Onward Nation

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, and 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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Sep 22, 2021

Dorie Clark helps individuals and companies get their best ideas heard in a crowded, noisy world. She has been named one of the Top 50 business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 and was honored as the #1 Communication Coach in the world at the Marshall Goldsmith Coaching Awards. She is a keynote speaker and teaches for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School. She is the author of Entrepreneurial You, which was named one of Forbes Top 5 Business Books of the Year, and Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of the Year by Inc. magazine.

A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, Clark has been described by the New York Times as an expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives. She is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review and consults and speaks for clients such as Google, Yale University, and the World Bank. She is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, producer of a multiple Grammy-winning jazz album, and a Broadway investor.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why working through the small tasks leads to progression
  • How to creatively and intellectually engage employees
  • How to leverage your time more efficiently
  • Why Dorie was inspired to write her book about productivity The Long Game and ​​some of the biggest takeaways from the book that business owners can apply within their own team
  • How to protect 20% of your time for personal growth
  • Some of the golden nuggets that Dorie would love business owners to focus on for the long game
  • The impact of the Great Resignation on business owners and what you can do to fill the pipeline of talent going forward
  • Why strategic thinking is so critical in achieving your long term goals


Additional Resources:

Sep 15, 2021

Nic Natarella is the founder of AdWise Creative. He is known for his voice-over talents and directs his team in every project that comes into AdWise Creative. His involvement with each individual project assures that you have top-notch and maximum results for all of our clients.

Nic first started “on the air” back when he was eight years old. He started out by making cassette tape recordings of his “radio shows” on the living room stereo system, consisting of a turntable and built-in cassette player. You will have to google “turntable” and maybe even “cassette player” if you have never heard of that before.

His first real air time was just outside of Nashville as the news guy/sidekick on the morning show. His on-air career has involved morning host duties, middays, afternoon fill-in, and nighttime hosting. He also had responsibilities at the radio station with Program Director, Assistant Program Director, Webmaster, and Creative Services Director, just to name a few.

Nic has written radio and production magazine articles, conducted copywriting seminars for radio sales teams, and crafted thousands of commercials for clients looking to have a radio spot sent out. His voice-over work has been used for projects such as:

  • Radio commercials
  • Video games
  • Corporate training materials
  • And rock concerts

Want to catch Nic’s attention? He’s a fan of classic cars from the ’40s and ’50s and muscle cars from the ’60s and ’70s. While at home, he is called a shade tree mechanic, turf management supervisor, and natatorium engineer. He is known for cheering for many college football teams, so you will either love him, or he will become your rival.

Nic and his wife, Debbie, live outside Orlando, Florida. Debbie is a private horse trainer and riding instructor at Amazing Grace Equestrian. Their daughter has her Master’s in Social Work and lives and works in Tampa. Nic and Debbie currently share the house with three rabbits and up to eight horses at any given time.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The power of storytelling in advertising
  • How to make meaningful connections through audio
  • How to take your audience inside the emotion of an experience with a few powerful words
  • Tips on uncovering the story behind your service or product
  • Why there is gold in your unconscious competence


Additional Resources:

Sep 8, 2021

Hey Onward Nation — before we dive into the show notes for this solocast — let me first share a really big thank you. Thank you for the 6+ years of support. Thank you for all of the social media posts. Thank you for all the emails. And thank you for all of your encouragement over the last 1,000+ episodes. My Predictive ROI team and I are over the top grateful. THANK YOU!

Okay — while thinking through what I wanted to teach and share during this episode — I decided to build it out differently than any other solocast, so that meant creating show notes that acted more like a companion to the audio instead of highlights. So for this episode — both the show notes and the audio are important. The audio will walk you through how to grow your audience — and — then how to nurture your audience over a day or a decade using the New Lead Sequence (NLS).

The NLS is a strategy I learned from Taki Moore, founder of Black Belt. And as soon as he shared it with us — we immediately put it into a test phase inside the Predictive ROI Lab — and HOLY BANANAS — it works.

During the episode, I break down the timing, highlights, and main components of each of the six emails within the NLS. And then, I included visual examples of each email here in the show notes to make it super simple for you and your team to take and apply the content into your system.

Before we get to the email examples — here are the links to the books I recommended you add to your business library:

Content Inc, 2nd Edition
Killing Marketing

And — if you go here — you can order a 100% free paperback copy of Sell with Authority. No shipping. No credit card. Nothing. Just your free paperback copy shipped right to your door.

Okay — here we go beginning with Email #1.













Well — there you have it — a path you can follow to grow and nurture your audience. The New Lead Sequence will help you generate leads without your prospects ever feeling like they were a prospect.

If you have questions or concerns about the NLS or something else — please know — you can always email me at That’s my direct Inbox, and I read and reply to every email.

I also invite you to join our free Facebook Group call “How to Fill Your Sales Pipeline.” It’s a super-engaged community of agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants just like you, sharing their insights, asking thought-provoking questions, and sharing their expertise. If that sounds interesting to you — please join us.

Until then — onward with gusto!

Sep 1, 2021

Jamie Shibley believes that successful businesses are created through building strong relationships with prospects, existing clients and business associates.

Giving by nature, and from a young age working in her grandfather’s floral shop, Jamie inherently understands the influence of a meaningful gift. Through her strategic gifting agency, The Expressory, she helps businesses develop long-lasting customer relationships through thoughtfully designed memorable customer experiences.

Jamie has designed experiences for numerous clients across the country, making it simple for companies to stand out and make a lasting impression. Respected as a market leader, Jamie’s gift designs have been featured on Entertainment Tonight.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Jamie shares how her career started out in corporate IT, and she explains why she left the corporate world and started her own business
  • How her first business helped Jamie find her perfect target audience, and how she defines strategic gifting
  • Why the right gift can build bonds, strengthen relationships, and open new doors for your business
  • Why strategic gifting is about focusing on your prospects rather than on you, and how it can help you turn a prospect relationship into a collaboration
  • How strategic gifting can also be a powerful way to engage with your existing clients and help nurture those relationships
  • Why the minor cost of strategic gifting can pay massive dividends over the long term of your relationships, and how to get started developing a gifting program
  • What kind of return on investment you can see from a gifting program, and why it’s important to listen for further relationship-building nuggets
  • Which key steps to follow to deploy your strategic gifting program, and how to build up your established process over time
  • Why an ongoing gifting cadence and persistence are crucial for making inroads with your prospective clients


Aug 25, 2021

Art Boulay’s Biography:

Art Boulay, MBA, is CEO of Strategic Talent Management, a consulting firm he co-founded based in Maine with clients all over the US. Like you, he recognizes that organizations spend lots of money solving problems caused by a lack of soft skills among their leaders, managers, employees and new hires. He is an expert in solving those people challenges.

Art brings practical ideas, humor and common sense solutions to each assignment. He specializes in organizational planning, succession & leadership, and is a certified behavioral and leadership coach. He is an expert in applying assessment tools to solve real-world challenges in coaching & development, hiring, promotion and recruitment.

Art has lived in Maine most of his life and enjoys hiking and camping in the beautiful north woods of Maine. He currently makes his home in Brunswick, Maine with his wife Lori.

Sue MacArthur’s Biography:

Sue MacArthur has developed Strategic Talent Management’s national recruiting practice into being one of four key service areas. Prior to joining STM, Sue had a dynamic career in the areas of human resources and operations. She has worked for Westin Hotels, John Hancock Financial Services, and Manpower Staffing Services; and has worn many hats with a variety of startup companies.

Leadership, people, and problem-solving are her passions. Sue’s non-traditional career path allows her to bring unique insights and diverse perspectives to complex situations and produce innovative solutions. As a reformed politician, building consensus and trust come naturally to Sue, which allows her to create relationships, build rapport, and understand the needs of others. Sue’s professional strategy moving forward is to bring her expertise, experience, and passions together to leave a positive legacy.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Art shares how he co-founded Strategic Talent Management, and he explains how his business has evolved over its existence
  • Sue shares how she joined STM and quickly began helping to grow the business and evolving the solutions STM offers its clients
  • Why the recurring theme Sue hears from employees leaving their jobs is “I just couldn’t go back there”, and what factors are contributing to The Great Resignation
  • Why your employer branding needs to be honest, clear, direct, and should avoid sounding too generic or overly rosy
  • Why it’s equally important for candidates to know who they are and what their goals for their career are, and how Art and Sue help candidates clarify their aspirations
  • How STM’s assessment works, what data points and tools they use, and how their process helps match ideal employers with right-fit candidates
  • Art shares how his team helps employers avoid “bad hire” situations, and he shares how hiring mediocre performers is a bigger problem than hiring bad performers
  • Why you shouldn’t be looking for “perfect candidates” but rather should be focusing on what you need in a role and then finding someone who fits those needs
  • How behavioral assessment tools (such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) can be useful for learning more about potential hires and how they would fit into the team
  • Why your existing team can be an outstanding resource for building a pipeline for talent and bringing in great candidates even during The Great Resignation


Aug 18, 2021

Peter Taunton is a pioneer in the fitness industry. In 2003, he had a vision for Snap Fitness: to create an affordable, 24-7, results and value driven gym concept that was differentiated from the impersonal, expensive big-box experience. Today there are Snap Fitness franchises open or in development in 2,500 locations in 26 countries.

