The subject of online business often seems like a bunch of separate topics which somehow are supposed to all get meshed together into something which makes sense.
You’ve got social media, blogging, email marketing, copywriting, video production, webinars, Facebook ads, Pinterest – and whatever topic and flavor of the month you’d like to add to the list. It can – and often does – seem overwhelming as hell.
As I talked about in a prior post, the reason all of this stuff so often seems confusing is because most people lack a stable point of reference. If you don’t have anything STABLE that you use as a foundation from which to judge everything else, then it all starts to look alike. It all seems important, but you really don’t have an understanding of how one things fits into all the other things.
What most blog owners end up doing is focusing on those things which are easiest to understand. Usually, that’s blog content and social media. So, you write alot and you share on social media. But, the money doesn’t come.
Let’s Review Where We Are
So far in this series, I have done away with some of the common misconceptions about this business and blogging in general. I then introduced the concept of systems – as that is THE KEY to providing a sense of order in the maze which this subject often seems like.
When we understand what a system is – and see that pretty much everything we’re doing here is a system whether we realize it or not – then the Theory of Constraints makes more sense. My last post introduced this.
The idea is that, if a system isn’t giving you the output that you want, it is due to a constraint. And, we have a logical approach to find the constraint and handle it.
Now, I am currently recording a full training module for the Academy training portal for Academy students which will cover the Theory of Constraints in total. This module will cover the tools to apply it to your endeavors, along with examples of doing so.
Personally, I think this is one of the most valuable training modules I’ve created for the Academy – and I’m placing it toward the beginning of the lineup on purpose.
But, this systems approach to things guides my entire approach to the Academy and how I’m doing things. And, a huge part of that is evident by seeing the…
The Academy Business System
As I hope you get by now, there are two primary keywords or themes which guide everything I do here. Those words are:
So, I sat down and created the Academy Business System.
In essence, what this is is a system diagram for an information marketing business. Actually, it would work for almost any business at all, however the labels here are geared primarily toward an online business.
Here it is:
How The Academy Business System Is Designed
As you can see, this is a SYSTEM. The system is designed to take a “raw input”, process it accordingly, and create a final product at the end.
Remember from earlier in this series, the final product is NOT a thing that you’re selling. This isn’t an ebook, or a membership site, or any of that. By “final product”, I am referring to the OUTCOME or TRANSFORMATION that you’re in the business of creating for people. The “raw input” would be a person who has not yet attained that transformation.
Your business is in the business of creating the outcome for people, and your byproduct for doing that is money. That is why this diagram shows “Revenue” going off the top as a byproduct. But, you’ll also notice it comes as part of “Conversion”, and before “Training & Delivery”…. and that is because the real work begins for you once they’ve made a purchase. That is when you are now responsible for delivery of the outcome.
The main pathway of this system is shown by the blue arrow. The components go in order, as follows:
- Executive Planning. This is on the system first because planning HAS to be in place before anything will happen. Businesses don’t just sprout up on their own. They are the product of actual thought and creation, so that has to be put there first.
- Communications. This is a communication business we’re in here. The very first thing your business will need to do is make contact with another human being. This is why the second step has to do with communications and everything that goes into that.
- Public Content. In order to attract people to your business, you will use content. Whether it be blog posts, webinars, Youtube videos, podcasting or anything else… it all comes under the heading of “Public Content” and has the express purpose of bringing leads into our system.
- Traffic. As most any blogger can attest, content alone does not generate traffic. You can have the best content in the world and nobody will know about it. So, the next step from creating the content is to do effective traffic generation to build those incoming channels of leads.
- Subscription. The next step in the system is to get the person to subscribe to your business in some way. To “raise their hand” and show interest and become a real lead. In our world, this is most commonly done by building your email list. So, anything that you would do to sign people up as a lead (or email subscriber) comes under this heading of our system.
- Conversion. After one becomes a lead, the next step is to turn them into a customer. Essentially, anything that you do to get your subscriber to spend money is a form of conversion.
- Training & Delivery. After they have bought something from your business, it is your total responsibility to ensure it gets delivered to them with high quality. Honestly, this is where a lot of online businesses fall flat. They think that once money changes hands, you’re done. No, that’s where you really get going – and you treat your customers like gold.
Now, these components of the system go in this order – and they’re in that order on purpose.
