In the realm of business, there are huge, multi-million dollar entities. They're known as unicorns.
How do they come about and what is behind their amazing growth?
Kory Basaraba shares his method for growing strong six, seven or eight-figure businesses. It's based on the same principles that produce unicorns and keep them growing.
Tune in to discover how you can apply it to your own business.
In the podcast:
01:48 – What unicorns are and what they can teach us
04:20 – The patterns that grow unicorns
05:42 – A page out of Carlos Ghosn’s book
07:25 – Are growth and scale always what you want?
11:57 – How vitally important it is to have data
16:14 – A universally missing component of running a business
18:29 – When you can’t learn the tools
19:49 – “I’ve hired five agents with zero results…”
24:03 – An education from Mercedes in data-gathering
27:49 – What number savvy has to do with unicorns
30:21 – Move this, and all else falls into place
31:59 – But wait, there’s more coming your way
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness. This is Episode 778. Today we’re going to be talking about the unicorn method, which is what Kory Basaraba refers to his growth system for growing really strong businesses. Six, seven, eight-figure businesses. I’d love to get a little bit of insight into this.
Kory, you’ve been on a previous episode before, you are my go-to guy when it comes to bigger corporations looking to do big tuneups, big campaigns. We’ve made lots of little videos talking about how you look at various things when you want to grow a business.
You’ve talked about looking at the data, you have to have the data. You’ve talked about getting the messaging and your story and your copy, all of that stuff tied in, and then of course bolting on a paid traffic turbocharger to make the whole machine sing.
So tell me, when you were thinking about this unicorn method, as you refer to, what’s the background to it?
What unicorns are and what they can teach us
Kory: Yeah, it’s, my clients come to me because they have problems they want to solve in their business. And it’s usually, how do we grow? How do we grow faster? And early in my career, I came across several people, personal development people who said, You know what? Just find the best and do what they do. The answers are there, you don’t have to reinvent anything.
James: That’s like the NLP modeling sort of philosophy.
Kory: That’s right. I heard it from, Brian Tracy was a big proponent. You know, Jay Abraham, all these people. Like, you don’t have to reinvent things. So whenever I have been presented with a problem, I go, well, who’s the best at this?
So I early discovered direct response marketing, when my question was, well, how do we grow a business? Well, you use direct response. You use copy that’s compelling. You go back and you read, you know, the old masters. And you see they’ve been writing really compelling story-based copy forever. So that’s how you communicate if you want to grow.
And the last several years, I’ve been doing funnels for people. And I spent a few years doing software development back in the late nineties. Dot com 1.0. So I got exposed to this whole world of, how do you develop highly complicated technical systems? And I got engaged in the whole Silicon Valley mindset, because that’s what was happening.
So a couple of years ago, when people started asking me, Well, how do we grow? You know, you look at what happens in Silicon Valley. And these companies grow so fast, and they’ve got a term for it. They call it a unicorn. Unicorn is a privately held company that gets to a billion dollars in revenue. And then they usually go public. But there’s this massive growth trajectory.
So you go, Okay, well, who’s the best in the world at growing a business quickly? And it’s inescapable, you look at what happens in Silicon Valley, in these tech startups. So I started looking at, what can we pull from those people and apply it to marketing, online, e-commerce, you know, building funnels? And you quickly see there are some really powerful things they do differently, that most of the entrepreneurs I work with just aren’t doing.
And so you blend those two things together. And I’m, you know, calling it the unicorn method, because it’s about taking what they do well, and sticking it together with what we do well as internet marketers, and direct response marketers. And it gets really powerful. And it really comes into play, when your business starts to grow a little bit bigger. Those things really help when you have to push and scale past, you know, that seven-figure, eight-figure mark. So that’s where it comes from.
James: Right. So to clarify, you’re not saying that someone with a coaching service or an ebook or an e-commerce store is necessarily going to become a billion-dollar Silicon Valley company, but they might be able to learn some of the lessons that those big companies have been doing on a professional level.
