On today’s edition of The Atlanta Small Business Show, Melinda Emerson joins Jim Fitzpatrick to chat about her book “Fix Your Business“. Her book is based on the 12 P’s of running a successful business. Each chapter is another P word. Some notable chapters include preparation, purpose, people, profit, and processes. Tune-in to find out more about Melinda’s new book and how it can help you fix your business.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re so excited to have with us on our show Melinda Emerson, who is known as America’s number one small business expert. Thanks for joining us Melinda, we’re so glad to have you here on the Atlanta Small Business Show.
Melinda Emerson: I’m so happy to be here.
Jim Fitzpatrick: You just told me that you’re down in Miami right now, and you’re on your book tour, and you just got done speaking so congratulations, that’s phenomenal. Congratulations on your new book.
Melinda Emerson: Thank you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The name of the new book, which I love is Fix Your Business. Talk to us about what viewers will learn, what the takeaways might be from the book.
Melinda Emerson: The book is based on, what I call, the 12 P’s of running a successful business. Each chapter is another P word. We start with preparation, second chapter is purpose, third chapter is people, because I don’t know an entrepreneur that doesn’t have people problems, so I help them with that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Probably the number one problem, right?
Melinda Emerson: Right. Listen, their number one people problem actually might be themselves, so we talk about that too. 50% of all business problems are not so well hidden personal problems.
Melinda Emerson: Then, chapter 4 is profit because profit is how we keep score in business. Chapter 5 is processes, you got to document how your business actually runs if you hope to ever delegate anything or be able to hire anyone. After processes, I’m going to walk you through some productivity tips. Is there an app, is there some software that can save you time and money in your business? Then, after that, I’m want to look at performance. What should you be measuring in your business? As a matter fact, are you measuring anything in your business? When’s the last time you looked at your Google Analytics and figured out what actually driving traffic to your business website, which by the way is your number one sales tool?
Melinda Emerson: After performance, then we look at product because I want business owners to look at their products and services and figure out where they stand in the marketplace today and whether or not they’re selling something that’s going to be relevant 3 to 5 years from now. It’s not just about today’s marketplace, it’s about tomorrow’s marketplace. Then, after product we look at … Oh gosh, what’s next? Presence. What does your brand look like online and offline? Do you have a website? Do you have a website that looks great from a mobile device? We live in a mobile first world. Then, if you’re out here doing social media, what social media are you doing? Are you buying Facebook ads? Are you measuring your Facebook ads? Do you know how much a click is costing you? These are all kinds of things out here that you need to be looking at, and you have to really figure out all the different things you could be doing in your business to push your business forward.
Melinda Emerson: Then, after I help you with what your presence is like online then I’m going to help you with your prospects, yes sales. That’s the lifeblood of a business, if you don’t have sales baby you’re going to be out of business soon. The problem that I have with sales is that so many people chase new customers as opposed to focusing on existing customers. Hey, it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to go out and get a new one because the most expensive sale you’ll ever make is the first sale you’ll make. I help people really organize their sales process from lead gen, to who’s following up on that lead, what happens after the sale, and who in your business is going to own that relationship after the sale takes place.
Melinda Emerson: Then, after we work on sales the next thing I’m going to take you through is planning. In my book, Fix Your Business, if you do the homework at the end of every chapter you’re going to be really happy when you get to chapter 11 and I tell you, you need a new strategic plan. Then, I’m going to tell you, “By the way, if you did all the homework, you already got the plan,” because I made you develop it as you went along in the book. Then, the last chapter is perseverance. You have to stay strong enough long enough to win in business.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That is awesome. When you went down that phenomenal list, by the way, I will tell you as a small business person myself I’m failing in about six or seven of those areas so-
Melinda Emerson: Most people are struggling with at least three I find.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I need to get the book in my hands as quickly as possible. Let’s drill down a little bit more here. 5 things to recognize your company is failing. I know that you got a piece on that. Talk to us about that because I think a lot of small business owners don’t recognize some of the areas that actually could do some major damage to their company, correct?
