Are you struggling to grow your small business as fast as you’d hoped? Do you feel that you are working too hard, yet still not getting the results you need? If you answered yes to either question, this podcast episode is for you.

On the show with me today is Ben Fewtrell, creator of the Business Acceleration Blueprint. As the founder of several startups, Ben knows a thing or two about getting a business off the ground, and his programs have helped many business owners to build the business they imagined.

During today’s interview, I asked Ben to walk us through the blueprint, step by step.

If you are struggling get the results you deserve, this interview is for you.

Full Transcript

Trent:                  Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas eCommerce Podcast. As always, I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and I’m here to help you discover what is working in e-commerce today by pulling out my big flashlight and helping you shine a light on the tools, the tactics, and the strategies in use by today’s most successful entrepreneurs. In episode number two 94 you heard how my guest Stephan Aarstol is growing a number of successful direct to consumer brands in partnership with the billionaire Mark Cuban. All thanks to shark tank and in today’s episode I am joined by Ben Fewtrell. Ben is the co-founder and managing partner at a company called Max My Profit and he’s the author of the business acceleration blueprint. He’s a sought after advisor, keynote speaker and trainer and he’s been featured in secrets of top business builders, exposed Virgin inflight magazine and sky business and a few more. Ben is also the host of the popular business brain food podcast show where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything you need to know to help you build the business that you imagined. Ben, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming.

Ben:                     Hey, thanks for having me Trent. So pleased to be here buddy.

Trent:                  Although thanks for coming. You didn’t really even go anywhere. I mean you’re happy, but you didn’t even get an airplane are awesome.

Ben:                     I wish I did it. How good would that be if he said, come over.

Ben:                     Next time I’ll send you down the [inaudible].

Trent:                  So let’s dive into this Ben. What is this whole business acceleration blueprint thing all about?

Ben:                     So after working with businesses for nearly 20 years, what I discovered was there’s a bunch of fundamentals that aside, no matter what industry you’re in, the United people always said to me, trip a bid. My business is different. But there are some aspects that are the side and always sided people. Whoa, everybody wants to make money and money. You make money in a business by serving people. And it doesn’t matter how you serve, the more you serve them with or whatever it is, you better make sure you’re making profit out of it. So I created a blueprint that help businesses structurally use a structure to build their business to a point where it was predictably profitable. And that’s really what it’s all about.

Trent:                  Oh, predictably profitable, sexy words right there.

Ben:                     Yeah.

Trent:                  Got my attention now. So break it down for me. I think in the pre-interview you told me there’s five stages and five critical areas per steps. Let’s, let’s dig a little deeper into what this thing is all about.

Ben:                     Yeah, absolutely. So the five stages, the very first stage is the one that most people miss. And that I always talk to people about how if you’re building a house, I don’t know, you’ve probably heard this a million times and everyone has, you got to start with a strong foundation. But it’s a good analogy because it’s true, right? So in business, a lot of people actually skip the foundation because they get onto the sexy stuff first, which is the marketing and getting clients on board and getting styles and then trying to go back and fix the foundations is actually had once you started building roles, because it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, there’s already stuff going on. So the first step of the five stages is what we call the foundation stage. And it’s getting plans together. So there’s a, there’s a section in there on planning, there’s a section on setting KPIs, so you’ve got a way to measure your progress.

Ben:                     And I probably had that sign before. What’s good, what gets measured, gets managed. There’s a section in there on times how we invest our time as entrepreneurs. A lot of people invest their time in areas that I kind of get them on fast, track their results to where they want to be. Instead I get sucked into things that could be paying other people to do or leveraging their time with. We get that rod in the beginning, which is really, really impulsion. We structured the business for growth. So as it does grow, what happens is a lot of people that come to us, they come to us and go, we said, what do you want help with? And I go, I’m just really busy and I’ll go, well what are you really busy doing? And I said, well, it’s just everything. And I would say the reason that happens is because I haven’t structured their business for growth.

Ben:                     So it’s like business gets big guy like get busier and we don’t want that to happen. What we want to do is as it gets bigger, we want to be able to leverage off of the systems and technology we’ve put in place to be able to have that business grow without it depending on us individually. And then the final area of foundation is the money side and a lot of people are really scared by this, but it’s understanding how the money works in your business. You know, there’s some great books out there as well for entrepreneurs to Ray, but there’s not many people reading them on basic fundamentals or things like cashflow management and writing P and L say, understand in a way your money’s coming from where it’s going to and how to maximize that profitability. The second size then is then we get into growth where we start growing the business.

