Do you need to improve your self-identity?

When I coach entrepreneurs or CEOs, there are two main areas we work on improving.
The first is their actions.
(Where they focus, their strategies, delegation, team building, productivity, etc.)

The second is equally important but rarely addressed:
Their self-identity

.Successful people have profoundly different self-images, compared with average people.
They may look similar on the outside, but inside they see themselves very differently.

Average people let their circumstances dictate how they see themselves.
For example, if they are having trouble increasing their income, they often see themselves as poor, or struggling.

Highly successful people are far less likely to let their current circumstances lower how they see themselves.
Even if their business is not going well, they tend to see themselves as highly successful, but just with temporary bad results.

It’s a really important difference, as over time having a successful self-image affects a lot of the actions they end up taking.
People with strong self-identities tend to be bolder, more confident, and more persistent.
They will keep trying until they get it right because they believe they will ultimately succeed.

In a way their belief in themselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Another way to look at it is that successful people are like thermostats, and unsuccessful people are like thermometers.

The thermostat stays at a particular temperature, and the air heating unit attached to it keeps working until the room matches its aim.
While a thermometer observes the temperature around it, and says that ‘This is how things are’.

Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?
Have you chosen an ideal self-identity, or do you merely react to your results and choose a self-image in accordance with that?

In my experience as a high-performance coach for business people, almost nobody has consciously designed a self-image that really supports them and helps them become someone wonderful.

It is actually not that hard to create an excellent self-image.
There are 4 simple steps.

  1. Choose a self-image that you like- someone you would like to become. Write it down in a paragraph or two.
  2. Write a list of valid reasons why you are (or could become) that person.
  3. Read these two daily, at least, so you become very conscious of them. This ideal self-image should be front of mind most of the day.
  4. Attempt to act and think like you are that person already, as best you can.

It may feel strange at first, but eventually, you will become very comfortable with that vision of yourself, and then you will start behaving like that kind of person, most of the time.

In prominent business schools, they don’t talk about stuff like this. But I can assure you, having mentored many highly successful business people, developing a strong self identity is one of the most effective moves you can make.

Take control of your self image and you will take control of your life.

The unusual thing all entrepreneurs must learn to succeed

Everyone starts their business off with excitement.

Then after a while, it becomes just moderately interesting.
Then all too often running a business becomes a bit of a drag.

At this point, many entrepreneurs do one of two things:
They start looking for a new, more exciting business to switch to.
Or they continue in their business, but with little enthusiasm, and soon little results.

When I coach business owners, I see this occur very often.
And one of my main jobs is to yes, get them excited again about the future of their company, but also do one other thing that’s really important:

Get them to understand that it’s okay to be bored.

If you’re bored with your business, it does NOT mean you are in the wrong business.
You must understand that boredom is a very common feeling for a founder. It’s normal. It’s usual. Nothing is ‘wrong’ if you are feeling bored with your business.
Almost every business owner feels the same. Often.
But so many of us feel bad about feeling bored, as all the other entrepreneurs we read articles about and watch on YouTube seem so excited about their companies.

Don’t believe it.

I have been mentoring entrepreneurs and CEOs for around 14 years. I’ve coached them at every level, from absolute start-ups to people doing over a billion dollars a year in revenue.
Almost all of them experience boredom at times.

So, step number one is to not feel down about feeling bored, and accept that it’s just a part of running a business.
And step two is to realize that your ability to push through the boredom is a superpower.
If you can just get good at persisting with building your business through periods of boredom, I can assure you that you will come out the other side, not just with a much bigger business but one that excites you again.
(By the way, step number three is to re-dedicate yourself to being truly excellent at what you do. When you do this, almost instantly business becomes interesting again.)

So be okay with being bored sometimes. And get good at pushing through it.
It’s an aspect of being an entrepreneur that is very important to master.

How do you build a $7 billion company?

Here’s a fascinating interview with one of Australia’s greatest business success stories, Matt Rockman.

Matt is one of the 3 founders of Seek, the online job company that is now worth over $7 billion dollars.

How did he start his internet company?
What mistakes did he make along the way?
What is his advice for other entrepreneurs aiming to create a great company?

Find out, when you listen to my interview with Matt on The Business Lounge podcast, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Disrupt Radio

Announcing my new podcast – interviews with business titans

I’ve just started an amazing new business podcast.

It’s really worth a listen.

Because it’s different from almost every other business podcast, in one important way.

The quality of the guests.

I’ve been able to get some of the world’s most successful business people to agree to be interviewed.

People most podcasters are unlikely to get.

First up is Graham Turner, co-founder of the giant travel business, Flight Centre

Graham speaks really honestly about:

  • How he built two businesses from scratch.
  • Growing a business with very little capital.
  • How to survive business disasters.
  • His strategies for developing an awesome team.

 And so much more.

You will be amazed and inspired by what Graham Turner has done in business- and how honest he is about it.

The podcast is called The Business Lounge.

