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I’m no stranger to productivity books, this is about the 7th one I’ve read over the last 5 years.

It’s amazing how the little tips and changes you pick-up from books like this one, become so important and valuable, but just slip away over time, one by one.

So this was a fantastic refresher.

Here, I’ve recorded the parts of the book that were particularly useful to me. I encourage you to read the book yourself in your entirety because you are bound to find different sections more relevant to you.

My notes on The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta

The Six Principles of Simple Productivity

  1. Set limitations
  2. Choose the essential
  3. Simplify
  4. Focus
  5. Create habits
  6. Start small

Chapter One: Why Less Is Powerful

  • Doing more things means you’re likely to do a lot of unimportant things, and you’ll be overworked and stressed at the same time.

Chapter Three: Choosing the Essential, and Simplifying

Choosing the Essential: A Series of Questions

  1. What are your values?
  2. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve in life? How about over the next year? How about this month? And today?
  3. What do you love? Think about what you love, who you love to spend time with, what you love doing.
  4. What is important to you?
  5. What has the biggest impact?
  6. What has the most long-term impact?
  7. Needs vs. wants.
  8. Eliminate the nonessential.
  9. Continual editing process.

Chapter Four: Simple Focus

Focusing on One Task (Single-tasking)

  1. Multitasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task and then switch back again.
  2. Multitasking is more complicated, and thus leaves you more prone to stress and errors.
  3. Multitasking can be crazy-making, and in this already chaotic world, we need to rein in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.

Here’s how to single-task instead:

  1. First thing in the morning, work on your Most Important Task. Don’t do anything else until this is done. Give yourself a short break, then start on your next Most Important Task.
  2. When you are working on a task in a time block, turn off all other distractions.
  3. If you feel the urge to check your e-mail or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Refocus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.
  4. If other things come in while you’re working, put them in your in-box, or take note of them in a small notebook or on a text file on your computer. Get back to the task at hand.
  5. Every now and then, when you’ve completed the task at hand, process your notes and in-box, adding the tasks to your to-do lists and refiguring your schedule if necessary. Process your e-mail and other in-boxes at regular and predetermined intervals.
  6. There are times when an interruption is so urgent that you cannot put it off make a note of where you are
  7. Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside, and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.

Chapter Seven: Simple Goals and Projects

The One Goal System

  1. Choose a goal. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish over the next few years.
  2. Break it down to a sub-goal. Focus on a smaller sub-goal that you can accomplish in the next month or two.
  3. Weekly goal.
  4. Daily action.

The Simple Projects List

  • List all the projects you have going on in your life, including all your work projects, any personal and home projects, projects with civic organizations, and so on.
  • Choose just the top three projects on your list. Don’t choose three from each area of your life—just choose three altogether.
  • You don’t move a project from the On Deck List to the Simple Projects List until you finish all three projects on your Simple Projects List. Not just one, but all three.
  • Almost every project is held up as you wait for information, for other people to get back to you, for others to complete tasks, for vendors or clients to do something.
  • So we multitask, but not on the task level—we multitask only on the project level.
  • Break long-term projects into smaller projects that can be completed in a month or less.

Chapter Ten: Simple E-mail

Limit Your Time in E-mail

  • Number of times per day.
  • The best times.
    • I’ve found that if you check twice a day—10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are good times
  • Not first thing in the morning.
  • Turn off e-mail notifications.

Reduce Your Incoming Stream

  1. Junk.
    • I recommend using Gmail, as it has the best spam filter possible. I get zero spam in my in-box.
  2. Notifications.
    • I often get notifications from the many online services I use, from Amazon to WordPress to PayPal and many more. As soon as I notice those types of notifications filling up my in-box, I create a filter (or “rule” if you use Mail.app or Outlook) that will automatically put these into a folder and mark them as read, or trash them, as appropriate.
  3. Batch work.
  4. Stupid joke e-mails.
    • If you have friends and family who send you chain e-mails and joke e-mails and the like, e-mail them and let them know that you are trying to lessen the huge amount of e-mail you have to deal with, and while you appreciate them thinking of you, you’d rather not receive those kinds of messages.
  5. Set expectations and publish policies.
    • Creating a Frequently Asked Questions page for more common questions and issues.

Process to Empty

  1. Temporary folder.
    • If you have a very full in-box (hundreds or thousands of messages), you should create a temporary folder (“to be filed”) and get to them later, processing them perhaps thirty minutes at a time until they’ve all been taken care of.
  2. Have an external to-do system.
  3. Process quickly.
    • Open each e-mail and dispose of it immediately. Your choices: delete, archive (for later reference), reply quickly (and archive or delete the message), put on your to-do list (and archive or delete), do the task immediately (if it requires two minutes or less—then archive
  4. Be liberal with the delete key.
    • Too often we feel like we need to reply to every e-mail. But we don’t. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that will happen if I delete this?” If the answer isn’t too bad, just delete it and move on.
  5. Process to done.
    • When you open your in-box, process it until you’re done. Don’t just look at an e-mail and leave it sitting in your in-box.

When you get an urge to go on the Internet, let it pass. Every urge is like a wave—it builds up, then it goes away. Another wave will come, but just ride that one out too. Every urge will pass if you just wait a few minutes.

Chapter Thirteen: Simple Commitments

Take Inventory of Your Commitments

  • Work
  • Side work
  • Family
  • Kids
  • Civic (We may volunteer for different organizations, or be a board member or officer)
  • Religious
  • Hobbies
  • Home
  • Online (We may be a regular on a forum or mailing list or Google group)

Then make a “Short List” of your four to five most important commitments.

Begin Eliminating the Nonessential

  • Start with something small.
  • Call or e-mail to send your regrets.
  • Eliminate the commitment from your appointment, and instead fill that time with something from your Short List. Don’t just use that time to watch TV
  • Repeat this process with the other nonessential commitments, one at a time, until you’re done. Strive to eliminate all nonessential commitments from your list.

Each time you cut a commitment, it may give you a feeling of guilt, because others want you to keep that commitment.

But it’s also a huge relief, not having to keep that commitment each day or week or month.

It frees up a lot of your time, and while others may be disappointed, you have to keep what’s important to you in mind, not what’s important to everyone else.

If we committed to what everyone else wanted all the time, we would never have any time left for ourselves.

Learn to Say “No”

Your list of commitments didn’t become overloaded by itself. Those commitments were added to your life, one by one, because you accepted them. Someone made a request and you said “yes,” one commitment at a time.

If you have difficulty saying “no” to requests, here are some tips:

  1. First, be aware. Learn to recognize requests for what they are demands on your time.
  2. Consider your Short List. Is the request in line with the four to five priorities you wrote out in your Short List?
  3. Be honest. Tell the person that you’re trying to cut back on your commitments because you’ve been overloaded.
  4. Be firm. Say, “I just can’t right now” and make it clear that you’re not open to negotiation or persuasion.
  5. I wish I could. Often I will honestly tell the person, “I really wish I could. It sounds great. But I just don’t have the time right now.”
  6. Don’t be sorry. Nothing in this world has failed because one person said “no” to a request—if the need was great enough, another person filled it.

Chapter Sixteen: Slow Down

Slow Attention

  • The projects we focus on are the projects that get completed.
  • with the hectic pace of our lives, our attention is pulled in a million different directions all the time.

Slow Working

  • If you can focus on the important tasks and projects, and keep your focus on those tasks, you will accomplish important things.
  • In contrast, someone can work frantically for twelve hours a day, doing as many tasks as possible, and yet not accomplish anything important.

Slow Eating

Take smaller bites, you chew each bite slower and longer, and you enjoy your meal longer.

Good reasons you should consider the simple act:

  • Lose weight.
  • Enjoy your food.
  • Better digestion.
  • Less stress.
  • Rebel against fast food and fast life.

Slow Driving

Driving is a much more calm, serene experience, and I enjoy it much more. Driving for me has become a time of contemplation.

Here are just five reasons to drive slower:

  1. Save gas.
  2. Save lives.
  3. Save time? Start out a few minutes early and you’ll arrive at the same time as someone who drove faster but started later—and you’ll arrive much happier than that person, to boot.
  4. Save your sanity. Huge drop in my stress level
  5. Simplify your life. Reduce many other complications—the headache of accidents and speeding tickets, for one; going to the gas station too often, for another. It can also improve the hectic pace of life.

Here are some of the slow-driving tips that have worked for me:

  • Play relaxing music.
  • Ignore other drivers.
  • Leave early.
  • Brainstorm.
  • Keep to the right
  • Enjoy the drive.

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This book has changed the way I do business. It’s that good. I also know much more about value-based pricing and I am able to provide advice to friends/clients/acquaintences who still stuck in the work-for-an-hour-get-paid-for-an-hour trap.

Here, I’ve recorded the parts of the book that were particularly useful to me. I encourage you to read the book yourself in your entirety because you are bound to find different sections more relevant to you.

My notes on Value-Based Fees: How to Charge – and Get – What You’re Worth by Alan Weiss

CHAPTER 1: The Concept of Fees – Will People Actually Give Me Their Money for My Advice?

