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Navigating Your Business Journey with Quarterly Planning | 013
Episode 1325th January 2024 • Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers • Jon Clayton
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In this episode, host Jon discusses the significance of strategic planning for business success. Drawing comparisons between embarking on a business journey and going on a road trip, he stresses the importance of setting a clear destination (dubbed the 'big business goal') for the year ahead. Jon advocates for a quarterly approach, stating that breaking down the year into four manageable chunks allows for better planning, easier course corrections, and the capacity to see real results in a business over a 90-day period. Several measurable metrics and tangible tactics for achieving quarterly goals are suggested. Jon reminds listeners of the value of rewarding achieved goals and introduces the concept of creating 'jeopardy' to add urgency to get the work done. Lastly, he suggests methods for holding oneself accountable for plans, including making your intentions public and utilising accountability buddies.

Episode Highlights...

00:00 Introduction To Quarterly Planning

01:31 The Analogy of Business Journey to a Car Journey

02:17 Setting Your Business Goals

02:42 The Concept of Quarterly Planning

03:54 The Benefits of Quarterly Checkpoints

04:08 What to Include in Your Quarterly Plan

04:32 Reflecting on the Previous Quarter

04:58 Setting a Main Quarterly Goal

06:10 Financial Measures in Your Quarterly Plan

08:52 Building Your Authority and Visibility

10:54 Tying Your Plan with Marketing and Promotion

13:03 Sticking to Your Quarterly Plan

16:06 What to Do Next Quarter

17:20 Outro and Preview of the Next Episode

Key Takeaways...

👉 Planning is essential: it’s important to plan your business journey, just like planning a car trip. Set specific goals and map out the best route to achieve them.

👉 Break down your business journey into manageable stages or quarters. By focusing on one stage at a time, it becomes easier to stay on track and make course corrections if needed.

👉 Reflect and make improvements on the previous quarter and identify what went well, what could have been better, and any obstacles that stood in the way. This reflection helps in making improvements and ensuring better results in the next quarter.

👉 Set clear quarterly goals and focus on one main goal at a time. This helps in making progress towards the overall business goal for the year.

👉 Measure key metrics such as revenue, leads, sales conversations, conversion rates, average spend, and profit margin. By monitoring these metrics, you can track your progress and make necessary adjustments.

👉 Promote strategically: Think about different ways to promote your business throughout the year. Creating different peak points or focusing on different aspects of your services/products can keep your promotions fresh and engaging.

👉 Stay accountable and motivated by making your plan visible, sharing your goals publicly, finding an accountability partner, creating a sense of jeopardy, and rewarding yourself when you achieve your quarterly goals.

What To Do Next...

📐Get Jon’s free weekly email newsletter (so you never miss an episode).

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc

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https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/architecture-business-club-5485140

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https://www.linkedin.com/in/mrjonclayton/

📐Find Jon on other social media platforms by searching for…

@mrjonclayton

📐Subscribe to Jon’s YouTube channel here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZOAac4salmSX0wWRT7JUg

📐Visit Jon’s website here.

https://mrjonclayton.co.uk/

In The Next Episode...

Next time Jon chats with Anna Lundberg about breaking free from the nine to five.

Transcripts

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If you were traveling somewhere new or unfamiliar, would you

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just hop in your car and drive hoping that you'd just eventually

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arrive in the right destination?

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Probably not right.

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So why do so many of us embark on our business journeys

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without planning our routes?

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And how can you break your business journey down into manageable stages?

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That's exactly what I'll be talking about in this episode of architecture

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business club, the weekly podcast for solo and small firm architecture

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practice owners, just like you.

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We want to build a profitable future proof architecture business

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that fits around their life.

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I'm the host, John Clayton.

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If you want to get notified, when I release a new episode.

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And get access to free resources and exclusive offers.

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Then go to Mr.

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John clayton.co.uk forward slash ABC.

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And sign up to my free weekly email newsletter.

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Now let's talk about how you can break down your business journey.

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Uh, into manageable stages with quarterly planning.

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Hello everybody.

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And thank you for joining me in today's episode of architecture business club.

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So today I wanted to talk about.

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Planning specifically, quarterly planning for your business.

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I think the first question to ask is why plan your year at all?

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Someone once said a goal without a plan is just a wish.

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That's very true.

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If you have a goal that you are serious about achieving.

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And your business, you, you need to have a plan.

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I think the best way that I can describe this is for you to imagine your

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business journey is like a car journey.

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If you just hop in your car and drive without setting a

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destination, you could end up.