Ben:                     And that’s more about lead generation conversions, making sure customers are coming back because they’re happy and having systems to get them to buy from you again and maximizing your average dollar spend, which in eCommerce is a big one, right, and people come out through the checkout. You want to make sure that you’re doing whatever you can to maximize that average normal Spain because they’ve got so much money in their wallet and they’re only going to, they’re there, it’s limited, right? So they’re going to give it to somebody. You might as well get as much of it as you can. Then we look at optimization, so once this could cash on a business, how do we systemize it and how do we make sure that it’s efficient? That then leads us onto what I call the transition stage where the owner can then remove themselves from the day to day ops because it builds a Titan that does all the the die to die.

Ben:                     You know what I call the cog work, making sure the cogs are working in the business. And then that leaves us to the fifth stage, which is diversification. And diversification is about then going to other markets or settling on a product. So maybe manufacturing or could be something totally different. Buying shares or property, right? So at that point in time, your business is giving you good profit. You can start using that money to make more money.

Trent:                  All right, so that’s an overview, but we’re going to need to go a little further down in the weeds to make good on. My promise is always to have my guests be able to listen to an episode of mine and walk away with actionable golden nugget. So of all of those five steps, we need to make an interesting interview and it needs to be actionable. Which one do you think in the limited time that we have that we can go a little deeper on or a lot deeper on. And ideally I’d like to hear some examples as well.

Ben:                     Yeah, absolutely. So why don’t we dive deep into the foundation. Do you think that would be handy to get more clarity around how to structure a business plan to set KPIs and get that, you know, get the foundations right.

Trent:                  I’m absolutely on board with talking about the foundation. When I hear the word business plan though, um, my only reservation there is I think that some people in the audience might be recoiling thinking, Oh, I don’t want to write a 60 page document. So when you say business plan, let’s first clarify, what do you mean by business plan?

Ben:                     Did I say business plan or plan? I think I want to just say played because although I’m not a big fan of business plans per se either big 60 page documents that sit in the top drawer of your desk and never get seen again. Reese a time. Yes. How more about having an action plan? Right. So the way that I think about planning is, um, and I like using analogies or stories, right? I don’t know, have you ever climbed Mount Everest Trent?

Trent:                  Oh yeah. You know, every second weekend I just had the G five and scoot on over and just run up.

Ben:                     Mount Everest is a pretty tall mountain, 2025 like 28,948 meters or something like that. It’s really tall and always cited paper. When it comes to planning and business, you’ve got to think about it like climbing Mount Everest. You’ve got to think about where you’re going to set your flag and when you set that flag, what does that look like? You know? So what does the summit look like for you? Now the difference with a business compared to a mountain is a mountain. We know when we’ve got to the top because if we keep stepping, it’s thin air, right? Very thin. In that case it matters in a business, there’s never real clarity as to when you’ve arrived at the top of the mountain. So we have to get clear about that. So when I talk about planning, I think what people forget to do is I forget to set that destination.

Ben:                     And so I like to get people really clear about what that looks like. So if you’re in a commerce for example, or any business, but let’s talk a commerce, cause that’s a lot of your listeners is you’re going to think about, okay, well what does my business look like? How many transactions per month am I doing? How many product lines do I have? Uh, you know, what’s, um, you know, what does my business look like when I get there? How many team members do I have? Uh, you know, all of these answers, all these questions I need to answer. And this is just trying to describe what the arrival point looks like. Okay. What does that summer look like? Cause if we were going to climb Mount Everest, how would we do it? We would do it one step at a time. And so we don’t, we want to, but we want to know where the top is.

Ben:                     We want to know what it looks like, so we can start to plan how many steps we’ve got to get. But we don’t want have to be bogged down worrying about how many steps are going to take or thinking about how many more do I have tell? Oh yeah. Like have you got kids that have your kids? I sit in the back of the J five today and say when do we get there dad?

Trent:                  No, she just says give me my iPad daddy. As long as she’s got her, I bet she doesn’t care.

Ben:                     Laws differ those days but we don’t want to be uncertain about when we’re going to get there. So we’re not talking about planning, it’s about setting a um, a, a destination of when you’re going to get there and then making sure that you are planning your why step by step on how to get there. Cause Mount Everest can be climbed 12.1 meters a day. If you did that every day for two years, then you would arrive. Now there’s not as my cameras start working isn’t it?

Trent:                  Well we’ll continue along cause sometimes in the recording the camera is actually still functioning in the recording even though you, and I think it’s not working so you can try turning it on and off if you’d like.

Ben:                     I look like I’ve got a really good expression on my face. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know the light, the light definitely went off on my camera so I think you might be camera less.

Trent:                  Okay. Well if we’re camera less we can make do cause as long as we get the audio track at a minimum we’ll be fine.

Ben:                     Cool. Fantastic.

