My 4 takeaways from a world-class marketing conference (plus a bonus 5th one)
I think one of the hardest things in business, is knowing what to do next. How to plan effectively for business growth.
What do you do to start your business? What do you do to scale from there?
I tell you what DOESN’T work if you want long-term growth: doing the same thing as you always did.
If you keep doing the same thing over and over, you’ll always get the exact same result!
So, what do you do at each stage of your business, in order to grow to the next stage?
Over the last few days, I’ve been in Austin, Texas, attending a big digital marketing conference, learning from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world right now.
Now I get to bring this knowledge home and share it with my clients, students and readers.
Read on for the 4 most important THINGS to take you from launch to scale!
1. Getting started and launching your business
I remember when I launched my first business, I was absolutely sh!tting myself! I was almost too scared to tell any of my family and friends I’d started a business, or invite them to look at my website.
Why? Because of an almost-overwhelming fear of failure. I had set myself a really big goal, and standing on the starting blocks, that goal looked totally unachievable!
Is that familiar to you?
It’s actually really common!
BUT, if you want to progress, you gotta beat that fear of failure.
And the way we do this, is to detach ourselves from the outcome and focus on the process.
You want to focus on mastering the process of doing business, and of sales and marketing, without attaching your ego or self-worth to the outcome.
Doing this liberates you and enables you to just learn what you’re doing.
2. When you have a few customers (but still a long way to go)
Sometimes, getting those first few sales and customers can be easy and happen quite quickly after launching. For others, it’s more of a slow burn.
Either way, getting those first few customers to buy from you feels so good. This is your proof of concept, right? Evidence that people are willing to pay money for your product.
But a handful of customers does not a business make, does it? So what do you do now, when making some proper, consistent revenue still seems so far off?
Here’s what you want to do: you want to stop thinking big and start thinking small.
That sounds a bit counter-intuitive, right? Normally the advice is to set yourself a big goal, a big vision, and then repeat that to yourself daily like some kind of mantra. Manifest that goal into existence.
But for lots of start-ups, constantly focusing on big goals can be incredibly overwhelming. And feeling overwhelmed can cause you to feel stuck in your business, rather than moving forwards!
Instead, break down your goals and tasks into small manageable steps that are easy to achieve.
Ask yourself, ‘what can I do to make an extra $500 each month?’
When you improve a little bit each day, eventually big, lasting improvements happen.
3. Entering into the growth phase
So you’ve passed the launch phase and your sales are now growing. You’re not THERE yet, you still have some way to go to achieve your goals, but sales are growing.
Sales may not be consistent at this point, but you’re definitely busier.
At this stage, you can often feel pretty frantic. One minute you’re answering customer emails.
Next minute you’re packing orders. Then you’re working on a newsletter or Facebook ads.
At this point, things can feel pretty reactive, with little time for forward planning.
And whilst you’re really busy and sales are growing very nicely, you may not be in a position to pay yourself consistently just yet.
Before you burn out or start dropping the ball on something important, you need to get some help.
This may be hiring your first team member, outsourcing something like order picking and packing, or working with a business coach.
4. Scaling your business
Once you move through the growth phase, and you have a team in place to facilitate your next leap forward, it’s time to scale.
There’s many different ways you can scale a business. You only have to take a peek at Google to realise there’s lots of advice about different strategies you can employ.
The temptation is strong to want to do EVERYTHING! But let me guard against this, as it’s a recipe for disaster! (Or at least, a recipe for being a whole lot less effective and profitable!)
Instead, pick one or two marketing strategies and just focus on doing those really, really well.
Limit your focus to a couple of things that work well, and then optimising those till they produce exceptional (scalable) results. Don’t spread yourself too thin by attempting to execute lots and lots of different strategies.
That is, be the expert, not the generalist!
Bonus #5: Prioritise for profit
Further to my previous point, you MAY need a little help trying to figure out exactly what activities or strategies to focus on.
I don’t know about you, but my to do list and my ideas list always seem a mile long, so you want to make sure you focus your time and money on the things that will get results.
Here’s a simple method you can use to score each strategy so that you focus on the right things.
First of all, work out what the level of effort (LOE) will be to execute the strategy. IE, will it take you two weeks, or most of the year to get it done?
Next, work out what is the return on that effort (ROE).
You want to focus on strategies that will give you the greatest combined LOE and ROE.
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