Category Archives: Business development

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entrepreneurial focus

Entrepreneurial Focus | Where to focus as an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Focus

We all need to improve entrepreneurial focus in our journey to success. What many people struggle with is what to focus on. In this short post I want to share with you what I believe the most important thing an entrepreneur/CEO should be doing to improve their entrepreneurial focus.

Often times as a CEO or entrepreneur attempting to define your entrepreneurial focus, you cannot help but feel somewhat like a circus juggler. That is probably the first hint that you need to divest yourself of managerial duties that you should really not be burdened with.

Where To Focus As An Entrepreneur

Aside from being a good all round multi-tasker, many entrepreneurs at some point learn to focus a little less on specific problems and look at the overall picture.

As a manager, we are often tasked with a specific problem and focussing on the solution is the only way to really conclude the task at hand.

entrepreneurial focusAs an entrepreneur, that focus can actually slow the boat.

The truth then lies in the fact we should not focus on one specific area but on the overall business. The CEO has one objective – to improve shareholder value. For that reason, if we are mired in managerial duties and focussed solely on one or two areas of the business, we will fail to achieve the desired outcome.

Think of it like a 3D Stereogram. Focus on them and you will see nothing but clutter and “noise”. Often that is the case for a modern entrepreneur; however, learning to de-focus your vision allows you to see the solution.

As a consultant in business I have the privilege of being able to hover about 20,000’ over the problem. While nothing may be in clear focus, the challenges become very clear in most instances.

For a CEO or Entrepreneur honing in on their entrepreneurial focus, learning to step away from the business and fly over it, can help greatly in finding efficiency. Getting the high altitude overview of the operation is often an art rather than a science but once mastered, the ship can be steered much more easily.

In a rapid changing economy and a business that often has many moving parts, the ability to use peripheral vision to see opportunity or challenges is critical.

Like a good marksman on a rifle, while one eye is keenly focussed on the target, the other remains vigilant (and open) to keep an overall picture of the surrounding territory. Just like the marksman or sniper, we need to be feeding the overall image of our business to our brain in order to make the most sound decisions.


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TITAN Arctic Challenge – My Five Lessons To Get to Where You Want To

The TITAN Arctic Challenge

This past week on the TITAN Arctic Challenge I had the opportunity to drive the ice roads to our most northern community that you can drive to in Canada – Tuktoyaktuk.

It was a journey fraught with danger, cold weather, unpredictability and frankly, a lot of miles.

Titan Arctic ChallengeWe departed southern Canada in mid May knowing that we had several thousand kilometres to get under our belts quickly in order to be one of the last groups to ever drive the ice roads to Tuktoyaktuk, a remote Inuit hunting and fishing village in the far northern reaches of Canada.

The project, TITAN Arctic Challenge was in actual fact a driving project with Nissan. Promoting the hashtag #TITANarcticchallenge was going to keep their social media department happy and we were to put two Nissan Titan XD trucks through their paces on the way north to prove they had what it takes to compete with the North American truck market.

So off we want with all my pre-conceived notions of what the journey would be like – long, boring and flat. I thought I knew where I was going. How wrong I was!

Our first real port of call was the northern BC community of Terrace. It was really a service community for other smaller towns and villages in a remote northwestern corner of BC. Again, I had never been and I assumed Terrace was too remote for many people to want to live in and had a couple of nice mountains. Other than that I wondered why people would live there.

Getting to where you want toHow wrong I was!

The approach to Terrace through the smaller community of Smithers in the Bulkley valley and then the Skeena River valley was astounding. Towering coastal mountains shimmered in the evening alpenglow as we drove in to what was in fact a bustling community.

I met with a friend who had moved back to what was her home town. She was enjoying spending time in the community again and shared a story with me that amazed me. Her grandfather was the first person to build a home there. He returned from the Gold Rush in the Yukon and looked down on a valley that had enough lumber to build a few homes and founded what we know today was Terrace. Now I had known this person for ten years but never knew that story.

For the second phase of the TITAN Arctic Challenge, we pressed on through remote and wild, rugged mountains, north in to the Yukon. Our initial destination – Dawson City, the gold rush town itself. I immediately fell in love with Dawson, a charming, eclectic city that oozed pioneer living, individuality and freedom from a system that binds most people. The community here was just different – and that was OK by me. We only stayed for an evening but vowed to return.

