Every Entrepreneur Should Ask This Question.

More than 20 years ago a fascinating business concept was developed.

It’s called Zero Based Thinking. And it’s an incredibly effective way to grow your business. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the complexity of our business, we become unclear about how to grow it.

The beauty of Zero Based Thinking is that it makes you ask one single question again and again. And each time you ask this question, you get clearer on how to improve your business.

I’ve prepared a short video on how to use Zero based Thinking.

Branding Tips From Donald Trump, Presidential Nominee

donald trump

That he can credibly do this and that so many people care about it has a lot to do with how The Donald has created his brand.

You may not aspire to be like Trump, but if you run a company there are several important lessons to learn from him. Most notably in the area of personal branding.The fact is that he has branded himself more effectively than almost any entrepreneur alive.

Let’s look at how Donald has created such a mighty brand and how you can do the same. In my view he has followed three of the most fundamental laws of branding impeccably.

  1. Crystal Clear Positioning. 

For better or worse, Donald Trump’s positioning is super clear. He is synonymous with brazen success and wealth. In the last ten years did you ever see Trump interviewed about anything else? Very rarely. He sticks to his brand, night and day, in what he says, does and where he is seen. He is very clear about the message he wants to convey, about himself and his company. Year after year.

Compare that with most entrepreneurs: they are neither sure what their brand stands for nor consistent in how they position themselves. As a result most CEO’s and entrepreneurs have extremely weak brands.

Ask yourself this: what exactly do I, or does my company, stand for? And are we embodying that in everything we say and do?

  1. Not For Everybody.

This is a very important aspect of branding and one poorly understood. To have a very strong brand, you must make a stand about something. You have to be willing to be different, to separate yourself from the pack. Now as soon as you do that you will get people who disagree with your stand and will actively dislike you because of it. You will get detractors.

To be known, you can be either liked or disliked. In fact you can’t create raving fans without also creating the opposite. Anyone who has no ‘anti-fans’ does not have a strong brand. If you play it safe and are scared of offending anyone, you may well have no haters but you will have few deep admirers as well.

Trump understands this. He is quite prepared to be disliked by many, knowing that he is becoming known by many. Now you probably wouldn’t want to get noticed the same way as Trump is going about it, but you must be prepared to be different, even controversial, if you want to develop a strong brand.

  1. Be Loud.

I’ve been mentoring companies and entrepreneurs on branding for over 25 years. And one of the main errors I see CEO’s make is they go to all the trouble of developing a good brand positioning and then they whisper it to the world.

Fast forward 18 months and their oh so clever brand is virtually invisible.

Look, it doesn’t matter how good your brand is on paper, unless you get out there and shout it from the rooftops, you’ll never get famous.

There’s just too much competition out there, too much media noise. Only those who endlessly push their own barrows will get heard above the din. You may not like promoting yourself or your company, but you have to do it if you want to get all the benefits that a stellar brand enjoys. This is no time to be a wallflower.

I’m not saying you have to exude the braggadocio of Donald Trump, but you do have to be loud, in your own way. Not just once either. Constantly. For years. That’s just how most enduring brands are built.

Will Donald Trump become President? Probably not, and he knows it. But he also knows that no matter what happens he will win. Because he will become even more known, and his brand will become even stronger, worldwide. Trump is all about building his brand and he knows that running for President is just another way of doing it.

So in conclusion, you certainly don’t have to be like Donald to create a great brand. But you should emulate his brand building prowess. Just follow the three branding laws above, as he does, and you’ll be more famous than almost all of your competitors.

Christopher Gregory/Getty Images

Don’t Make These 3 Social Media Mistakes.

The buzz about the importance of social media is at crazy levels.

It seems everyone is obsessed with the desire to build out a powerful social media platform and campaign.

Certainly social media marketing is important. But it sure ain’t new. For centuries word of mouth has been both the most effective and the cheapest way to get customers, and social media is just a digital version of word of mouth marketing.

Now of course, it’s incredibly easy to put up a Facebook page, write a few posts and actually get some followers. This ease of creation and swift results has led to a passion for social media that is at massive levels and is increasing at an exponential pace.

But be careful. As the map makers of 500 hundred years ago used to say, ‘There be dragons here’.

