Stop doing the same old thing and hoping that something is going to change.
The Fearless Business course is designed to:
Having worked with over 1,000 service based businesses since 2004, business coach and author, Robin Waite typically starts to see serious long-lasting results for his clients businesses within 3-6 months.
Some of Robin's clients have doubled their turnover (and profit) in as little as 3 months.
Specific Outcomes of The Fearless Business Course, you will:
Leaving You Feeling:
The Full 6-Month Coaching Programme Covers:
Module 1: Your Why (Goal Setting / Passion vs AOB / 4 Stages of Learning)
Module 2: Products (Product Architecture / Product Packages)
Module 3: Pricing (Pricing Mistakes / Customer Lifetime Value / Capacity Based Pricing)
Module 4: Marketing (Marketing 101 / Social Ladder / 4 x Cs)
Module 5: Sales (7-Step Sales Process / Signup Forms)
Module 6: Productivity (Default Diary)
Module 7: AOB (52 Week Content Strategy / Video Led Content / Social Media Automation)
But First You Need To:
I've also uploaded the Fearless Business Seminar video which is 70 minutes of content and is available to watch via the 'preview' option. Scroll down through the curriculum to Section 9 to view the BONUS MATERIAL.
A brief introduction into the Fearless Business Course.
In order to get the most out of this course please do try and follow the guidelines below:
Where possible I have tried to upload as much information to support the video, so hopefully for most of the tools you should find:
It takes times to produce all of this content for each of the twenty or so videos, so if it's not available immediately I am aiming to complete the uploads by the end of April at the very, very latest.
Strategy Not Tactics.
The Fearless Business Course is NOT about tactics, it is all about strategy. It is designed to change the perceptions of your own business; to change your mindset; and to make LASTING changes within your business which will lead to increased turnover, revenue and growth.
I use these techniques with my 1-to-1 coaching clients and have had terrific results, with most of them seeing a positive impact on their business within the first 3-6 months of working together.
DO ASK QUESTIONS!
Please do come back to me and ask any questions you might have. I will happily be accountable (and hold you accountable, naturally) throughout this new, exciting time for you and your business.
I'm going to kick things off by talking about goals. Goals are something which many business coaches will talk about however I believe my goals too is very different. The reason for that is because I want you to understand the theory which sits behind goals, why we have them and how specific we've got to be with our goals in order to be able to have the opportunity to achieve them.
My goals tool is based on a book called Think and Growth Rich by Napoleon Hill (if you buy this book get the 21st Century Edition). If you haven't read it already, I thoroughly recommend you do read it.
There is another book based on Think and Grow Rich called The Secret. In my opinion The Secret doesn’t do Think and Grow Rich justice. The secret is talked about 120 times in Think and Grow Rich, but they never tell you what ‘the secret’ is.
In short, I'm going to reveal to you what the secret is.
There are three parts to the secret. Firstly, you have to have a goal in place in order to have something to aim for. Second; you have to have a strong enough desire to achieve that goal and finally follow it up with massive, positive action. If you're not doing the right activities in order to get to that goal, you'll never get it.
The simple principle is shoot for the stars and maybe you'll hit the moon.
MY GOALS TOOL
Each one of the green crosses in the diagram (attached in the resources and in the PDF doc) represents an activity that you will be doing on a day-to-day basis within your business. It could be anything from sending an email, making a telephone call, going to a networking event, or going to see your business coach.
It doesn't matter how small or how large the activity is, but each one of the green crosses represents an activity within your business.
What does that look like to you? The most common answer I get when I demonstrate this tool live in front of an audience is that it looks like a mess. This is basically how many entrepreneurs go about their day-to-day lives and it's just a mess of activity. They jump from one activity to the next without any real sense of direction or knowing why they're doing it or what they’re going to do next.
You know that you've got to generate some sales. You also know that you've got to go to a networking event, but I doubt you ever plan further than three or four weeks in advance. In fact I can guarantee if you look at your diary right now, I bet the next one, maybe two weeks you're busy, three weeks it starts to ease off a bit, and then in four weeks you've got nothing in there.
The principle is that you're going to start to map out a plan for yourself in the longer term. i.e. beyond 4 weeks. My goals tool works for setting goals over a day, a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. It works better if you have longer term goals and you can start to get a picture of the relationship between your activities that you will use to get closer to your goal.
In order to give yourself some direction place a goal at the top of all of your activities. To make it even more explicit, we then create a funnel of activities which will move you towards your goal.
To explain what I mean around a goal, you will hopefully have heard about SMART objectives.
Now I'm quite a big fan of SMART objectives, though I'm not a fan of the actionable and realistic, because let's be fair, who wants actionable and realistic goals, right?
The important bit is to have specific, measurable, and time-bound goals. For example, if you're in a service-based business your goal would be something along the lines of:
“I want to have 10 new clients within the next three months.”
It's a very specific target that we're aiming for, a very specific goal, 10 clients. It's measurable by the fact that it's 10 clients within three months so your goal is also time-bound. At the end of the three months you can look back and say, “We’ve got eight clients”, or, “We’ve got 12 clients” and, “Did we hit our goal or not?” It's really important.
IS THIS ACTIVITY RELEVANT?
The trick to this is though that for each one of these activities (the green crosses), ask yourself this question:
“Is this activity going to get me closer to my goal or not?”
More often than not, it's quite difficult when we're down at the bottom end of this funnel, because life is full of very noisy activities. Is the email that you are about to send out going to get you a new client or not? It’s very difficult to tell. But as a busy entrepreneur, you can rely on your gut instinct. 90% of the time your gut instinct is going to be right.
