During my 8 years as a CEO, I was always studying and learning. I wanted to become a better leader. And I wanted to understand the keys to running a successful business so that I could apply lessons from the greats to my medium sized business.. My education took me to Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. And I read extensively. With such a plethora of literature and advice on what makes a successful business, it can be hard to know where to start. One of the best places to start is with Jim Collins’ book “Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap… And Others Don’t.“ The book was written after an extensive 5 year research project, and explains what it takes to build an enduring company from the ground up. You can read my review here.
“The Seven Keys To Running A Successful Business” forms the foundation of my business philosophy and approach to business coaching and consultancy. The seven keys are mission, mastery, money, model, marketing, mindset and momentum. There is more to business than these seven keys, but for start-ups and micropreneurs, I think mastering these will take you a long way.
A common complaint I hear from potential clients is “I want more sales.” When I dig in to their marketing, I generally find that they don’t have an allocated marketing budget and their level of marketing activity is far lower than it needs to be. One of the most pieces of advice that I offer is to suggest they follow the ‘marketing rule of 7,’ a marketing truism that’s been around since before Madison Avenue became a hub for the world’s largest advertising agencies. But I offer this advice with a twist – as the ‘marketing rule of 7 by 3.’
The marketing rule of 7 states that a potential buyer is highly unlikely to see or hear a marketing message, or to even seriously consider buying, until they’ve been exposed to our message at least seven times. Why the marketing rule of 7? Why not the marketing rule of 5, 6, 8 or 9? The answer lies in the data:
- 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact
What a turbulent few weeks we’ve had since the outcome of the EU Referendum and I wrote my article What Does Brexit Mean For UK Small Business! No sooner had the new leadership of the Conservative Party been resolved and a new Cabinet was put in place with Boris Johnson at the helm as our top diplomat than the world was shaken by another terrorist attack in France, the Turkish military launched a coup to oust President Erdogan and at least three police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. How can we future proof our business in a turbulent world? And what does this mean for business leadership in these fast moving times?
Tough times will always come and go. That’s a given. That’s why it’s important to be a storm proof leader, capable of both weathering the tsunami of change, and capitalising on the opportunities that will inevitably arise from this. Yes, it will probably be two years before Brexit is enacted, if indeed it happens at all. But far better to future proof your business now – and be in a position to make the most of new opportunities such as new trade agreements.
Imagine more than 18 amazing business and marketing experts who are leading authorities in their field – and who have each achieved tremendous business results, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
- Dr Philip O’Regan, Dean of Kemmy Business School in Limerick and Director of its MBA programme, a FCCA qualified accountant with extensive practice experience at Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC).
- Brian Fanzo, the go-to millenial in social media marketing, who was awarded the Top 25 Social Business Leaders of 2014 by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
- Nathan Latka, former CEO of Heyo and host of The Top Entrepreneur Show, he has interviewed guests including Kim Garst, Jeff Bullas and Amy Porterfield.
- Ian Anderson Gray, of Seriously Social Media Services, demystifies how to select the right social media channels for your business.
- Sue Zimmerman, aka #TheInstagramExpert. Enough said!
- And me!
And that’s just a quarter of the line up planned!
Now imagine we’re sharing their secrets, our best strategies, insights and hacks to help you to understand what really works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to marketing. And then imagine that your participation is free and virtual so that you can watch the summit from wherever you are, at a time that suits you.
Now stop imagining and please register for The Marketing Success Summit!
Many of you will know that I spent 8 years as a CEO, and a 25 year corporate background in senior leadership and managerial roles. What most people don’t know is that I also have a strong campaigning background. I’m passionate about the role of education in changing lives and social justice to create a more equitable society. That’s why I’ve created Business Champions.
And this is why I love how entrepreneurship opens up opportunities. Here in the UK, the number of new businesses has increased by 3% every year since 2000. And a staggering 7.1% of people (according to 2015 statistics) were in the early stages of planning an entrepreneurial venture. That’s fantastic!
But the statistic I like less is the number of people who go out of business. 20,000 in May according to HMRC figures.
So I’m on a mission!
Yesterday, six-time champion Serena Williams thrashed Russia’s Elena Vesnina in just 48 minutes to reach her ninth Wimbledon final. On Saturday, Serena, will bid to match Steffi Graf’s open era record of 22 Grand Slam singles title. Both Williams and Graf exemplify the champion’s mindset.
Today Roger Federer and Andy Murray will play their semi-final matches. Roger is aiming to exceed Pete Sampras’ haul of 7 Wimbledon titles and his own record of 17 Grand Slam titles. While Andy Murray is seeking to win his second Wimbledon Championship. Both men showed remarkable resilience and fortitude to win hard fought quarter finals, Federer especially after being two sets down.
So what is it that distinguishes these great athletes – champions – from others?
When we think of leadership traits, we typically think of vision, confidence, strength, charisma and decisiveness. An important leadership trait that’s often overlooked is humility. Humility is the antithesis of arrogance, an attitude that can severely damage our reputation and relationships with others.
As I’m writing this article in the middle of the Wimbledon Championships, let’s look to tennis for an example of why humility is such a pleasing quality. And then I’ll segue into exploring why humility is such an essential, albeit lacking leadership quality when it comes to business leadership.
On Thursday, the UK voted to leave the EU, triggering the start of a domino effect, the consequences of which will be felt for years. The value of sterling plummeted, although it rallied again. Our economy is in a potentially perilous situation, with food prices likely to increase and the housing market set to decline as buyers adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.
On Friday our Prime Minister resigned leaving a political leadership vacuum. There will be an almighty, and almost certainly bloody and acrimonious fight between the two divided halves of the Conservative party over the election of their new leader. As I write this article, the Labour party is in the throes of an entirely predictable leadership coup following Dame Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey’s motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and after Hilary Benn was sacked and a slew of shadow cabinet resignations. There are, what may seem at first glance, wild claims in the media that either the Conservative and/ or Labour parties may split. Given the deep divisions between the opposing wings of both the Conservative and Labour parties, this outcome is not as inconceivable as it might initially sound. There will almost certainly be a general election in the next few months.
Today I’m launching Business Champions. It’s a free community for small and mighty business owners who want their brand to stand out from the crowd and punch above their weight to come together, learn, inspire and support one another. What singles Business Champions out is that they want to go from Good To Great. (Good To Great was written by top management consultant, Jim Collins, and is widely regarded in business circles).
It will come as no surprise that I’m not interested in good or ordinary. I’m interested in great and extraordinary. Good does not create a business that stands out from the crowd in a noisy world. Ordinary does not help a business pack an almighty punch and accelerate ahead of the competition. When it comes to business results, I’m not interested in moving to the next level. I’m interested in moving to a whole new level. The next level is just a stepping stone. An important one. But a stepping stone nevertheless.
Because Pope Julius II believed Michelangelo could do anything, he ordered him to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. “But I’m not a painter, I’m a sculptor,” Michelangelo protested. “I’ve hardly done anything with a brush and you want me to paint 2000 square feet on a curved ceiling!” At least that’s how I imagine the conversation went! My point is that while Michelangelo was ambitious, the Pope was asking him to perform a miracle. If Michelangelo failed, his mistakes would be on public display.
Michelangelo contemplated his options. Although he had never painted in fresco, he decided he’d have to learn the technique. his first design for the Sistine Chapel was simple – the twelve Apostles and some filler decoration. But he then decided the ceiling would not look magnificent enough, and he sought permission for a more ambitious plan. Michelangelo came up with a vision for a vast painting of three hundred figures illustrating Man’s time on earth before the coming of Christ.