British Secrets with Love from Russia

October 29th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning, everyone! I have William Hackett-Jones here this morning with me. William has flown in from Russia. Today I am bringing you secret British love from Russia. William and I met four years ago while I was teaching a course at the Wizard Academy. William had flown over from Russia. His business was struggling a little at that point and I was delighted to shared several insights that made a real impact in William’s business.

I’m so proud of him and I take real delight in hearing William’s story as he applied the principles and of course worked his guts out. He was able to take his business, which was basically at the point of failure, and turn his business into one of the most profitable translation services in all of Russia. He owns a translation service at the highest margin. Last year he did over a million dollars and will come close to that this year. Now, without further ado let me bring you a Brit and his secret love tips from Russia.

William: Well, Rich, thanks for being very wonderful and for hosting me. I spent the whole day yesterday picking his brain and asking questions so he got his revenge over dinner when he got his whole family to ask questions back. And thank you so much for the course as you said four years ago.

We had just started the translation business at that point and we didn’t really know if we were doing things right or if it was going to work at all. I saw the course advertised and I knew this was either going to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re doing it right’ or ‘No. This is how you should do it’. Some of the things we were doing right and some of the things we didn’t have a clue. I think the very first thing was my previous company had gone bust. We set up with no money and basically no clients. One of the initial precepts of Bootstrap Business is you don’t need initial investments, you don’t need loans, you don’t need those kinds of things. ??You need your intellectual capital, your relationship capital, and maybe a tiny bit of capital. We used my business partner’s credit card with a limit of $2,500 and we used that card to pay our freelancers for the next few months until cash started coming in.

Rich: I love that. Bag the $5,000 I usually start with. You did it with $2,500. I think we have the new gold standard.

William: I think if we’d had $5,000 it would have made it easier. A second one would be very much don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s fine to do your own thing and be completely different. All the translation companies were competing on price and we said, ‘Well, what’s the point of trying that market? Let’s triple the price to stand out and say that what’s far more important is the quality.’ And it has worked. People come to us because they’ve heard about us and they need it, not because we’re trying to sell it to them.

Rich: That’s a great point. I think so many people do tend to think that the only competitive advantage you can have is price, but you’ve proven that is just not the case. You can differentiate actually set yourself above if you say, ‘No! We refuse to compete on price’ and then people actually want it more.

William: You may lose some clients, but those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Those tend to be the problem ones. And I think the other great thing is the zigzagging thing. The concept where we started thinking, ‘Well, we’ll translate a bit and build up some boot capital’ and we got there and we didn’t know what to do next. You pointed it out. First get a bit of money, then add some resources, then scale a bit, then get back to money.

Zigzagging in that sense as well brought us some good money translating and then we had a huge opportunity to do some transcription, which is probably one of the dullest jobs in the world, but we learned quickly how to do it really well. Basically there’s nobody else doing it at the level we’re doing it at the level we’re doing it so we’ve sort of cornered the market and that is what took us to a million dollars last year. Transcription and not translation, although the translation is doing very well.

Rich: That is absolutely brilliant and so fun to see is the intense fire and confidence in your eyes now verses four years ago. Absolutely everyone, you can do it. $2,500 and not $5,000 to a million dollar business accomplished by a Brit in Russia. I’m so proud of you and so respect you and thank you for sharing that.

William: Thank you for the help.

Rich: Thank you.

http://eclectictranslations.co.uk/

British Secrets with Love from Russia

October 29th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning, everyone! I have William Hackett-Jones here this morning with me. William has flown in from Russia. Today I am bringing you secret British love from Russia. William and I met four years ago while I was teaching a course at the Wizard Academy. William had flown over from Russia. His business was struggling a little at that point and I was delighted to shared several insights that made a real impact in William’s business.

I’m so proud of him and I take real delight in hearing William’s story as he applied the principles and of course worked his guts out. He was able to take his business, which was basically at the point of failure, and turn his business into one of the most profitable translation services in all of Russia. He owns a translation service at the highest margin. Last year he did over a million dollars and will come close to that this year. Now, without further ado let me bring you a Brit and his secret love tips from Russia.

William: Well, Rich, thanks for being very wonderful and for hosting me. I spent the whole day yesterday picking his brain and asking questions so he got his revenge over dinner when he got his whole family to ask questions back. And thank you so much for the course as you said four years ago.

