Hustlers, Charlatans and Tony Robbins

Posted on November 4th, 2018

Please spare me two minutes of your time…Now I will not take credit for most of this piece, but I always like to share things that I think are relevant and have something to provoke thought.

On a recent trip to the not so sunny country that is Scotland, I shared driving duties with my partner Jemma. On a two hour stint of passenger seat residence, I got stuck into a book written by Ryan Blair, called ‘Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain. How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur’. I can’t even remember why I bought it. I got it through Amazon and it’s a signed copy, but apart from that…no…no idea how I heard about him or his book.

And whilst listening to the fifteenth track from my childhood on Absolute 80’s, it happened…Chapter 3 happened. It was quite amazing really. Here was an American guy, with a shitty childhood and upbringing as well as one of those guys who turned multi-millionaire success story, actually speaking to me in a chapter. I mean really speaking to me. As if he wrote it just for me.

He tells the story where he was lucky enough to attend an event dedicated to the King of Personal development, Jim Rohn. (If you don’t know who he is, firstly, stop reading this. Secondly, go look him up on YouTube and get educated.) It was an event that had the ‘Titans’ of Professional Development such as Brian Tracy, (not the Thunderbird), Les Brown, Dr Denis Waitley, Mark Victor Hansen and…Tony Robbins. All there to celebrate a retrospective of Rohn’s work, making personal growth and common sense marketable. All of them were on their ‘A’ game, delivering their best as there would always be an air of competition. Impressive and famous line-up yeah?

Then came his ‘killer verdict’…”I felt as if I were watching the end of era. This must have been what it was like when my parents saw the end of their parent’s music. You know how songs used to be all dreamy about good times and happy days, when musicians sang the music you wanted to hear, not the music their souls needed to release?” WOW! Ouch!

But he was right. How many generations have listened to these guys? How many have bought tapes and CD’s with Tony Robbins booming voice telling you how to sort your shitty little life out? How many have been firewalking…and just got dirty feet? How many have listened to these guys telling you that if you do this, that and tuther you will have a perfect life? When in actual fact, they are selling you the ‘dream’ of a perfect life, unimaginable wealth and eternal happiness?

Like Blair, I’ve seen ‘speakers’ sell the room. By selling the room I mean that they have sold hundreds even thousands of pounds worth of stuff…before they’ve even told you what it is they are selling. And what do people really, genuinely get for spending their life savings and/or trashing the limit on a credit card? What value did they really get?

There are many out there that call themselves a ‘motivational’ or ‘inspirational’ speaker…before they’ve even delivered a keynote. Hell in this chapter of the book, even me, as a coach gets thrown into this mix. And I guess I can’t disagree. Many, many times I have said coaches need supervision. Only today I’ve heard of yet another local business going to the wall having worked with a high profile coach. I can’t apportion blame, but I’m sure seeing photos of their coach sunning themselves halfway around the world, posting about their perfect lifestyle having charged them £1500 a month for the last twelve months and the client can’t afford their mortgage anymore, probably makes the pill even harder to swallow. There are many, including me at my worst, that you wouldn’t to trade places with if you knew their real lives. Hell, I’ve been called many, many names because I was honest about how hard I fell. Life isn’t always the bed of roses some make out. Success isn’t selling guaranteed, 12 step processes that will make you an overnight sensation and a millionaire. Claiming you were instrumental in someone else’s achievements isn’t proof of happiness or the perfect lifestyle.

But he leaves the chapter with rules for success. And I’ll share five of them with you, because they absolutely are the truth. The real truth. And if you want to be better, be the best version of yourself, grow your business, have more time with family and friends, go on dream holidays, drive a nice car or just have the money to live comfortably and not worry about the bailiffs, then take a look at these, because they are the truth behind everything you do…

1) Work your ass off.
2) Don’t ever give up.
3) You’ll survive. No matter how bad it is – It’s never as bad as it could be.
4) Remember you are never safe. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
5) Go BIG; have FUN. If not, you’ll either quit, die unhappy, or have a midlife crisis and blow the lot!

