Good Morning, I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation.
Welcome to Episode 695 – this week’s solocast.
I greatly appreciate your time and am grateful that you decided to share some of your precious 86,400 seconds that you have today with me – thank you, Onward Nation.
Before we dive into how to recognize and solve what may be the two biggest challenges or obstacles to scaling your business...I want to provide some additional context as to why I chose this topic for our time together today.
You might recall that in Episode 685...you and I took a deep dive into the Imposter Syndrome.
We defined it and then sliced apart the Syndrome’s two main ingredients so you could recognize it whenever it rises up to block you on your path to success.
However, when I went back through my notes for Episode 685 and re-listened to the content...I realized that the ingredients I shared were a bit incomplete because they weren’t part of a more comprehensive recipe including more ingredients and a series of action steps.
And that comprehensive recipe is what we are going to cover today.
So if you haven’t listened to Episode 685 yet – I encourage you to go back and review it so you have the full context from beginning to end.
Being armed with both episodes will help you solve what may be the biggest challenges or obstacles in your business -- those things that are really holding you back from jumping off the plateau you may be on right now – and leaping onward to that next level.
So here’s what we will cover today...
First, I will show you how to spot the two biggest obstacles currently preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level.
Second, I will show you how to attract the right mentors to help you overcome the obstacles and accelerate your results.
Third, I will show you how to implement and master a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence.
Sound good, Onward Nation? Okay...let’s dive in.
What if I told you that the two biggest challenges preventing you from moving your business onward to the next level have nothing to do with the business climate, the economy, the skill level of your employees, the location of your business, your pricing strategy, your current customer base, the size of your marketing budget, the quality of your products, your distribution channels, or the myriad of other reasons we are given today by the media and government as to why businesses fail at such a staggering rate in this country?
What if the obstacles in your way had nothing to do with any of that?
And in instead, what was blocking you…the obstacles keeping your business in check…are the same obstacles that have always attempted to keep you in check throughout your entire life.
Your enemy is not the myriad of reasons I just listed…instead…your first challenge…or better yet…your first enemy is the Fear of Poverty.
And yes, there is a correlation to the Imposter Syndrome – you may recall that in Episode 685 when we dissected the syndrome into its most basic form...we could see that it was just fear.
So now...I want us to dissect fear into a couple of smaller ingredients so we can have an even clearer view.
And for that...let’s go back to 1937 and into the pages of the brilliant work by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich.” The book sold over 70 million copies worldwide because it is such a compendium of knowledge.
The book was made possible by Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie at the time was the wealthiest man in the world, met Napoleon Hill, liked him and offered to commission him to open the doors to the greatest industrialists of the time.
That was 1908.
And he said, “I’ll open the doors if you’ll sit down with these top business owners and figure out their secrets to success. What they do, their methods, their mindsets that have caused their extraordinary success and you put it into a book and publish it and make it available to the world.”
So, Napoleon sat down with Henry Ford, Edison, Schwab, Wrigley, and both Rockefellers.
Imagine being able to spend time with those business owners and pull out their best ideas for success and achievement.
If you have read, studied, and applied the book…you understand the great knowledge in this book and are already ahead of 98% of your competition.
But often times…this book is an easy to forget treasure because it was written in 1937 – but the strategies in this book are still just as applicable today.
If you have not yet read, studied, and applied the book – then consider this a million dollar resource you have just been given. You can go to OnwardNation.com/book and get the Audible version of Think and Grow Rich for free…that’s OnwardNation.com/book.
The Fear of Poverty is one of the 6 basic fears but it is also the most pervasive, destructive, and confusing to understand.
On the surface, it seems as though this fear would revolve around the fear of becoming poor – and there definitely is that component.
But, the way this particular fear manifests itself is what makes it easy to spot.
We become so fearful of poverty…that we freeze and are plagued with indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.
Just when you ought to take action…you don’t.
When sales are declining…you ought to make more sales calls…but you don’t…we sometimes freeze because the fear of poverty may hold us hostage and keep us from moving forward.
Just when you should be investing in that new expansion – that new marketing strategy – that new development – hiring new employees – you don’t.
You become overly cautious. Or…you disguise your caution by saying you’re “skeptical”. Which is a more pleasant way of saying, “I am afraid.”
You become so fearful of hitting the wall – that all you do is focus on the wall.
And then what happens?
Exactly…you end up hitting the wall.
To be clear…I am not suggesting that you throw caution to the wind and become financially irresponsible and then lose your business as a result of mismanagement.
That would be silly.
But I am trying to bring into focus that our Fear of Poverty can be one of the major obstacles that hold us back from the abundance at that next level.
And it doesn’t matter who you are – we have all felt it before – especially when trying to pursue something new – that next level.
Remember, if you focus on the wall…you will hit the wall.
But if you focus on the infield – you may still eventually hit the wall…but your opportunity likely increases by a factor of 10 IF you steer your business where you want it to go instead of letting yourself and your business become paralyzed by indecision, indifference, doubt, worry, over-caution, and procrastination.
So if the Fear of Poverty is the first challenge – what is the second one keeping you from moving your business forward?
It is the Fear of Criticism and is also one of the 6 basic fears…and it too is easy to spot.
This fear what prevents you from making that sales call to that prospective client everyone in town wants because you hear that voice inside your head that says…
“Oh come on…who do you think you’re kidding calling them? You have nothing to offer. They only work with big companies. You’re too small.”
You hear… “You’re not good enough…you don’t have the skills, you will never make it…why bother trying…there are others who are more gifted, talented, they already have all the connections…what could you possibly offer that would be unique and different…just try something that is more at your current level – call on someone smaller – don’t call the president or owner – call someone who reports to them – that would be easier.”
“Why can’t you just be normal?”
The fear of criticism can be overcome with grit…with tenacity…with perseverance…with the shouting into the abyss…I will not be defeated.
You saying… “I will WIN THE DAY”.
And when you do that – and I believe when you’re moving in the direction of God’s plan for your life – there is nothing that can stop you.
Now that we have identified the 2 biggest obstacles holding you back – which really aren’t obstacles at all are they – they all are in your mind – now let’s work through our first recipe.
If you have listened to our Onward Nation episodes, you already know that I ask every single guest to share the most influential lesson they ever learned from one of their mentors that helped them become the business owner they are today.
And wow…our guests have shared some outstanding lessons.
So for this solocast, I am going to share a very specific recipe for attracting and finding the right mentor.
But let’s make this more specific.
Why find a mentor?
And yes, there is a specific recipe you can use to find a mentor and I am going to share that with you.
Before I share the step-by-step ingredients to this powerful recipe…I will share two of the most influential lessons I ever learned from one of my mentors…Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.
For 12-months, Darren was a member of our board of advisors at Predictive ROI. So we would get together either in-person or over the phone. And during one of our monthly calls, I explained to Darren some of my reservations about building a big business.
I wasn’t sure how big I wanted Predictive ROI to become. And so I was nervous about it.
And I said, “Gosh, Darren – you know – I’ve never thought of myself as being a great manager of people. And quite frankly, honestly Darren, I kind of suck at it.”
And then Darren said to me, “Stephen…stop SUCKING at it!”
And I said, “What do you mean?”
And he said… “Don’t give me that lie or tell me that myth that you are telling yourself. Don’t use that as a frickin’ excuse to stop moving forward. Stop telling yourself that limiting belief and that lie that you’re not a good manager or leader. Be better at it. Don’t give me the excuse.”
And so I’m standing there almost like totally stripped down – I was like, my word, he just totally called me on it right.
It was embarrassing – because Darren’s assessment was spot on, Onward Nation!
And that’s what a good mentor does for you – they call you out when you need to be called out – they support you when you need to be supported and they teach you when you need to be taught.
