Better or Worse

He’s a terrific guy, an awesome waiter. He does have the Granada ‘mala folla’ attitude, but once you accept that, you realise he’s actually not boorish at all – that’s just his sense of humour.

And at work? I’ve never seen a waiter run faster than him. It’s astonishing.

But the other day, having lunch with friends, the terrace was just so full that we had to eat our paella starved of drinks. He just wasn’t able to keep up.

This morning over coffee I asked if they shouldn’t hire another waiter, to help him.

Turns out, his boss doesn’t like paying wages. Thinks he can handle things by himself.

Which he can, but if you’re serving 25 tables at the same time AND there’s nobody behind the bar pouring drinks for diners… Then it simply is impossible to handle things well.

This owner, they are doing damage to their business.

Everyone I know in town loves this restaurant – and everyone complains about the service.

Which isn’t my friend the waiter’s fault – he’s running as fast as he can.

But to the customer, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. They want a good meal and decent service.

And the greediness of the owner… well, customers only care about that once it affects service or quality, right?

Here’s the moral of the story:

While profit is essential in business, and you sometimes need to make tough decisions, never let quality and service suffer.

Yeah, it’s bad for business.

But more importantly: it’s backwards thinking, because quality and service grow a business, while inefficiency and wastage slow it down.

If you’re going to optimise for profit, start by looking at bottlenecks, redundant assets and processes, and numbers to grow: traffic, inquiries, conversion rate, number of followup actions and all those fun digits that tell you whether
your business is doing well or not.

Make things better, instead of worse.

Are you looking to make some choices at the moment? Maybe I can help you there… and help you make things better.

Cheers,

Martin

Because Nice People Should Finish First

Last night, a friend held my feet to the fire about my work, USP, and elevator pitch.

To her, ‘coach and consultant for ethical business growth’ isn’t what I should run with.

So I tried to explain: “You ever notice how people high in integrity, folks who really want to do right by people, are often the ones who have most trouble growing their sales and their business? I help that kind of person sell more because of, not despite, their values. I call that ’solving the good-egg problem”.

“Yeah”, she said: “Too long”.

By this time, I was getting frustrated: I mean, she knows
me, she knows what my work is about. What I stand for, and which values are sacred to me. And besides, I wasn’t sure if she was challenging me on my USP, or my tagline, or my elevator pitch.

So I blurted out: “I help nice people sell more”, and that seemed to hit home.

Because the harsh truth is that in business, many people believe that nice people do finish last.

And that’s not how it should be.

Nice folk should finish first. Not despite being nice, but because they are nice.

And helping nice folk grow their enterprise, that’s something I get up for every day.

So if you want help with the mindset and decision and strategy side of things, I can coach you on how to be a powerful, skilled business owner. The leader in your own team, whether you’re a solopreneur or not.

If you have that down pat but you want your marketing to get you higher returns, I can consult you on that, and/or implement a marketing system guaranteed to grow your business. (actual guarantee, not just words).

Or, if you have your self-leadership rocking, and your marketing rolling, but you want to learn specific business skills, such as selling, email marketing, productivity or negotiation, I can provide you with custom-made training.

Put differently:

If you’re a good egg, and you want to grow, you might be the kind of person I work with.

Because nice people should finish first.

And if right now you’re eager to make that growth happen, then maybe we should talk and see if I’m the right chap for you.

Sounds good?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

The Case for Being a Technologist in Business

The E-myth says that someone who’s awesome at doing something people pay for, isn’t necessarily also good at running a business.

So when you go from the Operator in, to the Owner of the business, things get easier. You stop exclusively working IN your business, and go to working ON your business.

A level up from the Owner archetype, is the Artist.

The visionary, the architect, the designer… that’s the archetype that turns a good, fun, and profitable business, into a dream machine.

But there’s a level above is: the technologist.

