10 Tips to Grow Your Business in 2017 by Graham Brown from Up.School. Tips, tricks and hacks to help you become a better lifestyle entrepreneur and grow your business. If you find this Ebook useful, don't forget to LIKE and DOWNLOAD.
Ebook: 10 Tips to Grow Your Business in 2017 (Download)
10 TIPS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN 2017
by Graham D Brown
Hi, thanks for downloading this Ebook.
The fact you’re thinking about or already starting your business
means we have a lot in common.
We’ll face similar challenges. We’ll also face rejection, denial and
doubt. You know who I mean - the voices? That’s why I created
Up.School - to give people like you and me a place they could go
and connect with likeminded entrepreneurs.
When you connect entrepreneurs, magic happens. The spark. The
energy. There’s excitement, there’s agitation. It’s all part of the
journey and it’s one as exciting in my 20th year of business as it is
when I started out. I still have a lot of motherfuckers to prove
So, if you’re in for the adventure, here are 3 resources at
Up.School I recommend to help you along the way:
(free weekly webinars)
(free Course: 5 Books that will make you a better Lifestyle
(The Entrepreneur Upgrade Course)
Graham D Brown
HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR
Some years ago I quit my job in finance and started my own
Why? Because becoming an entrepreneur was something deep
rooted in my being. I just had to do it. It felt like my whole life
had been working towards this moment.
That moment walking out my boss’ office summed it up. From
being stone cold numb to the world for weeks commuting to the
office, I suddenly experienced every emotion: exhilaration, fear,
excitement, anticipation, happiness, relief and anxiety.
Business is like that. Most “normal” people turn up at the office
every day and do what they’re told. Sure, they think they’re in
control but if they do something wrong, if they decide not to turn
up that day or if they do something differently, they can get fired.
Their job is to be safe: to make sure their boss doesn’t look stupid
and to cover their own ass.
Life is so much more than that.
The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so what makes
you happy? As Steve Jobs said, your time is limited. So, don’t
waste it living someone else’s life.
It took me a while before I found a business that people were
willing to pay money for - a business selling research to big
I started my business with about $100. We then grew it to over
$1,000,000 in profit, and 35 people in 2 countries. I invested that
cashflow in real estate assets that made money while I slept.
Within 7 years I was financially free. I could stop work if I wanted
to. So, with my wife and son (aged 6 then) we packed out world
into 3 suitcases and traveled the world for 3 years.
“Normal” people tell me, “I wish I could have done that.”
Instead, they play the lottery every week hoping that some day
their number comes up and they go travel the world.
Maybe you don’t want to travel the world for 3 years, but you
want choice, right? That’s what business is all about, choice.
When you have to make your own decisions you can design your
lifestyle how you want and build a business to make that happen.
If you want to go live and run your business from Thailand, that’s
cool. There are plenty of people already doing that.
If you want to work only 4 days a week, you can do that too.
If you want to go out and share your story of how you did it,
change people’s lives, motivate others to get up and take this
journey too… you can do that (and get paid).
I want to help you find choice because we’re all on this adventure
together. I believe the greatest adventure you can take is to live
life on your own terms.
Like any adventure, you need to be prepared. It’s never going to
go to go in a straight line. There will be challenges, trials and
tribulations. You’ll experience criticism, self-doubt and denial.
That’s why I wrote this short E-Book for you and it’s why I
developed the Entrepreneur Upgrade which gives you a much
deeper dive into launching and growing your business. Because,
we end up so busy on this adventure we often carry blindspots and
weaknesses that could blow the whole show out of the water.
I believe most entrepreneurs fail not because they were bad
entrepreneurs but because they were blindsided to a major flaw in
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s turn this book on its head a minute and look at it like this…
Here are 10 ways to maximize your chances of business failure:
1) Hang around with normal people
2) Follow your passion instead of validating your ideas
3) Go big or try to change the world
4) Chase a market you don’t know anything about
5) Prioritize anything but your first paying customer
6) Spend weeks or months building your product
7) Build a business without a newsletter
8) Go looking for customers
9) Carry buckets rather than build pipelines
10) Keep trying new things
If you’re doing any of these 10 things, there’s a flaw in your
business. You might not notice it right now, it’s kind of like a
hairline crack in the structure. No problem when the business is
just getting going but as soon as you apply pressure to the
structure, the hairline crack becomes a major break which sends
all your dreams tumbling into the dust.
