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Onward Nation

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, & Achieve. Onward Nation is a five-day-a-week podcast hosted by Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. Business owners share the most influential lessons learned throughout their careers, including insights into their daily habits, their most vital priorities that have contributed to their business and personal success, and the most challenging time or situation that could have devastated or even ruined their businesses or careers. Business owners share their "recipes for success" including those systems they wish they had put into practice inside their business when first starting out. Each episode concludes with guests sharing two or three practical and tactical strategies they would recommend to brand new business owners in order to best ensure success in their new business and careers. Onward Nation provides business owners with the strategies and tactical step-by-step "recipe" that will help anyone make their business more systematic, predictable, measurable, and repeatable.
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Apr 1, 2020

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while now — you know that I like to bring you conversations with guests who are strategic — as well as practical and tactical — and who will generously give you the best of what they’ve got so you can take it and apply it — and move your business onward.

And each of us as business owners — as people — are facing unprecedented challenges right now.

Things many of us could have never imagined as a result of the coronavirus.

And each day — we need to show up as the best leader we can — because our teams, our clients, and communities need that from us.

The business owners I meet with each day are doing everything they can to effectively lead during these challenging times.

But candidly, Onward Nation — today’s business environment requires another level in leadership — it requires proven strategies, a process, and the willingness to put systems into place.

And because of that, I’m grateful that Brett Gilliland, CEO and founder of Elite Entrepreneurs, said yes to my invitation to come back for an encore interview so we could talk through leadership strategies, processes, and systems — which you can take and apply into your business and be better for it.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Beyond “flight” and “fight” — there is a 3rd defensive mechanism that we have — and as business owners — it can actually hurt us the most
  • Why the “Stockdale Paradox” is just a relevant today as it was when Admiral James Stockdale first shared it
  • Why you need to go narrow in what you allow into your inner circle — from people to media — and why you need to block out everything else
  • Now more than ever — business owners need to stay focused on the Big 3 of their role
  • Why “Fighting F.U.D” should be your number one priority as a business owner
  • Why Brett believes that the best leaders build the best businesses — and — the best businesses win
  • Why helping and leading others begins with leading yourself to clarity
  • Why you should rest easy — you have a 100 percent track record of getting through hard times…otherwise you wouldn’t be here

Ways to contact Brett:

Additional Resources:

Mar 25, 2020

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is an international career, executive and leadership coach, writer, speaker and trainer dedicated to the advancement of women in business. She is a former corporate Vice President, trained marriage and family therapist, seasoned coach and the author of Breakdown, Breakthrough. Kathy is also the Founder of Ellia Communications, Inc., a premier career coaching and consulting firm which offers career and leadership development programs including the Amazing Career Project online course, her Finding Brave podcast, and the Amazing Career Certification training for coaches. Kathy is a leading contributor on Forbes, Thrive Global and LinkedIn, a TEDx and keynote speaker, and a top media source on careers, leadership, and women’s issues.

For more info, visit kathycaprino.com and connect with Kathy on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How career crisis after career crisis led Kathy to realize she urgently needed a change, and how she realized her focus and passion was to help professional women
  • Why professional expectations and attitude expectations differ between men and women, and why women
  • Kathy shares insights from her interview with Susan Sobbott, President of American Express OPEN, on how men and women need different things to succeed in business
  • How Kathy defines “power gaps” and why many women struggle to speak about how they stand out and what their special skills and talents are
  • Kathy defines her seven power gaps and explains why each is a problem that many women in business experience
  • Why it is important to recognize your talents and abilities that you are uniquely good at, rather than being modest
  • Why scary experiences are an opportunity to grow and strengthen yourself and should be embraced rather than avoided
  • Why the blocks and challenges you experience now are often a result of past trauma that you experienced at an earlier point in your life

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Mar 18, 2020

Upon graduating from college, John Dameron started a career with Marriott International. After almost seven years as a hotel manager, John was seeking more autonomy over his future and decided to change his course. He entered the financial services industry in 1997 and quickly found his niche in helping physicians with their personal finances. As he continued to gain experience in the medical community, John co-founded Spaugh Dameron Tenny in 2002. Today, Spaugh Dameron Tenny educates and advises physicians and dentists in more than 26 states.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why a family tradition of working in the financial sector inspired John to go into financial planning himself, and how he and his partners founded their business
  • Why financial issues are the number two cause of physician burnout, and how John and his team recognized they could assist with that issue through thought leadership
  • Why intentionality and team-driven content creation has been the secret sauce powering the growth of the business
  • What strong client feedback John and his team are receiving with regards to their thought leadership channels
  • Now niching down and focusing on just doctors and dentists was a difficult leap that proved to be one of the best moves the practice made
  • Why focusing on a specific niche helped the firm streamline their efforts and helped keep them from spreading themselves too thin
  • How John’s team taps into their deep well of experience to utilize in their thought leadership efforts
  • Why learning to delegate is a difficult challenge that business owners must master if they want their businesses to grow
  • Why, when you’re stuck on a project or idea, you shouldn’t be asking “how” to do it but should instead be asking “who” has the answers

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Mar 11, 2020

Laura Gassner Otting speaks with change agents, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders, and donors to get them past the doubt and indecision that consign their great ideas to limbo. She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and catalytic perspective informed by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, and philanthropic landscapes.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Laura shares her fascinating career path and explains how she ended up working in the White House at age 21 helping to develop AmeriCorps
  • How Laura established her own firm, the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, and why she chose to exit the firm after nearly 15 years
  • Why exiting her firm was one of the greatest challenges of Laura’s life, and how she came up with an innovative exit strategy
  • Why everyone defines success differently, and why Laura defines her own success not by profitability but by happiness and free time
  • Why Laura decided to write her book Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life
  • Why Laura began to experience a lack of self-confidence, and how she wrote Limitless in just three weeks once inspiration struck
  • How Laura realized that putting clients’ problems first and offering clear solutions was the right path to take in her business
  • Laura shares a story of giving a signed copy of Limitless to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and then getting a booking on the show as a result
  • Why Laura believes that being authentic, offering value, and being open to possibility have been the keys to some of the incredible opportunities she has had

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Mar 4, 2020

As founder and President of Callis, a full-service ad agency located in Missouri in the heart of the Midwest, Cliff offers his agency’s clients more than 30 years of experience and expertise in marketing, advertising, and public relations.

Cliff has shared his marketing expertise speaking at events, as a contributing author to books and through his agency’s OUTthink thought leadership series. Cliff grew up in the retail business, working alongside his father and brother, where he first learned about the customer experience.

Cliff has been integral in leading the agency through the digital revolution. Callis specializes in the development of strategic and creative solutions with a focus on digital marketing and leveraging digital strategies with proven traditional approaches to get results. Today, he focuses his efforts on client, employee and public relations and working with clients to help grow their business.