The mistakes consultants make about fees at the conceptual, strategic, and 50,000-foot level are these:

  • Failing to understand that perceived value is the basis of the fee and consequently attempting to manage (lower) the fee rather than manage (raise) the value
  • Failing to translate the importance of their advice into long-term gains for the client in the client’s perception and therefore believing that they must base their value on deliverables, time, and materials, which are actually low-value commodities
  • Failing to create a relationship with a legitimate, economic buyer, meaning that the client may not do the right thing ethically (delay payment, argue about your value, arbitrarily change objectives)
  • Failing to have the courage and belief system that support the high value delivered to the client, thereby reducing fees to a level commensurate with the consultant’s own low self-esteem. That’s right, consultants, not clients, are the main cause of low consulting fees
  • Failing to listen to modern consulting business advice and immersing themselves amid the old guard, who foolishly believe that you take your annual income need, divide it by hours available, and thereby establish an hourly fee. Even the atavistic legal profession, which recently introduced $1,000-per-hour fees, seems to recognize that this is a good tactic to drive clients to a project-billing system
  • Failing to “push back” at the client and explain that it doesn’t matter that every prior consultant charged by the hour (or day or parsec), but that value-based fees are more ethical and productive for the client.

Instead, focus on the outputs:

  • What will the project accomplish in terms of business goals?
  • What is my contribution to that lasting benefit?
  • What is the proper fee to be paid in exchange for that large contribution, which the buyer has already stipulated?

Thirteen Questions for Establishing Value with the Buyer

  1. What will be the difference in your organization at the conclusion of this project?
  2. What if you did nothing?
  3. What if this project failed (or have these attempts failed in the past)?
  4. What will you be able to do that you can’t do now?
  5. What will be the effect on revenues (sales, profits, market share, and so on)?
  6. What will be the difference for your reputation (image, standing, stature, and so on)?
  7. What are the three greatest impacts of the result of this project’s success? (People love to think in threes.)
  8. What will your boss’s reaction be to this success? (Even economic buyers have a boss; sometimes it’s the board.)
  9. What will this mean to you personally?
  10. What peripheral and secondary value do you see accruing to this project?
  11. What will you be proudest of at the conclusion of the project?
  12. What will be the legacy of this project?
  13. What will it mean to be on the leading edge, the thought leader in the field?

People believe they get what they pay for—and with their careers and businesses, they want the best.

Prospect Education Checklist

  1. Never quote a fee before project objectives and their value to the client are stipulated (see Chapter Four)
  2. Don’t quote any time unit basis at all.
  3. Explain to the client, if pressed, that single, value-based fees are in the client’s best interests
  4. Resist comparison to other consultants by pointing out that your potential client probably also operates differently in many respects from his or her own competitors.
  5. Never commit to arbitrary amounts of time for the accomplishment of objectives
  6. Focus on results, not tasks
  7. Never accept a prospect’s conclusion—stated or implied—that you will constantly be onsite or that you’re available “on call.”
  8. Emphasize results, not deliverables; in fact, minimize deliverables.
  9. Don’t accept contingency fees or “pay for performance”; you’re not a trained animal act. Variables are often outside your control, and besides, you’re being paid for your best advice. It’s up to the client to implement it effectively
  10. Provide value immediately. Shift the focus to how much value you provide, not how much work there is to be done.

Most consultants place their value proposition at the wrong end of the equation: they focus on their ability to do rather than on the client’s ability to improve.

Vignette

I was contacted by Mercedes-Benz North America, which has an incredibly stringent method of choosing consultants.

First, Mercedes sent a delegation to hear me speak at a client event.

Second, they invited me in to meet with another level of evaluators.

Third, they placed the few of us who survived in front of the buyer.

The buyer, a tough authoritarian figure from the German parent company, told me how the consulting project would be conducted, asked me how I would conform to those specifications, and wanted a precise schedule of deliverables.

He also demanded to know the precise depth of my auto expertise and what I intended to do prior to the engagement to strengthen it.

I told him that I didn’t operate that way and that it wouldn’t help him even if I did. He was aghast. (His subordinates ducked for cover.)

I told him, as I gestured around the room, that he was surrounded by auto experts, and the last thing he needed was another one from the outside.

Mercedes knew how to make cars. I wasn’t going to tell the experts how to improve the cars’ fuel injection or brake linings.

But I knew how to consult, and I wasn’t about to let Mercedes tell me how to gather data or validate my findings.

The partnership had to be based on what each of us was good at, or else there could be no synergy and hence no partnership.

I got the job, and the fee was never discussed until my proposal was signed.

The buyer, since retired, told me much later on that he wished his subordinates had the courage to speak to him the way I had.

Quantitative And Qualitative Measures And Criteria

The direction of the result is far better—and safer—than the specification of the exact result. There are too many variables involved for you to rely on the attainment of a “magic number.”

Prospects will often tell you what they want, but they won’t often articulate what they really need. That’s because they often don’t know.

“Why?” Why does the buyer want a sales training program?

  • If more sales are required to compensate for client turnover, maybe the real need is better customer service.
  • If the buyer wants coaching to improve delegation skills, maybe the real need is to change a culture that is authoritarian and rejects empowerment and delegation.
  • If the client wants a mentoring program to improve retention of new employees, maybe the selection process is using incorrect criteria or the competition uses better nonfinancial incentives to lure people away.

No one cares, really, about how good you are.

Clients care about how good they are going to be when you’re done with them.

The Subtle Transformation: Consultant Past To Client Future

  • We are not worth our on-site visits, we are not worth our technology, and we are not worth our tactical advice.
  • We are actually worth the transformation that we achieve in turning our history into the client’s future.

CHAPTER 4: How to Establish Value-Based Fees

Three essential building blocks for a value-based project:

  1. The business objectives to be met
  2. The metrics or measures of success to assess progress
  3. The value to the client of meeting those objectives

Establishing Your Unique Value

  1. Why me?
  2. Why now?
  3. Why in this manner?

1. Why Me?

  • Is the buyer talking to other consultants? If so, to a limited range or a great many?
  • Do you possess some unique expertise or history (you “wrote the book,” you once worked in the industry, you worked for the buyer in the past, or the like)?
  • Have you been referred to the buyer by a trusted source?
  • Are you known within the industry, or do you have a unique reputation?
  • Are you at the right place at the right time (you’re local, you’re available to start immediately, and so on)?

2. Why Now?

  • What if the client were to do nothing?
  • Would the situation be stable or deteriorate still further?
  • Is there a limited window of opportunity during which gains must be made or they will be lost?
  • Has something occurred that has increased the urgency significantly (for example, the CEO has said, “Get it done!”)?
  • Are certain conditions in place that need to be capitalized on or they will be lost (for example, a competitor’s temporary misfortune)?
  • Is there funding available that will disappear if not used (often the case at the conclusion of a fiscal year)?

3. Why in This Manner?

  • Why aren’t they doing this internally?
  • Have they tried this in the past and failed?
  • Have they used other consultants in the past, and if so, with what result?
  • Why is this buyer the one sponsoring this project?
  • Who else is involved in this project and why?

Creating The “Good Deal” Dynamic

Focus on these “good deal” factors while building your relationship and establishing conceptual agreement (and find out which are most crucial to your buyer):

  • Responsiveness (a plus for solo practitioners)
  • Referral source (the transferred trust from the person referring you)
  • Speed of completion
  • Transfer of skills so that the client can replicate
  • Using an “authority” or acknowledged “expert”
  • Documentation
  • Involvement of client personnel
  • Confidentiality, nondisclosure, noncompete restrictions
  • Use or transfer of proprietary material
  • Guarantees and assurances
  • Industry knowledge or experience
  • Accountability for tough decisions (you are the “black hat”)
  • Ability to travel and visit sites
  • Technological compatibility
  • Safety (malpractice insurance, liability insurance, and so on)

“Fees” or “costs” are never mentioned as part of the “good deal” evaluation.

That’s because the good deal is based on value and not on fees.

At no point are we attempting to establish a good deal on the basis of lower price, because a good deal must benefit both parties, and lower fees do not benefit the consultant.

Consequently, fees should not be a part of this list.

The “good deal” equation for the buyer can include any or all of these variables:

  • Duration: The benefits of the project are annualized and forever, while the fee is one time and fixed
  • Skills Transfer: The client’s people will be able to do this themselves in the future, not only solving the immediate problem but also creating an internal capability for future problems
  • Leading Edge: The client will be assuming a leading-edge position in the industry, marketplace, community, or other environment; above and beyond the issue, the perception and image impact are substantial
  • Control of One’s Destiny: Just by dint of doing something—hiring you—the client has extricated the organization from the morass; almost any action can have a positive effect, even if results aren’t immediately appreciated.

The Incredibly Powerful “Choice Of Yeses”

By simply providing options, you move the sale to an assumptive close and the fees to a “migratory range” that is ever upward. Every buyer wants to lower fees, but not one wants to lower value.

Here are ten guidelines for options, or the “choice of yeses”:

  1. It’s OK to discuss possible options during conceptual agreement, but never assign any fees to them, ever. Simply impress on the buyer that he or she will have choices to make with varying degrees of value and protection against risk
  2. Don’t “bundle.” You’re better off “unbundling.” Most consultants don’t have options because they place every single thing they are able to deliver in their “go or no-go” proposal, as if that’s the only way to justify their value
  3. Keep a good distance between options. You don’t want a mere $5,000 of separation. Each one must represent significantly more income to you
  4. Commensurately with option 3 in the example, make sure that each option clearly provides additional unquestioned value to the buyer. Simply promising more of something or greater frequency does not add value; it merely adds time and materials. For instance, in the sample list of options, there is no option for additional focus groups or interviews. Each option is clearly distinct.
  5. Some options may include prior, lower-value ones, and others may stand alone no matter which prior option is chosen. In the example, options 1, 2, and 3 are mutually exclusive, each higher one containing the former; but options 4 and 5 can be combined with any of the first three
  6. Cite your options formally in your proposal, under a heading such as “Methodology and Options.”
  7. Don’t attach fees to the options. Cite the fees separately in the proposal under a heading such as “Terms and Conditions.” This is because you want the buyer to focus solely on the value of each option and not immediately connect it with investment. Let the buyer make a mental choice prior to introducing the fee
  8. If a buyer says, “I like option 3, but I only have the budget for option 2,” reply, “Fine, then option 2 it is.” This is not a negotiation.
  9. If a buyer asks for a slightly lower fee associated with a particular option, reply, “Fine, but what value would you like me to remove?” Never decrease a fee without decreasing perceived value.
  10. Keep your options relatively simple. This is not rocket science. And be prepared to show the differences in value (or the decrease in project risk) as you work your way up the choices.

