As the job market has shriveled up, more people have become “unplanned entrepreneurs.” You may be one of them. I think this is a good thing. And also a bad thing.
The good thing is that people aren’t waiting around for our governments to provide solutions to problems that are multifactorial and complex in nature. Personally, I’m counting on the entrepreneurs of the world, not our governments, to see us through and beyond our current circumstances of financial, social, and political chaos.
The bad thing is that most entrepreneurs, planned or not, don’t really understand what they are getting into. They think to themselves, “I’ve got an idea for a product or service that’s going to change the face of the planet; let’s start a business!”
The other night, I was speaking with a couple of students from my alma mater, Brown University. They are part of the Brown University Entrepreneurs Program. With the preceding observations in mind, we discussed ideas on how to better support students who are either interested in learning about entrepreneurship or already have an idea that they want to bring to market.
A number of support programs for entrepreneurs have sprung up across the United States.
I took a look at the course descriptions and curricula for some of the programs offered at Brown. And while the material is interesting, my overriding concern was that a great deal of the material wasn’t immediately practical. This reminded of being in medical school again: One of my professors was either arrogant or ignorant enough to say “We know that half of what we’re teaching you is totally irrelevant information; we just don’t know which half that is.” I mean, come on, does knowing the total cross-sectional area of capillaries in the human body make me a better surgeon? I guarantee it doesn’t. But it was on one of my exams that I passed.
So here’s my gripe: I figure if you’re going to invest time, money, and energy in learning, wouldn’t you want to invest wisely? Wouldn’t you want to invest in gaining practical knowledge that you can apply to produce results?
If you’re a “yes” to these two questions, I’ve put together a short list of fundamental, yet critical skills that any successful entrepreneur needs to develop, acquire, or hire for (listed in no particular order):
- Time and Productivity Management
- Interpreting Financial Statements
- Verbal Presentation Skills
- Written Presentation Skills
- Visual Presentations Skills
- Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
- Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
This week, I’ll address the first four skills; next week, I’ll address some more.
Time and Productivity Management
I don’t make any claims to being a master of time and productivity management. But I have have studied this area extensively and have a lot to say about it. I’ve studied the bestseller by David Allen, “Getting Things Done” and “18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman. I’ve even hired various personal organizers to physically descend on my office space. I’ve tried Stephen Covey’s time management software. And I’ve read lots of different books specifically on getting organized. But all the reading in the world hasn’t made a single bit of difference for me. And it won’t for you, either.
The problem most entrepreneurs have is that they don’t have a system, a true repeatable process, for identifying what to focus on what matters most and how to process and organize “stuff” that comes at you every day.
Personally, I’ve developed a workflow that I’ve synthesized from a variety of different resources. Perhaps one day, I’ll create a comprehensive training on this, but in the meantime, here’s are some resources from my friend and colleague, Elizabeth Hagen, that I’ve found extremely useful and practical: http://elizabethhagen.com/home-office-organization-products (men, just ignore all the pink in her material)
No I’m not talking about “Mary Had a Little Lamb” stories. I’m taking about story frameworks. Storytelling predates the written language by thousands of years. So the human mind has been wired to tune into stories. Effective storytelling has the power to influence people and shape the world. Think Martin Luther King, Jr. (I Have a Dream speech) and John F. Kennedy (Man on the Moon address). Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story
Marketing & Selling
Marketing and selling are two distinct skill sets that use different parts of your brain. Marketing is simply educating others, promoting your platform, your beliefs, your vision. The goal of good marketing is to attract potential buyers who are looking for what you have to offer and are ready to buy now. Now there are a ton of resources on marketing. You just need one to get you organized and pointed in the right direction. If you’re in the service-based business, I recommend The Fast Track Marketing Club for Independent Professionals http://actionplan.com/fasttrack
Created by my good friend and colleague, Robert Middleton, this program gives you a comprehensive, yet practical approach to marketing. This is the very content that helped me to overcome my own allergy to marketing and selling, years ago.
