5 Profit Lessons From Silicon Valley

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a propensity to teach. Even before I started school, I somehow knew that a teacher stood out the front and talked while everyone else listened. I wanted to be the person others listened to. As a four year old it had nothing to do with money or profits, I just enjoyed teaching. So I would line up all my dolls and teach them. Inevitably, they were naughty (I don’t know where I picked up such a foreign concept from 😉 so I would smack their tiny, plastic bottoms!

Two weeks ago I spent time in Silicon Valley and I didn’t sit in a classroom, but I learned lessons that I’d never heard anyone else talk (or write) about.

  1. Size Matters
    The most overwhelming first impression was how HUGE everything was. I felt really tiny all of a sudden, like a four year old in a world of adults. Google, Facebook and Apple all have massive properties. I knew they were global companies and that their headquarters would be big. But there is not just one large building, there is campus after campus, building after building, facility after facility. At Google for example, you’ll need a cycle to move between all the locations which sprawl out over Mountain View.
    Creating a sense of scale, helps profits by giving your customers confidence.
  2. Security Matters
    These tech giants are not just concerned with keeping their software secure, they all have a very visible army of security guards physically protecting their properties. You are not allowed into any of their buildings. You are instructed to just take a photo and move on. And it’s even more pronounced in Silicon Beach (in Los Angeles’ Venice Beach area). Google’s offices don’t even have a logo. And Snapchat’s headquarters has no logo, frosted glass windows and security guards.
    Creating a sense of security, helps profits by giving your employees a sense of confidence.
  3. Real Estate Matters
    Google especially, and to a lesser extent Facebook and Apple have leveraged their income streams into successful investments in real estate. Google owns much more real estate than the offices that their more than 50,000 employees turn up to every weekday. In fact, they own more than 10% of all real estate in the neighborhood. There are places you can stand in Silicon Valley where Google is the owner of everything as far as the eye can see.
    Creating a sense of permanency, helps profits by giving your investors a sense of confidence.
  4. Education Matters
    Facebook is the favourite choice of the big three, especially among women, who want to work with Sheryl Sandberg, and everyone who wants a healthy work/life balance (the sprawling employee carpark is empty on the weekend). Apparently, for every one job opening at Facebook, an average of 10,000 applications pour in. Apple has a reputation for attracting those who love design and want to be the best, but different… even though there is a lot of pressure and constant deadlines. Google has high pressure deadlines too. I was told that “Push” is the favourite word of managers there. And the carpark is sadly full on the weekend. But it is the place you go, if you want to get the best training and development. The Education you receive at Google is *almost* as good as students receive at the nearby campus of Stanford University. All three of the giants benefit from this local pool of students where the campus is packed with motivational banners saying things like “Change the world!”
    Creating a culture of learning helps profits by giving suppliers a sense that you will continue growing.
  5. Location Matters
    I once read that the quickest way to acquire any skill is by association. I’ve read many times that you are the sum of the five people who most associate with. That’s why where you locate yourself matters. Silicon Valley has an entire ecosystem of potential customers, employees, investors, suppliers and entrepreneurs. You can go into just about any cafe (and savvy journalists and bloggers often do) and hear conversations about technology, business and growth. In this environment becoming profitable is so easy it can happen almost accidentally .
    Choosing a strategic location helps profits by giving owners a sense that you are surrounded by profits. And I learnt that teachers don’t always have a classroom: sometimes just associating yourself with success, can teach you much more than a smack on a plastic bottom.

If you want to chat about how you can apply these lessons from Silicon Valley unicorns to your specific business, go to the start working with Shaz page.

Silicon Valley tech tour

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Partnering For Profit

I’m stubborn.

Sometimes, that’s a good thing. If I’m right and I’m fighting a righteous cause, it’s a very good thing. Nearly every successful person I know has credited at least part of their success to persistence.

If I’m wrong, or what I’m doing isn’t even important, let alone right, stubbornness is a liability.

I once heard a very rich man say “Skeptical and Broke is a bad combination”. He was talking about how thankful he was that he took a risk on something he wasn’t convinced would work. And how now that he was rich, he has turned his skepticism way up.

Just about everything we do is a partnership. We need to recognise what are good partners and what aren’t.