But they don’t do the hard work for you – that’s on you.
So here are the specific 11 ingredients for finding the right mentor for you:
Think about your own talents and skills you would like to strengthen — weaknesses you would like to lessen — areas of your business you would like to improve, etc.
Then make a precise list that details everything you just thought about.
This process helps you identify the person you need to become in order to move your business onward to the next level
This is a really hard exercise because you have to force yourself to take a critical look at yourself (and by the way — most people are not willing to get really honest with themselves — and that is one of the major reasons they never grow)
Once you have the list — look for people who are crushing it in these areas — the same areas where you need to grow.
Then contact those people — invite them to lunch — let them know you are packed full of questions for them
Be very prepared — they will love that
Interview them and put what they share with you into practice — turn it into a blog post and your clients will love you for it
Loop back to your mentors and share your success
When you do, they will invite you to sit down so they can share more with you.
Soak it all up — then put it into practice.
Remember…a good mentee takes action on what is learned — and the responsibility is on you.
Here’s the reality, Onward Nation…you are the average of who you spend the most time with as Jim Rohn so brilliantly shared decades ago.
So you need to spend your time with people you have a common future with – not a common past.
Let me close out this first recipe by saying…you can want to find a mentor – the recipe that I just shared with you could be worth millions of dollars in new sales to your company – but – it won’t be worth anything unless you DECIDE to take action.
As Tony Robbins says, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken action – in fact – that you have taken massive action. And if there’s no action – then that is simply an indicator you haven’t really decided anything.
Now that we have conquered and overcome the two main challenges standing in your way – and now that I have shared with you a very specific recipe with all of the step-by-step ingredients (in the proper syntax) so you can find your right mentor or mentors…it is now time to really accelerate your results and move your business onward to the next level.
The next recipe I am going to share with you could represent a billion – yes, with a “B” – billion dollar strategy for your business.
I am going to share a recipe for mastering a specific system that will dramatically expand your network and sphere of influence – and – I will also share with you how you can then monetize these valuable relationships into mutually beneficial partnerships and revenue for your business.
And yes, I know it may sound crass or inappropriate when I say monetize relationships – unfortunately, I can’t think of a better word – I think you get what I am driving at.
But before we get to the recipe…let me put typical “networking” into context.
Most business owners go to an event with a large number of “prospects”.
They pass out business cards.
They chit chat small talk with the same people they met their last month.
They collect others business cards.
More chit chat and participate in some more small talk.
They might even schedule some lunch meetings.
Why do we do this?
Because it is safe. It is easy. It does not put us out there or force us to face our fear of poverty or our fear of criticism.
We begin to ask ourselves several horrible questions like we discussed in Episode 685. Questions like... “What would people think if I did this or that…or spent time with so and so?”
I am going to work hard here to shift your paradigm and perspective of what is possible, Onward Nation.
And that is why I love this quote from Archimedes. “Give me a prop strong enough, and a lever long enough, and I can single-handedly move the world”
This next recipe I am about to share with you will become your lever and your prop.
And it is big – this is literally a billion dollar recipe – and I am going to introduce you to the top business owner who is using it generate a billion dollars.
She describes herself as a billionaire in the making and her name is Stacey Alcorn, our brilliant guest for Episode 3 of Onward Nation.
During our interview, one of the stories Stacey shared was about the afternoon she had spent with Kevin O’Leary, Mr. Wonderful from ABC’s Shark Tank. They spent the afternoon tasting wine and exchanging business mantras and best lessons. As you might imagine, Stacey and Kevin had quite the masterminding session.
There is always a strategy behind what Stacey does – and if you go back and re-listen to Episode 3, you will hear her map out her entire biz dev strategy with precision.
But, let’s review one of the golden nuggets from that conversation – Stacey’s billion-dollar biz dev strategy and it revolves around swing for the fences with respect to the relationships you are seeking to develop.
Most people will not swing for the fences – but Stacey does. And your ability to be bold with this biz dev strategy is the first ingredient and key to your success.
So here are the other 9 ingredients in Stacey’s biz dev recipe.
And here is another key benefit to this strategy, Onward Nation. If you interview the movers and shakers in your industry – they become your informal mentors…and you become one of the movers and shakers in the industry as a result.
If you want a BIGGER – more ROBUST – more INFLUENTIAL network – then YOU must become bigger…your platform must become more robust…and you must become more influential.
But – let me also share a WARNING or a potential ROADBLOCK with you.
You might be thinking – “Sounds awesome, Stephen…but Stacey has an email list of 65,000 people and has interviewed all of these celebrities and big-time business people – I don’t have those connections.”
Or, maybe you’re thinking… “My business just started…I don’t have mindshare in the marketplace, I’m not a published author, I don’t have a platform, no one knows who I am, who will listen to me – what do I have or could I share that would be relevant for anyone to listen to, I don’t have a network – I wouldn’t even know how to start.”
I get it, Onward Nation. Honest I do. I asked myself those same questions when I sent out my initial invitations for guests to join me for an interview. I thought, “Who am I to send an invitation to these incredible people? Why on Earth would they say yes to me?”
And yet...they did. And in the process of receiving the yeses – I realized that what I was doing was making excuses. I was allowing the Fear of Poverty and the Fear of Criticism to work against me, Onward Nation.
Please don’t allow that to happen to you.
If you hear those voices in your head – if you are having thoughts that are even remotely similar to what I just mentioned – let that be your litmus test – you now know you are heading in the right direction.
Push forward – don’t stop – don’t let your fear hold you back from breaking through to that next level.
Remember, you are the average of the people you spend the most time with…and look who Stacey is spending the most time with.
She refers to herself as “A billionaire in the making.” And in order for that vision for her life to become a reality – she knows that she needs to spend as much time as possible with other billionaires.
Well, I will let you in on a secret she told me during our interview – Stacey didn’t have those connections several years ago.
But she decided to change her circumstance – her current network and then took action to make it happen.
And I know you can too.
Okay, Onward Nation – so with that said...I just want to say thank you again. I greatly appreciate your time, I greatly appreciate all of your feedback, and I am grateful that you decided to share with me some of your precious 86,400 seconds you have today.
Please know – I always look forward to your feedback. You can reach me at Stephen@predictiveroi.com, on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Just drop me a line and let me know what you thought of today’s solocast – thumbs up or thumbs down.
Until tomorrow – onward with gusto!
Rob Emrich is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Gimbal, which was named the fastest-growing tech company by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2016 and ranked #66 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2017. Gimbal is the market leader in the emerging category of physical world marketing automation. The company counts over 10,000 end customers including Ford, Citibank, Walgreens, and other Fortune 500 firms. Rob has been featured in the The New York Times Bestselling book The Lean Entrepreneur & 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires. He has been recognized by the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and “Forty under 40.”
Larry Haas is the Founder and CEO of Global Aperture Inc., a management consulting firm specializing in helping companies transform to achieve their strategic goals in industries such as Aerospace and Defense, Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Nonprofits. Prior to founding Global Aperture, Larry served as a consultant and leader in several organizations including Procter and Gamble, Boeing, and as an officer and program manager in the United States Air Force.
Darla Hall is the owner of In the Sports Zone, creating licensed activity books for college, NFL, MLB, NBA and other brands. Her idea started as a gift for a little boy who was struck by a car and suffered two broken legs. She developed the first Roll Tide Activity Book as a gift for him and secured her first license in 2012. He has fully recovered and Darla has grown her business by adding product lines, teams, and leagues each year. She is currently writing a memoir titled, “Ball Cap, Boots, Backflips & Business”, which will be released in 2019.