Next on the agenda was the Dempster Highway – which I had researched on YouTube and knew to be flat and boring. A long arduous 700km drive from Dawson City to Inuvik. How wrong I was!

dempster highwayThe Dempster highway winds it’s way through the most stunning and beautiful mountain range I Have ever had the privilege of seeing. The Richardson Range is often confused with the Rockies but is really a sub-range of an Alaskan formation. In the arctic circle the permafrost ensures that the snow is maintained from the bottom of the valleys to the top of the peaks and so we were treated to approximately three hours of the most stunning white scenery you could ever imagine. My jaw was on the ground for the whole trip, dreaming of climbing, hiking and skiing trips in this extremely remote corner of the world.

We were now in to the final phase of the TITAN Arctic Challenge.

Arctic CircleNext up, Inuvik and the ice road to Tuk as it is affectionately known.

I knew all about that – or so I thought. 170kms of ice on the Beaufort Sea that would be exciting but featureless and we would end up in Tuktoyaktuk with 800 people who probably did not want to see us there. How wrong I was!

Our first spectators as we stepped on to the ice with the trucks was a pair of foxes sunning themselves on the northern bank of the road, simply watching vehicles pass them by. Driving up the McKenzie river we passed abandoned camps that had been used and were being restored for Caribou hunting. The ice retained a mesmerizing sea green colour as the sun on occasion lit up the bottom of the river bed for us. The road was busy but dull it was not.

On this day, the Arctic Ultra was running. A collection of hardy adventurers from around the world were trying their hand at running 350 miles in arctic conditions. The handful of tired runners that were still pushing to the finish in Tuk dotted the road as we cheered them on.

Just as I was beginning to wonder if we were lost or would ever get to Tuk a small cluster of coloured roofs appeared on the horizon. Prior to that, even standing on the roof of the truck all you could see was a white blanket of snow on the Beaufort Sea. We were about to reach the ultimate destination of the TITAN Arctic Challenge.

On arrival in Tuk, we were greeted by a few young children and their dog. The hamlet, primarily Inuit is focused on hunting Beluga Whales and Caribou. It was an immensely friendly community with people stopping us and asking if we needed any help. They proudly told us to tour an igloo which one of the local pastors had built for visitors to the town. In all, we were there for a about three hours, driving around, talking to a few people and exploring the remnants of a long gone oil and gas boom in the region.

Tuktoyaktuk ice roadsI was completely surprised by the nature of this remote community. The destination was extremely special for me. I am not sure I would ever have a reason to visit Tuktoyaktuk again but I have a wonderful memory of being one of the last people ever to drive across the Arctic Ocean!

The TITAN Arctic Challenge truly was a big eye opener for me.

So you are probably wondering what my five lessons are for getting to where you want to go!

My Five Lessons On Getting To Where You Want To

Some of the points I learned on the TITAN Arctic Challenge are here, in no particular order:

1. Two degrees of separation In business there is a saying that it is all about who you know not what you know. The truth is, many of us spend so much time talking, we forget to listen. The art of conversation is cleverly crafted around asking someone questions about themselves and letting them answer. If I had done that with my friend I would have known sooner about her family history. In business the more you know about the people in your circle of influence the easier it is to get an answer to a question you may have. This of course would allow you to move closer to your chosen destination.

2. Don’t confuse the journey with the destination Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the destination we pay less attention to the journey. It is important to keep our eyes on the prize but frankly it is the journey where we learn and grow the most as leaders. I truly had no clue about the scenery we would be driving through even though I had done some research. In fact, all the team members were in the same position. We were in awe at the scenery as we drove north to Tuktoyaktuk.

3. Sometimes, you are just wrong! Lets face it we can’t be right all of the time. Being wrong simply presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Several times on this trip I was wrong in the planning phases and with my assumptions. While it was not critical on this trip in business making a wrong decision can be critical. The important thing is that you learn and adapt. You must learn to change a bad decision quickly. You own it, you made it, admit the mistake and fix it before it impedes your journey too much.

4. Give it 100% While this is obvious, it is probably the biggest reason for failure. So many business people are indecisive leaders. From #3 you can see that mistakes if corrected are not a problem – they are part of business. Being indecisive is a problem. If you do not commit to the plan 100% then you will fail. It is your plan – you had best be the biggest salesperson of that plan. The extreme example is the military. When an Officer prepares his or her orders and presents them to their leaders, they had better believe in their plan 100% or nobody will follow them in to battle with confidence. Likewise in business, your financiers, investors and subordinates will not be inclined to follow your lead.

