To scale your business from $1m to $5m may seem daunting at first. Whether you’re turning over $500,000 p.a or $1m p.a there’s a good chance you’ve put in an enormous amount of time effort and resources over the years. There will have been times you thought that you will never be able to take it any further, but yet you kept going and where you are today. Congratulations!
At each level of business growth, there are new challenges and in these earlier stages of start-up to $1m in turnover, a lot of your sales and marketing has been “push” marketing. Whereby you go out to the market and sing the praises of your offering in the hope that people will want the benefits you are spruiking and do business with you.
This is a hard slog!
Scaling a business need not stressful and exhausting, however, if you are having to “push” your offer to people consistently, it will be.
If you truly want to scale to a new level, you’ll need a new perspective.
You see, the ultimate secret to scaling your business to the next level is not necessarily about pushing harder, but taking a step back to analyse where you started from, where you are now and most importantly analyse deeply the benefits you have provided your customers and the pain you have reduced and/or eliminated for them.
Deep inside the detailed analysis (as arduous and as painful as it can be) is the real key to you being able to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process.
Let me explain further…
Step #1 – Create Urgency
Many businesses go to market with an offering that at the end of the day is a “nice to have”, rather than something people MUST have!
You notice the difference already?
Reflect on what you offer and then think about how “urgent” that offer is to your prospective clients.
Let me give you an example, many years ago I ran a small golf school in a reasonably well-to-do area, and in the first year, we did quite well with just myself and my business partner the only coaches.
Over this first year, we took great notice of the conversations we were having with our clients and what they were saying. It became clear to us that most of the people coming to our golf school were well-off professional people (doctors, dentists, lawyers, television personalities, business owners and so on), this was great for us because obviously, they had no problem in being able to pay for our services and were almost all regular clients which meant we were booked out well in advance.
This was a “nice to have” for them and it was a good business for us, but what was even more interesting to us, is that the majority of these people also had school-age children, with the majority from about 5 – 16 years of age (it pays to talk to your customers; another way of saying survey your customers).
On top of this were in a popular part of town for golf in which there were many excellent golf courses, but here’s the kicker…
What we learnt from our conversations with our clients was, no one had a decent junior golf program.
We set up a junior golf program, employed eight golf coaches, we trained them to facilitate the training of children (a much different process to that with adults) and within six months, not only did we have the biggest junior golf program in the entire state, the parents would take lessons while the kids were in the programs.
On top of this, they loved us because their kids finally were getting exactly what they needed, a fun engaging and yet very instructional learning environment. And as any parent knows, you’ll spend anything on your kids, even mortgage the house to help them out if they need it.
Virtually overnight we fulfilled an “urgent need” and the “nice to have” customers were now spending anything from two to ten times what they were usually spending over 12 months as we also had an elite junior program that was very exclusive and very expensive! What most businesses would call a “halo product”.
Did we have to “push” to scale? No, we simply fulfilled an “urgent” need and the floodgates opened. And we didn’t have to spend another cent on marketing or advertising either!
So, with this in mind, what is the urgent need you could fulfil?
To find out, you need to dig deep, you’ll need to reflect and oftentimes you are too close to it (you know the whole trees/forest thing) and you’ll need someone to facilitate this process for you.
It’s worth spending time and money on this process because just like it was in our simple golf school, it’s a game-changer. And not only that, this is the absolute first step in being able to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process.
Don’t skimp on this reflection and deep analysis of what you provide your customers, and I’d highly recommend engaging an expert to facilitate the uncovering of your unique “urgent need” that you solve.
Step #2 – Offer Simplicity
To be able to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process, you not only need to solve an “urgent” problem for your customers, but you also need to solve a “BIG” problem.
Now when most people think about solving a big problem their mind goes all types of crazy coming up with the most hair-brain solutions with so many layers of complexity it ends up causing major confusion for everyone.
Here’s the thing, to be able to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process you need to solve a big problem as I’ve already said, but here’s the thing on this one…
The solution must be SIMPLE – and simple to implement!
This reminds me of a famous quote by Albert Einstein, “When the solution is simple, God is calling.” In other words, the solution to any complex problem is simple when you get to the core of the real issue.
Here’s an example. A good friend of mine ran a reasonably successful stone importing business, turning over a few million dollars a year.
In a similar process to my example I gave you in the simple golf school, he was continually talking with his customers and he came to realise the biggest headache for his clients (mostly builders via architects), was that their suppliers of stone (granite, marble etc.) could never precisely tell them when the stone would arrive and this led to wasted time, causing budget blowouts and reduced profits for the builders.
How to solve an “URGENT BIG PROBLEM” simply?
Create a live dashboard of exactly where the shipping containers were at any point in the journey from source to delivery.
By installing this live dashboard, whenever a client called him to ask, “When is my stone arriving?” He and his staff could look at the live dashboard and immediately answer, “Well sir, your granite is 37 hours from the destination port it will take 48 hours to clear customers and then it will be shipped to you arriving between 9 am and 12 noon on 3 July.”
Do you think the builder relying on not incurring time penalties on the project to make a profit would be happy to be able to know where his stone was at any given time?
You bet he was and so was every other client he dealt with who began beating a path to his door.
My friend sold his business 18 months ago at many more millions than what it was worth before the “live dashboard”.
Solve a big problem with a simple solution. This is Step #2.