Taunton, as the Founder and CEO of Lift Brands, didn’t stop there. Peter is an expert at understanding consumer desires and fulfilling them. Over the years, he has acquired or founded several brands to round out the consumer-fitness experience: 9Round, Farrell’s, YogaFit, STEELE Fitness, Fitness On Demand. Together with the Snap Fitness brand they comprise the world’s largest wellness franchise organizations with over 6000 locations open or in development across multiple brands serving 165 million workouts and counting.

Peter Taunton went on to become the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year and founder of one of the largest wellness brands in the world. Over the years Taunton has been featured in several prestigious industry and entrepreneurial magazines such as Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. 5000.

Taunton credits his success to the fundamental advice passed down from his father; “Don’t wait for business or success to fall in your lap…you need to put yourself out there and go get it!” and Peter did just that…today he has expanded and diversified his business holdings around the globe.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Peter learned his first important business lessons at just eight years old, selling popcorn in front of his father’s grocery store
  • Why one of Peter’s most important business lessons to share is that sometimes it’s necessary for things to get uncomfortable for you to achieve your success
  • How Peter helps his coaching clients recognize the changes and pivots they need to make to restart the growth of their businesses
  • Why getting your entire team aligned is vital, and what key lessons Peter’s book “Impossible Hill” teaches about discipline, accountability and perspective
  • Why we usually see a curated, fictional version of people’s success, and why those who are truly giving of their wisdom are the best teachers
  • How Peter built out a thriving, successful team full of coachable people at Snap Fitness, and why this team was crucial for the brand’s success
  • Why recognizing team members who are “pulling deep on the oars” with love and respect is vital for building loyalty and strengthening relationships
  • How Peter tackled the tough challenge of turning around a failing business by focusing on the opportunity it presented rather than the difficulty
  • How 22-year old Peter led by example and created a shared purpose for the club’s team of 50 employees, and how he turned things around in just 8 years
  • Why Peter wrote his book “Impossible Hill”, and why he considers himself a “hill-taker” who can overcome unbelievable odds


Aug 11, 2021

Integrative Productivity™ Expert, Angela Kristen Taylor, is mostly known for creating the Productive Flow Mastery™ methodology, her integrative whole body approach to productivity and business growth.

She is an engaging and relatable speaker who has made it her personal mission to help ambitious, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and sales professionals overcome stress & chaos so they can create the life and business they want and ultimately, the freedom and security they created their business to achieve.

Angela’s integrative productivity strategies helped her go from chaotic hot mess with big dreams and failed achievements to the woman who raised and homeschooled 5 children while running and growing a successful coaching company, and always creating the perfect balance for herself, her family, and her business, no matter what obstacle presented itself along the way.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Angela has found tremendous success and has managed to organize her life so that she works 4-5 hours a day and only 4 days a week
  • Why Angela believes that productivity is rooted in emotion, and how dealing with the roots of her “emotional clutter” helped her in overcoming chaos in her life
  • How Angela helps her coaching clients by first helping them to “set their GPS” with visualization exercises to help them identify their ideal life
  • Why Angela’s focus shifted to working on herself, and how in 2010 she decided to take a new direction in life after struggling through the real estate collapse
  • What major changes Angela made that helped her in overcoming chaos and bringing order to her business and home life
  • How the four key elements of the Productive Flow Mastery™ methodology are emotion, energy, time and focus
  • Why the majority of Angela’s entrepreneur clients struggled with a challenging or traumatic childhood, and why emotional work is key
  • Why understanding your goals helps you take the right action to move toward them, block out time to do the work, and set your focus on the right work
  • Why emotions are the root of many of our behaviors and unhealthy habits, and what steps Angela recommends you begin taking to begin overcoming chaos in your life


Aug 4, 2021

Jon Gordon’s best-selling books and talks have inspired readers and audiences around the world. His principles have been put to the test by numerous Fortune 500 companies, professional and college sports teams, school districts, hospitals, and nonprofits. He is the author of 23 books including 10 best sellers and 5 children’s books. His books include the timeless classic The Energy Bus which has sold over 2 million copies, The Carpenter which was a top 5 business book of the year, Training Camp, The Power of Positive Leadership, The Power of a Positive Team, The Coffee Bean, Stay Positive, and The Garden. Jon and his tips have been featured on The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, The Golf Channel, Fox and Friends and in numerous magazines and newspapers. His clients include The Los Angeles Dodgers, Campbell’s Soup, Dell, Publix, Southwest Airlines, Miami Heat, The Los Angeles Rams, Snapchat, Truist Bank, Clemson Football, Northwestern Mutual, West Point Academy and more.

Jon is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Masters in Teaching from Emory University. He and his training/consulting company are passionate about developing positive leaders, organizations and teams.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Jon wrote his bestselling book “The Energy Bus” when he was at a low period in his life, and how he learned to overcome his challenges, fears and negativity
  • Why having a positive attitude in business means having fun while following your purpose and continuing to strive for excellence
  • Why some people lean towards optimism and some toward pessimism, and how you can train your mind to increase your optimism even if you’re a natural pessimist
  • Why success leads to fear, and why before you achieve real success you’re naturally less fearful of taking chances and risks
  • Why being fearless isn’t the same thing as being reckless, and why being smart about the risks you take is crucial
  • Why it is important to define what winning means to you, and why you shouldn’t fear failure because it offers its own rewards
  • Why “anxious” means “divided”, and why developing your strength to face your anxiety is the key to unlocking your potential
  • Why love is the greatest success principle of all time, and why loving what you do and who you work with is vital
  • How feeling love allows you to perform at a higher level and is the ideal antidote for your fears


Jul 28, 2021

Sandra Martini, founder of boutique coaching firm The Martini Way, offers her mentoring clients a perfect balance of marketing savvy, intuition and results-driven systemic implementation with a healthy dose of nurturing and love.

Sandra’s style is to learn about your goals and then reverse engineer them to where you are now, so you can create the quickest path to your goals possible without sacrificing your sanity or self care.

The sustainable success Sandra teaches takes time and work. If you’re looking for someone to tell you to call everyone you know and sell them a high level “X”, Sandra isn’t for you.

If you want a partner who understands the big vision and intimate details of running and marketing a successful, sustainable business; who understands you and where you are, who nurtures you while being completely honest and non-judgmental and who can pull from her years of hands-on business and marketing expertise, then Sandra Martini is ready to help!

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How innovating in her prior roles gave Sandra keen insights into membership programs best practices that she carried with her into her entrepreneurial career
  • Why a great membership program takes intentionality, hard work, and a laser focus on providing ongoing value to your members to retain them in your program
  • Why a thriving membership program needs a great backend to support it, with systems, processes, employees, information-tracking and problem-solving built in
  • Why a powerful content library does no good if members in the program don’t know it’s there or how to access it
  • What pitfalls, expenses and potential obstacles you should be aware of when considering offering a membership program
  • Why it is important to offer upgrades to your members in your value ladder, and why you should avoid overwhelming yourself by trying to over-deliver on your program
  • Sandra shares a powerful strategy for targeting and curating your content to elevate your membership experience
  • Why an easy-to-navigate onboarding and welcome process is crucial for retention, and why it is important to avoid forgetting your existing members in favor of new ones
  • Why falling in love with your program can blind you to issues that can keep it from being profitable


Jul 21, 2021

For over 25 years, Stephen Woessner has been in the trenches working alongside and consulting with hundreds of clients — teaching them how to plant their flag of authority within the markets they serve, grow their audience, fill their sales pipeline with right-fit prospects, and ultimately — drive revenue.

Stephen founded Predictive ROI in 2009 and remains its CEO and owner. He’s the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated podcast with listeners in over 140 countries and over 1,000 episodes. His marketing insights have been featured in major media, and he’s the bestselling author of four books, including his latest entitled, “Sell with Authority.”

He believes we’re entering the era of the AUTHORITY. Brands that occupy the coveted “expert” status are afforded the highest level of confidence and trust from their customers, prospects, and other stakeholders because they have a depth of knowledge and point-of-view that can’t be denied or easily replicated.

Stephen’s practical and tactical training sessions help companies capitalize on the huge shift taking place in the market today. In our hyper-competitive market for awareness and attention — brands need to plant their flag of authority and then leverage this position to fill their sales pipeline with right-fit prospects while developing deeper relationships with existing customers.

Our purpose is to deliver predictable and measurable ROI by positioning our clients as THE AUTHORITY in their niches and then monetizing that position.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

In this unique episode of Onward Nation, you’ll hear audio from a guest appearance Stephen Woessner recently had on the Profit With Podcasting podcast, hosted by Noah Tetzner. You’ll hear insights about:

  • Why Noah’s outstanding initial email where he reached out to invite Stephen to guest on his Profit With Podcasting show immediately caught Stephen’s notice
  • Stephen shares the origins of the Onward Nation podcast and discusses how the show has grown over its more than one thousand episodes
  • How the Onward Nation podcast led to the Trojan Horse of Sales strategy and Predictive ROI’s focus on thought leadership marketing
  • What the Dream 25 list is, and how you can utilize your Dream 25 as a roadmap for getting intentional about your ideal client prospects
  • How a podcast can be an ideal vehicle for connecting with your Dream 25 perfect-fit prospects as a Trojan Horse to get you in the gates
  • Why the follow-up process after a Dream 25 client appears on your show is the crucial next step for furthering your relationship
  • Why your contacts with your prospect need to be about them and their expertise and not be self-aggrandizing
  • Why it’s important to slice and dice your podcast episode to share through other channels so that you don’t become a “one-trick pony”
  • How the Sell With Authority methodology has grown into an encompassing, multifaceted thought leadership marketing strategy

Resources from the Profit With Podcasting episode:

Additional Resources:

Jul 14, 2021

Natalie Ghidotti, APR, is principal of Ghidotti, which she founded in 2007 and has since grown to serve a wide range of clients, including some of the region’s best-known brands. The firm serves clients that span all industries, including retail, healthcare, retirement communities, professional services, nonprofits and more.