Some people just bring out the best in me. Then there’s the others…

Partnering can be tricky. In business as well as marriage, the right partner can multiply your effectiveness. The wrong partner can block your effectiveness entirely.

And profit is always a partnering thing.

Jesus questioned whether gaining the whole world was profitable at all when the loss was too high – your own soul.

The bible talks about how powerful the word of God is (Hebrews 4:12) but then says it can be rendered completely ineffective by tradition (Matthew 15:6).

Scriptures tell us that faith is the one thing that is absolutely required to please God (Hebrews 11:6), but is not profitable – in fact it is as useless as a corpse – if it isn’t partnered with works (James 2:14-26)

I recently worked in the political sector for the first time. So I studied political books. In Alan Behm’s memoir “No, minister” he quotes the perfect maxim:
“He knew nothing but thought he knew everything; making him perfectly suited for a career in politics”.

Ignorance can be bliss when it is partnered with an insouciant innocence or even a voracious curiosity. But when it is partnered with arrogance it is dangerous at best, and too often completely destructive.

So if you’re mixing it up, how do you find good profit partners?

I look for people that can profit from my knowledge.

I look for situations that can profit from my expertise.

I look for opportunities that will profit from my passion.

I look for projects that will profit from my strengths.

If you do that, you should continually grow in profits.

And it’s just as important to avoid those situations where the losses will be too great. I was reminded again recently how vitally important it is to avoid partners (people, situations, opportunities and projects) that don’t value my knowledge, expertise, passion or strengths. Saying no to those things might make people think that I’m stubborn. And they’re right.

 

Pic Credit: @andrewroblesphoto

Master of Scale

One of my favourite podcasts is Masters of Scale, where Reid Hoffman (Venture Capitalist and co-founder of Linked In) interviews entrepreneurs about how they scaled.

There’s lots of great lessons every episode, that I won’t try to recreate here – it’s worth a listen.

But it always reminds me what a BIG thinker God is.

No, for all the nations of the world
    are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more
    than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
    as though it were a grain of sand.
Isaiah 40:15

Just picture that for a minute…. God picking up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand balancing on the tip of his finger….

The truth is the journey for most entrepreneurs involves growing your capacity so that things that used to seem way too big for you to handle, become so easy to handle, it’s like flicking a grain of sand off the end of your finger.

You have to stretch your mindset, exercise your faith, grow your skills, enlarge your ability to deal with finances and much more.

The area that I see first-time entrepreneurs struggle the most is with people skills. Leading a team of people ain’t easy. It just ain’t. But the way you steward people is often the most limiting factor in the scale your business grows to.

Allow your team members to be late, annoying, sick, make mistakes, lacking in talent and disappointing. Because guess what? That’s how you got here, too.

I’m really good at spotting talent. And I’m good at recruiting and developing talent. Mainly because of all the mistakes I’ve made in these areas!

One of the best techniques I’ve learnt, is to look at the other person and repeat in your mind “We need you”. And smile. We are one body. We need each other. Any other mindset is truly a deception.

Often, the reason people seem to be “more trouble than they’re worth” is because they’re not yet in the right spot. An eye is really useful when it’s helping you to see. But if you’re trying to walk on it, it will seem really painful just to be around.

Jesus knew that leaving the 99 to recover the 1 was the only way to ensure His flock would grow into a multi-generational, global flock. We need that cheeky little sheepy baa baa on board. We’re all the better for being together.

So it might be time to do a team audit. Is everyone displaying they’re worth? Are they providing value to others? If they’re not, it’s up to you to unlock their value. How? Usually, by assigning them to a new project, a new team, a new context. How do you choose that new role?

Wait for it. It will shock you. Ask THEM!

And then LISTEN to them. And give them honest appreciation and feedback.

The writer of Hebrews doesn’t say “Don’t neglect the gathering of yourselves together…” He says “Don’t neglect the assembling of yourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25

If you’re the key to growth (and you are), your role is to approach the organisation like an orchestra. You have to make sure all the violinists are sitting together so they’re not poking out the trumpet player’s eye every time they play.

Even if growth isn’t your role, if you are answering phones but you’d rather be blogging or coding a website, help yourself, your organisation, and everyone else around you, by letting them know. There maybe some timing issues, but the sooner you let your team leader know, the sooner you can become a functional part of the assembly.