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Anywhere.

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And without mapping out the best route to take you likely to take a few wrong

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turns along the way and take much longer to get to where you really want to be.

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So if you set your destination.

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And have planned out the best route to get there.

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Your business journey can be as easy as following your sat enough.

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No.

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Okay.

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I know there might be some bumps in the road.

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Or a flat tire perhaps.

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But at least you're still going to be heading in the right direction.

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So decide upon your destination.

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So that's your big business goal for the next year?

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Don't worry.

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You can, you can tweak your destination later if you need

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to, but just set something, pick something, some kind of goal.

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For this year.

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To begin.

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You just need to figure out if you're heading north, south, east or west,

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based on your current best thinking.

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So why take this a step further and plan your year in quarters?

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Let's imagine you're planning a long journey.

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Let's say you are going to go on a road trip across Europe, which if you are.

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I'm very jealous.

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I'd love to do a road trip across Europe.

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It's a long while since my backpacking days.

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But that that's, uh, a story for another day.

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If you're planning a big road trip across Europe, it's much easier.

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To plan a long journey like that in stages.

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That way you can focus on one stage at a time rather than the entire journey.

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And if circumstances change, it's easier to make a course correction

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for one stage of that journey.

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Than to replan the whole trip.

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So think of each quarter of the year as a stage or lag.

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And your overall journey for this year.

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To get to that destination, that, that big goal that you've set for

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yourself and your business this year.

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90 days.

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It's it's a more manageable chunk of time to plan ahead.

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You likely to know what you've got going on over the next free

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moments, but probably don't know.

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Everything that's in store for your whole year.

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But it's also long enough to see some real results in your business from the efforts

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that you've made over the past 90 days.

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And if you've got a little lost, don't worry.

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At your quarterly checkpoint, you get to relook at your map

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and do a quick course correction.

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So you back on the right road again, without having spent an entire year

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driving in the wrong direction.

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So, what should you include in your quarterly plan?

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I think that your quarterly plan.

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It doesn't necessarily need to be the same as the next person's

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because we're all different.

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And the direction that you want to go in with your business and your plans

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for you and your business are going to be different to the next person.

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But here's a few things that you could use as part of your quarterly plan.

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I think something that's good to include is some reflection

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on the previous quarter.

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So think about what went well during the last quarter.

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What could have been better?

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And perhaps what stood in your way and what could you do during the next quarter?

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To make things easier for you to ensure that things go

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better for the next quarter.

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Then the last, I think continual improvement is a

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great thing to try and achieve.

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I think setting a main quarterly goal.

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Is a great idea.

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So think about what the next quarter is all about.

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What are you going to be doing in your business?

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What's the thing that you're going to be focusing on selling.

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What events you're going to be attending?

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What, um, what's going to be the thing that you're going to be promoting.

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And I would encourage you.

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To rather than writing a list of dozens of dozens of things.

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Just, just pick one thing, just pick one main goal for this quarter.

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That helps you.

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Make a step further towards your main goal for the year.

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So have that in mind when you decide on what your quarterly

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goal is, but just pick one thing.

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Let's not over-complicate things we'll try and keep things simple.

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The next thing that you might wish to do is to think of.

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The top free things that you need today during the next quarter to

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achieve that main quarterly goal.

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So essentially this is your kind of high level to do list.

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So if you're going to.

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Uh, achieve that thing in the next three months.

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What are the main three things that you need to do to achieve that quarterly goal?

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I think also given that we're, you know, You're in business or

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you're running a business here.

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It's not just a hobby, presumably.

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We should have some financial measures that we have each quarter.

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So perhaps you might wish to measure your revenue, your revenue or turnover.

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That might be one of the first financial metrics that you record.

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So I would suggest that you review.

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Your revenue for the last quarter.

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Think about what your target is for the next quarter and think

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about what the difference is.

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So, if you turned over.

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10,000 pounds in the previous quarter.

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What is the target for next quarter?

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So if it was 12,000 pounds for the next quarter, You've got an

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extra 2000 pounds to make up.

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So.

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How does that equate to how many more.

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Products or services that you need to sell?

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How many new clients would you need based on that difference.

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So have that in mind.

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There's also, I think some other things that if you want to go into

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a bit more detail, I mean, I think.

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Those are probably, if you wanted to just keep things simple, those are

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probably the main things that you may wish to include in your quarterly plan.

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There are some other optional things that you may wish to also measure

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depending on how detailed you want to get.

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So you may wish to make a note of the number of leads.

