Bucky Fuller said: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
I have spent decades fighting existing reality. I am sure you have too. What do I mean?
How long have you been “doing battle” with things already in existence? Like storing too much fat on your belly or butt? Or having a bank balance that is too small? Or my sales are too low…
In past posts I have spoken about “choosing to struggle” – and in simple terms this is explained by my learning to swim process. When I swam I tensed every muscle, I strained every nerve and concentrated on every part of my body. Naturally I was exhausted after about 15 seconds, and then tended to gasp and sink.
After a few decades of struggle I concluded that something was wrong with my process. The answer was not to try harder or for longer. It was the opposite. I experimented with doing nothing but ‘relaxing’ and the water. Just lay there, being calm. Not try at all. I could have used a modelling strategy – you know – had lessons? But no. I was addicted to “figuring things out” – a strategy which still both rewards and punishes me.
After some floating – I found that I could make movements without tensing every muscle. Eventually that led me to realising that the key to swimming is reducing resistance in the water. Splashing is waste. And now I can swim and remain relaxed and move well through the water. So – it was when I stopped doing the things that did not work or help that I benefitted. I made the old model obsolete.
The process was to discover the process and then strategically evolve it for a clear purpose. And to enjoy the experiences as much as you can. Does that sound like your business? Your health? Or are you “working” to retain the resistance and no-purpose tension? And yes – it is like an onion (tastes great when properly cooked!)
Do we “break” habits?
No. We either replace them or disconnect them.
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Education has the greatest leverage. Investment in learning is the most efficient way to change our lives and the world (for the better).
People choosing to invest in solar panels, inverters, storage and so on have a few fundamental things to understand before they can make a prudent decision. Because of the nature of the industry, you cannot always rely on the commission based sales people.
When purchasing anything – there are basically two groups. Those who believe they ARE ready to buy, and those who are GETTING READY. Sometimes those who believe they are ready – are just kidding themselves and would benefit from more of the actions that the GETTING READY crew take.
We will go into the significance of this for all business owners in a later post – because it can be the basis of making your entire marketing program 5 to 10 times more effective. In a nutshell:
“If you attempt to use NOW READY tactics on people who are only GETTING READY your conversion rate will be dismal.”
The example of this solar power company (who I recommend personally as being the most knowledgeable for the info you need, and trustworthy in terms of the value they deliver with solar power systems and storage) is that they know that it is different strokes for different levels of readiness. I love their course – it made my transition from GETTING READY to NOW READY short and enjoyable.
You will have heard the term “Cannot see the forest for the trees”.
For me, this means that it is very difficult to see the detail when looking at the big picture. And, it is very difficult to see the big picture when closely studying the detail.
Many business owners I meet are amazed with this simply analogy is applied to marketing and growth.
Consider – you have a brilliant strategy – you have nailed the big picture. It is clear and you can see precisely how the segments all fit together. You are ready to ROCK!
And then comes time to take action. The details that were not so clear in the big picture are not clear. What EXACTLY will our adverts say? When EXACTLY will we schedule our radio ads, or adwords spends or webinars or TV or ReLaunching Celebration?
We enter a state of marketing hell.
The other variation – which may be more common in our part of the world – is that we get deeply entranced in the DETAIL, without having the big picture even partially outlined.
This is where we organize the channels (media like radio, web, adwords, TV, press, instore colour schemes, and even the artwork on our vehicles – BEFORE we have established the VALUE content that is the message that will educate and attract our targeted groups.
There is a clear order in making your marketing work for you. And the biggest mistake made here in Townsville, or in any part of the world – is NOT getting the powerful content that will attract and retain your leads generated FIRST!
And then you can use this information while considering your ideal prospects – to choose the most potent, most predictable, most profitable methods to get that message out (ie the “media”).
A summary version of your Marketing Message might be your “elevator pitch”. Some people ignore this concept because they believe it is only of use in “networking” – and they don’t “do” networking so avoid the powerful thinking needed to create this tool.
The reality is that this tool is a short version of your marketing message. And it needs to be applied consistently to ALL your marketing efforts. Your website, for example, is lame and ineffective if you do not communicate your marekting message clearly.
For 99% of the sites I see in Townsville, you could easily just swap the names and contact details for you and your closest competition – and no one would even notice, not even YOUR team…
In the coming month, I am launching a new Marketing Business Development Course designed to first educate you on exactly WHAT to do, and guides you to take simple, step by step actions that gets that done for your business.
If is perfectly designed for businesses who have room for growth – who could double, triple or 10x their revenue without having to turn off the leads tap so they can build new systems so they can “keep up”.
You know that in business, the constraint to explosive growth is either in the marketing, or in the ability to deliver the product or service to your standards. You get really (too) busy, then you have to focus on building up capacity. Then you have extra capacity, and can turn up your marketing again. And over the top – is the need to remember that if you deliver poor quality experiences – your marketing is doomed anyway…
So – this new program is designed for micro, mini, small and medium businesses who at this time have the constraint of no growth.
I am still crafting the guarantee for this program – but it will be extreme. Right now my guarantee stands at
“With use of this program you will increase your revenue by 5 times it’s cost or get your money back or I work with you until you it does.”
The program will sell out – there are limited numbers available – because I am serious about the guarantee. I have set up levels that allow any business owner to participate – no matter how restricted your cashflow. In fact the first part of the education has the ability to focus first on getting some money in the bank quickly.
Please use the contact form (click here) to make initial contact.
Ps the process will be for you to make initial contact, then we will organize a 14 minute phone call to talk about it. There is no sales pressure, the aim of the call is to find out if you and your business suits this amazing program.
Attention Ambitious Townsville Business Owners
Are you ready? Ok.
