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With the ever-increasing prevalence of online shopping via mobile devices, more and more retailers are adapting optimizing email campaigns for portable devices.
Web pages look much different on smartphones than on desktop browsers, and there isna€™t as much room for frills. Users on mobile devices are on-the-go, and so ita€™s important to ensure consumers can move around the site and complete their purchase quickly and easily. At the same time, though, mobile users want to browse like all shoppers, so retailers should not compress the process down so much that users feel forced to buy too quickly. In addition to these design elements, having a responsive eCommerce website design is vital for improving the sitea€™s overall mobile-friendliness. For other ways to increase customer retention and revenue, download our guide on Key Business Metrics for Online Retailers. It's possible to modify a personal budget spreadsheet to apply to a business, but if you are using our Income Statement Template, you'll want to use the business budget spreadsheet so that you can create a budget that is parallel to your income statement. For those who are just starting a business, or thinking of starting a business, you might be interested in the free Business Start Up Costs template. This spreadsheet contains two sample business budgets designed for companies providing services or selling products. Service Providers: The Services worksheet is a simple business budget that separates income and business expenses into categories that closely match those used in an income statement. Retailers, Manufacturers, Publishers: The Goods worksheet includes the categories in the Services worksheet, but also has a Cost of Goods Sold section for recording inventory and purchases and calculating Gross Profit.
This worksheet is a variant of the above business budget, with sales and business expenses broken down by month. This version allows you to perform a detailed analysis of your business expenses and cost of goods sold (COGS) if you are selling multiple products.
If you add or move categories around, make sure to double-check the calculations, especially the SUM() formulas that calculate the totals and subtotals, to make sure that the right cells are summed. The costs associated with producing and purchasing goods are variable costs that increase or decrease with the volume of production and sales, such as wages for direct labor required to produce the goods, packaging, inventory purchases, shipping, and commissions. A separate section under business expenses calculates the Net Income Before Taxes by subtracting the Total Expenses from Total Income. One of the reasons for budgeting is of course to help you determine whether you will be able to afford upgrades, new construction, asset purchases, etc.
Disclaimer: This spreadsheet and the information on this page is for illustrative and educational purposes only. There is a lot of emphasis on driving traffic to your website, but it is a complete waste of time if you don’t convert visitors to prospects, prospects to clients and clients to raving fans. One of the most critical measures at this stage is how often the shopping cart is abandoned. For more information about how you can use a marketing org chart to help your small business, download our free mini-ebook. I would like to propose that in addition to team, product, and market, there is actually a fourth, equally important, core element of startups, which is the need for a viable business model. Successful web businesses have long understood these metrics as they have such an easy way to measure them. To compute the Lifetime Value of a Customer, LTV, you would look at the Gross Margin that you would expect to make from that customer over the lifetime of your relationship. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that business model failure comes when CAC (the cost to acquire customers) exceeds LTV (the ability to monetize those customers. Another reason for stressing the point using diagrams is that many entrepreneurs have realized that since the web provides some amazing new ways to acquire customers at low cost, several new businesses have become possible. To be an entrepreneur requires great optimism, and a very strong belief in how much customers will love your product.
A common scenario is an entrepreneur that has dreamt up a cool new service that they can offer via the web. A quick look around all the B2C startups shows that, although viral growth is often hoped for, in reality it is extremely rare. Far more common is a need to acquire customers through a series of steps like SEO, SEM, PR, Social Marketing, direct sales, channel sales, etc.
For example, if you are using Google Ad Words to drive traffic to your site, take a look at the following interactive spreadsheet.
One of the more interesting things that this model shows is how rapidly cost of customer acquisition climbs If your leads require human touch to convert them, (compare cell B23 with cell B22.) This human touch can be as light as email follow ups, or as much as inside sales people doing multiple sales calls and demos.
This shows is that it is not unusual for the cost of acquiring a customer to be as high as $100,000. My advice to entrepreneurs working on a new business plan is to build a model similar to those above to estimate the cost of customer acquisition. Aim to recover your CAC in < 12 months, otherwise your business will require too much capital to grow. In the early days of the business, you will not be able to accurately predict your conversion rates, and the viability of your entire business may depend on this.
The good news is that if you can monetize your customers at a higher rate than the cost to acquire them, you probably have a great business on your hands.
Because a number of smart entrepreneurs realized the importance of lowering CAC, they created new business models such as Open Source, SaaS, Freemium, etc.
These new business models focused heavily on how buying behavior has changed because of the power of the web. Use of a free product or service to attract web visitors, and aim for a viral spread as they tell their friends. Use of a free trial, where the customer can easily download, or use a SaaS version of the full product to see if it works for them. Extensive use of software to automate all processes such as SEO, SEM, social networking, lead scoring, lead nurturing, CRM, etc.
