Step Two – Maximize your Subscription Business

In the first part of this article we discussed three ways you can seize the opportunity, break through the ceiling and maximize your success. It takes time but a steady focus on the right things yields fruitful harvest. If you haven’t read part one or need a refresher, I encourage you to check it out here

Now that you understand the internally focused steps in part one, we will move our focus to maximizing your WISP profitability with an external focus.

The principal to keep in mind when building a WISP is that a healthy subscription business scales well with minimal maintenance. Anything that compromises either scalability or manageability is a direct health threat and should be treated as such.

Focus on these three areas to maximize your subscription business:

  1. Your relationship ecosystem
  2. Improve service quality and efficiency
  3. Build your image

Your Relationship Ecosystem

A business isn’t a single person, it’s hardly just a single company. It takes an ecosystem of hardware and software vendors, support staff, engineers, technicians and management to build a successful subscription business. 

It’s imperative that every element in the ecosystem has the same mission and heads in the same direction. Competing interests complicate growth and makes your success more difficult. However, when everyone works toward the same goal, you have an A-Team which makes success look easy. 

If you view your relationships in terms of what they cost you in both time and effort, you’ll have a better idea of which relationships feed profit and which ones eat profit. Its weight centers on “interests alignment.” 

When interests aren’t aligned, one business wins and the other business loses. Win-lose relationships ultimately end up lose-lose.

When interests are aligned, it’s the right relationship and it shows up in your profits.Win-win relationships drive success. 

In order to maintain healthy relationships, regularly review them. There is one primary question to ask yourself, “Is this the right relationship to best support my business success?”

Relationships become profitable only when each party plays an important and effective role in the support of your business’s core services with excellence.

Improve Service Quality and Efficiency

I’ve never talked to an entrepreneur who set out with the intent to provide mediocre, disorganized service.  I’ve also never found a consumer that wants to pay for low quality Internet access.

Mediocre, however, is often a fair or even graceful description for many startup WISPs and sometimes becomes a long-term label when WISPs don’t identify the root causes of subpar growth. 

Most organizations and processes start out more complex than necessary. If you want to be a successful WISP, then seek to understand precisely how you convert opportunity into capital. The degree to which you improve this process is the degree to which you perfect your business.

The critical question is how do you support healthy scaling? 

In order to meet the demand and be truly profitable, there is no substitute for simplifying your processes. It’s hard work, but there are good resources when you seek them out. Quality and efficiency require building with the right products and services but more importantly, the right knowledge.

A common objection is a belief that quality isn’t affordable or at least not worth the cost increase. If your goal is to build a healthy residual income business then I promise subscriber acquisition, not cost savings, is king. If you want more success then don’t be cheap, be productive.

When talking to clients about why they underbuilt their networks, the primary reasons boil down to either insufficient resources or failing to properly determine the right target.

The graph below shows you how to determine your target and build the right network efficiently.

Assume, for example, that the cheapest you can acquire a subscriber is $200 and you can average two new subscribers per working day with your current acquisition method. If spending an extra $100 per new subscriber could improve your efficiency to the point that you can acquire one additional subscriber per day, would it be more profitable to increase your acquisition costs? 

Let’s look at increasing your growth by 150% for a 225% cost increase, assuming a $75 per subscriber average revenue.

2 subscribers daily for $200 each*

6mo12mo24mo36mo
Acquired Subscribers26152210441566
Accumulated Investment$52,200$104,400$208,800$313,200
Accumulated Income$68,512$254,475$978,750$2,172,825
Balance$16,312$150,075$769,950$1,859,625

3 subscribers daily for $300 each*

6mo12mo24mo36mo
Acquired Subscribers391.578315662349
Accumulated Investment$117,450$234,900$469,800$704,700
Accumulated Income$102,768$381,712$1,468,125$3,259,237
Balance-$14,681$146,812$998,325$2,554,537

A few examples of cost increases that can improve efficiency such as modeled above are:
1) using equipment which allows you to scale to higher density, and
2) using time-saving and quality-improving tools such as Cambium’s cnHeat RF planning, propagation and modeling software which is able to provide detailed information about what will be required to provide quality service to your potential customers.

Business mastery is understanding how the accumulated balances and efficiencies in building your residual income is much more important than a one-time cost saving. 
I’m not arguing to spend more money, although it may be more profitable for you, I’m telling you that building a healthy business requires a laser-focus on efficacy and quality, don’t aim for cost savings and miss out on productivity.

In talking about businesses who have reached a growth ceiling, Dan Sullivan, the creator of The Strategic Coach® Program says:
 “No further progress and growth is possible for an organization until a new state of simplicity is created.” 

Where can your customer acquisition and support processes be simplified?  Could something like a cloud managed router service be a win-win for you and your customers?

Build your image

The final major step in building a healthy subscription business is your image. Your image is not how you present yourself in marketing, it is how your clients perceive you. Your service quality and your staff’s attitude and efficiency all play a crucial role in developing your image. This means you can’t fake it with some glossy tri-fold brochure, at least not for long.

In order to be excellent, you need excellent processes. Start by taking a look at your subscriber acquisition process. What does your process flow from a potential customer to paying customer look like? Once you have established healthy habits, massive success becomes a mechanical seven-step process.

  1. Identify an opportunity
  2. Analyze the process
  3. Develop an optimal solution
  4. Implement the solution
  5. Study the results
  6. Standardize the solution
  7. Plan for the future

To name a few processes, you should regularly improve your sales, installation, service, infrastructure development, billing and monitoring process.

Conclusion

When you improve your cash flow by managing your borrowing and lending, building as an investment, and bolstering your resources you are well on your way to building a healthy subscription business.  Continually refining your relationships, improving service quality and efficiency and image pay great dividends. 

We at Visp.net understand the importance of efficiency, which is why we’ve built our system so that your field technicians can install and provision your customers without ever opening your billing system. In fact, your installers can hand a connection off to a customer and let them complete the provisioning.

At Visp, we have a weekly CEO Round Table where we meet up with customers because we believe in cultivating client success. Come join us!

Going Further

If you want to maximize success and increase your knowledge, visit our blog where we regularly release new content designed to help you grow with topics such as:

About the Author

Joshaven Potter supports and consults with Visp.net’s clients to drive their success and business growth. He is an industry-leading WISP consultant with 18 years of ISP network experience.