Creating Predictable Revenue and Growth

December 8, 2023

Have you ever heard of the books Predictable Revenue, Built To Sell, or E-Myth? I can’t recommend reading these books enough if your business feels unmanageable and is driving you nuts. If you run an agency and you find it difficult to get the projects you want, these books are full of rock-solid advice. They helped me tremendously in doubling down on a niche, productising our services, and sharpening our proposition.

A couple of years ago our business was often driving us nuts. We basically did everything that was possible with our skillsets, for literally anyone who paid us. This is how 99% of agencies operate. E-Myth and Built to Sell were the two books that helped me create the business we wanted. Businesses that work for us instead of because of us. Now our studios run on clearly defined systems, and our employees rely on these systems. While there are still many things that require our attention and new challenges always emerge, things are much better organised than ever before. Our systems help us grow in a sustainable manner and, most importantly, I love my work again.

Sales and Opportunity Generation

Over the last few years, my co-founder and I have been building our businesses based on our network and word-of-mouth marketing. We brought Eli5 in the direction of a 2MM revenue company, but we realised things were plateauing. Just like we created well-running systems to generate predictable and consistently high-quality output in our studios, we needed something similar for generating opportunities to feed these businesses.

Exploring Many Approaches

During 2022, I experimented with many ways to manifest predictable revenue and growth. My first idea was to hire someone to research domains and industries to build lists for me to reach out to. It was a nice idea, but in hindsight, it was never going to work. I found some very interesting people who wanted to do this. Although I believed they could pull it off, I realised they still needed a lot of guidance, and I still had to do a lot of critical work. This was the opposite of what we were striving for.
My second approach was outsourcing. It did not take long for me to decide this was not the way either. If you want to build predictable revenue and growth, it’s best to own the system instead of relying on third parties to do this. Besides, I explored this with 6 different companies and none of them convinced me that you can outsource lead generation for high ticket services.

Bring in Authority

I began thinking about what made our studios run so smoothly. Obviously, achieving this level took a lot of time. For our studios to run smoothly, my co-founder and I needed to grow in our expertise and experience over the last decade. While I know how to sell, I don’t know how to create a sophisticated system that generates predictable revenue and growth. I was confident I could learn this, but it would take a lot of time, and I already found out that other things would just come up and take up my time anyway.
I found Marc Meyer, a commercial heavyweight who has vast experience with setting up scalable sales systems needed to realise predictable revenue and growth. He’s now the CCO of The Builder Studios and he runs the commercial side of the business with the same confidence as my co-founder (and CTO) runs the engineering side. Besides, although we’re very different from each other, we get along incredibly well. This, to me, is just as important as bringing in the right set of skills and expertise.

Setting Up

We started out at the beginning of this year. After we defined a clear strategy and high-level systems, we used the entire first quarter of the year to hire the right people. Alongside this, we prepared sales material, tweaked propositions and offerings, and ideated on handover experiences with studio leads.

Dedicated Sales Team

The first thing on our hiring plan was to hire a sales team for Noco. This is because Noco’s offerings are fully productised and its ticket value is relatively low compared to Eli5. We estimated it would be fairly quick for salespeople to start selling Noco’s services. We hired two well-experienced and very motivated salespeople. Why not start with one? We wanted them to figure out as quickly as possible what works and what doesn’t. By working in a team of two, they can learn from each other. Besides, salespeople have a competitive mindset and work better when they’re not the only ones in sales.

Marketing and Content Creation

The second thing we did was hire an experienced marketing person to be in charge of all the studios’ marketing. This person needed to be savvy and well-experienced in a wide variety of marketing aspects: content creation, art direction, design, copywriting, PR, branding, social media, strategy, planning, and so on. We found someone great who has experience with all of this, and more importantly, she knows how to manage this at a high level while delegating to creatives.

Time to Roll

The first quarter was all about setting things up, and April was a test run with our new commercial setup. Now we need to make it happen. It’s been a rough first quarter for our company; we lost one of our biggest clients in a very unexpected way. In the meantime, we were investing in setting up all of this. Nevertheless, we made it happen, and I am more confident about the future of our studios than ever. Now it’s time to generate more business and grow our studios to the next level.

Final Words

This has been a very interesting journey for me, and I’m still learning a lot of new things along the way. If you feel like you want to exchange thoughts about the topic, hit me up via Twitter or LinkedIn and let’s talk :)

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