I just returned from Sydney were I attended James Schramko’s Fast Web Formula 2 seminar.
I recorded this video for you that explains some of the biggest lessons I took away from the event.
One of the things that made this event unique to me was the caliber of the attendees and the number of great speakers.
James invited over 30 talented marketers and business owners from around Australia and some big name overseas guests like Brian Johnson from Strategic Profits and well known copywriter John Carlton…and this was just the speakers!
There were about 200 attendees in the room, most of whom were definitely not beginners. It was refreshing to talk to the people from the audience as they had active projects and some kind of direction with their business.
The Three Layers Of Business Success
As I conversed with the speakers, watched their presentations and talked to attendees, I noticed some interesting distinctions about where people were coming from and what they focused on.
Loosely speaking, discussions and presentations focused on three areas -
- Techniques: Tricks and tips you can implement to get a result. These elements focus on the micro level of your business, for example, things you can do to market with social media like facebook or digg, or plugins you can get for your wordpress blog, or scripts you can use to help syndicate your content or do keyword research, or different website graphical elements and which convert better. These are “how to” type instructions that most people love learning, but often cause a sense of overwhelm as they pile up over the course of an event, and are by far the most common element covered in presentations.
- Processes: At this level you are collecting various techniques and turning them into a process that delivers an outcome. This is not just about one small outcome, this is creating a system that results in money at the end and drives the cashflow of your business. The focus in this case is how to set up the system and how to automate it. Brian Johnson’s presentation is a good example of this level of thinking, as he revealed a simple yet multi-layered process they use focused on webinars to make sales of their courses.
- Strategies: At this level we are talking more about overall concepts that make up your business. Strategies are the psychology behind why you choose certain processes to get things done. Strategic thinking is about the macro level – the big picture – and should guide all your decisions. John Carlton, although focusing on how to sell with words, almost always talks at the strategic level, in particular when it comes to understanding your customer’s emotional desires.
Each of these layers is important, and it’s not wrong to focus on any one particular level. However, what I found interesting was very few people, or really I should say businesses, manage to successfully master all the layers, my business included.
Some people are great with techniques and can drive incredible amounts of traffic and make tons of money, but it all happens in a haphazard way without any direction. The evolution at this level is to find a point of distinction in your marketplace and a business model you can stick to long term so you’re cashflow becomes steady and – here’s the important part – you can step away from your business by leveraging automation.
Other people – and I lump myself in this group – are great at focusing on what they are good at and have a sound business model and differentiation strategy, but they haven’t gone through and completed all the steps necessary to automate the process. You know the process and what you should do, but because there are certain things you don’t like doing, or you are lazy or sitting in your comfort zone, you never take the next step.
The truly successful businesses execute a strategy at all levels. They build processes, test and tweak them until they have created an optimized machine, then go to work throwing as much traffic at it as they can so they can reap exponential profits.
These businesses also have the capabilities to integrate new techniques instantly, and as such it’s not overwhelming to learn new tricks because they can easily be tested for performance. If they work they become a permanent part of the process, if not, they are discarded. New techniques you learn at an event don’t stay on the to-do list for very long because these businesses know that speed of implementation is why they are good at what they do.
The Elimination Of Constraints
It becomes clearer and clearer to me as I learn more about business, that the key to growth is a systematic elimination of constraints in order to create greater capacity and an ability to move on new ideas quicker.
Once you have the ability to do whatever you want to do, no longer is execution hampered by a lack of resources. Instead the focus turns to learning as much as you can and quickly testing to determine the best combination of ideas for maximum impact.
Spending some time reflecting on why you can’t do certain things in your business is a way to determine your constraints. In most cases you are going to come up against a knowledge constraint or a technology/resources constraint. You either don’t know how to do something (or even know that you need to do something) or you can’t do something because you don’t have the people or money or technology to make it happen.
If you can’t build a website, hire a tech person. If you don’t understand how to sell on webinars, attend a webinar that sells something so you can learn how others do it. If you don’t know what your customers really want, then spend some time talking to them to better refine their needs, wants and desires. Learn what you need, why you need it, then build it. If you keep doing this for long enough you will have one of those businesses everyone else wants to emulate.
Attend Events Whenever You Get A Chance
I’ll end this with a recommendation that you head out to any events you can that are relevant to what level you are at with your business. Nothing beats talking to people face to face when it comes to learning and forming relationships. It’s also just plain fun to hang out with like minded people.
Thanks again to James for putting on a great show, and to all the people I met and talked to at the event.
Coming Up Next – I’ll see you in Vegas at Blog World Expo!