One of the 3-4 coolest posts I’ve ever seen was from Elon Musk. When he started Tesla he wrote a plan – publicly – in the early days of blogging. That he checked a lot of boxes remains an impressive burst of vision.
So I will do the same:
Where We Are Today.
Right now, my company is at it’s smallest (but most efficient) incarnation ever. We have 3 major business lines:
Simplifilm – Metaphor Driven Sales Videos
ICYD – “I Close Your Deals” which is me closing deals for other compaines (consultants, design shops and one SaaS shop). This is a scalable product.
General Consulting: what it says on the tin. I am engaged in optimizing media properties in the finance space for both traffic and leads. I’ve got a couple (literally 2) clients and if the early steps work, I could be lined up for an exit or two. I can do some more of this, and I likely will.
Right now, Simplifilm is pulling in the bulk of the revenue, and the mix is roughly 70/15/15, year to date, though Q3 has a definitely different mix.
Where I’ll Go:
In broad strokes, I mean to use the profits from my high-dollar services above and create some other products and services. Specifically, I’ve recently encountered the results that come from the power of properly optimized SSD hosting. I’ve realized that a properly configured & managed site has many advantages- and grows traffic – even when it’s not fully realized.
The products I mean to develop – in order:
- Hosting – Priced at $20-150/month. I’ve learned the benefit of having a super fast SSD host. It brings traffic in a way that commodity places like WP Engine can’t. We want to add other features – like community – to our offering.
- A community-generated local site for the Tri-Cities which we mean to develop and standardize a way for our community to come together.
- A (Simple) WordPress Plugin for the Beaver Builder Community to make it simpler and faster to save presets and launch a site. If successful, we’ll make logical other choices.
- A one off sales course, showcasing the methods that helped me build Simplifilm into a 7 figure boutique. This could be huge or horrible.
I’ll be doing this while I also grow our services business in prestige and quality- we had a great run from 2011-2013 but the wheels came off the bus in 2014, and Simplifilm’s had mixed results since. (Good experiences for most clients is a good result, but we want it to be even better). I mean to be the best in that arena, doing 4-5 projects (but no more) each month for better and better companies.
My role models here are three main companies: Groove, Digital Telepathy and Atlasssian. DT doubled down on the services side, and Atlassian doubled down on the products side. I’m migrating more towards products, and productized services.
What I Need To Get There
I’ve got to build the systems that will help me get to where I need to go. My goal is to build a tent-pole company right here in the Tri-Cities. Right now we have just a few: PNNL, Hanford, & ConAgra are the big ones. Beyond that – there isn’t much. If we lost Hanford – or PNNL – and their jobs – we’d see rapid population erosion. The community won’t take care of itself.
One of the advantages that Google has is that they have a lot of stuff already made for every product that they build. Including users to test it. Between just 3 products: Google Search- YouTube and Android there are billions of users. And they don’t have to reinvent the wheel everytime they make a something. Improvements in one are then spread throughout their system. They have user management done already so unlike other companies, they have fewer steps to get to market. They’ve learned across millions of products what things are mistakes – and what they should be doing.
That’s the power of a process. All of the advantages accumulate and become multipliers. All of the multipliers stack. Success for the iPod drove Mac sales, and that led to the iPhone, iPad, etc. Amazon Citrix, HubSpot, Atlasssian all also do this. To some extent Rainmaker Digital (FKA Copyblogger Media) does this pretty well.
So each thing we do will have a process. Steps. A method. and we’ll follow it, starting with me.
A blog post? Gets a process.
A sales contract? Process.
A product launch? A process.
Customer onboarding? A process.
A software patch? Another process.
Hiring someone? Yup.
The process will be what makes or breaks what I’m doing here. I imagine a hub and spoke with each service or product inheriting most of the process of the rest of what we do. When our process improves, then the whole outfit improves. About 1/3 of my time will be spent on this part of what I’m doing.
I’m not currently good enough to execute this. I’m self aware enough to know that I need to get better. 10 times better to make this happen. I have to learn to lead a team, build a team, and retain a team. I’ve got to control my ego and work to not rub people the wrong way. I’ve got to have more consistent work habits. I have to finish what I start.
When Simplifilm was selling a lot it also was leaving in its wake a trail of debris. Mediocre organization, contractors who were paid late, or double paid or whatever. We had jobs that went out late and an “incoherent” process. We had to fix those one at a time, but they were all preventable.
That’s the current reality of the business.
I need a team. I have to build a good team to get what I want. I need, in broad strokes:
- A lead designer, artist with a VISON
- A Tech Lead: Multi disciplined, still can code when necessary.
- An ops person (with an accounting background)
- A skilled project manager
As time goes on, I’ll have to find others: designers, freelancers and many other people to come on and work with my company.
On my end, I have to learn leadership. Have to take the time to become more cicurcumspect I have to learn to lead a team in a way that’s congruent with who I am- and honors who they are. To create an
I have some elements that I want to deliver already. A classy exit when a customer wants to leave. A meaningful guarantee of impeccable service. A degree of transparency in all things we’re doing. But this will have to be worked out over time, and in a way that I believe in and can commit to.
Process + Team + Values creates a great operation, and that’s what I want. A greatoperation. Something that lasts longer than my remaining years.
What Our Constraints Are
High Quality or GTFO: I’m not interested in doing things at “Toyta” scale. I want our services to be the highest quality, which may mean we operate at a slightly slower clip than we could. But I also know the difference between great work and defensible work. I’ve done both.
Sales With Integrity: We want our people to go through a process where everything is disclosed, and they understand what they are getting and giving up. When we get that done, then we will enjoy more opportunities to serve our clients, and when we serve more clients, we
Balanced Work: I’m gonna work hard, but I’m not going to work to negative returns. I’m not gonna be a workaholic. Nor will anyone here. We want to figure out how each person is productive, and get the most out if it. There may be seasons where it makes sense to grind, but there may also be seasons of 10 hour work weeks. I’ve seen the best minds of our lives – Darwin – or Einstein – or others only work 4-6 hours most days. W
This is the third post in this site. Just because I want the record here, I want to ping the Wayback machine with this stuff. When I build this out, I want this to be here holding me accountable. I’ve seen some posts with remarkable prescience over the years.
There are more pieces to the puzzle, I want a facility on the Columbia. I want to collaborate with local companies. I want to standardize and formalize our work. But for now, the revenue path is set, and I mean to be here for the long haul.