When you decide that an activity is not going to get you close to your goal, you've just got to scratch it out and say, “I’m not going to do this activity”.
A common mistake that busy business people and entrepreneurs make, is that what starts out as an activity within your funnel; an activity that's going to take you closer towards your goal, suddenly becomes a distraction and you will see another opportunity - the next big shiny thing.
You will start doing activities outside of the funnel being a stubborn, forthright entrepreneur, especially if you're British you will just carry on regardless to this other goal that you've manifested for yourself. The reason for this is that we all inherently have a fear of failure - we don't want to let people down – and other fears around not finishing what we started.
Very soon, just outside of the funnel, you will start to realise that this new found shiny thing is taking you away from your goal, but like I said you will just carry on regardless.
TIME TO PIVOT
The sooner you recognise that this activity is taking you towards another goal you can pivot and take yourself back in your funnel and hopefully get you back on track and moving towards your goal again.
When that activity starts to happen; when you start to get more clarity around the activities that are going to generate you clients, it means that there are probably only one, two, or three core activities that you do that end up with you creating clients.
It could be a networking group, but going there regularly and often and with the same, consistent message. It could be posting LinkedIn articles, not just the odd one and deciding that doesn't work, but it could be posting LinkedIn articles once a week, week in week out for 52 weeks. You know that these types of activities will generate you 10 new clients every three months.
Finally, the message appears at the top of your funnel…just below the goal. This is a point where by you've managed to break through the noise, you've created clarity for both you and your potential customers, and the message hits home. Your potential client knows exactly what you offer, the value that you're going to deliver, they know how much it costs and they know what delivery process they're going to be involved in next and so they sign on the dotted line.
The message is just one out of the 10 clients that you need in three months to get you closer to your goal.
The Think and Grow Rich mentality is so, so powerful. I avoided reading the book for quite a long period of time because I thought it was a get-rich-quick scheme! It unlocked so much potential in both me and my clients when I discovered what the secret was all about.
If you don't have the goal, you're not aiming for anything. You cannot think and grow rich without a goal.
You have to have a really strong desire to achieve this. If you're thinking to yourself, “I sent out that MailChimp campaign and I didn't get any business back out of that.” That's quick-win mentality. That is not a strong enough desire to achieve that goal.
You also have to back up that desire by the right positive activity so that you can achieve your goal. Imagine if you have to take a client on a journey of email, LinkedIn posts, and a blog article that leads them to your website. You set up a consultation with them. You send a proposal out to them so they've got all of the information they need. You have a follow-up process and then finally they sign up on the dotted line.
“If you forget to do any one of those steps, you are not going to get that client and you won't get closer towards your goal.”
A really good example of this - and this is quite a fun example, I love telling this story - I read a statistic several years ago about how 60% of Scottish people base their future wealth and prosperity on winning the national lottery. They then follow that statistic up with a second question in the survey. “How many of you actually go out and buy a lottery ticket?” The statistics amazed me. Only 48% of those 60% actually bother to go out and to buy a ticket.
52% of people don't have a strong enough desire to win the lottery because they're not backing it up with the right level of activity, i.e. just getting out of bed and going to buy a ticket which would give them a chance at winning the lottery.
SO, THAT'S GOAL SETTING
What I want you to do is think about a goal to set yourself for:
Map out what level of activity you're going to deliver in order to get to achieve each of those goals and be very specific about it. Don't just say oh I'd love to have a six-figure business in two years or next year. Decide exactly when you're going to have a six-figure business. Choose how many clients or products do you need to sell in order to achieve that six-figure business. Work out what level of activity you've got to produce in order to achieve those goals.
Just to summarise; first of all you've got to look at the activities you're doing on a day-to-day basis within your business and work out which of those activities you should do or shouldn't do that are going to get you closer to a goal.
Second of all, you have to have a clear idea about what that goal is.
The third thing is to work out which activities are just noise, and which activities are going to give you and your clients the clarity they need to sign up to your products or services.
Next up, what do you do to get them both in line? I talked about that shiny thing, that goal that's going to distract you from achieving the goal which you set for yourself at the start of this process.
Finally, after all of that, you'll have absolute clarity around thinking and growing rich, and how you're achieving your goal and I can guarantee that if you wanted to get 10 clients in the next three months, when I speak to you in three months' time, you'll have achieved it.
PASSION vs AOB
I want you to just take a moment, and ask yourself one very simple question:
“How much time am I spending in my business, doing what I love?”
The reason why I ask that, is that most people see their day to day lives in terms of doing admin and other activities within their business, as running their business. And, actually, where we deliver the most value to our customers is when we're spending time delivering our products and services to our customers.
What I mean by that is those activities are hopefully what we are most passionate about. What I tend to see is that many business owners and entrepreneurs, spend very little time delivering and doing the thing which they're passionate about within their business. Consequently this means they are spending a majority of their time doing the any other business.
Ultimately spending too much time on AOB leads to their business failing or struggling as a result. It is the thing that we are most passionate about which is the thing that generates income for ourselves.
TAKE A STEP BACK
A useful exercise is to take a little bit of time out and take a step back from your business. A bit of blue-sky thinking, look down on your business and identify all of the activities and tasks which you're doing on a day-to-day basis. Write them down. Whether it be answering emails, or telephone calls, or admin, bookkeeping, maybe going to networking events, going to conferences, self-development, reading books, watching videos, playing on social media, and all of those sorts of things. That's all of your “any other business”.
