GREG’S BUSINESS GROWTH NEWSLETTER #321
Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.
In this issue:
– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff
Techniques for FIT
- “Try, fly, or die.” The law of nature. Adapt, migrate, or perish. Despite the negative connotations of the last word, there’s no shame in any of the three outcomes. It’s ok to try harder, take off, or stick it out, as long as you do it on purpose.
- Systemic change is hard, individual change less hard. I suppose this is why thought leaders focus on what we can do to pull ourselves up because the system won’t do it.
- Small changes add up. For example, a sheet of paper folded in half 50 times would reach up to the moon. Sure those last folds are tough to do, but you get my point. It adds up.
- They tell us we can’t change the past. This is true to a point. We can change the stories we tell about the past. This is important because we are the stories we tell ourselves, so we have some agency. We’re not trees.
Being Human – Is the juice worth squeezing?
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
Should you jump on this opportunity, or is it best to wait for the next one?
Almost every one of the growth projects I work on start with this question. A variation of, is this worth the effort?
To help answer the question I use some shortcuts, or rules of thumb, before proceeding.
- Invest a little before spending a lot. Coming up with quick tests and investing in them before going all in on a new market. With a little shoe-leather and time, you can get results to analyze. This saves you time, effort, and money. You’ll either get more excited about the opportunity, or want to run away after a few tests.
- What would you pay for a done-for-you customer right now? This helps with the design of your sales and marketing effort. It accounts for the most important SG&A expenses in one number.
- What is the expected revenue by transaction, year, and lifetime of the customer? I couple this with the price you’re willing to pay for a done-for-you customer, and compare it to the proposed budget. We all want opportunities requiring a $10 investment to get a $1000 return, but on launch, most new markets require $2 to get $1. Asking this helps frame the opportunity and work required.
- Besides budget, tell me about the people involved, and timeframe we’re working in. When does the money need to come in? How many people are going to work on this? In general, squeezing one of these three areas creates stress on the opportunity.
There are more rules of thumb, but these are the main ones. I just used them today. The opportunity sounds enormous, nearly $100MM in size, but some of it is spoken for. We press for how much is spoken for, and it comes back: 88% of the market is off limits. Ok, $12MM isn’t bad for a small firm. How much time do we have? How many people do we have to work with? What do we expect the average invoice to be? Can we buy a test? If these people were handed to us on a silver platter, what would we be willing to pay for each one?
This is when it falls apart. There isn’t a clean list. Every list will be made up of a mix of eligible and off-limits prospects. 9 out of 10 leads generated will be unsellable, driving up the cost of acquisition. Is it realistic to think we can do it? Is there any other better use of our time?
It turns out there is and in this opportunity the juice is not worth the squeezing.
“Always remember, if you ain’t first, you’re last.” – Ricky Bobby
Today is my birthday. I am marking trip #53 around the sun. It’s zero degrees right now, and they say it feels like minus ten. For the next month I am one year older than my lovely bride. Just on paper though. Her birthday is on the 25th of March. Spring follows her birthday, mine is followed by four weeks of ice and cold, but we’re tilting toward the sun a little more, so there’s that.
I have a friend great at tracking events. Since the day we first worked together some 25 years ago he either calls, sends an email, or texts me a birthday wish. Early on I mentioned he is usually the first person I heard from. This led to earlier and earlier birthday wishes. 7am. 6am. (he’s an hour behind me, so he’s dedicated) A few years ago some new friends started texting me early too. Early risers. I made the mistake of mentioning this.
The race was on. Earlier and earlier came the notes. The arms race escalating with one guy trying to outdo any random person remembering my birthday. No one knows it’s a race but us. It’s usually down to him and my insurance agent’s birthday card.
This year, he changed things up. 11am the day before. This is why he’s so good at sales and selling. He is compelled to be #1 at everything, and who said you can’t do it the day before? We never specified it in the rules.
I am not focusing on being #1. Instead, I am training myself to be more careful with what I say. The unintended consequences of my words can reverberate across years. Like an innocent comment to a friend. I know how he is. I knew better than to tell him he was always the first person I heard from on my birthday, but didn’t think it through.
For this reason I haven’t told him about Wordle. I can only imagine what it will do to our relationship.
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