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How zero based thinking can grow your business [PODCAST]


PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.

It’s finally time for Pete’s Ironman Triathlon race this week. But before he undertakes that challenge, he talks to Dom about Zero Based Thinking, and how it can help in many different areas of business and life in general.

Pete and Dom discusses about harnessing the benefits of a hindsight

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Episode 031:
Zero Based Thinking

Pete Williams: Hello, hello, Sir Dom.

Dom Goucher: Hello, Sir Peter. How is it down there in darkest, wherever it is that you’re at for your triathlon because it’s race week, isn’t it?

Pete: It is race week. I’m three sleeps out from the Ironman, which is very exciting. Just got back from the masseuse this afternoon and a very lazy day tomorrow – I have to be horizontal on my couch all day according to the coach. And then it all sort of happens from tomorrow night with the Pasta Party and the race introduction. And then Saturday, we take our bike down and take all our gear and get that set up. Then at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, they gun goes off and the race starts.

Dom: Can I just say that, someone who didn’t know you so well might possibly consider after listening to you, that there were some incentives in this when you started your training. I imagine that, possibly, your trainer told you that at the end of all this effort or throughout this effort: one, you get lots of massages; and then towards the end of it, you get to lounge around on the sofa and eat lots of pasta, and generally hang out with your mates. And don’t forget, buy lots of shiny kit.

Pete: I did drop a few hundred dollars yesterday at the race store. And then surely on Monday after they release all the finishers gear, I’ll drop another few hundred dollars on race gear. Obviously, in the triathlon world, you can’t really wear Ironman Kit and Ironman clothes to training sessions unless you’ve actually finished and completed an Ironman. So I’m looking forward to being able to buy up a lot of stuff, and then proudly wear that around Melbourne and various training sessions and races and stuff like that. That should be fun.

Dom: Any marketing people out there, any kind of opportunists marketing people out there, if you haven’t spotted a market yet, really, you’re not paying attention.

Pete: Absolutely, absolutely.

Dom: Good on you, mate. You have stuck with this. It’s like what, 20 weeks training?

Pete: Twenty weeks of training, it’s been very cool. The thing that surprised me the most that I’ve actually talked about with someone today is – for those you who don’t know, and it’s a bit off-topic, but I used to race triathlons relatively seriously when I was at university in my early 20s. It got to the point where I came in third in the State Championships for my age group.

There were only about five people in my age group category, but we won’t go there. I made a promise to myself I’d do an Ironman before I’m 30. I’ll be 30 in February and here I am. The crazy thing is, I’ve been running pretty consistently over the last couple of years. I had a pretty good fitness base, but literally 20 weeks ago, I hadn’t swam or ridden a bike more than four times in six years.

I had very little bike and swim training under my belt in the last couple of years, and it has come back to me amazingly well. So I’m very, very excited about how that has all just come back, and then where I’ve come from that perspective in 20 weeks. It’s very cool.

Dom: You say that’s off-topic, right? But I’m going to bring it on-topic; I’m going to make it relevant because it is. You started from, not relative unfitness; let’s face it, you’ve never been unfit. But, what you have done is you’ve been consistent with the training. And in 20 weeks, you’ve gone from, as you say, somebody who didn’t do that much conscious exercise and certainly not heavy lifting-kind of things; and on Sunday morning, you’re going to do, what is it? What’s an Ironman these days?

Pete: These days… 3.8-kilometer swim, 180-kilometer bike ride and then a 42.2-kilometer marathon run at the end. So, I have done marathons. I’ve been a pretty fit guy. But in terms of race-specific training, I hadn’t really done much. It all comes down to finding someone who has done it before, who has done many Ironmans before, who has coached people through the process before, and basically put my faith in him to a certain extent and just said, “Mate, you tell me what to do.

I’m going to be your bitch for 20 weeks,” and do exactly what he said. I’ve only missed two sessions when I had my calf injury, or a bit more of a ligament injury is what you’d probably call it. But yeah, basically just found a process that has worked time and time again, and just followed it to the letter T. I’m here race week and could not feel more prepared.

Dom: And that’s it. That’s where I’m getting to with this. You have stuck at it. You took on a coach – or if this was a business thing, it might be a mentor,

Pete: Yeah, a consultant.