We had just started the translation business at that point and we didn’t really know if we were doing things right or if it was going to work at all. I saw the course advertised and I knew this was either going to tell me, ‘Yes, you’re doing it right’ or ‘No. This is how you should do it’. Some of the things we were doing right and some of the things we didn’t have a clue. I think the very first thing was my previous company had gone bust. We set up with no money and basically no clients. One of the initial precepts of Bootstrap Business is you don’t need initial investments, you don’t need loans, you don’t need those kinds of things. ??You need your intellectual capital, your relationship capital, and maybe a tiny bit of capital. We used my business partner’s credit card with a limit of $2,500 and we used that card to pay our freelancers for the next few months until cash started coming in.

Rich: I love that. Bag the $5,000 I usually start with. You did it with $2,500. I think we have the new gold standard.

William: I think if we’d had $5,000 it would have made it easier. A second one would be very much don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s fine to do your own thing and be completely different. All the translation companies were competing on price and we said, ‘Well, what’s the point of trying that market? Let’s triple the price to stand out and say that what’s far more important is the quality.’ And it has worked. People come to us because they’ve heard about us and they need it, not because we’re trying to sell it to them.

Rich: That’s a great point. I think so many people do tend to think that the only competitive advantage you can have is price, but you’ve proven that is just not the case. You can differentiate actually set yourself above if you say, ‘No! We refuse to compete on price’ and then people actually want it more.

William: You may lose some clients, but those aren’t the clients you want anyway. Those tend to be the problem ones. And I think the other great thing is the zigzagging thing. The concept where we started thinking, ‘Well, we’ll translate a bit and build up some boot capital’ and we got there and we didn’t know what to do next. You pointed it out. First get a bit of money, then add some resources, then scale a bit, then get back to money.

Zigzagging in that sense as well brought us some good money translating and then we had a huge opportunity to do some transcription, which is probably one of the dullest jobs in the world, but we learned quickly how to do it really well. Basically there’s nobody else doing it at the level we’re doing it at the level we’re doing it so we’ve sort of cornered the market and that is what took us to a million dollars last year. Transcription and not translation, although the translation is doing very well.

Rich: That is absolutely brilliant and so fun to see is the intense fire and confidence in your eyes now verses four years ago. Absolutely everyone, you can do it. $2,500 and not $5,000 to a million dollar business accomplished by a Brit in Russia. I’m so proud of you and so respect you and thank you for sharing that.

William: Thank you for the help.

Rich: Thank you.

http://eclectictranslations.co.uk/

How to Catch a Big, Fat, Juicy Fish

October 22nd, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This past week I’ve been working with several individuals that I mentor. We focused on the sales and channel mechanisms they use to obtain new clients. The more I thought about it the more I realized that there are really five mechanisms that it takes to successfully catch a client, the exact same as catching a fish. Many of us have a tendency as a business owner to add a bunch of gears, complexities, and processes which can actually decrease our chance of ever catching anything. In reality it is simple.

As a young man I used to love to fish in the mountain streams and what I learned is that there are really only five things I needed that were necessary for me to catch a fish.

1. I needed a piece of bait. This piece of bait could change from day to day from a piece of cheese, worms, or lures. I had to be able to adapt and give the appropriate piece of bait in order to lure my target.

2. I had to use a hook. I couldn’t just throw a worm in there and expect to catch a fish. Using a hook was vital when fishing.

3. I needed a line. Something lightweight had to tether me to the fish so I could bring them in.

4. I had to bring a rod when fishing. The rod gave enough tension so I could tell if I was pulling too hard. The rod allowed me to give and take and interact with the fish until I was ready to use the last and final component.

5. Using a reel was key. The reel is what allowed me to carefully use the line and pull in the fish and capture them.

This metaphor is so real and so relevant especially when you are engaging your business clients. Take a moment to go through the list and apply these to your business situation.

BAIT: What will attract the customer? What does your customer have a strong appetite for? That is your bait. You have to put a message out that captures their attention that they are hungry for. An example right now is the health care industry that is in total confusion and abuzz about how to deal and interact with ObamaCare. In the medical industry a perfect piece of bait would be offering clear and concise information about what is going on with ObamaCare.

HOOK: The hook is the mechanism of how you engage your clients. Do you capture their email? Do you have a phone call? Do you invite them to a teleseminar? Do you offer them a sample? If you are part of the retail channel what method do you use to capture a client’s information so you have a ‘hook’ in their mouth? (Hopefully it’s not a painful one.)

LINE: What channel are you using to get to your customers? I believe channels are the most important aspect of all of this. Take a moment to determine which channel or method are you using to get to the customers. Understanding how you connect to the customers is vital. In retail this would obviously be how you would distribute. In the case of electronic or online I use the medium of my blog to communicate and engage with you.

