It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Keep on sharing. It really DOES matter.

Who are you? What do you know that is of value to others?

You are you. You are unique and your experiences do really matter to other people. You create value when you share who you are, as well as what you know.

I know that the people marketing and sales would have you believe that all about what you know. It’s not that what you know is not of, or does not create value. It’s more that who you are is an important and integral part of the value created when you share what you know.

People buy people. People buy feelings.

Do you really think that purely what you know is enough to make people spend money? Or is it the outcome that they will achieve for themselves?

I believe it is, for the most part, the latter. By learning from you people hope to get a specific result for themselves. That result, in turn, delivers a specific feeling for that person. The greater that feeling is in importance to them, then the greater the value it has to them.

This is where commerce comes into play. The people that you create value for have access to resources that are of value to you. The resources they have maybe skills, knowledge, networks, attention, time or money. And as we know, one of the main resources that is traded for the value you have created and the value that you desire to receive, is money.

Granted, it’s not all about money (at least it isn’t for me). It’s also about the one email, tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn message where you hear from someone the you never met.  In that message they thank you for changing their lives for the better through what you’ve shared. [I’ll share the message I received in a later post]

You may, like me, have forgotten what you wrote. But you will know that it came from a place of compassion, and passion. At that moment you will get that feeling of knowing that what you do and who you are really does matter.

I say all that to say this….

i2i TMM Global reach 20121119I have been writing blogs fairly consistently now for over a year. I know that it is necessary for me to share what I know and who I am. Until recently, I did not take a look at the web statistics that shows the global reach of what I say about what I know and who I am. The image in this blog was taken from my website stats analysis.

With that said, I want to say a big “thank you” to you for taking the time to read, watch and listen to what I have to say. No matter where you are on this global map (shows the countries that people have viewed this blog from) there are people just like us all over the world that seek to grow, share and walk together on this journey called life.

In 2013, I’ll be focusing most of my thoughts, videos and writing around a few core subjects. This will help me to focus my time, energy and efforts in a way that I will be able to establish a clearer “message” that we can discuss and share together.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Do you have a message that you wish to share? Have you allowed fear, or the illusion that it does not matter to others to be the reason for not sharing that message? Or have you allowed “planning to prepare” and “getting ready to get ready” to be the reason for not starting or building a rhythm for sharing your message?

If so, please know that what I have done is a baby step. But even the baby step is still a step forward.

This is all that we need to do. It may not be perfect, it may not be as consistent as we desire (at first), but is, can be and will be SOMETHING.

This is not about you, this is about them. All the people in the orange and red countries of your global reach map waiting to hear what you have to say. It may start small, with only one blog or video. It will become more, in time.

And in time you will hear the stories of how your words have impacted and changed the lives of others. This is my story, this is my song. And I thank you for taking the time to sing along.

Keep It Simple

Especially With Your Money

Among the many things that I’ve learned since becoming a mentor of The Business Wealth Club Birmingham, it’s the importance and power of keeping things simple. That is, when we are able to break down seemingly complex issues and powerful business concepts into digestible, understandable chunks of information.

One of the most common challenges for many businesses (small and large) is the matter of the clear, confident and comfortable understanding of “money matters” such as cash flow.

“Cash is or oil in your business engine. Without it, your business will seize up and die.”

This a quote from Paul Avins and another clear example of how, in this instance, cash flow can be boiled down to clear and powerful metaphors that business people understand. That’s what we do at The Business Wealth Club.

Recently, The Guardian newspaper (the online edition), published one of my articles on the subject of cash flow. In the article. I explain how establishing and maintaining cash flow can also be broken down into three core principles (yes, another tetrahedron)

We have always based our Cashflow management on the following:

  • Relationships
  • Systems
  • Processes that are bound by trust backed up by paper (written agreements made while relationships are good).

To read the rest of this article go to www.bit.ly/i2iguardian

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

The (not so) Secret Forumula

Let’s start with clarity. And for this let’s go with a couple of definitions

  • Value (used as a noun) the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.
  • Values (as in your personal values) Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to. Violation of the ‘core’ values usually leads to discomfort, disruption and even dis-ease.