To subscribe to it, just search it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

The advice from these business greats is gold.

Elon Musk’s 5 commandments

Everyone has been talking about the new Walter Isaacson biography of Elon Musk.
And there are definitely some fabulous stories about Musk in the book.
But I think he’s also got some really strong business leadership ideas worth trying out too.

One is known as ‘The Algorithm’.

The Algorithm is the 5 principles that Musk, not only, personally uses to run his multiple high-growth companies. It’s also what he endlessly tells his leadership team to follow.
As he puts it, “I became a broken record on the algorithm, but I think it’s helpful to say it to an annoying degree.”

So what are Elon’s 5 most important business commandments?

1. Question every requirement.
Do you really need to do this many employees to get the job done?
Does the project really have to take 3 months to complete, or could you do it sooner?

2. Delete any part or process you can.
Most procedures and methods are too complex. Strip everything down that you can.
This will almost always make it cheaper, quicker and easier to get done.

3. Simplify and optimize.
The parts that remain should also be made as simple as possible. Then once you have achieved that, look at ways to make each part of the business process as excellent as it can be.

4. Accelerate cycle time.
Almost every part of a business can be done faster.
Examine everything, looking for quicker ways to get it done.

5. Automate.
We are not just talking about automating factories like Musk famously did with his Tesla ‘giga factories’
We’re also thinking about which events occur in your company repeatedly, and are there ways to automate many of these processes?

These are Musk’s 5 business commandments.
Simple to say, but very demanding to actually do.

Which one of these could you activate in your company this week?

Are you too slow?

If you want to be great in business, you have to be fast.
So here’s a question for you.

Out of 10, what would you rate your ‘Speed To Opportunity?’
How quickly do you respond when an opportunity comes your way?

Here’s an example that happened to me recently.
I was looking to hire a PR firm for a coaching client of mine.
I rang three PR companies and left a message, asking them to ring me about a significant account they could win.
Two days later, only one had called me back!
Their Speed To Opportunity was ridiculously slow. And no surprise, they did not get the contract.

What about you?

How quickly do you call a prospect back when they call?
When you have an idea for your business, how soon do you implement it?
When you want to try some marketing, how long does it take before you actually do it?

When you act fast lots of good things happen:
You win business you wouldn’t have won if you were slow.
You hire good people, that would have chosen a job elsewhere if you had not acted swiftly.
You build momentum – and opportunities naturally occur from that increased pace.
And you personally feel ever more confident as you see positive things happening quickly in your business.

There’s an old saying in business: ‘Money loves speed.’
If you ranked your Speed To Opportunity under 8 out of 10, it’s time to speed things up.

How to grow your business in 4 minutes.

How quickly can you grow your business?

How about in 4 minutes?

Here are 3 ways to do it…

1.  Send an email out to your clients offering a 24-hour deal.
What product do you sell that you can offer a very short rebate on?
You could position this 24-hour discount to your clients as a reward for their loyalty.
The great thing about this technique is you can’t lose- some people will buy it, but even the ones who don’t will be reminded of you, your company and the good things you offer.

2. Spend 4 minutes coming up with a more expensive option for what you already sell.
Usually, around 20% of people will buy a more expensive version of what you already sell.
What could you add to your product offerings to justify a higher price?
Come up with a few ideas in 4 minutes and start testing them with potential customers.

3. Contact the media about what you are selling.
Could you think of a story about your company that the local newspaper would run?
What about an angle that your industry trade press or industry websites would be interested in?
The more people see articles about you and your services, the more likely it is someone will contact you to buy what you offer.
Try spending 4 minutes brainstorming media angles, then start emailing some journalists.

As the legendary Koren entrepreneur Kim Woo-Choong said, “Every street is paved with gold.”
There are so many ways to build your business- stay open-minded and try at least one of these this week.
It’s amazing what you could achieve in 4 minutes.

3 powerful ways to increase your productivity

It always amazes me that people will spend years doing business degrees and courses, but spend almost no time studying how to be more productive.

Yet being super productive is one of the master skills of business.

In a world where anyone senior in business usually has 3 times more work than they can actually do, using your time really well is absolutely crucial.

Time management is actually a hobby of mine. It fascinates me how one person can literally get more done in one month than others do in a year.

So here are 3 time management techniques that I love (and are not commonly known) that can radically increase your productivity, as soon as you start doing them…

The 2-Minute Rule.
Invented by David Allen, one of the most thoughtful productivity gurus and author of the seminal bestseller ‘Getting Things Done, this simple rule works as follows:

Whenever an email or task appears, simply ask yourself this question:
“Can I do this in 2 minutes or less?”

If the answer is Yes, you do it right now. If the answer is No, you resist doing it and put it on your To-Do List for a later time.

The 2 Minute Rule works so well because it quickly gets rid of all the small tasks that can really build up over time, and prevents you from stopping major things you’re working on to handle the latest To Do that pops into your Inbox.

