5 Steps to a Profitable Business

These are the 5 Steps to a profitable business. Before we get to the steps, however, let me ask you a few questions: Do you want the American dream? The dream of freedom? Creating a business that you can be proud of? That can provide for you and your family for years to come?

For many people, the dream does not end up the way that it was meant to be. Instead of the freedom to live the life they chose by their rules, they find themselves TRAPPED as an employee in their own company, working countless hours for FREE, only to see the bills piling up higher than ever.

Instead of having the support of the neighborhood or establishment they thought would help them, they’re met with strict regulations that threaten their very survival, and people trying to take them for all that they’ve got. For some the American dream isn’t a dream.

Most Profitable Business Ideas Fall Short

It’s more like a NIGHTMARE. Over 500,000 small businesses fail every year in America because they don’t have a plan or a blueprint for success.

I’m going to share with you the Blueprint that I’ve taught to THOUSANDS of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners across the globe.

A blueprint designed to give you back your freedom, your time with family, and your ability to provide for them. A blueprint designed to give you back the American dream. But this isn’t just a business blueprint. It’s a Smart Business Blueprint, and you’re about to uncover the five steps to building a profitable business.

The S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint to a Profitable business

We break them down as S.M.A.R.T. 

Staff, Marketing, Audience, Revenue, and Testimonials. 

The Staff are the people who run your business, and you need a talented pool of staff who are motivated to work, through fair pay and benefits, but also have a set schedule of tasks to achieve.

Marketing is the system that you will use to find leads. The people who are interested in learning more about what you do.

The Audience are the pool of people that you will contact via your marketing to turn them into leads.

Revenue comes from the sales processes you create to generate sales from the leads, which ultimately will be your profit.

Finally, Testimonials are the reviews from happy customers which will lead to referrals, more leads and ultimately more sales, as well as the EVIDENCE that your business is real and works!

I’ve run and consulted for many companies from small family businesses, to some of my own companies that generate a few millions a year. These range from health and wellness coaching companies to software companies, to transportation industry, to storage facilities and even online coaching for fitness, health, relationships, business, and more.

But without a doubt, my favorite way to teach people about the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint is to share a story about a time that my son came up to me crying. I’ll never forget the day my son came in crying, saying, “Dad, they’re closing down the Dungeons and Dragons store!” Now I am a massive Dungeons and Dragons fan and have been playing since I was nine years old. So naturally the minute my eldest child was able to read I started taking him to a Dungeon and Dragon store so he could play regularly. 

Making the Local Game Store Profitable

He came to me and said the store was closing down and looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Dad, fix it! You fix businesses, fix it!”

But I’ll be honest with you, a local struggling game store is not the kind of company that I would’ve fixed once upon a time. I was far more interested in big multimillion dollar corporations. In fact, when he came to me that I was already negotiating a $750,000 purchase for a single product on a $40 million company, so the idea of fixing a company that was doing single digits every single month was just not that interesting.

But when your son looks at you through teary eyes and says, “Dad, do what you do, fix this company!”, the ONE company he cares about how could I say no?

So, I go and talk to the owner of the company and find out that the company’s been losing a thousand dollars every month. The bills were $5,000 and the store generated $4,000 and he wanted out, he just didn’t want to fix the company.

After multiple negotiations, it was decided the best thing to do was for me to buy the company. The main reason I bought it was because it had an office in the back and was actually about the same size as an office that I was planning on renting.

However, the office I was planning on renting had a rental rate of $1,800 a month. So, I did the math and it made sense. I’d just run the store exactly as it is, pay $5,000 and earn $4,000. There’s a $1,000 difference, but I save $800 in rental costs for the office. It was a no brainer.

So, we moved into the game store and used the office as my office, but I kind of ignored the store, which was absolutely fine, until the beginning of 2020 when COVID hit. And that was the first time I got a financial report that showed that instead of making $4,000 for the month, we made $53… $53 instead of $4,000!

Suddenly it was no longer just a thousand dollars drop, it was a $5,000 drop, and was a much larger amount of money for me to lose every month. That’s when I knew it was time to get serious and the very first thing I do whenever I start a new company, or whenever I work to fix a company is I implement the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint.