Dom: A consultant-type of thing. And you put your trust in them that they knew what they were doing. You found out that they did know what they were doing first. You put your trust in them. And what they told you to do, you did it and you did it consistently. Twenty weeks later, you are, I can’t still look at these numbers without my eyes watering…

Pete: Eleven hours of pain.

Dom: No pain, no gain; to be a little bit trite, really.

Pete: True. The goal times, I’ve got a couple of goal times. The first goal time is to obviously finish, 17-hour cutoff, but I’ll clearly be better than that. My original goal time was 12.5 hours. If I do under 12.5, I’ll be very happy with myself. But realistically, I reckon I might be able to push 11 hours if I have a good day. But it’s looking pretty hot unfortunately.

It’s hot and windy which are the two things I didn’t want. I don’t mind the heat so much, it’s just the wind on the bike that will be my enemy of the day if it gets too windy. But we’ll deal with it as it comes and just push through, cruise it and enjoy the day as much as I can.

Dom: Cool. Please tell me that you’ve got somebody there taking photos?

Pete: Oh, absolutely. There’s professional race photography and the girls are coming over as well, so they’ll look after me and take some photos.

Dom: Excellent.

Pete: I’ll have them up on the blog, on Facebook or something like that at some point.

Dom: Cool. I’m not exactly looking forward to seeing you in spandex, but at least I’m looking forward… Sorry, I’ve got the giggles now. I think we’d better get serious before I just lose it.

Pete: Absolutely. So this week, what shall we be discussing this week?

Dom: I’m out of things to find out myself. I haven’t got a question for you this week. I was really hoping that with this downtime, one of your more thoughtful topics might come to me. Have you got something for me?

Pete: Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely something we can talk about. There’s obviously a big list of future episodes. Something that could be worth having bit of a chat about today is a concept which has primarily been popularized by Brian Tracy, who’s a fantastic business writer and author. He gave me a great testimonial for my first book, which was very kind of him.

It’s a concept that he has talked about a number of times called Zero Based Thinking. It’s a concept that I really enjoy and try to apply to a lot of different aspects of my life and business. I thought it might be something we should probably share to people who aren’t familiar with Zero Based Thinking. Are you familiar with it at all, Dom?

Dom: You know what, I have never heard of that.

Pete: Cool. Very exciting then.

Dom: Yeah, this is great. This is completely new. Awesome.

Pete: The premise is around a question. The question is basically: knowing what I know now, would I get into this business/project/job/client/situation again? So, knowing what I know now, would I do what I’ve just done again? Basically, the concept is all about, I guess you’d say harnessing the benefits of hindsight. That’s probably a good way of putting it. Because you want to say, “Ok, I’ve obviously been through an experience. I’ve got some knowledge around this particular area,” whatever it might be.

“Having known what I know now, would I get back into this? If I had to wipe the slate clean, start with a zero base – so I’ve got zero base and zero history, but some hindsight and knowledge, would I do this again?” It is a really powerful concept when you actually take the time to sit, digest and actually apply it to your business. I first saw this being applied really well from an investing standpoint. And obviously, we speak more about marketing and business and stuff like that, and we’ll definitely combine it back to that in a moment.

But a really good way of seeing and gaining some clarity around this Zero Based Thinking is from an investment standpoint. Let me say it a different way. One of my very first stockbrokers or advisers told me years and years ago was basically like, if you consider midnight every night you sell your shares and you buy them back with no brokerage fee – so basically, midnight every night, you have to physically wipe your stock and re-buy it. And if you are willing to say, “Yep, I’m just going to reinvest in the stocks I currently hold today at midnight when I have to repurchase my stocks, you’re good to go.

Continue holding that share. But, if you would say, “Well, actually, hang on, I probably wouldn’t buy that stock again right now today,” you should sell that stock. And from a stock investing perspective, there are so many people want to hold that stock even if it’s going down or if it hasn’t moved because they keep thinking, “The stock will come back. I’ll make more money.” They hold onto the losers and kill the winners. Everyone has heard that sort of analogy with stock market trading, right?

Dom: Yeah, yeah.

