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Break the Ceiling
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Break the Ceiling

Author: Susan Boles

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Growth is only hard when your business isn't built for it.

Break the Ceiling is the podcast for agencies & consultants who want to break through self-imposed growth ceilings by shirring up their operations and increasing capacity, so they can take their growth from stalled to skyrocket, without working more or hiring the wrong people.

Host Susan Boles sparks new ideas and solutions for all your biggest growth headaches to conquer bottlenecks, ease workflows, and get your business on track to double revenue. Without sacrificing quality of work, client satisfaction or letting any pieces fall through the cracks.

Whether you're interested in back-end business operations, finance & accounting, team management, technology, project management, client management or human resources, we dig into the underlying problems that might actually be the reason you and your business have maxed out on growth.

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67 Episodes
Rita Barry is a certified measurement marketer. She founded her company, a boutique digital marketing optimization consultancy based in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in 2009. Rita deals with numbers and measuring success all day long and the journey to and through enough has been one she's spent a LOT of time thinking about. Key takeaways: - Step-by-step through the journey to (and past) enough - What enough means to Rita - What it looked like pre-enough and what she did to break through and past enough - How her goals and what she was concerned about changed throughout her journey - What she does, now that revenue benchmarks don't mean quite as much.
Once we understand how the system we live in impacts our relationship with money, we can start thinking about it in a much broader view -- and we can start considering using our businesses as a means to start evening out some of that inequality. Key takeaways: - The value of doing money mindset work - How your relationship to money affects just about every area of your business, including a deep dive on pricing - How Bear approaches making their services more accessible - And what accessible actually MEANS in the first place...
WHY do we buy what we buy? That's what I want to know. And, as it happens, I know someone who LOVES geeking out on buying and marketing psychology. When I want to nerd out on the psychology behind marketing, Margo Aaron is my go-to. Key take-aways: - How shopping was INVENTED (yes, I said invented!) - Why we buy things we WANT instead of only things we need - How to ethically use the power of psychology for good in your marketing
You want to feel like you’re on top of your money stuff but it’s tough to climb over all the questions and reports and bank accounts and spreadsheets. That’s where I come in. I help you Think Like a CFO. And in this Bonus episode I talk about: - Everything you’ll learn during Think Like A CFO - How we’ll examine your relationship to (and mindset of!) money - The kind of support you can expect from me when you sign up for Think Like A CFO - Your bonus if you sign up by December 31, 2020!
We've been talking this month about creative strategies around pricing or packaging your services. And as part of that exploration, I wanted to re-air an interview that I did with Lacey Sites from a Lit Up Life in 2019. Lacey is a business mentor and success coach for high-performing women entrepreneurs and she created a unique revenue sharing pricing structure that allowed her to scale her one-on-one coaching business and dramatically grow her profits without bringing on a single new client. Key takeaways
Today, I'm talking to Hunter Niland Welling – marketing consultant and coach for women growing high-end service-based businesses. I wanted to bring Hunter on the podcast because she has a way of working with her clients that, when I experienced it as a client, was so effective that I actually shifted my OWN work with my 1:1 clients to the same model. Key takeaways: - How to combine intensive-style offerings with recurring revenue - How Hunter developed intensives as the right model for her and her clients - The kind of impact she's seen on both her business AND her clients as a result of implementing recurring intensives
Meet Rob Howard, the founder and CEO of Howard Development & Consulting, the web development firm that creative agencies trust when every pixel matters. One of Rob’s core values is building relationships—and not just ANY relationships. To him, long term relationships with both his clients and with his team are essential to business. He treats clients as friends—folks he’s going to be working with for 5 or 10 years, at least. Key takeaways: - Why Rob has something that he calls an Assurance Plan which is a hybrid retainer that allows him to continue to work with his web design clients long term - Why Rob offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on his work - The logistics behind Rob’s offerings and how these are just a few of the ways that he infuses relationship-building into every aspect of his agency - How to create offerings that embody your company values - Details on crafting ALL your services around a long-term recurring relationship model
You can use your pricing to create exclusivity—BUT, you can also use your pricing to create access and to start moving towards using your business to create more social and economic justice. Kate Strathmann spends a lot of time exploring new techniques and strategies to create more equitable businesses and works with business owners to start thinking about how to implement them in their own business. Key takeaways: - The different pricing strategies you might consider using, like sliding scale or pay what you wish pricing models - When these strategies make sense, and when a different strategy might be a better option - Some of the pitfalls that Kate's seen come up as folks start to implement some of these strategies (and how to avoid them)
Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick and I talk about what happens when things go BOOM and you have to figure out how to manage that boom in your business at a time when your personal situation might actually mean that you have less time than ever to spend in or on your business? Key takeaways: - What 2020 has looked like for Alethea and how she’s figuring out how to balance business and homeschooling her kids—and how she’s being conscious about taking care of her own needs, too - What techniques and systems she’s put into place to try and cope with all the changes that this year has brought - How Alethea’s day-to-day looks as she manages having the capacity to work less but having MORE business than ever - How to balance business and life when they're both changing
Lauren's been through a MASSIVE change this year, so I wanted to bring her back on the show to talk about how she's been managing the impact on her business. Lauren used to run an event planning business for tech, and after her best year ever in 2019, was ready to give 2020 a run for its money. Sadly, the opposite happened, but out of breakdowns come breakthroughs. Key Takeaways: - How Lauren’s cash flow management skills gave her the time she needed to make strategic decisions instead of reacting out of panic - Making a HUGE pivot in your business and how to stay resilient - Processing grief as a business skill - An update on what Lauren decided to do about her business this year
