May 11, 2022

How to Best Boost Your Business Efficiency - BM318

How to Best Boost Your Business Efficiency - BM318

Listen in as business strategy coach Lisa Corrado shares her wisdom on planning and implementing your systems and strategy to bring to life your larger vision as a business owner.

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Do you want to know how to boost your business efficiency?

Listen in as business strategy coach Lisa Corrado shares her wisdom on planning and implementing your systems and strategy to bring to life your larger vision as a business owner.

In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Boost Your Business Efficiency" you will discover…

  • Why your business needs a strong strategy
  • How to circle back to when you go off-course
  • Weaving your values into your strategy
  • Creating a system to capture information in a more organized way
  • An embarrassing mistake to avoid when setting up a strategy or system
  • When the power ‘no’ is your best solution

And a whole lot more…

Here's how to get a free copy of Lisa's "Better-Than-Ever Fast Focus sheet"

Get more gems from other guest experts, when you join the Book Marketing Mentors Premium Membership today!


Susan Friedmann:Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week I introduce you to a marketing master, who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. 

Today, my special guest is Lisa Corrado. Lisa works with business owners to implement new strategies, systems, and mindsets, so they achieve their next-level vision. She has over 18 years of experience running her own businesses and knows just how much courage it takes to be an entrepreneur. 

Lisa says her favorite goal achievement is a toss-up between surviving cancer, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro or leaving a lucrative, but soul-crushing corporate job in order to be happy. Yeah, we want to be happy, so hey, I am happy to welcome you, Lisa, to the show and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor!

[00:01:01]Lisa Corrado: Thank you, Susan. I am very happy to be here. I'm looking forward to our conversation.

[00:01:06]Susan Friedmann: Well, Lisa, your specialty is systems and strategies. I think that's an area that we can delve into a little deeper to help our listeners better understand. So I'm going to start off very granular. What is a strategy and why do we need one?

[00:01:27]Lisa Corrado: That is a great question. And I think the reason why a lot of people struggle with strategy is it sounds like it might be complicated, it has a little mystery behind it. So to clarify, strategy is simply all of the decisions and the choices that you make in support of your vision. That's it. 

Once you know what your goals are, what you're going towards, you know, what success looks like for you, your strategy is simply what you say yes to and what you say no to. It's as simple as that.

[00:02:03] Susan Friedmann: It sounds so simple. I know that the actual putting that into practice takes a little bit more time and energy, and obviously, the thought process that goes into that. Do you have an easy way to sort of break it down a little bit?

[00:02:22] Lisa Corrado: Absolutely. I'm so glad you, sort of, allude to the distinction between simple and easy, right? So it is very simple, but not necessarily easy to implement if you're not comfortable, if you're not sure. 

So when I work with clients on this, first of all, we're very clear on what their vision is. Like I said, that includes their goals, that includes the impact they want to have, how they want to be as the business owner. So not just what they want their business to be, but how do they want to be as the business owner.

And then, the strategy, it supports the vision. So then it's taking a look at what really wants to happen in order for the vision to come true. Is it that you want to be reaching out to a certain specific audience? Is it that you want to be making some new kind of offer, creating, you know, writing a new book, or selling a book in a different way or reaching an audience in a different way? Whatever it is, once we identify that, then the question is okay, what do we have to do to make that happen?

And that's where the fun comes in, that's where we really roll up our sleeves and say, what work actually has to happen. So we get very granular with that. And the way we support that work is then, on a regular basis ask ourselves, "Is what I'm doing right now supporting my vision or not?" If it is, keep going. If it's not, pause and say, "What am I doing this for? And does this need to be done?" Then rinse and repeat.

[00:04:06] Susan Friedmann: That's a question that I ask myself many times. [laughs] 

[00:04:10] Lisa Corrado: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:04:11] Susan Friedmann: Why am I doing this? Yes!

[00:04:13] Lisa Corrado: What exactly is happening here?

[00:04:15] Susan Friedmann: Yeah, yeah. But what springs to mind as you say that is drifting away from a strategy and having to ask yourself that question, talk to us about the idea that- I know that I've done it. And that is, yes, I've got a strategy in place, but then somehow, I get sucked into something that perhaps doesn't appear on that initial strategy. How do you, sort of, bring people back into following the strategy that they'd outlined?

[00:04:51] Lisa Corrado: Great question. The first thing we do is really determine that they need to be brought back to the strategy. I find that sometimes if people drift off, there might actually be a very valid reason. 

Maybe the vision wasn't strong enough, maybe it wasn't really tied to their values. Maybe they weren't fully bought into it. And if they don't have that first piece, then they will definitely drift away from the strategy. That's rare, but I wanted to make sure to say that because I think it's important for people to understand. 