Metrics on all aspects of the customer acquisition process to find out what can be improved. The way in which these techniques can work together with other techniques to drive up monetization (e.g. List the common sales objections that come up in the sales cycle, and provide answers to these on the web site. If your customers are going to compare you to the competition as part of their process, consider doing this for them, with a section of your site that has a comparison matrix with appropriate check marks.


If you have a light touch sales model, consider setting yourself the goal of a “Touchless Conversion”, i.e.
If you are currently using a field sales organization that sells direct, look at whether it is possible to sign up OEM deals with strategic partners to leverage their customer base and distribution power. Consider converting to a channel sales model at some stage in the lifecycle of the business. Another option is to evaluate whether you can move from field sales to inside sales people. If you are entrepreneur planning your next business, you can’t afford to ignore the cost of customer acquisition. It is also important to ask yourself the question: can my business realistically expect to acquire customers for considerably less than the amount that I can monetize them? Once you have completed the product, you will want to familiarize yourself with all the latest techniques involved in the low cost sales model, or Sales 2.0. From a funding standpoint, it is useful to know that your ability to raise capital will dramatically improve as soon as you have proven that you have a viable business model. Once you have proven out the business model, hit the accelerator pedal, and invest as much as you can afford. If you found this blog post useful, I highly recommend reading the following post which adds a lot of additional thinking around this topic: How Sales Complexity impacts your Startup’s Viability.
Hi Brad, you would take your annual subscription value and divide it by your annual churn rate.
You might want to do a separate LTV calculation for each of your two customer types, so you can better understand your business. For example, a business with three subscription levels may have different costs to acquire a customer for subscription A vs subscription B vs subscription C. I see potential value in doing this as it could surface helpful information when considering new subscription levels or modifying existing ones (ie.
But are they doing enough to optimize the mobile eCommerce experience of their websites, once users get there?According to Pew Internet 58% of Americans have smartphones, and 42% have tablets.
For the best display output use larger font sizes, simple page layouts, and be sure the most important information is placed above a€?the fold.a€? Keep in mind usersa€™ more limited bandwidth by minimizing unnecessary animation and videos. Site navigation should be simple and have few levels of sub-pages or steps that users have to move through to find items or make a purchase.
Some of the best landing pages have minimal images and include only a set of links to the rest of the shopping experience, much like a table of contents or sitemap.
After a user has searched the site and selected their purchases, it becomes even more important to facilitate a simple shopping cart and checkout experience. Instead, shoppers should be able to browse freely, but once theya€™ve decided to purchase, it should only require a few clicks.
With a responsive website design, a single version of a website auto-adjusts to fit different devices and screen sizes. A business budget helps you decide whether you can grow your business, give yourself a raise, purchase additional inventory and assets, and whether you may be able to avoid bankruptcy.
A startup cost analysis is an important part of a good business plan and can help you get things off the ground before you begin using a more detailed business budget. The categories are fairly comprehensive, but it is also easy to add, remove, and modify the categories. This is helpful for budgeting quarterly expenses and other business expenses that occur at specific times of the year. Columns are also included for calculating the Percentage of Total Sales for each product and the various expenses. Conditional formatting is used to highlight the Difference red if income is less than the budget amount or if business expenses are more than the budget.
If you want to perform a more detailed analysis for multiple products, you can insert additional rows and separate the sales and costs according to product, or you can use the bonus spreadsheet that is designed for performing a detailed analysis for multiple products. This helps you make a simple estimate of the income taxes, assuming all the Expenses are tax deductible.
However, this budget spreadsheet is mainly for comparing your operating income and expenses to make sure that in your normal business activities you are earning more than you are spending. The third part of the Social Media Organization Chart focuses on this critical conversion step. If you are actually selling items on your website, how easy is it to navigate the site, and buy the book, tool or service?
You’ll receive in-depth information on using this chart in your own small business to create a cohesive marketing strategy that brings in leads you can convert into real customers. We provide marketing strategy, web design, graphic design, inbound marketing, content development, email marketing and social media.
Gross Margin should take into consideration any support, installation, and servicing costs.
The goal is give the reader a sense of the balancing act required to create a profitable business. The only thing that you have to consider is can you monetize your customers at a higher level than the cost to acquire them. Unfortunately this same attribute can also lead entrepreneurs to believe that customers will beat a path to their door to purchase the product.
As a VC, I have sat through many presentations like this, and in most cases the service is actually interesting and compelling.
When it does happen, the associated businesses are usually extremely attractive, provided they have a way to monetize their customers.
This example shows a cost per click of 50 cents, and the resulting website visitors converting to a trial at the rate of 5%. I have seen this cost vary from around $400 to $5,000 per customer acquired, depending on the level of touch needed. So I recommend building an execution plan that focuses on finding out what these numbers will be as soon as possible in the lifecycle of the business.
