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This post contains everything you need to know about how to go from an entrepreneur to a CEO. There may be some of you that never want to have CEO in your job title, but the true purpose of this post is to give you the do's and don't's of how to drastically grow your business.
If you've ever tried to go out on your own with contract work or your own business, you know this is what it feels like:
It's terrifying. There's a tsunami at your back and you don't control the velocity or force. You're in survival mode, dumping out heaps of water bursting through the ship's cracks all by yourself; trying not sink to and stay afloat. You're responsible for getting your employees safely home to their families, you're trying to make your own family happy, and of course, you've gotta make sure the customers are happy too.
Unfortunately, this miserable juggle is completely normal in the first season of going out on your own, but for your own sanity, you CANNOT stay there! It's not sustainable for you or your business. No matter if you've been in this season before or if you're there now, I hope you'll be able to glean something from these common mistakes entrepreneurs make.
Six Reasons Entrepreneurs Stay Stuck
1. They Don’t Think Sales First
People are scared to think sales first. They want to perfect their product and brand, and believe everything needs to be perfect before they can start selling. The thing is, you have to create revenue to go to the next base camp. You need money to conduct research in order to perfect your product and brand.
I think the best way to think sales first is to take a look at your sales funnel. What I mean by that is, focus on the pathway that leads a prospect from initial interest to checkout. Is it an obvious, easy path? Is there fabulous customer service along the way? Can I put customers on another path to keep them coming back?
If you've got money falling out of the sky because your sales funnel is working, then inevitable criticism a young business will face will hurt your pride and reputation way less.
2. They Try To Do Too Much
I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but automation trumps determination. If you're an entrepreneur, I'm going to assume you feel spread thin, and here is my advice. You need to automate everything you can! You are only you, and you do not have the capacity to do it all. You are going to run out of time. Create email automations, create delivery automations and automate everything you can.
Additionally, you also may be trying to do too much with your product, but you don’t have to be all things to all people. In fact, the best products are the ones that focus on a specific population and one bleeding neck pain. I hope that takes some weight off your shoulders and gives you freedom to be a scalpel. It exists to do one thing and one thing only. If your customer avatar has three bleeding neck pains, don’t try to heal them all. Focus on one and master it.
3. They’ve Never Identified the Life Cycle of Business and Where They Are In It
Have you ever heard anyone say work on your business, not in your business? Sometimes, we're so close to our business that we can't see the landscape. I really think this diagram is going to help you zone out and see the bigger picture.
Les Mcuein created this diagram to illustrate what predictable success looks like.
Basically what you see is the lifecycle of any organization. Within this cycle he identifies four leadership personalities.
The visionary is the squirrel chasing light bulb person. They're the idea person, but they stink at follow through.
These are the implementation folks. They get results. Visionaries need operators to come alongside of them to get the job done. So visionaries love operators and operators love visionaries because they motivate and inspire them to run.
This is someone who loves systems and processes and is great at organization.
This is the person that helps the processors understand why the visionary changed their mind 6 times before lunch.
Think of those as characters in this business lifecycle story:
Phase 1. Early Struggle
In the early struggle, a visionary has an idea, but is stuck. He's frustrated and doesn't know how to implement. Once an operator is on the team, she can show the visionary the steps to take in order to pull the business along into phase 2.
Phase 2: Fun
This phase consists of lots of, "Wow! Things are happening! Things are working! We sent an email, we got a sale. Somebody bought our stuff! How did they even find us? We have success stories now! There's only two of us on this team, but we're killing it."
The visionary is overjoyed as his ideas are playing out before his eyes. He cheers, "Let's keep going!" which leads the business into phase 3.
Phase 3: White Water
This is exactly what it sounds like. You’re holding on for dear life and just trying to keep everyone in and stay alive. This is not because things are going horribly wrong, quite the opposite actually. You've got a lot of business, you're just not sure how to handle it all. During this phase, Business2Community says your challenges are increasing revenues, increasing customers, and effective management. This is a terrible place to live as a business and put a ton of stress on the team.
The reason why this phase happens is because there aren't any processes, systems, or delegation in place. So, processors get hired here to develop systems that stabilize the business.
This is where you find predictable success, but don't let the processor take over! Don't allow them to do checklists for the sake of checklists. Remember, the visionary always needs to take control.
