As a small business owner, you probably often think there’s just no way online marketing should be this hard. Well, you’re about to learn the exact 3 reasons why you might be making it hard, and more importantly, how to avoid these reasons and build a successful business.
It’s important to emphasize, if you don’t have the most basic building blocks in place (your solid, concrete foundation), you have no place looking at different traffic sources, being on social media and doing pay-per-click. You don’t even have the right kind of system set up, and you’re out there chasing your tail, looking for traffic (stop chasing your tail, folks).
If your mentality is “someone else handles my marketing”, that’s not going to work either. I suggest you stop reading.
After helping over 10,000 business owner this year alone, I’ve realized that you can outsource tasks related to growing your business and marketing eventually, but you should never outsource strategy.
You have to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. You have to really understand every aspect of your business in order for it to succeed. So, if you’re here because you want to be the architect of your own strategy and then outsource tasks down the road, great. I expect that.
If we’re still on the same page, great. Let’s dive in.
And no, this is not the Tony Robbins goal-setting “hoorah” kind of deal. I’m just talking about where you want to be with your business in 90 days.
Most small business owners approach their career as if they’re drifting in an open ocean, aboard a rudderless vessel. Looking for the next client, short on time and staff, you’re always in a reactive mode. You’re working on the wrong things, or even the right things, at the wrong time. So that’s why you get overwhelmed, stressed or let’s be brutally honest, hopeless.
Until you create a clear vision of exactly where you want your business to be, you’re always going to be a victim of what happens to you.
So you have to go from drifting to driving.
You must establish a clear path, a challenging yet attainable route to get you into the driver seat. Goals give you the what, so you can focus on the how. Goals tell you where you want to go, so you’re forced to focus on how you’re going to get there.
A wise man once told me that when you’re traveling in another country, you only need two pieces of information. You need to know where you are now, and where you’re trying to get to. Sounds simple, but it really stuck with me as I see many business owners enduring weeks, months or years of needless struggle because they simply don’t have a specific destination in mind.
Most businesses spend 90% of their time clicking, searching and trying to figure out what to do next to get a new client in the door. The majority of time that is supposed to be focused on implementing is instead spent on trying to figure out what to do, instead of actually doing it.
We’re constantly bombarded with information these days. What tools to use? What software to use use? Who to listen to? There’s more and more information coming our way: bad information, misinformation, too much information.
I know that when I started as an entrepreneur, I was completely overwhelmed. I felt suffocated with a huge flood of “stuff”. The tools, courses, services, they all just added to my confusion.
And they were the wrong tools because the right tools (at the right time) make all the difference in the world.
Think about trying to hack into a bank safe with a pickaxe. That’s how most of us approach marketing. If we just have the right tools in place, things would become 100 times more easy and elegant. But because we don’t know what tools to use, we end up spinning our wheels, trying to hack into a safe without the combination.
So let’s go ahead and define where you are in your business and where you’re trying to go. The first thing we have to do is identify your point A. Where are you right now in your business journey? Are you a startup or a solopreneur, so to speak? Are you a small, growing business or perhaps, a large brand that simply hasn’t leveraged its online potential?
Let’s talk about how we can get very clear on exactly what you should be doing to grow your business, and more importantly what you shouldn’t be doing.
Below is a tool we created called the “7-Figure Revenue Roadmap”. It takes us through the 4 phases of business growth to get from low sales to seven figures and beyond. Let’s find out where you are right now and what you should be doing to hit (and exceed) your goals.
The first phase is struggling. You have an idea, but maybe you have a lot of frustration and overwhelm. You’re doing a lot of selling and you’re trying to prove that you can make money at this. You have little resources to invest and you’re putting forth a ton of time (and perhaps working a day job on top of it all). You’re trying very hard to carve this idea into something real. You certainly have no leads coming in, so you’re at a drought state and you’re struggling. Your sales are low and unpredictable.
[Take action] You need to prove your idea. You need to sell and validate market demand. You have to use the steps outlined in this ebook to put together a basic marketing funnel. You need to see what percentage of your audience wants your product, or if you even have the right audience.
You need to test your idea.
The second stage is surviving. This is where you might have a trickle of leads coming in, at an unreliable frequency. You’re exhausted but you’re excited because you see the potential. You have some sales and have generated a few clients. You might have even put together a couple of products or service offerings. But you’re just surviving, there’s not a huge net and you don’t have a huge team to help you. You definitely can’t step out of the business.
[Take action] You need to promote. You absolutely have to focus on putting in place a simple inbound marketing funnel using the frameworks and tools that we’re going to cover in the upcoming chapters.
You need to get that together quickly because that’s the only way to automate some of this stuff so you can get to a flow state of leads, which is the next and 3rd phase in the pyramid.
The third step is thriving. Once you get to that flow state of leads and you have a predictable lead flow, you’re thriving. So you’re generating around 50 -100K or more a month. You’ve freed up some of your time, but you might be restless because you’re not scaling or growing your business to its potential.