Now write down the amount of time which you're spending on delivering your core product or service.
Do the numbers surprise you?
Some people can leverage their time really well. Take a business coach for example. I don't have to work any more than 40 to 80 hours a month in order to generate a nice, comfortable income and lifestyle for myself.
The rest of the time I do as little admin as I possibly can, and look to do activities which I still enjoy, so things like going and doing speaking engagements, writing my next book, recording this e-learning programme, for example, these are all things which I'm passionate about. Educating and teaching people about the basic principles of business.
If I just spent all of my time doing admin, bookkeeping, emails, telephone calls, networking, and things like that, I probably wouldn't be earning a great deal. I certainly wouldn’t have the same earnings potential that I've got currently. I have made a very conscious decision to reduce my admin time down to a minimum in order to focus on practicing coaching whenever I possibly can.
LEVERAGE YOUR TIME
It's all about leveraging your time better. What you've got to do is imagine that your passion and your any-other-business fit into two boxes; and your passion box may be this big, but your any-other-business box could be twice the size of that at the moment (see below in blue).
What you've got to do is work out a way of reducing down the size of your any-other-business box, and start to increase the amount of time that you're spending in your passion box, doing things that you really love and enjoy.
The major benefits that you get from the doing things that you're passionate about, and this is really, really important, so I want you to listen to this, are that:
“When you're doing the things you're passionate about, the engagement levels go absolutely through the roof.”
Potential clients start to get absolute clarity about who you are, what you do, and the features and benefits of your products and services, without you having to do tonnes of marketing activities. Thus reducing your any-other-business box. This is done by, simply getting out there and, constantly practising what you're passionate about and doing what you do best.
It's called a coaching practise for a reason, because I am constantly coaching business owners, and what that means is that I'm just permanently honing my craft, perfecting my message, and making sure that my message has outright clarity for my potential prospects, customers, and my existing clients.
“Showing up regularly and often with the same consistent message.”
And the more time I spend practicing coaching, the better and better I'm going to be, and, therefore, the more value I can deliver to my clients.
I just want to reiterate; take time out of your business, and look at all of the activities which you're doing within your business, and make sure that, over time, you develop your passion box so that grows. If you can find a way to spend more time doing that, your any-other-business box will gradually reduce down to as small as you can possibly get it.
One of the quick wins that you might look achieve could be outsourcing some of the work which you’re spending a lot of time doing yourself. This will allow you to consciously spend more time doing whatever it is that you're passionate about.
Small businesses often can't afford to outsource a lot of work immediately, and that’s true if we operate in an all-or-nothing type mind-set. We think that we've got to take on a full-time member of staff to take on our admin responsibilities, but that's not the case. In this day and age, we're really lucky that we can take on a PA or a VA on a part-time basis. There are plenty of mums and dads out there who are available to work 10 to 20 hours a week, who would be happy to come and work for you, learn on the job, and take care of some of those admin projects for you.
This allows you to spend more time doing what you're passionate about, and, like I said, where is it that you make your money? It's in delivering the products and services around the areas that you're passionate about, and it's making sure that you're leveraging that time as much as you possibly can.
So, get out there and do your job that you're passionate about, deliver your products and services that you're passionate about, and reduce down the AOB box as best as you possibly can.
4 STAGES OF LEARNING
I'm sure that many of you drive cars. Have you ever done a 10 or 15 or 20 minute journey and ended up at your destination and never really quite understood or remembered how or why you got there?
What I'm going to talk about is the four different stages of learning and introduce to you a concept of how a similar sort of experience often happens with business owners, like you, in their day-to-day lives.
I am also going to explain why we should make sure that it doesn't happen because it can be quite damaging to a business.
I'm going to talk to you about the four stages of learning and hopefully this will give you a bit of an insight into your day to day activities and the things that you do on autopilot that are holding you back. I am going to break out of that mindset and get you more self-aware around what you're doing within your business.
STAGE 1 - UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE
The first stage out of the four is something called unconscious incompetence. Imagine that very first time when you were getting into a car as a learner driver and you didn’t know what a clutch is or where the accelerator was or how the gears worked or anything like that. It's that scenario of:
“You don't know what you don't know”
In business this might show up, for example, if you've never done any accounting modules or bookkeeping and all of a sudden somebody asked you what your profit and loss looks like and you're thinking, “Well I don't, I've never heard of a profit and loss. I don't know what it is and I have no idea what it looks like or why it exists.” That's the stage of I don't know what I don't know. Unconscious incompetence.
STAGE 2 - CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE
When you then, as a learner driver, start to have lessons or as a business owner you are starting to dip into a bookkeeping package like Xero. You're learning about accountants and bookkeeping, you're starting to become consciously incompetent. Now you know that this thing exists but you're not very good at it but you are starting to understand why you're doing it.
You now know where the gear knob is, you know where the clutch it, you know where the accelerator is, and you're no longer bunny hopping your first car.
STAGE 3 - CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE
The third stage of learning is when you pass your driving test. This is called conscious competence. Now you spend a lot of time doing your bookkeeping, you understand what a profit and loss is, but you don't want to make mistakes so those first few times that you go out on the road on your own, you're looking in your mirror all the time, you're checking your blind spot all the time, you're not having to necessarily look down to change gears, but you're just wary about how much you're revving that car.
You're starting to become consciously competent around driving that car, but you're driving it extra, extra carefully. This can be quite inefficient, but it means that you're not going to crash the car.
