16 Questions To Grow Your Business Featuring 8-Figure Entrepreneur Noah Kagan

Growing your business is hard.

So, when I got the chance to talk to Noah Kagan about my business, I was pumped.

For 60 minutes, Noah asked me 16 questions I’ve never heard before.

For example my favorite question:

“If you had to bet your life on 1 growth opportunity, what would that be?”

Some questions help you grow your business, others help you gain focus.

Whatever the case:

One of these questions is going to change how you do business.

Let’s get into them!

Who is Noah Kagan?

Noah runs a bunch of businesses you’re probably familiar with (appsumo.com and sumo.com). He’s an 8-figure business-owner and his net worth is +$10,000,000. He’s also an author, runs an awesome YouTube-channel, and much much more. If you wanna know more about Noah, here’s his bio.

1. “If you had to bet your life on 1 growth opportunity, what would that be?”

This is my favorite question because there are so many mental models embedded in it.

It forces you to think 80/20, how to prioritize your resources, and where to focus.

You can grow in a million ways, but you might only need to do 1 thing?

What I did

For me, the answer was easy: Getting more organic visitors!

… and that’s exactly what we did.

We stopped our activities on Google Ads and Facebook.

Instead, we re-focused our efforts on SEO and content.

I would make that call again in a heartbeat.

What you can do

Ask yourself “if you had to bet your life on 1 growth opportunity, what would that be?”

Find your best answer.

Then go all-in on that for the next 6-12 months.

2. “If you were to compete against yourself today how would you do it?”

This question forces you to think about how you would disrupt yourself, and what to look out for.

What I did

Our niche (Microsoft Office) is huge.

To compete against me, I would make our content free and monetize via ads.

The revenue per visitor would be much lower, but might just be offset by the surge in demand (free is always in demand).

Based on the answer to this question, we’ve created 20 YouTube videos. Now, we’re monitoring how they perform and if it’s something we should go all-in on.

What you can do

How can you put yourself out of business?

Is this something you can explore in some way?

Try to put yourself out of business, or someone else might just do it.

Mikkel Sciegienny, Creator of MorningQuestions.com

3. “What role would you hire today that will dramatically change your business?”

To make this question even more effective, imagine that your best friend has a business similar to yours.

Who should he hire to grow his business?

What we did

Our WordPress sites were constantly not updated.

This was constant stress, so we found someone to do it for us.

A small hire, but worth every $.

What you can do

What’s your weak point?

Can you hire someone to do it for you?

4. “Breakdown by product line the revenue of your business. I’m looking for the 80/20 of revenue for your business?”

The 80/20 Principle states that a small amount of input (20%) results in the majority of your output (80%).

Easy to understand, hard to practice.

What we did

We had 2 products.

Product 1 did 80% of our revenue.

Product 2 did 10%.

Then a few smaller products (acting like upsells) did 10%.

Looking at how we spent our time, and money, it wasn’t on the product bringing in 80% of our revenue.

We would spend 30% of our resources on product 1 – and then 70% went to product 2 and the upsells. DOH!

One of Noah Kagan’s maxims is to “keep doing what works”– and that’s exactly what this question enables.

What to do:

What is bringing you the most $?

With this in mind, are you allocating your resources (time+money) in the right places?

5. “Describe how you make money to my grandmother.”

If you can explain what you’re doing to your grandmother, chances are everybody can understand it.

What we did:

My answer was “we teach people things on the internet”.

Not very sexy, but clear.

I’ve since used this approach many times in email copy, on landing pages, and in USPs.

For instance, this site’s USP is “Questions to Improve Your Life and Business”. Nothing fancy, just simple.

What you can do:

What’s the simplest explanation of what you do?

Tell people that!

Clear > clever.

Mikkel Sciegienny

6. “Why does someone buy from you?”

Try thinking of the customer’s motivation to buy from you.

Or better yet, ask them!

What I did

When people buy from us, we send them a simple survey.

One of the survey questions is “What made you pick Spreasheeto?”

+90% answer they purchased from us because our free training was awesome.

So, we now make sure to keep the free training updated, awesome, and we promote it anywhere we can.

What you can do

Do you know why customers buy from you?

Yes? Then make sure that decision is even easier to reach.

No? Go ask your customers right away.

7. “Who’s the exact person that buys from you?”

Knowing who’s purchasing your products, makes everything easier.

You can align your marketing, products, and communication towards reaching that person.

What we did

We’ve always had a problem with defining our customers.

We sell Excel courses. We have everything from students to business owners, to financial analysts and teachers.

The most specific we can get is: She’s from the US. She wants to learn Excel to work better and faster. She might be new to her job or wants a new job where having Excel-skills is a requirement.

My answer is far from optimal and something I should go back and research more.

What you can do

Do you have a typical customer?

Can you tweak something (website/product/marketing) that speaks to this customer even better?

8. “How can you leverage your existing customer and business for growth?”

You’re spending all day chasing new customers.

That’s great, but what can you offer your existing customers?

When someone has purchased from you, make it easy for them to purchase again.

What I did

This question showed how little effort we were spending to make customers purchase from us again.

For instance, when someone purchased from us we would offer them 3 upsells.

Whether they’d purchase them or not, there was no way for that customer to get a second-chance of purchasing those products.

So, we created a simple product overview where customers can buy all our products (and it took 15 minutes).

What you can do

What other products can you offer to your customers?

Are you making it easy for your customers to check out your other products?

Acquiring a customer can be 5-times more expensive than retaining one (*). Treat your customers for what they really are: special.

Mikkel Sciegienny

9. “What is your clear numerical goal for this year?”

Having a goal helps you align your activities.

What I did

I’ve always practiced having clear, numerical, goals.

