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

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 rather it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility to make that information public. In practice, this means implementing public real-time dashboards, putting out newsletters or blog posts, and open-sourcing code.

If you had to ask your question, your startup friend obviously hasn't been doing these things – and by wasting their time, you harmed their business! I am berating you now.

1. Low-hanging fruit first.

It's common sense if you've ever been to an orchard, but even so, it needs codifying as an algorithm. Two features 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 business tasks. If you have seed or venture capital lying around, use some to purchase a bowl of high-quality wax fruit to keep in the office as a constant reminder.

2. Scale digitally, then physically.

I’ve got physical books taking up space in the utility closet, but it’s cheaper and easier to distribute them as computer files. When given the option of which channel to support, always go digital first.

Those physical products are just appreciating in value, anyway – they'll become “rare classics” that can be sold for multiples of their current value in secondary markets.

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, are easier to implement, and they add up.

If a sleazy growth 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 email 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 remind your users that you exist? Can it email you about what to focus on next? Can it harrass you about your metrics? So many jobs for the auto-mailer.

If you don’t have one, get that consultant back and see if they’ll build one for you – if you can handle having that kind of person 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 in work when there's never a paycheck at the end.

But if you're an entrepreneur, you probably have lots of products lying around. Is there some convoluted way to tie your blog post into one of those? That way, your relatively low-effort content still feeds the insatiable profit machine. 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.