First we are going to simplify exactly what you are doing. There are two components to your marketing:
When I ask Townsville business owners about their marketing plan – the answer is always about tactical marketing – “doing” websites, sending mail or email, running radio ads, all that stuff. (often depending on which media sales rep visited).
Here is your first COMMANDMENT: Master Strategic Marketing FIRST!
What you say in your marketing and how you say it – is usually far more important than the medium where you say it. And when your campaign BOMBS – there is a tendency to blame the tactical part of the plan eg media (radio, press, web, FB) rather than the strategy behind the marketing piece.
Once you get your marketing strategy planning skills out of the storage cupboard that is way down the back, past the perilous swamp, over the scary swinging rope bridge behind the door with the “Beware of the Leopard” sign – your business revenue will rocket.
There are some fundamentals that EVERY business can use to fire up a scramjet on their profits.
I was going to fully describe exactly what you need to know in detail, but I decided that unless you give this your full attention, and be fully committed to finding out how to stop wasting at least 90% of your marketing budget (if you even have one calculated) – you are just wasting your time. Go to Facebook and look at cats if that is what you are doing now. Don’t pretend you are “working” – unless you fully intend to apply this business revolution creating knowledge. Is that fair?
What I am going to give you here is a summary of points to get your brain out of neutral and into “turbo-profit mode”.
That is why people are so jaded with marketing, and resist it. Prospective buyers want and need to be educated so they can feel confident when making their purchase decision, and rarely do they receive this education.
The good news is that the first marketers to deliver this WINS very profitable customers.
When Your Marketing Is Done Wrong…
The end result is predictable – you start to feel INTENSE pricing pressure from your prospects and leads – and you usually have to cave, drop your prices, destroy your margins and make much less money. You get to spend more time at work. Yay…
2. If you are competing on price – it is your own fault. It means your lack of marketing strategy has given your prospects no other criteria to separate you from your competition. You have not educated, or guided with knowledge or info.
(Luckily I know how to fix this. I have a step-by-step system that will innovate and then strategically market your business. You become the obvious choice for your prospects to smile and say YES to.)
3. Even if you provide Super, Duper, Hooper-level service that unmatched in your market, and your customers smile widely every time they think of you – THAT DOES NOT MATTER TO YOUR PROSPECTS IF:
A. They do not know you exist as an option or
B. If they do see your marketing and advertising – your ability to market your business is so inept – that THEIR perception is that you are no different, no better, no worse than your competitors.
I believe that over 9 out of 10 businesses are in this “inept” marketers category created by the tidal wave of ignorance of the fundamentals. Dan Kennedy shares the idea of “Do the opposite” based on this statistic. If 90% of the operators in YOUR marketplace are ignorantly inept marketing – then just by NOT doing what they do you are in a better lane on the business highway.
If you can learn the process to make your marking strategic – you get to create a pipeline that delivers eager, qualified prospects into your funnel.
More Bad News…
Right now is the time to change your marketing thinking – the internet has made your marketing ignorance even worse. Everyone is focusing on wasting their time and money going nuts for online marketing. Splashing money around on adwords and social marketing?
And this makes decent sense because prospects these days usually begin their buying process by researching online.
And thousands of Townsville businesses are “investing” to get leads from Adwords or FB to come to their websites. And when they get to these sites – they see the same rubbish marketing they used to see in brochures before the interweb existed. “Service, Quality, Price”, “Commercial, Industrial, Domestic”. And your new lead just goes back to the Google Search and picks the next choice… (This is called “bounce rate” – it is people who visit and then just bounce away. Google knows your bounce rate – and charges you more per click if it is high.) So you lose the lead, AND pay more.
And if you even look at your bounce rate – it is likely you look at tactical ways to get more “qualified” visitors. Rather than notice it is your low converting “Lame” website that is the real problem.
The internet for most is simply another medium to stuff up their marketing with bland messages. If you are going to fix your website – the only way to do fix your strategic messaging that we spoke about above.
That is enough for today, but with one last little drill to tighten your thinking.
If you now take your website, and the website of your closest competitor – and you changed the business names on the pages – would a new prospect know who was who?
Note: I have an educational program that you can use become a strategic marketer and learn how to rake in the gigantic piles of cash that you used to dream about…
And then the nice looking sales rep from the local radio station “drops in”. They have an “incredible” deal on a 12 month package – that seems “perfect for your business” according to the rep.
It is only $2,000 per month, and has spots on the most popular shows. So – how do you decide what to do?
Firstly – it is evident that your “marketing plan” needs some attention. Because you think you need more leads, and because you think it is fate that a wandering sales rep has a “nice” package. If your marketing plan was in place you would already know what works best for your business – and do more of that.
Secondly – selection of marketing tactics based on “rep visit” is very high risk. Your choice of what choice will depend to a great deal on your own marketing education, and in some cases “mis-education”.
Most of what is taught to business owners is simply wrong, and will not predictably work well.
To illustrate this – let’s pretend you have a budget of $2,000 per month to “grow your business”…
And with that money you MUST get great results or a nasty man will come with a giant Bowie knife and chops bits off you. (ie – you HAVE to make it work!)
From that perspective – will you review everything you have been told about getting new business? You can “gamble” to one degree or another.
Me – I like to minimise the risk of any marketing not paying for itself. I know that the probability of different tactics working – varies immensely.
So – I would consider that getting a 10% increase in my average sale value (the total of sales divided by the number of sales events) has the same impact on my bottom line as 10% increase in the number of customers.
Or that if I can get my current customers to come back to my business just 10% more often – that has the same impact as well.
I might even consider that many people come to my business, get a price or quote, and then buy from somewhere else. If I can increase that “conversion rate” – it also helps with my sales.
The point is – each of the three tactics just mentioned are much more predictable ways to increase your profits – if you already have customers. And you can do it (in many cases) for free!