The Step-by-Step Choice of Yeses

Step 1: Establish the value with the economic buyer in the conceptual agreement phase, after ascertaining objectives to be achieved and the measures of progress. (Questions to ask for the conceptual agreement components appear in the appendixes.)

Step 2: Establish your own value based on your uniqueness (why you, why now, why in this manner).

Step 3: Create your options, clearly delineated by increasing value. They may be cumulative or mutually exclusive.

Step 4: Given the value of the project, estimate a profound and significant return on the investment, working backward. In other words, if the buyer has stipulated a $2 million savings annualized, then a return of 20 to 1 on the first year alone would be represented by a $100,000 investment.

Step 5: Create your “choice of yeses” using that conservative 20-to-1 return rate as your least expensive option. Increase your other options by a factor of a minimum of 20 percent. In this case, option 2 would be $120,000, and option 3 would be $144,000 (20 percent above option 2).

Step 6: Now go back to step 2. If your own unique value is high on the why me, why now, why in this manner scale, add another 20 percent to each option. If your uniqueness is moderate, add 10 percent. If your uniqueness is low, don’t add anything above the step 4 calculations.

Step 7: Look at the project objectives and value to the organization in their entirety, and then review your fees resulting from the first six steps. Ask yourself, “Is this a good deal—a bargain—for the client in view of the value, and is it a good deal for me in terms of large margins? If not, adjust up or down, but by no more than 15 percent. Then submit it.

Step 8: Stop worrying. You’ll close about 60 to 80 percent of these deals, which is better than your prior rate (don’t lie) and at higher profitability.

If you must use a formula, fix it at 20 to 1 or better—in other words, 10 to 1 is just fine. Bolster your case with these beliefs (mainly for yourself):

  • The client is probably spending more on warranties for copy machines and ruined postage than for your project
  • The value to the organization, if anything, is probably understated and conservative
  • Your fees are highly conservative (actually, a 5-to-1 return would be a great investment)
  • You’ve probably underestimated your own uniqueness for this client
  • The value is based on first-year returns. The annualized basis would probably represent a return of 100 to 1
  • It doesn’t matter whether you could have done it for $20,000 less or the client would have paid $20,000 more. The margins are still terrific for you, and the benefits still terrific for the buyer. That is all that matters.

CHAPTER 5: How to Convert Existing Clients

Offering New Value

  • Provide “unlimited access” to you.
  • at any time, subject to mutually convenient schedules, by phone, fax, e-mail, or in person, if needed.

Finding New Circumstances

The Great Year.

  • Suggest to the buyer that this is a time to consider a more comprehensive and more flexible relationship.  There are funds often crying to be used or lost.

The Horrible Year.

  • Suggest an easier and less burdensome way to work with you next year, since the fees will be capped, fixed,

The New Buyer.

  • Opportunity to educate a new buyer correctly, rather than try to reeducate an old one accustomed to old habits.

The Acquisition.

  • Suggest that this is the time to simplify everything possible, including your billing arrangements.

The Divestiture.

  • The new spun-off or purchased unit probably represents high potential for you because you were familiar with it when it was still part of the original organization.
  • Remain in contact with current acquaintances moving into the new configuration.

The Competition.

  • Offer a set fee to create at least some order out of the uncertainty.

The New Initiative.

  • Almost every organization regularly trots out a new initiative, hot product, reinvention of itself, or some other strategic change
  • Use the initiative as an excuse to alter the past fee basis.

The Travel Need.

  • A value-based project fee, including all travel time (although, of course, not travel reimbursement), will remove that unnecessary expense.

Optimal Conditions For Retainer Arrangements

Ten Criteria for Lucrative Retainer Agreement Conditions

1. The Client Is Educated That Access Is the Value.

  • The client has no intent to use you as a de facto marketing vice president or chief of staff.
  • Nor does the client believe he or she is entitled to see you three days a week, regardless of need.
  • Nor is this a “make work” exercise if you’re not actively engaged for a time.
  • The client is paying for your availability and your smarts on an “as needed” basis, no more and no less.

2. The Client Understands That Access Is Not Instantaneous.

  • The idea is to create reasonable expectations of access.
    • all calls within ninety minutes, all e-mail within a day, and all correspondence within a week.
    • The key aspect of “access” is “responsiveness,” not omnipresence.
  • There Is Agreement About Who Has Access.
    • In most cases, retainers are with a single person.
  • Access Must Be Unlimited for the Client.
    • You can’t position some times as more important or convenient than others or declare a block of time “off limits.” You would then be driving the client toward certain restrictions, which devalues your access
  • Payment Must Be in Advance of the Time Frame.
  • Boundaries Are Established.
    • expenses are extra, as would be any subcontracting required.
    • While access to you is unlimited, what you will provide after being accessed clearly is not.
  • The Time Frame Is Finite and Not Turned On and Off.
    • If the client doesn’t access you for two weeks, that’s life. You’re providing access during a given, finite time frame, not a cumulative time frame of access.
  • The Procedure for Renewal Is Clear.
    • guarantee the next time frame and advance payment if all is going well for both of you.
  • Carve Out High-Priority Potential Areas for Collaboration.
    • In this way, you have the ability to follow up and pursue certain issues with the buyer.
    • Although it may seem ideal, receiving a retainer and not being accessed at all will guarantee just one thing: no renewal business.
  • Always Stress That This Is a Collaboration.
    • It’s about ongoing advice,
    • Keep your eye (and your client’s eye) on the larger picture.

Quick Tips for Gaining High-Value, High-Profit Retainers

  1. Define access.
  2. Provide unique value to the access.
    • You might provide your home, cell, and car phone numbers, which are normally never provided (nor should they be) to conventional clients.
  3. Set your calendar to intervene in silences.
  4. Ask the client for unique access.
    • Unscreened e-mail address?
  5. Go above and beyond in an obvious manner.
    • Let the client know you’ll reschedule something noncritical to meet the buyer’s urgent schedule.
  6. Don’t promise too much.
    • You can’t really reduce turnover, improve sales, or increase market share on this basis.
    • What you can do is give the buyer peace of mind and improved skills, as well as validation for the buyer’s thinking.
  7. Remember that as a consultant, you seldom surprise people who know what they’re doing.
    • In other words, merely verifying that a position or course of action makes sense to you as an objective outsider is often sufficient.
  8. Do some studying. 
    • Learn your client’s lingo, and study your customer’s customers.
  9. Push back as needed.
    • You’re not there to salve the buyer’s ego but rather to help make the buyer successful.
  10. Finally, be willing to walk away.
    • It’s unethical to sit back and keep the money if you believe that a long-term retainer isn’t working. 
    • Think of future business and future referrals

Organizing The Scope And Managing Projects Within The Retainer

You have to make clear to the client that any discrete projects that may arise during the retainer’s time frame are not included in the fee for the retainer itself, and this is easier said than done.

The client will tend to view you as a resource—almost as an employee—who can be “assigned” as the client sees fit, if you don’t counter that notion early in your retainer education.

As you identify potential projects and initiatives that the client should consider, always suggest ways that the client could accomplish them internally or with external resources other than yourself. Don’t recommend yourself, but don’t rule out that eventual option either.

If the client wants you even after being presented with alternative resources, you can then legitimately accept the work, for a project fee.

Aggressively Marketing Retainer Relationships

  • Include testimonials in your press kit and on your Web site that stress the benefits of your having been on retainer (in addition to your overall quality)
  • Place “typical results” achieved from your retainer work, specifically, on the Web site and in your press kit
  • Conversationally mention your retainer work in speeches. For example, “When I was on retainer to the…”
  • Write articles on the value of retainer relationships, or mention those relationships (as in the speech example) in your other articles
  • Where appropriate, include a retainer option in your proposals—generally most effective when the prospect “doesn’t know what he or she doesn’t know”
  • Consider structuring some of your pro bono work on a retainer basis, even though you’re not being paid; that is, become an adviser to the pro bono client, rather than engaging in a particular project or serving in a particular capacity

Ethics and Fees, Fees and Ethics

Q: When do I exceed high value and simply become very expensive, seeking “whatever the traffic will bear”?

A: When the client’s ROI becomes so low that there is a question about the wisdom of the investment, you’re probably overcharging (or underestimating value—be careful).

I think a 10-to-1 return on a conservative estimate of value is very powerful, and don’t forget that the buyer has agreed to that estimate of value during the conceptual agreement stage.

I’ve worked with consulting firms in the manufacturing field that believe that a 3-to-1 return is very significant for their clients, so you can see that this is very persuasive ground.

There are few places, if any, where the client is generating 10-to-1 returns.

So long as you can demonstrate that kind of dynamic, quantitatively or qualitatively, you’ll never be accused of “gouging.”

