This is a transcript of episode 38 of the OMGrowth podcast
For all the courses, programs and masterminds out there, it seems that there are still way too many bosses saying “what do I do on a CEO Day?”… so I did something about it!
And yes, this episode is for you even if you “aren’t a numbers person”; in fact, this episode is especially for you if you aren’t a numbers person!
The planners being glittered about at this time of year are gorgeous, aren’t they? I love them, too, and my husband isn’t wrong when he pokes fun at me and says there isn’t a paper store I don’t want to go into. “Ooh, look, babe – stationery!”
But here’s the problem, as I see it, with planners: they get you all pom-pom-ed up for the year ahead – mapping out your plans and goals and desires – before you’re even through your current year, and then a couple weeks into January, you have no idea what had you fired up or what you said you’d commit to.
I see this as a problem because as I like to remind you – you’re the boss, apple sauce! – and that means it’s YOUR job to keep your eyes on the prize.
This is why it is recommended that you conduct quarterly reviews or check-ins – and if that’s not possible, at least to make it a semi-annual habit – and this is what many refer to as their CEO Day.
Your CEO Day is the opportunity to review, re-inforce, re-assess and remix your growth.
While too many bosses dread the process because they’ve convinced themselves “I’m not a numbers person”, there’s a lot more to it than that and I’m going to break down my version of what Your CEO Day can look like.
HOW TO APPROACH YOUR CEO DAY
But first, a little recommendation: book a half-day off every quarter and I’ll make this easy for you to do by providing a link that will auto-magically book the first Friday of every quarter off for you in your Google Calendar so no excuses.
Then, I want you to set up Your CEO Day as time you look forward to. Maybe for you that looks like a bathrobe and hotel room service, maybe it’s a cocktail and your favorite take-out, maybe it’s a picnic for one in the park…
But the more you can turn this introspective exercise into a celebration you look forward to doing every quarter, the more likely you are to keep up with doing Your CEO Day.
EVALUATE YOUR SELF
Because your small online business starts and ends with you and the decisions that you make, that’s where we’re going to start: with YOU!
Take the time to check in with who you are, where you are and what you want as a starting point.
Look at how you feel about your overall life, including your family relationships, your friendships, your health and mental wellness, your personal growth, your professional status, your finances, your spiritual well-being and self-care, as well as your home life as a whole.
Identify your values and reflect on how and what you identify with and how you identify yourself. If you’re not sure how to do this, I created the Your CEO Day workbook with some prompts available to simplify this for you. But this is worthwhile for you to reflect on and feel assured about, as your values and identity should serve as your North Star, sure-fire guidance for every decision you make, every offer you invest in, every strategy you pursue.
Your values and identity are the foundations of your business; you want them to be strong.
You’ll also want to go back to the future and reflect on where you were 6 months ago – and even 12 months ago – and look at what you felt great about and want more of, what wasn’t so great and you need to establish boundaries around to set yourself up to have less of that, and what challenged you and whether those were good or bad for you.
And finally, I like to top off a little self-evaluation with a Christmas Sears catalog wishlist approach – no limits, everything can be yours, perfect world scenario – and map out what that perfect, no-limits world would look like for you in 10 years from now.
This last exercise isn’t a time to be realistic, either. In fact, it’s a good idea to treat this more like a “stream of consciousness” exercise where any little thought that flows through your mind gets some space created for it. It’s kind of like giving yourself a permission slip to think of what unconditional success looks like to you, rather than what others say you should want or what we are conditioned to believe is possible for us.
Another mega-valuable thing that comes from being consistent with Your CEO Day is that you can review how your wish list changes from quarter to quarter. Some desires will be fleeting, while others will keep showing up. Being able to see those trends over time can be a huge asset.
Especially because after you’ve done this, I recommend that you pare your list down to 10 things you want to see for yourself in 10 years’ time, and write those statements out beginning your sentences with either “I am”, “I have” or “I do.”
Again, you don’t have to obsess over the “how” of this – in fact, you don’t have to give any thought at all to how it’s going to happen for you because we’re just talking about you now and we’ll look at strategy later.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll repeat the entire process but this time, you’ll start your sentences with “I feel”. The reason you don’t want to skip this is because this is your why: why these things are important and valuable to you is because of how it will make you feel in the end so we may as well prioritize defining that.
EVALUATE YOUR PRIORITIES
After all, the collective elements of your “self” go on to define what your priorities are, which is what we will do next.
