Phase 1: Planning
Today on the Ecompreneuer Podcast we're going to talk about planning. So many people go into business without a clear idea of why they started in the first place. Are you just looking for a quick buck? You can end up switching from one project to another without achieving anything. I've fallen victim to the same “shiny object syndrome”, taking course after course and doing everything you're being asked but never making any money. Believe me I feel your pain.
It took a very long time to get any traction. The key to succeeding online is having a good plan in place well before you launch. So what am I talking about? It's about vision. Why are you doing this? Having a clear understanding of your reasons for building this business will help to get you through the hard times.
So often people have a scatter-shot approach. They will have many kinds of businesses operating but with little to no integration with one another and with no long-term vision. What are you building? Michael Gerber said it best in The Emyth. You must have an exit plan in place right from the start. A three to five plan is best in my opinion. You have to know your numbers and be able to measure those against you goals.
Ecompreneur is all about developing a plan in five phases. You're going to learn how to plan, the create and launch the business. Those are followed by the growth and exit phases. Exit doesn't just mean selling out. Its about how what you do with the money. You've got to tailor this for yourself with a clear idea of where you want to end up.
I'm going to help you along the way. I've created checklists and other planning tools to make sure you have what you need to create a great plan.
Hi, there welcome to the Ecommpreneur podcast this is episode two, and it's all about Phase 1, planning, it’s the plan. When you get started in this business most people don't seem to actually really know why they're in business, it's like just to make some quick money or they don't really have a lot of vision in terms of what they're doing. And they can go around in circles, I see this a lot, going around in circles and going from one thing to the next and not really being sure as to what they're doing. And I think as a result you can suffer from overwhelm and shiny object syndrome, and you're fleeting from one thing to the next. So you know I think I've explained to you in the past couple of episodes a little bit more about me and what I've experienced over the last 17 years online heading for 18. And you know I've fallen victim to that process before myself just doing course after course after course, then you sort of get a bit paralysed because you want everything to be perfect. You’ve made a few mistakes, and then you just have to spin your wheels because you're not really sure what to do next everything you've tried doesn't work. You feel like you're doing everything the courses are telling you to do, but you're not making any money. So it's extremely frustrating, and if you're caught in that trap, I totally get it.
I've spent countless hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years on my education from everything to do with online marketing, to real estate, to trading financial markets, even wholesaling real estate deals in America. So I've of done all kinds of things. Then as you know a few years ago I started to focus more on the e-commerce side of things, and I think that's where I got my traction. Because I started to focus, this is my love now, it's all to do with e-commerce and selling anything online, I absolutely adore it, and it's taken a very long time for me to gain my traction. So this first Phase to me is probably the most important part, because if you don't get this part right, you can just end up spinning your wheels and not getting any momentum. And you'll just waste time and money, increase frustration and feel like a failure. Your self-esteem could very well hit an all-time low in this business, and your relationships can suffer with yourself, with your wife, your partner, your children, friends and family. So I would say that if you're going to focus on one area of the website and the podcast it's going to be Phase 1. So I would go to the website, go to the blog, go to the podcast page, search for Phase 1 category and just study that like mad. It will be the difference between succeeding in the next 12-18 months as opposed to the next 20 years like me. So I'd be very very careful and heed the warning, it's extremely important.
So what am I talking about here when we're planning, is it setting goals and all that sort of boring stuff. I think most people find goalsetting really boring, well in a way it's having a vision really. It’s understanding why you're in this business, what's your big reason why, something is going to have to carry you through the hard times. You are going to have challenges learning this business and figuring out how it's all going to work for you. So I think if you spend a couple of weeks really going over this I think it's time well spent.
So what I'm suggesting you do here is really have a think about what you're building. If you're just interested in setting up a T-Spring site, or just a couple of products on Amazon, doing a few affiliate programs, whatever just e-commerce is not going to be for you, it's not what I'm talking about. You can definitely do affiliate marketing; you can definitely do some info products of someone else's and your own, you can mix it up a bit for sure. But that's part of the big picture; I don't think any of those one things should be your main focus. I think you've got to have a plan to build different parts of your business, master them, create cash flow, manage it like a true business and keep growing it from there. That's my recommendation. So you know you've got to really think about what you're building here. Because ultimately and if you've read E-Myth by Michael Gerber you'll know that you've got to start with an exit plan. So it’s like Steve Covey said, start with the end in mind. So what are you trying to create here in what timeframe.
Now some of you will have a 10-year timeframe, some of you will have a 2-year timeframe, some may be even less. But I would say that 3 to 5 years is probably what timeframe you should be looking at and meticulously planning what you're doing each day, week, month of the year in 90-day batches to achieve your goals. So you've got to know your numbers and know where you're heading, because if you don't know where you are heading, you're like a boat without a rudder. So you know set the coordinates, chart the journey and implement step-by-step, that’s what I'm talking about here. Because one day you want to be in front of say an investor or a company that is looking to buy or merge with your company and you want the best arrangement you can get for yourself.
