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The $100 Startup

Book Notes

This is one of the books that I wish I had read when I was 18 years old and full of energy, enthusiasm, and ignorance. I don't mean "ignorance" in a bad way at all. I mean it completely in a "you don't know what you can't do," "you don't know the world doesn't work this way," "you believe rewards are given for merit and effort," and "you don't know what's coming, so go ahead and charge ahead" positive sort of way. Pretty sure that doesn't convey my enthusiasm for this book.

Let's say you want to start a company, not a side project that is a feature for some other company's product, not some shit influencer bullcrap advertising fuckery, but a company that produces an actual product, physical or digital. Having a guide on how to proceed, even if you don't actually have an idea, is a great. I like the blueprint guide for helping people like this (quelle surprise, I like lists? I know, I know). This book, along with books like How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products, can help inexperienced people start, and I LOVE this.

What the book rather leaves out is how much effort the process takes. One thinks, "Oh, only $100? I can do this!" but that $100 doesn't include the time and effort. Those are valuable, too.

The book is worth reading for anyone who wants to stop exchanging time for money, and create a product (or service, tbh). The journey is hard, but can be worth it. I'll likely read it again when I'm not so soul tired.

These are the bare bones of any project; there’s no need to overcomplicate things. But to look at it more closely, it helps to have an offer: a combination of product or service plus the messaging that makes a case to potential buyers. The initial work can be a challenge, but after the typical business gets going, you can usually take a number of steps to ramp up sales and income—if you want to. It helps to have a strategy of building interest and attracting attention, described here as hustling. Instead of just popping up one day with an offer, it helps to craft a launch event to get buyers excited ahead of time.
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Build something that people want and give it to them.
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When brainstorming and evaluating different projects, money isn’t the sole consideration—but it’s an important one. Ask three questions for every idea: a. How would I get paid with this idea? b. How much would I get paid from this idea? c. Is there a way I could get paid more than once?
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Follow these two basic rules: 1. Pick something specific as opposed to something general. Don’t be a “business consultant” or a “life coach”—get specific about what you can really do for someone. 2. No one values a $ 15-an-hour consultant, so do not underprice your service. Since you probably won’t have forty hours of billable work every week, charge at least $ 100 an hour or a comparable fixed rate for the benefit you provide. OPENING FOR BUSINESS* I will help clients __________. After hiring me, they will receive [core benefit + secondary benefit]. I will charge $ xxx per hour or a flat rate of _____ per service. This rate is fair to the client and to me. My basic website will contain these elements: a. The core benefit that I provide for clients and what qualifies me to provide it (remember that qualifications may have nothing to do with education or certifications; Gary is qualified to book vacations with miles because he’s done it for himself many times) b. At least two stories of how others have been helped by the service (if you don’t have paying clients yet, do the work for free with someone you know) c. Pricing details (always be up front about fees; never make potential clients write or call to find out how much something costs) d. How to hire me immediately (this should be very easy) I will find clients through [word-of-mouth, Google, blogging, standing on the street corner, etc.]. I will have my first client on or before ___•[ short deadline]. Welcome to consulting! You’re now in business. *You can create, customize, and
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You must focus continually on how your project can help other people, and why they’ll care about what you’re offering in the first place.
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The missing piece is that you usually don’t get paid for your hobby itself; you get paid for helping other people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it.
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You may just not want to combine your hobby with your work. If the hobby or passion serves as an important stress reliever from your day job or other commitments, are you sure you want to assume full-time responsibility for your hobby?
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Benjamin Franklin, an old-school entrepreneur, put it this way: “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
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Reality Check Checklist Questions for You
• Instead of just during your free time, would you enjoy pursuing your hobby at least twenty hours a week?
• Do you enjoy teaching others to practice the same hobby?
• Do you like the ins and outs (all the details) of your hobby?
• If you had to do a fair amount of administrative work related to your hobby, would you still enjoy it? Questions for the Marketplace
• Have other people asked for your help? • Are enough other people willing to pay to gain or otherwise benefit from your expertise?
• Are there other businesses serving this market (usually a good thing) but not in the same way you would?
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Only when passion merges with a skill that other people value can you truly follow your passion to the bank.
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Compared with working just to make a living, it’s much easier to do what you love and get paid for it. You just have to find the right passion, the right audience, and the right business model.
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1. Find a topic that people will pay to learn about. It helps if you are an expert in the topic, but if not, that’s what research is for.
2. Capture the information in one of three ways: a. Write it down. b. Record audio or video. c. Produce some combination of a and b.
3. Combine your materials into a product: an e-book or digital package that can be downloaded by buyers.
4. Create an offer. What exactly are you selling, and why should people take action on it? Learn more about offers in Chapter 7.
5. Decide on a fair, value-based price for your offer. For pricing guidelines, see Chapters 10 and 11.
6. Find a way to get paid. PayPal.com is the most ubiquitous method, with the ability to accept payment from users in more than 180 countries. Other options are available if you want more flexibility.*
7. Publish the offer and get the word out. For an overview of hustling, see Chapter 9.
8. Cash in and head to the beach! (This step may require further effort.)
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Partly as a result of the allure of working from anywhere, many aspiring entrepreneurs focus much more on the “anywhere” part than they do the “work” part.
