When I operated on a patient as a surgeon, I couldn’t just deal with the various anatomical and physiologic systems as if they were magically isolated. Indeed, the health of the underlying vascular system dictated where I could make surgical incisions in the skin and where and how far I could rotate skin, fat, and muscle to reconstruct a body part or close a complex open wound. I had to consider multiple factors, including the limitations and consequences of the factors individually and collectively. Clearly, integrating and adhering to fundamental surgical principles and “best practices” increased the odds of the surgery being a success – a life is saved, a limb is salvaged, a face rejuvenated.
In the business world, we deal with multiple, complex, and changing variables as well. But traditionally, instead of saving lives and limbs, the ultimate measure of success in business has been to ever increase the single bottom line of profit. To our great detriment, this goal has frequently been undertaken with an attitude of “success at any and all cost.” In large part, this mindset has contributed to the global economic turmoil and ecological endangerment that we find ourselves grappling with today.
As various parts of the world have dominoed into economic and social turmoil, I’ve felt an inner calling to contribute ideas and energy to lead and encourage fellow entrepreneurs to be part of the solution. A couple of years ago, I started hosting an interactive conference call series entitled, “Conscious Leaderpreneurship Conversations.” These calls were inspired by my desire to experiment and expand the blending and showcasing of spiritual awareness as the cornerstone of success and fulfillment in the entrepreneurial world and expanding the depth and breadth of how we, as entrepreneurs, can blaze trails into a new era of prosperity.
Inspired by these conversations, I’ve outlined five fundamental business principles and practices that I collectively termed the “Exponential Bottom Line.” In contrast to the single bottom line of profit, this term refers to five business practices that reflect how a business:
- Enhances the quality and duration of the lives of People today as well as future generations to come.
- Restores and renews the resources and ecosystems of our Planet.
- Generates Profit sustainably, fairly, and responsibly.
- Promotes Prosperity locally and globally.
- Models and perpetuates Peace through its values, mission, vision, business practices, and ultimate impact on society.
While the specific practices and principles that I outline are nothing new, the context is. In fact, the “Triple Bottom Line” of “people, planet, and profit” has been championed for years. But to me, those three elements alone are still too “stingy.” It felt as though something was missing. So I added the elements of “prosperity” and “peace.” I assert that these five elements constitute a fresh, holographic, and integrated approach to how a “prosperity era” business makes its mark on the world.
Here’s my challenge to you
Embracing the mindset of the “Exponential Bottom Line” is one thing. Applying it in the real world is another. Under economic and a myriad of other pressures, existing mindsets, practices, and habits tend to persist and “die hard”.
Yet, consider what might be possible if we adopted the notion that rather than the singular focus of profit at any and all cost, we focused our entrepreneurial endeavors on playing a bigger game – one of challenging ourselves to define what each of the parameters of the “exponential bottom line” means to us and our particular businesses. The next step would be to apply and fold these ideals into our daily business activities in creative and innovative ways.
To play this game, it would take a commitment to reinventing our business models and practices. It would take a willingness to tell a different and bigger story about ourselves, what we stand for, what we’re willing to fight for.
If adopted by even a fraction of businesses and consumers worldwide, the practice of the exponential bottom line” ideals could synergistically shift the dynamics of commerce to effect lasting change and transformation in our global economy, ecology, and sociology.
Now, isn’t that a game worth playing? In what ways will you take this on challenge?
Dreams and Imagination.
Looking beyond what’s before your eyes.
We can’t do without the help of each others’ dreams and imagination.
– from the theme song of Instinct: A Musical Call to Action
In 2008, the students and staff of the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts conceived of, wrote, and composed a musical called Instinct: A Musical Call to Action. In this musical, the animals of the planet see a message in the sky from Mother Nature. Inspired to take action to save the earth from impending doom, the animals place the entire human race on trial for the damage and devastation we’ve inflicted upon the earth. After hearing testimonies from a variety of animal species, humans are found guilty as charged. Subsequently, the entire human race is sentenced to be eradicated “dino-style.”
From here, the description directly from the Lovewell blog says it best: “But before such a plan can be enacted, a quiet observer throughout the court hearing, a unicorn, stands up as the embodiment of the one saving grace of the human race: “Dreams and Imagination.” Not only are humans capable of major destruction, but also wondrous creation. In light of this, the animals decide to give humans a second chance.”
If you’re intrigued, take a look and listen to this video, The Dreams and Imagination Project (which features the theme song from the musical, Instinct.
And if you’re touched and inspired like I was after watching this, then go to the blog post to read my commentary about the message from this body of work. And please feel free to leave your comments as well!
