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Hans Zimmer is one of Hollywood’s most sought after composer’s – he’s worked on over 500 projects in film and tv from blockbuster movies to documentaries like the Frozen Planet.

Even if you don’t know his name, you will have heard his music.

Of course there are many factors to his success, such as his outstanding talent and being good to work with, but one thing really jumped out at me whilst watching Hans Zimmer: Hollywood Rebel.

He has a client avatar and for every movie score he composes he asks “what would Doris think?”

His avatar comes from when he was playing working men’s clubs in northern England in a band he joined after leaving school.

In his words:

We were the entertainment nobody listened to. We were so bad. Up north, We would be the support act to the stripper. And it was interesting because it was the 80s and it was Margaret. Thatcher and it was coal miners strike.


Woh, it was rough up north. People were so frustrated. You know you left London and you entered another world, entered another country and this country was a country that was desperate and it was poor, and it was everything that you could only imagine of the left behind and of the forgotten.


And to this day I have this person I write my music for, and she’s fictitious. She’s called Doris and she lives in Bradford, and she has a great coat, and you know uncertain age. She’s got two terrible boys, I mean they are so Ill behaved and her hair dye job isn’t very good, you know and she works really hard throughout the week.


And come the weekend she has a choice. She has a choice of going to the pub, having a drink, or she has a choice for coming and seeing one of our movies.


And she’s a hero to me because she works hard. And so when she comes to see one of our movies, I want to make sure that she gets her money’s worth. And I promise you I mean, every movie I sit there and I go what would Doris think?


Who is your hero? Who is your Doris?




Are you “capsizing in a sea of sameness”?

That’s how Mike Weisman describes the dangers of trying to differentiate your business based solely on pricing or features.

Something that so many try to do and then wonder why they are struggling to stand out.

Instead focus on your customers, how you are serving them, the problems that you are solving for them.

In other words, how do the features of what you sell benefit them and help them in their life?




Over the past 14 years, I have:

  • Failed at one business - that really hurt.
  • Spent far too long trying to understand what I wanted my business to look like and how I could make it work for me and my clients
  • Served over 3,287 clients (and counting)

All of these things have taught me a tremendous amount about what matters in business, and what doesn’t.

These are my 3 cardinal rules for business:

1. Know Your Destination

If you don't know what you want your business to look like, how you want it to support you in your life, how much money you want to make, how many hours you want to work etc etc, then you will never get there.

Instead you'll end up creating a demanding Frankinbusiness that wants you to work all the hours you have, doing work you don't enjoy for very little reward as you continually take detours and chase shortcuts to a mythical nirvana.

2. Go Slow To Go Fast

!! This isn't about procrastinating or getting everything perfect - it never will be perfect, we are always going to evolve.

It is about doing that all important foundational work including deeply and intrinsically understanding the problem we solve, why it's important for our clients and the language they use.

It's the kind of work that enabled a 19-year old Todd Herman to create a carpet cleaning company that was later sold for 7-figures. That business was called "White Carpets Only" and specialised in removing the toughest stands and cleaning light carpets to new again.

Jonathan Boyd, founder of Breakthrough Guitar, exploded the business going from several hundred customers over 25,000 in 10 months because he spent 6 months speaking to customers so that he could deeply understand AND articulate 

in a way that was meaningful the problem they were trying to solve and delivering on that promise.

Go slow to go fast.

3. Implementation Trumps Knowledge Every Time

Knowledge isn't as valuable many of us would like to think. Knowledge doesn't grow a business.

It's taking action, implementing our knowledge, changing our behaviours, getting out of our comfort zones just that tiny bit, day in and day out that gets results, grows a business.

Sometimes we will take the wrong action, sometimes it will be imperfect. That's ok because we can learn from it all. 

Get out there, do the work, get feedback/data, learn and grow from it.

Always be producing 5x more than you consume.




Most people in building a business are playing the short game, looking for wins as quickly as possible instead of playing the long term game – showing up, giving value, and focusing on the principles and frameworks that contribute to building a sustainable and profitable business with solid foundations.

Quick wins are great, but when you think of your business in terms of your ROI in the long term that’s when you build a business that will continue to grow year after year, going from strength to strength instead of ending up on a rollercoaster ride of feast or famine.

Too often these days we see the myth of overnight success in business, without seeing all of the hard work that’s gone before. It’s like seeing the tip of the iceberg but not the huge mass beneath the surface.

We have been taught to expect instant returns, when really we should be investing in our business with the attitude of thinking in the longer term. What we do today may not repay us for at least 3, 6, 12 months and often for several years.

Just like when we invest in property or stocks we don’t expect to see an instant return. And so it is with business.