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Strategy 1: Latch on to a Popular Hobby, Passion, or Craze
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Strategy 2: Sell What People Buy (and Ask Them If You’re Not Sure)
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Questions like these are good starting points:
• What is your biggest problem with ______?
• What is the number one question you have about _______?
• What can I do to help you with _________?
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any single customer does not always know what’s best for your whole business. These customers may not be the right ones for your business, and there’s nothing wrong with saying farewell to them so you can focus on serving other people.
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the most basic questions of any successful microbusiness: • Does the project produce an obvious product or service? • Do you know people who will want to buy it? (Or do you know where to find them?) • Do you have a way to get paid? Those questions form a simple baseline evaluation.
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Score your ideas according to these criteria: Impact: Overall, how much of an impact will this project make on your business and customers? Effort: How much time and work will it take to create the project? (In this case, a lower score indicates more effort, so choose 1 for a project that requires a ton of work and 5 for a project that requires almost no work.) Profitability: Relative to the other ideas, how much money will the project bring in? Vision: How close of a fit is this project with your overall mission and vision? Rank each item on a scale of 1 to 5 and then add them up in the right-hand column.
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“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
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Get started quickly and see what happens. There’s nothing wrong with planning, but you can spend a lifetime making a plan that never turns into action. In the battle between planning and action, action wins.
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Don’t think innovation; think usefulness.*
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Seven Steps to Instant Market Testing*
1. You need to care about the problem you are going to solve, and there has to be a sizable number of other people who also care. Always remember the lesson of convergence: the way your idea intersects with what other people value.
2. Make sure the market is big enough. Test the size by checking the number and relevancy of Google keywords—the same keywords you would use if you were trying to find your product. Think about keywords that people would use to find a solution to a problem. If you were looking for your own product online but didn’t know it existed, what keywords would you search for? Pay attention to the top and right sides of the results pages, where the ads are displayed.
3. Focus on eliminating “blatant admitted pain.” The product needs to solve a problem that causes pain that the market knows it has. It’s easier to sell to someone who knows they have a problem and are convinced they need a solution than it is to persuade someone that they have a problem that needs solving.
4. Almost everything that is being sold is for either a deep pain or a deep desire.
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Having something that removes pain may be more effective than realizing a desire. You need to show people how you can help remove or reduce pain. 5. Always think in terms of solutions. Make sure your solution is different and better. (Note
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Being different isn’t enough; differentiation that makes you better is what’s required. There’s no point in introducing
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Ask others about the idea but make sure the people you ask are your potential target market. Others may provide insignificant data and are therefore biased and uninformed. Therefore, create a persona: the one person who would benefit the most from your idea.
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Create an outline for what you are doing and show it to a subgroup of your community. Ask them to test it for free in return for feedback and confidentiality. As a bonus, the subgroup feels involved and will act as evangelists. Giving builds trust and value and also gives you an opportunity to offer the whole solution. Use a blog to build authority and expertise on a subject. Leave comments on blogs where your target audience hangs out. * Parts of this section are based
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KEEP COSTS LOW. By investing sweat equity instead of money in your project, you’ll avoid going into debt and minimize the impact of failure if it doesn’t work out.
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As you think through the questions of freedom and value, the most important one is, “How will this business help people?”
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It may help to think of the first two characteristics of any business: a product or service and the group of people who pay for it. Put the two together and you’ve got a mission statement: We provide [product or service] for [customers].
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it’s usually better to highlight a core benefit of your business instead of a descriptive feature. Accordingly, you can revise the statement a bit to read like this: We help [customers] do/ achieve/ other verb [primary benefit].
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A good offer has to be what people actually want and are willing to pay for.
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An offer you can’t refuse may apply subtle pressure, but nobody likes a hard sell. Instead, compelling offers often create an illusion that a purchase is an invitation, not a pitch.
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Offer Construction Project
What are you selling? _______
How much does it cost? _______
Who will take immediate action on this offer? _______
The primary benefit is _______
An important secondary benefit is _______
What are the main objections to the offer? 1. 2. 3.
How will you counter these objections? 1. 2. 3.
Why should someone buy this now?
What can I add to make this offer even more compelling?
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The very best offers create a “You must have this right now!” feeling among consumers, but many other offers can succeed by creating a less immediate sense of urgency.
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The additional purpose of a FAQ is to provide reassurance to potential buyers and overcome objections. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the main objections your buyers will have when considering your offer and carefully respond to them in advance. Wondering what the objections to your offer will be? They fall into two categories: general and specific. The specific objections relate to an individual product or service, so it’s hard to predict what they might be without looking at a particular offer. General objections, however, come up with almost any purchase, so that’s what we’ll look at here. These objections usually relate to very basic human desires, needs, concerns, and fears.

