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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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:

Mar 31, 2021

Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, a digital marketing agency, and the host of Onward Nation — a top-rated daily podcast for learning how today’s top business owners think, act, and achieve. Onward Nation is listened to in 120 countries around the world with over 28,000+ email subscribers.

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, Stephen has collected tens of thousands of data points that have given him the ability to identify what he calls the “8 Money Draining Mistakes” and the “8 Money Making Opportunities.” Darren Hardy, then-publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, interviewed Stephen to discuss how business owners can identify and fix the mistakes.

Stephen served in the United States Air Force, spent six years at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a full-time academic staff member and taught digital marketing classes to small business owners throughout the state including the prestigious School of Business at UW-Madison, has owned five businesses, and is the author of three books, “The Small Business Owner’s Handbook to Search Engine Optimization”, “Increase Online Sales Through Viral Social Networking”, and “Profitable Podcasting.”

His digital marketing insights have been featured in,, The Washington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Stephen offers a high-level review of the “Sell With Authority” methodology outlined in the book of the same name he co-authored with Drew McLellan
  • How the research presented in the Edelman Trust Barometer illustrates that an audience trusts industry experts and people like them more than anyone else
  • What four key qualifications serve to make someone a true thought leader, and why each of these qualifications matter when creating your cornerstone content
  • The three steps to take to “plant your flag of authority” within your chosen niche and with build trust and credibility with your target audience
  • How “cobblestone content” can lead people back to your cornerstone content and down your sales funnel
  • How to find the real “golden nuggets” in your cornerstone content that can be sliced and diced into your cobblestone content
  • Stephen provides several real-world examples of slicing and dicing content and the power of cobblestone and cornerstone content in thought leadership
  • Why a weekly Q&A session can be a fantastic way to connect with your audience, and how content can interconnect and cross-promote to expand your reach
  • What other powerful and proven resources, tools and other content Predictive ROI has found useful in reaching out to their audience
  • Why low-pressure and no-pressure email content can turn out a surprising number of high-quality leads


Additional Resources:

Mar 24, 2021

Bryan Adams is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, recognized as one of the leading employer brand agencies in the world with clients such as Apple, American Airlines, GVC, and Blizzard Entertainment. Bryan is also a bestselling author, podcaster, creative strategist, and specialist speaker.

He is considered a prominent employer brand thought leader and his creative, unconventional and even controversial methodologies are said to regularly change the way people think about employer branding and EVP.

His presentation style is energetic, passionate, thought-provoking and interactive, so get ready to contribute and engage as he reflects on the importance of employer branding in recruitment.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How a negative experience working for someone else led Bryan to found Ph.Creative, and how he works to redefine the importance of employer branding in recruitment
  • How Ph.Creative does things differently by focusing on helping businesses attract great team members rather than attracting new clients
  • Why Bryan and his team realized that they needed to niche down to build their brand, plant their flag of expertise, and differentiate their company from their competitors
  • How employer branding helps attract top talent to Ph.Creative’s clients, and how the idea of focusing on employer branding helped Bryan define his business’s niche
  • Why Bryan realized that firing the clients that weren’t great fits for his team was a morale boost and improved their capacity to serve the clients they really wanted
  • Why it is important for your organization to hire not just based on whether someone can do the job, but hire based on whether they also fit your culture
  • Why the “harsh realities” of working at your company are how your team can find pride and achievement, and why you shouldn’t try to hide those realities from applicants
  • Why much of Ph.Creative’s work lies in educating the market on why their methods are so valuable, and how that translates into thought leadership that is changing the industry
  • How Ph.Creative’s “Give and Get” philosophy has served as a cornerstone of the work they do and an anchor point within their fairly narrow niche
  • How focusing on marketing to the “smallest viable audience” can allow you to dominate, own and transform your chosen niche


Additional Resources:

