t was Monday, December 31st, 2007. While everyone was out celebrating New Years, I was drowning in sorrow and remorse in my old bedroom at my parents house. I had just experienced the worst year in my life. Although no one died, I lost a lot. I lost friendships, a lot of money and a lot of time.
A quick back story….In 2005/2006 my business made more money than I knew what to do with. I bought a 2nd house, a fancy house, and fancy toys to match. Eventually I made a decision to expand my business to a 2nd location about an hour away. December of 2006 I opened the doors of my second location. Without going through every mistake that was made during this expansion, I will share that in one years time, I went from profiting $15,000 per month to a debt of more than $1,000,000….yes that’s a $MILLION. I lost both my houses, my vehicles, my girlfriend, my fancy toys, my best friend, much of my staff and damaged or destroyed the relationship with many people including family. On November 30th, 2007 I removed the items I could from the 2nd location and closed the doors forever. I tucked my tail between my legs and drove back home. I spent the next 30 days in a the worst depression I’ve ever had. I fell like a total FAILURE.
What happened next is what this email is about. On that New Years Eve, I sat on the floor staring at the eviction notice from my first location. I was 30 days away from losing the last asset I had. I had a choice. I could drown in my own sorrow or I could get back up and fight. I chose to fight.
I could have chosen many weapons but I chose FOCUS! Not just any focus but LASER BEAM FOCUS! Meaning that I put my blinders on and hunkered down determined to correct the course. I reached out to one of my mentors and agreed to pay for one last consultation . I stepped back in to the day to day operation and took back control of the ship. In 30 days, I had broke even on my monthly expenses and re-negotiated my lease. That was a HUGE win considering that I was losing about $5,000 a month from that location.
I could have chosen many weapons but I chose FOCUS! Not just any focus but LASER BEAM FOCUS!
Previously I spent a lot of money on paid advertising but couldn’t afford to do that anymore so I had to find new ways to market. That’s when I discovered Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. I focused online and in about three months, I had dominated every search term in our area. If you were looking for my niche online you found ME! I also looked at several other low cost marketing methods to find customers without costing me anything.
I FOCUSED heavily on retention as it doesn’t do you any good to bring in a million customers if you loose a million and one. I was able to reduce my retention by half. This was huge because I was hemorrhaging in this department. I basically contacted everyone that had stopped buying from me and asked them why. Some I earned back just because of this gesture but more importantly, I gained insight on what my customers needed. Then I refocused on training my staff to give my customers the experience they wanted and eventually grew my business to be in the top 1% of it’s industry.
In a year and a half, I was able to steer the ship back to profiting again and personally grew bigger than I could have ever imagined. These actions allowed me to earn “Man of the Year” by 2010 from my organization. I kept this focus over the next few years and eventually earned me the ability to travel around while I relied on my highly trained staff. That feeling of FREEDOM was glorious.
So the breakdown on how I corrected the ship went like this:
- Got Super Depressed
- Made a Decision to Fight
- Got LASER BEAM FOCUSED
- Paid for consultation (outside perspective)
- Focused on retention of current customers
- Focused on lowering my customer acquisition cost
- Focused on my internal processes
- Focused on my customer experience
- Focused on staff training
If you ever struggle with your business or on an area of your business, one thing sure to help would be FOCUS.
During that time Tony Robbins became a big part of my life. I will never forget this quote. “Where your focus goes, your energy will flow” Four exercises that he uses to help create the life you want are:
- Write down something that you want to accomplish in the next 36 months.
- Write down why you MUST achieve it no matter what.
- Determine one small action you can take right now to get started and do it.
- Write down your 6 and 9-month goals that you can set to hold yourself accountable.