How To Grow Your Business Without Losing Your Balance

It’s easy to believe *some* people have discovered the secret to successfully growing their business while neatly keeping their personal life intact. No hiccups.

Have you ever had thoughts like that?

While *they* are out in the world pulling in the big bucks barely breaking a sweat, you’re:

  • Taking two steps forward, and running four steps back
  • Finding yourself cross-eyed with messages coming in from clients — all hours of the night
  • Forgetting what your family looks like {when was the last time you saw them?}

It can feel like *everyone* else has it figured out.

Well, it’s time to level the playing field. We’re ripping back the cover on the 16 most effective ways to grow your business… without losing your balance.

  1. *Drop the mic* with your client service
  2. Take care of your OG clients
  3. Become a beacon for new clients
  4. Spread the word via your biggest fans
  5. Establish Fierce-Cat Loyalty
  6. Avoid *this* to stay sane on social media
  7. Show your face at networking events
  8. Hosting {virtual} events
  9. Become a pillar of your community
  10. Wanna grow your business? Keep it simple
  11. Pump the brakes on the hiring process
  12. You are not a party of one {repeat after me}
  13. It’s all about the boundaries, baby
  14. The secret of your success? Defining it
  15. Burnout doesn’t do a body good
  16. Move it or lose it

1. *Drop the mic* with your client service

bryan cranston dropping the mike

Showing you care about your clients is a *must-do* if you want to grow your small business. When your shop shows a personal interest in repeat clientele, you’re going to make a lasting impression. Whether it’s sending a thank-you email for visiting the shop or an enticing loyalty program, these *how-did-I-not-think-of-that* standards make you stand out.

Peek your competition. What are they doing? Take notes and come up with ways you can top them in ways that focus on removing friction for your clients.

One way that’ll blow their minds?

Appointments that can be scheduled & changed at their convenience using an appointment scheduling app. Add on automatic reminders sent out by email/text and they won’t even need to tie a string around their finger to show up on time. #clientwin

2. Take care of your OG clients

Think wayyyy back to when the doors swung open on your shop. Those special clients who were willing to look past the *just dried* paint, not-quite-finished set-ups & whirlwind of manic energy going on around them — that’s your original crew.

And they deserve to be rewarded. But how? Well, that all depends on your business & clients, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Send out a personalized birthday gift to your *been-there-since-day-one* clients (ex. a gift card to a local coffee shop)
  • Write an IG post filled with love & gratitude to that special client
  • Offer a discounted service for every “10th” one your client books
  • Deliver personalized notes to your clients thanking them for their visit to your shop
  • Donate to a charity in their name

3. Become a beacon for new clients

kimmy schmidt in a room full of food

If you want to grow your business… you need to stand out. Your industry of small business owners is jam-packed with carbon copies hoping to snag your potential clients before you have a chance to impress them. It’s time to be a flamingo in a flock of seagulls. The simplest way to do that is by defining who you are as a business. And be specific — AKA find your niche.

What’s unique about your business?

  • Maybe you’re a makeup artist who specializes in boudoir photo-shoots.
  • Perhaps you’re a fitness trainer who focuses on women over 40 who want to train for fitness competitions.
  • Or you’re the most expensive tattoo shop in town because your artists have the experience, credentials & portfolios to blow any other shop out of the water.

Whatever your differentiator is, you need to talk about it… on your website, social media, and to your clients. People see a bajillion* different images, ads & businesses a day — they only remember what stands out to them. You need to land on what makes you different.

*bajillion is not a researched number, but it’s pretty darn close.

Related → How to Build a Business That Stands Out (and Thrives)

4. Spread the word via your biggest fans

Getting reviews is simple. All you need to do is ask. { ← OK, I can feel you rolling your eyes 🤪}

Look, it’s not as difficult as you think. And the reality is, if you want to drive new appointments to grow your business, stellar reviews are a fab way to do it.

Here’s how (in two easy steps):

  1. Send your clients a thank you email after their appointment with a link to review (you may send Facebook or Google)
  2. To sweeten the deal, offer a discount on your clients’ next service.

Depending on your business (ex. tattoo shop vs. marriage therapist) the type of review will differ. For example, the likelihood of your therapy client praising you for getting her husband to finally admit he was wrong is low. You may get a *star* rating on Facebook or Google. Whereas, that gorgeous new half-sleeve is bound to get shared in full-color Facebook.

