Monthly Archives: June 2017

Calipers measuring thickness of a sandwich

Lifestyle Purpose and Your Work-Life Balance

For a super rocking fun time marketing plan you need three strategic objectives and this is the one almost everyone misses because they do not take it seriously!  You need a lifestyle purpose for your benefit and your business’s.

There is a story of a business man on holiday beside a great lake.  He finds a fisherman, dozing in the sun and they get into conversation.  “Why are you not out fishing?”, the business man asks.

“I’ve caught all I need to feed my family today.”

“So, why not carry on fishing?  You could sell the fish to buy an outboard motor for your boat and that would take you to other parts of the lake where there are more fish.  More profits would mean new, bigger and stronger nets.  With the additional money you could buy a second boat and pay people to fish with you.  In time you could have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“And what then?”

“Then, you could sit back and relax.”

“What do you think I’m doing right now?”

There is no doubt lifestyle choices make a big impact on your business.

Your Benefits

Most people have heard of work-life balance and it is important.  You have a young family and spend every hour God sends outside your house, marketing and delivering your business.  Fifteen years later, your business collapses through exhaustion and you return home to find a house full of moody Goths who have no idea who you are and a partner who has forgotten you exist.

Lifestyle benefit is for everyone, even those who live alone.  I value the freedom to live my life in the way I want to.  I walk for health and that means I walk every day.  Being free of having to go into work means I can do as I choose.  Some people have hobbies or sports they pursue and value opportunities to do so.

Your business needs to fund your work-life balance, that is the costs of non-essential business activities.  Your lifestyle purpose should inspire your financial purpose.  What do you need to fund your non-business activities?

Business Benefits

But your business benefits from your lifestyle purpose too.  If you are to come across as fresh, as someone who enjoys your work, you need to take lifestyle seriously.  The worst boss you ever have is likely to be you.  It does not have to be that way.  Everyone struggles with this but you can plan how to get to your chosen lifestyle.

But you also need space to review and reflect on your business.  Many people, especially coaches, get so caught up in their job, they forget their business.  How many people schedule in the time they need to take a step back and review their business?  You need to create space to do this, so that you’re not distracted by day-to-day demands from your clients, partners and others.

Finally …

So, there you have it.  You need business, financial and lifestyle aims for your marketing plan.  They’re related but you need to focus on all three if you are to do justice to your business.  This may seem daunting.  But don’t worry, you’re not alone.  There are many others in the same boat and this is why collaborative marketing is important and so my next topic.

In these posts and emails I am forging a new approach to marketing.  Please comment and let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree.

To make sure you see everything, complete the form below to go on my mailing list.  You’ll get notice of future blog posts and receive my Thursday emails.

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Making Assumptions about Your Market

Very few businesses have a complete picture of their market.  Your picture will develop, as you get to know your customers.  In the meantime, you will need to make assumptions about your market.

Whilst, you may have accurate data about some aspects of your market, you will have gaps in your perception.  You don’t always know where you make assumptions and so the check-list below might help.

Remember, making assumptions is not always a negative!  You will never know everything about your market and what is true today may not be true next year.  You need to make some assumptions to move forwards.  Knowing your assumptions is always an advantage.

Things to Consider

Do you make assumptions about the demography of your market?  Perhaps you don’t think it will appeal to people over or under a certain age, for example.

  • It is tempting to set your demographics too wide. If your market is age dependent then do not waste energy marketing to other age groups.  But for some offers age is not relevant.  The important thing is to target what is relevant.  Some demographics may be more relevant than others.
  • Local markets are everywhere. You may target people living or working in a particular place, perhaps because you are a trader based there.  Other offers may be less locality dependent.  You may be the sole provider in one area and others may cover other areas.  If you offer something unique anywhere, you might consider marketing beyond your locality.  Some businesses test in a locality before marketing globally.
  • Prospects will like your offer, packages or even you! These are the people likely to come back for more.  Don’t underestimate the value of returning customers.  Don’t assume if they buy once, they will not buy again.
  • You may assume prospects have knowledge when actually they don’t. Perhaps a common example is some prospects may not be aware they have the problem you solve.  The success of your business may depend on education of prospects who may be unaware of the problem or living with a problem they do not believe can be solved.  See the awareness ladder for details.
  • They may know of you but do they really know you? Do they assume you are good at some things when you are not or bad at things you excel at?  People make assumptions based on what they think you should know.  Don’t assume they know you well enough!