I’m not going to tell you how to run your business, but I am going
to tell you how you can significantly reduce your risk of failure by
identifying those early hairline cracks and make the ride a whole
Success leaves tracks. Let me share with you what I know from
my successes and failures.
You’ve waited this long, now let’s get started.
1) HANG AROUND WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
People ask me what is the key to business success?
Well, look at rich people for your answer.
Rich people aren’t more clever, they grow up with different stories
about who they are and who they will become. And where do they
get those stories from?
The people they hang around with.
That answer often throws people. What? Not about the business
model? Not about investment?
Business author Jim Rohn once wrote that, “you are the sum of the
5 people you hang around with on a daily basis.”
It’s true. Human beings are social animals. We like to fit in. We
adopt (whether we like it or not) the values and attitudes of the
people we consider our peers.
If you hang around with people who see problems, people who get
negative, people who talk about celebrities and what’s on TV -
you too will become like them. That’s not going to help you build
That’s why it’s important to choose carefully and ignore the real
Hang around with people that will lift you up, people who will
magnify your goals and dreams, not people who say, “yes, but.”
Every entrepreneur hears those voices from time to time.
It's the voices of other people saying, "why give up your
successful career?" or "you should think about getting married."
And it's also the voices in your own head, "can I do this?" or
"maybe I'm too old" or "maybe I'm too inexperienced."
Overcoming the fear is what makes the entrepreneur. Problem is
some of these doubters are friends and family right? Well, some
you can’t change. But you can choose not to talk about business
with them. Stop selling to the unsold. You are an entrepreneur.
You only have so much energy.
French philosopher Albert Camus says, “we expend a tremendous
amount of energy just trying to be normal."
Save it for people that will ignite your entrepreneurial flame.
I love this quote from the poet Rumi,
“Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames.”
Most people see themselves on fire just to keep others warm. The
expectations of others can be a heavy burden to carry. Remember
your’e an entrepreneur. You are in the minority.
Entrepreneurship is a grind. Understand that most people fail
because they’re just not cut out to do it. Once you accept this
reality, you now need to work on how you aren’t going to be
Normal people “don’t get it."
One of the main reasons people fail to become successful is they
end up editing their dreams to fit in with others. If you need to edit
your goals or personality you’re hanging round with the wrong
people. Find better people to hang around with. Join a Meetup.
Join a Mastermind. Hang out with people who see solutions not
Of the top 8 highest grossest musicians in the world today still
alive, 6 have either been charged at some time with possession of
drugs or courted sexual controversy (Paul Mccartney, Elton John,
Madonna, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc). No politician could ever
get away with that.
Don’t live like a politician, always afraid of upsetting people,
always careful of your message.
Stop hiding behind the mask. Stop editing. Stop biting your
tongue. Stand up. Stick out. You need to live like a rock star.
2) VALIDATE YOUR IDEAS
Rely on validation, not hard work and passion.
The “never give up” myth is a common story told of successful
people in the media, business and general life. It’s a story so
compelling, we adopt it as our own. We, too, believe that if we
find what we’re passionate about, work crazy hair for a few years,
we’ll eventually break through.
Never give up works in sports, but in business and life it can be
dangerous. It’s why so many entrepreneurs fail.
I was like that too. I worked like crazy building a business in the
hope that someday I’d sell it. I believed that hard work and sheer
determination would see me through to the day I sailed off into the
sunset. How wrong I was.
For every success story of sheer pig-headed determination there
are 1000 stories of failure. But we don’t like to talk or hear about
them, so it’s easy to assume that every success story is the result
of hard work. That’s called survivor bias.