ROD: If you just take a piece of metal and attempt to catch a fish you’ll never experience the give and take the fish gives off. Frequently the fish will just break away and swim or you’ll jerk the hook right out of its mouth. It is important to have a mechanism where you can go back and forth and understand your customer’s needs and wants. This is a sequence typically used when handling big contractual deals with a series of back and forth exchanges and meetings and PowerPoints and dialog and bit-by-bit you are able to carefully reel in your customer. In the case of a product or service it may be some demonstrations or creating more aisle space with extra promotions highlighting the product.

REEL: The final component is the mechanism you use to close the deal. This is the final pitch and it needs to be refined, articulate, and consistent with all the other mechanisms. If the reel is jerked too tightly then once again you could break the string and lose your customer.

I think this is an outstanding metaphor for not only if you are going to catch a big trout, bass, or salmon but also if you’re attempting to catch a ‘business’ fish. It’s also worth noting that the size of the fish also factors in to how sensitive or firm-handed you need to be when it comes to the back and forth. A larger contractor may require a much heavier line and much more engagement on the rod. However, I would really encourage you to not overcomplicate your sales process.

Alright all you Zigzaggers! Go out and land yourself a big, fat, juicy fish.

Just Play Your Game

October 13th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

So frequently we freak ourselves out in life and in business by overthinking it. By making things far more complex than they are we actually set ourselves up for failure. This week I had just such an experience with the game and drug of my choice: Golf.

Typically my life reflects my golf game. Earlier in the week my business partner Curtis Blair and I went out for a quick round of golf after work. I was loose, calm, comfortable, and relaxed while we dialoged about the week’s upcoming events. In this casual, comfortable, and relaxed atmosphere I shot 4 over par with several birdies bringing my score to a smoking 76.

A little later that week I was invited to play golf with an individual I greatly respect at a stuffy, snooty country club. This individual also happens to be a former professional football player who can outdrive me regularly by 80 yards. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by the blue-blood atmosphere of country clubs to begin with and it wasn’t long before I found myself in a full-scale, all-out meltdown. I hit more double bogies on that round of golf than the entire season. Rather than a 76 I ended up with probably an 86.

What was the difference? I was simply too wound up. This experience is a perfect example for your personal life or business. I came up with a few guidelines for myself and wanted to share them with you.

Number One: Don’t overthink it. Allow your natural gut reaction to blend with logic and avoid hyper analyzing the situation.

Number Two: When something intimidates you or causes a little fear the reaction is usually to push through it as fast as you can and get it over with. I would give you the exact opposite counsel. Take it. Look at it. Inspect it and say, “Hey! What’s causing that emotion?” Once you’ve done that for several minutes you will probably feel that you are more a little more equipped to deal with it.

Number Three: Once you decide on a course of action, commit to it! Simply commit.

Number Four: Don’t take any risk or jump to any action where you wouldn’t want to live with the result. Play what I call conservatively aggressive. Take the conservative shot but do so aggressively.

Number Five: Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself and simply damn the torpedoes and go for it.

Number Six: Establish a routine. Once you get into one you’ll find that things seem more natural and easy. This is one way to make your work a slam-dunk experience for you. This will restore confidence and get your mojo going again.

After my disastrous experience on the golf course last Wednesday I had to go out one more time to reclaim my game. Today, once again, I returned to a calm, confident, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ golf game and I am proud to announce four birdies out of 18 holes today.

Go grow your business with confidence, assertion, in a calm, cool, and confident way, believing you can do it. I look forward to hearing great things from you. Keep me posted.

Just Play Your Game

October 13th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

So frequently we freak ourselves out in life and in business by overthinking it. By making things far more complex than they are we actually set ourselves up for failure. This week I had just such an experience with the game and drug of my choice: Golf.

Typically my life reflects my golf game. Earlier in the week my business partner Curtis Blair and I went out for a quick round of golf after work. I was loose, calm, comfortable, and relaxed while we dialoged about the week’s upcoming events. In this casual, comfortable, and relaxed atmosphere I shot 4 over par with several birdies bringing my score to a smoking 76.

A little later that week I was invited to play golf with an individual I greatly respect at a stuffy, snooty country club. This individual also happens to be a former professional football player who can outdrive me regularly by 80 yards. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by the blue-blood atmosphere of country clubs to begin with and it wasn’t long before I found myself in a full-scale, all-out meltdown. I hit more double bogies on that round of golf than the entire season. Rather than a 76 I ended up with probably an 86.

What was the difference? I was simply too wound up. This experience is a perfect example for your personal life or business. I came up with a few guidelines for myself and wanted to share them with you.