Some finer tactics include contacting your old customers and “resurrecting” them with a great offer and a good reason for them to return. (I call them Zombies – and just contacting them will often bring them back to life.)
Lead Generation Has Many Components To Master
I know about 130 different ways to increase your sales and profits off the top of my head. But the category which requires the most clear thinking, creative writing of emotional copy, and precision in scheduling and testing – is lead generation!
With a gun to my head – I would look to other strategies first.
And at the same time – I would begin to create and test lead generation activities to discover what works – and I would know because I would ensure it was measurable.
With $2,000 per month available – you could do radio. Or you could put that cash in to a referral system. Eg Refer a person to my business this month to go into the draw for “something”. Perhaps $1,000 cash? An accommodation deal that costs you $500 that is valued at $2500? Or simply buy 2 cars with your $24,000 and use them to get your current customers to buy more…
Or any number of different approaches.
And how do you know which approach is best for your business? Well – it depends…
This post was just to get it into your head that you have many different choices available, and they all have different probabilities of success. STOP doing your marketing based on what rep walks into your business. Get a marketing plan so you know all your marketing events for the coming year.
Or contact me for a Marketing Audit. It may be the difference between you getting really rich from your business, or not.
Welcome again…. One of my own quotes that I like to repeat too often is
“As soon as you move, you are in a different place.”
To me it means the simple action of taking a metaphorical or actual step – a single step – changes my view.
And with every change of view comes a whole new world.
It seems humans are at their best when moving forward. When standing still we have no momentum, no power. Think how much easier it is to change direction slightly once you are moving – just swerve a bit!
Dr. Seuss wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” I add that: ” Learning is moving, and moving is great. Taking action on your learnings is when you best create.”
You don’t “get it” until you do it…. Knowing how to touch-type is not the same as touch-typing…
This weeks Bite is one of my favourites and most powerful tools. I believe most it to be the most potent “framework” for strategically growing any business (or career)
Hierarchy of (Dynamic) Value.
(Created by a seriously clever man called Marshall Thurber.)
Here is how it works.
In a market where there are:
1. Fully informed buyers (now almost every where because of the internet) and
2. Alternative sources of supply –
then the only defense against competing solely on price is to have UNIQUE value (and constantly improving). This means there is NO alternative source of supply. ie the value you bring must be unique – because in a fully informed market and with alternative sources of supply – unless you are unique – you will end up competing on price alone.
According to Thurber there are different levels of value.
From the lowest level:
Commodity – where the only difference is price. This will give you the lowest possible margins and most competition. No loyalty. Eg coffee beans – grind them and make your own.
Product – better than commodity. Eg a phone or a cup of coffee. Margins better than commodity, but not much. Hard to defend.
Service – same as product – and these two levels (product and service) are merging – eg phone with a phone plan. eg coffee made for you at a standard coffee shop. Products and Services are MERGING to create “offers”.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++Minimum Target+++
Experience – by definition – every “experience” is UNIQUE. Selling the experience rather than a product/service or commodity means protection from competing on price. eg Starbucks sell the experience – not the coffee. Disney sells the experiences – not the rides. And we pay much more for it. (How can you make your business into an “experience”?)
Transformational Experience – Can charge even more if you can “transform” them. Eg lose 20kg. Get hair. Become attractive to women/men. Become a ‘different/better’ person in some way.
Predictably Transformational Experience – Can charge even more because you can guarantee it – risk reversal.
Your goal is for your businesses to ALWAYS move to at least the “Experience” level. Not only that – it is DYNAMIC – people will copy your and the internet makes information flow faster and faster – so your value creation must keep changing and improving…As soon as we are not unique – we are subject to price pressure.
This is a heavy duty model – and I will revisit it in the future. Right now make a list of what you do that your competitors do not. And then make a list of what you could possibly do…. I promise it is worth it.
Ps – your list does not have to overpowering. Plumbers who give chocolates, balloons on signs, specific guarantees (eg quotes to you within 3 days), different colours (pink cement trucks!), loyalty programs, smile!, get details and send birthday gifts, newsletter (seriously) – and make it “human”.
Most “competition” is vanilla flavoured beige sameness. If you cannot create a difference that increases value (???), then make it a cosmetic one.
Pps – if this makes sense – forward it to a friend…
Just changing a few words can change the power of your marketing by 10 or even 20 times. Starting with great material can save years of split testing. Read what Gene Schwartz – one of the best of historic copywriters ever – gives as his procedure.
“I Write With My Ears”
by Gene Schwartz
Copywriting is the simplest of all possible jobs. It consists solely of turning items into ads, of making the physical verbal, of constructing an emotional holograph of the product so convincing that people will part with their good money to share it.
To produce copy, therefore, is not really to write it into being, but to listen it into being. In other words, to be a semi-passive conduit between the producer of the item, and its needer. Between the man who makes it do what it does, and the other man — somewhere out there — who needs what it does.
The first step, therefore — the essential step — in turning an item into an ad, is turning yourself into a listener.
You listen two ways: first with your ears, and then with your eyes. You hear everything you can about the product, and then you read everything you can about the product.
The thing that astounds me, when I read most ads, or work with writers, is that they really haven’t bothered to listen deeply enough. This is most obvious in book copy, where you can check the ad against the text. But it also stands out quite clearly in product advertising, where you can check the ad against the way the product works for you.
Lazy ears produce bad ads. Here’s what I’ve discovered about sharpening mine:
1. Sit down with the owner of the product — the man who’s hiring you — and pump hell out of him. Put on a tape recorder and have him talk for 3 or 4 hours. Ask him where the product came from, what it does, what are its problems and how he’s tried to cure them, why it’s better than its competitors, who likes it, who doesn’t like it, what proof he’s got that it works, what strange uses have people got out of it, what funny stories has he accumulated in regard to its manufacture or use, what problems was he trying to solve when he created it, how would he improve it if he had unlimited money, what causes most of his refunds, who works for him to help him make it, how it is made, how does he keep up the quality, who writes him what about it, etc.