Technology comes from the Greek ‘Tekhne’ (art, craft) and ‘Logion’ (oracle), or:

‘Tekhnologia’: (systematic treatment of an art, craft, or technique) and as such can be understood as:

The precise, deliberate, measured and intentional application of skills&knowledge in the art of building a business.

Fun fact: whether or not you see yourself as the technologist of your business or not, you already are it.

Tag!

Question is: are you going to lean in to the archetype and apply yourself to your business, the way a technologist would…?

Cheers,

Martin

Fix, Prevent, or Upgrade?

There’s three kinds of value a business can deliver: Fix, prevent, improve.

When something in the world or business of our client is failing, we can offer to fix it. Generate more leads, run a promotional campaign in order to make payroll, quickly implement a social media strategy in order to get more people show up to an event that’s not yet booked full… Whatever it is you do: if there’s an immediate, painful problem, you need to offer your buyer a fast, practical solution.

Then there’s prevention, where there’s fear because of a future risk. Disruption in the marketplace, changing laws or treaties or algorithms… For that kind of client, you use trusted, reliable, proven solutions. You solidify what’s going well, and remove bottlenecks.

And then there’s Improvement&upgrade, where you help your client go from good to great.

Here, you bring knowledge, skills and creative thinking, in order to identify assets to be leveraged, and you bring them together to take a client to a level they couldn’t have reached on their own.

The reason I’m sharing this, is because it’s a handy model for choosing what to work on in our business as well.

Often, we go double effort on trying to fix something that’s failing, hoping that once we’re done, life will be good.

Which may be the right choice, but what if you’d ignore the failing part for the moment, and go for the improve&upgrade first?

There’s things in your business that are working well, that if you were to push forward on them, might end up working awesomely terrifically well.

And sometimes, it’s better to let something that’s broken be broken, and maximise on something that’s already pretty good.

Especially if you know, in your heart of hearts, that you’re going to procrastinate the hell out of the fixing you say you need to implement anyway.

Sometimes, it’s better to do what will work, rather than do what you tell yourself would be right. (i.e. the more ‘should’ in it, the more likely that it’s better to work on an upgrade, instead of a fix).

Cheers,

Martin

Your Way, or No Way?

In your business, how do you handle the sales and price and T&C parts of being a freelancer or solo owner?

Specifically, when clients try to haggle, or try to make you play by their rules – what do you do?

It’s very common for us to then start to appease the buyer.

But when you start to reduce your price, or you agree tot terms you’re not happy with, you’re setting up for an experience that will disappoint your buyer and you as well.

In fact, the more you let go of your own rules, the lower level of customer satisfaction, no matter how good of a job you do.

Saw this tweet the other day:

“Just said goodbye to a potential client because they wanted me to go against everything I’ve learned and start work without a deposit payment.

“But we’re BIG and you’re small. You can be flexible.”

No. It’s because I’m small that I can’t be. Now this is a correct and true response – but it’s also the wrong one.

Because how big a client is doesn’t have to affect your terms and conditions, and shouldn’t.

Because with that reply, the client heard ‘you’re right, you’re bigger and therefore dominant.

In other words, the client shows up with a big social ‘frame’, and says ‘And you are small, so you do what we say’. If you then agree with the first part of the statement, nothing you’ll say afterwards will change things for the better.

It’s a lost case.

But if you’d ‘break their frame’, and show your own, bigger, authority frame (which is rightfully yours, as the business owner), you might have a chance.

So a good and useful reply would be:

“Size doesn’t matter.

You are asking me to sell you this work, which means I also need to tell you my terms and conditions, which I’ve just done”.

With two sentences, you can turn the tables, and position yourself back where you belong:

As the business owner, stating terms and conditions, that a client may refuse or reject – and which they certainly may complain about if they want – but which is your prerogative to protect.

I know it’s cool and scary and exciting when a big company wants to buy your work.

But don’t be intimidated, and never let them bully you just because they’re bigger.

