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“With a sales funnel, you’re often kind of winding a person up by adding more and more costs to something quite similar that they are wanting to buy whereas [with a sales net] it’s a different angle. We’re giving them loads of other stuff that they might find useful and they might not have thought of, so all of them are are complementary and they also all get traffic from different places.”
– Sam, on the benefits of having a sales net over a sales funnel

An alternative to the sales funnel. A spider web of businesses that cover your whole niche. 


Resources Mentioned In This Episode Of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast:

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00:28 – Sales funnel vs. sales net
03:27 – Sam’s table tennis example
07:50 – How multiple products enhance credibility
11:36 – Applying a sales net to Pipehouse Gin
16:41 – Setting up a consultancy around gin
20:30 – Actionable ideas from the podcast


S: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestly and as always we’re joined by my lovely wife Emma
E: hello
S: today we’ve got a topic that I find pretty interesting and I think is unique I don’t really think I’ve heard other people talk about it but it’s something I like to apply to my businesses and is a slightly different way of thinking about things so maybe you’ll find it helpful you often hear about sales funnels that’s a very popular concept in business yeah where the idea is once you get someone into your funnel they kind of trapped and you keep kind of upselling them and yeah getting more and more value out of them as it goes along with the funnel the idea is you got one entry point and then once they’re in there it’s just ongoing I don’t really like that my preferred method is this idea of a sales net and the idea of a net think like a spider’s web where people can enter from any point like there’s loads of different angles that they can get to it so what do I mean by that well I’m talking about building multiple independent businesses within the same niche they’re all complementary all right that is a bit wishy-washy it’s hard to visualize so what would plan do for this episode give you an example of how I’ve done this in a niche before in some of the businesses around that and then talk about how we can expand a current business that we’re both working on with this concept
E: sounds good
S: awesome what do I mean by multiple businesses what do I mean by multiple business I actually mean completely independent businesses they don’t need to be linked I’m not talking about having your main business and then trying to do adding a little section on the website called blog I’m talking about creating a whole new magazine or home blog that’s independent but is also complementary also slightly linked
E: yeah like a different product
S: a different business yeah and it’s something that has only really been possible quite recently because creating lots of different businesses used to have huge barriers of entry to each one so for instance let’s say you’re a chef at a restaurant to then go and release a cookbook was quite a big step
E: yes
S: they’re kind of two different businesses but in order to release that cookbook you probably had to be found by a publisher they have to give you an idea you have to find a ghost writer or something it would cost quite a lot of money someone needs to be invested in you so
E: a huge investment in time
S: to create a cookbook whereas nowadays with self-publishing and things like that you could go create your own cookbook even if you’re just a home cook yeah and likewise if you make running shoes for a living well that is one thing and then maybe building like a Center for coaching people you know if you’re Nike you can do that but if you’re just a small business creating your running shoes then the idea of having an excellent center for for people to learn at is a huge step yeah whereas now you got this idea of online courses and people be able to learn stuff online and where they’re actually quite easy to build
E: yeah it’s much more accessible
S: it’s much more accessible yes so without too much work you know one person or a small team like us can go and build a few different businesses that are each businesses in their own right
E: sounds good
S: that’s a bit abstract let’s talk about it in with the example of my biggest business which is in table tennis so between me and my business partner we have lots of different brands lots of different businesses around table tennis that are all complementary they’re all completely different and they don’t cannibalize each other so it’s not like a sale to one would mean we’re losing a sale to another yep let me run through the different businesses we have around table tennis so we got table tennis bats we got Eastfield Sporting Goods and Palio table tennis which are the two brands to do with sporting goods then we’ve also got table tennis University which is an online course where you pay a certain amount of money and you get video courses on how to play table tennis that’s one of Ben’s businesses yeah I’m not involved in that but it’s in the table tennis universe yeah but isn’t at all to do a table tennis equipment yeah we’ve also got a blog expert table tennis blog we’ve also got a podcast expert table tennis podcast we got a YouTube channel expert in a year you where we had my um my video there’s now ten million views and a lot of other videos around that are about my career learning to play table tennis we also got a book the expert in a year the ultimate table tennis challenge book all quite separate