Success is funny. It’s like putting together a Swiss watch. Your assembly shouldn’t have even one screw loose. You might need to use tiny tweezers and a magnifying glass. Assemble it to be a finely honed machine – not losing a second – “working like clockwork”.

That’s the irony of thinking big. Scale is about being able to handle the whole earth as if it is a tiny, delicate, detailed grain of sand. Getting the details right is what allows you to go global at staggering speed.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the WORLD = BIG thinking….
and make disciples = SMALL doing.

On the first episode of the Masters of Scale podcast, the co-founder and CEO of global growth Godzilla AirBnB, Brian Chesky, summed it up this way “In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale”.

 

Fastest Path To Online Profits

Many of you know me personally and know my story; how I started my Internet business the first month that commercial internet traffic became legal in Australia, in June 1994, and have been earning money online ever since.

But this blog post is about what I would do if I was just starting out today (9 January 2017).

If I was starting now, the choices might seem a little overwhelming. I know a lot of people in the industry – I know who is credible, and I know there are a lot of sharks out there. I’m also pretty savvy about the tricks the shysters use to “borrow credibility” and I’m diligent about researching and actually testing before I recommend anything to anyone. But I’m not going to pretend I haven’t thought that something looked good, only to be disappointed.

That’s part of the value of what I do – I invest my own time, money and experience in finding, testing and comparing the results of online solutions – and help others avoid the time-wasters, money-wasters, and experience makers 😉

When I first started, especially, but even today, some of the systems and tools have cost thousands of dollars or require ongoing monthly costs in the hundreds. The learning and time investments on some of these systems are horrendous. Just the other day someone asked me to commit to working everyday for the next hundred days. I don’t know about you, but I don’t commit more than three months of my life to total strangers.

Forget that! I’m not afraid of commitment, but I want them to prove themselves, and their solution first, before it costs me three months of my life I won’t get back. And I certainly don’t invest thousands of dollars in unproven solutions. After all, Jesus never said to the hungry multitude, if you keep coming here everyday for the next hundred days, and you invest hundreds of dollars, then I’ll feed you some loaves and fishes.  No! Jesus provides instantly, without qualification, for multitudes – and that’s the kind of kingdom principles I love helping people with.

Other online “opportunities” require a lot of preparation time. You have to think, research and write your business plan; including identifying your target market or ideal customer, developing your strategy, creating marketing funnels, adopting a profitable business model. And that’s just the planning part.

Then you have all the practical things that can take days if not weeks and months just to learn how to do, let alone actually do:

  • choosing and registering a business name
  • establishing a bank account
  • obtaining a tax file number
  • buying a domain name
  • web hosting
  • blogging platform
  • email address
  • facebook page
  • twitter/instagram/snapchat/pinterest/tumbler account …

This can all get a bit overwhelming. And quite frankly, it can turn what looked like a profit at the beginning, into a loss.

The good news is you don’t have to do any of that – and you can start creating online income today even if you have no knowledge, no experience, and no money.

When I first started, I had lots of hard slog occasionally interrupted by major financial breakthroughs.

The first night that I earned $10,000.00 in one night – was the first big breakthrough. At the time my father, who was a Research and Development Engineer at the prime of his career, was earning $32,000 yearly.

The realisation that I had earned in one night what it took him nearly four months to earn, blew my mind. Here I was, still in my twenties.

My pay packet for the day was more than 100 times what his was.

I started doing calculations on how quickly I could earn a six figure income – in ten days!!

Then God stretched my thinking… if I could have a $10k pay day one day, why couldn’t I do that everyday?

A few quick sums later and the calculator was staring me in the face with an annual income of $3.65 million … all online, without leaving my home.

That’s what got me really excited – and helped me earn my first million dollars online so quickly – and why more than twenty years later, I’m still excited about helping people do what I did.

But my friend Phil made me realise recently, that just because it’s all so easy for me now, doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone else. We were in a bar at the marina, on a hot day between Christmas 2016 and New Years Day 2017, having a few refreshing drinks, and I told him one quick technique I use to make money online. Before we left the bar, within a few short MINUTES, he’d made money online too. He kept saying “this works!”