The reality is that believing hard work and determination will get
you there is an story that’s holding you back. What if you’re
working hard on an idea that’s ahead of its time, that people just
don’t “get”, or one that someone else has developed better/faster/
The reality is that winners quit, winners quit all the time. Losers,
however, are afraid to quit. They are afraid of what other people
may think if they give up. They are afraid of other people’s
You need to test. Test everything.
Consider these 2 scenarios:
1) Spend $100 now testing your idea to see if people like it or...
2) Spend 6-12 months (and a lot of money) building a product
then launching it without knowing if people like it or not
Which would you choose?
Take the BS out of building your business.
I teach Idea Validation in the Entrepreneur Upgrade. The goal of
this stage of your business is to develop a list and “stress-test” that
list until the ideas break. What you’re left with is the robust ideas
that you can build a business on.
Test your business idea first at the lowest possible risk and cost to
you. If the idea doesn’t work, keep testing different angles on the
idea. Keep testing until you arrive at a formula that people “get”
and they’re willing to pay for. Today, there are many tools for you
to build and test ideas without wasting a lot of time and money.
Quitting is the new winning. Learn when to stick and when to
quit. Learn to double down on what works and back away from
Don’t be afraid of what others might think. What counts is where
your heart is.
3) FOCUS ON USEFULNESS NOT INNOVATION
Trying to be the next Mark Zuckerberg will sink you.
Sure, Zuckerberg is great but you are not Zuckerberg.
Talking about selling your company before you even have a
paying customer will sink you.
In my Entrepreneur Upgrade I explain why Idea Validation
should be based on problems people like you have in their
everyday lives rather than big game-changers. This is called
“Scratching Your Own Itch”
As much as the American Dream of business is empowering it’s
also disempowering. You see, Zuck and co are celebrities. You
will never be a celebrity. And that’s fine. You can have an amazing
life without changing the world. So don’t beat yourself up because
you’re not a business of billions, or a business that even Grandmas
have heard about.
Facebook didn’t start out trying to change the world, it only
wanted to make communication between students easier.
Rather than creating world-changing apps, focus on solving every
day problems that people like you have on an every day basis.
Maybe you’re thinking too hard about that BIG idea. You can’t
quite work out the details, you can’t extrapolate the data to make
the kind of money you want.
Well, sometimes the best way to discover the big idea, is to stop
looking for it.
Bill Gates didn’t launch Microsoft off the bat. He started by
launching Traf-O-Data, a service that prepared road traffic data for
engineers. It didn’t fly, but the experience is what gave him insight
into building Microsoft.
Rather than focus on big ideas, focus only on small ideas right
here and now. What ideas are possible? Don’t worry if you can’t
see how such a small idea can make you a living. Rather, try to
solve one person’s problem with a simple solution.
Trying to go big is the main reasons entrepreneurs never get
started. Big is a perfect solution. In reality, successful
entrepreneurs are able to get going here today, even with the
limited resources they have.
Zuckerberg wasn’t original. There’s plenty documented out there
about how Facebook was a copy of this or that. MySpace was
around long before Facebook. Remember those guys?
If you tell someone about your business idea and they say, “yeah,
but so-and-so’s doing that already…”
You might think that’s game over.
It’s not. Competition is what you want to hear. When competition
are already doing what you want to do, and are getting paid for
it… that’s good news.
Like Facebook, Google wasn’t first either. There was Lycos,
Altavista, Hotbot, Excite and many others that came before it.
Remember Yahoo!’s directory? Exactly, they were years ahead of
Google watched from the sidelines then built their solution based
on what wasn’t working with all the other guys. The incumbents
were spending millions of dollars of their investor money on
doing the market research for Google.
It’s much better to be last mover for a number of reasons.
First movers have to take a big bet on developing the market.
They spend millions on educating customers, on developing
business models and testing unproven concepts.
That’s okay if your name is Richard Branson or Elon Musk and
you can do the “vision” thing, like taking people to Mars.
But, if you don’t have access to billions, don’t bet on developing a
Instead, copy a model that works and out-execute it.
Ask, what are people already paying for?
