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 They’re Going to Buy… Shouldn’t It Be From You, Instead of From the Scoundrels and the Greedy?

It’s easy to cast blame for all the ways that commerce and capitalism do damage.

Society and the environment sure don’t get better from the way Facebook treats users, or the way  some companies pollute our world.

But if you’re in business and you’re here to make a difference, it doesn’t make sense to cast blame – whether you blame marketing, or capitalism, or commerce, or corporatism, or money:

None of those are the actual problem.

They’re all agnostic of right & wrong.

They’re just tools to be used in order to further a mission.

The type of mission determines whether you’re helping, or hurting things.

And how you use those tools is what makes for right or wrong.

And they’re powerful tools, too – so more than ever, the world needs good eggs – people like you – picking up the tools, and doing something good with them.

Because if you don’t, others will, and it’s plain to see that a lot of those others do not have the ethics and integrity as people like us do.

So you can dislike money or selling or capitalism all you want: if you don’t pick them up and do something good with them, others will – and you have no control over how those others go about their business.

But the buyer will buy – from you or from the other.

Shouldn’t it be you though?

That’s why, if you want to do something good, the best thing you can do is get good at being in business, sign on more clients – and scale up your impact.

Increase your slice of the pie for a good purpose, so that others without purpose, are left with a smaller pie.

Making sure that buyers buy from you, and not from the scoundrels and the greedy:

Sounds like a pretty good reason to grow your enterprise, if you ask me.

So: if right now you’re positioned for growth, you’re getting opportunities, but too often the sale doesn’t happen, let’s talk.

Helping entrepreneurs driven by purpose to create more clients is what I do, and I’d love to explore how we can get you to grow, sell more, and increase your impact.

Reply to this email and we’ll set up a time for a short call, to see what can be done.

Cheers,

Martin

Foundations of a Healthy Business: Two Questions You MUST Ask Yourself

It’s the most fundamental question in any business, and yet: it’s one of the questions easiest to skip over (scary how often people have no answer to it!):

Why should people do business with you?

In other words, why you? What’s unique about you? Why are you the best choice for specific people, or differently: what’s your Unique Selling Proposition?

Until you know the answer to that, you’ll find it real hard to land clients.

And no, “Because my training rocks”, “Because I have credentials”, or “Because I’m awesome” are not correct answers.

The only correct answer to ‘why you?’ is the one that answers the question your buyers ask: “What’s in it for me?”

The second question to ask yourself:

If people are not doing business with me now, why should they?

See, unless you have answers to these questions, you’re essentially a solution looking for a problem to solve, and I explained a while back how that’s a tough battle to fight.

But once you know your USP, and how to communicate it clearly, you’ll find that the wrong kind of clients stay away, and the right kind of clients are much more open to learning more about what you do.

So, since I like to ‘learn my readers’:

Why should people do business with you?

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

Good Eggs Sell More & Sleep Better

“We didn’t like that estate agent”, she says. He kept showing us properties that were above our budget – and like, 200K over budget. It was weird”.

Friendly dinner conversation, at Burn’s night with friends this weekend. (Yes, there was haggis, and no: it’s not as bad as people say).

“It bit him in the ass though, because in the end we bought a property through a different agent, and it turned out that Mr. Greedy Agent also had it in his portfolio – but because he never showed it to us, we bought it through someone else”.

And so it is with selling: if you try too hard, if there’s neediness, if there’s greed, it’ll backfire.

It’s quite the opposite to my friend Dick, who’s one of the top sellers in his agency.

His secret? “I sell people the house they want, and make sure they don’t buy the wrong house”.

That’s ethics in selling, it’s looking out for your buyers, and it’s a perfect way to do well.

Good eggs sell more, and they sleep better. (well, they *can* sell more, if you learn how to)

When you’re an ethical person, with a lot of integrity, never make the mistake of thinking that this makes selling (or enrolling buyers) harder – it doesn’t have to be that way and in fact:

If you know your values and you lead with integrity, it makes selling a hell of a lot easier and a lot more fun too.

Want to talk about how that would work in your business?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

When You ‘Can’t Find the Energy’, Ask Yourself These Questions

“I just don’t know where to find the energy”, she says. “Used to be, I’d get home from work and spend the evening working on my own business. But these days I just don’t have it in me”.

But is it about finding the energy?

Or is it about eliminating that what takes the energy we used to have, are meant to have?

Whatever it is that you put your time or attention into costs energy.

If you don’t have enough of it, ask yourself: are you being drained without you knowing it?

It’s more likely than you think, especially when you consider that whatever you put in your mind stays there and rambles on, costing you much energy.

And the worst kind of energy drain? Conversations that you shouldn’t be having in your head.

The kinds of conversations that go on because of all the opinions and statements and points being made on social media.

Want to have more energy?

Consume art instead of social media. Books, music, films, poetry… or, have actual, real, quality conversations with people you care about.

Those are the kinds of conversations that fill the well, that stay with you because they matter. That kind of conversation gives you energy, instead of taking it from you.

