5 lesson

5 lessons learned from starting & scaling a multi million euro company

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of emotions and challenges.

A recent article posted by Forbes stated that 80%  of small businesses fail within the first 18 months.That’s a lot!

There were plenty of times when I was starting out that I was probably very close to making that 80% myself.

Thankfully I came out on top. I have started several businesses in different industries in Ireland, UK and America. These businesses ranged from a fitness studio to corporate events business, travel agent and a software company.

Each and every business had its own challenges and daily frustrations. Validating your business idea, cashflow, acquiring new customers, sales, hiring employees. The list is endless…

By the time you read to the end of this article you will have solid ideas on how to grow your company to its next level. These are some of my biggest ahha moments I’ve had from taking several companies from 0 to 100K+ per month.

small business failure rate

Lets jump in..

Focus on Sales & Marketing!

Sale’s is  the lifeblood of every single company. If you can’t sell, your screwed. You could have the best product or service in the world but without a focus on sales, you’re doomed for failure.

Although sales and marketing are the most important part of business, 80% of business owners never really focus on. Hence the high failure rates for businesses. Seems crazy right…

Peter Drucker, the world’s most famous marketing and management consultant has a famous quote.

“A Business Has Only 2 Functions, Marketing & Innovation”

-Peter Drucker-

The day you started your business is the day you innovated! There is no need to try come up with some new innovation to grow your business until you have the cash flow to do so.

You are no longer an accountant, a beautician or a fitness instructor. You are now a marketer of your product or service, that should be your main focus.

This is a big mindset shift for most business owners that they fail to see. The reason, you think having a fantastic product or service is enough. You worked in a day job where clients were landed on your lap everyday..but you don’t understand how that client got there.

sales

Action Item..

Make sure you spend at least 2-3 hr on sales and marketing every single day!

Get your Numbers dialed in..

You cannot successfully grow your business unless you know your numbers.This is key! You cannot just give your company a goal of 500k of revenue and not have all your numbers mapped out in order to achieve it.

If you were going on holidays you would map out everything that needed to happen to reach your destination. What time you would leave your house to arrive at the airport. What time and where you would catch the bus / train in order to hit your destination by a certain time. Business is no different.

So let’s say you want your company to make 500k this year. What would need to happen to achieve that. We would use the following table to figure this out.

Target Revenue 500000
Average Sale Value 800
Customer Required 652
Average Conversion Rate 20%
Leads Required 3125
Leads Required Per Week 60

 

We now know exactly what needs to happen in order to achieve the growth you want in your company.

You then communicate this back to your employees. The best solution is to have a big whiteboard in your office where you have a daily 15 minute standing meeting around your numbers.

Each employee should have their targets aligned with your revenue goals. When speaking to each employee/ sales person/ marketing executive etc..you ask the following two questions.

1. Where are you against where you need to be?

2. What needs to change to get you there?

By constantly asking these questions and always having your eye on the end goal, you will achieve it.

know your numbers

Action Item..

 

1. Use the above  table, figure out exactly what needs to happen in order to hit your desired revenue as a business.

2. Communicate this to your staff on a daily basis and track on a whiteboard

3.Keep each staff member aligned with your goal on a daily basis.

Who are they..Where are they and what can you give them…

Now that we know how much money you want to achieve as a business, now we want to figure out the following.

1. Who do you want to serve?

2. Where are they hanging out?

3. What can you give them?

Who do you want to serve?

Some of your customers will be a pain to deal with, that’s the reality. Others won’t. You will make twice as much money off a certain customer type over another.

You need to get very clear on exactly who you want to serve as your customer. What do they look like, how much do they make, what are their current challenges and frustrations. This is your customer avatar profile.

So many businesses never take the time to work this out. Believe me, it only makes business harder, more stressful and a lot less profitable.

Ideal Customer Profile

Where are they hanging out?

Where do your customers hang out online. Where can you get their attention in order for them to hear about your product or service. Here is a common list where you can reach most customers online.

1. Google (Search engine optimisation, adwords and Google display network)

2. Facebook ( Facebook business page (organic leads), paid advertising)

3. Instagram

4. Pinterest

Give them what they want…

Once you have figured out exactly who your customer is and where they are hanging out online, you now need to transition to a bait. What I mean by bait is what can you put in front of your potential customer that might solve a problem for them.

This could be in the form of a short report or a checklist.

Example: If you are a builder and you are looking to pick up some new clients, you could write a checklist on “The 10 things you must check before hiring your next builder”

The only people who will optin for this report are people who are potentially looking for a builder.

The above example can be used in almost any industry.

Action Items…

1. Figure out who do you want to serve?

2. Find where they are hanging out?

3. What can you give them?

Conclusion

I honestly believe that if you focused on the above strategy every single day for the first 2/3hrs you will have a steady flow of customers.

Keep things as simple as possible when you are starting out. Focus, focus, focus on one single marketing channel until you are starting to generate consistent leads on a daily basis that are turning into sales.

Starting and growing a business is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. The only thing that will stop you from being massively successful is consistently focusing on the things that will make your sales.

Your Implementation checklist…

    1. Make sure you spend at least 2-3 hours on sales and marketing every single day!
    2. Using the above table, figure out exactly what needs to happen in order to hit your desired revenue as a business.
    3. Who do you want to serve?
    4. Where are they hanging out?
    5. What can you give them?