In contrast, selling is simply helping your potential buyer clarify their needs, wants, and desires and then guiding them through the decision-making process to arrive at solid plan of action. Of all the resources out there, I highly recommend SNAP Selling, written by my friend and colleague, Jill Konrath. SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers
I’ve attempted to give you a primer on some of the key skills I believe are important to your entrepreneurial success. No doubt, there are lots of other skills to develop. Next week, in Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 2, I’ll address the following skills:
- Interpreting Financial Statements
- Verbal Presentation Skills
- Written Presentation Skills
- Visual Presentations Skills
And I’d love to see your comments on other entrepreneurial skills that you think are important.
In my work with participants of the current Get Paid to Get Clients Acceleration Program, one of the things we’re working on is codifying their “signature system,” or “Core Client Process.”
The Core Client Process is a step-wise methodology that takes your client, customer, or patient from where they are now, to where they really want to be. Said differently, it’s your unique approach to delivering your services and products and, in turn, delivering value.
You probably recall that I’ve written previously about how clients, customers, and patients buy outcomes, rather than process. But at a certain point, after they’ve learned about the value and outcomes you can deliver, they will want assurance that you have a reliable approach for taking them to the “promised land.”
I’ve taught the participants in my program the principles and “best practices” for defining and articulating your own Core Client Process. It would take a few hours to take you through how to do this, but I want to share something from this training that you can apply immediately in your own business… As you take clients through your signature system/core client process, show them frameworks and models that visually illustrate important concepts, principles, ideas, and structures.
Such visual frameworks and models support your “core client process” because they give you a way to tell a story visually. They provide your audience with reference points that are critical for understanding your way of seeing the world. In my own experience, these visuals (and the descriptions and explanations that I include with them in verbal and/or written formats) help my clients to see their “blind spots.”
Key Pillars of Life: This is an example of key aspects of being human. I use this for describing different areas for personal growth.
The “Kitchen Table” model of value delivery: I use this visual to describe the main ways that businesses can deliver value to their buyers.
Optimizing Human Performance Model: I use this model to illustrate the key elements that I objectively measure that help me to guide clients in selecting the best business development strategies, structures, and working environments that are suited for their unique style of thinking, decision-making, and taking action.
Sequence of Client Flow: I use this model to describe the various stages that clients go through when they work with a service-oriented professional or business.
Your Audience Will Value You and Thank You
Approximately 60-70% of the general population is comprised of visual learners. Including visual models and frameworks provides a visual reference that makes it faster and easier for learners of all types to grasp the concepts and principles you wish to impart.
If you include relevant models and frameworks into your conversations and presentations, whether in groups or one-to-one, they will serve to maintain awareness, learning, and retention. And they help the brain to process and store information, for easier recollection and application later on.
At first, this approach may take a little extra thought on your part, but in my own experience, remembering to present visual models and frameworks has become second-nature. I believe the extra effort is worth it; simultaneously, you’ll enhance the learning experience of your audience and enhance the value that you provide.
P.S. If you are interested in a training on how to define and articulate your own comprehensive Core Client Process, add yourself to the list using the form below. If there is enough interest, I’ll run a special training on the principles and best practices. And I’ll show you real-world examples of numerous ways to use your Core Client Process (including your visual frameworks and models) to work exclusively with higher-end, highly profitable clients.
Have you ever landed on a website and then struggled to figure out what the heck they’re trying to tell you (or sell you) on the site?
So after all of 20 seconds, you’re out of there, never to come back again.
Or you meet someone new and they ask you “What do you do?” And you spend the next 10 minutes yammering and yacking while the poor soul’s eyes glaze over.
Once the person recovers, do you think they’re likely to remember you? Or even consider doing business with you? Not.
So plays out the disease of the “muddy marketing message.” And worse yet, the syndrome of “dopey marketing message delivery.”
