In this post I’ve laid out the big secrets I took from a Toronto mastermind with high performing businesses and the leaders behind then. At the end of the post you can watch our 19 min masterclass video that shares our secrets for creating content that lives forever and builds your ideal audience. If you took even half of these secrets laid out below and the content knowledge from our masterclass, you would be lightyears ahead in building an effective and efficient business with a powerful and engaging message. Sounds good, right?
Secret #1: You have the power to do what you want.
Often times we give our power away to other things. Maybe we feel we don’t know something and that’s the excuse we lean on to justify why we are not moving forward like we want. Maybe it feels like the marketplace is moving too quickly and it’s hard to catch up. Or maybe we see someone who seems to have it figured out and doing well and we can say to ourselves, “They are just more skilled, smarter or savvy in this area than I am and that’s why we are seeing different results.” But the real fact is…that’s not true.
You have the power to achieve the results you want in your business whenever you want. The multi-million dollar business owner you’re paying attention to was in the same place you are at one point in their journey. The marketplace is always changing and yet companies have survived for generations. So the real meat of the matter is that your ability to choose to take an active role in the leadership of your business rather than a reactive role. This is what dramatically shifts things into the positive.
A reactive role is common because of our conditioning. Our upbringing as a child, the culture we live in, the education we received have built certain programmed reactions into us. As it was laid out by Josh Stanton at the very beginning of this mastermind, our Programing leads to our Feelings which create our Thoughts which lead to our Actions which become our Results.
So if you want different results, you’ll have to walk back down that sequence and make changes. It could be your basic programmed understanding of what you’re comfortable doing is actually not really your true belief of yourself, but in fact what you’ve been told you should believe.
I’ll share a recent example I’ve seen. I visited a local liquor store which is on the route I would normally take to catch the subway into Manhattan. However, right now the nearby subway stop is closed for months long renovations. In all, the stop could be closed for the better part of 10 months. And this liquor store relied on the foot traffic to and from this subway as the main source of their customers. I know this for a fact because I suggested multiple times that they utilize the benefits of online marketing and social media ads to supplement that traffic. They never chose to follow my advice.
Sure enough, last week when I stopped in, the store was empty, and I spoke to my favorite sales associate who is always honest about what’s going on, and he said they were really struggling. “The subway being down is killing us.” No doubt it is, and it’s hard to not get stuck in the symphony of “I know…That’s too bad…Freakin’ MTA…” and so on. You do feel for them and their business.
But the reality is that this local economic event was not a surprise. The subway closure was known well in advance and anyone could have made an effort ahead of time to prepare for the challenges ahead. Why the owner decided not to take action comes down to some personal dynamic with their own sequence of programming, feelings, thoughts, and actions. But I’m sure if they had taken the potential threat to their business seriously, they would have been able to meet the challenge. That’s your power.
You can (and should) lift your head from the grindstone long enough and often enough to see if there is bad weather (or opportunity) coming down the way. And if your business does not allow you the flexibility to lift your gaze, well, you have the power to fix that too.
Secret #2: Clockwork
Adrienne Dorison who is the business partner of Mike Michalowicz, author of Clockwork, shared some outstanding insight and principles from the Clockwork system at our mastermind. (You can learn all these awesome systems at RunLikeClockwork.com)
First, the focus of the book and the Clockwork system is to get your business in such efficient shape that you can have no fears leaving on a four week vacation to some tropical island, or I dunno, Iceland and see the Northern Lights, and totally unplug from your emails, phone calls and everything else without the terror of mistakes being made that become problems for your business. You can have this peace of mind because you can fully trust the process and people you’ve put in place to run your business…like Clockwork.
There are some terrific systems Mike lays out in the book, and Adrienne shared a couple key ones at the mastermind.
#1 The Queen Bee Role (The QBR)
This should be the main focus of your business. In other words, the one aspect that moves your business forward and should be supported by all other elements in your business.
For instance, I have a friend who is a professional voice over artist. His QBR is providing high quality voice over work quickly. Everything else in his business should support that. The planning and contracting ahead of time, the scheduling, the invoicing, the emails with current and potential clients, the marketing, etc. Everything should focus on the QBR succeeding, for without the Queen Bee…the entire colony dies.
#2 ACDC. No, not the band…this stands for:
This handy acronym lets you focus on a streamlined list of priorities in your business. You can see that most of your operation will fall into these categories, and therefore if you’re hitting some roadblocks, you can quickly address where they are coming from and how you can tackle this one area to get everything else back in line.
