2023 Year in Review: My Top 3 Entrepreneurship Lessons
And what my future plans in 2024 look like
I can’t believe 2023 is already coming to a close!
This milestone means I’m nearing the 2-year mark of my entrepreneurship journey. And this was truly a successful and pivotal year for my business.
2023 was the year I decided to go “all-in” on All-In Consulting.
I learned a lot, I pivoted a few times, I grew as a manager, salesperson, writer, and consultant, finished an accelerator, and hit every single goal I set for myself at the beginning of this year.
In January 2023, I was still publishing my second course on writing on Medium.
And now at the end of this year, I’m deep into supply chain and logistics software consulting.
What a difference a year makes!
I wanted to send you a wrap-up issue for 2023 where I share my greatest discoveries from my entrepreneurship journey this year to help you in yours.
What the consulting sales funnel looks like
Realizations I had around vertical positioning
And why you shouldn’t blindly copy what other people do
Figuring Out the Consulting Sales Funnel
One of the biggest discoveries I made this year was figuring out how the consulting sales funnel works.
For me, I’ve noticed that the sales process generally follows these 4 steps:
A client DM’s me
We schedule a free 30-minute discovery call
We move to a paid assessment
We move to a paid implementation
Before landing on this, I had tried a number of other sales funnels including:
Charging for the first 30-minute discovery
Giving away the discovery for free
Moving straight to discovery over DM’s
But when I did this, I found that either this hurt my close rates, or I ended up doing too much work for free.
I really wished someone just told me to use this funnel earlier, as it could’ve helped a number of opportunities close more smoothly.
If you’re doing any type of consulting sales, consider using a sales funnel similar to mine because at most you’re only giving away 30-minutes for free.
Observations about Vertical Positioning
Another big learning from this year came from my vertical positioning shift to focusing only on supply chain software needs.
It’s only been a few months since I made this change, but everything seems to indicate that this was the right move.
For one, I noticed that there is significantly less competition when I bid on projects related to supply chain.
And two, I’ve had a number of manufacturers and warehouse owners reach out to me since I made this shift, indicating I have control over my client portfolio.
At first I was scared to make this move, because I thought that vertical positioning would be too limiting.
However, it actually opened up even more opportunities that I never had access to before. For example, in supply chain the largest software projects tend to center around:
Warehouse Management System implementations
Enterprise Resource Planning implementations
and Systems Integrations
And some of these projects are multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts.
These aren’t projects that a general software agency can fulfill. So although vertical positioning may close some doors, the other doors it opens up are even larger.
Vertical positioning opens doors to larger projects that you wouldn’t have access to if you were just a general consulting agency.
Consider adding an element of vertical positioning to better differentiate yourself from other agencies.
Don’t Just Copy the Games Other People Play
The last thing I learned this year is to not blindly copy other entrepreneurs.
Many times it’s not clear exactly how successful they even are with their tactics, and they could also be playing a totally different game than what you’re playing.
For example, a lot of entrepreneurs try to follow the same playbook that includes something like:
Building an audience on Twitter and LinkedIn
Building SaaS products
But other people’s motives for doing these things could be different than yours. So if you blindly copy others, it might not serve your goal the way it serves them.
For example, some people run their entire businesses through Twitter, hence why they Tweet all day.
But I realized with vertical positioning that my potential clients in logistics and supply chain tend to be on LinkedIn, and not on Twitter, so I deprioritized building that channel.
Looking back, I believe this was the right decision as it helped me focus on the channels that mattered.
When everyone is looking left is when you have to look right.
Don’t just blindly copy what other entrepreneurs are doing, but think about whether doing what they do will truly help you achieve your goals.
What’s Next for 2024?
I have 3 main goals for 2024:
Gain deeper supply chain technology expertise
Develop a scalable lead generation pipeline
Niche down further into only focusing on systems integrations, WMS implementations, or ERP implementations.
I’m certain with multiple successful engagements under my belt, all my learnings from this year and an improving economy, 2024 should be an even better year than an already amazing 2023!
Anyways, enjoy your Christmas and holiday break - you deserve it! I’ll see you next year! 🎄
Connect with me on social media here.