Seventy Ways to Raise Fees and/or Increase Profits Immediately

  1. Establish Value Collaboratively with the Client.
    • It’s imperative to reach agreement with the buyer as to the real worth to the organization of achieving the business outcomes specified in the objectives.
  2. If Value Differs, Fees Can Differ.
    • Just because you’re doing the exact same thing for two different clients doesn’t mean the fee must be the same.
  3. Base Fees on Value, Not on Task.
    • Never base a fee on your doing something. Always base it on the client’s achieving something.
    • Tasks (surveys) are commodities. Value (market share) is a unique client improvement.
  4. Forget About What’s Happened Before.
    • It doesn’t matter if the client has always paid by the day for a certain type of help or if the client places limits on fees for consultants.
  5. Never Use Time as the Basis of Your Value.
    • Your value is in your talent, not in your showing up.
  6. Practice Stating High Fees.
    • That’s right, practice saying, “It will be between $150,000 and $225,000” out loud. When you say these things matter-of-factly, the client assumes that he or she is out of step if the amount sounds high. If you giggle or turn red, you lose a certain amount of credibility.
  7. Think of the Fourth Sale First.
    • Fees are cumulative, not situational. Don’t be greedy. Even on a value basis, the goal is to develop a relationship and implement successful projects that will lead to years of work.
  8. Don’t Use Round Numbers, but Don’t Be Ridiculous.
    • ridiculous to cite $123,687.90. The client is going to want to see the worksheet that generated that kind of precision.
  9. Engage the Client in the Diagnosis; Don’t Be Prescriptive.
    • The client perceives much greater value when you and the buyer are jointly diagnosing the issues, instead of you prescribing some off-the-shelf medicine.
    • Value is based not just on what you contribute but also on your embrace of the ideas and desires of others.
  10. Never Voluntarily Offer Options to Reduce Fees.
    • The only option I ever recommend is a small discount if the client pays the entire fee up front, at the time of project acceptance,
  11. Never Deal with a Purchasing Manager or Accounts Payable.
    • Obtain firm agreement on your agreement while you and the buyer are together.
  12. Add a Premium If You Personally “Do It All.”
    • it costs more if I’m the only one to work on the project, not less. I’m the talent; the subcontractors are not.
  13. Remove Fees from All Printed Materials.
    • Purge any reference to fees in your printed, Web, and other promotional materials.
  14. If Forced to Consider Fee Reduction, Reduce Value First.
    • Sometimes a client will say, “We can’t afford to lose that” and will concede the fee, but in any case, you don’t want to be seen as someone who has a padded fee awaiting reduction.
  15. Always Make It Clear That Expenses Are Extra.
  16. Always Provide an Option That Exceeds the Budget.
    • There will still be two or more options within the budget limitation, so you’re not risking anything but just may be laying the groundwork for higher profits.
  17. As Early as Possible, Ask the Question Guaranteed to Result in Higher Fees, or QGTRIHF: “What Are Your Objectives?”
  18. Broaden Objectives as Appropriate to Increase Value.
    • It’s relatively easy to broaden the objectives—and, consequently, raise the fees—by asking a few innocent questions.
  19. Ensure That the Client Is Aware of the Full Range of Your Services.
    • Prospects will sometimes jump to a conclusion about your “specialty,” or they may have been misinformed by a reference source.
  20. If Something Is Not on Your Playing Field, Subcontract.
    • subcontract what you can’t handle. It’s the overall relationship that counts, not individual mastery of every implementation element.
  21. Always Ask Yourself, “Why Me? Why Now? Why in This Manner?”
    • If the buyer has a raft of choices, you’re less valuable, but if you’re one of the few with the expertise or reputation, you’re much more valuable; can wait, window of opportunity is closing, can do this internally, external consultant is mandatory,
  22. Use Proposals as Confirmations, Not as Explorations.
    • Don’t submit a proposal until you have conceptual agreement on objectives, measures of success, and value to the organization. Otherwise, the proposal becomes a negotiating document, and the options you have listed will be the point of departure to negotiate downward.
  23. When Asked Prematurely About Fees, Reply, “I Don’t Know.” Don’t be cornered.
  24. If You Must Lower Fees, Seek a Quid Pro Quo from the Buyer.
    • There is usually some barter arrangement that is attractive to both parties.
  25. Don’t Accept Troublesome, Unpleasant, or Ugly Business.
    • No matter what the fee, these clients will cost you more than you keep.
  26. When Collaborating, Use Objective Apportionment.
    • Use whatever formula you like but use one that’s clear and objective so that everyone understands the ground rules for revenue sharing.
  27. Any Highly Paid Employee Must Bring in New Business
    • Delivery, research, and support are commodities for which you should subcontract.
    • Don’t pay people for delivering your business acquisition unless it’s on a pay-for-performance basis.
  28. Seek Out New Economic Buyers Laterally During Your Projects.
    • be on the lookout for opportunity as you are implementing.
  29. Respond to “Scope Creep” with “I’ll Send a New Proposal.”
    • Whenever the client requests work clearly outside the objectives of your original agreement, accept it graciously provided that you can send a new proposal—with new objectives and new fees—to cover the additional work.
  30. It Is Better to Do Something Pro Bono Than to Do It for a Low Fee.
    • Don’t ever be pegged as a low-priced option. If there’s something you’re dying to do or a cause you feel more than merits your attention, do it free of charge as part of your pro bono work. Don’t allow yourself to be pegged as a “cheap resource.” Rule of thumb: never do pro bono work for a profit-making entity.
  31. If You Do Something Pro Bono, Send an Invoice.
    • Show the pro bono client what your actual fee would have been, and then waive it, showing a net of nothing due.
  32. Fees Have Nothing to Do with Supply and Demand, Only with Value.
    • Every year, ask your trusted advisers and clients to help you assess the value you’re providing.
  33. Raise Fees at Least Every Two Years.
    • Actively and aggressively increase your fees for the same kind of value you’ve provided in the past about every two years or so.
  34. If You Are Unaware of the Current Range of Market Fees, You Are Undercharging.
    • When you network and talk casually to clients, try to find out what the general ranges are for a variety of projects.
  35. Stay Acutely Sensitive to Margins. It’s not what you make but what you keep that’s crucial.
    • Analyze how much you are keeping, and adjust your fees or your expenses accordingly to maximize margins.
  36. Psychologically, Higher Fees Create Higher Value in the Buyer’s Perception.
    • Buyers believe they get what they pay for, which is why McKinsey, IBM, Rolex, and Ferrari don’t enter into price negotiations. No one says,“This is the cheapest consultant I could find, and I’m proud to have him!” Instead they say, “This person is costing us a fortune, and we were lucky to get her, so listen up!”
  37. Value Can Include Subjective as Well as Objective Measures.
    • A high-level buyer’s relief from stress, anxiety, unpleasant situations, poor image, safety concerns, and similar pressures is worth a great deal.
  38. Use Other People Only When Absolutely Necessary.
    • Use subcontractors if (a) you don’t have a requisite skill, (b) you need “legs” because you can’t interview all over the country on the same day, or (c) you’re bored with the nature of the work. But don’t use them as a show of force or because you think doing so adds credibility. What it does is decrease profit, no matter how much you’ve boosted the revenue line.
  39. Introduce New Value to Existing Clients to Raise Fees in These Accounts.
    • Don’t simply sit back and do the same thing every year.
  40. Do Not Accept Referral Business on the Same Basis as the Referring Source.
    • If a colleague refers business to you from a client paying by the hour or the day, don’t accept the same terms. Immediately educate the buyer that you work differently and so your arrangements will be somewhat different.
  41. Ask the Comparison Question.
    • When a prospect says, “That’s more than we intended to spend” or “We never imagined it would cost that much,” point to a copy machine or computer and ask, “What’s your annual cost for warranties on this equipment? It’s more than the sum total of this project. Are you really so willing to invest more in preventive maintenance than you are in human development?” (Of course, you should make whatever case it is that benefits your project.) Do some homework, and work out these comparisons in advance—you can use ruined postage, cafeteria subsidies, carpet cleaning, all sorts of things. It works wonderfully for putting your fees into perspective.
  42. When Forced into Phases, Offer Partial Rebates to Guarantee Future Business.
    • offer a rebate from the fee for the prior phase on the succeeding one if the buyer commits before the prior phase is completed.
  43. Cite a Time Frame for the Proposal’s Acceptance.
    • Tell the buyer that the fees—and any discounts you may be offering for one-time payment, for example—can be honored for thirty days, after which a new proposal will be required.
  44. At Least Every Two Years, Consider Jettisoning the Bottom 15 Percent.
    • All of us are burdened by business that made sense at one time but no longer does, business that is accustomed to too much service for too little money, and business that is comfortable but unchallenging.
    • We can’t reach out unless we let go, and we must let go of nonproductive, low-potential business.
  45. At Year-End, Always Emphasize Early Payment.
    • Clients will often have “money to burn” in the fourth quarter of their fiscal year, which is returned to the corporate coffers if unused.
  46. Practice Saying, “I Can Do That for You.”
    • When a buyer trusts you, the buyer will often remark about things that have to be accomplished outside of your project.
    • But don’t do it for free. As always, provide the buyer with some options. Often the buyer won’t realize that you are as multifaceted as you are.
  47. Start with Payment Terms Maximally Beneficial to You Every Time.
    • For example, explain that your policy is to receive the full fee paid in advance. If the client finds that unacceptable, offer 50 percent on acceptance and 50 percent in forty-five days (no matter what the length of the project).
  48. Suggest Key Objectives Beyond the Project.
    • Don’t be blatantly self-promotional. Simply suggest, “Here are three things to accomplish next year…”
  49. If Payments Are Late, Pursue the Buyer.
    • Don’t fool around in accounts payable if a scheduled payment or expense reimbursement isn’t received. Immediately go to the buyer and state, “We have a small problem.” The buyer will always be in a better position to expedite things internally than will you from the outside.
  50. Offer Incentives for One-time Full Payments.
    • You never know until you ask. By offering a modest (5 to 10 percent) discount for payment on acceptance, you just may put a six-figure check in the bank tomorrow.
  51. Be Clear on What the Client Owes for Expenses.
    • If you’ve created something unique that was required for that client and did not simply use your generic materials or equipment, chances are that it might be reimbursable.
  52. Send in Expense Reimbursement Requests Promptly.
    • submit reimbursement requests zealously, with receipts, to avoid questions and delay.
  53. Read the Fine Print; Then Push Back.
    • respond to your buyer
    • Tell the client that you have just learned that the two of you have a few unexpected conflicts to work out. At worst, you can probably compromise on the most odious parts.
  54. Never Accept Payment Subject to Conditions to Be Met on Completion.
    • Manual laborers get paid when their work is done, knowledge workers when their work is beginning.
    • You don’t pay for a book after you’ve completed reading it, and you don’t pay for software after you’ve mastered it.
  55. Focus on Improvement, Not on Problem Solving.
    • Everyone can solve problems, and problem solving is a commodity. But few people can systematically raise the bar and improve the performance of already stellar operations. Yet that’s where the value is.
  56. Have the Client Absorb Expense Billing.
    • Many clients will, and an administrative assistant can take care of everything. Not only does this help cash flow by preventing payments and waits for reimbursement, but it also reduces the number of invoices a client sees and reduces the total costs associated with your project (since the expense amounts are usually absorbed within corporate accounts).
  57. Provide Proactive Ideas, Benchmarking, and Best Practices from Experience.
    • Don’t become “industry-bound.” Demonstrate value to the buyer by bringing to bear experiences in other industries and under other conditions that can contribute to improving the current client’s condition.
  58. Quote in U.S. Dollars Drawn on U.S. Banks.
  59. Practice Stating and Explaining Your Fees.
    • Practice your responses so that you’re neither sweating profusely nor losing eye contact.
  60. Always Be Prepared to Walk Away from Business.
    • Few tactics increase your fees as much as this one. Never be anxious.
    • If you’re at an impasse, simply say, “I’ve enjoyed meeting with you, but I don’t think I can undertake the project, given what you’re offering. Let’s stay in touch.”
    • Often you’ll be stopped before you’re even out of your chair.
  61. Make Sure Your Fee Increases Exceed the Inflation Rate.
    • A great many consultants forget that even in periods of modest inflation, there is inflation.
  62. Push Toward Being the Bentley of Your Field.
    • At the beginning of your career, it’s fine to be more competitively priced to draw business. But as your career trajectory continues, you should be building the contacts, referrals, and expertise to demonstrate that you are the class act in the field.
  63. Build Strong Brands and Nurture Them.
    • People are attracted to brands and pay far less attention to price.
    • You’ve all heard, “If you have to ask how much it is, you can’t afford the purchase.”
    • Brands draw clients who don’t care about the fee, only the results and being associated with you.
    • Never forget that the strongest brand is your own name.
  64. If You Are Active Globally, Consider Both Differential Rates for Overseas Work and Being Paid in Local Currency If That Helps.
  65. Never Allow Local Taxes to Be Deducted from Your Fees.
  66. Accept Wire Transfers from Clients.
  67. Use Multiple Invoicing If a Client’s Level of Authority Is Surpassed by Your Proposal.
  68. Keep Boilerplate Out of Your Proposals.
    • Use plain language and rely on your relationship with the buyer for honorable behavior.
  69. Never Allow Accounts Payable to Do Anything but Send You the Check.
    • Their job is to enforce existing procedures, not to help exceptions. Have your buyer sign off on everything,
  70. Look in the mirror and say, “The fee is $176,000.”
    • When you can do that without giggling, you just may be there.

