How to turn what you know into a profitable business

Lisa Crilley Mallis

By LESLIE A. PANFIL

If you ever wondered if you could turn what you know into a business, Lisa Crilley Mallis of SystemSavvy Consulting may be just the inspiration you need. She turned her expertise in time management and organization into a booming consulting business.

How did you come to the realization that your specialized knowledge could be a profitable business?

For many years, I realized that I wanted to own my own business. However, I explored many different options without finding the “perfect” fit. Each business I looked at, I realized the exciting part of the process was figuring out how to make the business run more effectively, but I wasn't really interested in owning and running each particular business. At the same time a number of friends in the direct sales business asked me to help them create systems, stream line their processes, and figure out how to get more time out of their day. At this point I realized that I was taking my skill of effective time management for granted. Not everyone innately has the ability to see time and systems the same way I do.

What was the most challenging aspect of your start-up?

Not knowing what I didn't know! I wanted to follow a blue print - yet because I was starting from scratch I didn't have one. Luckily, I was able to find a few mentors that helped me think through where I was and where I wanted to be, plus I had a few appointments with SCORE.

The SCORE Association “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association comprised of 11,500 volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories offerings several services to help start a small business or to make a small business more profitable. These services include individual counseling, mentoring, workshops, and seminars. SCORE members are trained to serve as counselors advisors and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. These services are offered at no fee, as a community service.

What specialized knowledge do you think today’s companies and/or individuals are looking for?

This is a fast paced world - and many people are trying to figure out how to do more in less time. Plus, many of the "traditional" time management strategies are not as effective as they used to be. I think now, individuals want methods that work for them - help them spend less time doing what they have to do so they have more time to spend doing what they want to do - and they don't necessarily want to spend a lot of time figuring out what those methods are.

What advice would you give someone who thinks they have unique information to share?

Research! Decide what truly sets you apart from someone else, and then figure out how to make it profitable. Running a business is only half sharing your talents, but half running a business! Before jumping in with both feet make sure you have a rough plan for how to accomplish both. THEN - jump in - you will never be 100% ready - it really is a leap of faith.

What has been the most successful way to promote your business?

I don't know that I have one way. I try many types of free and low cost marketing. I present workshops, belong to two networking groups, use social media, write content online, publish a newsletter, and share my message and vision with everyone I know. For example, a year ago I wrote an article, which someone reprinted for their blog. Another person read this article and interviewed me for a spot on the radio. From this interview I was contacted to be 1 of 24 speakers in a Teleseminar event.

Do you have a written business plan?

Yes. I look at my plan each quarter and revise if needed. I set new goals and rewrite a large portion of my plan in December or January. I find that my biz plan keeps me focused on my goals. I chose one or two main areas of focus each year, and having a biz plan helps me to not chase every new idea that pops into my head or that I read about.

What do you wish someone would have told you about running your own business?

Everything takes longer than you think it will. Just because you created a website doesn't mean the clients will automatically come!

What are your future goals and aspirations?

My goal each and every day is to share my wisdom and knowledge with home based business owners and sales professionals. Sometimes we continue to work together on a client basis, and sometimes we don't. But it is important to me that everyone that enters my space gains value from our time together. One way to do this is to run a successful Time Finders System Teleseminar Program in April. Some clients need the flexibility of learning at odd hours, and this program allows for that, as our interaction does not need to be face-to-face. Another way to accomplish this goal is to speak on effective time management techniques in front of a large group, allowing me to get my message out to a large number of people.

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