Build a Team

Welcome back to the fifth article in our six-part series on the journey from First Sale to Full Freedom. 

(We covered this model extensively back in the first installment of this series, so if you need a refresher, click here.

In our last article, we: 

  1. Talked about the Phase 3 of the journey in detail
  2. Examined exactly what you need to know to identify if you’re currently in this phase 
  3. Showed you how you can successfully navigate to the next level (while avoiding the common pitfalls + obstacles that could prevent you from doing so)

As a reminder, here’s a graphic to show you what the journey looks like from start to finish: 

In this article, we’re going to go deep on Phase 4 - Scaling Your Team

We’ll start off by examining the typical business profile of a brand in this phase of their evolution. 

We’ll then move on to talk about: 

  1. What your Core Focus should be at this point
  2. The Key Levers you should dial in on and the critical Mindset Principles you can focus on to achieve success as quickly as possible 
  3. The Biggest Pitfalls you need to avoid and Powerful Success Strategies you can use to navigate around the obstacles you’ll encounter during this part of your journey
By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how your brand can move from the start of this phase (being your full-time focus) to the end (being able to support a team). 

Let’s get started!

Is This You?  

If you’re in this phase of your journey, you probably: 

  • Have steadily growing levels of sales (up to mid-five figures in monthly revenue)
  • Enjoy stable demand for your products on a month-to-month basis 
  • Generate decent amounts of revenue from organic sources (e.g. social acquisition + repeat purchases) 
  • Have a strong reputation in your niche and a growing, loyal customer base
  • Feel as if you can’t run the business by yourself anymore

This phase is characterized by the need to scale sustainably

If you can solve this problem, you’ll be well on your way to building a team that takes your business further than you could manage alone. 

Aspect #1 - Core Focus 

At this stage of your journey, there’s only one thing you need to worry about: 

Scaling your core team to keep the business growing. 

Success in this phase requires you to: 

  1. Double down on what has worked in the past 
  2. Discard strategies that don’t deliver anymore
  3. Introduce fresh tactics to overcome the new obstacles you face

If you have the ambition to grow your brand into an entity that can do more than you could alone, you need to scale your core team…

And with their help, it won’t be long before your brand is collecting tons of awesome reviews - just like the ones Loox customer Gabriella Plants get:

Aspect #2 - Key Levers & Critical Mindset Principles

It’s not enough to just be clear on what you should prioritize. To ensure that you stay on track, you need actionable tools and reliable metrics you can use to keep making progress. 

With that in mind, there are three Key Levers you should use to ensure you make progress - and three Critical Mindset Principles to help you get the most out of each. 

Now, let’s focus on each in more detail. 

Lever #1 - Owned Channel Numbers 

You can build a highly profitable business without owning your customer list. 

Think of top-selling products on platforms like Amazon, or businesses built on PPC: most of these businesses rely on third-party channels as their primary traffic source.

However, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it. 

Depending on third-party platforms exposes you to the ebbs and flows of broader market forces (e.g. rising ad costs or changing content policies). 

Critical Mindset Principle - Mitigate Platform Risk

Rather than relying on exterior partners to keep your business afloat, reduce exposure by building your owned channels. 

Marketplaces, social media platforms, distribution partners - they all have a part to play in your journey. 

But if the disappearance of any other business would shut yours down, you’re over-exposed.   

SMS and email are key owned channels: build these over time to protect your business against platform risk.  

Lever #2 - Customer Lifetime Value

Brands that have higher customer lifetime value than their competitors win out in the long run. 

That’s because they can outspend their rivals - and outlast them, too. 

Maximizing CLTV isn’t just as simple as increasing prices, leveraging gimmicky tactics, or running constant campaigns to engage existing buyers. 

Strategies make a difference. But selecting strategies based on the right principles is what truly matters. 

Critical Mindset Principle - Think Long-Term

The reason why people buy from you over competing alternatives is that they see enough value in your offering to take the chance. 

The reason why people keep buying from you is that you cultivate a strong connection with them over time. 

Put your relationship with the customer first. Take care of them. Solve their problems. Don’t see them as a short-term source of cash… treat them as long-term partners. 

