This is Ken Courtright from Today’s Growth: Growing Business Today. This is Episode 25, “Guaranteed Failure: Their Strength, Your Opportunity.”
One Source Leads To Failure 100% Of The Time
Here is a question: Did you know that having one main source of income leads to failure 100% of the time? I want to say this differently. Did you know that having one main source of income—that is 80% of your income or more—leads to failure, meaning death, 100% of the time? I am going to say this slightly differently. Did you know having one source of income leads to failure 100% of the time?
I just want to make sure we are all clear. It isn’t sometimes. It isn’t often. It’s not 95% of the time. It’s 100% of the time. You have to do your own homework on that. Find me some companies that sell one thing that last any length of time, let alone forever.
I’m a little bit passionate about this topic to the point that I made sure I kick-started my whole podcast series with the concept of S-curves. I had an award-winning book, putting me on the map a little bit, on one topic, which is this very topic about diversifying income, diversifying product lines. I am passionate about it.
I think not diversifying leads to divorces and bankrupts companies. I think it hurts people at the core level. I think it’s a shame there are not a lot of books, courses in school, and mentorship on this. I can’t say I have ever heard anyone outside of me talking in any of the mastermind groups I am either involved in teaching or sitting in on to learn. I don’t hear this topic. It’s a shame. It’s my personal mantra if you will.
This podcast, unlike the first episode, where the concept of S-curves, which became very popular by Jack Welch of GE. When he came into GE, they had two product lines doing a couple billion. When he left, they had 14 product lines, all at the same time, with a market cap of $48 billion. He blew that company up in a good way. That is a positive thing. He added company after company after company to GE’s core business model. This is not about that.
This is not about as soon as you see one industry dying, stack another industry on top of it inside your corporation. This episode is 100% dedicated to taking a look at that one main source of income and adding sister or cousin incomes next to it at the same time. I could have titled this episode, “Switch Out Your Arrow for a Quiver,” anything that resembles how most people view their main product or service as their thing. It’s what they are known for. Most people view it as shooting arrows in the marketplace.
If you sell vitamins, get on the tallest mountain, scream from the mountaintops as loud as you can, and hopefully your arrow hits enough ears that are interested and you sell some vitamins.
I want to do a paradigm shift with everybody and explain that there are tools available to everybody that are free that can literally prove to you that you can go from one product line to four or five in well under a year. Some of you listening could do this in 30 days. It wouldn’t cost you anything. It could explode your income. Most importantly, it can protect your company, you as a person, and your family, and quite frankly, get you to understand that business is simple and easy. There are some fundamentals that have to be in place.
One fundamental is: Did you know that having one main source of income leads to failure 100% of the time? The concept of seasoned business owners, and I mean generational business owners, that they understand is if you take a look at what Cadillac has done in the last 50 years, they used to have one main product. What was it? It was a four-door sedan that Grandpa loved. It was super smooth, ultra-smooth, luxurious. It was one product. What does Cadillac sell today? 25 different products. They went from an average age of purchasing of 67 to 35. Why? They still sell to the 67-year-olds. But they understood finally that one product line leads to death 100% of the time.
We could go company by company. It doesn’t matter. But I want to take some time to educate, enlighten, and equip people with understanding that business doesn’t have to be this difficult or ominous or dreadful.
Most Major Companies Start With One Product
Most major companies—IBM, Microsoft, Google, Facebook—are timely, relevant, and large. All of these companies I just mentioned started with one product. They all had one arrow. They were shooting that arrow into the marketplace, and that arrow got them attention. It got them tremendous revenues and incredible respect. It gave them a platform. Today, not just these four companies, but every single one of the Fortune 100, all no longer shoot arrows. They carry quivers that carry their arrows and multiple other companies’ arrows.
To survive in business and in the world, you have to carry multiple revenue streams at the same time. Why? Because if you have heard any of my other podcasts, I am a freak about the word “entropy.” Entropy says anything man-made or God-made is built to go from order to disorder. Entropy is real. You can’t fight it. You have to navigate it. If you fight entropy, you’re going to be exhausted. You have to navigate it. You have to slip those jabs. You roll with it.
One revenue stream fails 100% of the time. The question is: What arrows should you put in the new quiver you’re carrying? Anybody that doesn’t know these terms, I’m going to back up. An arrow, if you think Robin Hood, as he shoots an arrow, doesn’t he reach behind his back and pull out another arrow? Yes, he does. Before he reloads that arrow, where was that arrow sitting? The arrow was sitting in the quiver that is on Robin Hood’s back. He grabs an arrow, he reloads. How good would Robin Hood be or any hunter be if you only had one arrow? Isn’t it almost unfathomable to think that someone would go hunting with only one bullet or arrow? Nobody that goes hunting could fathom hunting with one arrow or bullet.