[Take action] You need to focus on processes. Building systems and metrics so you can scale more quickly, step out of the equation, automate and get multiple traffic sources to your business. You might be just getting business from direct mail, AdWords or Facebook ads, but you need to focus on really leveraging and scaling and getting your business ready for rapid growth.
The fourth step is driving: You’ve been at it for awhile (or just really know your stuff) and kicking some major you-know-what. Your driving your business and have an on-demand lead flow.
[Take action] First, take a breath (and a vacation) then put your focus on people. Your main goal should be building a world-class team so you can leverage partnerships, scaling your business and/or building a franchise.
But for most of you reading this, you’re either struggling or surviving. You need to get to that next step and put together a simple marketing funnel.
So after you’ve identified where you are on the 7-Figure Roadmap, identify your point B. And not a few years from now, in 90 days. What systems would you need to have in place and what would your sales look like?
Now, let’s talk about the second core reason why small business owners fail at marketing: information overload. I’m going to walk you through how to solve this one, it’s super important. Most of us approach marketing like drinking from a fire hose. We’re consuming blogs, podcasts, courses, ebooks, tools, software, listening to gurus, going to seminars, and all we’re doing is collecting more stuff that only adds to our anxiety and frustration.
This is exactly what happened to me. I spent the first two and half years as a business owner completely overwhelmed. In fact, when I quit my day job (the first time), I set off to become a big, bad-ass entrepreneur and I failed miserably. I had to go get another day job, drive almost 4 hours a day to and from work, in a position I hated, building someone else’s dream. I simply couldn’t figure out what I needed to do because I consumed so much information and tried too many things at once. I became a “jack of all trades, master of none” so to speak.
So you need to shut off the fire hose and go from drinking way too much of the bad information and the misinformation, to doing the right steps, in the right order. Give the limited time and money you have and spend it putting in place the simple things that are going to make all the difference in the world. Instead of dabbling in social media, blogging, Facebook ads and SEO, you have to get focused on an overall strategy that’s proven to work.
Let’s talk about how to do this. This is an important concept that I call “The Climb.” The first thing you have to do if you want to go from point A to point B and really exceed your business goals is empty your pack.
The last thing you need during a rapid ascent is to fill your backpack with a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t need. You have to stop multitasking and subjecting yourself to information overload and adopt the right mindset.
You have to shift the way you look at growing your business to a much simpler model. You need to stop digging, consuming and spending time and money on things that don’t work or that you don’t need to be doing right now. You need to go on an information diet.
What I mean by an information diet is I want you to commit to turning off all the noise for 90 days and just focus on building the right things that we’re going to cover in this ebook. I know, from real life experience, that your results are going to be transformational but you have to commit to cutting the fat. And trust me, it actually feels pretty good. The easiest diet you’ve even been on (because normal dieting sucks).
And once you’ve cleared your mind, set clear goals, emptied your pack and gone on information diet, you’re ready to avoid the 3rd reason why small business owners struggle and fail at marketing: lack of frameworks.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Well, Aaron, what the heck is a framework?” A framework, at its most basic definition, is just a basic structure or system for accomplishing something.
And think about it, if I dropped you off in a junkyard and said, “Hey, do me a favor. Go pick up all the pieces required to make a running car, put them together and drive that vehicle out of there.”
Would you be able to do that?
Without a framework (unless you’re MacGyver), probably not.
Well, that’s why failing at online marketing is not your fault. There’s literally no route to follow to grow your business. Most career paths have frameworks.
Whether you’re aspiring to be a doctor, dentist, lawyer, personal trainer, short order cook, kung fu master or solider; you have a specific curriculum or training to follow. You go to school, get certified, perhaps do an internship and then go about your way in that profession. Mission accomplished.
Everybody else has a framework, except for you, the entrepreneur.
You’re literally on an island trying to figure it out, and the truth is it could take 10 times longer than it ever should for you to get there.
This is why most business owners fail.
So here’s the big takeaway: you lack a clear structure. When you follow a framework, it provides a straight line from point A to point B.
Remember when I brought up the analogy of trying to hack into a bank safe with a pickaxe and having the wrong tools? If you have a framework, how elegant does life become when you turn a dial left, right, left and viola! – that heavy door swings open.
That’s what frameworks do, they take your marketing from a disorganized jigsaw puzzle to a well defined path. You need to follow a step-by-step framework. It’s like having the combination to that safe.
I would like to encourage you to really think and write down what your goals are based on the “7 Figure Roadmap”. What noise you’re willing to eliminate while you’re on your new information diet? And lastly, are you open to the idea and importance of implementing frameworks and systems?
Now, were going to learn how to scale your business predictably by putting a proven sales funnel in place. No matter where your target market comes in contact with you, we will transform them from strangers to buying customers.
It’s a super simple system that I’m excited to share with you. You can read about it here: The 7 Ingredients of Every Successful Sales Funnel.