You can grow and evolve and change. Your vision can evolve - that's completely fine. You don't have to marry the first vision you come up with. But if somebody is drifting away from their strategy and they're still committed to their vision, we really take a look at that. Is it because they are trying to do work that is really hard for them to do? It doesn't fall within their wheelhouse. 

Like, I'm very mechanic-ky, so I'm great at systems and processes and things like that. But I'm not so great at being the person on the stage, necessarily, or bringing in all these people. I like to be the person who's like, you know, rolling up my sleeves and doing the work. Other people may have a different type of personality or personal profile.

So we make sure that what they're saying yes to really lights them up, and fills them with energy. It's the right thing for them to be doing. If it's not, what needs to happen? What happens with the things with work that wants to happen, but they're not the right people to do it? So that's the next question we answer.

[00:06:37] Susan Friedmann: And I think that's so comforting to know, because, unlike you, I'm not the person that gets involved with systems and strategies. And for me, that's hard. I'm, you know, more the creative type and it's easy for me to drift away and, sort of, find maybe that nice shiny object somewhere.

So, how often would you suggest that we go back and revisit the strategy, just to see that it's still in alignment with - exactly as you said - with what we want to do, what we want to achieve?

[00:07:15] Lisa Corrado: I think it really depends on what the goals are. So, you might be working towards something that is more short-term. So you will be more in tune. You know, maybe it's something that you want to achieve in a month, you know. 

It's very, very present work and you are looking at it much more frequently to make sure that you're doing the right thing. Checking that you're getting the results that you want, checking to make sure that things are working right. 

We can also have, you know, an overall strategy, a three-year strategy, a five-year strategy. In those cases, we're going to look less frequently at that overall strategy. But still, I love that you brought up the fact that we do need to check in and make sure that it's still working. 

And it comes down to a couple of things. Are we getting the results that we want? Do we feel the way we want to feel as the business owner? And if we don't have the answers we want to those two things, one hundred percent we need to look at the strategy.

[00:08:16] Susan Friedmann: And I know that something else that's really important for you when you work with your clients on this. And that's the whole concept of people's values. Talk about how their values, sort of, weave into the strategy.

[00:08:32] Lisa Corrado: I think values are so important because values are a core component of who each one of us is as an individual. And based on our values, we can connect ourselves to not only the work that we want to do but how we want to do it, how we want to show up in the world, and the impact that we want to have. 

Once we really know what values are important to us, then, the more we can bring them into our vision, our strategy, our plan. Knowing all of the things that need to happen, the way more likely it is that first of all we're going to be satisfied as business owners, as entrepreneurs. 

We're going to feel more fulfilled. We're going to do a better job. We are going to show up in a much bigger, happier, more fulfilled way to support our audience, our readers, our customers, and our clients. 

Everything is going to be better because we're doing it in alignment with who we are at our core. When we get that wrong, it's a lot like playing a record at the wrong speed or scratching the needle across. It's showing up as somebody who, maybe, you think you're supposed to be, instead of who you really are, and that work is never going to go as well, as work that's really aligned with the values.

[00:09:56] Susan Friedmann: Well, the whole idea of showing up as who you really are versus who you think you should be. Now, I think we often see people out there and we say, "Oh, I should be like that person and I'm only going to be successful if I do the same thing that they're doing." Can you address that a little bit?

[00:10:19] Lisa Corrado: I really am so grateful you've asked that question, because it can be very easy to see other people who, maybe, apparate in the same space we apparate in, and they look so successful, especially if we look at social media or marketing, right? 

I mean, these are designed to make somebody look really good and really successful, and look really appealing. Where we can get it wrong is if we say, "Wow, that person has success and I want that success, so I should do what they're doing. Maybe I need to copy their strategy or maybe I need to copy their goals. Maybe I need to, you know, just really mimic that. And then I'll be successful." 

And you probably won't be because you might not have the same values. Your definition of success might truly be different, you know, it can be very easy for people to feel like, well, bigger is better and more is better. 

So you just need to sell more and make more and have more, you know, a bigger audience. And that's not necessarily true for everybody. So knowing what is really your definition of success is the key to being successful. And swimming in your own lane, so you're doing what's right for you, which makes you be so much better at doing what you're doing for your audience and your clients and your readers, etc.

[00:11:43] Susan Friedmann: Now, I think that's something early on in your business that you have to establish 'cause- What it reminded me of, Lisa, was I remember when I first, sort of, got involved in the speaking industry and I saw so many of my peers out there doing 200-250 presentations a year. 

And they were so successful and they had a lousy family life. They came back, their family was in shambles. I was like, I don't want that. Yes, I want to be successful, but not to pay the price of losing my family for that. It isn't worth it to me.

[00:12:31] Lisa Corrado: So in that case, your value of family was so much bigger than your value of speaking success, right? So good for you for listening to that.

