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The One Right Way

The One Right Way is something everyone—even me—seeks. Let's look at a story about this idea: back in college 20 years ago, I tutored fellow students in AutoCAD. That's computer-aided design (or drafting).

When I was 18 I walked into an engineering office that had posted a job for a CAD operator.

"I don't know anything about CAD or engineering," I told them. "But I'm a fast learner. Let me come in for a day. If you like what I do, you let me stay. If you don't, tell me to go away and I will."

They took me up on that offer. At the end of the day, the owner told me to come back tomorrow. At the end of the week, I got a paycheck.

Over the summer they hired a bunch of people to help archive a military base...converting the drawings from paper to electronic. Come Fall, they let everyone else go and I was the only one left.

autocad drawing one right way great western king

So by the time I was 20 I had some experience to share. Here's what I found, and you can use it to understand people's behavior:

People want to be told The One Right Way to do something.

The One Right Way Is What Your Client Wants

Now with AutoCAD there are at least a good half-dozen ways to accomplish a task. You want to put a circle on the end of a specifically long line? Depending on the elements around it, you could crop, lengthen, mirror, and do a bunch of other things to make that happen at the right spot.

But people do not want to have that level of creativity. They don't want those options. They want The One Right Way.

I found tutoring initially quite frustrating because of this idea.

I'd have say three or four ways of doing something, but the person wouldn't want to hear about them.

"Just show me how to do it," they'd tell me.

So I would. I'd limit myself and show them just a single way to do the thing.

In your world, as a marketer perhaps, you probably know a good half-dozen ways to do what the client wants done. But the client doesn't want to hear all of those options.

You know why?

Having all those possibilities brings LESS confidence to them.

MORE uncertainty.

They have to try and think about all those ways it could be done...try to figure each one of them out.

And that's overwhelming.

But if you show them just ONE way of doing the thing, that gives them the certaintly they secretly seek.

This is why giving prospective clients only one or two options to choose from is most effective.

Clients don't want skill. They think they do, but they don't. What they're really looking for is certainty. So know what you know. Come up with all the options on your own. But choose a single way to present to them, and give them The One Right Way.

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Value Of Reserves: The Unexpected Problem of 100% Utilization

Value of reserves is a concept frequently missed in the real world.

Think it's good to have all your resources hurtling along at 100% utilization? Think again.

Sounds good, doesn't it. Everything at work on your behalf. Nothing sitting around. Money, people, time. All maxed out.

And yet—

—what happens when you run into The Unexpected?

What then?

100% utilization means you have no reserves. Whether the scope of the issue is big or small, it means you're in trouble.

This is completely contrary to “logical thought”, isn't it! Let's look at a few examples, though, and you'll see the problem right away.

value of reserves army

Value of Reserves In The Corporate World

The first instance is one I've witnessed many times in the corporate world. Again and again it has also been brought to me by high level consultants I work with, like a Change Management expert who works with IT firms employing over 1000 people.

The firm has teams that are working on highly technical implementation projects for their own clients.

They have a handful of expert-level staff, who are naturally at 100% utilization. They are busy, locked down on one project or another.

And then something breaks.

Something in another project falls down, and that one expert's attention is not just needed but excruciatingly badly needed over there.

But the expert's plate is already full. There's no more of their time to give. If management's decision is to pull them off the project they're assigned to and put them onto the emergency, what happens?

Hue and cry. Expensive overtime. Unrecoverable critical task delay on Project A. Stress levels up on both projects, in other areas of the organization as well as for both clients.

If the company had planned to have some of their expert resources in reserve, all this would have been much lowered or completely avoided.

Value of Reserves In Your World

OK, Jason, you say. That's a big corporate example. But I run a little business. What about me?

This second example is in your world.

You're a business owner who does it all: sales through fulfillment, bookkeeping and bottle washing.

Your calendar is booked wall to wall and you respect your calendar. There's always something more to do. And your money...well, it's working at 100% utilization for you and there's nothing to spare.