It’s easy enough to go into Google Keywords tool and search for
terms related to your product. Terms with high bids may initially
sound off-putting because competition is high, but ultimately are
telling you that there is real value in these searches. High bid
keywords show you advertisers are willing to pay money because
they know customers will pay too. That’s a good sign.
Let your competition do the heavy lifting for you.
But don’t be a cheap knock-off.
Instead, learn what the competition can’t do and double down on
that. This works really well when your market is full of the big
How can you compete with the big guys?
• You can also offer a more human, intimate experience
• You can offer a better personal service
• You can act faster and listen to customers better
Richard Branson didn’t invent air travel. He didn’t have to teach
people about flying, passports and airport checkin. He didn’t have
to build schools to train new generations of pilots or air traffic
controllers. His competition had been doing that for decades.
But, what Branson did right was to look at the big guys and out-
execute. What the incumbents got wrong was service. They were
too big to care,. too bureaucratic to listen to customers. When
Virgin Atlantic launched from London to EWR New York with
just one plane, Branson did it focusing on what all the other guys
got wrong - experience.
4) SCRATCH YOUR OWN ITCH
How can you fix it?
The best place to start mining for insight is right below your own
This is called “Scratching Your Own Itch”
Nik Schriefer, from Stagelink the site that matches music fans,
venues and artists because bringing these 3 elements together was
a problem he faced himself. As a traveling jazz musician, Nik
founded that foreign venues were difficult to book when you
weren’t an established name like Rihanna or Cold Play. By
bringing fans on board who could vote to bring artists to their city,
Nik could de-risk the decision for venues.
Nik didn’t set out to change the world of music for all artists, just
fix his own problem.
Bond Thaiyanurak was a busy office worker in Bangkok who just
couldn’t find the time to dry clean his shirts. Dry cleaners never
opened outside of office hours. So, Bond built Washbox24 - an
automated laundry service. Drop off your shirts in the laundry
locker. Scan the barcode on the screen and you’ll receive an alert
when your laundry’s done. Machines are installed in office
buildings and apartment blocks.
Connor Groom’s journey into entrepreneurship began when he
was trying to master Spanish. Connor moved to Colombia, South
America from the US to enjoy the entrepreneurial vibe, the cost of
living and to learn a bit of Spanish. But, when he got there, he
didn’t learn Spanish as fast as he wanted to. In fact, he got quite
frustrated with the lack of services available aimed at people, like
him, who wanted an intense Spanish immersion experience. Most
learning platforms were geared towards learners who took a
handful of lessons a month, but for Connor, 20 hours a week
would end up both very expensive and a sketchy experience as
he’d probably have to work with multiple teachers. That’s where
the idea for BaseLang.com came from – the unlimited one-on-one
Spanish tutoring for $99 a month.
Ollie Halimatussadiah set up an online publishing platform in
Indonesia because there were so few options available to indie
authors like herself. Rather than chase a market she didn’t know,
she started talking the biggest hurdle that she faced on a daily
When your life is traveling the world, and you don’t want to look
like you’re wearing travel clothes out of the LL Bean catalog,
what do you do? That’s the problem Kyle Barraclough faced
before launching Libertad Apparel. His travel shirts are designed
to look and feel great for a night out in Buenos Aires or
Tokyo even when straight out of your suitcase.
And I set up the Up.School because the biggest challenge facing
us entrepreneurs who work a lot online is who we hang around
with. Entrepreneurs grow when they can learn from, be inspired
by and work with other likeminded entrepreneurs. That was my
personal itch to scratch and it was a problem facing so many
entrepreneurs like me. Wouldn’t it be good if we could join the
dots and bring these people together through the power of the
You already have a customer of one. And, chances are there are
people just like you out there.
Scratch your own itch.
Alternatively, you can build for someone you don’t know but
that’s so much harder. If your business doesn’t solve a problem
that you personally face, you’ll struggle to connect at the
emotional level. I’ll talk about why emotion is so important soon.
5) FOCUS ON YOUR FIRST PAYING CUSTOMER
This is core to the Entrepreneur Upgrade.