Here’s the link to the video again.
You’re probably already familiar with the diagram of the typical marketing funnel: You start by offering freebies to everyone in your audience, “freemiums” they are sometimes called.
Next, you offer low-priced products and services. After that, you offer medium-priced products and services.
Then after that, you offer still higher-priced products and services. Once you reach the tip of the funnel, you’re offering premium-priced products and services.
In theory, this sounds great and makes sense, doesn’t it?
Now notice that as you proceed down this funnel, that increasingly fewer people take you up on your offer. And that makes sense, because as you start charging higher fees, fewer people are going to buy. That means that you need to start with a large number of people, who funnel down from “free” to paying you something, even a little bit.
Here’s the big problem:
If you’re going to make any money, you need a lot of people, paying you a little bit, to generate significant revenue.
Suppose your annual revenue target is $100,000. If you sell a low-priced program or product for, say $100, how many sales do you need to make? 1,000, right?
If you need to sell 1,000 of something, then how many people need to know about your offer? Let’s suppose your conversion rate is 10%. That means you need to present your offer to at least 10,000 people in order to have 1,000 of them buy whatever you are offering.
So where are those 10,000 people going to come from? (Okay, so maybe your conversion rate is higher than 10%. Well, even if your conversion rate is 20%, you still need to present your offer to 5,000 people).
Of course, you could build your list up to 5,000 people. But that’s going to take some time, even if your strategy is simply partnering with someone who already has a list of 5,000 or more.
Isn’t there a faster way to go?
Over six years ago, when I started my coaching business, I had no “list” of potential clients. In fact, I had no website, no business cards, and no reputation as a business coach. And, since I had left my plastic surgery practice, I had no significant income. Clearly, I needed to generate revenue quickly!
I didn’t have the luxury of spending time to develop a large email following. Social media didn’t really exist back then.
So I took the direct route: I set up a 3-hour seminar, invited anyone and everyone who had a remote interest in my topic of “earning more, with less stress.” After that event, I offered a free strategic consultation (I don’t offer them for free any longer). For anyone who was interested in my services after the initial consultation, I offered them a 12-month long premium coaching program for $1500/month. I only needed to enroll seven clients, resulting in a monthly recurring revenue of $10,500/month.
Effectively, I created an annualized recurring revenue stream of over $100,000 and I accomplished that within 73 days of setting the date for my live seminar. At the time, I didn’t realize that this was an unusual accomplishment. And I also didn’t realize that I had started at the “tip” of the marketing funnel. I was simply doing what I knew I needed to do, in order to avoid having to go back to plastic surgery to make money!
Since then, I’ve coached other clients to create rapid revenue streams, hitting the annualized six-figure level within 70-90 days of starting to work with me.
1. If you need to generate significant revenue quickly, enrolling clients who pay a premium for the value you provide is the fastest way to generate significant revenue. In other words, price based on value, rather than hourly or on “what the market will bear.” If you need a little help in that area, be sure to get on my Value Pricing for Prosperity special interest list; I’ll be running an open-structure webinar on this next week and only people on that list will be invited.
2. Start or solidify your coaching or consulting business by working private with clients (rather than starting group programs or investing time in developing a product). When I started, I remember lamenting that I didn’t have any “passive income” products to offer. So offering private coaching was the only valuable service I could offer. Good thing, too, because this forced me to focus my work only with high-end clients. I didn’t have this definition back then, but my good friend and colleague, Robert Middleton from Action Plan Marketing (www.ActionPlan.com), has a great definition of a high-end client:
- They are “ideal clients.” That is, clients you can really make a difference with and whom you love to work with.
- They are “long-term clients.” These are clients with whom you can offer programs and services for a year or more.
- They are “high-paying clients.” They understand the value you offer and are willing to pay you more than average clients will.
3. Use your experience in working with high-end clients to guide and inspire the creation of lower-cost knowledge-based products. Top internet marketer, Clay Collins (www.clay-collins.com), puts it best: “Working with customers is the best R&D activity I know of (despite all the [complaining] that’s done about trading time for money.)” I’ve worked with a number of private clients who struggled with revenue and getting clients until I taught them how to use my “Get Paid to Get Clients” system to effortlessly enroll clients, using introductory sessions that they gladly pay for; I’ve turned that approach into a program that costs less than one month of private coaching with me. (If you’re interested in advanced notice for the next program, fill out the form below.)
A lot of people talk about playing a bigger game. Few understand what it takes to play. Even fewer actually take on playing the bigger game.
What does it mean to you to play a bigger game in your life? There’s no right or wrong answer here, because everyone is going to have a different definition of what playing a bigger game means to them.