We started to treat this company like a seven-figure company and bring the smart blueprint in, which of course starts with staff and knew that I would have to structure out the Workday.

There was a store manager running the store but he wasn’t really organized and would just sitting in the store, waiting for customers to come to them. But because there weren’t any customers coming to them, they weren’t doing anything and there are six roles that you have to fulfill within a company. I didn’t want to go into the company and do all this work myself. I wanted the manager to function as the owner of the company and learn the six roles the same way I teach other company’s when I help them grow. I just wanted to give them a blueprint to use.

The six different categories are; 

The CEO, chief executive officer is the visionary, does planning, strategic partnerships, and measures everybody’s work to make sure that you make good decisions. 

The COO, which is the chief operations officer, they handle organization, accountability, communication within the company. They collect the metrics to present to the CEO.

The CSO, chief sales officer, who’s in charge of outreach to new customers, sales conversions, customer satisfaction, and billing, fire merchant services, taking the money, etc.

The CMO, chief marketing officer, is in charge of the social media pages, doing surveys, writing, advertising copy, ads, networking, marketing partnerships and collaborations.

The CTO, chief technical officer, handles the website and any of the technical issues within the company.

The CFO, chief financial officer who’s in charge of accounting, budgeting, reporting, and targets.

Implementing Business Categories

In a perfect world you would just hire people to do the job so you don’t have to. The reality is for most people, if they’re starting a business, or if they’re trying to fix a struggling one, you’re going to have to be all six roles. And you may think that means you’re going to be working five jobs at once, but most of these roles don’t actually need a full-time staff member.

In fact, I tell people when they’re starting a small business, don’t just start the business and quit your day job. Keep the day job and run the business correctly as a side hustle. And I’m about to give you a calendar breakdown of how to divide up your time so you can do all six of these roles as a part-time job and work no more than maybe 25 hours a week.

If you’ve got a full-time day job of 40 hours, it’ll have you doing a 65-hour week. To put this in comparison, if you worked in high level finance where you were maybe getting paid a hundred thousand dollars a year, you’d be working 70 to 80 hours a week.

That means you could have a full-time job and run a business and build a business on the side and still be working less than somebody’s working in a six-figure salaried financial position. But if you do this right, you’ll be making a lot more money than that.

I have an entire calendar mapped out and I’m going to give you how many hours minimum you need to work in each role. 

CEO – The Visionary, 2 hours a week 

COO – The chief operations officer, 1 hour a day 

CSO – The sales officer, because that’s where the money’s come from, you want about 2 hours a day.
CMO – The marketing officer. You want about 1 hour a day to handle your marketing tasks. 

CTO – The technical officer, probably only needs to work a couple of hours a week. 

CFO – The financial officer probably only needs 1 hour a week, but also needs 1 day a month in order to tie up the books.

Creating Profit Using a Calendar

I’ve actually calculated an entire calendar that breaks down how to do all these roles, what time of day you would do them and still be able to do your day job. You can see we’ve only got you working six days. Sundays are completely off. Saturdays you finish work at three o’clock.

From three o’clock onwards until Monday, you are completely free! You can see that I’ve allocated from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM to do the day job.

That means if you’re only working, say a nine to five that also gives time to travel which is pretty important. But of course, you could always travel into work earlier and do some work, maybe in a coffee shop nearby. But you can see that every morning we start by being the chief operations officer.

That makes sure the tasks were done the day before, double checking everything and looking at the numbers.

Then you follow that with the chief marketing officer five days a week, because that’s where we’re going to start talking to leads and trying to generate those leads to sell to later.

Except on Saturday, where we’re going to do the chief financial officer’s job to make sure the numbers are good.

And then after doing the marketing and reaching out, you’ll go to your day job, where you can do your eight hours, make some money, and make sure you can pay the bills. We like to call that, “covering your bread and butter.”

Then later in the evening, there’s two hours to do the sales job. These are all the leads you generated in the morning and followed up with in the evening, and two hours a day should be more than enough to get some sales going.