Prior to opening her own firm, Natalie was a senior public relations account executive with another marketing/PR firm in Little Rock. Before joining the public relations world in 2004, Natalie served as special publications editor-in-chief at Arkansas Business Publishing Group, where she was editor of Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride, Little Rock Guest Guide and other magazines for five years. While at ABPG, Natalie won national awards from the Parenting Publications of America for her stories published in Little Rock Family. In her public relations career, Natalie has garnered top Prism Awards from the Public Relations Society of America and Bronze Quill Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators.

Natalie is an active community volunteer, serving on the board of the Rotary Club of Little Rock and the Board Development Committee for the Girl Scouts Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and as an active volunteer with Holy Souls School and Catholic High School for Boys. She is a past president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and a past chairman of PRSA National’s Independent Practitioners Alliance. She serves on the Executive Committee for PRSA National’s Counselors Academy, has served as one of a three-member leadership team overseeing National PRSA’s Section Council and has been a speaker for several PRSA International Conferences. Natalie is a member of PRConsultants Group, a collaborative of 50 senior-level PR practitioners representing the top markets in the country.

She has served on the boards of directors for Reach Out and Read, Museum of Discovery, Centers for Youth and Families and the Girls Scouts. She is a member of Leadership Arkansas Class XII, Leadership Little Rock, Class XVI, was named to Arkansas Business’ “40 Under 40,” and is troop leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Juniors Troop.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Natalie’s journalism career ultimately led to starting her agency, Ghidotti, and how her agency’s focus is on the power of becoming a thought leader
  • How Natalie defines “the mindset of a journalist”, and how capturing that mindset is a crucial component of her team’s thought leadership expertise
  • Why understanding what a journalist considers important is the key to focusing on the right angle for your content to best reach and serve your audience
  • How being a consistently valuable source for a reporter can help you build a strong, trusted relationship that can be invaluable in becoming a thought leader
  • Why a sense of urgency is important when working with media outlets, and how Natalie defines thought leadership
  • How PR and content marketing interact with Natalie’s comprehensive, integrated “PESO” content model: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned
  • How becoming a thought leader and then slicing and dicing your content can allow it to be used across all four channels of the PESO model
  • How being intentional and strategic with your thought leadership content is crucial for reaping its rewards
  • How Natalie is active within the Executive Committee of PRSA (the Public Relations Society of America) Counselors Academy
  • How to learn more about the upcoming PRSA Counselors Academy conference taking place September 19-21 2021 in Nashville, TN


Jul 7, 2021

With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for her dad’s car stereo shop, Nicole Mahoney got her start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and she began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, Nicole headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester.

In 2009, Nicole founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. She now hosts “Destination on the Left”, a highly successful tourism marketing podcast.

As a business owner, Nicole knows what it takes to be successful. She founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. She has the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Nicole founded her marketing agency, Break The Ice Media, and how she specializes in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry
  • Why the industry at large is experiencing a workforce shortage, and how it is impacting businesses during the global pandemic
  • How Nicole built a team that is as passionate about helping businesses in their industry as she is, and why industry collaboration is one of Nicole’s main focuses
  • How launching the Destination on the Left podcast helped Nicole clarify her focus and led her to doing a collaboration research study to be helpful to her audience
  • Why Nicole set out to answer the question “what makes collaborations work or fail in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry?” in her research
  • How Nicole used her team, her podcast, and her network of connections in the industry as the foundation of her three-month collaboration research project
  • What results Nicole and her research partner Susan Baier were able to discover through their research, and what content Nicole was able to develop based on the survey
  • How Nicole determined her two-pronged webinar strategy with separate private client and public-facing webinar offerings
  • How Nicole uses the research results as cornerstone content and then slices and dices it into many different smaller pieces of cobblestone content
  • How planting her flag as the authority on travel, tourism, and hospitality industry collaboration has created new opportunities for Nicole’s agency


Additional Resources:

Jun 30, 2021

Raphael Bender believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Breathe Education has grown rapidly in just five years, and how Raph and his team plan to achieve their powerful two-year revenue goal of a staggering $50 million
  • How Raph navigated a careful strategic pivot to adapt to the realities of the global pandemic, and how this has allowed them to outpace their less nimble competitors
  • How Raph learned key leadership skills at each stage of business growth, and he discusses which skills a leader needs to develop to push through their challenges
  • Raph outlines an exercise where you measure your work as $10/hr., $100/hr., $1k/hr., $10k/hr., and $100k/hr. activities to help you identify priorities
  • What Breathe Education looked like early on, and how intentionality and strategy over the last six years have helped the team enter the pandemic prepared for its challenges
  • Why Raph sees marketing and sales as key leadership skills, and why he believes business owners should learn to “think like a marketer and salesperson”
  • Why the skills and systems you developed in the “hustle and grind” of getting to $1 million in revenue aren’t necessarily the same ones that will get you to $5 million
  • Why it is important to show people how your business can help them by actually helping them, and how this can transform your business
  • Why Raph believes that being generous with your knowledge can be a powerful way to attract new customers by becoming a trusted resource


Additional Resources:

Jun 23, 2021

Craig Clark is the CEO of Momentum Consulting — a consulting firm that guides organizations and their leaders in the areas of personal accountability and personal performance by developing and implementing successful strategies. He has spent the past 30 years becoming a foremost expert on the science of human dynamics in the business world and believes that the only reliable approach to produce breakthroughs at any level is to ask, “How do I see myself in the world and amongst others?”

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Craig defines “iconic moments,” and how iconic moments can shift our reality and allow us to see the world differently
  • What an iconic moment looks like, with the example of Sam Walton targeting small towns to create a massive business empire
  • How business leaders can easily fall victim to confirmation bias, causing them to have unrecognized leadership blind spots that can hold back their businesses
  • Why we must recognize our own leadership blind spots, and why revealing them can create powerful and transformative “iconic moments”
  • How seeing what you didn’t see before can give you an opportunity to be accountable and shift your behavior to increase your performance
  • Why being open to feedback from others can help you find your leadership blind spots and open up new doors to options and opportunities
  • Why the challenges of the global pandemic often cause businesses to retreat to “tried and true” strategies and default behaviors that may hold them back
  • Why automatic behaviors are the opposite of “getting into flow,” and why breaking out of automatic behaviors is crucial for achieving flow
  • What steps you can take to help your team achieve flow, and why a strong level of trust and respect are key for getting there
  • How Craig realized that what he thought was real wasn’t, and how this realization sparked his curiosity and made a powerful impact on his work


Additional Resources:

Jun 16, 2021

A senior leadership/board advisor, educator, executive coach, and bestselling author, David Nour is internationally recognized as the leading expert on applications of strategic relationships in profitable growth, sustained innovation, and lasting change. The author of eleven books, including bestsellers Relationship Economics® (Wiley) and Co-Create (St. Martin’s Press), as well as the forthcoming Curve Benders (Wiley, 2021), Nour serves as a trusted advisor to global clients and coaches corporate leaders. He is an adjunct professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and was named to the Global Gurus Top 30 Leadership Professionals and the Thinkers 50 Radar Class of 2021 lists. A Forbes Leadership contributor on the Future of Work, and an Inc. contributor on Relationship Economics, Nours unique insights have been featured in various prominent publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fast Company, Huffington Post Business, Entrepreneur, and Knowledge@Wharton. He’s also the host of the popular Curve Benders podcast.

Born in Iran, Nour immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager with $100, limited family ties, and no fluency in English. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and went on to earn an Executive MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He resides in Atlanta, GA, with his family. Learn more at

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How David immigrated to the United States from Iran, learned English, finished graduate school, and built an astonishing career as an executive coach, author and expert
  • How David defines “relationship economics”, and why prioritizing relationships with intentionality and being strategic in which relationships you invest in is crucial
  • How the global pandemic and the need for social distancing have impacted our in-person relationships, and why digital relationships need to be sustained with personal connections
  • Why focusing on fewer, more authentic relationships can be a powerful differentiating factor for your business as we emerge from the pandemic
  • How David created and curates his own professional community that fosters respectful and civil discourse and authentic engagements
  • Why relationships require an investment of time, effort and resources, and why narrowing your focus allows you to build more authentic connections
  • How many of David’s clients have had their most successful year ever because they entered the pandemic with great maneuverability
  • Why you should “diversify your portfolio of relationships”, and how “hybrid relationships” can benefit you throughout your work and life
  • Why learning to ask better questions can be a powerful tactic for stronger relationships, and what skills you should focus on developing to master your relationships
  • Why following up on your conversations and relationships and looking for new ways to add value is vital


Additional Resources:

Jun 9, 2021

David Friedman is an award-winning CEO, entrepreneur, author, and renowned public speaker. In 2011, he published his first book, Fundamentally Different, which is based on the insights he learned and taught throughout his leadership career, and in 2018 he published his second book, Culture by Design, the definitive how-to manual for building a high-performance culture. His current company, High Performing Culture, has helped hundreds of companies throughout North America to implement his culture operating system, CultureWise™.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • David shares how he started as a college philosophy major before moving into the business world, and he shares how he realized the importance of intentional culture
  • Why culture has an enormous impact on everything in your organization, and why getting intentional allows you control over your culture
  • Why leaders automatically emerge in every group, and why those strong personalities will fill a culture vacuum by creating a culture with our without your influence
  • Why too many businesses will plan finances, their sales goals, their business growth and every other aspect of the business but neglect doing work to create an intentional culture
  • David shares his Eight Step Framework for “operationalizing” your business culture so that you can intentionally design it to serve your organization
  • Why the two most important steps are to completely define the culture you want and create rituals that make your culture sustainable, and how the other six steps support that
  • How most businesses articulate their “vision, mission and values” without giving enough clarity, and how David differentiates between core values and behaviors
  • Why creating rituals is crucial for success by helping create regular, repeatable, second-nature habits
  • What David’s rituals look like, and how David and his team repeatedly go back to and practice those rituals until they become habits



Additional Resources:

Jun 2, 2021

For over 25 years, Stephen Woessner has been in the trenches working alongside and consulting with hundreds of clients — teaching them how to plant their flag of authority within the markets they serve, grow their audience, fill their sales pipeline with right-fit prospects, and ultimately — drive revenue.