Think about your own behavior: if you are like me, you hate having to deal with sales people, and greatly prefer to do your own research starting with search engines, and leveraging free trials, on-line videos, blogs, reviews, and your social network.
In particular, the best practices include using Inbound Marketing to build traffic, instead of paying for traffic with search ads.
Examples of free products include Open Source software, services like HubSpot’s Website Grader, free versions of a SaaS service that have limited, but still valuable, feature sets, etc.


Web traffic can be easily split so that parts are fed to different landing pages with different offers, and the resulting conversion rates measured. Some products are easily understood, while others may require a careful walk-through by a sales person.
The high salaries and commissions for sales people, sales engineers, travel costs, and office costs add up to an extraordinarily high figure. What generally works best here is allowing the OEM to sell only a base layer of your product with co-branding. Many times this requires that you “prime-the-pump”, as most resellers won’t sell a product until they see clear customer demand. Insides sales people are not only less expensive in direct salary costs, but also in travel costs. The earlier you work on this the better, as many of the best techniques require you to build your product differently. You’ll want to grow the business as fast as possible before a competitor realizes what you have done, and tries to steal your market! Given that your costs there are substantial, you might consider looking at the CAC for New Customers separately to the CAC for Expansion Revenue.
However, I’ve struggled with a valid way to attribute some acquisition costs to a specific subscription levels.
Google GoMoMeter offers a useful tool that analyzes mobile site design and makes it clear where design changes might be needed. Bigger buttons are also ideal to make it easier to click on the smaller displays of portable devices. Also, give customers a clear and easy path to get back to the websitea€™s home page, should they get disoriented and want to start over.
Adobea€™s 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey found that a€?[mobile] conversion rates are directly impacted by streamlined paths to purchasea€”conversion should occur within three touch events.a€? Simply put, dona€™t force users to click too many times to make a purchase. A careful study of these costs can help you determine pricing for your products, which products are more profitable, etc.
If you have any taxable expenses make sure to subtract those values from the Net Income Before Taxes before estimating your income tax budget. You would typically look at your Net Income to determine whether you will be able to expand your business, make large asset purchases, etc. Be sure you have a way to capture their contact information so you can follow up to discover why they did not complete the purchase.
Short weekly or monthly newsletters build familiarity and keep you top of mind till the prospect is ready to buy. However in all these articles, I have not seen any discussion about what I believe is the second biggest cause of startup failure: the cost of acquiring customers turns out to be higher than expected, and exceeds the ability to monetize those customers. Hopefully the value will become more obvious with the third version of the diagram that shows the different factors that affect the balance. This frequently causes them to grossly underestimate the cost it will take to acquire customers.
What shocks and surprises many first time entrepreneurs is just how high the numbers are for CAC using these kinds of techniques. Good numbers will enable you to raise funding easily, and bad numbers may indicate that this is not a viable business. For more on this topic, please refer to the Building a Sales and Marketing Machine part of this web site.
And this is before you factor in the failure rate (the percentage of sales people hired that don’t become productive). Channel sales models usually only work when the company commits to them fully, and passes all orders through the channel, so be prepared for the loss of margin this will represent to your current order flow. Other advantages of inside sales people is that they are far more efficient due to remaining in one location, and can contact more people in a typical workday. Given that it can be hard to exactly allocate expenses, I would recommend using your judgment and coming up a best guess as to how to allocated the expenses. Adding to this, in a comparison of conversion rates between desktops, smartphones, and tablets, Mobify reported that mobile conversion rates scored significantly lower - below 1% across industries.These figures suggest that retailers who hope to maximize their eCommerce sales should strive to make it easy for shoppers to access, navigate, and buy from their website using devices like smartphones and tablets. Be sure that the companya€™s name and contact information is displayed prominently a€“ and in the same place on every other page, too. What the sheet shows is that each customer is costing you $100 in just lead generation expense. Once others started to see the success these companies were having, they started copying the techniques.
With certain complex products, this will need an on-site installation by a sales engineer, which sends costs through the roof.
Owning the customer base is an important way to control your own destiny, and will also earn your company a higher valuation. At a minimum, look at combining inside sales with field sales to improve the efficiency of field sales people. There is a lot that you can learn about which of these products is most profitable, which need work to make them more profitable, etc. In fact, Google reported that 67% of customers are more apt to make purchases when the a site is mobile-friendly.So, what can online retailers do to create more user-friendly websites for devices?
Place the shopping cart and checkout buttons in a clearly visible spot at the top of each optimized page.
For many consumer facing web sites, it can be hard to get the consumer to pay more than $100 for the service. In addition to distribution power, these kinds of relationships solve the “safe choice” concern of many buyers, and can transform your business. Focus on the ease of the mobile home page Navigation from the home page should be easy, with a clear and simple layout. However, ShopVisiblea€™s 2013 year-in-review report found that mobile devices were responsible for 30% of website traffic but only 15% percent of online orders.



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