[00:12:42] Susan Friedmann: It was hard though to think, well, could I still be successful and, sort of like, have my cake and eat it? So that was always on my mind, you know, so... If I get too successful, what will that do to the family structure?

So there's another, sort of a record that was going on in my head. Let's transition and talk about systems. Because it's strategy and system. So, let's start off in that granular form as we did with the strategy, but what exactly is a system and why do we need them?

[00:13:20] Lisa Corrado: A system is any kind of process that you follow for something that you do over and over, and over again. It's a set of steps that you can say, "Okay, I'm doing this thing again. Let me just go through my steps." Or it's a way of capturing the information that you need in a very organized kind of way so that you're not constantly saying, "Okay, how do I do this again?" Or, "Oh, I forgot this second step and now everything's all messed up." 

It's as simple as that, really just understanding what the process is. And it could be... A lot of my systems are Google Sheets and that's it. It could be a very intense, expensive CRM system and anything in-between.

[00:14:09] Susan Friedmann: What I found, because, again, I was one of those people who- I did something and I was like, "Well, how did I do that?"

[00:14:18] Lisa Corrado: Right.

[00:14:19] Susan Friedmann: However, what I put down was as if I was having to do this to be able to explain it to somebody else who would be doing it instead of me. And that helped me outline, well, they have to do this, but before they can do this, they have to do that. So it sort of, those little, break it down into those bite-sized little chunks that make it very easy and manageable.

[00:14:48] Lisa Corrado: Yeah, I love your perspective on that because it really is. If I explain this, if I systematize this in such a way that it's like explaining it to someone else, it will always be clear to me, right? I will always understand, even if it's something I haven't touched in a while 'cause you could have a system for something you do once a year, right? 

So, instead of having to get to the end of the year and think, "Okay, how do I submit my annual report again?" And, you know, "What is this thing I have to do for the, you know, the department of revenue services?" 

You can have a system and then you don't have to guess. And you also don't have to worry that you're forgetting something or doing it wrong. I think systems are really great for easing one's mind because you know that you're not going to forget a step.

[00:15:38] Susan Friedmann: If you were to give us a handful of systems that you think every entrepreneur needs to have in their business, just sort of basic systems, what would you recommend?

[00:15:52] Lisa Corrado: I would say- And I'm not sure if I'm going to answer this exactly how you thought I might, but I'm going to say what you should have systems for. Definitely have a system for sales, for tracking sales, for understanding what happens after you have a sales call. For understanding how you're generating leads, so having a system for generating leads. And having a process like that that you follow- Sales are so important to any small business. It's what keeps us going, right?

So having a system for that and understanding, "Okay, this is what I do when I need someone for the first time. This is the process that I take them through. This is what I do after we've had a conversation. And this is what I do when we come to a natural point, either they have signed on, or they haven't. If they haven't signed on, what do I do next? When do I follow up with them again in deciding what that is?" 

Also having a system for anything you do on a regular basis. If you do an email newsletter, have a system for that. If you do social media, have a system for that. If you do a podcast, have a system for that. Anything that you do over and over and over again, if you take the time to have the system, you will be happy. 

And I want to share something that typically gets in the way of people implementing systems. And that is - having to invest the time to create the system. Because it's easy to say, "I don't have time right now to do this. I'm just going to do the thing that I'm doing and then I'll create a system for it later." 

And then what happens is, over time, it's easy to not get back to creating a system, so you're constantly reinventing the wheel and maybe doing extra work. I think it's always worth investing the time upfront because it saves you so much time and heartache later on.

[00:17:45] Susan Friedmann: Yeah. It's interesting, 'cause you talk about a system for the podcast, because at one point, and I'm still considering working with someone who can help take some of the podcast components that I'm not so crazy about, that they can do that, but in order for them to do that, I need to write it down. 

So that really awes me, oh my goodness, there are all these different steps that I take that I seem to just do almost in my sleep because I've done them now for nearly six years. It's almost like second nature. I never want to say to anybody, "Well, it's very easy," because when I first started it wasn't very easy.

[00:18:28] Lisa Corrado: Right. And when you are documenting something like that, it's a great opportunity to see, "Do I want to do things differently in some way? I've been doing like this for six years. Do I want to make any tweaks to it? Is there something that I want to do differently?" So it's always a great opportunity to see if there's a better way to do this, you know. Eventually, you do this.

[00:18:49] Susan Friedmann: I'm looking at that all the time. Yes! I agree.

[00:18:52] Lisa Corrado: Good!

[00:18:53] Susan Friedmann: Mistakes. Our listeners love learning about mistakes. Obviously, more that they should avoid. How to avoid them? What they are and how to avoid them?

[00:19:07] Lisa Corrado: How much time do you have, Susan? I mean, honestly.

[00:19:09] Susan Friedmann: Yes. Give us a couple, just a couple.