2. Talk to his customers. Do it in person or on paper. See if they agree with him. If they don’t, find out why.
3. Listen to his competitors. They often tell you more about the opportunities they’re missing in their ads, than the opportunities they’re seeing and therefore seizing. Let them write a possible head or two for you, out of the body copy of their ads.
4. Then put all the material down, in one big pile, and underline it. Start blending it together like you’d make a cake. Give it, first, priority (your head and sub-heads); and then, order (the body claims). And then type it up — preferably adding little of yourself except as selector and condenser.
Want examples? Well, Joe Cossman spoke my most successful fishing lure head “SWIMS UNDER ITS OWN POWER” — I just put it on paper for him.
Harry Lorayne blurted out my longest-lived book head: “GIVE ME 15 MINUTES AND I’LL GIVE YOU A PUSH-BUTTON MEMORY.” Again, I just put it on paper.
Martin Edelston dreamily pronounced my best-known newsletter head: “READ 300 BUSINESS MAGAZINES IN 30 MINUTES.” I just picked it out of a 17-page transcript a day later.
And Bill Bartman came up with “FLOATS FAT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR BODY”… Dave Ross with “INSTANT LEARNING” … Clem Martin with “WORLD’s FIRST EFFORTLESS EXERCISER.”
You see? People constantly ask me why I haven’t burned myself out by now… how I can write three or four fresh ads each week without going crazy.
The answer is simple: I don’t write them. I listen them. And you can too.
Did you ever get into the rut where you and “your story” were completely different?
Where you were living a story, that you felt disconnected to – but could not stop acting as your story “demanded”?
Napoleon Hill taught about the concept of ‘accurate thinking’. About our human habit of getting caught up in the story, and then the stories about stories.
Deming taught about the pointlessness of trying to change an outcome or results directly. “What was the process??!”
And then thus move focus to making changes in the processes that created the undesired results.
It is too late to change what already is.
We can alter how we give meaning to what is – but if your belly is layered with extra fat, or your bank balance looking too skinny – your goal can be to alter how it will be in the future. Or it can be to play with your stories so you “feel better about it”. And the stories with their inbuilt excuses, blaming, shaming and guilt – are attractive.
Because they allow us to retain our fear, the fear that protects us.
I watched a movies last weekend by Will Smith. “After Earth”. In it he tells us that fear is completely imaginary. That we create it in our minds – and we allow it. That imagined story then makes our bodies produce physical changes – including pheromones (scents).
In the movie, an alien monster has been introduced that can only find you by smelling your fear pheromones. It then kills you.
In the midst of a battle with the monster, as he is about to die, Smith’s character becomes calm, still, centred, and accepting. His fear dries up, he becomes invisible to the monster, and slays it.
During the film he explains that fear and danger are different. Danger WILL kill you. Fear is only an idea.
If fear was only imagined for you, as you accepted that, would you become more free now to take small action steps that were previously impossible for you?
And each step would be further evidence to prove to you that fear was only imaginary and could be dissolved?
Like when you were a kid, and there was a scary noise from under your bed?
We can lie there, frozen in fear. Or we can lean over and look under the bed to discover there is no monster, or if there is one – it is more afraid of us than we of it.
Are you living your life frozen in fear?
Lester Levinson suggested to me the idea of “trying things on for size”. Like a sweater – just try in on. See if you like it. You can always take it off again.
He was talking about testing a method that allowed me to realize that thoughts and feelings are NOT part of me, any more than a sweater is.
They are things that can simply be “dropped” or “let go”.
Any thought or feeling or emotion can be let go. Including a freezing level fear. Accept that fear and danger are different. Allow yourself to feel the fear fully, and realize that feeling is the worst that fear can do to you. Not so bad really?
And once you feel it fully, and now know that it did not hurt you – you can just drop it. Like your old sweater into a charity bin.
Let it go.
And once you drop any fear – notice that your fears about other “scary” things you have created stories about to protect, has been weakened. Shine your torch under your bed and the fear will disappear – but only if you eat the fear and have a look!
Perhaps fear is a bit like Pavlova. Looks impressive, but as soon as you bite it – it dissolves in your mouth leaving a sweet taste.
Have a groovy week
Ps When I was in Russia, they frequently used a saying that stuck with me: “The Devil does not like to be watched.” In this moment, I can see that one face of the devil is “fear”. When I set it apart from me, to move from being fear (I am afraid) to only having feelings of fear – I am watching the Devil – and he returns my power.
Woody Allen – who made some vaguely interesting and successful films last century apparently said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
There are some interesting histories to this “eighty percent” idea – including the overly quoted Pareto Principle. The concept is pretty simple on the surface – and includes “(Approximately) 80% of your success comes from a small percentage of your actions (eg 20%)”
Stay with here while I do some interesting maths – but it will make sense at the end.
If we just accept for now that 20% of our time produces 80% of our success – let’s 20/80 those numbers, and we get 20% of 20% gives 4% and 80% of 80% gives 64%. This results in 4% giving 64%. So 4% of your actions give you 64% of your success.
We can repeat the maths and we see that approx 1% of actions gives 51% of success. Now, without getting hung up on the calculations – focus on the principle that a small proportion of our total actions produces a majority of the outcome.
Before we get to Julius Caesar – consider what you do at the start of EVERY day. You either consider your purpose, goals, and actions for the day – or you do not. Right now – Give yourself a score out of 10 for how well you do this at the beginning of each work day.
I am now going to suggest there is specifically meaningful use for Woody Allen’s “showing up”. What if “showing up” means becoming present, remembering then committing to the purpose of why you are there (today) and what is important to act on (today). The degree to which we know why we are there, and doing the important things is our score on “showing up”.