Here are a few common ones:
• How do I know this really works?
• I don’t know if this is a good investment (and/ or I’m not sure I have the money to spare).
• I’m not sure I can trust you with my money.
• What do other people think about this offer?
• I wonder if I can find this information/ get this product or service without paying.
• I worry about sharing my information online (or another privacy concern).

The core concern for each of these objections relates to trust and authority. You must create consumer confidence in order to overcome the objections.

As you craft the offer, think about the objections… and then flip them around in your favor. You want to send messages like these:

• This really works because…
• This is a great investment because…
• You can trust us with your money because…( alternatively, You don’t have to trust us with your money, because we work with an established, trusted third party…)
• Other people think this is great, and here’s what they say…
• You have to pay to get this product or service (alternatively, The free versions aren’t as good, it takes a lot of work to get it on your own, etc.)
• Your information and privacy are 100 percent secure because…

See how it works? The point is not to be defensive (you want to avoid that) but rather to be proactive in responding to concerns. One model you can use when describing your offer is outlined below in what we’ll call a “rough awesome format.” It works like this:
Point 1: This thing is so awesome! [primary benefit]
Point 2: Seriously, it’s really awesome. [secondary benefit]
Point 3: By the way, you don’t need to worry about anything. [response to concerns]
Point 4: See, it’s really awesome. What are you waiting for? [take action] In the rough awesome format, point 1 is the main benefit, point 2 is a reinforcement of the main benefit or an important side benefit, point 3 is where you deal with the objections, and point 4 is where you bring it all together and nudge buyers toward a call to action.
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KEY POINTS • As much as possible, connect your offer to the direct benefits customers will receive. Like the Alaska coupon books, a compelling offer pays for itself by making a clear value proposition. • What people want and what they say they want are not always the same thing; your job is to figure out the difference. • When developing an offer, think carefully about the objections and then respond to them in advance. • Provide a nudge to customers by getting them to make a decision. The difference between a good offer and a great offer is urgency (also known as timeliness): Why should people act now? • Offer reassurance and acknowledgment immediately after someone buys something or hires you. Then find a small but meaningful way to go above and beyond their expectations.
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If you’re just getting started with your own launch planning, check out the Thirty-Nine-Step Product Launch Checklist below. This checklist has two uses: as a template for a new business planning its first launch and as an idea generator for an existing business. Thirty-Nine-Step Product Launch Checklist Note: Every product launch is different. Use these steps as a guideline to your own. Often by adding one or two steps you would otherwise leave out, you’ll get a significant increase in sales. THE BIG PICTURE 1. Ensure that your product or service has a clear value proposition.* 1 What do customers receive when exchanging money for your offer? 2. Decide on bonuses, incentives, or rewards for early buyers. How will they be rewarded for taking action? 3. Have you made the launch fun somehow? (Remember to think about non-buyers as well as buyers. If people don’t want to buy, will they still enjoy hearing or reading about the launch?) 4. If your launch is online, have you recorded a video or audio message to complement the written copy? 5. Have you built anticipation into the launch? Are prospects excited? 6. Have you built urgency—not the false kind but a real reason for timeliness—into the launch? 7. Publish the time and date of the launch in advance (if it’s online, some people will be camped out on the site an hour before, hitting the refresh button every few minutes). 8. Proofread all sales materials multiple times… and get someone else to review them as well. 9. Check all Web links in your shopping cart or payment processor, and then double-check them from a different computer with a different browser. NEXT STEPS 10. If this is an online product, is it properly set up in your shopping cart or with PayPal? 11. Test every step of the order process repeatedly. Whenever you change any variable (price, order components, text, etc.), test it again. 12. Have you registered all the domains associated with your product? (Domains are cheap; you might as well get the .com, .net, .org, and any very similar name if available.) 13. Are all files uploaded and in the right place? 14. Review the order page carefully for errors or easy-to-make improvements. Print it out and share it with several friends for review, including a couple of people who don’t know anything about your business. 15. Read important communications (launch message, order page, sales page) out loud. You’ll probably notice a mistake or a poorly phrased sentence you missed while reading it in your head. 16. Have you or your designer created any custom graphics for the offer, including any needed ads for affiliates or partners? MONEY MATTERS 17. Set a clear monetary goal for the launch. How many sales do you want to see, and how much net income? (In other words, what will success look like?) 18. Advise the merchant account or bank of incoming funds.