It's important to know your leadership style, and also know the leadership styles of your team. Check out this link to see what your leadership style is.
4. They Forget to Risk
Sometimes entrepreneurs and small business owners misunderstand the use of risk. Risk is a massive opportunity, and an asset to be leveraged. I don't mean go stand in the road and hope gold falls from the sky without getting run over. Obviously there are calculations to be made, but if you're so averse to risk, you will never get to go to the next level. Use it wisely, but don’t be afraid of it.
5. They Don't Put Metrics in Place
A business metric is a quantifiable measure that is used to track and assess the status of a specific business process. To be effective, business metrics should be compared to established benchmarks or business objectives. ( I use CYFE as my metric dashboard so that my numbers are always in front of me).
In other words, you can't fly the plane with your entrepreneurial hunch. If you’re just looking out the window and not watching the instruments, you don’t have control over the aircraft.
Your metrics can be activity based or measurable metrics. For example, one of our activity metrics at my company is that we respond to all customer inquiries by the end of the day. One of our measurable metrics is to keep our customer turn rate below 10% monthly. If we can maintain those metrics, I know we're doing a good job of keeping our customers happy.
When you've establish accurate metrics, they give you control. If you need some help brainstorming, here are three primary things you need to be able to measure in order to grow your business.
- New Customers- Once you get in the groove of your business, this can be something you take for granted. It's easy to forget that in order to keep growing, you need prospects and you need new customers. On average, how many customers are you generating each month? What is your cost per lead?
- Average cart or Transaction Value- On average, do you know how much someone spends at your business or on your website? You want that transaction to be as high as possible. These first two metrics are super important. New customers X a high cart value = cash flow.
- Customer Life Time Value- It is our tendency to focus on this one first, but customer lifetime value is more of a long game. The first two metrics are actual oxygen tanks to the plane. This is something you install as an extra fuel tank once the plane is already up in the air. With that said, it is so important to have repeat customers, and to be able to measure how many you have.
It's crucial to be able to measure these metrics, so that you can increase them. And if you can increase them, your business is going to grow exponentially.
6. They Don't Hire to Core Values
You have to hire awesome people and you have to hire to core values. Even if you are in a profession that requires a high level of skill, you need to hire to core values. You will find yourself in way less HR problems if you do this. You could have the most talented employee with all the right credentials, but if they are not coachable, if they are not willing to receive criticism, get ready for havoc to wreak and the ship to sink.
Entrepreneur.com says, "Entrepreneurs work hard to build and cultivate the culture of their organizations. But company culture doesn't result from an edict from upper management. It’s made up of the work and values of every employee. Each new hire can contribute to sustaining or eroding that culture."
That could not be more true. I have worked very hard to establish a certain culture for my business, and I'm sure you have too. If you're new to this idea of culture and core values, I'll share the core values I hire to to give you an idea of things you may want in your business culture.
So if you interview with me or my team and one of these irk you, we know that my company is not a place you need to work. This is a good thing for us, but also for our candidates. It means you didn't get on the wrong bus and take someone else's seat.
Also, your business is not a rehabilitation center. Jack Bailey says, "Hire slow, fire fast." Don't keep people around who have bad attitudes and skills in hopes that they will get better. I'm not saying don't be empathetic, but if someone is sinking your ship, ask them to leave quickly.
Ultimately, I think the first step into growing your business is awareness. I hope you'll take some time to process this for your own business, and that this post will help you sail the ship safely home.
I got a really important kind of a high level coaching tip call here for you that I think you need to be thinking about, and this is what I've learned as a business owner, as a top producer, as someone who understands what it takes to go to the next level. Again, I'm a learning leader, that's just kind of one way I would describe myself, and one thing that I've learned by modeling the masters, like the people who are a step ahead of me, I'm always looking for someone to either coach me or immerse me in a better way of doing things. And one thing that I picked up on that the big timers do is they have core values that are very clear and articulate.