Marc,

Your Best Kept Business Secret

What Do I Do?

Posted on November 3rd, 2018

I want to talk about something that can help you grow you and your business and also clear up some misconceptions about what I do as an individual.

I’ve recently seen, listened to and read some negative things about coaches. I’ve also read a lot of what people think coaches should do, and how they do it. (Some of it bollocks and some of it justified) So here today, I want to clear up a few myths and perhaps put people like me in a different light.

No matter how successful your small business, no owner has all the answers. But knowing when to look for outside help – and who from – is a challenge in itself.

I’ll help you take a step back

“Small business owners often don’t spend enough time thinking about where their business is going, as opposed to the urgency of the day job. Entrepreneurs and business owners need to spend more time working on their business and the strategy to get them where they want to go, as opposed to working all the hours God sends, in it.

During the recession most businesses spent their time surviving and it wasn’t the happiest of times for many. Some came out of it thinking they’ve got to do something positive and grow the business.Being coached is a good way you can do that.

One of the biggest things you can do is for at least that 1hr a week, you can take that step back. Some of my most successful clients have taken a very big step back for a short period of time every week, so that they can review what they are doing personally, but also review where the business is headed on it’s current course. The quickest win is to step back and see what you are offering your customers and clients…give them more of what they want…and less of what they do. Way too many businesses spend a fortune on promoting, making and servicing stuff that noon we gives a stuff about!

Build your confidence

Whether or not you have a team around you, running your own business can be very lonely. There is no one to turn to when the chips are down or to reassure you that you are on the right path. A mentor provides reassurance that what you are doing are the right things for you and the business. A great mentor will be there when the shit is hitting the fan let alone when things are rosy.

Everyone should have aspirations for their business; you’ll think about the sorts of places where you should be selling and the partners you should be working with. But it’s a massive pain-point when you don’t have the confidence to do those things. Some think their ambitions are just a pipe dream, but having a mentor tell you they are realistic goals can give you the confidence to take the business forward.

Helping small and medium-sized business owners see where their businesses can go is a big part of coaching. It’s our job to try and make business owners and entrepreneurs see what the opportunities are for their business. You become pre-conditioned by what’s happened in the past, not what can happen in the future. A good coach will help you unlock those abilities that are hidden inside you and your business and give you the confidence to take on any difficult situations, times or challenges ahead.

Change your outlook

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs find themselves  running a small business by accident.

Many have fallen in to it and certainly didn’t take on any business studies earlier in their lives. Redundancies, job dis-satisfaction, life style changes and passion for what they do, all played key roles in how people have ended up running a business.

So changing your mind-set from employee to owner can be a drastic shift. Recognising what you have and what you could have, are key aspects in growing that business. Don’t trust a coach who will give you a spreadsheet that makes it look like you’re a millionaire or could be a millionaire in a few years time. The average business doesn’t last even a decade. 50% go bump in year 1 and another 50% in year two.

When you get past the initial phase, this is where a great mentor will help you recognise what you’ve got and how best you can move forward and at what pace to grow it sustainably.

Focus your business

From identifying new markets to turning your attention to your most profitable product or customer base, the objective view of a business mentor can be just what’s needed to get your company out of a rut or take it to the next level.

One of the best things a great coach can do is help you focus the business and you on the things that matter the most. Many have started the business as ‘do-ers’. They like to get into the day to day sort of stuff all the time. They enjoy it and they love it. especially businesses that are creative.

But if you’re creative and you’re online, to have a really good business model you need to have a niche.The ‘doing’ part of the business is only part of the business so there needs to be some direction and model for things going forward.

Having a direction and niche can open up more opportunities than you think are available right now. And being helped to focus, can clear the fog. It will also help you spend that all important marketing budget far more wisely than some tend to right now.