The Four Fundamental Areas Of Resistance

Resistance Point 1: “I Don’t Trust You”

  • are you known to potential clients?
  • are you referred by current clients?
  • do you possess an inherent level of trust from a cohesive body of work in the field?
  • Creation of a name, brand, and reputation are quick routes to establishing trust with any potential buyer

Resistance Point 2: “I Don’t Need You”

  • raise the bar to new heights, not just to fix problems
  • Even the best of organizations can steadily improve; thus there is always a need that can be created, even if there is nothing obvious to be fixed.

Resistance Point 3: “I Don’t Feel Any Urgency”

  • In this general resistance area, the consultant must create urgency.
  • This can be accomplished by these methods:
    1. By pointing out competitive actions that will threaten the client
    2. By identifying a unique and limited window of opportunity to address the issue
    3. By showing that the prospect is incurring far more damage than perceived
    4. By demonstrating a far greater return on investment than the prospect believed possible
    5. By showing that the prospect is not on a plateau but that the condition is actually causing a decline that is increasing in its degree and speed
  • Time is never a resource issue; it is always a priority issue.

Resistance Point 4: I Don’t Have the Money to Pay You

  • So the money objection is the easiest, most common, and most misunderstood. It is almost always an excuse, a cover-up for one of the first three areas not being satisfied.
  • When a client does say, “We need to do this and I want you to do it for us but I don’t have budget,” the consultant can help the client find the funds.

Boring In On The Subject

The prospect believes—quite seriously—that the fee will be around $5,000, while the consultant’s most inexpensive option, which the consultant considers a “good deal,” is $55,000.

How can this happen so far into the discussions and after conceptual agreement?

The cause is twofold:

  1. Some consultants fail to develop a sense about the client’s philosophy of return on investment and overall spending.
  2. Some clients are totally out of touch with investment needs.
    • The client has never used consultants in the past and so is totally unfamiliar with investing in external help.
    • The client used very inexpensive and inexperienced consultants in the past, which has caused an incorrect “education” and precedent.
    • The client has tight cost controls and a zealous focus on the expense side of the business; doesn’t see ROI, only costs
    • The client tends to focus overwhelmingly on the short term
    • The client’s firm is losing money and in desperate straits
    • The client is a small business owner, weighing personal and business expense needs
    • The client sees the consultant as “too new” or not totally credible and feels that the consultant is getting a chance to prove himself or herself, so the fee can be commensurately low.

After conceptual agreement is reached but before the proposal is even created, ask the buyer a variation of the following question: “You’ve been very kind, and I’m in a position to offer a proposal with some investment options for you. Since there are options for achieving these goals, is there a budget amount you’d like me to stay within?”

Another approach is this: “We’ve made fine progress, and I don’t want to waste your time or mine as we go forward. Is there a budget—or even a rough amount in your mind—that represents the limit of your investment in this project?”

And here’s one more, which I call the New York (direct) approach: “We’re ready to move to a proposal, but before we do, my experience has shown that it’s important to understand any constraints on our approach. What is the budget you’ve allocated, now that we’ve reached this level of agreement?”

Common Response 1:

  • “I don’t want to disclose what I’m prepared to spend.”
  • You should respond, “I’ve come to respect you and don’t want to waste your time. My judgment at this point is that the investment range is going to be $35,000 to $65,000, depending on how much certainty you’re seeking. Is that in the ballpark?”

Common Response 2:

  • “Our expectation is that the project should cost somewhere around $20,000.”
  • If that’s realistic, respond, “We can work within that, and I’ll get the proposal to you tomorrow.”
  • If it’s unrealistic, say, “I don’t think we can do it for that amount. We’re probably talking about $35,000 at the low end to $65,000 at the high end. Do you want to discuss this further?”

Common Response 3:

  • “We’re willing to spend whatever is reasonable to make this happen.”
  • Your reply here should be, “Thanks, I’m sure you’ll find the investment well within reason in view of the benefits we’ve already detailed. The proposal will be here tomorrow.”

Here are the conditions:

  • You have been talking to the economic buyer all along
  • You have achieved conceptual agreement with the economic buyer
  • You are uncertain of the buyer’s understanding of the level of investment required.

Using “Smack To The Head” Comparisons

There are times when the client will balk at a fee, even when you know darn well that the fee is entirely reasonable and the good deal is terrific.

  • Ask what one lost customer a week is costing
  • Ask what the cost of a very bad hire is.

Entry-Level Fees

  • One of the worst strategies that I’ve ever encountered at entry level is to price low in order to get business.

The Book’s ROI: Alan’s Axioms For The “Good Deal”

1. You Are Entitled to Be Compensated for Your Value

  • We live in a capitalist system, which works better than all others.
  • People believe in such a system that they get what they pay for.
  • However, the first sale is to yourself.
  • You must believe that you are entitled to fair remuneration, and you must appreciate your own value.
  • Creating shared success with the client is the best way to create shared value, at any time in one’s career but particularly early in that career.
  • The “good deal” occurs when the client believes you’ve been a bargain in terms of the results you’ve helped produce, and you believe you’ve been paid very well.

2. Basing Fees on Time or Materials and Not on Value Is Simply Crazy

3. Buyer Self-Interest Is Based on Results

  • “deliverables” are only a commodity that will be comparison-shopped by most buyers.
  • A report, a training session, or a coaching regimen are simply tasks performed.
  • But improved morale, faster customer responsiveness, and more effective leadership are highly valuable organizational outputs.
  • The consultant brings his or her past experiences, through an intervention, to dramatically affect the client’s future. It’s that final part that merits high fees: the future. The consultant’s past is only an input, and the intervention is merely a device. Fees should be based on future improvement, not on past technique.

4. Conceptual Agreement Is the Linchpin

  • The ability to reach agreement with an economic buyer on objectives to be met, metrics to assess progress, and value to the client is the centerpiece of fee strategy.
  • This creates a return-on-investment mentality instead of a cost mentality.
  • It’s critical to establish clear outcomes at a fixed investment and not to surrender to vague outcomes at clear costs.

