I’ve always hated people who are hunting for shortcuts.
No one has any patience these days, and everyone wants to be an overnight success.
Because of this mindset, everyone’s always looking for a magic bullet, shortcut, or hack (And savvy marketers can take advantage of this).
Think about what happens when someone wants to lose weight.
They’re always on the hunt for more supplements, or the magic workout routine. But these don’t matter as much compared to a solid diet, and being consistent with your workouts.
They’re focusing on the wrong areas.
What happens when someone wants to learn affiliate marketing?
They spend a ton of time reading and hoping to find that big secret, instead of actually taking action.
That’s why I’ve always been a big proponent of Kaizen. (It’s the Japanese term for continuous improvement)
- I clearly define my goal
- I develop a system to achieve that goal
- I work daily towards my goal.
- I re-adjust my strategy if it’s not working
- I’m patient.
An example could be this blog.
I’ve been writing one blog post per week for the past 4 years. My growth has been nice and steady.
It’s been linear.
Now linear growth isn’t bad because at least I’m growing, but as of late I’ve been thinking a lot about exponential growth.
Have you ever seen someone, or a business, literally “explode” in growth?
Well, that requires big moves.
What’s the right balance between Kaizen and looking for the big wins?
You need to build a solid foundation first. Once the systems are developed, then you need to start looking for the “big wins.”
What are the moves that will get you 10x more results for the same amount of resources?
Here are some thoughts I have on how you can achieve exponential growth in your business.
1. Strategic Partnerships
Every business wants more customers.
Somewhere out there, another company already has a ton of your potential customers.
Why not form a mutually beneficial partnership / joint venture to get access to their customers?
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer.
What other companies have potential clients who would be interested in personal training?
- Healthy meal delivery companies
- Supplement companies
- Physical Therapists
Why not form some kind of partnership with them? They send you clients, and you send them clients.
It’s a win / win situation.
You guys have similar clients, but are not directly competing against each other.
You’re acquiring clients at zero cost and effort.
Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts have an alliance. Someone who wants ice cream may want donuts. On top of that, they save money on rent.
- Figure out what other companies or people have access to the clients you want
- Connect with them and build a relationship
- Propose an alliance of some sort that’s a win / win situation for everyone
- Leverage this win into bigger wins.
Advanced Knowledge Bomb:
Once you build up a war chest, can you make strategic acquisitions? An example is how LeadPages bought Drip last year.
You can straight up buy access to a ton of potential customers.
2. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Knowledge and information are the most undervalued currency.
You need to make a ton of mistakes to be an expert. The problem is…mistakes cost time, money, and energy.
If you go to a restaurant and it sucks, I don’t need to eat there myself to find out. I’ll take your word for it.
What if you wanna learn how to shoot a basketball better?
You could just shoot free throws four hours a day for a year. But a one hour lesson with a coach could prevent you from forming bad habits and making mistakes.
So how can you get more access to valuable information?
The most accessible versions are going to be blogs, articles, podcasts, and books.
But the truth is there’s a limit to free information. No one’s going to give away their best material for free.
You should always be trying to find ways to gain access to knowledge.
Let’s imagine if you’re a startup. It’s a dog eat dog world and you need every edge you can get.
You can have a great idea, but someone else can copy it and out-execute you.
Join a Startup Accelerator
These are intense programs designed to help your startup as much as possible. You move to a city for 3-ish months. You’re in an office space with other startups.
You get mentored by experienced people, and you get access to investors.
Startups that came from an accelerator? The two biggest ones that I know of are DropBox and Airbnb.
This is a huge competitive advantage.
Get Venture Capital Funding
My friend just raised venture capital money.
He said, “Charles I didn’t take their money because I needed money. I took funding because now I have access to their knowledge, and their networks. That’s worth a lot more than money”.
I remember hearing the advice once of “never give up equity.”
I think it’s bad advice.
Would you rather have 100% of a $1m company, or 50% of a $10m company?
There’s a concept I absolutely love called “Buying your way in vs. working your way in.”
If you want to learn a skill, the normal way is to work your way in. You put the action in, and make mistakes.
But mistakes cost time, energy, and money.
The other way is to “buy your way in”.
I’ve spent six-figures in the past two years on masterminds and being mentored. I’ve easily gotten 10x value back.
It’s not just because I’ve learned new things, but it’s because I have other people giving me new perspectives.
When you’re working in the business for so long, it’s easy to be set in your ways.
Also sometimes it’s great to have someone else with more experience just point blank ask you, “why the fuck are you doing that?”
It’s not just about what you know.
It’s about being able to access the intelligence of those around you.
Re-read that again. It’s one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn.