Make marginal gains

Like Team GB’s world-beating track cycling team or Winter Olympics Bob-Sleigh, success in business is often about making incremental improvements across the board. By looking at several key drivers in a business, a coach can help you make small and NOT sizemic shifts in what’s happening, to result in a wing years performance.

There’s not one specific thing that will help grow or stabilise a business. A great coach will recognise that not one size fits all. It’s more lots of little things that can make an impact collectively. Just by getting things together in one place and then being able to move forward, knowing the full picture is just a small task. But when later on you go through those numbers and facts you are able to see the areas that you need to focus on. It can be just simple things you’re probably ignoring or think you’re in control of. It’s not until you get things down on paper and discuss it that you start identifying areas.

They Pay For Themselves

Yes, having a coach can be expensive. But if you’ve got the right one, it becomes FREE. They begin to pay for themselves, by helping you grow and increase your sales and profit, whilst helping you control your costs.

I mentioned earlier that there are coaches that will make you spreadsheet millionaires. There are also ones that have picked up a coaching book and think they can coach. There are even ones that take you through programmes that yield little or no results in some cases, because they forget the fundamental point of a business…it’s somebodies baby. Somebody’s pride and joy.

People are very different. Therefore businesses are very different. Not on size fits all. And in that cases shouldn’t be treated as such.

Find out about them. Speak to them. visit their website. Are they part of a franchise? Have they run their own business? Do they commentate, write, or show any personal points of view when it comes to business? Have they had experience in what you do, or show any drive or passion for what you do?

Take up their free consultations, and agree what works for YOU and NOT for them.

Just remember, every world class sports person, personality, and business owner or entrepreneur, has a coach, a mentor or an advisor.

Small businesses shouldn’t be any different. granted it needs to be the right one, with the greatest amount of value to you. But then again…that’s exactly the same no matter what the size of your business.

Marc,

Your Best Kept Business Secret

 

Dear You…

Posted on November 2nd, 2018

Dear You,

I’m writing to you from the future and want to tell you how successful you’ve been…

Many psychologists know that it’s much easier to describe something that has already happened than to describe something that is going to happen in the future.

For some reason, it’s just much easier to describe things in the past tense. It’s one of the reasons why most people find it so difficult to answer those horrid interview questions like: “What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?”. In fact, it’s amazing how many people can’t answer that question when I talk to them about their business. Everybody hates those questions, not because we don’t all have dreams and ambitions, some of which might be crystal clear in our internal world, but because they are so difficult to render into words and sentences without somehow losing their reality. Trying to describe the future can be like trying to describe a dream.   But somehow, before we can go much further with going a business or a brand, it is important to capture that vision of the future which is skipping dreamlike through your head.

At the weekend I was asked to draw my future. For some people that is easier said than done. I’m fortunate that I can doodle to a fairly good standard, but on the flip side of things, those that can’t don’t take the exercise seriously because it looks like a five-year-old that wants to go to the toilet has had ‘ a moment ‘ on a piece of paper. They can’t take it seriously, even though there is sound science behind the activity. Another way to do this quickly and effectively is to write yourself a letter from the future. It’s not a new idea, but I’ve used it many times to capture the emotional and imaginative aspects of business-building, and it works. Here’s how.

It’s something you might want to do completely in private. And whether you ultimately share it with others in your family or team is up to you. You might want to take the ‘facts’ that emerge and share those, or you might want to inspire others with your rich personal vision. That’s what I recommend, but really it’s up to what suits you personally.

So, grab yourself a notebook or an A4 pad (I’d urge doing this by hand rather than on the computer, just to slow your writing down to allow your thoughts the time not to have to rush).

You are simply writing a letter, to yourself. Mine would begin, “Dear Marc”.