Trent:                  So I want to play, I’m going to, I’m going to push back a little bit because of the, some of my own experience and a lot of the interviews that I’ve done in one recently in particular that I did, uh, with a fellow who is the founder of this company called Sheets and Giggles. And so [inaudible] good set. Yeah. Right. They sell, they sell eucalypts based bedding online. They’re one of the leading company in the US and you know, he, he um, he’s made a hell of a success of the company in a short period of time. And, and he didn’t do what you’re describing at all. Instead he focused on, well first I need to validate that there’s demand for my product. I need to figure out what my cost of customer acquisition can be and all of that because I need to knew enough money in my kick starter campaign so that I can get on the front page and really give myself that, that launch that I need to be able to convert into momentum and a sustainable business in the, you know, in the first year. And I, and I hear, I listen to what you’re saying and I, I agree that I think that the foundation is really important, but is it really the very first thing that you’re going to tell someone to do? Like, Hey, I’m, I’m, I this guy, I, I’m looking for an idea for a business. Um, or yeah, let’s not talk about buying a business cause that’s a different, different rabbit hole to go down. But I’m looking for this idea for a business or I think I’ve got an idea for business and your advice to me is I’ve got to sit down and develop my foundation. Am I getting this right? Or maybe I’m taking it out of context.

Ben:                     So, first of all, I think what you described with that guys, he has put a plan together to get himself to base camp. So he has to put a plan together. So he says, and that’s when we’re going to decide if we keep going on. Yup. Um, the reality is, it depends what, you know, if you’ve just started, you’re building a business, then you need your foundations. There’s no doubt about it. If you haven’t decided you’re building a business and you’re just researching, that’s a different thing. Right? And what I’m, what I’m hearing is research, right? But researching the validity of something. Um, but even that’s a plan, right? A plan is, let’s put the concept out there, see what the uptake is. Let’s work out whether or not people want to buy this thing and let’s work out if there’s any competition, what our threats are or weaknesses, you know, all of those things. Uh, uh, it’s still, it’s still planned out, right?

Trent:                  Yeah, that’s true. Actually. He, I glad that you pointed that out because he absolutely had a plan for product validation. And by the way, you have turned your camera off so you can try and turn it back on again and see if it’ll work.

Ben:                     Yeah, I can say it’s cut out. Stop video. It doesn’t like it.

Trent:                  Don’t worry about it then. So you’re right. He absolutely had a plan to validate his product and he wanted to do it in literally in two days. And I think, and he did. And that’s why I think his strategy was so clever. So what you’re saying is, okay, the foundation comes after you’ve gone through that validation phase by whatever, why you choose to do it. Um, and I know or not know because in business you never know anything. For sure. Nobody knows nothing about nothing. You have enough data to have a reasonably strong, um, assumption that your business is going, is going to be successful. So that being the case, and I’m, and I’m going to go all in on my effort to making this thing happen. You’re saying, okay, well now before you start getting scatterbrained and chopping down trees all over the place without any type of strategy whatsoever, now it’s time to work on the foundations that, right?

Ben:                     Yeah, absolutely. Because I think, I think it’s easy and scatterbrain is probably a good word for it because as entrepreneurs we’re very attracted to the next shiny object. And if we don’t stay focused on where we’re heading, we can get distracted very quickly. And so, you know, just so even going out to dinner, we plan it, right? We said we’re going to be there at this time. Wait, here’s the address. Who are we inviting? What are we wearing? So just it doesn’t, it doesn’t need to be a complex plan. I think that’s why it’s good you’ve asked the question because a lot of people say this vision of a business plan is something that’s very complex as way. Uh, when I started my business back in 2001 Trent, and you know, I built a multimillion dollar coaching business, a lot of people will ask me, well, how did you do it?

Ben:                     How did you do it? Well, it was just I got rid of clear about what I want us to build and my plan was an I three odd book with one page dedicated to each month for the first 12 months and I wrote in pencil the key KPIs that I was going to achieve each month. That was it. That was it. That’s all I needed. But it gave me enough clarity that when things came up, I could ask this question. The question was, is that going to help me achieve my goals this month? Yes or no? If the answer was yes, great, I’ll dive deep into it. If the answer is no, then I’ll push it away because it’s, I need to say no to it. Cause when you say yes to something, you always say no to something else. Yeah. So having a plan allows you to be out of Mike, his decisions and it doesn’t need to be a 60 page document. It just needs to excite clearly. What am I looking to achieve in this next period of time? And if it’s a two day plan for validation then Institute, I plan because we’ve got a Kickstarter campaign. If it’s a 30 day plan for market research or if it’s a one year plan or if it’s a 10 year plan, it doesn’t really matter, but be clear about what you’re trying to achieve because that’s what I make sure that you actually get there.

Trent:                  And then when you are in your book with your pencil and you’re writing down, you said KPIs, but are you really talking about the activities that you’re going to pursue to make progress or are you actually talking and if and if, and if it’s not that, if you’re actually talking about KPIs, maybe give us some examples of some of the KPIs that you used or that you encourage people to use in that first 3, 6 month or 12.