Showing up does NOT include working hard reactively to what happens to you in the day. It is not about just being excellent as react. It IS about RESPONDING to what happens in your day – after filtering it through your purpose for being there.
Now mash in Julius Caesar “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
The Big J showed up. He knew why he was there – something to do with world domination and addiction to power…
He saw – he considered the environment – and then he applied massive, consistent, focused action (conquered). Not just every now and then – but every day – probably even hourly. He would have been immersed in his purpose to such a degree there was absolutely NO DOUBT what meant to be.
Review NOW your score out of 10 for “showing up” at your business, job or role. How does your score compare to Julius Caesar? Would your daily power change if your “invoked” JC during your preparation for your day? Is it likely that more of the vital 1% or 4% or 20% that give you the majority of your success would get done?
You could even imagine that instead of a little angel on your shoulder guiding you to do the right thing – you had an angel who was invoking Julius Caesar and making your constantly consider why you were there, and where your most powerful leverage actually is? If you had “no choice” but to focus your attention on your purpose constantly – or a little angel with a Roman short sword would stab you in the ear – how much would your effective productivity multiply?
The best part of this is that you can even get 4% of your working time focused – it will make a vast difference to your bottom line results. It may simply mean that you move from “doing things right” to “doing the right things right”.
Choose to have a prolific week! If you are going to invest your time in your business (or profession or life) – it actually takes LESS work to make it ROCK. It is hard work struggling. It is draining. It is not fun. So change and decide to get legendary – or if it feels better to you – decide to “not be in a sucky place” anymore.
This was written in 1784 as part of Franklin’s Autobiography. This is the thirteenth “Virtue” – and is the one that immediately reared and bit me on the nose. I considered myself a pretty “smart” fellow – and for several decades believed that just being consistently “right” was sufficient to work with people.
You know – once I explained clearly and comprehensively in a friendly and forthright manner exactly how others were wrong and I was right – they would rationally just agree with me and we could move forward together…
Ha – yeah right! Epic fail!
Now I have moved to a place (most of the time) where I fully accept that all the beliefs I have now have a very real probability of being abandoned by me within a decade. By this I mean that within 10 years I will be able to look back and consider things I believe are correct right now – to be not correct.
I know this is true – because I can look back 10 years right now – and know that what I believed back then is NOT what I believe to be true now. This allows me to have less resistance to change, and means I no longer need to DEFEND my beliefs when a person raises a contrary one. Instead I can explore this new possibility knowing that I can adopt it if it proves viable.
But read now how Ben Franklin applied a related concept to further himself back in the 18th Century. From “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.
But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed, from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc., to be made use of in it, some of which I have still by me: But the necessary close Attention to private Business in the earlier part of Life, and public Business since, have occasioned my postponing it. For it being connected in my Mind with a great and extensive Project that require the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen Secession of Employs prevented my attending to, it has hitherto remain’d unfinish’d.
In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, every one’s interest to be virtuous who wished to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so rare), have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man’s fortune as those of probity and integrity.
My list of virtues continued at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud, that my pride showed itself frequently in conversation, that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing and rather insolent, of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances, I determined endeavoring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.
I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.
I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own.
I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so, or it so appears to me at present.
When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering, I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this charge in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly.
The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with other to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.
And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally carried my points.
In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
Yeah Baby!! This is a simple rule that cannot fail to improve how we interact with others. Thanks Ben Franklin…
It seems that there is a quaint ritual involving some odd animal in the USA that determines if it spring yet – and it was the trigger for the movie “Ground Hog Day” with Bill Murray. (It is usually around February 2nd)
The was funny, but with a message for business owners. It centres on the idea of what you could do if you were able to relive the same day – over and over – and recall the mistakes/errors/what worked from the previous versions of the day. And in the movie – this leads our hero to his “perfect day”.
In the normal course of my day, I meet people who have built themselves a similar “loop”, except that they somehow manage to “forget” the errors/mistakes/lessons/what worked from the previous day. These business owners just get up – and go again. And again. And again.
Over the last 40 years I have attended hundreds of “trainings”, “development courses”, “workshops” and such. And the very best of them have one thing in common. Just one thing that makes them transformative rather than just another training course.
And it is this “one thing” that is the key to the movie “Groundhog Day”, as well as moving your business to the better place. This “one thing” reminds me of another movie – “City Slickers”, where the Jack Palance tough cowboy character “Curly” explains to us the secret of life is “One thing, just one thing…” And then dies without tell us what it was!
Well – here is the secret to the difference in a workshop, seminar or just one day working in your business.
It is simple. There is more strategic value in the debriefing after an “exercise/job/activity/work day” than there is in the activity. This means that after a training activity – which ideally is designed for things to go wrong – the MOST IMPORTANT step is to stop, review and consider – What did I just learn? How will this impact on how I do things in the future? What might those changes in the way that I/We do things cause to happen in your life?
There is a saying: If you are in a rut – stop digging!
Anther variation is “If your horse is dead – dismount.” The key to avoiding a Groundhog Business and a Groundhog Life is stop regularly, pull your head up out of the hole you are digging, look around and consider what you have just learned, and how that affects how you will do things next.
What if you and I went out into the world and asked a thousand people “After considering what you learned in your business in 2012, what are you going to do differently, stop doing, do more of or less of – in your business in 2013?”
Some would actually have a great list, a plan to change things for the better based on what they learned about business and about themselves. Fewer would have that list written down clearly with some action steps with deadlines. And a tiny proportion will have added that secret ingredient that will release them from Groundhog Syndrome. (That is where you take a photocopy of your business (or life) for a year, and then just repeat that every year. Year after year.)