Mar 17, 2021

Kim Ades (pronounced add-iss) is the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and JournalEngine™ Software. Recognized as an expert in the area of thought mastery and mental toughness, Kim uses her unique philosophy and quirky coaching style to help business owners and leaders identify their personal blind spots and shift their thinking in order to yield extraordinary results. Author, speaker, entrepreneur, coach, and mom of five, Kim’s claim to fame is teaching her powerful Frame of Mind Coaching process to executives, entrepreneurs, and senior leaders world-wide.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Kim has demonstrated the importance of building business resilience in her own coaching business by adapting to virtual coaching during the global pandemic
  • How the key to developing resilience is by letting go of struggles and leverage opportunities, and why the first step is to stabilize yourself
  • How Kim defines resilience, and why taking control of your mindset is an important aspect of resilience
  • What three-step process Kim coaches business owners and leaders through to stabilize themselves and become stronger leaders through adversity
  • Why Kim is focused on “doing fewer things but doing them extraordinarily well”, and what the process of working with Frame of Mind Coaching looks like
  • Why too many clients define their goals but then act in ways completely contrary to getting to those goals, and how Kim helps them realign their actions to their goals
  • What major coaching mistakes business owners often make, and why “being empathetic” isn’t the same as being understanding
  • Why too often business leaders focus on behaviors rather than on the beliefs that are driving those behaviors
  • Why, instead of offering instant solutions, you should work to empower your team to find their own solutions
  • Kim offers two questions you should write down and answer that can help you achieve greater clarity on your mindset and help you in building business resilience


Additional Resources:

Mar 10, 2021

Mary Shores is an innovative collection agency owner, communication expert, and best-selling author who transforms people’s words to help them fall back in love with their work and their customers. Fifteen years ago, Mary discovered a game-changing formula to connect to your customers and clients. It all started with a Do-Not-Say List and grew into an entire strategy that will fix your relationships and grow your business.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What big changes Mary has experienced in her business and strategic thinking since her previous appearance in Onward Nation episode 781
  • How realizing the power of validation communication transformed Mary’s business and created profound opportunities
  • How the myriad challenges of 2020 showed us that transparency is a powerful and vital communication tool that builds brand trust and strengthens relationships
  • Why strong transparency is the first step in clearly defining and articulating your strategy to those outside your organization
  • Why the way we have been conditioned to speak is opposite to how we can actually create a real connection, and why we must learn to communicate differently
  • How neuroscience shows that validation communication is a powerful trust builder, and why validating feelings of the people you’re speaking with matters
  • Why the secret recipe of “validate, activate, integrate” can transform your relationships with your customers and anyone you interact with
  • How the global pandemic has presented a golden opportunity for Mary to teach other debt collection agencies how to communicate with greater empathy and understanding
  • What words appear on Mary’s “Do-Not-Say List” in her debt collection business, and why those particular words are banned
  • Why now is the ideal time to experience exponential growth in your business and career through the extraordinary power of collaboration


Additional Resources:

Mar 3, 2021

Steve and Lauren are the founders of Home On Your Terms and are based in eastern Connecticut. Steve serves as the company’s Acquisitions Director and loves crafting up creative solutions for sellers, while Lauren works as Sales Director and enjoys helping deserving buyers achieve their goal of home ownership. When not working on their own business, they are mentoring other investors who wish to learn the terms of the niche of real estate.

