Jennifer Drago is an award-winning strategist and business coach. She helps service-based business owners and coaches develop and implement a laser-focused vision and strategy so they can earn more and amplify their impact.
Through her business, Peak to Profit, she offers consulting and done-in-a-day strategy to help entrepreneurs get further faster. Jennifer worked as a strategy and operations executive in the corporate world for 30 years, facilitating strategic plans and developing new programs and service lines.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance, a master’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Arizona State University. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- About business strategy
- How having a business strategy impacts business owners
- How entrepreneurs can conquer shiny object syndrome
- The most common reasons that businesses fail
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:15] Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show, where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast award winning strategist and business coach with Peak to Profit, Jennifer Drago. How are you?
Jennifer Drago: [00:00:35] I’m doing great, thank you. Thanks so much for having me today.
Stone Payton: [00:00:37] Well, it is an absolute delight having you on the show. I know that you’re a strategist and maybe that’s a good place to start. Maybe help us get our arms around that term. What really is business strategy?
Jennifer Drago: [00:00:54] Oh, thank you. That is such a a key a key thing to ask and to know, because I feel like the word strategy just has some mystery around it. So let’s demystify it. Having a business strategy just means being very clear about where you’re headed, where you’re taking your business, what that vision is of that business at some point in the future, and then crafting a roadmap to start moving in that direction. It’s really that simple. So as a business strategist, one of the things I do is I work with corporations and small business owners and even entrepreneurs that are launching their businesses to help them get very clear on where they’re headed and the the priority ways to get there. So how to prioritize their daily efforts so they can get there, they can get further, faster and not spin their wheels or waste time.
Stone Payton: [00:01:47] I can remember what I thought was a very clever book title. Hope is not a Strategy, and I’m operating under the impression that you probably reside in that in that same camp.
Jennifer Drago: [00:02:02] Yes, that’s one of my favorite sayings. And honestly, I’ve seen it too often in companies where I’ve worked and also just with entrepreneurs that they don’t really have a strategy articulated. And so when you don’t, you truly are operating on hope and faith, which are also good things to have. I’m not discounting the need to be hopeful and positive that’s so important, especially in the mind of an entrepreneur. But you need to have all of your efforts and directions focused on a very clear path and vision.
Stone Payton: [00:02:36] And I suppose it’s one thing for me or me and my partner as entrepreneurs, as the founders, to even have strategy to some degree buttoned up. But if we don’t effectively communicate it and maybe a whole host of other things you’re going to tell us about, do so that so that the people we’re trying to work with and through embrace that and help us live into it. I mean, a lot can get lost in the translation, I suspect 100%.
Jennifer Drago: [00:03:02] Yes. And especially if you have a partner. So let’s start there. There are multiple owners or partners in a business. It’s really important to be on the same page first and foremost. And so that’s some of the sessions that I facilitate and have the most fun with are just really getting clearer on what are the values that our company is going to espouse and amplify to our customers and how are we going to serve customers and and getting really clear on that vision. And I like to use a term or a product, I guess a framework called a vision narrative. So instead of just having a business mission and which is generally a statement, one or two sentences that describe what the business is or why it exists, and then many businesses or we learned this in business school, that we also create, in addition to the mission statement, a vision statement and a vision statement also generally 1 to 2 sentences, but it tends to be more aspirational and it’s supposed to be motivating and inspirational to you and your team on where we’re headed or the impact that we’re trying to have in the world with our business. Instead, I like the vision narrative because it’s actually a little more descriptive. It’s 6 to 10 statements that paint a mental portrait of your business three years from now. And you might say, Well, why three years from now? Well, we used to do strategic planning and planning for business growth in a 5 to 10 year horizon.