Kory: That’s exactly right. There’s clues there that we can take and get the benefit from when we apply them in our business.
The patterns that grow unicorns
James: So when you were studying these unicorns, what sort of patterns did you see emerge that you were not seeing in the smaller businesses?
Kory: Yeah, there’s a couple of really clear ones. One of the first things you realize is that they’re very data-driven. And we’ve talked about data. But they insist they need accurate data, because they’ve got millions of dollars of investor money on the line. So they’re not going to settle for a hunch, or we think this is working. So you’re going to find them really data-driven.
They have a culture of testing, they’ve always got an experiment. They’re iterating. So they get something out to market quickly, they get the feedback from it, and then they swing again with another version. So they’re constantly iterating. They’re not worried about getting it perfect before they go live.
“Growth in a business requires more than one person.”
Then they realize that growth in a business requires more than one person. You can’t just say, okay, you’re the marketer, and you’re going to solve all the marketing problems in the business. They saw that you have to get the product development team involved in marketing, and the customer service team and the data team.
So they create growth teams, which is basically, let’s take the intelligence of a group of people and focus them on growth. And the combination of all those factors, it’s just been successful over and over and over again, and now you wouldn’t think of starting a business, a tech startup without having a growth team. It’s normal for them. Whereas outside that world, it’s not as familiar to us. But those are some of the core things they do differently.
A page out of Carlos Ghosn’s book
James: You know, it’s funny, but outside of that world, it’s certainly familiar to me. I read a book called Turnaround by Carlos Ghosn. And this is before his current situation of difficulty, when he was at Renault, and he was assigned to go across to Nissan, and to turn it around.
And one of the things he did is he took people from the engineering team, and the marketing team, and the sales team, and the finance team. And he got them all in a room. And they developed the vehicles with a representative from each of the departments. So they could actually shorten the cycle of production, they could have the conversation early.
You know, no point building the car, and then it finally gets to the sales team and they say, we can’t sell this thing, no one’s going to buy it. Or the salespeople say, this is what we want to sell. Everyone wants to buy this. And the finance team will say, Well, you know, we can’t afford that. Or the finance team might say, Yep, we’re good with that. And the engineering team say, Well, we can’t build that.
You know, it’d be like Elon’s cybertruck. You know, the prototype looks amazing for a whole community of buyers, and they put down their deposit. But now the engineers have to actually build the thing, and then they have to bring it in on budget. So it just makes sense to bring in people from different areas of the business into one room.
And I can’t remember the name that he described in the book. And I was trying to remember it when I was doing my Japanese business series, which was a few episodes just recently, which people love, by the way. So thank you for the feedback, if you’re listening to this, and you’re one of the people who did a comment or review.
So it just makes sense. So what you’re saying is, if we take the focus of growth, or scale, then this is a good way to achieve that.
Are growth and scale always what you want?
Now, while we’re on that, I just want to ask you, is growth or scale always the goal? When you’re working with the smaller businesses who want to be big businesses, is it actually the right thing to want scale? Or do you think that there sometimes could be a different goal, maybe it’s longevity, maybe it’s dialing the business for an owner’s certain way of life?
I’m asking for a friend here. I ask this, you know, this is important, because a big part of what I do, obviously, I talk about work less, make more. And you and I have been working together, each week or so we’ve been chatting about how I can scale my business and build out a new and more integrated front end funnel in particular, that informs and feeds a back end.
And you’ve taken into account my starting position. You’ve taken into account the goals that I have for me and for my partners, and that’s a really important one (of which you are one, so I just want to put that out there). And what we’ve come up with is a bespoke plan for me, taking into account what I’m not prepared to do.
And I haven’t been prepared to spend a lot more time on my business. So I actually want to spend less time. So the model we’ve come up with sees me spending half as much time in my business. So I drop from 20 hours to about nine hours a week. We look at, this business model will most likely double or triple revenue, which is great. And it more or less uses the components I already have. But what we’re doing is just adapting stuff.
