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Business algorithms for a successful scale

I’m about to scale up my small comedy startup into a highly-profitable, automated laughter machine, but before I begin, I want to set down some algorithms for the upcoming scale.

Please note that I made these highly PowerPoint-able, in case anyone wants to throw them into a PowerPoint for any reason:

  • 0. Transparency by default.
  • 1. Low-hanging fruit first.
  • 2. Scale digitally, then physically.
  • 3. 2x first, then 5x, then 10x.
  • 4. Find a place for the auto-mailer.
  • 5. Monetize with a tie-in.

I guess I’m already pretty deep into a blog post, so I might as well break these down a bit.

0. Transparency by default

What’s the first question you ask your startup friend? “How’s business?”

You should already know. Why don't you?

It may seem like I’m berating you here, but it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility to make that information public. In practice, transparency by default means implementing public real-time dashboards, putting out regular newsletters or blog posts, and open-sourcing your code.

If you had to ask your question, your startup friend does not do this.

1. Low-hanging fruit first.

Sort of common sense, but even so, it needs codifying as an algorithm. Two features you want to implement? Do the easier one first & start seeing the benefits sooner.

It also may help, depending on the kind of person you are, to literally think of each task as a piece of fruit. Which is juicier? This makes it very satisfying to complete tasks.

2. Scale digitally, then physically.

I’ve got physical books I can sell, but it’s cheaper and easier to distribute them digitally. Whenever given the option of which channel to support, go digital first.

Those physical products are just appreciating in value, anyway – they'll become “rare classics” that you can sell for 3x their current value in a few years. As long as you don’t accidentally spill soup on them in the meantime.

3. 2x first, then 5x, then 10x.

I might make one sale per day, but if I want to scale that up to 100, it’s not going to happen in one fell swoop. Smaller, more frequent multipliers will give steadier growth, and are far easier to implement. And they add up.

If a consultant comes to you claiming they can give you a 100x scale overnight, take them out for drinks and see what else they lie about.

4. Find a place for the auto-mailer

A mail quail

If you have a system for automatically sending emails to your users when something happens on your site, ask yourself when implementing a new feature... what can the auto-mailer do here? Can it email my users about activity on the site? Can it email me about something that I need to do? There’s always a job for the auto-mailer.

If you don’t have one, get that lying consultant back and see if they’ll build one for you – if you can handle having that kind of scum in your life.

5. Monetize with a tie-in

If you're putting out free content like a blog or podcast, it may start to feel draining to put work into it when there's no paycheck at the end.

Well, as an entrepreneur, you probably have lots of good ideas for products that people want to buy. Is there some convoluted way to tie them into your stream of content? Always be thinking of ways to do this. Remember: If you're vyin' for buy-in, do a tie-in.

Now that I’ve got some basic algorithms in place, I can start to scale up my business. I’m going to start digital-first — adding a multiplier to my eBook store. NEXT →

Posted in: Scaling up

Scaling in progress!

Come back soon to see how the next plan hatched.