Put a date at the top which is two, three, four or five years in the future. (I recently saw two presentations which queried the validity of the 5 year one, but I’ll run with it now, while I consider their points of view!) Now just describe from this future perspective what’s going on in your life and business. Whom have you just hired? What kind of premises are you working in? Which products or services have taken off? Which have turned out to be disappointing and have either been dropped, re-configured or sold off? What’s actually piled up on your desk right now (right now in the future, that is)? How will you spend the rest of your day? Where are you going when you finish work today?

Don’t forget to describe your family and friends, your successes and failures over the past few months and years. What does your business look like now? What’s the competition like? Have you achieved some of your ambitions? What challenges remain to be conquered?

You get the idea. Something about this act of describing the future as though it had already happened makes it come to life more vividly and more profoundly than any amount of more formal (and drier) ‘planning’ or ‘forecasting’.  Of course, once you’ve written your letter (or letters; you might enjoy this process so much that you write a sequence of letters from different dates, or covering different topics or aspects of your life and business), then you need to leave a little space for reflection.

Are there elements which have come out in your letter writing that alarm you? Things about your life in the future that make you wary or anxious or give you pause for thought? Are there elements of your future-reality which excite you more than others? Things you’d rather be doing than the things you’d previously thought you were aiming to do?   That’s all good because it will give you a richer perspective on where to go with your brand and help you to make good decisions when we get to the ‘strategy’ stage.

Don’t be afraid to be imaginative and to tap into your emotions in this exercise. Remember, businesses and brands are made by humans for humans. Imagination and emotion, and the ability to picture the future are all elements that define our humanity and make us into brand-creators and brand-consumers.

Marc,

Your Best Kept Business Secret

 

Who’s In Your Success Team?

Posted on November 1st, 2018

Who’s in your ‘Success Team’?

Many years ago, Henry Ford, (no relation, but right now I’ll take it), founder of Ford Motors, was involved in a libel trial with a Chicago Newspaper that accused him of being ‘ignorant’.

In an attempt to prove their case, the lawyers for the newspaper put Mr Ford on the stand and asked him a series of questions designed to ‘prove’ their assertion he was indeed ignorant.

The ‘Master Mind’ Principle

After putting up with round after round of difficult questions, Ford got bored and leaned forward telling the lawyer: “ If I should want to answer any of the foolish questions you have just been asking me, I have a row of electric push buttons on my desk. By pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid people who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me why I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have people around me who can supply you the knowledge?”

Needless to say, he won the case, and in doing so, demonstrated the power of bestselling wealth author Napoleon Hill calls ‘the mastermind principle – the coordination of knowledge and effort…between two or more people’ that creates a powerful group mind that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s a surprising secret of some the most successful and brilliant business people is that if they can’t do it well…they’ll get someone else to do it. It’s not even a difficult principle, to be honest. They’ve mastered harnessing collective efforts of a truly great team. What they then did was get them to pull in the same direction with motivation.

Now when I say team, I don’t want you to start employing people (unless you have to). I’m not even suggesting that everyone who supports a successful person thinks of themselves as part of that person’s success team. And if you look through history there are very few people that can do everything on their own. When you recognise there is no such thing as a ‘DIY success’, you can begin cultivating the ideal relationships to support you as you move forward towards creating your business vision.

Drafting Your Success Team

Write down the description of your business vision – the goal in life, tangible and intangible, that for you would be the epitome of success and fulfilment.

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses in relation to your big dream – those things you do extremely well and those things you don’t, which interfere with your success.

Next to each weakness, write down the characteristics of the ideal person to support you in this area. Examples: “I’m terrible at bookkeeping – I want someone scrupulously honest, detail orientated and great at maths. I can’t sell myself – I want someone who is naturally extroverted and a big believer in what I do.

Now make a list of the people who are already part of your wealth team. this can include friends and family, neighbours and colleagues, but it can also include authors and role models who inspire and educate you, be it in person or through books, audio, videos and workshops.