So I just wanted to give that illustration there because firstly, I wanted to acknowledge how helpful you’ve been for me, thinking about this part of my business. But secondly, am I unusual? Are most people, you know, they’ve got an e-commerce store they just want to be bigger? And is bigger the goal? That’s really the core question, but I got there in a roundabout way.
Kory: I love the question, James. And it’s like many things in life, we go after what we think we want, and then it turns out, it’s not really the right thing. So we’re going to see magazine articles and social media about these entrepreneurs who are crushing it, and they’re hustling, and it’s great. And so the bigger, bigger, bigger. So that’s a narrative that we’re stepping into.
And so it really is about deciding, what is it you want as an entrepreneur? And growth sometimes is the right thing. Sometimes it isn’t. And I think what’s important is to understand, once you know how to grow, you can decide how much of that you want to add on, right? It’s like, you’ve got a car that right now will do 120 miles an hour, you have to calculate that to kilometers per hour…
James: Two hundred kilometers an hour?
Kory: Yeah, okay, you go, I want this car to be able to do 200 miles an hour, 300 and some kilometers. Well, there’s certain things you have to do. Now, if you build that car, it doesn’t mean you have to drive it at 200 miles an hour. But you can if you want to, right? If you want to go on the track on the weekend.
So if your business right now is stuck, and you’re making, you know, you’re at 5K a month, and you’d really love to get to 10 or 20K a month, and you just want a nice lifestyle, the approach to that, that growth is going to be the same. You’re just going to tailor it, like you said. It’s a bespoke, right? You personalize the plan to what you want. And that’s intelligence.
So in Silicon Valley, it’s like, growth at all costs, you know? Let’s burn out the team, because we have investors. That’s a whole different thing. But what they’ve learned in having to do that is really useful for us if we want to just add another zero to our income, or smaller goals. So that’s how I would respond to that.
“Most companies are going for the scale because they need to race to market to build a moat.”
James: I think that’s important. I’d say most companies are going for the scale because they need to. Certainly if they’re in early technology, they need to race to market to build a moat. They need to protect themselves by being, you know, occupying that customer’s mind and having the top part of their segment, like a star principle, that caution Perry Marshall talked about.
They have to be quick. They have budget, in some cases, either a private investor’s, like, putting their previous funds from a big exit into the new venture. Sometimes, of course, if you’ve got venture capitalists, then they’re going to want their money back plus some. And they lose money on a lot of tech. This is what people don’t realize.
And, you know, unless you’re 20-something and you’re able to sleep under your desk in a sleeping bag for the first few years, or eat beans and use secondhand furniture like Jeff Bezos did for the first however many years, it’s not always a smooth road to that big win.
These big companies, the ones that I’m actually trading shares on my phone at night, you know, the Apples and the Amazons and the Googles, you know, they’re the rare ones. That’s why they’re called unicorns. But wouldn’t it be nice if we can take some of those attributes and apply them? So really we’ve gotten to this point that what works for them, if we apply some of the same principles, are going to work for us. But we can still tailor our result, we don’t have to have the same goal.
How vitally important it is to have data
And an example of that, and this is something you and I did, before you and I had our very first call on my business, we had to go and look at all the data. We wanted the deep dive surveys, we wanted the analytics, we wanted the Wicked Reports, we wanted the top pieces of content.
We needed to know what products we’ve already got, what’s selling, what’s the customer lifetime value? How long do people stick around? How many people are there? Where did they come from? All of these components are things you have to know if you’re going to make changes, and you want to be able to track the results.
Kory: That’s it. And the danger for a lot of entrepreneurs, especially if you’re new, is you’re going to get exposed to a lot of experts with either software to sell you or consulting or agency stuff, and they’re going to give you their advice. The way you’re going to grow is through Facebook ads. And the danger is that advice doesn’t take into account your unique situation.
