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!

5 Ways to Quickly Build Your Email List

 

Your email list is one of the most important assets that you can have in an online business.

It doesn’t matter if you sell physical products or digital products and services. When you have a small targeted email list, it’s easier to start any business in any niche, because you have instant access to a database of potential customers who are interested in what you want to sell.

It’s not easy to build an email list, especially when you are just starting out, but there are a few methods that you can use to get great results.

Here are the 5 easiest ways to start building your email list:

  1. Use inserts. If you sell physical products on Amazon, or on your own website, add an insert—tell your customers to go to your website or landing page and enter their name and email address in exchange for something you give them for free. You can give them an extended warranty for their products, a discount code for future purchases, an ebook, or even a video course. Your imagination is the limit for what you can give them for free, in exchange for their contact information.
  2. Create educational content (articles) on your website, and share them through social media in groups interested in your niche. Try to rank these articles on google and other search engines for specific targeted keywords, in order to get traffic to them. On your website, add different types of opt-in forms (sidebar opt-ins, pop-ups, or hello bars). Once you get traction with this, it’s a never ending source of free leads.
  3. Build a landing page and drive traffic to it.  This can be one of the most effective methods if you get it right. First of all, think of something that you can give away for free to your subscribers. Make sure that what you are giving away is related to what you want to sell, so that it makes sense to customers when your promote it to them in the future. After this is ready, start driving traffic to that landing page (using Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Bing Ads, or other types of paid traffic). Make sure to test this and tweak it many times before you get the optimum conversion rate—but once you do that, scale as much as you want.
  4. Create a Facebook group. The admin of the group can ask members a set of questions before they join the group. One of the questions might be for your members to give you their email address in order to join the group. Grow your group to the stage where it gets organic traffic— a few member requests every day. Once you get the group to that stage, be sure that you also have good content, good branding, and great interaction in the group, so that people will recognize the emails they get from you. This method is free, and if your group grows larger and larger, you will get more member requests every day (which means more email subscribers every day).
  5. Build a YouTube channel. Start creating tutorial videos for your niche, which you can easily rank for targeted keywords. The more videos you upload and rank, the more free targeted traffic you will get from Youtube. In the video description, add a link to an opt-in form or landing page where people can go and subscribe to your email list. Be sure to point this out at the end of the videos! This method has two advantages: First, you build a following on Youtube, and second, you build your email list using free targeted traffic.

These 5 methods of growing your email list are the easiest to start with, and the most cost-effective. The majority of them don’t even require driving paid traffic!

Now it’s time for you to take action and start using the methods that are the best fit for you. Focus on one method at a time until you make it work, then scale by moving on to a different one.

Learn more about email marketing with Sorin Constantin’s course, “Email Marketing Basics: A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide.” Access this course on Amazing.com with the link below:

https://www.amazing.com/course/243

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”

Amazon Crowdsourcing – How to Crowdsource an Amazon Product Before Ordering Inventory

Crowdsourcing is a way to circumvent the typical business model of ordering inventory then selling it.  Why use crowdsourcing for Amazon products? With crowdsourcing, Amazon sellers can conduct market research to see if a product idea is viable, bring in customer support and a following, as well as generate purchases—all before ordering any inventory. This removes a lot of the risk of starting your own physical product business selling on Amazon.

Using the techniques and tips shared by Adam Ackerman in this training video, sellers will learn how to select products to sell, set their fundraising goals, market their product on sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and bring money into new or established businesses.

Contents:
Special Crowdsourcing Offer
Standard Business Model
What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing Business Model
Amazon Crowdsourcing
Choosing a Product to Crowdsource

Crowdsourcing Tips
Setting a Crowdsourcing Goal

Matt Clark talks with Adam Ackerman about how to successfully utilize crowdsourcing to advance your Amazon business—without tying up operating cash flow in inventory order (especially before you know if the product idea will actually even sell). In the video, Ackerman, who has raised millions of dollars for various products, explains how to crowdsource using platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Special Crowdsourcing Offer

Ackerman is currently providing a four part video series (with added bonuses) that starts with his video titled, “Learn How I Generated $566,112 in 45 Days
(And How You Can Too!)” At the end of the four part video series, viewers have a chance to get a lifetime membership to Ackerman’s “Crowdfunding Cash System and Community.” Here members learn the exact, proven steps Ackerman uses himself to leverage crowdsourcing to launch products and make money.

Watch the videos, get the bonuses, and sign up for membership here: http://bestsellerbadge.com/crowd

Important Note: Ackerman’s membership offer expires at the end of today, February 22, 2018. Continue reading “Amazon Crowdsourcing – How to Crowdsource an Amazon Product Before Ordering Inventory”

Day 10 – Delegating Tasks for Maximum Efficiency

Hey, it’s Jason here.

There are a lot of things, a lot of tasks that you need to take care of if you want to build a successful business.

And it’s very easy for an Amazon seller to get buried under those tasks, and to become a slave of your own business.

Yet, every successful Amazon seller seems to have a lot of time on its hands. (After all, that’s why you are in this business – to be free, right?)

Here’s the “secret”…

Continue reading “Day 10 – Delegating Tasks for Maximum Efficiency”