There are three big mistakes that the majority of entrepreneurs are making with their social media that can endanger not just your company’s marketing, but the future profits of your organization.

Mistake 1: Spending Too Much Time Posting and Monitoring

Social media can be a huge time suck for entrepreneurs. Firstly, it’s always moving – every few hours someone has commented, complained or replied to what you’ve posted. This ever changing nature of social media is very,very seductive. It makes you feel like you have to always respond, always react. Pretty soon you’ve lost 90 minutes of your day handling it.

That’s a huge error. Social media is in the end just another marketing medium. It’s not the holy grail. It’s not a magic solution to your revenue woes. It’s merely another channel by which you can make contact with customers, deepen your relationship with them and hopefully inspire them to buy from you.

It’s important you don’t spend too much time on it. I suggest no more than 20 minutes each work day. Putting a time limit on your posting and monitoring will force you to be efficient and also leave enough time for you to work on the other vital marketing areas. Like email, print, your brochures, finessing your sales presentation, testing online ads, training sales staff, making your website more responsive, etc.

Spending any more time than that is in my view giving social media too much importance, for the reason that i’ll address next.

Mistake 2: Expecting Social Media to Generate Revenue

The world is littered with companies that went under while they were working on getting their sales from social media marketing.
Now don’t get me wrong: social media can be a highly potent marketing weapon. But here’s the cold, hard reality: I mentor many, many entrepreneurs and virtually none of them have been able to get people on their social media lists to actually write them cheques.

Sure they’ll follow you, like you, even comment enthusiastically about how wonderful your products are, but getting them to buy from you as a direct result of what you post on social media is damn hard.

Now I’m generalising of course. I also work with entrepreneurs that are making a fortune from social media. But take it from me, they are a very small minority. Almost all entrepreneurs will find it way easier getting people to pay them money using other media, like email, telephone marketing, online ads, direct mail and website design.

So I advocate doing social media, for sure, just don’t expect your revenue to rise greatly because you are.

Mistake 3: Not Moving Your Followers To Your Email List

Here’s what most entrepreneurs don’t realize: If you have say 5000 people following you on your social media, you don’t own that list. Facebook, Pinterest or Linked In do. That can be dangerous.

Your list may get deleted because of their error or as a result of cyber crime (it’s increasing at a worrying rate). Or the owners of those social media sites may change their policies, and start limiting your ability to post. (This has already happened. Did you know that when you do a business post on Facebook now, often only around 16% of your followers see it?). So leaving those precious names on social media sites is very risky indeed.

But there’s another reason you need to move them onto your own email list. Research shows that when you try to sell something to people who are on your email list, you usually get a better response than when you make the same offer on social media. There are all sorts of possible reasons why, but the fact is that email marketing is usually much more effective.

How do you move them onto your email list? Just post a free report or offer some benefit to your followers – if they click on a link and leave their email address. If your offer is strong, you’ll get loads of people doing so, and voila, your email list will grow. Do this several times a quarter, and you’ll have the email addresses of many of your social media followers.

So in conclusion, yes social media is a fabulous marketing medium – it’s cheap, it’s fast and it’s highly engaging. But unless you avoid making the three mistakes mentioned above, it could also end up being a huge waste of time.

4 Ways CEOs and Entrepreneurs Can Very Quickly Grow Their Business


4 Things to (1)

Many entrepreneurs think that business growth has to occur slowly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I coach large numbers of entrepreneurs every year, and time and time again I have seen people achieve stupendous levels of growth in a very short period of time.

So How Do CEOs and Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses Fast?

There’s many ways super fast growth can be achieved, but I’ll outline 4 of the most crucial ones below.

1. Raise Your Personal Performance Standards

It’s easy to get a little slack when it comes to driving your own daily performance at work.

Your business might be going quite well, without much of your effort or perhaps you’ve been running it for many years and you’re just bored by what you’re selling. Pretty soon you’ve relaxed too much and started functioning at a sub optimum level.

It shows in small ways: you arrive a little later to work, you settle for lower product standards. You don’t give a sales presentation everything you’ve got. And before long you aren’t performing brilliantly, you’re coasting and taking it a bit too easy.