Kory: So when you have a clear understanding of the tools available to you, you can make an educated decision about, Okay, where am I going to put my time and my money, to grow your business. And so it’s just like being, you know, if you’ve actually got a basic understanding of an engine and you go to a mechanic, you’re going to know if he’s trying to rip you off, and he’s telling you to do stuff. You’re informed.
So I just think that’s what this really is. If you’re in business, educating yourself about what these options are is just going to give you more power when you start to scale. And when you want to start investing, you have more tools to draw on.
James: You know, if I was going to invest in a mechanic, I’d want to speak to someone who’s already been to that mechanic and raves about the mechanic and refers me to the mechanic.
You know, I’ve already installed some new things that you and I’ve been working on, which is fantastic and very exciting. Because anytime where I can increase my profit doing less work, then that is a good business model. Not just for me. Of course, I am a prime beneficiary of that. There’s no mistaking it. But of course, my customers, my new customers who I’m not speaking to at the moment, who I will be speaking to a year from now, when my database increases, when my partners can help my customers, they’re actually improving their situation, too. That’s why they buy, they want to be better off.
So that being the case, if I’m dealing with Kory, the business mechanic, to work on that funnel part in the scale, where would I be referring people to? Because I know you have a couple of brand names these days. What’s your primary focus for this product?
Kory: Yeah. You know, I’m really wanting to create one place people can find, and they can get the education they need, before having to make a decision. So FunnelDojo is where I would recommend people go. And if you go to FunnelDojo.com, you can join the list, there’s nothing to buy. And you’ll be able to see how I break down and consult and actually solve these funnel problems for people on a week-by-week basis, absolutely free.
And from there, if you decide you want consulting or guidance, you know, you can just reach out and we can discuss that. But I’ve decided the thing I want to do the most is just help these entrepreneurs and give back. And it sounds kind of corny, but it’s true, I just talk to so many people who have been taken advantage of or they just didn’t know better. So that’s where you go, it’s free training on how to grow a funnel. And from there, you’ll see some options on how you can escalate. But that’s the place I want to send everyone now, is get a sense of what I do, how we work. And it’ll become really clear and obvious if it makes sense for us to take another step.
James: Just on Tuesday, this week, I did a SuperFastBusiness Q&A call, I do that every month inside SuperFastBusiness. And I get great questions, and we record them and we put the recordings into the membership. So someone joining SuperFastBusiness today can go and listen to the previous calls.
But on this call, we had a question – a customer of mine is basically very busy, overloaded, overwhelmed, you know, trying to figure out which thing to work on next. There’s so many options, so many choices. They’re not properly tracking the data. And that’s where I just put my foot down. It was fresh off one of our calls, and I said, listen, until – I’ll just do a Jay Abraham here – until and unless you go and get your data and start tracking it, you don’t really have any basis to know which activities you’re doing are actually useful or not, which you should scale or stop doing altogether, like, delete.
It’s kind of the topic of a recent Perry Marshall book, which was a miniscule 36 pages, which was fascinating in itself. You can actually squeeze a book into a small size, which is how most books start and then get puffed out into 360 pages. Anyway, side rant over.
A universally missing component of running a business
The point is, would you agree with that, that a lot of entrepreneurs are busy, and they’re trying and they’re doing a lot of activities, but would data really be the first step for you in your process?
Kory: Well, it’s the thing that’s almost universally missing.
James: Yes. No one does it. It just doesn’t exist, at micro business level. And, you know, solopreneurs, they’re pretty much just like a job with a better positioning, you know, to the public. If you have no employees, you’re in a job, but you just work for you. So that’s not really a business. It’s a joblike function.
If you’re a small business, you’re probably just a bit busy, and you maybe haven’t developed your offer to the point where you feel like you’ve got enough funds to start investing in the tools that could even track it.
But I pointed out on this call, you could do a lot just with the Google Analytics tracking parameters, which I think most people have never heard of, and they’re not using. But you know, Google give you a tool, you can actually generate a tracking link that you can put wherever you post your stuff, whether it’s an ad, whether it’s an email link, whether it’s a Facebook post, and then it can marry up to the goals that you set, which again, most people aren’t doing.