5. Believe in good things When we initially left our homes, the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk was closed. We left in total confidence, believing in our plan and believing that the roads would be open. As we ventured further north the ice road did in fact open, however the Dempster Highway closed due to Blizzards. We left Dawson City for the Dempster at the same time it was closed. We did however believe it was going to open. By the time we arrived at the gas station by the snow gates there was a big line up of traffic. We sat down had lunch and by the time we finished the gates had opened and we were on our way. Would the gates have opened if we did not believe in good things? Of course they would, be would not have been there because we would have believed that leaving while the gates were closed was foolish!


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Top Three Sales Tips | What we can learn from Internet Marketers

Everybody has an opinion on the Top Three Sales Tips but I want to show you from a different perspective.

Many years ago I was accepted as a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management. It was and still is a huge honour. As a young teenager I had started a company, built some success and studied a lot about sales and marketing. As a result I was recognized for that success at a young age.

Several months ago I decided to check out a few new cars in my home town. In the past I had done the same and was disappointed generally in the sales prowess of the employees. On this morning, with my wife I visited about 5 car dealerships.

top three sales tipsThe first one was around 9:30am so not too early. I was looking for a particular car and hoping to speak to a salesman. We walked in to the showroom browsed around a few floor models waiting for someone to acknowledge us. There was certainly a lot of busyness… around the coffee machine. In fact three staff were chatting to each other and completely ignoring us. Perhaps they were discussing their own top three sales tips! We loitered in the showroom for a few more minutes without a single person acknowledging our presence. I suggested to my wife that we try walking around the lot outside and see if someone realized we were a potential buyer… nope. A few more dealerships led to the same or similar results.

So we left to the next. Out of all the dealerships, including one of the highest end dealers in town, we only had one meaningful conversation. As a rally driver, I really wanted to take a look at one particular car. It is a real competitor for the Subaru WRX/STi. Thanks to the salesman this time, my contact details were collected, I was promised that I would be called for a test drive. This guy at least knew one of the top three sales tips and kudos to the dealer for some staff training, but that actually was the second time I had tried to take an up close look at the car, with no follow up. Not a single person has called me to pre-qualify me or ask why I would be interested. I certainly have never been called to take a look at one. You might think a guy who has a won a couple of rally championships would be a good client to get on the books…

So what can we learn from the Internet Marketing world and how does it even relate?

Last year my business partner and I formed a partnership with several leading players in the Internet marketing industry. It is a business that is renowned for selling information as opposed to products. Two of the partners alone had sold $70MM last year on the internet. My guess is that they did not do that by hanging around a coffee machine. Well, perhaps, to a certain extent they did because they work from home!

So here are my top three sales tips

Here are the three things that stand out to me that a few car dealerships in town could learn from:

1. They entice me to leave my contact details. You see, these guys know their numbers inside out. They know exactly how much money it costs them to get a visitor to their web page and they want to maximize their return. So, they make it easy for me, if you leave your email address here, I will give you my information. So a car salesman could ask if “I forward you an electronic copy of our brochure?” Bingo, he has a clients email address. One dealership last year even told me to go to their website to download the brochure, which did not require me to leave an email address… So for goodness sake, if you have a business that people walk in to, land on a webpage or otherwise connect with you, do something to get a name and contact.

2. They build a relationship with me. Internet Marketers actually know that they have little time to build credibility. I may have landed on their website but I don’t know who they are. So in a matter of a few weeks, they give me advice, for free. They let me know what success they have had in the past and they build a relationship with me. It might seem like a crazy idea, but if one salesperson at the first dealership and had said good morning to me, they might have closed a sale. just by saying good morning… So if I were in the car sales business and I was smart enough to get a clients contact details and knew they were looking for a particular car, I may in fact send over some independent reviews of the car, perhaps some video links. I might even send over some recent client testimonials. I would attempt to develop a relationship with a new client.

3. They follow up with me and start to sell me benefits. Internet Marketers are very astute sales people. While the car industry brags about features, the internet marketing world talks about benefits. For example rather than telling me that a car has air conditioning, perhaps ask me if I would be interested in having a car that kept me more energized for business meetings in the summer months so that I could close more business deals, have a more successful business myself and enjoy the increased success, because the car has a superior air conditioning system designed for busy people like me!