It’s a pandemic problem because most entrepreneurs aren’t taught or ever learn how to structure and deliver their marketing communications in a way that captivates and engages their audience — whether it’s an audience of one or one thousand.
But there’s a solution to this problem that’s so simple that you’re going to wonder why no one taught this to you before…
Throughout the history of mankind, stories have great power to educate, to inspire, to motivate, to engage, to entertain, and to influence.
The magic of movies lies in their power to evoke emotions and challenge established points of view.
Literature, music, and art do the same by telling stories, just in different formats.
So what do you think might happen if you wove dramatic story structure into your conversations, writing, and presentations?
Inspiring Enthusiasm and Support for Your Vision
In her book, Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte describes how to “inspire enthusiasm and support for your vision” by using the power of visual presentations. The principles she describes apply equally well to written and oral communications. In fact, she draws on examples from music, literature, and the performing arts to illustrate these principles.
Nancy describes a pattern to effective stories, what she calls a “contour of communication”: Of course, great stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end. And, they include two clear “turning points” that draw our interest and attention from the beginning of the story into the middle of it, and from the middle of the story into the dramatic conclusion.
Sadly, most great ideas — even those with the potential to save lives and transform the world — die before fruition because of a weak story behind it; what gets communicated to people frequently lacks clarity, structure, and order. At best, it’s boring. At worst, it’s repulsive. Either way, you can’t bore or confuse anyone into buying from you.
So if you want to grow your business, the place to start is to craft and tell a bigger, more inspiring story.
A “sparkline” is a type of information graphic that allows you to visually “see” the structure and form of a presentation. In Resonate, Nancy Duarte details the sparkline for Martin Luther King’s rousing “I Have A Dream” speech. This sparkline shows you the “contour of communication” that Dr. King used: the timeline for when he was speaking and repeating key phrases, using metaphors and visual words, and referring to familiar songs, scripture, and literature. The sparkline also shows you how and when the audience was responding with different degrees of applause and cheering.
To view an example of a sparkline, click here.
To help you appreciate how the sparkline looks and works, I’ll take you through the key elements of a generic sparkline in the video below.
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Audience Engagement Is the Name of The Game
You can continue to “speak at” your audience. Or you can engage with your audience.
If you want to engage with your audience, if you want to get your audience to rally behind your ideas and vision, then you’ll need to tell stories about who you are and what you stand for. And you must do this in a way that your audience can find where they fit in your story.
Study the “sparkline.” Practice using this presentation form for your next article, your next important conversation, your next teleseminar or webinar.
In his book, Believe Me: A Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, my good friend and colleague Michael Margolis says “People don’t really buy your product, solution, or idea, they buy the stories that are attached to it.”
In just 88 pages, Michael deftly describes “why your vision, brand, and leadership need a bigger story” and codifies 15 storytelling axioms for going about crafting it. Michael’s book is a solid resource for learning how to tell a bigger story. I highly recommend it and you can download the digital version for free at: http://www.believemethebook.com/
Storytelling: The Keys to the Kingdom
Being an effective communicator gives you the keys to the kingdom when it comes to thought-leadership, social change and transformation, and successful marketing and selling. It gives you the power to influence, to transform, and to effect change.
When you incorporate the power of story into your conversations, written material, and visual presentations, you connect and engage with your intended audience in meaningful, lasting ways.
Let’s face it: On top of all the other things you need to handle and master as an entrepreneur, adding one more important thing to your plate is about the last thing you need right now. Yet, mastering the art and science of visual storytelling is a skill and asset that pays dividends in all aspects of your personal and professional life.
And there’s no better time to start telling a new story than right now!
No, I didn’t disappear. I just spent the past week with my brother and sisters for a family reunion of sorts. We drove up to Vancouver, BC, and ended up at Grouse Mountain (www.GrouseMountain.com), where we “zip-lined” high above the tree tops, rivers, and valleys.