Now a lot of this will depend on what your plan is and my ideal plan just to give you an example is to have maybe 2 or 3 companies in different markets, and maybe sell 1 or 2 of them off and maybe just have one leftover. But that's just for me; I don't have kids so I would say if I had kids it'd be very different. If I had my own family I'd be wanting to leave a legacy, and I kind of want to do this for my nieces and nephews as well, so in a way, it's still the same thing. It'd be really great if I could leave a legacy, teach my nieces and nephews or your children if you had children how this business works. You see there is a much bigger picture to this overall for me you know I build the business up, then I buy real estate, then I buy investments, and then I buy my toys. So then I want to show my family how to do the same thing and pass it down to the next generation and the next generation. Because I don't really have a lot of faith in the government out there, I don't have a lot of faith in the system; it's certainly not setup in my interests. And if you are listening to this and think that the governments going to look after you I think you need to go and get your head read, sorry if that offends you but seriously wake-up. So I'm not a fan of all that, I know I have to take responsibility and be accountable for what I'm doing. So I'd seriously suggest you adopt a similar view if you don't already. But I would presume that most of you who are entrepreneurs already get that, it's nothing new.
So you need to have a vision, you need to know why you're building this, you want to be sitting in front of an investor or a company that's going to buy your business for a lump sum or invest in it. Now if they're going to be sitting in front of you looking at investing in your company what do you think is going to be better, oh hi Mr investor yes I've got 100 products on Amazon and I'm making a couple of hundred thousand a year or a couple million a year. Or yes Mr investor I'm making a couple of million a year 80% is on my own e-com store, 20% is through other sales platforms, I've got my own database, I've got a very strong brand in the general public, I have systems, I have processes, I have research data on my market globally. And you know you're presenting in a way in terms of the financial data is solid, verifiable and you've got goodwill in the business, and your database is responsive, engaging, and you've got all the analytics to prove it. Now you can't do that with just an Amazon business. Your brand on Amazon it’s not your brand, everything’s Amazon so you've got bugger all control over that. So anyone whose smart will look at that and go well you have a very diminished sale value on your particular business because there’s very little control.
So I hope you understand that distinction, I think most of you do, but unfortunately, most of us have been taught to just be on one platform or one sort of sales channel, for your programs for weight loss, bodybuilding, you know just do that. As opposed to combining the whole lot and being an authority within that marketplace, that's what we're talking about here. So you've got to know what you're building, and you've got to know why you're doing this. You're doing it for your kids as a legacy, is it for you, what are you doing it for. Is it for charities, is it for your church, you've really got to internalise that because that will drive you forward and it will get you through those hard times, because you're going to have them, okay. So we're really trying to set ourselves up for success here mentally, visualise what we're going to achieve or want to achieve over the next 3 to 5 years. I think 3 years is far enough; you do a 3 monthly plan, 12 month, then a 3-year general plan sort of like a helicopter view over the whole lot. So that's what I suggest you do and learn how to sell a business along the way too, but that's going to come later right, so don't worry too much about that in the beginning. And just really understand what a real business looks like.
Like I mentioned before you know a real business has you know a department for operations, for human resources, for their IT, sales and marketing, customer service you know. So it's really important that you've got your processes and your systems for each of those departments in order and that's what [inaudible 00:10:45] is all about, that’s why we split it up into these 5 Phases. Okay so you know you're going to plan what you're doing, then you're going to create it, then you're going to launch it, then you're going grow it, then you're going to exit. And exit doesn't mean you just sell out, exits what you do with the money that you've created. So you've got to tailor this to suit yourself, so that's why the planning is so important and visualising what you're going to do at the end, okay. So we need to learn how to put the right plan together, we're going to give you checklists and all kinds of things to help you do this part.
So that's all I really want to talk about in terms of Phase 1. Definitely, go and have a closer look on the website, if you can subscribe to the podcast if you like it, rate and review is really important if you could do that. And give us your feedback, it's so vital that the listeners in the 15K club give us the feedback so we can produce content that you really need. And if you've got any questions just pop it in the suggestion box on the website, send an email to podcast at [inaudible 00:12:04] .com and get in touch. I'm really keen to talk to anyone who's resonating with what I'm talking about here, and let's make a difference for not just ourselves but for other people out there. Because I can tell you now once you start helping other people and teaching other people, you become so much better at the business, and that I think applies to anything that you're doing. As soon as you start teaching, you do become better, and it can only be a good thing for you and your family. So with that, we're going to move on to Phase 2 which is all about the creation of your infrastructure and what you're going to do before you actually start promoting and you start your launches. So I'll see you in the next episode thanks for listening.