5. Establish *fierce-cat* loyalty

a cat punching

What does the culture look like in your shop? Hmmm. Have you thought about it? There’s so much to consider as you grow your business it’s not a shock if the *vibe* hasn’t been front and center.

Now’s the time to start poking around. Work from within to create a culture your team is genuinely excited to be part of. Your clients will pick up on your shop vibe the moment they walk through the door… positive or negative.

Plus, a happy team outperforms, is willing to go above and beyond (for you & your clients) & is more likely to take personal responsibility.

  • Ask yourself: What can I do to make this shop a place that doesn’t evoke the *Sunday Scaries* every weekend? (or *Tuesday Terrors* -depending on your schedule)
  • How can I make life more balanced for my team outside & inside of work? (ex. Online scheduling, up-front payments)
  • Does my team always come first? Do they feel safe coming to me with problems/concerns?

The more touch-points you have, the easier it is to check in with your team. Problems are identified sooner and quashed before they have time to fester.

BONUS: Your *this-place-is-the-bomb-dot-com* vibe will also be felt by your clients, increasing the chances they’ll tell their friends & family allllll about you… Good karma all around!

6. Avoid *this* to stay sane on social media

Social media can be a dangerous place when you’re trying to grow your business. Why? Two words — the comparison game {OK, that’s three}. I’m sure you know it well. When you’re working in a competitive industry it’s difficult to keep your eyes on your own page. Your direct competition *appears* to be THRIVING as seen through the curated lens of IG, making your feel disheartened at best and *i’m-a-failure-at-life* at worst.

So, while social media may be a necessity on the road to growing your business in 2020, use it wisely. First and foremost, choose a platform you enjoy. If you’re going to be in and out of there every day, you’ll need to dig being on there. Then, make sure your clients are hanging out there. If you’ve checked both those boxes, it’s time for some golden rules:

  1. Set limits
  2. Play fast & loose with the mute, block and unfollow button
  3. Engage with your community daily (it’s a *social* app that requires you to communicate like a human for you to reap the rewards)
  4. Mix up your media. Images, videos, short & long copy
  5. Show off your personality. Your clients, potential clients & industry buds want to see who you are so they can connect with you on a personal level

Sidenote: If you have the budget, look at hiring a personal assistant (or VA) to take over social media if it’s not something you LOVE. For a few hours a week they can post, comment, follow, and engage on your behalf.

7. Show your face at networking events

event to grow your business

Raise your hand if you love networking 👋. No one?

Well, thanks to COVID, in-person networking events are on-hold for the foreseeable future… but online events? Still very much a thing. So, if the thought of being with a group of strangers gives you clammy palms and sends you running for the closest bathroom, 2020 has a silver lining just for you.

Networking remains one of the best ways to forge connections for yourself and your growing business. Here are 5 reasons that prove it:

  1. It helps you understand the ins and outs & ups and downs of your business from others in your industry
  2. It can provide new opportunities for growth
  3. You build a community of mentors, *in-the-biz* friends, and potential clients
  4. It’s a great way to increase your word-of-mouth referrals
  5. You build authority by demonstrating your expertise

It’s always a good time to invest in your network and start building offline {and, now *online*} connections. Growing a business is hard work, and the best way to find the support and skills you need to do it is by putting yourself in the path of those who’ve already made mistakes, taken risks, and lived to tell the tale.

8. Pivot to hosting {virtual} events

Sure, it may be strange *out there* right now, and filling up your shop with clients isn’t possible — but you’re an entrepreneur — pivoting is what you do. Look way back to 2019… what events were you hosting? Can you make a few tweaks to make those do profitable online?

Here are a couple of  examples:

Hair → Workshops, Tutorials, Lessons (depending on where you live your clients may need your help with everything from root touch-ups from home to interview looks. Use your ideal client as a guide and come up with ways you can keep your team, and yourself, busy and engaged until the world goes back to *normal*).

Fitness → If there’s one industry that has made a full 180 since the pandemic started it’s the fitness industry. Even with many places allowing gyms & classes to resume, clients have found comfort & convenience online. If you’re not ready to completely pivot your business online, consider ways you can implement a few special *events* to entice potential clients to your gym or boutique fitness center. It may be a virtual *meet & greet* giving them insiders access on how you’ve updated all safety protocol.  Include a behind-the-scenes tour, followed by a Q&A. Or, a short series of online classes that leads to your in-person offers.

