Scaling the Unscaleable (Supercar Business)

Scaling A BusinessToday I’m going to talk about something I learn from someone very close to me, my business mentor. As you’ve probably seen on the site before we are starting to talk alot about scaling businesses. This is because most people struggle when it comes to actually scaling businesses. They can set-up a good product, market it well, but as soon as it comes to scaling the process and earning the highest profit with the most efficiency, suddenly all common sense and business points go out the window. Today I’m going to talk about a couple of things that helped me to scale the unscale-able. How he scaled his supercar agency without having the capital to even purchase a car!

This data was pulled from the Ferrari car hire company in London and Supercarhire.co.uk These are rental agencies of all models and also collect data on supercar trends and prices. It was also his first business and how he learnt the keys behind scaling business correctly. Reading supply and demand, managing cash flow and finally using credit wisely. These are the 3 points I’m going to talk about today, they are all references of his business as I know a lot about it from the talks over the last 3 years, but the points can be pulled and re-framed to any business in the world!

3 Tips to Successfully Scaling Your Company

Supply Demand1.) Understand Current & Future Supply and Demand

Supply and demand are the basic economic principles and they also apply to all businesses in the world. If the supply increases you can either increase the demand through increasing the number of products in the marketplace or you can increase the price. The easiest way to see this in action is to look at gas prices. When petrol increases in price and oil per barrel prices increase, then you will look at the price on the pump increase in the same way. When the demand drops, the price will drop. Understanding this in your business type can give you a huge advantage, mainly when it comes to cash flow and having what you need in stock on specific dates and not wasting time in storage or having cash tied up in stock when the market isn’t ready for your product.

Cash Flow Image2.) Manage Your Cash Flow

Cash flow is the number 1 killed of start-up businesses. 80% of start-ups fail inside 2 years. This is due to either a.) Running out of money. Or b.) The market changing in such a way that their product or service is no longer viable. Although both can happen the first is the most common issue start-up and small businesses face. This makes managing your cash so important. Understanding demand is the first step to this. Utilising credit correctly is another step which we talk about below, but the easiest one is simply not to scale too early. For example saving 0.50c on a unit price might seem great, but if you have to spend $5,000 additional for this order then you might be better off having a smaller number of items and just take the slight hit on the profit margin. I have personally made this mistake multiple times.

Credit3.) Utilise Credit Correctly

Credit is such an ugly word in 2016. But in my opinion credit utilised correctly is the quickest way to make a successful business. There is no doubt that you need capital to make a successful business and sometimes people simply don’t have the means to save up a large amount of money in a short period of time. Instead of spending 2 years trying to save this money the better option is to look for long term credit. The best type is obviously a business loan, but sometimes this isn’t possible, so instead I would recommend utilising 0% credit cards for as long as possible. Some people think this is a very risky strategy, personally I think business in itself is a risk and if you don’t think you can pay off a credit card in 12 months then you shouldn’t go into business in the first place.

I hope you enjoyed the post, remember to share, sub and all that good stuff!

How to Scale An eCommerce Business to 10 Million a Year

Scale a businessNow before I get any hate on this article I want to say that I personally do not make 10 million a year. Maybe some currencies but not the USD. But I have made 1 million in a year using the techniques outlined below. Now if you are an experienced business man or women you can probably do this in just under a year, if you have the initial capital and time investment required. But if you are a start-up or someone just looking to get into business to make some quick money, this definitely is not for you as its primarily talking about re-investing until you reach this 10 million per year goal.

Now making 10 million a year is very similar to making 1 million per year, you just have to scale the processes you used to generate the 1 million and take it from there. For example if I think about everything I did to make 1 million, if I did this 10 times, or had 10 times the products then I would have most likely made 10 million, obviously there are a number of cases when this simply would not be the case but in my case I would actually have. But enough about me let’s get to the method itself.

QualityStage 1: Branding + 1 Product

Stage 1 is always going to be getting your branding and your first product onto the market. I would recommend getting the best product with the highest margins going first and then you can build your business around this. In some cases you might only need 1 product to reach the 10 million per year mark, but in my experience you will likely need a lot more! In this stage all you want to do is have a product you want to sell to the public (or other companies if you are B2B) and then have the branding for your product complete. This includes the website and any graphics you need. This is a lot of work but its all stage 1!

