Constant Worry And No Salary After 21 Years
After 21 years in business, our sales were down to a paltry $368K. Our profit was a mere $15,000…and that’s with me drawing a salary of ZERO dollars! I spent every day worrying whether I would be able to pay the bills and make payroll. Yes, after 21 years in business!
Just about two years later, everything changed. Dramatically! Our sales were over $1.1M and profits were at $248,000! And that was AFTER I drew a respectable salary. In one year, we added 13 new clients, more than DOUBLED our profit and added $397,385 in new revenue! To demonstrate just how far we have come, this year I was able to spend an ENTIRE MONTH in beautiful San Miguel de Allende in Mexico while my staff kept the wheels turning at home.
Our actual growth pattern looks like this:
In basketball terminology, this is what we would call a triple-double. A triple-double occurs when a player scores double digits in three of five categories in a single game. You’ll only find the most elite players scoring triple-doubles. Now I believe Connectability, Inc., is among the elite because we have achieved aggressive growth in three categories (revenue, profits, monthly recurring revenue) TWO years in a row. And our goals for next year are equally aggressive.
Shooting For The Triple-Double With Minimal Cost And Maximum Results – $37,000 In MRR For Us!
So, in adhering to the triple-double theme, here are my Top 10 Hacks For Growing Your Business To Consistently Hit The Triple-Double.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #10 (John Havlicek – 31 Triple-Doubles): Write A Book
Many times, Robin has said you create an extra layer of credibility by putting your name on the cover of a book. We include a copy of our book in every Shock And Awe box because it turns us from being salesmen into being consultants, which improves our close rate.
And it’s a simple, low-cost hack. The book template is readily available on the TMT dashboard. But you can take it one step further, at minimal cost. We added a couple of chapters and customized it for our market. We also paid a Fiverr consultant $50 to create a custom jacket design. And the cost of self-publishing is minimal. We did a run of 200 books for $1,200, which we estimate should last us for two years.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #9 (Bob Cousy – 33): Find A Reputable Paid Promotion
This year, we started working with an organization called Consumers Choice, who selected us as their Managed Services Provider Of The Year in Toronto. Let me be perfectly honest, this is a paid promotion. You pay for their promotional services and the right to use their logo on your marketing materials. But displaying the “Consumers Choice” logo on your business card sends a very clear and impressive message to many prospective buyers. Naturally, they all charge a fee for this. But if you’re paying $4,000 per year for the right to use that promotion, that’s less than $400 a month to buy a lot of credibility.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #8 (James Harden – 40): Printed Newsletters Are Your Friend
I know it’s a pain to design, print, fold and mail a newsletter, especially when e-mail is so much easier and cheaper. But it’s also a lot easier to click the Delete button than it is to pick up a printed newsletter and toss it in the trash. It amazes us that so many MSPs can’t be bothered to send out a printed newsletter.
Every month we start with Robin’s Done-For-You Newsletter and then add a few articles that highlight our business and our clients. Sometimes we’ll add articles of local interest. We then send our newsletter to customers, former customers, warm prospects and – probably most important – prospects we didn’t close. Over the past two years, two of those prospects we didn’t close came back to us, precisely because our newsletter landed on their desk every single month. And those two MRR clients total roughly $5,000 per month. Compare that to an average monthly cost of only about $300, and I think you’ll agree it’s a worthwhile investment.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #7 (Larry Bird – 59): Don’t Look For Instant Gratification
Patience is a virtue. Nothing you do, including these business hacks, is going to work overnight. That’s especially true when it comes to any form of public-facing advertising, whether it’s Google AdWords, radio ads or direct mail. It takes a while before you establish a level of recognition. Don’t be impatient, and don’t bail before you start seeing results.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #6 (LeBron James – 76): Become A Farmer
All of us who are out there promoting our businesses are like big-game hunters. We are eager for the next kill, hoping it’s going to be the business equivalent of an elephant or a tiger. But the truth is, there’s plenty of profit in our own backyard. We regularly evaluate new products and technologies to see if they can deliver value to our customers and, at the same time, put more dollars on our bottom line. We run quarterly webinars on a variety of topics, but all of them are ultimately aimed at selling our add-on solutions.
A single cyber security webinar we ran this year brought in roughly $800 per month of new MRR. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot, but the cost to run that webinar was exactly zero, and it generated nearly $10K in annual revenue. You can also work the promotion of these add-on products into your quarterly business reviews. Again, the cost of doing that is zero.
DON’T forget about the value inherent in your installed base. Keep adding value and you’ll keep reaping the rewards.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #5 (Wilt Chamberlain – 78): Your Website Is Your Storefront
It’s important to stress that there are really two aspects to a successful website. The first is your message, and that’s where having a “Robinized” website will help you deliver your message and stand out from the competition.
But just as important is having a website whose appearance immediately resonates with your audience. It needs to do that right on the home page, or prospects will simply jump to the next website.
Part of that is looking current and modern. As a technology company, if your website does not look state-of-the-art, you are automatically creating a level of suspicion about your technical capabilities. And I’m not talking about pop-ups and special effects. You don’t want your website to be busy or distracting. That will chase visitors away.