Stephen founded Predictive ROI in 2009 and remains its CEO and owner. He’s the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated podcast with listeners in over 140 countries and over 1,000 episodes. His marketing insights have been featured in major media, and he’s the bestselling author of four books, including his latest entitled, “Sell with Authority.”

He believes we’re entering the era of the AUTHORITY. Brands that occupy the coveted “expert” status are afforded the highest level of confidence and trust from their customers, prospects, and other stakeholders because they have a depth of knowledge and point-of-view that can’t be denied or easily replicated.

Stephen’s practical and tactical training sessions help companies capitalize on the huge shift taking place in the market today. In our hyper-competitive market for awareness and attention — brands need to plant their flag of authority and then leverage this position to fill their sales pipeline with right-fit prospects while developing deeper relationships with existing customers.

Our purpose is to deliver predictable and measurable ROI by positioning our clients as THE AUTHORITY in their niches and then monetizing that position.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why your goal should be to use search engine optimization to go narrow
  • Why Seth Godin had it right when he urged business owners to focus on the smallest viable audience
  • How to find long-tail super-niche “Predictive Keywords” and why they deliver big results
  • How to take a meaty piece of cornerstone content, slice it into 4ths, and then optimize each piece for search with long-tail, niche keywords
  • How to build your email list by converting your website traffic with your screaming cool value exchange
  • Why attribution of results matters and why it’s so easy to get attribution wrong inside your analytics
  • How to apply a simple formula/process for attribution
  • How to scale your content optimization strategy and efforts so that you’re always helpful to your audience


Additional Resources:

May 26, 2021

Ken Knorr is the Founder and CEO of the leading white label marketing company: That! Company, and he is involved in numerous community organizations and is the host of The Daily Drive Show.

A serial entrepreneur, Ken has been in digital marketing since the rise of Google, and he’s been able to pivot several times to react to changes in the marketplace. In terms of collaboration, Ken believes that when you bring people from different backgrounds together, you find out that one plus one equals three or more. His message — particularly the fascinating “Exercise of the Sevens” — is vital for entrepreneurs, leaders in any industry and anyone looking to build their legacy.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Ken got involved in digital marketing, and how the infamous Superbowl “wardrobe malfunction” taught Ken how to increase website traffic and master SEO
  • How the business name “That! Company” came to be, and how a series of happy accidents landed Ken’s business the memorable domain URL
  • What has stayed the same in SEO, what has changed, and how you can utilize these concepts to increase your website traffic organically in ways competitors aren’t exploiting
  • Why you should look at your metrics and user behavior as a crucial and invaluable resource, and why many too many SEO companies don’t use or even look at this data
  • Why Google rewards content that is helpful, generous, and applicable to your audience, and how the algorithm is set up to punish attempts to “game the system”
  • How the changing privacy landscape is impacting SEO and data collection as new regulations are created, and why having specialists on your side is vital
  • Why user data tools are beginning to go away due to privacy changes, and what that means for paid advertising
  • Why That! Company has a complex relationship with the big platforms (Google, Facebook) due to their commitment to putting clients first
  • How building a stronger brand reputation starts with doing a search for your brand and understanding the landscape
  • Why you need to solicit reviews from your customers to help control your online reputation, and why responding to reviews (especially negative ones) correctly matters
  • How Ken’s powerful “Exercise of the Sevens” can help you truly understand your priorities and make the most of your time


Additional Resources:

May 19, 2021

Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, CSP, CPAE, MBA – The Wingman is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Never Fly Solo. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Waldo is a decorated combat fighter pilot and an expert in helping leaders and organizations accelerate performance in changing environments.

A highly experienced veteran with over 2,650 flight hours, Waldo flew 65 combat missions in Iraq and in Kosovo during Operation Allied Force. Some of his military honors include five Air Medals, two Aerial Achievement Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals, and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Waldo overcame massive claustrophobia and a fear of heights to become a fighter pilot, and he believes that the key to building a culture of trust lies with your wingmen, the men and women in your life who help you to overcome obstacles, adapt to change, and achieve success. In business and life, you should never fly solo!

In addition to his speaking business, Waldo is also founder and President of The Wingman Foundation, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to build funds and awareness for soldiers, veterans and their families in need.

Waldo is an inductee into the prestigious professional Speakers Hall of Fame and his clients include Marriott, Hewlett-Packard, UPS and Verizon. He’s been featured on Fox & Friends, CNN, MSNBC, Inc. Magazine and The Harvard Business Review.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How the outbreak of the global pandemic has impacted our business outlook, mindset, and priorities, and why learning how to pivot your business is crucial
  • Why business owners have had to learn to adapt to today’s many challenges, and why new tactics and tools are needed to propel your business forward after a pivot
  • How Waldo has successfully pivoted his business to a virtual environment by shifting systems and technologies rather than trying to create a new business out of the existing one
  • Why especially during the difficult times, it’s crucial to research, network, and reinvest in your business even at the cost of revenue
  • Why vulnerability and being willing to say the three most important words you can say you need help is vital especially during challenges
  • Why it’s important to continue learning and growing, but it is just as or more important to execute on what you’re learning
  • Why Waldo believes your business needs to be “a mint chocolate chip brand in a vanilla chocolate world”
  • Why breaking out of your area of expertise is possible but takes careful research and asking the right questions, and why expressing vulnerability here is important
  • Why learning how to pivot your business means not just expressing vulnerability but equally means offering to be helpful and focusing on serving others
  • Why lifting others up when they are at their lowest can be a powerful way to create real joy in your life, especially when you are at your lowest


Additional Resources:

May 12, 2021

Jeff Nischwitz is known as a Snow Globe Shaker who’s on a mission to help people shift how they lead and thereby shift their leadership impact. He’s an international speaker and personal transformation coach and the Founder of The Nischwitz Group, a speaking, consulting and coaching company that transforms people and organizations—one truth at a time! He’s the co-founder of and co-host of the Leadership Junkies podcast ( Jeff has published four books, including his most recent – Just One Step: Walking Backwards to the Present on the Camino Trail.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Jeff started his career working for a big law firm, and how he realized the importance of learning business development once he struck out on his own after a decade
  • How Jeff learned that becoming a “rainmaker” was more about relationship-building through consistent and reliable behavior
  • Why it is impossible to have a team of all rainmakers but it is crucial to have a “rainmaker mindset” that empowers everyone to collectively succeed
  • Why teaching your team members business development skills isn’t necessarily the best use of your time as a business leader, and why creating the mindset is more effective
  • How Jeff learned that a service mindset was powerful for learning business development, and how he builds a “toolbox” by cultivating relationships within his network
  • Why stories serve as powerful connective tissue that builds relationships, and why it is important to tell your story in business development
  • Why business development needs a rhythm that can create ongoing momentum to avoid the “peaks and valleys”
  • Why there is always a “next action” that needs to be followed up on beyond just reaching out to someone
  • Why it is important to avoid being lazy and giving people “homework”, and why you should never have others own the follow up action but should instead follow up yourself
  • Jeff shares tips and strategies for building stronger relationships and learning business development skills


Additional Resources:

May 5, 2021

Nate Woodbury is the producer for over a dozen YouTube channels. He’s achieved a great level of success, helping speakers and coaches leverage YouTube to generate leads and clients for their businesses. He loves pulling back the curtains to show all the steps he has taken so others can do the same. If you want to know how to get predictable, exponential results on YouTube, Nate’s the guy.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Nate got started in the SEO space before making the jump to creating YouTube lead generation strategies for his clients
  • How Nate and his team refined their formula and truly “cracked the code” for using YouTube as a cornerstone content platform
  • Why understanding what questions people are asking is the crucial first step to putting YouTube’s search algorithm to work for you
  • Why titling your videos with very specific, niche-focused questions is the key to topping the search results
  • What keyword tools are available to understand what viewers are searching for, and why YouTube’s analytics page is a powerful tool for understanding your audience
  • Why Nate’s strategy works no matter how many videos you’ve already uploaded in the past, and what five key details to be mindful of when creating videos
  • Why your thumbnail images should be custom for each video and should serve to “create curiosity” in viewers
  • Why launching five new videos per week is the secret to explosive growth after around four months on the platform
  • How Nate employs calls to action in his videos to turn views into leads, and why YouTube is a great platform for this strategy
  • Why Nate believes that following his strategy and committing to it for one year can create an additional seven figures of revenue for businesses


Additional Resources:

Apr 28, 2021

Kris Kelso is a keynote speaker for leadership conferences, corporate events, universities, and has been both guest and host on television and radio programs. He is the author of Overcoming The Impostor: Silence Your Inner Critic and Lead with Confidence.

