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

PART 3: How to future proof your business with a counterintuitive approach


Everyone in the online business community seems to be saying that you need to do this thing or apply that blueprint or use this framework to improve your sales + marketing in order to grow and scale.

But we’ve shown that focusing exclusively on sales + marketing isn’t the answer — and, in fact, can create more problems than it solves.

If the problem isn’t about finding more customers… or making a new product… or hiring a new team… then what is it about?

The real problem is in your ability to deliver on your brand promise. It’s that third bottleneck that everyone ignores.


"Efficiency, which is doing things right, is irrelevant until you work on the right things." —Peter Drucker


Depending on what your business looks like, that might manifest as…

  • Trouble producing a quality product fast enough and keeping popular products in stock,

  • Trouble with capacity for your service; you never know when you’re going to need all hands on deck, or have people sitting around, which means sometimes you’re missing deadlines and sometimes your people are twiddling their thumbs,

  • Trouble with delivery of a specialized consultation or service that only one expert in the business can deliver,

  • Trouble with your sanity because you can't keep up with the questions flowing  to you from the team,

  • Trouble with your systems, because you can't systematize something that is inconsistent,

  • Trouble with the quality of the product or service, because you're so busy just selling all the time.

And so on.

And at the heart of your ability to deliver are your systems and processes. A business cannot grow and scale successfully without strong systems and processes to support it.

👏🏼 Say it again, a little bit louder this time! 👏🏼

A business cannot grow and scale successfully without strong systems and processes to support it.

Now, you may be thinking… “I have systems…” But in reality, your version of systems mostly live in your head because you’ve never bothered to get them down on paper. Or maybe you have systems that kind of work, but they often require duplicated effort or sometimes things fall through the cracks.

Or maybe you’re thinking… “I don’t have time to create systems…” Which is the WRONG mindset to have. Systems are a MULTIPLIER: if you create them once + then work toward reducing errors, then you are able to transfer that task off your plate + never have to personally do it again.

So whether you have zero systems or a million systems that don’t actually work that well, optimizing your delivery — the actual work you do in your business — will save you time and money.


Opportunities for efficiency = saving time


When was the last time you actually took stock of how you spend your time during your workday?

If you’re like most of us, you haven’t really thought about where your time goes since you had to punch a clock or fill out a timesheet for someone else.

But as a business owner, it can be eye opening to track your time for a week or two and see where you’re really spending most of your time and energy

Most of our private clients are initially resistant to the exercise of manually tracking their time, but the data it provides can be revolutionary.

One of our private clients grudgingly tracked their time for a week, and we discovered that they thought they needed to hire another accountant (high-level service-provider hire), but when they tracked the team for five days, they realized they had 140 admin hours between their five accountants. So instead of hiring another accountant to increase capacity, they hired two admins, which was actually a cost savings, because they didn't need to spend as much on the hire, and a revenue driver because ALL of the accountants now had additional capacity for more clients.

Another client who found 18 hours a week spent on internal meetings. {This is a small team, so that was just straight bananas.}

Or the client who realized that most of her time didn't fall into any of our four productivity categories (doing, delegating, deciding, and designing) — it fell into a 5th one that we have since discovered since writing Clockwork: DISTRACTED. She was wasting tons of time just because she had no idea how to get back into focused work after so many interruptions.

Or the client who realized that more than 60% of her day was spent answering questions from team members. There’s only one word for that — inefficient!

It’s safe to say that each of these clients was shocked by what they learned from tracking their time — but they all also saw significant opportunity for cost savings once they realized where they were wasting their days.


Opportunities for cost savings = money in the banK


The truth about business is you’re never too small for bloat. Even if you don’t have a big team or big business, there may be opportunities for cost savings hiding around any corner.

In fact, small businesses need cost savings MORE than their corporate counterparts, in my opinion, because they run leaner and have more cash flow problems than multibillion dollar companies.

And, because you’re so close to your business, you may not even see where your company is bleeding money until you start specifically looking for opportunities to streamline and improve.

One company we worked for was outsourcing their marketing to an agency. They paid the agency $40,000 a month to write blog posts, post on social media, run paid ads, and do other marketing tasks that were necessary for the brand and growing the company.

But when we looked at this line item, it simply didn’t make sense. Between the consulting fees + hours spent on ads + copywriting, it was WAY more cost-effective to hire someone. I suggested they hire an in-house marketing team to do the same tasks on salary. Even hiring two people at $50,000 a year each, the company was able to save almost $400,000 a year on marketing costs. And, as a side benefit, the tasks were more streamlined and effective than they ever were communicating with an outside agency team.

Focusing on cost savings as part of an overall efficiency and operations audit allows you to take home more money at the end of the day {week, year, whatever}, or potentially have more freedom to get out of the office more often.

It also affords you better cash flow, which as we said in the last section, is the fourth bottleneck that sometimes prevents companies from solving one of the other three.


The deadly fallacy of sales-first in an evolving economy

Here’s the thing:

In an evolving economy, I believe a sales-first mindset is setting up the future collapse of the digital entrepreneur marketplace.


When you really start to examine how digital online businesses have grown and flourished through an incestuous cycle of selling to one another, you start to see that the industry’s days are numbered.

We’re already seeing the harbingers of the bubble bursting:

  • Higher ad costs

  • Lower conversion rates

  • Lower attendance at webinars

  • Fewer email opt-ins

  • Declining sales overall

But the industry doesn’t want you to see it! They’re desperately trying to distract your attention with one more short-sighted sales blueprint or marketing formula — when what you really crave is longevity.

Pay no attention to the digital marketer behind the curtain… because he’s sweating bullets trying to figure out why what worked last year and the year before that isn’t working any more.

But when you focus on perfecting your delivery first — the super unsexy side of your business — and get your operations running efficiently and your business on a leaner budget, everything gets easier.

You can grow faster, serve more clients and customers, and provide a higher standard of excellence in a market where exceeding expectations is now the norm.

And we can show you how.