Interview – Robin Waite
Robin Waite, Business Coach, Speaker and Bestselling author of Online Business Startup. Robin recently launched his Fearless Business e-learning program and has a bold ambition to help 10,000 business owners to double their turnover in 6 months during the next 5 years.
Online Business Startup
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Transcript (Click To Open)
Pieter: Hi there. Welcome to the Build a Better Business podcast. I’m Pieter de Villiers, and my guest today is Robin Waite. Robin is a business coach, speaker, bestselling author of Online Business Startup, and Robin recently launched his Fearless Business e-learning programme, and has the very bold ambition to help 10,000 business owners to double their turnover in six months during the next five years, which I think fits perfectly with our Build a Better Business theme.
I spoke to Robin a few days ago. I was actually up in Scotland. I also had a very bad cough at the time, but we couldn’t really reschedule, so hopefully the audio came out all right. I apologise if I interrupt what Robin is saying at times, and so I bring you Robin Waite.
Okay, Robin, how are you?
Robin: I’m very well, thank you. We were just discussing noses just before we started, actually, so I’ve just had an operation on my nose about three weeks ago, so I’m kind of back up and running, finally now, but no, brilliant. I feel like I’ve got a new lease of life.
Pieter: Oh, that’s very, very good. We discovered that I had exactly the same thing done last year. It’s a bigger deal than you think it is when you go in for it, but it’s certainly a good thing to do.
Robin: Absolutely, 100%. I think you said you sat on it for 25 years, and I sat on my nose, that sounds awful, but sat on it for 15 years, and then, yeah, I wish I’d done it about 14 and a half years ago, to be honest.
Pieter: Yeah. No, it’s certainly worth it. Thank you for coming along. Thank you for coming on the podcast.
Robin: It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Pieter: What I try to do with these episodes is really just sort of half an hour snippets, give people sort of experiences from other businesses and people who work with other businesses, primarily with the focus on how to help people to build better businesses, so maybe just describe a bit about what you do and how you do it, and sort of from the angle of why you think people need that kind of thing to help them build a better business.
Robin: Yeah, sure. Right now I’m a business coach, so I’m actually relatively new to coaching, so I actually started out life as an assistant analyst, and then set up my own creative agency, and I did that for the best part of 12 years. In June last year, I kind of realised my business, my agency was, I was kind of coasting in it, and it wasn’t really fulfilling me. My life coach at the time, because I was starting to be quite innovative around the workshops that I was pulling into that creative agency, in terms of engaging the clients and things, and my coach said to me, my life coach said, “Robin, it sounds to me like you’re coaching.
Have you ever thought about calling yourself a business coach?” I kind of went on a bit of a journey of self-discovery for about three months, working out what my brand was going to look like, what my coaching programme would look like, whether I wanted to get any paper certificate or qualifications in order to call myself a coach, and actually, I launched myself in October with a view of getting 10 clients on board by the end of the year, so within three months. I actually ended up getting 14 clients on board within six weeks, which was an awesome result.
A great deal of that, I think, [inaudible 00:03:21] in that three months where I was working out how I was going to brand myself, I just did an awful lot of work around sort of content creation and marketing, and just finding my own voice, really. In terms of how I help my clients, so I do, I kind of focus on three things, which most business coaches should, if they don’t already, should focus on, which is helping my clients to make more money, helping them to save some money, and my niche, really, it’s about the third one, which is helping clients to find money which is either down the back of the sofa or left on the table.
It amazes me how many business owners kind of just get stuck in the day to day running of their business, and they forget to kind of extricate themselves and look, you know, it’s like typical, they spend more time working in their business than on it, and they forget about innovating, they forget about experimenting with pricing and creating new products, and finding novel and innovative ways of kind of marketing themselves.
It’s my job as a business coach, really, to pull people out of their business and help them work on those ideas, and then find ways of practically implementing them, turning them into tangible products that they can make a bit more money out of, basically, and then hopefully grow their business.
Pieter: That sounds really good. I really like your description of that third way that you work with people. It’s very easy, as a business owner, to sort of get stuck on, “Well, this is what we do, and this is how we do it,” and then simply focus on, “Well, the only way we can make more money is by doing more of what we’re already doing,” rather than looking to say, “Well, actually, is there something we’re missing?”
I think the value someone like you brings to a business owner is just the ability to sort of step away for a moment and get a different view on the business that you’re so involved and so almost buried under.