In their free time, they are with their two young children and two dogs. Steve can also be considered a Cornhole connoisseur, so you may find him outside perfecting his form. Lauren is a huge fan of “The Office,” so she may or may not quote some of her favorite lines while on a call with you.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Lauren and Steve work to help business owners buy or sell homes through their “terms deals”, and how they’ve brought their background experiences into their work
  • Why owning a business and buying a house presents unique challenges that make it harder to qualify for a traditional mortgage, and how terms deals can be the ideal solution
  • How terms deals, which have been around since the 1800s, are often an overlooked niche within real estate, and how these deals provide alternate solutions to big problems
  • Why a terms deal can help a business owner quickly sell a home and get out from under the obligations to that property, freeing funds that can be put back into the business
  • Why a terms deal is the ideal way to sell for someone with little-to-no equity in their home, or for someone who wants or needs greater monthly cash flow
  • Why these deals can be a great way to avoid high real estate agent fees and guarantee that you can put the full equity of your home in your pocket
  • Why Lauren and Steve specialize in creative solutions to meet the needs of both buyers and sellers, and why flexibility is a key feature of terms deals
  • Steve and Lauren walk through the process from start to finish and offer example deals to illustrate how terms deals can result in more money for the seller
  • How a part of the buyer process involves a pre-qualification check and a thorough credit repair process if necessary to get them mortgage-ready
  • Why Lauren and Steve feel passionately about helping connect buyers and sellers who have unique challenges and finding mutually beneficial solutions


Additional Resources:

Feb 24, 2021

Russ Sorrells’s bio, in his own words:

It all started because I wanted to be a better dad. I was driving home with my kids one day and thought, “Why doesn’t the school system teach kids how to live a happy life?” It dawned on me, “because that’s my job as a parent.” Duh.

From then on, I started teaching daily 5 minute lessons to my kids based on everything I’ve learned over my 5 years as a high-performance coach. At first it was hard to add it to our manic morning routine, but now my kids harass me if they don’t get their daily Lunchbox Lesson.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Russ has expanded his brick-and-mortar business empire since his previous appearance on Onward Nation back on episode 21
  • How Russ created Lunchbox Lessons when he saw there are many life lessons his kids weren’t being taught, and realized school doesn’t prepare us for life in some key ways
  • How Russ used his Lunchbox Lessons to teach his kids about things like first puppy love and other life experiences
  • How each month’s Lunchbox Lessons deal with overarching themes and shares lessons in bite-sized pieces each day
  • How Russ structures his Lunchbox Lessons, and how that same learning structure can be applied to business as well
  • How Russ deals with feelings of Imposter Syndrome when sharing these important lessons with his kids, and why his goal is to give them an advantage in life
  • What vision Russ has for his Lunchbox Lessons business, and how he hopes to create a cradle-to-grave personal development program discussing key life inflection points
  • Why too few people engage in personal development, and why having the right mentors and role models can help you achieve your maximum potential in life
  • Why Russ has focused on a particular niche by creating content exclusively for the families that would make use of and benefit from it
  • Russ shares the story of a clinician friend who excels at connecting with doctors and patients because he leaves his ego at the door


Additional Resources:

Feb 17, 2021

Sean Doyle has drilled a deep well of unmatched expertise in helping B2B companies sell more to their most profitable customers. With experience spanning over 25 years and more than 5,000 client engagements.

Sean is CEO and principal at FitzMartin Inc, a leading consultancy focused on sales and marketing and management, sales and marketing technology services, and revenue operations.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How FitzMartin works to take businesses beyond the “awareness” level to a deeper connection with their customers
  • Why truly understanding sales funnel stages is about early stages and late stages in the sales cycle.
  • What important lessons business owners can learn from the Ford Edsel about the value of brand awareness alone
  • How the six stages of the transtheoretical theorem mirror the steps of the typical consumer decision journey, and what key concepts we can draw from the comparison
  • How a request from a client who accounted for a huge amount of Sean’s team’s business showed the importance of late-stage marketing
  • How today’s technology allows businesses to get super granular and targeted in marketing to prospects and going far beyond the awareness level
  • Why too many sales people are in a rush to close deals far too soon rather than allowing a healthy relationship to develop through its later stages
  • Why science says that 80% of your prospects will retreat right before pulling the trigger, and what steps you can take to overcome some of the obstacles
  • Why there’s a big difference between how customers perceive gated versus ungated content, and what message each sends
  • How behavioral science is universal and applies to any situation in which you are trying to help someone make a change, from your personal life to sales prospects


Additional Resources:

Feb 10, 2021

Bill Coletti is a reputation management, crisis communications, and professional development expert, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance panelist, and best-selling author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management. He has more than 25 years of global experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for both Fortune 500 companies and winning global political campaigns.