So I guess if you’re listening to this call, and you have no data tracking in place whatsoever, Kory is going to tell you right now where you should start. I just put you on the spot there, Kory, by the way.
Kory: No, it’s perfect. It’s a great question. So you do. You want to make sure that you have Google Analytics, which is free, installed all throughout your site. And the most basic question usually is, what’s my conversion rate? Like, if you’ve got a landing page, do you know what your conversion rate is? And where’d you get that information?
And people want to jump into this automated, they want the data at their fingertips. It’s like no, you get yourself a spreadsheet, and you open up your email software, and you look at how many leads you got. And you look at Google Analytics and look at how many unique visitors you had. Divide it, there’s your conversion rate.
For me, it’s like a rite of passage for entrepreneurs. And I’ve talked about this before. You get to the point where you can decide, I’m going to insist on data. It’s like, you could do your accounting on the back of a napkin. But at some point, you have to get QuickBooks, or you have to get some kind of a tool. And you graduate. Like, okay, it’s a serious business. And trust me, I sympathize. It sucks having to learn another tool or Google Analytics. But that’s how you start. You get Google Analytics installed.
When you can’t learn the tools
James: And you don’t have to. Like, I just want to put my hand up here and say, like, you know, our business, my accountant, he said, James, stop paying us to come around to your house once a quarter and pick up all your folders, and then bring them back the next quarter. Like, could you just get someone in your team to update Xero? And I said, Yeah, I reckon we could do that.
And someone in my team took it over, and they update Xero 30 minutes a day. I can log in right now, and I can see my P&L as of yesterday. Like, for my business. Like, my numbers are extremely transparent and visible to me, because they’re updated.
Now, the same thing, I actually hired someone to install Wicked Reports, and teach my team how to use all the tracking parameters. And I haven’t really been that hands-on with it, but I know just enough to know that things like my social videos, my emails, my Google AdWords, and the occasional Facebook campaigns are all kicking butt. Because I can see it. Even if I don’t even dig one layer deep, I can see it in the control dashboard there.
But then I can get other experts like you, Kory, and I can say, Here, can you have a look at my Wicked Reports and tell me what’s going on? So if you’re just not a numbers person, if this sounds just like an alien foreign language and you think, ‘No way in the world could I do that,’ at the very minimum, just find someone who’s good at that stuff or wants to do it, to help you, if you don’t want to learn it.
“I’ve hired five agents with zero results…”
But I agree with you, Kory, until you get this part, scaling is just hope marketing. It’s a pot shot. It’s a gamble. You know, it’s rolling the dice. Like, how often have you heard this story? I’ve hired a Facebook agent. They sucked, they blew all my budget, didn’t make any sales. And I’m on to my fifth one now. Same story on repeat. Would you say that’s a common scenario?
Kory: Yeah, unfortunately, it is. It really is.
James: What do you think’s happening there? Because I know we’re going to be touching a few readers where it hurts at the moment. I’ve heard this so often. Is it the Facebook agent’s fault? Is it the marketer’s fault? Is it just the market? Is it the offer? Is it, what? Where would you point the finger in this one?
“My business isn’t working, it’s my responsibility.”
Kory: Know what? I have decided, for me, it’s always my fault. In my business, my business isn’t working, it’s my responsibility. And so that’s where I start, with myself. And if you’ve gone through five agencies, and none of them worked, you might want to figure out, what are you doing wrong? Right?
And I want to just circle back. I’m really glad you brought that up. Yeah, don’t learn this stuff yourself. I’ve had really great success going to Upwork and finding a Google Analytics person who can install my stuff. If you’re willing to spend 30 an hour, you can get a top-rated person to do all that for you.
James: Anyone listening to this podcast could afford $30 for their business an hour, for a few hours worth of work.
