To improve a business, let go of the Failing Familiar!

professional development,

A reader asked me a great question earlier. She wanted to know why she isn’t making the changes her business needs, even though she is, as she put it; slowly losing her business.

Here’s part of the advice I gave her. I want to share it with you, in case someone you know needs to hear it:

“Start by accepting just how urgent your situation is. A failing business is unsustainable. The time to act is now… today. What stops most people doing what’s required, is that it means making a big, scary commitment. It means stopping your current strategy, which put you in this situation. It means letting go of the failing familiar.”

The hardest part of turning a business around is making that initial commitment, to let go of the failing familiar. After that, your mindset shifts. You start looking for answers, rather than hoping things will somehow, just improve.

Whilst hope is absolutely essential, it isn’t a business strategy.

Tip: Here’s a heartbreaking email, which every small business owner needs to read.

How to grow your list in 3 steps


If you write a newsletter or blog and your “list” is growing too slowly, this post is for you.

Toxic advice online

The Internet is packed with bad advice on how to improve the success of your newsletter or blog. So-called content marketing experts focus on things like; the best time to publish your work, how long your articles or posts should be and what kind of images you should use, how to SEO your work, etc.

These generic tips offer the reader no meaningful value. NOTHING that will resolve the actual problem. The reason no one reads Bob’s blog posts or Barbara’s newsletter, is not because they are published on the wrong day or at the wrong time, are the wrong length or lack the right images or SEO.


The reason no one reads their work, is that it offers nothing new. It’s lacking in value. So, when people find it, they are not motivated to return or share what they have found. That type of blog or newsletter will never build an audience.

The actual solution?

It’s as easy and as hard as this:

  1. Have something worth saying and say it well. (In other words, provide massively valuable information and write it in a way that inspires your readers.)
  2. Put it where people can see it.
  3. Make it easy for them to share.

If you do that, your audience will grow. First, just 5 people will read it, but that’s fine. Why? Because they will love what you had to say, then share it with their friends. Some of their friends will value what you have written and they too will share it. Repeat…

To keep that process rolling and your readership growing, you need to focus on regularly having something to say, which people will value and share. This means learning how to write and having the courage to say it in your own unique voice.

So rich. So strange. So new.

I was prompted to share this with you today, after listening to a recording of the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Before Thomas took to the stage to share his brilliance with a packed, New York audience, he was introduced to the crowd.

The MC then described Thomas’ poetry as: “So rich. So strange. So new”. You can listen to the MC here. (It’s just 10 seconds into the audio.)

And it was. No one wrote like Thomas. He had something worth saying. He shared it with, initially, very small crowds. These small crowds of people then told their friends how amazing his poetry was. The media then discovered Thomas’ work and he became a worldwide success, whose work is celebrated today, 60 years after his passing.

Dylan Thomas didn’t succeed because he only wrote works that were a certain length. He didn’t succeed because he only performed or published on certain days. No. He succeeded because his work was too good NOT to share.

If we want to grow a highly valuable audience for OUR work, we need to strive to do the same. To be too good to ignore.

6 Ideas to make clients fall in love with your business

marketing topics r

Here are 6 ideas, to help you earn the attention and interest of your clients and prospective clients.

  1. People love to feel appreciated: What are you doing, to show them your appreciation?
  2. People love to save time: What are you doing, to help them get more done in less time?
  3. People love to talk: What are you doing, to give them a story worth sharing?
  4. People love to relax: What are you doing, to make their lives easier?
  5. People love to succeed: What are you doing, to help them achieve their goals or dreams?
  6. People love to learn: What are you doing, to educate them in a meaningful way?

Invest in your marketplace. Contribute. Don’t make the mistake of expecting them to care about you, until you have shown that YOU care about THEM, first.

Tip: This will help you get the balance right!

It’s time for a powerful marketing tactic

why wait

Here’s an extremely powerful marketing tactic, which your competitors are overlooking. Get this right and you will give your business a very strong advantage.

It’s simply this: Meet your deadlines every time, no matter what it takes.


Because by consistently delivering your promises, on time, you set yourself apart from all or almost all your competitors. You tell us more about your professionalism, commitment and reliability, than a marketing message ever could.

It’s a wonderful way to build a great reputation.

It’s also a fantastic way to grow your business, because you give the marketplace a story, which they will want to share. That’s the key to attracting high quality, word of mouth referrals.

There’s no substitute for courage and hard work. Period.

professional development,

Think about this for a moment.

  • All the books we need to read are out there… waiting to be read.
  • All the contacts we need to make are out there… waiting to be contacted.
  • All the teachers we need to learn from are out there… waiting to teach us.
  • All the technology we need is out there… waiting to be used.

EVERYTHING WE NEED in order to succeed is out there, waiting for us. However, very few people are willing to pay the price for success. They want to carry on doing what they do, because it feels safe… even though it’s getting them nowhere. They want shortcuts, so they can avoid doing what needs to be done.

We have to be smarter than that!

If you want to succeed in any meaningful way, make better decisions and work hard. Extremely hard.

The bottom line: There’s no substitute for courage and hard work. Period.

How to stop your business from becoming a dinosaur

professional development,

If you want your business to become increasingly relevant over time, rather than fade away, here’s something you need to know.


Right now, there are lots of people walking around, wearing the Hipster look.

It’s fashionable. It’s in vogue. It’s very much of the moment. A trend, which has now gone mainstream.

Of course, the fashionistas have already dropped the look and moved onto the next new thing. Slowly, others will do the same. The Hipster trend then becomes something you look back on, just like every fashion before it.

