4 Systems to Take You to $100,000 (and beyond!)
A few weeks ago, we covered the four phases to take your business to $100,000 over the next 12 months, and phase three seemed to catch the attention of a lot of our readers. It seems as though you want to know exactly what systems you need to scale your business.
Let's start with a quick recap. What are the four main phases to grow your business?
- Make a plan
- Earn your first $1,000
- Build your systems
- Work your systems
You can read more about these four phases here: How to go from $0-$100,000 in 2022.
Today, we’re focusing in on phase three: systems to scale your business and the questions you’ve asked about this part of the scaling process:
- What are the systems I need to incorporate?
- How should my systems work?
- What are some examples of systems?
- How can I build systems of my own?
First – You Need a Sales System.
When you’re first starting out, you’re probably working hands-on for every single sale you make. You’re contacting your prospective customer, you’re sharing with them the benefits of your product, you’re asking for the sale, and you’re delivering your product.
This may not seem so bad when you’re only serving a few customers, but if you want to grow your business past the six-figure mark, eventually, you’ll have dozens (if not hundreds) of customers to service and not enough time in your day to individually lock in each sale. This method is time-consuming and not scalable – unless you’re selling an expensive, high-end product where you only need a few customers to make good money.
In order to sell your product, you need a way to make potential customers aware of it. How are some ways they are going to find put about it? Here are a few ideas:
- You could host an event – on or offline
- You could put the product on your own website
- You could host the product on a third party website such as Etsy
- You could use content marketing to attract people to your website and set up an application process for a service you offer
However, no matter how you show off your product, you will need a sales process to go along with it. So what is your sales process going to be?
Our Sales Systems
In my own business, we use automated email marketing for most of our sales systems. Inside our email marketing software (we use Convertkit) we can build a sales funnel where leads (prospective customers) opt-in to a specific freebie, workshop, or just our general newsletter, and then progress through an automated marketing system, which involves a number of emails (called sequences) that share more about the product we’re offering, answer questions, and ask for the sale.
Here's an Example of Our Email Marketing System
For example, after someone has purchased Creator Fast Track – my YouTube program where I help you reach 1,000 subscribers and get monetized – that student will then be moved into a funnel that pitches another one of my programs, Video Creator Academy, which is about creating quality videos and not directly about YouTube. This series of emails promotes the academy and gives them more information.
Here’s a sample of what the VCA sequence looks like:
- Email 1 – Video Creator Academy is now open for enrollment
- Email 2 – More information about the course
- Email 3 – Why it’s important to make quality videos
- Email 4 – Why you need to know more than just YouTube strategy to succeed
- Email 5 – Personal reasons why (is it worth your time, investment)
- Email 6 – Additional information about the program
- Email 7 – Offer a payment plan option
What does this sequence do for potential students? It allows them to make a decision for themselves and decide if it would fit their needs, and it does this without anyone having to directly talk to them until they’re ready to reach out.
Whenever someone replies to one of these emails with questions, my team and I step in to provide a human touch.
Essentially, with an email marketing sales funnel, you start with thousands of leads at the beginning, and they trickle down to a few of the right leads who reach out for one-on-one conversations and are interested in purchasing.
Here's Another Example
I have a sequence set up for those who are working on starting a business and have attended a live workshop with me. Here’s how the sales automation breaks down: The potential customer attends the live workshop, and after the workshop, an automated system of emails is sent to them featuring my product (Startup Society membership) that will help them set up a successful business.
The first email includes a replay of the workshop, then I share that the opportunity to start a business is possible for them, give a tour of the membership, ask them what it is they really want, share with them what they get access to and the pricing structure, and send a few more emails asking for them to join us inside.
When it comes to email marketing, it varies how many emails you send or how long the promotional period should be. Generally, I suggest one to two emails per day when you’re having a promotion such as a sale or an open enrollment period, and on the last day increase that number to send up to three emails.
Some of my most successful promotions have been around three days long. You could have a promotion that is as short as a few hours or as long as a couples weeks. It largely depends on the product itself, how much you need to nurture your audience, and the timeframe you have.
