Hey, so I’m back with another video showing you what it’s like building and growing two pretty successful businesses! So first off, I want to give you a quick update on what’s been going on with the e-commerce business, because I have two businesses if you remember if you’ve watched the first video. Check that out right here about how to manage multiple businesses.
I told you that I run basically two businesses. So I have an e-commerce brand that we sell primarily on Shopify right now. We are about to launch on Amazon, having scaled it with a business partner since the beginning of last year. I also own Amazing where we go, and we take all this knowledge that we’re gaining ourselves from other people, and we share with as many people as possible. This helps them improve their lives financially, achieve financial freedom, and hopefully create a ripple effect in the world where those people become so successful that they help people in their communities, friends, and family. Hopefully, it impacts people for generations, which we’ve already seen happen, but we want to create more of that.
Here in the e-commerce business, as you can see, here are sales this month, which is shaping up to be our second highest month ever. Our first highest month we did almost 1.7 million dollars in sales that month. This month here, we’ll probably end up about 1.6. If you look right here, we were doing pretty well at the beginning of the year, this is daily sales, and then it kind of dropped off a little bit.
We were having trouble like 37 grand is one of the lowest sales days we’ve had in a while. 37 grand, and we had a couple of days that pop back up, then 40 grand, 42 grand. If we’re not producing at least 50 grand a day in sales, I start getting a little nervous, to be honest, which is a great position to be in because our first month we only did 17 grand in sales, and this was a business that had already been kind of sitting there which is why we did 17 grand.
I didn’t do anything, yet at that point, it already had a little bit of traction. So the first month of last year, we did 17 grand in sales, but now since we’ve been scaling this, we’re doing, you know, 50 grand plus a day in sales. Just shows you the power of learning how to do all this stuff, which is why you’re here watching this on YouTube.
If you look here, we’ve been able to pick up some more traction, so now we’re doing 50 plus, you know, getting close to 60 grand a day in sales, which is awesome. So far down here, we’re at about 1.3 million, and this doesn’t include today’s sales, so while I’m recording this, it’s October 26th. This is up to October 25th we’ve got about, you know, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. We’ve got about 35 full days left in the month, so we’re still going to pick up some good sales here.
Right now, we’re scaling this, so we’re getting ready to get into the holiday season, so it’s already started, but October is kind of an off month. Where things really pick up traction for us in q4 is November and December. November, when we start getting into Thanksgiving, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday and then Christmas, people are just in a buying frenzy, so we’re gearing up for creating special landing pages, special ads for those. Hopefully, you’re going to push really hard in those two months to finish out the year strong.
What I want to show you most importantly today is something we just ran through for Amazing, but I’m about to do this for the e-commerce brand. So I outlined how this works over here. It’s our annual planning process, so this is super important if you’re running a business. Even if you’re not running a business yet and want to start setting some goals, I recommend that you start planning out what you’re going to do for 2021.
It’s almost the end of October, you’ve got about two full months, so it gives you time to think about this. If you have a team to work with, use the team to massage it so you can hit the ground running in the new year. I recommend starting to think about now what you’re going to do next year in 2021, personally or in business. But I’m going to give you the business version of our planning process, but you can also honestly do this for your personal life.
1. The Facts
Here’s what we do, so the first thing is we try to get the facts. So what I mean here is you’re not just creating unrealistic goals or things that aren’t based on reality. This also kind of forces you to look at what you’ve done so far, so we start looking at what we accomplished last year? What are our total sales? Total revenue? Total profit? Any stats about the product itself or your customers. For us, because we’re very training focused, we look at the success of our members. How well are we doing there? How can we do better? We look at all those kinds of facts, look at all that information, then we’re starting to say okay, this is the reality.
Today we spent, you know, maybe an hour or so doing this. We rented out a place for two days and did this for two full days. First, we got the facts and got the truth of the situation.
2. The Vision
The next one is this is a little bit different from what we’ve done before, but we got into the vision piece. So I’ve heard many things about people coming up with vision statements and stuff, and to me, I think a lot of that just honestly kind of felt like a waste of time every time I’ve done it, but I do find this process very valuable.
