But what does it REALLY mean?
In the past, I've talked about things like understanding what services you provide to business as outsourced marketing consultants (that's what you really are), and especially understanding where those services fall in the overall food chain of business flow.
The function of any and all aspects of internet marketing... from website design, graphic design, to SEO, to PPC campaign management, to mobile, to QR codes... the whole kit and kaboodle serves one purpose and one purpose alone - creating prospect leads.
Very few "offline" businesses will ever close a deal or a sale via the web. Sure, there's a few niche e-com players in every market who sells via a shopping cart, but in reality the monster players like Amazon have forever changed retail product.
That leaves niches, hospitality, and services... which are almost all "offline sales closes" for the end business customer.
So where am I going with all this?
Okay, so you want to make money. You're in business to make money and most of us want to make a LOT of money.
As a service provider yourself, you have some limitations. The biggest one of all is -- scalability.
Let's assume you're cooking along at a pretty decent pace. Maybe you're even doing $100K a month in gross sales.
Not bad. Life is decent, the business is growing, cash in the bank.
But what separates you from the "big guys"?
This is where it's healthy to look outside of the internet marketing industry and back to traditional business to understand how to grow a service company in general. It also helps to understand the challenges in scalability.
First and foremost, the number one challenge of ANY service company... accounting, medical, janitorial, and especially technical is this:
Balancing your service delivery "bench" with your sales.
It is never, ever a 1:1 proposition - meaning, you never exactly have the right number of resources at the right time for every sale.
Many of you have probably already experienced this, especially if you're actually creating websites for people or delivering some sort of end product.
This translates into a bigass problem for cashflow. It's more of an issue if you're hiring any dedicated staff in-house, but it's also an issue for outsourcing. That's because your outsourced resources are also trying to balance their own income with work besides the projects you're sending to them. So they're not always right there on demand when you kick off a project with a client. Now you have to keep a stable of resources around. This gets into dedicated service delivery and/or project management, which isn't the focus of this post but might be a good discussion in the future.
The net result in any market is this... if you're creating a services company of any kind, you must grow it on a continual basis to stay ahead of cash and to stay ahead of comeptition in your market. This requires more and more sales, and consumes cash like a mad beast.
I realize this discussion is getting to the outer edges of the average Warrior Forum member, and that's okay. Because the real point here isn't to talk about growing your services company - rather, to SHIFT YOUR THINKING OVERALL.
SHIFT YOUR THINKING!!!!!!!
I've grown service companies in the tech sector for many years. For those who don't know my background, I started my first web dev company in 1994, when most people didn't even know what the internet was. My challenge was educating people about the internet itself, and how it was going to change business over the next few years. I managed to grow that company to several million dollars in sales, and merge it with a much larger direct marketing company where I learned how to blend what I did on the web side with traditional marketing inside of literally thousands of businesses across many different industries.
After I ended my relationship and took my payday, I danced down the road with a much different perspective on "selling websites". As the market got more and more competitive, the prices and profitability tanked as more and more players got in. Much like you've seen over the years in other internet-related things. Now it's mobile.
I realized it was much, much easier to take my knowledge about marketing and the web, and use that skill as leverage in literally acquiring and growing small companies.
The same stuff you do every day... creating websites, driving traffic... that's what I do too. I just do it with a different perspective.
No longer do I have to "sell websites" or worry about building a bench while ensuring that I have cash to feed the beast. That's too stressful when there's an easier way.
Why should I spend all my days trying to convince some business owner to buy my services, day in and day out?
Because, in essence, I'm trying to convince a customer to grow their own business. That's the net result of what I do with all this web stuff.
No way man. There's a much bigger horizon here.
The Big Reveal...
So I found a small business that needed to grow and accepted my message about using the internet to do this and do that.
But instead of SELLING them my services (after all, I already had someone who believed in me and my ability to create new sales opportunity sitting in front of me), I pitched the owner on the idea of creating an actual partnership with that business where I owned a stake in the new "brand".
The company continued to provide products and services in their own market. Let those guys continue to do what they do, they're the experts in their profession.
My focus (and justification for being in the deal) was to create a rocketship growth curve in new business for them by simply leveraging all of my skills in what I already knew how to do extremely well.
The value I was creating for that business is so great, it justified a seat at the ownership table. After all, their existing marketing and sales weren't growing at the pace I was able to bring to the table with my ninja prowess.
So what happened?
Well. Let me tell you. It's really, really easy to convince investors to put money into an established business in a traditional industry with a massive sales growth engine.
The business was able to acquire a couple of more strategic companies that complimented their core offering by using my gameplan and the new story.
Within a year, I took a little company from $2 million in sales in their industry to over $10 million in sales by simply growing the core marketing funnel (lots and lots of new leads) and then leveraging that growth projection into investment money for the partnership to buy up a couple more small companies. The added sales and growth strategy went from plodding along at a respectable 10-15% annual growth to 500% growth in a year.
That kind of action gets people talking - and gets you into a lot of other deals.
Nowdays, it's all about deal flow.
Screw trying to convince some small company to buy my marketing services.
You want to work with me, then we will sit down and map an acquisition strategy as a high growth player.
And we're not talking about giant corporate deals with public companies and MBAs running amok. We're talking about companies the size of most of your existing customers. No, these are the very people you're spending your days trying to sell a $5,000 web project.
The difference is the perspective. The ideas. Understanding business from your CUSTOMER'S perspective, not your own.
How much work will you have to do to put $1-2 million net into your pocket in 1-2 years?
Can you do it as a service provider?
Sure you can.
But it's far easier to simply find the right business owner who wants to grow their own company (DUH! All of them), and who will listen to your story and enter into a new partnership agreement with you to spin up a new brand company that acts as the marketing engine.
They keep doing what they're doing. They don't even have to give you ownership in their existing company. They just agree to run all their marketing and sales through the new brand company and grow the whole pie under that shell.
You just make good on the very promise that you were going to make anyway, bring in more sales.
Are your gears turning yet?
I realize this isn't the "norm" for this forum. I realize this might be perceived as being "over everyone's heads" because... well... I don't really know why. I might even be called out for being "arrogant" or some other emotional belch by others in this forum.
But, it's genuinely not rocket science.
I never went to grad school. I'm not an Ivy League business graduate. And I was doing this in my EARLY 20s! Sure, you can't come across like some idiotic dolt. But if you're out selling to business clients on a professional basis, you're already polished enough (or you should be anyway). You already know all about the "things you do", which is why you're sitting there to begin with pitching the owner.
This is simply a slight shift in perspective and understanding the REAL meaning of creating REAL value... like shareholder equity value. It's understanding and realizing the true value of what I create as a result of the things I do.
And THAT my friends, THAT is what creates REAL WEALTH!