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

Three Steps to Better Cashflow

Cash is King.

Cash is the oil in your business engine. Without it your ‘engine’ will cease up and die.

Your ability to maintain cash flow is best when based upon

  • Relationship,
  • Systems and
  • Processes

that are bound by trust backed up by paper (written agreements made while relationships are good)

1.  Relationships

Informal – Identify and recognise alignment with corporate and individual values with customers, suppliers and stakeholders.  Your ‘gut’ instinct is often a very good guide that could save you money in the long run.  This also paves the way to understand how the other people and organisations really operate so that you can navigate through tough times – yours or theirs.

Formal – Ranging from profile tools to credit checks. Set thresholds for putting various ‘checks’ in place commensurate to the level of financial risk associated with the relationship.  This can then be formalised in a written agreement or be used to ensure if ‘standard’ terms and conditions fit the situation.

2.  Systems

Systems, particularly electronic systems, don’t sleep and can keep you aware of where you are and, ideally, where you’re headed.  Systems ranging from accounting packages to sales systems provide an early warning prior to cash flow problems OR can highlight opportunities to invest your surplus more wisely.

3.  Processes

Control and Predictability (most of the time).  You can’t control people, but you can control activities. Setting clear DOCUMENTED processes (based upon best practice for your industry) and exercising the discipline to follow them EVERY time will ensure ongoing success.

“Cash is King”

I say all of that to say this….

Economics is more about people and their behaviours that it is mathematics.  When one person starts to hold on to their cash, it brings about fear.  The fear spreads and soon enough, lots more people are holding on to their cash. 

It takes a strong level of self belief to break out of the cycle of fear, but if you don’t the money you are holding on to is the VERY REASON you may find that you’re not getting paid. 

They (you) too have forgotten their value, let go of their values and are causing someone else (you) to be more fearful.  In the process they (you) are damaging their (your) credibility, credit rating and self esteem. 

When you step into a world and mindset of abundance and, better yet, into communities where people don’t listen to or subscribe to the messages of fear, you’ll find that you’ll let go and see an abundant flow (including cash).

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that…..

Are you holding on to cash that you promised (with a PO, a verbal agreement, a contract) to pay someone?  Are you holding off on making an investment into yourself or your business that you know (or are guaranteed) that it will give a return but you are still are waiting?

If so, you’re participating in the fearful behavior that is keeping THE (and your) economy from recovering faster.

My call to action:

“Keep your word pay what you can from what you have…. MORE will come

Invest in yourself and your business.  When the rest of the country and the world gets out of ‘fear mode’ you’ll be ready to serve and grow like never before.

Walking on the Travelator

Moving Without Moving

Do you ever feel as if you are doing a lot of work and putting in a lot of effort but you’re just not moving forward fast enough or at all?

It’s rare that you’re not moving at all because you may, in fact, be moving backwards!

That said, I’m not a believer in ‘moving backward’ as I believe that there’s always something that was gained from the perceived movement in the opposite direction that you may have intended. Whether it was learning ‘just one thing that I know not to do again’ or ‘now I know that I don’t want to feel this way again’

So what does this all mean in the context of business?

In my usual way, I’ll give the answer up front for those who still think that the answer is the answer.

“Movement is perception. Perception can also ensure movement.”

The best metaphor that comes to mind is the travelator.  For those who are unsure what I’m referring to, a travelator is the moving walkway that you find at a lot of large international airports. It’s similar in look and design to the escalators in buildings and malls except it moves you horizontally.

My work as a speaker and coach often requires me to travel internationally. This means that I spend a fair bit of time at airports going from one terminal to another.  There are times where a flight has been delayed and time is short to make the transfer between planes.  On these occasions I have a clear objective: get to the next terminal in the next 10 minutes or risk missing a flight.  Yes, of course, I could get the benefit of the exercise and run between terminals. I could also, where the opportunity presents itself, also use a travelator.  Typically the speed of the travelator is that of a fair paced walk. Additionally, the ‘rules’ of the travelator are that you can stand still and stay to the right or you can walk (even briskly) on the left.

http://youtu.be/6UH0-Gnffl4

The result: even standing still you are moving as fast as someone who is walking briskly. Better yet, if you walk briskly you’re really moving and making up ground.

I say all of that to say this….

Spending time with an experienced Coach or Mentor is an opportunity to step on a ‘travelator’ for your life or business. The strategies, insights and advice will often move you along faster and with less effort than if you didn’t have this valuable resource.

Then, if you decide to put more effort into your journey you’ll move from where you are to the next point faster giving you time to relax, reflect or even cheer on the people who chose to do things a different (harder?) way.

I’m also a believer in the saying “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” That said, there are times where I’d rather use my energy to cheer others on at the destination over struggling to get there.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Have you read a book or attended a conference, workshop or seminar where you were shown strategies to get ahead BUT you haven’t put them in place?

Do you have a desire to help more people, make more money or feel more fulfilment but just don’t feel like you’re moving as fast as you know you want to?