Pete: So basically, that’s a similar concept of Zero Based Thinking. At midnight, you wipe the slate clean, you wipe you trading account clean, you go to a zero base. Would you buy those stocks again? And so many people actually wouldn’t, yet they still happen to hold onto their stocks. It’s just a very poor investment choice because it means you’re chasing your losers. Having that question answered with some clarity helps you to take the emotion out of the stock trading, which I think is really cool.

I heard this again applied in another sort of investing space from a friend of mine, Steve McKnight, who’s the No. 1 bestselling author in Australia around property investing. He spoke about this concept in the concept of holding real estate as well. There are so many people who have an investment property and they have all this money tied up into property, all this equity. Now, if you had that equity in your bank today, if you had $100,000 of equity sitting in your bank, would you buy that property or would you go and leverage that money better and buy two or three properties at a higher loan ratio or something like that?

That concept is, again, a Zero Based Thinking-type of approach. So many people say, “I’ve invested $50,000 when I bought this house. It’s now got equity of $200,000, but I’m still holding onto that house because I’ve got a great return on my $50,000.” Well, that’s not true because today, you now you have $200,000 in your investment. What sort of return is that $200,000 giving you today? You have to ignore the $50,000 you put in because that was two years ago. That was three years ago.

Today, right now, you’ve got $200,000 in this property. Are you getting a good ROI on that $200,000 today? Don’t do your calculation based off the $50,000 you put in, do it off what you have in equity right now because that is your cash that’s invested in that particular asset. Again, it’s another way to apply Zero Based Thinking to an asset. In this instance, a property. And then obviously, we can go and start applying this to your business and your marketing because it’s really important to assess your business on a regular basis, taking this Zero Based approach.

Dom: That’s really cool, I really like that. And oddly enough, I’ve never heard of it. I’ve never heard of Zero Based Thinking. But, it really does reflect a way that I look at things from time to time. I do look at where I am, like where I am with my business right now. In fact, this very week, I have been evaluating my business. Traditionally, people do this at the end of the year, at the end of the month or whenever. But the end of the year is a big time for people to evaluate their business, so it’s a really good time to have this conversation.

And it is topical for me, without having discussed it up front, because I am evaluating my business and that is exactly a question to ask and that I am asking, strangely enough. I’ve learned so much, especially in the last year. My business has moved from where I started and where I thought it was going to go, it’s gone completely over somewhere else. And I’m really pleased with it, but it’s time to decide what I’m going to do. And a great way to do that is this thing, this Zero Based Thinking. Knowing what I know now, having the customers that I’ve got, looking where it’s going to go, would I do this again? It is almost, in a very simplistic way, is it a good business, yeah?

Pete: Yep, absolutely. And this is like, if we talk about it from a website information-marketing element – and we’ll come back to a real-world bricks-and-mortar business. But with websites like Flippa.com, where you can actually relatively easily sell a web asset to another online marketing entrepreneur or whatever the term might be this week to describe people who have a business that only markets online. But, if you are running a website or a blog or an affiliate marketing site, you should really assess.

Go spend some time, go onto Flippa, and get a bit of an idea of what a website with your revenue, your traffic numbers is actually worth in the marketplace. You can go on there and see recently sold websites. You can see that a site that has 2,000 visitors a week that is generating $500 a month in revenue, or whatever the figures might be, sold for X, Y and Z. The beautiful thing with online businesses, unlike real-world businesses, is that most online businesses are sold to people who are buying it based on the numbers, not on the passion.

Whereas in a real-world scenario, if you’re going to go and buy into a franchise or go and buy a business from a business broker, you’ll find that people are generally more emotionally attached to the type of businesses they’re buying. They’re not buying off the numbers, they’re buying it off the “I’ll enjoy this because I want a good lifestyle.” Whereas, online entrepreneurs are generally buying stuff on the numbers.

So the numbers, the ratios, the revenue, the value of the website that might be in underwater kickboxing; if your numbers are relevant but you’re in the cycle or the bike repair niche or you’re in a niche about how to help massage therapists get more clients, and your numbers are the same or similar, that’s how much your website is worth. That’s how much your asset is worth right now. So the question you have to ask yourself is, I have this asset worth $5,000; if I have $5,000 cash right now, would I buy this website? If the answer is no because you think there’s a better return on your investment for $5,000, then it’s probably worth considering, “Do I sell this?

