One of my projects this month included developing a custom training session for a women in business retreat.

My daughter came over to my laptop as I was finishing my slides and asked to see what I was working on. I offered to walk her through my talk and she sat down at the table ready to listen (I love that!). A key piece of my session covers business planning. I will be leading these wonderful women through an exercise that helps them evaluate the three pieces of the business puzzle (Marketing, Operations and Sales). All must all be well-oiled to keep the wheels rolling.

When I came to the slide with the Marketing, Operations and Sales circle, she asked me to clarify what the three areas meant. My 5 year old daughter has a little pet-sitting business (where she walks dogs and feeds neighbor’s pets if they are out of town) so I clarified each step around her business saying that:

Marketing is helping people know about what you do to get customers. It is also about doing a really good job so your customers hire you again and become long term clients and tell other neighbors.

Operations is the act of doing what you agreed to do – delivering what you promised. This includes walking the dogs, feeding the cat or scooping the poops. I reminded her that any opportunity to go above and beyond without being asked is great practice. She often takes photos that I send to the pet owner while she works.

Admin (short for administrative) work includes doing scheduling the pet sitting work and making sure you get paid. I have my daughter make make hand-written paper invoices or if her neighbors leave her cash, to leave a little note saying thank you.

As my slides continued, I came to a slide with three words on it – What, How and Why. One of the top TED talks by Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action (a must-watch talk!) demonstrates that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So many businesses lead with what they do, or even how they do it, but it’s the “why“…that fire in your belly that drove you to start your own business that leaders need to lead with. The heart of why you do what you do will help you connect with your ideal clients.

I reminded my little girl about her pet sitting marketing story (I blogged about this in a previous Do What You Love, Love What You Do post) when we were in the car and she said she wanted more pet sitting business. I made her get to the heart of why she chose pet sitting over all the other kid jobs in our neighborhood and she said “I love animals and I love helping my neighbors.” This is the message she now leads with.

No matter how new, old, big or small our companies are, continually optimize your marketing, operations and administrative practices and be true to the heart of why you do what you do!

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