[00:19:13] Lisa Corrado: Let me tell you a system mistake I made. Not a big mistake, but was client-facing, so it had an embarrassment factor. Right, those are always fun to hear about. I recently started a monthly masterclass that I do on strategy. 

So I open up registration. It's a free class and you know, I do it because I love to talk about strategy. And I said, "You know, it's really time, we've been doing this a couple of months. Let me make sure that we've got a system in place for it." I worked with my VA, she put everything all together. We have a checklist for every single month. It is beautiful. 

The third person to sign up, not the first two people last month, but the third person to sign up said, "Hey, by the way, your email that goes out has the wrong information on it. The date is wrong." And I thought, "Ugh, awesome." [laughs] That's fantastic. So then, of course, we have to create a new communication to say, "In case you didn't know this, and some of you clearly did not, we got the date wrong. So here you go." 

And so now, of course, we added that step to the system to make sure that the confirmation email has the right date in it, so that has to get updated every month. Small mistake, but it could happen. So there's one example and certainly, we could talk a long time about different types of mistakes people can make.

[00:20:34] Susan Friedmann: Mistakes, we can do them all the time, but you're right. I mean, I've had that where you've got to put detail in an email, like, "Where we are going to meet?" Or, "What time we're going to meet?" Those are very simple ones and- Or the, I don't know, oh, the button doesn't go through to the link that you hoped it would go through. 

I've had that with a podcast. People write to me and say, "Well, the link you supplied doesn't go to the podcast." I was like, "Oh-oh!" [laughs] So then, as you said, you have to send out another communication that says, "Oh, by the way..."

[00:21:12] Lisa Corrado: And those are small things but it plays into our public image, right? If I did that over and over, I would look like- If I got the date wrong like I did last month, I would look like I don't know what I'm talking about. Who's going to come to listen to me talk about systems and strategies when I clearly don't have mine done? Even though it's a small thing, it plays into my image and I want to make sure I get those details right. 

Because one of the things I say is like, "I'm really good at the details." Well, I better show that I'm good at the details! Otherwise, doesn't matter what my marketing says, people are going to say, "Gosh, she's just not that good at the details! I'm not going to hire her; I'm not going to follow her. I'm not interested." So it's important to really make sure whatever you are known for, that you've got that totally locked up.

[00:21:58] Susan Friedmann: Well, that's a great segway into telling us how our listeners can find out about you and the incredible services that you do provide, Lisa.

[00:22:09] Lisa Corrado: The best way is to go to my website, which is I'd also like to offer your listeners I think my favorite free giveaway that I've ever created. 

That is my Better-Than-Ever Fast Focus sheet. It's a daily sheet where you can write out, "Okay, I've got my good start for the day, and now, here's my VIP list on the things that I'm going to focus on and this is what I really want to accomplish." It helps you support your strategy by knowing exactly what you're going to focus on for the day. And I believe that I've sent you the link for that as well.

[00:22:54] Susan Friedmann: I'll put that in the show notes. Yes, that's excellent.

[00:22:56] Lisa Corrado: Beautiful, thank you.

[00:22:57] Susan Friedmann: Yeah, that's so, you know, just keeping us on target, as you say, with that strategy and what are we going to do today. 'Cause sometimes I've sat down at my desk and it's like, "What am I going to do today?" If I haven't written it down, yes, time gets lost in some other rabbit hole that you can go down very easily.

[00:23:19] Lisa Corrado: Absolutely.

[00:23:19] Susan Friedmann: Lisa, we always end off with leaving our listeners with a golden nugget. What golden nugget would you like to leave our listeners with?

[00:23:28] Lisa Corrado: I know exactly what golden nugget. And that is - say no much more frequently than you currently are. And I say that because I talked about how strategy is. All the choices and the decisions that you make and how you spend your time in support of your vision. 

Most of the opportunities coming your way and a lot of the things that you think you need to do are not in support of your vision. When you say no to them, you create a beautiful space for everything that is exactly right for you. But you have to say no to the other stuff first.

[00:24:06] Susan Friedmann: Yeah, it's so funny, my husband always says, "Remember to say no. When somebody asks you to volunteer for someone, the answer is no."

[00:24:15] Lisa Corrado: [laughs] I love your husband!

[00:24:17] Susan Friedmann: 'Cause I'm very good at saying yes!

[00:24:19] Lisa Corrado: Yeah, I get it.

[00:24:21] Susan Friedmann: Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your wisdom. It's been great. Listeners, listen to this a few more times because there are some great nuggets that Lisa has shared. Take the time to do that and take the time to create your strategy and systems for your business. I know that you'll be pleased you did.

And thank you for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success!

Here's how to get a free copy of Lisa's "Better-Than-Ever Fast Focus sheet"

Get more gems from other guest experts, when you join the Book Marketing Mentors Premium Membership today!