#3 The 4D’s
So the key here is that as a business owner you want to be allocating more and more of your time to the Designing of your business. This is where the decisions are made about the future of your business, where you’re going as a company and brand, what markets you might tap into, future partnerships, etc. These are decisions that only you can do and frankly it’s these imaginative decisions that led you to start the company to begin with, so that’s where you need to be.
The other D’s (Doing, Deciding, Delegating) should take up less and less of your time to allow you the freedom to do more of the Designing. Having a well trained team and delivery process can allow the Doing to be handled by others. Giving key members the trust and autonomy to make business decisions takes more of the Deciding off your plate rather than everything needing to be approved by the business owner before action is taken (seriously slows progress…). And finally Delegating more and more of the responsibility for running the day-to-day operations to other team members further removes the owner as the only lynchpin to make the business function.
This is how to scale a company and as long as you can take your ego out of it, this is what allows your business to grow even if you step away for a four week vacation to the Bahamas or, God forbid, have to step away to handle some health or personal emergency. There is no reason your company can’t function at full capacity without you there for a few weeks. Meeting that goal is what Clockwork and the Run Like Clockwork system is really built to do.
Secret #3: Build your tribe
Most businesses are looking to build a large list of customers and to keep growing that list in perpetuity. Anyone can buy. But Stu Mclaren changes that perspective by helping thousands of businesses owners successfully implement a membership platform into their business by focusing on building an ideal audience of like-minded and supportive fans.
Even if you don’t want to have a membership component to your business, your sustained success will come easier and perhaps faster by focusing on delivering an exceptional experience to a smaller, hyper-targeted audience that is fully aligned with your mission, message and values. It’s better to have 1,000 raving fans than 10,000 people who barely pay attention to you.
The time and energy you put into growing your business is precious and you shouldn’t waste it by chasing every potential sale. It’s much healthier for you and the company in the long run to build better relationships and create repeat customers who bring a ton of lifetime value.
Secret #4: Open a loop, then open another, and then close the first
If you don’t know about the podcast Entrepreneurs On Fire, use this as the moment to check it out and subscribe. The daily podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews today’s leading entrepreneurs has been going for over 2000 episodes and always delivers great insights in 20min episodes.
John and his partner Kate like to run a very, very streamlined operation. So when it comes to taking folks through their sales funnel they want it to be simple, effective and automatic so they can spend time focusing on other things.
One of the ways John has built in this effective automation is by opening and closing loops, and what that means is that when someone comes to your site, your blog, or your content they are usually there looking for a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. They have opened the first loop. If you provide the solution and close that loop, you’ve stopped the conversation.So John always aims to open another loop immediately, because you want to offer more value beyond the problem someone might be facing in this moment, then make sure you close that first loop with a solution or answer. If you can offer up a solution to the next problem they’ll face or provide answers to the 3 or 4 questions they’ll have in the near future, you now have their attention long term and can continue to provide value that moves them through your sales funnel.
In practice, this could mean that you start a webinar or video by stating what they will learn (your offer to close that first loop), but also state that at the end you’ll give them another tip or a link to some content that provides a solution to their next challenge after they solve this one (you open that next loop right away). So immediately your providing value above and beyond what they were looking for and offering them another opportunity to stay connected to you and your business.
This is what has allowed John and Kate to build a multi-million dollar podcasting empire, because they know their audience well and have built in predictive offers throughout their funnel that keeps folks coming back to Entrepreneurs On Fire as the solution to their next challenge.
Secret #5: You already know what you need to know
A simple but rather profound statement. You know what you need to know to take the next steps towards solving your problems or improving parts of your business. Slow sales? You know you’re not creating enough marketing or haven’t looked under the hood of your leads process. Lack of efficiency in data management? You know you have not invested the time or resources in improving that process or hiring the right person.
This is where so much of the advice from these multi-million dollar business owners helps out. All the advice is really focused on simplifying systems and narrowing your focus. By eliminating as many “what if’s” or unknowns as you can in your systems you can zero in on problem areas and take clear steps to try and solve them. It’s less messy.
And when you do have a plan on improving certain elements, you can again simplify it to the point that you know exactly what you need to focus on and can remove any other distractions to allow you to hit your ideal result faster and more effectively. When you get right down to it, the “problems” in your biz that slow you down are not some great mystery. Once you name it and nail it down, you can take the right steps to solve it for good.
Change is inevitable and growth begets change, so you’ll always run into a situation where you need to make adjustments and decide on another path forward to keep your business successful. The companies and business leaders that accept that and embrace it in the most effective way for themselves are the ones that survive long term and become household names.