I know it can seem tough to take that approach when your business is young or you want to escape a job you’ve come to detest, but it really is a far safer and profitable approach to take.

As I say to my clients, go slow to go fast.




If you dig into any sustainably successful business, that is one that knows how to consistently repeat and maintain its success, you’ll find that they have a deep understanding of who they serve and sell to.

Conversely, not knowing this is the reason attributed to the majority of small business failures (Small Business Association).


Successful businesses can tell you in specific way how they can reach their ideal clients, who their clients are, what their challenges and problems are, their fears, hopes and dreams are, particularly in the context of the services and products that they sell.

Yet far too many small business owners and solopreneurs skim over this.

At best it’s done in a general and vague manner:

  • Dog owners vs labrador owners in Gloucester.
    Couples getting married vs couples planning a small and intimate wedding in a Scottish Highland castle.


Knowing your client avatar intimately, understanding what keeps them awake at night, their dreams and aspirations, the challenges and problems they face is a basic foundational part of developing your business.

It’s business 101.

It informs all of your marketing and sales – the language you use, the places you distribute your content, the positioning, the offers you make etc.

So why do people avoid getting to know and understand their clients so that they can help and serve them better?

So that they can create more value for them?

So that they can grow their businesses and attract more clients with greater ease?


It strikes me that if we truly care for our clients, if we want to help them, give them massive value then surely we would want to get to know them and understand them as well as possible?

And if not because we care for our clients because we care for ourselves and our business and we want to be as successful as possible.

So why don’t we get excited about this?

The good news is, because so few businesses do this properly, it becomes a bit of a secret weapon in our armoury, because if we can do this, we will have an unfair advantage over those who for whatever reason neglect this.


That’s why I’ve been investing a lot of time working on this lately.

As part of that work, I’ve created new frameworks for my own use, and also for my clients in the Flourish Business Accelerator and for the Marketing Untangled Course.

One of those Frameworks is the Client Profile. It’s where I summarise each of my ideal client profiles and it serves as a crib sheet whenever I’m creating content and marketing pieces.

You can get a copy of this very Framework by clicking here.

It’s a read only copy, but you’ll see a link to instruction on how you can copy and use it in your own business.

Let me know below if you would like to see more like this…




It’s easy to fear competition in business, an emotion that comes from a mindset of lack and scarcity.

And whether you like it or not, there is no doubt that your business will experience competition in some form – be it someone offering similar services or packages to you or even outright copying you. (Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? 🤣)

However, competition in in business is a GOOD thing.


Here Are Five Reasons Why Competition Is Good In Business


👉 It’s a sign that there is a demand for the product or service and that’s a good thing because it means that people are already out there looking for what you offer.

👉 Related to that, competition increases overall demand. When more providers offer “that thing” more awareness and buzz is created and the more buzz around something, the more people want it.

👉 It encourages you to become pro-active in looking for the blind spots you’ve been missing, in your own offer and those of your competitors. What new ways are there that you can STAND OUT? How can you improve the offer and differentiate yourself?

👉 It’s a great incentive to increase your customer service and their experience. Creating a fantastic customer experience will create raving fans and help you stand head and shoulders above your competitors.

👉 Competition can encourage you to do all the things you know you should be doing… but are too lazy too, it can stimulate you into action.


❓And of course, the real secret…

There is no competition when you create a business that is true to your values and in alignment with how you want to show up.

It’s only amongst the copycat and me too businesses that it’s crowded with competitors who are often disrespectful, and antagonistic.

Because they’re afraid.

They operate from fear. They believe there’s not enough to go around.

While the true successful entrepreneur knows there’s always enough – IF you diversify, show your uniqueness and dedicate yourselves to service of your clients and community.




When you’re busy in your business, doing the myriad of things that are vying for your attention, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.

When that happens we can find ourselves caught up in work that is far less important than the work we could be doing, or to coin a phrase, we find ourselves “tripping over the pennies to make dollars”.

We’ve all been there, maybe more than any of us care to admit.

Stephen Covey called it “majoring in the minors”.

When you catch yourself, there’s no point in beating yourself up about it, the important thing is to catch yourself and then course-correct.

We always want to be looking for the 20% of the work that brings us 80% of the results. Or if you prefer, you can ask yourself:

“Is this a 10% idea or a 10X idea?”

This is an idea attributed to Roger Enrico who was CEO of Pepsi from 1996 – 2001 who is quoted as saying:

“I want people to work on the left side of the decimal point.”

But here’s the thing, this isn’t about making massive leaps forward, or reinventing your business. It’s about looking for ways to evolve and improve gradually, to make progress.

That might sound like a contradiction, however, most big ideas are implemented step by step. It’s a process rather than a flick of the switch.