To say he was happy is an understatement. I had to resist saying “I told you so” … I was about to tell him he should read my blog more often, when I realised I hadn’t even shared this technique with you, my lovely blog followers!

So -to help you avoid the hard slog parts, and skip straight to the financial breakthrough parts – here’s what I’m going to share with you:

  • The fastest path to make online profits without any knowledge, experience or money.
  • How to make your first $200 online TODAY
  • Top 3 tips for making it even more profitable
  • How Google, Facebook, Apple, Uber and AirBnB have created Billions of Dollars of wealth for their owners
  • The number one online profits mistake – and, more importantly, how to avoid it
  • The only decision that matters
  • Pay Day Timeline – when EXACTLY you’ll get your money to spend

In Psalm 112: 3 the Psalmist tells us “Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.” Righteousness and riches often go together, but this scripture also teaches us that riches and real estate also go together. You have wealth and riches in your house. The simplest, cheapest and by far the fastest path to unlock the wealth that is already in your house just waiting for you to profit from is through AirBnB.com.

If you prefer to watch rather than read, I did a quick live YouTube video (feel free to share on your social media, too). Fastest Path to Online Profits.

There are no startup costs at all. It’s free! They do take a tiny commission when you make money, but you can benefit from all their global systems for free before then.

I’m a firm believer that ANY lack can be overcome with partnership. The bible says that those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalm 34:10). Most of the people I help don’t need more money, they just need a good partner. So I teach them how I partner with profit giants – multi-national, multi-billion dollar, global, online companies who provide online profit systems to help you prosper.

If you make just one room in your house available for booking at just, say, $30 a night – all it takes is one person to book for one week and you have made $200 online income TODAY. One week is my average length of stay – but I’ve had guests love it so much that they’ve wanted to stay longer. One guest even wanted to stay for six months!

I have a restriction now so that guests can only stay for a maximum of two weeks because I can make more money in other ways and I like having maximum freedom with my time. But that’s another great thing about this solution is that you have total flexibility and control over your listing. You can literally turn it on and off at any time just like a money tap. If you want cashflow turn it on, if you want to stop it for awhile, just “snooze” your listing to switch it off for a while. It takes less than 30 seconds to make those changes. And, remember, both Phil and I got our first booking within moments.

Everyone wants to go on holidays and find somewhere to stay – this is not something you have to get all “salesy” and “pushy” about. Those are hunter strategies where you go out and chase down your prey. This is the kind of technique Jesus said He would teach his mates – fishing strategies – where you have to think about what is attractive to a market of hungry fish? What can I offer that they will enjoy taking?

With AirBnB not only are there no startup costs, a global network, and no selling involved, there is a really small learning curve. If you can fill out a form and upload a photo, you can start using AirBnB. Either download the app to your mobile phone or open the browser on your desktop and you are half-way there already.

But the biggest benefit by far is the speed with which you can make your first money online. Not only can you do it from home, you can also do it in a few minutes from a bar at the marina when you are in the post-Christmas relaxation mode. Or without leaving home, whilst you’re still in your pyjamas before you’ve even had breakfast. It’s fast!

Look, it’s not the perfect online business. For a start, you don’t own or control the business platform. But if I was starting out, even if I intended building my own business platform, I would start here, and let AirBnB provide cash flow my future, ideal business. Your future, ideal business will definitely need cash, and even if you intend to get investors, they will want to see that you know how to fund your business without them.

If you want to avoid the number one online profit mistake, you need to hear something you probably don’t want to hear; Your future, ideal business is very risky. All ideas are. Most new businesses are. AirBnB is proven to work. Jesus taught his mates to make sure they were building on a firm foundation, by doing (Matthew 7:24) – not a risky, unproven, unstable idea. You’ll probably surprise yourself at how much you can learn by actually doing – creating online income – than you will by dreaming.

Too many people make the mistake of waiting for the ideal business. They want all the details before they start. Wise old Solomon said “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Eccl 11:4, The Message). A good plan today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. When God called Abraham he told him to go to the land He would show him (Genesis 12:1)… He didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going; He just wanted him to start!

