Nail Your Numbers, Raise Your ROI

 

Numbers are boring. I get it. You’re driven by the thrill of making sales, out-maneuvering your competitors, and putting together the perfect product. What doesn’t drive you, on the other hand, are the mind numbing hours spent staring at Excel trying to debug a formula you don’t understand.

This is completely normal. If you’re not yet in the thick of things with your business or everything so far is going fine, it’s hard to appreciate the impact proper financial analysis of your business can have.

Naturally, entrepreneurs want to optimize everything, including their time. It’s easy to see straight ahead and visualize the importance of marketing or product development, but what’s the ROI, for example, for charting out predicted sales for the next 2-3 years? The value isn’t immediately obvious.

So I thought it’d be helpful to outline why building a financial model for your business actually has a great ROI for your time.

Here are the five reasons you should build a financial model:

1. You can’t make decisions in a vacuum.

If you wanted to change your price or overhaul your business model tomorrow, what would you lean on to make that decision?

Maybe a couple of customers told you they liked the IDEA of a new price or it just seems to feel right in your gut. Well, you should know that 1) customers don’t know what they want and 2) your gut is a terrible business partner.

Customers are flighty squirrels that are naturally biased towards pleasing you, and your gut still doesn’t forgive you for your last midnight run to In-N-Out. You know what will never lie to you? Numbers.

A good, well thought-out financial model could easily answer these questions for you. They’ll give you a lot more concrete data to go off of than some of your more subjective techniques. A financial model could tell you “No, you can’t lower your prices actually,” and “Duh, a new business model would fit nicely with your other metrics.”

2. You will need it to fundraise.

At some point in your business, you might want to get outside funds from VC (venture capital), angel investors, a bank, or even your friends. Guess what investors love (besides open-collared business shirts)? Numbers. When you fundraise, you will absolutely need to show that you have a grip on your business metrics.

Investing is a quantifiable numbers game just like your business. They want to see that behind your gigantic “invest in me” smile, the numbers make sense, and that you know your stuff. If you can’t speak the language of VC, you can at least speak numbers.

When I was at Juvo Capital, I was presented a financial model from a shopping comparison startup. The CEO was as charismatic as a bag of potatoes (no offense to potatoes). However, even after hours of research, I couldn’t find a single flaw in their five year projection model. They had such a grip on their numbers that they ended up teaching US something (and my general partners made their money in…. shopping comparison sites).

We invested.

And then Home Depot bought them. Turns out Home Depot also liked their numbers.

3. You can use it to benchmark your… everything.

People often refer to launching a business as “pushing off from shore” and into the ocean. You can’t see the beach, you can’t see where you’re going, and something just brushed up against your leg.

Part of the reason this is so unnerving is because you have no idea if you’re doing anything right. Is ok not to turn a profit sometimes? Does my growth rate mean my product is doing well… or doing terribly?

When you model out your numbers, you have the opportunity to not only internally benchmark what you want to achieve and where you want to be, but you can integrate OTHER companies benchmarks into your system. Did you know that last month Buffer’s churn rate was 7%? If your business is subscription based or anything related to Buffer, then that information is crucially important. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

4. Let it do the validation for you.

If you’re still in the idea & testing phase of the business, a model can still be useful. Often without running a single survey or an MVP experiment, you can rule out a business idea based purely on the numbers.

I’ve lost track of how many people have launched businesses only to find out in Year 2 that “we can’t make money doing this”. Who would have known that selling refrigerators, with free shipping as your key differentiator, is a bad idea? You don’t have to be psychic; you just have to know your way around a financial model.

When I was in high school a million years ago, I created a site where you could sell eBay items through barter, instead of direct payment. Had I just drawn out the numbers in Excel, I would have realized I wasn’t moving towards hockey stick growth. I was moving towards being a charity.

5. It’s the ultimate test of “do you understand your industry well enough” test.

It’s ok to jump into a business and an industry you know nothing about (ask Richard Branson). Outside of trolling through industry “zines” and having “coffees” 3 times a day, what do you think can help you visualize and conceptualize your industry much faster than anything else? Can you guess it?

It’s modeling.

If you want to master this game, you need to master your numbers.

Click here to start mastering your own numbers with Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses.