Robin: 100%, and it’s funny about, like, the perceptions, as business owners, that we have of our own businesses. When you’re so insular inside the business, like for example, I’m working with a very large accountancy firm. They’re a two million turnover firm. They’ve got 45 members of staff and two and a half thousand clients. One of their goals over the next sort of 12, 18, 24 months, is to double their turnover. That’s no mean feat for a business of that size, but one of the challenges which they’ve got is that they’re not geared very highly, so their turnover is low, considering the number of members of staff which they’ve got.
One of the challenges which they posed to me was, “We want to double our turnover, but we don’t want to employ any more staff, or as minimal staff as possible.” A lot of business owners, like you said, they hit capacity, and then their first instinct is hire more people. As we know, like, people are the most expensive asset which we have within our business, and if you hire badly, which happens quite often, or if you get the scalability and the gearing wrong, all of a sudden then you’ve got another headache, which is your business grows too fast or not enough, and then you have to start letting people go.
When there are people involved, all of a sudden it becomes a whole different ballgame, because that’s when emotion kind of steps in, and it all gets very messy. My goal with most businesses I work with is to try and leverage all of the assets which they’ve got within their business right now, work out what extra products or services we can pull in to kind of complement what their current assets, and using the same resources that they’ve got, how can we grow the business?
Pieter: I spend quite a lot of my time working with businesses on, essentially, systems, processes, automation, finding efficiencies inside the business …
Pieter: So that you uncover additional capacity, and therefore you can grow the business without increasing overhead by the cost of additional members of staff.
Robin: Absolutely. It’s funny, as well, because I have quite a lot of experience doing this with my own business, which we grew ours to about 250 clients, and I’m based in Gloucestershire, so we were a big business kind of here, but in relative terms. I mean, it’s a small business, turnover-wise. We do, for example, when we first set up, it’s basically a web design business, so when we first started pulling in clients, all of the advice we got was to focus on the big projects, the five and six-figure projects.
What I realised was that, one particular summer, we launched one 10,000 pound-ish sort of size project. We also launched a number of much smaller projects, sort of around 1,000 pound projects were the mark. What we hadn’t done at the time, because you have your core products, the web, designing websites and building those, but then we had support and hosting, which then comes after it, and actually, that’s the lifeblood of the business.
What we were doing is we were charging 50 quid a month for the 10,000 pound project, and then 50 quid a month for the 1,000 pound projects. If you amortise that out over the course of, say, three years, that big project, plus three years worth of support and hosting, it was worth 11,800 pounds, but if we were to do 10 1,000 pound projects, all with 50 pound a month support hosting, it was worth nearly three times that, 28,000 pounds, so the customer lifetime value, like a lot of, so many businesses, I think it’s like the millennial mindset, that we, instant gratification. We don’t think about the longterm anymore.
I think a lot of businesses focus on that initial sale, but they don’t put any thought in, thereafter, as to how they’re going to support that sale to turn it into creating more sustainable business, ie like free support and hosting programmes, or even just like a good referral network.
Pieter: Yeah. It also, not thinking about the lifetime customer, really, you limit quite substantially what you think your business can achieve, because if you think, “Okay, it’s just the first sale,” then you can, you then think, “Well, okay, the first sale is worth this, therefore I only have that much money in the pot to spend on marketing or customer recruitment,” but if I can actually say, “Well, over the next 12 months, a customer is worth this to me,” then, provided cash flow permitting, I can actually spend more to get those customers on board, because I know three, four months down the line, they become highly profitable.
Robin: Absolutely. Again, it’s just about leveraging that marketing spend to kind of get as much out of it as you possibly can. It’s exactly that, and also like marketing, like people wrap up things like, for example, brochures, websites, I don’t know, running events and things like that. They consider those to be costs to the business which sit inside the profit and loss, whereas actually, if you get a really good brochure built, or you write a book, or you build some kind of an asset, I consider those to be products, and those products are assets which sit in the balance sheet, because they are the things which are going to attract new clients to you and educate your customers, and build that trust which you need in order to engage for the longterm.
Something like marketing, again, even marketing is an investment, and you should be willing to spend, you know, if that client’s worth 1,000 pounds over the next 12 months, well, don’t just blow 10 quid on Facebook ads and call that a sales campaign. You should be willing to work out how much you’re willing to spend to get that 1,000 pound a year client, and it could be as much as 1 or 200 pounds, provided there’s a buffer.