Another common mistake people fall for is trying to be a solo-preneur on their own. Firstly, it takes way too long to do it all on your own.

Time is the asset. You only get one life.

SYSTEM stands for Save YourSelf Time, Energy, Money. If you don’t have a system, I can guarantee that you are wasting time, energy and money. Don’t do that!!!

The smart solo-preneurs partner with profit giants like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Uber and, of course, AirBnB, who have created billions of dollars for their owners. If you are still thinking of Facebook as “such a time-waster”, can I encourage you to see these companies with fresh eyes? They are valued at billions of dollars by the stock market because they provide real commercial value – they have global online profit systems that help millions and millions of people create wealth and riches. And they do it by letting you get started quickly. Did you know you can learn some things just through association? The bible says “He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 13:20). If you want to be profitable, you’d be wise to partner with profit creators to build your own profits.

You can even make AirBnB more profitable. You can start building a list of contact details from your guests. Follow them on social media, ask them to introduce you to more of their friends and build a global network of people who like and trust you and can tell you how you are helpful to them. You can provide tours and experiences and earn money from those other services on AirBnB now too – so you don’t even need to have a room to rent out!

There’s other ways you can amp up your AirBnB profits, too. Contact your guests before they arrive and give them all the information they need. You can add value by letting them know about tourist facilities and fun things to do in your area. I always try to welcome my guests in person. And then I take them on a quick walk down to the beach and marina to showcase the natural beauty in my backyard. I leave a tourist brochure to showcase tourism partners in the region, like where they can see the koalas and kangaroos, go on a whale-watching cruise or hire a kayak and so on.

On their first morning, I do a quick check with them to make sure they have everything they need to enjoy their stay. There’s often little things, like they forgot to pack a toothbrush, that you can help them with quickly and cheaply and thoughtfulness makes all the difference to how they feel about their stay.

Okay, I know this has been a long read, but I wanted to give you as much value as I can. And we’ve arrived at the only decision that really matters: Which bank account do you want your income to go into? Make sure you check and double-check the account details you give to AirBnB, because all of this post has been about this result – getting money into your bank account. Do you want to put it into a personal account or a business acount? Do you want to pay it straight off the mortgage? Or credit card? Or put it in a savings account so you can go on holidays yourself and check out how other AirBnB hosts are using the platform to create profits?

You can even use part of your harvest of income, to sow seeds that will improve and increase your AirBnB business. (If you want some tips on increasing your online profit systems, I talk about that in my latest book, Atmosphere).

So once AirBnB have advised they’ve sent the first deposit to your account, watch that account like an eagle, until your money is there. The good news is, the sensationally awesome news is, that once you can see it, you can spend it.

The timeline to pay day looks like this:

Day 0 (today): Add your Listing, get your first booking, AirBnB tell you how much you’ve earnt.

Day 1 (tomorrow): You could be checking in your first guest as early as tomorrow – especially, if it is a busy tourist season when you first add your listing.

Day 2: AirBnB will advise that they have sent payment to your bank account.

Day 3 – Day 10: Payment might arrive on Day 3, but if there are weekends and/or public holidays, the longest I’ve had it take is a week from when they send it.

If you think this online profit system could work for you, it’d be really cool to leave a comment. Comments from my global readers are part of the feedback I analyse to help me decide how I can help more people. If I get a lot of comments, I’ll do more in-depth posts on how to make a profit online – not just the starting strategies like this, but the more advanced strategies that are a lot more profitable. So your comments will be helping future readers, too.

It’s over to you.

Go make a profit (after you’ve left a comment)! 🙂

 

 

 

7 Bible Verses for Business Owners

  1. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    Not everything that has a beginning is great, but everything that is great has a beginning – make sure 2017 is beginning with God.
  2. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
    If things aren’t working for you, it’s probably because they’re not working together. Make sure your systems create synergy.
  3. 1 Samuel 21:8 And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”
    Speed is often a better weapon than a sword or a spear. Make sure your systems can respond to changing circumstances with haste.
  4. Luke 19:23 ‘Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
    Jesus suggested to even the wicked servant that he should have used systems where profit grows instantly, continuously and effortlessly, like interest at the bank.
  5. Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
    Simply remembering can create wealth. Make sure your systems include reminders so the important things don’t get forgotten and do create wealth.
  6. Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
    “Write the vision

    And make it plain on tablets,
    That he may run who reads it.”
    Making things plain is powerful – it can turn readers into runners. Ensure your systems bring simplicity, not complexity, so they power up your profits.
  7. Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
    God could have chosen any method of helping us to profit, but He chose to be the teacher; the fastest path to profit is teaching. Make sure your systems include leading others so they know the ideal way to go.