Your main goal when launching your business should always be
find your first paying customer.
That’s the shift from zero (idea) to one (paying customer).
Nothing else should be as important as this singular goal when
building your business.
Write this goal on a big piece of paper and stick it on your wall or
Business planning, recruiting a team, outsourcing, lawyers,
contracts, company formation, accountants, offices… All these
can wait. None of these are going to help you get from Zero to
Zero to One can also mean going from $0 to $1. As insignificant
as that sounds, it’s a major step in the sales process. The difference
between moving a customer from $1 to $1,000 is greater than
moving a stranger from $0 to buying something for $1.
Find your first paying customer, even if that customer pays just
Zero to One is also binary, meaning it’s either 0 or 1. That
prospect can scare off some entrepreneurs because they like the
comfort of sitting behind their desk getting everything right. These
aren’t real entrepreneurs, they’re “wantrepreneurs” - people who
talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. They do everything except
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you have to get
comfortable with being uncomfortable. Remember when you
asked that guy/gal out for a date? It’s the same. The only way you
can get a result is by getting out there and facing the moment of
The moment of truth is unavoidable, so get to it.
6) LAUNCH FIRST, LAUNCH FAST
There is a military adage - no plan survives the enemy. Or in
startup terms - no plan survives the customer
Author Seth Godin says, “nothing happens until you ship”.
Shipping meaning getting your product into the hands of a paying
customer. Until that point, assume all your assumptions will be
Forget about perfecting your idea. Your business will change
many times - startups call this the “pivot”.
LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman says that “if you’re not
embarrassed by the first iteration of your product, you shipped too
late.” The first version of Linkedin, Windows and Facebook were
all pretty lousy.
Long term plans and detailed documents are pointless. The days of
developing products in the backroom in secret for months are
Everything people said about your product or service will be null
and void at the moment of truth - the moment they open their
So, we want to launch First and Fast.
LAUNCH FIRST = launching your product is the first thing you
should do. It's at the forefront of our planning and activity.
LAUNCH FAST = be as lean as possible, avoid all the
unnecessary steps so you can get to the customer as fast as you
You don’t learn until you launch. And, the sooner you start
learning, the sooner your business can grow. Get the product out
as soon as you can. The good news is there are many ways you
can launch a business without a finished product (or without
a product at all in some cases). One way to do this is to build
a “Minimum Viable Product”. I teach this in the Entrepreneur
A Minimum Viable Product is the smallest possible product you
can get out into the market that your ideal customer will buy.
Minimum = smallest possible version.
Viable = that a customer will pay for.
Building an MVP will help you launch first and launch fast… Get
your business up and running with the minimum time and money.
The MVP approach to launching a product is very different from
Developing an MVP over a full-blown product has many distinct
• You can get a product out in a matter of hours or days
• You can produce something for nothing
• You get feedback fast, which allows you to improve or
develop your product
• You go LIVE which means customers can interact with you
and give you insight into what they want
• You focus more on marketing (execution) than on ideas,
which is where the money is
Often traditional businesses take months, if not years, to get their
product right. The problem with this approach is that it’s based on
an assumption which often turns out to be wrong. Better to get
something small into the market that tests potential demand and
build upon your product from there.
Speed is the essence here because any hour or day spent without a
product in the market is an hour or day wasted. The key here is to
not get hung up on perfect.
There are many MVP options out there, most of which I teach on
my Zero-to-One Launch course. My preferred option is the 10x10
hack which I’ll share a little on now to give you an insight into
how MVPs work.
The 10x10 hack is a great way to launch a business without a
You pitch 10 people (your network) your idea and ask for $10.
I’ve used this twice in the last 6 months and it worked both times,
I got more than 10 people in fact, but that’s a nice problem to
Let’s break this down.
10 People from your Ecosystem: You should know 10 people in
your network (see Ecosytem) who need your idea. If you don’t,
you either need to work harder on building your Ecosystem or on
aligning your product better. For example, if you’re selling
healthcare products, is it because you think you can make money
or is it because you know people who are into this as well? It
makes sense to start with ideas that work for your own Ecosystem.