To do that, we’re going to start pulling those 10 years in a little closer and evaluate the next 3-5 years. Specifically, you’ll want to look at:
- 2 personal accomplishments you’re prioritizing;
- 2 professional accomplishments you’re prioritizing; and
- you can choose an extra flex goal or 2 that you would like to include in your list of priorities.
State WHAT you’re aiming to accomplish, establish WHY it’s important to you and detail HOW and what resources are needed to fulfill this.
Remember, we’re not planning just yet. We’re prioritizing and we’re providing the space for our priorities to reveal and assert themselves here.
It’s only by breaking down your big vision that you can adequately brainstorm what you will be putting front and center for the next year, 6 or 3 months ahead, and the work that it will take for you to get there.
EVALUATE YOUR STRATEGY
In fact, you won’t even move onto planning just yet. Spoiler alert: that’s the last of these 5 phases of Your CEO Day, and this 3rd phase is all about evaluating your strategy.
You’ve evaluated yourself, you’ve evaluated your priorities, and now you have to evaluate what you’ve been working with… and whether what you’ve been working with has been working as hard for you as you have been!
First, you’ll make a list of the platforms, tools and resources you use in your business – including human resources – and assess the investment you’re making into each on a monthly basis.
Check your bank account for automatic payments you may have overlooked, review your PayPal transactions, and make an exhaustive list of them all.
Once you’re done, feel free to make note of any changes or adjustments you’d like to make or consider your options on. You don’t have to actually do anything about it now other than making note of it – we’ll make time for that later – but capture any immediate feelings or vibes you’re getting from this list.
Then, you’ll create a WORKFLOW of your sales process. How are people finding your site? What option do people have to sign-up for your list? What email sequences do you have in place to build awareness about your paid offers? What launch schedules are you working with? Map out how sales get made in your world, from awareness to building rapport to converting to sales.
The first time you do these last two exercises should be the most time-intensive. When you conduct your quarterly reviews moving forward, you’re more-or-less just confirming whether you still operate the way you did 3 months ago; but these records can be invaluable to keep as you grow, and they also make it easier for you to identify any gaps or unnecessary embellishments.
The next exercise may be my favorite because PLOT TWIST:
If you were to start your business all over again from scratch with no limits, no boundaries, no obligations, how would you set it up?
I love this because much like the Sears catalog wish list exercise, it allows you to highlight gaps, inefficiencies, inclinations or straight-up appetites you know are there… without requiring any type of commitment or change. It plants the seed without creating any burden on you to grow it; and yet, you have acknowledged that seed is there and that feels a little magical to me.
Because this next part is where you start considering which commitments and changes you want to make. Review your systems, review your offers, review your sales process, and think not only about the improvements you’d like to implement – again, we’re not worried about the “how” right now – but what we are concerned about are what your expectations are from making these improvements.
It’s not enough to identify where the opportunity for improvement lies; it is in defining your expectations that you will know whether that change was successful.
EVALUATE YOUR NUMBERS
This is when you’re ready to look at and evaluate your numbers. Now I don’t know who needs to hear this right now – maybe it’s you, I see you! – but listen:
Saying you’re “not a numbers person” doesn’t give you a pass on not knowing some very base numbers.
And that’s what we’re going to focus on here: we’re applying the Pareto Principle to knowing your numbers and we’re focusing on the base 20% of your numbers that accounts for 80% of your results. If and when you want to build on that, you’re flipping skippy that I’ll support your decision but we’re going to start where every good story should start… and that’s at the BEGINNING.
Let’s make like one of those big red dots on a mall directory and say “YOU ARE HERE” by getting your finger on the pulse of your current reach. The best and most important place to start is YOUR EMAIL LIST: how many subscribers do you have and what is their click-through rate?
Now, you may want to include your open rate but don’t be surprised if when that drops like a hot potato on the 4th of July (and if you want to learn more as to why your open rate is going to drop, listen to episodes 31, 32 and 33 about the iOS updates).
When it comes to knowing your numbers in today’s digital landscape, focus on engagement metrics over “did they see it” type of metrics.
Pageviews, open rates, all of these types of things won’t be as relevant or reliable as “did they click?”, “did they watch?”, “did they scroll?”. Keep that in mind when it comes to knowing your numbers.
Having said that, you probably also want to put a checkpoint in place for the metrics you’re seeing from any other platform you’re investing time in, like your social media accounts or ad campaigns. If “followers” are all you know, that’s a good start; if you’re able to identify things like conversion rates to your email list or your paid offers, that’s even better.