The ideal way to get more bible-based resources to create prosperity for business owners, leaders and managers, is to apply now to start working with Shaz Jones in 2017.

 

Attention please…

I was 12. In my first year of high school. Learning new subjects, compulsory subjects that I had no interest in.

The first word I learned in German was “Achtung”.

My teacher was very fond of saying it.

I’d heard it in the war movies my dad was fond of, too.

Little did I know how important “attention”, in any language, would become in my life.

Today’s economy, including vast tech profits from blogging and social media, is predicated on this oh so powerful concept.

If people aren’t paying attention to you, they won’t be paying money to you, or anything else, either.

Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump, is brilliant at getting attention. In television, real estate and presidential campaigns, the ability to garner attention is one of the key drivers of success. And, as Donald has discovered more recently, attention is a double-edged sword that can just as easily bring failure.

Whilst you’re reading this you’re probably not paying attention to the temperature your skin is feeling, how hungry your stomach is, the smell of your body odour, the taste of the saliva in your mouth, the way your face is resting, the sounds surrounding you and a thousand other things. The Reticular Activating System in your brain has filtered them out so you can focus your attention on learning (great decision by the way! ;-).

Have you ever had the experience where you’ve bought a new car or new dress and then suddenly you see it appearing everywhere? It’s not because they weren’t there before. It’s just that now you’ve started paying attention, you can see what has always been there. It’s the job of the brain to *not* notice most things. You are receiving information on things all the time – and 99.9% of things are filtered out from your attention automatically by the brain.

In the bible, the word “attention” is used more in Proverbs than in any other book. The writer of Proverbs was the wisest man in all the world. He urges us to pay attention to wisdom, understanding, words of instruction.

King Solomon also warns kings that when the leader is paying attention to lies it can multiply results and transform all of his team into “wicked” servants. Be very careful about placing the full force of your organisation on something that no-one should be paying attention to.

Where you place your attention  is a fundamental tenet of wisdom. If you use your attention wisely, strategically, it can radically transform your results.

I’m amazed what most people *think* is their biggest problem. It might be their weight, their debt, their back pain, their partner. But really, the source of most of these problems, is that they are paying attention to the wrong things. Even the fact that they think these problems are their biggest problem is, more often than not, the cause as well as the symptom of their real problems. And usually it is also blocking them from seeing the solutions they need.

Political campaigners know that there are all kinds of things we can give attention to; sex, sports, stocks, soap operas… We can get all caught up in gossip, criticism, fear… and politics.

Or we can give our attention to faith, opportunities, success, profits, the best in people, things we can be thankful for, tolerance, patience, amazing grace, love.

Every day, every second really, you have a fresh opportunity to choose where to place your attention. Do it strategically, and you’ll find that one act alone will transform your results.

If I haven’t said it to you before, thank you for reading. I appreciate your attention.

 

Positioning Strategies

Developing a positioning strategy for a startup business, is always deliberate and can be a very involved and daunting process for the first-time entrepreneur.

A positioning strategy helps a business communicate to the market the best benefits of their product.

It involves analysis of your customers, your competitors and of course, your own strengths, weaknesses, resources and so on.

You may decide to position your product as a premium provider that is associated with high quality and may be considered expensive compared to other options.

Or you may want to be the cheapest, the quickest, the most Australian, the most environmentally friendly, the coolest, etc.

As a business matures, it may re-position itself away from a niche product towards a more mainstream position. Or it might go the other way.

When things change, businesses will sometimes respond with a different positioning. For example, McDonald’s responded to healthier eating patterns by re-positioning themselves not just as a burger restaurant, but as a fast-food provider for all tastes.

But it’s not just businesses that are concerned with positioning.

The bible is full of stories of God maneuvering people into and out of positions. Unlike the deliberate planning of business positioning, the bible stories show protagonists completely unaware of the positioning process.