businesses and all of which make money and are profitable in their own right so how do they link well the idea is say in the book I’ll be talking about kind of the equipment I use for instance and then I’ll have a link in there to the equipment we use for sporting goodson the YouTube channel when you watch say me play table tennis every day for a year at the bottom there’ll be a load of links to you know by the bat that Sam used or we turn this into a book read the book which I link to Amazon or wherever it is you can buy those products that’s called selling but they’re all complementary so the idea is that rather than with a sales funnel you’re often kind of winding a person up by adding more and more costs to something quite similar that they are wanting to buy yeah so let’s whereas with this it’s a different angle we’re giving them loads of other stuff that they might find useful and they might not have thought of yeah so all of them are are complementary and they also all get traffic from different places so the idea is that people might access this net from different places whereas for instance if we were just selling table tennis bats we might only have one two routes which could be someone may be searching for it on Google or table tennis bat on Amazon whereas with the other stuff there’s other routes to it so for instance with the blog they might have written a blog post about something to do at table tennis you know how do you do a really good for hand strike or something like that someone might read that they might let me interest in the blog maybe sign up to his email list and get information about the other stuff that’s going on
E: yeah they might be interested in online course
S: yeah they might have never even thought of an online course but because they got entered into the net at a point they were interested in, now they have all these other opportunities and likewise someone might be looking for a book as a present for their nephew a table tennis book our book comes up he buys that. Nephew then reads it now nephew might be interested in our equipment also the idea of learning through videos or self-improvement in table tennis and they might go off and read more resources on the blog that kind of thing
E: do you think for someone who has never heard of you before it makes you look more credible that you have lots of different products and services to offer and your brand names so I don’t know if someone could find a table tennis bat and then they might find a link to your book and in the book they might find a link to the blog and then might find a link to their online course do you think that makes you look more professional and credible as a business
S: yeah definitely that’s something you can use as a USP yeah as a selling point and it’s something I’m gonna I think is true for this business for this niche is going to be even more true when we talk about how we could potentially implement this into Pipehouse Gin into our gin business yeah okay before we move on, let me quickly talk about a route that someone might go in and how they each earn money so for instance we have this popular video guy plays table tennis every day for a year that’s had millions of views
E: that guy is you
S: that guy is me yes so people go on to they might find that it might be on reddit or something piques their interest they click on that and they watch it when you will earn a little bit of money just from them watching it through the ad revenue on YouTube they then want to hear more about the story and there’ll be a link now to the book so by buying that book we’ve also earned a little bit about revenue they go to Amazon where we self-published book we did it all ourselves they might buy that or they might buy the audiobook that we have recorded ourselves as well from audible and we then earn a little bit of money then while reading the book they might learn or want to get into it themselves and want to buy a table tennis bat yeah well I don’t know whatI might as well buy the same one that Sam was using that he talks up and then they might go and buy that table tennis bat and then we earn a bit of revenue from that as well after this they started to play a little bit and want to get a little bit better with the kind of instruction manual that comes with the bat they might hear about these sort of free course this table tennis University thing online they can go on to watch a few videos they start to get better and better and then maybe they eventually go and buy a course that costs a bit of money so by that one entrance by someone watching this random video on reddit they might end up buying a bunch of different products from different businesses alright now let’s talk about how we can implement this into a business that we’re running at the moment
E: exciting
S: and where we haven’t actually done that
E: or talked about it
S: or talked about it in fact is the first time you’ve heard about this isn’t it
E: yes
S: I try to surprise Emma with my subjects so you get her actual reactions
E: Which Sam loves but can be quite stressful for me
S: yeah yeah because otherwise you know I might you might say your best lines or your ask your questions before we start
E: yeah apparently
S: so Pipehouse Gin is our craft gin business where we currently have one flavor out we’ve got an Earl Grey and cucumber gin and we’re in the process of releasing another one so far that is all it is being made, gin, yeah now how can we expand that business well we could create more and more flavors we could create higher quality ones and have a really premium product a really rare limited edition oak barrel aged gin that we sell for 1,000 pounds yeah we could create new products we create glass goblets stuff like that that people can buy as well
