is your goal for this particular visibility activity?

Liz Watson 37:03
Yes. And thank you for clarifying it. You’re right. It’s not about just what you’re spending money on, right? What’s important, what’s the goal that you’re chasing? And right, everything can have those numbers? Because if being a podcast guest isn’t giving you what you need out of it, right, then it’s refining your strategy on where you should spend time or even networking events that you go to participate in, you know, tracking that.

Liz Watson 37:29
So you’re right, it depends truly on your goal, but you can track anything that you need. Right there the guesting opportunities I’m taking advantage of, and you know, the numbers from there on. So yes, definitely. It’s all tied to where you want to go.

Liz Watson 37:46
Yes. And this piggybacks into the next step, the decide piece, but when you are tracking things, and you are seeing what works and what doesn’t work, you’re making decisions on what you’re going to do in the future, as well. So can you talk a little bit about that, and how you make those decisions related to visibility activities.

Abby Herman 38:06
And I also want to mention, too, and I was losing my train of thought there for a second, too. But the other thing about decisions and measurement is that if you find something that’s not working, don’t do it anymore. And you Liz mentioned, have six to 10 I think you said six to 10 maximum metrics that you’re measuring. So if you’re finding that you’re doing podcast guesting, and you have all these opt ins, and you’re posting on all of these social platforms, and you have your own podcast, and you’re doing you know eight other things, you’re obviously wanting to measure all of those things, and that might be too much, and you’re probably spreading yourself too thin.

Abby Herman 38:44
So find what works. And then double down on that, as you’re making your decision. The thing that comes next. So I’ll let you talk about decisions.

Liz Watson 38:53
Yes, exactly. You’re going to, once you have those key metrics established, and especially I guess, you know, as we’re talking around visibility and marketing, right, it’s not having all of those individual ones on the list, but it may just roll up it’s maybe somehow you can put together the all the visibility opportunities, you have a how many clients are you obtaining, based on those right, maybe that’s the number that you see on the dashboard, not all of the details of how you got to that point.

Liz Watson 39:24
But back to the decision, right? It’s got these numbers that you’re looking at on a frequent basis, you know, definitely once a month for the bigger picture dashboard. But depending on the metrics, and depending on what you’re doing, you may look more often if you’re in the midst of doing a launch of something, you’re probably looking every day, but in general, definitely once a month, you want to look at that.

Liz Watson 39:47
But you’re going to as a leader, as you’re using that metric information that higher level and you’re looking at it, you can pause and say yep, that was the trajectory I was expecting to see or Oh, it’s not. It’s lower. It’s Higher? Is that what I would have wanted? And if it is kind of digging in a little bit more, and then to get into the details to understand the why. And if you’re at that point of boy, we were considering going this way and making this type of decision. Should we now continue to do that?

Liz Watson 40:16
And if you’re still not sure, that’s where the strategy piece comes in the mission vision values part of Okay, does this still align with where we’re going? Double check on that? Did we have that as one of our strategies, one of our objectives, one of the projects we wanted to get done in the next 90 days? Because Boy, that really seems important. Gosh, that’s not in our list? Uh, huh. Let’s get it in there. And let’s move this other thing out into the future and work on that next quarter, for example. So some of the decision can be should we or shouldn’t we do something but it also may be the timing of when you do something.

Liz Watson 40:51
Yeah. So important. And I feel like you said, looking at the metrics, at least every month, sometimes, more often, depending on what’s going on in our business, whether we’re launching something, but I feel like a lot of these decisions we’re making kind of on the fly, we’re making them on a really regular basis. How do you store these metrics? What is your method for doing that? Do you have a spreadsheet? Is it something that you do manually to add these metrics to a spreadsheet? What does that look like? Or maybe there’s a tool that you use? I don’t know.

Liz Watson 41:24
Yeah, and it’s nice, because there’s flexibility without when you’re just starting out a spreadsheet is gonna do you well, right, you’re at least start with that start tracking some things, and some type of spreadsheets that you like to use. And as you move forward, you’re right, because you want to be able to have that data. So you can make the decisions when you need to, and not wait on it. But there are fantastic tools that you can use.

Liz Watson 41:47
One of them, I like to use this clip folio. There are other tools like grow, and Google Analytics, and the Google Data Studio has some fantastic options with that. So I guess the main message is, if you don’t have anything in place, it’s okay, you can just start with a spreadsheet to start collecting data that you need. And then over time, so it depends if you have some data you can pull in from different sources, such as social media and other tools, you can integrate that so that the information automatically updates and tools like clip folio automatically do that for you.