And the secret ingredient? Stop digging, put your head up high (eg Helicopeter view) where you can look both forward and backward so you can see what you have done and where you have been, plus where you are currently heading compared to where you want to be heading. And the turbocharger for the secret ingredient?
Turbocharger is the regularity and ritual that you do your review process in. If you do a review just once per year – you get ONE chance per year to adapt, adjust, change course, speed up, slow down. If you do it quarterly – you get 4 goes at adjusting your course. Monthly – is 12 adjustments.
What happens to the amount of time, energy and money that is wasted the longer we travel along the wrong road or in the wrong direction for us? What happens to the waste when we increase the frequency of checking we are still on course – and make corrections?
I have found that when I (and my clients) have a daily ritual (made into a form) – that requires us to stop, debrief, review, then plan and allocate focus to the most important things – then “Change Miracles” happen. This is a DAILY form.
When this form is completed daily for long enough – it crushes your “Groundhog Programs and Habits”. Because as you become the high-powered person who stops, considers lessons, reviews what is important and ideal, then determines the actions and schedules for the next day – it means that you have stood up, taken hold of the rudder of your life and started to steer.
And once you begin to steer your life, you are no longer a victim of the tides, the winds or the sharp, barnacled rocks of life.
You get to show leadership – for yourself, your business and your life. And we can only do this when we look up, around, consider, review and then actively STEER. Steering means taking actions to stay on course. This means making changes. If you are heading for rocks, or around in circles (Groundhogs!) – it might be time to pull your head out of your rut and take ownership of your own ship.
Ps if you would like a copy of my Daily Planning Form – contact me.
Pps I will be watching Groundhog Day again on Groundhog Day. Approximately February 2nd
A good reminder about a philosophy that can make your break your business.
On the weekend, I went to get a haircut. (Yes, this is pretty riveting but stay with me.)
For me a haircut has become about trust. Over the decades I have had some rather appalling experiences with haircuts. And my strategy evolved into finding a hairdresser who knows much more about a good haircut than me – and then allowing them to be in charge of my haircut. Simple ay?
The initial meetings go something like this.
The professional hairdresser will ask me (the “client”) what I would like like. I say something like “I would like the best haircut you can give me given the thinning of my hair and the shape of my head.”
This usually stumps them for a while. And they will take some action like combing or pulling my hair to determine the length, thickness to allow them time to think of something to say. Then they will ask a question like “How much off the sides/top/whatever would you like?”
As gently as possible I will say “I don’t know. What do you think will look best for me?” This will cause them to put on a thoughtful face and swirl through my hair a little bit more. I will attempt to give them confidence by saying something like “You seem to know what you are doing. Give me a haircut that makes me look professional, and that my wife and daughter will approve of.” And “I am really good at many things, but hairdressing is not one of them – so you are in charge.”
There is usually some kind of “agreement grunt”, and they begin. Then – there will be another question that shows they do not yet have it. Something like: “Do you prefer scissors or shears/buzzing thing whatever it is called?”
Still as gently as possible to as not to appear to be rude or dominating or at least less strange – I will respond with “I don’t know. You are in charge of the haircut – just give me the best haircut you can.” And eventually they begin.
Stay with me now, the marketing lessons will flow.
If you are a woman, chances are that you have a hairdresser you go to. And you want the same person each time. Why? Because after your first visit with them, you have a little trust built. And once you a have been once – there is a great chance you will return. Should you return a second time – there is an even higher probability you will return a third time. And after 3 visits – you will keep going there until they stuff up really badly or one or both of you leaves town or retires/dies.
Any smart hairdresser/service provider of any sort knows this and has a clear process to get you past the 3rd transaction as predictably as possible. It is a vital conversion measurement – and there are specific tactics that work marvelously to increase the conversion, which magnifies the power of your initial marketing to get the first appointment and will make you business predictably successful.
That is nice – but today I want to talk about trust. So – generally after 4 or 5 visits to my increasingly well trained (ie – they know more about haircuts than me so they are in charge) hairdresser – things run fairly smoothly. I trust them, and they know they are in charge of my hair. I am under their protection.
Remember that phrase: “Under their protection. ” It may be the key to your massive business success.
The same way that I am “under the protection” of my lawyers, accountants, personal trainers, chiropractors, doctors, and even my lawn mowing guy. All these business have to do to retain my support is to act in my best interests whenever they supply or suggest a service. Lawyers can sell me some Will updates – just by letting me know it is in my best interests to do so. Simple. Not pushy. And because I trust they are “protecting me” – I will take the advice.
What are the numbers of a man’s haircut? Average time between cuts is 5 weeks. My hair grows pretty fast so 4 weeks is good for me. Cost at my last cut was $27. This means my base revenue is $351 per year. Chances are that unless they do something to break my trust – I will come for at least 2 years – so my minimum lifetime value is $752. (There are tactics to increase this obviously – but only available if I retained as a client – which means “under their protection”.)
How can a hairdresser destroy this trust in your protective umbrella? Like this. Change the person who is going to cut your clients hair from their usual to someone who does not yet have the skill to protect them.
Or bluntly – allow a poorly trained junior to deliver a “bad” haircut. It was my own fault. I had assumed that my usual hairdresser understood this concept of “protection”. In fact, when this very young, un-confident new stylist asked me “How much would you like off?” I said “Just ask Jxxxx, (who is standing 10 feet away) she knows.” But she only delivered a one sentence instruction then wandered off, leaving me to my scraggly headed fate.
It is interesting how we can only begin to gauge the expertise of a hair stylist AFTER they begin to cut. And with very successive snip it becomes more and more impossible to escape, despite the knowledge that an inept person is guaranteeing you will need much more hair product until it grows back.
And in the back of my mind “Why did Jxxxx not protect me from this?” Damnit. Now I have to find and train a new hairdresser again. And also – how the heck am I going to stick down that chunk of hair that is shootng out at right angles from my temple on one side only?