Kory: Yeah, for 100 bucks, you’ll have all your stuff installed, and you’ll be good to go. So no excuses.
James: I don’t mean to sidetrack you too much. But I just want to tell you this funny story.
James: When I worked in my last job, we were building our own website, and Mercedes-Benz was providing us a company website. And our website was getting thousands and thousands and thousands of visitors, and the Mercedes-Benz-provided one was getting hundreds. And I only knew that because I asked them to install Google Analytics onto the company website.
So when I asked my webmaster, he installed it, it took him half an hour. And he said, All right, it’s on. When I asked Mercedes-Benz, their agency wanted to bill us thousands of dollars to install the Google Analytics pixel onto our website. And then after that, I was able to see what’s really going on, and there wasn’t much going on. But it made me laugh.
So if you happen to work for a multinational company, maybe the Google Analytics will cost you more than 30 bucks to install. Like, that story just reminds me of so much history that makes me smile. Like the time when my online business had the same number of team members as my previous dealership that I worked at. And we actually made more profit from my little business that’s in my spare room at the house, when I quit my job, and that was a real milestone as well.
But you don’t have to get caught up in big, bureaucratic enterprise-level stuff. You can do so much these days from your computer, with a camera, with access to good people, good referrals. Hey, if you’re looking for a referral or whatever, just get in touch with Kory and say, Do you know anyone where I could at least start this journey? He’ll probably share it with you. So continue on, Kory.
Kory: So circling back to, I’ve tried a bunch of agencies and it’s not working, if you don’t have data, then you have no way to measure their performance. If you don’t know what questions to ask them, you don’t have a way to set expectations.
And it’s like you, you’ve got to see the comparison between a multinational and a small business. You’ve had that experience. So if someone tries to quote you a thousand bucks to install the Google Pixel, you’re like, that’s not going to happen. But I know people pay crazy amounts of money just because they don’t have the knowledge.
And so the first thing really is about, you just got to understand the fundamentals of what’s at play. What are the pieces on the board? So you need some data tracking, you need to understand your customer journey, you need to understand your offer. And you got to understand how those things play together, at least at a basic level.
And a great example, when you brought me in, you had the data. It wasn’t perfect, but you could answer my fundamental questions, or we could go get those answers very quickly. Which is completely different than if you had been like, Well, I have no idea. We’d be starting from scratch, waiting months. So the best time to start tracking is now.
James: Start now, that’s the big one. You know, I just had another realization. Firstly, even though I got charged a lot for the analytics, I had to pay it. With big corporates, you don’t get to debate it. That’s the other thing. They ram it down your face.
An education from Mercedes in data-gathering
But the second thing I’ve just realized, you know, we used to be so data-driven. These big global companies taught me a lot of good habits. We had the most expensive accountants giving us fantastic reports. I guess it’s the origin of where I was thinking about things like effective hourly rate.
I learned things like throughput ratios in the workshop. I learned about absorption, how one part of the business can cover the cost for another part of the business. We had a stock matrix. They would come and look at all of our inventory, and they would then see how long it took to turn that stock from when we purchased it to when we sold it.
And cars, unlike a lot of other things, they kind of expire, you know? When it’s built, it gets stamped with a date. Then when it arrives in the country, if it’s not manufactured here, it gets a compliance date. And if you keep it too long, it actually has a birthday while it’s sitting on the lot. So at any one time, we had $20 million worth of stock sitting around getting older every day.
So these accounts would come in. And then of course, we’ve got trade-ins. So they would say, out of all these trade-ins, this car, these cars on average, this type of car, you know, average turnaround might be 11 days. These ones sit for 200 days. These things are costing you a fortune, you should never ever trade this type of car in. Now if you do, you should wholesale it. But if you trade this kind of car in, you should keep it and retail it.
So by using the data, we were able to refine our sale system. So when the valuer was looking at a car, if it was a silver C200, less than two years old, we’re keeping it for stock. If it was a red SL500, 7 years old, with 50,000 kilometers, that’s going to be wholesale tomorrow.