So how can you ever grow?

To improve you need, say, to learn how to use a new CRM. Heck, first you have to pick that CRM. But you don't have time to research. And you don't have the extra money to jump on a deal for software even if you do find something tantalizing. Then you have to find the time to learn how to use the thing!

No reserves. Neither in your time or your money. Equals no maneuverability. No ability to grow. Stuck in the same day after day after day in your business, never working on your business.

My third example is even simpler, from the world of home renovation. A building contractor I was speaking with not long ago blurted, “If only I'd had a little more cash available, this renovation would have gone much more quickly!”

Now why did he say that?

Was he simply wishing for more money? I don't think so. His complaint matched up directly with the things I've seen an experienced elsewhere when it comes to the use of resources.

His problem was not just about buying supplies. It was about scheduling, managing, handling The Unexpected. All adding up to a big headache for HIM.

Understand the value of reserves.

Generals throughout history have known this value: they kept some of their units in reserve to plug gaps in the line and take advantage of opportunities.

Those reserves give you flexibility. They give you the ability to handle problems with lower levels of stress. And they let you move faster.

100% utilization seems to make logical sense. But it'll stress you out, limit your growth, and cause you a great deal of trouble if you pursue it as policy.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and founding partner of The Closing Engine. To book a two-call strategy & adjustment consultation package with Jason, click here. <<

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Hobby Or Business? How You Can Tell The Difference

Hobby Or Business? This is a question asked by an Australian business owner on an expert platform I'm a member of, and I'd like to share my answer here.

"Is this a hobby or business?" The mentor of the questioner asked them this, saying they should choose a metric that reflects the opportunity cost of the time spent on the startup.

Here's my answer:

A business has a steady revenue stream coming from a predictable flow of customer leads.

A hobby has inconsistent revenue due to an unpredictable flow of prospects.

A business results from systems. The owner can do other things and the business continues to bring in leads.

A hobby usually relies on the efforts of the owner. When the owner stops, the process stops.

hobby or business predictable revenue flock behavior

Hobby Or Business? The Difference To Look For And To Create

I was watching a Bar Rescue episode recently and host Jon Taffer was explaining to the bar owner that this bar needed to generate $1600 an hour for just three key hours over three nights: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If it did that, the bar would make the target profit.

That is an example of the system behind a business. Knowing when the key hours of demand are turns the bar into a predictable system of revenue--assuming the customer base is there to support it. Or else the owner has to get marketing into action to reach those targets...but at least he knows what he has to do.

If he didn't, his bar would remain an inconsistent hobby. He'd make money some nights and not others, and not know why or what he had to to do succeed.

That got me thinking about my own business. When do people predictably buy? How can I plan for that, take advantage of that, expand upon that? What "hours" (more like days of the month for my consulting business) do I need to predictably generate $X to make my money target?

Predictable Revenue Is The Difference Between Hobby Or Business

I know most people buy at the beginning or end of the month from me, because that's when their panic alarm really hits as the bills are due ("I need to avoid this"; or, "I can't let that happen again".) But there's also a predictable set of buyers who get ahold of me in the middle of the month, between the 15th to the 20th, say, and I don't know why they do.

I realized I need to look into that, because it's something I can systemize. It can become one of those "3 hour periods on Saturday night" if I make the right use of it; that will turn this kind of buyer from a hobby (as they are inconsistent right now and I don't depend on them for anything except bonus revenue, but I know they're out there) to a systematic, predictable revenue source which is the hallmark of a real business.

See where I'm going with this? Can you answer your own question? I think your mentor is right on in asking and they probably already know the answer. They probably want you to start thinking more about systems on your own initiative. Making some money with an idea is great, but that's just "proof of concept" unless you have made a steady, repeatable, predictable revenue stream out of it.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and conversion expert. To book a call with Jason to discuss your situation, click here. <<