Our Brand Strategy team met Lauren at Social Media Week in Austin. We were lucky enough to sit at her mentorship table on Google Analytics. Lauren is the founder and CEO of internationally successful consulting firm, Golden Key Partnership where she has been helping businesses make strategy and online simple for close to 10 years.
Her strategy consulting firm focuses on helping business scaling smart so they can build a more successful business, that are also sustainable. She helps businesses solve complex business problems by building a strategic roadmap that will help you ditch the overwhelm and gain clarity on where to focus in your business now, to have the biggest impact on profits, revenue, productivity, and overall business growth.
Whether you have a seasoned business or are in your first years, her innovative and unique approach to strategy, combined with neuroscience, is her zone of genius and what helps her propel her clients businesses to the next level, and one of the many reasons why people from all over the world have chosen to work with her. Lauren was kind enough to share some of her expertise on the Zilker Media blog today!
What is the biggest mistake you see brands make with their online presence?
The biggest mistake I see brand make is confusing their people. I see so many businesses that are leaving their audience, rather than leading them. What I mean is that if your perfect person comes to your website or other social platform, and is either confused about what you do and how it can help them, or they are unsure of what the next step may be then they will generally go somewhere else. Big mistake. One of my favorite ways to course correct this mistake with clients is to imagine if you were your perfect customer, who had never heard of your brand before, that landed on your website….
- Is it clear what you offer and the pain you can relieve?
- Is it clear how they can get in touch?
- Is it clear what calls-to-action you want them to follow?
- Does your website have a customer journey that makes sense and shows what you can do that also builds trust and credibility?
Remember a first impression takes a nano second so you need to be able to at least intrigue your people enough that they take a step into your house to learn more. Once they are in your house, make it easy for them to have a seat and be comfy while they get to know you and your brand.
This is very important to remember that in today’s information rich environment most people who take the time to submit a request or book a call, etc. have already done the research and decided you can help them, now you just have to show them it’s true.
We know you are a systems and strategy expert for many businesses! What is the first step for businesses who feel like they are overwhelmed trying to scale?
I love this question and such an important one! As you know scaling adds levels of complexity that were not there before, but the beauty of scaling smart is having the right foundation and systems in place to make the transition to scale as smooth and seamless as possible.
With that in mind the first step for a business who feels overwhelmed trying to scale is to take a step back. I know it sounds counterintuitive but stay with me for a moment. Remember how I said you need the right foundation and systems? Well more often than not I see businesses that are stressed about scaling overwhelmed because they aren’t actually ready to scale. Not that they shouldn’t scale, I do not mean that, I mean they haven’t taken a really comprehensive look at where they are right now vs where they want to be and have made sure that the foundation is stable.
Let me take it one step further. I see a lot of business want to scale because their revenue isn’t growing as much as they would like. This is a big red flag to me because it means there is something in their business that isn’t working. Smart businesses plan to scale, and allow it to happen naturally by getting their house in order and having it be a well oiled machine that supports the growth. Don’t believe me, just look at the companies who scaled too fast and then went belly up. Scaling shouldn’t be stressful, it should be a relief because what you are enabling your business to ultimately do is to grow without being constricted due to people, processes, or products.
How important do you think it is for entrepreneurs to have an advisory board?
I think this is the number one predictor of success and here’s why. As entrepreneurs we love having ideas and seeing those ideas come to life, but more often than not it takes much longer than we would like because we are fumbling along trying to figure everything out on our own. This isn’t the way to build a successful business or wealth.
The best way, as the saying goes, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In a “start-up” world it is easy to bootstrap and get it done through sheer will and grit, but at some point you need to surround yourself and your business with people who can help you see more clearly and objectively. That is what an advisory board should be.
To get to the high levels of success you need the right advisory board around you. People who are outstanding experts in their fields, which should be related to your business in some way, who can help you course correct as you build and innovatively solve problems as they arise.
You don’t have to have a board of many to start, just start with one outstanding mentor that has built what you want and can illuminate the path by showing you how they did it. They will not only help you build a shortcut to success through their expertise and experience, but they will also help you hone your own skills and build something more quickly that is sustainable.
I can tell you that each time I got a new mentor or added someone to my business, my bottom line doubled because they helped me see that 2mm shift that I couldn’t because I was too close which made all the difference.
What is your number one piece of advice to inspire a leader who feels like their business has plateaued?
Great question! I have seen it time and time again that when a business has plateaued it is due to the CEO/Owner/Founder breaking down in mindset or mechanics, also known as a skill set.
Let me elaborate. When a business has plateaued, to be bunt, it is dying. A business is either growing or it is dying and a plateau is the moment the heart of the business stops. But fear not, there are a few ways to resuscitate!
First, as counter intuitive as it sounds, again, take a step back. So often when a business is plateauing we go into panic mode, we think we need to do more! More sales, more meetings, more anything. Right? Wrong! In my experience, that is not the right move. The best thing you can do is take a step back so you can get some clarity on why the business is plateauing. Once you have figured out why, you can start plugging the holes, busting the bottlenecks, and back to growth strategically not just willy nilly in panic mode.
The second part of this is, as the owner or leader of the company, asking yourself if you are the mental or physical bottleneck of the business. More often than not if a business has hit a ceiling it is either a mental one or a physical one that was created by the person at the top.
Think of it this way. If everything has to go through you, you don’t have any leverage of time or resources for your business to continue growing. Or if you are worried about growing too big, too fast then you will snuff out your business subconsciously. Lastly, sometimes the skill set that got you to $1 million isn’t what is going to keep you there and you are afraid of adding someone to your team to help because it is your baby.
Those are the top 3 reasons I see impacting plateauing businesses and they are all super simple and easy to fix, but they are uncomfortable in the beginning. The truth is hard to swallow sometimes, but if you have plateaued the first place to check in is with you, ask yourself “is it them or is it me?” Then get to work realigning your strategy to get there with your people, processes, and products.
We love that you are an Austinite! What is your favorite thing to do in Austin?
This may be the toughest question for me! I have been in Austin now more than 4 years and besides the heat and lack of winter, I have really grown to love Austin! Some of my favorite things to do are walking around the lake, enjoying some breakfast tacos at Taco Deli and just being with my people, enjoying soul quenching conversations, food, and experiences. We really do live in such an incredible city that I think is the apex of tech & outdoors with the heart of Texas hospitality.
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