Jennifer Drago: [00:04:34] But the reality is business changes too quickly, Our environment is changing too quickly. And so we really need to have that vision narrative, I would say three years in the future and then we can steer the business in that way. But even articulating those 6 to 10 statements, those the things that we’re going to ask ourselves and I actually have a download that asks you all these questions so that you can craft your own vision narrative. But it would start out something like by December. Any 25 picked a prophet, which is the name of my company, Will. And then I’m going to have some action oriented bullets serve an average of blank customers per year, enjoy revenues of X per year, consistently earn a net profit margin of blank per year is known for. And there’s where you might put in the values or the things that you want to be known for providing to your clients or the transformation that you’re providing. So it really speaks to very clearly some of the metrics that you want to have in the future. What is the number of clients revenues, profit margin? Maybe even if an audience is important to you, as it would be with a podcast or with an online business, you want to have a certain number of audience members and you want to continuously be growing that I was in.
Jennifer Drago: [00:06:01] I led a workshop yesterday and somebody said, Sometimes growth isn’t always what we need. So if you’re tracking quality metrics, you may want some indicators to be lower than they are today, and that’s fine too. But whatever is important to your business, how it operates and how it’s going to grow and impact more people in the future basically gets put into a bullet. That’s part of this vision narrative. And then what do you do with it? Well, you already kind of mentioned this. If you have a team in place, one of the best things that well, one of the most important responsibilities you have as CEO of your business is to have that vision for your business and to articulate that and communicate it to your team members so that they can help grow the boat in the same direction. So having that vision narrative and bringing it out and talking about it at every single staff meeting and reminding the team where you’re headed, it’s so important and so impactful and your team members are going to surprise you in ways that you hadn’t even expected because they’re going to bring ideas to you about how to reach that vision perhaps faster. They’re going to bring ideas maybe you hadn’t thought of because they understand what the end result is, where you’re headed. They can help be part of the solution to get you there.
Stone Payton: [00:07:16] What is your back story? How did you find yourself in this in this line of work?
Jennifer Drago: [00:07:23] I actually I’ve worked in in the corporate space, in nonprofit health care and senior living for the better part of 30 years. And I actually started in planning roles, doing strategic planning for a hospital system as well as new program planning and new facilities planning. And we were in we’re in Phenix, so we were growing by leaps and bounds and we couldn’t seem to keep enough beds in our system. We had to keep building expansions and we added new services all the time. And so just that foundation of constantly planning for the community’s needs. And then we had a nonprofit board that we used to facilitate board discussions because they would help us set the direction for where we were heading with the hospital system. In this case, that was just kind of the foundation that built all of this. And so it was really traditional strategic planning. And one of the things that I enjoy is still doing strategic planning with corporations because it’s so important. But I love sharing these messages and these tactics with entrepreneurs and small business owners because I don’t think a small business owners, unless we grew up in a corporate environment, we don’t think in these terms and we may not employ these tactics to help us grow our business. And really, again, I’ll say it again, get further, faster, right? We do a lot of testing and throwing spaghetti at the wall and spray and pray with social media content and we could really just be much more focused in our efforts. I think if we start with that foundation of the vision narrative and then the goals and action plan to get there.
Stone Payton: [00:09:08] Well, I can certainly see how that skill set, that experience based would serve you and your clients now in tremendous ways. And I got to believe that. Wasn’t that a little bit scary, like going out on your own?
Jennifer Drago: [00:09:23] It was. It was I, I really one of the things about growing up in the nonprofit world and doing some of those things that I got to see have a community impact, is it really just filled my heart? I have a I like to be a servant leader. I like to share and increase my impact. And so one of the things that I realized about 18 months ago was I can do a lot greater good. I can have a bigger impact in the world by being out on my own and sharing this message with many corporations and many small business owners. And so that’s why I love opportunities like this stone to actually share that message.
Stone Payton: [00:10:04] Yeah. So the sales and marketing for you is, is it getting easier? Was it or was it even difficult in the beginning? How do you go get the new clients?