Ps – I may have added just a little drama to this haircut – my world is not going end because of it. Stay tuned for a post very shortly about a model you can use to strategically create a bullet proof business where you do not need to compete on price.
Alvin Toffler said “Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.” He drew this from the full quote by Herbert Gerjuoy who said:
“The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction — how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.”
Toffler synthesized further to say:
“The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write
but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”
You have been operating in your business in more or less the same way since you began, right?
I am now going to say that – Unless “your business way” has a built in “unlearn and relearn” pattern to it – then many of your tactical actions are at best sub-optimised and at worst irrelevant.
Your core strategies may be still valid, or they may have been weakened by the structural changes that have accelerated massively in the last 100 years. The most obvious of these changes has been the internet. Information is now available on almost every product, and every supplier – with feedback from almost every client or customer online and instant.
This means a relatively new role called “online reputation management” will be very common in the short term. A year ago – almost no one had heard of it. I predict that within 12 months from now – even in provincial cities like Townsville – it will be a commonly used term in business circles.
If you don’t ‘get it’ yet – have a look at this Google search for ‘new cars townsville’. http://goo.gl/xpFlM Notice that Google now values and publishes reviews about these car dealers. From looking at this single page of search engine results – it is clear that these businesses have not yet heard of “reputation management”, or done the maths about how much even a single review from an unhappy customer is going to cost them.
We might even suggest that these large and successful businesses at this stage are in denial. They do not have the basics in place to get the best value out of their web presences. An example of this is that many do not even have not even claimed their Google Plus Business Pages – which may be the place on the web where they are most easily found by prospective customers. (Thanks to Google Plus/Local Places – which used to be the maps that appeared in a Google search page.) If I am considering buying a new car – I am likely going to read the “reviews” that appear in front of me. Will I be put off a brand or a dealer when I read how the dealership “ripped off” or gave bad service? As a human – yes.
If there is a mix of good and bad reviews, but each bad review has a reasonable response from the dealer – it may increase my probability of using that dealer.
This example of a structural change (the internet) has many ramifications. One is that as your potential customers now have almost perfect access to comparative information – then unless you build an uniqueness into your offerings – you will be increasingly treated as a commodity provider – which means you will be selling on price alone. And that is a tough place to live.
Another ramification is that protection of your integrity is vital. If you slip up, or a member of your team makes a dubious decision – it WILL become public knowledge – just about forever. The way that we now must deal with conflicts with customers is to consider them as a marketing cost to fix. It is far, far cheaper to give a refund (or whatever it takes) than to attempt to clean up stream of bad reviews, blogs, comments and bad feeling on the internet. It is expensive and time consuming to “manage” (which means minimise/hide) black marks on your internet presence. If you plan to stay in business – then deal carefully with potential conflicts with your customers.
Townsville Business Enthusiast
Well – for one – that the key to getting what you want is to be more interested in changing the processes that produced the result than in over-analyzing the result!
Each time I visit a business, it becomes clearer and clearer that getting the processes that produce value right is a great driver of sustainable business growth. And as a customer you know when the processes are working that keep you as a customer because firstly you WANT to return because of the experiences. And secondly, you have been asked (either directly or indirectly) to return over and over again.
I like businesses where the focus is on creating processes that deliver experiences to the client or customer that make it both logical and emotionally attractive for these clients to remain clients. This means that businesses can move away from “HAVING to get new customers” because the old ones have gone.
The old ones may have gone because the experience delivered was not great – or – and very commonly – because there was no process in place to “keep” them as customers.
If your (planned) marketing and sales activities are aimed solely at getting new customers – then you are both doing it the hard way AND leaving a lot of cash on the table.
I will be producing articles on how to multiply the sales from your existing customers over the coming weeks – so be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter.
For a great basics of Quality Improvement article visit: http://tweakyourbiz.com/management/2012/08/24/what-w-edwards-deming-knew-about-continuous-quality-improvement-that-you-still-dont/
There is no rule that things that are useful in business need to be boring. Profit creation can be fun – in fact is more likely if there is some fun.
For example – when I talk about really interesting things like the scheduling of marketing activities or the creation of the plan – unless I am careful I can feel my own eyes glazing over.
Watch this simple animated video below to learn from the “Profit Ninja”. The lesson is simple – and hearing it from a drawing with no arms is a bonus.
Enjoy. Oh – and do subscribe to the Bites.
This is a sample of the Marketing Bite Newsletter. The formatting is a bit messed up – but you can see past that, right?
You may probably have heard of this study. I have not been able to find the original source – but it has been on the internet since 1997 – so it must be true. And it sounds plausible.
I know that the reasons that I often leave businesses or change suppliers here in Townsville with money still burning in my wallet- wanting to be spent – do match pretty well.
Here we go:
1. Customer was turned away by the indifferent attitude of a company employee (68 percent)
2. Customer was dissatisfied with the product (14 percent)
3. Customer was lured away by competition (9 percent)
4. Customer was influenced by a friend to go elsewhere (5 percent)
5. Customer moves away (3 percent)
6. Death of the customer (1 percent)
If you want to know how to minimise this expensive loss of customers from your business – you better sign up for the Marketing Bites Tips in the Blue Box on this page.
Ps Does perceived indifference exist in Townsville stores and businesses? In your business?
Need Business Coaching?
That is when I understand they will begin delivering here in Townsville.
To find this out I had to call their 132378 number – as it was not clear on the webpage. It was interesting listening to the messages that preceded me talking to my “Customer Care Associate in Melbourne (not overseas?) “. It seems that all the cover letters sent out with Proofs for Adelaide and Melbourne were incorrect – but the proofs were correct. I guess there must have been enough confused/annoyed business owners calling them to warrant a message.