Now that we have that out of the way I wanted to tell you about a recent experience I had with a client who was frustrated and exhausted because she wasn’t able to get customers to pay her the rates that she wanted to charge.

She felt that she was (and for the most part she was) doing the right things.

It’s not that she was not correctly accredited, trained or experienced. It wasn’t that she hadn’t identified her USP in a marketplace where people needed her service.

She’d paid money to get more traffic to her site.  She’d been on webinars on getting more customers.  She’d paid lots of money for a pretty logo and new stationary but when it all came down to closing the sale the only tool that seemed to work was offering a discount on the price (typically less than she felt she should be charging). 

She would usually rationalise this by telling herself that “in time they’ll pay more” and “the next job is going to finally pay me what I’m worth.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you begun to rationalise and try to convince yourself that “I’ve only been doing this a short time. In this way, so maybe over the next year or so things will get better.

Or maybe you’ve been convinced by the slick marketing of an Internet Guru who promises fame and fortune FAST.

There is a clear and sometimes tough reality that EVERY entrepreneur and business leader must face.

“To get more then you’ve got you have to be more then you are”

This means you need to learn more and apply more of the foundational aspects of how to connect with your customer for sustainable business.

The whole thing about being an ‘overnight success’ is that it typically takes more than one night.

For many of the successful entrepreneurs that I spend my time with, work with, coach, mentor and I am coached and mentored by; “overnight” typically took between three and seven years.

When the successful men and women made to specific distinctions for themselves through having a coach, mentor or trusted (professional) advisor,  things began to change for the better. Three of these distinctions are

  1. Most of success is all about mindset.
  2. The value you offer isn’t valuable to EVERY individual that you may meet.
  3. Value yourself and others will value you

I say all that, to say this….

When you are willing to do the work to dig, look within and recognise that each of your experiences, no matter how trivial, make you a unique and powerful resource for SOMEBODY who is willing to give you something of value to you (products, services, MONEY) in exchange for what you know or what you do. THAT is the beginning of the discovery of your value.

Do not be mistaken, this is only the beginning. The next step for you is to find out who that “somebody” is and if there are enough of these “somebody’s” to build a sustainable business.

As the saying goes;

“You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”

This goes back to your own feeling of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. When you get to the point that you realise that it’s OK if everybody doesn’t have the means, foresight or understanding to pay the fees that you ask for your products or services, then things will get better – fast.

Your goal, if you happen to surround yourself with people that don’t have the aforementioned resources, is to find out what, in fact, they DO value and if you have or can develop a product or service to meet that particular need.

This information can be the foundation for you to develop and to provide valuable products and services as part of your product matrix (product staircase, product ladder, product funnel) that leads customers to the insights, foresight and understanding of the value of the product that they previously did not want to pay the full price for.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Are you getting the price that you feel you really should be getting for your product or services? Are you finding yourself trying to “sell” people into your product or service offering with less than a 50% conversion rate?

If either of these are true, then I would suggest that you consider developing a product matrix or product staircase that makes it easier for people to get the value that they need at a price that is right for them, and very importantly, right for you (in respect of the cost of development and delivery) so that you can build a clear pathway for them to do business with you and pay you for your contribution to making their lives and businesses better.

For more information on building an effective product matrix /  product staircase visit www.thebusinesswealthclub.com where you can see how this has been transforming businesses just like yours over the past 8 years

It’s All About Flow (Cash Flow, that is)

Are you heading for a cash flow ‘heart attack’?

Cash is as important to your business as blood is to your body.  As the leader of your business you are at the heart of the business. If you are unclear on how much cash should be in your business 30, 60 or 90 days from now, then a 15 minute low tech exercise could ge the first step to gaining clarity and confidence around your cash flow.

This video is an introduction to the i2i IPA Flow Planner.

IPA Flow Planner Intro Video

For more information on the IPA Flow Planner and Free* i2insight session on how to use it, contact me at marcellus@marcelluslindsay.com

*In order to qualify for the session you must complete a 3 minute survey and give a small donation to one of our charities is required to qualify for the free 40 minute session. www.bit.ly/i2insight01

Money is NOT the root of all evil

The last step of ATM is a doozy.