Number One: Don’t overthink it. Allow your natural gut reaction to blend with logic and avoid hyper analyzing the situation.

Number Two: When something intimidates you or causes a little fear the reaction is usually to push through it as fast as you can and get it over with. I would give you the exact opposite counsel. Take it. Look at it. Inspect it and say, “Hey! What’s causing that emotion?” Once you’ve done that for several minutes you will probably feel that you are more a little more equipped to deal with it.

Number Three: Once you decide on a course of action, commit to it! Simply commit.

Number Four: Don’t take any risk or jump to any action where you wouldn’t want to live with the result. Play what I call conservatively aggressive. Take the conservative shot but do so aggressively.

Number Five: Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself and simply damn the torpedoes and go for it.

Number Six: Establish a routine. Once you get into one you’ll find that things seem more natural and easy. This is one way to make your work a slam-dunk experience for you. This will restore confidence and get your mojo going again.

After my disastrous experience on the golf course last Wednesday I had to go out one more time to reclaim my game. Today, once again, I returned to a calm, confident, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ golf game and I am proud to announce four birdies out of 18 holes today.

Go grow your business with confidence, assertion, in a calm, cool, and confident way, believing you can do it. I look forward to hearing great things from you. Keep me posted.

How Hard Was It?

October 7th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This week I had several meetings and conversations with a brilliant young entrepreneur named Eric Durtschi. Eric is the CEO of a company called Crio Bru that won the top entrepreneur award in the state of Utah this last year.

Yesterday as I sat in Eric’s office he looked at me and, with total heaviness in his eyes, said, “This was hard. This was so hard I really wanted to give up multiple times.” My response was, “Great! That’s wonderful! That’s good!” Now why would I say that? One of my favorite models I use to quickly analyze a business’ viability and sustainability is Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces Model. 

The most critical assessment portion is the central box and it is known as Barriers to Entry. Barriers to Entry is one way to measure how easy or difficult it would be for someone to copy and start up a business exactly like yours. The more Barriers to Entry you have implemented in your company the harder it will be for copycats to muscle in on your profits. How hard have you made it to start or get into your type of company?

The trick to having a sustainable, long-term viable business is to have barriers that you can cross that others can’t. I tip my hat to you, Eric Durtschi. You have established not one, not two, not three, not four, but five barriers that no one else has been able to cross. That is why it was hard and that is why your business most certainly will succeed.
Let me list a few of the barriers that Eric was able to implement.

Barrier Number One: Eric is an expert on the quality of cocoa beans. Very few other individuals have this capacity. He knows all about the many different kinds of cocoa beans, how to bring out the best taste, how to season them, right down to the make-up of each species of cocoa bean.

Barrier Number Two: Eric has developed much of his own equipment in order to grind these beans in a special manner.

Barrier Number Three: Eric is a first mover in this field, the first to market this type of product and he already has a large following. He’s not selling high-end cocoa beans or even chocolate. He’s selling ground-up cocoa to be used as a drink similar to coffee. These beans contain health benefits and offer sustainable energy that many other drinks don’t have. He is a first mover with new, disruptive technology.

Barrier Number Four: He spent his time establishing specialty retailer channels one at a time himself. How many people are crazy enough to do that? That’s a barrier to entry that you can’t put a price on.

Barrier Number Five: Eric has access to a supply source of some very special and unique beans. These are high-quality beans that most people just can’t get themselves. What a corner on the market!

And there you have Eric’s five incredible Barriers to Entry. In most business if you have one, two, or three you have a killer viable business. Eric, I’m a little bit jealous of your business. It is so exciting because of these Barriers to Entry give you such an advantage.

All of you who are reading this, let me say I hope that it is hard. I hope that it is challenging in those early phases and I hope that indeed you put smart Barriers to Entry around your company so idiots can’t come along and copy your business. The more barriers you put in place the more viable your business can be. You can do things hard-easy or easy-hard. I personally would rather have it hard now, making it easy later rather than the other way around. Never forget the importance of Barriers to Entry in your business. Again, I congratulate you Eric and expect incredible things from you.

How Hard Was It?

October 7th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

This week I had several meetings and conversations with a brilliant young entrepreneur named Eric Durtschi. Eric is the CEO of a company called Crio Bru that won the top entrepreneur award in the state of Utah this last year.

Yesterday as I sat in Eric’s office he looked at me and, with total heaviness in his eyes, said, “This was hard. This was so hard I really wanted to give up multiple times.” My response was, “Great! That’s wonderful! That’s good!” Now why would I say that? One of my favorite models I use to quickly analyze a business’ viability and sustainability is Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces Model. 