And what do I mean by core values? I'm not talking about necessarily your belief in god or lack thereof. I'm not talking about which charity you give to. I'm not talking about those things, but I am talking about a very ... Well core identity of who you are both as an individual producer and the values and characteristics and attributes of the people that you want to work with the most. Whether that be team members or customers, it's very important for you to sit down and honestly you can probably do this exercise pretty quickly. Or you can spend a ton of time on it if you want to. And it might take you a day, it might take you a week, it might take you 20 minutes, it might be a silent lunchtime experiment for you. But I encourage you to write down on paper, type it out, print it out, laminate it, whatever you need to do, your core values.
Now I'll show you some of our core values as an organization that allows me to hire the right team members to serve our customers to help us get along, to make sure that the PH balance of the chemical equation works well, because it also helps you know what kind of customers you want to attract, it helps you know what kind of service and deliverable you can set expectations for to your prospects and customers. It lets you know yourself better. And so having those core values are really important, I've written some of ours - I'm gonna try to flip this around - on this board here, I don't know if you can read them very well. We don't take ourselves too seriously. We encourage each other. We take ownership. We don't make excuses. We are coachable. And so we've got core values like that that helps me know who we can work with and who can work with us, and how to set expectations and really at the end of the day it's as important as skill acquisition.
I'll give you an illustration. I played college baseball. I worked 15 years of my life, well 13 years I guess, to get a scholarship to play division one baseball, and I finally made it. And I remember early on in my college career I looked around and I was like, "Wait a second, that guy over there, he said he never played baseball until he got to college." So I started asking the questions that a freshman would ask. "Hey, how in the world is he here and he's never played a game?" And the coaches said, "Well he runs a four four 40 yard dash, and you can't teach speed but we can teach him how to catch and how to throw and how to hit." And his core value was his speed.
So if your core value is that we encourage each other, or if your core value is that I don't make excuses I just take massive action, or I take ownership, or my team members take ownership, my team members are coachable, I'm coachable, then that really sets the stage and the landscape for your business. It allows you to be way more successful and to work with people that are worth your time and they match your way of doing things and your mentality, your mindset. And setting core values allows you to now set goals at the next level that you can more tangibly reach.
So hope that's helpful. If you have core values maybe comment below, state them in the comments, or maybe you've already developed core values that you use in your business every day. And you don't have to have a team to have core values. You need to identify what your core values are so that your more cognizant, more aware, of what you're trying to pull off as an individual producer. Okay? Get your core values on paper. Write them down, print them out, laminate them, whatever you gotta do. Get them in front of you so that you remember who you are, so that you can be who you are truly out there to the marketplace and not try to be everyone else, okay? You need to pick your niche, pick your scalpel not your Swiss army knife, and go into the market with your core values and present those, and then the core values work as an unbelievable marketing magnet.
Josh here signing off, hope this was helpful. See ya.
**Since I wrote this originally, we have officially received our Two Comma Club frame!**
The Two Comma Club is an elite group on online entrepreneurs bound together by two things: they have reached one million dollars in revenue and they use Clickfunnels.
As I write this post, my company is preparing to cross the coveted threshold of $1 Million in revenue. After 9 short months, we have come to the place where most entrepreneurs dream of.
The Two Comma Club is at our doorstep. Membership into this “next level” is within our grasp.
I can’t wait to clutch the Two Comma Club frame that Russell Brunson rewards his tribe with when they climb the summit. As an avid Clickfunnels user and affiliate reseller, I’ve had my eye on the Two Comma Club accolade for a couple of years.
By month 8 of our company’s short life, we had grossed $873K, just a little under one month of revenue away from the Two Comma Club. In the following, I’m going to tell you the framework I used to get there and what you should do now to get there yourself.
Two Comma Club Pathway Step #1: Read This Book
I don’t want to be the book recommendation guy, but…
When I read Dotcom Secrets, my business life changed forever. My mind was opened up to so many options that I had. Now for some. that might sound overwhelming. But believe me when I say, you have no idea what you are missing out on until you scrummage your way through Russell’s book.
He literally outlines secrets. Not flash in the pan stuff, but actual applications from his own two comma club journey. He also highlights specific sales funnels that you need in order to build a successful online business. Like, he literally draws them out with stick figures and walks you through the cadence of a high converting sales funnel.
Read this book if you haven’t yet. I don’t want to be “that guy”, but read the freaking book…for real.
Two Comma Club Pathway Step #2: Know Your Numbers
A Two Comma Club company knows their numbers...their financial metrics. I check them every day.