So far you’ve learned the importance of getting the attention of the people you want to serve,

You’ve learned how essential it is to spend quality time with them to let them know how you can add value to their lives

Now you’re at the point where you can see if they really value what you have to offer, you’re at the last step where it’s time to put up the ultimate ‘applause for a job well done’ and ‘sign of commitment and interest’…. It’s the money step.

Money. Despite the misquotes and slander, money is NOT the root of all evil. The actual quote is “the love of money is the root of all evil” 1 Timothy 6:10

In fact, there can be a number of inhibitors and blocks for people taking the ‘money step’ can exist on both sides of the transaction. Yes, YOU can be the block through your own behaviour, attitude and perceptions about money.

It’s fair to say that YOUR perceptions about money can often be the greatest block. For that, I’d suggest a few sessions with your life or business coach.

I say all of that to say this….

When you can get and keep the attention of an audience. They are have invested in you on one level.  They have given you a small part of themselves to test the waters before they invest a larger portion by spending time with you.

During this important exchange it is your responsibility to make good on the promise you made when you gained their attention. You have to provide real and connected value that is of use to the people who  you share your message with.  You have to prove yourself, credible and worthy of further investment of time.  And when over the course of time you have proven yourself, they will exchange something that you value and can use….. money.

Money is a means to an end.  Money is a clear indication that they want to continue to invest in you and themselves. It’s for mutual benefit.  You will give them something that is of greater use value to them than the financial value that you have requested.

Attention, Time and Money. Straight forward yet far from simple. It’s sort of like a maze. And like a maze it is far easier to navigate if you have the benefit of a guide or a map.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What does your brand communicate? Has it been engineered to gain and keep their attention?

Are you making good on the promises you make after you get the attention of the people you wish to serve?

What is the clear pathway, product matrix or product staircase that you’ve created to continue to serve your customers as time goes on?

If you’d like to find out how to build your own product matrix and product staircase, you can visit your nearest branch of The Business Wealth Club in the UK or USA. Alternatively, you can get a 1:1 ‘i2insight Session’

This is a 40 min session discussion specifically about YOUR business and looking at quick wins to grow, have more impact and make more money.  The qualify for that session you have to complete the following three steps

Complete the questionnaire (takes 3 min) [ www.bit.ly/i2insight01 ]

Select and make a donation to one of our four charities (min £10 donation)

Book a meeting time with me [ www.bit.ly/i2ischedule  ]

During the session we are likely to discover ways for you to generate NEW business and more profitable customers. This will pave the way for increased cashflow and opportunities for you to invest in the business.

I look forward to connecting with you.

The second step to fill your personal ATM

Trust leads to revenue. Trust takes Time.

OK, so I think I’ve got your attention.  Well, in fact, if you’re reading this you’ve already proven the validity of the next step the principles of ATM.

How many times have you sat at your computer with the intention of doing one thing and found yourself doing something else? It happens to a lot of people, in fact, companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and the like BANK on the fact that you will do just that.

It seems that we’ve moved into a new age of communication.  There was a time when we were in the information age, when we were hungry for access to information and the new ‘information superhighway’ (as the internet was called back then) was the place were everyone wanted to get a fast track to the fast lane.  As the old saying goes

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Now, as my coach Scott Smith has noted, we’re in the age of ‘information overload’.  If you think about it, we’ve taken a very distinct change from getting information on everything to only wanting information on what we want, when we want it and in clear, distilled, limited to 140 characters, up to the second information.

I say all of that to say this….

Once you have the attention of your potential client, customer or partner you want to create a way for them to spend time with you.  This can be in the form of the written, spoken or presented word.  In my V3E strategy, I stress the importance of shaping your message so that it is aligned with your values and vision for yourself and your partners.  Regardless, the way to build trust and relationship is to create and master ways to spent time with the people you want to work with.   Ideally, you should have a product staircase or product matrix that you can clearly map out the pathway for your customers.  The product staircase is a way to let your customers take steady steps from product to product as they learn more about you, trust you, and decide if YOU are the one to solve their problem e.g.