Do I go and actually sell this website right now and move on to this other opportunity?” I’m not saying to keep jumping from boat to boat and ship to ship or things like that regularly because you keep reassessing and flipping stuff. There’s a very successful business model in just buying, selling and renovating stuff or buying, renovating and selling it. But you have to keep reassessing every six months, every 12 months just, “What are my assets that I have in my business and is this the best ROI I can get based on the value of this asset?”

Dom: I just want to oversimplify what you just said about the site and the assets and things like that. Because for the more simplistic among us in that space that don’t have a business that has just the internet as its sole route to market, what we might have is a large portfolio – going back to your financial example, a large portfolio of domain names we might have gone through and bought what we thought were really good domain names years ago and have quite a few of these things sitting around.

Pete: Absolutely.

Dom: Some of them might have websites on them. But using this Zero Based Thinking, if you go through, let’s say, at the end of the year, you take a couple of weeks off for the nondenominational end-of-year celebration, and you sit down with your portfolio of domains, and you look through it and go, “Ok, I bought that. I thought I was going to do this with it, I didn’t. It’s going to cost me $10 or however much to renew that the next time it comes up. Am I going to do it?” And if you think about it now rather than when it’s due next March, then you can actually have a plan.

And you might think, “I know I’m not going to do it. And rather than spend that $10, somebody might actually value that name more than me.” If there’s a site on it and Google has seen that site, then that has actually got value. Don’t devalue that concept. I’ve had really big clients with really expensive websites that have cost them in the tens of thousands of dollars to develop. They’re really big companies, but the people who developed the websites have no concept – and I swear this is true, that just because you put a website up on the internet, that Google is ever going to see it.

Forget that it doesn’t rank very well in the search engines. Anybody that’s involved in online marketing should be aware of this differentiation. Before you can get a good position in the search results when somebody types in either your company name or the keywords you want to be found for, Google or any search engines first have to see your website. Those of us who have been around for while know there are some tricks to getting that to happen. But if you don’t know, then that’s valuable because literally, this site had been live for over a month.

They spent multiple tens of thousands of dollars developing it. It was very incredibly large, well-known international company with a very, very, very expensive or very valuable product. And in the industry they were in, literally one day of not selling that product was worth a lot of money. So, one month with that site and I sat with them. I said, “Look, let me show. Google doesn’t know about your site and there are ways you can prove this. You can type something into Google and it will say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I have no idea what you are talking about.’”

We’re not talking not turning up for your own name, which is almost inexcusable; we were talking no way it will ever turn up for anything, ever. So that has a value. Even if you’ve just got a portfolio of 10, 20 or more domains that have got basic WordPress on them, it’s got value. Even if it’s got WordPress on it because some people can’t install WordPress and will pay $100 or more to have WordPress installed. All these things have value before you even get to, “I’ve got a business, I’ve got traffic, which is one of those numbers which gives value to something.”

So back to your point, evaluate it. Go back to the beginning and say, “Look this has got these things. I can put a value on it. It’s got WordPress on it. I might value that at between $50 and $100 because somebody might have to pay for it.” The value and the actual name is difficult, and I wouldn’t want to get into that myself. There are some people out there that just buy and sell the actual domain names and can value them. But this thing is going to cost you money if you want to renew it, just like your stocks.

Your stocks, you have them and theoretically, you might sell them and buy them back. With a domain name, you do at least have to renew it every year. And as you involve yourself more in the running of the site, that’s effort to keep it running. So it’s a good thing. Just evaluate your business assets. These domains are business assets, evaluate them. Be honest with yourself, do one of two things. Or do one thing and do us all a favor. The first thing is, if you’ve got any blank domains, please go and install WordPress on them. Put them on a cheap multi-site hosting package from, oh, I don’t know, HostGator is perfect serviceable hosting company.

Get a multi-site hosting package. It’s a one-button job. Put WordPress on all of them and put a page of content on it, because it’s worth more and it’s actually doing some work. It might get indexed by Google. Maybe put a little bit of effort into that. But the minimum is put something on it. Then, sit down and evaluate it. If you are going to keep it, awesome. If you’re not going to keep it, make moves to sell it somehow through Flippa or one of these marketplaces that Pete has already talked about.