Testing Assumptions about Your Market

Ideally, you need to test assumptions quickly and cheaply.  This may be hard for the lone worker.  Are there efficient ways of testing assumptions?

  • Use this method of collecting testimonials to test your market. If you have contacts in your potential market, ask them for a 20-30 minute interview and get their take on your market.
  • Informal 1 to 1 interviews may be an opportunity to test aspects of your market.
  • Run a few low-cost workshops to see if you can find prospects. It is notoriously difficult to get people out to workshops.  So, if you are successful the chances are you are onto something!
  • Simply ask people what they think! You may be too close to your offer to see it clearly.  Someone with specialist knowledge of your field may be able to help but anyone might see something you have not noticed.
  • Try using social media to test ideas and assumptions.

Ultimately, you must launch and see who bites.  Your assumptions can obstruct a successful launch but you can never be 100% certain your offer will work for the people around you.

Also be aware you may find early interest that does not follow through to turn prospects into clients.  You may make assumptions that first attract and then repel prospects.  What do you assume they want, which might switch them off?

Please let me know if this is helpful and if there are any points I could expand upon.

Business owner with arrows pointing upwards

Profit is Not Necessarily Your Financial Purpose

Last time I said for a super rocking fun time Marketing Plan, you need three strategic objectives, including your business purpose. Today I move onto your second objective, your financial purpose.

I’ve separated financial from business purpose.  If you want to make a lot of money, having a clear business purpose is essential.  Your business purpose generates enthusiasm, while your financial purpose is essential to drive your business purpose.

Usually at this point the marketing guru talks about “smashing it”, explaining how you should focus on some massive sum on the grounds that if you aim for the stars you should at least hit the moon!  I take the view every one of us wants to sit under our own fig tree.  We’re not all going to hit the stars or even the moon; there isn’t enough money in the world.  But there’s no reason we all cannot do better than break even and so achieve security for ourselves and our families.

So, not every business person is in the game for vast sums of money.  For many business people their business aim is most important but they still need a clear financial purpose.

Your Focus

The important thing to understand is your financial focus.  You need to get away from simple formulas where you aim to make so much money in a certain amount of time.  Your focus is more important.  Let me illustrate.

Imagine a coach who is starting out.  Their financial purpose is likely to be increased sales.  They need clients.  No clients and they don’t have a business.  They have no testimonials and no experience to show evidence of their skills.

However, this will not go on forever!  A successful coach will reach a point where their capacity is outgrown by numbers of clients.  Chances are this will happen before they meet their financial target.  So, another option is to change their focus to increased revenue.  One way to do this is to increase prices.  If the coach is established and has a lot of prospects, this can be effective.  Another approach may be to offer more products and services to existing clients.

The latter approach may be thwarted if new products and services also make claims on the coaches’ capacity.  So, another option may be to employ staff.  This means a coaching business with minimal costs will start to have significant costs.  At this point profit becomes more important.  You need to aim for maximising income while minimising costs.  You will have increased costs because you employ someone.  You need to plan to manage these costs whilst being a fair employer.

So, you see your financial focus can have profound implications for how you run your business.

There are other financial aims but hopefully, this illustrates the need to be clear about your financial focus.  If not, you will become stuck at some point in the growth of your business.

How Much?

You need some idea of the amount you need to be viable.  You can calculate a breakeven point by adding together your business costs and your living costs.  This will never be enough because you will have contingencies and so need to add an estimate of costs over and above everyday essentials.