Anyway back in Townsville – if you are strategically still using the Yellow Pages [Discussed in other posts that it can still be a great investment] then you have about 6 weeks to measure your lead sources “Before” the book comes out.
Why? Because if you are undisciplined in this regard – and do not know the source/number/conversion rates of your leads – how are you going to decide what marketing is working. or not? And when the Yellow Pages reps start buzzing around wanting to lock you in for the next YP – how will you know what to do?
Globally, printed YP results are being smashed by local internet marketing. For the price a largish yellow pages advert – you can do an awful lot of good things with websites, social media, direct mail, and so on. Or – if you have all that planned and sorted – depending on the results of your lead source measuring after April – just put the money into your wallet?
Notice the Newsletter/Bite Size Marketing Tips sign up in the right column – join and discover a huge raft of things you can do to immediately make your business more profitable/valuable – and it comes in little, bite-size lessons.
The video below just made me laugh – because I remember a lot of business names designed just for Yellow Pages.
Have a groovy day
James Hooper[trafficplayer_skin padding: 41px 0 0 41px; margin: 0 auto; width: 441px; height: 495px; background: url(http://seminar.com.au/wp-content/uploads/skin9_400x280.png) no-repeat top left; text-align: left;][trafficplayer_youtube_video width=”400″ height=”280″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/h_bRqA6d1xw?&autohide=1&autoplay=0&controls=1&hd=0&rel=0&showinfo=0″ ][/trafficplayer_youtube_video][/trafficplayer_skin]
Townsville Business Coaching and Mentor Programs
I had to chuckle a little at the spin coming from the press over the latest Newspoll showing there is a drop in support for moving Australia to a Republic.
In case you have been living in a box with not TV, internet, radio or other media – there is a royal wedding coming this weekend. As bizarre as it sounds – the Australian population, in general, loves some solid “Pomp and ceremony”. The romance of the bride [Princess to be] “Ohhh – doesn’t she look beautiful..” And the handsome prince – who will be in some fancy uniform or other – the choice of which will be explained in detail – will be stuff of legend.
In the middle of such “royal wedding-o-phile” prattle, the Australian newspaper commissioned a poll to determine support for an Australian Republic. Despite the numbers in support of a republic being down – they still outnumber those against it. [41 to 39%]. With the time of the poll, I suspect that the Australian was both having a little fun – and also generating some text to fill its columns.
A decrease in support for moving away from a republic is going to be affected by a Royal Wedding – but the more serious effect I think comes from an apparent “leadership vacuum” at the top level of Australian politics. If the poll also asked “Who would you like to see as the first Australian President if we were to become a Republic on New Years Day 2012?”
How would you feel about our current PM or opposition leader having the post?
There is saying that “nature abhors a vacuum“. In this case, the vacuum at the pointy end of Australian politics (plus a nice wedding) may be starting to make the British Royal Family look less abysmal. So why are they the “Royal Family” again? Wasn’t the dynasty founded on the leadership/power grabbing abilities of one ancestor of the current team?
I foresee that the inertia has held the current British Royals in place will be functional for some time yet. The power of the Royal PR department – is immense. What are the odds that something big is in the wind? Earlier this year we had a Prince “touring” the Qld floods – looking stoic – meeting with the suffering ‘commoners’. He also visited NZ to “help” with their earthquake. Now a wedding!
John Howard is reported as stating that there will be no movement to an Australian Republic while lovely Queen Lizzie is on the throne. A pompous wedding would be an powerful way to position the “Commonwealth” for a new King in the medium term. Wow – a wedding, and then an even bigger event to gong the new King. [Do we get a new Queen as well?]
Eyes will become misty at the sheer romance, grandeur and wonderment of it all – especially with the Brits. Union Jacks will cover the cities, and emotive sing-alongs will burst verdantly from the throng. The Poms would have little resistance – and little choice as there does not appear to be an organized “Republican movement” there. [Umm would that be ‘Treason”]
And here in Australia – there will be a solid effect. Just the wedding will dominate TV, internet and all other media. I have not seen the ‘momentos’ appear on the market here yet. And the feeling of Australian “ownership” of the British Royals will grow.
It is just like your favourite football team. After a long period of average play and results – you might ask – how did the Cowboys (or Magpies or whatever) go last weekend? But as soon their quality improves, we “join” with them and ask “How did “we” go last weekend?”.
The Royals are about to “lift their game” so that “we” adopt them again. So that we make them “our” royals again.
And this matter to how we do business in Australia? Not really. The rules of business will remain constant, and successful business owners will continue to simply work within whatever framework exists to build their success.
As for marketing – the coming Royal Wedding [and the likely UnQueening and then the Coronation] are great events to have as a “reason why” you are having your own event for your business.
In fact – to celebrate the joining of whichever Prince it is with his lovely Sheila – I am giving away Three (3) 90 Minute Business Success Building Sessions to Townsville business owners who want blunt “second opinions” on their businesses.
If I was a white goods shop – I might have a competition where everyone who buys something over $xxx goes in the draw for a really cool 3D TV so you watch the wedding…
What can you do in your business to “piggy-back” on this event? And on other events? Have you got a list of all the ‘events’ – everything from Mother’s Day to Cheese Week. AND – you can borrow from current events if there is no decent event to ride on. All you need it do is decide to do more marketing.
The “marketing rule” to follow is to ALWAYS have a reason for a sale or promotion. Even if it is lame. And obviously you have done the maths on having a ‘Sale” using the Price Effects Spreadsheet BEFORE you start the process. Even if the “reason why” is “we ordered too much stock” or “My thickie manager (who is now hoping that you come in for this sale so that he gets to keep his job) ordered the wrong products and the manufacturer does not want them back.”
Ps – please feel free to nominate in the comments below anyone you think might be a great Aussie Prezzident.