Download PDF Checklist & Bonus Business Building Mindmap..($97 value)

Dean Gammell, Voted Irelands No.1 Entrepreneur in 2014 is a 29 year old businessman from Westmeath. He employs 35 staff across a broad range of businesses. He started his first business when he was 22 and has since received numerous awards for entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dean speaks nationally on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. You can ad Dean on Facebook here.. (Feel Free to message me on Facebook :)

Business

7 Must have systems to grow any business

Do you ever feel frustrated trying to manage all the different moving parts of your business?

 

Trying to keep tabs on everything is tough unless you put the systems and procedures in place to allow it.

 

The sort of systems and procedures that would allow you to manage your entire business through your iPhone if you wish!

 

Impossible you might think, not for me.

There is a reason Mcdonalds is the most famous franchise in the world.

They understand that in order to be successful they must look at their business as a system and NOT a business.

 

There is a BIG difference.

 

Business

This is where most business owners fail.

They become a victim to their own business because they do not realize the IMPORTANCE of having the right systems in place.

 

Systems that would allow them to step away from their business and for it to still produce a consistent profit and grow without them.

How Do You See Your Business?

You need to start looking at your business like a cash machine with a troop of monkeys running it.

In order for that cash machine to thrive without you, what would you put in place so even a monkey can run and maintain it for you?

I am lucky enough to have found some amazing staff over the years.

However, I have found that in order for the business owner to put the right systems in place, you need to believe it’s going to be ran by monkeys.

When you have this mentality, you will go above and beyond in your systems to make them monkey proof.

For the last number of years, I have spent countless hours making my businesses monkey proof.

I have documented EVERYTHING so when one employee leaves another one can easily be trained in.

When I am on holidays, all my employees know exactly what has to be done and when.

My monkey systems and dashboards are there to make running a successful, profitable company inevitable!

So me, “chief monkey” can work on other, more important things in business and life.

How Can This Be Archieved

So how is it possible to make your business monkey proof in order for you to do what you want when you want?

I have dedicated a lot of my time in this area.

I’ve read hundreds of books and constantly refined a system that revolutionizes any business once these 7 steps are fully implemented.

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The 7 Systems I use & Teach Other Businesses To Use:

 

I use a project management software called Asana. Through this software, I run and maintain my entire company.

You do not have to use this, but its what works for me. The business name is the project name.

I then make the following subtasks under that company name.

1. Business Operations

2. Accountancy Systems

3. Sales systems

4. Lead generation

5. Fulfillment

6. Weekly meetings

7. Projects

These tasks are all then broken down further into more subtasks.

We connect the project management software in google docs for anything that requires a description and also use google spreadsheets where required.

1. Business Operations

Everything got to do with running the company. HR, culture, hiring/firing, business dashboard, time management, etc.
Each section is laid out so it is easy to understand and navigate.

2. Accountancy Systems

Most business owners do not realise how much money they are leaving on the table by not having good accountancy systems in place.

A business that is turning over 200k in revenue always has a number of opportunities to increase profits and cash flow through a few tweaks inside their accounts.

Areas you need to consider for your accountancy systems are, Forecasts, P&L, Cashflow analysis, Bank recon, Profit maximisers (Driving labour efficiency, driving profit by driving expenses monthly etc) and of course budgets.

3. Sales systems

Your business will not survive without having a very structured process in place in order to get sales and tomaximize them throughout the customer life cycle.

Through your sales systems you should have the necessary training to allow your employees make the sale.

Sales scripts, Sales upsells/ maximisers, cross-sells, down-sells. Each one designed in order to get the sale and maximize the profit for the company.

4. Lead generation

Lead generation is the life blood of every business. We generate leads in every possible way.

It’s broken down into “lead acquisition” and “conversion“.

We are always looking to improve and tweak both.

However, one thing to note is we only focus on certain channels at one each time, we don’t spread our focus too thin across many and get no results.

5. Fulfilment

Delivering the product the way the owner wants it delivered without any problems. This system is designed so each employee knows exactly what a happy fulfilled customer should look like.

We also describe of how NOT to deliver our product, anything that would be substandard to our end result. By doing this, an employee has no excuses for poor delivery.

6. Weekly meetings

One of the biggest problems with companies is the lack of execution and communication.

We plan this into asana, so that everyone knows where they stand and who is doing what.

This is broken down into Quarterly, monthly and weekly meetings. All meetings are aligned with our yearly goals so we are constantly working towards our year end target.

7. Projects

Every company always has small and big projects ongoing. We break these down in this section. We can see who is doing what and how each project is coming along.

What’s really good about using a project management software is you can assign a person to each of these 7 areas.

That’s crucial in business, someone having clear accountabilities for each area of the business.

Each of the 7 points are broken down further into sub-systems (or sub-tasks) each subtask is either a reactive or proactive task/system.

What I mean by proactive and reactive tasks.

A proactive task/system is put in place to achieve the desired output, ie your goals.

A reactive task/system is put in place as a result of an unforeseen challenge that has happened in the business, you put this in place to overcome this challenge and ensure it does not happen again.

Conclusion

These 7 systems took me years of trial and error to figure out. Each one still evolves to this day as our companies continue to grow.

As a business owner, you have worked pretty hard to get to where you are. Long working hours, stress and daily frustrations. You owe it to yourself to implement the above so the business is less dependent on you. This will allow you to focus on either growing your business in a new direction or working less in your company.

Dean Gammell, Voted Irelands No.1 Entrepreneur in 2014 is a 29 year old businessman from Westmeath. He employs 35 staff across a broad range of businesses. He started his first business when he was 22 and has since received numerous awards for entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dean speaks nationally on Entrepreneurship and Innovation. You can ad Dean on Facebook here.. (Feel Free to message me on Facebook :)