Trained and certified as an executive coach, Kris has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, and their leadership teams. He is an advisor and instructor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, is a Facilitator / Coach with The Alternative Board, and is a contributing writer for The Nashville Business Journal.

Kris has founded multiple companies and has served on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations. He is an active member of Cornerstone Nashville, where he serves, teaches, and coaches other leaders. He lives with his wife and three teenaged sons in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why Kris chose to focus his career on solving leadership and communication problems in businesses and overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
  • How Kris defines the Imposter Syndrome, and why it causes us to overvalue the accomplishments of others and undervalue our own unique traits and accomplishments
  • Why we often find ourselves comparing the reality of our own lives with a simplified, polished and curated version of other people’s lives we see on social media
  • Why entrepreneurs by nature are at higher risk of falling to the Imposter Syndrome, and why allowing yourself to be vulnerable is crucial to overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
  • Why expressing his own vulnerability to a young entrepreneur gave the entrepreneur a sense of relief and emotional release, and led to Kris writing his book “Overcoming The Impostor”
  • Why being open and vulnerable is the antidote to the trap of the Imposter Syndrome, and why community without vulnerability will “feed the Imposter”
  • Why you should focus on becoming a part of organizations and communities where vulnerability is the norm and encouraged
  • Why it’s important to shift your mindset and realize that failure isn’t the opposite of success but a key part of success
  • How legends Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle had the highest number of strikeouts in all of Major League Baseball because they were willing to take chances
  • Why you don’t have to love failure to avoid fearing it, and why you should accept the compliments you are given and internalize them


Additional Resources:

Apr 21, 2021

Good Morning Onward Nation — I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host.

Welcome back, and today’s episode is going to be a solocast — it will be just you and me exploring a topic with some real depth.

If you’re new to Onward Nation — I tend to record a solocast every 5 to 6-weeks to share some insights, perhaps some research, or examples I gathered from hanging out and talking with agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants just like you.

Or sometimes — I’ll pull some data points and results from the most recent experiments we’ve been running inside the Predictive ROI Lab so you can take and apply the new strategies or tactics to fill your sales pipeline with right-fit prospects.

Okay — let’s shift our attention to today’s topic. I titled this episode “Now Is The Time to Double Down” for several specific reasons. Almost exactly to the day — one year ago — I shared with you a distillation of over 400 pages of research around how business owners marketed their way through a recession like what we were facing back in March 2020…and candidly…are still facing right now in April 2021.

But — the data I shared with you then wasn’t focused on the survival of business owners of just the last recession but the last six recessions.

If you listened to Episode 933 — you and I would have walked through all of that data…and more specifically…how the owners doubled down and made progressive decisions so they could navigate their business through the choppy waters and be in the exact right position to come roaring out the other side of their respective recession.

The last 13-months have certainly taught us many lessons about navigating ourselves through a crisis — painful lessons personally — and of course — inside our businesses.

We learned what it feels like to hurt — and to hurt in a big way — to hurt as family, as friends, as a country — to just hurt and to not feel like there was anywhere to turn.

What it means to truly have grit.

What it means to be compassionate and to take a stand for what we know is right.

What it feels like when we can’t hug a loved one when they need it most.

What it means to look into the eyes of your team and tell them everything’s going to be okay — when you know behind the curtain — you’re struggling to keep your head above water.

In 2020 — we learned so many valuable lessons. And my hope is that through all of the mess that the year was — and the challenges that still linger today — that you also saw some silver linings.

That you took the most overused word of 2020 — which was most likely “pivot” — and you put it to good use.

That you reinvented.

That you asked your clients, prospects, and audience how you could be even more helpful — and you stepped up — and showed your teammates what leadership is all about.

That you jumped into the trenches — back to back — and you dug, slung, and moved the same mud as your team. And that you were open, you were honest, and you let them see you cry when you needed to cry.

We all had those moments. You didn’t — and you don’t have to have all the answers — because you’re human.

So for this solocast…we’re going to take a step back. I’m going to walk you through a small slice of the data from 12-months ago for a couple of reasons.

One — I want you to see how far you have come…how you moved along that path…to reflect on the decisions you made…and the result outcomes. And yes — nothing is ever perfect…but you’re still here. And there’s victory in that.

Two — we’re going to celebrate a few businesses and their owners who really crushed it. And I don’t mean necessarily from a revenue perspective…but I mean from the perspective of being the beacon of hope when we needed them to be.

Being there every time their clients or customers had a question — and oftentimes a difficult one — there they were — being helpful.

Let’s celebrate that because in good times — or in bad, like a global pandemic — it’s a great recipe for us to follow.

And three — as we see the economy recovering — and we see momentum beginning to come back — what are some things you could be doing right now to fill your sales pipeline with right-fit prospects?

I’ll share some insights that you can take and apply.

So you see? Now’s the time to double down.

Now’s the time to push even harder. Now’s the time to say to your team…“We’re going to plant our flag of authority in this niche so that during the next crisis — we will have even further future-proofed our business.”

Now. Right now. Now’s the time to double down.

Okay…deep breath.

I have one more thing to share with you before we dive in.

And it’s a really big, super awesome, and very sincere THANK YOU! If I could give you a big hug — I would.

Today’s episode is number 1,000 of Onward Nation. And that doesn’t happen by accident.

It happens because you and all of our subscribers around the world have shared feedback with us, asked questions, cared enough to point out ways we could be even better, and you shared our episodes with your colleagues, family, and friends. THANK YOU — it has been my honor to sit in this seat for the last 6 years and to have the opportunity to share the insights and wisdom from our guests…with you.

There is also a very long list of family, teammates, mentors, and friends who have made these 1,000 episodes possible.

They were there in the beginning — they prodded me along the way — they encouraged me when I was down — and they held me accountable to get done what I promised to do.

Needless to say — I have a lot of phone calls and thank you cards to write because what John Wooden said was so true — “You will never outperform your inner circle” — and I feel fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by rockstars.

So sincerely, Onward Nation…THANK YOU!


I built this solocast to act as a beacon around why — in my opinion — Now’s The Time to Double Down.

What can we do to rebuild — and if we work hard at it — could it be possible to come out of this recession in an even better position than when we went in?

I will — and will continue to argue — yes — it is possible.

And that is what drove me to do the research. To look back through past recessions, past recoveries…to study the winners and the losers…and to share with you what they did…so we can all take some lessons out of their playbooks and put them to work right now.

I’m going to give you the data points and examples to show it’s possible.

And — I’m going to share the next steps that you and your team can take to make it happen as well as share some free resources.

And all of the research citations that I will quote can be found in the endnotes section of today’s show notes on

With all that said — let’s start stepping through why Now’s The Time to Double Down.

Let’s start off by reviewing three research studies and articles published in the Harvard Business Review. Again all linked within today’s show notes.

The first article is entitled “Preparing your business for a post—pandemic world,” which was published by HBR on April 10, 2020 and was written by Carsten Lund Pedersen and Thomas Ritter, both professors at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.

I pulled golden nuggets out of Pedersen and Ritter’s work because of their emphasis on planning before and during a crisis — and how if your planning process was sound, Onward Nation — you will come roaring out the other side of the current recession and future proof your business so you’ll be even more prepared for the next crisis.

But in order to prep the proper response plan with smart strategic decisions, you must first understand the position your business holds in the market.

You can do that by asking yourself and your team some fundamental questions like, “who are we in our market,” “what role do we play in the market? (Are we price-sensitive suppliers, are we market leaders, do our clients and prospects see us as thought leaders, etc.?).” And — what if we double down make immediate course corrections…could we emerge as a market leader fueled by developments, new ideas, service offerings, or invest in new markets while the recession is still here — so that — we come roaring out the other side?[1]

Onward Nation — the right plan should not just map out the where but also the how. You need to map out your action steps and milestones for today, next quarter, and for the remainder of the year.

And it’s been my experience — this is where business owners get snagged. In fact — I just got home after several days in Chicago attending a live and in-person workshop for agency owners hosted by Drew McLellan, CEO of Agency Management Institute.

Okay — quick detour — can I just say — holy frickin’ bananas — it was so awesome to be live and in-person with other owners. To sit, listen, share ideas…share a meal…oh…my…word. Amazing.

Alright — well — one of the exercises during the workshop was the one-year business plan. All it took was a quick show of hands for who actually had a one-page…or any length…written business plan. And only a few hands were raised.

Why? Business oftentimes — we owners create lofty ideas without any of the tactical detail our teams can challenge, make better, and then implement — or worse yet — there’s no plan at all because we rely on winging it. Winging it may work during good economic times — but what we learned in 2020 was that winging it falls super short during a crisis.

Like the former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Your high-level, half-baked plan quickly falls about without the right operationalized strategy.

And that is exactly why when the U.S. Navy SEALS create a mission plan along with 13 contingencies for each mission they execute. Yes — 13.

The SEALS anticipate that there will be an ebb and flow to the mission plan as the situation evolves and changes with new data points, variables difficult to predict, or sudden changes. They never expect to not encounter changes to the plan.

