Ep. 105 What Does Next Level in Business Actually Mean?

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Today I would like to talk about what the word or the phrase “next level” actually means. I am so tired of this phrase. “I’m going to take your business to the next level. I’m ready to go to the next level.” What does the next level actually mean?

I want to dive into this a little bit. And as a child of the 80s and 90s, I was a Mario lover, that sounds weird, but I was. I loved playing Mario, but the funny thing about my Mario skills is that they suck, and I wasn’t very good at playing the original Mario. And for any of you guys that remember the original Mario, they gave you like 3 lives, there were not a lot of one ups, it was easy to die and then you’d have to start all the way at the beginning, unless you got through these certain milestones. The newer games realize that we all hated it, and they made it easier. But the original one, the original Nintendo Super Mario Brothers was really hard.

So I just got into the habit of playing level one, and maybe level two. And I just loved playing these levels over and over and over again. I didn’t want to go to the next level at all. I didn’t because I knew the next level would be harder, I would die and the boss would kill me. So I just got really, really good at the level that I was on. And maybe this is a sign that you know, I’m not a true entrepreneur because I stayed at the same level, but I also understood the ramifications of the next level.

So when we talk about this word in business, people are usually referring to the next level of revenue. Like, “Okay my business makes $100,000 a year, I want to make a million dollars a year.” So that’s the next level. Now, depending on how you measure business growth, that might be ten levels away. Or it might be one level away. I find that some people in the internet marketing space that don’t actually know business all that well, think that’s the next level when there’s an unlimited amount of levels in between $100,000 and a million dollars a year. But I digress.

So let’s just for the sake of argument say that the next level means a million dollars instead of 100,000. We talk about the revenue as next level, but what we never talk about, or hardly talk about is all of these things that come with that revenue. So I did a post back on November 28th, I wrote an email, I actually got some flack for it, people taking aim at me, which is fine, but I was trying to explain sort of the next level bananas of doubling a business once it’s past the million dollar mark.

So typically in a business growth pattern, you want to grow 15% per year, 20% a year, etc. Now in the land of tech and internet and stuff like that, we see businesses that grow 100% a year, or 1,000%, whatever, it’s just like crazy numbers that don’t make any sense. So when we at Funnel Gorgeous went from 1 million to 2 million, it doesn’t sound like a big next level, but it was actually 10 times, 100 times more significant to go from 1 million to 2 million than it would be to go from 100,000 to a million. Just because the denominator is bigger, so it’s exponential growth.
And so I knew that hitting 2 million, we probably would not get to 4 million, because again, that’s doubling our business, but at double the exponential value of the year before. So as I’ve been watching our numbers and feeling the growing pains of a very quickly expanding business, realizing somewhere in September or October that 4 million was going to be our revenue goal, that we did in fact double the business, and wanting to explain that getting to that next level, was actually quite difficult and pretty messy.

So I started to say like, ‘Okay, you want to say, let’s take your business to the next level, that means going from a team of two or a team of six to a team of 15.” And in our case we actually grew to a team of 20, and then we had to get rid of some people, not because we didn’t like them, but just because we hadn’t, we had over hired in that growth, and that’s very common, you grow fast, you hire fast, and then you gotta scale back because you’re like, “Well actually this isn’t really making us a ton of money.”

We had to spend months and thousands of dollars rolling out a very exciting employee handbook, and a performance review process, and how are we going to pay out bonuses on a yearly basis, and how are we going to give out raises, and what is our strategy for raises, and our maternity policy, and health insurance, and retirement benefits, are we offering them or not? All of this stuff, so that’s what next level meant.

Next level also meant registering in new states for taxes, which was super fun. Now we are registered in 3 of the worst states, California, Connecticut and New York. So that’s fun. Starting to pay six figures in salaries to team members, five figure software costs, basically planning events with giant budgets that are pretty risky. We’re planning an event with a $300,000 budget. You know, $70,000 in refunds, $83,000 in processing fees for credit cards. Just ungodly amounts of taxes, and just expenses rolling out the door.

So the next time you say, “I want to go to the next level.” Yes, you are saying , “I want more revenue.” But you’re also saying, “I want a harder boss.” Back to the Mario analogy. I want a bigger Bowser, I want a trickier piranha plant. That’s what you’re saying.

So sometimes, sometimes it makes sense to step back for a second and ask yourself, “What is your actual goal for your business, for your life?” and this is sort of a side note, but I partnered with Aryeh Sheinbein in a course called Future Fund, Funnel Gorgeous is the, it’s hosted by Funnel Gorgeous, and this is really that question of like, understanding what you want out of life, what it costs to live, how do you see your lifestyle, coming up with those numbers, understanding what you’re actually working towards. Because you may be like 7 year old Julie, and you may realize, “Actually what I want is a million dollar business. I don’t want to go beyond level 3. I like level 3, I’m going to get really good at level 3. I’m going to fight that Bowser over and over and over again until I can do it with my eyes closed, and I’m going to have a great life, and I’m not going to try to go to level 5.

So anyway, that’s sort of my little rant, soap box on decoding what next level actually means. Talk to you soon.