10 People to get going: 10 people is enough to validate your idea.
If you can’t get 10 people either you’re not very good at pitching
or you’re focusing on the wrong people. With 10 people you can
run early beta tests of the product or service and take it from there.
$10: You don’t need $10 right? But, $10 is enough to scare off the
time wasters. It’s also enough to give these early testers a feeling
they have some “skin in the game.” If you give your product away
for free, they won’t value it.
Your MVP is a starting point. It won’t make you any money. You
can improve the product quality, scope and offer new products.
You can introduce customized products or subscription services.
Think of your business as a ladder of products with your MVP
being the first step. Your newsletter will be key to upselling these
7) BUILD YOUR NEWSLETTER
The money’s in the list.
The list is your email newsletter.
Email works. Your email newsletter will be your most effective
tool to sell today.
Try this experiment…
SCENARIO A) Go down to your nearest train station or Wal-Mart
and approach everyone leaving the exit. Hold out a $20 note and
tell them you’ll exchange $5 for this $20, no strings attached.
Most people will think you’re nuts. They’ll think it’s fake, or there
must be a catch. It’s too good to be true! They might even call the
police, so be be ready to show them this page in the book if you
get caught! But, in reality, anybody would be nuts to turn down a
genuine $20 in exchange for $5.
SCENARIO B) Now, the next time you’re out with friends, run
the same experiment. How many of them take you up on your
offer? They’ll think there’s a catch for sure. They’ll check the
notes to see if they are legit. But, at the end of the day, they’ll be
nuts to turn down the offer. If you’re feeling plush tell them they
can keep exchanging the money until they’re satisfied (or your
money runs out).
How do you think the results will differ?
You won’t even get to speak to most people in (A). They’ll run
along, wonder what you want to steal or think you’re wasting their
time. You might get into trouble. In (B), once they learn your offer
is legit, they’ll love it - it’s a great deal!
See how these results differ even though you’re selling the same
thing the same way?
Without a list, every time you try to tell people about your idea,
you’re like the guy in scenario (A). No matter how great it is,
people just aren’t interested. The average American grows up
seeing 170,000 marketing messages by her 17th birthday. What
makes yours any different?
Until they know and trust you (like B), you’re just like every other
marketer who’s ripped them off or wasted their time. You’re every
viagra seller or "make millions working from home" pyramid
If you’re not already in a dialog with them about something,
they’ll ignore you, no matter how amazing your idea is.
Your newsletter will be your most effective tool to build trust and
That’s why everything you do should point to your list.
• any blog post you publish
• any presentation you give
• any Facebook update
...should ultimately funnel people to a page on your website that
encourages them to sign up to your newsletter.
You can accelerate your list building with a Lead Magnet.
Giving people a discount on a future product is usually not
enough. People want something they can take away. Free ebooks
work great for this purpose.
Marketers call these offers “lead magnets”, you can see why. A
lead magnet is a small giveaway that gets people to sign up to
your newsletter. Lead magnets are great ways to kick start and
accelerate your list building.
Lead magnets should be easy to produce but at the same time give
away enough valuable information not to waste people’s time. If
you create a shoddy lead magnet, you’ve wasted a lead. People
won’t trust you.
Lead magnets are a great way to build your list fast and free
A great lead magnet will start the trust building process. Not only
are you giving away valuable information, but you’re also injected
your personality (and humour if you got it) into the giveaway to
win people over.
• If you’re an author, give your readers the option to download
a free book on your website in return for your email. This
could be a sample of an upcoming book, or an exclusive
freebie. If they love your work, they’ll sign up.
• If you’re selling aloe products to runners and cyclists online,
give away a free 15 page ebook of “50 ways to power your
performance with plants”.
• If you’re an SEO consultant, give away your “10 ways to
improve your Google rankings in 30 minutes"
• If you’re developing a nutrition app, you don’t need to give
away a nutrition app to get people interested in you. Give
away “A short guide to nutrition apps available for free on
You don’t need to give away a lead magnet that’s a similar type to
your future product.