Esther was forcibly removed from her homeland into a foreign palace “for such a time as this”. Often these people spend significant time with no idea what is going on… until the moment reveals the significance of where they are.

I had one of those moments this week.

I found myself perfectly positioned to talk to Australia’s first female Muslim member of Parliament, Anne Aly. It was a surprisingly emotional conversation as she shared her anticipation at the diversity of voices in the upcoming parliament. And I shared how my idea of heaven is where every tribe and every voice is included.

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29 July 2016 Anne Aly, Australia’s first female Muslim Member of Parliament, with myself and DRO for Cowan, Yvonne Masgai at the official Declaration of the Poll.

When I said yes to “Project Double D” all I knew was a Double Dissolution election would more than likely be called. I didn’t know which candidates would nominate. I certainly didn’t know that in a few short months, I’d be positioned as an eyewitness to political history.

The thing is the project was not one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve ever been a part of. So next time, things aren’t going as well as I’d hoped – I’m going to try and keep in mind that it may be positioning me for something way more significant than I could ever understand, let alone be aware of beforehand.

I feel like there’s a lot of people who are going through major changes this year in preparation for new positions after this. You may have tried analysis of your own strengths and weaknesses and resources … and still have no idea now what is happening or why, yet.

As they say in the entertainment industry…. stay tuned!

 

Why Vision-casting is so Powerful and Productive

Robert Redford, Steve Jobs, David Cameron… all the best leaders spend at least some of their time casting vision.

But why? What is it about vision-casting that is so productive for already powerful, global leaders?

vision

Well, firstly, vision effects outcome. And sometimes the stakes can be really high. Consider Britain’s decision this week on whether to remain or leave the European Economic Union.

The future of an entire nation changed in one day. Powerful!

On the other side of the world, Australian shares lost $50 billion of value in shock.

The question of whether to stay or “Brexit” was quintessentially a question of vision. What kind of future did the people of Britain want? A future based on the possibilities of partnership with their powerful neighbours in Europe, or the freedom and control of a self-reliant future.

To cast their competing visions, leaders travelled the length and breadth of the country, several times over, to meet with people personally. Yes, there were brochures, and media appearances and social media campaigns, but the majority of time spent by the leaders was spent in front of a voter’s face.

At first glance, especially from a time-management point of view, this might seem like an incredibly unproductive thing to do. Why shake one person’s hand, when you could tweet to twenty million during that same time? Why address a small community meeting of eighty entrepreneurs in a tiny village when you could instead be interviewed on BBC broadcasting to eight million viewers?

Even Donald Trump, who doesn’t like shaking hands with anyone, and will (*probably) tell you himself “I’ve made a lot of money in media, I’m very good on television. I translate very well on Twitter”, has spent months out on the road criss-crossing America with personal appearances.

It’s all about the Proximity of Presence. There’s something about being in the presence of the vision-holder that doesn’t quite transcend into traditional and social media. Blogs and those other channels are great supplements, reminders and reinforcements, but for truly productive vision-casting think Michelle Pfeifer and Robert Redford – try and get all Up Close and Personal. (Yes, I realise the irony of quoting a non-personal appearance to encourage personal appearances 😉

Okay, so we’ve answered why vision-casting is necessary (the stakes are high), we’ve answered how to do it (up close and personal). But why does it work so effectively?

Here’s how Steve Jobs answered that question:

vision
If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. #quote Steve Jobs

Ephron W. Taylor said it  this way. “Define the vision (this is the seed of self-leadership)”.

Leaders multiply into more leaders through vision-casting. Leaders help you lead yourself, and ultimately lead others, by planting and nourishing vision.

If a leader can plant the seed of vision in you, she doesn’t have to spend mountains of energy or time to motivate you towards success, that seed will grow generations of motivation in you, from the inside out. You’ll probably even start dropping seeds in your own network of contacts.

Vision is the ultimate leverage. You’ll achieve much more, with much less, if you cast vision seeds that grow into their own orchards of vision in others. And it’s massively scaleable – vision can multiply rapidly.