And your work finishes at 8:00 PM, still plenty of time to, sit down, watch a movie, eat dinner, go to bed, and get back the next day. 

As you can see, I just wanted to prove to you, it is possible to run a business and have a full-time job. You can totally have your business going as a side hustle, and when you do it like this, there’s never any risk to being able to pay your bills.

Plus, every time you make a sale, it’s essentially just the extra pocket money, and if you organize the financials correctly, the way that we break it down in the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, you’ll actually get to a point where you’ll be able to transition from your job into the Smart Blueprint. You’ll have the safety and security of knowing you’ve designed your cash flow correctly. If you want to learn more about that, we have free trainings that talk about how to calculate that cashflow to make sure it isn’t a problem.

Ultimately you want to be hiring people for these roles and transition yourself out of them and we teach exactly how to do that in S.M.A.R.T Blueprint. You may not want to do the chief financial officer role to start with, and that’s totally fine. You can, hire a CPA to do it, or maybe even a fractional financial, somebody works part-time to help you with that. Inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, we explain all the different methods of how to do that.

Marketing Profitable Businesses

After Staffing, we got into Marketing. Once I outlined exactly what the manager at the game store roles were going to be, when he’s going to do his sales, when he is going to do his reach outs, etc., he now knew what he was doing. The store was growing, but we needed more customers.

What we did have was a lot of space. We had a lot of areas where people could play Dungeons and Dragons and other board games, but no one was playing because we didn’t really have any customers. What we decided to do is start live streaming from the store and share the videos in various groups that we found online, Facebook groups, discord groups, etc. Because of that marketing reach out, playing a game every morning, we ended up with customers from all over America and Canada ordering from our tiny little store in Texas.

Now, there are many different methods of marketing, this live streaming approach is ONE way of doing it, essentially utilizing something that was just sitting there. But we teach a whole bunch of different ways inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint. However, I do want to give you a simple one I think any company could use today. I want you to remember this: 

Education – Indoctrination – Conversation

You don’t just reach out to a Facebook group every day try and sell something. If you push for a sale, you’re just going to upset people. It’s much better if you start by just trying to educate people.

For us, we were educating them on how to play the games and how much fun they were.

What you can do is start by creating content that teaches people something, and if you make consistent content on a regular basis, daily, every other day, or once a week, start to watch for the people that tune in every single time. Those people have become indoctrinated.

What that means is they’ve indoctrinated your content into their everyday life, they’re checking for it every morning and thinking, “I don’t want to miss it. I can’t miss this new piece of content!” Once somebody’s indoctrinated over a period of time, they’re going to be open to having a conversation with you.

And that is the education, indoctrination, conversation process and it can take months before somebody becomes fully indoctrinated. They might check in one day and not check in for a few weeks. So don’t pressure people, just constantly give them an opportunity. 

The way to do it is to invite them to have a conversation with you. Once you start putting your content in groups, you don’t just start posting in groups, because people are going to be upset. Instead, reach out to the administrators of discord groups or Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups, whatever groups you want, and ask them if you can pay them to run a short poll to find out what kind of content the people inside the group want.

Ask questions like, “What kind of things do you want help with?”

“What kind of things can I teach you about?”

“What kind of things do you want to see?”

Create a very short poll, and if you have to pay to do it, so be it, it doesn’t usually cost a lot. Then you can have people inside that group tell you, “We want to see content like this…”

If you do this in five different groups, the information you get, you’re going to be able to compile it all say, “okay, it looks like the major content that these people want is going to be this specific type of content.”

And then just make a commitment to make that content once a week. Then again, ask the admin if you can create the content for them but say, I’m not going to sell anything, I’m just going to create content every single time, just as a way of helping people. Some admins will let you do that for free. Some are going to want you to pay for it, whatever it takes, you can do it. 

Making Content Leads to Being Profitable

Once you start making that content every week, it’s not going to turn into sales right away, but the people that tune in every single week, the people that comment, they’re becoming indoctrinated and they’re the ones that are going to be open to that conversation.

Now the content can be anything from a Q and A, a live Q and A, to maybe product reviews where you do unboxings or even just free trainings where you do a fitness regime every week. But the education content needs to be good and it needs to be something that people want.

