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AN INTRODUCTION


"The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell."
Zora Neale Hurston
 

Welcome to the first week of the miniMBA! These are the bite-sized lessons of the Business Growth Program. Over the next 13 weeks, we'll cover all the lessons you need to grow your business. This is a great opportunity to start your annual planning for 2023 and beyond. So each week, be sure to file these; by December, you'll have a comprehensive guide for planning. Have a colleague who could benefit? They can join us here

This program will be broken into three sections and include the following lessons:

  1. Discovery
    1. Review
    2. Culture
    3. Leadership
    4. Visioning & Goals
    5. Financial Planning
  2. Connection
    1. Personnel Tools
    2. Culture Initiatives
    3. Operations
  3. Experience
    1. Marketing Relationships
    2. Marketing Messaging
    3. Marketing Strategies
    4. Sales Strategies
    5. Graduation! 

This is not a get-rich-quick scheme; planning properly takes real work. There will be no hacking our way to growth in this MBA. We change our behaviors over time, and business growth is just as much about personal growth; this means looking at the mindset and behaviors we bring to our own business. 

There are four keys to successful entrepreneurship that make this program unique. 

  1. Keeping your eyes on the horizon—Visioning
  2. Having an awareness of the economy around you—Leadership
  3. Stepping outside of your comfort zone—Growth
  4. An internal focus on company health versus an external focus on brand—Culture

We must always keep these four keys in mind to successfully experience sustainable growth in today's world. We can’t be tempted to be short-sighted when the world is changing so rapidly. We can’t ignore the shifts in the economy as it vacillates between recession and recovery. We must be willing to stretch our leadership skills, which often brings discomfort. And above all else, we must prioritize the company's internal health instead of projecting a persona. 

That shift—prioritizing the company's internal health—culture—over its projected persona—brand—is a fundamental difference in this program. Change starts from within, personally as a  leader or collectively as a company. When we create an experience of congruence between the internal operating culture and the external brand, we will find ourselves as part of the solution, manifesting the future of entrepreneurship and capitalism, away from old ways of thinking of market dominance and extraction and towards enrichment.
 

Mindfulness is attunement to today’s demands to avoid tomorrow’s difficulties.  Businesses are typically applying yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems.  
Ellen Langer, On Being

 

GETTING STARTED
When we set a growth plan, we must consider three components: 

  1. Creative Entrepreneur (likely you, reader)
  2. The Company (you are not your business)
  3. The Customer 
  4. And at the core of it resides our Company Culture (more on that in Week 2)

Unlike traditional MBAs, this program will not start with looking out into the market to find and fill a need. It’s going to ask you to reflect, not just this week but throughout the entirety of the first section of this program, Discovery. We'll discover in detail what's played out so far, we'll discover or rediscover our motivation (purpose) and actions (values) that have driven us so far in our business, and we'll discover what types of leaders we are and what type we want to become, we'll discover our true vision for our future and the foundational financial plan we need to make that a reality. Or as Lynne Twist says, we'll discover our "enough".

Reflection grounds us. It helps us face the reality of where we’re at and imagine where we can go (visioning). 

YOUR HOMEWORK

RESEARCH AND DOCUMENT THE FOLLOWING

  • How much did you do in sales each year, and how much went into your pocket?
  • What are the YOY top-line growth rates for each year you've been in business? 
  • What are the YOY bottom line growth rates for each year you've been in business? 
  • What are the top 10 best-selling items by income, volume, and profit margin? 
  • How many customers do you serve each year? How many are new, and how many are repeat customers? 
  • What is the average order value per customer?
  • How does the org chart evolve year after year? What positions were added, and how did they help you meet your goals and build your vision?
  • What were key initiatives that succeeded each year? And why?
  • What were key initiatives that failed each year? And why?
  • How did leadership evolve each year? Both personally and within your team? 
  • And finally, how did any changes in your personal life impact your business growth? We always want to consider how the changes in our personal life have impacted our growth and will continue to do so. Did you get married? Have a child? Have a sick child? Make a big move? Have a serious health issue to deal with? Become responsible for an aging parent? Separate from a life partner? Our business exists to support our life so let's understand what we need to make space for to build a business to make that happen.

BONUS WORKSHEET!
Head to the "Do" Section of the Ask Holly How Resources page and download the Company History Worksheet. Fun!

FURTHER VIEWING
If you want to see this lesson come to life, check out the commercial I made for the 2022 launch of the Business Growth Program.  

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
The E-Myth is a foundational book beneficial to any entrepreneur. Its language and examples may be dated, but its lessons are valuable. 

Good luck! We'll see you back here next Wednesday for Week 2: Culture.

BEYOND THE FEED REGISTRATION IS LIVE!

SCHEDULE 
If you're ready to implement a comprehensive marketing plan instead of trying to game an algorithm for growth, join us this fall for Beyond the Feed. It will be in-depth, intense ;), and full of valuable resources & perspectives. BTF launches on September 26th and runs through September 30th! Please see the full schedule and curriculum overview in the 2022 Program Manual. And if you're curious to read more about the program's philosophy and hear from students who have benefited, you can check that out here

  • Day 1 12pm-5:45pmEST
  • LECTURE - BUSINESS GOALS - In the first class, we will clarify our business and marketing goals for growth so we ensure all of the strategies we choose build towards achieving our vision.
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Jaime Miller, OMD Worldwide
  • STUDY HALL
 
  • Day 2 12pm-5:45pmEST
  • LECTURE - VITAL RELATIONSHIPS - This class will help us understand our customers on a deeper level—beyond demographics. We will use the concept of psychographics to identify strategic partners, key network relationships, and opportunities for growth beyond the feed.
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Harling Ross Anton & Matt Little, Nice Thing Going
  • ‍STUDY HALL
 
  • Day 3 12pm-5:45pmEST
  • LECTURE - CORE COMMUNICATION - Once we understand our customers on a deeper level and know who we need to connect to for growth, we'll discover how to shape our message based on benefits and the role our product or service plays in our customer's life.
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Marc Rabinowitz, Squarespace
  • STUDY HALL
 
  • Day 4 12pm-5:45pmEST
  • LECTURE - AMPLIFICATION - Now that we know what we're trying to achieve, who we need to connect with, and how we want to communicate, we'll look at where the best place is to meet our customers that both align with our goals and their psychographics. We'll audit our platforms and look at opportunities beyond the feed—both online and IRL—to build our strategies for growth.
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Alex Daly & Hailey Murphy, Daly Communications
  • ‍STUDY HALL
  • Day 5 12pm-5:45pmEST
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Isabella Giancarlo, Tart Studio
  • GUEST WORKSHOP - Emma Grace Moon, Affiliate Marketing Consultant
  • CLOSING REMARKS - Wrapping up the week.
  • STORY SHOWCASE - The last day will include an opportunity to share your key takeaways with a small group of your peers.


FEES
The Standard fee is $1500. All fees are non-refundable. You may also include team members for an additional. $500.

REGISTRATION
To register, email me! hhoward@askhollyhow.com

For full details including more history, the benefits of the program, what you'll. take away and FAQs, check out the 2022 Program Manual

FALL ZOOM BOOKCLUB  

This fall, we'll read Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything by Jane McGonigal. This is a free event and will be hosted on Tuesday, September 20th at 7PMEST via Zoom. Please email me to register. 

This email may contain affiliate links via such as our Bookshop.org page. If you purchase through these, AHH may receive a small commission.


 

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