So next time you are talking with someone you want to work with, think of the weird old Christmas Carol lyric:

Do you see what I see?” (it also talks about lambs, talking wind, and stars with tails who have apparently gone out for a disco – probably best NOT to think about those things if you want your vision to sound credible 😉

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

The vision locomotive just pulled an entire nation into massive change in one day – such massive and quantifiable change it had billions of dollars of economic impacts in the hip pockets of investors on the other side of the world. And that’s just day one of the changes.

 

If you want your work to produce such powerful and productive effects, lead with your hand. Get off the computer for a change and go and shake someone’s hand. Because if we can learn anything from sexy Robert Redford, it’s that even the most visionary leaders look better up close and personal.

 

Global Networking

My focusing phrase for 2016 is “Expand and Advance”.

I’m planning to expand and advance in many areas this year.

One of those areas is to expand my global network.

I’m looking primarily for Christian business people in Australia, as well as all different parts of the world.

I’m also looking for people who have nothing at all in common with me. People who will challenge, critique, educate, inspire and stretch me.

So if you’d like to join my global network this year, please follow the blog, leave a comment and let me know how I can serve you. #GoGlobal

global network

Kingdom Entrepreneurship 101 – Building Better Business Funnels

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking to an amazing couple. They have owned their own business for more than six years, have had a business coach for more than two years, have come within a whisker of their first million dollar year and have lots of happy customers, suppliers and employees. By all accounts they are very successful.

But they still felt like things were harder than they needed to be.

We got around to talking about what God did on Day 1. His work diary is the first thing He shares with us right in the first chapter of the first book of the bible.

And what did He do on that first day? Essentially, it comes down to three tasks:

  1. Creation – He created Light.
  2. Separation – He separated his newly created Light from the old darkness.
  3. Evaluation – He made sure the work He’d completed was good.

Whilst I find a lot of business owners are really great at creation (doing the work), and evaluation (making sure the customer is happy), what they are not so great at is the work of separation.

In fact, some people skip it altogether. Consequently, they feel like the business is all-consuming.

Imagine if God had created light but didn’t do the work of separation? The new light would still be mixed in with the old dark and everything would be a murky grey. The dark wouldn’t be dark enough to sleep properly and the light wouldn’t be light enough to work properly.

All of the creation work would’ve been wasted.

And can you imagine trying to keep customers who wanted dark or light happy? Without separation it wouldn’t just be stressful, and take a lot of hard work to fix, it would literally be impossible!

All your other activities will be stressful for you, and less than satisfactory for your clients, if you don’t learn to do the work of separation.

God did it on Day 1. It was one of His first priorities.

Is it time you made it your priority?

Here’s some examples of separation work:

Create a structure. Draw up an organisational chart that defines each of the separate roles in your business. You might have to put your name next to manager, book keeper, sales leader – and every other role, for now. But at least now you know the size and shape of your eventual organisation.

Create a salary for yourself. Separate out some money to pay yourself every week. Even if it is only a small amount at first. You’ll be amazed how powerful it is when you start separating business finances from personal finances.

Create a schedule. Separate out some time each day to do some business planning and to do some non-business “me time”. You might want to devote that time to having a workout, reading a book to learn new skills, or just relaxing at a cafe.

I know a lot of people who are working hard in their business and they think what they need is even more hard work. That’s usually not the case. They usually need to do some separation work.

Fuel-oil-water

It’s like knowing your car needs fuel, oil and water, so putting them all in the fuel tank. Your car won’t go anywhere. And putting in more fuel won’t help at all. All your efforts are diluted and your results will continue to sputter.

You’ll only start making real progress when you’ve done the work of separation. The good news is that once the separation is done, every little bit of fuel you add works better than all the fuel before.

You might find your business needs to have several streams continually pouring in but you’ve only focused on one. Do you need a separate funnel for marketing and customer sales, another funnel for employees and sub-contractors, and yet another funnel for developing managers and leaders?

Most of my clients are amazed after they’ve done the work of separation at how much less work they have to do in creation and evaluation.

Hiring a coach or mentor is the best way to funnel in a separate perspective to your business. If you need a breakthrough to help you achieve more and struggle less, call me on +61 (0)432 857 299.

Once you’ve done the separation work God did from Day 1, you’ll find the rest of your week is much more successful!