It’s very easy to think that to grow our businesses or create success, we need to learn get better at marketing and sales or learn some new tactic.

I often find that this is not the case. The most important thing that we need to work on is ourselves.

One of the biggest challenges that I see most business owners struggling with is actually getting the things done that they need to do. That is to get more done at work.


I see it a lot with clients and this is an area of my own performance that I’m putting a lot of effort into working on and improving for myself.

That means that I am doing a lot of studying and practice/training in this area.


Three Main Skills

I’ve found is that there are three main skills we can develop if we want to improve in this area:


👉 knowing what the best thing we can invest our time in at any given moment is – the 20% that gives the 80% of our results.

👉 how to work effectively and efficiently with focus.

👉 anticipating the challenges or obstacles that will get in our way and putting in place a plan to deal with them.


Anticipating The Challenges

Taking that last one, there are two main techniques that I use for myself and with clients so that we can get more done at work.

One is called WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) a process developed by Gabriele Oettingen (I’ll share more about that later) and the other is Pre-Mortem.

I’ve just added Pre-Mortem to the monthly reviews that I do with my 1-1 and Focus-Action-Results clients and I suggest that you start to practice it to.


How To Use The Pre-Mortem Technique To Get More Done At Work

As part of their monthly check-in/reviews, I ask my clients to share the outcome (results) they are working towards and the process (actions) they are going to COMMIT to doing to achieve this.

Then I ask them:

“It’s the final day of the month. You haven’t honoured your commitments (actions you committed to). Knowing yourself, what caused the failure? What will you do to turn this into a Gift?”

That bit there… that’s the Pre-Mortem.

A simple, yet powerfully effective technique to get more done at work each month.




Your starting point is always Future You.

  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What impact do you want to make in the world?
  • What do you want your business to look like in 3, 5, 10 years time?
  • What do you want your life to look like in 3, 5 10 years time?

Every decision you make now has implications for the future.

Future you and what that looks like informs all of the decisions you make now.

Your actions and behaviours need to be congruent with creating the future you that you want, even if that takes 3, 5 10 years to create.

If your future you changes, then your activities and behaviours now need to change and evolve to be congruent with the new future you.




Your business model will influence how fast your business can grow and how sustainable it is, therefore, choosing the right business model for you and your business is vitally important..

Many small business owners choose a business model because that is what others in their industry are doing, so they think that is the only way to do business, or maybe it’s the best way.

Instead, choose a business model based on your objectives for the business.


The main context I am talking here is in terms of recurring revenue, one off purchases, pricing.

Most people think of recurring revenue in terms of a monthly subscription, however, it doesn’t have to be this way. 

It could be a 3, 4 or 6 part payment plan for a higher ticket item - for example wedding photography or, sticking with photography, a large purchase of portrait photography wall art, and repeat purchases.

Your decision on this can also be influenced by our cashflow. If cash is tight, you are more inclined to use short term thinking and aim for one off payments to ease the immediate cashflow rather than thinking more long term and spreading the income over 3 - 6 months to give some stability.


Therefore, a business model based around monthly recurring revenue is incredibly sustainable and far more stable but it is slower to build.

Whereas if immediate cashflow and fast growth are a priority it's better to have lots of one off higher ticket purchases. The downside is that each month you are starting at zero, having to generate all of those sales again.

The other consideration is lifetime client value.

How can you encourage clients to keep buying from you?

It is of course possible, and possibly desirable, to have a mixture of one off payments and recurring revenue, and the key thing is what is right for your and your objectives for your business - how big a business do you want, how big a team if any, what kind of profit margin do you want, how many hours you want to work a week, do you want to go all in for several years to create a massive business or to create a business that supports your lifestyle from the start?


It’s important that your business model is based on what you desire, not what other people want or do.




It’s easy to forget that there are seasons of business. Times when the focus of your business objectives will shift between growth, profit and maintenance.

When you are focusing on growth, your business will have less profit because you are investing more in marketing and growing your business.

Then there will be times when you don’t want to particularly grow your business but rather choose to keep it ticking over, growing much more slowly and taking more profit.

There are also periods of maintaining your business – checking and evolving your systems to cope with more growth or after a period of growth, taking a step back to recharge after a period of growth.

There is no one right or wrong season of business, they each have their place. It all comes down to your objectives at the time.

For example, you may want to grow your business as rapidly as possible to get to a position of market dominance and then ease back and transition to a season of maintenance and or profit or you may want to grow it slowly and steadily.





It’s one of the greatest productivity bullshit myths.

It does not work.

It ruins your focus.

When you juggle multiple tasks, you’re not giving any one task the full attention it deserves.

You get less done.

Don’t do it.