5. Existing Clients Can Be Converted to Value-Based Fees

6. Retainer Business Is Discrete and Sound Business

  • Retainers represent access to your “smarts.”
  • Be sure that the conditions are carefully spelled out and that you’re not mixing project and retainer work together.
  • Ensure that the buyer’s expectations are the same as yours.
  • Coordinate project work and retainer work for the same client through separate proposals and payment schemes.

7. There Are Scores of Ways to Raise Fees and Margins

8. You’ve Heard All the Objections Already

  • ask about the buyer’s budget
  • Offer rebates
  • Use comparisons
  • Ignore the competition. The client’s self-interest will serve to overcome any objections.

9. Nonconsulting Activities Are Lucrative

  • speaking, coaching, products, licensing

10. Identify Where You Are in the Fee Progression Strategy

CHAPTER 11: Technology and Fees

Marketing Enhancement

For you and me, our Web sites are credibility statements. They are places buyers go after they have decided that we are potentially of value to them. Therefore, this is your repository of expertise. Using your Web site as a “passive” press kit and publicity site is highly effective.

Be sure to include all of the following on your site:

  • Typical results your buyers can expect to derive
  • Case studies (challenge, intervention, result)
  • Testimonials
  • Position papers
  • List of articles published
  • Client list
  • Books, columns, newsletters (lists, archives, and so on)
  • Biographical sketch

The Publishing Prerogative

  • Press Releases
    • Whenever you receive an award, accept a speaking assignment, launch a new service, travel to an exotic location, or pick up a new client, send out a press release.

  • Columns
    • Write for a monthly publication
  • Newsletters
    • Focus on high-content, low-promotion

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September 4, 2013
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I’m a huge fan of Google Calendar. I even switched my reluctant wife over to it rather than her diary book, and now she loves it too. If you use Google Calendar and you use it to invite people to appointments and events, you need to occasionally cancel appointments, right? Well, you’ll know that you […]
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My Transition From Employee To Home Based Business To Co-Working

August 12, 2013

This is a short video on how I made the transition from employee, to home based business, to leading a co-working space in central Tauranga, New Zealand. Watch this video on Vimeo Thanks to Jono from EmergeFilm for all his work on this story (we work together at Studio64 co-working space).
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TEDx Auckland 2013: 17 Hours of Awesomeness

August 5, 2013

TEDxAuckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 3 Aug 2013: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 11pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking to […]
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Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

July 17, 2013
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Did you know that only a prospect in pain will buy a solution from you? It’s true. The more pain they feel, the higher the price they will pay, and the more they crave your solution if you can show them that you understand their pain. If you have a warehouse full of widgets to […]
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Your New Website Says “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon”? 3 Reasons That’s A Disaster

May 22, 2013
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I love purchasing a new website address, don’t you? (A website address is also known as a “domain name”, or a “url”) I’ve purchased about 60 website addresses over the last few years. For clients, friends, and for myself. I get the same rush of adrenaline every time I do it. It’s so exciting because it’s much […]
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9 Companies, 90 Days, Worth $9 Million

May 20, 2013

Last week I went down to Wellington to the Lightning Labs demo day. Lightning Labs is New Zealands first (and only) business accelerator. For a bit of background, read my article about Lighting Labs that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. 90 days ago these 9 companies were worth zip, nada, nothing. And now […]
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How to Create Start Up Companies Worth A Million Dollars Each In Just 90 Days

May 3, 2013

Did you meet Laura Rietel (and Nick Churchouse from Lightning Labs) on Thursday 2 May 2013? If not, you missed a great night! Laura shared her experience with Business Accelerators. I loved her presentation style. No slides. Just a few notes, lots of stories, and lots of questions. Casual and friendly, it felt less like a seminar […]
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Worried Someone Will Steal Your Awesome Idea? 7 Possible Reactions When You Share Your Idea

May 1, 2013
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New ideas are exciting! Sometimes great ideas wake you in the middle of the night (and at the time you are sure you’ll remember them so you don’t bother writing them down… oops). Sometimes great ideas happen to you when you are alone (like in the shower, or in the car), and it’s so annoying […]
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Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City by Brad Feld

April 18, 2013
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My notes on “Startup Communities – Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your City” by Brad Feld Give Before You Get Boulder is an incredibly inclusive community. Although there is some competition between companies, especially over talent, the community is defined by a strong sense of collaboration and philosophy of “giving before you get.” If you […]
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9 Questions To Get You Started When You’ve Got An Idea For A StartUp Business

April 16, 2013
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Heard of “a business plan”? It’s how you plan your business, right? Well, the bad news is that “business plans never survive first contact with customers” – Steve Blank. This means that you can plan all you like, but real customers with real money in their pockets will buy what they want to, not what […]
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“Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule” – Proposed Headline for BOP Times, Fri 26 July 2013

April 15, 2013

Dear universe, I would like the following headline appear in the Bay of Plenty Times on Fri 26 July 2013: “Tauranga University Enrolls First 99 Students, 4 Years Ahead Of Schedule”. Impossible? No. Not impossible. I’m going to tell you how. You can probably think of at least 5 reasons why a university here would be great […]
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The Future of “Work”: Are You A Cog In a Machine Or A Nanobot In A Swarm?

April 4, 2013

I had the honour of spending 60 seconds with John Key this morning. I was 1 of 10 young professionals invited to tell him about what we’re up to here in Tauranga, the city I love. Here’s my 60 second speech: Hi, I’m Sheldon Nesdale and I’m helping to build a eco-system of entrepreneurship and […]
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Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

March 27, 2013
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Firstly, Sean D’Souza in his book “The Brain Audit”, has this to say about Testimonials: — Why We Are All Sceptical About Testimonials Testimonials are like resumes; they’re not entirely believable.  Which is why most customers tend to view testimonials sceptically. Even if we don’t say it out loud, we view testimonials as one-sided. It’s the […]
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A Collection of 7 Bob Clarkson Thoughts

March 4, 2013
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Bob Clarkson (72 years old) invited me into his home on the weekend. For 90 minutes he told me his story. I can summarise it in 3 words: He loves building. We talked about many of his building projects. Past (those still standing today), Present (what he’s working on right now), and Future (those that […]
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What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

February 28, 2013
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Do you get asked the question ”What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients? How do you respond? Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?: $10/hour $20/hour $50/hour $100/hour $200/hour $500/hour Potential clients often respond in one of these ways: “That’s too cheap!” “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my […]
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Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

February 18, 2013
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Is that a questions you are struggling with right now? Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling? Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars […]
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Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

February 11, 2013
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“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…” Are visitors to your website thinking that? If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one. You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they […]
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Job Hunting? Clever, But Simple Marketing Advice For Job Hunters

February 8, 2013

Looking for a new job? Does your job hunting plan look like this? Trawl through job ads on Seek, TradeMe Jobs and a couple of other sites Find jobs that look interesting and throw your CV at them Wait And wait some more And apply for some more (on the assumption that it takes 100 applications […]
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5 Co-Working Spaces in Auckland, The 6 Lessons I Learnt

January 29, 2013

Last week I visited all 5 of the co-working spaces in Auckland: Movers & Shakers, Auckland Central, Dion Bettjeman Loft503, Auckland Central, Matt Knight  Generator, Auckland Central, Ryan Wilson The Kitchen, Grey Lynn, Auckland, Murray Sheard Bizdojo, Auckland Central, Nick Shewring I am honoured that every single one of the founders/owners made time for me and my questions. I […]
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How Many Co-working Spaces in Hamilton?

January 25, 2013

Good news for you if you can answer “YES!” to these 3 questions: Are you are freelancer in Hamilton? Do you work from a home office? Do you want to move into a co-working space in Hamilton city? Up until now you would have had no option but to start your own space (which has […]
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Will You Join the 2013 Marketing Bootcamp in Tauranga?

January 8, 2013

The 2013 Marketing Bootcamp is a series of 12 workshops (one per month) which will improve both you and your business. Is the “2013 Marketing Bootcamp” for you? YES! If you own a Tauranga-based Small Business and you are either a solo operator, a husband-and-wife team or have a business partner YES! If last year went […]
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Selling services? Find out how to set your prices, and if you should put them on your website

December 17, 2012

Are you selling services? Are you quoting your hourly rate or using “value based pricing”? Should you put these prices on your website or not? Find out the answer to these questions with this short 2.5 minute discussion with Sheldon Nesdale from www.MarketingFirst.co.nz and Dan Necklen from www.Likeable.co.nz
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15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is Awesome

December 13, 2012
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This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 2 of 2. Read part one: 5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks I worked […]
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5 Reasons Why Working From Home Sucks

December 13, 2012
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This article is for those of you who are working from home right now, and it’s purpose is to show you what you could gain from moving out of home into a co-working space in the city centre. This is part 1 of 2. Read part two: 15 Reasons Why Co-Working In The City Centre Is […]
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Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

November 20, 2012

My notes on Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Lots of interesting stories in this book, but I’m just going to talk about 2 that really struck a chord with me. The Cost To Avoid Guilt? Just $3 Economists in an Israeli study in day care centres started imposing a fine of $3 if any parent […]
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In the retail business? Waiting for the world to change back to the way it was?

