On October 23, 2018 we worked on the last bit of the book Traction, focusing on how to determine which channels are working for you. Here are the show notes:
Dr. Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Consulting and WBC of SC
Shennice Cleckley, The Ultimate Mompreneur and WBC of SC
Start Something, Columbia! is brought to you by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College
Theme for the day:
Traction: The Bullseye – what’s possible, what’s probable, and what works
Today we’ll talk about the Bullseye framework we use to help us decide which of the 19 channels to focus on. This episode is content heavy and you’re going to want to take notes.
This week at 1 MC — This week at 1MC we have a “Made It” session; this is where we highlight a Columbia-born enterprise that has crested the $1M annual revenue mark. How did they get there? What’s the view like from the top?
Tomorrow we’ll hear from David Dunn of VC3 and Jamie Thomas, founder of Cognito Forms. Cognito Forms spun off from VC3 a few months ago, and Jamie will be co-presenting with David. Today we have Jamie on the phone. Welcome to the program.
- What’s the top thing you credit with contributing to VC3 and Cognito Forms success? (i.e. perseverance, marketing, strategy, technology, luck)
- What advice do you plan to offer to our 1MC audience? (just a teaser, not a giveaway)
- What do you love about being built in and based on Columbia?
Our “Made It” sessions are meant to inspire the 1MC community and Columbia entrepreneurs in general to dream beyond personal sustainability to economic relevance. Our upcoming Women’s Business Summit (November 16th) will have that $1M theme to it as well.
The book of the month was Traction: How Any StartUp Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth. We spent two weeks on the 19 channels by which a startup can get traction. Go see the show notes on StartSomethingColumbia.blog for details.
Today we talk about how you decide on which channels to pursue.
So the writers have what they call the Bullseye Framework. This is three circles. The outer one is What’s Possible. The middle one is What’s Probable. The inner circle, the center, is What’s Working.
So let’s break that down.
These are the channels you can actually attempt and use. Speaking engagements, existing platforms, trade shows, sales.
What’s possible means that you can physically do it. Engineering as marketing may not be possible. Viral marketing may not be possible.
How do we measure what’s possible?
This starts with a brainstorm. Every possible channel. All the ways you can get yourself out there and show what you can do. The writers encourage you to think big, think wild, think every possible way. Go on Shark Tank. Here’s a great infographic of the channels.
The truth is, too many of us limit ourselves to what we see others doing.
Second, we make assumptions about growth. Those assumptions lead us to predict, in vanity metrics, how fast we’ll grow. This article does a great job explaining why that’s wrong. Instead, we should be measuring growth on one number. The most important number.
“That’s why to make a plan for growth, your first step is to choose your one, most important metric, and reverse-engineer what you need to do to get there.”
So, what is the most important number? Is it revenue? Is it users? Customers? Clients? Contracts?
What is the value of that number? Pretend you’re already there. How did you get there?
What I like about this exercise, similar to our Traction Channels brainstorm is that it’s all based on what you can envision, what you can imagine. What’s possible?
How do we measure what’s probable?
It’s in this phase that we start running cheap traction tests to see what we’re getting results with. There are some specific questions to ask in these tests:
- How much will it cost to acquire customers in this channel?
- How many customers are available in this channel?
- Are the customers that you are getting the kind of customers you want right now?
The key in this phase is that you’re not trying to get a lot of traction here, you’re just testing to see what you come up with.
This podcast talks about a method for scoring every idea you have. The book Traction suggests putting all of your ideas in a spreadsheet (Google Sheets) and BareMetrics.com gives us a scoring methodology to keep track of the work you’re doing.
If all of that seems like a lot of working-for-the-sake-of-working, just remember you’ll need to analyze at some point (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) to determine how to spend your budget. If you set this up early, you’ll have data to make those choices.
The BareMetrics.com nerds give you their spreadsheet, explain all the values, and suggest you try it out and report back. So I’m going to give that a try and let ya’ll know how it goes for Clemson Road.
In the meantime, here are some factors to consider for “Probable”:
- How much time does it take you to build and execute a campaign on that channel?
- Can that channel be automated?
- Can anyone else on your team (an intern?) execute that channel for you?
- Do you have the software you need?
- Do you know how to use the software?
This makes me think of the graphic design app we were talking about at lunch. You can create adorable graphics. My friend Hasani does these cool branded videos. When considering whether that’s a channel that’s probable for me, I have to ask,
- Are my target customers going to respond to it?
- How much time/energy/effort does it require of me?
Last is “What’s Working,” which I think, honestly, is another show in and of itself.
Here are the events for this week:
1MC has a Made It! Session with VC3 at the Richland Library tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College has a Friday On Location at the Boudreaux Group office. They’re in a new location and Heather Mitchell is welcoming us on site from 3-5 p.m. Friday to discuss the work they’re doing with Bull Street and some other projects.
Next Tuesday at the WBC, Envisioning a Million Dollar Business: Everything You Need to Grow in partnership with the SBA in celebration of Women in Small Business Month.
The WBC of SC Summit is just three weeks away. (Lord, have mercy.) If you’re not registered, get registered. It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week November 12-16 and there is so much going on, you won’t want to miss out.
Next week we’ll hear from Tiffany Norwood, the WBC of SC’s special guest for the Summit and we’ll be interviewing Elaine Pofeldt as well. Promoting these women and the work they’re doing to help women businesses reach and surpass that $1M mark.
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