See every new customer as a potential lifelong fan of your brand.

Approach business this way, and you’ll soon have CLTV your competitors can only dream of. 

Lever #3 - Partnership Offers Sent

As we discussed previously, you can build a very profitable business without ever interacting directly with your customers.

However, you shouldn’t. Doing so puts your business at risk. 

Likewise, you can scale your brand to incredible heights without ever working with an external partner (e.g. influencer or affiliate). But again, this is not a wise decision. 

When used properly, promotional partnerships with third parties are the key to unlocking massive growth…

And until you’ve got enough reputation to attract inbound offers, you need to put some work in to get these in place. 

Critical Mindset Principle - Stronger Together

As you scale your business towards sustaining you and your team, don’t discount the value of working with like-minded people. 

While finding the right individuals to propel your business forward may not be easy, it’s a crucial part of successfully completing this phase of your journey. 

Effective partnerships are like power-ups. They offer you a new way to generate revenue for your business. 

Put the time in to find reliable partners for your brand and you’ll understand the wisdom contained in this old saying:

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. 

Aspect #3 - Biggest Pitfalls & Powerful Success Strategies

No two entrepreneurial journeys are exactly the same. 

But as different as your story may be, there are a few pitfalls that you - just like most other ecommerce brands - will encounter along the way. 

To help you navigate these obstacles, we’ll now:

  1. Profile them in detail (so you know what to watch out for), and
  2. Give you some high-value strategies you follow to stay on track for success 

Here’s what’s up next: 

☠️ Pitfall #1 - Ego-Centric Conduct 

As you grow your brand from a one-person operation to a team effort, it’s easy to let your ego get in the way. 

Being able to call the shots and control everything your business does from end to end is something a lot of entrepreneurs enjoy. 

However, unless you plan on micromanaging your team forever, you need to set your pride aside and do what’s best for your long-term growth. 

You don’t need to rush into bringing team members on board. But when the time comes for action, act

🚀 Powerful Success Strategy - Commit to Change

There are many different ways to build your business into an entity that can support more than just you. And honestly: it’s less about what you do, and more about how you do it. 

Take your time to evaluate your options. Choose what you think is the best course of action. But don’t waste too much time trying to figure out the “perfect” strategy... 

And once you’ve identified where your first hire should be, commit to it

That’s how you’ll win. 

☠️ Pitfall #2 - No Systems

“The curse of knowledge” crops up in many contexts. Hiring great team members for your brand is no different. 

Something that is obvious to you could be completely unexpected for a newcomer. 

Wherever there’s ambiguity, there’s a chance confusion can arise. 

Confusion leads to inaction (or incorrect actions) - and that can derail your business faster than anything else. 

The best way to manage ambiguity is to eliminate it.

The best way to do that is with systems. 

🚀 Powerful Success Strategy -  Light the Way

Every time you complete a repeated task - whether that’s answering a customer support query, exporting order details, or packaging a product for delivery - ask yourself:

How can I record the process for doing this so that someone else can do it in future? 

Over time, there will be less and less ambiguity about how your business is run. Every single system you document will help to light the way forward for new hires. 

☠️ Pitfall #3 - Rented Channel Dependency 

As your business grows and you lock in relationships with great partners you vibe with, be careful. 

Pride comes before a fall, but so does complacency. 

The more reliant your business is on rented channels (whether that’s from social media, a marketplace, or brand affiliates), the more vulnerable you are to external problems. 

Marketplaces can go under. Social media platforms can deactivate your account for nothing. Brand partners can quit the industry or lose their standing. 

To secure your business in the long run, you need more than just distribution channels. 

You need real assets.

🚀 Powerful Success Strategy - Grow Your Assets 

Rented audiences are a valuable tool. Used properly, they can help your business grow like magic… 

However, like any other tool, growing too reliant on them is dangerous.  

Leverage external traffic sources for all their worth, but don’t forget the bigger picture. 

Use them to build your core assets (i.e. your customer list, email list, SMS list and so on). 

Before long, you’ll start to see compounding ROI on every investment you make. 

That’s part of the reason why Loox customer BlendJet were able to generate an extra $238k in revenue through referrals - click here to learn more