Instead, focus on the area rather than the product. For example,
people interested in cycling and running aren’t looking for aloe
products, they’re looking for something to improve their
8) ALWAYS START WITH YOUR ECOSYSTEM
Don’t go looking for customers.
Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of looking far away for their
customer, as if there is some magical market they have yet to
discover that will unleash a torrent of demand. The reality is that
the best customer to start with is yourself and your own network.
Email your friends, family, colleagues and network and tell them
about your list and giveaway.
These people are your Ecosystem.
Encourage them to opt-in. Do not add them to your list without
permission, this is a good way of annoying your contacts and also
getting your list shut down when they report abuse to the
If you have a blog, create sign up boxes in your posts. The most
effective way is a Call-to-Action box embedded within the content
of the post.
Create content on social media sites like Linkedin or Slideshare
and drive click through traffic to a landing page.
Set up a Facebook ad campaign where people click through to
your landing page to sign up to your list.
You list should be people who are interested in your subject area
rather than the product. So, if you are offering pet psychology
counselling, it’s pet owners rather than people who are looking for
Most pet owners don’t know they need your pet psychology
counselling service (yet). Your job is to build that list then
convince them that a) they need it and b) you offer a trusted
solution to their problems.
If you want to find out more about your list, ask.
Here are a couple of ways you can use your list to get feedback:
• Use your autoresponder to send them to a Typeform page
• Use your autoresponder to send them to a Calendly or
Schedule Once page that sets up a 20 minute Skype call with
You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people. This
applies to the people in your own network as much as it does to
your customers. Find your fans. Don’t waste your energies selling
to the unsold.
And get out there.
Alec Hartman, the CEO TechDay and cofounder of Digital Ocean
is an entrepreneur, investor and mentor to startups. Whenever Alec
gives talks to accelerators at his TechDay conferences he
impresses upon a younger generation of startup founders the need
to get out there and talk to people.
Alec got his start selling computers out of the back of his mom’s
car. He did that every day after college and at weekends. And
while he made a pretty sum of cash on the side, it was the
experience that became invaluable in his later business career.
You see, it’s all too easy sitting behind your computer screen
coding away on that app. But the best founders are out there
getting their hands dirty. Working at the coal face not only helps
you drive the lifeblood of your business (cashflow from sales) but
also, and probably most importantly, it gives you a real insight
into how your customers think and feel.
One simple rule for success:
Get out of the building! Go talk to your Ecosystem. That’s
it… The answers don’t lie inside your business.
9) BUILD PIPELINES NOT BUCKETS
Most founders think they’re the boss of their organizations. Often
this isn’t true. The organisation is the boss. The boss determines
what hours you work and what you do.
Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business. Great
businesses can run without you. Ask yourself the question, how
can I make money while I sleep?
The way to do this is build a pipeline.
Pipelines are systems that make money while you sleep.
They take time to build. That’s why too many entrepreneurs
choose to carry buckets instead. It’s immediate results but labor
intensive. Unlike the pipeline, you’re limited by how many hours
you have in the day.
You core pipeline should be your Marketing Funnel. Done right,
this funnel should be mostly automated, requiring only your input
to drive new leads into the top of the funnel or convert those who
are already in it. If you’re interested in building and optimizing
your marketing funnel, there’s a whole section in the
Entrepreneur Upgrade on just that.
A marketing funnel is a lead capture process.
Think of it as how someone goes from being a visitor to your site
to a paying customer.
At each step of the journey there are different stages and actions.
1) Customer searches google, visits your website.
2) Customer opts-in to your list by giving their email address in
return for some freebie
3) You send the customer useful information over time via an
automated email (known as an autoresponder)
4) At some point in the future, that newsletter subscriber visits
your website and buys your product.
That’s the marketing funnel start to finish.
To make this work you need
1) A landing page to collect email addresses
2) A mailing app to collect and send out emails
3) A sales page.