But if they didn’t have a plan – they wouldn’t know what gear to take, how much gear, transportation, extraction, and the litany of other things that need to be considered. The mission doesn’t change but how you accomplish it will most likely need to ebb and flow along the way.

And yet – I know many business owners who bristle at the thought of planning because they don’t want to feel boxed in or the constraint on flexibility. The Seals would tell you that it is because of how they double down on the planning process that they can be more flexible on the battlefield.

Because of their planning — they have already anticipated and thought through their options – and – have everything they need to quickly proceed with a new direction.

Your business can be just as nimble with the right planning.

Yes, COVID has been confusing. It’s been stressful. And there have been times when working with my leadership team at Predictive over the last 12 months when I felt overwhelmed and just wanted to start doing things to see if anything would stick.

But — we didn’t until we had a plan.

So as we start to see the end of this tunnel we’ve been in — I’m pushing you to take a step back…have discipline…look around…ask yourself and your team questions…look at today…this week…this month…and map out…IN WRITING…the steps you intend to take quickly for both the short—term — and — identify how those steps will set your business up for success in 12-months as it relates to your 3-year mission.

Now — another lesson about planning. The plan is no good unless you have shared it — taught from it — marinated your team in it — and then repeated the process over and over again. You need to communicate the details of the plan as well as the process used to create the plan — with your entire team.

If you or your leadership team works through the planning process in a vacuum and doesn’t share highlights, milestones, or progress as the plan is evolving — I’m telling you — your team will feel lost…they won’t know how to implement it…you will have lost your opportunity to create buy-in…and your culture will suffer.

Your team was just as confused, scared, and concerned as you were when COVID first hit. And now — many of them…if not all of them…are looking forward to the possibilities that await you and your business on the other side of this recession. And you building the plan will help them not only see those possibilities — but — ensure that they see your vision — and — they will know how to make it become a reality.

But to be clear — I’m not suggesting that your entire team needs to be involved in the creation of the core plan.

But what I am suggesting is that you take a lesson out of the book, “Extreme Ownership” where you and your leadership team create the core plan — brief your entire team on the objectives and intent of the plan — and then ask junior members of your team to meet and work out the tactical details for implementing the plan.[3]

Your job is to make sure you are clear on the objectives and the intent of the plan. Then set your expectations for the timing for the completion of the plan — quickly…like 24— to 48—hours — and have each of the junior team members present their portion of the plan back to you and your leadership team. Then everyone asks questions and in doing so – does some stress testing of the plan. It’s crucial to create space for the plan to evolve but that doesn’t mean your planning process needs to take weeks. It can be days and you will be off and running.

I assure you — your greatest challenge during the planning process will be to prioritize. You need to be careful that you don’t start numerous projects that all depend on the same critical resources. If you do — you will burn out your team and nothing will get done with excellence. Instead — take your five, six, or 10 great ideas…apply pressure to them…and distill them down to one to two great ideas with clear steps for the next 30-days. And then keep a list of all of the other ideas and come back to it in 30-days and re-evaluate what should be next.

And if you go to today’s show notes — you will be able to download a super helpful calendar from our good friends at Elite Entrepreneurs — it will help you visualize each and every meeting you should be having with your team throughout the year so that you can communicate the details of your plan.

Now let’s shift our attention to the imagination — because we need it now more than ever.

Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, both part of the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, wrote a brilliant article entitled, “We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever” which was published by the Harvard Business Review on April 10, 2020. A link to the full text of the article can be found in the endnotes section of today’s show notes.

Reeves and Fuller put forth the argument that imagination — in the face of uncertainty, economic recession, and the historic challenges we’re facing right now — is exactly what we need to solve the problem. But it is difficult to apply imagination and all of its benefits when we are in full-on crisis management mode.


Because when something unexpected and significant happens our first instinct is to defend against it. Then we later move to understand and manage whatever caused the crisis so we can get back to the status quo.

The authors believe – and I agree – “that your capacity to imagine…to create, to evolve, and to pursue ideas — is a crucial factor in seizing and creating new opportunities, and finding new paths to growth.”[4]

But the challenge is — and my guess is when I impressed upon you the importance of planning a few minutes ago — you may have said to yourself “Stephen…there’s no time for planning – I need to double down and take action now.”

Same thing with imagination — because of the pressure of COVID— it will be one of the hardest things to keep alive in your business — both now and into the future.

However — imagination — rethinking how you can double down in what you deliver to be helpful to your clients and prospects is exactly what can help you come roaring out the other side of this recession.

For example — in recessions and downturns, 14 percent of companies outperform both historically and competitively because they invested in new growth areas.

Apple released its first iPod in 2001 — the same year the U.S. economy experienced a recession that contributed to a 33 percent drop in Apple’s total revenue. Still – Apple saw the iPod’s ability to transform its product portfolio so the company increased R&D spending by double digits, which sparked an era of high growth for the company.[5]

But — let’s shine a bright light on some non-Apple companies because sometimes it’s super easy to discount these types of case studies because most of us don’t have several hundred billion lying around that we can invest toward R&D.

That said — if you were to take a look inside the communities of Agency Management Institute, Elite Entrepreneurs, and Smart Real Estate Coach — you could find business owner after business owner who had their best year in history during 2020. I know many business owners who doubled sales, team size, and profit in the last 12-months.

How on Earth is that possible? Were they just lucky — in the right place — at the right time — with the right silver lining?

It would be lovely if it were that simple — but no.

They re-imagined the possibilities.

They doubled down on being helpful.

They asked their clients and prospects what they needed?

They shared their insights and wisdom by teaching generously.

And — they didn’t just focus on service delivery. They marketed. They created content. They stepped up in a big way to be a solution. They rolled out new offerings. Retired old offerings. And they made it even easier to do business with them.

They reimagined every aspect of their business, Onward Nation — and you can too.

And there’s still time.

If you can rally your teams — create an imaginative plan that everyone buys into because they had a hand in building it — you will likely be way ahead of your competitors as we come roaring out of this recession.

Right now — because of everything that has happened over the last year — you might be the only one serving your niche who is actually thinking about how best to double down on being helpful.

The rest of your industry might be thinking about that next promotional push…something…anything in order to get a few dollars in to make Q2 look promising.

But — I’m encouraging you to IMAGINE a completely different path.

A path where you generously share your smarts, your insights, where you teach the best of what you have and how it aligns with the business issues and challenges your clients, prospects, audience face — in good times or in crisis. You do all of this while everyone else is simply reacting.

You’ll be on a completely different level. Why? Because you allowed yourself the time to imagine the blue ocean of possibilities — and — you worked your butt off to make it happen.

Okay — so let’s dial this in a little further.
How do you do all of that?

Let me help by giving you a push from the authors. Instead of asking yourself and your team passive questions like “What will happen to us during this recession?” — flip the script — by asking active, open questions like “How can we create new options?”

Or — “How can we double down and be even more helpful to our clients and prospects during this crisis?”

What could we teach?

What research and strategic insights could we share?

What online event, webinar, or forum could we host for our clients, prospects, and audience that would share the best of what we’ve got to help them navigate what’s next?

And yes — I agree with you — there are no easy solutions or silver bullets. This is a ton of work.

My Predictive team and I have wrestled through many options when we were building out our 1-year Strategic Plan. We’ve worked through everything I’m recommending to you…I have seen it in action. So yes — it’s hard — the discipline you need in order to essentially force yourself to imagine the possibilities — create a plan — and see it through — will — no doubt — be challenging.

But — all of this work — I assure you — will help you plant your flag of authority in the niche you serve — and — you will be of greater service to your clients, prospects, and audience…and…when you do this the right way…and your heart is in the right place…you will attract an abundance of right-fit prospects into your sales pipeline.

And you will come roaring out the other side of this recession.

Okay – the last nugget I want to share with you was a game-changer for me. I have been a student of mindset, attraction theory, and the power of the mastermind for years. I’m a firm believer in that which we focus on we get more of. Perseverating over negative thoughts produces negative results and I have seen the reverse happen, too. And when blended with a great plan, intentional execution, and hard work – the details within the plan become reality.

However — what I learned from this article and wanted to share with you is how this actually plays out in the world of statistics, too.

For example — “when we lose hope and adopt a passive mindset, we cease to believe that we can meet our ideals or fix our problems. In statistics, what’s called “Bayesian Learning” involves taking a belief about a statistical distribution – the prior results in other words – and then updating it in the light of each new piece of information obtained. Essentially — the outcome of the entire process can be determined by the initial belief. Therefore Onward Nation — in a very real way — pessimism can become a self—fulfilling prophecy.”[6]

In the show notes — I cite the section of research from the article I just shared with you so you can do a deep dive into the justification for it if you like.

So let’s go high level for a minute — if you focus on being imaginative, being open to the possibilities, giving your team grounds for hope, encouraging them to be innovative…and all of this is done with the intent of being helpful to your clients and prospects in a way you never have been before…you will make progress.

Meanwhile – your competitors will be bogged down in the myriad of thin things and trapped in a short-term survival mentality that requires them to TAKE from their clients and prospects…and guess what…it won’t work.

There were many silver linings of the last 12-months if we look hard enough — and I will tell you that one of the biggest — is that we as people are even more attuned to generosity, transparency, truth, and it has become super easy to sniff out a fake.

So — imagine yourself generously playing the long game and your clients and prospects will love you for it because they will see you are genuinely playing the game for their benefit.

Trust me when I say that the trench you’re fighting in every day – that trench of pressure, doubt, fear, anxiety, and at times…overwhelm…yep, I know that trench well, too. And I’m right there — right here — with you…slugging it out, too…and working hard.