YOU built your business and most likely, it depends on you in some form or fashion to keep going. Even if you have a staff or other people that do a lot of the day-to-day work, they still look to you for direction. If you suddenly aren't there anymore, what happens? That's what contingency planning is all about: making a plan for what happens to your business (and your personal business) if you need to step away for a while or you just flat out can’t run the business. And my guest on this episode, Mary Beth Simon, is an expert in planning for contingencies. - Who should be creating contingency plans and what it looks like in the real world when you have to execute your plan - How important your preparation is when it comes to ensuring your business can survive a big change - Tips for planning for a worst-case scenario - How being prepared for crisis helps you be resilient in your business and personal life
You know that the ability to be resilient and flexible in the face of change IS a skill and a mindset that you can work on. You can't control the change (because change is inevitable!)—but you can control how you react to it. Today, Melody and I talk about why investing in developing skills to strengthen how we personally deal with change creates a huge impact on how we approach leading our businesses through change. Key Takeaways: - How Melody uses systems and structures to help minimize stress, build resilience and manage change in her life and business - Why being kind to yourself and empathetic to your team is a HUGE part of effectively managing a rapidly changing environment - How to accept that during intense change, your bandwidth is a LOT smaller than it was - Techniques and systems to building personal and business resilience in your own life - How to find the right structures that minimize your mental load so you can take care of you and your team
How DO we go about building up those change management muscles? How do we make ourselves and our business stronger and better able to weather this ever-changing environment? Meet Elatia Abate. She is an entrepreneur, educator, and future-forward strategist. She partners with organizations that range in size from Fortune 500 to early-stage start-ups to help leaders make sense of the ever-growing disruption in our world and channel that disruption into tangible results. Key Takeaways: - How resilience and change management are intertwined - What does the future of work/future of business look like NOW? - Strategies to exist and thrive in a constantly changing environment - What Elatia learned from her personal experiment in resiliency
You can use no-code tools like ClickUp to streamline and automate your internal processes and enhance your communication with clients. You can also build digital products, help your students learn more effectively, and add to diversity your revenue streams. Layla is ALL IN with ClickUp. Key Takeaways: - How Layla’s using ClickUp EVERYWHERE in her business - The impact she's seen by systemizing everything using ClickUp - How to use no-code templates and tools as an opt-in and marketing tool - How to get the most out of the no-code tools you're using in your business
This week, we're talking about using no-code tools to actually build your own custom software products. My guest today is the queen of this. Brittany Berger is the founder of Work Brighter, a digital media company that helps productive unicorns go beyond working smarter to a version of productivity that makes room for “unproductive” things like rest, self-care, and fun. - How Brittany’s business is structured around no-code tools - How she comes up with ideas for new no-code products - What her development process looks like to build and refine these products - How to use no-code to build products and additional revenue streams - How to use no-code tools and resources to add value to a community or course
No-code or low-code tools–Jason and I are talking about the tools that have been built specifically to enable YOU, someone with no background or experience in building software, to build your own custom tools. Jason is especially interested in the intersection of the accounting industry and emergent technology—and, specifically, how we can turn the automation doom and gloom narrative on its head and show accountants how to proactively leverage new technology. Key takeaways: - How to use no-code tools to scale operations (because the more efficient the workflow, the more clients you can serve with the same staff, and the more profitable you can be) - Using no-code tools to automate workflow—both internal AND with clients - How to leverage automated technology so client communication feels really personal
I thought it’d be fun to take you behind the scenes and talk through how and why I decided to invest in starting this podcast, how it all works behind the scenes, and a look back a year into podcasting. To help me answer the question of if it's been worth it, I’m delighted to bring my friend Tara McMullin to discuss just that. Key Take-aways: - How do you evaluate the ROI of a podcast? - My decision-making process and how long I was willing to give it - The strategy behind my podcast and what business goals I was trying to achieve - How much time goes into producing a single podcast episode
Social media is one of those investments you can choose to make in your business where the ROI isn’t always super clear. That’s why I invited Andréa Jones—host of the Savvy Social podcast, creator of the Savvy Social School, and an expert at social media—to talk all about measuring the ROI on your investments even if there isn’t a straight line from investment to payoff. Key Takeaways: - How to measure and evaluate whether or not your social media strategy is "working" - How coaches, consultants, and service-based business owners can use social media as a tool for business connection - Why Andréa prefers tracking profile visits and link clicks over followers and engagement - How to evaluate your social media data—and why any strategy needs at least 3 months to see what works and what doesn’t
I want to talk about when an investment seems like a pretty straightforward payoff—but taking advantage of that opportunity might conflict with your values. How do you balance the financial health of your business against your values? Today, I’m talking with two guests, Nancy Jane Smith and Bonnie Gillespie, about their thought processes behind making some big business decisions. - What if the ROI could be great, but it conflicts with your values? - Why Nancy decided to fully pull her business activities out of Facebook and Instagram—and why they were at odds with her personal values - What Nancy’s noticed in her business since leaving social media and how she’s grown her email list without the help of Instagram - How Bonnie uses her Facebook account strictly for business (and how she’s set it up that way) - The strategy behind Bonnie’s Facebook ads and why she prefers Instagram and Facebook to other social media or professional platforms
We all have a process we go through when we're thinking through new investments in our business. Whether you're conscious of your process or not... it's there. Today we are talking with Beryl Young about how she goes about investing and how she arrived at her process. - How Beryl decides what to invest in—or not—for her business - The opportunity cost of the investments Beryl’s made over the years - The 3 main buckets where Beryl invested her resources and the outcome of each
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