“Recovering lawyer” & business-strategy master, Roland Frasier, shares his insights on how to leverage new strategies to go from working harder to working smarter in building your business. In this episode, we will explore key strategies like placing your business’ intellectual property in the name of a different company to allow for more flexibility, finding the best talent, bootstrapping or carrying debt, understanding the buyer journey, all the way to how to decide your exit strategy. This episode is jam-packed with tons of great information! Don’t miss out!
Evolution of a Business
Roland points out that different phases of business are focused on different things. While there will always be permutations of the phases, the basic blocks of business evolution are:
- You are everything – In the beginning, you, as an entrepreneur, are responsible for doing everything.
- Hire your Weaknesses – From there, your company begins to replace the parts of you that are not your strongest points. Finding the complimentary talent that will alleviate much of the pressure of you of doing the things you’re just not good at, or don’t enjoy.
- Bootstrap or Bring in Outside Capital – Next, you must then decide whether you are going to bootstrap or bring in outside capital in order to help your business grow. If you do bring in outside capital, there is a new evolutionary stage where the business stops being just yours. It becomes part of a community where you must now take into consideration the direction that others envision. This can lead to frustration and sometimes even regret on the part of entrepreneurs who envisioned their company going a different direction if it were still solely up to them.
- Culture – The next leap is defining and building a business culture. Roland explains that he learned some tough lessons by initially being opposed to designing a culture. But, he emphasizes that it is a necessity in order to attract the talent and skills you need to keep growing. Additionally, your business culture will begin to tie everything together and gets everyone on-board to start pulling in the same direction.
- Branding – This stage is a compliment to the culture phase. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, just selling your products is not enough. A nameless, faceless company will only go so far. Take, for example, the countless storefronts available in e-commerce ecosystems like Amazon. It is easy to become lost in a sea of competitors. Branding is what allows you to attract the right people and customers. It is also what speaks to the public as it says more than just something about you. It can build trust with the public.
- Ascension – At this stage, when your empire has been built, you will begin to think of how to ascend beyond the brand, how to exit the managerial phase and into being an investor, director, or board member.
Ideally, the phases would be a completely natural progression. But, that’s not what being an entrepreneur is all about. You will always have peaks and valleys, twists and turns in the path. Because of this, entrepreneurs will find themselves so busy, it can be difficult to think about the next stage, much less three stages ahead. As humans, even though we like to believe we can multi-task, we can only give the laser-focus to one thing at a time. Therefore, Roland stresses that focusing on the phase you are in is where you need to be. After all, we can only start from where we are.
Say Goodbye to the Sales Funnel
Roland cites Google’s observations on the new era of the buyer’s journey. The familiar funnel is now being replaced with squares, circles, and triangles – or as Roland points out, a double-helix – depending on the situation. Distractions are the number one reason sellers lose out on potentials sales. For instance, your customers find themselves browsing in a sea of information, eventually stumbling upon one of your core sales funnel strategies. But, all along the way, they’re questioning whether or not they should explore your offer. Then, suddenly, a distraction from a cat video or a celebrity catches their attention, and they’re gone.
So, in order to get them back, your brand must be agile enough to devise a strategy to get them back at the right place and at the right time. You have to be all of those places. That doesn’t mean you need to put your brand on 70 native outlets. What this does mean is knowing the major foundations to keep your brand out in front of your potential customers. Search media, social media, earned media, paid media, owned media, and messaging are the foundations you need to be present on to increase your odds of being noticed when the buyer bounces their way back to see your product or service.