E: gift sets yeah
S: or we can do this route of building a sales net where we start completely unrelated businesses that hopefully will be complementary businesses that will stand up in their own right but will also help grow Pipehouse Gin
E: yeah linked together
S: yeah all linked together and this is something where I feel the credibility that we’re talking about works quite well because let’s say we wanted to start an online blog or a magazine about gin and people say who are you to write about gin well we’re actually we make ourselves well yeah we’re the founders of Pipehouse Gin or let’s say we wrote a recipe book of gin cocktails self published it on Amazon billion why what do you know much in why you writing his cocktail book well actually is brought to you by pipehouse gin a craft gin business so I’ve written down a couple of ideas we got yeah an online blog or a magazine that seems to be quite obvious straightforward one yeah I think a recipe book as well that’s quite straightforward it’s the sort of thing where there’s so many gins available to buy and that might be quite difficult to stand up in a crowd but there might not be that many gin cocktail recipe books and so we might be able to rank higher for a recipe book than we could do for our actual gin and then once they’ve read the recipe book that could end link to the gin yeah so it could be like a sideways entrance to get in front of people who we otherwise might not be able to also put down here subscription boxes which are very popular at the moment there’s lots of stuff you could do what that that give us a chance to work with other gin brands as well yeah I’ve also put down here a video series I think YouTube is getting more and more popular there’s loads of things you could do there with a video series or making gin and how you can do it at home we can do cocktail making or we could even do you know unrelated comedy sketches type things to do with gin
E: silly things
S: silly things you know we can do events we could do gin master classes both on making it or just drinking it we can like do pop-up bars we can do gin tasting all that kind of stuff and again in credibility who are you well I am Sam Priestly from Pipehouse Gin do you have any ideas
E: Putting me on the spot here I wonder if there’s any other products that aren’t necessarily to do with drinking the gin not sure some sort of like garnishes kit with tonics it’s not necessarily just a glass something where it’s like a ready to drink yeah
S: well definitely on the product side and there’s probably things that can be done and there’s the sort of thing where maybe we wouldn’t want to sort of muddy the Pipehouse Gin brand by also having a botanical brand yeah I thought it could be a separate business yeah that aren’t directly linked on the same brand but do sort of transfer sales between each other so the difference is we could have a business where we sell kind of the botanical kits for people to make gin themselves yeah something like completely different but then kind of linked to gin as well so for gin hobbyists to use or even a business-to-business one
E: I think one of the things that we haven’t doesn’t relate directly but something we haven’t really had much experience in yet is selling internationally and maybe some of the deals that we make this is something where we’re looking to do at the moment and finding the right partners and maybe those partners will have a different way of approaching selling to bars and restaurants I’m just throwing out there is we don’t know yet but
S: well this is something I’ve been thinking about is that we’ve been struggling to get in with distributors so why don’t we set up our own distributor
E: yep that’s a good point
S: maybe not locally but I think definitely as like an import/export alcohol business yeah we could probably find lots of other people in our shoes who are struggling you know they don’t know how to sell their stuff internationally how to do all the duties and so far that we could probably work out all of that find some duty suspended warehouses and shipping companies who specialized in alcohol and then you know effectively sell that as a service to a lot of other small gin brands as well as doing it ourselves
E: yeah that sounds really good I mean we’ve been approached by someone in Europe who basically does that and so it’d be interesting to see if we do work with them what their model is and whether we could replicate that ourselves in the UK with purely English gins to see if they’re looking for gins around the world
S: yeah but yeah that might be quite interesting and there are there are a few brands that we know of who have either come from the distribution angle and then create their own brands separately or the other way around so had a brand to begin with and then created a distribution channel yeah so we got stuff like is it Imperium Emporio brand or whatever the ones who owned Mayfield
E: yeah yeah I can’t remember exactly how you pronounce it
S: but yeah that’s two complementary businesses aren’t really linked but you know the kind of are they like they both help each other the other angle of course is the idea of you know consultancy you know helping people set up their brand yeah that’s a good idea to even the contract distilling type stuff
E: well yeah I mean even the recommendations of each stage like choosing your company that makes your labels to glassware to which platform to build your website on all that kind of stuff from a consulting point of view and also troubleshooting