What would you like your sales system to look like in your business? How can you automate what you’re doing right now to get sales?
Second – You need a traffic system.
A traffic system is how you will get traffic to your website, and this is an essential ingredient for your sales system to work at all. You need a plan for how you’ll gain visibility and exposure because potential customers need to be able to find you and your product in order to make a purchase.
Do you know how you scale a business? One of the most direct ways is by scaling traffic. If no one’s coming in, that, in turn, equals no sales coming in. This applies to both online and offline businesses.
Favorite traffic sources
What’s great about traffic sources is that there are plenty out there to choose from, and you can determine what will work best for you based on your interests, your skills, and your capacity.
Here are some popular online traffic sources:
- YouTube (my favorite, of course!) – YouTube is an organic system where you have the benefit of the algorithm working for you to promote your videos to viewers who want to watch them. Once the algorithm fully understands your message and the types of videos you produce it will begin working its magic. This then can trigger the rest of a process to send traffic to your website if you've shared a link to it in your video description. The hard work? You actually have to show up and produce quality videos to get seen.
2. Pinterest – Pinterest, much like YouTube, is a search engine with an algorithm that shares your content with those who are interested in seeing it. The difference is Pinterest isn’t long-form content like YouTube. Rather, it’s only a sneak peak. If followers want more information, or want to see the long-form content then they need to click to your blog post or video. It’s a relatively easy system because you can see what is working well on the platform, and you can create similar things. It takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s a great free marketing tool to utilize!
- Word of mouth – Now, this traffic source option is not as automated as the others, but it can work just as well, especially if you don’t need mass exposure for the product you’re selling. You may just need exposure to the right people. There is a trust factor associated with referrals and testimonials. When I go to get my hair cut, I’m more likely to go to someone a friend recommends than to just walk into a Great Clips and expect great results. With word of mouth, you can strategically incentivize your audience to share your products or services through affiliate commissions or, better yet, add surprise factors into your products that make it irresistible for your customers NOT to tell someone!
- Paid advertising – Now, paid advertising isn't for every business, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting out, but once you’ve earned your first few dollars and have a proven product, you could determine a small ad budget and see how it works for you. Honestly, paying to boost a post on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t usually create measurable results in business. If you’re going to spend money on advertising, you’ll need to actually create an ad that drives in quality leads. What could you advertise that would draw potential customers into your sales funnel?
Which traffic system resonates most with you? Which do you want to try first? I recommend choosing one traffic source initially and going all-in on that one source. It takes time to get any traffic source off the ground, but will work for you once you patiently put in the effort. I encourage you to develop that preferred traffic source until you get enough momentum into your sales funnel. Then, if you want to, you can add another traffic source.
Third – You Need a Production System.
A production system is how you will produce (create) your products. Initially, as you get rolling in your business, you may be producing your product all by yourself, by hand, and making just a few items at a time. Once you create them, then you work to sell them.
However, this will only take you so far. Once you get hundreds or even thousands of orders, this one-person system is unmanageable. There is not enough time at this point in your day to produce all the things.
What you need is a scalable system to automate your processes, or to hire others to do the manual production. Either way, an important aspect of scaling your business is creating a streamlined system that you (or anyone working for you) can follow.
Your production system will look different depending on what you’re selling.
- Physical product – In order to scale a business with physical products, you’ll need to automate with machinery or hire additional help. It’s time to decide if you’d prefer a more automated or manual system and how you will organize it.
- Service-based product – There isn’t too much to do in the production process for a service-based product, but you’ll need to be ready to streamline your delivery process, which we’ll talk about shortly. For service businesses, the production process is the planning process. You'll need to decide if you’re going to perform the entire delivery or if you’ll hire additional help to serve more customers. Another thing to think about is if you can automate part of your work in other ways (such as the scheduling process).