In fact, there used to be this beige color, and our nickname for it was 90-day beige, because it would never sell quickly. It would sit there for three months minimum, till some old couple would come in and Oh, that’s a lovely color. Like, you bet it is. But yeah, I guess the lessons I learned was they tracked everything. We knew every single percentage and ratio and every single step of the sales process, interestingly.
We would track a spreadsheet from when someone walked in the front door or telephoned, and we’d marry it up to the salesperson, and then we’d track whether the salesperson did a test drive, whether the car was valued, whether they’d introduced the person to a manager, whether they’d offered tea or coffee, or a cool glass of water. And if they’ve been following the customer up, and then if the customer sold or not. And then if it didn’t sell, we wanted the reason why not.
And you know what we would do with that data? This is fascinating. When the M class was popular, we would lose some sales to the X5, the BMW X5 came out, and it was starting to show up in that column: Reason lost, you know, BMW X5.
So I went down to BMW, I got an X5, I brought it back to the dealership for the sales training meeting. And I got the whole sales team, said, here’s an X5, let’s learn this thing back to front and pick it to pieces. And then from then on, we stopped losing so many sales to the X5, because we could do side-by-side comparisons, we knew exactly where our product was superior, where the X5 was weak. We knew what to insulate against and what to prepare to be ready for, the things that we were going to be told.
And that was all data-driven, all data-driven. And so there were so many lessons I brought to my business. Automatically, I already knew to collect data, I already knew we should do reporting. We have a daily report in my team. And we can keep a pulse on stuff. So the best thing is, Kory, when you and I make these changes, we can instantly see the results, because we’ve got that baseline.
So I reckon probably the big unexpected topic of this episode is you’ve got to have data and you’ve got to know it, because without that, you don’t go to stage two. So just tell me where this ties in again, with the unicorn method.
What number savvy has to do with unicorns
Kory: Well, if you want to grow, you’re going to have to invest. You want to grow quickly, you’re going to put money into it. I love what you’re saying. A serious business, a real entrepreneur with thousands or millions at stake, they’re not going to just fritter it away, they’re going to insist on data. So that’s a mindset shift more than anything. It’s just that you wake up one day, you decide, I need data now. I’m serious.
So that’s the first thing, is just to make the decision. You’ll figure it out, like you figured out every other aspect of your business, okay? It’s painful, it’s not sexy, but you just got to do it.
Once you have information, then you start to make decisions based on that. If you’re flying your plane, and half your gauges don’t work, well, good luck, right? So if you’re going to make a decision, do I buy Facebook traffic? Am I ready for that? Well, I don’t know, what’s your average order value? Do you know that? If you don’t know, why are you buying Facebook ads?
Like, you’re going to use numbers to make every single one of those decisions. Is it yes or no? Put the money down? Right? Or fold and skip it? So without data, you’re just basically relying on your instinct as an entrepreneur, and you’re relying on rumor and what you’ve heard from other people, and that’s amateur hour, you know?
And God bless entrepreneurs, because we have that willingness to go out there and just make it happen without knowing what’s going on. That’s how you start. But there comes a point where you’re like, Okay, the next stage, like you said, is, I have some numbers, and I’m making decisions based on that.
“When you can focus, that’s when you win.”
Because the biggest thing I see is people are focused all over the place, they’ve got 50 different plates spinning, and they’re running around like mad men trying to keep them going. Whereas when you have data, you go, Oh, this is the actual one thing that if I did this really well, it’s going to change my whole business. And you have confidence in that because the numbers tell you. And you can decide to ignore it, but at least you’re doing the one thing. And that focus, I mean, you and I both know, when you can focus, that’s when you win. So numbers help you focus.