At this point you can aim for the stars, if that is your wish.  You know the least you need to keep going and so you can dream of some bigger sum of money and aim for that.  This works for some people.

But many business people are not in business to make huge amounts of money.  They are in danger of underestimate their needs and under-achieving for their business in consequence.  After all higher income strongly implies greater impact on your business purpose.

But it is also easy to lose sight of your lifestyle purpose.  There will be costs attached to your lifestyle and so you need to consider what you need not only for your business but to fund the lifestyle you need to support your business.  More next time.

In these posts and emails I am forging a new approach to marketing.  Please comment and let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree.

To make sure you see everything, complete the form below to go on my mailing list.  You’ll get notice of future blog posts and receive my Thursday emails.

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How to Find Passionate Business Advocates

A knack that often eludes business owners, is to build a group of people who believe passionately in what they are doing.  These passionate business advocates are the key to making your business successful.

Why You Need Passionate Advocates

This follows on from the need to narrow your market.  A focused market, so that your natural market recognises you offer a solution to their problem, is essential.  If you believe everyone qualifies, you are actually confusing two things.

Positive and Negative Discrimination

Many people with a third-sector background are intent upon not being guilty of discrimination.  This is sometimes called political correctness.  The usage is often pejorative, used to disparage the motives of those who exercise it.  I prefer a more old-fashioned designation.  It is courtesy.  Perhaps this downplays its importance and that is what I want to do in the context of business.

Once you have identified your market, nothing else should stand in the way of finding those who are a part of it.  If you want to be prejudiced on grounds of race, sex, age, sexuality, etc, you will alienate some of your market.  If you attempt to exploit those in your market of whom you don’t approve, word will get out and the chances are you will lose business.

In business, you need to be discriminating in the sense you need to market in favour of those who are most likely to become your customers.  You cannot afford to allow other factors to get in the way.  This is one reason the marketplace is fundamentally egalitarian, a place where the community meets to do business of all types.

This is why immigration is such a difficult political issue.  It benefits many businesses but the unequal nature of the marketplace has led to stoking of prejudice against immigrants.  So, now we are leaving the EU because some people cannot stomach immigration and even the party that explicitly aims to bring down immigration has so far failed to the extent it also listens to business.

An Inclusive Marketplace

Businesses need an inclusive marketplace, where they can make exclusive offers.  This boils down to the need for traffic and conversion.  If you have excellent conversion, you need good traffic or no-one will see your offer and good traffic equates in part to an inclusive marketplace.  If conversion is poor, it doesn’t matter whether you have traffic because you won’t make any customers.

So, you need to be discriminatory in the sense you aim for a particular market and when you find them do not let prejudice get in the way, it is always a major disadvantage for business.

From Customer to Advocate

If someone is a passionate advocate they will help your business in several ways.  They will:

  • buy more from you. This is the key to a successful business.  If you have a range of offers, the chances people who buy from you once will buy again and spend more as their trust increases.
  • advocate your business to others, helping you find new customers.
  • write or record testimonials and speak passionately in your favour.
  • come up with new ideas for products and services you can offer.

What Your Passionate Advocates Need

So, what do your customers need if they are to become passionate advocates?  The main thing they need is a referral system.  This is some clear means by which they can advocate your business and benefit from doing so.

Let’s assume they have tried you and like your approach.  They need help to advocate on your behalf.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • The more you can systematise your referral system, the easier it will be for your advocates to use it.
  • Help them with testimonials. People will find positive things to say, if you can take them through a conversation so that they can think through what they say about you.
  • Be clear about what you want from them. You are not asking them to sell your products or services, simply to find people who benefit from contact with you.
  • Offer incentives for good referrals (referrals they have approached for permission to pass details to you) and referrals who become customers.
  • Keep in contact with past customers. This is usually best done through an email list.  They will be pleased to hear from you if you maintain an interest in them.