Ben:                     yeah, so it’s a great question. So we’re not talking KPIs, I’m talking about a way to track your progress. So if I go back to the Mount Everest example, if you did 12.1 made as a die in two years I’ve done the math, you would reach the top of Mount Everest. So if you had to climb 10 meters in the day, you know that you’re behind 2.1 meters. Okay. If you did 15 meters, you know you hit three meters. So the, the KPIs, the things that you set to help you understand whether or not you’re on track. So let’s say for example, I set a target of wanting to do, I don’t know, $50,000 worth of orders in the first month. And I knew my average value sale was a gram where I know I need 50 styles, let’s say that are in my assumptions. My conversion rate is 20% well, to get 50 sales, I’m going to make 250 leads.

Trent:                  Yup.

Ben:                     Okay. So their KPIs that I would then set. So if I need to turn to 50 leads in the first month to get my 50 sales to reach my target, then I can break that down into a weekly KPI or a daily KBR. So what do I need to do per day? If I get to the end of today and I haven’t achieved that and I was made to then at least that’s a good indicator for me real early that I’m off track, but I’m not going to achieve the target that I set because it’s, it’s, it’s like keeping pie, you know, I don’t know if you watch any sport where they run a lapse, you know, or cars or anything like that. Like cake. I like a pace, the pace of the vehicle, the pace of the person. So you get a feel for the prediction of when they’re going to get to the end. And so this is what KPIs are for. They to help you understand whether you need to speed up or can you afford to slow down or what do you need to do to achieve the target by the time they wanted to get there.

Trent:                  So I’d almost change the name to KPAs cause I think you what you’re really talking about as a key performance activity because you and, and the way you just described reverse engineering, you know, your conversion ratios to knowing how many leads you need to per day. Um, that’s exactly what this fellow did when he was validating his product. He knew that he needed to have a sized email list because you’d have a 3% conversion ratio with his average order value is 70 bucks, was going to allow him to get $50,000 in sales in his Kickstarter. And that’s the amount that he knew that he needed to get onto the front page of Kickstarter. So then he just backed it all the way up to where like, well, how many leads do I need? Well, I need 11,000 leads. And in the first two days he ran ads to figure out what his cost per lead was going to be. And then once he figured out his cost per lead and he was able to figure out how much sales, you know what the gross margin on $50,000 of sales was going to be, was that going to be enough to pay for 11,000 leads? And if those numbers were close, then he had a very viable business and that’s exactly what he did. That’s also exactly what you described. So I’m in complete agreement with that, but I really think key performance activity is a better descriptor. Oh look at that, your camera came back on.

Ben:                     I’m back.

Trent:                  This is a better descriptor because at the end of the day, especially for a lot of folks that are running e-commerce or even service based business, it’s those activities, you know, the generation of leads or the generation of web traffic that you really need to focus on.

Ben:                     Yes, yes. And I think so. I love that KPIs. I love that because they’re the activities that have to happen for us to achieve our targets. So yeah, maybe that’s a better way of putting it and less and less corporate speak as well. You know, KBR is very corporate, you know, in business, especially small businesses, we start to grow. We want to make sure we have got some clarity about what it is we’ve actually got to get done because action speaks louder than words. There’s no doubt about that.

Trent:                  Yup. All right. So we’ve now would you say that for the purposes of our relatively short and simple discussion that we’ve done a reasonable good job of defining the foundation phase is there, if someone’s listening along, they’re taking notes and they’re thinking, well, I’m going to follow this formula. Is there anything that we’ve really, you know, not talked about that is as important as the book and the KPAs?

Ben:                     Yeah, I think, um, there is one other area and that is time management, uh, or what I call self management. And when, what happens is, and this is in the foundation stage and I find this is probably one of the biggest issues that people face, is I get sucked into things that I ended up doing for whatever reasons. Some people are control freaks, what I call superhero syndrome, where they’ve got to do everything. Some people are not good at trusting other people. Some people just aren’t sure how to delegate something or find somebody else or lay people to do some of the other work, but in, in every business, there are tasks that we do that as entrepreneurs that are not a good investment of our time.

Trent:                  Cool. Amen brother.

Ben:                     So I really think that’s an important thing for people to get clear on is that you have to have a methodology. You have to have some way of identifying what do I do with my time and then making a decision is do I keep doing that? Is it a good use of my time or do I need to systemize it and delegate it to give it to somebody else or some sort of technology to do it. Because if you try and do everything yourself, as you scale your business, your time is going to become more and more in demand and you end up getting sucked into this vortex and not being able to spend any time working on the business. You end up working in it and that doesn’t matter whether you’re a commerce or it’s a traditional offline business, everybody suffers the same thing.

Trent:                  So I do have an idea that I want to run by you on how I make that decision or not an idea, but a methodology and that is does the thing that I need to do, does it require a lot of years of experience and judgment or is it a relatively binary process? Do this, do this, do this, do this, do this. If it’s a binary process, systematized delegate and don’t do, if it’s a process that requires the experience and the judgment, that’s a little harder to do. Do you think about it any differently than that?

