The Future Collapse of Digital Entrepreneurship (And Why Marketing + Sales Won’t Solve It)

PART 2: Why the customer loses when most businesses try to scale

 
 
 
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Scaling too quickly causes problems.

We’ve all heard the stories of the $500k launch that cost $450k.

Or the sold-out product from a feature on the Today Show — that the company didn't have the ability to ship for months, or didn't have the manpower to answer the tens of thousands of customer support emails.

{IMPORTANT NOTE: This can creep up slowly over time as well, when you can generate leads and sales, but your customer load is such that you can’t actually deliver. This is a brand reputation NIGHTMARE!}

These horror stories happen because the business owners in question were solving the wrong problem.  

At any given time, a business might be experiencing a bottleneck in one of these four stages:

  • Attract

  • Convert

  • Deliver

  • Cash flow


Attraction is all about marketing, getting more people to see your message and get interested in your brand.

Conversion is about sales, getting more of the people in your audience to make a purchase.

Delivery is all about operations + efficiency — in other words, your capacity to deliver on what you sell.

Cash flow affects your ability to solve any of the above three because you can’t invest in a solution when and where you need it.

But if you follow online business coaches and experts, you might believe there are only two bottlenecks. That’s because these “experts” focus almost exclusively on the first two, sales + marketing, or how to attract and convert more people to grow your business.

But nobody is talking about the third bottleneck: your ability to deliver on those promises.


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What would it actually look like if you doubled your business “overnight?”

Focusing on sales + marketing to bring in more leads is a dangerous lever to pull if you haven’t tightened up your backend {and no I’m not just talking about taking a spin class with a booty burn}.

Any business that reaches multiple six figures knows how to generate leads + sales. The question then becomes, do you have the time + systems setup to be able to deliver your products + services at SCALE with EXCELLENCE?

 
 
 
 

"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” —Bill Gates

 
 
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To scale with excellence:

  • You have to be able to get people REAL results

  • You have to be able to deliver to your 1000th customer with the same or better experience that your 1st customer had

  • You have to be able to trust your team to make decisions + support you so that YOU are not the bottleneck to growth + delivery

  • You have to do better than hiring $5/hour outsourced help + duct-taping together systems, praying every day that they won’t spring a leak

  • You have to create systems so that your team can be five steps ahead of you + YOU have the brainspace to create.

This is where I see so many business owners get stuck. They want to grow, they want to scale, they want to start living instead of just working all the time.

But because of bad advice, they keep trying to solve the wrong problems.


 

 
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The problem isn’t your customers.

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I’ve never loved the metaphor of a sales “funnel.”

Sure, it works from a visual standpoint. You cast a wide net at the top to get as many interested people as possible into your community, then filter out the uninterested ones until a minority become customers at the end.

But what the funnel metaphor doesn’t advertise is all the HOLES it implies in the sales process.

A real funnel eventually puts all the water or beans or glitter or whatever into the container; a sales funnel is full of holes that allow potential customers to escape — or more often, get lost and forgotten along the way.

Pouring MORE customers into the top of the funnel doesn’t address the fundamental issue that operational problems and inefficiencies are leaving potential customers out in the cold.

One of our private clients hired us because he said NO AMOUNT OF MONEY was worth the stress his exponential growth had caused him as the owner.

The problem isn’t your product.

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Often, when business owners start to feel friction with growth and scale, they decide to add new products or revenue streams…

  • A new course

  • A different product

  • A new affiliate agreement

In other words… a shiny object. Rather than perfecting the existing product or the processes around marketing and selling it, they just switch to something new.

But in many cases, the problem isn’t with the product, and switching to a new product won’t solve the actual problems.

The problem isn’t your team.

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More times than I can count, I’ve talked to business owners who complain that they can’t find the right people, that they keep making “bad hires” and having to replace team members over and over again — but they know they can’t grow if they continue to do everything themselves.

That’s when red flashing lights often go off in my brain. One bad hire can happen to anybody. But a string of bad hires, until it seems like nobody can do the work well enough?

{That tells me that the boss is the problem.}

In those situations, the reason they haven’t grown fast enough or smoothly enough isn’t because their team is incompetent, but because of the boss’ failure to create systems + autonomy for their team.

In fact, they are the ultimate bottleneck to their own success.

The problem is your FOCUS.

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When you focus ONLY on revenue growth:

  • It causes a disconnect for your team and your customers — especially if you say you value things like customer service or a quality product, but your focus isn’t on delivering those things.

  • You experience staffing problems that put the wrong people on the team, or people in the wrong roles because you’re hiring to solve the wrong problems or hiring too quickly

  • You can’t take the time to properly interview and vet your candidates and end up hiring the wrong person for the position.

  • The team can’t operate without the owner, because the systems haven’t been developed to allow them to act autonomously.

  • The systems that do exist are often labyrinthine, archaic, or duplicate efforts because they were slapped together without much thought or with the mindset that you don’t have the time to build + create the systems.

  • OR, every department or individual is trying to create their own systems, but nothing is integrated to support the overall goal {because nobody knows the goal, or the goal doesn’t exist}.

All of these problems crop up when a business starts growing too fast. If you’ve ever had to stop your incoming leads because you couldn’t handle them, you’ll recognize this bottleneck.

If you’re not growing fast enough, doing more of what’s not working (ie: sales + marketing) won’t solve the problem either.

In fact, when you keep doubling down on these tactics, the problems just continue to multiply.

But I have a better way.