Let’s have a look at each of these:
1) Landing page. Could be as simple as the “coming soon page”
mentioned earlier. You could spend more money on a service like
Convertpress, Leadpages which specialize in building landing
2) Email app. I use Mailchimp. Other people use Infusionsoft, or
Aweber. They are much of a muchness. Try them out free and see
which interface you like best.
3) Sales page. Often a straightforward page designed in
Key to progressing leads down the funnel is engagement.
Engagement is key to long term sales.
Engagement really means “having a conversation” with your
subscribers rather than jackhammer selling them.
There are 2 parts to engagement.
2) Being useful
1) Indoctrination means getting the subscriber on-board with the
“program” ie. tuned into your message.
This is what some internet marketers call “giving your email
subscribers a digital hug.”
Here’s an example welcome email from DailyWorth.com - a
personal finance site for women…
Hi, and welcome to Daily Worth— the leading financial media
platform for women who want more— more net worth, more self
worth, and ultimately, more joy. We’re glad you’re here to embark
on this exciting and fulfilling journey together. We love money.
We use it to take care of our families, our communities and
ourselves. It gives us power, freedom and balance. It lets us pursue
our passions, whatever they may be. Ultimately, money touches
every corner of your life, and we’re here to provide the
guidance and community to bring your relationship with money to
the next level, no matter where you’re starting. Explore and enjoy,
- The Daily Worth Team
Use your autoresponder to build a dialog with your subscribers.
Be honest and they’ll return that openness with you. Our goal is to
get feedback from subscribers and find out what they’re struggling
You see, your product may sound like a great idea to you, but
people aren’t interested in products, they’re interested in solutions.
Hey, I’m just starting out and I’m pleased to see you downloaded
my guide “20 ways to use plants to power your cycling
performance". I guess, like me, you love cycling but are struggling
with all these synthetic, chemical supplements out there. That’s
why I’m really keen to explore alternatives that can benefit us all,
and put plants on the map.
It would be really cool if you could share a little of your own
experience with cycling supplements. Everything you tell me
will help me shape my future products for people just like us. Click
the link below ->
2) Being useful simply means that. Don’t sell. Rather, be useful
with content and information.
You need to constantly market your product by producing quality
content that they want to consume. Videos, how-to tips, podcasts
and ebooks are just some of the types of content you should offer
on an ongoing basis.
Done right, a good funnel will become the key pipeline that grows
your business long term. You’ll face the challenge of leaks in your
pipeline and it will be your goal to patch those leaks. With a leaky
pipeline, you’ll need a firehose to fill it and that traps you in a
constant cycle of activity producing content.
I talk more in-depth about patching leaks in the pipeline in my
10) FIND WHAT WORKS AND DOUBLE DOWN
What worked already?
This is a powerful question that can deliver great results.
Rather than scratching your head working out what to do about
your marketing or user engagement, ask… “what worked
In your history you did lots of things. Some worked, many didn’t.
Go back to the ones that worked and double down on them.
For me, I often catch myself drifting off trying new things because
I’m curious like that. But I have to keep bringing myself back and
revisiting what worked.
If I want to generate leads it’s better for me to create a
presentation on Slideshare or hold a webinar than it is for me to
run a Twitter ad campaign.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Twitter ads work, just not for me. You
see, we have to understand that with all the blogs out there about
this and that marketing strategy that these are geared towards
certain personalities and certain ways of doing business.
Likewise with my Twitter or Facebook accounts, they’re pretty
underserved to be honest and I’m happy with that because every
hour spent on these is an hour not spent on preparing a webinar,
podcast or slideshare presentation.
Don’t feel you’re missing out by neglecting the whole social
media spectrum. Doing that is draining and you’ll never win.
Instead, build a marketing funnel around your most effective
That’s why you need to look at your track record. Some things you
did required a lot of pushing up hill right? They were a lot of
effort in and a little result out. Then there were the sweet spots -
the things you did that gave you a greater ROI than your initial
effort. Go back to these strategies and see how you can implement
them. You track record doesn’t lie.
Even though you can’t articulate yourself why this worked and
that didn’t, the numbers tell you the truth.
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