Bill previously co-led the Global Risk Management and Crisis Communications Practice for Hill+Knowlton Strategies. He held senior leadership positions in the firm’s Austin, Texas, Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida offices, as a member of the senior management team.

He provided senior counsel in crisis management, corporate communications, and reputation defense to numerous clients, such as AT&T, Target Corporation, American Airlines, The Home Depot, Xerox, Nuclear Energy Institute, and Cargill, as well major universities and global NGOs. Previously, Bill served in the Republic of Bulgaria as a senior advisor to the prime minister, Council of Ministers, and the labor minister. He was the first executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Bill started his career running political campaigns and then pivoted into helping companies develop crisis management best practices
  • How Bill defines a crisis differently from a “day-to-day business challenge”, and how “critical moments” are reputation-impacting issues that companies often struggle with
  • How an organization’s reputation is found at the overlap of the public perception of the company and what they expect the company to do next
  • How the classic four P’s of marketing (price, product, place and promotion) served as a model for Bill’s four A’s of reputation management
  • How Bill’s four A’s process (awareness, assessment, authority and action) can help you navigate the complex challenges of reputation management
  • Why and how Bill wrote his book “Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management”, and what benefits his company has received from the book’s release
  • Bill explains why each of the four A’s is an important step in managing the long-term reputation of your business
  • Why it is important to express consistency and authenticity in how your company lives its values, and what lessons can be drawn from the many crises of 2020
  • How your reputation is built up over a long, slow period and is rooted in your mission and values, and why there’s no “quick” way to manage your reputation
  • Why creating a “reservoir of goodwill” can help you manage crisis situations and the public’s expectations and beliefs about your company


Additional Resources:

Feb 3, 2021

Many business owners face significant challenges when it comes to buying or selling a home; because your income comes from your own business, the bank creates serious hurdles to qualifying for a mortgage. And selling a home through a bank comes with its own headaches and costs that can eat into your profits. What can you do?

Brian O’Neill is an entrepreneur who specializes in the real estate “terms” niche, circumventing the banks entirely.

Brian O’Neill was born in New York and moved to Florida at age 5 and spent most of his life there. He attended Florida State University and then at the age of 30 he moved to Chicago. Brian has been there for 17 years now and has a wonderful wife, Katie, who he has been married to for 10 years. They have a 9 year old son named Will. They love spending time together and taking family vacations, just the 3 of them. In his spare time, Brian likes to play golf, read, and play sports with his son.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why buying a house as a business owner can be difficult even if you have excellent credit, and why “terms” deals are a great alternative to a bank mortgage loan
  • How Brian got involved in real estate investing in an effort to be able to spend more time with his family
  • Why Brian fell into the habit of talking himself out of starting his business, and how he finally overcame his own limiting beliefs
  • Why having the right mentor and a supportive “inner circle” of connections has been instrumental in Brian’s success as an entrepreneur
  • Why feeling stuck is often due to not realizing all the options you have available, and what to do if you have little equity or even if you’re upside down in your current home
  • What advantages business owners can get from buying or selling a home through “terms” rather than through a traditional bank mortgage
  • How selling a home on terms works, and why it can create monthly income without having to deal with the hassles and headaches of being a landlord
  • What kind of deal structure options are available for buying or selling on terms, and what happens if a buyer is unable to buy the home by the end of the terms period
  • How terms deals can serve as a great option for homeowners who are significantly behind on their property taxes and at risk of forfeiting their home
  • How Brian works to educate buyers and sellers on a different perspective and on other problem-solving options they may not have known about


Additional Resources:

Jan 27, 2021

Conventional wisdom says that you should always be pouring money into an IRA or 401k to plan for your eventual retirement. You’re taking money from yourself today, only to pay yourself back in the future. But what if there’s a better way? Russ Morgan and Joey Mure co-founded Wealth Without Wall Street, a company that teaches business owners to put their money to better use than squirreling it away in stocks, a checking account or traditional retirement account.