Evan Kimbrell is the Founder, Director of Sprintkick, a referral-based full service digital agency based out of San Francisco. His clients range from 1-2 man team startups bootstrapping their initial idea, to multibillion dollar Fortune 100s like Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, & GNC.

Click here to learn more about Evan!

Easy-Peasy 5 Step Formula for Higher Sales on Amazon

 

Thousands of people use Amazon to sell products – and they should! Amazon is a trusted name and is one of, if not the, top online retailers. If you’ve been shying away from selling on Amazon because of the all the prep work involved, you are going to love this article!

The formula for getting higher sales on Amazon is simple:

  1. Create a great landing page.
  2. Install your Facebook pixel.
  3. Set up a compelling or irresistible offer.
  4. Set up an email system.
  5. Set up a Facebook ad directed to your target audience and give them a great offer that will convince them to give you their email address.

Landing Page Creation:

As any great marketer will tell you, the best way to sell a product is to create a simple, low distraction, to-the-point landing page. Landing pages convert extremely well, especially when paired with online advertising—particularly Facebook ads, which are designed to bring traffic to your landing page.

Facebook Pixel:

The Facebook pixel, when “trained” clearly on what you offer and whom you are trying to reach, will become a traffic-building engine for you. There are many advantages to using Facebook ads, but some of the best results come from:

  1. Using conversion ads to a specific page with a specific desired conversion action.
  2. Retargeting customers who did not buy but were interested.
  3. Creating audiences made up of those who engaged with your ad (i.e., people  who watched your product video, but did not buy).

The pixel will allow you to do all of this, and more. But, in order to use the pixel as described, you usually need to have your own website with the ability to install the pixel code to it. You then need to install standard events to the specific pages where actions are taking place, or at the very least, to the page where the action you want happens (i.e., the page that confirms someone has entered an email address).

Set Up An Offer:

Luckily, this part does not need to be complicated! People love deals. People associate coupons with good deals. Offer people a coupon in exchange for their email address.

**SECRET BONUS TIP** consider posting your coupon on coupon sites – most people don’t do this, and coupon sites have thousands of visitors. Plus, they are fantastic for SEO juice, as coupon sites are almost always very high authority ranking sites!!

Set Up Email Marketing Software

Again, this does not need to be complicated. Mailchimp is one of the largest, FREE, email marketing systems out there. You can get set up in seconds. You just want someplace to enter, store, and manage the email addresses you collect for later use. That way, even if they claim your coupon but choose not to use it, you have a way of reaching them again with other offers they might convert on.

Facebook Ad

Your Facebook ad should ideally be a conversion ad, using a video to showcase your product benefits, with some compelling content, and your URL in the ad. That’s it in a nutshell. If you are unsure of how to set up Facebook ads, please consider taking one of many fantastic courses, like the one linked below, available in the Amazing.com membership. It is designed specifically for making product sales online, and goes over how to set up and best use the pixel:

Facebook Ads for Online Product Sales: A Beginner’s Guide

PROBLEM:

What if you don’t have a website, or have a website but have no idea how to create a landing page or sales process? What if you don’t know how to best convince people to give their email address to you so you don’t lose them?

In order to find a simple solution, let’s look at a real life problem posted to me from one of my students.

SCENARIO:

The student was an FBA Amazon seller whose Facebook ads were not working well for him. He had no website or online presence, other than a Facebook business page. He was boosting posts through his Facebook business page, but getting very little results from them.

While the student was at least doing some things right by boosting posts, he was missing out on sales by missing some important techniques. Boosting posts is a great way to have posts seen and get engagement (likes, shares, etc.), but boosted posts do not allow for advanced targeting, retargeting, lookalike audience building, etc. and more options (like setting a conversion ad and specifying the conversion you are after). It basically does not allow the power of the pixel, which is how to best laser target and get Facebook to make your ads work amazingly for you.

One Solution:

Although there are advantages to the FBA process, as Amazon works hard to advertise and promote its products for you, the disadvantage is that the process is also the same for your competitors, so you cannot do much extra to stand out within Amazon itself.

A good way to stand out is to create your own brand through a website that you can bring people to. That means building out a website, consistently adding content to it, doing SEO, managing the site, ensuring website security, etc. It takes hours of work to build a website and have it ranking well so people can find it, but you can also install your pixel and standard event codes on your own website, and take advantage of the power of the Facebook pixel.

