One of the core skills of entrepreneurship is solving challenges at the right level.

Imagine a ruler, standing on end and driven through the conceptual blob of your business. At the top of the ruler, near the 12″ mark, you have a band of strategic challenges. In the middle, at 6″, you have a band of tactical challenges. At the bottom, at 1″ you have technical challenges.

As an entrepreneur, you need to know where on that ruler is best to deploy solutions.

On Tuesday, I was reviewing PPC results from July for a campaign we’re running. I thought that we needed about 5x as many leads as we were getting for one of our offers.

Upon investigation, I noticed that we were getting a bunch of non-user visits. They were instant bounces with 0 seconds recorded. They were eating up our daily ad budget as they were 3:1 to real users.

I also noticed that we could improve the headline, the offer itself, and how we responded to the offer.

I lined out some work:

  • Test headlines (technical)
  • Figure out fake users (technical/tactical)
  • Test offer tweaks (technical)
  • Improve response flow (technical)

The challenge we all face is that we have limited resources: time, energy, attention, cash. In a world with four Johns, I could go off and work on all these challenges simultaneously (fortunately for humanity, there’s only one of me.)

As I thought about it, I realized that any fixes to the page itself were downstream of the fake user issue. Meaning, their effectiveness is completely dependent on the number of actual users landing on the page. If we needed 5x leads, we could get 3x just by fixing the fake user issue. Additionally, we could probably just increase ad spend to make up the difference.

On our ruler, the page fixes are at 2″ and the ad fixes and increased spend at 3″.
Somewhere a little higher up, at the 5″ mark, is the tactic I used- which was to call my PPC ad agency and set up a meeting so that I could delegate these tasks to them.

Most of the time, your leverage is in how high up the ruler you can solve problems. E.g. if I didn’t have a PPC ad agency, I might first evaluate the tactics of outsourcing versus doing the the work myself. Strategically, if we had other channels that were easier to improve than PPC, I might ignore the issues and work on those channels first.

If you were to grade the most important tasks in front of you, where are they on that ruler?

What’s the impact to growth versus working on higher level issues?

Featured image is the oldest measuring rod in existence, c. 2650 BCE, an ancient Sumerian copper bar discovered in Iraq. By Ana al’ain – Own work, used under CC BY-SA 3.0