Stage 2: Promotion + Rankings

The next step is to launch your brand. Again this is tough but what I recommend is to invest a lot of money upfront in PPC, SEO and social media marketing. This might not be for everyone but the truth is these methods work better than anything I’ve seen. Build a following and keep re-investing any profits you might make. This is the key to growing so fast, you don’t want to make a profit in your first year because you have reinvested every single cent you made. This is how businesses go to 10 million in a few years and don’t hover around the million mark.

Marketing ChannelsStage 3: Open Up New Marketing Channels

Add new marketing and sales channels. If you look at what makes some businesses so successful, its that they don’t just sell directly from their website. I mean they sell mainly through the site itself, but they also sell through places like Etsy, Amazon, Ebay and even stores as well such as Boots, Tesco, Walmart. This diversification helps businesses not only make more sales but also get infront of more potential eyeballs. This in turn strengthens the brand and an even more important element – If the business does start to struggle, its not relying on a single source for sales, so you can build other sales channels without killing or relying off one completely.

Rinse Repeat ScaleStage 4: Rinse, repeat and scale

It’s easy to say when you have built your 1 product system to do the same thing but twice as fast, but the reality is you have to learn how to do this. This is why automating the entire process is so important. If you don’t then you will never reach this 10 million mark, you will also have a tough time reaching the 1 million mark too! Rinse this method, repeat it, learn from it and don’t make the same mistakes along the way. You may need to hire assistants to take care of the pre-existing products. For example I now never build ebay or Amazon listings, I outsource them all to my Amazon seller seo guy, who is frecking awesome! Now for newbies his price of $2,000+ might seem expensive, but it takes hours from me and he does a better job ranking the listings anyway!! It’s a no-brainer for me and he gets some good cash too so its a very easy way to kick start your business.

I hope you enjoyed the post and remember to like, sub and share!

3 Lessons I Learnt from my Millionaire Mentor

This is going to be a very personal article and one I have been looking forward to writing for a long time now as I think it will help a lot of people starting up their business or just looking to drive their business forward. I was lucky enough to have a client that I worked with who became my mentor, he owned a number of businesses but the largest earning over £4 million a year was bluechipcarhire.co.uk – This was a supercar rental and luxury car hire service. The business model itself is something I could never get into due to the capital, but the lessons he taught me were awesome and I owe a lot of my current success to him.

The GrindLesson 1: Don’t Rush | The Grind is Real.

If you’ve heard “the grind” before it is 100% true. Personally I’m a huge fan of the grind. It separates the individuals who can’t do it from the ones who really understand their business model and are willing to work 10 hours a day everyday from day 1. These people will be able to make great money in the long run. Take Gary Vee for example, he always talks about how he worked for 10-15 years before he became an “overnight success.” That is a great concept. You have to grind and then things will naturally fall into place! A famous quote from someone whose name escapes me was: “The more I work, the luckier I seem to become.” – Essentially what he meant was he was lucky as a result of the individual concepts and methods he put in place. Not just lucky from sitting around doing nothing all day!

Cash FlowLesson 2: Cash Flow Kills

This is a huge one that has personal relevance with me. I have personally lost entire businesses because I didn’t calculate cash flow properly. I’ve had to get £10,000 loans because I couldn’t afford to pay suppliers. And generally I used to mismanage my cash-flow. Not taking out too much profit from the business, but simply re-investing too quickly, which left me with no marketing cash flow to invest into making the sales of the current stock! This is a tough one to grasp in the early days of business, but it can literally rip your business apart so always start slow and invest your cash flow wisely. Assets are not cash!

Lesson 3: Don’t Have Ego

Ego is the enemyEgo is the most devastating force in the world. It can prevent you from reaching your dreams. It can also stop you from getting anywhere to begin with. In Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy, he talks about how bad this really is, and most people never believe they even have a problem. If you haven’t read this yet I highly recommend picking it up and getting a read in. It might just save your business, marriage or family.