November 13, 2012

Can you answer yes to any of these questions?: Are you in the retail business? Are you waiting for the good-old-days to come back in terms of the economy and retail sales? Do you want the world to change back to the way it was before the recession? If so, I have good news. The […]
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Own A Cafe, Restaurant, Bar But Have No Website? Get One Before 2013

November 5, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your Cafe, Restaurant or Bar, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand’s Cafe’s, Restaurant’s and Bar’s have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When […]
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How to Turn Your Junk To Gold – 7 Simple Tips for Selling on TradeMe

November 1, 2012

This is an update on my original article in Jul 2009 Ahh TradeMe, we all love it (And the recent copy-cat auction sites are hilarious. They have no chance!) Don’t you think it’s amazing how much gold people will pay for your junk? Do you want to squeeze every last dollar out of each TradeMe […]
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Interview with Cheryl Reynolds, CEO of SODA Inc, Hamilton’s Business Incubator and Accelerator

October 31, 2012

I’m on a mission to establish a Business Incubator in Tauranga next year. Part 1 of this mission is to learn from people who have already succeeded. So last week I spent an amazing, inspiring, uplifting 3 hours with Cheryl Reynolds the CEO of SODA Inc and Rachel Wark, the Communications Manager (thanks for making […]
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Business Facebook Pages: 6 Simple Tips For Your Business Page on Facebook

October 29, 2012

Are you just about to set up a Business Page on Facebook? Or have you set one up already but it’s just not generating business for you? Then this short list of tips will save you some time and help you generate some results. #1. Don’t sign up for a new Facebook Personal Profile just for […]
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Customer Survey Package

Thumbnail image for Customer Survey Package October 29, 2012

I’m about to show you that with your next customer survey, it is possible to generate satisfaction rather than just measure satisfaction. Let’s consider the customer’s perspective first. Do any of the following 3 scenario’s sound familiar? 1. Imagine you have just started dinner and the phone rings… You pick up and it’s someone asking you to […]
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Market Research Package

Thumbnail image for Market Research Package October 26, 2012

Do you have your eye on a target market and want to find out what those customers want? Do you want to find out more about the competition (if any) in that space? Do you want to evaluate the risk and determine your chance of success? Then consider this Market Research Package. Q: “Is this […]
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Tauranga 2013: A Business Incubator, A Business Accelerator, And 3 Co-Working Spaces

October 15, 2012

Have I shared with you my plan for 2013? I want to establish a business incubator/accelerator/co-working space here in Tauranga. Tauranga’s first co-working space starts this week in the Priority One building, hooray! I’ll be doing my best to help them succeed. But that is only the beginning. Imagine there was one business incubator, one […]
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The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

October 15, 2012

My notes on “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so to get the full benefit of this book I urge you to read a copy for yourself The Five Principles Of The Lean Startup Entrepreneurs are everywhere […]
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Have A Great Idea For A Start-Up Company But Worried Someone Will Steal It?

October 12, 2012

On Monday you’ll see my notes on the book by Eric Ries called “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses”. Amaaaaazing book. But I couldn’t wait until then to share this with you. There is one section in there that talks about how many of us have ideas that we think are […]
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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 2: How To Milk LinkedIn – The 8 Most Important Cows

October 11, 2012

(Missed part 1? Read it first) Firstly, it’s important to note that “100% completion” is your starting point. That’s right, spend a few hours and just get all the basics done and out of the way until you score 100% completion. Then come back here and read the rest of this article. The 8 Most Important Components […]
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Quickguide to LinkedIn Part 1: What Types of People Are Looking At Your LinkedIn Profile Today?

October 10, 2012

Think you should be doing more with your LinkedIn profile? First let’s consider your audience. Who’s actually going to look at your profile? The 5 types of people looking at your LinkedIn profile today: 1. People you meet who are curious about you You might hunt them down first, or they might find you first. […]
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TEDx Auckland 2012: 16 Hours of Awesomeness

October 9, 2012

TEDx Auckland ran from 10am to 5.30pm on 6 Oct 2012: 7.5 hours of awesomeness. But my day started at 6am because I drove up from Tauranga for it, and got back home at 10pm. I’m still counting the 8.5 hours of waiting and driving because those were all awesome too. I was either talking […]
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“I Think It’s Too Long, Can You Make It Shorter?” A Phrase I Dread

October 4, 2012

I do quite a bit of copywriting: email proposals email newsletters sales pages on websites blog articles direct response letters and the occasional fax (I’m joking about the fax, it’s not the nineties anymore) The pieces of work I create are as long as they need to be and often include all of the following components: Headline: […]
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5 Questions For Small Business Owners to Think About Today

August 8, 2012

Compete against yourself Pretend there is a brand new competitor opening next door to you, what product and service bundles should he start selling? To who? Don’t wait for this to happen, create those bundles and target those customers yourself today Why you? What are the top 3 reasons customers should choose you? Put those […]
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Small Business Website: Do It Yourself For Only $141.50

August 7, 2012

If you don’t have a website for your small business, then take some comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Did you know that only about one third (to one half) of New Zealand businesses have a website? The 5 Most Common Objections I Hear From Owners: When asked why they don’t have a website, […]
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Email Marketing: 7 Reasons Why It’s Cool, 3 Reasons It Sucks, 7 Tips To Make It Work

August 6, 2012

Why are you attracted to the idea of “email marketing”? 7 Reasons Why Email Marketing Seems Cool Because sending emails is cheap (or free). It’s a cheap way to keep in contact with your customers It’s scalable – if you double or triple the number of customers on your email database there is no extra […]
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The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz

August 3, 2012

My notes on “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” by Mike Michalowicz This book had excellent structure, but I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so you might find these notes jump around a bit. Launching Businesses I loved entrepreneurialism. I could talk about business all day, read every magazine, attend every seminar, and […]
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Business Cards: Don’t Waste Money Printing Business Cards

July 5, 2012
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When people first start their own business, the first thing they do is get 1000 business cards printed. Don’t bother! Don’t print business cards because only people who want to sell you something (that you don’t need) will take them from you and use them. Do people that you need something from ever take your business card […]
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Twitter: You Suspect It Would Waste Your Time, Are You Right?

July 1, 2012
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What is it? Twitter is a micro-blogging platform which enables 160 character text messages (called “Tweets”) to be broadcast to “Followers”. From a business perspective, Twitter can be useful in 2 ways: For introducing your brand to a new, tech-savvy segment of the population When you “Follow” someone they are notified via email (unless they […]
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Rework by Jason Fried

June 20, 2012

My notes on “Rework” by Jason Fried TAKEDOWNS Ignore the real world “That would never work in the real world”. Dont’ believe them. That world may be real for them, but it doesn’t mean you will live in it Learning from mistakes is overrated You hear that failure build character. People advise, “Fail early and […]
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In What Type Of Business Is The CEO Also The Receptionist?

June 11, 2012
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You’ve probably noticed that there are often 2 types of receptionists in 9-5pm business offices: The first type I’ll call Wendy Winter and the second I’ll call Susan Summer. Wendy Winter Wendy doesn’t really want to be there She’ll be on Facebook most of the time if it hasn’t been blocked, and txt msg friends […]
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9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster

May 7, 2012
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Can you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions?: Is your business a one-man-band or husband-and-wife type of business? Are you a bit shy and find the prospect of networking and meeting people face to face a bit daunting? Are you thinking about outsourcing the sales role to a sales rep, either hiring […]
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The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza

May 2, 2012

My notes on The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza The following is just a copy/paste of the summary’s at the end of every chapter. I couldn’t do better myself because they are so well written. The most interesting parts for me was “how to construct a testimonial” and “how to determine what is unique about […]
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Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

April 30, 2012

My notes on “Made to Stick” by Chip & Dan Heath S.U.C.C.E.S.s: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible Stories Simplicity Not dumbed down or sound bites Find the core fo the idea “The curse of knowledge” if you say 3 things you say nothing Simple = core + compact, forced prioritisation To make a profund idea compact […]
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Should You Quit Your Job And Start A Home Based Business? 8 Pros and 12 Cons To Help You Decide

April 27, 2012

Yesterday I was reading through one of my old journals from 3 years ago when I faced exactly this decision. In the journal I found my list of Pros and Cons that I had written to help me decide. Maybe they could help you to? PROS I’m ready. I’ve had my 3 years of experience. […]
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Getting Things Done by David Allen

April 23, 2012

My notes on “Getting Things Done” by David Allen [Borrowed heavily from Josh Kaufmans notes] 1. Define what being “done” looks like Most of the tasks people keep on their to-do lists are “amorphous blobs of undoability” – commitments without any clear vision of what being “done” looks like What does the end point look like? […]
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How To Make Millions With Your Ideas by Dan S. Kennedy

April 16, 2012

My notes on “How To Make Millions With Your Ideas” by Dan S. Kennedy To win with premium prices, clobber competitors with service Call every customer after the job is completed to verify satisfaction Offer strong guarantees Get crazy publicity & word of mouth with free product to local companies (works if you own a cafe anyway) Stake […]
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The Unwritten Laws of Business by J. King and James G. Skakoon

April 9, 2012

My notes on “The Unwritten Laws of Business” by J. King & James G. Skakoon. 2007 Good advice for employees who want to get the most out of their current role. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts Demonstrate the ability to get things done Show Initiative. Start […]
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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

April 2, 2012

My notes on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie 3 Fundamental Techniques in Handling People Don’t crisicise, condemn or complain Instead, try to understand them, why they do what they do The most important human desire: A feeling of importance Give honest and sincere appreciation Find out their good points Try […]
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Purple Cow by Seth Godin

March 26, 2012

My notes on “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product. If it isn’t remarkable, its invisible The Advertising Age Before: Word-of-Mouth During: Ever increasing consumer prosperity, and endless consumer desire. Simple formula: Advertise on TV & mass media = increased sales After: Word-of-Mouth with new networks at rocket speed Being first […]
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Confession: I Only Have 4 Skills

March 14, 2012

It’s true. My confession to you today is that I only have 4 skills. Skill #1: I Can Read Being able to read is my first skill. I read a speed reading book 4 years ago and it changed my life: 10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks Beale It increased my comprehension from […]
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The Award For The Worst Toll Free Number Goes To 0800 MELANOMA

March 12, 2012

There’s an ad playing on the radio at the moment about a local skin cancer specialist. I have a problem with their choice of phone number: 0800 MELANOMA To me, this is a classic case of being unable to consider the customers perspective, who is looking into the business from the outside. The business owner […]
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A Facebook Page For Your Business? Should You Bother?