The strategies Joey and Russ have developed allow business owners to create lasting wealth and positive cashflow today, setting them up for true wealth in retirement.

Joey Mure’s Bio:
Joey Mure, aka, The Stallion started his career in the mortgage business in 2003. He grew to become a branch manager with one of the Nation’s top mortgage lenders leading 25 loans officers. By 2010 he had achieved national recognition. Despite earning an impressive income he still had significant questions about how to save for the future without having to borrow from banks. How does anyone save aggressively for retirement AND simultaneously pay for automobiles, save for college, weddings, and vacations? In 2010 Joey met Russ, who shared the Infinite Banking Concept and everything changed. IBC allowed Joey to get completely out of debt besides paying off his mortgage, he started saving four times the amount he had previously been saving, and now had a clear plan of how to save for all our life’s expenses without giving up retirement savings. Joey decided to join Russ and cofounded a company called Wealth Without Wall Street. They teach people to stop trading time for money to achieve financial freedom by following the 5 Pillars of Wealth Without Wall Street.

Russ Morgan’s Bio:
Russ Morgan, aka, The Idea Guy, started his career in the financial industry. With 4 years of planning under his belt, Russ was stunned in September of 2008 to see the DOW Jones plummet 800 points. He had no idea that the market could react in such a volatile manner and knew this was something he could never have control over. Russ began a journey that day to passionately understand more about how to take back and gain control over his money, as well as that of his clients. Russ believes that it’s time you stop following conventional planning methods and start thinking for yourself. He enlightens business owners and investors with the knowledge they need to make sound financial decisions. The best path to financial freedom is one that frees you to make decisions that allow your money to grow, allow you to have access to this money, and to protect this money from market swings and tax regulations. Yes, all of this is possible, and Russ thrives on helping people in their journey to reach this financial freedom.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why building wealth both inside and outside of your business is the most optimized way to achieve your goals
  • How Joey realized that he wasn’t on the right career and wealth-building path and needed to make a change and how Russ helped Joey learn the secrets of efficiently building wealth
  • How “wealth without Wall Street” is a money mindset that allows business owners to build wealth without taking all the risk of investing in Wall Street
  • Why a checking account is one of the worst places to keep your money, and why your business is one of the best places to invest your money to create long term gains
  • Why putting money in an IRA or a 401k is really just deferring cashflow until a later time, and why creating cashflow today is much more important
  • Why becoming your own banker and loaning your money back to your business can completely reframe how you view your money
  • How life insurance can be used in a way similar to a home equity line of credit, giving you cashflow without lowering in value
  • How using your money in your business can offer a powerful payoff by freeing up more time and money for you to grow your business even more
  • Why there are many options to invest your money even outside your business that create monthly cashflow


Additional Resources:

Jan 20, 2021

Business exit plan preparation and adding value to your business

What You Will Learn:

  • How Michelle’s ability to close deals led her to becoming regional vice president at Xerox after just six months at the company
  • Why 70% of businesses which have been operating for 10 years or longer will go out of business because they haven’t adapted to how consumers buy products and services today
  • How Michelle dipped her toe into working in franchise development while still working at Xerox, and how she sold 100 franchises in six months
  • How Michelle transitioned her expertise from selling franchises to selling businesses and helping owners develop a business exit plan
  • Why many established businesses aren’t salable because they are too dependent upon the business owner
  • What common mistakes business owners make that can end up hurting their company’s value or salability down the road
  • Why preparing your business for sale requires you to ensure that six P’s are in place: people, product, processes, proprietary, patrons and profits
  • What important lessons can be learned from explosive brands like Amazon, McDonalds and Apple that can be applied to businesses of any industry and size
  • What surprising systems, relationships and other assets add value to your company and make it more attractive to potential buyers
  • Why profits are never the problem hurting your company’s value but are a symptom of the real problems