How this shows up in business, for example, is that you will are spending an awful lot of time perfecting your product or service. However, when you spend time perfecting your product in business, you're losing time and losing the opportunity to get feedback from potential clients. In this instance:
“Done is better than perfect.”
Your passengers (clients) just want to get to their destination, launch your product out there into the marketplace, and then you can start to get some feedback about it. You don't have to double check everything all the time. It’s like spending every weekend polishing your car – it doesn’t help you get to your destination any quicker.
DANGER ZONE - UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE
The final stage of learning, the fourth stage, is where you get to a point of unconscious competence. This is where you've been in business for 10 years and when you explain your products and services to your clients, it just comes out with absolute clarity without really having to think about it.
When this happens, it means that you are on complete autopilot and you will be blissfully unaware of all of the mistakes you're making. Bad habits start to creep in. Right now, if you are there, you've got to take a step back and into a place of conscious competence.
This is where personal development and self-development comes into its own. I see a lot of business owners who are a bit arrogant about how they manifest their business, their products, and their services and they're in the space of unconscious competence where they think they're better than everybody else.
They're just not keeping up with the current trends that are happening in the marketplace blissfully unaware of rising competitive in their field and generally thing that they are invincible.
TAKE SOME TIME OUT
How we overcome this state of ego is to take some time out of our business. You may have heard the saying a number of times to:
“Stop working in your business and start working on your business.”
And how we work on our business is to do exactly what you're doing right now, which is by taking some time out for self-development, a bit of learning, reading business books, learn new concepts, be open to new ideas, and new ways of thinking because over time, businesses change, technology changes, your industry will be changing, how you take your product and services to market will be changing and don't get lost in amongst all the noise just because you're being ignorant to it in this space of unconscious competence.
So, just to recap those four stages of learning:
THE GOLF PRO
I’ve talked about how to set goals, and what sorts of things constitute goals.
One of the things which I said about having a specific goal, say for example generating ten new clients over the course of the next three months. Let’s assume that this could create £10,000 recurring revenue per month.
One of the most common set of questions I get asked is:
“How do you know how much do you charge for your products? How do you package it up so that it appears attractive to the client? And how do you explain the value proposition?”
In order to explain this, the best thing that I could possibly do is just tell you a client case study who I delivered a consultation to at the start of last year. The case study I'm about to tell you about, literally, took about as long as this recollection took. He only used up ten minutes of his allotted time, despite the fact that he had booked an hour with me.
Some of you may have heard this case study before. It's about a golf pro. He came to me with two very specific problems within his business. The first one was that delivering golf lessons was the one thing that he was most passionate about. But if, for example, on a Saturday it rained, he would probably lose about five or six clients who just wouldn't bother turning up to his lessons. He'd basically be stuck on the course and busy doing nothing.
The second problem he had was that as a result of clients not showing up he then wouldn't get paid. He collected money after the lessons so if no-one showed up he wouldn’t/couldn’t get paid.
Most of all though, he wanted to get students to the lessons. That was what he was most passionate about, helping people to improve their golf game. So, I started to dive a bit deeper in to these two issues. I was asking him questions around what his onboarding process was like. What sort of questions do he asked potential students. His response was, "How long have you played golf for?", "When can you start?”. They would then ask him how much it costs, and he would tell them, and they would say, "Oh that's expensive", or "That's cheap."
It became clear to me that he didn't have a clear package or product that he was offering to prospects, or a clear idea about what his product looked like.
We worked together and came up with this concept, that rather than just selling golf lessons one by one by one, we would somehow create a package of golf lessons, combined together. We actually created five products:
Going a little bit deeper than that, I said to him, "So how long would it take you, for example, to teach somebody to drive 20 or 30 yards further?" And he said, “About eight weeks”. So I said, "Okay, let's say it is eight weeks. What have your students got to do in order for you to be able to guarantee that they can drive 20 to 30 yards further?"
And he said, "Well, they've got to turn up to every single lesson, and they've got to practise in between, because it's basically all about muscle memory, and building the right sorts of muscles."
We started to draw out a brochure that he was going to have in the shop to show people when they asked about lessons. At the top of the form, stage one, we put the five products in there, with a tick box next to each one.
THE VALUE PROPOSITION
Second step, we put in two more tick boxes. One was an agreement that they were going to turn up to all eight lessons. The second thing; and this was quite fun, he asked them to send in a text message, a selfie of themselves on the driving range, or out on the course two or three times per week to prove that they were practising in between lessons
What he was doing at this point was getting a commitment from his students. They are going to tick a box to agree that they were going to turn up to all eight lessons as well as practice several times in between lesson.
Okay, so we've got the commitment.
So, now we can move on to the second problem, which was based around:
“How are we going to make more money out of this?”
He was basically charging £20 per lesson at the time. If you were to look at eight weeks, that was £160 per student, per eight week course. The course didn’t exist at this time though, remember.
“So, how do I make more money out of this?"
And I said, "Well, now you've got a product, with clearly defined outcomes, we're going to guarantee that person's going to be able to drive 20 or 30 yards further. We're going to offer a money back guarantee on your new products."
"Cool, that sounds okay, I'm a bit wary of those kinds of offers though, they sound a bit gimmicky." I told him that's fine, but, bear with me. And then dropped the bombshell on him that he was not going to charge £595 for that "eight week course." More than three times the original £160 he might make on a course IF the student showed up to all 8 lessons.