Next, make a list of all the roles you would like fulfilled if you were building your own wealth team from scratch. Examples: Coach, Mentor, Motivator, Teacher, Trainer, Financial Advisor, Lawyer. Accountant, etc…

Answer each of the following questions:

How many of these roles are or could be filled by members of your current wealth team?

If you were going to create an ‘ideal wealth team’, who would you want to fill these roles?

Who on your current wealth team could help you find the ‘missing’ players on your ideal wealth team?

Marc,

Your Best Kept Business Secret

 

12 Strategies To Boost Sales…Now!

Posted on October 30th, 2018

Strategy 1: Use Content Marketing

“The key is not to call the decision maker. The key is to have the decision maker call you.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

A few years back, when you had a product or service to sell what did you do to get the word out? You tried press releases, television ads, paper ads, cold calls, banner ads, display hoardings and any other means you could afford. Business went to those who had the largest marketing budgets.

Fast forward to the present day, people are no longer paying attention to the thousands of marketing messages that they come across each and every single day. With internet usage on the rise and people becoming more aware, all of these traditional marketing approaches are weakening day-by-day.

Individuals who embrace relationship marketing has already understood the power of content marketing. As compared to traditional methods of marketing, content marketing means getting found by prospective customers rather than trying to push your product or service to the uninterested masses.

With content marketing, there is a host of benefits

Pre-qualified leads

Lower marketing costs

Higher conversion rates

Higher customer satisfaction

Lower customer acquisition rates

Everyone with the knowledge that helps people, should embrace content marketing, not just for the benefits. Although it takes time, it’s what works very well now, and probably the only marketing technique that will work in the future.

Strategy 2: Use Upsells Effectively

If you are not using up-sells, you are leaving money on the table. How many times have you ordered fries just because the sales guy asked you “would you like fries to go along with it?” or perhaps you were given a discount on something when you already made a purchase?

Up-sells are very useful to increase sales. Once they buy from you and are in a buying mood, it’s easier to close an additional and related sale.

Many people who run online businesses give 100% commission to their affiliates on their product. Once people buy this product, they are presented with an additional high-end product as an upsell. This is how many people make most of their money selling info products online.

Strategy 3: Create a Product Which Has Demand

“Supply always comes on the heels of demand.” – Robert Collier

This is a no brainer. Understand what your customer want. Is there some product already in the market that delivers the solution to your prospective client? If not, provide it!!!

If there is already a product or a solution, try to think of a better way to satisfy the needs of the customer. This can be in the form of a better quality product. You can even bring about a twist in the actual offering to make your product more attractive.

Strategy 4: Clever Pricing Is the Key

“Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.” – Benjamin Franklin

Most of us who are not born to sugar daddies do ‘price comparison’ shopping.

You may have an excellent product everyone needs. However, if you price it insanely high compared to your competitor, you are going to find it hard to make decent sales (unless you are Apple).

Five strategies to price your product –

Do market research and understand your competitor pricing. With this data in hand, either develop a product with lot more features and charge more or produce the same quality product and price it lower

High price can provide a sense of “high quality” since people have a deeply-rooted notion that higher the price, better the quality. If you price high, be prepared to deliver what your customer expects to get

Similar to point #2, a lower price can indicate inferior quality. The best way is to charge higher prices by providing more value to your customer

The price of a product is directly proportional to “perceived value”. If you can make your product seem superior to your competitor, you can charge a premium over your competitor

Price is again proportional to perceived brand value. If you have a brand value attached to your product, people will more readily pay a higher price for your products or service.

Your customer is willing to pay what the customer thinks it’s worth.

Strategy 5: Run a Customer Reward Program

You don’t need to be a fortune 500 company to run a rewards program. Just make it a simple program where people can get discounts for being a customer and satisfying certain simple criteria’s such as

Being a customer for one year, they can enjoy 50% discount on the first bill of their second year as customer

Collect points and redeem points for discounts, gifts, and so on

10% discount on your purchase if you shop for more than £100

You get the idea.