* 2 19. Create a backup plan for incoming funds if necessary (get an additional merchant account, plan to switch all payments to PayPal, etc.). 20. Can you add another payment option for anyone who has trouble placing an order? 21. For a high-priced product, can you offer a payment plan? (Note: It’s common to offer a slight discount for customers paying in full. This serves as an incentive for customers who prefer to pay all at once while providing an alternative for those who need to pay over time.) THE NIGHT BEFORE 22. Clear as much email as possible in addition to any other online tasks so you can focus on the big day tomorrow. 23. Write a strong launch message to your lists of readers, customers, and/ or affiliates. 24. Prepare a blog post and any needed social media posts (if applicable). 25. Set two alarm clocks to ensure that you’re wide awake and available at least one hour before the scheduled launch. THE BIG MORNING 26. Schedule your launch time to suit your audience, not you. All things being equal, it’s usually best to launch early in the morning, East Coast time. 27. Soft launch at least ten minutes early to make sure everything is working. It’s better for you to find the problems than to have your customers find them! 28. Write the first three to five buyers to say thanks and ask, “Did everything go OK in the order process?” (Side benefit: These buyers are probably your biggest fans anyway, so they’ll appreciate the personal check-in.) 29. As long as it’s possible, send a quick personal note to every buyer in addition to the automated thank-you that goes out. (If it’s not possible every time, do it as often as you can.) PROMOTION (CAN BE DONE ON THE DAY OF LAUNCH OR BEFORE) 30. Most important: Ask for help spreading the word. Many readers, prospects, and acquaintances will help by telling their friends and followers, but you have to ask them. 31. Write to affiliates with a reminder about the new offering. 32. Write to journalists or media contacts, if appropriate. 33. Post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social networks you already participate in. (It’s not usually a good idea to join a new network just to promote something.) FOLLOW-UP (DO THIS IN ADVANCE) 34. Write the general thank-you message that all buyers will receive when purchasing. 35. If applicable, write the first message for your email follow-up series that buyers will receive. 36. Outline additional content for future communication and plan to schedule it after you recover from the launch. GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND 37. How can you overdeliver and surprise your customers with this product? Can you include additional deliverables or some kind of unadvertised benefit? 38. Is there anything special you can do to thank your customers? (For a high-price launch, send postcards to each buyer; for something extra, call a few of your customers on the phone.) THE SECOND TO LAST STEP 39. Don’t forget to celebrate. It’s a big day that you’ve worked up to for a long time. Go out to your favorite restaurant, have a glass of wine, buy something you’ve had your eye on for a while, or otherwise do something as a personal reward. You’ve earned it. THE VERY LAST STEP 40. Start thinking about the next launch. What can you build on from this one? What did you learn that can help you create something even better next time? Remember, many customers will support you for life as long as you keep providing them with great value. It’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, so work hard to overdeliver and plan ahead for the next project. (For example, when promising a thirty-nine-step checklist, throw in an extra step.) *1 This is super important! USP means “unique selling proposition” and refers to the one thing that distinguishes your offering from all others. Why should people pay attention to what you are selling? You must answer this question well. *2 Merchant accounts are paranoid about large sums of money arriving in a short period of time. If you don’t give them a heads-up, you might run into problems. Post-Launch: It’s Not Over
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A charlatan is all talk, with nothing to back up their claims. A martyr is all action with plenty of good work to talk about, but remains unable or unwilling to do the talking. A hustler represents the ideal combination: work and talk fused together.
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As soon as the project is good to go, at least in beta form, touch base by sending them a quick note. Here’s a sample message: Hi [name], I wanted to quickly let you know about a new project I’m working on. It’s called [name of business or project], and the goal is to [main benefit]. We hope to [big goal, improvement, or idea]. Don’t worry, I haven’t added you to any lists and I won’t be spamming you, but if you like the idea and would like to help out, here’s what you can do: [Action Point 1] [Action Point 2] Thanks again for your time.
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Note that you’re not sending mass messages or sharing anyone’s private info with the world; each message is personal, although the content is largely the same. You’re also not “selling” anyone on the project; you’re just letting people know what you’re up to and inviting them to participate further if they’d like to.
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Freely give, freely receive: It works. The more you focus your business on providing a valuable service and helping people, the more your business will grow.