Every business is different but all benefit from seriously considering these issues.

Please let me know if this is helpful and if there are any points I could expand upon.

The word

Your Business Purpose is Transformation

If you are seeking a super rocking fun time marketing plan, you need a strategic objective for your business.  This may be something of a disappointment – how does he go from fun to strategic objective in one sentence?  Actually, it’s worse than that.  You actually need three strategic objectives!  Give me strength!  Three?  I’m out of here …

Still here?  OK let’s take them one at a time and you will see why you need three objectives and their benefits to your business.  Three objectives sidestep the tangle of crossed purposes and emotions; trying to do everything through one objective.

Your Business Purpose

Not to put too fine a point on it, it is not true your business purpose is about money.  The business gurus and politicians will tell you business is about money.  (I’ll write about money next time.)  It isn’t.  It never has been and never will be.

Here is a quote from a contemporary economist, John Kay:

Profit is no more the purpose of business than breathing is the purpose of life.

Note what Kay is saying here: first, your purpose is not about money and second, money is crucial to your business success.


Your purpose is the change your business brings to the world.  The change you make to your clients’ quality of life is your business’s most immediate impact.  You can get feedback from your clients, as testimonials or case studies, and these prove the positive changes your work has brought about.

But your business purpose goes beyond that.  If your clients are businesses, chances are their clients will benefit from your offer.  You may seek transformation of some aspect of your clients’ business practice.  Perhaps you want to see changes to management in some specific industry, for example.

Personal clients have friends, families and neighbours and so your purpose may produce transformation in this wider community.  As a trader, you may work with other traders to transform your neighbourhood.  Your purpose relates to what you bring to positive transformation.

The Role of Money

To be successful as a business you need money.  Make a loss and sooner or later your business will end.  The issue is not whether you need money or even how much. What matters is how you approach money-making.  You need a money-making focus to meet your business purpose and your third business objective.  More about this next week.

In these posts and emails I am forging a new approach to marketing.  Please comment and let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree.

To make sure you see everything, complete the form below to join my mailing list.  You’ll get notice of future blog posts and receive my Thursday emails.

Crowd generating enormous soap bubbles

Your Super Rocking Fun Time Marketing Plan

That got your attention!  Your Marketing Plan is of course deadly serious and the idea that you might have fun with it and actually enjoy marketing is, well – as every fool knows –  a pipedream.  Marketing distracts from your real business, from delivering your service that brings real benefit into the lives of your clients and their clients, friends, families and neighbours.



It is not your product or service that brings these benefits into the world – it is your marketing!  The truth is most of us get marketing completely wrong.  We see it as a chore, a distraction and an utter pain.  Actually, it is your business – your marketing delivers the benefits you offer to the world.

But, fun?  Isn’t it hard work?  Of course it’s hard work!  But look at this way.  If your marketing is not fun, if you do not enjoy it, what are the chances your potential customers will find your offer attractive?  And how long are you going to slog away at it?

Granted you should not appear frivolous.  Most offers need gravitas.  If you offer coaching for the bereaved, your marketing needs to reflect that but it does not mean you can’t enjoy it!  Enjoying your marketing keeps you going, keeps you sane and at some level communicates your offer as genuine.

Genuine marketing is from the heart as much as from the head and as such can be irresistible to your market.


Stay with me through the summer as I introduce you to the principles of marketing as you have never seen them before.  I guarantee, if you read my posts and emails, you will find marketing to be completely different from how you have thought of it before.  They will inspire you and inspiration is a crucial step on the road to success.

So, watch out for my Wednesday posts, where I shall introduce basic principles to help you understand marketing in a new way.

And then on Thursdays a weekly email to people on my list will explore these themes at a deeper level.  They will refer to the blog posts but take the topic in a different direction.  This is where you will find out how to enjoy marketing and harness your inspiration for the benefit of your customers and beyond.

Enter your details and press the button below, if you are not already on my mailing list. Make sure you do not miss any of these business-changing emails.