That’s everything for this article, I hope you enjoyed the 3 lessons and hope you took some ideas and advice from it. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you.

5 Amazing Tips to Gaining Funding For Your Start-Up Business

Start Up Funding Tips

  1. FundingFirst and foremost, what you can do to fund your start-up business is to fund yourself. This means that as a start you will be the one that will handle all spending and transactions as well. You might be thinking that it would be difficult but no, keep in mind that since it is just in the start-up phase then it is normal as any business man to fund their own business from the start. No business man who suddenly decided to start a business and then it became successful the next day, success does not and never happen overnight, it is a combination of all sorts of hard work, passion, persistence, patience, dedication and of course, compromise.
  1. Laptop ImageSince it is still a start-up business you can’t just go to ask large companies to fund or invest in your start-up business, since it is not something that they can really see that is worth their time. So what you can do is start small, like your business now, since you are still funding it yourself, the people that are most likely who will support you is your family and or friends therefore, they are your first prospects in presenting your business proposal so that they will invest in your business. In this way, you will be able to get a hold of what they think about your business, and keep in mind that what they tell you are constructive criticism if there is any, don’t take it personally.
  1. Approved LoanNow in terms of getting or applying for a loan, keep in mind that you need to choose the right company for your loan application, you need to choose the one that you can trust and you are comfortable with. You need to carefully choose the company because they are the ones that you need to work with for your loan to be granted, and then eventually you need to pay them.
  1. CompetitionAnother tip that you can do where you can definitely benefit from is when you join competitions, like joining competitions for start-up companies or new products in the market, where you can get to know real business men in your field and then you can also get chance to win the prize for the contest. However if you do not win, you still get to know the businessmen who went there and then if you got good reviews for your start-up company or product/s then you get to present to them so that they will invest in your company.
  1. SpendingAnd then, most of all is that since you will be the one that will handle all the spending for the company or funding at first, so then you really need to keep your spending at a minimum. In fact, if there are times that you really need to spend then as often as you can, try to negotiate something where you will be paying less or you can have it paid at a later time so that you will have enough time to make your company bigger and earn more profit.

A New Angle For Our Site – Tech through Business

TechnologyOver the past 12 months we have been posting a lot of information about business and marketing in general. This is the industry I’m in and I love it, so I like to blog about it. The issue itself comes when Tech revolutionises business (and marketing for that matter.) Technology is such a big part of our lives nowadays that its silly to ignore it, instead I’m going to start posting more about cool tech trends I see happening as well as the normal of ways we can use this for our own businesses and marketing products we have For example 10 years ago if I said the biggest marketing trend would be social marketing on your mobile which is now called a smart-phone, chances are you would have laughed at me (or something worse.)

Personally I have 3 technology and business trends I can see happening that I have outlined below. these are something to keep an eye on over the next decade, these will change business faster than the industrial revolution changed the agricultural revolution. You can call it whatever revolution you want, but its essentially going to be evolving from the industrial revolution to the technological revolution.

3 Tech Trends That Will Affect Businesses

Quadcopter1.) Speed of Transportation

Whether this be humans, packages or even internet speeds, something will happen with speed. My guess initially is this will be due to the use of drones and other types of flying devices, but you see this already with Tesla and Uber, transport is changing and if you are still using an out dated transport method in 5 years time, you will likely be failing as a business. Drones in themselves are currently only small and powerful enough to carry a few (maybe 10KG maximum) of products, but give this 20 years and you will see giant drones transporting cars all over the sky (all using renewable technology, which brings me onto my second point.)

Update: Since posting this article we received a free quadcopter from the team at choseaquadcopter which is an online affiliate website comparing all the top drones on the market. This is from consumer drones and quadcopters all the way up to the top dogs you see on TV racing! I would highly recommend checking the site out if you are interested in that sort of thing.

Renewable Tech2.) Renewable Technology and Energy Changes Everything

Renewable energy is a big thing, but not as much as it will be in 20 years. In 10 years oil and coal will not be used, in 20 years I can see 50% of the entire world’s energy sources being renewable…. Why this didn’t happen 10 years ago is beyond me, but it will happen sooner rather than later now (government permitting of course)

These renewable energy sources will be things you are used to seeing, solar panels, wind turbines for example. but they will be used in more efficient ways, for example, wind turbines powered by computers that calculate the only times to spin. Solar panels that tilt towards the sun all day long and rotate to the most efficient positions.

