As a coach, consultant, advisor, agency, service pro or solution provider, it just makes sense to take stock of your assets, and think carefully about making the most of them …
Much of what you’ll learn in this column deals with your personal assets — your copywriting and marketing skills … your library of information resources and your mental map of that library … and your mindset etc.
But here in this week’s edition, I want to take a little diversion. I want to talk to you about assets that are independent of you.
Have you ever taken stock of your assets in this way — dependent on you, versus independent of you? It’s a revealing exercise to say the least. It forces you to think beyond income, and to consider equity in all your decisions. It focuses your attention on the longer-term results of your behavior. And in my mind, it makes you more successful.
Your methodology is an independent asset — When you delegate what you do to document, why not consider its value as a sellable asset, as well as an income generator? At some point you may want to sell your business, and a well-crafted ‘how-to manual’ is vital to getting the best bang for your buck.
The key of course, is three-fold.
A. Solve problems that have a long shelf life in the marketplace.
B. Be careful not to paint yourself into a corner with products, services and programs that could not survive without you. A true asset is something that retains its value after you’re gone.
C. Name your methodology brilliantly. Make the name of the thing so relevant and alluring that people value it more than they value you.
Your email lists are an independent asset — This is actually not true. Your relationship with your lists is the true asset. A database of prospects, leads and buyers is simply a tool that allows you to manage and cultivate that relationship.
The distinction has a profound impact on your decisions, and ultimately the success and value of your business. Are you managing for income, or are you managing for both equity and income? You can see this dynamic played out online everyday.
How often do you feel like the people who are marketing to you see you as nothing more than an e-mail address to be exploited? Sadly, income over equity — short term over long-term thinking — seems to rule the day.
I know of many marketers who are very successful at building large lists, but the dirty little secret is that these lists are extremely inefficient, and require massive effort to maintain.
People go into the top of the funnel, maybe buy a product or two, and then they’re gone. They become unresponsive because these marketers play lip service to value — promising to educate while they sell — but fail to deliver. This is no way to build equity in a business.
Your systems are an independent asset — In business, efficiency is key. Never underestimate the value of automation. There are huge efficiency gains to be made simply by combining readily available technologies in new ways that increase sales, eliminate labor, and make gathering and utilizing data easier.
You should continually be on the lookout for ways to upgrade your selling/serving machine, making it unique, more effective, efficient, scalable, and stable — able to withstand calamity and competitive attack — and therefore more valuable than the next guys.
The grandaddy of books on ‘guerrilla automation’ is Timothy Ferris’ The 4 Hour Work Week. A brilliant piece, to be sure. It contains a lot of useful advice about systematization.
But at a fundamental level, I think it sends a dangerous message to people. It gives the impression that systematization has the power to sustain your business while you sleep in a hammock on some island paradise in the South Pacific, or do whatever else you please for all but 4 hours a week. Think about what a silly idea this is …
If you have no interest in putting more than 4 hours a week of skin in the game when it comes to running a business, how long will it be before someone who’s actually passionate about serving your clientele discovers the same automation secrets and eats your lunch by putting in 40 hours a week? Great marketing message Tim — but a very dangerous idea for anybody who takes it at face value.
Automation is often what people don’t see. Internet copycats can mimic your marketing on the surface, but they’re going to have to put in the necessary sweat equity to make it work efficiently, and by that time you’ve innovated still further. Unless of course you’re asleep at the hammock.
Your marketing is an independent asset — Your products/services/programs and your marketing are joined at the hip. Highly effective marketing is in itself an asset — especially if you’ve given some thought to the longevity of the offerings it’s tied to.
Testing and experimentation are what makes your marketing more effective. It is exacting, dreary work, like mining for diamonds — but if you know where to dig, it can pay big dividends. Think of it as building both income, and assets, and you’ll be more motivated to do it.
With experience, you’ll begin to develop a sixth sense for what to test, and what not to test. I’ll be honest with you. Despite the hype, many of the tests you do will not increase your success, especially if you run them long enough to make a valid conclusion. But there will be times when you hit pay dirt.
And even modest increases in conversion at the top of the funnel, may mean massive increases in bottom-line profits coming out the bottom. Make no mistake — hyper-effective, systematized marketing can add massive value to a business.
Your brand is an independent asset — I know, branding is a dirty word in a lot of direct response circles. Branding as an end goal in marketing is a sure way to blow through a wad of cash and have nothing to show for it. But to pretend branding doesn’t exist is just as stupid.
Whether you’ve paid any attention to your brand or not, you’ve got one. Every interaction you have with a prospect or client contributes to your brand equity, from the way you advertise … to the quality of your programs … to the substance and integrity of your lead generation magnets … to the persona you project into the marketplace.
Take a moment to think about a couple of the things you buy regularly. Somewhere in your mind, there is an unconscious imprint of what that person or company means to you. And that imprint is incredibly powerful. If it’s based on trust, and if there is a strong personal bond between you and the figurehead of that company, aren’t you more willing to pay more for that company’s offerings — other things being equal?
Well when it comes to your business that same thing is true. When you cash that brand equity by charging the premium prices you deserve, your business is worth more. And you’ll have the sales and margins to prove it!
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: Don’t skip the wisdom in point 1c above. Your name is part of your brand, but it should be secondary to the name of your methodology. Better to be part of one memorable and enduring methodology than have a smorgasbord of forgettable methodologies under your name.
The Bottom Line: What Gets Measured Gets Better …
I realize that in the beginning, a business is almost always fixated on income. Results are measured in days, weeks and months, and almost entirely in dollars and cents — but be careful.
As soon as the pressure’s off, it’s time to turn your attention to measuring the performance of your independent assets … refocusing on longer term goals and results … and of course, continually weaning the business’ dependence on YOU.
Still, it’s hard to read the medicine label when you’re inside the bottle. You need an independent and experienced set of eyes to see some of these opportunities.
You’re just too close to the thing to see them… yet just a little shift in one area or another today can yield an explosive growth in income tomorrow, and an avalanche of equity over the longer term.
Look no further than a Science Of Client-Getting strategy call to take the blinders off and establish a solid plan for 2021. You can apply right here.