Perhaps if I had some downtime in the car sales business, rather than chat around the coffee machine I would study the art of selling a little more keep a head up for new clients walking in the showroom. I would perhaps look for an article that disclosed the top three sales tips so that I could improve in my profession.

If you are interested in sales training for your sales team, feel free to send me an email at bookings@markjenningsbates.com


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Living the dream

Living the dream | Leadership Training

Many people say to me “You are living the dream”, do you provide leadership training?. For sure, I get to participate in a lot of different activities and businesses and because of that, I am always on the go.

Part of the reason people perceive I am living the dream, is because of the fact that I am always on the go. I keep my plate full. In fact, my business partner does too!

Even though we work together we often have to question what continent we are on in the coming week to coordinate various schedules.

For that reason we have decided to create a Leadership Training program to help people reach their biggest goals in life.

Leadership Training

For many people Leadership training is an expensive undertaking and sure enough if you are one of our fortunate One on One coaching client, there are typical commercial fees. But we have a variety of programs to help you.

If you register at http://introducingsuccess.com you will immediately get access to three very powerful training modules. They will give you a brief introduction to what we have done in the past.

If you join our Inner Circle, you will be part of our bi-weekly training webinars where you will hear the most current business development viewpoints and get a chance to put us on the spot. Find out more about our Inner Circle by registering at IntroducingSuccess.com

Finally, if you want a chance to be considered for a one on one business development coaching program, please fill contact us to be considered for an interview through our office.

Our bottom line is no different than yours. We are in business to “do business” but in the process if we can add some tangible value to your life or business, it would be our absolute privilege.

Feel free to connect with us, or reach out to me personally to find out more information.

 

 


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Innovation Management – 5 ways to energise your organisation

Innovation Management Tips

When I was a student, I remember working for a year in industry during my tertiary education. At one point I received a lesson in Innovation Management.

I was working with a gentleman called Eric Stonebank, a VP with Cherverton & Laidler in the printing and packaging industry in the UK. Eric had asked me to go into the plant and research some information to allow them to make changes in some processes that would increase efficiency.

I remember chatting to a few of the guys on the presses and asking about some pretty direct questions about how they were doing certain jobs. Between my age and foolhardy line of questioning, something was lost in translation.

Then Eric decided to give me a lesson in Innovation Management. In a fraction of the time, he was getting all the answers he needed and more in a casual conversation.

What was I missing? Eric had learned to speak their language and could phrase a question very differently to me with my lack of experience. If he failed to get the answer he was looking for he would ask again slightly differently.

innovation managementIn a way, he managed to get the employees themselves to be excited about future potential innovation.

What can we learn in our organisations to help progress our business and production practices?

Let me give you my five tips to improve innovation management that I have learned through business and adventure:

  1. Follow Eric’s advice. Ask questions differently. Phrase the question to let the employee know they are a partner in the process.
  2. Listen intently to their answer. Engage with them in what they believe is an idea that can help you and answer your question.
  3. Don’t be afraid to copy from a peer/competitor. The rest of your company may be in great shape and just needs a tune up – someone else may have just what you need. Innovation can be a little like music. In a scale there are only twelve notes which limits our ability to create a unique phrase (string of notes) because somebody has probably put them together in that order before. Innovation has more to do with a “basket of good ideas” used together in the right recipe than it does a singular good idea.
  4. Take innovation seriously – make time for innovation. The tech industry is notorious for beer and pizza sessions where staff take time out to innovate and create a new idea/theme/game.
  5. Communicate better. Learn to transmit and receive information in a way that benefits a culture of innovation. Innovation can come from employees, managers, clients, suppliers and competitors. Have a plan to talk more openly to those sources. One big question I have always asked my staff to ask in our businesses is “What is the one thing I could have done that would have made your experience even better”? Try it…

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ethics in business

Ethics in business – would Artificial Intelligence score higher?

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Are we challenged with ethics in business today?ethics in business

When it comes to ethics in business I always remember a talk I was at with John Maxwell, famed leadership guru.

John was teaching a group of us in the Portland, Oregon area. It was shortly after some scandals where piles of garbage were found under the corner of someones proverbial rug.

Interestingly it was prior to the toxic mortgage bundles that were sold to banks with little due diligence or conscience.

At the time I remember thinking that the devolution of ethics corresponded to the evolution of self-help books. The more we focus on ourselves, the less we seem to focus on the community we are a part of.