You run the business, you get to define your terms and conditions. You get to decide whether or not business is ‘your way, or no way’.

Cheers,

Martin

Do You Need More Geese?

It’s great when something starts to work, when we get noticed, when we start to land more clients.

Suddenly, things start to flow: it’s like you found the goose that lays the golden eggs!

For example: tenacious, persistent, dogged commitment to quality. If you keep that up long enough, sooner or later word of mouth will start working for you… look, there’s my goose!

But what if that’s your only source of new clients?

What if you don’t have marketing and visibility and traffic… and for some reasons, that word of mouth slows down…

Then what?

Success is awesome, but it can cause complacency, and you can’t afford to be complacent in business.

You can’t ever omit to build systems and assets that work for you, should there ever be something wrong with your goose.

So if right now things are working and your goose is laying golden (or even silver) eggs…

Should you be ‘building more geese’?

If yes, let me know, and let’s see what you can add in to your marketing and sales…

Because yes: you need more geese. We all do.

Cheers,

Martin

Here’s What to Do When You Can’t Decide

There’s a lot we need to think about in business and we only have so little time.

So it’s useful to choose with precision what we do and don’t think about.

One thing to never think about are the kinds of decisions that can only be made when it both makes sense and feels good too.

When all available logic says ‘yes, correct’, and your gut instinct confirms ‘loving this. let’s do it’.

Those kinds of decisions, which are typically the kind that make a diff cause a big positive change, can’t be thought up.

As long as you’re trying to reason with yourself whether to do thing A or not do it, you’re only wasting time, because you’ll end up in an endless weighing of pros and cons, and end up in those boring mental loops where you keep going over the same options and considerations.

When that happens, you can safely stop thinking about it, because something in or about you just isn’t ready yet to make the decision.

Usually, with most people, that comes down to ‘not enough information, incomplete insight’, and that’s usually down to ‘not having seen the forest for the trees, because we were thinking so hard that we didn’t see anything else than what we wanted to see’.

Big decisions, or scary ones, or important ones or those with a lot of ramifications, they need both sense and emotion (in fact, psychologists say all decisions are driven by emotion).

And the sooner you put the brain down, stop thinking about it, and let your subconscious figure things out, the sooner stuff will fall into place, and you’ll end up with epiphany:

‘Ah! THIS is what I should do. And how. I see so clearly now’.

And then you have your decision.

Until your subconscious lobs one of these insights at you, I’d say you can safely stop thinking about the big decision.

There’s plenty of more readily decidable things to consider, and there’s work to do as well. Both will get you a lot more than banging your head against a decision that your subconscious hasn’t sufficiently worked on.

Or, to put all that into one sentence:

“Can’t decide? Then you can stop thinking about it!”

Cheers,

Martin

Moving Parade

A few times a week I spend some time at the terrace of a local restaurant here in town, to do some work and warm myself in the sun.

As any restaurant that wants people in for lunch and dinner, they have signs with menu items – but this owner, he only puts them out an hour or so before lunch time.

Now, I don’t know if there’s a logical reason behind it, or if it’s the fabled Andalusian laziness, or simply not thinking things through, but I do know this:

The 150 to 500 people who walk by in the morning do not get the message that – hey, here you can eat, it’s not just a café!

So when the time comes that a tourist gets hungry, this restaurant is not one of the ones they remember as an option for grabbing a bite to eat, because they haven’t seen any sign or menu advising them that it’s an option.

In marketing there’s the concept of the ‘moving parade’: the notion that there’s always a stream of people who might want what you sell, and that it’s your job to stay in view, or in touch, so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the one they think of.

So these 150 to 500 people, that’s his moving parade, literally. And if only he’d advertise to them that he serves food and not just drinks and coffee, he’d likely see an uptick in diners and lunchers. (Yes, I’ll mention it to him, see if he agrees and wants see if it makes a difference).

