Back at the end of January, our CEO, Jules Green and myself travelled to Palm Springs, Florida to attend Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery seminar. The intense 5-day experience included 15 hour days fully immersed in the seminar and topics covered. After getting back and having time to reflect, we want to share some of the biggest takeaways and knowledge they brought back to share with the FrontRunner team.
One of the big themes Tony and the other speakers discussed during the event was the difference between being an owner and an operator. Most small business owners today are in fact operators, not owners. They do majority of the work in their business because they are their most affordable employee – their time is essentially free.
The problem with this though is it leaves little time for you to be an owner. Without this focus, it’s easy to just go through the motions of having a business without growing it as a business person. When so much of your time is spent on the day-to-day operations, it makes it difficult to think about your long term growth and how you plan to get there.
Being an operator can also lead to bottlenecks. If you don’t delegate tasks and put that trust in staff to handle responsibilities, everything slows down when you have to be involved with everything.
Every business needs an owner if you truly want to grow and enjoy the freedoms it creates. If you’re a business owner reading this, what would your business look like in a year if you delegated more and focused on growing the business and making sure it’s healthy and becoming a stronger business for the future?
As an owner, it’s critical that you understand the financial health of your business. If you don’t know how much it costs your company to service your customers then you aren’t running a responsible business. It’s more important than ever to have a handle on this to not only make sure your company is profitable but also sustainable and growing in the coming years.
Tony and the other speakers also prioritized understanding profits and overall financial health. A key lesson was on understanding that profits are not cash. A lot of business owners get their year end balance sheets and income statements and see a line item showing their profits for the year and then wonder where the actual money is. That’s because profits are not cash and too many business owners spend profits like cash and get themselves in trouble long term. You have things like accounts receivable and other areas that tie up your profits so the advice here is to never treat profits like cash.
If you’re looking to get away from the operator mentality and become a true business owner, you’re going to need to build a great team and culture. Teamwork is the backbone of success and growth in business. There was a lot of discussion focused around this topic and everything kept coming back to shaping the belief system of your team.
This all starts with getting employees to buy-in and believe in the vision. Employee incentives are a great way to accomplish this. By creating measurables to work towards, you can reward staff for their success. By doing so, you motivate them to push further and get them to buy into your goals. This in turn leads to greater growth and an overall stronger and happier team.
So what do those employee incentives look like exactly? Tony mentioned that you really should focus on growth and development both personally and professionally. He went on to add that growth is the number one key to a fulfilled life. When you provide staff with these growth opportunities, you show that you care about them beyond just the duties of their job.
This can be done in many ways. You could invest in learning and pay for them to complete online courses or send them to conferences. Perhaps it’s covering the costs for weekly yoga classes to destress or a gym membership to promote active living. However you choose to reward staff, helping them grow will in turn help your business thrive.
Business growth was arguably the most important topic of the seminar. There were a lot of things discussed openly among the 2500 participants, Tony, and other guest speakers. The three most important being Tony’s 7 forces of Business Mastery, the 10-10-10 plan, and providing value.
As you get into the owner mentality instead the operator one, you can start to focus more on the 7 forces Tony says are the key to business mastery.
To ensure you’re always making progress, Tony recommended spending 90 minutes once a week on one of the topics. After seven weeks, start the process over again. It’s important to practice this each week because it will help get you into a thinking mode rather than just being stuck on the hamster wheel of keeping up with the day to day tasks.
If you want to have more clients, you need more leads. We did an exercise with a room of 2,500 people asking them to share how they get more customers. From there, we learned that if you just want to have 10% more clients then there are MANY opportunities to do this. Without a marketing plan in place, that number of new clients may not grow or may grow very slowly. This is one of the steps of the 10-10-10 plan that we learned. Get 10% more customers, increase cost by 10% and find a way to increase repurchase frequency by 10% more and this will compound for your business.
Consider the chart below using the average cost of a funeral service according to the 2019 NFDA General Price List Study. Of course, increasing a customer’s purchase frequency each year isn’t really possible in regard to funeral service, but even just slightly increasing call volume and cost brings staggering results.
As you can see, a 10% increase in costs and about 1 additional service per month results in an extra $160,000+ dollars in revenue. It’s incredible to see how powerful a couple slight increases can compound and make a big difference.
Of course, if you’re going to increase costs, families will expect more. Tony and others preached about providing more value to your customers than you could even imagine. Who cares if competitors see the value you bring, let them play catch up. Ask yourself how can I bring so much value to my customer that I actually make a difference in their world? If you focus on this instead of selling, your business world will change.
Philanthropy is something that is very important to Tony. During the week, attendees were organized into teams and given a fundraising challenge. Together, the 2500 participants along with a donation match from Tony was able to raise $1,000,000 dollars to donate to Operation Underground Railroad. This money will go towards freeing more than 750 children from human trafficking around the world.
The main takeaway here is help if you can. This world needs help – there’s things that can go on that you hear about but don’t actually see. There’s even more that you never hear about. If you’re in a place to help, do it. That’s what life is about – helping people whether you know them or not. This is where you experience happiness. Build a business in order to affect change in the lives of people and provide so much value that the work you do makes a difference.
Our beliefs often hold us back in our business. Tony did a great job and asking people questions and working through their limiting beliefs. There was one lady who provided permits in the city she lived in and she said she couldn’t increase her price because she was mandated to keep it exactly where it is so she can’t grow her business anymore. He actually got quite upset with her because she was holding herself back from greatness. He helped her see that she wasn’t in the business of “housing permits” she was in the business of getting people what they need so their house is safe. And when she started seeing her customers for where they were at in their lives (buying a house) instead of just getting a permit, she realized there was so much opportunity to serve her customers in ways she wasn’t even think about.
For funeral directors (or anyone) think of your customer for where they are at and what they need. Then find ways to better serve them. They come to you for so much more than just to plan a funeral. Why stop short there? Think about them and where they are at, where else could you serve them? Even if it’s a crazy idea, write it down. This is how you change someone’s world.
Last but certainly not least, invest in yourself and always keep learning. Jules and I booked this conference two years ago and my only regret was not doing it sooner. In 5 days I learned so much about business. As the head of marketing at FrontRunner, I know how easy it is to get so focused on the plan and the tasks that come with marketing. Pull yourself back every once in a while and check in on the things that truly matter. Be that owner. Invest in yourself and keep learning. Your business will thank you and your employees will thank you. If you got in business to serve people – great. If you got in business to have freedom in your life and provide for your family or whatever is important to you – great. Slow down enough to make sure you’re working ON your business too, not just in it. Your future self will thank you!
Hopefully the advice we brought back can help you grow your funeral business and transform lives. If you have the chance to attend one of Tony’s seminars, I highly recommend going. The advice, knowledge, and overall experience is something that will help you reach new heights and change your world (and those around you) for the better.
Ashley Montroy, Marketing Director at FrontRunner Professional, has committed herself to helping funeral professionals understand and excel in today’s digital age. With a long-standing history in the funeral business and her father being a licensed funeral director for over 30 years; she grew up learning the family funeral business. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton University and diploma from Algonquin College. Today, she continues to speak to over 15 state and provincial funeral association groups each year on funeral marketing in the digital age and protecting funeral firms online using experiences and examples from working with thousands of funeral homes in North America through FrontRunner Professional.