In business, to me, and the people we hang with, and the people that are our site partners and clients, when they get around us any longer, they get the willies when they have been around us 90 days, especially if they are a purebred client or go to our Digital Footprint events, you will be sick to your stomach if 90 days after meeting us, you only have one arrow.
I want to put the fear of God in everybody. If you have one arrow, it’s inevitable. Let’s move on.
Let’s get to fixing this problem. There are four tools that are free. I have mentioned a few of these before, but certainly not in the way I’m going to talk about them today. These tools are used by us daily in multiple ways.
I want everybody right now to picture what your main source of income is. Let’s say you already have six revenue streams. Which one of them brings in the most money? Focus on your main one. Let’s say you have a 9-5 and haven’t started a business yet. That is your main source of income. Or let’s say you just got out of college, have no job, and don’t even know what I’m talking about. You’re interested in going into business, and somebody forwarded you the link to this podcast. What are you passionate about? Now pretend you have a business in that place. Make up a fake product right now so everybody can role play with this.
What Is Your Anchor Product?
Get a picture in your head of what is your main product. Most importantly, I want you to picture how long you think that product could stay relevant. Is it possible that the way you view that product, people 100 years ago felt the same about buggy whips or horse-drawn carriages? Most of the companies that were making buggy whips and horse-drawn carriages—I have a horse carriage lantern in my office that is 200 years old. It has a mirror in the back, glass in the front, and a big candle inside. You put two of these in front of the carriages, and it literally lights the way as headlamps for horse-drawn carriages. I have a feeling that the company that makes those lamps went out of business unless they switched into regular lights.
My point is this. I want you to focus on that product. Now I want you to go on a mental journey with me as I go through four different tools that can show you the same and similar product lines to yours that you can do a join venture with or a partnership with and eventually bring them in-house and do them yourself.
The first thing I want you to do is I want you to open up the Google Adwords Keyword planner. Sometimes it’s easier if you get an account with Google and start an ad campaign; I think it costs you $50 to light that thing up. It gives you deeper answers, but you can use the free version.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner. I want you to guesstimate the five phrases that people are searching into Google to find you. If you are not in business yet but want to sell baseball hats, make up five phrases that you think people would search into Google to find your baseball hats. People would search things like “buy baseball hats,” “best baseball hats,” “top ten baseball hat manufacturers,” and “baseball hat manufacturer reviews.”
Pick your top-selling product. Come up with five phrases that you think people are Googling. You can also use a tool called semrush.com. You can do the same thing. Put five phrases in.
Once you hit Enter, it will give you hundreds of other phrases that the same people that are searching for the first five are also searching for. You had your own take on the market: baseball hats. That is your passion and your number one source of revenue. What we are looking for is what are the things that people who are looking for hats are also looking for? What if baseball bats also came up? What if baseballs also came up? What if it was baseball cleats? What if it was baseball jerseys? Is it possible that you could call those sister or cousin products?
Is it possible that if you had a website, couldn’t you go to Amazon and white-label their products and use your baseball hats at the top that you manufacture and say, “If you’re interested, you might also like these baseball bats, cleats, and jerseys,” and sell stuff right on your website through Amazon, getting 4-12% for joint venturing with Amazon and using Amazon as an affiliate.
When you get your responses either from the Google Adwords Keyword Planner or from SEMrush, I want you to then put those same phrases into Google Alerts. Get it set up, which takes 30 seconds. Put those phrases in. Go into the Advanced settings and set it to “Everything as it happens.” Now all of those phrases, like “baseball bats,” “baseball cleats,” baseball jerseys,” “top five baseball hat manufacturers,” go into Google Alerts, and you just asked Google to forward you every single piece of content that includes those phrases in the title.
Now Google will email you every day, or as it happens, every relevant piece of content from every magazine, every newspaper, everywhere in the world. You get to look at what products and services are other businesses selling that you’re not selling. Then the question is: Can you partner with them, do a joint venture split, or do you know enough where you could start that product line on your own?
Let’s go to the number three tool: BuzzSumo. I covered this one a couple episodes ago on 18. BuzzSumo, you put the same phrases in it, and it tells you from a month ago to 12 months ago what the most viral pieces of content are on those phrases. Not only does it show you who wrote the content, but it also shows you who forwarded that piece of content to their audience to make it go huge.