Business exit plan preparation and adding value to your business

Failure to prepare for your eventual exit from your company is a common mistake. This poor planning makes it much more difficult to sell your business when you’re ready to leave, and it has a negative impact on the value of your company when you do eventually sell. In this episode of Onward Nation, business buying, growing, fixing and selling authority Michelle Seiler Tucker shares tips, strategies and actionable steps to help you prepare a business exit plan that will add value to your company now and get it ready for sale in the future.

The importance of a solid business exit plan

Here’s a surprising and troubling statistic for you: 70% of businesses that have been operating for 10 years or longer will go out of business, either because they haven’t taken steps to adapt to consumers’ modern shopping habits, or because they have failed to take the steps necessary to get the business ready for sale.

Most business owners plan on eventually exiting their business, either by transferring ownership to a family member or through selling the business at retirement. However, if you wait until you’re ready to leave the business to begin getting it ready for sale, you’re going to have a lot of uphill work to do. Instead, Michelle suggests you begin creating a business exit plan now, so that you’re able to “exit rich” when the time comes.

According to Michelle, there are “six P’s” that determine how valuable a business is to potential buyers:

  • People
  • Products
  • Processes
  • Proprietary assets
  • Patrons
  • Profits

Getting those six P’s in order is crucial for ensuring that your business is saleable. As Michelle explained, a dentist who owns a dental practice but is the only dentist in the practice is going to have a difficult time exiting and selling the business, because the dentist is the business. So, the dentist would need to add people, in this case other dentists, to the business to make it more attractive to buyers.

Look to big brands for inspiration

Michelle says that companies like McDonalds and Amazon have a lot to teach owners of businesses of any size or industry about creating a successful business exit plan and how to add value to a business to make it more attractive at sale. For example, McDonald’s isn’t really a fast food chain; it’s a $30 billion real estate company. McDonald’s isn’t in the business of selling hamburgers. The company’s real business is owning real estate that it leases to franchisees.

Amazon started out as an online bookstore. But as Michelle explained, the company realized it excelled in fulfilment, and when it leaned into that strength and branched out beyond books, Amazon became one of the most valuable companies in the world. By asking yourself the right questions, leaning into your strengths, and getting the six P’s in place today, you can make your business much more valuable and attractive to potential buyers in the future.

Business exit plan

About Michelle Seiler Tucker

Michelle Seiler Tucker is the Founder and CEO of Seiler Tucker Incorporated. As a 20-year veteran in mergers & acquisitions, Michelle has sold hundreds of businesses. She owns and operates several successful companies and holds the following professional designations and certifications: Merger & Acquisition Master Intermediary (M&AMI), Certified Senior Business Analyst (CSBA), Certified Mergers & Acquisitions Professional (CM&AP) Certified Business Broker (CBB), Panelist for M&A Source, Keynote Speaker. Michelle is also the Best-Selling Author of the book Sell Your Business for More than It’s Worth, and her latest book Exit Rich is available now for purchase.

In addition to being featured in INC, Forbes, and USA Magazine, Michelle makes regular radio and TV appearances on Fox Business News and CNBC. She has spoken alongside many prominent speakers: Eric Trump, Kathy Ireland, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Donna Karen, Stedman Graham, Randi Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, and more. Michelle also shares her wealth of experience with perspective M&A advisors by conducting multiple training, mentoring, and partnering programs. Over the years, these programs have helped many individuals become successful M&A advisors and business brokers.

Recognized as the leading authority on buying, selling, fixing, and growing businesses, Michelle sees opportunity where many are discouraged or have given up. Her passion is to save businesses that might otherwise close. By identifying and correcting the top mistakes business owners make, Michelle will fine-tune a business into a well-oiled machine. Sometimes investing her own money to help owners build their business, Michelle’s primary objective is to sell for huge profits.