Agriculture3.) Complete Agricultural and Educational Re-forms

Disruption of the agricultural and educational industries are only a few years away, probably less than 10 years. These individual industries are so outdated that a disrupter business owner will come in (similar to what Elon Musk and Tesla have done to cars) and completely blow away all of the competitors and old ways of doing things.

I hope you enjoyed reading, let me know what you think about my thoughts and if you agree that tech changes everything!

An Introduction to Keyword Research | SEO 101

Keywords and SEO 101

Keyword research

Keyword research:

The most important part of SEO!

A lame excuse for people who don’t know about ranking for everything!

There are generally 2 opinions of keyword research: The Good and the bad. But there is an ugly side and Google doesn’t help us with it!

The keyword planner is a tool created by Google to utilise keywords for people to bid on Adwords. See what people are searching and then bid on the most competitive or most highly searched terms. Great idea right? WRONG!

The problem lies in a very true statement written by Tom Buckland of Ghost Marketing:

Google’s primary aim is to generate ad revenue. If they state a keyword gets XXXX amount of searches, businesses will bid on this keyword, driving up the cost per click. In reality the keyword may only get XX number of searches, meaning that the individuals with the highest bids will appear every-time, because the search term is not frequent enough to allow more bidders to be shown. And hence, Google makes more money by inflating the numbers.

This is evident in a term that we have been trying to rank our agency for, for about 6 months now, the keyword is SEO Cardiff and although we are in the top 5 results most of the time, we haven’t had 1 visitor from the traffic! That’s a 0% conversion rate! Yet when you look in Google keyword planner you can see that the search volume is 820 and yet people continue to “search” but yet no one that ranks for this term gets any traffic or leads…. Strange.

The inflated search data is due to 2 points. The first is pretty obvious and annoyingly TRUE!

SEO’s checking ranking. If you have 30 SEO companies all trying to rank for “seo Cardiff” then you now have 30 people that are searching in Google for this term to check their rankings. Chances are they do this incredibly frequently if the average person searches 4 times a month, this has just added 120 searches per month, that is 100% inaccurate and not useful to anyone!

The second point goes back to Google being money hungry nazis. And the fact they will do anything (including making the algorithm less effective) as shown in the 2015 update with local results which was probably the worst update I’ve seen Google do since well, ever! But they did this for 1 primary reason: To increase ad revenue! And what makes you think they won’t hyper inflate their numbers to get people bidding more and more importantly bidding higher on search terms.

SEO testing

SEO testing

But the kicker comes when people have actually tested a search volume. Jerry West of webmarketingnow ran a test to rank a site in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd position for a keyword that allegedly got around 4000 searches per month.

Anyway Jerry being awesome, did this and reported on the monthly traffic across the 1st site: It was about 400 visits per month from the keyword. The site in 2nd had about 100 and the site in 3rd had an average of 40 a month. Which meant that this 4000 searched term actually was getting probably nearer 700…. Tut tut tut Google! Long live Bing!

Thanks for listening to my rant.

 

An Introduction to Business Branding

How to Brand your business?

Branding whether this be graphic design, logos, brand management, social, website or anything has a huge role on what your potential clients and customers think of you. Whether you have 10 or 10000 staff, how your business looks will effect the buying decisions of the people who look for your business.

If you have the budget I’d recommend hiring a corporate branding agency but if you don’t have the budget for professional brand management then there are a few tips you can use to boost your businesses brand image.