What is the point of that? If you are going to go into another area from baseball hats to baseball bats and cleats and jerseys, you want to see how you want to market those pieces. Where can the world take you? What’s hot? What’s relevant? Then you can literally copy that type of marketing.
First of all, Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Not optional. Then Google Alerts. Not optional. Stick all that into BuzzSumo. Not optional. This is called a digital footprint of diversifying income. We are using a digital footprint to diversify your income.
The fourth part of this, my absolute favorite part, is SEMrush. What I want you to do is put in the key phrase “baseball hats.” Then you will click either on your website or another. Click on the phrase “Main Organic Competitors,” and it will show you the top five to ten companies or websites competing in this space. Click on any one of them, and you will notice right in the middle of the page a phrase “Common keywords.” What you want to look for is websites that have common keywords to baseball hats. You will keep drilling down. You will definitely find it. It will take you less than five minutes. But get to the common keywords.
Once you find that vein of baseball hats, now what you will do is dig that vein sideways. What you want to look for is what are the common repeated phrases that are similar to baseball hats? What else is this industry selling that is not baseball hats? How do you determine this? If you find a few sites like yours that have common keywords to your baseball hats, you want to click on those competitors.
Let’s say our website is abcbaseballhats.com. We put it into SEMrush. We know what it’s ranking for baseball hats as a top organic keyword. We drill down into competitors. Now we are into a group of competitors that have common keywords to our baseball hats. How do I know? Because that is how we clicked in.
Here is where this gets so exciting. You want to look at those competitors that have common keywords to you, and you want to now focus on their top organic keywords. These are their keywords that they rank for that you don’t.
Listen carefully and clearly. There is only one reason that those companies went after those key phrases. These are the top organic keywords. They are not buying these on pay-per-click. They have taken months if not years to content right and marketing to earn being on page one of Google. They have put their life blood into these top organic keywords.
There is only one reason that companies fight in battle to get on page one for a top organic keyword. Anybody guess what it is? They sell a product or a service from that key phrase. They know if they can get people to search Google, find them, and click on those phrases, it will open up their website and clearly show you what they are selling. They are either selling a service or a product, and it is a direct result of those top organic keywords.
Focus On Your Competitors Strengths
By focusing on your competitor’s strengths—their top organic keywords that they rank for that you don’t—it opens up huge opportunity for you. Very often, your competition’s strengths turn into your future arrows. As of right now, you know your number one main source of income, or you know what it’s about to be because you’re about to go into business. You know your main source of income. Let’s call that your arrow.
You know that one source of income leads to death 100% of the time. You have four different ways to move from throwing that same arrow into the marketplace over and over, and you have further evidence of the top 100 companies in the world that don’t sell arrows anymore. They have quivers of arrows.
Google was a search engine. Now they do seven billion a month in pay-per-click. Yahoo, a kid named Rory invented pay-per-click. I sat next to him on an airplane. Google bought the rights from Yahoo twelve years ago. They added that. Now Google has Google Glass, a self-driving car, and they have 300 revenue streams.
Bottom line is, you know one source of income leads to death. You now have four different ways to switch from arrows to quivers: Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Alerts, BuzzSumo, and SEMrush.
Now what? Do you just start selling those products? No. I want you to focus on doing joint ventures with even your competitors until you are comfortable to be carrying your own arrows.
Let’s look at our company. We are 24 years old. We started strictly carrying one arrow: consulting. We would be very bold, walking into a company and saying, “We can grow any business in any industry at any time. Can we ask you some questions and prove it to you?” We were bold. Today, we have 600 revenue streams from seven countries, all in different industries.
How is that possible? First, when we first went into websites, we didn’t have one single employee who knew how to build one, market one, write content for one. We had nobody. We used to contract everything out just for our own personal corporate website. How did we go from one arrow to carrying a quiver of 600, soon to be 1,000, arrows?
We joint-ventured and partnered with everybody. I JVed with a company that could do WordPress installations for us. I JVed with a company that could write content. I JVed with marketing companies, with Facebook companies, with pay-per-click companies. Today, we employ 72 people full-time. Everything we do is in-house. We have a couple JV partners left. What started out as one arrow, consulting, has led us into consulting in 12-20 different ways. We do websites in a couple dozen ways. We listen to the market. We use these tools. We turned our arrow into a quiver through joint ventures first until we felt comfortable, and then we did it in-house.
For now, I am Ken Courtright singing off. If you’re inclined, shoot me a comment or a review or subscribe. Until next time, take care. See ya on the trail.