I’m not against social media, but it’s good to know that social media are deliberately designed to hook us on having more and more mental conversations.

And you know the cost of that…

Cheers,

Martin

Choosing Which Problems to Solve

At any given time, there’s a million things you could try to fix, change, or improve in your business – a million different problems you could solve.

But which one are most in need of solving?

Those that are easy to solve often don’t make that much of a difference, whereas the hairy ones are often too complex or time-consuming to tackle.

And yet, the hardest, most complex, most complicated problems tend to make the biggest difference once they get solved… except we avoid it, because they’re so complex.

The solution is to look for the problem behind the problem (similar to the 5-why’s exercise).

If ‘no traffic to my site’ is the problem, an obvious solution would be ‘fix SEO’ or ‘start guest posting’ or ‘start a podcast’.

Or you could ask yourself why you have no traffic to your site, and you realise that behind ‘no traffic’ lies ‘no visibility’, and behind that you might find ‘never made visibility a priority’ and behind that ‘insufficient attention to long-term business sustainability’.

Pretty nice discovery on the heart of the matter, I’d say.

And if you then solve that problem, and you make long-term thinking a priority, you might end up with solutions and actions that don’t just bring traffic, but that make your business healthier in general.

The problems you look at are only the surface.

Dig deeper before trying to solve them.

Cheers,

Martin

Three Pillars Required for Business Success

When trying to create clarity and fun and growth in your business, there’s three core areas to pay attention to – fundamental pillars, in my opinion:

Mindset, method, and skillset.

Mindset is about how to think, how to look at the playing field, the decisions to make, the things to say no or yes to.

Mindset is the overarching ‘how’ of the way you run your business.

Method, is straightforward, hands-on, measurable. It’s about planning, strategising, and steps to take, in such an order that one thing can build on another.

In other words, it’s the ‘what’ of being in business. What next, what not, what way, what to measure, and what assets to leverage in order to create a thriving business.

Skillset is, as the word says, about capabilities: the specific skills you need to bring to your game in order to actually make things happen.

It’s really important to work with all three, because it’s like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the thing will fall over.

You may have an excellent method and strategy, and crazy good skills at marketing or delivering your work, but if your mindset says ‘it’s pointless, the economy sucks, people just don’t pay what I deserve’, then method and skillset don’t do you much good.

If your mindset is ‘I can do this, and I know I can find the people who do want to pay good rates’, and your method for finding them is great – but you don’t have the skills required to actually find those people, it won’t work either.

So as an exercise to look at where you’re at, where you want to go, and how to fill the gap between those two, it’s useful to assess where you’re at with each of the three pillars.

If mindset needs improving, work on yourself. Read books, get a coach, go to workshops and retreats. Learn to make your mind work for you, instead of against you.

If method is undefined or underdeveloped, straight-up learning is in order, especially in terms of strategy, measurement, and systems.

If skillset is lacking, train yourself. Be it in copywriting, or selling, or SEO, or using social media or building your list: there’s things you can do and do well, provided you train yourself.

So whenever you feel things aren’t working the way they ought to, take yourself through a little thought exercise, and ask:

Is my mindset configured correctly for reaching my goals? Is there any belief or elements to my attitude or showing up that I can change, improve or replace?

Do I have a well-defined, hypothesis-based method in place for growing my business, that allows me to test, iterate and optimise?

Do I have the skills required to actually make it work – or do I need to acquire new skills?

(Warning: rabbit-hole ahead. Not every skill is something you ought to learn – very often it’s better to outsource a particular skill, instead of trying to learn it yourself.)

Either way, if you want to make it in business, you need the three pillars: mindset, method, and skillset.

Which is the one that you need to pay most attention to?

Cheers,

Martin

“That’ll Be 75 ‘Likes’, Please” – Said Nobody, Ever

It’s nice to be popular, but when the barista rings up your order and you tell him “I’ve got 100.000 followers on Instagram!” he might be impressed, but his reply will still be “2.95, please”.

Likes, followers, social sharing: it’s nice, it can be useful too, but in the end, playground popularity doesn’t pay the bills.

I’ve written about it before, but David Newman in his book ‘Do it! Speaking’ put a fine point on it (I’m reading the book because this year I want to get serious about public speaking).

Says he: “An audience values an experience. A market values expertise”

And: “An audience wants your autograph. A market wants to give you their signature”.

(Interestingly, very recently I experienced the difference firsthand: I went to a lecture on a topic I’m interested in, but the speaker didn’t really do it for me, and the content of the lecture was too superficial for my taste. So, I’d never buy the speaker’s book, or hire them for a talk… in that room, I was part of the audience, not part of the market).

And sure, of course your market lives inside, is part of, your audience.

But if you focus your business and marketing activities on growing your audience instead of finding the right market and the right way to appeal to them, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

So if you look at your business operations, and the projects you’re working on, and your plans for the year:

Are you looking to build your audience, or your market…?

Also: do you want help, building your market?

Cheers,

Martin

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