Sofia Sundari is an author, transformational facilitator and spiritual mentor who runs online programs and in-person immersions with a focus on empowered living.. In 2021 Sofia and her team celebrated turning over $1 Million and becoming a 7-figure brand.
Here she shares some of her key challenges and how she overcame them.
The biggest challenges I faced in building my business were my team and my mindset. I thought I needed to clone myself and was working 18 hour days, I didn't stop. Then I realized this wasn't healthy or sustainable, so I created a management system and I stopped doing the things that weren’t my key strengths. For a long time I regretted that I hadn’t studied business instead of law at university and then my mindset shifted and I realized that I can lead my business from my heart and my intuition. Of course, I made mistakes. I hired the wrong people just because they had business experience, but they weren't aligned with my values and I learnt from that. I now have a team of 5 staff who are aligned and committed to the business on a full-time basis. Our team is based across Europe, from the UK to Croatia and when leading a remote team it is important to keep people connected whilst still productive. This is why I regard the team community as the number 1 aspect to their performance and therefore the success of the business. This is something many businesses neglect. I have the following structures in place to maintain, enhance and improve this:
1) Utilizing IT to our benefit. Even though we have always been a remote team in recent times, as remote working has become the norm on a larger scale, IT systems have been upleveled to help businesses achieve the best from remote workers. We use a mixture of programs; one keeps track of our email communications, in particular for customer service purposes, and another is a task management system. This system ensures we keep on top of tasks and if someone is unwell or on leave other team members can easily access their tasks to see what needs prioritizing in their absence.
2) Twice weekly team 121’s with the Operations Manager. These meetings ensure everyone knows what’s going on in the wider team and management is certain individuals are managing their workloads in the most efficient manner. The task management system helps during these meetings as we can clearly see everything each team member is doing on their task board. When managed correctly these meetings don’t need to take long, it’s all about ensuring that everyone remains focused.
3) On Friday’s we have a team celebration. This takes around 45-60 minutes and it’s a chance for our remote team to share the positive things they are celebrating that week in their personal lives. This is a get-together rather than a meeting and creates a positive atmosphere, opening up wider communication within the team. It’s a chance for a chat and it allows each team member to connect person to person. These snippets of what’s going on in each other's lives in a focused time is a healthy and efficient way for a remote team to build their relationships.
4) Once a month we hold a connection meeting where we do a group meditative connection and then share what is happening in our lives with one another on a deeper level than in weekly celebrations. This is an opportunity to connect and share wisdom. It is also a chance for me as a leader to see if I can offer any help and support to my team. The evolution of the business and the team is always best viewed together as these come hand in hand when creating a sustainable business.
5) Once a year I hold in-person get-togethers when I treat my team to experiences to enhance our connection which improves our ability to work together. Last year we met up in Croatia, worked together and had fun in the sunshine. It had a profound effect on the team's connection which enhanced productivity and efficiency.
Marketing my business has and always will be largely via social media channels. I create powerful content with a lot of value, and I share a lot of my personality which creates trust with my audience and enhances the 2 way connection. I have a beautiful and responsive audience, many of whom have been with us for more than 10 years.
Our newest addition to our marketing efforts is our full time PR Manager. I decided to take this route rather than paying large fees to an outside agency. I wanted someone who was focused solely on my business and was part of the team. The key to successful PR for all businesses, but especially for a niche business like mine, is doing the target audience market research. This is a really important part of the process as it ensures that we are targeting the correct media because whilst exposure is good, we need to be certain that we are reaching our target audiences with the correct messages that apply to that particular sector. Of course, PR stands for Public Relations and relates to all communications in a business but I think of PR as Personal Recommendations because that’s what we are doing, sharing our messages, case studies and success stories from our clients so that people recommend and share those in our chosen, relevant media channels.
As we consider the greater good of humanity within our businesses these are the key aspects that I feel are vitally important to embody as a business leader:
1. To make sure that our business is aligned with humanities evolution, in the highest service to ALL of humanity. As business owners we hold a lot of power, wealth, influence, and impact, it's therefore crucial that we have the highest good of all at the heart of our business. Whilst our personal fulfilment comes into why we create and run our businesses it should go beyond that because we will never be completely fulfilled unless we put humanity's highest good at the center of it all. I attribute my success to the fact that I do this every day. 2. Commitment for the business to be an extension of our own evolution and understanding that this is constant. This is a service to everyone who works in the business, to everyone who is impacted by the business and it releases so much pressure because sometimes the way we are conditioned leads the mind to look for instant gratification and we forget the bigger picture OR perhaps don't have it in the first place which becomes stressful and bad for our health. It’s vitally important to see that this is about a lifetime, a legacy, what we do in our businesses today will impact what is going to happen to our children and future generations.
3. Mindset: within our evolution we need to constantly upgrade our mindset and shift any limiting patterns of scarcity and believing in lack which is so common in our world and we have to constantly address those limitations and shift the mindsets so we become truly great leaders because being in an abundance mentality is the key to thriving as leaders.
4. Clarity: in the direction, in the vision, holding this and not being impacted by other external factors no matter how big or small. It's normal in business to fail, make mistakes, to be disappointed, to not achieve goals, to hold so much energy that it becomes heavy - this is why clarity is so important and is connected to constant evolution.
5. Trusting the heart and the values of the heart is most important and they should never be compromised. These are values of connection, kindness, care, compassion and love.
This Article is written by Transformational Leader Sofia Sundari. Sofia offers a range of online programs and In-person Immersions. For further information about Sofia and her work please visit her website - www.sofiasundari.com.