Leverage in Business

Leverage in Business

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I'm at an exciting middle-point in my career. Curious about business in the bigger picture. Beyond what I do, what else is out there for me? Business development (what I do now) is exciting, rewarding, and full of unpredictable life lessons.

Feels great, and I enjoy it but find myself confused. What's next? "Study business" here is the same as figuring out what kind of business is right for me. I don't want to just make money, I care about how I make it.

Seeing people take advantage (in a bad way) of other people and situations irks me. Buying and re-selling hand-sanitizer when it was hard to find is one of them. It's a shame. Enter the concept of leverage. I work a day job. Time is limited. Making the most of the opportunities (of which there are many) is the goal.

Defining Leverage:

It's the input to output ratio. Ask yourself: how many outputs can you produce from our inputs? One phone call for a million dollars is leverage. One interview for a podcast episode, blog post, Youtube video, Instagram post, tweet, and more is also leveraged. Some people sit on their asses all day and print money. Again, this is (usually) leverage. You get the idea.

Leverage, to me, is not about dumping resources. In fact, it's the opposite. Many use excessive resources, so their gains are less than best. Hiring 7 people to do a job means you have cash and resources. Doesn't necessarily equal leverage. Why? Because the input to output ratio is what matters. 7 people to do a job one person could do with software and systems is low-leverage. Let's explore.

Example: Nathan Latka

Nathan is an entrepreneur who has - what I consider -an impressive list of accomplishments so far.

  • Founded software company Heyo, which he sold for 5+ million dollars.
  • Produces the Top Entrepreneurs podcast with over 10-million downloads.
  • Created SaaS (Software as a Service) database - Get Latka. Venture Capitalists (VCs), check it daily (with thousands more).
  • Publishes a magazine on a SaaS businesses, their revenue numbers, and the industry.
  • Wrote a WSJ best-seller entitled How to Be a Capitalist Without Any Capital.
  • Hosts a Youtube live show for SaaS founders selling their companies live (Shark Tank for SaaS).
  • Launched founderpath.com. A new model for lending money to SaaS companies (probably the future of how it's done). The list goes on. I'll stop there. I'm clearly biased because I like the guy and respect what he's done. Let's talk about leverage. Nathan is producing content, creating digital products, and closing deals.

Here's how it works: Podcast -> database -> magazine --> straight from voice to spreadsheet with a spectrograph.‍This alone creates immense leverage. A world where content creators can speak the words and plot the data on a spreadsheet is next-level. Immediate integration (or nearly immediate), creates compound gains.

A database and magazine are both over 80% complete just from speaking the words. It's incredible.

Next: Podcast -> Book Distribution -> Brand -> Deal Flow --> Founder Path‍The book gets a bigger advance because of the podcast audience (publishers know he can sell books).

More marketing = an exposed brand for "effortless" deal flow (he doesn't have to go looking). Sales help this as well.

The already existing podcast is a distribution channel for all future offers. Everything he's selling is immediately exposed to an audience of SaaS folks. Founder Path is the culmination of all this.

Lessons in Leverage:

You sell products through distribution. Start there. Nathan's example shows us that there's always leverage this way.

The podcast and book deal are both inputs that create results (sales) with all of these future offers.

If you're thinking of starting a business, don't forget distribution. I'm repeating the point because it's that important. It can be anything; Youtube, IG, podcast, etc. Create the channel and pump your offers through it later.

How Start Creating Leverage:

Most business owners I know would love to go 10x on their work. One podcast into different publications, products, and sales (without having to touch anything) is a dream for most. Starting is easier than you think. Most people don't because they don't want to admit they can't (it's an ego thing).

You can go from spending 8 hours on one content piece to speaking for 30min and having 3. Let's take a look at content creation.

3 Step Flow: Audio -> Blog Post -> Visual Content

Audio is the best place to start because transcribing these files into text is quick and cheap. Visual content is easier with audio already done because you have tools like Canva. With the text ready-to-paste, you can create rather easily. Record your audio using Descript. Their free plan is good, and you can purchase transcriptions as needed. The $15/month plan isn't a big deal if you'll be recording several interviews a week. You can host it on Anchor, Libsyn, or whatever provider you like.

Once you have your audio file, the editing is easy. In fact, don't over-edit. That's not the point. Keep it real to what you actually said. Instead of over-editing, stick to formatting. Take your audio file and add headings, sub-headings, and paragraph breaks. Delete sections and filler words (um, ah, hmm), as needed.

Now you're at an audio file on your podcast, and a blog post. It's a bit dry, which is why we will address visual assets. Again, you have Canva (or something else you might like). The key is in the templates they provide. Here are three visuals:

  1. Best quote -> add to Canva template -> post to IG & Twitter
  2. Recording setup -> take a picture -> post to IG & Twitter (add a caption documenting what you're doing).
  3. Blog post -> break into chunks -> post Twitter thread -> link back to post
  4. Audio file -> audiogram -> post to IG & Twitter

Next Level (Brand, Speed, Responses):

Brand guidelines keep the visuals looking mostly the same over a long time. Eventually, the visual style is "very you." Over time, the visuals help cement your identity. This is the first result for brand guidelines I got from Google, and it's a great place to start.

Brands can be playful, professional, creative, or simple (much like the diverse personalities of creators). Using a visual identity as part of your overall brand can help. Colour and type definitely evoke a particular character. I'll define the brand and the details in a future post.

Next: speed is king. Get something done and post it. Overthinking and over-editing are not as necessary (at first). Think of the long game. Today's small details won't matter years from now. But taking a week to do something that should take just an hour will delay your future. Speed it up.

Lastly, respond to people who comment and reach out. It goes a long way. Incredible leverage isn't helpful if you're not building an audience. Inputs today create an audience. Tomorrow, the audience becomes something you have that you can also use to create newer and better outcomes.

A Little Story on Connecting with Your Fans:

You can tell by now that I'm a fan of Nathan Latka. I reached out to him on IG probably a year ago, and he responded. It was when he was promoting his book. He'd sent me a nice note thanking me for letting my followers know to grab a copy. Over time, we chatted briefly here and there.

Now, I help him with some admin work on his live show. I don't do much, but it's nice to help out someone who wrote something that helped you. I believe in reciprocity and feel this is a great way to show it. It's been a great few shows so far.

I'd encourage you to check it out: again, the show's called Deal or Bust, and it's every Thursday at 1pm CST on Youtube. Last week a SaaS founder got 600k and two new and reputable partners. The content teachers more about business than several university classes. Responding to people goes a long way. You never know. But by not responding, they'll eventually stop trying to connect with you.

There's less leverage if you don't have people in your corner.

Imagine the opposite though.

Thousands reaching out to help you. Sounds better, doesn't it?