Jeff Hyman is the Chief Talent Officer at Chicago-based Strong Suit Executive Search — whose focus is on recruiting and building rockstar teams for growth companies. He’s recruited over 3,000 people and has advised hundreds of entrepreneurs along the way on the recruitment process — and from that experience — he wrote the book “Hiring Growth Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business” to share the lessons he learned. Jeff also hosts the five-star podcast, Strong Suit.
Good Morning – I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host of Onward Nation. And welcome to Episode 690, which is this week’s solocast.
Before we go behind-the-green-curtain of today’s topic...I want you to know how extremely grateful I am for your time – and I am also grateful that you have chosen this episode to be what you listen to – to study.
Or, maybe you’re taking our podcast with you on your daily commute – or however the lessons we share make their way to you – please know – I am thankful we have become part of your day.
We all have the same 86,400 seconds to invest today...and the fact that you have chosen to invest a portion of your time in taking this journey with us means a great deal to me.
So thank you, Onward Nation.
For our time together today...I am going to step us through what I see as the four seasons each and every business owner needs to recognize in order to successfully navigate their company, employees, and clients through as part of the business’s natural life cycle.
Every business experiences these seasons – no matter what industry and no matter how successful.
And yes, there is some correlation between the seasons we will walk through during today’s discussion and some of the traditional growth models you may have studied in school like Growth-Share Matrix made popular by the Boston Consulting Group.
This is the one with a quadrant – grid layout where a business needs to fit inside one of four boxes. One was labeled Cash Cow, one for Star, one for Question Mark, and one for Dogs.
A business would be classified into one of the quadrants based on their growth rate and market share.
If growth is high and market share was also high...the business would be a star. The opposite of the Star is the Dog quadrant.
I like what the Boston Consulting Group did with the matrix. And it is ideally suited for large corporate entities operating in well-defined industries with easy to calculate market shares.
That is not most business owners, Onward Nation.
It doesn’t fit Predictive ROI and my guess is it doesn’t fit your company either.
And in my opinion, business owners need a practical framework for connecting the seasons of their business into their thought leadership – into their point of view – and how these blend together to form cornerstone content that can be used to move any business forward.
And also recognizing that there should be healthy period of rest in the business.
I will also share some tactical next steps to consider while you and your team are working your way through each season.
How you can continue to nurture and build your nation of true fans, how you can continually refine and clarify your point of view, and how you can prepare your business to move onward to reach that next level of success.
Okay, let’s dive in. Ultimately, there are three main reasons why I wanted to share this with you this morning, Onward Nation.
First...and you may have heard me talk about this before...but I am sick of all the “marketing hyperbole” I hear from digital marketing gurus, business coaches who have never run a business, and consultants who are promising you that their system – if only applied – can give you that coveted 7-figure business.
You just need to download their thing, buy their course, or join their super expensive mastermind.
These gurus are trying to entice you with their get rich quick promises of following their funnel blueprint or this email sequence – just apply this swipe file into your campaigns – and WHAMMO – you too can have a 7-figure business just like they do.
Um, no thank you.
Here’s the reality, Onward Nation...
Of the 28.1 million businesses in the United States...only 4 percent of them ever reach the $1 million a year in sales.
Yep, just 4 percent.
With that said...there are certainly legit experts – those who have truly done it before. But the different is that a true thought leader has a fully transparent body of work that is easy to see.
You can review and scrutinize their track record...and their content is true thought leadership versus a self-aggrandizing YouTube channel.
You can easily see how they have built a business of their own and how they truly work in the trenches with others to help build a client’s company.
Onward Nation, growing a company to $1 million in sales is a big deal – and if it is one of your goals – super awesome! But to get there...you need to remain cognizant of the fact that your business will go through a healthy process of seasons so you can stay focused and ready to deploy your precious resources at the right time – hence the importance of today’s discussion.
Second...I want to help you set expectations on timeline because there is so much glitz and glam surrounding success today that it is really easy to fall into the trap that success can happen overnight.
And even when we logically know and conceptually understand that success takes time and a whole lot of hard work – we can see a business or a celebrity and think, “Wow...how did that happen for them so fast?”
Because we fit all about their behind-the-green-curtain backstory – we only see the flashy front of stage. Here...let me give you two quick examples.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are two of the biggest names in entertainment right now – and earners – in Hollywood. So they are great examples of the point I want to make.
With Dwayne, aka The Rock, one of his first starring roles was a movie called The Scorpion King back in 2002...16 years ago, Onward Nation. And before that...he was a professional wrestler from 1996 to 2004.
But...for the better part of 21 years, Dwayne Johnson has been perfecting his craft to the point that he was one of 2017’s highest paid actors earning $65 million.
He has also built a nation of true fans, who flock to see his latest blockbuster when he shares snippets of the film in his daily posts with his 100 million Instagram followers.
The Rock deserves every ounce of his success – it’s fun to watch from the outside looking in – and he is the furthest thing from an overnight success. He is now reaping the harvest of his 20 plus years of sowing.
Or how about Kevin Hart? He has been perfecting his comedy craft since 2001. Kevin was cast as The Rock’s co-star in two recent movies, including the international sensation “Jumanji”.
And not only did the starring roles represent success for Kevin Hart all by themselves...but...they also helped further expand his profile and fan base to where he is now breaking box office records with his current comedy tour entitled, “Irresponsible.”
Kevin and his team sold an unprecedented 500,000 tickets during the first week of opening. And he now has 57 million Instagram followers.
When I look at Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, I immediately want to know the behind-the-green-curtain of their success...their team...their systems...their practice sessions...the training...the preparation...and all of the hard work...night after night...all the doubt when they must have thought they wouldn’t “make it”.
And yet they kept work through the seasons and they did it for decades. Because they knew that was the price that success required to be paid in order for them to get them to where they are now.
How they persevered.
How they ignored the naysayers.
How they kept pushing.
I respect that level of dedication to their craft and what they wanted to achieve – but interestingly – if I were to interview them for an Onward Nation episode – I suspect they would both say that as good as things are for them right now...they likely feel like they are just getting started.
Both are legit business owners – not just on-screen talent – so watch what they are doing, Onward Nation, and how they are executing every day. It is mastery and discipline at work.
Third...I wanted to walk you through the seasons so you can had a roadmap for building your business in a strategic and thoughtful way.
A blueprint that helps you build a nation of true fans around your point-of-view, around what makes you unique, your thought leadership, and the value you and your team deliver for clients.
Okay, so let’s dive into the four seasons that every business, and every business owner, needs to work through.
In my opinion, this first season is experienced when you need to ignite new growth in your business – and – when you have just reached that next level.
Getting back to the basics, which I believe are re-grouping with your team, skills training, evaluating the resources on your current team and making additions or adjustments, revisiting your point-of-view, how your POV is driving what you earlier defined as your three uniques, and how both are driving your cornerstone content.
As a quick aside, Onward Nation...if you want more detail on POV, three uniques, and how they blend to form your cornerstone content...just go back to Episodes 676 and 659. You will find some good step-by-step detail in both episodes.
So if you just completed a successful business development campaign, launched a new product or service, attended a major trade show and rolled out something innovative – as a result – achieved that next level of your business you are likely now in Season 1.
Versus...continuing to push and push in order to move to yet another level.
Onward Nation, more companies go out of business from indigestion due to too much opportunity versus starvation and not having enough new business to keep them alive.
So if you reached that next level – awesome. Take some time to celebrate and evaluate how you got there by asking yourself some key questions.
Review how your team performed – and more specifically – what skill sets were critical to your success? And do you have enough capacity in that skill going forward?
What value did you deliver to customers?
What feedback did you receive from customers?
What feedback did you receive from vendors?
How many new customers did you take on – and why?
How many customers did you lose – and why?
What about your sales pipeline worked really well and what didn't?