At the top of the mountain, there’s a brand new wind turbine. We went up into the attached view pod, about 200 feet in the air. Part of the floor is glass, so can you imagine the feeling of standing on the glass floor, looking past your feet at the ground, far, far below?!? Yikes!!!
Back to business. If you’ve been following my recent posts, you know I have a lot of stuff on pricing. It’s really important. So I asked you if there was interest in me creating a free Value Pricing Resource Kit.
And there was interest.
Now I want to update you on the Value Pricing for Prosperity Resource Kit and Training Program AND I want to take a step “back to the future” and invite you to be a more direct co-creator of what’s next for all of us:
The Final Call: Value Pricing for Prosperity Resource Kit
Recently, I sent out an e-mail asking if anyone was interested in a complimentary “Value Pricing for Prosperity Resource Kit” that I am THINKING about creating.
I didn’t want to make this thing, if you didn’t want it… so I first wanted to see if people were interested.
A number of you expressed interest, and as a result, starting tomorrow, only people on the “Value Pricing for Prosperity Interest List” will receive insider information on my upcoming Value Pricing for Prosperity Training Program and…they will also receive the free Resource Kit.
(Not everyone on my list is interested in pricing and business financial management strategies, and I want to be considerate of them and make sure they don’t get bombarded with information they don’t want or need, so only those who are interested will get the emails).
If you want to get the Resource Kit that’s coming shortly and all the good stuff I’ve got coming your way, I invite you to join the “Value Pricing for Prosperity Interest List” below now:
What’s Next for All of Us?
I feel very passionate about pricing and helping people who are not charging what they are worth. But not everyone needs — or is ready — to deal with how they price their programs, products, and services.
A lot of high-minded, big-hearted, service-oriented professionals are struggling out there, but not for lack of commitment and effort. Over and over again, I’ve seen on-going frustration with people’s businesses because they People aren’t even coming close to fulfilling on emerging possibilities.
Though I’ve been fortunate enough to have success multiple times in my life and to help others create it for themselves, I’m troubled by what I’m seeing happening all around me. Over and over again, I’ve seen on-going frustration with people’s businesses. People not even coming close to fulfilling on emerging possibilities. Down economy or not, I think it’s unfortunate that failure rates are as high as they are. There are so many people out there wanting to change, but aren’t getting it. And Especially motivated by the down economy and global social unrest, I think believe something needs to be done about this.
So here’s the thing:
I’m really enthusiastic about creating something for you, to build whatever it is you want. And this time, I’m NOT picking the topic. This is not about me, but instead, coming from a place of total service.
I want to make a free product for you guys, one that’s totally going to serve you.
However, I’ve noticed lately there are so many free products out there that are really nothing more than disguised marketing materials that don’t actually help you accomplish something or produce a specific outcome. What I have in mind is creating something that is going to truly help you out. And that means it’s got to have real “teeth” to it. This isn’t going to be me marketing for something bigger that you then have to pay for. It’ll be something with substance to it that will provide you with meaningful results.
This is what I’m wondering: If I do this, is this something you’re willing to invest back in, not in terms of money: I’m giving this away for free. This is going to be something that you’re actually going to be able to use, learn and apply.
I’m wondering if you’d be willing to help co-create this free product.
Look, we all have our hang ups, our fears, our doubts, and our concerns. We each have limiting beliefs, mistaken views of the world, and ineffective habits that hold us back. I know from my own experience, and from the work I’ve done with my own clients, that you can get past these issues and focus your efforts on things that really demand your particular skills, experience, and wisdom.
I don’t like standing around, waiting for something to happen, so I’m willing to invest my time and energy into making good things happen.
Would anyone be interested if I put time and energy into this? I just need to hear from you: What is it that you need to know? What do you need help with? What’s in the way of you becoming a solid success? So just let me know what it is by leaving comments below.
Based on the comments you leave, I’ll sort through the topics and we’ll “vote” on what to build first.