- Digital product – Do you want to know the reason I love digital products? Because you only need to do the production process one time as you create your product, and then you can forget about the system until you are ready to create another one! This model is exceptionally scalable because you can take that same production process you used with the first product you shared with a few customers and build it out for the masses. There are two parts to production when it comes to digital products: designing and creating the materials. Creating the materials includes writing the curriculum, filming video lessons, creating worksheets, and plugging the product into a platform for customers to access.
The last thing you’ll want to decide for the production system is how you’ll organize your projects so the system is fluid, specific, and scalable. My team and I use a project management system called Asana to help us out with that.
Within Asana, we can create a project for each new product using a template we’ve designed, and we can plug in different goals, dates, and links we need as we work through the product creation. Along with that, we can assign tasks, create due dates, and visually see the production process the entire way through.
Fourth – You need a delivery system.
How are you going to send your product to customers after they purchase it? The delivery system is the fourth system you'll need to set up to effectively run your business and prepare it to scale.
- Physical products – Pack and ship your products. Simple, but a bit time consuming… especially as your number of weekly orders grows.
- Digital products – one of the best ways to deliver your digital content is to email your customers to give them access (if this is automated, it’s a super quick delivery)
- Service-based products – this is the most extensive and involved delivery process of the three different types of products. You can email your client with details for the service, including what the service is, when it will happen, and how it will be delivered. Once you book a service client, that’s when the bulk of your work begins (this is the most extensive delivery)
How you deliver your products will be determined by a few different factors:
- What type of product are you selling? Is it a physical, digital, or service-based product?
- How will you automate the delivery process of a physical product? Will you outsource the shipping to an on-demand supplier or will you hire more staff to pack and ship from your business location?
- Which way will you choose to automate the delivery process of a digital product? Will you use an email marketing software such as ConvertKit, or will you rely on a course platform like Teachable?
- What will the delivery of your service-based product look like? This most likely will depend on what you’re selling, but you’ll want to make the decision as to if you’ll be doing the full delivery process or if someone else will help you. You’ll want to take additional time in the planning process to ensure your steps for delivery are systemized and easy to follow.
What is your delivery process going to look like?
Example of what the delivery process looks like in my business
Once the customer purchases our product, we send them into an email sequence automation with the following steps:
- The customer is tagged in our email software as “purchased” and “give access.”
- Once they have these specific tags, a webhook triggers the creation of a personalized login and password for them.
- From there, the welcome email goes out to the customer with all their login information and anything else they need to know to get started. Even the login information is automatically coded and filled in by ConvertKit.
- We send a series of additional emails to help them get the results they are looking for from their purchase.
How My Team Supports Our Systems
I’m sure you’re wondering what these four systems look like all together. Here’s what I do with my team in each process:
- Sales system – our success coaches and customer support team are in the email inbox answering questions from potential customers and helping guide them through the sales process.
- Traffic system – I largely create the content for my YouTube videos, my main traffic source, but my team helps me edit, review, and publish this content.
- Production system – we are hands-on with our customers. We don’t want customers to buy a product from us and never hear from them again. We want to guide them on how to use the product efficiently and get the best results from it. We open our inbox for students to reach out with their questions along the way.
- Delivery system – We deliver our digital products through an automated email system, which gives our students a link, login, and more information about the product. Again, we do this through ConvertKit.
I know it may seem obvious that you need to create a product and then figure out how to sell it, but until you turn this process into a system that is at least partially automated, your business will be much harder to scale in the future.
You can choose to automate your systems or build out a team, but even if you build out a team, you will need to create tight systems and processes to be most effective.
I suggest that if you’re just getting started, begin by writing a simple business plan. You can incorporate the planning of these four different systems within your document.
A business plan is a written document that details your business' objectives and how you will go about achieving your goals within the business. It's like a roadmap and a strategy from a marketing, financial, and operational viewpoint. A business plan will help you start your company on the right foot and having a strategy in place for growth. I created a template for easily writing a simple business plan of your own. You can download it for free here: Easiest Business Plan Ever
What system are you working on right now? Have you mastered any of these systems already? What’s worked for you?