Jennifer Drago: [00:10:15] That’s a great question. So to be completely honest, the business that followed me when I left corporate was mostly corporate work. So continuation of planning and feasibility analyzes and how do we get from A to B? And it came from people, word of mouth, people that have known me in the industry for years. And so I’m grateful for that work. I love that work. The part that’s been harder is sharing my gifts with small business owners and entrepreneurs. And I think I’m still trying to get the message out there about how I can help them and hopefully gaining their interest in in doing some of that. But yeah, that’s that’s kind of where I’m at right now. So I mostly serve the small business and the entrepreneurs right now through a lot of free content, through downloads on my website. Podcasts like this, I just hosted a series of visioning workshops and goal setting for 2023. I did those locally in person, and I’m about to host three of those online so that anybody anywhere can take advantage of those. And those are free workshops. And again, that’s, I think, experiencing the work that I do and seeing the value it can have in their business will hopefully help me continue to attract those clients on a longer term basis.
Stone Payton: [00:11:42] So earlier in the conversation, you touched on business partners being aligned and being on the same page. My business partner, his name is Lee Kantor, his Achilles heel, his weak spot is his business partner, which is me. And one of the ways that manifests itself is, Man, I am so bad about chasing the shiny object. You know, I, I find any counsel, any insight perspective on, you know, what someone like me who has that tendency, at least if I’m aware of it, maybe I can do a little something about it.
Jennifer Drago: [00:12:20] Yeah. Thank you for asking this question. It’s so important. And again, anybody that’s on an entrepreneurial journey, and especially if they’re in a new environment, like even me coming out of corporate and figuring out how to promote the things that I do on social media, that’s a whole new experience for me. So it’s really easy to get distracted by shiny objects or over consuming content. You know, the next magic bullet because somebody said, Oh, I have this great workshop that’s going to help you, and sitting down and and spending time learning strategies that I’ve already heard 100 times before, the foundation for maybe lessening the shiny object syndrome, because I don’t think we ever completely get away from it. But if you have that really clear vision and that action plan in the process of putting that together, what you’re doing is you’re saying, here’s my priorities and your priorities are going to be fewer in number than probably you even think. But less is more. And and you’ll know that when you place your efforts toward those priorities and only those priorities, you’re going to reach your goals faster. And so that that whole process becomes foundational and helping you maintain that focus over time and realize that when you’re about to overconsume, something that you really don’t need to know.
Jennifer Drago: [00:13:41] At that point, you can say, no, this isn’t a good use of my time because I’m going to work on this growth strategy that I’ve articulated as part of my my roadmap and my action plan. So that’s number one. And then the other thing I would say, Stone, and this is something that I’m trying to do better to, is I’m a big proponent. Once you have an action plan, breaking it into quarterly action plans and then kind of breaking it down by week, there’s 13 weeks in a quarter. So it’s actually simpler than it sounds. But within each quarter, I allow myself one professional development goal, right? So as business owners, we always have to learn about something new. I still am struggling with search engine optimization, SEO, and I know there’s more that I need to know, but I’m going to take that on as one topic in in each in the next quarter that I’m going to focus on. And I’m only going to allow myself to consume additional content and to spend time learning around that one topic for the quarter. And I think that’s another way we can be strategic and kind of still allow ourselves to grow, still allow ourselves to get educated, but manage our shiny object syndrome.
Stone Payton: [00:14:55] One of the things that really just leapt off the page when I was preparing to have this conversation with you and reading through your bio, you offer something called Done in a day strategy. Can you speak to that?
Jennifer Drago: [00:15:12] Yeah. Well, one of the things that sometimes are called VIP days or intensives, and I really find that in today’s environment, you know, I’m not sure everybody wants to consume a course that’s going to take six weeks or be led through a group coaching experience that still may get them where they need to go. But again, it’s going to take 8 to 12 weeks. You know, we want immediate action. And so one of the things that I love to do is develop that business strategy, the vision, the goals, and even the scorecard templates so that we can track our metrics and do that all for a business in the course of a day. And it’s we can do it in person that’s actually a little more effective, or we can do it on Zoom. And it’s a little bit of there’s a lot of interviewing that goes on, some drafting, some reviewing, right? So we’re going back and forth throughout the day. But at the end of the day, the business owner or the executive that hires me has their plan done and they can implement it the very next day. So that’s something that I love to do, and I think it’s really effective when folks really are time challenged, number one, and they’re very motivated to move quickly.
