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Robert Skrob: Shortcut to a Million Dollar Business, Part I


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The constant struggle to produce marketing campaigns and run your business makes it difficult to get everything done. Planning is the only true shortcut to running a business which will generate millions of dollars for you.

Once you have completed your planning, you’ll be better able to stay on task, monitor your results, and implement new ideas  during the upcoming year. Without a planning calendar, it’s easy to get distracted by a great new idea and forget about the ideas you had already planned to implement.

Planning does not have to be a long, ugly process. Instead, here is a four-hour planning success template. Use a wall calendar, so it’s easy to see the entire year at a glance. In one afternoon, you can create your operations plan for a year. Set aside just four hours to work through this easy, step-by-step process, and you’ll have the shortcut to success.

1:00pm to 1:30pm – A Candid Review of the Year

One of the most important parts of planning for the future is to reflect on the year just passed. Open your calendar and review your activities for the year.

Take a look at each month for two minutes or so. Write down a couple of successful activities from each month  you want to repeat in the next 12 months. Also, consider the activities that generated disappointing results and write those down, so you can remember to avoid them. It’s also good to make a note of the seminars and events which were productive for you, in order to attend them again.

1:30pm to 2:00pm – Create Your Business Targets

Before you can plot out your year, you have to give careful consideration to where you want to be when the year ends. Determine your revenue and customer acquisition goals for the year.

Do you have a customer list you communicate with on a regular basis? How many names do you want on your list one year from now to allow you to accomplish your goals? From this number, subtract your current customers less expected drop-outs, and it will tell you how many names you will need to add during the year to meet your goals.

How many customers do you need to have to accomplish your profit goals? If you have more than one product, list them out and write down your goal numbers. Now, deduct the number of existing customers you already have less your expected attrition. This will give you the number of new customers you need to generate during the year to meet your goals.

If you are worried all of these numbers are inaccurate guesses, that’s okay. You can add a task for the coming year to create a better business statistic tracking system. These are all difficult questions to answer; just do the best you can and feel free to revise the numbers as you go.

You’ve worked for an hour, and your calendar is still blank. Twenty-five percent of your time is up, and you have “nothing” to show for your effort. While it may look as if you haven’t accomplished anything, setting your goals now will make the next 12 months a lot more successful. Although you haven’t yet planned a single event or activity, you’ll be better for the time you have spent reviewing the past year and creating your business targets.

2:00pm to 2:30pm – Customer Acquisition

When you get embroiled in running your business on a daily basis, it’s easy to become focused on operational deadlines. Handling customer paperwork, monthly reports, employee meetings, and vendor telephone calls can dominate your time. It’s easier to have success and to generate profits by selling products to your existing customers, and a lot of business owners focus the majority of their marketing efforts there because they enjoy those activities. However, customer acquisition is critical to the long-term success of your business.

No matter how loyal your customers are today, eventually they won’t be your customers. It is critical to add new customers every month, to increase your business and also maintain it.

In the last planning step, you listed your customer acquisition goals for each of your programs. Now, you need to outline the marketing work for the year to generate those customers. For each month, map out customer acquisition offers, events, and marketing campaigns.

Consider if there are new marketing lists you can use for direct mail campaigns, joint venture partners, or new offers to try. The key is to make sure you continue your customer acquisition efforts throughout the entire year.

2:30pm to 3:00pm – Sales to Existing Customers

As your business grows, you’ll discover customer acquisition increases in cost. Perhaps this year, if you spent $3,800.00 on a marketing campaign, you could get 42 new customers. In the coming year, you may discover the same $3,800.00 delivers only 33 new customers. These increasing costs require you to focus a lot of attention on selling additional products and services to your existing members.

Plan activities that will generate additional revenue from your existing customers in two ways:

  1. maximize the average amount your customers purchase; and
  2. increase the frequency with which your customers purchase from you.

How can you increase the amount customers spend with you during each transaction? Are there little items you can add to give customers small options? What “premium” versions of your product and services can you create for those customers who want more expensive options?

What promotions, new product launches, and communications will you do each month to encourage your current customers to purchase more frequently? Is it smart for you to implement a points program that rewards your best customers and encourages all of your customers to buy from you more often?

Come back next Tuesday for Part II of this article.

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