March 5, 2012
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Word of Mouth is how a business dies, survives or thrives, right? Well, social media platforms such as Facebook are Word-of-Mouth with a megaphone. Traditional, mass-media, or “broadcast” forms of advertising are becoming less effective because they are based on interruption. Media is continuing to fragment (more websites, more TV channels, more magazines) so it […]
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How To Handle Negative Reviews About Your Business

February 21, 2012

Have you ever looked up your own business online and found a negative review somewhere? Maybe you own a restaurant and you’ve just found a negative review on a restaurant directory written by someone who was grumpy that night and they have lashed out at you? Maybe you own a motel and you’ve just found […]
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The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

February 17, 2012

My notes on “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki Complete This Sentence If your organisation never existed, the world would be worse off because… Take Notes To Impress When you are doing a pitch to an investor and they speak, take notes. The visible act of taking notes says: I think you’re smart […]
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Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

January 20, 2012

My notes on “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers My personal philosophy’s Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design […]
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How Are You Going To Change Your World in 2012?

December 9, 2011

Notice how I said “your world” rather than “the world”. Can one person change the world? Well, I do think one person can change 10 people. And those people can change 10 people each. And so on. And perhaps, in that fashion, you can change the world. But I’m talking about ”your world”. Your world could be: […]
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Game-based Marketing by Gabe Zichermann

December 1, 2011

My notes on “Game-based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests” by Gabe Zichermann & Joselin Linder. Games are all around us “The Subway Game” is passive – most people don’t realise there is a game on, the players stand close to the train doors, block other players with their body language and compete […]
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Real-Time Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

October 20, 2011

My notes on “Real-Time Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott. “How to instantly engage your market, connect with customers and create products that grow your business now.” What’s Expected In The Corporate World: Wait, to make certain Work from checklists dictated by one-year and even five-year business plans Measure results quarterly Execute based on a […]
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I Earn 540 Dollars Per Month From A Blog About Hot Pools, Could You Do The Same With A Topic You Are Passionate About?

September 22, 2011

Almost 2 years ago I wrote an article called “Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?“ in which I suggested you shouldn’t. 2 years later I haven’t change my mind. If it’s your core business then your website should focused on attracting new customers, and making sales, not earning a few dollars […]
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Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders by Jason Jennings

September 16, 2011

My notes on “Hit The Ground Running: A Manual For New Leaders” by Jason Jennings  The number one cause of business failure isn’t poor cash-flow or pricing it’s copying a competitors strategy Shareholders are best served by looking after consumers, retailers, employees, suppliers and community first. A different perspective from what you’d hear from Wall […]
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Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

August 4, 2011

My notes on “Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! Cash In On Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk Gary’s checklist for creating your personal brand: Identify your passion Make sure you can think of at least 50 awesome blog topics to ensure stickiness Answer the following questions: Am I sure my passion is what I […]
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In New Zealand Is Facebook Just For Kids? No.

July 28, 2011

I thought it would be interesting to combine age group data from Facebook with age group data from Statistics New Zealand to see what proportion of each age group is using Facebook. In particular, I was interested in answers to questions like: Is Facebook mainly for teenagers? Are people over 50 using Facebook? Are people […]
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Poke The Box by Seth Godin

July 12, 2011

My notes on “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin Kinds of capital What can you invest? What can your company invest? Financial capital – Money in the bank that can be put to work on a project or investment Network capital – People you know, connections you can make, retailers and systems you can plug […]
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Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

July 4, 2011

My notes on “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” by Sally Hogshead Fascination Scale Avoidance You’ll take steps to avoid TV commercials Disinterest You might leave the room during a commercial break to grab a bite Neutrality You don’t really care if you watch the commercial or not. You’re not going to take […]
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Overdue Invoices: 4 Simple Tips To Ensure Your Clients Pay On Time, Every Time. No More Overdue Invoices

June 3, 2011

Did you know that poor cashflow is the #1 killer of small New Zealand businesses? Do you have clients with overdue invoices right now? Do you grit your teeth when you check your bank account on the 20th of the month and find the deposits you were expecting, missing? Are your customers/clients slow to pay? […]
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Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

May 23, 2011
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You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business? Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right? Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering […]
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The No-Bullshit Way To Make Money Online: Slow Cook, Not Get-Rich-Quick

January 24, 2011
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Over the last few years I have tried several ways of making money online. I wanted to get rich quick. Don’t we all? I fell for the hype and got out my credit card, but I’m not ashamed. I’m human, and the sales copy was brilliantly written and tapped into my psyche and convinced me. […]
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2 Vital Elements The “About Us” Page on Your Website May Be Missing

December 21, 2010

If you pay any attention to your webstats, you may have noticed that your About Us page is one of the least visited webpages on your website. This doesn’t mean it is unimportant. It is vitally important. The low traffic means that each prospective customer will visit it only once, so you’ve got one chance […]
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Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman

December 6, 2010

My notes on “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business” by Erik Qualman The story about bacon salt Bacon Salt was an idea that was born out of the minds of two Seattle buddies, Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow, who over a few beers jokingly posed the question – “Wouldn’t […]
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Online Advertising In NZ: A Crash Course On How You Can Get Started Advertising Your Business Online in New Zealand

November 17, 2010

Have you noticed how much publicity the growth of online advertising has been getting lately? If you are wondering: “Am I missing out because I haven’t tried online advertising yet?” and “How can I dip my toe in the water to see if online advertising is right for my business?”, then this crash course on […]
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The Squeaky Window Gets The Lube

November 10, 2010

For about a week I have noticed an extremely squeaky rear electric window in my car. It is like 5 teenagers scratching on a chalk board – a really horrendous sound. I hadn’t thought too deeply about what I should do about it when I heard a radio ad this afternoon “Free electric window lube […]
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Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan

November 5, 2010

My notes on “Social Media 101″ by Chris Brogan In this book Chris talks about how he doesn’t use the word “expert” but uses the word “advisor” instead. So I extracted 4 pieces of advice from what I read. Here they are: (Should you read the book yourself you are sure to extract different advice […]
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Social Media Marketing for Dummies by Shiv Singh

November 5, 2010

My notes on “Social Media Marketing for Dummies” by Shiv Singh. My additions are in italics. Can sponsored conversations in social media be authentic? Yes, the trick is to be completely transparent that they are sponsored Disney partnered with SavvyAuntie, an online community focused on aunts without kids. Melanie Notkin, who runs SavvyAuntie, tweeted about […]
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The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani

November 2, 2010

My notes on “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Hyder Kabani Facebook Facebook is like a coffee shop. Everyone is there for his or her own reasons, but it is a great place to strike up a conversation. People from all walks of life use Facebook. They aren’t there to buy stuff. They […]
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Expired Domains: Picking Fruit From A Graveyard Of Failed Ideas?

September 7, 2010

Occasionally, just for fun, I spend a few minutes browsing www.ExpiredDomains.co.nz. Expired Domains lists all .nz domain names which have expired and are in the .nz registry’s official 90 day pending release period. But what I find most interesting about this list is that at first glance, many of them look like really good names! […]
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7 Ways To Get Your Website Working Harder For You

August 23, 2010

Is your website search engine friendly? Find out with a free review Is your website listed in the best, free NZ directories? Check the list Have you completed the 8 essential steps for getting a website working for you? Have you tried advertising using Google Adwords? Here’s how its done Have you got a copy […]
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Twitter/Facebook: How To Update Your Business Facebook Page Wall With Twitter

August 13, 2010

I am assuming you already have the following: Business Twitter Account Business Facebook Page (If you don’t, I can help you set up Twitter and Facebook for your business) You may be already aware how easy it is to update your personal Facebook Wall from Twitter.  But you don’t really want your tweets about your […]
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Business Facebook Pages: Simple Tips For Your Business Page on Facebook

August 12, 2010

See updated version: October 2012 If you are just about to set up a Business Page on Facebook this short list of tips will save you some time. #1. How to set a Facebook Business Page up You need a personal Facebook account before you can set up a business page. If you’re an employee, […]
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Move Out of the Way Little Kitten So I Can See The Brand Name!

July 13, 2010

If you run an icecream shop, you MUST copy this idea. Will it work for any other business? Probably not. You should have at least some sort of business connection otherwise all you’re doing is slapping scantily clad women on your ad for no good reason.
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Should I Give My Ebook Away For Free Or Require An Email Address?

June 14, 2010

I faced this decision 4 months ago over on my www.SearchEngineGuide.co.nz website (where I focus on SEO and Google Adwords). I had just decided to give away the 2009 version of my ebook “How To Optimise Your New Zealand Website For Search Engines” for free. My choices were to: Ask for a name and email […]
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Is The Contact Form On Your Website Making Your Prospective Clients Angry?

June 3, 2010

I just wrote this article on another one of my Website blog. I like it, so I will republish it here. Do you use a contact form on the “Contact Us” page on your website? If so, check this list of common mistakes to see if you are making your prospective clients angry or just […]
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What Are You Offering Your Clients? Junk, Rip-off, Bargain, Boring, or Quality?

May 18, 2010

Choose one (and only one) from the following list: Low Price + Low Service = Junk High Price + Low Service = Rip-off Low Price + High Service = Bargain Medium Price + Medium Service = Boring as hell High Price + High Service = Quality It’s time to get real and decide what you […]
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