The solution is to take a step back, evaluate your performance, and if you find it lacking decide to recommit to personal excellence.

What do I mean by that?

I mean make a conscious decision to do every important thing at work to the very highest standards of excellence. When you as the owner of the business decide to lift your performance level, you’ll find everyone around you (staff, suppliers, even clients) will lift theirs.

But if you accept low standards from yourself, all those you work with will function at a lower level too.

Believe me, all great business results start inside the head of the business owner. They see a vision of themselves as outstanding entrepreneurs then endeavor to make that vision a reality. If you don’t start with a personal vision of excellence, great achievement is simply impossible.

So step one is to lift your ideals, aims and standards and everything else will rise in accordance with that vision.

2. Focus On No More Than 3 Key Areas Of Your Business

Too many CEO’s spread themselves too thin. They aim to do everything and end up achieving almost nothing.

While in some ways it’s admirable that a business owner wants every part of their business to get better, the reality is they usually need to focus on just getting a tiny number of critical things right. If they choose those wisely their business growth will be spectacular.

Where do you focus? Well start with these three areas:

  1. How to get more qualified leads.
  2. How to convert those leads into customers more often.
  3. How to get those customers to purchase again.

Think about it. If you just got these three aspects of your business running magnificently, imagine how much wealth you could create.

Now let’s do a little test: How much of your time each week is presently dedicated to these three crucial areas? Probably less than 20%.

So often, business owners get caught up in all the other stuff that seems important at the time, but in the end doesn’t really improve your profits. That’s plain crazy. Get focused on what matters and don’t let yourself get distracted with the endless business trivia.

Want to Grow YOUR Business Fast?

Reserve your spot on my exclusive online training titled:

The 4 Critical Lesson I Learned Building a Half-Billion Dollar Company

Discover the exact same step-by-step plan I used to build a $500 million company.

Click here to reserve your spot!

3. Get More Administration Help

Entrepreneurs tend to do too much themselves. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen the heads of businesses waste hours doing tasks that a low level assistant could have done. And they wonder why they are still at work at 7.30pm!

You must stop doing what doesn’t matter. Hire an assistant (part time if your cashflow is low) and load them up with all the tasks that take you away from making money: looking for stuff on the internet, typing, tidying, answering unimportant emails. etc etc.

You’re not saving money, you’re losing money – if you had somebody to help you you could double or even triple the amount of time you spend growing the business.

Here’s an interesting story. Years ago I had left the company I co-owned after a disagreement with my then business partner. I didn’t know what company I was going to open next, so I rented an office space and then hired not one but two personal assistants.

Now some people would say that was a ridiculous waste of money – after all, I didn’t even have a business at that point. But I saw things differently.

As soon as they started I got them working on any business idea I could think of – researching, organizing and reporting back to me. After awhile I began to work out what my next venture would be and I hit that business with massive momentum. With those assistants helping me I was able to concentrate on what mattered most – developing a new killer business.

Isn’t it time you got some help? To achieve great things you must give yourself the time to think of great things. And it’s very hard to do that if you’re handling a mountain of urgent and low level tasks yourself.

4. Develop Something Else To Sell

If your company has grown to more than $1 million in revenue, often the fastest way to grow faster is to sell an additional product to your customer base. Is it not true that you probably have numerous customers who would buy a second product from you, if only you offered it to them?

After all they already know your company. They like what it does. And they believe in your staff and what you’re aiming to do.

That should make it pretty easy to convince a fair amount of them to take a look at something else you’ve been developing for them.

Disney did this by creating a Disney cruise line. Apple did it by adding the iPod, iPad and Apple Watch. Porsche did it by creating an SUV for the family.

As soon as you begin thinking along this vein, you’ll quickly come up with some promising ideas. Simply ask yourself: what else would my customers buy from me? Then choose something that is easy for you to produce or offer within your current way of operating. (You don’t want to radically change how your company works just to try a new product).

What’s an easy way of finding out what else your customers want? Why not survey them and actually ask them. They’ll appreciate that you bothered to seek their opinion and you’ll get some valuable intel.

The faster you increase your product offering, the quicker new and greater revenue will come in.
Now none of these four ways to build your business quickly are particularly difficult.