Did your pool of prospects grow and why?
Did you social media ecosphere grow and why?
Or...maybe the reverse is true. Your business has not reached a new level on the upside but instead has reached a new low. Well, the questions we just covered apply for your business, too.
So no matter if you are coming off some massive growth – or some massive struggles – Season 1 is the reset. We all need a reset – to clear away all the clutter and to then focus on renewal and moving forward. It is part of the Law of the Harvest. Just think about that for a second.
Say you are farmer and you just had a record harvest – more corn – more potatoes – more produce than you have every harvested from your fields in the history of your family working the soil for decades.
You put new technology, new tools, and a new team into place the resulting yields we off the charts.
But now the harvest is over. It is time to get back to the basics and prepare for next year’s harvest by working through the same evaluation process I just shared with you.
Or, let’s say you’re the farmer again and you just had the worst yielding harvest ever in the history of your farm.
What do you do?
You get back to the basics and prepare for the next harvest and setting yourself and your team up for success during the next harvest period.
Season 1 is critical to Season 4...it is the Law of the Harvest and it is alive and well on the family farm just as it is in your business. You cannot experience massive growth year after year without coming back to Season 1 and renewing...and getting ready for the next harvest.
For example...at Predictive ROI...we recently experienced a leveling up...new clients...new teammates...a successful launch of our latest book, Profitable Podcasting – and thank you for all of your support, Onward Nation – I am so very grateful for your helping in making the book so successful...becoming a #1 Amazon.com best seller list in 18 hours was awesome.
We had an excellent Season 4 harvest. And we are not done growing Predictive ROI – but we do need to take a brief pause and realize that we are now in Season 1 so that we can prepare for our next Season 4 harvest.
So this week...Erik Jensen and I – my business partner at Predictive ROI – we met up in Austin, Texas – he flew in from Salt Lake City and I flew in from La Crosse, Wisconsin for five days of business development – meetings with several of our Predictive ROI clients and then Erik and I are also investing 2-1/2 days with our mastermind group that consists of other agencies owners – as part of the Agency Management Institute.
The 12 owners in the mastermind all refer to our group as Velocity – and I absolutely love the owners in the group – and this is the perfect Season 1 activity for Predictive ROI...as we plan our next iteration of Seasons 2, 3, and 4.
Let’s stay with the farmer example as we walk through the other seasons. In Season 2...again...no matter if you just reached a new level of growth in your business...a record harvest...or...you are grinding in order to rebuild...Season 2 is all about sowing. Season 2 is about generously sowing the right seeds, in the right amounts, and in the right areas in order for new growth to occur.
According to the Law of the Harvest, we will only reap at the time of harvest what has been sown.
So if we have not been generous in helping clients grow, helping our prospects learn and develop all without some hidden agenda, and to generously share our time with our teammates, then how can we expect that our harvest in Season 4 will be abundant?
In addition, the Law of the Harvest also says that we will reap the same in kind as we sow.
Or, to say that another way...you cannot share small tidbits of your knowledge with your prospects and then expect abundance at the time of harvest. You cannot give pennies and expect dollars at harvest.
But also remember this...the Law of the Harvest also says that you will reap more at harvest than what you sow.
So your generosity with customers, clients, teammates, vendors, and all of your other stakeholders during Season 2 will pay big dividends during your harvest.
So if your business is struggling...should you be financially frugal during Season 2? Yes, absolutely!
That is part of being a good steward. But what you should also do is to creatively find ways to share your wisdom and expertise with your clients and prospects – to sow seeds – to build your list – to share your thought leadership – to guest blog – to write that book you have been wanting to write and share the content for free with your clients as a sneak preview and special thank you.
Build a rockin’ awesome Instagram account – follow Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart – and watch what they are doing – how they let their followers into their lives – they have pulled back the curtain – you can do the same thing with your prospects and clients.
And yes, you don’t have 100 million followers – so what – you have the number of seeds you need for your next harvest. You just need to get out there and sow them.
Season 2 is all about planting your flag – your POV in the hearts and minds of your customers and prospects...and you do that through sowing seeds – as many as you can – through your cornerstone content.
You can do this...I believe in you, Onward Nation.
If you have done the hard work of Season 1 – put the plans in place and have been diligent about sowing the right seeds and in the right amounts during Season 2...you will begin to see signs of new growth.
New opportunities will begin to come your way.
New prospects will invite you in to present your services, to share your story, and to discuss how you and your team might be able to add value to what they are trying to accomplish.
You will start to meet prospects at trade shows who come up to you and say, “Hey, I have been listening to your podcast – or watching your YouTube channel – or reading your blog – or – I have been on your email list for a while now – and I really like some of the things you have been sharing and was hoping we would have an opportunity to meet at this show.”
Or...how about this, “I knew I just had to attend your workshop because every time I turn around with a problem or crisis in my business – there you are – ready to be helpful.”
Okay...how awesome is that, Onward Nation?
And those are all signs of new growth. New opportunities that need to be nurtured – and when that begins to happen – you will know you are firmly planted in Season 3.
It is time for you to water the seeds you have sown, get down on your hands and knees and pull the weeds, gently till the soil to let more air in on the roots, and to prune the growth you are now seeing.
All of this hard work – getting into the trenches with your community – with your audience – with your nation of true fans is critical.
It is the right thing to do in order to remain congruent with the person who just did all of the Season 2 sowing. And, you need to remain congruent with the Law of the Harvest.
If you notice growth and don't water it...or pull the weeds...your new growth will dry out and die.
But oftentimes, I see business owners do the hard work of Season 1 and Season 2 and then expect that the floodgates of the abundant harvest will now come flowing into their business – but that circumvents the law of the harvest.
Nature doesn’t work that, way and you cannot expect that the natural laws that govern relationships will work that way either.
So respect the process. Season 3 must be followed if you want to have an abundant harvest in Season 4.
Okay...now Season 4 is here. It is time for your book launch, it is time for your product launch, it is time for you to roll out your new service offering, it is time for you to unveil your latest innovation to your sales team at your private event at the industry trade show – something you and your team have worked so hard to achieve...yes!!!
It’s here...THE HARVEST.
And if this is where you are at right now, Onward Nation – congratulations – please know – I am super happy for you.
You didn’t move into Season 4 by accident. You didn’t wake up one day in Season 4 without some serious hard work – so virtual high five – I respect your effort and hope the abundance of your harvest overflows.
Just like the farmer doesn’t wake up one day in early August and say to his team... “You know what I think we ought to do today – let’s go pick some corn!” And then they look out to a field without any corn – covered in weeds – not going to be a good harvest.
But, if the farmer and his or her team have done all of the hard work in Seasons 1, 2, and 3...they should be ready for an abundance harvest. And they also know that as soon as all of the hard work of the harvest is complete...they will immediately move back into Season 1 because the preparation for next year’s harvest begins.
So just like with the Law of the Harvest – the seasons your business experiences will follow a similar pattern.
However, I also want to make sure I clarify that I am not suggesting that the seasons are an annual cycle for your business are they are when we are talking about growing corn.
You may have an abundant harvest in Season 4...move into Season 1 for planning...and then move through Seasons 2 and 3 to prepare for the next harvest...all in a matter of a few short months.
And for your business or the dynamics of your industry – that may be possible. Or, Seasons 1, 2, and 3 may take you a year or two to get through...especially if you are coming off a harvest that did not produce the results you wanted.
You did not receive great feedback from customers.
You realized that you might need to make some adjustments to your team to level up.
You noticed some adjustments to your product or service to make sure it is properly aligned with the cornerstone content you are producing.
Or, you have now realized how important it is to get clear on your POV, your three uniques, and why you should be sharing cornerstone content on a consistent basis to add value during Season 2 – sowing your seeds.