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The One-Page Promotion Plan Goal: To actively and effectively recruit new prospects to your business without getting overwhelmed. DAILY • Maintain a regular social media presence without getting sidetracked or overwhelmed. Post one to three helpful items, respond to questions, and touch base with anyone who needs help. • Monitor one or two key metrics (no more!). Read more about this in Chapter 13. WEEKLY • Ask for help or joint promotions from colleagues and make sure you are being helpful to them as well. • Maintain regular communication with prospects and customers. AT LEAST MONTHLY • Connect with existing customers to make sure they are happy. (Ask: “Is there anything else I can do for you?”) • Prepare for an upcoming event, contest, or product launch (see Chapter 8). ONCE IN A WHILE • Perform your own business audit (see Chapter 12) to find missing opportunities that can be turned into active projects. • Ensure that you are regularly working toward building something significant, not just reacting to things as they appear.
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Get up in the morning and get to work. Make something worth talking about and then talk about it. Who do you know? How can they help? And of course, the answer lies in being incredibly helpful yourself.
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KEY POINTS • If you’re not sure where to spend your business development time, spend 50 percent on creating and 50 percent on connecting. The most powerful channel for getting the word out usually starts with people you already know. • If you build it, they might come… but you’ll probably need to let them know what you’ve built and how to get there. • When you’re first getting started, say yes to every reasonable request. Become more selective (consider the “hell yeah” test) as you become more established. • Use the One-Page Promotion Plan to maintain a regular schedule of connecting with people as you also spend time building other parts of your business.
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Just as you should usually place more emphasis on the benefits of your offering than on the features, you should think about basing the price of your offer on the benefit—not the actual cost or the amount of time it takes to create, manufacture, or fulfill what you are selling. In fact, the wrong way to decide on pricing is to think about how much time it took to make it or how much your time is “worth.”
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When you base your pricing on the benefits you provide, be prepared to stand your ground, because some people will always complain about the price being too high no matter what it is.
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Also, having a high-end version creates an “anchor price.” When we see a superhigh price, we tend to consider the lower price as much more reasonable… thus creating a fair bargain in our minds.
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There’s no point pursuing growth for growth’s sake; you should scale a business only if you really want to.
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The Business Audit However it is structured, a good business needs nurturing and continuous improvement. As your project grows, take some time to look at each aspect of it, especially any public communication that customers review while making a purchasing decision. Answer these questions and think about how you can improve. The goal is to (1) fix little problems and (2) identify small actions you can take that will create significant results over time. “WHERE DO YOU MAKE MONEY?” Once a business gets up and running, it’s very easy to get trapped in all kinds of things that have nothing to do with making money. The solution is simple: Focus on the money. In the audit, you’ll want to look at where the money comes from and determine what you can do to keep it coming. Sometimes new opportunities present themselves; sometimes there’s an easy fix you can make to turn on another tap. If you have a range of projects, products, or activities, it’s almost always better to devote your efforts to the strong performers than to try and pull up the weak ones. Most people do the opposite, but if your goal is for everything to be average, that’s the best you’ll ever get. “HOW GOOD IS YOUR MESSAGING?” The marketing materials you use, whether online or offline, probably involve some use of words, known as copy. Go back to the beginning and read the copy carefully. Review each page of the sales material slowly and then read it out loud. Does it still present the message that you want? What information should be culled or revised? “ARE YOUR PRICES WHAT THEY SHOULD BE?” When was the last time you raised your prices? You can have a sale or give out discount codes from time to time, but like all businesses, you should also plan on raising your prices on a regular basis as well. Always remember that trying to price for “everyone” is a business death trap. Since business owners live or die by the free market system, the way you decide whether your pricing is fair is by asking another question: Are people buying what you sell? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track. If it is no, you have a problem. “HOW ARE YOU MARKETING TO EXISTING CUSTOMERS?” One of the best things you can do is reach out to existing customers and find a way to meet more of their needs. As part of this examination, you should check your postpurchase process carefully. What happens after someone buys? Do things get sent to the right place? Does everything arrive in the buyer’s in-box or physical mailbox as it should? If you sell consulting, do clients know exactly how to set up a time in your schedule after making a payment? The easier you can make all of these things, the better. “ARE YOU TRACKING, MONITORING, OR TESTING ENOUGH?” The thing about testing is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen until you do it. That’s why you test! Once I installed an upsell offer in which customers could get a $ 50 gift certificate for only $ 25 after making a purchase. I thought it was a killer offer, but my customers didn’t think so; it was accepted only one out of twenty times (5 percent). A good upsell can convert much better than that, so out went the gift certificate offer. “WHERE ARE THE BIG MISSING OPPORTUNITIES?” Having a big opportunity doesn’t mean you should pursue it. I pass up a lot of things because they aren’t a good fit for my overall strategy. However, it’s good to know what you’re missing even if you’re missing it deliberately. Keep your “possibilities list” updated so you can follow up when you have more time or if you need more money.
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Every morning, set aside forty-five minutes without Internet access. Devote this time exclusively to activities that improve your business—nothing that merely maintains the business. Think forward motion… What can you do to keep things moving ahead? Consider these areas: BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. This is work that grows the business. What new products or services are in the works? Are there any partnerships or joint ventures you’re pursuing? OFFER DEVELOPMENT. This kind of work involves using existing resources in a new way. Can you create a sale, launch event, or new offer to generate attention and income? FIXING LONG-STANDING PROBLEMS. In every business, there are problems that creep up that you learn to work around instead of addressing directly. Instead of perpetually ignoring these issues, use your non-firefighting time to deal with the root of the problem.
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Step 1: Select one or two metrics and be aware of them at any given time, focusing on sales, cash flow, or incoming leads. Step 2: Leave everything else for a biweekly or monthly review where you delve into the overall business more carefully.
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The metrics you want to track will vary with the kind of business. Here are a few of the most common examples. Sales per day: How much money is coming in? Visitors or leads per day: How many people are stopping by to take a look or signing up for more information? Average order price: How much are people spending when they order? Sales conversion rate: What percentage of visitors or leads become customers? Net promoter score: What percentage of customers would refer your business to someone else?
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Much of this book contains various forms of advice, but don’t confuse advice for permission. You don’t need anyone to give you permission to pursue a dream. If you’ve been waiting to begin your own $ 100 startup (or anything else), stop waiting and begin.
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The $ 100 Recap Before we close it out, let’s look back at the key lessons of this book. First and most important, the quest for personal freedom lies in the pursuit of value for others. Get this right from the beginning and the rest will be much easier. Always ask, “How can I help people more?” Borrowing money to start a business, or going into debt at all, is now completely optional. Like many of the people you met in this book, you can start your own microbusiness for $ 100 or less. Focus relentlessly on the point of convergence between what you love to do and what other people are willing to pay for. Remember that most core needs are emotional: We want to be loved and affirmed. Relate your product or service to attractive benefits, not boring features. If you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else. Use the process of skill transformation to think about all the things you’re good at, not just the obvious ones. Find out what people want, and find a way to give it to them. Give them the fish! There is no consulting school. You can set up shop and charge for specialized help immediately. (Just remember to offer something specific and provide an easy way to get paid.) Some business models are easier than others to start on a budget. Unless you have a compelling reason to do something different, think about how you can participate in the knowledge economy. Action beats planning. Use the One-Page Business Plan and other quick-start guides to get under way without waiting. Crafting an offer, hustling, and producing a launch event will generate much greater results than simply releasing your product or service to the world with no fanfare. The first $ 1.26 is the hardest, so find a way to get your first sale as quickly as possible. Then work on improving the things that are working, while ignoring the things that aren’t. By “franchising yourself” through partnerships, outsourcing, or creating a different business, you can be in more than one place at the same time. Decide for yourself what kind of business you’d like to build. There’s nothing wrong with deliberately staying small (many of the subjects of our stories did exactly that) or scaling up in the right way. It only gets better as you go along.
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