Pieter: Yeah, and then that changes over the life of the business, that figure will change as well, because, I think it’s Dan Kennedy who said that, “He who can afford to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.”
Robin: Yes, absolutely. I’m a firm, it took me a long time to come around to that way of thinking. I mean, I actually spend, rather than spending money, I spend a lot of time nurturing my clients, so I give an awful lot of my time away for free, knowing that the value of having that client on board, you know, for me, typically, it’s between about 12 and 18 months, is worth much more than probably spending a huge great amount of money on marketing. I will do, always do, I will never turn down speaking engagements. I will always offer a free consultation.
I will always do a lot of … This is quite a fun one, I saw this and thought of you. If ever you get a free gift from me, it means I’m trying to sell you something. Just give the secret away there, but no, I mean, and I’m kind of joking a little bit, but it’s kind of like just making the not just customers feel specials, but also potential prospects, but with an abundant attitude, and what I mean by that is, like, not expecting anything in return.
If that client comes on board, great. If the client doesn’t come on board, great, because it’s the best decision for them, but you’ve shown, you’ve demonstrated that you care, and I think that’s most, really important.
Pieter: I think, in the haste of growing a business or selling a product or anything, we are all at risk, and at times, guilty of forgetting that we’re trying to build a relationship.
Pieter: Whereas, if you’re at uni and you’re trying to build a relationship with another one of your uni colleagues, then you would bestow gifts and you would give things, and you give your time freely, and you’re willing to do this, this, and this, because there’s the potential for an ongoing longer-term relationship, and everything that that brings, but then, somehow, when it’s in a business scenario, we forget that aspect of the human relationship.
Robin: Yeah, and I think people, when you think about it, it’s not just going back to university. That feels like quite a long time ago for me now, but it wasn’t that long. You think about, you know, since we’ve evolved from being apes up into evolving into human beings, those relationships and the ability to tell stories and have conversations with people, that’s kind of what marketing has been about since we evolved from apes.
It’s only now, in this generation, this millennial generation that we’re in at the moment … So we’re expecting the internet, which has only been around for 25 years, to replace a great deal of that storytelling, having conversations, building relationships, and word of mouth, as well. Personally, I think that, like, the internet, to a certain extent, has killed marketing. People see it as the answer, whereas actually, the internet is just a tool.
Pieter: Yes. It’s just another tool. I’m always fascinated, so I moved to the UK nearly 20 years ago now, and everything that I use in my business today didn’t exist when I moved here.
Robin: In what sense?
Pieter: All the software I use, the platforms for marketing, the technology to communicate with clients, all of that, all the actual technical elements within my business didn’t exist when I first moved to the UK. That’s the pace with which things are changing, but like you say, our relationships and talking to each other, and conversations and communication, has taken millennia to develop to the point where we are now.
Robin: Yes, and then we’re kind of just throwing it all away, because we’re just putting all of our faith in the internet. Interesting fact for you. Pre-internet, and this is just in the UK, so if you’ve got listeners further afield, you’ll have to try and maybe go and look up these stats yourself, but in the UK, pre-internet, so 25 years ago, there were 468,000 registered businesses in the UK. Now there are 5.6 million, so every … You think about that.
Every single marketplace is saturated by a factor of 10, so you start up a new business, and straightaway, you’re walking into a competitive marketplace that’s 10 times more competitive than it was 25 years ago, and then you add into that the global nature of business these days. It goes, it starts to kind of almost go exponential at that point, and we wonder why we wake up and business is [inaudible 00:14:47] and it’s hard to find clients and things like that.
I was trying to [inaudible 00:14:50], so was doing a, I do an advice clinic for the local growth hub, which is run by the local enterprise partnership here, so the advice clinics are free, so I did listen to startups, and this one guy, he runs a marketing business. He’s got a new business which he’s launching, and it was all about sending out email shots, bit of Facebook advertising, some Google PPC, and I was like, “Where’s the one to one consultation?” He’s like, “What?”
I was like, “Where’s the face to face contact?” “I haven’t got it in there. I thought the …” It’s almost like, when you send out a quote via email to somebody, you know, that thing, people just kind of like brush their hands and they go, “Yep, job done.” It’s kind of like people hide behind technology these days.
“Yeah. I’ve done my bit. I’ll just wait for them to come back to me now,” forgetting that that person has probably got 50 other emails in their inbox, so yours, now, so it’s 10 times more competitive, and your email is now one of 50 in somebody’s email inbox. How do people expect to kind of stand out?