Then once somebody decides they’re going to consume that content every week, it’s only a matter of time before they decide they want to talk to you and have a conversation. And the easiest way to get a conversation is just to say at the beginning and end of any content, “By the way, if any point during this content, you’ve got any questions about it, or you want to talk to me, please DM me.”

That’s it. That’s the sales pitch. 

I’m not trying to pitch anything. I’m just saying you can contact us. And that’s what we did during the live streams of the the board games inside the game store, all we said was, “If you want help designing a character or building an army, just reach out to us and let us know.” And that was how it started.

People would phone and say, “Hey, I would really love to have help designing an army. I like the army’s you guys play with.” Then we’d help them design an army and then be like, “Would you like to buy it from us? We’ll give you a discount.”

And that’s how we did it, very simple and easy Education, Indoctrination, Conversation. Inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint we have a lot of different marketing strategies, but I wanted to show you one that’s simple, easy, and effective, that anybody can do.

Building the Audience to Grow

Next, we wanted to build the Audience. But once somebody contacted our store, we really didn’t want to go through the process of waiting for them to watch the content and then decide whether or not they wanted to phone us again. Can you imagine, somebody phones you up like, “Yeah, I need help building a Dungeons and dragons character.”

You help them, you sell them all the pieces, and then you have to wait until they phone you again? That suck! What we wanted to do was create our own audience where we could communicate with people directly, that way we don’t have to go through that process. After all, we already had their information, so waiting for them was no good, we can now reach out to them.

We wanted to develop our own community that people could join to receive the content that we created directly, and do a little bit more of a sales pitch too. We created a membership.

The content was really simple for us. Join the membership for free painting, lessons, discounts, and a free figure for Dungeons and Dragons in exchange for your phone number. And we’ll text you, our discounts, offers strategy and giveaways. That’s a pretty good exchange, right?

They become a member of our text message community and they get a free figure, painting lessons and discounts and in return, we get to text them. We ended up with hundreds of people signing up to get the freebies and who we can now communicate with and text them regularly.

We actually text them every single day to either give them a tip, a strategy, a discount, or invite them to a conversation, which of course we can use to sell. Now, you don’t have to build a text message audience, but it is one of my favorite ways to build a responsive audience, that’s a lot warmer than many others. Inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, we have a whole bunch of different methods, but the text one really is my favorite.

Knowing what to send somebody regularly is important and we share the actual texts, how we communicate inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint, and how to building other audiences. We talk about building an Instagram audience or social media followings, but if you want to do the text based one, there is a service you can find called Community. it’s an app that handles text-based audience building very well and it will help you manage your community. They have a ton of trainings done by an actual human being that talks to you on the phone as opposed to just watching videos, which I think’s really cool.

Revenue is key to a profitable business

Next was Revenue. The store now has an audience and there are leads coming in, but the revenue isn’t where we needed it to be… A physical store needs stock, but every time we bought items, we lost money. So, we’d go between buying it, losing money, and then trying to collect the money back and then buying it again. We knew that we needed to increase the initial sales value because essentially, selling $10 items, wasn’t going to cut it!

We needed bigger sales, so we came up with a sales system. We created limited-edition miniatures that we 3d printed ourselves in-store and gave them away with every purchase over $100. Suddenly we went from the most common sale being about $20 to most people trying to purchase enough stuff, to be $100 to get the figure of the month. By changing the gift up every single month, we had people coming back time and time again to get the new gift.

The Average Lifetime Value of a Customer

Suddenly, our average lifetime value of a customer went from being $20 a month $100 a month. But the key was the script that we used to sell it, because nobody wants to pushy salesperson. When it comes to sales or revenue, I really like the water analogy.

I want you to imagine there’s a guy and he’s dying of thirst in the desert and he’s like, “Water! Water!” You don’t want to go up to him and be like, “Hey buddy, let me tell you what I’ve got. I’ve got the best spring water sourced from the French Alps that will cool your thirst.” He’s going to say just give me the water!

You don’t need to sell it to him because he needs it, and the easiest way to make sales are when there is a need. When someone needs something, you don’t have to sell, you can be like, “Hey, do you want this? If you want it, I’ve got it!” And one way to trigger Need is with permission-based selling.

