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August

24

2022

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.

June

24

2022

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.

June

22

2022

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…

April

25

2022

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.

April

13

2022

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.

April

5

2022

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.

February

18

2022

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.

February

15

2022

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.

February

10

2022

Multi-Tasking.

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.

May

4

2020

Most things are a rather strange just now, and with the best will in the world, I don’t think anyone could have been totally prepared for what we are experiencing right now.

For sure, there are people and businesses with a strategy for uncertain times, with savings or reserves and contingency plans, but dealing with the cultural changes that we have right now… not many people could have truly prepared for this.

You may not be able to do business as usual just now, however, you can be proactive in keeping your brand alive and visible, making a difference to others so that when we come out of this you are in a far better place than those who have totally retreated.

Don’t make the mistake of retreating in to your bunker if you want business to take off again quickly when we return to whatever our new normal will be. Instead have a plan for the uncertain times right now…

 

1 – Have A Plan

You should always have a plan, now is no different. With so much uncertainty we may have to change how we plan, but that’s ok. Adaptability is key in business. So start small. If you need to, reduce your plan to the next few days and build from there.

Give yourself a small target or milestone, then when you get there give yourself another milestone. Take it one step at a time.

 

 2 – Be Compassionate.

You should always have empathy and be compassionate.

Empathy is one of the most important skills that you can develop a as a business owner and marketer. Keep compassion at the heart of all you do.

We don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life or business, people are learning how to react and deal with a whole new set of circumstances, so cut them some slack and show compassion in all you do.

 

3 – Celebrate Wins

Now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate your wins, and those of other people. It doesn’t matter how big or small the win is.

One person’s small win could be a huge win for another. It’s hard for people to get motivated now, so celebrate others publicly when it’s appropriate.

You don’t know how much of a boost that could give someone.

 

4 – Develop a Habit of Spreading Happiness

The world needs happiness right now and the more happiness you spread, the happier you will feel. The happier you feel, the better your energy will be. The happier you are, the better people will respond to you.

It can be as simple as a few kind words, smiling at a stranger (from a distance), thanking someone, or finding happy things that you can share and spread via social media.

 

It’s ok to feel uncertain, or worried for the future. That’s normal right now in these unprecedented times.

This strategy for uncertain times may seem simplistic, but in a world where we often overcomplicate things, it will go a long way to giving yourself an element of certainty and looking after your business.

March

17

2020

Marketing can be described as the process of making your business, products and services mean the world to prospects who might not feel that passionate about it.

But to do that, you are going to have to write your copy as if you were writing to someone for whom what you sell really does mean the world to them.

Let me explain what I mean.

Remember the movie Rocky with Sylvester Stallone?

Just about everyone who saw it came away feeling inspired by that movie. They came away from watching it feeling as if they could take on the world in some way. What seemed like a huge challenge before the movie suddenly felt doable – they were ready to take on the world. For a short while at least.

So even though precious few people actually went away and pounded meat in a butcher’s shop, they were inspired by seeing Rocky overcome his challenge, tackle something that meant the world to him.

So they begin to consider letting some problem mean the world to your prospects.

 

The Five Step Persuasion Formula

Which brings me to the first step in the Five Step Persuasion Formula, which serves two purposes:

The first is to identify your audience by picking out a very specific issue, concern or desire.

The second being to clarify a pain or need that your prospect is feeling and make it very clear why it would mean the world to them to solve that pain or problem.

Now I know that many business owners are going to think that talking of problems and pains is a bit extreme when it comes to what they sell.

However, that is totally the WRONG approach.

Because of all the people in the world who might want, for example, wedding photography, there are those for whom it is desperately important to have the most amazing wedding photography and display it in the most exquisite, hand crafted album.

Now when your marketing speaks to that person, you are going to inspire those for whom what you sell hadn’t seemed quite so important.

 

You do this by painting a detailed and passionate picture of your ideal prospect’s pain – the thing they don’t have that they desperately want – for example, those beautifully stunning images in an exquisite wedding album.

When you paint such a vivid and detailed picture in their mind, all of a sudden they will feel inspired, and what you sell will become more important to them and you will gain so much more momentum in the rest of your marketing. 

January

14

2020

The good news is that it is a simple fix.

I’ll explain how later, but first, let me show you why this is…

I saw the results of a survey of photographers recently and the results make a lot of sense and are no surprise as they are in line with all the data I have seen on the industry and business over the last 10 years.

 

Just because this survey was of photographers, don’t dismiss this, the principles apply to all kinds of business.

As always, it’s the principles that count.

 

The respondents were a more or less even mix across genres – again this makes sense as a business is a business whatever genre you photograph or whatever kind of business you are in.

 

Only 9% of those who responded had a turnover of more than £60,000 with just 4% with a turnover of over £83,000.

The vast majority in the survey were working part-time and basically not making any money after costs for equipment etc.

 

There is a really big clue as to why a few people are successful, and the majority are not.

Those with the highest business turnover, the most successful, tended to have come from Marketing, Management and Finance backgrounds.

 

This would indicate that they think and run their businesses very differently to the majority who are earning much less.

 

Their previous jobs had taught them to think about their businesses very differently and had given them a grounding in the underlying principles of business.

 

This is not a surprise as it is something that the majority of training and workshops for photographers miss out completely.

It is why I frequently talk about thinking like a business owner and knowing and understanding the foundational principles of business.

 

Interesting food for thought…

What do you think?

 

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