S: yeah I mean it’s something that by having on my website that guide on how to start a gin business I end up getting contacted a lot by the people who are really into gin for one yeah so our target market already yeah and have only found me because they want to start their own gin business or make their own gin and then all those people then going off and buying a bottle of our gin as well
E: yeah definitely works both ways yeah and can you go and monetize that even more by offering them a consulting service
S: exactly yeah could we do consulting for them could we do you know maybe find a few different distilleries around who we’re set up with and we got kind of all the intellectual property stuff sorted and yeah you know we know that we ought to make two hundred fifty bottles for someone and then do that as a service so we’d be like the one point of entry for someone that wants to start their own gin business we’d consult them on a recipe or that kind of stuff and we then have the outsourcing partners who we could have affiliate deals and then we can hook them up with straight away that’s the problem that a lot of people have is they can’t they really they’re really struggling to find people to work with yeah so by having us in the middle it works both for the distillers and for the people coming in from the distillers point of view we are effectively vetting everybody beforehand everyone who’s coming from us to them is committed enough to have paid a certain amount of money so they get rid of all this kind of time wasted and then from the people coming in we’re like the easy point of access
E: yeah that’s really good another way of looking at that it could be doing an online course so videos like a more in-depth version of what you’ve got on the blog kind of thing
S: yeah yeah because currently the stuff we’ve got about starting a gin business is is very much as like as a side thing to do my general blog which is about all sorts of stuff so is there something we could do where that becomes a front and center of a new business
E: yeah and then if it was say on an educational video people would pay for that content
S: they say in a gold rush you know the person who makes money is the one who sells the shuttles or the pickaxes or whatever it is not the people actually searching for gold miners maybe the same is true for gin
E: I have never heard that
S: I probably butchered it is meant to be a lot more poetic how it’s meant to be said there’s loads of things so we’ve got quite a few ideas has anything we’ve talked about really jumped out of you like a good idea because certain things like you know I’m thinking about how do we get one of these ideas to market so if we wanted to have an import/export business for gin what would be the steps to set that up and how do we do that without too much capital investment at too much risk on our behalf I’ve got ideas for that whereas something like doing a recipe book of gin cocktails is so much easier than that I’ve published books before I know the process is that something that’s worth doing
E: yeah I think there is a lot of competition on the market I think books about gin anything about them whether it’s cocktails or the history of gin or whatever are really popular at the moment this is quite a saturated market so you’d have to find an angle that was really relevant so it could be off the top of my head low sugar cocktails I think would go down very well at the moment or low alcohol is the other trend which doesn’t necessarily fit well the low sugar fits our brand but not necessarily the low alcohol
S: I mean something like a low sugar gin cocktail recipe book you know you’re hitting a lot of keywords it’s probably unique they might not be anything like it it’s probably quite quick to produce and get to market
E: yeah
S: that’s a skeptical look you’re giving me
E: yeah I mean coming up with the recipes would be quite a challenge for us as none of us have a mixology background I mean I’ve obviously got loads of ideas because I love food and drink and recipes and I’d love to have my own cookbook but yeah the practicalities around it I think are quite difficult and the testing as well, we’d have to have a lot of people testing the recipes
S: that’s a hard life isn’t it awesome well hopefully this has sparked your creativity a little bit hopefully we might come up with an idea or two but chances are nothing we spoke about today we’ll actually end up doing but what hopefully what our conversation will do is you know spark that bit of creativity I find that anytime you sort of sit down and try to come up with ideas for things you can do to improve your business and grow it is time well spent even if none of those ideas ever actually come to fruition
E: yeah it’s getting yourself in that mindset isn’t it and and also it’s quite structured but also quite open
S: yes for sure all right well thanks for listening I said I hope you found that useful and I’m gonna be doing another question and answer podcast pretty soon if you want to get involved in that and ask me any questions just email me at hello at Sam Priestley dot com I’ve put up the show notes now for all episodes you can find them on Sam Priestley dot com as well there’s a little tab or a top that says podcasts and that’s got kind of everything we talked about and links to sort of relevant articles to do the topic at hand this topic about sales nets is something I have written about before so
E: I thought you had
S: yeah a few years back yeah so I’ll put a link to it in in the blog post into the show notes as well yep and as always if you have any feedback let me know adios