Strategy 6: Advertising Is a Necessary Evil

“A magazine is simply a device to induce people to read advertising.” – James Collins

Many people take to advertising as a means to sell the product in any way possible. What the marketer does not take into consideration is that customers do not like to be deceived or being sold to. Advertise only the benefits the product/solution can give and never hype anything.

Only if your product lives up to its claims will people return to buy from you the next time.

Advertising is essential to bring your product to the spotlight. Make use of the advertising medium that best suits your product, and the time it is released. Radio, television, print and internet are some of the mediums you can rely upon to advertise your business.

Never give your entire advertising contract to one firm. If you have a line of products, ensure that you give each product to a different agency and do a split test on who can produce the maximum benefits.

Strategy 7: Give Out Free Samples

It’s proven time and again that giving away samples to your customers can help you increase sales. If you have a book for sale, make a chapter or two available for free. If you sell products, give small sample packets for users to try out. If you provide a service, offer a free initial consultation.

Once your prospective customer starts using your product or service, they will have increased confidence in their purchasing decision. This will lead to a faster sale.

Strategy 8: Reach Out To Your Customers

It’s not enough that you just advertise your products. They only make the buyer more open to embracing the product. Once you test your product, reach out to your customers and ensure that they can buy the products with ease.

Strategy 9: Looks Matter

I almost always end up buying products based on the design. Whenever I go shopping with my family, I tend to pick products with excellent illustrations.

If it looks like a school going kid made the cover I am almost certainly not going to buy that product. Include a touch of professionalism and also convey the meaning. This holds true, especially for food related products.

What about Apple? Apple focused on the design and let everything evolve around it. The simple touch interface, a sleek and highly usable design made Apple the most valued Tech Company that it is today.

Strategy 10: What’s In a Name or Is There Much More to It? (Hint: There is much more to a name than just being a “name”)

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -William Shakespeare

Always choose a product name your customer can pronounce easily and can remember without jumping through hoops. Take extra care to name the products in such a way that the name itself gives out the product details. The name you choose must proliferate into the mind of your target customers.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a unique name and trying to brand it. The minimum you have to do is make sure people can write it down correctly if you just pronounce it.

Do you think people who are not familiar with the car brand Chevrolet will correctly write it down if we simply pronounce it (Phonetic Pronunciation: shev-ruh-LAY) and not spell it?

Strategy 11: Quality is King

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

Never, ever compromise on the quality of your product. If your customer loses the trust on your brand, your business will collapse like a pack of cards.

Some people tend to sacrifice the quality to prevent price hikes. But, if needed increase the price and serve the same quality rather than producing a low-quality product. You can also choose to serve less quantity for the same price.

If you plan to stick around with your business for a very long time, any compromise on quality will never get you even remotely close to your goals.

Strategy 12: Give Your People a Reason to Sell

Nothing can be more devastating than people refusing to sell your products. It could be that they are getting better pricing from your competing brand or that they do not see a reason as to why they should push your product. Give them good commissions and always deliver on time. This way you can build a long lasting relationship with your dealers, and they will push your products more.

In the online world, we come to affiliate marketing. Affiliates are the ones who sell our products for commissions.

In the information publishing business, you can expect to give up to 75 % of the commission to the affiliates. If you give them lower commissions, they will promote your competitor who offers them a better compensation. It’s always the rewards that motivate the affiliate.

Very few affiliates promote based on value. That’s the ugly truth online. So make sure you pay 50-75 % commissions for your info products to increase sales through affiliates. Some even give 100 % commissions to build a list of buyers.

If you sell a service or software, figure out the maximum commission you can afford to pay your affiliates while not incurring a loss. I have seen software vendors and service providers offer commissions in the range 3%-25%.

So now you’ve read these strategies, and they’ve all been proven to work, you must take action on at least a few of them. Go out and make more sales…Now!

Marc,

Your Best Kept Business Secret