Related → 11 Overlooked Ways to Book More Personal Training Clients

Depending on your clientele, you can also offer a free event or a mix of paid/free. Use your platforms (website, social) to promote and encourage your current audience to share far and wide. This is a dynamic way to grow your business. Not only are you demonstrating the skills of your team, but you’re also showing how flexible you are as a business during the dumpster fire that is 2020. #winnerwinnerchickendinner.

9. Become a pillar of your community

youtube video showing you how to do zoom makeup

Watch the video here.

It’s impossible to succeed as a small business without the support of your local community. If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to look at ways to give back to those who helped get your shop off the ground.

Becoming active, whether it’s through sponsoring local events, making donations, or partnering with a charity is without a downside. It gets your face out into the community, builds trust, and demonstrates your expertise. Not to mention it feels incredible to give back.

Another way to incorporate community into your business model is by holding online workshops. This is your chance to experiment outside the confines of a more structured business and contribute at the same time.

You can offer a free online workshop teaching *easy interview makeup looks for Zoom* or hold an information workshop about *how to deal with anxiety* during COVID. Keep your workshops affordable and focus on encouraging clients of all backgrounds and affluence to attend.

10. Wanna grow your business? Keep it simple

There’s a lot of talk about automation taking over the world. Robots flippin’ burgers. Driver-less cars. Hell, the majority of people are talking to *Alexa* instead of looking outside to check if it’s sunny or raining.

And sure, that’s a bit *Ex-Machina* for my liking. But what about your business?

There are processes you slog over day in and day out that could be automated — it’s a matter of knowing what they are, and how to do it.

Here’s a tidy little list to get you started:

  1. Online appointment booking: stop spending hours sending out appointment notifications and reminders, worrying about no-shows & last-minute cancellations. With an appointment app, you can automate your client booking confirmations, require up-front deposits, and say good-bye to the back & forth with clients over dinner thanks to your online booking (available 24/7).
  2. Social media posting: use a scheduler like Planoly to create, schedule, and post to Instagram and Facebook. You can batch content ahead of time, add hashtags, and have the app post it for you.
  3. IFTTT // if this, then that: a free web service that lets you create “recipes” to put the internet to work for you. Each recipe you create triggers IFTTT to do something automatically for you.
  4. Email marketing: ask clients to give reviews by sending an automated email. To encourage them to take action, you might offer a small gift or coupon as a token of your appreciation.
  5. Recurring bookings: who has the bandwidth to remember if their botox injection was 5 weeks ago or 7? Not your clients. Keep them looking their best by booking recurring appointments through online appointment scheduling. A reminder email/text will be sent out days & hours in advance to ensure they arrive on time (and have the option to reschedule/cancel).

11. Pump the brakes on the hiring process

tom hanks on late night

There comes a tipping point when you realize if you want to keep growing you’re gonna need a bigger boat, *cough* I mean team. Oh boy, it’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. After learning the idiosyncrasies of this team, how will you find the perfect additions??!

Rather than look at these changes through a lens of dread, view it as an exciting opportunity to hire only the best. You’ll be creating a team that’ll grow your business to new heights.

That being said. If it’s taking longer than expected to find *the perfect fit.* Don’t jump the gun so you can wash your hands of the process. Waiting for a good candidate is ALWAYS worth it.

12. You are not a party of one {repeat after me}

When you’re growing your business, it’s natural to become (over)protective. Do these phrases sound familiar:

I want to do everything myself, after all… I know exactly how I like to have it done.

If I oversee everything, don’t make any big changes… nothing MAJOR can go wrong. 

You know what happens when you try to do everything on your own… #burnout. As a small business owner, it’s important to take a complete inventory of your strengths and weaknesses before you get into the weeds. Ask yourself — am I the right person to take on this task (am I the expert)? If the answer is a resounding YES! Move forward with learning the new skill. If it’s a no, let it go and hire the right person.