And at least 3 of them could be done within a week (developing a new product will probably take a little longer).

So why not give them a try? If you do it’s almost certain that within a very short period of time you’ll have both a bigger business and a better run one.


Want to Grow YOUR Business Fast?

Reserve your spot on my exclusive online training titled:

The 4 Critical Lesson I Learned Building a Half-Billion Dollar Company

Discover the exact same step-by-step plan I used to build a $500 million company.

Click here to reserve your spot!

To give you an idea of some of the things you’ll learn on that webinar, I did a training a while back which you may want to check out below. Enjoy!

The Single Biggest Mistake of CEOs and Entrepreneurs

biggest mitakes of ceos and entrepreneurs

Although I mentor CEO’s and entrepreneurs from a vast array of industries, there’s one mistake that I constantly see, no matter what kind of business they run.

This mistake is so prevalent, I’d estimate that at least 8 out of 10 business leaders make this error, often at great financial cost.

Here it is: They get caught up handling their current business and therefore don’t spend nearly enough time getting new business.

This usually means that every few months they run short of customers, then have to scramble desperately to get more income in.

Because they do not hunt new customers constantly, their revenue becomes sporadic, spluttering between feast and famine. (This can be incredibly stressful on the CEO or entrepreneur).

Although they often blame the economy, or increasing competition for their hardship, the real reason their business is suffering is because they are using their time incorrectly.

They are responding to immediate issues, like client requests, or staff complaints, instead of focusing on new sales. Of course client and staff issues have to be handled, but they should not be put in front of the real task at hand: growing the enterprise.

To do that, you must have “The Growth Mindset”:

As the esteemed management guru Peter Drucker said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” If we spend all our time managing our customers that leaves no time to create new ones.

This is all very well in theory, you might be thinking, but day to day how can I do this?

The answer is you need to create a simple, not overly arduous diary structure, that builds in times of the week where you work on getting new business in the door. And stick to it.

One very elementary but highly effective way of doing this is to diarise the first hour of every work day as ‘Business Building Time’. Commit to devoting this hour each and every work day solely to sales and marketing efforts. (You can either spend the time brainstorming new ways to get customers or spend it working on already existing sales generating systems.)

Why I like to recommend this method to the entrepreneurs I mentor is that it’s easy to yield great results with it.

It takes hardly any time. It’s at the beginning of the day so you’re likely to get it done. And because it’s in the morning you can bring a fresh mind to it.

With just this one change to your day you can literally transform your business. After several months of using this system you will have dramatically improved your new business machine. New business leads will be coming in consistently, your confidence will skyrocket and your revenues will be greatly enhanced.

But if you don’t do this, or a simple, consistent system like it, then your business is likely to go on as it always has.

For most CEO’s and entrepreneurs that means slow and occasional growth. Nothing disastrous happens to their profits, but not much exciting happens either.

So give my system a try. It’s ridiculously easy. Yet it may just revolutionize your company’s speed of growth.

Want to Avoid The Biggest Mistakes CEOs and Entrepreneurs Make Building Their Companies?

Reserve your spot on my exclusive online training titled:

The 4 Critical Lesson I Learned Building a Half-Billion Dollar Company

Discover the exact same step-by-step plan I used to build a $500 million company.

Click here to reserve your spot!

Lessons You Can Learn From Apple’s CEO.

As Apple continues to grow from strength to strength, now is a good time to analyze what Tim Cook is doing right.

Here is my view of the key differences between the way Cook works versus the typical CEO or company owner.

1. He Puts Building A Great Company Ahead Of Building A Great Share Price.

Tim Cook has repeatedly stressed that he views endless speculation about the share price as an unwelcome distraction from the real task at hand – producing and selling world changing products. As he expressed it, “Companies that get confused, that think their goal is revenue or stock price or something. You have to focus on the things that lead to those things.”

And even more stridently,” If you want me to only do things for ROI reasons then you should get out of this stock.”

2. He Only Releases A Product When It Is Truly Outstanding.

A case in point is the Apple watch. Cook was under tremendous pressure early last year to announce a release date for the Apple timepieces. He resisted, even when he knew that competitors were working on similar products, because he knew that the product wasn’t yet good enough. Then when he finally announced the watch range, he still did not rush it’s release into the market.

