CASE STUDY

Funnel Empire

One of the most encouraging and inspiring things I see in the entrepreneurs and small businesses I coach is their growth, both personally and professionally. 


I first ran into Chris Murphy from Funnel Empire at a now defunct Mastermind online event aimed at helping to improve the mindset and leadership skills of the business owners in attendance.


As you do at these events, I got a chance to network with other attendees (albeit online) and that's where I first connected with Chris. Given he was at the event, I already knew that he was open to ideas and differing viewpoints on how to grow as a person (not that I was going in for the hard sell). 


Our conversation revolved around explaining what each other did. In short, Chris had co-founded a small business focused on building sales funnels to enable their customers to generate new leads online. He mentioned that while his business was working, transitioning from a small operation to an agency was proving to be challenging. 


As our chat progressed, we soon discovered we had a mutual business contact who we both highly respect. 


As happens, we carried on networking with other people and I didn't think too much more about my conversation with Chris. 


At some point though I must have mentioned my chance encounter with Chris to our mutual connection because he literally called us both and strongly suggested we work together. 


Soon after, Chris and I were in contact again and that’s when I realised he needed help. 

Business growth can result in problems 


Having gone through it before, nobody knows the pain of building a business by yourself. Everything revolves around and relies on you (or you and your co-founder). 


But then after litres of blood, sweat and tears (and plenty of resilience), it’s so rewarding to see your idea turn into a business that’s building its customer base and making money. 


However, this is often where the real problems start. And that’s where Chris found himself. 


The idea of creating amazing sales funnels was solid and the talent behind both co-founders even stronger having won two ClickFunnels awards, but stepping out of working in a silo and into a more agency-style operation was difficult for Funnel Empire. 


“We knew we had to start working in a more scalable way. While we were getting results for the customers we worked with, there were bottlenecks behind the scenes and it wasn’t sustainable,” says Chris. 


The co-founders could tell that things weren’t working as seamlessly as possible but they had no idea what needed to change and, more importantly, how to change it. 


Given our introduction to each other at The Mastermind event, Chris felt comfortable talking to me about his concerns later on. As I do in these situations, I like to ask questions that provide me with a holistic view of the entire business landscape, not just focus on the most pressing issue. Through experience, I’ve found that the immediate concern often stems from other problems that need to be corrected. 


That’s what I saw in Funnel Empire. Not only did I find a lack of understanding on how to move to an agency model, but I also identified some scale-stopping issues:


  • Lack of direction: Both co-founders, being new to running a small business, weren’t armed with the skills and mindset needed to keep Funnel Empire targeted towards what it wanted (or needed) to achieve.
  • Limited capacity to take on new work: When you get results, others want to work with you and that was the case of Funnel Empire. But with no processes or procedures in place, there was no formalised way on how the co-founders and their staff would manage a project. 
  • Founder friction: Unfortunately, this is not uncommon and goes back to direction. In business, some people want to go large while others want business to support the lifestyle they want. 


“It’s hard to hear but Tristan solidified the problems we were facing based on what I told him and what he observed in dealing with us. He was direct and concise but supportive in what he said. I knew he would be able to help”, Chris says. 

Making a small business Empire, functional 

So here’s the kicker: if you’re working with a co-founder in business you both need to be on the same page, otherwise it will tear down what could be a hugely successful and fulfilling business. That means right for the outset both parties need to be working towards the same goal (or direction). 


In small business, lack of direction is a curse and impedes progress and ultimately stunts motivation. If you’re working with somebody who has a competing direction, it signals one of two things:


  • You need to work together to redefine (or set) a new direction: or
  • You need to agree to part ways amicably. 


I spoke about this with both founders of Funnel Empire and really got them to focus on what they want out of business. It led to some very searching questions but to their credit, these conversations never turned nasty - both had respect for each other and it was refreshing to see. 


“To me, Tristan’s role as a business coach is not to tell us what to do but to give us the tools and impartiality to come to realisations ourselves and make rational decisions based on what we’ve learnt”, says Chris.   


Lack of direction affects everything in business and limits how to manage your staff and work with your customers. In this case, the two competing directions were scaling hard and taking on work sustainability. 


That meant that while Funnel Empire was getting massive results for their customers, it was done so by using hope as a strategy. I was able to work with both co-founders to create onboarding procedures, workflow systems, and team management initiatives, and help both leaders lead their team with confidence and allow their staff to be less reliant on them and more reliant on the process. 


Systemising a small business in this way is what primes it for growth and enables it to take on more customers and keeps the workforce delivering for those paying for its services. 

An almighty business transformation 


Over the course of six to seven months, I was able to work with Funnel Empire to give them a solid footing to grow their small business, boost the results they got for their customers and build a team of inspired and talented people (I even helped identify and secure  new staff members).   


But sometimes change is required. 


The differing directions of the co-founders led to a situation that both felt needed a circuit-breaker. Funnel Empire was split 50/50 and each co-founder would take their agreed share and work towards their individual visions. 


It’s not the happiest of tasks, but I was able to meditate throughout this business break-up. 

Since this time, Chris has gone on to start the award-winning agency Lead Republic, who partners with growing businesses to create predictable and scalable digital marketing campaigns using high-performance funnels. 


Now Chris’ destiny is in his own hands and he’s working towards a direction that suits him. The change in his demeanour is vast: gone is the stress and frustrations he experienced in his previous role, instead Lead Republic is run by a positive, happy and driven man. 


“I’m in a great place and working towards achieving my purpose. I would never have guessed this is what would happen but with Tristan’s guidance, I knew it would be the right thing for me”,


“Tristan is a phenomenal person to have in your corner. He has your best interest at heart and offers unbiased, practical advice and will support and encourage you no matter what”, says Chris.  







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