In the immediate pre and post WWII era, the focus was on nothing but community. More recently as the trend towards “entitlement” evolves we see an overwhelmingly tendency to put self before service, the opposite of the famous Rotary “creed” and certainly at opposition with community values of the early and mid 20th century.

So what are ethics in business

According to John Maxwell at that talk, there are none.

It was a shocking statement – and it was delivered exactly in the way he wanted. In fact, if I recall correctly his statement about ethics in business was delivered to a high powered US journalist who was writing about ethics in business.

The journalists question in reality was “What are business ethics?”

John’s reply as I stated was “there are none… there are just ethics. No group gets to choose ethics or create a separate list of ethics, there are simply ethics”.

I guess the world has not been listening, because several years later we lived through an enormous financial collapse around the globe.

On a smaller scale in relation to ethics in business, I keep running in to people who had invested locally in a business. They are coming to me with similar stories and it always goes back to the same couple who have raised money for and run a business very unethically and have negatively impacted the lives of many people.

So, together with Andre Voskuil, I have decided to start running webinars and training sessions on how to evaluate a private business investment. In every case, literally ten minutes online or ten minutes with the business plan should have revealed that what my friends looked at was not viable. The challenge was simply that they did not know what they were looking for!

Time to bring an end to that!

If you are interested in finding out more about the coaching we will be offering, sign up below and get a free copy of Andre’s book – The Only Business Book You Will Ever Need

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Distractions to success – My five tips to stay on task

How to simply avoid Distractions to Success

Distractions to Success are something that at one time or another we all fall foul of. They are like little white lies. No such thing exists. We try and rationalise our bad habits like texting or abundant amounts of time on social media as if they were acceptably non-productive – but in truth it is an oxymoron.

As streamlined as we think we have made our lives, it appears to me as though we have just jammed in more tasks to the already limited time we have.

As I speak to audiences about productivity and time management it becomes clear we don’t distractions to successneed time management practices so much as a clear focus on what tasks we need to achieve.

What ever way you cut it, the jobs which really need to be completed will always rise to the top of our list, but often at the wrong time… just as you realize you don’t have enough time to complete them.

So how do we avoid distractions to success?

In a sense it is simple. We need to shake the jar and see what rises to the top.

You have probably heard the analogy about how many rocks can you get in a jar?

The story goes like this…

Add some big rocks until the jar is full. That is then all you can add right.

No because you can add some pebbles in the cracks and fill the jar. Then it is full right?

No, because we can add sand and really fill the jar.

Wow, now we have a lot of stuff in that jar.

That, my friends is how we go so busy. That annoying analogy of how we cram our workday is what has lead to a chronic and systemic distraction to success.

Something the size of a grain of sand can stop us, and does, from focussing on the real task at hand.

But how do I find the big rocks?

If you have been to a town in Western Australia called Kalgoorlie, you will know that despite all of the massive amounts of underground mining, some of the biggest nuggets of gold are found where? Right at the surface. Right under our noses.

The problem is that we are so focussed on moving sand that we forget to look on the surface. We get too deep in to the administrivia and distractions we let the world throw our way.

Sorting out the important from the distractions can be as simple as shaking the jar.

Technically, it is a process called granular convection.

You see if we put all of those mixed sizes of rock in one jar and shake it, the big stuff rises to the top. Right where we need it to be.

So you need to get used to shaking your day up a little.

In a productive world we give 20% of our time to the important tasks. That is it. Pareto’s principle in effect right there.

So what if we were to reverse the principle and give our important tasks 80% of our time… wow, what a concept.

It is possible, and it has little to do with time management. It has a lot to do with focus.

How to avoid working in the sandbox.

We encounter numerous distractions to success because we have a habit of focussing on a grain of sand more easily than the critical task.

Those grains of sand could be:

Email

Social Media

Coffee meetings

List writing

Texting

Meetings

But to be truly productive we need to isolate the most critical tasks – the big rocks.

A friend of mine calls them the MIT’s, (Most Important Tasks).

He gave up writing exhaustive lists of tasks that never were completed and led to guilt and frustration, in favour of writing a list of five MIT’s. It is kind of like the big rock analogy. The typical task list includes the grains of sand – the stuff we truly don’t need to worry about to be successful.

So here are my five tips to focus on what is important to avoid distractions to success.