3. He Is Obsessively Focused On Only A Few Products.

Compare Apple with Samsung. The shear breadth of Samsung’s product range is stunning, but Tim Cook takes an entirely different tact. He is ruthless at saying no to new products, unless Apple can not only produce the best in that category, but actually redefine what that category is.

As he put it, “You can only do so many things great, and you should cast aside everything else.” And again: “But the DNA of the company, the thing that makes our heart beat, is a maniacal focus on making the best products in the world. Not good products, or a lot of products,but the absolute best products in the world.”

4. He Refuses To Lower Prices For Market Share.

Few industries are under more pressure to reduce prices than the computer sector. But again and again Tim Cook resists. He understands that price lowering is a game that is impossible to win and once begun is extremely difficult to stop. It also means reduced margins, which inevitably lead to lower product quality, which in turn lead to lower customer satisfaction.

Cook is adamant that moving away from premium pricing would greatly erode the Apple brand. “Price is rarely the most important thing. A cheap product might sell some units. Somebody gets it home and they feel great when they pay the money, but then they get it home and use it and the joy is gone.”

5. He Plays The Long Game, Keeping the Company’s Vision In Mind At All Times.

The defining characteristic of Tim Cook’s reign at Apple so far is surely his commitment to the Apple ethos. That philosophy is completely focused on product excellence, and Cook has been absolutely clear that he will stick with that vision for however long he runs the company. “Apple has a culture of excellence that is, I think, so unique and so special. I’m not going to witness or permit the change of it.”

Rather than just admire Tim Cook, why not take a moment now to examine each of the points above and compare them to how your company operates. How could you improve things thinking more like Tim? Which of these five areas should you focus on to take your company to the next level?

Tim Cook is indeed a masterful CEO, but he is following strategies that almost any company could also do.

Including yours.

Why Google Glass Failed: A Marketing Lesson.

When Google announced that they had invented a device that put a computer in front of your eye, the world collectively gasped. Google Glass was, and is, a stunning technological accomplishment.

From the moment the actual product was revealed many saw the immense potential of it. You could video anything you are seeing. You could have a map in front of you wherever you walked. You could have a computer and the internet ready at a moment’s notice, taking your experience of life to a whole new level.

But what happened to Google Glass?

In the last 2 weeks Google has let it be known that they’re taking it back to the lab. The product, at least in its current incarnation, is over.

It was worse than simply a product that didn’t catch on, even in its prerelease, from a sales point of view it has been a monumental failure.

The question is why?

Why weren’t there long lines of people ready to fork out around $1500 to get this amazing device?

The answers are simple. And any of us wanting to sell our own products successfully should heed the important marketing lessons Google Glass’s failure teaches.

Here, in my view is why Glass didn’t make it.

1. No Real Product Launch

The product was launched in a novel way – give early adopters and a whole slew of celebrities Google Glass and let them be the advertising.

In one way this worked brilliantly – Glass got oodles of P.R. But in following this strategy Google dropped the ball on some fundamental and compulsory aspects of launch marketing. The first being that any product launched once announced publicly, must complete the launch by revealing an actual date the product can be purchased. This never happened with Glass.

It’s not enough to show a product off and engender desire for purchase. You have to have a specific day when when the public can get it.

If Google Glass had such a date then I for one missed it. Apple of course do this superbly.

2. No Mainstream Advertising Campaign

If you seek to launch a global product, then history has shown it’s best to support it with announcement advertising. Doing PR is fine, but you are never fully in charge of the message. If you want to sculpt public perception exactly to your specifications, it really helps to use paid media to get your key points across in the clearest way. Having spent presumably hundreds of millions of dollars developing Glass, Google should have spent at the very least $10 million explaining it. Instead, they left it all up to their public relations department and soon lost control of the key benefits messaging.

3. No Clear Explanation About Why The Product Was Fabulous

With any totally new product or service, companies must be very clear about telling the public why that product is great. The core benefits must be spelt out – and no more than three key points should be emphasized again and again. If you try to say too much, (or even worse, don’t make a clear argument on the product’s behalf at all ), then don’t be surprised if it doesn’t catch on. Any product that needs the public to spend time working out for themselves why it’s valuable has already lost the battle. One of the problems with Glass was it arrived with great fanfare, but most of us were not sure how we could use the product.

