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This is part 2 in a three part series. Check out part 1 here. For bonuses, including how I created and optimized our Facebook ads and how I built the sales page, grab The Business Building Toolkit.
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How to Launch a Business From Scratch Part 2: How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel From Scratch

Last month, I helped launch a collaborative business project.

What started as just an idea several months prior culminated in a launch that brought in 5 figures, allowing us to fund our operations for the foreseeable future and scale our business to the next level.

In part 1, I wrote about “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” – a process I use to thrash an idea until it’s clear.

What exactly needs clarity?

  • what’s the goal of the business or project (impact, revenue, etc.)?
  • how will you find and reach your first 10 customers (and then first 100)?
  • do you have the resources to fund and create this?
  • can you launch this within 30 to 60 days?

“The Open Loop Product Development Framework” allows us to systematically find this clarity as we thrash and build out a basic (but useable) business plan.

The fundamental principle of “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” is this:

Great ideas don’t matter without great execution.

Next Step After You Clarify Your Business Plan

At this point, you have a clear idea of:

  • what you’re building
  • why you’re building it
  • and who it’s for

Now we need to focus on turning this basic outline into a shippable product.

This means:

  1. building the product (or at least the shell of the product or service)
  2. leading people to your offer
  3. getting people to pay for your offer (product or service)

In next weeks blog post, I’ll explain in more detail how to build a product wireframe you can sell on proof of concept alone (as well as how to sell it). Today, I want to focus on building everything around your offer – the stuff that determines if your product or service ends up a success or failure.

In other words: how to create a sales funnel.

How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel

In the following video, I want to explain to you, step by step how to build this sales funnel. Below the video you’ll find additional notes and ideas on how to properly create a lean sales funnel.

Once you’re finished viewing and reading, please leave a comment and let me know what questions you have about the lean sales funnel process.

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Defining the Sales Funnel

Mattan Griffin, creator of the One Month Growth Hacking Course, defines the 5 steps of the lean marketing funnel as:

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue.

Acquisition: get someone to your site

Activation: get this person to take action (free trial, newsletter subscription,etc.)

Retention: get this person to come back to your site multiple times (coming back to use their free trial, coming back through your newsletter, etc.)

Referral: get this person to spread the word, either directly or indirectly. For example: directly – word of mouth; indirectly – putting your logo on the software so when others see it, there’s a chance they’ll click on it.

Revenue: get this person to buy something (upgrade to paid version of your software, but your book, join your premium ecourse or training program, etc.)

These building blocks of the lean marketing funnel are also the building blocks of the lean sales funnel I built for our most recent product, and something I’m going to share with you below.

Avoiding Complexity in Your Sales Funnel

There are hundreds of ways to overdo the sales process online; all sorts of bells and whistles you can add to your sales page, to your advertising, to your product or service. You can spend months building “virality” into your product, weeks creating the best survey lead magnet in existence (been there, done that), or days creating the best graphics.

At the end of the day: all of this just overcomplicates things.

The success of your launch is dependent not only on the quality of the product or service and the effectiveness of the sales funnel, but how simple it is for you to manage the whole process.

Most product launch failures are “user-error” failures.

Simply put, the more elements or layers we add to the funnel, the more complex the system becomes. The ramifications of complexity:

Best case: you’ve designed a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Worst case (more often the case): it doesn’t work.

So what’s the alternative?

A simple sales funnel that turns visitors into loyal customers.

Enter: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

How to Simplify and Optimize Your Sales Funnel: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is a simple way to execute the lean marketing funnel explained above, but in this case: to launch a single product or service.

Instead of creating an overly complex funnel, The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method focuses on only the essential and removes waste in the process.

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is composed of three (surprise) key elements:

  1. One Lead Generator (the thing getting people to come to your site)
  2. One Splash Page (the page you lead prospective customers to)
  3. One Conversion Process (the way you turn visitors into loyal customers)

One Lead Generator

If you’re trying to create an effective sales funnel, it’s best to identify one way to generate leads for your product or service.

There are hundreds of ways to drive customers, but unless you’re working at a large company or have tons of disposable income, you’ll have to narrow and focus your efforts (this is especially true if you’re new to all this).

