Think big. No. BIGGER than that!

think big

You want a business that fills you with energy. A business that motivates you. A business that is so inspiring that when you tell people about it, they feel excited.

If so, I’m going to give you a very simple, yet extremely effective piece of advice.

Think big. Really BIG!

It works like this:

  • By thinking big, you find yourself making bigger plans than before.
  • The magic of making bigger plans, is that they inspire you to make bigger decisions.
  • The magic of making bigger decisions, is that they motivate you to take action.

No one gets excited or motivated by average plans or puny ideas.

If you’re not feeling motivated right now, it’s entirely possible your plans are not big enough, exciting enough or compelling enough for you.

So, try this…

An alternative approach

Start thinking big. Instead of thinking about how to grow your business by 20% over the next 12 months, add a zero. Shoot for 200% growth. You may miss your target by 50%.

But your business will still have doubled.

Think big. Make big plans. Then, as Steve Jobs said, let the vision pull you.

5 Simple ideas that can massively improve your business

Business development

I jotted a few ideas down earlier, for an article I’m writing. I thought you may find them interesting. So, I’m sharing them with you.

  1. If you hear yourself wishing for better luck, remind yourself that what you actually need, is a better strategy.
  2. Your choices are what define how high you will fly. Not your abilities. The world is full of educated derelicts.
  3. A business succeeds when there’s congruence between what the business owner wants… and what the business owner does.
  4. Never complain about the economy or any other outside factors. Adapt. Put your success in your own hands.
  5. To achieve any kind of meaningful success, your business needs to be meaningfully different.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Have a great day!

Want to improve your marketing? Get emotional. Here’s why!

story

Someone recently asked me why her business needed a story. She thought it was “a load of trendy nonsense”.

When I answered her question, she emailed me back to say it had changed her perception completely. She said it would improve her approach to marketing forever.

I decided to share my answer with you, and I hope you find it just as useful.

Why your brand needs a story

My answer begins with a quote from advertising legend, David Ogilvy.

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same”. “[…] The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit”.

That message isn’t new. It was written decades ago, as you can tell from the examples he uses. Yet it’s even more valid today.

Think about it: Apple’s iPhone is the best selling mobile phone in the world, despite being one of the most expensive. It doesn’t have the best display, the best camera, the best signal reception or the best battery life. But it does have the best story.

Emotions drive decisions

Your prospective clients or customers are motivated by emotions, more than logic. The way they feel about your brand, is what will drive their decision to hire you, buy from you and recommend you. And it’s your story, which determines how they feel about you.

Tip: Read this, it will show you how your story can help you attract more word of mouth referrals.

Stop offering freebies. Really. Stop it!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Time. It’s our most valuable commodity. So why is it that business owners tend to massively undervalue it, by offering freebies?

Freebies send a toxic message to your marketplace

Offering free consultations is an extremely risky marketing strategy. That’s because the freebie message carries a damaging subtext.

It tells people that you are under-employed. That you have too few clients and too much dead time. This causes prospective clients to wonder why… why you’re not attracting enough new clients or enough paid work from delighted, ongoing clients.

Free consultations, free assessments, free advice, free 30 minute evaluations — they all have one thing in common. FREE.

When you use free as bait, guess what you attract?

Yep, you attract freebie hunters. These never-to-be-clients are attracted to freebies, like moths are attracted to flames. Freebie hunters generally fit into one of the following:

  • People who have no intention of paying anyone for advice. Also known as cheapskates.
  • People who have no way to pay because they’re broke.

Here’s the thing: Neither of those groups provide a fertile marketing environment.

Yes, it’s entirely possible you will attract a paying client by offering freebies. However, you’re unlikely to attract the kind of client you want, deserve or need.

Offering your time for free is one way to market your services. It’s not the best way though. Not even close.

Tip: Read this, it will show you how to market your services correctly, by giving value away.

Social media influencers: Don’t let their BS baffle you!

eyes open

Is there anything less influential, than a self-proclaimed social media influencer?

There’s a lot of chatter online about so-called influencers. I’m not talking about influential people or influential brands. I’m actually referring to the exact opposite: People who have very little real-world influence, yet market themselves as influencers.

Allow me to explain.

Famous quotes and endless updates

Self-proclaimed influencers may lack influence. However, what they never lack is spare time. They certainly have more than enough time to game services like Klout.

It’s extremely easy.

They will often have over a dozen active social networking accounts connected to Klout. Then, because they seldom have anything of their own to say, they build their fake influence by pumping their social networking accounts with junk. Usually, this is an automated mix of famous quotes, cute photos of animals or ReTweets / reshares of other people’s work. They seldom create anything themselves.

They also use software, which I refuse to mention here, that allows anyone to build artificially high follower counts on social networks.

Between the constant updates and the fake follower counts, these under employed individuals can game the Klout system and claim to be influential. Amazingly, some brands regard a person’s Klout score as an accurate measurement of their influence. By acting foolishly, these brands are being fooled.

More importantly, some small business owners are wasting their money, on the junk being offered by these fake influencers.

My point?

I’ve worked with 2 of the 10 largest companies in the world, 2 Grammy Award winners and countless self-made millionaires. None of them claim influence. Yet, they are all extremely influential. These are people who can make things happen. They’re extremely well connected.

And none of them are available all day every day on a dozen social networks!

There’s an old saying, which goes like this: The guy who tells you he’s the smartest person in the room… isn’t.

The same is true of self-proclaimed influencers.

Exposed: The great BIG marketing lie!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Ask any struggling business owner about marketing and they will tell you the following: “I don’t have enough time for marketing”. And it’s a lie.

Whether these business owners know it or not, they are marketing their business all day every day. That’s because everything in business is marketing.

