Concept to Scale

Right now, I’m working on a potentially scalable concept. An idea that is needed in the market, yet has eluded a solution – small business advisor. I’ve wrestled with the idea for a while, falling back on my own service instead of actually bringing on new people and building. The reasons have been mainly an unwillingness to sacrifice equity and the difficulty in (or rather determination of) finding good people.

Usually, good consultants can get their own business, and do what I’ve done, stay solopreneurs.  That’s not to say, I haven’t hired help – they are all sales contractors that get paid to refer, but the older I get, the more mundane this sounds.

I’ve failed in building a business these last few years and that failure was more from inaction than trying to touch the rim and missing. That makes it ten times worse. The inaction has come mainly from my lack of clarity. My long-term goal is to own a diverse group of profitable businesses and reallocate the cash-flow back into new acquisitions and high yield investments. However, I do not want to take outside capital to build this type of business. I don’t want to raise money to achieve it. EVER. NEVER.

On paper, I know it’s possible. I know that my strategies can translate from the capital markets to the small business market, because what helps big businesses get big can be understood and executed against. Ah, fucking execution!  Not all businesses can scale 10x, but very few need to in order to have a profitable grip on their local market. It still baffles me that so many small businesses are losing to bigger name brands in their own backyard.

As for this “idea” where I keep circling back around and around and around time after time after time is the debate on masses vs classes. The masses approach would be to try and get as many businesses signed up as possible at the highest price payable based on value provided. For example, I know my service delivers, and it’s tax deductible – a win-win. The problem is that I know it’s not scalable without finding other highly skilled people, hard to do even when your target market is small business. I still don’t think it’s impossible.

The challenge my brain presents is this: could we really help everyone of our “clients” build their business? I guess if we charge $10,000 and get $30,000 for the client, it’s worth it, but if we charge $10,000 and get $100,000 for the client is it worth it for us? Especially if it takes man power to accomplish on our end. It’s one thing to sell a platform that doesn’t require one to one interaction or lots of many power to deliver. That’s why it makes sense for financial managers to continue pushing their prices lower in a competitive fashion.

The classes approach would be like working with a hedge fund or joining an exclusive golf club. Clients would have to qualify because we would need to know where we can deliver the most value and in turn earn the biggest fees over time. Another aspect is just monitoring who we want to work with and what we want to spend out time doing. To some degree, direct selling accomplishes this automatically because you are only reaching out to people you want to work with and the rest of the world knows nothing about your business. But, when you start marketing, any client type could fall in the sphere if you’re open to all. The other thing is people love to feel important, and having a secret service that crushes it would do a great in that area.

So, that’s my dilemma here. When winning comes down to focusing on one thing, but you can see a path to scale with multiple things, leadership decisions become extremely important.

To Be Continued…

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