Are you building a fragile business?
Events over the past couple years have exposed a lot of businesses that weren’t built on a strong foundation.
A global pandemic. Social media bans. Economic uncertainty. Rising political tension.
Any one of those things can sink a business if you’re not prepared.
The problem is, you can’t predict any of these things happening.
Nassim Taleb calls it a Black Swan – an unforeseen event that has a major negative impact and is impossible to predict.
Like a global pandemic disrupting the entire world for years.
Or an extended economic downturn.
Or Facebook deciding they don’t like your content and kicking you off their platform.
Or any one of a million things that can come along without warning and turn your business upside down.
That’s the thing about Black Swans – you can’t see them coming and they hit you hard. Is your business built to survive (another) Black Swan?
To Survive hard times, You Have To Become Antifragile
Antifragile is a concept that Taleb coined in his 2012 book by that name. The term is used to describe something that improves through stress.
If something is fragile, it breaks under a little stress. If it’s resilient, it can withstand some stress, up to a point, before it breaks.
Something that’s antifragile doesn’t just survive stress, it gets stronger because of it.
Most businesses are fragile. They work great when conditions are perfect but if circumstances change just a little, they break.
Some businesses are resilient, they’re strong enough to survive a storm, but they’ll come out the other side in pretty bad shape.
Very few businesses are antifragile. Where they can not only weather any storm that comes along, but come out of it better.
But how do you prepare for the unpredictable? How do you make your business more antifragile to Black Swans?
Adopt A Simple, resilient Business Model
Today’s marketers make their businesses way too complicated.
They create all kinds of multi-step funnels and webinars and autoresponder sequences.
All while trying to manage 10 different social media accounts, produce YouTube videos, run PPC ad campaigns, record podcasts…
The problem with building a business like that is, the more complicated and complex it gets, the more likely it is to break.
You’re better off adopting a leaner, simpler business model.
Why? Because simple business are more resilient.
They’re harder to break. And if they do break, they’re easy to fix.
That’s why I prefer a Minimalist Business Model.
Where your main focus is building a list. Then you follow up with content and offers. Then create backend offers to sell.
Relying on dozens of funnels, an advertising agency, a traffic buyer, ten social media accounts and a film crew is how you build a fragile business.
Become antifragile by building a list, consistently making offers to that list, then selling your customers something else.
Build your own platforms
We’ve all heard the horror stories.
Marketers earning their entire income on Amazon’s affiliate program. Then Amazon slashes commissions and they’re out of business overnight…
Or completely relying on SEO for traffic. Then Google changes their algorithm and overnight they lose 80% of their visitors (and revenue!).
And too many marketers to count who’ve built their business on social media only to get kicked off or “shadow banned”.
That’s why it’s important to build platforms that you own and control.
Because you don’t want your entire livelihood depending on someone else letting you use their platform to build your business.
Build platforms that you own and control instead.
Don’t just build an audience on social media, build an email list too.
Don’t just post articles on social sites, publish them on your own site too.
And don’t just sell other people’s offers, create your own offers to sell too.
By all means, use Google, social media, affiliates and all the other platforms out there to build your business.
But use them as a way to build platforms that you own and control – your website, your email list and your own products.
Create Multiple Revenue Streams
Marketing icon Dan Kennedy famously teaches, “One is the most dangerous number in business.”
While he’s referring to the danger of relying on one of anything in your business… one lead source… one traffic source… one product… one employee… one marketing channel… one strategy…
The most dangerous “one” to rely on is having only one revenue stream.
For your business to be antifragile, you need multiple ways of generating revenue. You need multiple revenue streams.
Offer high-priced services for people that can afford the steep price tag.
Offer mid-priced training and courses for people that can’t.
And offer low-priced products for people who want to learn from you without committing to a high price point.
Then find a way to build continuity into your business if you can.
And, if it makes sense, affiliate offers are an easy way to generate extra revenue on top of your own offers.
You don’t have to build out dozens of products, services and offers if you don’t want to. But don’t make the mistake of only having one.
Create multiple streams of revenue in your business.
Then when something inevitably happens and one stream slows down, you have other ways of generating revenue and can remain profitable.
You Can’t Predict The Unpredictable
The only constant in life (and business) is change.
And there’s no way to predict what’s coming down the road that might topple your business.
But you can certainly stack the odds in your favor for when (not if) something big comes along.
You can make your business more antifragile by…
- Adopting a simpler, more resilient business model
- Building platforms that you own and control
- Creating multiple revenue streams
There are no guarantees in business. But doing these things, you give yourself a good chance of surviving whatever comes your way next.