Ben:                     So exactly how I do it. I add another element in there and that’s what I call the fun factor. So yeah, so sometimes there are things that you do, so I actually do, I get people to do is draw up a chart, say draw a box and you put two lines vertically in two horizontal, they say end up with nine squares and on the left hand side is skill required. On the bottom is fun and in each box, you know low is down the bottom corner and highs on the top two corners. Right. So if something is high fun but low skill, I might still want to do it cause I enjoy doing it. But if something is high skill and life fun, I’ll probably still do it because it requires the skill that I have. But every task so I can do, I can put into one of those nine boxes and the first box that I delegate is the box. That’s low skill and low funding. I’ll just get rid of it.

Trent:                  Yeah.

Ben:                     And then, and then our work on the outer boxes from there. So that’s sort of what I do is very similar though. Very similar as I like the way you think.

Trent:                  Do you have a, a graphic or a PDF or something that you could include in those nine boxes that we can put in the show notes?

Ben:                     Yes, I do. It’s called My Skill Fun Chart. I can include that. Absolutely.

Trent:                  Okay. Skill Fun Charts. So if you’ll make a note of it, because you’re going to get an email from me afterwards saying, Hey, if there’s anything that we’ve talked about, please reply with it so I can put it in the show more than right. So let’s move on from the foundation now and, and, and before we do that, I want to make sure that folks understand the importance of when you’re going to delegate stuff, making sure you’ve got a documented process correct. Speaking from a guy who’s delegates virtually everything, a delegated myself right out of my eCommerce company within six months. If, if we didn’t have all of those documented procedures, delegation would be virtually impossible.

Trent:                  And another example, we just from my software company, we just hired a content manager and so she has experience in content of course, but we have SLPs for everything we do and literally the day, the afternoon, and she’s going to be remote the afternoon when she says, yeah, I’ve, I’m accepting the job, I’m creating a user for her and Flowster I’m creating a user for my in my blog and I’m assigning your workflows. And I’m saying, okay, make sure all this stuff happens. That’s it. Because we’ve got all those processes so thoroughly defined. And I think that that actually while seemingly simple to explain is for someone who hasn’t done it before is actually maybe um, not obvious or daunting or some other adjectives that you would like and it becomes a real roadblock for them, don’t you think?

Ben:                     Yeah. A lot of people struggle with creating systems. Um, and I don’t know why cause I’m like you, I’m very big on creating the system and delegating. I my, I’ve got a very simplistic view of it, Trent and that is that you think about H function as a machine. Yup. And you just wrote the instruction manual to draw that machine. And so that’s, that’s how I think about it. So if I was going to give, if I’m, if I’ve got a machine that does content creation or content management, what does that machine have to do? And here’s the instruction manual to run it. That’s how I think about everything in my business. And so I think if you can give some of that instruction manual, then they just need to be at a rate that they can watch videos or listen to audios or however you document your systems. But yeah.

Trent:                  yeah. In our case it’s, it’s lots of pictures and big red arrows, not such a fan of video video. It puts a burden on the user. It’s very easy for me to create a video. You don’t do a screen share video here, do this, that the other thing, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. But for someone watching that video, what if there’s just the one thing in the middle? Well then they kind zoom in fast forward, rewind, trying to find the one thing and it’s really annoying for the user. So I don’t like video for that reason. And also as your library of instructional content gets bigger, you have the, you have this mountain of video to manage and maintain and update, which can become really problematic because the tools that you’re using there are always going to be changing their interfaces and your videos are going to go out of date pretty darn quickly, which means you’ve got to reshoot the whole video. Whereas if you’re using text and pictures were bigger at arrows in the interface changes, I have only need to take another screenshot, put some more red arrows on it, maybe adjust a few of the words and hit the update button and my procedure is updated now pushed out to all the active workflows. Um, which makes keeping it accurate far, far, far easier.

Ben:                     Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s just the way it’s case by case, isn’t it? Everyone’s going to need something different. Um, you know, same video. I’d be very effective, but it has got to be for the right thing. Yup.

Trent:                  Okay. So the growth phase, let’s talk some about the growth phase.

Ben:                     So the growth phase, there’s four aspects to the growth phase. So when we think about growing a business, a lot of people focus on lead generation. So you know, in e-commerce that would be site visits, um, or whatever terminology you want to use. But you know, everyone focuses on that. But then there’s other aspects to growing a business that are vitally important. One of those is their, their conversion, right? So what to make sure we’re focused on maximizing that. So wherever these people are getting driven to that it’s converting. And then two other things that a lot of people don’t always consider as as important as those two things is my average value style and then my lifetime value of a customer. Semi number of transactions. So how often do I get that customer coming back? Um, because that is, there’s been studies done train where they said six times Asia to get a customer to return.