Rather than come up with the perfect phrase or sentence, which I think is valuable but trying to come up with the perfect phrase that’s worded right, especially if you’re trying to negotiate this with three or four people, it just takes forever, and it’s painful. I don’t think it’s worth it.
Instead, clarifying the vision in the context of what we will do better than anybody else? What are we going to do better? That part, I think it is essential for you to figure out for your own business, and it’s not so much coming up with a phrase to capture it. It’s able to back it up in a million different conversations throughout the year. And in all your marketing campaigns, and how you make decisions for customer service for your products, everything else that you do should be in the context of how you’re going to do something better than anybody else.
You’ve got a few different options so it can be you’re going to have the best product, you’re going to have the best customer service, you’re going to have the best price, you’re going to have the best brand. These typical things are kind of your options.
So, for example, Google is mainly about having the best product, the best search engine.
Amazon is more about the best product even though theirs is the biggest selection, so it’s a little bit more specific low prices, but the best selection is their differentiator.
Walmart has always been built on the lowest prices. Virgin Airlines, the Virgin brand, for example, has always been about the brand itself. Coca-cola is about the brand, and you can run through a million examples like these. Apple, all about the product. Zappos all about the service. So for us, we thought about this long and hard, and it’s like, what will our customers value the most at Amazing?
For us, it’s about delivering the best results, so when somebody comes to us, and they’re looking to start building a business or grow a business, we want to be able to say that more than anybody else, we will deliver the best results. This, for us, means a little more than what you might think. So it means typical business results, it’s income from the business, for the business owner. It means wealth that you’re building through the business profits, cash flow value of the business, all those typical kinds of business, and CEO sort of metrics.
But for us it’s not just that because if somebody’s doing all that, but they’re screwing people over, or they’re miserable, or they’re unhappy, we haven’t done our job because I’ve realized after building businesses for 10 11 years that that’s not the whole picture it’s about being successful financially with your businesses and having a lot of just general success but also being happy in the process are you actually liking waking up each day running your businesses? Are you stressed out like crazy, or do you feel like you’re actually contributing something meaningful beyond just making money?
For us, that’s the most important piece, because I believe that for the right kind of person with good morals, good ethics. And eventually, they’ll realize that for themselves, so we hope to get people there. Get people there faster, so they’re becoming financially successful, and they’re actually becoming better people in the process.
So that’s what we mean by results. Your core differentiator may be different, but what will you do better than all of your competitors? Which, to me, is what the vision is all about.
3. Define Your Strategy
Third, define your strategy. What markets are you going to go into, and how will you differentiate yourself from everyone else in there. How are you going to create a competitive advantage?
If you’re going to go out there and sell, for example, coffee cups, how will you have a better coffee cup than anybody else, and how are you going to create a competitive advantage? Maybe it’s the materials. Maybe you have some patents. Maybe you have way stronger branding. Maybe you have partnerships, any of that kind of stuff.
You can’t just say hey, we’re going to go into this market, and it’s all going to be great, we’re going to be successful. How are you actually going to be a better solution than anybody else? So we started thinking about this a lot for what we do, so we’re backing it up with ASM.
For example, like the market that we want to work with people working a corporate job, they make pretty good money, but they’re ready to get out and become financially free.
They’re tired of working for somebody else, they’re tired of the bureaucracy, and they want their own sort of financial freedom. Not necessarily that they’re ready to build a business yet, but that they want financial freedom. How are we going to win versus everyone else? One piece is that we’re not just a one-man or one-woman show. We’ve got a whole team of experts at e-commerce, Amazon, Shopify, and everything else.
So we’ve got a whole team of people versus just the guru model other people follow, where they just have one person who claims to know everything. Also, we provide tons of support whenever people join our program. So we have mentors, we have our customer support team that are all kind of aligning now that we know our vision to deliver better results.
We have this one-on-one support effort and a whole bunch of other things that allow us to differentiate versus anybody else. So figure out what markets you’re going to go into, those customer groups, and how you will be better and differentiate yourself versus all the other possible options they have?