It’s all marketing. It’s telling people a story about your business and what you stand for. It’s setting expectations. It’s building or eroding confidence in your business.

If you run a business, you are already engaged in marketing. And you’re doing it all day, every day. So, the question isn’t whether you market your business or not.

The question is this: Are you doing it correctly or are you losing a fortune?

What everybody needs to know about optimism

professional development,

It’s great to feel optimistic about your business, so long as your optimism is justified.

  • Justified optimism is born from knowing that your business is making measurable progress in reasonable time. It comes from seeing your plans and ideas coming to fruition.
  • Unjustified optimism is very different. It comes from ignoring the reality of your situation and hoping things will ‘just get better’.

Here’s the challenge

Unjustified optimism has the same effect on your mind as justified optimism. If your business is stagnating or shrinking, yet you choose to believe everything is great, it acts like a narcotic.

A narcotic? Yes. It takes away the urgency you need to feel, in order to motivate yourself to fix what’s wrong.

It’s like seeing black smoke coming from the back of your car, but choosing to ignore it and instead, telling yourself that your car is doing great. The engine then gets trashed, because you didn’t take heed of the warning signs and take action when you should have.

Business owners tend to be optimistic. Let’s face it, the very act of starting your business, with no guarantee of success, requires a lot of optimism.

If you’re reading this, knowing that your business is on track to achieve whatever your goals or targets are, you are justifiably optimistic. Your optimism will shine through everything you do.

Off track?

If your business is off track or stagnating, don’t allow unjustified optimism to rob you of the motivation you need, to make the improvements required.

Instead, look at where you are right now and where you want to be in the medium and long term. Then, make the decision to give your business the resources it needs; the time, attention, energy and professional expertise.

Don’t see the black smoke and ignore it.

Tip: Read this — “A heartbreaking email that every small business owner should read“.

21 Powerful habits behind highly successful business owners

habits

Over the years I have worked with thousands of business owners. Many of these were successful, some were hugely successful.

Acquiring the habits for success

I noticed that the most successful business owners shared certain habits. They did things, which the average business owner didn’t do. I decided to learn from them… to acquire their habits, to see if it would help me.

It did. It really did. In big, meaningful, measurable ways.

So, in brief, here’s what I learned from them:

  1. They are driven by a passion to do something big. Something that motivates them AND those around them.
  2. They personalise their business, so it’s uniquely theirs. One of a kind. Rare and valuable.
  3. They know success is about more than money… that if you’re rich and unhappy, you’re still broke.
  4. They show people, rather than tell people. Anyone can claim anything, so they walk the walk.
  5. They out-care their competition. It shines through everything they do.
  6. They out-smart their competitors too.
  7. They set standards, extremely high, self-imposed standards… and they achieve them.
  8. They ignore the manual and write their own rules.
  9. They focus on what they want, not what they fear.
  10. They are excellent decision makers. They get the information required, study it, request advice if needed, then decide.
  11. They avoid those costly detours, which come disguised as shortcuts to success.
  12. They work hard. You can’t sleepwalk your way to the top… or even the middle.
  13. They also relax. If you work smart during work time, you can relax when it’s family and friends time.
  14. They seldom watch TV. None (zero) of the most successful people I know, bother with TV.
  15. They are extremely selective who they associate with and who they recommend.
  16. They lead. The world already has enough followers and the followers need leaders.
  17. They manage their time extremely well.
  18. They deliberately build a valuable network of people — before they need them.
  19. They are willing to stand out. They know it’s the only way to be outstanding.
  20. They summon the courage to do what’s required, rather than what feels comfortable.
  21. They make promises… then keep them.

Those are just some of the habits I have discovered and road tested, which improved my business and life beyond recognition.

I hope you find them useful, but more importantly, I hope you decide to try and make at least one of them a habit.

Are you good enough? I hope not!

good enough

Consider the following:

  1. Most small businesses are good enough. Their products, services and marketing are good enough.
  2. A tiny minority of small businesses are great. Their products, services and marketing are great.
  3. Great beats good enough every time.

It’s easy to be good enough: It’s about being average. Just follow the other followers and you’ll be good enough, just like they are.

It’s trickier to be great: It’s about being exceptional. You need to be prepared to set your own goals, set your own priorities and lead.

You have already chosen

Whether you know it or not, you have already chosen one of those paths. If you’re not sure which path you chose, take a look at the clients you work with, the fees you earn and the number of referrals you attract. Are they great? Are they massively above average?

If you think you’re on the wrong path… either settle for average or switch to great.

Oh, and if you think switching to great is hard, you haven’t understood the price people pay for being average.

So, you want more from your business? Try this!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

To grow your business successfully, you need all 3 of the following:

  1. A substantial number of prospective clients, who you can locate and connect with.
  2. These prospective clients need to have a problem, which your service provides the answer to.
  3. Finally, they need to be willing and able to pay you for solving their problem.

That’s what you need for a successful business. And for most people, that’s all they want.

However, if you want even more from your business, something exceptional, you need to know the following.

Truly exceptional businesses are a little different

Exceptional businesses do 1 thing differently. To be exceptional, you need to change number 2 on that list, to this:

These prospective clients need to have a problem, which ONLY your service provides the answer to.

Yes, it takes more effort to develop a uniquely valuable product or service, but the rewards are disproportionately high. For example, you no longer have to compete for business based on fees. Also, by deliberately choosing the type of problem to solve, you can predetermine the quality of clients you work with.

Here’s a suggestion

Think about gaps in the market — problems that are currently not being solved by existing providers. Dig deep. Stick with it until you get some answers. Keep working on it. Give it the time and energy it needs.

Why? Because you only need to get this right once, for your whole world to change!

Tip: This will help you get started.