Pieter: On the one hand, that’s now an advantage that we have, that we are able to stand out by simply doing things a little bit more like they were done 20, 25 years ago.
Pieter: You send someone a handwritten thank you card, and they hang onto it for weeks, because you just don’t get them anymore.
Robin: Definitely. One of the things, which I’ve reintroduced that, so I’ve replaced lead magnets with live events, free events. It works absolute wonders. There’s marketing activities around it. Do you think a lead magnet, if it’s 30, 40 pages long, there’s some engagement there, but what better way to give somebody the full experience than have them sat in a seat in front of me, listening to me deliver a hopefully helpful and engaging talk for a couple of hours on something which they can then practically take away and implement in their business?
Again, I’ve had so many people, when I did my first live event, everybody was like, “How can you spend 1,000 pounds in an event?” Like, you know, “You’re giving it away for free,” and all this other stuff, and I was like, “Because I’ve done my numbers. I know that 76 …” so, I gave away 136 tickets for free. I sat 76, so free events, you get about a 50% dropout rate, so I sat 76, I sold 12 e-learning programmes in the room, on the day, and I’ve got one client on board, one longterm client on board now, and I’ve got one starting in September, so I knew, and this is, so Daniel Priestly and Daniel Priestly’s dad, Andrew Priestly, this is something which they taught me, which was 70, 10, two. You make 70 calls or have 70 conversations, you book 10 appointments, and you have two conversions.
I test, I mean, my numbers are pretty much bang on that, so I was 76, 12, two, you know, but I would never, and also, I had a registration of interest form to get people to fill in at the end, so people who would want to work with me, but just not now, so those ‘no, not now’s’ we have to really pay attention to. I got 29 registration of interest forms out of 76 people on the day. That’s nearly half, and those are all leads now that I can kind of nurture. I can pull them into my ecosystem. I can engage with them. I can do, and I saw this and I thought of you, I can give them like, if I’m doing a special offer, they’ll get the offer first. There’s loads of some stuff you can do with live events.
Pieter: Yeah, and you can now, the thing is, also, you now know something more about them, and you can have a different conversation with them.
Pieter: Perhaps …
Robin: You’ll see them at another networking event, “Hey, how’s it going?” You know, “Saw you at the Fearless event,” and also, and can kind of, you build that rapport with them. It’s vital.
Pieter: Yeah. Your free event, it reminds me a lot, the comparison, I read a lot by and study quite a lot by Frank Kern. On the one hand, he’s almost trapped as being this internet marketer, but he’s, across the board, just an extremely clever guy.
He always has the saying that he says, “The best way to show people how you can help them in the future is to help them now,” and that’s what you achieve with your live event, because yes, you can write 35 pages, and if I read it all, I could potentially gets lots of value from it, but there’s nothing other than the live event, really, and that human interaction, that you can give me that shows me so concretely, one, there’s a fit between us, and you and I can get on, and then, two, I can clearly see how you can help me in the future.
Robin: Definitely. I think it demonstrates that, like, you’re invested in the relationship, and you would, like there’s that abundance lot again. You’re willing to give something totally for free, you know, with no expectation of somebody buying at the moment. The millennial mindset, like, people put Facebook ads out and expect to sell something straightaway. I have a model which I use in my coaching programme called the Four C’s, so it’s a very quick kind of overview. It’s conversations, coffee, conversions, and then loyal customers. In millennial mindset, coffee doesn’t exist.
We serve somebody an ad, and they buy a product, so it becomes a numbers game, and then we don’t give a crap whether they come back again to buy more stuff, whereas actually, the loyal customers are the ones who create word of mouth referrals. They tend to refer, in this eco, in the Four C’s ecosystem, they will refer people straight into coffee. They’ll be like, “Hey, I’ve got this great business coach. Go and sit down and have an hour with Robin. He’ll sort your business out,” but if I didn’t have that consultation, that coffee step in there, where would those referrals go?
Pieter: Yeah, there’s nowhere for them to land, initially. Ryan Deiss talks a lot about, he likens lead generation and getting customers to essentially asking a girl out on a date.
Robin: Yes. Yeah.
Pieter: It is. If you walk into a bar and you just say, you sort of make the assumption, okay, there are young people here. The likelihood is a lot of these people would like to get married, so I’m just going to go up to that girl and ask her to get married.
Pieter: It’s not going to work. Probably the person that says yes in that scenario, you might find is not the kind of customer you want anyway.
