The beginning of my business journey is the same as it is for many other business owners & entrepreneurs. I graduated as an engineer from university and got my first job as a junior engineer. But after a few months, I realised employment was just not for me. I could not be creative, my ideas were shut down, I was told when I could go to lunch, someone deciding if and when I can take a holiday, and no matter how hard I worked, I got paid the same amount each month. Being an employee was just not for me, and I quit. 

So at age 23, my friend Gary and I took an idea and started our first business in my father’s shed with just $800. I had massive plans and dreams, just like any other entrepreneur starting a new business. This business was going to give me freedom. I could work my own hours, be my own boss and not report to anyone. I could go on holiday whenever I wanted and not earn a fixed amount each month like an employee. I could get paid for what I was worth, get rich, retire and live a lifestyle of my choice.

Sound familiar?

These are the reasons most people go into business; to live a lifestyle of their choice and to have time and money freedom.

But sadly, as you probably know, only around 4% of all people who start out in business actually achieve their dreams and become financially free. The rest, the other 96%, well they either fail, give up or they build their business the wrong way. They strap everything to themselves and create a pressure chamber of stress and exhaustion they can’t escape from.

Building our 1st Successful Business

In my first business, my partner and I grew our little business from my father’s shed to a $12 Million successful business in 5 years. Here we are building our first little shop ourselves because we had no money.

Here you see some of the growth, our first superstore which we funded ourselves and then the opening of our second one a year after the first. So, looking from the outside, things looked great, and it looked like we were really set for life.

We won many prestigious awards, and we thought we had all the answers to achieving time and money freedom, but then we lost the lot, and I learned the single most important lesson in business:

The difference between being Self Employed & being a Business Owner

This was a $12 million mistake that changed my life forever. Our business was totally dependent on us running it. As we tried to fix the knowledge gaps ourselves, the business consumed us, and eventually, we burnt out and collapsed under the pressure and lost everything we had worked so hard for. We walked away with nothing. It was 5 years of our lives wiped out.

For me personally, it took 7 years to regain my confidence and give business another go. This time, however, I did things smarter.

I took all my painful lessons, figured out what was working, where did we go so wrong, how could I make things smarter and easier. How do I ensure I never fail again and most importantly, how do I build a business that is optimised, grows independently of me and becomes a valuable asset that sets me up for life – all the things my first business was supposed to have given me.

The 7 Steps of Turning your Small Business into a Success

I am a qualified engineer, so I love processes, systems and workflow efficiencies.  What I figured out was there are 7 steps I needed to follow in sequence to ensure I create a successful business.

I developed a business system where all of these steps clicked together. I called it the seven steps smart business system, applied it to a new business idea, and created a company valued at 3.5 million dollars in under 3 years.

My seven-step smart business system created an engine that added value to my business and did the work for me. This system ensured my business was designed from day one to give me time and money freedom. Since then, over the past twenty years, I have used this same system to build four more highly successful businesses in record time, and for the past twelve years, I have been a successful business coach and mentor, helping hundreds of other business owners build customised business engines that optimises their businesses, creates valuable assets and does the work for them.

Step 1- Optimise Your Mindset

When you speak to most people about business success, they will talk about sales and marketing strategies, growth strategies, negotiations, products and services, social media, all business-related stuff, but if you are not quite straight upstairs, you can be your own worst enemy. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are at business strategies.

We all have self-sabotaging traits, every one of us. No one is exempt. The people who think they have none are usually the ones who have the most and need the most help and self-development.

These self-sabotaging beliefs usually stem from our childhood. The way we are raised, the beliefs instilled in us as kids by our parents, church, teachers or relationships etc. And how we view the world affects how we go about building our business.

Common examples of this would be: you have issues with rich, successful people because you were raised to believe rich people are evil. Maybe you have low self-esteem and do not have a high value of your self-worth. Here you will have a tough time asking for the price you really want in a sale because deep down you don’t believe someone will actually pay you that amount.

Business is all about money flow, so if you have self-sabotaging money issues, you have a problem that needs to be fixed. You can see why building a mindset for success is critical for your business success. And as I mentioned, this has nothing to do with everyday business growth strategies.

