I was able to achieve something that many entrepreneurs dream of — traveling the world while running a business completely location independent. I wasn’t stuck in an office from nine to five and I wasn’t forced to work eighteen-hour days to see my vision unfold.
It was quite the opposite. I was able to travel the world and enjoy affordable, yet extremely beautiful, locations like Thailand while managing a fast-growing business. Rather than working ‘in’ my business, I was able to focus my time on scaling revenue, completely removed from the redundant day-to-day tasks required to keep the business running.
Every business, from century-old corporations to technology startups, is only as good as its team. This way of thinking combined with a focus on processes and systemizing every aspect of the business allowed me to oversee and scale my business from whichever corner of the world I was in at the moment.
The core structural components of how I built my business apply to any business seeking to operate this way. While I’m constantly learning as I continue my entrepreneurial journey, I wanted to share some helpful tips for those that have the same dreams and desires.
Being able to travel and explore the world while building a successful business is an amazing feeling and one that I hope more entrepreneurs, both new and old, will get to experience in their lifetime. These five tips had the biggest impact on my success.
Automated Workflows and Processes
There are several apps and SaaS options to help with automating workflows and processes, with Zapier being one of my favorites. The time saved by automating tedious and repetitive tasks not only frees up your time, but it allows you to allocate more important jobs to your team.
For example, you can set up a Zapier workflow to send out a sales contract and then file it away in your preferred cloud storage account. Even if this only saves 5 minutes per task, at scale this can be several hours a day.
You can also automate to-do list reminders to your team for tasks that occur daily or weekly, allowing you to follow up on them without having to send them out repeatedly. Again, this might have a few minutes each time, but at scale the time savings are drastic. By identifying every possible automation opportunity, you can help your business run more efficiently. Every aspect of your business can be automated to some degree, from accounting and bookkeeping to lead nurturing.
Outsourced Customer Service
Exceptional customer service is the lifeblood of any business. Prioritizing your customer service ensures that you have happy customers, which leads to positive feedback, repeat business, and word-of-mouth referrals.
Poor customer service on the other hand can create a hole in your ship that cannot be fixed, eventually taking on so much water that you sink. At that point the damage is irreversible and the business is dead.
I knew the importance of top-notch customer service, and I also knew that I didn’t want to have to reply to customer service support tickets and inquiries around the clock. I outsourced the entire customer service division, hiring full-time team members to constantly monitor inbound tickets.
Our outsourced support staff worked overlapping shifts, making sure that there was always someone accessible 24/7. This allowed all support requests to be answered almost instantly. This created happy customers, which in turn equated to more sales.
There are many freelance marketplaces you can find outsourced talent for hire. UpWork, Freelancer.com, and PeoplePerHour are great places to begin your search.
Created a Central CRM Hub
Having one central hub for our customer relationship management was vital. The business generated leads for our clients, so not only did we have to track our clients’ data and information, but each lead needed to be accounted for as well.
Rather than using a mix of CRMs that could have become impossible to manage at scale, we took the time to create a personalized customer relationship management solution that was specifically tailored for our needs.
While there are many great CRM options out of the box, a custom solution for your specific needs will always be better and lead to a more productive and organized business. Zoho, HubSpot, Salesforce, ActiveCampaign, and Keap are all highly customizable CRM solutions to consider.
Built a Full-Time Outreach Sales Team
Sales make any business go ‘round, and I knew that without sales it would be difficult, and nearly impossible to scale the business. We provided a great service, generating high quality leads for clients across a wide range of industries.
I knew that if we could get in touch with businesses that needed what we offered it would be an easy sell, so I focused on building a team of outreach specialists whose sole responsibility was to reach out to inbound inquiries, manage prospects in the funnel, and follow-up and close deals.
The automated processes and workflows as well as the custom CRM mentioned above all directly contributed to the success of our sales team. The easier we made their job, the more sales they were able to close. The more sales we generated, the more revenue the business brought in. The more revenue we took in month-after-month, the larger we could scale the operation. All of the previously mentioned points worked together to help give our sales team the tools they needed to succeed.
Tracked and Analyzed All Data to Identify Growth Opportunities
There is a plethora of data available, and when you know how to analyze it correctly it can help you identify wildly lucrative growth opportunities. Since the majority of the business was automated it allowed me to spend a lot of time looking at data.
By using an analytics platform called ChartMogul, I was able to identify the key revenue metrics of our customer’s lifecycle. By breaking down our customers into segments based on industry, I analyzed average Lifetime Value based on each vertical.
From there I was able to reduce spend on the poorly performing verticals and allocate those funds to industries with the greatest retention rate. Not only did this amplify our rate of customer acquisition, but it also enabled us to deliver a higher quality, more targeted service to our customers. It was a win-win situation.