One thing I’m grateful for is that because of the last 12 months — at Predictive — we sharpened our leadership and planning skills. We were forced to quickly build a plan. My fellow leaders and I prioritized…we mapped out how we could be helpful to our clients and prospects…and we did all of that from the spirit of imagination.

And then we shared it with our team.

Now – taking you behind the curtain in full transparency…we did all of that in 48—hours.

This is not a 4—6 week process.

Don’t get bogged down. Get moving.

Let’s keep up the momentum of the planning process and begin to think about how you could deal with the myriad of business pressures right now.

Do you continue to look to cut operating costs.

Do you reduce staff?

Do you work to open new markets and invest in R&D, or some other combination of strategies?

And – is there an ideal combination or blend of the strategies – and if so – what have been the result outcomes from other companies as they worked to navigate past crises.

Thankfully – there is some excellent research available on all of the above.

With that said – it might seem a bit odd that I am going to now turn our attention toward an article / published study in the Harvard Business Review from 2010.

Why would I pull from an article that is 10—years old?

The article is entitled, “Roaring Out of Recession” and was published in HBR on March 3, 2010.

I’m encouraging you and your team to study it because the data points within the article provide a whole lot of context that will be helpful to what you’re working on today.

Back in 2010 of course – the country was looking for any and all help in pulling itself out of the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. But in order to make smart recommendations to their 2010 readers – the authors went back and gathered data from the past three global recessions:

  • The 1980 crisis (which lasted from 1980 to 1982)
  • The 1990 slowdown (1990 to 1991)
  • And the 2000 bust (2000 to 2002)

They studied 4,700 public companies, breaking down the data into three periods:

  • The three years before a recession
  • The three years after
  • And the recession years themselves.[8]

It took the researchers over 12-months to complete the research and they focused on publicly traded companies because of the availability and access to data.

Here are some of the strategic insights from the research…

17 percent of the companies in the study didn’t survive their respective recession.

About 80 percent of 4,700 companies in the study (3,760 companies) had not yet regained their pre-recession growth rate for sales and profits three years after the recession.

40 percent of the 4,700 companies (1,880 companies) hadn’t even returned to their prerecession sales and profits levels by the end of the three years post-recession.

For the majority of the companies – the financial impact of the recession were long-lasting.

Only 9 percent of companies flourished after a slowdown and did better than they had before and outperformed rivals in their industry.

Interestingly — companies that cut costs faster and deeper than their competitors didn’t flourish.

In fact – these were the companies in the study with the LOWEST probability — 21 percent — of pulling ahead of their competition when the economy rebounded.

Counterintuitively — the company leaders that decided to double down and boldly invest more than their rivals during a recession also didn’t fare well.

They only enjoyed a 26 percent chance of becoming leaders after a downturn and then into an economic rebound.

And most surprising to me when I studied the research was learning that 85 percent of growth leaders heading into a recession were toppled because of the crisis.

So if you’re not currently the leader in your niche – then right NOW could absolutely be your perfect opportunity if you lead your team correctly, plant your flag of authority, and be the expert your clients, prospects, and audience need you to be.

The post-recession winners were companies that mastered the art of making progression decisions and balancing cutting costs to survive AND investing to grow tomorrow.

And the proof is in the results with 37 percent of the post-recession winners breaking away from the pack.

“The post—recession winners were the companies that cut costs selectively by focusing on increasing operational efficiency — meanwhile — they invested relatively comprehensively in the future by spending on marketing, R&D, and new assets. This is the best antidote to a recession.”[9]

The researchers called the segment of companies that had taken this strategic approach, “Progressive.”

Okay — so let’s define that a little further.

Progressive companies deploy the optimal combination of defense and offense.

Conversely — the “prevention-focused companies” in the study were the ones whose leaders quickly implemented policies that reduced operating costs, shrunk discretionary expenditures, eliminated frills, lowered headcount, and preserved cash. They also postponed making new investments in R&D, developing new businesses, or buying assets such as plants and machinery to expand their capacity.

Prevention-focused leaders cut back on almost every item of cost and investment and reduce expenditures significantly more than competitors.

Focusing solely on cost—cutting causes executives and employees to approach every decision through a loss—minimizing lens and pessimism permeates the organization.

Prevention-focused companies did exactly what Brett Gilliland, CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, warned us against back in Episode 929 when he shared the lessons around flee, fight — and the most harmful to business owners — and that’s freezing and doing nothing.

Prevention-focused companies were the ones that suffered the most during the recession – and – took the longest to recover. Or – never recovered to their pre-recession levels for sales and profit.

So let’s flip that — is doubling down on promotion the right strategy…right now?

No – it’s not that simple.

When companies in the study focused purely on promotion — essentially having the mindset of we’re going to advertise our way out of the crisis by just shouting more often that our customers need our stuff — it developed a culture of optimism that led companies to deny the gravity of a crisis for a long time.

They ignored early warning signs, such as customer’s budget cuts, and were steadfast in the belief that as long as they innovate, their sales and profits will continue to rise.

They didn’t notice that because the pie was shrinking and that they must capture an even larger share from rivals to keep growing. And this typically leads to intense price competition and a zero—sum game.

No one wins in a race to the bottom.

However — progressive companies — which is where I’m urging you to begin thinking, Onward Nation — they are the companies that cut costs by improving operational efficiency rather than by slashing the number of employees.

Only 23 percent of progressive companies cut staff — whereas 56% of prevention—focused companies do—and they lay off fewer people.

And the offensive moves by progressive are even comprehensive.

Progressive companies developed new business opportunities by making significantly greater investments than their rivals in R&D and marketing, and they invested in expanding their capacity.

Progressive companies developed new markets and invested to enlarge their asset bases. They took advantage of depressed prices to buy property, equipment, etc.

All of that combined is why the post-recession growth in sales and earnings by the progressive lead companies was the best among the 4,700 within the study.

Okay — let’s do a quick recap of what we have covered so far.

First — by the data — you need to have a plan that involves your entire team – you cannot afford to wing it through any crisis…and definitely not this one.

Second — you need to find ways to stay open to imagination and let it impact your R&D and how you approach doubling down on being helpful to your clients and prospects.

And third — if you want your business to make it through the other side of this crisis…and potentially…be in an even better position than when you entered it…now is the time to be progressive. Yes, reduce your operating expenses to boost efficiency…keep your team intact the best you can…and make investments in your marketing and R&D so you can be even more helpful to your clients, prospects, and audience.

Let’s take the ROI around marketing investments a bit deeper with some data points collected from a study commissioned by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

“ASI studied 2,662 firms from 1970 – 1991 to determine the effect of marketing on a company during a recession. Firms that marketed during a recession increased in value and got more marketing bang for their investment. In some cases – up to three years after the recession had ended. It seems like common sense – if you market when everyone else stops marketing – your message is more likely to be noticed due to a less cluttered market and your business is more likely to be remembered once your competitors begin marketing again.”

In my opinion, Onward Nation — this NOW’S THE TIME for you not to be silent.

You need to be in front of your clients, prospects, and audience — and yes — that is marketing.

But — not pitchy and salesy.

Focus on helping. Drew McLellan and I mapped out a complete blueprint for how to do this — and how to do it well — in our book, “Sell with Authority.” And if you want a free paperback copy — all you need to do is send me an email at and I will ship you a copy. No shipping fees — nothing. Just let me know you want a copy — and we’ll ship it straight away.

I want you to have a progressive mindset about how to lead your business to the other side of this recession — and — I want you to be very thoughtful about the content you and your team creates and shares.

This is why I also want to share some highlights from a special report from Edelman because the context here will help guide the context of your content.

You can access a full copy of the report from the Edelman website using the link at the bottom of today’s show notes.

Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote, and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman employs 6,000 people in more than 60 offices. And they have been studying, researching, reporting on the topic of trust for the last 20—years. Their report has become the standard for excellence on the topic.

Edelman conducted a 12—market study on the critical role brands are expected to play during COVID.

They interviewed 12,000 people in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the U.S.

I’m going to walk through a high—level overview of just a handful of key insights…

71 percent said if they perceive that a business is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that business forever.[10]

84 percent said they want advertising to focus on how brands help people cope with pandemic—related life challenges.[11]

77 percent said they want brands only to speak about products and services in ways that show they are aware of the crisis and the impact on people’s lives.[12]

And the study showed that there’s a deep desire for expertise.

84 percent of respondents globally said that they want businesses to be a reliable news source that keeps people informed. They want to receive this information from multiple sources, in part because they are skeptical about any individual medium given the proliferation of fake news.

Taking that further — 85 percent of respondents want you to be an educator, offering your audience instructional information.

With that said — I’m not suggesting that you play doctor or infectious disease expert.

But what I am recommending is that you pick up the torch and lead the conversations in your niche about the business impact COVID has had — and is having — on your customers, your vendors, your industry as a whole.

And — continue to champion the distribution of resources, research, or anything else you think will be helpful to your community of clients and prospects who are desperately seeking answers.

If you’re on our email list – you likely received updates from me when PPP was first a thing — and then the series of resources, calculators, applications, tax resources, etc. that were all made available shortly thereafter.

Our expertise isn’t in the public health arena – but – we absolutely believed we could be helpful to business owners within our community by sharing resources we have curated.

And you know what? The response from our community was incredible because we shared the right resources, at the right time, with absolutely no expectation of return.

Helping, Onward Nation. Not selling.