It doesn’t make sense to try to drive traffic from a podcast, Facebook ads, outbound marketing, and affiliates right at the beginning; much better to focus on just ONE lead generation source so you can get really good at it (as opposed to spreading yourself thin and creating a lot of things that don’t really work).

One Splash Page

All your efforts should guide people to one page.

One page.

Not two, or five, or ten; Just one (and no need to even split test this).

This page should be coherent with the message that drove visitors to it in the first place, and should also be coherent with the conversion process you’ll use.

So, for example: if you want to convert people using a sales webinar, the one splash page should be a webinar optin page. And the traffic that comes there through your lead generator should KNOW they’re headed to a place where they can opt into a webinar.

Being consistent throughout is clutch.

One Conversion Process

Don’t try to sell a product a dozen different ways. Just focus on one way to convert visitors into loyal customers.

In the webinar example, a sales webinar would be the conversion process…not a free ecourse, not sending them to a static sales page, but actually selling them on the webinar.

Examples of conversion processes:

  1. in person meetup or event
  2. phone or skype call
  3. live webinar with sales pitch at the end
  4. autoresponder with upsells
  5. static sales page

Note: a static sales page is probably the least effective at converting sales. I’ve heard from dozens of business owners with large audiences (10,000 + ) who have launched products or services hoping a simple sales page would convert sales, but ended up converting at less than 1% (less than 1% of 10,000 people = 100 sales…not very much at all for a list that size). Then, when they through a more active conversion process into the mix (live webinar, phone calls, etc.), conversion sky-rocketed.

So pick one to test it, and ultimately: the more personal, the better (more on this next blog post – sign up here to be notified).

Why The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method Works

First, because it focuses on growth and learning foremost.

If you’re trying a dozen different things to sell your product or service, how do you know what’s working or what’s not?  But if you focus on just one thing, you properly measure it, which means you can learn from it.

And learning inevitably leads to success.

Second, it’s manageable.

Like I said before – most launch failures are user-error failures. Often because of an overcomplicated launch process.

The key to The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is simplicity. A single individual working part time can use this method and make it work.

What if I Don’t Have an Audience?

Now, this technique is based on the assumption you have an audience.

But what if you don’t?

Well, you build one.

For us, that meant spending some money on targeted Facebook ads to build a list of 200+ before we launched our first sales webinar (learn how to create these types of targeted FB ads here).

For you, it could be sharing your work with family and friends, with Facebook groups that might be interested, or using a tool like Untorch.com to spread your message viraly (is that a word? it is now…).

So ultimately, you need an audience.

Good news is: it doesn’t take much to build one.

(note: if you want more education on how to build an audience, let me know in the comments below and I’ll go in more depth in a future blog post)

Next Steps

So what happens when we’ve built out your lean sales funnel and people start showing up?

You close the sale.

In the next video and blog, I’m going to teach you “The Coffee Is For Closers Technique” and specifically how we quadrupled industry standards with our sales webinars.

Check your inbox next week for the content and bonuses.

Oh, and if you enjoyed this article or this series, please SHARE!

Thanks in advance for your support :)

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Business Building Toolkit

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How to Promote Yourself to the Toppromote-yourself-cover

How would you feel if I asked  you to talk about how great you are?

My guess is, if you’re like the majority of people in the world, you wouldn’t feel very comfortable.

According to Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, this attitude of feeling ashamed to talk about your success, or ashamed to show people the value you add, will not benefit you in the 21st century.

In fact – it’s ONLY those who are willing to tell or show people everything they’re capable of – who are willing to self-promote – that will succeed over time.

Why?

Because otherwise you’ll be ignored.

And if you’re being ignored, someone else will take your spot, your promotion, your pay raise, etc.

This is the reality of the modern world and it’s something we need to get used to.

That’s why I wanted to talk to Dan today, an authority on the subject of selling your personal value. Dan is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is also the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author sof Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

Dan’s had a lot of success in life, and as you listen to his story, you’ll realize 2 things:

One: he was given nothing – he had to work for everything he has.

Two: Dan’s not ashamed to talk about his value or what he’s capable of achieving – and that’s exactly why he’s gotten where he has in life.