Secondly, if you are going to keep it – and this is vitally important, put a plan in place. Because if you don’t put a plan in place, then you may as well sell it anyway. Honestly, because you’ll be here next year. And you’ll be evaluating it next year. The next year, we’ll remind you on the podcast to reevaluate your domains again and you’ll go, “You know what, I didn’t do that.” Me personally, I’d rather sell it than feel like crap next year.

Pete: Yep, absolutely. Speaking of selling it, we might as well mention our good friend Ed Dale’s course, which fits in perfectly, Dominiche. We’ll put a link in the show notes or just preneurmedia.tv/dominiche. We’ll put that on the redirect as well. He’s got a great course on buying and selling websites. He’s just released the second version and very much better updated version of the course as well. I highly recommend it. I bought the first version with my own hard cash and thought it was amazing, and the second version is just even so much better.

So if you’ve got some web-based assets and you want to sell them, or you have some cash and you want to invest and do this ‘buy, renovate and sell’ thing, I can highly recommend Ed’s Dominiche. It’s awesome. In terms of talking about Zero Based Thinking in other areas of your business, you should be thinking, you know the cliché with your team and your clients? Knowing what I know now, would I hire this staff member again? So many people do hold onto the rotten eggs for longer than they can. And again, the cliché of ‘hire slow and fire fast’ is important. That’s definitely worth doing. Also clients, it’s ok to fire some clients.

Dom: Oh, yes.

Pete: Knowing what I know now, would it be ok to take this client on as a client? In telco business, I have had numerous conversations with clients where I’ve needed to say, “Sorry, we don’t want to continue you as a client. Please find someone else to service your phone system. There are plenty of other people out there who can offer this service for the phone systems we sold you and you’ve got in your business. But we’re not the right people to look after you anymore.” There’s nothing wrong with firing clients.

Dom: I totally agree. It’s interesting actually. Just to slightly slide sideways on this one, I recently got an email this last weekend. It’s been the Thanksgiving holiday in America, and it’s never been anything I’ve really been involved in or been aware of because being very English, it passed me by for many years. But as I’ve grown my circle of friends and acquaintances, it’s started to come into my awareness. I got an email from one of my clients, which was a kind of a group email.

It was a proper, in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, it was an email that everybody was asked to talk about what they were thankful for. It made me think. I sat down and I thought, “What am I thankful for? And I’m actually thankful for the fact that this year, all of my clients are fully awesome – all of them, which is something that not everybody can say. As I’ve worked through the different jobs I’ve had and the different businesses I’ve been involved in… And you’re aware of some of the slightly more esoteric ones of those.

But in the past, I’ve been involved with some horrendous clients who just suck your energy, don’t appreciate what you do, and don’t want to pay the going rate for your services and all these different things. I wish I could remember, there was a great passage in a book I read not so long ago. I wish I could remember which one it was, but we read so many. It was about firing clients. It is a drain on you and your resources if you keep a client that isn’t an ‘A’ client. The more you are involved with the client, the more it drains you; but it drains your business.

Whoever has to deal with that client, it drains your business. And you can do it, as you’ve said. You can do it politely. You can say, “Look, I can’t service you. I can’t meet your requirements for cost. I can’t be cost-effective for you,” all these different things. But yeah, it’s another thing to do. And it absolutely is. If you’ve had that client for six months or a year, and it has always been a struggle, always been a fight backwards and forwards with them; then sit down, evaluate it and think, “If I could kind of talk to myself,” and that’s really what you said, isn’t it? ”If I could side-look to myself and talk to myself at the decision point…

Pete: If I could go back in time, on that time machine, in the DeLorean.

Dom: Yeah, that’s it. If could go back, whisper in my own ear, advise myself, be my own coach, be my own mentor; would I advise me to take this client? It’s not even a decision. Nine times out of ten, you know you’d say no. I like that. It’s good that you’ve taken this Zero Based Thinking and applied it to that as well. It is a great concept; I’m scribbling notes furtively about how I’m going to apply this moving forward.

Pete: Yep. It comes down to something like your projects and even your marketing initiatives, the way you get business into the business. You should always be split testing and re-testing and stuff like that to work out are you getting better ROIs in other areas and move funds across. That’s something that a lot of people already do. It’s sort of a subconscious-type of Zero Based Thinking where they say, “Oh, there’s a better return of my investment for my marketing dollar, and they’ll move that across.