He is also President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Human Services, a nationally acclaimed not-for-profit organization that serves those with disabilities. Cliff and his family reside outside Sedalia, Missouri, where he enjoys outdoor sports, travel, and the inspiration of life’s experiences.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Cliff founded his advertising agency, Callis, and why he chose to set up his business in the rural Midwest
  • How Cliff and his team at Callis decided to niche down and focus on advertising for rural American business clients
  • Why shifting their focus to rural businesses was a “scary” transition, and how positioning Callis as experts in rural business marketing has benefited the company
  • Why specializing in businesses wanting to market to rural America has brought new, unexpected business to Callis
  • What key daily habits, routines, and rituals help Cliff get into the right mindset and prepare himself for his day
  • Why Cliff believes that listening and people skills are vital components of his success, and why being able to communicate with a diverse audience is key
  • Cliff shares the story of an important lesson he learned from a mentor in his career and why he feels passionate about his role as a mentor to his team
  • Why Cliff meets with his direct reports once a week to work with them and provide mentorship and feedback, and why doing so is more than worth the time spent
  • Why bringing in a mentor who understood the advertising agency environment was a key change that made a tremendous impact on Cliff and his business

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Feb 26, 2020

Drew McLellan is a 25-year marketing veteran who helps clients create authentic love affairs with their customers. Drew has run his own agency, the McLellan Marketing Group, for over 20 years and helps the owners of over 250 small to mid-size agencies a year learn how to take their business to the next level through his consultancy, the Agency Management Institute. Drew has appeared in the New York TimesEntrepreneur MagazineBusinessweek, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls Drew one of 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How the internet has disrupted buyer behavior and changed the way B2B sales are conducted today
  • Why establishing yourself as an authority or expert in a particular niche can be a powerful way to boost your sales
  • How being the expert of your niche opens up a larger geographical area for your sales and can allow you to charge a premium
  • Why your unique point of view allows you to stand out from competitors and is what you uniquely bring to your business that your competitors lack
  • What steps business owners can take to define their point of view and establish their expertise in a niche
  • Why attracting “sweet spot” clients is the key to building a base of loyal clients who spend more money and offer better referrals
  • Why you should start with robust, informative “cornerstone content” and how your preference between writing and talking can help determine what content to create
  • How cornerstone content can be broken up into “cobblestone content” that can be shared across social media and other locations
  • Why it is important to develop a relationship through your content before you try to sell to your prospective clients, and why showing authenticity is key

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Feb 19, 2020

Alana Tillim is the founder, president and driving force behind Santa Barbara Dance Arts (SBDA) and the non-profit Arts Mentorship Program in Santa Barbara California. They have been featured in Dance Studio Life Magazine as a national model of for-profit and nonprofit programs working together. Founded in 1998, SBDA has received awards for excellence in business, leadership, and community stewardship. She has reached over 100,000 artists through her work and continues to extend her reach by inviting visiting artists and world-renowned choreographers to her space.

She co-founded the Arts Mentorship Program in 2004 with Steven Lovelace, and they have awarded over $500,000 in scholarships for underserved at-risk youth. In addition, she founded the No Limits dance program that provides free dance lessons for children with special needs, and “I am Her. She is Me,” a mother-daughter empowerment workshop.

She is also a Certified Coach for More Than Just Great Dancing and a sought-after speaker, she has been recognized by Pacific Coast Business Times’ Top 40 under 40, received the ‘Inspiration Award’ for her leadership through the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow (More Than Just Great Dancing), and is an Apogee Award for her legacy in dance education in Santa Barbara County (Nebula Dance Lab).

Alana is a devoted mentor and entrepreneur and in addition to her studio and non-profit, she owns a dancewear store, and is currently working on writing her first book. She is a dedicated mother and wife, and her family is the driving motivation behind her passion to make a change through the arts.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How a chance meeting led to Alana owning her own dance studio, and why she considers herself an “accidental” business owner
  • How Alana’s side job as a dance instructor turned into a successful business, and why she followed her heart and chose to leave her corporate career path
  • How Alana’s business partner served as her mentor, and why their shared values were the key to their strong professional relationship
  • Why Alana feels passionate about her work and her role as a powerful role model to the young people she teaches
  • Why Alana’s personal growth involved learning from those around her and tempering her passion with wisdom
  • Why Alana’s role as a mother served as motivation and pushed her to take a chance on herself and on her unexpected career path
  • How Alana balances her time as a mother, wife, entrepreneur and business owner, and why the relationships she has with the people around her are key

Resources:

Feb 12, 2020

Tevis Trower is the founder and CEO of Balance Integration Corporation, focused on helping build corporate cultures that allow employees to thrive. Their remarkable client list includes companies like Google, Yahoo, Disney, Viacom, AOL, Soros, Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, and more. Tevis is considered a pioneer and leader in the field of cultural transformation at work, with significant expertise in imposter syndrome, trust, innovation, emotionally sustainable leadership, and fostering an environment of resilience. She has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Business Week, Fortune CIO, The New York Post, Yoga Journal and many more.

Early in Tevis’s business career, she recognized that there is a need for more human-focused leadership in today’s business world. Many companies say “people are their most valuable asset,” but not enough companies focus on creating powerful people-focused cultures that allow their employees to shine. Tevis believes that the key to being a stronger, more effective and empowering leader is to recognize and embrace the reality that you bring your whole self to work, both your strengths and your weaknesses.

Tevis sees imposter syndrome as a sort of “default human state” that we all experience, created by our fear of failure and our strong need for success. She believes that what pushes many high performers to succeed is not a desire to win but a drive to avoid failure and the stigma associated with it. In her work, she helps people recognize their focus on the things that create discontent rather than the things that bring them joy, and she helps them reconnect with their heart and with the things they love.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Tevis’s upbringing taught her the value of curiosity and how she realized the importance of leadership engagement
  • Why imposter syndrome is a common problem in the C-suite that often affects the people we least expect
  • Why Tevis started her company in 2002, and how the needs of her clients caused the company to evolve its focus to culture and wellness
  • How, after seventeen years in business, Tevis realized that something was missing from the work she and her team were doing, and what eye-opening realizations she had
  • Why Tevis realized the most important contribution she could make to her team was to back up and let them work through their own realizations about what needed to change
  • Why employees want their leaders to be vulnerable, human, and unpolished and want to feel a sense that their own voice is helping shape their company
  • Why people are trained their whole lives to believe that they don’t have a role in shaping the culture around them and why this creates blind spots in leaders
  • Why getting input from your team doesn’t mean that you are an indecisive leader and why that input can be a powerful resource for your business
  • Why self-awareness at work helps you further your leadership growth and form stronger relationships with the people around you

Resources:

Additional Resources:

Feb 5, 2020

Joey Vitale is an attorney and business strategist for thriving entrepreneurs. As the Founding Attorney of Indie Law, Joey works with small business owners to protect their passions and give them the legal foundation they need to thrive and make an impact. Outside of his firm, Joey provides courses, presentations, and workshops that focus on the legal issues that matter most: trademarks, business formation, copyrights, and contracts. While based in Chicago, Indie Law serves business owners all over the country.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why Joey decided to break out on his own and began working with small businesses to help them protect their assets
  • Why trademark issues are particularly thorny for many business owners, and how Joey helps his clients better understand and navigate these issues
  • Why niching down and becoming the expert in his niche has been tremendously helpful in growing Joey’s business
  • Why half of the 500,000 trademark applications filed last year failed, primarily due to an existing or very similar trademark in place
  • Why trademarking descriptive words and phrases is becoming a major trend impacting sellers on e-commerce sites like Etsy
  • How Joey and his team help business owners monitor words and phrases that appear on their goods to help protect them from others who attempt to trademark those words
  • Why it is important for business owners to be proactive in protecting themselves, and what resources business owners can use to better understand trademark
  • How “common law trademark” and “registered trademark” differ, and how to use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) located at https://uspto.gov
  • Why protecting yourself with trademarks proactively is far more cost-effective than trying to fix problems after the fact, and why an attorney’s assistance is invaluable
  • How social media platforms are increasingly becoming protective of their names and are going after educators for using the platform name in the title of their courses

Resources:

Jan 29, 2020

Joe Battista is a professional speaker, instructor, author, and Owner of Pragmatic Passion LLC Consulting. His first book “The Power of Pragmatic Passion” was released in September of 2018. He serves as Vice President and an Executive Coach for the National Athletic and Professional Success Academy. In 19 seasons as the head coach of the Penn State Icers his teams won 512 games and six American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) national championships. Joe helped secure the largest gift in Penn State history from Terry and Kim Pegula ($88 Million) in 2010 to establish NCAA hockey teams and construct the Pegula Ice Arena. He was named Associate Athletic Director to oversee the project. The American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) named Joe the 2014 winner of the “Lou Lamoriello Award” for his career contributions to college hockey. Joe was a Vice President of the Buffalo Sabres and a Director of Amateur Hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Joe is a 1983 graduate of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business and he resides in State College, PA with his wife Heidi and they have 3 children, Brianna (26), Jon (24), and Ryan (18).

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How wise mentorship and coaching from others helped guide Joe to follow his passion into a career in the business and coaching sides of hockey
  • How Joe’s time at Penn State was capped by helping raise the largest single financial gift in the university’s history to establish Penn State’s hockey program
  • How Joe’s book “The Power of Pragmatic Passion” has been a powerful networking and business development tool for his business
  • How Joe defines a “pragmatic passion”, and why he believes passion alone isn’t enough to succeed
  • How turning his “pragmatic passion” into a career has given Joe a deeper feeling of fulfillment and purpose
  • What Joe’s “seven common sense principles” are, and how business leaders can integrate these principles into their leadership
  • Why you should give yourself a quarterly or semi-annual “you review” evaluation of where you are in life and in your career
  • Why purpose and passion can be incredible tools to help you get through the “grind” parts of your career
  • Why convenience store brand Sheetz employs someone specifically to figure out how to put the company out of business five years from now

Resources:

Jan 22, 2020

Mark Smith is the Business Development Director of The ChannelPro Network, the premier resource for growing IT service companies. Mark was the Founder of Windows NT Magazine, with a reach of 1.5M unique enterprise IT professionals in 160 countries. Mark sold Windows NT Magazine to Penton Media for $100M. EH Media has helped customers generate thousands of leads, and Mark teaches these marketing automation techniques to MSPs through his online mentoring program called Recurring Profits Mastery.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Mark helps media companies launch new products and do business development
  • Why Mark chose podcasting and video over other media channels
  • How Mark found success as a media professional by niching down in the IT industry
  • The process and timeframe Mark followed to develop his webinar and online course
  • Mark’s N.A.T.I.O.N. framework and how you can use it to generate traction within your market
  • The obstacles that entrepreneurs have to overcome to make progress as a media company
  • The litmus test (pyramid) Mark developed for his guest funnel

Resources:

Jan 15, 2020

Frank Lunn is a life-long enTREPreneur leading other enTREPreneurs & enTREPreneurial companies in the creation of a collaborative enTREPreneurial support ecosystem! Frank is a proven small business entrepreneur with a passion for maximizing resources and inspiring both individual and business growth. Currently, he is the President/CEO of Kahuna Business Group Inc., a business development company for empowering entrepreneurship.

As President of Kahuna, Frank has played a vital role in the vision, facilitation and leadership of KBGI and its client companies. His unique experience and entrepreneurial leadership has helped transform Kahuna Business Group, Inc. into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

In addition to being an expert business leader and small business entrepreneur, Lunn is a respected authority on leadership, motivation and opportunity. In his books, Frank shares his own life changing experiences providing readers with the proven tools they need to convert life challenges into opportunities for success. Lunn’s books include Stack the Logs!: Building a Success Framework to Reach Your Dreams, Carpe Aqualis! Seize the Wave, and Blessings in Adversity: Convert Challenges, Difficulties & Hardships Into Blessings & New Opportunities.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why not appropriately planning for an exit from his business ended up costing Frank millions of dollars, and how that experience sparked his current work
  • Why the business valuation process was a painful and eye-opening experience, and why Frank was unprepared for the results
  • How Kahuna Business Group came to be, why their focus is on helping entrepreneurs, and how the lessons Frank learned exiting his business play a part
  • What Frank considers to be the drivers of a business’s value, and why some of the things that give your business value may not be immediately obvious
  • Why it is important for the business owner to not be the real driver of the value of the business
  • Why having a great CFO who is willing to gently tap the brakes on your big ideas rather than slamming the emergency brake is key
  • Why you should be thinking about your future goals and making decisions based around those goals
  • What modern valuation tools are available to business owners, and why technology like cloud computing has created new opportunities for entrepreneurs
  • Why it is important to identify and understand what is truly driving the value of your business

Resources:

Jan 8, 2020

Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host. And holy bananas — it’s a New Year and a brand new DECADE!

This time of year is special…maybe it’s because how much I love Christmas…or maybe it’s the second chance to get things right that each New Year represents.

Between Thanksgiving and New Years — I intentionally take time to reflect back on what was accomplished in the previous year — and — consciously direct my attention toward the year ahead.

I map out strategies, action steps, draw out illustrations in my journal of how it will all coming together — and when it’s done — I feel at peace with what is about to be put into place.

Then with each passing day — as we get closer to January 1st — the excitement builds and I can’t wait for the starting line to get here!!!

Because that line was just a few day ago — I elected to focus today’s solocast on two topics that will be helpful to you and your team if your goal for 2020 is to Double Down!

And for covering the two topics — I’m going to take you behind the curtain to shine a light on some of the biggest obstacles to building and scaling that we experienced during the early days of Predictive ROI.

I decided to share these lessons with you in full transparency — although embarrassing — because getting them right was a key to stabilizing and then growing Predictive. And — I wanted to share tangible examples with you…not marketing hyperbole or theory.

I also decided to share these lessons in the hopes that if I can help you avoid some of the mistakes, missed opportunity, or gain traction faster than we did…well…that’s rock solid awesome!

So buckle in — here we go…

The early years of Predictive ROI started over a decade ago.

I wrote my first book — The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization — back in 2009. Shortly after it was published — I started getting offers to do side work projects for companies.

At the time — I was part of faculty and academic staff at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and happy with my position within the College of Business. I was teaching at UW-La Crosse and several other UW campuses include the School of Business at UW-Madison.

I was also involved in on-campus research, publishing, and serving our community through board seats and committee work.

I loved being on campus and my plate was full.

For a while — I just declined the side work that came as a result of my book. I said “thank you but no” because I didn’t want there to be any conflict of interest with the university.

But then I did some research — determined that it would be fine to say yes here and there — did a project — and holy bananas…it was a lot of fun.

The side work grew to the point that I had to make a difficult decision. Was I going to stay at the university — or — take on the challenge of trying to build a company?

I couldn’t say no to the challenge — so I resigned from the university and most of the people who knew me thought I was making a mistake.

Not going to sugar coat it for you — the first 5 years of Predictive ROI felt like an impossible grind. There were exceptionally long hours, we aimlessly wandered through wins, losses, and tried to figure out our identity.

On the personal side — my wife and I invested everything we had into the company — and we racked up personal debt.

We were beyond “all in.”

Now that we’re on the other side of it — Praise God — I can see that we struggled because of several fundamental flaws within the business.

One — we lacked clarity around a vision for Predictive.

Two — we had zero idea of what an ideal client or prospect looked like.

And Three — because of points One and Two…we said “yes” to every project and every client, which cost us time and money each and every time but we were too blind to see it.

But thankfully — with the help of incredible mentors and lessons learned from our generous Onward Nation guests — we began to see that in order to be excellent at points 2 and 3 — we had to get our vision for the business down on paper and begin living by it.

So we dug in. And when we did — we learned that “vision” actually meant three things:

1) defining our core values

2) getting clear on our purpose

3) constructing a mission that embodied a bold and audacious goal for Predictive

We didn’t have any of these in the early years.

Because here’s the reality. We were working hard just to survive and we didn’t give ourselves the time to think strategically about the direction of the business.

Candidly — I would have rolled my eyes at the notion of taking the time to work on it. I likely would have said, “Yeah, that’s all well and good — but I have sales to make.”

It’s really hard to think about vision when the pressure of making payroll is upon you.

Sound familiar?

Ever heard the expression, “Running a business feels a lot like fixing the plane while flying it”. Whoever came up with that line was so spot on.

My team and I did a lot of “fixing while flying” and we knitted the early years of the business together.

Then — we got a little breathing room. Then a little bit more. We paid off several chunks of debt and began to see the sun through the clouds.

But as nice as the breathing room was — we also felt some obstacles to going further. We could see ahead but also felt stuck.

Then it clicked — we had taken Predictive as far as we could without putting a proper foundation into place.

Thanks to lessons from our mentors (Drew McLellan and Brett Gilliland if you’re reading this…THANK YOU!), and the hard work put in by my leadership team — and all of our teammates — we now have a foundation (vision) for Predictive that include values, purpose, and mission.

You can find our core values on PredictiveROI.com here.

And funny thing…

As we were going down the path of doing our vision work — I was also interviewing successful business owners for Onward Nation episodes — and I kept hearing our guests talk about the importance of vision, values, purpose, and mission and how completely that work made a huge difference in the trajectory of their companies.

Quick aside for a second…

Have you ever bought what you think is a unique car? And then “all of a sudden” as you’re driving along — you see versions of your new car driving down the road?

The cars were of course there all the time but you didn’t see them because of the “reticular activating system” — or RAS — inside your brain.

Your brain was literally blocking your ability to see the other cars. But your RAS let them in once there was commonality and that data point became relevant to you.

Weird how our brains work, right?

The lessons around vision were always there in front of me — either from mentors or Onward Nation guests — but my brain blocked the knowledge until I was ready to receive it.

So I’m hopeful that if your goal is to DOUBLE DOWN in 2020 — you’ll be open to what I’m sharing with you.

Getting your vision down on paper, building the right team around your vision, and having a structure in place to measure progress is critical if you’re going to scale to an 8-figure business and reach $10 million+ in annual revenue.

I’m going to share two resources that will be helpful as you do your visioning work.

First — I recommend reading some of Jim Collins’ earlier work. You may be familiar with Jim as the author of “Good to Great”, which is a rock solid awesome book to be sure.

But in my opinion — Jim’s earlier and a lesser-known book, “Beyond Entrepreneurship” is better because of the deep dive around vision, values, purpose, and mission.

You can find Jim’s book on Amazon here.

Second — I encourage you to attend the free training that I’m co-hosting tomorrow (January 9th) with Brett Gilliland, CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs. As I mention earlier — Brett is one of my mentors and he’s also a 2-time alum of Onward Nation.

Before founding Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett was one of the key executives at Infusionsoft that helped grow the company from $10 million in annual sales to over $100 million. He now teaches his Elite members the principles he and the team at Infusionsoft used to build, scale, and dominate their industry.

Because I felt the tremendous impact of working through vision alongside Brett and his team — I asked if he would be open to sharing his expertise in a free training session so you could learn directly from him, too.

He graciously agreed. The free training is TOMORROW, January 9th at 1:00 Eastern. This is a private training — just for you and other business owners in our community.

You can find the details here. If you can’t make it live — still register so you get the recorded replay.

Okay — just a couple more insights around the visioning work we did at Predictive.

One — it doesn’t have to take you and your team years to get the work done. I wish we put ours on paper WAY BEFORE year 8 in our journey. Good grief.

Learn the framework from Brett on January 9th, study Jim’s book, and get your vision down on paper…quickly.

If you do that — you will be YEARS ahead of your competition as you step into 2020. Most of them are aimlessly wandering through the wilderness — but you won’t be and that’s a powerful advantage.

And Two — no matter what you put down on paper…just recognize it will evolve over time.

As you bring more people onto your team — they will make it better by pushing against it in new ways. And they will add things to it that you would have never thought of and likely help make it even more audacious. Awesome.

Stop waiting. Push the fear to the curb — take an afternoon. It won’t kill your business if you step away for a few hours (you just think it will — trust me — been there).

Promise yourself that you’ll get it done.

Good?

Okay — I look forward to hearing more about your 2020 plan with your newly defined — or updated — vision. Drop me a line at stephen@predictiveroi.com — would love to hear from you.

Now that the foundation of a vision has been set in your business — let’s work through how to go about building a sales funnel to ensure you have enough opportunity flowing into your business…so there’s enough cash to fund all of the things you need to get done in order to DOUBLE DOWN in 2020.

And let’s start off with setting some expectations and some definitions around what sales funnels are — and — what sales funnels are not.

I’m starting us here because there is so much marketing hyperbole around sales funnels that I can barely spend time on Facebook any more.

If I have to see one more Facebook ad from “business coach” claiming that all I need to do in order to build my business is to download his or her 7-figure email swipe file…I think I might scream.

Most of those ads are gimmicks and are being promoted by coaches who don’t really have an actual business. They have built a revenue stream by selling you a thing that will show you have to build a similar revenue stream by selling the same thing to other people just like you.

Do you remember back in the day the classified ads…mail in $7.00 and you will get this thing that will show you how to place classified ads and you will make a ton of money?

Same game — it’s just now being played on Facebook.

That’s not a business. And that’s not a sales funnel that will help you build a 7-figure or 8-figure business delivering real value to your clients.

And here’s another reality check about those 7-figure business coaches we see and hear on Facebook.

Did you know that…

According to the US Department of Labor — only 4% of the 28 million businesses in this country ever…like ever…reach over 1 million in annual sales.

And I’m pretty sure that the majority of coaches and quasi-experts making the 7-figure claim haven’t truly reached a million dollars in their business, they haven’t owned an actual business, or they’ve never built and scaled a company like what you and I are building.

So our discussion around how to build a sales funnel is going to be much different.

You and I are going to focus on the content you need to create to establish yourself as THE AUTHORITY in your market — and — how to structure your service offering into a VALUE LADDER that actually works for filling the sales pipeline in your business.

No gimmicks. But instead — it will take time and effort but you will have something in the end that is actually helpful to your business.

Good?

The speed at which you build and scale your business will largely depend on two things:

1) your ability to teach and share your expertise to build and nurture your audience through consistent cornerstone content…

And 2) how well you construct your value ladder.

Okay — let’s tackle each of these.

How do you build and nurture your audience?

You do that by creating “Cornerstone Content” and sharing it with your audience.

So what is cornerstone content?

Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute and host of the Build a Better Agency Podcast, and I recently finished writing a book entitled, Sell with Authority. So here’s how Drew defines Cornerstone Content…it’s content that’s:

  • Meaty enough to produce lost of smaller pieces
  • Significiant enough to serve as the epicenter of your promotion, activity, and eventual fame within your circle of influence
  • Consistent in how often you create content and how much you stay focused on one topic or area of subject matter
  • Sales-free. This is about teaching and helping. Stop. Period. End of story.
  • It’s always about your audience. That should be your primary goal.
  • It’s a long term play. No one’s going to recognize you as an Authority after three months.

Now do you see why I think the 7-figure email swipe file sounds ridiculous? Argh.

Cornerstone Content is meaty, dense content that gives you plenty of opportunities to slice and dice into what Drew and I call, smaller “Cobblestones.”

Depending on the channel you choose for your cornerstone content, you might only need to create it once a year — like a research study — or in the case of a video or podcast series…it should be once per week.

As you and your team talk through how, what, where, why that you should be creating cornerstone content for your 2020 content strategy — I encourage you to go back to Episode 676 of Onward Nation…because I break it all down.

I think it will be helpful to you and your team.

And it is through consistent cornerstone content that you will build and nurture your audience.

Drew and I are often asked, “But…how long will it take?” And as you may have guessed — the answer is…it depends and there are several factors…

First — the consistency of your content creation. Are you disciplined with a weekly schedule?

Second — the quality of your content. Are you saying something fresh or just repeating old news?

Third — the amount of time and effort you spend promoting and sharing your content.

Fourth — the hunger of your audience. Some of them are starving and will gobble up everything you share. Others may only consume the tastiest of offers.

Fifth — the level of competiton and how narrow you decide to go. If you’re writing about general healthcare marketing, for example, it’s going to be a long haul. If you’re writing about marketing to women over 50 with breast cancer…you’ll have much quicker adoption.

And sixth — those luckly-strike moments like having someone else with a similar audience share your content in their world.

But as I said earlier — building a nurturing your audience is not a get rich quick scheme. Drew and I will often say that you should count on taking six months to a year before you reap any significant benefit from your efforts. By year two, you should be dancing a jig at how well it’s working, and by year three, you should be well-established as the authority you are.

If you go back to Episode 864 of Onward Nation — I walk through the pros of going narrow…and how going narrow is the secret to monetizing faster.

Now that you have a framework for your 2020 content strategy — we can turn our attention to how your content ought to be structured in a sales funnel that will act as a pipeline to grow your business. In order to do that…you need to think of your audience in four different categories.

You have a MACRO audience…a MICRO audience…a NANO audience…and an EXISTING audience.

Let’s break each of these down.

When someone is part of your MACRO audience — they engage with your cornerstone content from the sidelines…at a distance. They consume…they may even subscribe to your podcast via iTunes or your YouTube series…but they are not addressable. Meaning — they yet haven’t stepped forward and shared their email address with you in exchange for a downloadable thing or some other resource.

Website visitors, most social media traffic, and podcast subscribers are all part of your MACRO audience.

For example, iTunes doesn’t allow you to download an email list of your podcast subscribers. You also can’t download an email list of everyone who visits your website on a daily basis.

Yes, your website visitors can be retargeted through paid ads — but even then — they’re still not addressable one-to-one via email.

So your goal is to grow your MACRO audience while remaining focused on your niche. You don’t need a million downloads of your podcast episodes if you’re focused on serving a small, super profitable niche.

Now for MICRO…

Once someone decides to share their email address with you in exchange for a piece of content like an eBook or some other resource…they become part of your “addressable” MICRO audience.

They have moved to the second stage of your sales funnel. MACRO is stage one — and MICRO is stage two. They have raised their hand and said — “Okay — you have earned enough of my trust that I am willing to give you my email address to get access to X resource.”

Yes, one could argue that social media followers are addressable because you could send a direct or a private message to a specific follower.

Or…you could download the email addresses of all your LinkedIn connections and send them an email campaign.

All true.

But — in reality — you have a business to run and will not likely have the time to do much one-to-one messaging on social — and — GDPR made downloading the email list of a LinkedIn connections and hitting “send” — pretty risky.

So — in thinking about what’s realistic — MICRO for you is most likely when someone opts in for your e-newsletter or downloads a helpful resource from your website.

Before we move on to NANO — I want to share another lesson from Drew that had a significant impact on me…and my guess is…it will be helpful to you, too.

And that is that someone may stay in your MICRO audience for a day or a decade. All you can do is be helpful over that period of time. Provide them with helpful resources, great recommendations they can take and apply, and be patient.

When someone in your MICRO audience feels comfortable — and you have delivered the best of what you’ve got — and have done that for years — and have always put their interest ahead of your own — some of them will be ready to move on to stage three…or NANO.

NANO is where the monetization happens.

A whole lot of trust needs to be built before someone moved to NANO.

For example, if one of the podcast guests who happens to be a member of your “Dream 25 Prospect List” decides to engage you and team for a project…or a guest books you teach a workshop, deliver keynote at their conference…or you offer a course to your MICRO audience and it sells…these are all examples of monetizing at the NANO level.

But — and this ties directly into the next chunk of what I wanted to share with you during this solocast. It will be difficult for you to monetize at NANO — or to build a consistent sales pipeline for your business if you haven’t taken the time to build out a value ladder.

Your value ladder provides new and existing clients with defined ways to begin or continue doing business with you. It starts with a low price point and limited scope of work…and progressively increases in price and scope.

When you have your value ladder fully built out — it might include 3, 5, or 8 different rungs that go from free all the way up to your highest priced, and most valuable service level.

But for the ease of discussion and getting started…I want you to think of just three rungs on your ladder…and then you can build it from there and make it more sophisticated over time.

The price point on the first rung on your ladder is FREE. So if you’ve completed the MICRO stage in the sales funnel…you’ve already got the first rung of your value ladder built.

But don’t stop with just one downloadable eBook, guide, or tip sheet. Because if you offer up one thing…it will appeal to a segment of your MACRO audience…but of course…not everyone.

So I encourage you to build out a Resource Library where you are offering your MACRO audience many FREE resources that can be helpful to them across a number of different situations or scenarios.

The Resources Library on PredictiveROI.com could be a helpful example as you and your team build out your own.

Okay — the second rung on your value ladder should be a service offering that you can provide a client priced at about 10-15% of your desired gross profit. Gross Profit is your revenue less any cost of goods sold.

So let’s say your ideal client represents annual gross profit of $50,000 to $200,000 for your company…then the second rung on your value ladder would be scope of work that you could price anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 in gross profit.

The goal of the second rung is for your prospect client to step into a relationship with you. To evaluate what it’s like to work with you and your team. To see if you can deliver what you promise for a $5,000 project before they commit to a $50,000 spend with you.

So maybe that’s you and your team building out a strategic plan for them. Doing some research with defined scope. Maybe delivering a training program on-site for their team that they can take and apply internally for the remainder of the year.

You decide how you want to knit it together — but the second rung on the ladder is your foot in the door — and your opportunity to demonstrate the smarts of your team in action.

With that said — will some clients step into a larger relationship with you right away and essentially by-pass rung two?

Yes, it will happen and has likely already happened with you.

But you also know — that it doesn’t always happen that way, and my guess is, if your sales strategy is to only present your full scope of work at the maximum price point…you have lost more opportunity than you have won.

So if rung one is free…and rung two is 10-15% of your ideal client spend…then rung three is 50-100% of the ideal clients spend.

Or in this example…$50,000 to $200,000 in annual revenue.

This is where your team is delivering everything. Putting all of their smarts to work in order to solve a client’s business challenges. You’re delivering the best of what you have to offer at rung three — and — this is where you are establishing what will hopefully turn into a long-term relationship with your new client because you and your team have demonstrated how you can deliver significant value.

So let’s sum up a few points before we close out and say goodbye.

Building a scaling a business is hard — I know you don’t need me to tell you that — but sometimes having someone from the outside acknowledge the struggle and the super courageous thing you are doing…well, quite frankly…it feels good.

Next — get your vision down on paper. Read Jim Collin’s book Beyond Entrepreneurship and attend tomorrow’s webinar with Brett Gilliland.

After that — build your strategy for cornerstone content.

Then take that content strategy and map it against the MACRO, MICRO, and NANO sales funnel.

And lastly — build your value ladder so it’s as easy as possible for a prospective client to move from MICRO into the NANO stage and begin a relationship with you and your team.

Okay — with that said – I’m over the moon excited for you as you step into 2020.

This is the start of more than just the New Year. It’s the start of a new decade…and my bold prediction is…if you take and apply even just slices of what you and I reviewed during this solocast…you and your team will Double Down in some key areas in 2020.

That’s darn exciting and I’m grateful to you for giving me this opportunity to walk alongside you on the path.

And one last thing before we close out and say goodbye, Onward Nation — I want to give you a very big thank you…in fact…let’s call it a virtual hug.

There’s absolutely no way we’d be approaching 1,000 episodes — and — there’s no way we’d have this opportunity to serve business owners in 120 countries without your support, your encouragement, and your feedback.

Here’s the reality — you help us get better every day, Onward Nation.

To have you here means a lot — so THANK YOU!

I look forward to being back with you again next week – until then – Double Down – and move Onward with Gusto into 2020!

Dec 18, 2019

Kevin Kruse is the Founder and CEO of LEADx, offering the world’s first leadership trainer and coach powered by IBM Watson. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of nine books including Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Kevin first discovered the power of leadership, and how that lesson became the focus of his book Great Leaders Have No Rules
  • Why the ubiquitous “open door policy” actually causes more harm than good, and why “closing your door and opening your calendar” is the key to empowering those you lead
  • How Kevin and his team developed the first AI-powered leadership trainer, Coach Amanda, to help people develop their leadership skills in a conversational way
  • Why every time Kevin wants to start a company, he starts a podcast and then turns the content of the podcast into a book first
  • How being a nine-time bestselling author positions Kevin to be an expert and trusted thought leader, and what strategies he suggests for people wanting to write a book
  • Why Kevin strongly recommends launching a podcast for anyone wanting to move into thought leadership, and what advantages a podcast can allow you to leverage
  • Why focusing on adding value for your audience will help you grow your business exponentially
  • How to use, reuse, and repackage your content to be able to share it across many different channels
  • How Kevin learned to define success not as a number but instead as the freedom to spend his time how he likes

Resources:

Dec 11, 2019

Dr. Mik Kersten spent a decade creating open-source developer tools before realizing that programming was not the bottleneck of large-scale software delivery. Since that time, he has been working on creating a model and tools for connecting the end-to-end software value stream.

He has been named a JavaOne Rock Star speaker and one of the IBM developerWorks Java top 10 writers of the decade. He was selected as one of the 2012 Business in Vancouver 40 under 40 and has been a World Technology Awards finalist in the IT Software category. Kersten is the editor of the new IEEE Software Department on DevOps.

Prior to founding Tasktop, Mik created the Eclipse Mylyn open source project as part of his Ph.D. in Computer Science, pioneering the integration of development tools with the delivery pipeline.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Mik recognized that the way business software is designed often doesn’t meet the real needs of its users, and why he founded Tasktop to solve problems
  • How Mik’s background as a developer gives him an informed foundation to understand customer pain points and problems and insights into how software can address them
  • Why maintaining a focus on solving the problems found in business software and customer needs helped Mik pivot Tasktop more effectively
  • Why Mik was inspired to move into the realm of thought leadership and write his book Project to Product
  • How listening to his customers and understanding their stories was a transformative experience that helped shape Mik’s thought leadership and reframe his beliefs
  • How thought leadership has helped to elevate Mik’s message and helped him better align with his customers’ needs and future proof his business against economic recession
  • Why the overwhelmingly positive reception to Project to Product was in direct response to Mik’s effort to serve and help his readers
  • Mik shares key points and information from Project to Product about his Flow Framework methods and how businesses and software can be better aligned with each other
  • How key lessons learned from his mentor helped Mik learn to focus on both long term success and near term profitability

Resources:

Dec 4, 2019

Ken Hardison has fought for people’s rights as a trusted personal injury lawyer for over 35 years. His ethics, integrity, and passion for his clients helped to build one of North Carolina’s most successful firms, Hardison & Cochran, and a successful Social Security disability firm, Carolina Disability Lawyers, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now, as owner and publisher of the law firm management website, Law Practice Advisor, and founder and president of PILMMA, the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association, Ken devotes his time to helping attorneys build their own preeminent law practices with proven marketing strategies and management resources. Ken has been recognized as one of the top 100 Trial Lawyers in North Carolina and is a member of the exclusive Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Systematic Marketing is his tenth book. Ken has authored 5 books on marketing and managing law firms. He is a sought-after speaker throughout the country on marketing and managing law firms.

Ken is known as the “Millionaire Maker” due to his coaching clients doubling and quadrupling their law practices and income following Ken’s practice growing advice and insights.

Ken lives in North Myrtle Beach, SC where he enjoys playing golf and fishing when he is not helping lawyers grow their practices.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Ken shares his career journey that ultimately led to founding the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA)
  • How Ken first recognized the importance of legal marketing, and why he chose to learn the intricacies of the business
  • Why Ken decided to focus on personal injury clients and worker’s compensation and disability cases
  • How Ken and his partners scaled their firm from one office to eight across North Carolina, and what sort of growing pains Ken experienced
  • Why Ken’s decades of experience working in the trenches sets him apart from his competitors
  • Why keeping a clear focus and managing your time are the keys to success, and what steps Ken takes to avoid “time vampires” throughout his day
  • What important lesson Ken learned from his mentor Dan Kennedy about delegating work to others and accepting that “good is good enough”
  • Why you should leverage your strengths and then hire the right people to complement your weaknesses
  • Why Ken’s experience shows that law firms who focus on a defined mission, clear values, and a shared vision are the ones that are growing the fastest
  • What key steps business leaders can take to clarify their goals and align others within their organizations to their vision

Resources:

Nov 27, 2019

In 2007, Erin Bradley became self-employed in pursuit of “freedom and flexibility.” Unfortunately, she did so with no game plan and no safety net to speak of. By 2008, she was so broke, she had to ride her bicycle to meet a new client as she didn’t have money for gas. When Erin’s card was declined for a small coffee as the client walked through the door, she realized something had to give…

Erin spent the next 3 years studying the habits of highly successful entrepreneurs, and ultimately developed a strategy to promote her value in a way that felt authentic, easy and FUN! She also started investing in real estate, which now affords her the opportunity to live her dream life, in her dream home. (It’s easier than you might think!)

By 2012, she had gone from broke to 6 figures… and she promptly burned out. Erin had no systems in place to manage the growth and found herself trading her time for money. Pregnant with their second child, she was drowning in life and in business. She tried convincing herself to be “grateful” because they finally had money to pay the bills, but she was ready to throw in the towel altogether.

Luckily, Erin didn’t quit! She sought help, built systems, and started hiring. By 2015, the business had doubled again. Today, their business continues to grow and Erin does much less in order to do much more. She focuses on the essentials and shows others how to do the same!

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Erin shares why she became self-employed, and she shares her powerful story of realizing she had to make changes to her strategy after hitting financial rock bottom
  • How Erin’s limiting beliefs about money held her back from growing as an entrepreneur, and how she got past that roadblock
  • Why Erin had to learn to accept that she deserved the success she earned for herself, and why finding the right coaching was the key to that realization
  • Erin explains the difference between viewing money as “tangible” versus “intangible”, and how the way you view money impacts your goals
  • Why eliminating financial stress and attaining financial freedom were Erin’s primary goals for herself and her family
  • Why Erin chose to move into thought leadership and creating content through her writing and her podcast
  • How Erin grew and scaled her business after realizing she couldn’t do everything by herself
  • What the “25% rule” is and how it has helped Erin focus on the right priorities and guide her business strategy
  • How Erin plans her day with a careful balance to help her maintain a positive level of energy throughout the day
  • Why setting boundaries and staying present in the moment are important pillars of Erin’s success

Resources:

Nov 20, 2019

Anese Cavanaugh is devoted to helping people show up and bring their best selves to the table in order to create significant positive impact in their lives. She is the creator of the IEP Method® (Intentional Energetic Presence®), an advisor and thinking partner to leaders and organizations around the world, and author of CONTAGIOUS CULTURE: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization That Thrives.

Top innovators and executives in companies like IDEO, Zingerman’s, GM Financial, Vistaprint, 15Five, Fitbit, Nike, Kaiser Permanente, and others have engaged with Anese to strengthen team health, unlock leadership potential, optimize company culture, and maximize impact.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • What exciting things Anese and her business have been up to since her previous appearance in Onward Nation episode #756
  • Why Anese chose to tighten her focus, be intentional, and be strategic with her work and the writing of her new book, Contagious You, in 2019
  • What key pillars of information Anese addressed in her new book, and why she chose to focus on those areas
  • Why the best way to get out of your own way when seeking business success is to focus on servicing your customers and your team
  • How to raise the energy level in a room and avoid being sucked into negative people’s energy in meetings
  • Why it is important to be very clear in our intention, practice self-care, and be present in the moment
  • How to properly address a person who is lacking in energy or carrying negativity into a meeting
  • How to conduct a brief energy and presence check at the beginning of each meeting to improve the quality of your meetings
  • What actively disengaged employees cost the United States each year nationwide financially and in lost productivity
  • What valuable lists Anese has included in Contagious You to help you be more intentional and raise energy as a team

Resources:

Nov 13, 2019

Steve Farber is the founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, an organization devoted to changing the world through the cultivation and development of extreme leaders in business, nonprofits, education, and beyond. Listed on Inc.’s ranking of the Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts in the world, and #1 on Huffington Post’s 12 Business Speakers to See, Farber is a bestselling author, popular keynote speaker, and a seasoned leadership coach and consultant who has worked with a vast array of public and private organizations in virtually every arena.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why Steve named his new book “Love Is Just Damn Good Business: Do What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do”
  • Why it’s important to consider how you show the love you have for your customers or clients in a clear, repeatable way
  • Why there is a common and persistent belief that love has no place in business, and why Steve set out to prove otherwise
  • Steve shares key takeaways and lessons from his book that can directly contribute to a business’s growth and success
  • Steve shares an example of a real company that had high turnover and went through bankruptcy and how they managed to turn things around by creating a great culture
  • What first actionable steps Steve recommends you take to be able to identify and more consistently show your love for your business and customers
  • Why Steve’s strategy is applicable to every kind and size of business in an industry-agnostic way

Resources:

Nov 6, 2019

Greg Alcorn is the founder and CEO of Global Contact Services (GCS) with locations in North Carolina and New York. GCS provides outsourcing, management and consulting in the area of customer service. GCS currently has over 800 employees. He is a regular speaker on the subjects of “soft skills.”

Greg’s a North Carolina resident, graduating from Catawba College and earning his MBA from UNC-Charlotte. In 2010 he was named Catawba’s Alumnus of the year, 2015 Church and College award and the Adrian Shuford Award in 2016.

For five years, he served on the NC State Board of Education. From that experience, Greg started ApSeed Early Childhood Education in 2015. ApSeed provides eReaders to economically disadvantaged children ages 0-4 years old, 6,000, so far. Recently, he received the MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Award for this work. He remains involved in numerous non-profits.

Greg’s book is a result of many relationships across all walks of life. He has worked in a blazing hot brickyard, played on a Cinderella Final Four basketball team for one week, and for decades, he has helped Fortune 500 companies with customer communications. The book of 7 Dumb Things We All Say is a quasi-memoir filled with soft skills of do’s and don’ts.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • How Greg’s background and career journey led him to become the founder and CEO of Global Contact Services (GCS)
  • How Greg recognized the importance of incorporating frequent soft skills training internally to his associates
  • Why Greg recognized the problem of replying to someone saying “thank you” with “no problem”
  • How to identify when you are using negative or passive language, and how to convert it into positive, active statements
  • How to avoid common language traps, mistakes, and habits that you may not even be conscious of
  • How Greg defines “conversational bullying,” and why it is the antithesis of meaningful dialogue
  • How Greg and his team built and scaled GCS to over a thousand employees, and what key lessons he learned in growing GCS
  • What critical skills Greg feels a business owner should develop to effectively lead their team
  • Why Greg believes strongly in the benefits of having many mentors, and what key lessons Greg has learned from his own mentors

Resources:

Oct 30, 2019

Stephen is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated daily podcast for learning how today’s top business owners think, act and achieve. Onward Nation is listened to in 120 countries around the world.

Stephen is the author of three books, including the #1 bestseller, “Profitable Podcasting,” and his digital marketing insights have been featured in Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

Oct 23, 2019

H. John Oechsle joined Swiftpage (www.act.com) in July 2012 and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. John came to Swiftpage with an over 30 year track record of building highly profitable and sustainable revenue growth for emerging companies and established global leaders.

Prior to joining Swiftpage, John served as the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Product for DigitalGlobe. During his tenure, he was instrumental in shaping the future of the company and driving revenue growth through the launch of a number of very successful product lines. Prior to DigitalGlobe, John was the Senior Vice President of Technology and Content as well as Chief Information Officer for IHS Inc. Before that he was the Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Management Worldwide for Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company, where he was responsible for all technology and e-business. Earlier in his career, John served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Land America Financial Group, Inc., and Director of Global Information Management for Kellogg Company. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science from Rutgers University and is a graduate of the Tuck Executive Program at the Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.

John is an advocate for technology and education in Colorado and has been an active contributor and served as 2007 Chairman of the Colorado Technology Association (CTA). John supports Open World Learning, an organization that uses the power of technology and peer teaching to develop leadership and ignite a love of learning among children. John also supports Kidstek, an organization dedicated to making technology accessible to youth. John has been recognized several times for his involvement in the industry. In 2006 and in 2009, John was awarded the Technology Executive of the Year, and the Titan of Technology awards by the CTA. John was also awarded the Bob Newman Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community by the CTA in 2011 and the Nancy J. Sauer Philanthropy award in 2016. In 2015, John was appointed to the Business Experiential Learning Commission (BEL) by the Governor of Colorado and continues to serve on that commission today.

While not at Swiftpage, John juggles his time being a husband, father, and grandfather and spends the time he has left playing golf, skiing and boating.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • What transformative projects John and his team at Swiftpage have been working on since his prior appearance on Onward Nation in episode #780
  • Why Swiftpage’s business strategy of “owning the conversion and retention space for the small- and mid-sized business market” is key to their growth
  • Why Swiftpage believes the four digital pillars of growth are presence, traffic, conversion/retention, and optimization tools, and how John defines each pillar
  • How Swiftpage determines whether it would be more effective to build a “component” themselves or acquire it through M&A, and how John defines a component
  • How niching down, keeping a clear focus on the fifteen-seat company and smaller, and serving their customers has helped Swiftpage evolve and grow successfully
  • Why John looks for three distinct qualities and characteristics in the A-players in his team: talent, an insatiable appetite to win, and putting mission before self
  • Why a good leader’s role is to mentor and nurture talent, tell a clear story, bring credibility, and build a talented and effective team
  • What qualities a leader needs to be an effective mentor to other business leaders outside their company
  • Why having the courage to pursue your goals, the passion to push yourself, and the tenacity to keep going are the keys to success

Resources:

Oct 16, 2019

In 2003, Nick was in a snowboarding accident that left him in a coma for over three weeks. The doctors told his parents that he probably wouldn’t walk, talk, or eat on his own again. Less than three months later, he was running out of Franciscan Children’s hospital. Now a Certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer, Nick speaks to groups that benefit from his message of overcoming adversity.

Nick grew up in the real estate industry and got started on his own at an early age. Most notably, he was knocking on pre-foreclosure doors at 16 and 17, doing up to 50 doors a day. This experience helped shape Nick’s real estate career.

Now, Nick specializes in working with lease purchasers to get them into a home and on the path to homeownership. Regardless of a buyer’s credit situation, he looks at their complete financial picture and comes up with a plan to get them into a home.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Nick’s incredible skiing accident and recovery story – from a coma to running out of the hospital
  • The hope and courage that got Nick through his horrible circumstances
  • How Nick draws positive influence from the people around him
  • Daily habits Nick believes have contributed to his success
  • Useful skills for building and scaling businesses
  • Nick’s sources of wisdom and mentorship
  • The advice Nick has for tuning out the noise and taking the first steps toward success

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Oct 9, 2019

After a devastating divorce and bankruptcy, this single mother of two rebuilt her life through real estate. In the process, Dixie Decker accidentally stumbled upon a unique method for buying and profiting in real estate without using any of her own money or credit: student housing.

In just three years, she mastered the process, building her net worth to over $5,000,000 and $100,000 per month in positive cash flow! Today her cash flow machine runs practically on AUTOPILOT, so she can focus on her family, growing investments, building associations with other women, and helping others succeed.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • The importance of clarity in Dixie’s life and how she’s spreading the message
  • The effects of the people, music, and environment you surround yourself with
  • Giving yourself the credit for your successes; nothing just happens to you from nowhere
  • Finding the right people to capture your authentic voice
  • Dixie’s advice to increase productivity
  • Niching down and why it’s such a significant thing to do for your business
  • Turning your flaws and failures into “badges of honor” through courage

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Oct 2, 2019

Jesse Cole is the founder of Fans First Entertainment and owner of the Savannah Bananas. His teams have welcomed more than one million fans to their ballparks and have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, and ESPN.

The Bananas have been awarded the Organization of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Business of the Year, and won the CPL Championship in their first year. Fans First Entertainment has been featured on the INC 5000 lists as one of the fastest-growing companies in America. The Savannah Bananas currently have sold out every game for two straight seasons and have a waiting list in the thousands for tickets.

Jesse is an in-demand speaker and released his first book “Find Your Yellow Tux – How to Be Successful by Standing Out” in January of 2018. The book launched #1 in three categories on Amazon and has been sold in 18 countries. Staying true to his mantra, “Whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite,” Cole launched the book with a World Book Tour at Epcot.

Cole’s greatest mentors are Bill Veeck, P.T. Barnum, and Walt Disney. All three share a wall in his office on custom-made posters that display the words Innovation, Showmanship, and Vision. Cole believes to be successful you need to stand out and be different.

He releases daily videos, blogs, and articles on LinkedIn. He is passionate about creating attention, loving your customers more than your product, and loving your employees more than your customers. Cole is the host of the Business Done Differently Podcast and has been featured on more than 100 podcasts including the Ziglar Show, StoryBrand with Donald Miller and NPR’s Only a Game.

What you will learn from this episode:

  • Why it takes a while to realize what your best at – and why it’s worth it
  • The origin story of Jesse’s legendary Yellow Tux
  • Where Jesse gets his courage
  • The incredible formation story of the Savannah Bananas
  • How the Savannah Bananas brand has benefited fans and players and why culture is so critical
  • Empowering employees to become leaders and make decisions, especially in tough circumstances
  • How Jesse draws inspiration from people like Walt Disney and P.T. Barnum
  • The future of the Savannah Bananas and how they continue to put fans first

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