Follow this rule assiduously and your life will almost instantly become calmer and more productive.

Schedule a half day each week to do all your admin.
One of the biggest challenges at work is we keep on switching our thinking styles during the day.
As I see it, there are two basic thinking modes we have during most work days.

The first is Deep Thinking on issues and projects that count. The second is Processing Thinking – doing numerous relatively mindless tasks.

The brain works in very different ways for each of these thinking styles, so it can become quite stressful and ineffective to constantly switch between doing Processing Thinking and Deep Thinking.

One excellent solution is to save all your less important Processing Thinking for a one-half day each week. For example, on Friday morning.

If it’s not important or time-sensitive, literally postpone getting it done until that Friday, and then get all of those type of tasks done at once.

This massively clears up and simplifies your week, and increases 10 X how much-uninterrupted quality thinking time you will have.

Have a strict and early leaving time.
The Human Performance Institute in Florida has conclusively shown that most executives do not work hard enough when at work, but also work too many hours.

You can solve both these issues by setting a clear and relatively early leaving time for each work day and strictly keeping to it.

I can assure you, that absolutely having to leave work earlier will speed up your work rate all day long.

Arguably the most important rule in all of time management is Parkinsons’ Law: ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.’  When are you at your most efficient? The day before you go on vacation! Because you know you must, must, must finish your work by a certain time.

One of the most respected productivity experts is Michael Hyatt. At his highly successful company, he makes sure his staff get their work done at a reasonable hour by programming all the lights in the company to go off at 6 pm!

In summary, these are 3 of the most important productivity systems I teach the executives I mentor on high performance. They work for them and they will work for you too.

Give them a try for a week and you will be astounded at how productive you become.

How to convert more people into paying customers

When you get a good lead, it is absolutely vital that you convert it into a sale.

The difference between converting 1 out of 4 leads into a sale versus 1 out of 3 is a phenomenal amount of money over a 3-year period.

You need to get your sales conversion right.

There are so many ways to increase your sales conversion rate, but here’s one that is very easy to do and has a high predictability of success:

Offer a Last Minute Downsell.

It works like this: If after pitching your main product or service to the potential client, you intuitively feel that they are not going to buy, switch to a lower-priced alternative.

A typical script for this might be as follows:

“There’s one other version we offer that a lot of people love- it allows you to get most of the benefits of our primary service, but for around half the price. Would you like me to take you through it?”

That’s all there is to it. It’s that easy.

It works because the reality of selling a medium to high-priced service is this: Most of the time, the potential buyer will not tell you your price is their main objection.

Many are uneasy revealing that and would much rather just quietly end the meeting.

When you offer the Last Minute Downsell you greatly increase your chances of getting a sale. And once they work with you and trust you more, later down the track you can then upsell them to the original option – and even more expensive alternatives.

It’s such a simple technique, but it’s rarely used in most industries.

And they make far less money as a result.

Your missing ingredient

Here’s something to think about:

Are you missing one of the most important ingredients of being a great entrepreneur?

I’ve been mentoring entrepreneurs for about 14 years, and here’s what I’ve noticed:

There are many entrepreneurs that work hard, focus and really know their industry, but still do not achieve great things.

It’s very frustrating for them because they appear to be doing everything they need to, but are still not making nearly as much money as they feel they should.
In many cases, I believe what is missing is simply this:

Massive desire.

Desire is the missing ingredient for many people.

I believe massive desire completely changes the game and will lift you to a much higher level of achievement than just doing the right actions.
When you really, deeply, desire to succeed in business the following outcomes occur:

1. You see opportunities you have never seen before.
You just notice more things that can help you when you really crave business success. Your subconscious picks out people, software or opportunities that it just doesn’t see unless you’re on fire with desire for your business goals.

2. It forces you to take more action.
When you have a huge desire you make the phone calls you’re nervous about making. You work the extra hour. You push yourself past pure professionalism into the rarefied space of uncommon excellence. And thus your results rapidly improve.

3. Your belief triples. 
You usually can’t have a large rise in desire without also having a rise in belief. And that increased belief leads to taking more actions in the direction of your business goals, and more certainty when dealing with potential customers. These two combine to give you much stronger financial results.

4. You get much more luck.
I don’t know exactly why this occurs, I just know from experience that it does. I have had times when I did all the right actions in my business yet did not have luck go my way. And other times when I had a huge amount of lucky circumstances occur in my favour. After a long time analyzing this, I concluded that the missing ingredient was desire.

When my desire for business success was white hot, I experienced a lot of luck. When I was working hard but my desire was merely moderate, I didn’t see many lucky moments occur.

It is like massive desire functions as some kind of magnet, bringing to you all manner of good fortune, in sometimes strange and spectacular ways.

So if you are working hard in your business, but you are just not getting the results you want, try greatly increasing your desire for your goals. Think about them constantly with emotionally intense desire.

It might just be the missing ingredient that changes everything.