Ben:                     That is to get a new one. Yet we’ve put all of their money into getting new customers. So heaps of a budget into new marketing or new legions when we could be putting some of that money towards getting existing customers back. And if they’ve already got a relationship with us, they already trust us. That’s a huge opportunity right there.

Trent:                  Oh yeah, absolutely. So which order do you think people should focus on those four things?

Ben:                     So I tend to think it depends where the business is at, right? If you don’t have any leads, that’s where you’re going to have to stop. But if you’ve got leads and your conversion rate is terrible, it’s no good spending more money on marketing until you’ve got your conversion rates. Cause fixing conversion rates relatively cheap compared to lead generation. Lead generation is the riskiest and most expensive thing to do in any business.

Ben:                     Right? So yup. And, and here’s the reality of it. This is why it’s important. Let’s say your conversion rate is on a 10% if you were to increase that by a double, let’s say mad at 20% that has your acquisition cost per lead, let’s say it’s 3% of you make it 6% something more realistic for eCommerce. All of a sudden you have have your acquisition costs per customer. Yeah. This literally gives you double the marketing budget, right? So if you, if you work on that and you get that rod and it’s very low cost to fix your conversion rate, it could be changing something very small in the process of someone going through the sales process and that could make a huge difference. The other thing that’s very easy and shape all set of fix up is average dollar value of sales. So the average dollar spend, so I could maximize how much someone spends with me before I generate more leads.

Ben:                     So they’re the two areas I like to really focus on. First is let’s make sure that we were converting as many as we can and let’s make sure that we’re getting the largest average dollar spend that we can. So we put strategy cause I strategies of both chase, anything with external marketing where we have to generate new leads or get our existing database to transact with us. Again, it’s going to cost us some money and there’s going to be an element of risk. So always leave those to last.

Trent:                  Now there’s a caveat there I think that we would want to not skip by. If you, when you’re, when you’re running your split tests to improve your CRO, your conversion rate or drive up your AOV, your average order value, you got to have enough traffic to get enough data to make the experiments meaningful. So if you’re only generating, you know, five leads a week to pick an arbitrary number, your experiments going to have to run for a pretty long time before, or at least this is my perception of it, and I’m bringing this up because maybe you have a different angle, a different take on it, but you’re gonna have to run that experiment for a pretty long time to get enough data to make the data meaningful. Do you see it any differently than that?

Ben:                     No, I agree. I agree. That’s what I was saying. If you don’t have any leads, you got to need to start there and you do need a good amount of data. I’m not sure what the number is these days, but I think you’d want to have at least 300 minimum in your transactions to be able to like 300 of whatever it is you’re trying to measure before you’re going to get anything accurate is, I think the last thing I heard from people to do and the analytics, I’m not very good with maths or any of that stuff. I like that up to people that are good at it. But um, you definitely need more than that. So that, that is a good caveat to have in there. If you don’t have enough traffic, then you’re going to need to create more traffic to get accurate numbers because even even if you measure it for a long time, I don’t think it’s very accurate because things change over time as well. It can be seasonal things that affected the seasonal. They could be, um, you know, they, they could be be different up months, could make a difference or whether it could make a difference, who knows? Right. So you really want to get a large volume that you need in a short period of time, be it good data to better analyze what’s going on.

Trent:                  Yup. Okay. Um, I love to use examples wherever possible. And I know and I know that we didn’t talk about this in the pre-interview, so I’m putting you on the spot a little bit. Um, but you’ve been at this awhile, so I’m guessing you probably have a couple of customer stories tucked away up in the gray matter. Can you, can you share any, uh, any stories that would help to underscore the value of the things that we’ve talked about so far?

Ben:                     Yeah, absolutely. So I had a business that, um, cause one of the things that I think is really important understand is things aren’t conversion right, can be affected. Um, in ways is what will can be effective with things that you wouldn’t expect. And we had a client who was an online store and that was selling I product. It was a fairly nice product and I were sort of towards the cheaper end of the market, um, online. And I thought that was a good strategy and we decided that what we wanted to do was we wanted to work on their conversion rates. So we did a couple of things. Number one, we added a guarantee, you know, when it comes to uh, increasing conversion rate online. What I found was difficult, like when when you’re face to face somebody and you’d have a conversation and overcome a lot of their fees and frustrations, but when you’re, when you don’t have that luxury, you’ve got to Riyadh to develop something that happens electronically.

Ben:                     So we use guarantees quite a lot with anybody who has online sort of properties and that works really effectively. The other thing that we do, we do is we really understand a bit about the for soda and, and think about the psychology behind how someone thinks before they purchase. And if you are the cheapest, it can actually be detrimental to your conversion rates. People wonder why it’s so cheap. So this particular customer, I had a lot of resistance from them to increase their prices and I said, let’s just test it. Let’s just test it and see what happens. And we put their prices up. So this particular product sold for, I think it was children 18 something dollars. It was quite a substantial purchase for an online purchase. And then we put it up to like three 59, like we made quite a jump and the conversion rate went up.