Together, we can make changes that will help you get the results you – and others — want. And that’s good for all of us, to help each other to thrive, prosper, and share our gifts. I’m willing to do my part here.
Are you up for it?
To freedom, contribution, and prosperity,
[Note #1: So I’m considering creating and giving away a free product for you… IF you’re interested in applying it in your business to 1.) gain greater freedom to be who you were meant to be, 2.) contribute to people and the planet in increasingly meaningful ways, and 3) expand your personal experience of prosperity and share it with others.
It’s going to take significant time and energy to put together. But before I go crazy making this thing, I want to make sure you actually want it (so I don’t waste my time and feel foolish if the response rate isn’t as high as I think it will be). More details near the bottom of the article.]
[Note #2: In case you are wondering, this post is a FOLLOW UP to THIS POST which received mentions on Twitter and responses from the US to Argentina.]
The Story of How I Went from Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon to the “Ambassador of Business Freedom”
I remember the EXACT MOMENT that I decided I was going to become a plastic surgeon…
I was a senior in high school, visiting my brother who was in training at the time as a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I was sitting in one of the hospital libraries, waiting while he made his patient rounds. From across the table, a giant oversized book found me.
I had never seen a book so large before in my life. So naturally, I slid the book over and leafed through the pages. Mesmerized, my eyes and mind were riveted by the dramatic reconstructive “before and after” photos. One in particular was of a woman who had been in a car accident and her entire face had been almost entirely shaved off when she hit the car windshield, exposing the frontal lobe of her brain. Though she later died from her brain injury, I was amazed at how she looked after the plastic surgeons put her back together.
While paging through that book, I made the conscious decision right then and there that I was going to become a plastic surgeon. It was the perfect blend: I figured that I could blend the artistic eye I was developing from learning photography (instead of girls, tennis and photography were my main interests in high school) with my desire to become a physician.
For better or for worse, little did I know that it would take 15 years from that point to complete the demanding education and training required become a plastic surgeon. If you count up four years of college, four years of medical school, five years of training in General Surgery, and two years of training in Plastic Surgery, well that adds up to 15 years (some longer than others)! I still don’t know if being on-call every other night, or frequently being up all night operating and taking care of patients, made the time go by faster or not. But all I can say is I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again if I was given the chance!
I dedicated my entire early adult life toward becoming the best plastic surgeon I could possibly be. And at the ripe age of 32, I was officially a plastic surgeon (board-certified by the age of 34, for those of you who are counting).
The Business Side of Medicine Was A Bitter Pill to Swallow
And that’s where the story of my real education in the business side of medicine really began. Prior to going into private practice, I thought I’d done the hard work. I had arrived. I had my dream job. And by my calculations, I figured I’d either die at the age of 150 in the operating room, working on a patient, or on the tennis court. Either one would have been fine with me.
And I thought the practice of medicine would be just like it was for my brother: just open up your office and patients come streaming in. My brother made it look easy in his practice as a neurologist. I figured my life as a doctor would be just as easy.
But he started in a different era, well before insurance carriers came to control reimbursements and dictate the direction of health care. His specialty was different. And, he’s in a different geographic region of the country.
Within months of starting my practice, I quickly realized I had a problem: I didn’t know a thing about running a business. I didn’t know anything about hiring staff, office operations, billing, or managing finances. They didn’t teach us that stuff in medical school. Plus, as a solo practitioner, I was the business, so if I wasn’t there working, I didn’t make any money…but my office bills kept coming in, regardless of whether I was there or not . And patients weren’t streaming in, either.
I had trained to become a technician of sorts for all those years and yet knew nothing about the business side of medicine.
Plus, now, I had to learn how to promote myself and my practice. That’s when I was diagnosed with a serious condition: a common, but frequently lethal form of allergy to marketing.
I remember telling a surgical instrument company rep that I needed to find a way to get out of medicine by the time I was 40. At the age of 32, I had been in practice for all of 4 months.