You can just say, “Are you interested in learning more about how to get this figure for free?” “Do you want to learn how to get this for free people?” Yeah, I do, “Great. In that case, if you spend a hundred dollars in store, I’ll give it to you for free.”

It’s permission-based selling and the sales scripts are very simple. We actually teach a four-part sales script inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint that takes you through permission-based selling and the very easy way of using it.

I’ll give you an example. Would you be interested in learning the full S.M.A.R.T Blueprint?

Is that something you’d be willing to pay $300 to do? If so, you may be interested in trialing the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint for 30 days. Is it worth spending 300 bucks to be able to see inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint and see if it’s got everything you need?

Permission-based selling. You tell me, I don’t know. You tell me, the full sales script and all the others are shared completely inside the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint

Testimonials Lead to Sales

The last part of S.M.A.R.T are Testimonials, the evidence you need that shows what you do works and that people actually enjoy it. For our store we had customers coming in to play games, but no one knew that people were doing it. So, what we did was started taking pictures of people playing games and sharing them online.

What happened was every time we had a big tournament, the store would be packed and we’d take lots of pictures. Now when people saw our social media, they’re like, “wow, everyone’s always in the store. If I’m looking to play with somebody, I should probably go to the store.” Which meant it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Even though initially we were only full one day a week by taking the pictures and sharing it, the store became full on a more regular basis. Likewise, you need testimonials for your business to prove to people that your customers actually like what you’re selling. It can actually be a good idea to get your first few testimonials by offering your services completely for free to people that you know. You want them to showcase how good you are.

When you first launch your business, trying to sell it, initially selling things to people could be rough, but by getting friends and families to have it for free, you can get them to give you testimonials instead. Then you can use those testimonials to make sales and ask them for referrals. Sending out testimonials as part of your regular content to your audience, is a great way to get people in touch. If you’re constantly sending out good content, every single day and then every so often you throw in a testimonial, someone looks at a testimonial and they’re like, “Oh, I want to get that kind of result. I’m interested!”

I’m going to give you a testimonial script because asking somebody, “please give me a testimonial” usually results in a bad testimonial. Instead, I give them an actual testimonial script and my script goes like this;

“Before I worked with name of the business I was struggling with and get them to tell you what they were struggling with I was afraid to join because so why were they afraid to work with you? But once I joined, I was instantly blown away by, what their first impression was that made them feel comfortable with the decision to join now I enjoy the following results so they can break it down”

This testimonial script is great, so for say, a fitness company, it could be:

Before I worked with Occam’s Fitness, I was struggling with my weight every day. I was afraid to join because I didn’t believe I would be able to stick to the diet. They recommend once I joined, I was instantly blown away by the fact that within Occam’s fitness, I can actually eat donuts, eat chocolates, and eat all my favorite foods. And now I enjoy the following results: I’m losing weight every single week. My body looks, looks better than ever, and I’ve actually got muscle tone that people comment on and say how great it looks!”

That would be an example of the testimonial, but naturally there is a little bit more to this and how to use them because testimonials actually make the best ads. You can use the testimonial to make an incredible advert that can bring in leads for the company. In fact, you can even use testimonials to create case studies and branded documentaries.

You may have even noticed with online streaming services, such as Hulu and Netflix, that they have branded documentaries now, which is a documentary. The focus is on the journey of a couple of people who are using the same kind of system or product. It’s often one where a company is paid for that documentary to be created. 

To listen to the full episode of the most comprehensive podcast about strategically building and growing your business, the S.M.A.R.T way, click on any one of these platforms and subscribe!

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About Adam Lyons

Beyond his own portfolio of growing companies, Lyons is an advisor for over 500 brands across the US and Canada. Lyons has been featured on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Forbes, Bloomberg Business and the NY Post. He has been awarded 3 different ‘Wicked Smaht’ Awards due to his innovative business strategies and multiple 2 comma club awards. Companies he has worked with include PepsiCo, Nike, Nescafé, Discovery Digital Networks and many smaller brands.

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