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House of Home is pleased to welcome Carissa Reiniger as a guest contributor. Carissa is the Founder and CEO of Silver Lining, a global company that has helped over 10,000 businesses in 9 countries to build profitable, sustainable businesses. This is Carissa’s first article in a 4-part series to help you find more customers and grow your business.


Do you have too much time and too much money? If so, you will be the first small business owner I have ever met who does! While each business is certainly unique, there are two realities that every single small business owner faces. They never have enough time or money. And ironically, they need more time to be able to create more money. And they need more money to be able to create more time. We call this the Cashflow / Capacity Catch 22. Every single small business owner goes through various stages of their business where the Cashflow / Capacity Catch 22 is more or less difficult, but what is always true is that in order to grow a small business we have to figure out how to protect the time and money we have - and to ensure we only spend it on the activities and resources that will get us to our goals.

That is easier said than done! I am sure you have found yourself asking questions like “Should I do this marketing campaign?” “Should I buy this advertising spot?” “Should I go to that networking event?”” It often feels like a stab in the dark when you are choosing which opportunities are worth your time and money - and which are actually going to be a waste of your two most precious resources.

We have found that the solution to this conundrum is to make 3 very clear and focused choices. And then to use those choices as a filter every single time you are considering spending a minute of your time or a dollar of your money. Let’s discuss!

WHAT do you do?

Most businesses owners think that when the going gets tough, the tough change their products or services. It’s a common knee-jerk reaction to waning sales that actually slows growth even more. When you change your products and services, what your company does becomes less clear to customers, they have to work harder to figure out what you offer, which makes it becomes more complicated for them to buy. This means lost opportunities and fewer sales. In my 11 years of helping small businesses grow, the ones who have the most success find deep clarity on their core “WHAT”.

For example, at Silver Lining, we sell SLAPs (Silver Lining Action Plans). As we have grown we have found many ways to innovate how we sell SLAPs (more on that next week), but we have never strayed from our core WHAT. By being laser focused is has allowed us to get really good at what we do and also build a name for ourselves based on the credibility and momentum that many years in business brings. If you constantly change what you do because you think it will meet the needs of the market or your customers, you are actually decreasing your chances of growth. Businesses that have a very clear WHAT and stick to it for the long term grow faster than others who make changes to this core element of their business.

WHO do you do it for?

Small business owners often believe that, in order to grow, they have to market their products and services to everyone and anyone. However, the businesses that choose to go after a very specific type of customer are the ones the grow the fastest. No small business has enough time or money to be in front of everyone - but when you use your time and money and go deep, you can grow!

Every business needs an Ideal Client - a profile of the type of client who is worth investing your time and money to go find. We will dive into all of the details of how to define your Ideal Client in week 3 of this series, but for now - I challenge you to think about the customers you serve who value your work, who you enjoy working with, who pay you willingly and who are ambassadors for your work. Those are your Ideal Clients and you want to use ALL of your time and money trying to find them - and not waste a second or a cent on anyone else.

On what SCALE?

Your scale is how far and wide your customers will come from. Getting clear on the scale with which you want to grow will help you make so many decisions about how to find and serve your customers. Imagine you have designed and developed a beautiful set of furniture. If you decided you wanted to build your business on a local scale you would create an entirely different business model than you would if you wanted to build your business on a global scale. For a local business you might set up a beautiful showroom and host events in your store, do local consignments and work on building a local vibe to your brand. If you wanted to build on a global scale you might decide to work on distribution deals with other major retailers and build a factory in order to be able to take your designers and mass produce them.

Not being clear about which scale you are growing your business results in making a lot of wasteful choices- but if you know what your desired end result is you can make strategic decisions about both your business model and your marketing activities right from the start - which will allow you to use your two most valuable assets - time and money - so much better.

When to say YES and when to say NO

When you know WHAT you do, WHO you do it for and what SCALE you want to do it on, you can make fast decisions about when to strategically spend your time and money.

For example, when the founders of House of Home asked me to write these articles for you - I only had to ask 3 very quick questions. Does this let me teach SLAP? Yes. Does this let me connect with more of my Ideal Client (small business owners with 100K - 2M in revenue who want to grow their businesses)? Yes. Does this give me another opportunity to continue to operate on a Global scale? Yes. Three yesses means that writing these articles for you is a very good use of Silver Lining’s time and money! But if I was asked to write about being a women entrepreneur for a group of pre revenue start ups who were all based in a small town outside of Adelaide, I probably would have said No. Not because I don’t want to help, but because I know that in order to grow, I have to be responsible for the time and money we spend and ensure we spend it on the things that will allow us to hit our goals.

We all know that the failure rate for small business owners is high. But, after the last 11 years of working with small businesses, we know, for a fact, that when you know where you are going and you make day to day decisions to keep yourself focused and on track - you CAN succeed.

If you have any questions about your own WHAT, WHO or SCALE, please feel free to be in touch with our team. We truly live, breath, eat and sleep small business and it would be our pleasure to support you.

**Interested in knowing more? here's a link to Carissa's website

Article Two in the series - Setting One Year Growth Goals for your Business

Article Three in the series - Finding your ideal client

Article Four in the series - Creating a Marketing Action Plan to Connect with your ideal client

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