Knowing Everything But Understanding Nothing

Running a business is simply managing a series of events, linked to the resources it has available to it, in order to achieve a series of desired outcomes. Inputs manipulated and ordered to change their current state into a new state of outputs (or outcomes).

The reason most businesses exist is to add value to the inputs, in order to create desirable outcomes where the sum of the value of this outcome is greater than the initial cost of the input added to the cost of changing their state into an outcome. we term this difference as profit. People who invest in their business hope for a better return on that investment than they would by leaving it deposited in a less risky vehicle such as a bank or building society.

Businesses go through several stages and in many cases, several iterations. The first great idea should lead onto the second, third, fourth etc. Start up finance is often low but as the business grows, mezzanine finance (bank loans/family loans/friends loans etc) and even onto angel investment through selling a share of the potential in exchange for cash to grow.

People that start business are very often not the best people to run their businesses. They are the ideas people, the passion people and the main shareholders (usually). They have the vision for the business. They can see all of the parts, they can see the marketability, they usually understand their target audience. But the art is to get everything in place to manage the resources effectively and grow through the steps. Steps are when a business has to fund the increase in resources whilst driving the sales income to cover the cost of this increase (growth).

Funding growth is the hardest thing for any business to manage well. Businesses rarely ever run out of ides, they hardly ever run out of markets, but 90% of the time they fail because they run out of cash. Real cash, not the transactional notional cash we see in the P&L account, cash that they own.

Business leaders often see everything, they see the components of success, they know that if they can organise them well they will reap the rewards…very few truly know the order in which things must happen or where the steps are that will drain them of cash.

Managing a business is managing cash…it’s the only thing that I guarantee you will run out of from time to time…don’t let it close you down.

Becoming Really Attractive

attraction (noun) a quality or force of someone or something that tends to pull others in or create interest in something

When we think of ourselves and how others see us we have an internal image, an internal sense of who we are. We imagine ourselves in a certain way and we believe that this is how others will see us too…well, they don’t. We lie to ourselves, we just do.

The same applies to how we sell. We have created a story about our stuff and we just don’t get why everyone else doesn’t see it the way we do. We just don’t get why they aren’t rushing in to buy our stuff.

The reason is quite simple…you aren’t attractive enough.

The first mistake is to think that people want your stuff…they don’t. The want to feel how they feel about your stuff. They want to buy things that add or remove feelings. Humans are a bundle of complex feelings split between attraction to good things and repelling bad things.

My sales teams used to take me into meetings as they couldn’t get the ‘big one’ over the line, it just wasn’t landing. I’d show them how to listen to the customer and hear their feelings. I’d show them where the ‘hook’ lies and how to add or remove the feelings around that hook. We’d close the deal, they’d get their big sale and they’d learn how to really sell.

I’ve worked with many companies around the world, big and small, that insist on ‘selling the benefits’ without really knowing that faster, longer, stronger, bigger, better didn’t really cut it when the buyer is scared of making a mistake or when they want to experience the joy of their next big purchase…often the sale contained both of these feelings.

Take a good look around you. Nature will show you the way…what tools does nature use to stand out? To be attractive? To draw in the life-giving attraction to keep on keeping on?

Whenever I go, to companies with truly great products and services, they tend to be doing the wrong things really well. They believe that they are getting it right and in some cases, they kind of are…but to really fly they need to understand what makes them even more attractive than they are right now.

Sell feelings…people love to buy good feelings, we all do…