Attention:  0 – 10 seconds

  • Your headlines
  • Your Logo
  • Your tagline

Time:  10 seconds – 30 minutes

(in order of typical duration)

  • Your tweets
  • Your audio blog (audioboo)
  • Your podcast
  • Your Facebook or LinkedIn messages
  • Your blog
  • Your videos
  • Your webinars

These are just a few examples and ideas that are progressively longer and longer and provide an opportunity for people to hear what you have to say, the value you have to offer and learn to trust you.  And what is a clear indication that they find value in what you have to offer? Well, that’s for the last step

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Take a look at your favourite brand or product and consider the path that you took from first giving them your attention and then your time.  Consider the other pathways that they have created to allow you and other customers to spend time with them.

Do you have a product staircase or matrix? If you do, then what do you have in place to ensure that the steps are easy and comfortable transitions based upon the services that you offer.  If you don’t, then consider checking out the product staircase strategy at www.thebusinesswealthclub.co.uk to visit your nearest club (if you are in the UK).

The staircase is the structure, V3E shapes the content. The next step is the step that keeps you in business.

Make Your Business Into Your Personal ATM

If you want cash from your business, fill your ATM

After 25 years in business, both as an employee and being self-employed, I’ve picked up a few things along the way.  One of them is being VERY aware of the fact that

Cash is King.  Without cashflow, your business is dead.

This begs the question “How do I keep the cash flowing?”  There are a number of models, theories, strategies and techniques that are publicised and taught in various forums.  There is, however, a simple set of principles that – from my observation and experience – that they all rest upon.

Attention, Time & Money

Whether you are looking at your marketing strategy, sales pipeline or communication policy – Attention, Time and Money (ATM) principles apply.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll send a little time on each of these elements.

Attention

The DNA of ‘Attention’ as it relates to the ATM Principles

  • Duration of time:  0 – 10 seconds
  • Typical Modalities:  Visual, Audio
  • Products & Tools:  Logos, Advertisements, Signage

If you live an a city of any decent size in one of the Western nations, chances are that you are exposed to over  3,000 ‘brand impressions’ per day.  That’s based upon one study that I read and I suspect that if you live in a city like New York, London and the like, then it’s a lot higher.

Think about it…. from the logo on the packaging of your breakfast and the badge on your car (or other mode of transport) to the ads on your mobile apps or on TV – there are thousands of organisations vying for your attention.

As a consumer you are getting more and more discerning about which brands or messages get your attention.  In fact, marketeers are getting more and more sophisticated about doing it. Now technology is used to create communicate messages deep into your unconscious mind so that when the next message in the series (i.e. campaign) is sent, it will have a familiar ‘feel’ to it.

There are very clever, very well paid people who study semiotics and advise organisations how to communicate in powerful ways just using shape, form and colour and do to so in a fraction of a second.

Your brain is constantly filtering out things that are not of interest to you in order to let things through that you told it are important.  No wonder women are tired after a day of shopping.  It’s not just the walking and carrying of bags, it’s also that they have been making complex decisions between wants and needs / logic and intuition while the powerful messages are bubbling up to the surface of their minds.

I say all that to say this….

Really, when you step back and look at it, you don’t want to give your attention to everything.  It would be overwhelming. You’d be stuck at a place of inaction because your TIME would be taken up with the collective ATTENTION items.

The purpose of the Attention Principle is that it allows your brain to be aware of something and then assess whether or not you will

  1. give further attention and, therefore, time to it
  2. store it or
  3. ignore it

Getting customer’s attention is getting more and more difficult, but it is the mandatory first step before they will give you their time or their money.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

What message are you conveying in the first ten seconds of ‘experiencing’ you or your brand? Does it reflect your values? Is it compelling? Does it invite others to spend time with you?

Maybe it’s time to pay a little attention to the first impression that you make when you first ask for or gain the attention of your audience, potential customers, partners or employees.

Whether it’s your logo, your office or even your appearance. Gaining attention is the first step and the crucial first qualifier before we will spend time with anyone or anything.