But they want to apply that same concept to other areas in their business. It just comes down to thinking about your business and all the elements of your business as little miniature assets, and are you getting the best ROI for that particular asset? If not, then take the investing approach. At midnight tonight, you have to basically wipe everything and start again fresh tomorrow. And that includes clients, the websites you own, the businesses you have, the staff you have, the account you have, the friends you have – if you want to get that far and ridiculous with it.

But a good way to think about it is at midnight every night, you have to wipe the slate clean and start again. What elements of your life and your assets would you want to take with you tomorrow? And you have to make that mental shift every single night for that Zero Based Thinking and just apply that. You could almost call it ‘12:01 a.m. Thinking,’ if you wanted to.

Dom: I like that. You mentioned staff there. You mentioned it earlier, but you mentioned staff there. This is, again, more applicable in outsourcing and out-tasking sense. Because I’ve come across some people recently who are a little bit too attached to people that they hire for the outsourcing-type tasks. And they’ve not really, there’s a lot of different things to think about when you’re outsourcing and you hire an outsourcer. Your good mate Dave Jenyns uses this phrase ‘hire slow, fire fast’.

Pete: Yep, absolutely.

Dom: Which is awesome advice.

Pete: For those of you who have been playing along at home, you’d probably be aware that Davey J and I did two very content-rich videos for the Market Samurai guys for their blog. We do a lot of outsourcing and have done some content videos around that outsourcing area. If you haven’t seen them, check out noblesamurai.com/blog. There are two awesome videos on there and again, I’ll link it through on the show notes, which you can always get at preneurmedia.tv, the new home of the podcast.

When it comes to outsourcing, I want to build on your point but just put a different context – again, tying in a previous episode around what you just said, Dom. Two important points is one, train your staff. One of the best quotes I ever heard when it came to staff was, ‘What happens if you train them and they leave?’ And the response is, ‘What happens if you don’t train them and they stay?’ And so many people, when they apply this Zero Based Thinking to their staff, they’re going to go, “My staff can’t do the role I want, so I’m going to fire them.”

But you have to ask yourself a secondary question in this area, “Are you firing them because of their personality and their work ethic, or is it because of their skills?” If it is because of their skills, you should then ask a third question, “Have I given them enough resources so I haven’t set them up to fail?” What I mean by that is have you actually invested in your asset, and that asset being a staff member?

Have you actually invested in training them to do the job you need them to do? And if you can answer yourself and say, ”Yes, I have invested the skills. They just can’t do the job because they’re incompetent.” Then by all means, fire them. But if it’s because you haven’t given them the skills and armed them with the ammunition they need, then you might have to assess, is this Zero Based Thinking the right way to go about it?

Dom: Wow, that is actually a really important thing and I’m glad you brought that up. Time and time again, we come back to this when we talk about outsourcing – and we’re slightly veering off the topic, but it is really important. If you didn’t, first of all, go through the proper hiring process and evaluate their skills being appropriate to the job you want them to do, then you set them up to fail. If you just hired them…

Pete: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. I completely agree with you. I was going to say that, how many times have you or I had a conversation with someone who bitches and moans about their outsourcing team, and then you drill in a little bit and you go, “Well, what aren’t they doing?” “I asked them to write three articles today, then do some backlinks, install WordPress and also set up a Facebook page.” And you go, “Well, hang on. In the real world, because so many people think like trade exchanges that we spoke about in a previous episode is like Monopoly money. So many people think of outsourcers as being like a computer-generated game that you’re just playing.

They’re not actually real people and are really working for you because they’re outside your four walls. And if you tried to hire someone in the real world to actually do all of those skills, it ain’t going to happen, sunshine. That person does not exist. Because the person who has that skill set is being an entrepreneur themselves and is out there actually doing it or earning $150,000 a year. So be very realistic about your expectations as well.

Dom: That is perfect, absolutely perfect. Because this is what I’ve been telling people. It’s like, “Look, if you want somebody,” and I love the way that you’ve encapsulated that, “if you want somebody who can write coherent English, who can design good sales pages, who can install WordPress, can configure a theme, that can think about a launch sequence – that can do all these things, they have a name and it is entrepreneur.