His initial reaction, probably similar to yours, was like, "Ah, how can I possibly charge that much? That's triple what everybody else charges. This is what I've always charged!" Any many other similar sorts of comments. This is the point where a coach is handy because they tell you to get on with it, and give it a go!
My attitude was that he wasn’t going to lose anything by "just printing out this form that we've created", which had the product, it had the commitment, which they had to make, it had the price on it, and then they were going to sign and date on the bottom, bottom of the page.
We agreed that he would print off ten copies, leave them in the shop, and next time a potential student walks into the shop just try and sell one of the new products.
The following week we had a very brief telephone call. He said that he sold three within the first week, and he was absolutely blown away by it. More recently, he got back in touch again to say, "Rob, one of the first guys who signed up to my drive 20 or 30 yards further course, has just signed up for my lower your putting average course."
That was something which I hadn't anticipated. But the key to it was, that the pricing was explicit. It was £595, the packaging was clear and explicit, because the student knew that they had to turn up to all eight lessons and practise in between. Otherwise, they weren't going to get their money back. And the third thing, the value proposition was, well if I don't do what I promised, I'll just give you your money back. And as far as I know, he hasn't had to give a refund.
HOW CAN I APPLY THIS TO MY BUSINESS?
Take a product, for example, if you're going to buy a new car. There are reasons why you go to BMW over say, Skoda. There's a branding exercise which sits alongside that. There are then the different ranges of BMWs and then their capabilities. Their speed from 0 to 60, reliability, miles per gallon, and all those sorts of things.
Start to think about, how you can apply those sorts of statistics, features and benefits and the value proposition that sits within a BMW, to the products and services which you sell.
HERE IS MY TOP TIP
In the olden days, again, marketing was based around going out to the marketplace, with a questionnaire, and doing some market research. And from that market research recognising that there's a need for something. The inventor would disappear back to the workshop, or shed, build a product and finally take it back to the marketplace to sell it.
Whereas nowadays, what people tend to do is they spend weeks, if not months, perfecting their product, because they think it's a good idea, launch it into the marketplace, where they don't know if they're going to have any customers or not, because they haven't tested the market, or done any market research, and then wonder why they haven't got any clients for that product or service.
At this point they get desperate and just start pushing their products on unsuspecting people who don’t really want their product.
I want you to think about your products. A product doesn't have to be a finished, perfect, pristine, white cube.
“Done is better than perfect.”
And imagine this scenario, that you could come up with an idea for a potential new product or service, spend 20 pounds on a networking event ticket, turn up to that networking event, and then pitch the idea to somebody. The product doesn’t even exist yet. One guy might say, "Well no, that's a rubbish idea." The next person, or the next ten people might go, "That's an absolutely fantastic idea, when can I have it?" And you say, "Well, maybe in three months!" You go away and you build it, and then you sell it to those people who put their hand up, and said they wanted it. That is all about understanding your clients. Understanding the need for the product, the value proposition of the offers, and then making sure that you set a price, which reflects the offer.
So many business owners just focus on a single core product. Imagine this scenario for a second; whatever market sector that your business is in, or the type of business or whatever product you sell. If it's quite expensive and at the moment it’s sat in a warehouse. It’s a big warehouse. Then a little door opens up at the bottom of this warehouse and somebody walks in through the door. They look up at your core product and it's expensive, they don't understand the features, the benefits or the outcomes that your product is going to deliver.
The first thing they're going to do is just turn around and walk straight back out of that door.
As a consequence of the age that we live in nowadays that most businesses and most markets are very saturated. 25 years ago pre-internet age there were 468,000 businesses in the UK. Now in 2017 there are 5.6 million small businesses in the UK. Every industry, and market is totally saturated with 10 times the amount of competition.
TEN TIMES THE COMPETITION
You will feel like there's plenty of opportunity that the internet has created for you in terms of getting your products out there to a broader audience. But, don't forget there's also 10 times as many businesses out there doing the same exactly the same thing as you.
You've got to find a way of cutting through the noise that's out there in your marketplace and attracting clients to you rather than just putting your core products out there and thinking that everybody's going to buy it. That just doesn't happen in this day and age despite the fact that it should be easier due to the global marketplace we have available to us online.
THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
The way we go about doing this is to create a customer journey for our customers. There's one saying which I introduce all of my clients to and that is that:
“Most people have some form of intelligence…we hope; yet when it comes to our products and services, they literally have none.”
You can't expect your prospects to look at your core product and understand exactly what goes into it and most likely they just don't have the time. You’ve got to introduce a series of steps to educate them about yourself, your core values, your business, and your products.
ZERO MOMENTS OF TRUTH
There was a white paper produced a number of years ago by Google called Zero Moment of Truth. Personally I wouldn't recommend that you read it because it's quite long and dull and boring but I'm going to try and break down the key elements of that white paper. It teaches the reader about why creating more engagement, additional touchpoints and more assets within your business is so important.
What you want to do is to create products alongside your core product at the start of the customer journey so you can educate them about your core product. As well as a product which sits after your core product. The goal being; to create a highly profitable product with recurring revenue so that your business stands the test of the time.
WARM THE CLIENT UP
I want to talk about the bit which comes ahead of the core product. You will have heard the term ‘lead magnet’ before. A lead magnet is typically just an information sheet which introduces your business to a potential client who is ‘cold’ to your business; who you might not have met before. You’re not looking to sell to them at this early stage; but you want to educate them about your products or services.