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Is Your Business B2B or B2C?

Sometimes it is worth asking: whether your market is business to business  or business to customer;  B2B or B2C?  Take care, these designations can be misleading.

They assume you are a business.  The first B is your business and so anyone who makes an offer is a business.  However, the recipient does not necessarily make a difference by being designated as a business.

Business or Customer?

Let’s assume your offer is marketing.  There are two ways to approach this.

You can offer marketing services.  This means you would be asked by a business to market some aspect of their business on their behalf.  This would be a DFY (done for you) service.  It is something that attracts small to medium-sized businesses that can afford commercial prices for a commercial service.

Alternatively, you might offer a coaching service.  Here it is likely the client will do most of their marketing themselves (DIY) or you might work closely with them (DWY).  My concern here is not to consider the pros and cons of these approaches but to point out this is where B2B and B2C can become somewhat academic.

The DFY approach is likely to appeal to companies with resources to spend on receiving a specialist service.  They are less likely to choose a coaching service for marketing unless they need to train staff in some specialist branch of marketing.

The DWY approach is more likely to be chosen by freelancers who cannot afford to pay for marketing and want to learn the basics for themselves.  Some of these may be companies and many unincorporated.  So, are the lone workers B2B or B2C?

This matters because the expectations of incorporated businesses are likely to be very different to those of a lone worker.  It may be inappropriate to offer something designed for one to the other.

The lone worker in a B2B arrangement may find they lose control of their business because someone markets for them.  An established business in a coaching arrangement may find they are not using their resources as effectively as they could.

All these businesses may think they are in a B2B relationships, even though for the lone worker the relationship may be more like a B2C arrangement.

It’s probably not crucial but worth bearing in mind.

Please let me know if this is helpful and if there are any points I could expand upon.


Who Qualifies for Your Offer?

Qualification can be a barrier for your prospects under some circumstances.  It is likely to be informal and so may not be obviously relevant.  So it is worth asking who qualifies for your offer.  But sometimes qualification can encourage people to sign up.

Prior Knowledge, Experience or Education

If you offer help to succeed in some activity, list what they need to know or experience to get most benefit from your offer.  You both want your work together to be successful and so it is in everyone’s interests this is clear before you set out.

If qualification for your offer proves to be a major barrier, this may be evidence you need a lower end offer to help people prepare for your main offer.  You could, for example, offer a workshop to cover the groundwork necessary to qualify for one to one coaching.  This could be a means to become better known and prepare your prospects for your services.

Another approach is to ask if you could adjust your offer to take account of people’s lack of qualification.  So, you might adjust the content or even add time to a plan to bring clients up to speed.

Another possibility may be recommended reading or videos.  This could be useful during the period between someone signing up and making their payment.  You could send them a reading list or links to videos, so they can make a start short of actually tackling the material in your offer.  If this is well-structured it may address the problem of buyer’s remorse, where someone has second thoughts before they make their first payment.

Do You Qualify?

It is worth considering whether qualification for your offer can be attractive!  If you deliberately target your offer to those who meet stringent criteria, this may be attractive.  You are offering membership as it were to an élite club.

Perhaps the simplest approach might be a series of offers and prospects must follow the sequence.  Earlier steps may be low-priced and then the more advanced options would depend on their completion.

I have not tried this myself but it seems to me there are at least two essentials to this approach.  First, the quality of every stage must be high.  One bad experience and prospects are unlikely to continue.

It would be essential to show why you have such a sequence.  There needs to be some justification for the way you break the work down.  Your offers must show at each level what those who complete it shall achieve.  This means people can choose to stop at a logical point where they can do whatever it is they set out to learn.

This may mean people feel a part of something special whatever level they choose.  They know they can progress further in the future but they are confident they have the best training for their present level of attainment.

It may be worth considering whether formal qualifications might enhance the value of your offer.

Please let me know if this is helpful and if there are any points I could expand upon.