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Or the number of sales conversations that you've had.

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Actual numbers from the last quarter versus your target for the next quarter.

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So that could be the number of incoming leads as, or you could measure the number

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of sales conversations, whether they were over the phone video calls in the DMS.

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Pick, what is the, the metric that makes most sense to you?

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And record the actual figure for the previous quarter

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and a target for the next.

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The other thing that you could do is look at conversion rates.

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You could look at what was the.

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Conversion rate from those sales calls and conversations.

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If you spoke to 10 people, And you sold.

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Five of your flagship product or service.

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50% conversion rate.

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Look at that.

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Can we optimize and improve that for the next quarter.

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That might be another thing that you wish to, to measure.

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No, the thing is average spend.

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So you might want to look out okay.

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For those customers that I had.

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how much revenue did I make from each customer?

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Again, you could measure that from the previous quarter and look to how you

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could improve that for the next quarter.

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Likewise, the number of sales or the number of new customers that you had,

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that might be another thing to measure, or perhaps even your profit margin.

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So those are a few key things that you might wish to include.

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Another couple of things that you may wish to include as part of your quarterly plan.

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Think I would think about.

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Your authority and what you do, and also your visibility.

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You may also wish to measure this.

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Cause I think that's important to be thinking about how you can.

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Build your authority and what you do.

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So think about.

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What you're going to be doing to build your authority or to be more

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visible during the next quarter.

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It could be online or in person it could be.

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How many.

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Podcast episodes.

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Did he publish how many YouTube videos did you publish?

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How many blocks did you write and publish?

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How many project case studies did you create?

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Did you do any speaking gigs?

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If so, how many did you do?

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Did you run any workshops or webinars for your ideal clients?

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Did you attend any in-person or online networking events?

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Or workshops.

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You could eat, you can go quite granular with this, particularly with

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metrics for social media and an online.

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Um, your online presence, you can even measure things like

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the number of posts and reels or stories that you published again.

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Uh, measuring.

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The actual numbers from the previous quarter.

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And setting targets for the next quarter.

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But as I say, these things are optional.

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Don't feel that you have to record.

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A gazillion different metrics each quarter, if you only recorded.

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Two or three main things like, you know, setting a quarterly goal.

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Setting the top three things to do, maybe just saying You know, recording

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and measuring your revenue turnover and just reflecting on how things have gone.

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That might be enough for you.

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Remember, don't forget to subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter.

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You can do that at mrjonclayton.co.uk/abc.

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And if you are enjoying this episode then please visit podchaser.com,

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search for Architecture Business Club and leave a five star review.

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Now, back to the show.

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Another thing that you may wish to consider and include in your plan.

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They switched to think about.

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Actually how this ties in with your marketing and promotion.

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It can be difficult to promote the same thing.

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In the same way all year round.

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So think about how you could create different peak points,

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uh, for each quarter of the year.

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To promote what you do, whatever your thing is that you're trying to sell.

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How could you promote that in a different way for each quarter?

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So for an example, for that might be maybe in quarter one, you'd run

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a five day design challenge, maybe quarter two, you run an in-person

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designed workshop, in your local town.

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Maybe quarter free, you run and promote a free online

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training for your ideal clients.

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Quarter four, you could run a competition or giveaway.

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Ultimately all of those different things could lead into exactly the same.

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Uh, product service or package that you offer year round.

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But what it does is it allows you to promote each quarter in a different way.

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So for your audience and the people you're trying to attract

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it, doesn't get stale or boring.

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And each quarter it's done in a new and fresh way.

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And then you can just rinse and repeat that each year.

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The other thing is if you've got several different products or services

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that you offer your clients, or maybe there's different stages to what

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you, uh, the service that you offer.

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You could spend each quarter promoting.

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One of those different services.

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So quarter one could be all about your initial consultation service

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that you offer your clients.

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Quarter two could be all about your amazing architectural

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design services that you offer.

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Maybe call to freeze all about promoting.

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Planning your planning services, planning, drawings, planning, um,

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agent services that you offer.

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And maybe quarter four is all about your full service package, where you offer

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the inception to completion package.

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Maybe you work through all of the RBA job stages.

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Maybe that's the quarter that you decide to promote that service.

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Ultimately, it's all up to you to decide what are the most important things

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that you should measure each quarter based on you and your own business.

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And again, it's better to keep it simple and measure just a few key metrics.

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The make it into this big time consuming exercise that

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you're in likely to keep doing.

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So, how can you stick to your quarterly plan?

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There's a few simple things that you can do.

