I got an email last week from a subscriber that basically said,
“Mark, your email about focus and scaling was one of your best emails ever.”
Awwww shucks thanks for that… (I’ll put a link to it at the end of this post).
I actually had several more messages in a similar vein (and the usual troll and grammar Nazi ones.. Look their my apostrophe’s 🙂 I’ll put them where I want!!)
So I actually re-read the email and I then got to thinking, why don’t I follow my own advice and demonstrate to you exactly what a bit of focus and scaling can do for your business.
Today is a momentous day in Thompson Towers, I have 3 members of staff coming onboard. Not the usual $7.77 outsourcers, these are 2 professional writers/journalists and a webmaster.
I still have 3 more hires planned, a graphic designer, a headline copywriter and an editor, but one step at a time.
I am finally realising a dream I have had for several years and launching a media company to focus on publishing online titles.
After planning this for a very long time and always being held back by one thing or another, I finally bit the bullet and said screw it, let's do it!
The plan is based on **exactly** what we teach in Serious Marketers Only. We know the methods work and can generate an excellent ROI.
They can be scaled up but I want to see just how far they can be scaled.
We’ll publish 3-5 articles a week and drive traffic to them. Any article that generates 100%+ ROI will be scaled up. Any article that generates 50%-99% will be worked on and tested and hopefully taken to above 100% ROI.
Anything with an ROI below 50% will be repurposed and used as lead generating articles, presell articles or filler.
Short term (months 1-3): the plan is to get the site working and generate data on which types of articles generate the best income.
Likewise I’ll be able to gauge which writers are providing profitable content and which style of writing resonates with my target market.
Profit isn’t the main focus at the moment, I am looking at the first 3 months in the terms of building the foundations of a house. If the foundations are strong then we’ll have less problems in the future.
This is where a lot of people running online businesses go wrong. They expect to be profitable on day 1. The early part of any business is about gathering data, working out what’s working, and more importantly, what’s not working.
I’ll be happy with breaking even or even a small loss for the first few months as I know that getting processes right is where the money is in the future.
Getting things like the project management software we are using to work smoothly and getting procedures in place for everything is my first step.
I am naturally a micro-manager so I want to be as hands off as possible. I want everything to be able to run without me so documenting processes and giving staff a free reign when they are ready is important.
The most important thing to focus on will be cashflow and controlling spending. It would be the easiest thing in the world to throw money at this.
I know from experience that throwing money is a recipe for disaster. Before increasing my monthly budget I need to make sure that everything is working as it should and staff are reliable.
The medium term plan (months 4 – 12) is to scale up and grow the business. These months will be all about increasing profit and recruiting the best staff possible.
If a $5 article earns me $500 and a $100 article earns me $10,000, which do you think I am going to buy?
Paying for quality is very rarely a business mistake. I learned that recently when I hired one of Ernie Els’s ex golf coaches. He’s more expensive than many coaches BUT the results have been amazing..
I hardly used my wedges in the last round because I was putting the ball on the green from distances I couldn’t hit a driver 4 weeks ago… If you know anything about golf you’ll realise how useful that is.
It will also be about finding what topics get the most interest and then creating new sites around these.
These “satellite” sites will be developed and sold when they are profitable. This sideline is purely to add an additional income stream that will increase cashflow.
This increased cashflow should allow us to scale up quicker and recruit more staff on a full-time basis.
The long term plan is year 2 – year 5.
It’s probably never a good idea to make plans this far ahead. Too many things can change.
However you always need an exit plan before you start so this is mine.
Sell the company for an obscene amount of money then spend my retirement and playing the best golf courses in the world!
But before that..
I want to move the business to a “fixed premises” i.e have an office where staff can work from.
It’s possible to grow a business with just outsourced staff but I believe there comes a time where that starts to become too unwieldy.
If I have 20-30 staff all around the world, I need 2 or 3 more to manage them.
I can probably achieve the same level of productivity if I have 10-15 people working from an office and supplement them with outsourced staff if required.
Gentlemen (and Ladies) Start Your Engines
There is nothing and I mean nothing stopping you doing this.
I’m not pouring a lot of money or resources into this, in fact I spend more on golf and beer in a month than I set aside for my initial budget.
That's the beauty of online businesses: you can start them for almost nothing then if you focus and scale them, the world is your oyster my friend.
I’ll keep you updated about how things progress…
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