Regardless of what season your business is currently in – please know – being aware of the Law of Harvest can help you move your business through the seasons – and onward to that next level.
I wish you much success during your next harvest, Onward Nation.
So with that said...I again want to say thank you. Thank you for being here and generously sharing your time and all of your feedback so that we can continue to get better each and every day.
We will be back tomorrow with another helpful episode with Jeff Hyman as my guest. I know you will find the conversation with Jeff helpful because shares insights and the economics around recruiting rock stars for your team. You will not want to miss Jeff Hyman.
Okay, Onward Nation – until then – onward with gusto!
Brandon Steiner is the CEO and Founder of Steiner Sports. Over 30-years ago, he started Steiner Sports with $4,000 and a computer and has grown it to be a leader in the sports memorabilia and marketing industry. Brandon is also a speaker and host of the Unplugged Podcast and the author of two bestselling books, "The Business Playbook" and "You Gotta Have Balls."
Today’s episode is going to be different from any other -- in fact -- it is fair to say that today’s episode will be another power installment of How to Do the Hard Right Over the Easy Wrong. I can boldly make such a claim because my guest today is Larry Broughton. Larry is Founder and CEO of broughton HOTELS; Broughton Advisory Group; and yoogozi.com. Larry is an award-winning entrepreneur & CEO; a best-selling author; keynote speaker; and former U.S. Army Green Beret -- who is committed to helping visionaries, leaders and high-achievers step into the leadership gap. You may also remember Larry and the wisdom he shared during Episodes 18 and 166 of Onward Nation. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all that Larry shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episodes 18 and 166 to your list of vital priorities. You’ll be glad you did.
Jim Horan is the founder and president of The One Page Business Plan Company, an experienced Fortune 500 executive, sought after thought leader, advisor to startups, CEOs and their management teams as well as other industry leaders. Seventeen years ago, Jim simplified the business plan to a single page and began a revolution that continues to this day. Jim’s first book, “The One Page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur” instantly became an Amazon best seller and Inc. Magazine listed the book as one of the Top 10 “Start Your Own Business” books of 2015.
Ian Lamont is the founder and president of i30 Media Corporation, a media venture specializing in reference materials, technology news, and how-to guides, including the award-winning “IN 30 MINUTES” series of guidebooks and “PRIORITY PAYLOAD REPORT”, the independent newsletter of industrial automation. He is also the creator of the Lean Media framework, which helps creative people and production teams develop media that matters.
Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to today’s solocast.
As part of my role as host of Onward Nation...and as CEO of Predictive ROI...I am blessed with this amazing opportunity to meet, talk with, and really get to know business owners as well as the critical skills and strategies they have applied to be successful and the lessons they learned along the way. But these owners have also been kind enough to take me behind the green curtain and share their fears, their insecurities, and the constraints to success that they face each and every day.
And the constraints can vary from business owner to business owner...and from industry to industry. But there is one constraint that is universal. There is one constraint that affects all of us. There is one constraint – that no matter who you are – you have faced and have been impacted by it.
So for today’s solocast...I am going to take you on a deep dive into this constraint, and more importantly, how to conquer it and give you a couple of key ingredients so you can push it aside when it begins to impact you and your business.
And the constraint that I am talking about is the Imposter Syndrome.
The Imposter Syndrome isn’t some mystic dark magic voodoo. No, it’s the little voice you hear – a whisper – a question – that asks... “Who do you think you are to attempt something so grand...a goal so big. Who would ever pay for that? What makes you think you can deliver that type of project? Why would that company choose you to work with when they could hire anyone they want?” And the list of bad questions that we ask ourselves each and every day can go on and on.
These questions that we pose to ourselves can cause us to question our competency. The questions might give us pause. The questions – and the ensuing internal dialogue – may cause you to show up to a meeting with an important client in a less confident way. Your employees may wonder if you have what it takes to be the inspiring leader they were hoping for when they joined your team.
And then all of that negative self-talk results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is then followed by another round of doubt from the syndrome. “See, aren’t you glad you didn’t get your hopes up? It’s better this way...then there is no disappointment.” And here too...the list can go on and on.
So, the Imposter Syndrome is real. It is unrelenting. It doesn’t get tired. It knows all of your weaknesses and how best to mask your strengths.
The Imposter Syndrome will cheat you out of your destiny. It will cheat you out of the application of your God-given talents. And it will cheat you out of being the owner of the thriving, wonderful, game-changing business you want to lead.
So buckle in Onward Nation. We’re going for a deep dive into the Imposter Syndrome and how you can conquer it...once and for all.
I will share some definitions and some context for when the Imposter Syndrome was discovered, how you can avoid it, as well as several examples of the syndrome hard at work so that you can spot it when it tries to sneak up on you.
My hope is that this discussion will be helpful to you recognizing how the seemingly innocent thoughts, or a minor procrastination, can change the course of your destiny without you even realizing it.
Because your thoughts become your actions -- and your actions -- become your destiny.
So here we go, Onward Nation!
First, the Imposter Syndrome is something we all face. Everyone on Earth faces it -- no matter who they are. It is just that some people have deliberately conditioned themselves to be better than most at pushing themselves past it the fear created by the syndrome.
If you are hearing the term “Imposter Syndrome” for the first time -- let’s start us off with some context and background.
The term Imposter Syndrome was first coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne Imes and was used when referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”
Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. In fact, they take their proof of success and pass it off as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
Some studies suggest the impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women while other studies indicate that men and women are equally affected.
However, based on my experience over the last 20+ years in business, and having interviewed close to 700 of today’s top business owners -- some of the most ambitious super achievers in business today -- I can confidently say -- that the Imposter Syndrome does not have any such gender bias.
It attacks both men and women equally -- so nice of it to do so, right Onward Nation!?!
Now let’s take that definition and break it down into its two core ingredients.
Have you ever felt walking into a meeting that you weren’t worthy -- or that you didn’t belong there? Perhaps someone on the selection committee, the award committee, or board of directors had somehow made a mistake in selecting you.
Heck, maybe even some of your colleagues, family members, or friends looked at you and even validated your own suspicions and asked you the seemingly innocent question of “So why did they pick you?”.
I began to learn about the imposter syndrome back in 2009. My first book had been published while I was an academic staff member at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. My book had become popular with small business owners and several of the UW campuses around the state started asking me to teach a class at their respective campuses. Awesome.
So one day I mentioned the opportunities to a family friend -- that I was headed to UW-Green Bay the next day to teach a class based on my SEO book...and my friend looked at me and said, “Well, why are they having you teach the class? Couldn’t they find someone else locally to teach the class?”
My friend was not trying to be hurtful -- not in the least. But those comments hit me hard. Never mind that my SEO book was #3 in the United States, I had just been interviewed for Inc Magazine and other credibility indicators.
When he asked me that question -- I actually paused and thought about it. “Yeah, why are they hiring me to teach...am I good enough...do I have what it takes...am I the best they could bring in...did I deserve to be there...was I a fraud...did I know what I was talking about?”
Or, there was another instance -- with this same family friend -- when we were having dinner following a recent trip where I was in Washington DC doing what’s called a “Speaker Visit” at Leading Authorities, one of the speakers bureaus that represent me. They had just started representing me and the visit was an opportunity for me to make a brief presentation to showcase my areas of expertise, answer questions, and just help their sales team get to know me a bit better for when any of their clients might need a professional speaker with my skill set.
And during the Q&A portion of the discussion, some members of the Leading Authorities sales team asked me some questions about how best to promote one of their newest clients online -- a very big name -- retired military officer -- and big headlines at the time. Awesome -- I love that kind of Q&A -- and it was really fun sharing some strategies and steps they could use to make a big impact.