This can also be done through a number of other touch points such as your website, social media, video, brochures, business cards, and speaking engagements. You could give gifts to people. For example if you're in the food industry, you could give away free samples of your products. You can see this happening often in supermarkets and in large retail outlets and shopping centres. Or a website designer could offer free tips on how to optimise a website.
You may have heard the term ‘freemium’ which is by where people are aware of your product but they just need time to educate themselves about it. Typically software business have seven or 14 days free access to your product before it flips the prospect into a paid for product.
You’ve got to find a way of introducing your brand and raising awareness around it through a number of different free assets in order to first of all attract prospects to your business and get them to know you a bit better.
EVENTS AND EXPERIENCES
The next step; rather than jumping them straight from that initial place of knowing you into trusting and buying your products you've got to find a way of increasing engagement. Your core product is likely still expensive and it's quite a big commitment for potential clients. The way to increase engagement with potential prospects, especially in service based businesses, is to introduce something which I call ‘events or experiences’.
This gives them the opportunity to spend a certain amount of time with you which correlate to the value of your core product. If your core product is $5,000, your event or experience needs to be $500. The event or experience is roughly a tenth of the value of the core product.
However, in spending the day with you on a course or a workshop you'll give them enough information and insights about your products and services so that they could go away and do it for themselves potentially.
DONE FOR YOU
As a service, your core product is likely to be a ‘done for you’ service. What I mean by that is you give people enough information in the early stages of the relationship, enough tips and knowledge, that they could maybe do some of the work themselves. But in order to get the guaranteed results, which you offer within your products or services, they've got to pay you to get out there and do the work for them.
That’s your core product.
What you’re doing is leading prospects on the customer journey, which you’ve designed for them to follow; moving prospects from lead magnet up into an event or an experience, and then finally resulting in them investing in you because they now trust you and buying one of your core products.
Later on in Fearless Business, I'll be talking about the next step which comes after that which is around creating recurring revenue – the lifeblood of any sustainable business.
As a teaser recurring revenue is typically generated through activities such as support and hosting fees or a continued service offering that then builds additional value and is highly profitable within your business. However you can't get to that step without first taking people on the customer journey and build them up to your core product.
To recap that very briefly, somebody walks into your warehouse and they see this uber expensive, wonderful product but they just don’t get it. You must educate them about your product and you do that through introducing steps before the core product by way of information products and lead magnets.
From there you can introduce them to events and experiences which you offer. Until finally you'll have built up enough trust and they spend loads of money on your core product or service.
PRICING, PACKAGING AND VALUE PROPOSITION
I suppose this is really about my background, but I find that telling my story is a really good way of demonstrating how I've progressed over the last 16 years around creating growth within the various businesses that I've been involved with. In particular, I spent 10 years running a web design, graphics agency, and we used to do all sorts of fun stuff around brochure design, branding, logo design, building website's landing pages, and eCommerce websites for clients.
Over the course of the 10 years, that's when I had the contact with the broadest number of different business owners. It gave me a really good feeling for a) how my customers worked, and b) how I interacted with my clients, and how there are specific, strategic decisions that we made in order to generate growth within our business.
I'm going to tell you about some of the various different products that we had within our core business and how we created more time for ourselves through honing those products.
What I want you to do as I'm telling you this story is just think about areas of your business where you're facing particular challenges. Remember my favourite phrase, JFDI, because ultimately nothing is going to change within your business if you keep on doing the same old thing.
So, your business might not necessarily be struggling, but you might be particularly stressed. Your business might not be struggling, but you might not be making enough money. Or as much money as you'd maybe planned for five years ago. Maybe you set goals for yourself of where you want your business to be in five years, but you may be struggling to realise how you might achieve those goals.
I'm going to walk you through some of the stages within my business, The Coconut Group, as we grew that business, and how it evolved and what impact it had on us, and on our clients.
THE CORE PRODUCT
Our core product was web design, support and hosting. In the very early stages, we had our own dedicated server and as a part of the hosting package we provided email support. This was before the internet really grew at a substantial rate, and especially on mobile devices: tablets, PDAs, laptops, those sorts of things. All of our clients were single manager, owned businesses. They had one email account on one device. We used to offer email hosting and support as a freebie along with our support and hosting fees.
JUST SAY NO!
Now, as those devices started to grow in popularity they grew exponentially, and then the businesses grew, so we had four employees wanting their emails set up across four different devices, so it was actually 16 times the amount of support. We realised very quickly that we couldn't sustain that amount of support, and equally, we weren't experts in the field of email support, quite frankly. What we did best was build websites. We found a partner, and we decided we were not going to do any more email support, found a partner, and outsourced all of that work to our partner. Our support calls, literally overnight, dropped by 90%.
The amount of time that we bought back for ourselves, so like I said, for us, the money at that point, wasn't important. We didn't want to deliver this additional service anymore and as a result of handing it over we got back all of the extra support time. We then used that extra time to plug into supporting our core product of designing and building websites. That was one of the first major kind of changes we made in the business, just getting some more time back.
BE VERY BRAVE WITH PRICE INCREASES
Next up, and this didn't happen long after that, we realised we were charging £10 a month for support and hosting, which was far too cheap. When the recession hit in 2007, and 2008 everybody in our industry was competing on price. They were scrapping over any bit of support and hosting fees that they could get, and they were driving the prices down.
Now, I'm a firm believer in competition, but the market out there, are not always right. I've always gone against the grain, on the small chance, well, actually I've proven it to be, the high chance, that I'm right and the marketplace is wrong.