4. No Easy Way To Buy It

It’s all fine and dandy to tease the launch of the product and not initially have it available for purchase, but after a few months you’ve got to distribute it through physical outlets or the net. Otherwise you lose the buzz and then when the product is finally introduced in stores, the launch energy has been lost. Google teased us for far too long, then by the time they saw that the world’s intrigue for Glass was waning, it was almost too late. The hot new product had become first a warm new product and then just an oddity no longer even garnering much press.


The lessons for all companies and entrepreneurs looking to launch a product are as follows.

Launch with buzz like Google did with Glass, but use paid media if you can afford it to strengthen your PR, then make the everyday benefits of using your product crystal clear. Finally be sure to release the product quickly and widely to take advantage of the momentum.

None of this is difficult, but most of it was simply not done by the Google Glass team.

On a personal note, I really hope Google can come back from this and relaunch Glass with great success. Google’s intention to not just be a search/advertising company but to use their immense cash flow to sponsor moonshot projects to help the world, is in my view truly wonderful. Glass is just the first of a myriad of exciting products that will soon emanate from the Google X lab. This is a magnificent company with mighty, world changing aims. It is a company with a genuine ability to change the world, many times.


How To End The Year Strongly

Okay, there’s only a few weeks to go until the end of 2014.

How can you make sure these last days really count? How do you really move your business and career ahead in such a short time?

Here’s a series of strategies that can make an enormous difference to how well you complete the year. Follow each of them and you’ll go into the holiday season feeling satisfied and confident that you made the most of your opportunities.



If you have not had the kind of year you’d hoped for, part of the reason will be that you spread yourself too thin. Don’t make this mistake in this final month. Sit with a pad and pen and brainstorm just three tasks you could do that would really help your business. Just three.

Then block out several hours in your diary each and every week day allocated purely to getting those done. There’s no time to waste. Get simple and serious about what really matters and your progress will be greatly enhanced.



At the end of every year there are always some people that are close to signing up and buying what you have to offer. Rather than use the final weeks of the year for just cleaning up and festivities, immediately reach out to these potential sales several times, working hard to get them across the line.

Maybe give them a last minute discount, or some added value for the same price. Perhaps cogitate on the possible unsaid reasons they have not bought already and address them. These sales are close, don’t let them slip away in these final days of 2014. If it’s not appropriate to call them, send them a couple of emails asking for at least a further chat- it’s these small actions that often yield big December revenue.



I’m not talking about the usual cards they are flooded with at this time of year, I’m talking about something much more meaningful or memorable. Call them if possible, and let them know exactly why you value them. Send them a carefully considered gift. Invite them to a lunch, dinner or interesting event. Do something, anything, that let’s them know that they are more than income to you- they are important and precious. It may take a bit of effort, but these are the type of gestures that if done with sincerity and panache will be remembered by your customers for years.



Put on a fun and high quality breakfast that let’s them know how valued they are. But be sure to invite their partners as well. The typical worker’s partner is never thanked or appreciated by the boss- and that’s a big mistake. If you can make them feel that you’re grateful that they have put up with the late nights and weekends their partner has done throughout the year, your company will have a loyal supporter for years. Remember, staff retention is one of the hidden keys to profitability. And one of the best ways to retain somebody good is to win over their spouse to the company cause.



Be honest: you’ve been hoarding unnecessary files and documents for years. Don’t go into the new year with this clutter still in your life.

Read the current New York Times bestseller ‘The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and you’ll appreciate that generally the less stuff and mess around you, the better your psychological state. Now is the time to purge! Not a few papers, but at least 50% of them.

The key question to ask when doing this is not “‘Will I need it again?”, as that usually leads to keeping mountains of stuff just in case. But rather “Will I be able to get it again if I need it ?” That small change in words make all the difference in results.


Each of these 5 tasks is easy to do- but also easy not to do. But if you want to finish the year feeling happy and confident in a strong start to 2015, they are a must. Pick one right now and get working on it, the days left in 2014 are dwindling fast.