The most critical assessment portion is the central box and it is known as Barriers to Entry. Barriers to Entry is one way to measure how easy or difficult it would be for someone to copy and start up a business exactly like yours. The more Barriers to Entry you have implemented in your company the harder it will be for copycats to muscle in on your profits. How hard have you made it to start or get into your type of company?

The trick to having a sustainable, long-term viable business is to have barriers that you can cross that others can’t. I tip my hat to you, Eric Durtschi. You have established not one, not two, not three, not four, but five barriers that no one else has been able to cross. That is why it was hard and that is why your business most certainly will succeed.
Let me list a few of the barriers that Eric was able to implement.

Barrier Number One: Eric is an expert on the quality of cocoa beans. Very few other individuals have this capacity. He knows all about the many different kinds of cocoa beans, how to bring out the best taste, how to season them, right down to the make-up of each species of cocoa bean.

Barrier Number Two: Eric has developed much of his own equipment in order to grind these beans in a special manner.

Barrier Number Three: Eric is a first mover in this field, the first to market this type of product and he already has a large following. He’s not selling high-end cocoa beans or even chocolate. He’s selling ground-up cocoa to be used as a drink similar to coffee. These beans contain health benefits and offer sustainable energy that many other drinks don’t have. He is a first mover with new, disruptive technology.

Barrier Number Four: He spent his time establishing specialty retailer channels one at a time himself. How many people are crazy enough to do that? That’s a barrier to entry that you can’t put a price on.

Barrier Number Five: Eric has access to a supply source of some very special and unique beans. These are high-quality beans that most people just can’t get themselves. What a corner on the market!

And there you have Eric’s five incredible Barriers to Entry. In most business if you have one, two, or three you have a killer viable business. Eric, I’m a little bit jealous of your business. It is so exciting because of these Barriers to Entry give you such an advantage.

All of you who are reading this, let me say I hope that it is hard. I hope that it is challenging in those early phases and I hope that indeed you put smart Barriers to Entry around your company so idiots can’t come along and copy your business. The more barriers you put in place the more viable your business can be. You can do things hard-easy or easy-hard. I personally would rather have it hard now, making it easy later rather than the other way around. Never forget the importance of Barriers to Entry in your business. Again, I congratulate you Eric and expect incredible things from you.

A Million Mile Headache

October 1st, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

I returned this past week from Europe and in returning I crossed a significant hurdle. I achieved the 1 million-mile mark with Delta Airlines. They alerted me to this with a wonderful notice and awarded me a gift. This achievement made me think about how I got to this point. I included the math below.

1 million miles. 1 million miles equals 40.16 trips around the world. With an average speed of 275 miles per hour that is 2,666 hours in the air, not counting gate time. That’s a total of 111.1 days which means I spent 3.7 months in an airplane. Most trips are an average of 3,000 miles which calculates to 333 trips with each trip costing me an average of $500. All in all I spent $166,666 dollars and what did I get in return?

I got a handbag awarded to me from Delta Airlines and a huge layover headache. It’s all in the marketing isn’t it?

A Million Mile Headache

October 1st, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

I returned this past week from Europe and in returning I crossed a significant hurdle. I achieved the 1 million-mile mark with Delta Airlines. They alerted me to this with a wonderful notice and awarded me a gift. This achievement made me think about how I got to this point. I included the math below.

1 million miles. 1 million miles equals 40.16 trips around the world. With an average speed of 275 miles per hour that is 2,666 hours in the air, not counting gate time. That’s a total of 111.1 days which means I spent 3.7 months in an airplane. Most trips are an average of 3,000 miles which calculates to 333 trips with each trip costing me an average of $500. All in all I spent $166,666 dollars and what did I get in return?

I got a handbag awarded to me from Delta Airlines and a huge layover headache. It’s all in the marketing isn’t it?

A Million Mile Headache

October 1st, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

I returned this past week from Europe and in returning I crossed a significant hurdle. I achieved the 1 million-mile mark with Delta Airlines. They alerted me to this with a wonderful notice and awarded me a gift. This achievement made me think about how I got to this point. I included the math below.

1 million miles. 1 million miles equals 40.16 trips around the world. With an average speed of 275 miles per hour that is 2,666 hours in the air, not counting gate time. That’s a total of 111.1 days which means I spent 3.7 months in an airplane. Most trips are an average of 3,000 miles which calculates to 333 trips with each trip costing me an average of $500. All in all I spent $166,666 dollars and what did I get in return?

I got a handbag awarded to me from Delta Airlines and a huge layover headache. It’s all in the marketing isn’t it?