Robin: I was going to say, she probably sounds a little bit crazy to me.
Pieter: Yeah, but it’s the same thing with this. If I think, okay, fine. I’m married. I’ve known my wife now for 15 years. I can pretty much predict where the relationship would have gone if I tried to get from the first hello to marriage via email …
Pieter: Via email and Facebook ads …
Robin: She would have, her, that email would have got lost in amongst the 50 other email from other chaps who were also interested in asking her out on a date.
Pieter: Yeah, and it’s, but for some reason, when we … It’s quite strange what having your own business does to you, because another thing I always find with business owners, and we’re all so guilty of this so often, we feel that we should do everything, or should be able to do everything, whereas in the rest of our life, we’re not like that. We recently had a new boiler installed in our house.
Now, I know, in principle, I could watch some YouTube videos, and I can go and buy some tools and I can do it myself, but actually, at no point in the process, did I think, “You know what? We need a new boiler. I need to learn how to instal a boiler,” but for some reason, in business, when we’re business owners, we think, “That needs doing. I need to learn how to do it, and I need to do it myself.”
Robin: Also, like, we’re bombarded with people, again, like through the podcasts. We’re here hopefully giving helpful information to people, but we are bombarded with podcasts, books, and all sorts of other media out there, like self-help courses and social media posts and e-newsletters and stuff like that. There’s so much advice, and we think that we have, like you said, we think that we have to do it all, but we don’t ask the question, “Is that piece of advice right and appropriate for my business?” What works for one business, I can guarantee probably won’t work for another business, otherwise, we would all be running Facebook and Instagram and YouTube and all those different methods like unicorn businesses, wouldn’t we?
It’s just, we aspire to be a Mark Zuckerberg, but our businesses will never look like Facebook. There can only ever be one Facebook, so we have to create something unique, and that means doing activities which other businesses aren’t doing. Doesn’t matter whether they’re right or wrong at this stage, like that’s irrelevant. It’s just, we’ve got to try different things, and not get stuck doing the same things over and over and over again. I mean, I went through, I think one of the key things to my success was I identified three core activities within my coaching practise that I needed to do in order to make, in order to create clients and build trust, and build, raise the profiles I wanted to raise.
Those three activities are very simple. Do speaking engagements, sit consultations, and then hopefully, off the back of that, the clients will want to work with me and I’ll want to work with them, so, ie doing the coaching session, so those three things. Since I’ve focused my business and my default diary and everything on just those three things, like everything else has clicked. Nothing else actually matters. First step in this, you know, first thing I do when I wake up every day is, right, when’s the speaking engagement happening today?
It’s one thing. I mean, I know there’s a book called The One Thing, but it’s just a simple one thing to focus on, and not getting bogged down in doing three tweets a day and doing a LinkedIn post and writing a blog article, and, “Oh, I’ve got to do this Facebook Live thing now.” Now I give myself a dozen things to do, and, damn, I forgot that email that this person sent inviting me to speak at an event. You’ve got to create priorities, otherwise, like, things just don’t happen.
Pieter: Yeah, I can see that. Where do you get your sort of guidance from? How do you make sure that your business is constantly getting better, and that, and sort of, because it’s almost, there’s always the joke about the plumber with the leaky taps.
Robin: What I have, I’m very, I’m like a coach whore. I have three coaches.
Robin: One is a life coach, so he helps me see the bigger picture and understand what my goals and aims are with my life. He also helps me look at the impact that my relationship with my business has on the relationship with my wife and children, because the two are inextricably linked. He kind of makes me think of just the bigger picture, and it’s incredibly empowering. My second coach is, they’re kind of just a, I suppose they’re like a, they are a traditional business coach, but he’s more of like just account, pure accountability.
I have a catch-up call every Wednesday, and it’s just a 15 minute call just to check in and make sure that kind of I’m on task with my weekly kind of goals, and then I also have a mentor, so somebody who’s lived, breathed, experienced, done what I want to do, and am doing, but they did it, you know, they’re 10 or 20 years older than me, so getting that first time experience and just a bit of a reality check, I suppose. No, but I think every business owner should have somebody to hold them to account, so, not, it doesn’t have to a business coach.
I see a lot of people go, “I can’t afford business coaches,” but like two business owners could get together and meet for coffee like once a week for half an hour, talk about their big wins, like things they’re doing in their business, challenges they’ve got, and then they just hold each other to account. They kind of talk about what their goals are for their businesses, what problems they’ve had with their clients. That’s free. I mean, well, not free, you’ve got to buy the coffee and the cake, but …
Pieter: I think that’s all right.