An Easier Solution:

Do all of the above, and get set up quickly, using a tool/system such as *AMZPromoter. This online tool will help you build your very own professional looking landing page (even without your own website) that allows you to install your own pixel onto it. The landing page offers people a coupon (which people love) and they simply leave their email address to get it. The system helps you to connect your email capture form to your preferred email software, like Mailchimp. AMZPromoter is very straightforward and easy to use, inexpensive, and looks very professional. You can be set up in minutes. It’s an option that can save you time and get you better results than simply boosting posts that link to your product on Amazon. The system should help you get more leads and ultimately sales!

Once your pixel is set up, you can then practice using Facebook to create custom audiences, retargeting ads, engagement targeting, etc. and start scaling up your Facebook ads even more so that you can sell more products. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

* AMZPromoter is just one system we found that allows sellers to easily set up an effective Facebook ads sales system to increase sales on Amazon. There are other systems out there that do the same thing—please comment on your results if you decide to try out AMZPromoter or a similar tool!

Tricia Belmonte is an Internet marketing specialist with over 17 years of marketing, senior management and business development experience. Her passion is helping motivated business owners become authority sites online.

Learn more about Tricia by visiting her Amazing.com instructor profile: https://www.amazing.com/instructor/143

How to Start Selling on Amazon: Tips from a $750K Amazon Seller

Learn how to start selling on Amazon with these tips from Tiffany Estey and the Amazing Selling Machine (ASM). Tiffany tells her success story and provides tips on how you can structure your Amazon business, schedule, and success to meet your personal goals. She explains the process of getting started selling physical products on Amazon, how to build a brand, using pay-per-click marketing, focusing on your goals, and using the ASM techniques to brand and market yourself.

Proven Amazon Course: Amazing Selling Machine

Mike McClary interviews Tiffany Estey, who has gone from barely making ends meet to running a successful Amazon business after taking the proven amazon course—Amazing Selling Machine. In the video, Tiffany shares her story and explains how she got started in selling on Amazon. She explains that she was a pregnant single mother and was struggling to make ends meet. Her second child was due in January and Tiffany decided to make a change. She knew she wanted to be home with her children, but also needed to pay the bills. She got a laptop in November, took an ASM course, launched her first product, and made a sale within ten days. She now makes as much as $65k in a month.

Index:
Getting Started Through the Amazing Selling Machine
Building a Brand
Personal Goals
Using Amazon Sponsored Ads
Marketing Yourself
Single Mom Builds $750K Amazon Business and Something Else Even Cooler – Video Transcript

Continue reading “How to Start Selling on Amazon: Tips from a $750K Amazon Seller”

Starting an Amazon Business

Starting an Amazon business made sense for Kristy Verity after learning about  the Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) training course.  She felt stuck in her corporate job and decided to make a change. Through the teachings of ASM, Verity started her own business selling physical products on Amazon. Over the past 4 years, she has since built her brand, launched multiple products, and sold millions of dollars in product internationally. Here she offers her tips on product cost, product selection, launching additional products under your brand, reviews, and marketing with Amazon sponsored ads.

Contents:
Amazing Selling Machine Paved the Way
Amazon Seller Business Tips

Launching Products
Business Goals

The Millionaire Wanderer – Meet This World Traveler Who Started Selling on Amazon 4 Years Ago – Video Transcript Continue reading “Starting an Amazon Business”

Sell an Amazon Business

Learn from Brendan Morris on how to sell an Amazon business. One way to be successful on Amazon is to create a successful business, sell it, start another business, and keep repeating the process. Brendan Morris, SellerCon attendee and Amazing Selling Machine member, shares his insight into this process and provides tips on how sellers can effectively build a successful Amazon business that people will want to buy. His tips include focusing entirely on cash flow, automating as much as the process as possible, strategically selecting smaller items to build up the brand, and doing a ton of research on keywords before starting out.

Index:
How to Sell Your Amazon Business
Increase Cash Flow Before Selling Your Amazon Business
Amazon Automation
Sell Smaller Products on Amazon
Amazon Product Research
Meet This $30 Million Dollar Seller and Entrepreneur – Brendan Morris Video Transcript

Continue reading “Sell an Amazon Business”