What we did when everybody was putting their prices down, is we jacked our prices up. Not by 10% or 20%, we were really, really brave, and took a big leap, and put our prices up by five-fold. We went from £10 a month to £50 a month for support and hosting. At the time, my partner thought that we were going to have a mass exodus of customers and who was going to pay that much, surely? What we underestimated was the customer loyalty we’d built up. Our customers liked us, and they liked what we were doing, and also we added some extra value for the £50/month package.
"We'll deliver an extra hour's worth of support time for you, included in the price increase."
We had 120 clients before at £10 a month, after this price increase we were left with 80 clients. So, we'd lost 40 clients, 30% of our customer base, but our revenue went up by 2.5 times for support and hosting. Again, we had more time, because we had 40 less clients to service.
Sometimes we've just got to be really brave, and don’t just do what everybody else is doing. The results for us were absolutely phenomenal, and we realised that the 80 clients who we were then left with, were 100% loyal. They were always the ones who referred other people into our business. They were always the ones who came back for updates. The beauty of it was, even though we put the price up, and we added value, a lot of our clients, we didn't hear from for one year, to the next. Which meant they didn't take a great deal more to service.
Our products gave our clients peace of mind that at any point they could dip in and use our services, and we would help them update their site for no extra money. Adding value, not just competing on price, but adding value, is a really good way of creating additional revenue within your business. That made a huge difference.
FIND THE PAIN AND MAKE IT DISAPPEAR
The third major change for us, which we did whilst we were trying to look for other opportunities, became really apparent around the logo design process.
You can get logos designed for 20 bucks. We wanted to be at the premium end of the market, and we wanted to drive prices up, not down. One of the biggest problems with graphic design is this thing I call, design agency ping-pong. You may see this even if you're not a design agency, or even an agency. You may see this in some way, shape, or form within your business. What design agency ping-pong looks like is somebody sends an inquiry in, you then come back to them with a quote. They then quibble your quote, and you have to explain your prices to them. Eventually, they get a 10% discount because you just give in, and so you have this ping-pong match. Eventually, they agree to it, and then you start working.
As a graphic designer, you start the delivery process. You deliver three composite logos, three ideas, like sketches, and they go, "Well, I like the colours in that one. The shapes in that one. The font you've used in that one. Can we merge all three?" Okay, you get it back, you merge all three, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and this goes on for like, you know, two months, three months, six months. It's a really long-winded process, and web design is even more exaggerated.
"There has to be a better way for this!"
Quite frankly, it was frustrating for us. I dread to think what it was like for our clients, but I could tell they were getting frustrated. Not only that, but from day 1 to day 90 when we delivered their fancy new brand, their business has moved on tremendously. Their mind-set was completely different.
I introduced, a one-day branding workshop where we had a clearly-defined, seven-step process for creating a new brand identity from scratch. We knew exactly what the outcomes were going to be. The client came into those workshops. They were part of the whole creative process. There was all sorts of other things that we crammed into that one day, and we realised we could do more in eight hours.
Here’s the kicker, that three month logo design process, we’d probably only end up doing about 8 or 10 hours of chargeable work, and at £60 an hour we’d maybe make making £480.
What I realised was, that because we were able to cram so much more value into that one-day workshop, and get immediate feedback from the client, they felt like they were empowered with being a part of this creative process. We charged more for it. We charged £1,495 for the workshop. More than three times the price of what we were getting at our hourly rate.
THE WORKBOOK...AND A FREE LUNCH
Another evolution on that branding workshop; we used to wing it for quite a long time! We had our seven steps, but we just used to sketch stuff out on blank sheets of A3 paper.
We evolved the seven step process into a very simple, A3 workbook, and all of a sudden, it knocked another two hours off of the eight-hour process. I could take the client out for lunch. They could have a full experience for the day, and really get something of like, deep intrinsic value, rather than just another logo at 20 bucks.
I think if you look at your industry that you work within, and you can apply these principles. Ask the question, "How can I add more value to my customer's business?" Not, "How can I generate money for me? How can I make sales for me?", but, "How can I add more value to my customer's business?"
Ultimately, if your customers are more successful, and this is what we experienced, it meant we were more successful.
Our customers became more successful. They were more prosperous, generated more revenue. They were more willing to spend more money with us.
To recap the four steps which we went through.
3 COMMON PRICING MISTAKES
How do you know how much to charge for your products and services?
We don’t get taught about pricing products and services at school or university. How often do you walk into a shop to buy something, from a packet of crisps up to a brand new BMW, and never challenge the price?
If you do challenge the price, it's because it's too expensive and, rarely, you'll come out saying, gosh that was cheap.
There are three common pricing mistakes, which people make in business, and I'm going to walk you through now. You will undoubtedly find that you are making at least one of these common pricing mistakes. I will show you how to stop making these three pricing mistakes so that you'll feel comfortable and confident about charging whatever you feel is the right amount to charge for your products and services.
A great case study of one of my consultation clients. We managed to take her business from being very seasonal with incredibly busy periods followed by very sparse periods.
We managed to achieve:
Many business owners focus on instant gratification of the sale and forget about how much a customer is worth to them if you include support contracts. Using a very simple example I explain why £1,000 is more valuable than £10,000 and how you can use a couple of simple tools to build recurring revenue in your business.
Sometimes we simply get to busy for our own good, and look to fill order books into the future rather than deal with the bottleneck and capacity issue we are currently experiencing.