Step 2 – Optimise Your Niche

Here’s a very common mistake people make in business. They try to sell their products and services to the wrong customers.

You can’t sell meat to a vegetarian. It doesn’t matter how fancy your sales pitch is; whether the cow has been blessed by the pope or how many times you practice your sales pitch. A vegetarian is not going to buy your meat. Rather spend your time finding meat lovers and sell to them. Stop wasting time and energy trying to sell to the wrong people.

So many businesses are taught to sell, sell, sell. The sales managers set daily sales call targets and then hound their teams to get on the phone and close sales and sell, sell, sell. How many people do you have to burn through each day to meet your targets?

This is just stupid. Think of what you are doing to your brand by pestering people to try and buy your products by pushing or forcing a sale. And how many salespeople really want to be on the phone all day pestering people and being told phone call after phone call to go to hell? 

So what should you be doing? The first step to optimising your business and building your business engine is to optimise your niche by targeting your real customers (not your ideal customers) – the customers who will buy from you the quickest and easiest.

Focus first on doing market research for your target market – your real customers. This will help you determine whether you are truly in a red hot niche or not. The hotter the niche, the more cash is flowing easily and the better your chances are of turning your business into a profitable and successful business.

How do you find your real customers, not your ideal customers and go straight to where the cash is flowing? There are three steps to do this. I cover these in-depth in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

Step 3 – Optimise Your Sales

I have been building businesses for twenty fives years. I have sat through dozens of sales trainings. It’s all the same stuff, just copied over and over. Here is what you are taught a sales cycle or model looks like. Find leads, connect, qualify, present, overcome objections, close the deal, nurture and whatever fuzzy terms they come up with.

These sales cycles are missing out on the most important pieces to sales success.

There are two secrets that every sales process needs to be successful in sales.

The first secret to becoming a master salesperson is what? Don’t sell. Let your customers buy.

Can you guess what the second critical missing ingredient in these everyday sales cycles is?

What happens when you are buying something from a salesperson? And this applies online on your website as well by the way.

When you first meet a salesperson, you immediately, subconsciously begin scanning for this one thing, and it has nothing to do with the product or service you intend to buy. Still, it dramatically influences your decision to either buy or not.

The answer is. Trust.

None of these sales cycles contain these 2 critical secrets. That is why most people in today’s world do not trust people selling to them. Most salespeople are trained to make as many sales as possible. This takes care of the sales person’s commission and the sales manager’s bonus.

But it does not take care of the customer.

A customer needs to trust you before they hand over their cash. If a customer does not trust you, the chances of them buying something from you is very slim.

You may have the best product and service, but if you do not establish trust with your customer, they will not be so quick to hand over their cash. They will most probably head over to the competition to see if they feel more comfortable with them.

Am I right? Of course, I am right. Just think about when you buy things. What is it really in the sales process that makes you convert from browser to buyer?

To optimise your sales, you need to do four things. I cover these 4 things in-depth in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

Step 4 – Optimise Your Marketing

When you try to talk to everyone, you connect with no one.

In my first business, we sold computers. However, communicating with families who wanted to buy a computer set up for their home and communicating with the IT manager of a corporation was very different.

These two types of clients were both clusters in my niche, but they required very different marketing to be effective.

Your niche is made up of clusters of clients. Out of all the clusters, one will buy from you the quickest and easiest. That cluster will also buy your top sellers (out of all your products and services).

That is why before you can optimise your marketing, you have to do step two, optimise your niche and step three optimise your sales. Only then are you ready to optimise your marketing.

Usually, when your sales or marketing is not going well in your business, there are three things wrong.

Your hook, your offer or your resonating message. And your resonating message is your marketing. So, how do you go about optimising your marketing?

The first thing you need to do is create your x-factor or your resonating message so you stand out in the crowd.  

You want to position your business in a red hot niche where the money is easily and naturally flowing. The hotter the competition, the more lucrative the niche. Why? Because businesses go to where the cash is flowing. If you have no competition, that means that niche is not lucrative as there is no money flowing. Make sense?

So, out of all this competition in your niche, you need to create your x-factor to stand out and become the business customers want to buy from.

How do you develop your x-factor and resonating message? I cover this in-depth in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

Step 5 – Optimise Your Efficiency & Quality of Life

Optimising your business is a very interesting topic.