Robin: Yeah. Small price to pay, but just having somebody there to talk about your business, because again, like, running a business is hard, but it’s also very lonely. I used to spend days with my agency, you know, where for a while, where I was, when we first started out working from home, and then I didn’t realise til very early along life, I was just forming bad habits, because I was basically just on my own.
I had a business partner, but we both worked from our own homes, and we didn’t catch up enough, so very early on, I recognised that even with a, you need a business partner there, you need to have some accountability and just talk to somebody about your business, otherwise you just grind it out and you never really know why you’re doing what you’re doing and whether it’s right or not.
Pieter: Yeah, and you’re not able to get perspective or anything like that, in that situation. What’s your big focus at the moment? What are you working at or towards that’s your main thing?
Robin: My main focus, at the moment, is, so the coaching business is going really, really smoothly, and it’s growing how I want it to grow, so that’s kind of given me a bit of freedom to work on my second book. My second book is actually based on one of my earliest kind of coaching client case studies. There’s a golf pro which I helped to productize his service, and treble his prices, and now he’s doing some really awesome things, so I’ve actually chosen to write … My first book, Online Business Startup, was kind of just like a how-to book. It was very tactical.
This book’s actually like a first person narrative, so I’m the golf pro in this story, and then I meet this guy called David who is a business coach, and it’s really then just introducing people, through a narrative, to some of the core elements of my coaching programme, around sort of productization and how to price products, how to build a value proposition within your products, and how to package them up. That’s two thirds of the way through now, and I’m hoping it’s going to be, I’m self-publishing this one, so it’s going to be out in the next couple of months, with any luck.
Then also, I’ve got another book underway, which is, I launched my coaching programme as an e-learning course in April, and I’m actually in the process of, so once this second book’s done, I’ll repurpose all of the content from the Fearless Business e-learning programme into another book which is back to that sort of self-help how-to type book, basically, but that will be my whole coaching programme, is going into that book, nearly, because I, my underlying core value is just abundance.
I want to help 10,000 businesses to double their turnover in the next five years, so I can’t do that on a one by one basis, so my goal is just to create products which will help people to at least enable it, like to start the process, and then hopefully grow enough so that they can afford to then be coached, or take that next step up.
Pieter: I like that. I really like it. That’s great. You’ve mentioned your own books there. What are your …
Robin: Sorry about that.
Pieter: No, no. No, please, do. We’ll put links in the show notes as well. What three books would you recommend business owners and why?
Robin: Cool. Good question. I carry, there’s two of the books out of the three, I always carry in my bag, my rucksack, wherever I go. The first one is a book called Built to Sell by a guy called John Warrillow. I don’t know if you know that, but it’s a narrative, actually. It kind of inspired me to write my second book. Again, it’s about this guy, he kind of, like me, he’s been coasting and decides, he runs a design agency, and he then decides he wants to sell it, and realises that, his mentor then says, “The business is worth nothing, despite the fact you’ve been building it for 18 years.”
Then it goes through like a journey of how you can turn that business into something more profitable to exit. The second book is a book called Go for No, by Richard Fenton. It’s a really cool book, actually. I’m a big fan of stories, it’s another narrative, but this, Go for No is about, basically, it’s like a sales type manual. The idea is that, like, we have this quota, say for example if you wanted to get one client a week, you know, if that was your quota, and then you make that sale on a Monday, and then you just kind of, most people in this instance just put their feet up and think, “Well, job done. I’ve got my quota.”
The notion of going for no is that you still want to get your no quota, so you want to get as many no’s as you can, like even when you get your first, your one yes, you reach a quota, you carry on so that you always overstep your goals. It’s just a short book. It’s like probably an hour and a half to read it, if that, but really powerful message in it.
Then, finally, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, something which I’m working on at the moment, probably don’t have time to explain the full side of it during the podcast now, but there’s this notion that we’re service-based businesses that set up, or you can set them up a little bit like production lines, like manufacturing production lines, in terms of being able to identify bottlenecks and how the works tend to sit within the business, and what impact the people have when they maybe flip from one work to the next, number of other different things.