As we’ve moved upmarket to target larger clients, we’ve re-engineered our website several times to achieve the maximum results. If you’re using TMT’s Done-For-You Website service, they will work with you to make your website look just right.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #4 (Jason Kidd – 107): Aim For Critical Mass
Once you have enough clients and enough endpoints under management, your business will grow along with your clients. As they add new employees, you will add additional managed workstation seats, Office 365 licenses, licenses for add-on products, new hardware sales, etc. Today, we’re adding an average of $500 to $1,000 in MRR every month, without lifting a finger.
That critical mass will also help you ride the hills and valleys of business churn. If you lose a client, organic growth will help you to recover more quickly.
There is no one thing you can do to hit that Critical Mass, but implementing the rest of these hacks will get you there sooner.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #3 (Russell Westbrook – 117): DON’T Become Dependent On Any One Client
We all love the idea of those big, fat, juicy whale clients. Who wouldn’t want a client who contributes $30K or $50K per month of MRR?
But if that client is responsible for 10% or more of your MRR, it’s only a matter of time before they leave a gaping hole in your revenue stream. Whether you keep a client for one year or 10, chances are that at some point they’re going to leave you. Maybe it’s because they get bought out by a larger company, or perhaps they decide to inhouse their IT staff, or it could be a change of management. We’ve experienced all of those.
But whatever the reason, if you are heavily dependent on one or two clients to keep your business afloat, when they do leave – and almost all of them do, eventually – it could spell disaster. Even a client who represents just 10% of your MRR is a risk.
Do your best to diversify, and don’t shoot for the moon. If your average client size is 20 computers, don’t go chasing that prospect with 200 endpoints. It will consume a lot of your time, and frankly, your chance of landing them is probably small. But if you do, remember that losing them would be the equivalent of losing TEN of your other clients.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #2 (Magic Johnson – 138): Invest In Digital Advertising
If you’re not doing everything possible to build your online presence, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice.
We spend roughly $3,000 every month on Google AdWords, and another $400 for our SEO and AdWords consultant. As a result, the majority of the time, we now appear on the first page of Google searches in our market for both paid and organic searches. And that usually brings us a minimum of two to three high-quality leads – sometimes a lot more – every week. Roughly 90% of our customers have come from Google searches.
Triple-Double Marketing Hack #1 (Oscar Robertson – 181): Learn The Value Of “NO”
All of us are eager to see our businesses grow and flourish. And one of the most important assets that we all possess is our time. But too often, we allow that valuable time to be wasted.
Sometimes we waste that time by endlessly pursuing customers who never seem ready to make a commitment. Gary Pica from TruMethods has a great way of expressing this. He says: “Yes is good, but NO is okay too.” It’s “maybe” that causes us to waste our time on wild-goose chases. If a prospect can’t seem to make a decision, move on to more productive opportunities.
And there’s another side to NO. Sometimes we end up taking opportunities that we really should pass on. Maybe it’s the prospect who keeps putting the screws to you on price. Or perhaps it’s the lead who wants to be 100% sure he can get in touch with you in the middle of the night. Or maybe it’s a prospect who’s five times larger than your largest customer, and asking you about services you’ve never offered before. Or maybe you just have a bad feeling about a prospect.
There’s no shame in saying NO. Sometimes that’s the best decision for your business. Ask yourself whether a particular prospect is a good fit for your business. If they’re not, then no matter how much money you’re talking about, walking away is likely the best strategy.
So those are the 10 hacks, representing a cumulative cost of roughly $4,000 per month if you choose to invest in ALL of them. This year, we added nearly $37,000 in MRR as a result of these hacks. That’s an investment of just under 11% of our realized results, still less if you include hardware sales and other spin-off business.
And that brings me to one final question: who wouldn’t be willing to invest 11% of sales to achieve that consistent Triple-Double?
Steal These Winning Marketing Campaigns And Strategies!
Optimum Online Presence – We have recently undertaken a complete redesign of our website in order to focus more clearly on our target markets. At least 90% of our new business this year came from our online presence. By Q3, fully 80% of web-based leads received fell within our ideal-client criteria.
Quarterly Business Reviews Adding $3,100 In MRR – We were able to recently conduct at least two QBRs with all of our larger managed services customers. As a result of those meetings, we:
- Converted one customer from a block-of-hours plan to fully managed services, adding $1,200 per month!
- Added multiple software licenses valued at $900 a month
- Sold approximately $8,000 in appliances, also adding $1,000 per month in MRR
- Sold approximately $25,000 in new hardware sales
Cyber Security And Cloud Services Webinars – This year we conducted three webinars focusing on cyber security and cloud services. The attendance ranged from eight to 23 attendees. As a direct result of our webinars, we added between $1,200 and $1,500 in monthly recurring revenue. Since our only investment was our time and a meager investment in technology, it was a huge win for Connectability!
Sending Newsletters Like Clockwork – Every month, like clockwork, we produce and mail a print newsletter to 250 clients and prospects. The newsletter is mailed in the third week of the month and is a combination of Tech Times material and articles we create. Over the past two years, two prospects we didn’t close CAME BACK to us precisely because our newsletter landed on their desk every month. Those two clients total roughly $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue!
Shocking-And-Awing Our Prospects – Prior to every meeting with a new prospect, we send out a custom-printed Shock-And-Awe box that contains our book, The Business Owner’s Commonsense Guide To Trouble-Free IT. Plus, every new client receives an elaborate Welcome Kit, which includes a basket of “goodies” along with a welcome letter, some logo gift items and preprinted “Post-it” notes with instructions for reaching our help desk.