With every review, you can push a little deeper and further – and you’ll probably start to get curious about knowing a little more each time! – which is exactly the vibe we’re going for.
Once those are in place, you want to generate a record as to how you’re performing in 3 key areas:
- Your paid offers or sales;
- Your free offers or lead-generation;
- Your content marketing.
Starting with your paid offers, look at how much revenue you’ve brought in over the last 3 months. If this is your 1st CEO Day, you could look at the year as a whole, if that suits you better.
List out all of your offers and indicate how many sales you’ve made from each offer and what that is worth in dollars. Take the amount brought in from your first offer, divide this by the total revenue and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of overall revenue generated from that offer. Repeat this for each paid offer you have.
The goal here is to record the performance for each of your offers to stay honest about what your audience is finding worthwhile to invest in, so that you can more easily identify what you want to invest in for their benefit.
In the Your CEO Day workbook, I also go into equally simple equations you can use to calculate your conversion rates for each offer, and I walk you through the process of that for each of these in a simple, visual fashion – because that’s my jam! – and you can get your workbook here.
But the starting point focus for your metrics will be to assess:
- The conversion rate for your individual offers;
- The value – in dollars and in leads – for each of your offers;
- The return-on-investment for your content marketing; and as an extra bonus, I recommend you also get in the habit of reviewing;
- The return-on-investment for your learning investments, like courses and masterminds; as well as
- The return-on-investment you’re seeing for where you’re spending your time, and how you feel about that.
You’re then able to take that information and reflect on what you think and how you feel about your paid offers and revenue results, your free offers and lead-generation results, the ROI on your learning investment, the ROI on your time investments, and what your results are saying you need more of and what you need less of.
EVALUATE YOUR PLANNING
Then, my bossy little friend, you know everything you need to know to put a proper plan in place.
Planning isn’t about filling your calendar and setting 10x goals you have no idea how to attain; it’s about mapping out how you’re going to fulfill the specific business needs you have.
As a result, we’re going to look back on a lot of the work you’ve already done because that’s basically where all the answers are for this test paper.
First, you want to plan out what your expectations are for the next quarter:
- How much time do you intend to invest?
- What financial goals are you aiming for?
- Do these represent an increase over last quarter and if so, by how much?
- Will this require something more or other than what you’ve already done before?
- What resources will you be using and to what extent?
By setting your expectations first and foremost, you’re better equipped for everything else to fall in line.
Because then, you’re going to list your current open commitments, followed by the changes you will be making to your operations and finally the changes you will be making to your offers and investments.
Once you’ve brought clarity to your expectations, obligations and improvements being targeted for the next quarter, it’s time to break those down into the projects and goals you’re working on as well as the milestones you will treating as your Key Performance Indicators, or what the cool kids call your KPIs. You can then break those down throughout the next 3 months of your weekly priorities and tasks.
However, before you finalize everything and set these plans into stone for your next quarter, run what you’re proposing committing to by your boss. Who’s the boss? Not Tony Danza! YOU’RE the boss, apple sauce, so let’s re-evaluate your plans against some of the things you said earlier.
For instance, look back on our first exercise to see how you commented on each area of your overall life: do these plans account for improving the areas that indicated could be improved? With what you have planned, are you better able to address and accommodate your needs in other areas?
What about your values? Do your plans account for and reflect the values you stated you stood by?
How about your energy and flow? Does this workload tap into what you said you wanted to do more of, while protecting you from the things you indicated you needed to set boundaries around?
How about that 10-year vision you had for both your personal and professional goals? Does what you have planned fit into and drive you towards that?
These questions and more can be helpful to making sure you’re on the right track – both for your business goals and your personal well-being – so look through all of your exercises and weigh them against what you have set out for yourself this quarter to make sure you’re fully in alignment.
If you need help with this, the Your CEO Day workbook is designed to simplify and document your quarterly review process.
Is this kind of intensive? Yes, the first time will be the most time- and energy-intensive. After all, you’re starting from scratch.
But once you start building a quarterly habit out of conducting Your CEO Day, not only does this get easier, but you’re almost game-ifying what you felt, did and accomplished from one quarter to the next.
If you love looking income reports, wait until you see how you feel about reviewing your own growth chart because over time, you’ll be able to hone in on the trends, feel more confident about letting go what is not serving you and last but certainly not least, CELEBRATE YOU!
Feel free to give this podcast multiple listens and pause where you have to as you conduct your own CEO Day and I encourage you to tag me over on Instagram @omgrowth when you’re doing that because I do love to celebrate and I look oh-so-forward to joining in on the celebration of you!