Melinda Emerson: Listen, if you are in a constant cash flow crunch, if you are really having trouble managing cash in your business that is a telltale sign that your business is in trouble. The second thing that you need to look out for is poor or no repeat business. Repeat business is how you create a sustainable business, so you want to make sure that you are building great relationships with your clients. The third thing is you have a high churn? Are you going through employees like Sherman went through Georgia? What’s going on? You got to make sure that you have an organized hiring process, that you’re taking the time to make sure that your team knows their purpose, knows your why, and then you got to make sure you train people. You have to develop an onboarding process for all of the positions in your business. Honestly, it should be at least 2 to 4 weeks, honestly.
Melinda Emerson: Then, the fourth thing that I see people doing is they’re spending a whole bunch of time on social media they don’t measure, they’re not even looking at their Google Analytics, they’re using Facebook because they like Facebook not because that’s where their fish are. You should not be doing any marketing that you don’t measure. If you’re spending money on Facebook ads, check your Facebook Analytics to make sure it’s actually converting for you. Big, big, big, big problem.
Melinda Emerson: Then, the last thing is you just have to make sure that you’re selling something that the marketplace really wants. Sometimes we create businesses, and create business models, and you’re not making money because nobody’s going to buy that, or it’s not urgent. People buy things they need … things they want not necessarily things they need. Sometimes people start businesses, “Well, people need this,” well, if people aren’t willing to pay you for it they might not need it that bad. You got to make sure that you have a business model that’s actually going to earn you a profit otherwise you might have a glorified [inaudible 00:06:27].
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s so true. We often see that, don’t we? Where people they’re dealing from their heart and they’ve got a belief in something, but they might be on an island, and no one else is really buying the product. They think their problem is advertising, or manpower, when in reality it may be the product or service they’re offering, right?
Melinda Emerson: Exactly. People have passions about things, but I want people to make sure their passion has a profit center that’s where I need them.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Those are two more P’s you can add.
Melinda Emerson: Listen, I started with 50 P’s, it was horrible to get down to 12. It was hard.
Jim Fitzpatrick: I love the ones that you came up with because, as I said, as a business owner myself you pretty much nailed it on that list. You’ve got a quote here, “50 percent of all business problems are not-so-well hidden personal problems. Your ego and the lack of your leadership might be what’s wrong with your business.” Talk to us a little bit more about that because I totally agree with that.
Melinda Emerson: The thing that people do is people will go and take classes to work on their business skills. How to negotiate, or how to be a better this or better that. One of the things that I think small business owners miss sometimes is working on their leadership skills. If your business is in trouble you’re going to have to lead your way out of it. If you’re having high churn it might be because people don’t like working for you or with you. If you’re having all these huge customer service issues how are you treating your customers? If you’re treating your customers like they bother you they’re not going to come back, I promise you that.
Melinda Emerson: You need to make sure that you are not your business’ biggest problem. Your employees nor your family should know how your day was based on how you treat them. You always have to be the leader, you have to use negative feedback as a teaching opportunity as opposed to a death march opportunity to beat people up and make people feel stupid. Look, people are human. I allow people to make mistakes in my business, they just can’t make the same mistake.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a great point. Melinda Emerson, America’s number one small business expert, we really appreciate your time here on the Atlanta Small Business Show and, hopefully, we can have you back on the show to talk more about some of the things that you got in your book. Hopefully, next time you’re in Atlanta we can have you into the studio.
Melinda Emerson: I would love it. Thank you so much and if anybody wants more information about me I am the small biz lady everywhere online and you can grab Fix Your Business on Amazon.
Jim Fitzpatrick: For the viewers that are watching right now, you’re definitely going to want to make sure that this is on your bookshelf. It’s got really good stuff in it and you heard it right here from the author. She clearly knows what she’s talking about. Again, Melinda Emerson, thank you so much for joining us.
Melinda Emerson: Thank you so much for having me.