Liz Watson 42:24
And sometimes there’s data that’s really specific to your company that you’re not going to find in another tool. So sometimes that is tracking that in a spreadsheet and then pulling that in. So it can become a part of a Visual Dashboard. So sometimes you will have components that will be needed to track manually, because it’s so specific to your company. And it’s not coming from another tool or a software. But then there are a lot of tools that integrate.

Liz Watson 42:50
So depending on where you’re at in your business, start with a spreadsheet, and then a tool like klipfolio, which I love to offer for my clients so that they can get the latest and greatest. So when they pull that up, and they’re in that mode where they need to make the decision, they can pull it up and know that that’s the latest and greatest information that’s out there to move them forward.

Abby Herman 43:09
I love it. I think that Yeah, the whole data collection piece is a struggle for so many people. It’s been a struggle for me, I’ve been doing it manually for myself and for my clients for so long. And we’re actually in the process of building out some more automated dashboards right now for clients. But yeah, because it’s just time consuming. I don’t want to do it.

Abby Herman 43:32
Right It is. And it’s hard to gather everything that you want, if you’re doing it all manually. And I don’t think it’s consistent. So it’s easy to just go to something that’s more automated that you can just look at every morning or once a week, every Monday or whatever. So.

Liz Watson 43:50
Right, exactly. And you know, now that you mentioned, you’re using it right. Air table is another good tool, the right place to get started to, you know, track things. Yeah, yeah. So it is that. So that’s why it’s kind of really getting clear on what you should pull data from and right, you can engage a team member or somebody else to help you do that. But don’t just pull the data just to pull it.

Liz Watson 44:10
At first, you might want to collect a lot of different data so you can hone in on Oh, yeah, these are the ones that are most important that are going to roll up and tell me the story that I need to see. But yeah, engage others if you can, and write numbers and track all that is not for everybody. So that’s why we offer these services to help people with that too. You know, part of my services are helping people get that up and running. So either you can maintain it with your team or I can help you maintain it in the long term.

Abby Herman 44:37
I love that. How does somebody get in touch with you so that they can find out more about your services and getting to know you a little more?

Liz Watson 44:45
Well, I would suggest two ways one would be through my website LizWatsonImpactTrail.com and we can just schedule a call just to chat just to get to know each other and see if either that strategy map service or the dashboard service would be right fit for you. I’m also out on LinkedIn. So I love to connect with people there too. So please reach out and say hi, and let’s, you know, help each other grow small business owners.

Liz Watson 45:09
Yeah, we’ll definitely have links to both a discovery call on your website and LinkedIn on the show notes. Before we wrap up, I would love to find out from you, if listeners were only able to take away two actionable things from our conversation, because there was a lot. So if they were only able to take away two things that they want to implement right away, what would you recommend those two things be?

Liz Watson 45:36
The first one would be to take some time to get clear on your vision for your company. If you haven’t thought about that for a while, I’ve never thought about that. Think about what would you like the next two to five years to be for you, for your business and for you personally.

Liz Watson 45:50
And the other one would be regarding your sales funnel, start tracking the volume, which is really the numbers at each step, write what’s happening at each step of your funnel, and then the conversion really is the percentage of change from step to step. So if you’re not doing that, now, just start doing that to get a sense of if you’re sensing that there may be a gap in that process, just start some time to track the numbers and see where it takes you from there.

Liz Watson 46:18
Fantastic. so much great information I so appreciate you being here. And listeners, I really do highly recommend the strategic mapping and going through that process with someone I think it’s so valuable, and especially just to have that outside perspective. And from someone who has seen the inside in the backend of so many businesses too. It’s really valuable to have that knowledge by your side. So thank you, Liz for being here. I really appreciate it.

Liz Watson 46:47
Well, thank you Abby for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Abby Herman 46:51
So how are you feeling right now about the next big decision you need to make in your content and marketing. Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more aligned and a little more confident that you will make the right decision. Because honestly, the decision that you make is the right decision. And even if you decide that it just doesn’t feel good, you’ll have at least taken a step and you can shift directions if you need and want to.

Abby Herman 47:19
If you’re ready to start experimenting with content and marketing in your own business without having to do all the guesswork yourself. Remember that you can join us inside Content Mastery Lab at thecontentexperiment.com/lab and use the coupon code podcast to get your first month for $1 Pricing, starts at just $97 A month after that.

Abby Herman 47:42
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 @thecontentexperiment so I know you’re listening. 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.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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