The 3 Rules On How To Filter Information For The Best ROI Possible
Business is daunting. Depending on where you look you’ll find that the average business owner needs to manage these core pillars:
2. Human Resources
7. Product Development
Depending on who you talk to you’ll be told that if you don’t have your “strategy” sorted you’re setting yourself up to fail while another guru or article will say that “operations” is the only way to succeed.
On top of this, you’ll find articles like this from American Express “The Secrets Of A Twitter’s Co-Founder Success” then you’ll go and try and implement this in your own business. Now multiply this by 10,000 for every successful company that has gone through an IPO that is a household name and you have an infinite number of strategies, ideas and opportunities that you want to implement in your own business.
These articles (mine included) are designed to help but often give too much information without guidance on when to implement this.
The following three rules I’ve used to filter through the deluge of business information. when scaling my businesses. I’ve used some form of these rules consistently to grow my businesses personally and professionally and hopefully, they’ll help you too.
1. Product Improvement
I’m a big believer that your brand and marketing are a byproduct of building a great product. Most people when they begin their business or contracting they fret about what a logo looks like, whether their social channels look great.
If your product is good all of these things will take care of themselves as your customers will be your marketing vehicle through word of mouth. Build a great product and sell it to your first consumer.
We live in a world where you can test the first version of your product in 24 hours if you don’t have a great product offering, to begin with, fix it and go back to the drawing board after getting feedback from others.
My default conversation for new business owners when advising them on what to focus on is this:
Me: “What is your product and is it good?”
Them: “Yep but I’m just not marketing it right yet”
Me: “Has anyone told you that they couldn’t live without your product offering or said I’ll buy that as soon as you’ve got one?”
Me: “It might be the product or you haven’t figured out how to sell it – go test both”
When you’re looking at how to grow your business and you’re browsing the world of self-help and you see the article titled “How to gain 10,000 followers in 3 weeks” don’t pick up that article if your product is shit.
“Am I looking for a solution to a shit product and hoping that it will be solved if more people simply see it?”
If you answer in the affirmative and fix your product first and then add everything else on top. This question has always been a great guiding principle for me when growing the new arm of any of my businesses or starting something new.
2. Focus On Sales
What is the number one reason businesses big and small fail?
They run out of money.
If you read an article and you can’t tie some form of ROI to it or figure out a way to make more money from it, put it down.
Here is how I filter new content when it pertains to action items in my business:
1. Will this new piece of information allow me to sell more or increase the average order value of my products?
2. Will this new piece of information allow my staff to become more productive so that they produce a greater ROI for us?
3. This new piece of information has no immediate ROI but when can I expect an ROI from it?
4. Will this new piece of information gives me more time to focus on higher ROI activities if I implement it in my business?
These four questions determine whether or not I’ll implement something in my business. If it doesn’t create an ROI for me in some way it doesn’t get added to the to-do list.
3. Tracking Whether Or Not It Makes A Difference
Most people do not track their time on a daily basis. The average business owner or even employee could tell you what they did during the day but if you were to ask them how many minutes they spent on it they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.
I’ve spoken about time tracking before but if you don’t know where your time is being spent you don’t know if you have the ability to add something new to your business. If you don’t know if you can add something to your business you’re going to have a damn hard time tying an ROI to it.
When I add anything new to my business I’ll add in the time to implement the new strategy and look for the results of that strategy in three-week blocks. Essentially I count these blocks as experiments.
Here is an experiment we recently ran:
At Rugby Bricks (an e-commerce company I’m a partner at) I wanted to understand if posting to LinkedIn five times a week would increase sales or sales enquiries?
1. What is the time commitment?
– Extra batching of social media scheduling content per week (60 minutes)
– Repurposing of old content for LinkedIn on a weekly basis (60 minutes)
2. What does an increase in sales look like?
10 messages to Pete’s LinkedIn inbox on a weekly basis
3. What will the time commitment be to FUP with these leads if this works?
Personalised DM’s for 10 people per week (40 minutes)
We ran this experiment for three weeks and secured our South African distributor for Rugby Bricks which netted us another $70 K annually.
The ROI for a total of 8 extra hours of business time on the new platform bought in a new distributor. We can, therefore, conclude that LinkedIn is a valid channel for us to carry on using.
Even with the science spin on it, you can see that by at least implementing this approach you know whether or not it’s making a difference to the bottom line.
Once you’ve got some extra capital in the business feel free to experiment but when you’re starting something new or looking to scale these rules have worked for me time and time again.