Now, in any business there’s a moving parade. There’s always folk who know about you, who are thinking of buying your work but it’s not the time yet, and so the question is:

What are you doing in your business, to stay visible and remembered, by the people in your moving parade?

Cheers,

Martin

“If There’s No CTA, All You’ve Done Is Make Art”

Heard that on a podcast this morning, not sure who first said it. But it’s true, in business.

Now before any artists reading this get upset: I’m not slating anything about art or artists. In fact, art is an important and valuable part of history and society and culture – and thank you all for making it.

That said, when you create marketing materials – emails, videos, presentations, social updates – and you don’t end with a call to action, what you’ve done is a public service…

… without serving your business – like art, it’s good for people and society.

It’s useful, good, gratefully received, builds goodwill and trust and rapport – but it doesn’t serve your business.

Because a business needs customers, and – oddly – you’ll get more of them when you ask.

That doesn’t mean you need to go all ‘buy now’ in everything you put out there, mind you.

You can invite your audience to take any kind of action – so long as you ask them for some kind of action you suggest they take.

“Hit reply…”

“Check out the course…”

“Buy it if it’s right for you”

“Share this with a friend?”

“Tell me, what’s your view?”

“You’ve learned the exercise, now I highly recommend you take some time for it.”

“Now that you know the cost of sloppy thinking, is it time to start thinking better and making better decisions?”

“Think about it…”

You see, there’s a million actions your reader or viewer can take.

The best one for business is one that leads to a sale, of course.

But on days when you’re not driving for a sale, or your intention is to serve or inform or train or entertain, you’re missing out if you don’t also invite the person to take some sort of action.

You’ve just done something intended to change or better their life.

What better thing to do, than to ask them to action it?

Think about it… see how you can work CTA’s into your own materials.

Or, you can talk to me if you’re ready to level up your marketing and sales in a big way.

Either way: I highly recommend you always use a CTA.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. Here’s an example of another fun CTA you can use:

If you’ve considered contacting me about my work but haven’t yet… what’s the thing you want the most for your business… the thing you want so much, that you’ll click this link and schedule a short conversation, so I can learn what you want and you can learn if I’m the right one to help you get it…?

Free Solo Business Climbing

Saw a rock climber on youtube the other day. Nicely strapped in to his harness, helmet on, safely in his ropes.

And then he noticed a guy coming up the wall below him – a free solo climber.

No gear, no ropes – just shoes, shorts, and a bag of magnesium on his hip.

As he passed the first climber, you could see the intensity of his state. Never even seemed to notice the first guy. Completely in the zone. (And you’d better be of course, if you’re hanging off a cliff face with nothing to protect you_.

My point with this?

Most people who get their business to some sort of stability think they’re like climber #1. Things in place, infrastructure, advertising that works, money coming in & being invested…

“Got my helmet, my harness, my ropes… if I play it right, things will continue good”.

Except that’s a mistake. A business owner is as much as risk as a solo climber, in that anything can happen at any moment, that voids your safety or security. I.e. a rock can fall or a rope can break.

Or in business terms: A privacy law like GDPR can decimate your list, or a platform can ban or demonetise you, or a competitor can suddenly show up and start eating up the market you’re in, or a disaster in your personal life can wipe out your finances…

Like a helicopter, a business is inherently volatile – including the big ones (even Jeff Bezos said that Amazon won’t be around at some point).

Now, back to our climbers: the reason the soloist doesn’t fall, is that he relies 100% on his own skills and focus.

And while it’s good to have gear and protection and buffers and infrastructure in your business, never forget that it’s by virtue of your skills and focus that you built, and can sustain & grow, your business.

We all need to build our business assets in order to protect us, but you can’t rest on your laurels, can’t afford to think the rope will catch you if you fall.

Use your skill and focus in business to prevent the fall in the first place.

See yourself as a free solo business climber, and show up with the focus and application of skills required…

… and stay safe…

Cheers,

Martin

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