For me playing a “bigger game” means challenging my beliefs, my ways of thinking, how I feel about myself, others, and the world at-large. It means challenging my decision-making criteria and processes, challenging the actions that I take. Challenging my ego and who I think I am, my sense of self and self-worth. Growing myself to be grounded emotionally and spiritually. Maintaining my physical senses and capacities (last time my personal trainer checked, I could leap onto a platform 48″ off the ground, from a standing start. Oh yeah, I’m 66″ tall). And taking on stimulating intellectual challenges. It means actively seeking opportunities to connect to and collaborate with other like-minded, like-hearted, and like-spirited individuals and groups. It means asking questions about where I choose to focus and invest my time and energy.
Playing a bigger game means crafting a bigger story about who I say I am, what I’m out to accomplish, and raising my energy and enthusiasm to meet life’s challenges that invariably come with playing a bigger game. It means being willing to continually reinvent myself and my approach to life.
When it comes to others, the people I resonate the most with are those who have big dreams for themselves and an even bigger vision for the world. For the entrepreneurs I work with, their dreams aren’t just about themselves at all; they are about making a meaningful, lasting difference for others, for organizations, and the planet, fueled by the success of their business. And of course, they want to produce more profit, with less stress and effort, and have more time and energy to contribute in ways above and beyond their business. Ultimate freedom!
In the spirit of playing a bigger game, I’ve written out top priorities for what I intend to contribute to the world. Some of these things are big deals, at least for me. I mean, they are really, really important to me and it’s become more clear to me how important they are. Important not as a “someday, one day” dream, but important in that I can feel more energy focused in these areas and they are coming closer into view.
The closest thing I can relate this to is when I was playing tennis tournaments. I remember being behind in certain matches and then having an inner knowing that I was coming back to win. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But most times I did. I feel that now.
- Overall, the biggest thing I want to influence, beyond raising our sons to be blended people, is to alter the prevailing approach to education. I think I went through 27 years of formal education and training so I could gain a perspective on how poorly we teach, educate, and train young people and adults.These days, too many parents are preparing their children for a “race to nowhere.” (Yes, I’d like to see that movie). Do you really need to be concerned about your kid getting into an Ivy League school when they’re only 4 years-old? I mean, there’s a woman in Manhattan who is suing the day-care she has her 4-year-old in because they aren’t teaching her things that will prep her for an Ivy League university. No kidding! (I graduated from an Ivy League school, Brown University, and I promise you, my parents did NOT put me in an “Ivy-League prep preschool.”)
- I’d write books that blend business with personal growth, transformation, and spirituality.
- I’d provide more financial support for my wife’s parents, above what we’re doing now.
- I’d make sure that the “Narada Fund” for scholarships to Living Wisdom School-Seattle is well-endowed (Narada was our close friend who passed away a earlier this year).
- I’d set up a building fund to support Living Wisdom School-Seattle to purchase its own land with buildings and/or construct its own facilities.
- I’d figure out how to support the growth of the Education for Life philosophy throughout the world. I’d also investigate how I could support other existing Living Wisdom Schools in Portland, Palo Alto and Nevada City. And maybe help to start one in Italy, just outside of Rome.
- I’d investigate funding movies that have a spiritual message. There are people who already do that, funding Hollywood-caliber productions. I once took a class from Stephen Simon, the producer of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Somewhere In Time; he went on to create the Spiritual Cinema Circle.
- For my brother and sisters, they are well-off, so money isn’t an issue for them, but I’d still take them on a cruise or something like that. The challenging part is that my “family of origin” dynamics are such that “little brother” doesn’t usually take care of the protective, older siblings.
- I might consider participating in medical missions, but I’m not sure.
- For myself, I think I’d play more tennis. I don’t need more “things”, but the only “gadget or gizmo” I’d really want to get for myself is a super high-end Bose sound system for my computer. (Sure I could buy one now, but in light of all the other things I’m going for, it’s just not a burning, top-of-mind priority; the others above it are more meaningful to me). Other than that, I don’t personally need much more. I’m more interested in simplicity.
- There are plenty of things I’d do with and for my wife and kids, but they don’t really need a whole lot more of “things” either. I’m sure there are more things I could add to this list, but that works for me, for starters.
How about you?
- What does it mean to you to play a bigger game?
- What’s your practical approach to playing a bigger game?
- What stops you from playing a bigger game?
I invite you to share your thoughts and comments below, so we can learn from each other as we expand our concepts about what it means and how to play a bigger game than we’ve ever played before. The future of our world is counting on us to play at that level.