Assuming you're a new entrepreneur without a bottomless bank account funding your enterprise, very specialized marketing experience, or both, there are only a few business models you can grow to six figures, fast.

You can find them by using two criteria: optimizing conversions and maximizing near-term profitability.

If your business model or strategy doesn't focus on optimizing these two things, then you probably won't be successful, regardless of how hard you work or how much you invest.

In contrast, most business advice is geared towards attracting leads into your marketing funnel and generating revenue. But the truth is, neither leads nor revenue are important for achieving business success.

2 Criteria for Fast-Growing Businesses

1. Optimize for Conversions

If you don't have enough customers now, you probably think reaching a bigger audience and getting more leads would solve your problems. Right?

Wrong.

Getting more exposure and leads is the easiest thing to do--if you can sustainably afford it. That means acquiring leads at a profit. Even if you have a million dollars, if it costs you $100 to attract a lead, but you only make $1 back, then after getting 10,100 leads, you go broke.

The key thing, then, isn't leads but converting them into profit, turning prospects into paying customers.

Surprisingly, creating great conversions has a lot less to do with marketing skill than a lot of people think. That's because conversion is about creating as much alignment as possible between what you're offering and what people want.

The best way to get good at that is to create feedback loops that let you learn what your customers are responding to best, so you can build on that and improve. So look for businesses that allow you to do that.

2. Optimize for Profit

The other big, shiny goal most people think they should chase is revenue. In reality, revenue is also a vanity metric for two reasons.

First, it doesn't consider how much it costs to attract leads and convert them to make a sale or fulfill on that sale once you've made it. Revenue less expenses is profit, and that's the only thing you can use to pay bills or invest in bigger and better successes.

In many cases, the profit is way too small, and you have to make a lot more sales than you think to make ends meet.

The second reason is timing. You don't bring in revenue and pay your marketing and fulfillment costs all on the same day. Usually, marketing happens before the sale, so you have to pay for it in advance. And often, you'll also incur fulfillment costs before the revenue comes in, such as if people pay you on a subscription or installment basis.

So even if the sale will ultimately be profitable, you could very well be losing money in the short term. That's okay if you have deep pockets, but if you're looking to make sales so you can pay your mortgage or credit card bill, then selling more could actually put you out of business!

3 Business Models That Meet These Criteria

Only a few business models meet both criteria, such as: selling high-priced services, like coaching and consulting; paid speaking; and, delivering live training or courses.

What about freedom from trading time for money?

You have two choices: you can either add a second side to your business, like a membership-type of product or software. That's doable, but it's often a whole new business that requires focus, a lot of cash investment upfront, and the need to optimize conversions from scratch.

The other option is to take what works and scale it by automating some or all parts of the process.

And the most scalable business model is teaching courses online. It works both when you're getting started and at scale. Online courses can also integrate with many other models and strategies. And they fit with the core principles of business success: optimizing conversions by interacting closely with prospects, and optimizing near-term profitability by charging premium prices without needing plenty of preparatory work or investment.

Published on: Feb 7, 2017
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