How My “Dream Job” Turned Into A Nightmare
Things got so bad, that within two years of starting my practice, my professional advisors suggested that I declare bankruptcy. What? The job of my dreams had quickly turned into a nightmare.
I started reading business books, attending workshops, and learning from people who were already successful in business. I voraciously learned everything I could about marketing, financial management, office systems, and staffing.
The good news is that I did not declare bankruptcy. I turned the practice around sufficiently enough that I was able to sell my practice to a medical center. I practiced as a “shareholder-employee” (that’s the official name for a physician who invested money in the medical center with little chance of a significant return-on-investment) for several years before I finally found and pulled the eject handle.
I dedicated my life and made a lot of sacrifices to become a plastic surgeon. As proud as I was of realizing my lifelong dream, the reality was that practicing as a plastic surgeon was mercilessly eating away at me. Insurance reimbursements were such that it was virtually impossible to survive financially by performing reconstructive surgery alone. But that’s why I went into the field. I had fantasized as a high school kid that I would save the world by reconstructing mangled faces, scalps, trunks, and limbs.
So I started doing more and more cosmetic surgery: facelifts, browlifts, eyelid lifts, ear pinning, (no nosejobs; I couldn’t stand doing them), necklifts, skin resurfacing, breast augmentation, breast lifts, tummy tucks, butt lifts, thigh lifts, liposuction, and more.
Death By Plastic Surgery Took On a Different Meaning
I noticed a curious phenomenon: The more cosmetic surgery I did, the more money I made. And, the more cosmetic surgery I did, the more unhappy, unfulfilled, disillusioned, and disgruntled I became with being a plastic surgeon.
One night, I was particularly frustrated, probably having to leave my family to tend to a patient in the emergency room. At one point, my wife looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “At the rate you’re going, you’re going to die an early death.” That’s how unhappy I was. And she was right.
There’s no freedom in doing work that leads to unhappiness. That’s a formula for depression, chronic illness, disease, and despair. I have a motto: “If it ain’t fun, I ain’t doing it.” So shortly after our second son was born, the forces of the Universe conspired to assist me in exiting the medical field for good. Remember what I said to the surgical instrument rep, about needing to find a way out of medicine by the time I was 40? Well, I was 40 years old when I bailed out of plastic surgery.
I had spoken with other physicians and surgeons who lamented missing out on their children’s milestones and special events. My dad was in his laboratory all the time; though I have fond memories of him taking me fishing and the family playing badminton and croquet on muggy summer nights in the Deep South (yeah, imagine being a rare Asian family down there in the ‘60s!), I’ve always thought of my Dad as being distant. I vowed that when I had kids, I’d be a different kind of father.
I vowed to become the father that is involved in his kids’ education, who makes it to all the major school events, who becomes a human mountain that both boys can climb up-at the same time. To fulfill on that vow, I had to dig deep down inside and challenge my beliefs about my identity. I had to challenge the false constructs of my ego that associated my value and worth with what I did for a living.
I intuitively knew that there was no freedom in living life based on compromising my values and ideals. Only pain and suffering lies behind that door.
Freedom comes only from living true to ones’ values, from pursuing one’s ideals and dreams with gusto.
Touched By A Business Angel
For the first 18 months after leaving plastic surgery, I wandered about, struggling to figure out what I was going to do next. I started three business endeavors, none of which amounted to anything.
Curiously, around the time I was leaving plastic surgery, I signed up for a book publishing mentorship. Even though I had no idea what a physician had to say about business, I told the publisher that I was supposed to be in the book. One of the benefits of the program was that I wrote a section in a book called Create the Business Breakthrough You Want. The book was published about a year after my escape from plastic surgery. I vividly remember the day that a semi-trailer pulled up to deliver the books and how excited my wife and I were! Funny thing is, I had no clue about what I was going to do with the books. Shortly after its release, I told a couple of local business owners about the book and they asked me if could coach them in their businesses. Very interesting, since I figured I didn’t have the credentials or qualifications to do it. But I agreed, while I said to myself under my breath: “I’ll do this for a little while, until I figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up.”