4. Financial Targets
Fourth, financial targets. That depends on your business, so I recommend trying to have a single north star sort of metric you’re looking at. It’s completely different for the two different businesses, and so we’ve kind of captured some of the qualitative aspects here.
But now let’s think about the quantitative aspects, so for Amazing, our goal is to do the best possible job we can for customers, and if we do the best possible job, it should show up as profit generated for the e-commerce brand. We’re trying to scale it as much as possible. So with that business, the metrics are more around the company value or sales we’re producing because we don’t plan to produce as much profit as possible in that business yet because that’s not really what it’s going to be valued on.
So it’s more the company value as opposed to the amount of profit we produce. For Amazing, it’s an established business. It’s been around for a long time. We know what we’re doing, so for that, it’s more like a typical business metric around the profit produced—also the dollar amount versus the percentage.
So yours may be different. Do you want to produce a certain amount of income for yourself? Do you want to produce a certain amount of profit for the business? Cash flow? Are you trying to grow the value of the company? Are you just focused on sales?
It depends on your objective, but ideally, you should clarify that for the fourth financial target, so you know what you’re shooting for throughout the year.
5. Whole Team Involvement
The fifth action plan, now we have a whole team that we need to get involved in this process, but we did clarify some of this, so it’s not just nice ideas. What do we actually need to do to make these things happen? To deliver on our financial targets? To deliver on the strategy to deliver on the vision? What are some of the core things we need to do throughout the year to make this happen?
6. What Are We Not Going To Do?
Equally as important is number six. What are we not going to do? You can’t just invent time. I don’t know about you, but I try to fill my time up as much as possible to be productive as possible, and so it’s not like I have a whole bunch of extra time sitting around.
So if I want to keep adding stuff that doesn’t work, either I’m going to start doing a sloppy job on a lot of things, or stuff is just not going to get done. I can’t make myself have more time. I already work fairly efficiently, I think, so the only other option you have left is to get rid of stuff.
What products are you not going to sell? What services are you not going to offer? What meetings, what projects, what relationships, any of that sort of stuff, what are you going to get rid of to create room for all this good new stuff? I think the process of building a business is to take intelligent risks. Try stuff out, keep doing more of the stuff that’s working, and get rid of the stuff that’s not working.
Pretty simple, and so as long as you can keep doing that without taking a catastrophic financial risk over the long term, I think you’re pretty guaranteed to be successful. You have to focus on this. It’s something I don’t think we’ve done well enough in the past. What are we going to get rid of so we can make room for all this new stuff?
7. Follow Through in Communication
Last but not least, follow through in communication. If you’re just a solo entrepreneur, maybe you want to commit to somebody else, another entrepreneur, or a family member you’re close to that supports you. Tell them what you’re going to do so you have some accountability. We have a whole company, so we need to communicate all this stuff to everyone else in the business that’s involved, so we need to make sure all of them know if it’s relevant.
Some pieces are up to the partners we deal with in business, and so we need to make sure that this doesn’t just become an exercise we kind of did in our little cave, that it permeates throughout the company.
So for you, I would recommend a minimum if you have a small business, communicate with everyone on your team. If you’re just by yourself, then at least get some accountability going with another entrepreneur who’s also building his or her own business, and even a close friend or family member supporting you along the journey, so you have an extra element of accountability.
A lot of goal-setting research has proven that being accountable to somebody else dramatically increases your odds of success because if you’re just committing to yourself and doing all this on your own, then who’s to say one day you wake up. You feel like you’re not going to do it. You have no reason.
Nobody is going to be like, hey, did you actually do the thing you said you were going to do? This is why I recommend that having accountability is extremely important. Those are the main things that are on my mind right now, so we’ve got this annual planning process highly recommend you do your own.
Start thinking about 2021, either on a business level or a personal level, because now is the time to get ready. We don’t know what’s happening in the world, but there are some pieces you can control. You can control what you do, even if we can’t control what’s happening in the broader world today.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.