Ben:                     Now that put them into around the mid market pricing. Uh, so I said, let’s put it up again and we put it up again and the conversion rate jumped up again. And what happens, I think the reason this happens is people will say a higher perceived value, right? And so this is a classic example. So this particular company, you know, they, there’s nothing else change. They bought process design, all their other costs of assignment, just selling the same product for more, but their conversion rate is high, which means the acquisition cost per sales gone down. So the profitability is going out because both ends are moving. The cost of getting the sales going down and the profitability of making the sales going up. And so, you know, for me that’s a really good example of how working on something can give you a big result pretty quickly without having to spend much money and getting your head around something like putting your prices up, which is one of the strategies I teach people when it comes to increasing your conversion rate. Because if you are too cheap, people will go, why are they so cheap? People get up, they get root canal. You wouldn’t go to the dentist that did root canal for 15 bucks, would you?

Trent:                  No. So, so have you ever heard the story of how to ruin the sales of your toaster oven? Now this is, this is kind of a trend story. I don’t know that I could actually attribute this to anyone. I heard some version of this somewhere. But how do you ruin the sales of your toaster oven? So you’re, you’re selling toaster ovens, they’re on the shelf and you know, name your electronic store, wherever you’d like to go to buy a toaster oven. And the best way to ruin them is put a salesman in front. So let’s say you have, you have three toaster ovens, you’ve got your 19.95 you get your 39.95 and you got your 89.99 a salesman or business owner will automatically and often wrongfully perceive objections to price. So they will steer the customer to the lowest price toaster so as to maximize their conversions.

Trent:                  Take the salesperson out of the equation and the customer is standing there and they’re looking at toaster number one, number two and number three. What is the automatically going to assume about the highest price toaster? Well, it must be much higher quality, yes, time, better features and must have more benefits and more functions. So is the lowest price toaster going to end up being the top seller? Probably not. It’ll be probably most likely be the middle price toaster simply because of the way that our minds associate quality to price. So I’m not at all surprised to hear that that experiment. And that’s one of the things with our suppliers and our eCommerce business, we bring that up all the time. Have you guys ever run split tests on price or no? We haven’t. So that’s one of the first things that we like to do because you know, an eCommerce, whoever kind of spend the most to acquire a new customer and do so profitably is the winner.

Ben:                     Yeah, absolutely. Because I paper, I think it’s still going to remain, but people want an experience as well. So I will go to an eCommerce or that’s easy to use quicker and a better experience and pay a little bit more then search around for the cheapest price. And that’s, you know, I’m not a different than most consumers, right? So I think people forget that when we tell ourselves I would, when that conversion rate is not what I want, that we think, Oh, no one wants to pay what we’re charging because we want to justify the reason we’re not getting the result we want. And so that’s a, that’s a big issue for people, right? So I think it’s a classic example. That’s once again a good, um, like I said, a good way to, to demonstrate the point. And I always, if you want, let’s toast sales, put somebody in front of it.

Ben:                     Um, there’s a great book called the psychology of influence by dr Robert Cialdini that I would highly recommend to anybody who sells anything in any way possible. Really important. I’ll give you another example. We had a, um, another I’ll use a combination. I know that’s a lot of your listeners are very commerce. We had another online store that was selling um, uh, camping and outdoor gear. I think you guys call it. Do you call it camping, capital landing and tactical gear. And um, so th the, she had this outdoor gear shop and came to us and it’s very, we don’t get a lot of e-commerce people come to us. We have hundreds of cloths. We had a lot of bricks and mortar businesses and professional services and service tried services. And when they come to the eCommerce, kind of really love it because they’re actually the one of the easiest to help because you’re not geographically limited, right?

Ben:                     You’ve got the world is your oyster and sometimes it’s little tiny things you can do this, this particular shop, one of the things that they weren’t doing was doing a abandoned cart sort of targeting and then re targeting people that had bought as well in the, in the database. So when we talk about maximizing our conversion, right, and also things like our average dollar spend and then a number of transactions. This person was a classic example. She came to us losing money was kind of shut the business down and we tried to identify, she was getting plenty of leads to the site. Lots of people were jumping out of the car, which was like a, I think maybe a trust thing. So we put some things in place to fix that just with testimonials, etc etc. As you went through the checkout process, my paper will comfortable guarantees, made that really clear.

Ben:                     Um, so make sure those are clear when people go through that process. So you give them, you want to reverse all the risks you can, right. Especially if you’re not, cause he wasn’t a known brand, she was just like a, uh, she’s an unknown brand to people. So when you start buying leads with PaperClick, people land in your salt, if they’re not a name, people recognize you’ve got to build trust. Otherwise. The second thing that would happen then was once I did purchase, which she didn’t have any mechanism for selling the more. So we made sure that we had suggested sellings and brain switching happening right through that process. So it was easy for people to be upsold cross solid or add on salt and um, really, really important. And that made a huge difference to our revenue. But then when we did the third thing, we introduced a strategy where people got, might an OFA straight away to buy another product.