So check out today’s interview and leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

What Dan Schawbel and I Talk About:

  • How to make yourself indispensable to your company
  • Dan’s personal story of having NO connections and no resources when he started out, and how he took life into his own hands and created the results he wanted
  • How to create a niche for yourself (and why you need to in the 21st century)
  • How to brand yourself (and why this is so important)
  • Why promotion SHOULD be shameless (this may be the most important less of the interview…just wait till you hear what Dan has to say about this)

Quotables from Dan Schawbel’s Interview:

“Luck is driven by work ethic and strategic position.”

Where You Can Find Dan Schawbel:

danschawbel.com

Promote Yourself

Me 2.0

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If you enjoyed today’s podcast, please leave a review on iTunes here. Thanks so much in advance for your support.

For a more in depth look at building a team and shipping a product to market, get my new free (for now) collaboration course. Sign up here.
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How to Launch a Business From Scratch Part 1: The Open Loop Product Development Framework

The Open Loop Product Development Framework by Tom MorkesA couple months ago, I mentioned I was collaborating on a new business venture – a business training platform for veterans.

Last week, we wrapped up the launch of our premium product: an intensive business mastermind.

What’s a business mastermind?

In our case (although they aren’t all created equal), think of it like a 6 month ‘a la carte’ business training program + personal mentoring led by some of the most successful entrepreneurs online (think millions in listeners, views, and in some cases: revenue).

Minimum price of entry: $3,000.

A steal for the value (less personalized programs run upwards of $2k – $3k per MONTHS), but expensive as a one time purchase nonetheless.

The results?

We now have a small group of highly motivated students going through our intensive, personalized training program as well as 5 figures to kick-start building out new products and services in order to scale and grow the business.

This is just another example of the lean launch I wrote about several months ago, and another example of selling on proof of concept alone.

Over the next few weeks, I want to take you behind the scenes of how we did this, including:

  1. How we developed the idea into a shippable product (today’s lesson)
  2. How we developed a lean sales funnel (building an audience from scratch in less than a month)
  3. How we managed to more than quadruple industry standard conversion rates for a live sales webinar (or what I like to call: “The Coffee Is For Closers Technique”)

I’m also rolling this out as a video series.

Would love to know what you think in the comments below.  So once you finish watching, let me know!

What I discuss in Today’s video:

  1. How to develop an idea into a cohesive product and business launch
  2. How to thrash your idea, refine your vision and scope, and launch a premium product
  3. How to apply “The 8 steps of The Open Loop Product Development Framework”

A Brief Overview of The Open Loop Product Development Framework

Every business, product, invention, whatever – starts with an idea.

The idea’s not the hard part.

Forming the idea into a shippable product is.

“The Open Loop Product Development Framework” approaches product  development (and when I say products, I mean in the broader sense, including services) from the angle of progressive refinement.

In other words: every element of what goes into developing a successful product (or service) is interconnected. Every element affects every other element.

If you change the customer segment, this will affect your marketing and sales channels, which affects the problem you’re solving, which affects the solution you can offer (and so on and so forth).

If you decide to charge more for your product, this changes the revenue model, which directly affects how we define the problem, who our first customers will be, etc.

Hence: open loop.

The 8 Step of The Open Loop Product Development Framework:

Step 1: Identify the first 10 / first 100

Step 2: Determine: is the problem real or faux?

Step 3: Refine and define the solution

Step 4: Define your unfair advantage (why should we pay attention to you? what makes it impossible for someone to copy what you’re doing?)

Step 5: Identify how you will reach your first 10 / first 100 customers

Step 6: Determine revenue + expenses (how much do you plan to make from this? is it worth your time and effort?)

Step 7: Set a ship date

Step 8: Go back through steps 1 – 6 several times before the vision is refined (don’t take longer than a couple days) then start building your product / service / offer

Was The Open Loop Product Development Framework Useful?

If so, let me know if the comments below.

And also let me know:

  1. what else you’d like to read?
  2. what other information would be useful?
  3. what could be explained in more detail?

Check back next week for an update on how we developed our lean sales funnel and built an audience from scratch in less than a month.

Started, finished, and shipped in Denver, Colorado

Soundtrack: Bon Iver Pandora Station

Total writing and filming time: 5:40 hrs

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