NOTE: if you can’t be unbiased in your judgment, go over this with a trusted mentor or colleague. Try to figure out how you can optimize your strengths (business + creative) and build up your team to compensate for your *weaknesses.*

13. It’s all about the boundaries, baby

ron swanson smashing cell phone

Ah, dinner with the fam-jam. After a wild 12-hour day, you plop yourself in front of a steaming hot plate of cacio e pepe and a nice glass of red… when the inevitable begins. Your phone starts buzzing. The husband shoots you daggers, and your kiddo doesn’t look super impressed either.

As your business steamrolls along you’re getting messages from your inbox, Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and now via text. SO. MANY. TEXTS.

Unless you’re in a place where you can hire a personal assistant to *handle it* — the time has come to set boundaries. You want to love your clients {you really do}, and solid boundaries are the only way.

Say hello to online appointment scheduling.

A one-stop-shop that houses all your appointment booking requests TOGETHER. Yep, you heard that right. As a growing business, you need to put systems in place that are going to save you time and reduce stress. Burnout does not equal a business you love.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. 

Your clients can book online 24/7 without you needing to do anything at all. After booking, they’ll automatically receive a confirmation notice by text/email, while you enjoy time with your much happier family. Oh, and major bonus. You won’t need to hand over your personal cell phone number anymore. 🥳

14. The secret of your success? Defining it

What does success look like to you? Is it having a 100-ft yacht off the South of France? Or maybe it’s a ranch and some land in Montana?

If you’ve never stopped to consider what success feels like to you, how are you gonna know when you’ve made it? Shocking, right. All those memes on IG hollering about what success is, the listicles telling you *exactly* how to get there… irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

What if you’re already successful by your own standards and you don’t even know it 🤯.

Whoa. If you’ve never sat down to examine what success looks & feels like to you — it’s time. You can dive in by answering these two questions:

  1. How will a *successful* business make me feel? (happy, overwhelmed, accomplished, complete)
  2. What would make my business a success? (financial freedom, waking up to a calendar full of appointments)?

Then look ahead to what your life will look like once you’ve become *successful.* (Where will you live, what will you be doing)

Are you already there… or do you still have work to do?

Related The 10 Commandments of Creating a Business You Love

15. Burnout doesn’t do a body good

woman drinking wine and eating cheese

A vacation (or in the time of ‘Rona #stayvacation) recharges your battery away from the hustle of day-to-day business. If you find yourself on the verge of burnout, it’s time to get the heck of the dodge.

When all you do is work, work, work, work… you and your growing business will suffer the consequences.

Take some time for yourself, with a *no-work-no-tech-allowed* holiday. Stay away from all devices, and yes, that includes scrolling through IG while you binge-watch Netflix or laze about in the garden {I see you}.

Before you jet away (or head to your backyard), set up an “out of office” message on your voicemail & email auto-responder. And I cannot stress this enough. ONLY take calls if a real emergency arises. Tell your team to call when the biz is on fire {JK, but for real, emergency only} and give your clients plenty of notice that you’ll be MIA.

16. Move it or lose it

Here’s the thing. The body & mind you have? They’re the only ones you get. EVER. So, whether you choose to treat them like a Porsche 911 or a 78 Cadillac Sedan DeVille is up to you — but you only get one go-round.

No one is saying growing a business is easy. It’s not. But when you shove your mental & physical well-being to the back-burner the effects are felt within your shop as well. Try and stick with a simple daily routine that keeps your body active and your mind sharp:

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule
  2. Move your body
  3. Meditate (even for five minutes)
  4. Try breathing exercises to reduce stress & anxiety {I mean, not that we have anything to be anxious about this year, amirite??}
  5. Practice gratitude

Don’t put pressure on yourself to keep your daily routine the same as you (& your business grow). If it feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole – make a change — sub in another activity that makes you feel empowered and stoked to get into your day.

Your best daily routine for a healthy life is personal. Don’t be thrown off course by the latest trends or well-meaning *barf* celebrity advice. Cultivate your daily rituals and use them to live your best life.

How do you find your balance?

Now that we’ve explored how to keep you *right-side-up* — hiccups and all — is there anything you’d like to add?

We’d love to know the lessons you’ve learned so far on your business-building journey. We can guarantee there’s another small business owner out there who’s struggling to find the answer to a problem YOU’VE already solved.

Drop your *how to* in the comments below 👇. We can’t wait to hear from you.