Ben:                     As you said, that’s never gotten a work while they’ve just paid, they’ve just spent their money with me. Well of course it’s going to work. Absolutely. So as soon as you made the transaction, depending on the size of your transaction, we sent you a voucher to buy something else with, but you had to do it within 12 hours, which meant that you ha you didn’t have time to think about it, ponder, you just had to jump back online and buy something. Cause the reality is most people shop and they’re going to get a bed in that 12 hour period and not like how did that you would expire but it works really, really well. And so that meant that they would try to wipe out their second transaction. Now I don’t know, um, in my training with, with getting cast, we don’t call them a customer until they’ve bought from us at least three times.

Ben:                     Okay. We haven’t got their custom all hours a shopper, they’ve come once to try you out. If you can get them to buy a second time, you’re, you’re that one step further to really cementing that relationship. And then what you do is you then can target them again in a week with another offer and get them to buy again. And then you’ve got them as a customer, right? And this, this alone elongates the lifetime value of that customer now because they, they intertwined. They’re part of your ecosystem now. So for her it made a huge difference. And she’s in a business where if you’re going camping, you don’t just want one knife or you don’t just want one, you know, Billy, you don’t want you, you want a whole bunch of stuff, fraud. So we just had to get really clever and how we got you to buy more quicker of the stuff that you were going to buy anyway.

Ben:                     But it’s likely that you might’ve bought somewhere else if we hadn’t made this amazing offer. Two years try tried away. So once again, limiting belief of a business owner thinking if I offer someone straight away, something, they’re going to think I’m pushy. But it actually works really well. We had a very hard conversion right on the second email that went out and it went out straight away.

Trent:                  So to summarize that, if you don’t have a one, ideally a one click up sell, in other words, Hey, you just bought this thing in your checkouts and not even complete yet, would you like to buy three more of exactly the same thing and that doesn’t work for every product, but we’ll just assume for the purposes of this consumable product or something you could use that’s highly effective. Then what you said about having them get a coupon or what have you in the email a day or two or three later with some type of scarcity offering attached to it, that’ll have be highly effective. If you have an abandoned cart strategy where you are going to add a, you could have exit intent pop showing up with a coupon, you could have an email follow up and you could do retargeting over Facebook or whatever. Choose your social media of your present preference. Just those couple of things which caught all will all be implemented in less than three or four days depending upon what story you’re using. If you’re using Shopify, there’s apps for all of that stuff that’s going to have a massive impact on your AOV, LTV, and therefore your ability to spend to acquire a customer. Right?

Ben:                     Yeah. Yeah. And these are cries, right? So that’s, that’s, that stays true. Now there you’ve got predictable control over your growth and you can’t undervalue that. Right? You cannot undervalue those leavers or whatever you want to call them. They’re the, they’re the profit in your business. That’s where the profit comes from.

Trent:                  Absolutely.

Ben:                     Yeah.

Trent:                  All right Ben. So I am running up against a hard stop, but I do want people to be able to get the rest of the business acceleration blueprint. So I’m assuming you have a website or someplace they can go to get that right?

Ben:                     Yeah. Say if they go to We’ve got heaps of resources there, heaps and heaps of resources, including a business planning template that is easy to use. So when I talk about planning, I’ll have a template there that I’ve used to grow hundreds and hundreds of big businesses, right? So if you want to grab that, that’s probably a good place to start if you don’t have an easy to follow plan at this heaps of resources there.

Trent:                  All right, well thank you so much, Ben, for making some time to come and be on the show.

Ben:                     My pleasure, man. It was great chatting with your mind. I really appreciate it.

Questions Asked During the Interview

[01:44] What is this Business Acceleration Blueprint? (5 stages and 5 critical areas per stage)
[02:43] What are the five steps of the Business Acceleration Blueprint?
[06:10] Tell me more about the foundation phase.
[15:45] Tell me more about the KPIs that make up your foundation.
[19:50] Tell me about the issue of time management.
[21:50] How do you suggest people figure out what activities they should delegate?
[24:20] How important is it to have documented systems for your various activities?
[26:30] Tell me about the growth phase (lead gen, CRO, AOV, LTV).
[27:54] Which of these four is the one to focus on first?
[31:45] Can you share some examples to underscore the importance of what we have discussed so far?

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Today’s Guest

Ben Fewtrell, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at MaxMyProfit and author of the Business ExcelerationTM Blueprint, is a sought-after advisor, keynote speaker and trainer. He has been featured in ‘Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed’, Virgin’s in-flight magazine, Sky Business, and many more.

Ben is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast, where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything you need to know to help you build the business you imagined.

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