So when I got home -- and had dinner with my friend -- I told him about the experience at Leading Authorities and how excited it was. And after I was finished telling the story -- he said to me -- again not trying to be mean to me -- but he asked, “So why did they ask you about how to help?”
A legitimate question...and my answer could have been to share aspects of my experience that were relevant to the conversation in D.C. and specifics about how I helped.
Instead, I let the Imposter Syndrome rise up -- destroy my confidence -- and the end result was that I even began to question why I had been asked. It was a complete 180 in my confidence -- but -- it also proved to be a critical lesson in learning how to defeat the Imposter Syndrome -- and part of your weaponry needs to be protecting your inner circle -- who gets to be inside your circle -- and the information you share or don’t share with members outside your circle.
But, there’s nothing unique or different about these stories. We have all had these experiences of the little voice in our heads whispering -- or in some cases shouting -- “Who do you think you are to do something so amazing?”
That is the Imposter Syndrome, Onward Nation and it is likely holding you back -- it is rearing its ugly head in the form of fear -- and you need to push it aside so it doesn’t block your progress in moving forward.
Here’s the reality...high-performers work hard to prevent people from discovering they are "impostors." This hard work often leads to more praise and success, which perpetuates the impostor feelings and fears of being "found out." The "impostor" may feel they need to work two or three times as hard, to over-prepare, tinker, and obsess over details. This can lead to burnout and sleep deprivation.
I have felt that way before. With each new interview, success quote, media feature that I received from my books -- I would think -- goodness -- did I deserve to be there? YES -- but it took me a long time to believe it -- and I still wrestle with it today.
Has your business ever gone through a growth spurt and you wondered why?
Have you ever looked around your office and suddenly realized you have some amazing people working for you, looking to you for leadership, and you cannot figure out what they see in you?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable heading into a presentation with a new client and you wonder why they invited you to the table?
Or, in a personal situation -- have you ever felt like you married up -- that your husband or wife -- was not only your better half -- but completely out of your league?
Why do we ask ourselves such losey and unfair questions?
And here’s the important point that I really want you to get, Onward Nation. When you ask yourself “How on earth were we able to hire such amazing employees? Don’t they know that we don’t know what in the world we’re doing?” -- your brain does a funny thing...it gives you an answer.
Your brain doesn’t want to make you out to be a liar -- so it gives you the answer to fit your story.
You start hearing things like… “Yeah, boy, you really pulled the wool over their eyes on that one. Hope Becky doesn’t figure it out -- because if she leaves -- then Tom is sure to leave, too.”
Or, “Why did client X invite us here? We don’t really have a shot at winning this pitch, do we?”
And then answer you get back might be something like, “Nope, we have no chance of winning -- especially if they knew all about the mistakes we made just last week on Client Z’s account. We are lucky to have kept Client Z -- hope X doesn’t ask for references. Maybe we ought to back out of the process now.”
What nonsense. The reality is that you were invited into the evaluation process because you have a stellar network -- perhaps stellar credentials -- and you deserve to be at the table. The voice on your shoulder -- the voice whispering in your ear -- is the imposter syndrome.
And we all deal with it.
It doesn’t matter who you are thinking of right now...Tim Ferriss has dealt with it...Joel Osteen has dealt with...all of the incredible business leaders that grace the covers of SUCCESS Magazine, Inc, Fast Company deal with it.
Heck, I struggle with it, too… “I think to myself all the time -- I can’t invite that person to be a guest on my show -- they’ll for sure say no!”
Good grief! Why do we do this ourselves, Onward Nation?
Every business owner -- every political leader -- every leader throughout history has dealt with this. George Washington did not feel he was worthy to be this country’s first president. No one is immune from the Imposter Syndrome. But if you know that -- you can defeat this secret enemy.
But here’s what is unique -- and what is special -- is when someone stares into the face of potential rejection -- faces their fear and they do it anyway.
And to quote the rock solid awesome words of Dr. Marcie Beigel -- a three-time guest of Onward Nation...she said to me in her first encore interview in Episode 144 said to me, “Stephen...be scared, and then do it anyway!”
Wow...I loved that.
Because it is oftentimes fear -- which is another way of describing the imposter syndrome -- it is fear that gets in your way more than anything else. You -- you, Onward Nation...are your business’s biggest constraint.
Not the market, not your lack of customers, not your pricing, not your product quality...no...it is you. You -- as the leader -- as the business owner -- you set the pace and tempo of your company -- either fast or slow -- you do.
So I asked Dr. Marcie during that special encore interview to share how business owners can reach that elusive next level? She was kind enough to map it out into three simple steps.
And let’s look at all three of these.
First...get clear on what the next level is. Well, if the imposter syndrome (aka FEAR) is making you believe that you are not even worthy of your current level of success -- how could you possibly believe that you are worthy of more? So how could you define what the next level looks like?
Great question, right?
Instead, perhaps you need to spend some time in gratitude being thankful for what you have already accomplished -- consciously acknowledging that what you have achieved was deserved because you worked hard to get there and you applied your God-given gifts and talents to get there -- and now -- to realize your full potential -- it is time to leap off your current plateau and move onward to that next level -- and you deserve to be at the next level -- because you’re an expert.
But the first step is to give yourself permission to define that next level so you know when you and your business have arrived.
Second...be scared about the next level...and do it anyway. Set your fear aside -- what is the worst that could happen? Prospective customers could say no. You might make a bad decision and lose some money?
An employee or a group of employees may disagree in how you’re redirecting the company and could decide to leave.
Are any of these life-threatening situations? Did anyone die? No. And like Mike Stromsoe taught us in episode 24 of Onward Nation -- did anyone die, no? then move on!
Stopping making each decision more -- or bigger -- than it has to be.
Just make a decision...then move on. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
So, Onward Nation, just be scared -- and then do it anyway.
And lastly...find a mentor to learn from. More specifically -- find a mentor or group of mentors who are all moving at a pace and tempo that is faster than you.
I know I say this a lot -- but only because it is critically important. It matters who you spend your time with -- and if you spend your time with people who are moving at your current pace -- or slower -- those people may make you feel comfortable to be around -- they may not challenge you -- they may not push you or ask you tough questions -- and it is easy to relax and unwind.
But guard yourself -- if you don’t protect your time -- you will slow down as a result.
Because as Coach John Wooden once said, you will never outperform your circle. You won’t -- it is just human nature.
So you need to make sure the mentors you select are operating at a completely different level than you are currently at -- that you reach -- that you stretch -- that you get yourself into a group of people where you don’t currently belong. And then you work like crazy to not get left behind -- and in the process -- you will expand and grow -- and leap off your current plateau onto that next rung.
And as Scott McKain recently taught me, “Stephen, you cannot reach that next rung, unless you are willing to let go of the current one you are hanging on to.”
Very wise words, Onward Nation.
Please recognize the imposter syndrome for what it is...it is nothing more than fear. Please also know that we all deal with it...you are not different because you feel it...you are not uniquely burdened or yoked.
But what can make you unique and distinctive is your ability to refuse the status quo and to push past your fear -- to shove the imposter syndrome aside and to not let yourself be your own limitation.
You were meant for greatness. You are a child of the most high God. You are instilled with an infinite abundance of talent and gifts. Please don’t let something so small as fear limit all you were meant to be.
So with that said...
I want to say thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.
However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.
So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.
We will be back tomorrow with an interview with Ian Lamont. I think you will find Ian helpful because we explored how today’s successful companies – at their core – as part of their DNA – have became media companies and how this transformation is likely to continue. My guess is you will find our conversation thought-provoking as I did – it is well worth your time.
Until then, onward with gusto!