Stone Payton: [00:16:29] Before we wrap, we’re going to make sure that we get your contact information for our listeners so they can reach out and have a conversation with you and, you know, begin to tap into your work further. But between now and that step, are there some things that I don’t know? I’ll call them Pro Tips. So there are a couple of things that we could be doing, not doing, reading about, thinking about that would kind of get us in the right frame of mind and help us make a little bit of progress on these topics.
Jennifer Drago: [00:16:58] Yes, I think the very first step in the framework that I teach is creating that vision narrative. And I mentioned that I have a workbook that can help you create your very own vision narrative. And I think if you did that, if any of your listeners did that alone, that would set them up for success, because then they would, even if they only did that step, which I don’t, I’m not a proponent of, I want you to also have the goals and the roadmap that go with it. But even if they only did that step, they could be such a better leader for their organization, for their own business, because they would know where they’re headed and be able to start moving in that direction. So with that, I do have that free workbook that you can download from my website, and I know you’ll probably put this in the show notes, but it’s peek to profit dot com forward slash F as in frank forward slash vision and you will be led to a place where you enter your email. So you get to go and get on my email list and get all my tips and tricks from that point forward. But you also will get instant access to that download. And I do think that that’s really helpful. The other thing I would say is that we as we record this, we’re in early November and we’re going to be going into a new year fairly soon. And so I would say if you haven’t set goals for your business in the past, I would urge you to go ahead and try the process of setting annual goals for the coming year.
Jennifer Drago: [00:18:28] And even if you listen to this sometime in the future, go ahead and set goals in the middle of the year. There’s no perfect time to set goals. In fact, I’m always adjusting my goals each quarter, which is just like kind of resetting them anyway. So don’t wait to the beginning of a year or beginning of a quarter to set goals. You can set goals any day and then just be really mindful of of accomplishing them. And one of my last tips, I guess my third tip that I would offer is it’s hard to, especially as an entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s hard to work on the business when you’re working in the business every day. And so a strategy that I like to offer to every business owner is, you know, after you set those goals, set aside time every single week to work toward those goals. And so I call it strategic time, and I like to recommend between 4 hours and 8 hours per week that you time block in a way that your team isn’t going to bother you. You’re not doing client work, you’re not doing sales calls, you’re not doing anything during that time except for the work that’s needed to grow your business and move it forward. Because as a business owners, we’re the only ones that can do that. And if we don’t plan the time, we know it’ll get sucked up and the general operations of the business.
Stone Payton: [00:19:46] I am so glad that I asked more lucid counsel. Okay, let’s do let’s make sure that we leave our listeners with contact information. Whatever you feel like is appropriate website, email, LinkedIn. I just want them to be able to tap into your work and and connect with you.
Jennifer Drago: [00:20:02] Yes. Thank you. So my website is peak to profit. When you go on the website, you’ll see a button right at the top where you can have a free strategy session with me for 30 minutes. That’s getting your my eyes on your business or anything that you want to talk about. That’s strategy or goals or growth oriented or even personal development. That’s the best way to connect with me. You can also email me, which is pretty easy. It’s Jennifer with two ends at peak to profit. I’m on LinkedIn, Jennifer Drago, so you’ll be able to find me there. And I also have a peak to profit page. Linkedin is my primary social media, so that’s the best way to connect with me and stay up to date on the content that I offer.
Stone Payton: [00:20:50] Well, Jennifer, it has been such a pleasure having you on the show this afternoon. Thank you for hanging out with us and sharing your perspective and insight. This is this has been a fun conversation, informative, inspiring. And you’re just you’re out there doing terrific work and we sure appreciate you.
Jennifer Drago: [00:21:08] And thank you so much. Stone. I really appreciate the opportunity to offer any value that I can offer to your community, so I appreciate the opportunity very much.
Stone Payton: [00:21:18] My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Jennifer Drago with PETA Profit and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.