The issue is that most business owners don't set a "capacity goal" from the get go, and then never adjust when they get too busy.
By setting a capacity constraint, when the bucket is full, we top it up with more expensive clients.
4 simple principles of marketing:
When we dream of big business and see other people whom we consider to be more successful than ourselves we dream that we can be at the same level as them when we launch.
However, you need to remember there are no overnight success stories.
The Social Ladder explains how to achieve "unicorn" status in entrepreneurship land in a simple and effective manner.
This lecture explains how the Internet has broken marketing and how we need to base our marketing strategies around 4 simple principles of:
Thus creating word of mouth and "pull" marketing.
Quickly choose the correct sequence of the "4 Cs"
I asked 70 university students to explain to me their idea that was going to change the world and how they would take it to market. It was a struggle! But I managed to explain how to carry out market research in three easy steps:
The answers were stark:
Struggling to sell, this is a very simple sales framework to take into your next sales meeting.
Guaranteed increase in conversion rates.
Signup forms are incredibly powerful at the end of a sales conversation when you finally come to ask for a commitment from a prospect.
You can also use them to upsell and cross sell.
Many people have a todolist of things and activities they need to do but these are difficult to manage because you end up switching from one task to the next.
The Default Diary is a neat was of pre-programming your diary so you have specific "themes" of activities to do at specific time blocks throughout the week.
This lecture demonstrates how to implement the default diary and get the most out of it.
We've gone through a journey together. I've taught you, not about the quick-wins in business, but I've taught you and worked with you on the core fundamental business principles.
Sometimes we need to be reminded to keep things simple because, by keeping things simple, it creates more time for us. It makes your products and services easier for your customers to understand.
Hopefully the Fearless Business Course will have given you more confidence to charge more for your products and services that you offer those customers.
CUSTOMERS COME FIRST
This is about giving your customers ultimate value, not about making money for yourself. The more value you deliver to your customers the better off you're going be in the long run. After all business is ALL about the “long game”.
The second thing that I hoped that is now ingrained in you, is the power of habit-forming activities.
Going back through these various different videos and tools; the key thing to remember is about how you take this newly found knowledge forward and implement it within your business.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Like I said, if you have just sat here and watched the 20 videos back to back, that's probably not going be very helpful in the long run. Right now you ARE going to be feeling overwhelmed. How am I going to implement all this in my business when I’m so busy?
I want you to take a deep breath, take a step backwards, and then just plan to watch one video a week or one video a month, recap, and work out how you're going to implement this video or this tool or this tip, within your day to day working life. Apply some discipline to it. Slow down. Everybody is on this, we've got to have quick wins; we’ve got to create a six figure income now; success is easy and just around the corner; all of this sort of useless self-talk.
If we go slow and steady, we are going to win the race. It's really really important to follow this instruction: watch one video, or take on board one tool at a time and master it before moving onto the next one. That's really really important. If you've watched all these videos back to back, you probably missed the point and you've probably wasted your time.
Take the time to take stock and work out how you're going to implement it within your business.
BE OPEN MINDED
The final thing that I wanted you to work on during the course was about opening your mind. What I mean by this is being open to the opportunity for change within your business. Rather than getting stuck and doing business the same old way; now your eyes have been opened to potential new opportunities that you can start to implement within your business.
These opportunities are based around pricing or productivity or how you manage your time, or any number of different tools which I've shown you during the Fearless Business Course.
The key thing as well is that you are a human being. You will eventually return to your default and start to sink back into your old habits. You must be self-aware. Now that I've told you that that is going to happen at some point, it's up to you, it's your responsibility to be mindful of when you sink.
WHEN YOU SINK
When you find yourself sinking, re-engage your brain, come back and revisit the Fearless Business Course, and remind yourself about the simple principles of business and making sure that you're still on track.
Keep an open mind with your business moving forward through successes and failures - which you will have. You will have both failures and successes. The key to success is how you behave when you fail, because ultimately, when you fail, and fail often, you are learning, and it's that learning experience which is going shift your mindset the most.
The only way to fail and improve from it is failing with an open mind, and seeing other opportunities that are available to you.
I truly hope you've enjoyed my course. There has been a huge amount of thought and energy into creating the Fearless Business Course.
My best piece of advice for you right now is just to get out there, enjoy your business, treat it like a game, and JFDI the fuck out of your business because, quite frankly, life is too short for you to be messing around, stressed, and worried, and not making enough money.
There's plenty of opportunity out there, you've got to do a lot of activity, trial and error, get out there, play the game, and create the opportunity that you want to create for yourself.
Every time you watch a video, you see something different in it, a different message. So, what I would like to do is to invite you to go back to the goals video and watch it again, and once you've done that, head on over to the Online Business Startup Facebook group, and share your goals with everyone:
I am a business coach, speaker and the author of a bestselling book called Online Business Startup.
From 2000 to 2004 I worked as a systems analyst in a large medical devices agency. This gave me a great insight into the world of business systems, processes, and efficiency.
In 2004 I was looking for a new challenge and founded a successful branding and digital agency, The Coconut Group, based in the UK. And finally took on the mantle of Business Coach and speaker after the launch of my bestselling book, Online Business Startup.
I have helped over 1,000 businesses create change and growth within their organisation since 2004 through a series of workshops and masterclasses, and 250 businesses directly through The Coconut Group.
I gained a degree in Business Management whilst working as a systems analyst; this has provided me with a unique way of seeing businesses from outside-of-the-box. More recently I won a CPD Award from the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing.