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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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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 30, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media. expensive-guesswork Good Morning Onward Nation...welcome to Episode 376...I’m Stephen Woessner. I hope you had a wonderful and very Happy Thanksgiving last week with friends and family — and in the process — you were able to take some time to think about all of the people and opportunities in your life to be grateful and thankful for. Because we all — no matter what the circumstances pulling or pushing us from inside or outside of the business — have an abundance of opportunity and much to be thankful for.

Now, if your business is breaking into new levels and momentum is at full force — having an abundance mindset, is quite frankly, easy.

But, if you are struggling to make ends meet, if you are in danger of not making payroll (I’ve been there by the way), or you have employee issues, customer issues, and nothing seems to be going your way — and you just need a break — thinking about abundance may seem like mystic dark magic voodoo or a bit like staring into a crystal ball and to learn any sort of nugget about your future.

And when you’re back is up against the wall — and mine has been, Onward Nation — so I get it — I understand it’s hard to show up every day with your mind fixated on abundance. But if you just break free, inch by inch, and realize that you don’t need to win the war all in one day, that sometimes solving just one problem today build momentum.

And then tomorrow another.

And then tomorrow another.

And eventually you can begin to feel confident in metaphorically putting on what Garrett Gunderson recently described to me as “The Armor of Abundance.” And he wears his every day.

You will soon hear Garrett tell his story in Episode 388 that will air on December 15th, Onward Nation, and how even when the times were the toughest for him, the toughest for his family, and for his business — he refused to give up.

Even when he was writing checks for tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars to vendors who had done him wrong...he pushed forward.

He refused to, using Garrett’s words, he refused to “Gnaw on the bones of scarcity.”

And who taught him those lessons? Mentors.

Onward Nation...nothing will affect the trajectory of your business or your life like a good — or bad — mentor can. We talk a lot about mentorship with our guests — but — it has been some time since I shared any of my thoughts on the importance of your inner circle, how to build a culture of greatness within your company, and ultimately, how to find great mentors and advisors who will help you unlock that next level in your business.

So to add some value in each of these areas during today’s episode — I am going to share with you — in its entirety — an interview Laura Steward and I did when she was kind enough to invite me to be a guest on her show, entitled “It’s All About the Questions” and you can find her at LauraSteward.com.

True to the name of the show — Laura asked great questions and we dug into mentorship, inner circle, how to make the difficult transition from one circle to another, how to deal with the insecurities of others and not letting them affect your business and life, and a more — all focused on how to eliminate the guesswork to mentorship and learning — because getting it right is critical to your success.

So, here we go, Episode 81 of “It’s All About the Questions” with Laura Steward and me. pasted-image-0 Episode Link: www.laurasteward.com/81-stephen-woessner-onward-nation-digital-marketing-simplified.html

My hope for you is that you found the lessons Laura and I discuss to be helpful — to be recipes and tactical ingredients you can break down and insert into your business right away to accelerate your results — to be able to build a culture of greatness within your business while measuring your ROI in a complex digital world.

So with that, Onward Nation...I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.

It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. You can hit me up on Twitter, find us on Facebook, me on LinkedIn, or you are always welcome to email me directly at stephen@onwardnation.com — and yes — that is my actual email address — no fancy filters or filing system — it will come directly to me.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible encore interview with Dr. Alan Pitt — don’t miss it because Alan digs deep into how the healthcare industry has and continues to change — and the impact that will have on us as consumers within the system. The conversation with Alan is transformation — you will love it.

Until then, onward with gusto!

Nov 29, 2016

Chris Paradiso is one of the most passionate and dynamic agency owners in the insurance industry today. His passion for digital marketing, a strong drive to improve efficiency, and his unwavering dedication to exemplary customer service has led Christopher to build and grow his own agency. His clear vision has helped direct other insurance agencies to push the envelope and find their own success as well. In 2011 Chris, was excited to introduce “Paradiso Presents” a social media marketing program aimed at teaching other agencies how to survive and thrive in today’s complex online marketing world. His innovative marketing solutions have been recognized and implemented into agencies nationwide.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Chris' background
  • Why the fear of being outworked is Chris' driving force
  • Why you have to read every single day
  • Why Chris reads two different books at the same time
  • The time where Chris found almost all of his employees new jobs and started his business over
  • Why accepting change is the most critical skill for business owners
  • Why you can't ever show up one minute late
  • Why "garbage in, garbage out" is a lie
  • How hearing "work on your business, not in your business" changed Chris' life
  • Why you need to buy your domain name
  • Why you need a coach
  • Why you need an app for your business

How best to connect with Chris:

Nov 28, 2016

Laura Rittenhouse is a keynote speaker, financial strategist, business coach, and best-selling author. She advises CEOs and CFOs on how to increase employee creativity and accountability to boost results and revenue. Her Candor Academy workshops strengthen trust between investors, customers, and employees. She partners with executives, visionary managers, and inventors who align conversations and culture to become more effective problem-solvers. Her Candor Analytics methodology was chosen by the CFA Institute as a “Future of Finance” initiative. Laura’s book, “Investing Between the Lines”, showcases a decade of research connecting trustworthy leadership with financial returns that consistently outperform the market and was endorsed by Warren Buffett. 

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Laura’s background
  • Why language has such a profound impact on Laura
  • Why candor is so important
  • Why the authenticity is tied to vulnerability
  • Why Laura starts every day with a half hour of meditation
  • Why Laura left her job to find what calls her “thumbprint”
  • Why you need to believe and have faith
  • Why you need to trust your intellect
  • Developing a words matter mindest 

How best to connect with Laura:

Nov 25, 2016

Don Osmond is a marketing professional, speaker, and writer focusing on authentic marketing to help businesses develop sound, branding strategies. Widely regarded as a marketing and communications thought leader, Don works with his business clients to develop the genuine narrative of their companies, which becomes the foundation for their branding and messaging. Son to international entertainment icon Donny Osmond, Don’s approach to marketing incorporates lessons from the entertainment industry, which he integrates into effective business strategies. After years of education and experience, he knows firsthand that good marketing requires truth-telling and invitation, not spinning. Don believes that authenticity is the only true value proposition a company can offer, so he serves clients by developing genuine story-based marketing and authentic marketing strategies.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Don's background
  • What he learned from his dad, Donny Osmond
  • Why storytelling is so pivotal
  • What Don's learned from Judy Robinett
  • Why Don starts each day by being of value to his network
  • How Don uses Audible to be a constant learner
  • Doing the one thing you need to do each morning
  • Don's soul-searching that led him to marketing
  • The importance of integrity
  • The major lesson Don learned about storytelling from his college English professor
  • Operation, capital, and awareness: the three things your business comes down to
  • Why you need to stick with processes and tweak them until they yield results

How best to connect with Don:

Nov 23, 2016

Damion Lupo started his first business at age 11, has started 30 since, and is the published author of five books. As a thought leader and bold executioner, his first rental house was purchased Dec 31, 1999 using his VISA card and a bucket of courage. That decision grew into a 150+ house, 7 state empire over the next 5 years culminating with a total meltdown and reinvention in 2008. This drove him to create the Austin-based FinTech Total Control Financial in 2016 to disrupt Wall Street and empower Main Street with a patented technology and artificial intelligence based tool to reinvent old archaic ideas around retirement and financial freedom and empower people with control of their financial lives. His powerful patented tool is called the eQRP, a retirement vehicle 10 times more powerful than an IRA, giving investors checkbook control of their 401k and IRA money and keeping track of it on their iPhone.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Damion's background
  • The time blocking strategy Damion learned from "The ONE Thing" by Gary Keller
  • Damion's "no-ding" policy in his office
  • How Damion uses Hal Elrod's "The Miracle Morning" and starts his day out with S.A.V.E.R.S.
  • The collapse of Damion's real estate business and his life in 2008
  • The lessons Damion learned during that dark time
  • What it takes to reinvent yourself
  • Why you need a coach
  • Why you need to own every single piece
  • Why can't show up -- or work with -- people who or less than awesome
  • Why you need accountability with metrics
  • Why you should take your goals and figure out how to do 10x those
  • Why you should find the things that scare you and chase them
  • Listening to the feedback the world gives you

How best to connect with Damion:

Nov 22, 2016

Joe Kashurba grew the freelance web design business that he started in high school into a digital agency with a virtual team and clients around the world. He went from building $300 websites to building $30,000 websites and managing 6-figure digital advertising budgets for some of the largest manufacturing and construction companies. Joe now advises and mentors other freelance web designers and digital agency owners on how to develop and scale their businesses.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Joe's background
  • Why you need to plan out tomorrow before you go to bed
  • Getting an important task done in the first 15 minutes of work
  • Why constant marketing is so crucial for your business
  • What Joe did after not selling to 25 people in a row that he had consultion phone calls with
  • Generating leads that fit what you're trying to sell
  • Why having the right mindset is so crucial for success
  • Looking at your business from a diagnostic viewpoint to see what's working and what isn't
  • Why you need to niche down and stick to the exact thing you do well
  • Being prepared for and fighting through the fear
  • Building a system to get sales

How best to connect with Joe:

Nov 21, 2016

Gal Ratner is an award winning technology veteran. He is the co-founder and CEO of ShopSnap, a modern e-commerce platform and the founder and CEO of Inverted Software, a software consulting firm in Los Angeles. With over 20 years of software experience, his designs are responsible for powering Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries. Gal led international teams on major financial, media and entertainment, gaming and e-commerce projects. Some of his projects include Microsoft’s Windows 8 download manager, the Volusion eco system, Rockstar Games’s online store, and ShoppingCart.NET, which he wrote as a pet project and was the most downloaded .NET shopping cart on the Microsoft App Gallery. Gal is also an open source community supporter and contributor with projects ranging in capacity from parallel workflow processing frameworks to extensible caching systems. He is an avid blogger and enjoys passing his extensive software knowledge on to upcoming talent.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Gal's background
  • ShopSnap, Gal's modern e-commerce platform
  • Why conversion rate and security are the two most important things in e-commerce
  • Gal's visualization technique
  • Gal's seven daily habits that keep him focused and on track
  • What Gal learned from Perry Marshall that changed the way he does business
  • Why you need to get great minds in a room every week and work on strategy
  • Why you need to carve your own path
  • Why you need to calculate risks
  • Why you need to plan, plan, and plan again
  • Why you need to look at your customer's world through their eyes
  • Why you need to be flexible

How best to connect with Gal:

Nov 18, 2016

Bill Watkins is a West Point graduate, decorated Army officer, world-class athlete, corporate executive, and an entrepreneur who took his business from his garage to an eight-figure enterprise before he sold it. As co-founder of the Rusty Lion Academy, Bill now connects to and coaches successful men seeking more significance, clarity, wealth, fun, freedom, joy, and control in both their businesses and lives. He leverages his story of financial success combined with nearly catastrophic personal failure to shortcut men beyond such catastrophes and toward permanent growth using proven, proprietary methods.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Bill’s journey
  • Owning your morning to build your perfect day with Bill’s weekday warrior morning
  • Bill’s priority management system that helps him focus his time
  • Saying no to unimportant many and saying yes to the critical few
  • The disease of yes
  • The 25-year desired future: writing the life you want to live
  • The seven freedoms
  • Getting clear on what you’re deeply passionate about
  • Getting clear on what you’re really good at
  • Figuring out how to get people to pay you for the two above things

How best to connect with Bill:

Nov 17, 2016

In 1985, Mitch co-founded Timeslips Corp, which grew to become the largest time tracking software company in the world. In 1994, Timeslips was sold to Sage. While at Sage, Mitch went on to run all of Sage U.S. as Chief Operating Officer, a division with over 300 people. Later, Mitch joined Chet Holmes as President of Chet Holmes, International. Soon thereafter Mitch and Chet, along with Tony Robbins, created Business Breakthroughs International, a company serving thousands of businesses a year with coaching, consulting, and training services. Mitch was the President and CEO for four years. After the untimely death of Chet, Mitch left Business Breakthroughs to help CEOs build their own “Invisible Organization” using the principles outlined in this powerful book.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • What Mitch does with the first 60 minutes of his day
  • Mitch’s daily initiaives list
  • Mitch’s favorite quote from Steve Jobs that helps him stay on track
  • Why you should never compare yourself to others — only the you of yesterday
  • Why you must dismiss fear as the emotion it is — you are not your emotions
  • Why — when you’re hiring — you need to screen for emotional makeup
  • The personality tests that Mitch uses to screen different types of employees
  • Why you should have a membership site or a learning management system to stay engaged with your audience
  • How to tap into recurring revenue streams
  • Why you need to network like crazy
  • Why it’s so important to take things lightly 

How best to connect with Mitch:

Nov 16, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Benjamin looking at you. Closeup on money

Good Morning Onward Nation…welcome to Episode 367…I’m Stephen Woessner. Before we dig deep into today’s solocast and the lesson I prepared for you — I want to take a minute to say thank you!

Thank you because as we rapidly close in on our 400th episode — amazing — 400!!! — we are experiencing another level of growth.

Downloads worldwide are up, the number of countries we are reaching on a daily basis continues to increase, the number of guests reaching out to us requesting to be on our show is up, and the amazing — awesome — and incredible feedback we receive from you, Onward Nation — is up.

And I want you to know how much you being here and making what we do part of your daily routine means so much to my team and me.

We are very grateful to have this opportunity to share the lessons we collect from today’s top business owners — and we rejoice with every piece of feedback you share with us — good or bad — because you help us get better.

We love all of your Facebook comments, Tweets, LinkedIn comments, and your emails, too. Please keep them coming.

And remember, my direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com. Drop me a line anytime and let me know what you think about the show — I always want your ideas and to hear your thoughts.

Rest assured — I read and reply to every single email. So thank you, Onward Nation — my team and I appreciate you more than you will ever possibly know…

Okay, just wanted to begin today’s lesson by expressing some gratitude. So now let’s jump into what we are going to cover today. And that topic is cash or capital you can apply toward the growth of your business — but more specifically — if you are considering outside investment as part of your growth strategy — what’s the recipe — what steps must you take in order to make your team and business attractive to investors so you go from invisible to investible, as my good friends Judy Robinett and John Livesay shared last week during Episode 362.

Judy and John shared some excellent insights and very specific tactical steps, which I am going to summarize for you here — but I am also going to share some additional context about approaching investors because I understand first-hand how intimidating the process can feel like — especially when you are on the outside looking in, don’t know the players, how no idea what your message ought to be, and then fear creates this feeling of being trapped.

And that is exactly what happened to me. In August of 1999, several business partners and I founded a company called FortifiedNutrition.com, back when everyone had a dot com company, taking the companies public, and cashing in once the IPO soared to record levels.

So as the tech and product distribution sides of our business were being built out by my co-founders, I was in charge of attracting investors. And I was terrible at it and it really showed.

My prospecting consisted of aimlessly wandering around the Internet to find venture capital firms who were typically located in the valley, then emailing them our PowerPoint overview of the business (and wow was it horrific!) and then receiving lots of thanks but no thanks emails.

But finally, we made our way in front of a couple of investors and our initial ask was $7 million for 20 percent of our business. Yes, $7 million. We had placed a valuation of our business at $35 million — but wait — here’s the best part — we had not made one single sale at the point of the ask.

Yep, we felt confident our company was worth $35 million even though we had zero sales. Good grief!

Now, you have probably seen some of those ill-fated pitches on Shark Tank, right? When the business owner has zero sales and then tries to justify a ridiculous valuation to the Sharks.

Yep, that was me, Onward Nation. My team and I in a conference room — as I floundered my way through my pitch.

Plus, I had very inconsistent valuation numbers. The valuation I had put together for Ernst & Young’s review a couple of weeks earlier was only — HA — only — $10 million.

Yeah, I had missed the inconsistency — I failed to see the problem of $10 million a couple weeks ago, and now that I am in front of investors, yeah, let’s go with $35 million.

Thankfully, the investors we were presenting to saw something in us — some glimmer of hope — that with the right mentorship — we could build something valuable. They took us under their wing, mentored us, shortened our learning curve through powerful education, and ultimately invested in us at a $3 million valuation — not $35 million — and it wasn’t until we had six months of growing sales under our belt.

So why am I sharing this painful and embarrassing story with you?

Because all of the pain, suffering, and time lost in countless meetings, phone calls, and emails could have been avoided if I would have had a system — a process — a recipe to follow. Which I have now learned as a result of spending hours with Judy Robinett and John Livesay during our episodes as well as outside of the show.

They are brilliant subject matter experts — they really know their stuff — but beyond that — they are generous with sharing their expertise. So if you have listened to and studied Episodes 329, 360, and 362 — I highly encourage you to add them to your list of vital priorities — you will be glad that you did.

So let’s dig into the ingredients to a “Getting Funded Recipe” that I wish I had had for attracting investors back in the days of FortifiedNutrition.com.

Ingredient #1: kick fear to the curb

Judy and I talked a lot about fear during Episode 329 and how it can rise up and attempt to keep her trapped. And it isn’t because she doesn’t know what she is doing — my goodness, no. Judy is one of the most connected — deeply networked people I have ever met. She is an in-demand global thought leader, plugged into the investment community, sits on the right boards, knows all the right players, and even attended two business and networking events at The White House this year.

What!?!

Yeah, Judy has a titanium Rolodex.

Yet despite all of that — there is fear. So Judy has to force herself to kick fear to the curb, where it belongs, and push past it!

Why is getting past the fear important?

Because if you don’t, I guarantee you the first excuse you will tell yourself as to why investors have not knocked down your door with briefcases full of money with your name on it is because “No one is investing — there isn’t any money available — or — investors don’t want to invest in a company like mine.”

You need to know — thoughts like that are simply the Imposter Syndrome trying to rise up and keep you from your destiny.

Because here is the reality — Judy shared some estimates she collected from Credit Suisse — that by 2019 there will be over $329 trillion in household wealth worldwide.

$329 trillion, Onward Nation.

More specifically, within the venture capital and angel investor communities, there are estimates of $70 billion sitting on the sidelines and that is likely on the light side.

So to Judy’s point — there is not a lack of capital. In fact, it is the complete opposite — there is an abundance of capital — but — and because Judy is on the inside she hears these conversations — investors are frustrated because they cannot find good, solid, investable companies to put their cash to work.

That was a game changing paradigm shift for me, Onward Nation, when Judy shared the data points.

So let me say that again…availability of cash is not the issue. The cash is there. But positioning your company correctly so an investor sees you as investable — and — getting yourself into the right room with the right investors — now that is a whole different story.

But, what investors are craving right now is deal flow — a steady stream of investable companies. You solve that problem for them — you get funded and you get funded fast.

So how do you do that?

Let’s move to Ingredient #2: how do you show an investor — or group of investors — that you are investable?

As you might imagine, it is a process. You begin by answer two key questions that I learned from John Livesay (who by the way Inc. Magazine calls the Pitch Whisperer) and the questions are: 1) Why you? and 2) Why now?

To even get a seat at the table, you have to be able to answer these two questions succinctly. In fact, John helps business owners craft what he calls a “pitch deck”, which is essentially 10-minutes worth of content involving 10-12 slides all following a very specific formula.

For example, you have to grab an investor’s attention in the first 90-seconds, even if you’re given 10-minutes. If you don’t grab them with a compelling opening, they won’t pay attention for the whole 10-minutes because they hear pitch after pitch.

They literally hear 2,500 pitches a year and might only fund 25. So you really need to give deep consideration, Onward Nation to the content on your slides, what you are going to say, how you will answer the “Why you? / Why now?” questions and then be ready for the rapid-fire Q&A that follows.

I laughed — but when John shared these insights with me — he said, “Stephen, if you got the questions before you took a test, it would be cheating, but following this recipe is called preparation.”

And he is so completely right.

But there is more to the preparation and transforming your business from invisible to investable. And John was kind enough to break it down for me so I could really see behind this green curtain that he and Judy work behind every day.

John let me know that a business owner needs to think of the investment process as kind of a ladder with different rungs on it.

ladder

The bottom rung would be labeled “Invisible”. Much like dating, when you see somebody you’re attracted to, but they don’t know you exist. Awesome! Well with investors, it’s the same thing. You have an idea, you don’t have anybody on your team yet, so you’re invisible.

Then the next rung up is “Insignificant”. What’s worse, being invisible or being insignificant? They see you but they don’t really care — that happens when you’re insignificant. Ouch. So you have a couple of people on your team, but you really haven’t tested out your business model to see if anybody wants to use it or would be willing to pay for it.

Then you get to the “Interesting” rung of the ladder. Going back to John’s dating scenario, let’s say you say something clever or funny, the person is interested in you but they’re not going to go out on a date with you yet. So now you have some people on your team, you’ve got a business that has some scalability to it, but you don’t have connections and you aren’t really great at pitching.

But with the right coaching and mentors, and some hard work, you finally move up to the next rung of the ladder, which is where you’re “Intriguing”.

You’re not quite investable yet, but you’re getting a whole lot closer. And my guess is, Onward Nation — this has happened to you before — you pitch someone something and in response, they say to you, “I’m intrigued. Tell me more.” That’s what you want to hear from an investor because as I learned from Judy and John, your vital priority with the initial 10-minute pitch and the 10-minute Q&A is simply to get the second date — or the second presentation.

Then you get to the “Irresistible” level. That’s really where you become investable and that’s where you and your team receive multiple offers from multiple investors. But, this is also where you want to have experienced mentors in your corner who can help you negotiate the best deal — and — mentors who have the capability to help you leverage all that is going on during this process for your benefit.

So once you and your team have ascended the ladder and become investable and Irresistible, you now need to get in front of the right investors.

And that is where having influential and well-connected advisors and mentors as part of your team can deliver a major return on investment.

Why?

Because as I learned again from Judy and John, let’s say an investor decides to fund 25 deals in a 12-month period of time…it is highly likely…that 24 of those 25 deals came to them by way of a warm introduction. So, you can do all of the hard work and reach the Irresistible stage — but — if the right investors never meet you — you are still stuck.

You need to build a board of advisors by connecting with people who are capable of opening the right doors for you. Because when you are in the right room, with the right investors, and you have followed the recipe for becoming Irresistible in their eyes, and you deliver a compelling pitch — you will create FOMA — or the fear of missing out — so the investors will compete for your attention.

And that is a game changer, Onward Nation!

So before we close out for today…I want to share one final and very important lesson that Judy shared with me — and it was a question that I never answered while running Fortified Nutrition…and that was…what is the exit strategy of the business — and while you are in the business — how you will grow and capture market share?

This is critically important because investors do want their money back with a significant return so you need to be really clear on your exit strategy — and you get there by having a deep understanding of your market and what is happening in your industry. You also need to be able to articulate your customer acquisition cost and how you are going to acquire customers.

And lastly, be sure to avoid the amateurish mistakes. One of the biggest ones is saying things like, “If we just get one to two percent of the market in China, we’ll be a billionaire in six months.” That’s a top-down sales forecast and sophisticated investors know you’re going to have to start from the bottom up with metrics like how many phone calls are you going to have to make, how will your leads convert, and really understanding those customer acquisition cost are critical to your success.

And then let’s end with some resources you can use and study further. First…be sure to listen to Episodes 329, 360, and 362 for deeper dives into blueprints and recipes you can apply to put yourself in the best position possible to access the cash you need to grow your business.

In addition, Judy and John teach a detailed webinar that goes even deeper with more examples and action steps. You can find it here. Register for it and drop me a line — would love to hear more about what you learned.

So with that…I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.

It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. You can hit me up on Twitter, find us on Facebook, me on LinkedIn, or you are always welcome to email me directly at stephen@onwardnation.com — and yes — that is my actual email address — no fancy filters or filing system — it will come directly to me.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible encore interview with Mitch Russo — don’t miss it because Mitch shares the recipes behind building constant and steady cash flow into your business. The conversation with Mitch is rock solid awesome — you will love it.

Until then, onward with gusto!

Nov 15, 2016

Jay Samit is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on disruption and innovation. He launches billion dollar businesses, transforms industries, revamps government institutions, and for over three decades continues to be at the forefront of global trends. Jay helped grow pre-IPO companies such as Linkedin and eBay, held senior management roles at Sony and Universal Studios, pioneered breakthroughs in mobile video, Internet advertising, e-commerce, social networks, ebooks, and digital music used by billions of consumers every day. Jay is also the consummate dealmaker; his list of partners and associates reads like a who’s who including Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Reid Hoffman, David Geffen, Richard Branson, and Paul Allen. Jay also serves as an adjunct professor at USC and is author of the internationally best-selling book “Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation.”

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jay lost a MAJOR contract that he maxed out credit cards to win -- and Jay tells the whole story here.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to be the best at what you're doing or the only one doing it."

How best to connect with Jay:

Nov 14, 2016

Al Pittampalli started his career as an IT consultant for Ernst & Young where he advised Fortune 500 organizations all over the country. This is where he first realized that mediocrity and ingrained stubbornness were epidemics. Al now helps organizations like NASA, Hewlett Packard, Abbot Labs, transform their organizational cultures. He is the author of two books that help individuals and organizations adapt to a fast changing world. In latest book, “Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World,” Al uses decades of social science to reveal how being persuadable is not only the right thing to do, its the smart thing to do and creates a powerful advantage in both business and life.

Secret – timesaving technique

Al takes time every day to prioritize work with his program manager -- 20% of what you do contributes 80% of your results. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Tap into your creativity -- Al starts each day by following Julia Cameron's Morning Pages strategy.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Al was seduced by short-term opportunities -- and Al tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"In a world that's constantly changing -- being persuadable -- the ability to adapt to changing circumstances -- is the real competitive advantage."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Being safe is now risky."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Realize the cost of planning
  2. Just test it out

How best to connect with Al:

Nov 11, 2016

As President and CBO (Chief Bargain Officer) of the Bargains Group, Jody has mobilized her award-winning discount wholesale and promotional products company to revolutionize the business landscape. A winner of the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and a PROFIT W100 Recipient, Jody Steinhauer uses her network of resources and leveraged buying power to aid every company and not-for-profit agency that she touches to maximize their buying dollar. Since 1988, Jody has grown Bargains Group from her apartment to a multi-million-dollar-a-year business. Jody is also an official Huffington Post blogger.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Jody sets two alarms so she wakes up in time, visualizes her day while in bed, listens to the news, goes into her personal email, drops off her kids at school, and then jumps into a conference call in the car. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

Be comfortable in your own skin.

How do you define success?

Success is different in every area of your life -- and you need to reevaluate it regularly.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is someone who fits your culture.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Show your employees that you're there for them
  2. Teach your employees how to mentor others
  3. Go out into the community and share your beliefs and volunteer
  4. Recognize negative mentors and learn how not to act as a leader

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Take a look at yourself and your company and where you're head and shoulders above your competitors
  2. Figure out where you can enter into mutually beneficial partnerships

How best to connect with Jody:

Nov 10, 2016

Jon Levy is a human behavior scientist who studies influence and adventure. Fast Company called him “the most well-connected behavior scientist you’ve never heard of.” He helps companies brilliantly transform how they approach marketing, sales, influencers program development, consumer engagement, and product design. His “Influencers Model for Engagement” inspires fresh approaches to marketing, sales, innovation, PR, events, product design, customer relationships and building brand loyalty. Jon's book, “The 2 AM Principle: Discover The Science of Adventure”, was released on Tuesday. The book highlights his discovery of The EPIC Model of Adventure - A four stage processes that when applied makes every experience more exciting and adventurous.

Daily habit that contributes to success

Get the sleep you need -- Jon doesn't set alarms and never has a morning meeting.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"What defines the quality of our lives are the people we surround ourselves with."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Get clear on your core competency and learn to express it as clearly as possible
  2. Build a diverse network, even within your industry

How best to connect with Jon:

Nov 9, 2016

Today’s show is really special — we have two Onward Nation alums returning for what will be a fast-paced, practical and tactical discussion around how business owners can get funded — fast. You may remember Judy Robinett as our guest in Episode 329. Judy gives speeches worldwide on business strategy and high-end strategic networking to specific outcomes. Judy has served as the CEO of both public and private companies and in management positions at Fortune 500 companies. She has been on the advisory boards of several prominent venture capital firms and is the author of “How to Be a Power Connector: The 5-50-100 Rule”. Judy’s business partner in Crack the Funding Code is John Livesay. John was our guest in

Judy’s business partner in Crack the Funding Code is John Livesay. John was our guest in Episode 360 and he is an expert at helping CEOs craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team. INC Magazine calls John “The Pitch Whisperer” and he also the author of The Successful Pitch: Conversations On Going From Invisible To Investable and host of The Successful Pitch Podcast.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • What Crack the Funding Code is and how Judy and John came up with it
  • What a pitch deck is and what it needs to do
  • Family offices that are looking for investments
  • The amount of money that is sitting out there waiting
  • The key adjustments companies need to make to go from invisible to investible
  • Why it's important to share information and to get a lead investor first
  • What "smart money" looks like
  • Questions that investors ask and what you need to know to give the right answers
  • Why you need to know your numbers and your exit strategy
  • What a strong strategy for using investor money looks like
  • Why treating an investor pitch like a customer pitch is a terrible idea (and why giving a product demo is not smart)
  • How to get an advisory board
  • Why you should put competitors on your advisory board
  • Mallory Dyer -- an example of someone who as been through this all very successfully
  • Why you shouldn't go it alone
  • Why you need to learn, pivot and persist

How best to connect with Judy:

How best to connect with John:

Nov 8, 2016

On his 35th birthday Mike Michalowicz had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Among other innovative strategies, Mike created the Profit First Formula, a way for businesses to ensure profitability from their very next deposit forward. Mike is now running his third million dollar venture, is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the former MSNBC business make-over expert; is a popular keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of Surge, Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which BusinessWeek deemed the entrepreneurs cult classic.

Secret – timesaving technique

Mike tells himself that he is the most impactful small business author of this century -- before the world sees something in you -- you need to see it in yourself. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Don't structure your to-do list by due dates -- Mike writes a to-do list and prioritizes tasks with symbols.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You have to deliver on your promises."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Everyone is giving you the wrong information -- everyone has a bias."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't follow your passion -- follow your purpose
  2. Test, test, test
  3. Don't pivot -- align

How best to connect with Mike:

Nov 7, 2016

John Livesay is a funding strategist and helps CEOs craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team. He is partners with Judy Robinett in “Crack The Funding Code”, which gets founders — funded — fast. He hosts “The Successful Pitch podcast” with investors from around the world. He is the Pitch Mentor at Startfast.net, the number one accelerator in Upstate New York. INC magazine calls John “The Pitch Whisperer.” After a successful 20 year career in media sales with Conde Nast where he worked across all 22 brands in their corporate division, John won salesperson of the year in 2012. John is also the author of The Successful Pitch: Conversations On Going From Invisible To Investable.

Secret – timesaving technique

John prepares and stacks his "moments of certainty" -- investors give money to those who are confident. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Plan tomorrow today -- John writes down the three things he must get done.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

John got 71 no's in a row -- and John tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Listening -- when you become a great listener -- then you become a great storyteller."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Smart leaders are smart readers."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had the foresight to use Trello to keep track of the podcasting process.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Focus on activities that generate revenue. Period.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have to share in my vision.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make sure you are very clear on who you help and what problem you solve
  2. Why you and why now?
  3. Make sure your why is bigger than just making money

How best to connect with John:

Nov 4, 2016

Robert Mallon is a nationally recognized professional speaker, business coach, and mentor. For the first 20 years of his life, he was a successful executive in the restaurant and software industries. In 2002, he hired a coach who helped him become a motivational speaker. Since then, he has delivered nearly 2,000 full-day seminars and inspired thousands to achieve their unrealized potential. And over more than a decade as a business coach, he has personally helped hundreds of people with their leadership, business, and life.

Secret – timesaving technique

Robert has a weekday warrior morning program -- spend your morning on what's important for preparing for your day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Set good goals -- Robert takes steps each day to accomplish his goals.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Robert lost his wife to cancer -- and Robert tells the whole story here.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Invest in tools for managing people effectively
  2. Become sophisticated at time management skills

How best to connect with Robert:

Nov 3, 2016

The Wall Street Journal calls Chad Hymas one of the 10 most inspirational people in the world! In 2001, at the age of 27, Chad's life changed in an instant when a 2,000-pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day he became an example of what is possible. Chad inspires, motivates, and moves audiences, creating an experience that touches hearts for a lifetime. Chad is a best-selling author, president of his own Communications Company, Chad Hymas Communications, Inc. and is a world-class wheelchair athlete. Chad’s speaking in the areas of leadership, team building, customer service, and mastering change has brought him multiple honors. He has graced the stage of hundreds of professional and civic organizations including Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Rainbird, IHC, American Express, and Prudential.

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Fear can be a marvelous teacher."

How do you define success?

Success is knowing that those that know you the best love and care about you the most.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is the one who dishes out assists.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Realize what a mentor is -- someone with the ability to obtain a follower
  2. Mentorship is demonstrated through behavior -- it's not a title
  3. Mentors teach others how to be mentors themselves

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Don't get complacent
  2. Socialize with people who are doing better than you are
  3. Execute

How best to connect with Chad:

Nov 2, 2016

Dr. Marcie Beigel has been redesigning behavior for professionals, families, schools, and businesses for over 15 years. Her specialty is engaging with behaviors directly and giving clear and insightful directives to clients ­­ who are oftentimes ­­ business owners looking for balance at home to help create balance at work or new approaches to become better leaders. Her approach is heartfelt, but filled with tough love. You can get her weekly behavior newsletter at BehaviorAndBeyond.net. Dr. Marcie is also featured on NBC's Parenting Toolkit.

Why did you write your book?

Dr. Marcie had people come up to her for years asking for her to write a book -- and she talked to people that read books like the one she would be writing so that she would have content that would connect with her readers and not just content that she would enjoy.

What have been the big benefits of the book?

Writing a book will get people to take you more seriously -- and Dr. Marcie has found that people are more willing to dive in deep with her after reading because they feel they already know her.

Why did you decide to hire a publicist -- and -- what has been the impact of that decision?

Hire people to do the things you don't want or have the expertise to do -- and Dr. Marcie hired someone with the expertise to cultivate the right marketing plan for her book.

What is the most critical skill for getting your book done?

  1. Take small steps -- and don't get derailed.
  2. Manage the people that you outsource pieces of the process to

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

A lot of Dr. Marcie's employees work remotely -- and Dr. Marcie gets very proud of what she's built when they all get together for a business dinner. AWESOME!

What's one secret you can share to help move businesses onward?

  1. You need to speak with purpose
  2. You need to do more and speak less
  3. Choose honey -- you have to come from a positive perspective

How best to connect with Dr. Marcie:

Nov 1, 2016

Jeanne Bliss is the Founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the Co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association. She is one of the foremost experts on customer-centric leadership and the role of the Chief Customer Officer. She guides C-Suite and Chief Customer Officer clients around the world toward earning the right to business growth and prosperity, by improving customers’ lives. Jeanne pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate Corporations. She has driven achievement of 95 percent loyalty rates, improving customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations. Jeanne is also the author of the groundbreaking book, “Chief Customer Officer.”

Secret – timesaving technique

Jeanne writes a to-do list by sending texts to herself -- she then deletes the texts when they are completed -- stay focused on what you need to accomplish. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Make sure you have time for what matters -- Jeanne carves out time for exercise and her family daily.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jeanne learned she had to check her ego at the door -- and Jeanne tells the whole story here.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Write like you talk."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have networked more than I did.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Define what you're passionate about
  2. Create your personal code of conduct
  3. Build the journey of the customer's life that you're improving
  4. Find your way to deliver value

How best to connect with Jeanne:

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