James: Oh, it’s like, you know, we haven’t deployed our ads, because we’re still just finalizing the last part of the first initiative that we built based on the data that we saw, that indicates to us this is a good thing to test. And we’ve also got Plan B, which is when it goes, we’ll learn something. It either works, and if it works, then I’m going to actually double down on it and improve that thing. If it doesn’t work, then I’m going to try a different offer, a different angle, a different length, or a different price or whatever.
So there’s lots of ways that we can go about it, but the best thing is we’ll know. We’re not going to guess. So if you’ve been winging it, if you’ve had some brilliance, and you’re just doing a bit of hope marketing and praying that your Facebook agent is going to magically create a winning campaign for you, then it’s time to just learn to love the data. That’s really the big takeaway from this episode.
What are the other steps in the unicorn method?
Move this, and all else falls into place
Kory: The pieces is, once you’ve got data, you have to decide what you’re trying to do, and you’re looking for what you’re calling your North Star number, right? What’s the number that if we move that number, everything else makes sense in our business? And this gets into strategy, right? So if you’re a coach and you know, what is it you’re trying to accomplish, you have to reverse engineer that and go, okay, what’s stopping you? What’s the roadblock? And then it just becomes a matter of identify the roadblock, and clear the roadblock.
“One choke point can harm an entire ecosystem or machine.”
James: So this is a bottleneck theory, Theory of Constraints, that one choke point can harm an entire ecosystem or machine. You know, like someone has a heart attack, because they have a blockage in their artery, can shut down the whole human.
Kory: Yeah, that’s exactly it. And if you have a blocked artery, but you’re spending your time lifting weights in the gym, you’re not addressing the problem.
James: Yeah, it’s not going to help. It’s like, if you have a flat tire on your car, it’s going to be a really unpleasant drive home today. Assuming you actually drive anywhere, which most people aren’t. Bad analogy. Or like, okay, if my fin falls out of my surfboard, and it’s going to be harder for me to do turns. And, you know, as much as I could do practice pushups, and I could paddle faster, it’s not going to help. I got to go back to shore and put a new fin in.
So it’s really, the data’s going to help you know what’s actually broken, or what needs the constraint change, then you have to do it. So whether it’s using Theory of Constraints or a bottleneck approach, clear that blockage, and the functioning lifts across the whole machine, which is fantastic. There’s that theory of inherent simplicity, and that is that even complicated systems will usually be massively impacted by one simple change. And I love that concept. So that’s the next step.
But wait, there’s more coming your way
What else is there in the unicorn method?
Kory: Well, it goes pretty deep. It depends on what you’re trying to do.
James: Deep enough for another episode?
Kory: I think so. I think there’s a couple.
James: Alright. Let’s do that. Let’s say this episode’s about data, right?
James: This episode’s about data. And then we’re sort of warming into, you’ve got to find your choke point or your bottleneck. And then we’re going to continue this. We’ll have the second part of the unicorn method coming up to SuperFastBusiness podcast near you real soon.
Thank you so much, Kory. So, Kory Basaraba from FunnelDojo.com. If you like what we’ve talked about, if you think this is interesting for you, if you need help with this, then chat to Kory, have a chat to him about it. Get in touch. If you want a service to help you or some training, that’s all there.
If you’re in SuperFastBusiness membership, and you want to chat to me about it in our private coaching, or if you’re in the group there, and you just want to post a question around this episode, then by all means, start the conversation. And I think Kory is also a member, so he can have a look at that, too.
So thank you so much for coming and sharing. We’ll start the rest of it, I think I want to give it the space that it deserves on a whole episode. So thank you so much.
Kory: We’ll start our unicorn magical journey together, James. I look forward to it.
James: I always love chatting. Like, it’s bringing back some interesting memories for me, I’m kind of acknowledging what caused my habits now. Like, there is a reason I’ve had a very consistent, stable, strong business since I’ve been online, without a dip, because I’ve always had a finger on the pulse with the numbers. And I’m not afraid to make changes, but they must be informed changes, where I can measure if they’re working or not.
Big lessons there. Thank you.
Kory: All right. Take care, James.
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