Patrick Ewers is an executive coach and the founder of Mindmaven, a company that helps professionals generate more opportunities by introducing experience-based relationship management -- and -- helps them drive growth by increasing their overall mindshare within their network. He was called Silicon Valley’s top relationship management expert by Forbes and was also one of LinkedIn’s earliest team members, where he was responsible for launching and building up “LinkedIn for Groups.”
Robert Glazer is the founder and Managing Director of Acceleration Partners and the founder and Chairman of Brand Cycle. He is a serial entrepreneur with an exceptional track record and passion for growing revenue and profits for business-to-consumer based companies. He has extensive experience in the consumer, e-commerce, retail, online marketing, and ad-tech industries—partnering with brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Target, Tiny Prints, and Warby Parker. Robert is a highly sought-after speaker who presents to global audiences and serves as an advisor to high-growth businesses.
Brendon Lundberg is co-founder of Radiant Pain Relief Centres whose vision is to build the safest, most consistently effective, and appealing solution to the epidemic of chronic pain. Combining a mission to change the way chronic pain is treated, Brendon and Dr. David Farley opened Radiant Pain Relief Centres in February 2014 and have plans to open centres in new markets, both nationally and internationally. Previous to founding Radiant Pain Centre, Brendon played key operational and business development roles for two other businesses and was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a medical device start-up.
Angelique Rewers is the CEO of The Corporate Agent and her team helps small businesses and self-employed professionals land corporate clients. In four years, she went from the starting gate to being among the top 1 percent of women business owners nationwide and was recently named an Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine. Her groundbreaking INSIDE EDGE global conference has brought entrepreneurs together with major brands like IBM, Intel, HP, PayPal, AT&T, Marriott, Chevron, and Major League Baseball, to help them work together more effectively.
Lee Caraher started Double Forte in 2002 as a new kind of communications firm designed to provide the best service in the business. Lee has managed multiple offices and hundreds of people of all ages and was named in the 40 under 40 by PRWEEK Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medieval history — which she finds useful every day. You may also remember Lee and the wisdom she shared during episodes 180, 269, 523, and 669 of Onward Nation. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all that Lee shared during our earlier interviews...I highly encourage you to add episodes 180, 269, 523, and 669 to your list of vital priorities.
Our special encore guest today is Mark Howley and he is the CEO of Pacific Bag, Inc., which manufacturers unique pre-made bags for specialty coffee, tea, pet food, specialty foods, ag, chemicals, and other niche markets around the world. Mark’s company serves over 5,000 customers in over 60 countries. Mark’s experience covers the gamut of sales, marketing, product management, and executive management. You may remember Mark and the wisdom he shared during Episode 552. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 552 to your list of vital priorities.
Our special encore guest today is Dianna Booher and she is the founder and CEO of Booher Research Institute and author of “COMMUNICATE LIKE A LEADER.” Dianna works with organizations to help them communicate clearly — and with leaders — to expand their influence by having a strong executive presence. She works with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies, such as IBM, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Siemens, NASA, and the U.S. Navy. She has been featured on Good Morning America, and in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Investor’s Business Daily, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. You may remember Dianna and the wisdom she shared during Episode 502. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all she shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 502 to your list of vital priorities.
Eric Levenhagen founded ProWise Financial Coaching (formerly known as ProWise Tax & Accounting) in 2005. His mission is to perform a comprehensive service for his clients, unlike any other firm out there, and help clients lead a life of financial abundance. He is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Tax Coach who integrates both disciplines into a holistic, client-centered approach towards maximizing his client’s after-tax income and wealth. You may remember Eric and the wisdom he shared during Episode 25. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all he shared during our first interview...I highly encourage you to add Episode 25 to your list of vital priorities.
Good Morning Onward Nation – I’m Stephen Woessner and welcome to today’s solocast.
Before we dive into the strategies that I wanted to share with you this morning – I first wanted to say thank you. Thank you for making 2017 the best year for Onward Nation – the most downloads we have ever had...the most countries we have ever reached...and the most impact we have ever created.
Each and every day – my team and I are so very grateful for your generous gift of you sharing your time with us by listening to our episodes and then sharing your feedback by letting us know – thumbs up or thumbs down and how we can get better the next time.
I am honored that you choose to invest a portion of the 86,400 seconds you have each day with our guests and with me. So I want you to know how much I appreciate you and that we are committed to raising the bar – the standard of excellence – the value we deliver to you.
We as business owners – each of us every day – when we wake up and our feet hit the floor – need think of ways to deliver even more value to the customers and clients we have the privilege of currently serving – and – the customers and clients we look forward to serving in the future.
There needs to be that insatiable hunger in you that drives your business to give more...to create more...to deliver more...because when that hunger is there...it not only elevates your business to that next level – but – it protects you by giving you what you need for survival.
I have a Successories quote hanging on the wall behind my desk that encapsulates how I feel about the power of starting the day with the right momentum.
The quote is called... “The Essence of Survival” and it goes like this...
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed...every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle...when the sun comes up...you’d better be running.”
So thank you, Onward Nation, for being the driving force for my Predictive ROI team and I. We appreciate all of the hugs you have given us – and we appreciate the pushes, too. Please know – we are working hard to get better each and every day and please keep the feedback coming.
So now let’s turn our attention toward today’s strategies...
During Episode 659 several weeks ago...I shared some insight into why I firmly believe that most business owners look at marketing through the wrong end of the lens – and because of this – they tend to see an incomplete set of vital metrics – and consequently – they miss opportunities in lead gen, selling, and driving revenue.
Onward Nation...in addition to expecting your sales and marketing efforts to create and nurture demand for your product and service offering...your marketing, and the content you create to power it, should also represent a profit center in your business – not a cost center.
Yes, you should get paid to create content.
And that is possible when you begin looking at your marketing through the correct end of the lens. You will see revenue opportunities beyond lead gen and customer acquisition.
You will begin to see the opportunity for sponsorships, events, book deals, speaking engagements, and much more.
During Episode 659 several weeks ago...I shared tangible examples of what I call Cornerstone Content. I defined what cornerstone content is and shared several specific strategies for how you can monetize the cornerstone content you create.
So for today...we are going to take a step backward in the process – well before monetization – because I want to share with you a strategic framework that you and your team can use to create the content that you will later monetize.
And yes, I agree – this does seem a bit backwards. Why share monetization strategies before sharing the strategy framework that makes it all possible.
I decided to organize it this way...because if you are like me...and most business owners...I thought I need to paint the picture of what was possible in Episode 659...to give you a why this matters...because I could give you the road map for the “How”.
So for today – I am going take several pages right out of the Predictive ROI cookbook so it can guide the strategic conversations you should be having with you and your team. This recipe contains the actual ingredients my team and I use when we are on-site working with clients during our 2-day intensives.
The topics are deep...the topics will likely push you and your team to think creatively about your business development...and will challenge you to hold each other accountable. This framework will chart the course for you and your team so that when you wake up, you can start running and confidently know...you are running in the right direction.
And ultimately, as a result of this process...you will be able to look at your marketing through the correct end of the lens, which will help you move your business onward to that next level because your marketing will no longer be a cost center – but a profit center for your business.
Let’s get started by reviewing what I believe you and your team need to accomplish during Day One.
Begin the process with a deep dive into your point-of-view – your position about why you do what you do within your business. Your point of view, or POV for short...is a bold statement about what you believe to be true. It might be provocative and thought-provoking...maybe even controversial.
It may be turn off a wide swath of people who are not your audience – but for those who are part of your tribe, or could be...it will be a beacon in the night for them.
When you say it...when you share it...when you build content around it...your tribe will hear and respond. Your POV will help you build an audience – it is that magnetic.
And because of these attributes of a well-crafted POV...it may take some digging to find it. It typically doesn’t reside on the surface. You and your team will need to push each other to find it.