The team at Edelman believes that COVID has — and will — fundamentally change how we think, behave, and consume.

Business owners that act in the interest of their employees, clients, prospects, and other stakeholders will reinforce their expertise, leadership, and trust and immeasurably strengthen those bonds.

Your community is looking to you to share your thought leadership and expertise – and you can’t do that by shrinking or by being quiet. They want you to demonstrate your authority.

Don’t be promotional – be helpful. Don’t focus on selling – but be solutions-focused.

NOW’S THE TIME to Double down on sharing your expertise like you never have before.

I assure you…creating an authority position will deliver a financial return on your investment.

Okay – let’s begin to wrap up and come in for a landing by circling back to some additional framing about what makes someone an authority.

Thought leaders don’t write content that anyone else could claim. Thought leaders don’t write about anything and everything. And thought leaders don’t compete on price. And because of COVID, the data from Edelman, the data from our own ROI of Thought Leadership study (we’ll add a link in the show notes so you can download a free copy), and many other relevant sources — I will argue — that NOW’S THE TIME TO DOUBLE DOWN and plant your flag of authority.

Churning out generic content to get ahead in Google rankings may have worked 20 years ago – but it doesn’t work today and it’s not helpful to your audience.

In our book entitled, “Sell with Authority”, Drew and I shared highlights from the 2019 Trust Barometer study from Edelman, a global PR agency, which has conducted the study each year for the last 20—years. It’s a worldwide study with 33,000 consumers participating in 27 countries.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study was that buyers assign a high level of trust to people they believe are just like themselves. When you think about the impact that ratings, reviews, and influencers have with their audiences, you begin to see the power of that belief.

But Edelman’s research isn’t about the celebrity influencer. This study documents the rise of the common man influencer – business owners just like you and me, Onward Nation.

It’s noteworthy because it gives statistical validity to the idea of real people as influencers and the impact they can have on the beliefs around a brand.

The one attribute that ranked higher than the trust we have in people like you and me is the trust we have in highly educated experts. The only three groups of people we trust more than people like ourselves are company, industry, and academic experts.

Experts are afforded the highest level of confidence and trust because they have a depth of knowledge in a specific industry or nicheSo why in the world wouldn’t you capitalize on that?

Instead of creating generic content that looks and sounds like everyone else during this crisis – take the opportunity to create thought leadership content that is unique, different, and helpful – not promotional.

A true authority has something specific to teach us, and they want to be helpful or illuminating.

They’re eager to share what they know because they have a genuine passion for it, and they don’t fear giving away the recipe to their secret sauce (or so it’s perceived).

That confidence and generosity are contagious. Their expertise is something specific groups of people (their sweet—spot prospects) are hungry to access.

Call them an expert, a thought leader, an authority, a sought—after pundit, advisor, or specialist. They’re all words for the same thing—a trusted resource that has earned that trust by demonstrating and generously sharing the depth of their specialized knowledge over and over again.

Drew and I would argue that a true authority has a strong point—of—view or belief that influences how they talk about their subject area. A narrow niche, a strong point—of—view, and being findable in multiple places are the hallmarks of an authority position.

And — they have a plan for creating content that is helpful to their niche and not focused on selling.

All of the data points to the validity of leveraging your own thought leadership as your core strategy to proactively market your way through the recession and to make it through to the other side in a stronger position than when all of this happened.

You need a plan, with some imagination, some hard work, progressive ideas, and the willingness to invest your time and attention toward execution.

But if you do that – and your clients, prospects, and audience can see that you are being helpful…when they are ready to enter the market again…you’ll have put yourself in the best possible position for a new trajectory of growth.

Your competitors aren’t doing this hard work. And that should be the most compelling reason why NOW’S THE TIME TO DOUBLE DOWN.

The data is all on your side, Onward Nation.

Okay – whew – was that a lot?

Holy bananas – it sure felt like a lot.

And remember — all of the research sources can be found in the endnotes in today’s show notes on

As always — I look forward to your feedback. The emails you send me — and your comments on social media — all help us get better every day — so thank you for that Onward Nation and keep them coming.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to this solocast and to make Episode 1,000 that much more special. I’m grateful!

And if you need me — you can reach me directly at

That’s my actual Inbox and I read and reply to every email.

Okay, Onward Nation — until our next episode — onward with gusto!


[1] “Preparing Your Business for a Post—Pandemic World”, Carsten Lund Pederson and Thomas Ritter, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[2] “Preparing Your Business for a Post—Pandemic World”, Carsten Lund Pederson and Thomas Ritter, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[3] “Extreme Ownership”, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, St. Martin’s Press, 2015.

[4] “We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever”, Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[5] “We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever”, Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[6] “We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever”, Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[7] “We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever”, Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller, Harvard Business Review, April 10, 2020.

[8] “Roaring Out of Recession”, Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, Franz Wohlgezogen, Harvard Business Review, March 3, 2010.

[9] “Roaring Out of Recession”, Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, Franz Wohlgezogen, Harvard Business Review, March 3, 2010.

[10] “Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic”, Richard Edelman, Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, March 30, 2020.

[11] “Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic”, Richard Edelman, Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, March 30, 2020.

[12] “Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic”, Richard Edelman, Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, March 30, 2020.

Apr 14, 2021

Brett Gilliland is Founder and CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, a company that specializes in giving $1M+ business owners the knowledge, processes, and tools to grow to $10M and beyond. Brett is an expert in organization development, leadership, and strategy and spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7M in revenue to over $100M. Brett was involved in the foundational work of Purpose, Values, and Mission at Infusionsoft and facilitated the strategic planning process for many years.

One of Brett’s favorite professional accomplishments is co-creating Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum along with Clate Mask and building the Elite business inside of Infusionsoft. As the leader of the Elite business, Brett has helped hundreds of struggling seven-figure business owners overcome their biggest challenges and achieve new levels of success. He also played a central role in the development of Infusionsoft’s Leadership Model and was serving as the VP of Leadership Development when the decision was made to spin the Elite business out of Infusionsoft. As the new owner of Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing professionally. When Brett isn’t busy helping $1M+ businesses succeed, he is a family man who enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Sharon, and their 8 children.

Join Brett and Casey Graham, from Gravy Solutions, for a free “un-webinar” on April 21st at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT for business owners who are looking for the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to grow to 8 figures in revenue…and beyond.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why the big lesson to learn from 2020 is that we always need to be ready to respond to change and adapt to the unknown so that we can continue growing through adversity
  • How Brett saw that “small business owners” and “entrepreneurs” approached the challenges of 2020 with very different mindsets and achieved very different results
  • Why the outbreak of the global pandemic proved that “the best leaders build the best businesses, and the best businesses win every time, in any situation”
  • Why strengthening your relationship with your clients and your team is a powerful strategy for growing through adversity and becoming stronger as a business
  • Brett shares how a brick-and-mortar music education business strategically engaged their community and found new ways to connect to a broader audience during the lockdown
  • Why offering stability to your team through your leadership is crucial during chaotic times, and why great leaders rise to the challenge
  • Why reflecting on the last year is a crucial step to ensure that we keep our gains and don’t lose the progress we’ve made through the difficulties
  • How intentionality, structure and processes can help bring your team closer together and help you become more nimble and effective as an organization
  • Why adversity can actually make our businesses stronger, and why easy times can cause our “business muscles” to atrophy
  • Brett discusses the Elite Ignition program and how it can teach anyone looking to shift from entrepreneur to capable business leader


Additional Resources:

Apr 7, 2021

Jonathon Hensley is co-founder and CEO of Emerge, a digital product consulting firm that works with companies to improve operational agility and customer experience. For more than two decades, Jonathon has helped startups, Fortune 100 brands, technology leaders, large regional health networks, non-profit organizations and more, transform their businesses by turning strategy, user needs, and new technologies into valuable digital products and services. Jonathon writes and speaks about his experiences and insights from his career, and regularly hosts in-depth interviews with business leaders and industry insiders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two boys.

Originally from Silicon Valley, Jonathon got into the digital product space inspired by the incredible people developing new technologies all around him and the possibilities they unlocked. This fueled his curiosity to understand how technology transforms the ways in which people live and work.

That curiosity continues to drive him today, as he works to help businesses harness technology. His work focuses on helping leaders define the value they want to create in a succinct and tangible way; where to focus, why, and what it will take to achieve that outcome. His favorite part is going beyond the idea and mapping how you bring together people, data, and processes so that clients can succeed.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How growing up in Silicon Valley and with a psychologist mother fueled Jonathon’s fascination for the intersection between human behavior and technology
  • How Jonathon defines a Value Ladder, and why success hinges upon understanding the value exchange within your business and the problems you can solve for your customers
  • Why your value exchange needs to be perpetual, and how companies like Netflix have used their understanding of the value exchange to innovate new customer experiences
  • What five key steps you can take to better understand, define and measure your value exchange, and how you can use that information to supercharge your business strategy
  • Why Jonathon believes that everything you do and every product you offer should be in service to your customers
  • Why it is critically important to fall in love with the problem, not the solution you’re creating
  • How to use a simple design tool called an “empathy mapping” exercise to generate a holistic picture of your customers’ environment and needs
  • How a staggering 70-95% of all new products and 75-84% of all digital transformation initiatives fail, and why lack of market fit is the number one reason why
  • Why understanding your customer and value exchange is the key to avoiding the dangerous lack of market fit
  • Why understanding the scope of your customers’ problems is crucial for accurately pricing your solutions to those problems


Additional Resources:

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