Colour schemes are king

Don’t go over-board using too many fancy colours and metrics. Simply stick to a theme and run with it. Most brands that are extremely successful have 1 colour, in most cases 1-2 line logos. Think of the 5 biggest brands in the world and their logos and so extremely simple that its almost painful. Have a look at the famous logos below and you will see that its not just 1-2 logos is most of them that have an extremely simple colour scheme or shape. Create a definitive brand by owning a colour or number or shape. If I say the tick you will instantly think of the brand “Nike” if I say orange you will either think of the phone company Orange or the fruit. If I say Purple about 50% of the people instantly know that the brand is cadburys. Imagine having that power, its free advertising! You can even do this on a hyper-local level. A solar panel installation company in Worcester called 2020SolarPV have great branding and are extremely memorable to the people in their small surrounding areas. You can be a LOCAL brand super-power, it just takes work.

Famous Logos

Famous Logos

Websites Don’t matter

There is a shocker from a web designer but the truth is that websites seriously just don’t make a difference. If someone is coming to find you, they are 99% likely to contact you for your service. There are a few industries that websites do make a difference, for example if you are a web design company and your website is a mess then obviously this is going to lower conversions, but for 95% of industries it simply doesn’t make a difference!

Websites Don't Matter

Websites Don’t Matter

Print Marketing is Dead

Print marketing is dead, or at least dying, although I think my long term friend over at his company leafletgo would disagree with me. Multiple new businesses set up and go straight into this and its the most expensive mistake they make. Back to our point about how many start ups fail, this is a big reason. Too many companies try to copy the huge brands and as a result end up messing up their entire network. Don’t do random print marketing. If you own a local business and there is a local AND industry specific publication then sure by all means place an advert, this makes sense! But don’t set up your business and rush to advertise in the local newspaper, this is the easiest way to burn marketing money and get your business into financial trouble super-fast!

Long live direct marketing

In a book named Permission marketing by Seth Godin, the kind of marketing, he talks about how interruption marketing is dying. Unless you’ve been around for 50 years and your brand is instantly recognised, you should never be doing print marketing or interruption marketing! It’s a death wish for your brand and business. Direct marketing involves sourcing the right people for your product or service and reaching out to them. The most old school way of doing this used to be direct mailings, this is now quite expensive and time consuming but still a million times more effective and ROI effective than print or interruption marketing. Make sure you love the direct marketing and utilise it to your brand advantage. This not only gets your sales message in front of the decision makers but it also allows people to see your brand. Although they might not buy from you today, if they need a similar product or service in the future, why would they not go back to you? No reason!

Thanks for coming along!

How To Start a Fitness Company

Ghost FitnessThe below video will give you a good introduction into starting a fitness company. The video is by Ghost Fitness a UK based gym accessories company. The key to starting a fitness company is to create a popular brand from day 1. Utilise whatever platform you are most comfortable with. If this is social media/online then have super-active social profiles. Or if you’re more of an old school marketer you can utilise targeted direct mail. This is still one of the most popular and EFFECTIVE methods to reach new prospects and customers for start-ups.

The Golden Rules:

  1. Start Small – Order 1 item in a small amount of stock.
  2. Quality over Quantity – Always order a small amount to start with but focus on design and customer service. If you can create a positive brand, you will gain loyal followers that you can sell to multiple times and hence increase your effort to ROI number.
  3. Re-invest Everything – Reinvesting your sales into your business as early as possible will let you grow and take on more and more products whilst keeping stock levels steady. If you take a profit from your business too early you will prevent it from growing rapidly and will slow the growth of the business drastically.
  4. Online Marketing – Start by marketing correctly to an online market – For example utilising the delivery network of Amazon. Amazon acts as an extremely easy to use marketing platform, utilise this for your business and even consider FBA (Furfilled by Amazon).
  5. Local Direct Mail – Market to your local gyms and fitness centres. Anyone within 1 hour will prefer to do business with someone local than someone corporate (all other things equal.)
  6. AIMs / Plan: Have a rock solid marketing plan. Also ensure that you have reachable business goals. You can have these set up as business sales figures, aims on where to be in 3-6-12 months time and also remember your end game. If you want to eventually sell your business remember you need to create processes and assets that are easily understood and transferable.