With a clear goal (what), your how becomes clearer.

We’re aiming at 10% growth a year. With this in mind, we align our activities and money.

What you can do:

What’s your revenue target for the next 12 months?

If revenue isn’t your focus, what’s another metric you can use? Visitors, emails, sign-ups?

Establish your goal and make sure to revisit it at least once every 3 months. That way you’ll stay on track and see how you progress.

10. “If you got hit by a bus how would the company be in the next 30 days?”

This question is a great stress test of whether you’re running a business, or if the business is running you.

What I did:

Here’s my exact answer to Noah:

My activities are pretty automated, so not much would happen really. Kasper (my partner) would be a bit busier answering emails – and weeping. So, the company would continue to grow really.

What you can do:

What systems can you put in place, so that your business can run without you? Think people + software.

Running a service-based business? Look into productized services and SOPs.

Mikkel Sciegienny

11. “What’s an untapped marketing channel where your potential customers are hanging out that you can actively control?”

If you’ve already maximized your return on one channel, this question helps you to think about 2 things:

1: where your customers are hanging out

2: where there’s low competition

What I did:

I’ve focused all our efforts on SEO.

If I were to pick a new channel, YouTube would be my answer.

Why haven’t we pursued this yet? Because there’s still much more to gain from SEO.

What you can do:

Are your marketing efforts diminishing?

What other channels can you use to reach your customer?

12. “How much time do you spend looking for great people to work with?”

Great people know other great people.

What I did

This question forced a mindset shift for me.

Previously when I was hiring, I was thinking “I can do this job 8/10. If I can find someone to do it 6/10 I guess that’d be great”…

… WRONG!

Instead, start looking for someone who can do the job 9/10 or 10/10!

So, we hired a CRO-expert to optimize our front page. And guess what? He did MUCH better than me (+5% net conversion rate!).

What you can do:

When you’re hiring/outsourcing, are you aiming up or down?

13. “How much time do you spend discussing business with people who have larger companies than yourself?”

Me on a call with Jack Butcher of Visualize Value (7-figure business)

People with larger companies than you, have been where you are.

Chances are, their guess on where to go, and what to is, is better than yours.

What I did

This question hit me hard.

I listen to business podcasts, read books, and watch talks, but I very rarely discuss my business with other people running larger companies.

I still haven’t fixed this to the extent I should.

And that’s one of my motivations for starting this blog, to meet awesome business owners.

So if you’re running a business, say hi!

What you can do:

If you could go back 3 years and give yourself advice, would you be better off today?

For me, that’s a “YES!”. Finding a mentor and someone more experienced than you can lead to much better results.

Are you spending too little time discussing business with others? Come say hi!

Mikkel Sciegienny

14. “What belief have you said you will not do that maybe you should consider?”

Noah further elaborates “For example, many people say they never ever will do paid marketing.”

What I did:

For me, the answer was clear: hiring.

I had a very strong belief that people = headaches.

However, I was also doing tasks that I shouldn’t be doing. Tasks that other people could do better (and cheaper) than me.

Hiring full-time employees would be too much of a leap, so instead, I started hiring people for very specific jobs.

For instance, we have 1 awesome guy writing articles for us.

Another updates our WordPress.

A third edit our courses.

This has been a gamechanger for us (and almost no headaches!).

Hiring ad hoc, for smaller tasks, has been a great way to break down this false belief that I shouldn’t hire.

What you can do

Got a belief you think is 100% right?

Great, now imagine a person you dislike making a case for that belief.

How would you argue against you him?

We’re often irrationally consistent, so make sure to revisit your beliefs often. As circumstances changes, so should your beliefs.

Mikkel Sciegienny

15. “What activities in your business can you double, triple, or 10x down today?”

Keep doing what works until it doesn’t.

Once again, it’s so obvious – but rarely practiced.

If you’re like me, you’re “suffering” from shiny object syndrome. As soon as you’ve started something, you want to start the next thing.

However, I’ve come to realize that things rarely pay off without a proper amount of effort.

So, instead of running to the next great thing, I ask myself what I can work more on to improve my businesses.

What we did:

I determined we could do 2 things:

1: Create more products (flagship products and upsells)

2: Re-focus our efforts on content and SEO.

Since then, we’ve launched a bunch of courses and upsells and published tons of articles (increasing traffic by at least +150,000 visitors/month for one of the businesses).

What you can do:

What have you been doing that’s been working?

Can you do more of it?

16. “What things can you STOP / KILL / CUT today?”

Tim Ferriss asks a similar question “What if I could only subtract to solve my problems?” (*)

We’re often too focused on adding instead of removing.

Ultimately, this makes things more complex than they need to be.

What I did:

We were running 2 businesses (and still do).

One of the business wasn’t doing as well as the other. But we were spending our time on the business that performed the worst.

This question made me stop working on the worst-performing business for 3 months – and then allocate all resources to the business that was doing the best.

Then I’d come back and look at things again.

Another example is, we’ve experimented with outbound sales for 3 months (cold emailing)…

… and it hasn’t worked at all!

We’ve tested our messaging, changed target groups, etc. But nothing works.. so, we simply stopped doing it! 🙂

What you can do:

What can you remove to make things simpler, easier, and clearer? Try doing that! You can always revert.

What’s left is typically better.

Everything you add dilutes. To improve, you need to remove.

Mikkel Sciegienny

Did you enjoy the questions?

Did you enjoy Noah’s questions?

If so, I have 2 asks!

1: Please send this article to anyone you think it’d be helpful for.

2: Go sign up for my newsletter. Here I send you questions (like Noah’s) that help you improve your life and business.

I’m always looking to connect to cool people. Feel free to introduce yourself here!

Mikkel Sciegienny