For the next two weeks, I stayed up late, burning the midnight oil, scrambling to put together material I could use to coach these two businesses. It finally dawned on me that I actually knew A LOT about entrepreneurship: marketing, selling, systemization, leadership, and so forth.
So I Finally Accepted An Idea That I Had Been Resisting For Quite Some Time: Why not make a living helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses?
Hmmm… what a concept! Long story short (well, it has really been a long story, hasn’t it?!?), within 73 days of scheduling my first live seminar to introduce what I was offering, I created an annualized six-figure revenue stream. And I’ve sustained and grown this stream ever since.
In retrospect, I had become the business guide and mentor that I wish I had had when I was starting out in my plastic surgery practice.
So Here’s What I’m Coming To… Here’s What I Feel Is Calling Me… And Here’s What I Feel Compelled to Do…
Here’s the thing…
When I work with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners, I cover a broad range of areas that are critical to business success: Leadership, Strategic Planning, Marketing, Selling, Technology, Business Financial Management, Upgrading Mindsets and Changing Limiting Beliefs.
So when it comes to writing articles and creating trainings, sometimes it’s been hard for me to figure out what topics to focus on.
Just the other week, I was reflecting on my personal journey of learning how to promote the value I have to offer and connecting with the right buyers. After I recognized in horror that I needed to learn how to market and sell when I was a young plastic surgeon, it became a monumental struggle to shift my mindset, disbelief, and resistance to marketing and selling. I think that’s in great part why I enjoy sharing my challenging experiences and hard-won wisdom with my clients, so they don’t have to struggle as mightily as I did.
Nevertheless, it occurred to me that I’m one of a bijillion and a half people out there teaching marketing for entrepreneurs and small business owners. And that doesn’t even include all their grandmothers, who are purported to be marketing experts as well.
But marketing is all for nothing if it doesn’t result in more profit, better cash flow, and a sustainable return-on-investment of your time, energy, and money. And the risks you take.
So why is it that there aren’t a bijillion and a half people out there teaching small business financial management? What about teaching pricing strategies? What about marketing and financial management?
- Not sexy enough.
- Not “hip and cool” enough.
- Not cutting-edge enough.
But you know what, I think more than anything, it’s because so few people understand small business financial management AND have the ability to translate what can seem like “gobbledy gook” into key principles and “best practices” that the non-financial entrepreneur can understand. AND APPLY TO THEIR BUSINESS!!!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for good education and training in marketing, but what good is “good marketing” if you don’t understand what your financial results are telling you about what you need to do next?
And you know, it’s very possible to actually “grow a business out of business.” How? The business grows too fast and outstrips its ability to honor its financial and operational commitments, that’s how.
Worse yet, in my experience and observation, most entrepreneurs and small business owners struggle to charge and get what their products, services, and programs are really worth.
Let’s see here…
Lousy Pricing Strategies + Allergy to Marketing + Business Financial Ignorance = ???
You tell me, is that a formula for success?
So It Dawned On Me That The Time Has Come For A Training Program That Blends Effective Pricing Strategies, Based On Value, With Business Financial Principles And “Best Practices” AND Effective Business Development Strategies.
It’s time for entrepreneurs and business owners to become financially savvy. And it’s time to end the practice of business management, pricing, and marketing by Braille!
Now, I’m on a mission to empower fellow entrepreneurs and business owners to take command and control of the destiny of their businesses.
If you read my journey that I laid out above, you know where and why my heart is where it is: I paid a huge price for being financially illiterate and business ignorant as a young plastic surgeon; not only did it cost me a lot of money; those experiences eroded my confidence and enthusiasm for being a doctor.
