August 17th through the 24th of 2016 was a transformational time in my business career.
Just a few short weeks ago, Bob and I returned from Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery event in Las Vegas.
In much the same fashion as our experience at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within (UPW), we found ourselves surrounded by other successful business folks; young and old, fresh and seasoned, but all possessing a hunger to understand and master the chemistry of business from some of the greatest business minds in the industry.
Before I dive into the key business strategies I learned from the event, I first want to share who and what Tony Robbins is to me, and why I have such respect for his teachings and events.
Tony Robbins is the world’s greatest distillery. The thing he does better than anyone else on the planet is take the ocean of business ideas, processes, steps, tactics, and concepts, pinpoint the ones that have made successful people who they are today, condense them into digestible shots of knowledge, and immerse them into your subconscious.
The end-result are everlasting strategies that give any business owner a shortcut to success.
What is Business Mastery?
Business Mastery is an event that builds on the foundational principles learned from UPW, but instead of a holistic approach to creating breakthrough and improving the quality of life, it centers on the physical and psychological strategies that help you take your business from where it is now, to where you want it to be.
These strategies are taught over the course of 5 intense days by Tony as well as a multitude of very successful business people across a wide range of industries and specialties.
There’s no secret as to why Bob and I attended. We know there are lifetimes worth of business knowledge available that will help us build a successful company, but we don’t have that type of time. As we learned at UPW… Success leaves clues. Those clues are within Business Mastery and were our shortcut to bringing our business to the next level.
What did I learn?
1. Business is only two things: Marketing & Innovation
This concept was coined by Peter Drucker, a pioneer of the business consulting world and infuses it into his 7 Forces of Business Mastery formula.
World-class Marketing and Strategic Innovation are so critically important to a business’ success, that they are listed as #2 and #3 in Tony’s formula, just behind “Creating an Effective Business Map,” which I’ll discuss a bit later.
Business Mastery teaches you that Strategic Innovation (Force #2), simply means that you must continue to find ways to provide more value to your clients and customers than ANYONE else can.
World-Class Marketing (Force #3) is very closely related to Strategic Innovation in that the objective is to add value, however, it costs your potential customers NOTHING to improve their lives. This value is added through your unique selling proposition and delivered through your irresistible offer.
Tony advises that every single business needs a compelling offer that separates themselves from the competition, all while adding so much value that it doesn’t make sense for them to go anywhere else.
What single, irresistible offer do you have that will convert your ideal buyers into a customer?
2. Businesses are made up of entrepreneurs, manager/leaders, and artists
This is probably the most memorable concept of the event for me.
For much of my life, I believed that those that owned a business, must be an entrepreneur. Otherwise, why would they take on the risk, stress, and challenge of owning a business?
At the same time, however, it’s very evident that I do not possess the same skills or qualities that my business partner Bob has. It was perplexing and frustrating to the say the least and I didn’t know how to classify myself.
Business Mastery teaches you that there are 3 types (or “gifts” as Tony calls them) of business owners: Entrepreneurs, Manager/Leaders, and Artists.
Most people have a dominant, as well as a secondary gift.
Here’s the breakdown of each, and what I discovered about myself:
Artist: This is my dominant gift. An artist is also referred to as the talented, skilled producer who values expertise in what it is that they do, make, or produce over team management, business growth, and money.
Entrepreneur: My secondary gift. Entrepreneurs are driven by taking risks in order to grow a business, and generate substantial income. They are also resilient - not stopped by failure or adversity.
Manager / Leader: Their skills lie in developing the talent around them, getting the best out of their team members, and driving results.
The purpose of understanding your own gift is so that you can surround yourself with people who have complimentary gifts.
This is a key component to business success as Artists are not always great managers, entrepreneurs are teased by shiny new things, and managers need a team of artists to make shit happen!
Have you discovered your personal gift(s)? Share below in the comments.
3. Small, incremental changes = geometric growth
The promise of Tony’s Business Mastery event is that by the end of it, you’ll have all the strategies you need to grow your business by at least 30%.
The core philosophy behind geometric growth is making small, simple, and strategic changes that compound to much greater change over time.
The reason this is so groundbreaking is because most business owners believe that you have to move mountains to experience any type of noteworthy growth, when in reality, you can move a few stones and achieve similar results.