Top places to find business leads

Top Places to Find UK Business Leads

Finding new business leads is one of the keys to a successful business. However, locating them can be another story. However, there are some effective sources that are excellent for locating new UK business leads. They include:

1. Sales Letter

This is an excellent way to get new business leads. It’s an old-school method but can definitely be effective. Simply write a business letter including details about your company, its products and services, etc. Then distribute out to prospective buyers, such as via e-mails lists and social networking contacts. One of the main problems that companies have in terms of advertising is getting the word out about their products. A sales letter cover can help to introduce your company’s products and services to potential customers, which could eventually lead to increased sales.

2. Website

One of the easiest ways to get leads is through visitors to your website. It’s quite easy yet effective to request that all visitors provide you with their e-mail address. Of course, you should consider giving them this option, so they don’t feel obligated to provide their e-mail. However, this is definitely one of the most effective ways to get new leads. Even if you don’t have a website, you can get a good web design from a number of companies and also graphic design from HQ SEO. Besides that, it’s quite simple since it just requires adding a new feature to your website. In addition, it’s quite a transparent method, as it doesn’t involve getting information from cookies and such. If a visitor to your website doesn’t want to provide their e-mail address, they have that option. You can also promote your site on business directories like MyLocalServices or with yell.com and co.

3. Affiliate Scheme campaign

This allows you to share leads with other small businesses. When they’re in the same industry but don’t have some of the products and services that your company does, they might be willing to share some of their leads with you. The way the system works you do for the same for them. The bottom line is that both parties are able to get useful leads that are related to their niche products and services. One option is to sign a Partnership Agreement, to ensure that the partnership is more permanent and long-lasting. However, be cautious, as this will lock you in to a business relationship.

4. Canvassing

This is an old-school yet effective way of collecting leads. Typically it involves hiring someone to get leads, and then paying them an hourly wage or per-lead salary. One of the main benefits of this method is that it frees up your company’s time and resources. While securing leads is important, it can be quite a meticulous and stressful process. Today there are tons of methods for canvassing such as landlines, e-mail, social networking, etc. However, all of the methods can be effective in securing more leads for your company. You can even find services that specialise in canvassing, which will likely help you to save money.

5. Personal Referrals

This is one of the most effective ways to get leads, because they’re given from people who have already tried your company’s products/services. Typically, people you know wouldn’t give your company an inaccurate or untruthful review of your company.

Financing Renewable Energy & Solar Panels

In early 2012 the UK government allowed grants and reduced taxes for business, both commercial and domestic who utilised renewable energy. We have gone out and interviewed 3 business owners who use solar panels or wind energy in their business.

This is what they had to say;

It’s all well and good allowing people to get a solar panel on their roof for free or with 80-90% reduced rates, but what happens when everyone starts doing it? Or what happens when a huge company gets the funds to utilise this method and suddenly the goverment is covering bills in the millions? I’m worried that it will end up being a ploy that then just turns to increased taxes. Tom Buckland of Ghost Marketing Financial SEO.

We believe that Tom might have a point. The money being covered by the Governments Green programmes has to come from somewhere, and if it doesn’t come from the UK tax payer then where does it come from? George below has a slightly different approach.

Hi, I think its a really good thing. We all know we need to be more careful about what we consume and how much energy we use, but unless there is a financial reward or something we get at the end of it, then we aren’t going to get anywhere! I know I wouldn’t be that bothered about getting solar panels if they cost 10 times what we are currently paying for them. But as they are pretty cheap and in fact have a positive ROI for our business in the long run anyway, its worth the additional cost upfront simply due to the amount your business will save in the long run. We saved over £10,000 in our first few months at eliteforextrading.com

Again its difficult not to agree with what George was talking about there. They run a huge forex trading corporation and the computers alone kill most of their electricity, but 1 solar panel = 1 CPU unit, I know if they could have 1000 on their roof they would. I’ve also heard they are looking into wind, but as you know if you’ve spent anytime on our renewable energy blog, we don’t care for wind over solar. Finally we are going to hear from Peter, whose in the solar business himself

Personally I think solar energy is a great investment aside from the obvious environmental benefits. We’ve been installing solar panels for close to 20 years now and have never heard of anyone who hasn’t had a great reaction to our services from a purely financial or return on investment point of view. We believe that if you have the intial money to invest in a 100% safe investment it really is the easiest decision you have to make. Peter from 2020 Solar PV.