Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation…Stephen Woessner here.
We all know that building and scaling a business is hard work…but when you have the right strategy — the right recipe for success to follow — the action steps become more like “ingredients” and can be added systematically into your business — one ingredient at a time.
After 20+ years of owning five companies, and having an opportunity to work with and interview some of today’s top business owners here on Onward Nation, I’ve noticed 12 reoccurring themes – or master success strategies — that come up over and over again because they have contributed to the success of our amazing and incredible guests at Onward Nation.
During today’s solocast, I am going to share the 5 of the 12 strategies with you. Unfortunately, I cannot cover all 12 due to time constraints — but — we created a free eBook to go along with today’s episode that covers all 12 strategies and how to apply them right away. You can download the 12 Success Strategies eBook here.
Some of the strategies are simple and will only take a minute or two to cover, which also makes them pretty easy to put into practice inside your business.
And there are several strategies that will require a long explanation. But I will guide you through the step-by-step to putting each strategy into practice.
I decided to dedicate today’s solocast to these Success Strategies because during each episode of Onward Nation — our guests share lessons with you on how to make your business more systematic, repeatable, measurable – and successful!
But, as Onward Nation has grown and enjoyed some success — and thank you for listening and being part of the ever-growing nation — the amount of data and recommendations is starting to grow rapidly. The eBook represents a distillation of some of the best strategies shared by our incredible guests — from episode 1 to episode 92.
So let me know what you think of this solocast — please download the 12 Success Strategies eBook — and drop me a line.
I recognize that getting better is a process. As Vince Lombardi said,
“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
So I would greatly appreciate your feedback — thumbs up or thumbs down. Your feedback helps us get better every day so please keep it coming.
Okay, Onward Nation…here we go…the 5 Success Strategies of Today’s Top Business Owners.
Strategy #1: Fire the Destructive Customer
Way back in episode #1, Scott McKain shocked me when he said,
“Stephen, a business owner will find success if they are willing to fire the ‘destructive customer’.”
Which if you have studied Scott’s books and curriculum — you know this is a rather counterintuitive thing for him to say. Scott is all about exceeding a customer’s expectations — creating that distinctive experience so customers are compelled to come back instead of visiting your competition.
So firing a customer — where did that come from?
Scott when on to explain to me that destructive customers want to buy products or services outside of your company’s core offering. And they push you to deliver.
Destructive customers are demanding and time-consuming.
Oftentimes, this becomes detrimental to your company’s ability to serve other customers because you are spending so much time trying to satisfy one set of needs.
And when he said that…I thought… “Oohhhh. Darn it. Been there. Scott is so right.”
But Scott took it deeper by also sharing how each of us can protect or business from The Destructive Customer.
According to Scott…most business owners aren’t willing to say “no” to a destructive customer.
Because the fear of losing those sales is a near and present danger to cash flow. And by the way Onward Nation…the fear of losing sales is the Fear of Poverty creeping back in. If you are listening for the first time, the Fear of Poverty is one of the 6 fears we all struggle with from time to time — sometimes consistently — throughout our business and life.
All 6 Fears are documented and explained in depth by Napoleon Hill in his groundbreaking book, Think & Grow Rich, published in 1937 and still just a relevant today. I also do a deep dive into the Fear of Poverty in episode 65 of Onward Nation.
So how do we protect ourselves?
You as the business owner have to be bold and courageous enough to go an “Inch wide and a mile deep” with your company’s expertise instead of trying to be everything to everyone.
Developing deep expertise will give you the ability to command a premium price for what you do at your company – and in the process – you will attract the right customers.
And then you will be better equipped to say no to the destructive customer because you will no longer be in a position of need to take on whatever business you can get.
Strategy #2: Become a Master Storyteller
Business owners will find success if they become master storytellers through mentorship…and that is another powerful lesson I learned from one of my mentors, Don Yaeger.
You hear me talk about Don and his influence on nearly every episode of Onward Nation. And Don is the one who said during episode #2,
“Stephen, the reality is…whoever tells the best story wins.”
Onward Nation, learning the principles of storytelling will help you clearly articulate your journey to yourself, to your employees, to customers, and to all of the stakeholders in your business.
Mentorship is an invaluable asset that directly correlates and strengthens your ability to storytell because of the experience sharing and growth you will go through when you find the right mentor.
ROADBLOCK…don’t get stuck in the mental trap of thinking you need to find mentors exclusively from within your industry.
One of my closest and most trusted advisors at Predictive ROI is John Lyche — and he does not come from the digital marketing space. He has built a career in excellent in manufacturing, distribution, and product innovation.
And he is an expert in scaling a small company into a large company.
Oh, awesome — I want to learn those things…and he has been an incredible mentor and teacher. Because the lessons of how to scale effectively transcend industry — so don’t make the mistake — don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your business — your industry is so unique and different and no one outside of it could offer valuable insights.
And that is why Don shared that oftentimes the most enlightening lessons are learned from those who can offer you a completely different perspective.
So how do you find the right mentor? Here’s a quick checklist.
- Think about your own talents and the skills you would like to strengthen – areas of your business you would like to improve, etc.
- This process will help you identify the person you need to become to take your business to the next level.
- This is really hard because you have to take a critical look at yourself. Most people are not willing to get honest with themselves and that is one of the major reasons they never grow.