If so, it’s time to be accountable. First, to yourself. Next to someone who can support you, encourage you and give you sound advice from experience.  If money is a challenge, there are a number of inexpensive or free ways to get started.  It can be as simple as going to Google and searching for a free coaching service. If you are serious about making progress for yourself and your business then (if you’re in the UK or USA) check out The Business Wealth Club. I also offer a 40 minute “i2insight” session that I don’t charge for BUT I do ask you to make a small contribution to one of the charities that I support. To register for a session simply go to www.bit.ly/i2insight01

So get moving today and get more of what YOU want out of YOUR life.

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.

No More Cold Calls.

SME’s & SoloPreneurs – Turning “Cold Calls” into “Warm Conversations

Have you ever received a phone call from a salesperson that you did not invite to call you or show interest in their product?  The call could have been at home or at work but there’s one thing about a phone call that is received at any time that you weren’t sitting there waiting for the call;  the  a phone call is an interruption.

Based upon the fact there you’re usually not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring –  and for the purpose of this blog –  I’m going to make a broad, sweeping statement, primarily for illustration.  That  statement is:

“All phone calls are interruptions.”

I’m not the first person to say this, the first person I heard say this was Tony Robbins during his “Time of Your Life” program. And when you think about it……that is SO true. I mean, really, whether it’s a cold call from a salesperson or a call from your mom, a phone call is usually an interruption and a distraction from something.

The real question is “how you will handle the interruption?” And behind that, is “what is the basis for how you will handle the interruption?”

Let’s imagine that you were doing some housework and, while we’re at it, let’s imagine you kind of enjoy doing housework (I know this may be a stretch for some people, but bear with me.) As you are doing the housework the phone rings……   (Brriiiing, Briiiiinnnnnng)

Scenario 1

You have the standard set of choices:

  • A) ignore the call and let it go to voicemail.
  • B) let it go to voicemail and screen the call to see if it’s important.
  • C) answer the call and stop what you’re doing
  • D) answer the call but tell them that you will return the call or to call you back at a specific time that is more convenient.

Let’s say that it is someone near and dear to you that is on the phone. Because of your relationship with them you choose letter [Insert your choice here]

Whatever the choice, normally you will feel fine with it and the person on the other end would be fine with it because you respect each other’s time and know that you have time to achieve the outcome when it is mutually beneficial. No rush, no pressure, no problem.

All of these choices will depend upon the relationship that you have with the person who’s calling. The relationship has been built over time and you have specific values, views, ambitions, genetics or at least something in common with that person. The key here is the depth, breadth and importance of RELATIONSHIP.

Scenario 2

The call is from a company that you

  • do not know,
  • are not expecting a call from them and
  • you did not express an interest in their products or services (to expect a call).

You still have the same choices but there is a different feel to this situation. For some (and may I say this particularly applies to the high number of polite, British people who wouldn’t dare say “NOT INTERESTED” and then hang up) there can be a sense of fear that they may get trapped into buying something. Or, possibly, that they will end up on the phone for longer than they would want to be away from the activity that they were doing – all the while feeling pressured into doing something that they had not planned on doing.

This is a cold call. What’s missing here is depth or breadth of relationship. And as you may not have expressed any interest in the product or service

“the call has no importance and becomes more than interruption it becomes an annoyance.”

And who wants to start a relationship with someone that is an annoyance?

I say all that to say this….

With the advent and growth of social media, users are giving enough information about themselves (for free) to the social media platforms to allow more targeted marketing than ever before. As such,  it seems a bit’ old hat’ to call people who have neither shown interest in the product or service or that are unaware of your particular organisation.

“There are plenty of ways to find that common ground to establish some depth or breadth of relationship with a potential customer before making direct/one-to-one contact.”

In fact, there are ways to make the relevance and importance of the call greater than that of a cold call for next to nothing per lead – if you know how.

The way to do this is to use some of the features built into the advertising choices on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This will allow you to do a “bullets not bombs” campaign that could save you hundreds and make you thousands (depending upon your budget, product or service).

I will discuss some of these strategies in a future blog as space does not allow at this time.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that….

Are you aware that you can advertise on Google for free? Granted, there are techniques that you can use that will make it more effective and it should be part of a marketing campaign/strategy, but Google will fund your first exploration of their advertising platform.

If that seems a little too technical then I would suggest that you attend one of the many free workshops that are available online, in person or in books/magazines.

If even that seems a little bit too much like’ hard work’ then you can always seek out an expert in this area who would be happy to do it for you, at a price.

The techniques and strategies that are used to transform cold calls to warm conversations are actually part of the curriculum within The Business Wealth Club (an organisation in the UK and USA). I endorse this organisation as they provide its Members with the strategies, skills and support to not only understand how this all works but to also use it in a way that grows their business.

For more information please visit www.thebusinesswealthclub.com and request a voucher to visit a local club. The voucher, worth £99 is only available from the club mentors, members or head office (just so that you know). Tell them “Marcellus sent me