Step # 3 – Eliminate the Competition
Many business owners believe that to be successful and to scale, they need to be work harder and be better than the competition. They think they need to have a better-quality product; they need to smile bigger, do more for their customers, roll out the red carpet and turn themselves inside out to try to differentiate themselves from everyone else who provides the same product or service.
If you believe this – STOP!
If this is your Modus Operandi, this has to change right now!
Now I’m not saying you don’t need to provide a good product and great service, that would just be plain rubbish. These things are important. However, rather than turning yourself inside out and driving yourself into the ground, trying to be “better”, what if you could be “THE ONLY” one who can do XYZ?
Now, this doesn’t mean setting fire to the competition’s premises or post nasty things about them on social media to destroy their reputation.
What this step entails, is engaging in the navel-gazing I’ve recommended already, and with this determine…
What it is that you do that your competition is NOT doing?
What is it that you do that makes you the ONLY one doing that particular thing?
This is correct Market Positioning or, Competitive Positioning.
I’ve provided two simple examples already, my golf school fulfilling the need of the local children and my friend installing the dashboard to stay on top of stone arrivals.
Another colleague of mine ran a plumbing business and he became the only one to “Have a plumber at your door within 24 hours guaranteed, or the service was free!”
Just like Dominos, “Piping hot delivered to your door in 30 minutes or its free!”
He was the only one to guarantee this, solving the biggest pain for people who needed a plumber, i.e. the unreliability of one turning up!
And his solution was also so simple, “24 hours or it’s free!”
Who wouldn’t want that kind of plumbing service?
Turned out he was the ONLY one offering this and everyone wanted it!
A few years ago he sold that business for many millions.
So, Step #3 to be able to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process is to eliminate the competition by becoming the ONLY one doing XYZ.
Step #4 – Establish Yourself as the Industry Authority
If you’ve successfully implemented Steps #1-3 above, this next step comes relatively naturally.
You are providing a simple solution to fix a BIG problem and you are already standing out from the crowd because you don’t have any competition.
This automatically makes you an expert.
You see, people look up to people who can interpret complex issues and make them simple for people to understand, i.e. solve a complex problem with a simple solution.
As the industry expert, you can now asses where your industry is at and now you can “tell” people how it ought to be, and what they should expect.
Let’s use the plumbing example…
You’ve set a new benchmark and expectation for the industry. You can now get on your soapbox and spruik that, “You deserve more from your plumber. If should have someone reliably turn up to your door within 24 hours. You shouldn’t have to be put out by this laziness and tardiness of service. You pay good money for a plumbing service and you deserve the best service for that money (think of standing on a soapbox in ancient Rome).”
Do you think the crowd will support you?
You bet they will!
Do you think they will demand more from other plumbing services?
You bet they will.
If they don’t get good service from another plumber, do you think they will come to you?
You bet they will.
Do you think you’ve changed the entire plumbing industry for good?
You bet you have.
Do you think people will beat a path to the door of the person who shifted an entire industry?
You bet they will.
And now you are so close to fulfilling your desire to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process.
Do you see how it’s not necessarily about working harder?
Do you see how it’s not about being better?
Are you now starting to see how you can scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process?
And if you really want to put massive distance between you and the competition as the leading expert in your industry, you may want to consider your own platform on which you can reach millions of people.
Okay, let’s secure your $5m success with Step #5…
Step #5 – Sales and After Sales Follow up
All right, it’s time to talk about the big fat elephant in the room.
Sales and after-sales follow up!
If you’re going to successfully scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process, you’re going to need a full sales funnel, and a perfectly designed customer journey process. To me, they are the same thing.
So, while you are working on Steps #1-4 above, you ought to be also building out your Customer Journey, your sales funnel, your customer lifecycle and any other fancy name you want to call it.
The bottom line is you need to find the right people for your offer, offer it to them they way they want it offered, encourage them to seek you out through inbound marketing strategies and make the process from the first contact through to the sale transaction and after-sales follow up as simple, as smooth and as easy as possible.
This is an entire subject (or book) of its own, but I’m including it here to emphasise the importance of working this out even before you have the other steps in place.
Yes, it’s that crucial!
Many business owners focus on trying to perfect their product before taking it to market, but if you wait until you are “ready” with a “perfect” product, it could take months or years to get the sales process right, “later”.
Every sales process or customer journey requires testing and measuring until the stars finally align into the perfect process that makes buying from you a snack.
This means you need to get started on this straight away and ensure that when you have the other steps clear, proven and ready to go, all you have to do in your sales process is switch to full throttle. You can do this because you already know through your testing and measuring, it is a perfect process that your customers simply “fall” through without friction.
If you can create this seamless experience for them, you will also have a mob of raving fans that will sing your praises everywhere and become your own (very cost effective) marketing army!
So there you have it. These are the five steps you can implement to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process:
Step #1 – Create Urgency
Step #2 – Offer Simplicity
Step # 3 – Eliminate Your Competition
Step #4 – Establish Yourself as the Industry Authority
Step #5 – Perfect Your Sales and After Sales Follow up Process
We all have the same 24 hours every day and now I hope you can see that it’s not necessarily about who works the hardest or who can do ‘more” for their customers that brings success.
These five steps are priceless when you get them “just right”, and they are the ultimate keys that you can use to scale your business from $1m to $5m with ease and enjoy the process.
Good luck and drop me a line and let me know how you go.
Rohan James is an entrepreneur, market positioning consultant and master copywriter.