Charles Gaudet, the CEO of Predictable Profits, is a leading voice in the entrepreneurship community when it comes to scaling and growth strategy. Founders of emerging seven and eight figure companies seek him out to accelerate their growth.
After building multiple companies from the ground up, Gaudet has become a coach for business leaders hoping to thrive and grow their companies. We caught up with Charles for insights on how a business can thrive in the increasingly volatile economic environment that is unfolding in 2022.
How can entrepreneurs formulate a growth plan for their business in the face of uncertainty?
Charles Gaudet: It's important to remember that markets are neither "bad" nor "good" they are just different. Buyers still buy. The only difference is they are more discerning about their purchases.
Discerning buyers classify their purchases into two categories: nice-to-have and must-have.
To thrive in an unstable market, you must reposition every product or service you offer as a "must-have." Emphasize the unique way your company meets consumer needs, and customers will be willing to do business with you even when the economy takes a turn.
What is the biggest lesson from an economic standpoint you've learned while going through the pandemic?
Gaudet: Warren Buffett famously said, "if you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money." During the pandemic, emotions ran at an all-time high. Some people panicked; others froze. Few, however, made it a point to look for the opportunities buried beneath the chaos.
During the shutdown of 2020, we asked our clients, "why is now the best time in your life to be an entrepreneur?" This approach is counterintuitive and took many of our clients by surprise.
But the results speak for themselves. Nearly 86% of our clients achieved record-breaking KPIs despite working in some of the hardest-hit industries.
What sales approach do you believe has made the biggest impact on your business?
Gaudet: Understand your sales process. Research shows that buyers have become researchers. In 2021, the average person looked at 27 sources of information before making a purchase. This number is up from 12 sources in 2019, which means it's taking longer for people to make a decision.
For most businesses, this means that the money isn't found in your initial contact with a potential buyer, but in the follow-up.
We suggest a two-fold approach to sales today.
First, provide consistent, value-based communication for educating buyers and building relationships. Second, consistently retarget your potential buyers with advertisements, so your company remains at the top of their minds. This tactic means that when they make their final purchasing decision, they'll be more likely to choose your company.
One of your own personal beliefs is that people who are never coached will never reach their full potential. How did you come to this belief, and how have you learned from others?
Gaudet: I first learned the value of a business coach with a company I owned back in the early 2000s. I knew the business should be growing faster, but I was determined to figure things out on my own. I ended up wasting thousands of dollars before I finally hired a coach. Within 90 days, my business jumped on the growth track.
To create sustainable growth in any organization, leadership must build and maintain a skill set that's adequate to cover the challenges that come with every phase of your company's development.
What are some strategies and methods that other entrepreneurs or businesses underestimate that could bring them more success?
Gaudet: In The Predictable Profits Playbook, I use the concept of The Money Wheel. A "spoke in the wheel" refers to the way a company creates leads and sales. When you only have one or two "spokes" in your wheel, you leave yourself vulnerable. If one spoke fails, you're in for a bumpy ride.
Predictable, sustainable businesses need to create multiple spokes for their wheels. Rather than rely on one or two methods, seek to build at least one new profit center per quarter.