  1. Identify your big rocks – what are your MIT’s
  2. Keep the big rocks at the top – shake the jar a little and analyse what sandbox you have been wasting time in
  3. Purposefully cut back sandbox time and if necessary play in the sandbox during unproductive times of the day
  4. Watch out for the big rocks floating to the top – analyse your MIT list to make sure it is current
  5. Never put more than 5 MIT’s on your list

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WHAT TYPE OF LEADER ARE YOU?

Leadership styles Do you use Push or Pull leadership

Studying leadership is fascinating. Whether you read books, attend seminars or learn from real life examples, witnessing different styles and their effectiveness can be very enlightening.

Many larger, bureaucratic institutions have entrenched leadership styles that dictate how people will lead others. Other smaller entrepreneurial endeavours are naturally influenced by the style of the entrepreneur themselves.

There are two main styles of leadership:

Positional Leadership and;

Influential Leadership

There are naturally sub-categories of these two styles, but lets look at the fundamental differences.

Positional Leadership is very common in larger organisations and to some extent, military organisations. It is a style of influence that is guided by a hierarchy, a system of submission. It is dictated by the philosophy that one person has more authority over another, either by position or title. “You will do this task because I am in a position of authority”. It certainly has it’s place in many circumstances and definitely in some critical emergency type of situations there needs to be a person with “positional power” who can lead people to a successful resolution.

Influential leadership however, is very different (sometimes referred to as Person Leadership). It requires somebodies persuasive abilities to convince someone to do something. It is a leadership style that often uses the example of the leader to assist in creating a desire to follow. It is a very powerful style that often suits the personality of a charismatic leader. Once understood, it is the style of leadership that has won wars, and frankly, started them!

Many military commanders will talk about the small number of soldiers that actually “lead” a group in to battle. It tends to be of the order of 5% to 6%. Frankly that number is probably very similar to the number of people who are charismatic/influential leaders in the world.

My first experience of influential leaders was when I was working for a large printing company during my summer holidays as a college student. I was given a task of getting some information from the employees who were working the printing equipment on the “shop floor”. I went through the staff and asked a series of questions but was unable to get the answer I had been looking for.

Dejected, I went back to the Vice President I was working for and explained that I had failed and was unable to get the answer to the question. He told me not to worry and asked me to wait in his office. Lo and behold, a few minutes later he returned with the information we needed.

As I questioned how he managed to get the information, he simply replied “You simply had to re-phrase the question until they wanted to give you the information”. It was a valuable lesson for me, one that involved communicating differently but was also a demonstration of influential leadership. Where I had been “shutdown” in terms of getting the question answered, my colleague had been able to access all the information we needed. He had led people to a pre-determined conclusion that he was interested in!

John Maxwell, is probably one of the most prominent authors on Leadership and I would highly recommend any of his books.


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LEARNING TO THINK LIKE YOUR CUSTOMER

Business PlanningI have written articles before about consumer centric thinking. Taking the approach that to be successful we need to learn to think like our clients.

Never has that been more true than today.

Our world is more competitive than it has ever been and  often times, we are lured to the supplier or service provider through internet marketing.

The important point is, as entrepreneurs, we learn to speak the clients language and not ours. In the creation of a business plan, we immerse ourselves in a different world. It is a world that is dominated by complex banking and legal discussions. A framework of technical jargon that frankly rings true to the old saying, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, overwhelm them with BS”. We compose a business plan that has our values and ambitions at the core. It is not a surprise then, when we come out of that process speaking a different language.

Many people who write a business plan or start a business give little credit to who their clients are and where they are going to come from. They make complex extrapolations around growth projections, clients engagement and value per client. But the marketing plan is often weak.

The first aspect of a plan has to start with who is the client and how can you attract them. Without that, there is no further plan. Sometimes I see plans with great potential, they may have amazing technology, but technology in and of itself may not be the solution the client is looking for.

Here are three areas of focus that are critical in terms of relating to your clients:

Was your idea created from your own vision or a demand from potential consumers that needed a solution. As my business partner often says “Are you drinking your own Kool Aid”. Perhaps you need to change the flavour.

What is the plan to attract the consumers. Product creation is not enough – what is the distribution plan?

When you present to consumers are you talking in your language or theirs. I had a conversation a few days ago where someone was excited about their business and lost me in the use of their industries jargon. The terms we use within our own industry often need to be translated so that the consumer understands them.

So at the end of the day, it really is all about the client. When a business fails, there is only one reason. There were not enough clients! Put them first and foremost and take yourself out of the centre of the equation.