Remember this. The real money is not in your products and services. It’s in your ability to leverage your time, energy and resource to sell your products or services. The best way to do this is through Joint Venturing. But you need time to create joint ventures. The more inefficient your business is, the less time you have.

Why? Because you are so busy chasing your tail. You are doing all the work, not your business.

There are four ways to become more efficient in your business.

1) Stop trading time for money.

2) Create an unlimited earning structure.

3) Systemise your business.

4) Use Joint Ventures to grow your business independently of you.

And what happens when you do this? You create a business engine that does the work for you, your business grows independently of you and you build a valuable asset with less stress, in less hours with more freedom.

And this, of course, leads to a greater quality of life and peace of mind. I cover all 4 of these steps in-depth in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

Step 6 – Optimise Your Team

Your chain is only as strong as your weakest link. Now I know it’s very common for business owners & managers to blame staff when things go wrong but shouting and screaming at staff usually does not help fix the problem. If anything, it makes the situation worse.

Managing, motivating and getting staff to operate at peak performance is a challenge. We all know this. It is no good promising the world to your customers, and your staff don’t deliver. This happens every day.

Every leader and business owner knows that employing staff is usually their biggest overhead and managing staff is the most stressful part of running a business.

One staff member equals a headache. Sixty-five staff, which I had in my first business, was a death bed. I know, I have been there so let me share with you what tactics I have learnt over the last twenty-five years that are practical and have helped me develop an effective management structure to help build a dynamic and motivated team culture.

1) Ensure your staff understand how they contribute to the bigger picture.

When an employee is engaged and made to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, it produces a sense of value and belonging. They in turn perform better and produce more favourable results compared to an employee who simply has a task and a manager looking over their shoulder.

2) Structure first, staff second.

Don’t bend your business to fit a staff member’s tantrums, tempers, demands, personality or what they are good or not good at. Many business owners do this. They create a structure to fit their staff in. That is a disaster. What happens when that staff member leaves? You suddenly have a huge crack in your business structure.

Every position should have a set of responsibilities to optimise the performance of that position. You then find the right staff to fill these positions, not any staff member, the right staff member.

3) Don’t be held to ransom

Many business owners are held to ransom by staff members. They live in fear that staff members will leave and then what will they do. And so they pander to staff demands to the detriment of the business. If you are clear on the position and responsibilities of a role, you will find the right person and so, therefore, you do not have to be held to ransom.

There are actually eight tips. These are the first three. If you would like to learn about the remaining few, join me in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

Step 7 – Optimise Your Wealth

When I first started out in business, I didn’t even know the concept of building a business to create wealth existed.

When Gary and I started out, we charged full throttle to the wall to try and make profits. This was how we thought we were going to get rich. We had no idea we should be building a valuable asset from our business to create wealth as well as profits.

And this is how most businesses operate.

They work to make profits today, not to create wealth for their future. They don’t do tasks in their business to set themselves up for the future. They do tasks to get themselves through the day.

What I discovered over the years was that just like me in my earlier business days, many established business owners and fledgling entrepreneurs just starting a business were not aware of this concept.

The difference between being Self Employed and being a Business Owner.

Most business owners are Self Employed. They exchange time for money. These businesses, therefore, hold very little value because the businesses are dependant on the owners running them. In contrast, the Business Owners’ businesses were not dependant on them. Their systems ran their businesses, generating profits consistently. These businesses, therefore, hold significantly greater values.

There are 3 stages of building your business:

1) Doing

All businesses start like this. You need to prove your concept works.

2) Managing

You are now growing. Implement systems and workflow processes. Put your management team in place with accountability, controls, targets, budgets and KPI’s.

3) Owning

Your business is now an engine that runs itself and is now an investment that grows in value, independent of you.

Want to see real-life case studies of this step in action? Would you like to learn how you can create wealth and value in your business?

Join me in my FREE online business training workshop – 7 Steps: Build a Smart Business Engine to Give you Time and Money Freedom.

There you go, the seven steps, broken down for you to build a smart business to give you time and money freedom. Applying the above steps in order will help you avoid the same costly mistakes I did.

I wish you all the best on your journey.

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