Under each major part of our system are various sub-systems. As I said before, no business is as simple as step 1,2,3 and you’re done. There are various tasks that go into it – and each one of those is a system, too. So, that’s where the various sub-systems come into play.
Surely, there are more sub-systems than I have include in this diagram. I couldn’t possibly list every possible subject. Nor would I even try. As I said at the outset of this whole series, not everything is of equal importance. And I meant it. 🙂
Measurement Is The Key
Now, a system like this means very little if you don’t have metrics.
Metrics and statistics might sound boring to some people, but it is quite important. As any executive knows, you cannot improve upon something you’re not measuring.
Statistics remove the guesswork from things. It removes the “gut feeling”. A stat is either going up or it is going down.
Each of the major components of the Academy Business System has a statistic which accompanies it. They are:
- Incoming/Outgo. This is simply a count of the quantity of incoming messages and outgoing messages from your business. Obviously, one of the key indicators of the impact your business is having is the amount of incoming and outgoing communications. Those communications could be emails, phone calls, likes, tweets, blog comments – whatever.
- Content Points. This is an arbitrary point system I have created in order to measure production when it comes to public content.
- Site visits. Tracking your traffic is important. There are a number of different stats you could track here, but at the basic level, we need to track the number of visits to your main website.
- Opt-Ins. To measure the success of your opt-ins and list building efforts, you want to keep track of the number of opt-ins. This is something that any email list manager will tell you.
- Sales. Obviously, the main measurement of conversions is sales. Number of dollars incoming. There are others, of course. Things like conversion rate, lifetime customer value, etc. But, at the core, gross sales is what you need to track.
- Delivery points. Like content points above, this is an arbitrary point system to track the volume of delivery to customers.
Statistics should be tracked on at least a weekly basis, but daily is even better. And I recommend you track them in graphical form using a line graph, that way you can visually observe the trends.
Here’s where stats are powerful…
When you make things numeric, you can then use them as a guide on where to spend your time. Instead of sitting down to simply “work” aimlessly and hope it adds up to something, you instead work on increasing your stats. You ask yourself:
- What can I do right now in order to earn more content points?
- What can I do right now to bring in just 10 more visitors to my site?
- What can I do right now to earn one more subscriber to my email list?
- What can I do right now to make one more sale by the end of the day?
See, you approach your stats incrementally. In baby steps. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the big picture, you just look at where your stats are and you work on increasing it. Your stats are a direct measurement of the performance of your system, so you know that increasing any of them will result in a better operating system and an expanding business overall.
Do you see how this removes so much of the confusion that goes along with how to build and grow a business? I hope you do.
And, Here’s Where All This Is Leading…
It comes down to simplicity and order.
It comes down to a predictable framework and a system by which to accomplish something which otherwise seems huge and damn near impossible.
The Academy Business System is the framework on which I am basing the entire Academy training course which is now available inside the training portal.
As things sit right now, I am not done creating this training. The members who are in the Academy now are going through this journey with me. But, this system IS the framework. I’ve been working on the foundational stuff first, then we’re going into the other main components of this system.
Even the training itself is being systemetized as much as possible, with checksheets and assignments to guide you through everything. I take this stuff seriously.
This isn’t about “monetizing your blog”. No, we’re thinking bigger than that.
My goal is to help people build real businesses. Businesses that happen to use blogging as a fundamental part of the marketing, but where blogging is NOT the end-all-be-all. A business that can empower a lifestyle you want. A business that can make a dent in the universe because it is actually guided by not just money, but by making a real difference and improving people’s lives.
That’s my mission and it is the mission of the Blog Marketing Academy.
It just so happens that it takes systems to get us to that point. And, we’ll do it together.
Click the link below in order to immediately download your own full resolution copy of the Academy Business System
After you download it, then you’ll also be on the list to receive a full video walk-through of the system. It is one thing to read it on this page… it is quite another to hear (and see) me explain it on video.
Also, stay tuned for information on a webinar. I don’t have it all taped out yet, but I plan to follow up with a live, free webinar presentation for all of my subscribers which will bring all of this home and show you how to apply it fully.
It’ll be fun. I haven’t done a public webinar in awhile, so I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂
More on that soon. In the meantime, I have 2 quick requests here:
- If you have found this series valuable so far, I would love it if you could share this post with your contacts on social media. You can even “pin” the Academy Business System image on Pinterest.
- If there are any questions that you have or you’d like me to answer in a future post (whether directly about this system or not), please post them in the comments below.
Thanks so much!