Every. Single. Day.
I have a dashboard that I check sometime multiple times a day. It not only gives me visibility, but allows me to lead my company and team through changes necessary to keep momentum.
And if you know anything about entrepreneurship, you know that momentum is HUGE. Whenever you catch it, keep it. There is no way to keep it if you don't know all of your metrics.
There are tons of metrics that you COULD monitor. But here are the main metrics that I micro-manage:
Cost Per Lead
Cost Per Acquisition
Sales Conversion %
Average Cart Value
Lifetime Customer Value
Once you have these metrics NAILED and you keep them in front of your brain every single day, you're on the right track to get to the Two Comma Club.
On to the last secret...
Two Comma Club Pathway Step #3: To Go To The Next Level, Get Coaching At The Next Level
This is a universal truth: If you want to go to the next level, you need to get someone from the next level to show you the way. A lot of us call that coaching. You may call that mentoring. Whatever the semantics are you need help from people who have already been where you want to go.
For me, that person is Russell Brunson. He has gone through the fire that I needed to go through in order to reach my goals. So I invested in Russell's coaching.
Now my company is a two comma company on its way to a 8-figure business.
Below is a FANTASTIC training(one of my favorite) by Russell where he goes on a deep dive through what it takes to get your first million and beyond.
CLICKFUNNELS BONUSES: When you use my affiliate link in the above button, you qualify for my bonus trainings.
My Clickfunnels Bonuses Include:
- Facebook Marketing Madness Training Course - How To Launch High Converting Ads In Any Niche
- My Clickfunnels Basic training course
- 23 Pre-Built Sales Funnels that you can import directly into your Clickfunnels account.
- How To Rank Youtube Video Fast - Mini Course
- Access to a 100 Day Social Media/Affiliate Marketing Bootcamp
- Unlimited email support so I can help you with your sales funnel that you build with Clickfunnels
- Training on how to set up custom domains for free inside your Clickfunnels Account
- My roadmap to email marketing course
- My funnel hacking playbook so you can mimic what other successful online entrepreneurs do with their sales funnels
- 1 Free Copy of Russell Brunson's book, DotCom Secrets
- Free Training Video On How To Increase Sales By 150% with ClickFunnels
A Look Inside My Company Slack Memos
One of my companies uses Slack. I know, not so radical. "Everyone's doing it..."
But, I thought it might be interesting to share a couple of posts I sent to my sales team recently. They are reflections of principles I'm learning from Russell Brunson's new book, Expert Secrets. Hopefully, it will help you as you try to grow your business by creating more customers!
@channel as we continue to convert leads and customers, keep the following in mind about the would be Lead or Customer.
1. Get them focused on a future based cause or result that is bigger than themselves. Talk to the inner 4th grader. They want to buy the better version of themselves. Period. Greener pastures...
2. Offer them a "vehicle of opportunity" to do so. They are already stuck and you need to remind them of that.
Then, like the white knight, offer them rescue. The solution. A "way out". A system that will transform their current station into the dream that they have for themselves or their family.
Remember Charlie on Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory? He represents our customer.
We're Wonka. And we have what they can't produce on their own. We have vehicles of opportunity that can go sideways and squareways and frontways.
Charlie is stuck. He sleeps with 4 grandparents.
Wonka is handing out golden tickets.
There's a reason he booked a call with Wonka.
Therefore, the best way we can help Charlie is for him to buy our product or service.
"Take a seat in the Groovy Wonkavator my dear boy."
@channel in relation to the Willie Wonka conversation above...if we(you) want to sell more and retain more customers, the key is to STOP selling an "improvement offer" if you are doing that.
People do not want a way to get bigger, stronger, faster, lighter, smarter. They want a completely NEW opportunity that is alien to what their past baggage or failures.
As we position our offer, it will have lower conversion %'s if we use it as an enhancement. Sales conversions will increase if it is a NEW opportunity that will REPLACE their current condition.
Another scenario is if they are an above average producer with something that is "working" but they are blood thirsty and want more. Then you use our offer as an "opportunity stack" to show them that by adding a new dimension of marketing/lead generation on top of their traditional medium that's working, they then will have the capacity to reach new heights.