These strategies are perhaps the most actionable things I was able to take away from the event. I can also say with certainty that changing your perspective truly works in generating results.
As with most everything else you learn in life, I found myself saying… “Why didn’t I just do that before?”
Here are some of those tactics (these would obviously vary in effectiveness based on your business type and industry):
Raise your prices by 1-3%: Extremely simple concept, but many business owners fail to realize that such small changes across the board have exponential impact on revenue without dramatically affecting your competitiveness in the marketplace.
Maximize your metrics: Tony illustrates the tactic of “maximization” with a funnel and relates it to an exercise he ran with his internal sales team around their activities and metrics. In the example, he describes that by optimizing the salespeople’s conversion rates just slightly at each stage of the funnel, it will compound to massive results.
Hire someone with a complimentary gift: While hiring a new person within your organization can be a cumbersome task, it’s a relatively small change in the full scope of the business. Hiring a Manager / Leader to develop a team of Artists, however, can have a monumental impact on productivity and revenue.
4. Knowing the life cycle of your business is critical
Most businesses follow a similar trajectory as they grow and die. During that journey, there are different stages that classify where in that journey your business is.
Birth: The moment you take the big leap. You’re managing yourself and working to meet your own needs.
Infancy: Survival mode, but you’re making progress. The first hire has been made and you have a major focus on throughput. Unfortunately, cash flow is usually a challenge here.
Toddler: The business is now “operating” on it’s own, but still relies on you for critical decision making. Cash flow is a concern, but growth is still accelerating. You manage things reactively rather than proactively.
Teenager: You now have a team to manage the business and cash flow issues are dwindling. You’re confident in your growth and innovation. It’s now a key focus, but speed can mean trouble.
Young Adult: The choices you’re making as a business are more proactive than reactive. You’ve chosen to limit what you’re going to focus on as a business so you can spend more time developing processes and systems. This “new you” will require a new brand or identity to launch and with that, you’ve begun to define what long-term success looks like.
Zone of Maximization / Maturity: The business is now self-sustainable, run by a management team, and is producing income and profits that are growing steadily. Your new identity is solidified - you know exactly who you are, who you are not, and the objectives you need to reach.
Mid-life Evaluation: Innovation is needed in order to bring the business back to the Zone of Maximization, but first you have to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to do so.
Aging: The pace at which the business is breaking down is accelerating and the people that helped to build and manage the company are leaving.
Institutionalization: Innovation has come to a halt. The only thing keeping the business alive are the systems, policies, and processes that have been put into place along with the help of third party support.
Death: There is no one left on the team to support the vision or mission of the company. The idea is no longer sustainable.
The value in knowing where your business stands helps you make better decisions about how to reach the next stage or course correct. For example, if your business is in the Teenager stage and you’re looking to grow, know that in order to do so, you may have to stop chasing every revenue opportunity and put a greater emphasis on your long-term Vision.
Once you understand the life cycle stages of a business, you can also apply those same principles to your personal life cycle as a business owner or employee, or apply that to the life cycle of the industry you’re in as well.
5. You need to know what business you’re REALLY in
Pop quiz! Tell me which of the following statements will be more compelling to a potential buyer:
“I’m in the business of selling used cars.”
“I help the most discerning buyers find, evaluate, and purchase only the most pristine, high-end, automobiles of their dreams.”
Clearly, it’s the second statement. While both statements discuss cars being transacted, one of them turns that transaction into an experience that every automobile-aficionado can relate to. It tells a story.
With a genuine understanding of the business you’re REALLY in, you’ll have a clear edge not only against your competition, but also looking forward into future opportunities. Developing this definition is the first part of Force #1 (of 7): Building an Effective Business Map.
During Business Mastery, Tony shares the example of how Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, defines his company not as a coffee shop, but a place people can meet between home and the office. As mentioned above, this turns buying a coffee into an experience versus a transaction and gave him the ability to compete in an otherwise dominated market.
If I had to boil everything I learned about mastering business from Tony Robbins in Las Vegas, it would be that success is as much about perspective and state of mind as it is about your product.
In order to truly succeed and grow a business, you need to have a realistic understanding of your role in the organization, its goals, and its overall offering. Only after you have grasped these concepts will you be equipped with the knowledge to reach your full organizational potential.