"When putting all of this together, I can get some idea of the “real” margin in the business as it grows.
8. Look for Sources of Momentum
Do more of what is working. I’ve worked on over ten different business ideas and only one of them has really taken off. The best thing I’ve done is make sure my attention was focused on the one that had the momentum.
It would be easy for us to gloat in achieving what WP Curve has in the first year of business and think it’s a result of the team’s great work. The truth is: I have made big mistakes, just as regularly as I have with other failed businesses.
I completely butchered our ideal client profile, spending months chasing the wrong kind of customer (most of them would later churn).
The team spent four months selling to agencies for a grand total of a single $49 job, refuting one of the major assumptions I’d made launching the business in the first place.
I had changed the pricing model regularly, only to change it back days later.
I launched a bunch of new services, all of which failed and took away valuable time and attention from the core business.
Once momentum kicked in, these had little impact. In a job, this kind of incompetence would be grounds for dismissal and would cripple a lot of companies.
In fact, this past March WP Curve started the month by churning 22 of our paying customers for one failed product. This put the company at negative 6% growth on day one. Getting to 0% was going to be a struggle, not to mention hitting the 10% growth goal. However, by the end of March WP Curve had grown by 15%. Momentum got us there. People kept signing up.
Being part of a business that fails is tough. You feel like you are doing great work and you probably are. But no matter what you do, you can’t win. You improve your product, up-skill yourself, talk to your customers, read books, change pricing… you name it. Success eludes you.
On the other hand, when things are on a roll, no matter how many mistakes you make, things keep going in the right direction. You screw up a few jobs, miss a few deals, waste time on the wrong things, get distracted. Things still power on.
I’ve been in both positions in the last 12 months. From losing 90% of my savings on a startup plagued with chronic failure to a business that was profitable in 23 days and signed up over 400 monthly clients in the first year or so. Doing more or less the same things.
Momentum is a powerful force, so keep an eye out for what is working and do more of it.
9. Manage Motivation
Your own personal happiness and motivation are the most important keys to the success of your business. I know plenty of people who have created great businesses, taken them to a point, and then lost all motivation.
If you are struggling with motivation, join a forum, start a mastermind, find a co-founder, hire people to do the hard work, and get back to what you’re good at.
Take the warning signs seriously.
You should be more excited about Monday than you are about Friday. If that’s not the case, there’s a good chance things aren’t going to work out.
10. Cull Difficult Customers
Difficult customers will waste your time, kill your confidence, and destroy your motivation (and soul). No amount of money is worth working with a difficult customer.
Every difficult customer can be replaced by a better one, generally much quicker than you think. The work required to replace them is a far better use of your time than any work spent trying to help them.
My team prides themselves in sniffing out potentially difficult customers prior to sign-up and scaring them off. I also cheer when the team lets a bad customer go or they leave on their own accord. I want to work with good people, and my team values time and group sanity.
Normally it’s simply people being unreasonable. Customers with high expectations are great because they can push your business forward, but some people are unreasonable and you a better off without them.
11. Focus on Retention"