Yet those difficult experiences continue to fuel my motivation for making it easier and more practical for others to learn to apply sound financial management principles and “best practices.” And do it in a way that integrates all the other “moving parts” that are critical to one’s success.
Ultimately, I want this information to be widely available, to give others a fighting chance to experience greater freedom to build the business of their dreams, make a lasting, meaningful contribution to people and the world, and expand prosperity (beyond merely profit alone.)
Given the economic crises we’re experiencing locally and globally, there’s no question that this kind of training and application of knowledge is well overdue.
But The Task Of Reaching Out To The Millions Who Could Benefit From This Training CANNOT Be Done Alone.
There are millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are confused about how to set their fees and prices based on value. So instead they set their fees based on what they mistakenly fear that “the market will bear.”
A large percentage of these millions also lack mastery of basic business financial management skills – applying those principles and the “best practices” that make the difference between surviving and thriving.
I’m Thinking About Putting Together a Free Resource Kit For You, IF You’re Interested in Eradicating Business Financial Illiteracy.
I’ve been encouraged by the comments on the blog and direct emails that I’ve received. Thank you for your feedback!
I’ve been especially humbled by the show of support for me to go in whatever direction my heart tells me to. Problem is, there are many directions my heart says to pursue!
So to test the waters…I’m thinking about creating a value-packed, 100% free “Value Pricing for Prosperity Resource Kit” for you.
IF you’re serious about increasing the profitability, cash flow, and impact of your business, while enjoying greater freedom of being in business, I’m willing to build this Resource Kit specifically with you in mind.
So Far, This Is What I Think The Free “Value Pricing For Prosperity” Resource Kit Should Include:
- Value Pricing for Prosperity Training: How to Charge (And Get Paid) For What Your Products and Services Are Worth. I envision this to be a self-guided training in video, mp3 audio, and PDF format which will cover key principles of pricing, such as the surprising effects of price decreases and increases, how to figure out who your best and worst customers are, and how to decide on the best strategies for increasing your revenue and profit.
- Demonstration scenario calculators. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really “get” numbers or any mathematical calculations, no matter how simple, until I get to play with the numbers myself. So I’m planning to create easy-to-use, quick-to-understand calculators that support your understanding of value-based pricing principles and strategies.
- An exclusive “Pricing for Prosperity” Q&A session. During this 60-minute conference call session, you’ll be able to ask me any questions you have about pricing your services, products, and programs.
But Here’s the Catch
Because I should really become a member of “Perfectionists Anonymous” (I wonder, does this group really exist?) and will inevitably invest several hundred hours in this project and make it into a much bigger deal than it needs to be (or you even want)…
…I want to get a list of everyone who is interested in “Value Pricing for Prosperity” and having this “Value Pricing for Prosperity” Resource Kit.
So Here’s What I Want You to Do
I’m making a list of everyone who is potentially interested in getting my free resource kit AND applying what you learn.
Anyway, if you’re interested, then:
1) Enter your email address below, and if I end up making it, I’ll send it to you at the email address you list below (leaving a comment with any suggestions on what you’d like to get from the kit would also help).
If enough people get on this “interest list” (I’m thinking 125 or more), then I’ll make this free thing and send it to EVERYONE on the interest list.
But if I get, say 25, then I’ll simply reconsider whether I should direct my time and energy elsewhere.
Maybe that will tell me why not many people are out there effectively teaching value-based pricing, along with the sound business financial “best practices” and principles to support it: Perhaps no one cares enough about pricing based on value to do anything about it.
So…if no one wants me to make a “Value Pricing for Prosperity” Resource Kit, then no worries. Or maybe I’m wrong and people do care about it, but the timing just isn’t right for everyone.
But, if this sounds like something you would readily embrace to help you grow your business, then let me know you want this thing with your “vote!” (And if you really, really want it, get other people you know to vote, too!)
To freedom, contribution, and prosperity,