Michelle Seiler Tucker’s remarkable track record proves her dedication to her clients and has solidified her as a formidable force in her industry. She closes nearly 98% of all written offers and, on average, obtains 20-40% above asking price for her clients. Through this process, she empowers her clients to afford the lifestyles they have always dreamed of and, most importantly, deserve!

How to Connect with Michelle Seiler Tucker:

Additional Resources:

Jan 13, 2021

Develop resilience and don’t rush out of your discomfort

What You Will Learn:

  • How the chaos of 2020 impacted Anese and her team, and how they learned to develop resilience and were able to pivot the business to adjust to change
  • What important lessons Anese has learned from navigating the unprecedented challenges of the past year, and why she believes the work is never “done”
  • What steps you can take to help your team develop resilience and adapt to the challenges you are facing
  • Why Anese challenged herself and her team to decide who they want to become in the new year, and why part of Anese’s resilience is in how she wants the pandemic to “serve her becoming”
  • Why the pandemic has created a universal shared experience and an opportunity for all of us to consider who we want to become as we navigate these challenges
  • How Anese and her team spent three months in spring 2020 doubling down on their efforts to be helpful, and how that helped create clarity for the rest of the year and 2021
  • Why Anese believes being “responsible” and being “response-able” are two very different things with different kinds of energy
  • How D.E.N.T. (Do what you can, Engage with a full heart, Now, Trust) is a powerful acronym that helps guide and motivate Anese
  • How Anese and her team use D.E.N.T. to make an impact on the struggle of food insecurity that many people face
  • How Anese realized that decreasing their prices during the pandemic wasn’t the right move to make, and how instead she focused on adding value and being helpful
  • Why it is important to not rush out of your discomfort but instead to fully experience your discomfort and the range of feelings that come with it

Develop resilience and don’t rush out of your discomfort

The reality is that 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for businesses and agencies of all kinds — and we enter 2021 with no certain idea of what challenges the new year will bring. However, attempting to rush out of the discomfort we have felt through the last year can cause us to miss the important lessons the challenges we tackled can teach us. Instead, it is important to reflect, learn, and develop resilience to help us prepare for the coming year. In this episode of Onward Nation, encore guest Anese Cavanaugh shares how she and her team learned to develop resilience, and how doubling down on their efforts to be helpful are better positioning them for 2021.

Develop resilience to face the future

Think of resilience as armor to protect your business against uncertainty. When you develop resilience, you are better able to persevere through times of hardship and adapt to the unexpected. It is a trait that can be learned, practiced and mastered just like many other business skills. A big part of learning to develop resilience lies in taking the time to feel your discomfort and reflect on your experiences. 2020 was a difficult year for all of us, and it is important to acknowledge this fact and reflect on the trails we faced and the storms we weathered. It also offers us a chance to take stock of what worked and what didn’t, as well as to identify new opportunities presented to us even in the midst of the chaos.

Why the right mindset can help you overcome obstacles

Anese’s business has been primarily focused on speaking engagements and hosting leadership events, and the outbreak of the global pandemic meant many of the ways Anese engages her audience weren’t available in 2020 due to social distancing. However, Anese and her team spent three months in the spring focusing on how they could be more helpful, choosing to add value rather than to lower their prices. This important period of reflection and dedication to doubling down allowed Anese’s team to make a big shift to virtual offerings.

Though they didn’t end 2020 where they thought they would, they were much better positioned for a strong 2021 than they would have been had they gone into “survival mode”. Their efforts to develop resilience and focus on being helpful paid off, and the team has a much stronger and more unified focus for the coming year. Anese demonstrates that resilience and the right mindset can help you and your team weather difficult times and emerge from the global pandemic stronger than before.