The Lean Startup really is, it has some elements of that, about, basically, how can we speed the production up of taking something to market? Imagine if you have an idea for a new product for your business. Eric Ries kind of basically talks about, rather than spending like 12 months perfecting it, what’s the leanest working version of that product you can launch in say a month, onboard some early adopters, so you’ve got a customer base when you launch it, and you’re also immediately eliciting feedback.
If you incrementally improve a product over the course of 12 months, rather than wait until you think it’s perfected, you build a client base. Well, imagine you build a product and perfect it over 12 months and launch it, like, you’re not going to have any customers, because you would spend ages perfecting it.
Pieter: It’s quite interesting. I’ve been very closely involved with the development of a software product. I have to say, I have no stake in it, and I’ve done no development on it, myself, but March last year, I was shown the early draught version of it, and got very excited about it, and it was released really quickly, unable to do a lot of the things that we wish it would do, but it just went out there, and now, just over a year later, it is absolutely incredible. It’s doing things that we could never, around a table, have come up with suggestions for functions and features.
Robin: Exactly. Do you know what, the beauty of that is like, you never know what somebody else is going to make of your product until you actually launch it. Clients, customers, are like, they’re all unique, but they’re also very creative problem, so they will creatively find ways of breaking your software, but that’s good from the lead principle so we can get in there and fix those issues.
Also, they’re very good at creatively coming up with ideas about, A, how you can use it and what other features they might want in order to maximise and leverage their time. That’s also, that’s a really good kind of working example of like the lead principles in action there.
Pieter: Yeah, and it’s fascinating for me. I mean, I had a call with the creator again this morning, and he showed me some stuff that they’re about to roll out that’s absolutely brilliant, and we always have these calls, because he shows me stuff, and I said, “Oh, and that means I can do this, this, and this with my client,” and then immediately, he’s got a perspective on it that he didn’t think about, but it then becomes another vein for the business that it can go down, and it’s the best way to do it, because three guys in a darkened room somewhere can never come up with all the good ideas.
Robin: No. Well, they may come up with the good ideas, but when they’re so invested in the project, again, they can, it’s like that working in your business and on it. They know how it works. They know all of the ins and outs because they built it, but that’s all they can see. They can’t see beyond that. Software testers are amazing people, because somehow they’re invested in the project and they’re able to find faults with it.
I would ask any business owner, and listening to a talk, actually, the other day, by couple of coaches, Matthew Kociela Fitzgerald, I don’t know if you know him, and Steven Haggerty. They came and spoke at a local event. Lovely guys, but Steven kind of posed a challenge to the guests at my, the networking event, which was, after this event, go away and write down a list of 60 to 100 problems in your business. Most people kind of got to like five, maybe 10, and then they were scratching their head.
He was like, like be granular about it, like, you know, what sort of problems do you say, like, are you always late? Do you run out of pens? Do you have one client who constantly calls you up like a quarter past five in the evening? Like, you know, list them all out, because, until you can find faults with your own business, like, again, you’re never going to get to the root cause and be able to fix them.
Pieter: I like that.
Robin: It’s the same with software.
Pieter: Cool. Well, thank you very much. You’ve been very generous with your time.
Robin: It’s a pleasure.
Pieter: It’s really good to catch up with you. Just before we go, where can people find you? How can they get in touch?
Robin: My website is robinwaite.com, so that’s R-O-B-I-N W-A-I-T-E.com, so there’s a bit of information about my coaching programmes on there. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Both handles are Robin M. Waite, and also, if anybody wants to jump on and ask me questions, the best place to go is onto Facebook search for Online Business Startup, and there’s an accountability group which I’ve set up there.
It’s got about 1,200 members now, and there’s some awesome coaches in there, too, so not just me. I kind of handpicked some really bright minds to be able to help people who are engaging in that group, so a number of different ways there.
Pieter: Brilliant. Well, we’ll link to all of that in the show notes. Thank you again, and hopefully we can catch up again sometime soon. Have a very, very awesome week.
Robin: Awesome. Thanks a lot, Peter. Really appreciate you inviting me onto the show. It’s been a lot of fun.
Pieter: No problem at all.
Pieter: All right.
Robin: Thank you.
Pieter: Thanks, Robin.
Author: Pieter K de Villiers
Pieter K de Villiers is slightly obsessed with systems. The systems and process automation he builds for small businesses are transformative, to say the least. Pieter is a Co-Founder of Barefoot Digital and the Amazon best-selling author of “Barefoot Business: 3 key systems to attract more leads, win more sales and delight more customers without your business killing you”.