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I think if you make the plan visible, So that you see each day,

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you're more likely to stick to it.

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So rather than writing it down somewhere on a piece of paper, in a

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notebook and hiding away in a drawer.

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Print it out.

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And stick it on your wall.

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If you've got a notice board, stick it on your notice board,

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maybe on your computer desktop, you might want to have it on there.

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The other thing you can do is to find somebody else to keep you

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accountable so that, you know, you're, you're sticking to your plan.

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So this could be an accountability.

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Buddy could be a friend.

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It could be a family member, partner, or spouse.

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It could be, um, another business buddy that you have in your.

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Same industry that is also on a similar journey to you.

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The other thing you could do is you can state those goals publicly.

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You could put a post out on social media, or if you have an email list,

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you could send it out in one of your email newsletters and say, Hey.

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You know, this quarter's all going to be all about this, and I'm going

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to be launching this new thing.

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I'm going to be doing ABC DNA.

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And I want to share that with you, tell you about it.

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Even just stating it publicly.

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People buy into that.

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People are interested in what you're doing in your business.

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And then it makes you feel like, whoa, Hey.

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I've said, I've got to do this thing now.

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I don't want to be the kind of Larry let down that, say's, they're going

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to do something and then doesn't do it.

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So actually that can really help with accountability.

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Couple of other things you can do is to create some jeopardy.

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What's at stake.

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If you.

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Don't achieve your goal.

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What is it stake?

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Is there something you're going to lose?

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You could even make a bet of yourself.

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You could even say to somebody, Hey look.

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Here's some money, you know?

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Uh, an amount of money that.

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Is not a crazy amount, but enough that you wouldn't want to lose.

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Maybe it's.

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I don't know, 50 quid, it might be a hundred pounds.

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Give it to somebody and say, Hey, hang on to this.

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And if I hit my goal.

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Give me that money back.

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It's like a little reward that you have at the end of the quarter,

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only for don't hit my girl.

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You keep it.

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You treat yourself, go and have a nice day out, buy something

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nice for yourself or your family.

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It sounds a bit of a silly idea, but these things do work.

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And just tying in with this idea of reward.

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Reward yourself when you hit your goals, like actually think about.

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What is like, uh, An exciting reward that you could have if you set yourself

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a big goal for the next quarter.

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And if you set yourself a reward that you're going to have, it

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could be that you're going to.

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By something that you've, you've been wanting to get for a little while.

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It could be that you're going to, um, treat yourself to a day out.

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Maybe it's a spa day or maybe it's, um, a weekend away somewhere with your

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family, whatever it is, set something and make sure that you do really.

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Celebrate that win.

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When you get to the end of the quarter and reward yourself.

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If you've hit that goal, there should be some reward and celebration.

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So, what should you do next quarter?

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We'll review the previous quarters plan, celebrate and share those wins.

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Do that reflection look at.

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How did you do in the previous quarter, thinking about what went

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well, what could have been better?

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What might have stood in the way.

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And what adjustments could you make to make the next quarter more successful?

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Update those key metrics.

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Are those things that you've decided are important for you to measure each quarter,

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whether that's two or three key things.

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Or whether it's a big, long list of things that you want to measure.

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Consider if you need to make a course correction.

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So again, if anything needs tweaking for the next quarter, Have a think

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about that and make those adjustments.

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And then rinse and repeat each quarter.

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Until you get to the end of the year and you've achieved your big.

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Annual goal and you've arrived in the correct destination.

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And you've not gone off road and ended up somewhere completely different.

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I hope that's been helpful if you'd like.

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More content along these lines.

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Please let me know.

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Drop me a message.

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LinkedIn's usually the best place, but, um, feel free to reach out my

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contact details are in the show notes.

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And, um, yeah, just continue to let me know what type of content

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that you would like on the show.

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All right.

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Until next time, thanks again for listening.

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Next time.

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I'll be talking to Anna Lundberg about breaking free from the nine to five.

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Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Architecture Business Club.

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If you liked this episode, think other people might enjoy it.

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Or just want to show your support, then please visit podchaser.com.

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Search for Architecture Business Club and leave a glowing five-star review.

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It would mean so much to me and makes it easier for new

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listeners to discover the show.

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If you just want to connect with me, you can do that on most social media

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platforms, just search for @mrjonclayton.

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The best place to connect with me online though is on LinkedIn.

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You can find a link to my profile in the show notes.

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Remember running your architecture business doesn't have to be hard.

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And you don't need to do it alone.

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This is Architecture Business Club.

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