Develop resilience

About Anese Cavanaugh

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

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

How to Connect with Anese Cavanaugh:

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Jan 6, 2021

Niche down your business to create opportunity

What You Will Learn:

  • How Parker’s unique career path and experiences led to his role at Evolved Finance, and why taking the leap was one of the best decisions Parker ever made
  • Why Evolved chose to niche down and focus on serving the financial services needs of thought leaders, and how that focus has led to their busiest year ever
  • How working with thought leaders, coaches and influencers differs from working with other types of business professionals
  • How Evolved has been able niche down and streamline their efforts on their clients’ behalf to “do less but charge more”
  • How Evolved will reconcile over $100 million in revenue in the thought leadership space by the end of 2020, demonstrating the value of their decision to niche down
  • How the majority of Evolved’s clients are having booming years in spite of the global pandemic, and why focusing on this niche has helped Evolved grow even during the crisis
  • Parker shares a case study of how Evolved was able to help a client niche down and become more operationally efficient, and why it made a powerful impact on her business
  • Why almost every one of Evolved’s clients have found benefits from their efforts to niche down, regardless of their business size
  • Why building out processes and systems and standardizing procedures is the key to maximizing the benefits of niching down

Niche Down Your Business to Create Opportunity

As we’ve discussed many times before on Onward Nation, taking steps to niche down your business and focus on a specific audience — rather than limiting your opportunities as you might expect — opens new doors by helping you plant your flag of authority and becoming a trusted expert within your niche. It allows you to differentiate your business and to compete on value rather than joining the race to the bottom on price. And in this week’s episode of Onward Nation, you’ll hear a perfect example of how tight focus and a dedication to serving a niche can become powerful fuel for your business.

Parker Stevenson is co-owner and Chief Business Officer at Evolved Finance, a bookkeeping firm specializing in helping online coaches, course creators, influencers, and thought leaders to make better business decisions based on solid financial data. This decision to narrowly focus on thought leaders didn’t come lightly, but doing so has made a profound impact on the business and its growth.

Niche down and plant your flag

The decision to focus on thought leaders, content creators and online influencers wasn’t made hastily — and Parker says the team was initially apprehensive. What if narrowing their focus meant losing business? Were they making the wrong decision? Despite their worries, the data backed up their conclusion. According to this article from Forbes, e-learning is set to become a $325 billion industry by 2025 — that’s nearly a billion dollars per day.

Working with clients within such a fast-growing segment made sense on paper, so the team decided to go for it — and the decision to focus and niche down paid off. According to Parker, Evolved has had their most successful year and most new clients ever in 2020… even in the midst of the global pandemic. By narrowly focusing on their target audience, the team at Evolved Finance were able to establish their authority and prove their expertise working with that particular type of client. And the result is that Evolved will reconcile over $100 million in client revenue in the thought leadership space by the end of 2020. Not only that, but Parker says it has allowed Evolved to “do less and charge more” by truly specializing in doing a few things better than anyone else.

Even their clients who niche down are seeing the benefits

Parker explained that even Evolved’s clients are discovering the value of niching down. Parker shared a case study of a client who was doing decent enough business but was struggling to juggle 15 different revenue streams at once. This lack of focus was eating away at her company’s resources… and her time. After encouragement from Parker’s team, she shifted to offering only one awesome product and selling it well, rather than spreading her efforts across many different products and services. That streamlining helped her turn a moderately successful but unfocused business into a rapidly growing and highly profitable multi-million dollar organization — proving that it’s better to niche down and master just a few things than to be a jack of all trades.

Niche down

About Parker Stevenson

Parker Stevenson is a co-owner and the Chief Business Officer at Evolved Finance; a bookkeeping agency that specializes in helping online entrepreneurs to build more profitable and financially stable online businesses. For over 6 years, Parker has been advising some of the top coaches, course creators, influencers, and thought leaders on how to make more sound business decisions using their financial data. Before joining Evolved Finance, Parker spent five years at Adidas America where he became the US product manager for golf footwear.

How to Connect with Parker Stevenson:

Additional Resources:

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