Pete: Or, it means, a long-term team member. Obviously, for a lot of people who’ve actually had correspondence with me on various things, you’ve probably corresponded with Flo who’s my personal assistant who is actually based in the Philippines. And she is amazing. She can do all of that, but she’s been with me for, I don’t know, ages. I can’t even think how long it has been now. When she started, I didn’t throw her in the deep end.

I gave her some flippers and I had her play in the shallows for a little bit, and then got confidence that she could do the basic sort of stuff, and now she is diving off the 50-meter diving board doing triple somersaults and swimming. But, that was after she learned how to swim or do doggy paddle and then freestyle. She’s being built up overtime to do that. You can’t expect that from Day One.

Dom: No. And this is the most common mistake, it doesn’t matter who you hire, it doesn’t matter what they say on their CV, you can talk to them, whatever. But until they’ve actually been in your business doing exactly what you want them to do, then you’re not going to know whether they can do what you want them to do. You can have a good guess and there are certain things you can measure for and things like that. But more importantly, the only way people are going to be able to do all these things is that you train them – back to your point.

Pete: Absolutely.

Dom: So many people are afraid, “Oh, if I train them…” People think that if you give your outsourcers access to the really expensive training that you’ve just paid for on YouTube Optimization or Facebook Optimization, or whatever it is you bought this week, that they’ll run off. It’s like, oh, ok. So, clearly they weren’t the right person. Oh, well. You’ve still got the training, you can still give it to the next person. But the more important attitude is, it’s not what happens if I train them and they leave, it is – I love that phrase, what happens if you don’t?

And what happens if you don’t is that you don’t get the job done properly. You cannot expect anybody… In the same vein as that, probably in the same sentence actually was, if you went to work, you started a job and you walked in the front door, and somebody dumped your requests on you – and this is kind of another kind of Zero Based Thinking. If somebody dumped that request on you, could you do it with the information that’s provided in the context?

If you had no training, could you do it? I regularly get requests from my clients. And I send emails straight back and say, “I’m sorry, you wrote this email for yourself. You’re missing very important points like what website you want me to work on.” For example, people who write instructions for people very often don’t realize how much information they miss out. And that’s another one of those setting people up to fail things. You can’t get really angry at anybody: outsourcers, professional, contractor, graphic designer, whatever.

If you weren’t clear, yes, it would help if they maybe teased more information out of you, which is what I do with my clients. But that in a way is a skill that’s learned and trained. So, really, the onus is on you. But yeah, absolutely, back to the Zero Based Thinking. Don’t go crazy with the Zero Based Thinking; make sure you have given whatever it was a chance.

Pete: Everything in moderation.

Dom: Everything in moderation. But also make sure that you’re looking at what you think you’re looking at.

Pete: Yep.

Dom: Don’t go crazy with an axe, chopping things out; make sure you’re looking at what you think you’re looking at. For example, this website and this client of mine with the multiple tens of thousand-dollar website. They were absolutely, “We need a search engine optimization specialist. We are not ranking for these keywords.” And that’s one of those really painful conversations where you point out that, “You’re not ranking because Google hasn’t seen you. You don’t need a search engine optimization specialist, you need somebody to get your website seen by Google.” Make sure you’re looking at what you think you’re looking at. If your outsourcer isn’t performing, is it you?

Pete: Absolutely. It’s not you, it’s me.

Dom: It’s not you, it’s me. Save that one for the client.

Pete: That’s it. So Zero Based Thinking I think we should wrap today’s episode up by giving everyone the opportunity to take a moment, take stock right now. Pick something. Pick one asset in your business life, whether it is a domain name you own or a website that you’ve got. Check out Dominiche from Ed Dale. Check out Flippa.com and see the value of that asset and then assess. Is that asset worth keeping? Or knowing what you know now, would you actually buy that asset again today? If the answer is no, check out Dominiche.

Learn how to sell it at the highest price and flip the site, and then move on to another project. So, just work out how you can apply this in one element of your business. It might be a product line you have. Maybe you’re in a retail space or you’re manufacturing. You’ve got a product line that just isn’t selling right now. Why don’t you look at selling that asset off or that element of the business off because it is not the best ROI you have in the business right now? So, there you go, guys. Zero Based Thinking.