- Once you have the list — look for people who are crushing it in these areas. The same areas where you need to grow.
- Contact those people. Invite them to lunch. Let them know you are packed full of questions for them. Be very prepared — and they will love the fact you took the time with them seriously enough to do your homework.
- Interview them and put what they share with you into practice.
- Turn it into a blog post and your clients will love you for it because you just shared some critical insights with them, too.
- Then loop back to your mentors and share your success.
- When you do, they will invite you to sit down so they can share more with you.
- Soak it all up — then put more of it into practice.
Remember Onward Nation…a good mentee takes action on what is learned!
Strategy #3: Eat Rejection for Lunch
So many of our Onward Nation guests have this strategy in common.
The reality is Onward Nation, we will find success by eating rejection for lunch and ignoring the naysayers. Ignore the doubters. Ignore the people who say you’re not good enough — that you can’t do it — that you don’t have the pedigree, the education, the background to get it done.
My grandfather immigrated to this country from Istanbul, Turkey in 1920…couldn’t speak the language and he had $10 in his pocket. He cut lettuce and washed dishes on the night shift at a Canton, Ohio restaurant…gritted it out…then moved to the day shift as a cook so he could make more money. And in 6 years…he had saved enough money to open his own restaurant…that he ran for over 40 years…including running the business through the Great Depression.
Onward Nation…you have to refuse to take “NO” for an answer — you have to break through the fears, doubts, worries, struggles – those pits in your stomach.
And as Stacey Alcorn shared with us in episode #3….she said…
“Stephen, when you feel that fear and doubt are creeping in – let them be your signs – that you are headed in the right direction – and it is time to slam the gas down on the floor!”
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “Fear and procrastination are the enemies of success”.
My cousin, Dean Bacopoulos shared that with me when he and I were partners in a dot com together back in the late nineties. And I never forgot it. I have it now framed in my office as a constant reminder to the great wisdom in those words.
So how do we break through the fear of rejection?
Here are three simple steps.
Step #1: Refuse to accept “NO” as an answer.
Step #2: See step 1. Rinse and repeat.
Breaking through the initial stage of dismay will allow you to pursue your biggest dreams.
Success, Onward Nation, will come to those who refuse to accept “NO” as an answer.
You will overcome your apprehension and gain the freedom to decide that NOW is your time — it’s time to take action toward your dreams.
It’s not rocket science. The only way to truly ensure success is to “work your face off”. As Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say.
There are no shortcuts. This is not an easy way to conquer and achieve your biggest goals. It takes persistence and tenacity.
Success takes GRIT, Onward Nation.
Surround yourself with mentors, books, training resources, and trusted networks will be invaluable to getting the feedback you need to grow your business.
Owning a business is not always pretty — but everyone has to start somewhere – so don’t compare yourself to others who have been doing it longer than you.
In the interest of time…I’m going to fast forward to Strategy #9: Good Execution Ensures Success.
[Remember…we will email you the entire eBook that has all 12 Success Strategies. You can request it here.]
Steve Olson, our guest on episode 15 said to me, “Good execution ensures success. Plain and simple.”
A simple but very powerful lesson.
Onward Nation…you can read all the books, craft an incredibly detailed business plan, and put all of the pieces into place for that product launch…but unless you execute and do the good work…you will not be successful.
Jerry Rice, the hall of fame NFL wide receiver famously said…
“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”
And yes to say, it’s all about commitment to sound cliche — but it is the truth.
So should we approach this — what are the tactical steps to ensure success? Here are four to put into practice right away?
- Seek out advisors who are specialized and can help support the development of the most vital functions in your company.
- Continually evaluate your business plan because conditions are changing in our rapidly evolving business environment.
- Take rapid action, find a way to get results, and be able to learn from the mistakes.
- Ask your clients how to improve a product because they know best.
Remember, your success depends upon your ability to convert the recommendations from your advisors, and the strategies you develop, into actionable items.
Strategy #12: Build Your Network
Both Stacey and Nancy shared how business owners can and will find success by building their network of personal relationships — and — by being strategic about who you meet and who you spend your time with.
During my interview with Nancy…she shared a very powerful story about how when her agency, Nancy Marshall Communications had lost a key account, it was her network that pulled her through those dark times. And now that once lost client — is back at her agency — and business is better than ever. But without a strong network in place — the temporary loss could have been devastating.
So how should we go about building a network?
Pay close attention to the little details, show gratitude, and make sure to nurture your relationships over time.
Focus on clients, vendors, and most importantly family.
Keep a gratitude journal to remain consistent with your relationship building.
Plan strategically, identify your goals, and then measure your success along the way and then follow the interview and publish the recipe that Stacey Alcorn mapped out for you in episode 3. Put that into practice and you will see your network, your platform, and your influence grow…nearly exponentially.
Okay, Onward Nation – I hope this solocast was valuable to you.
Please drop me a line and let me know what you thought. You can share your comments at the bottom of the show notes for this episode – or – you can email me anytime at Stephen @ onwardnation.com and yes – that is my actual email address – comes directly to me – no fancy filter, routing, or sorting…comes right to my Inbox.
Feel free to use it anytime.
Let me know…thumbs up or thumbs down?
I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Mitch Matthews — and oh my word — it is a conversation you don’t want to miss.
Until then…onward with gusto!