Long term commercial success

When Groupon (remember that?) was the big thing, thousands of small businesses sprung up offering Groupon-like services. Then, when Groupon’s buzz died down, the trend those small businesses had invested in was gone.

Here’s the thing: Making long-term business decisions based on a current trend, is almost always a mistake.

Think long term. Focus on providing as much value to your marketplace as possible. What we know for sure is that value and quality are never out of style.

If you invest there, you can immunise your business from becoming yesterday’s news.

PS: Here’s some advice, with lots of examples, on how to build a successful business.

2 Ways to increase the lifetime value of your clients

Here are 2 ideas, to help you increase the lifetime value of your clients or customers.

To start, you need to understand what their current, average lifetime value is. It’s relatively simple.

For example: If your average client is worth £1000 a year to you in profits and they remain a customer for an average of 5 years, a client’s average lifetime value to you is £5000.

Once you figure out the average value of your clients, consider the following question:

How can you increase their lifetime value, by increasing what they spend with you and the length of time you retain their custom?

1. Increasing what they spend with you

Look for additional, extremely valuable services or products for your clients. Your clients have an existing trading relationship with you. You have earned their trust. They know you. They are also far more likely to buy an additional product or service from you, than from a stranger.

A great place to start is to think of the challenges your clients or customers face. Now, consider how you can help them with these problems, with additional services or products.  Yes, it will take time and a little creativity, but the rewards for getting this right are huge.

A wonderful, additional benefit of this approach, is that the more your clients or customers rely on you for a number of services, the less likely they are to switch to another provider. This leads on nicely to the next point.

2. Retaining their custom

Very few small business owners have a structured client or customer retention plan. Your clients are being targeted by your competitors all the time. A well designed client retention plan can help you keep your clients, regardless of what the other guys are doing.

Finding ways to retain, and improve the financial value of your clients or customers, is one of the smartest things a business owner can do.

It makes your business massively more robust, as your client base has no desire to switch from you to another provider. That allows you to plan ahead with greater confidence.

Bonus: By finding products for your customers, rather than customers for your products, you also tap into the fastest way to boost sales and profits.

4 Tips to attract more clients and customers from your website

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Is your website a lead generating machine for your business? If not, here are 4 places to focus on for better results.

  1. Do not copy the conversion tactics of anyone, whose own site needs a pop-up box to attract people’s attention. If their site was optimised correctly, they wouldn’t need to smash people in the face with pop-up boxes.
  2. Your web designer may have created a beautifully designed site, but left out key elements, to make the design easier on the eye. I regularly see wonderful looking sites, which have all the main conversion elements missing or in the wrong place.
  3. Did you write the content yourself? If you did, the great news is you can probably improve your conversion rate by hundreds of percent, by hiring a professional copywriter. If your business isn’t worth investing in, you have a much bigger problem than a poorly performing website.
  4. Do you sell, sell, sell? Stop that. Seriously. Use your site to showcase your expertise and experience. Aim to be useful and approachable. Remember, people skip through the ads. Put the marketing pages of your site where they can be seen. Link to them, from pages or posts, which provide lots of free, useful information. If your site is largely just selling what you do, people will leave just as soon as they arrive.

I hope there’s at least one idea there, which inspires you to improve the effectiveness of your site.

Tip: Are you one question away from 10,000 daily readers?

How to build a extremely valuable list, without a newsletter

Content Marketing, list building, lists

If you want to build a huge, extremely valuable list, this post is just for you.

I get emails every day from people, who thank me for my free marketing newsletter. Some of you will find that odd, as I don’t publish a newsletter.

So, why does this happen?

Simple: I give people the option to read this blog, via a free email subscription. As a result, thousands of people get an email with the content of my latest blog post. These emails look and read just like a newsletter.

I suggest you consider doing the same.

Here’s why!

There’s a reason Seth Godin, the world’s most read marketing expert, also uses this approach rather than a newsletter. It’s an extremely powerful way to build a great, super-connected community of readers.

For example:

  • The blog (online) version of your posts get shared on social networks. Yes, this is technically possible with newsletters, but shares of blog posts are far, far more popular. People can then see your work and subscribe to it, knowing exactly what to expect. Newsletters are often little more than thinly disguised sales pitches and people are savvy to this.
  • The blog version of your posts get crawled by search engines.
  • Your blog posts can be found using search engines, when people need the information you provide.
    • These Top Marketing Tips attract traffic from search engines all day. A subset of these readers subscribe to the email version of the blog. It’s a list-builder all by itself, which grows the list all day every day. Again, because it shows people exactly what to expect, a far higher percentage will subscribe, than if I offered a newsletter.

Which is the best route for you?

If your newsletter is mainly special offers and promotions, a dedicated newsletter, marketed via your blog is a better option.

Otherwise, I strongly suggest you consider the benefits of offering a high quality, email edition of your blog posts instead.

  • It costs the same as a newsletter costs to send.
  • It’s a quicker way to build your list, for all the reasons already mentioned.
  • You don’t have to invest time writing a newsletter.

BONUS: It may also motivate you to publish blog posts more often, which will help your reputation, your reach, your authority AND your reader list… to grow!

Are you teaching people to ignore your marketing?

Every piece of marketing material is created from 1 of the following 2 mindsets.

  1. I wrote this, so now I need you to read it.
  2. There’s something you need to know, so I wrote it.

The first approach is selfish. It’s focused on the needs of the writer, not the reader. It’s noise, not value. People ignore these selfish messages.

The second approach is contribution focused. It’s about giving value to the reader. This unselfish approach is so rare that when people see it, it captures their attention and grabs their interest.

Whether you know it or not, every message you send fits into one of those 2 categories. You are either training people to filter you OUT or tune you IN.

Choose wisely.