Dom: Cool. Even things that you do in your business. Say for example, you do a certain number of markets in that way, that kind of business. You’re in a certain number of physical, like turning up to a market stall-type market and there’s one aspect of your business. Think about it. Do you really want to keep doing it? Is it worth your time or could you outsource it in a way? Would somebody else do it if you supply them the goods?

Pete: Absolutely.

Dom: And you may not make as much profit, but you’d have a heck a lot more Saturday mornings to yourself.

Pete: It all comes down to maximizing your ROI.

Dom: It all comes down to maximizing your ROI. Before we close off, right at the beginning we started with you taking action consistently. One thing I would like to say, because one, I completely agree with you by the way. I’m big on this thankfulness thing. Sorry, it sounds a bit weird for me, but I’m big on it. So, one I totally agree with you, I didn’t get to interrupt you properly. Florence is now also not just supporting you, but is also supporting me.

Pete: Hang on. How is this working? She’s moonlighting for you, isn’t she? I’m not keeping her busy enough.

Dom: No, she’s helping out with preneurmedia.tv.

Pete: True. That is true.

Dom: But she is awesome. I haven’t yet come across something she can’t do, so she truly is awesome. But also on applying yourself on being consistent, on taking action which we’re big on. I just want to give a shout-out to our Mastermind group. We’ve been a little bit under the radar with this. We’re going the 7 Levers, the first run of the 7 Levers of Business Mastermind group. We’ve got the most fantastic group of people signed up.

We are a good four or five weeks into the program. And every week, we go on the calls with the people in the group and every one of them has either implemented one or two things that we said from the week before, however big or small it might be. Or they thought of something of their own to implement and they’re trying and measuring. And what’s even better for us and them is that they are seeing those little 10%, and in some cases more; but they’re seeing those improvements in each of the seven levers.

Pete: What have we had so far? We had someone increase the foot traffic into their retail store by 40% from one action. Someone this week mentioned they implemented some stuff and had 25% of all their customers in that period of time buy more product than they normally buy. So they’ve had a significant increase in revenue for 25% of their customers, which is awesome. Someone is getting some massive amounts of publicity exposure, which is great on a regular basis. It’s just been absolutely phenomenal, not only the action-taking but the results these guys are getting, which is so cool.

Dom: Yeah. So big shout-out to the Mastermind group. Keep it going, guys. We’ll see you on next week’s call. But in the meantime, just keep taking that action and as you can see, you’re getting results and it’s great. It‘s really great.

Pete: So everyone, thank you very much for another great podcast. I’m glad you are with us. We really do enjoy doing this on a regular basis for you all. The comments and the emails we get to us at support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com are absolutely fantastic. As we said previously, it fuels our ego which is what drives the podcast because there is no revenue in this for us, obviously.

So we do really enjoy doing it. Again, like we always sporadically ask, if you do have a moment and are really enjoying the podcast, please head over to iTunes and leave a positive review with your thoughts and things like that. It does help us get more exposure in the iTunes Store, which means more subscribers, which means bigger egos. So, thank you again.

Dom: Speak for yourself, mate. Speak for yourself.

Pete: We’ll catch you again next week for another PreneurCast episode. Until then, take action, do some Zero Based Thinking, and let us know your progress. Whether it be small or large, whether you’re part of our 7 Levers Mastermind Group or just a proactive PreneurCast listener, we’d love to hear from you. Love to hear your success stories, love to hear your podcast ideas, and just in general, your feedback. Support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com or preneurmedia.tv for all the transcripts, all the show notes, all the links to stuff we recommend and talk about in the show. And check out Ed’s Dominiche, it really comes highly recommended.

Dom: And all that without a script. See you next week, folks.

Pete: Ciao.


Other Links:
http://7levers.com – Register your interest for the next 7 Levers Mastermind Group
http://www.7LeversCalculator.com – Don’t forget the awesome online tool to help you see the effect of improving your figures for each of the 7 Levers of Business. Created by PreneurCast listener Lee Turner (@leeturner).
http://flippa.com – Flippa – the Web Site buying and Selling Marketplace
http://preneurmedia.tv/hostgator – Get your domains set up with hosting and get a site put on them
http://preneurmedia.tv/dominiche – Ed Dale’s latest course on Buying and Selling Web Sites
http://www.noblesamurai.com/blog – Pete and Dave’s free Outsourcing training is available on the Noble Samurai Blog

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