It’s not about customer service, features, advantages, or benefits. It is about experience – why a customer chooses you over the myriad of other options in the marketplace.
To help...think of some thought leaders and what they stand for and what their brands stand for...or what their positions stand for...or how they built a category when previous to them entering the market...the category didn’t even exist.
Just like Simon Sinek did when he encouraged us to “Start with Why”. Simon now owns that very simple phrase – but because of his POV – and the cornerstone content he builds around it – it is very clear what he stands for and it drives everything in his business.
Here’s my point. You can do the same thing in your business when defining your POV. You just need to take the time to do it.
So...ask yourself...what do you stand for. What is the flag you want to plant in firm ground?
And don’t move on to the next piece in the process until you have your POV complete.
Next...who is it you want to serve?
I often to refer to the client avatar lessons I learned directly from Darren Hardy, former publisher of SUCCESS Magazine.
In fact, if you go to Episode 308 of Onward Nation...you will find a detailed recipe for mapping out and identifying the attributes of your client avatar.
But identifying the attributes of your client avatar is only one piece of the puzzle. You need to take that a step further by converting the avatar into a list of your Dream 25 prospects – these are the people you would most like to serve as clients for your business.
So how do you do that? LinkedIn.
Here again...another free resource for you. Just go back to Episode 455 of Onward Nation and you will have access to our full recipe on using LinkedIn to identify your Dream 25 prospects.
The recipe is comprehensive – but working through it – will give you everything you need to ensure you are using LinkedIn effectively to fill your sales pipeline.
Next...you and your team will need to identify three unique attributes to your brand – what truly makes you distinctive in the marketplace? What do you provide that no other company provides?
For example...at Predictive ROI...our three uniques are:
One -- we help clients get clear on their point-of-view
Two -- we help them create high-quality cornerstone content that cements their POV into the hearts and minds of their audience with consistent thought leadership
And three -- we help clients drive revenue by transforming their content into a Trojan Horse of Sales, which you can learn more about this strategy back in Episode 600 where I break it down in full transparency.
We also help our clients attract an audience so a third party brand will want to pay to gain access to our client’s valuable audience.
All of this combined typically represents a 5x to 7x return on our client’s investment, which gives Predictive ROI a compelling – and unique – value proposition.
So what are your three uniques?
Talk about it with your team. But don't accept surface answers. Dig deep. And when someone suggests that it might be X...push back with the question, “Okay, why is X important to our customers?” And when one of your teammates answers the question, ask the same question again, “Okay...that makes sense...but why is that important?”
Repeat the process three times to keep peeling back the layers. And by the third time...you will arrive at something truly unique about your offering.
Okay, by this time in the day – you will have accomplished a lot – your team will likely be ready to wrap and be finished – and deservedly so – you have checked some large boxes off the list.
There is just one more box that needs to be checked to complete Day One – and that is to give your process for delivering your uniques...a name.
At Predictive ROI...we call ours The Predictive ROI Method. I encourage you to keep it simple. Simple is best because if you are not careful, it will start to sound like marketing hyperbole, a bit slick, and too showy. And you don’t need that.
Keep it simple. And then go celebrate with your team – you just accomplished some serious business development and strategic work.
Okay...now come back refreshed for Day Two, which is all about defining what type of cornerstone content you plan to create -- and -- how you will define success and measure your progress along the way.
You will begin the process by deciding what type of content will become your cornerstone. For example...do you prefer to speak or do you prefer to write? If you prefer to speak, you may want to consider a podcast, speaking engagements, or a video series as your cornerstone.
Or, if you prefer to write...you might select blogs, articles, books, or research reports as your cornerstone.
Or, you may enjoy aspects about both. For example, I enjoy interviewing guests for our Onward Nation episode – but – I also enjoy writing books. So for now, these are my primary cornerstones.
So what do you prefer? To begin – you only need to – and only should – select one cornerstone. Then master the system and process with it before you select another one.
Ideally, you should have at least two because that will keep you from being seen as a one trick pony – true thought leaders share their content across multiple channels, which gives – or creates the impression – that their content is everywhere, which of course it isn’t – but it sure seems that way to their target audience.
Your POV will be the anchor within your cornerstone content. Each and every episode – every article – every blog post – will all point back to your point of view, which continues to plant your flag in firmer and firmer ground.
And one of the most powerful aspects to creating high-quality cornerstone content is the amount of leverage each piece of content gives you through slicing and dicing. For example...you could take one of your podcast episodes...and transform it into 10 tweets, an eBook, top insights briefing that can be shared with your best customers, etc.
Or, you could distill the content from 100 episodes down into a research report that truly sets your company apart from competitors in your industry.
The point is that there a myriad of ways for you to slice and dice your cornerstone content into additional “spokes” that move out from the hub...and each spoke helps you extend your thought leadership even further and attract an even larger audience.
Once you define the type of cornerstone content you will be producing and some of the spokes – the slicing and dicing that each cornerstone will provide you...it is time to begin formalizing your 1 and 3-year plans.
Obviously, 3 years is a long time given the dynamics in tech, ever-changing economy, and the other factors that make predicting the results of a 3-year plan challenging at best.
So for this exercise, I recommend you focus your attention around what success would look like for you at the end of 3 years. How will you know when you have reached where you wanted to go?
Is that a number of employees, is it the size of audience, is it the amount of revenue generated by sponsorships, is it the number of attendees at a private event you are hosting, or how you have turned your business into a media channel?
If you don’t take the time for you and your team to conceptualize a 3-year view of your business – then you may lose valuable time aimlessly wandering the wilderness, much like a leaf blowing in the wind.
It has been my experience, that the following core elements are what makes up a simple – yet sound – plan to keep you and your team on track:
First...identify your most vital priorities – the core things that you must accomplish or nothing else matters.
Second...what are the measurables? How will you know when you have arrived - what does it look like?
Third...what is the tactical plan? Who is going to do what, and when?
Fourth...what are the obstacles or roadblocks that will likely rise up to get in your way – and if they do – what are the likely solutions that can be executed quickly?
And lastly...accountability – who will be held accountable, to what, by whom, and when will checkpoint meetings or scorecard reviews be held so that progress can be evaluated and course corrections can be made if necessary?
So...as we bring today’s solocast to a close...I want to leave you with one more example as to why this final thought regarding the strategic framework that we just reviewed.
When you get this right – you give yourself the freedom and flexibility to build the kind of business that you want – that you desire – to truly live the kind of life that you want to live.
Recently, I interviewed Dianna Booher for an encore episode, which airs on Monday, February 5th as Episode 678 – and during our discussion – Dianna explained how she was able to sell her company because of the reputation she had built in the industry as a thought leader because of her books, training courses, and other ways she helped create impact with her audience. Her body of work is impressive and she was rewarded for it – and you can follow a similar path if you are willing to put in the work.
So with that said...I want to again say thank you. Thank you for being here...thank you taking some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have today and sharing them with me.
Please drop me a line at Stephen@predictiveroi.com and let me know what you thought of today’s solocast – thumbs up or thumbs down.
I always want to know what you think so we can continue to get better and better and be of greater value to you and your team.
We will be back tomorrow with an encore interview with Eric Levenhagen. You may remember Eric from the tax planning strategies and recommendations he shared way back in Episode 25. And when the new tax laws were passed, Eric and I quickly compared schedules to get him back from an encore interview. I wanted Eric to share his insights and recommendations from the perspective of a business owner to help make sense of the new legislation – but even more importantly – what you can do about it to protect yourself, your family, your business – while minimizing the taxes you pay. What Eric shared could represent tens of thousands in tax savings for you and your business.
Until then...onward with gusto!