3. Re-investment of Resources
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is to re-invest your resources.
I’ve seen so many affiliates over the years crush a campaign, and then disappear back to a 9-5 job a year later.
Misallocation of resources.
They make a ton of money and waste it away on cars, jewelry, or whatever affiliates like to buy.
They could’ve reinvested back into their companies. They could hire talent, build software, use that money to launch campaigns.
Think about driving a car.
Your strategy is the map to get to where you wanna go.
But your resource is the gas that powers the car.
Cash is a huge superpower.
The first priority of my cash is to re-invest it to make more cash.
Once you have enough cash, then you can acquire the finer things in life.
Last year I told myself I wanna double down on the blog and reinvest in it.
We spent money to redesign it from the ground up.
- I have a designer / coder now that has helped make the user experience better.
- I have a managing editor who helps me edit articles, add pictures, and keep my writing on schedule.
- We hired different experts on SEO, making the site load faster, etc.
If you’re serious about something, you’ll put the right resources into it.
4. You Gotta Think Big to Win Big
You can’t achieve exponential growth if your goal is to improve by 1% this year.
There’s a concept in business called the big hairy audacious goal (BHAG).
What’s a HUGE goal you wanna achieve?
- Microsoft wanted a computer on every desk.
- Nike wanted to CRUSH Adidas (in the 1960’s).
- DigitalMarketer.com wants to help 10,000+ businesses double their revenue.
An example of this is when I started in affiliate marketing.
I had a goal of $40,000 a year when I started. I read in a book somewhere to 10x your goals.
I didn’t want to. I was scared of setting the target too high, missing it, and feeling bad.
But I said screw it and I set a goal of $1,000,000. I achieved way more than my initial goal.
Did setting the goal cause me to be a millionaire?
What it did was made me question everything.
- The traffic source I was using wasn’t capable of big volume. I switched to Facebook / media buyers.
- The offers / verticals I was running didn’t have the budget for big volume. I switched to different offers
If I had small goals, then I would’ve taken small actions.
Think about what your end goal is, and reverse engineer the actions needed to get there.
Advanced Tip: Who or what company is already where you wanna be? That’s the people you should be taking advice and learning from.
5. Riding the Waves
Imagine you’re starting an app.Are you more likely to be successful if you started today, or if you started in 2007?
Are you more likely to be successful if you started today, or if you started in 2007? Easily 2007 because there’s a lot less competition.
It reminds me of a rule from the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.
It’s more important to be the first, than to be the best.
Note: it’s merely an advantage and doesn’t guarantee success.Do how do you ride the waves?
How do you ride the waves?
- Mastermind with other people
- Create the wave yourself
There are so many waves coming at us now. (More like Tsunamis)
- Artificial intelligence
- Virtual Reality
6. Are You in the Best Environment to Achieve Exponential Growth?
Where should you be if you’re a startup? San Francisco.
Where’s the best place to be if you wanna be a stock trader? New York City.
Where should you be if you want to break into Hollywood? Los Angeles.
Did you know a ton of countries send their Olympians to get trained in the USA?
Your environment matters.
I believe in luck. (But I’m not walking around with a rabbit’s foot on my keychain, or have a pair of lucky underwear.)
You can do different things that will increase your odds of success.
Being in the right environment means you have easier access to resources. It means you can get more face time in with the right people. Being in the right environment means
Being in the right environment means there are more chances of serendipity.
Could you randomly bump into a startup investor if you’re in Wisconsin? Sure. But you’re 100x more likely if you’re in San Francisco.
That’s why made the change from Miami to NYC.
I have some big goals and it’s not the right environment for me to be in. I think moving to NYC will help increase my odds.
Choosing where you live is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
I’ve seen too many people just stay in their same hometown their whole lives just because it’s easy.
I asked one of my friends why he lives in Kansas. He said “because he likes being close to his family.”
“How often do you see your parents?”
“Well they’re like 30 minutes away, so probably once a month.”
I could understand if he saw them everyday. But he only sees them once a month.It makes more sense to live in a place that’ll help further his goals.
It makes more sense to live in a place that’ll help further his goals. He can still fly home to see them once a month.
So think about where you live right now. Does it help you with your goals?
Go for the Big Wins
I’ve always hated the term, “Work smarter, not harder”.
Newsflash: You can do both. They’re not mutually exclusive.
I love this quote by Bill Gates: “We overestimate what we can do in one year, but we underestimate what we can do in 10 years”
Start playing big and you’ll win big. You can achieve exponential growth, but growth is normally always linear before it turns exponential.
If you’re interested in learning more about exponential growth, check out the book SmartCuts by Shane Snow.