In this first episode for 2018, Jason sets the scene for the year on the content and layout of material to help you grow your business and have your best year in business ever.
From interviews to one-on-one teachings. The Business Made Easy Podcast will bring you all the tools and resources you need to master your Social Media, Your Customer Experiences and the Management of your business in 2018.
What is covered in this episode:
- Jason's approach to business planning in 2018
- How Jason changed the way he spends his New Year day
- Go back and listen to Episode 20 to hear about goal planning and strategy
- The 3 areas of content for The Business Made Easy community this year –
- customer experience
- What topics will be covered in these 3 areas over the year
- Sharing your goals with the Business Made Easy Podcast group in the private Facebook Community.
Links mentioned in the show:
Download our Free Business Plan On a Page template and implementation guide
Business Made Easy Facebook Community Group
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You’re on episode 21 of the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast. Happy New Year Mia.
Thanks Jason. You’re on the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, where we make business easy. Here’s your host, Jason Skinner.
G’day, g’day and welcome to the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, where we make business easy. I’m your host, Jason Skinner and I want to thank you for joining me on this very first episode of the podcast for 2018. Happy New Year to you, I hope you had a fantastic Christmas break and New Year period with family, friends. Lots of eating, I know I have had lots, far too much to eating, to be honest. I think if I see another ham or turkey, I’m going to turn into one. But it is good, it always starts off great having that very first Christmas meal and then, I don’t know if you’re the same, but we have a number of various. Well we have two families that we visit for Christmas but we also have our staff lunch, Christmas lunch and we have various Christmas lunches. Feasts I should call them.
And that very first one is always the best and always tastes, oh you just go, “Oh, that’s so beautiful” and you can’t get enough of it. And by the last meal, you’re just, you just want to turn into a turkey and, or a ham. Whatever it is, but it’s such a beautiful time of the year. I love it and I love catching up with family and friends, that’s what Melissa and I did, we caught up with our families, down in our hometown of Coffs Harbour and Bellingen. Melissa’s from Bellingen but that’s, it’s about four hours drive from where we live and it’s, we cruise down there and just chill out really. Sit in the lounge room and talk with family and have a nice time and as I say, eat lots and then we come home and get stuck into it.
And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing, the last two weeks. Which I’ll talk about shortly, but I hope whatever you’ve been doing over Christmas, you’ve had some time off and really enjoyed that time with your family and friends because it’s just invaluable and the years go so fast too. It’s nice to make the most of it and just kick back.
As I said, this last two weeks really for me, in amongst all the family time has been about planning. And you might recall the last episode of last year, I took a different approach to year end planning this year. Normally I would do my year end planning or my New Year planning I should say, at the start of 2018. So I’d wait till New Year’s Day and then I’d sit down and write out my goals for the year and then I’d get into it. And back in episode 20, I spoke about a different approach that I was taking this year. Which was to set my goals well before the year end, so that I could actually hit the ground running from the first of January. And that was the idea, was to, not wait two or three, wait and lose momentum into the New Year but actually hit the ground running on January 1 and so that I could actually maximize my results.
And I’ve gotta say, and I can, if you haven’t already done your planning, don’t worry about this. You can still do it, it’s just something that I’ve tried this year but I’ve got to say the results that I’ve had so far, have just been fantastic. For instance, just to give you an example, normally I’d be, New Year’s Eve I’d be, not hugely partying but certainly having a function of some sort and having drinks and up late and whatnot. But this year, I took a different approach. I was in bed early, got up early the next morning, January 1 I was out exercising and running at five am and feeling pumped. And I was just into it and I have been ever since, every day I’m getting up and running.
Because health is one of my big goals for this year and yeah I’ve been out running and just implementing and working on already. And I’ve noticed a big difference in my productivity and the things that I’m already starting to achieve by implementing this new system. So if you haven’t done it, as I say, it’s not too late if you haven’t done your planning yet by all means, get in and do it sooner rather than later. But go back to episode 20 and I take you through my technique that I use myself. There’s many planning techniques and it is an individual thing but this is just a system that I have adopted using mind mapping, to get clarity around my goals and my business focus and what it is that I want to focus on in the New Year and make sure that everything is in perspective.
And that’s what I like about a mind map, I can see everything in one page and it’s like dumping your brain out onto one page. And really getting a good overall helicopter perspective on what areas of your life are important. What needs work, where are you going to focus your attention? What priorities do you have and what needs attention first etcetera? So you really get a good perspective on things, so I really encourage you to go back, and as I say, and check out episode 20, if you haven’t already. And you can grab that at businessmadeeasypodcast.com and if you go there, you’ll grab episode 20 and go through that exercise.
If you have done planning already and you’re already hit the ground running, good on you. That’s excellent, I hope you’re getting results already, as well. The time goes so fast, we’re already well into January. Mid way through January by the time this episode airs and before we know it, then February will be here and it’s just too hard to get momentum. So, I encourage you to really go back and get stuck into that goal planning, if you haven’t done so already.
But today I wanted to talk to you about the year ahead, in terms of what I would like to do to help you in business, over this next year. Because in amongst the family time, I’ve spent a lot of time mind mapping, as I said, and planning and setting strategy and working out exactly what’s important. I was having coffee with a good friend of mine, Kevin, who’s also a podcaster, the other day and we were talking about the area of business and it’s such a broad area that you could cover so many topics. I mean the topics to talk about in business are endless but what I have done over this past two weeks, is really sit down and work out exactly where I can deliver the most value to you, the business owner and my podcast community.
What can I deliver to you and give to you that is going to make the biggest impact in your business? And I got thinking about the priorities in business and I keep all the feedback that I get and the conversations I have with people, on a day to day basis in my profession, which is in business. And I’ve sat down and broken it down into three core, and we’ll call them buckets for want of a better word, but three core areas that I’m going to focus content in this New Year. And the very first of those is marketing, the area of marketing. And I’ll explain in more detail what is in each of these in a second.
The next area I think is really important, because, just before we get off marketing. With marketing, we need to market, it’s just an important part of business that we just need to do. We’re always marketing, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, even if you’re seeing an existing person. An existing customer of your business, you are marketing. You are in the business of marketing because they are good advocates of your business so their impression of you is really important. You’re always marketing. So we’re going to talk about that and I’ll explain further the content in there.
Customer experience is the other area, we, there’s not enough discussion around customer experience in my book. Customer experience deals with from the very moment a person enters your brand, they see your brand and become a customer of your business. What’s the experience they have? So I’m going to talk about that a little bit later as well. And then the other area, the other core bucket that I’m going to focus content on is, I hate, bucket’s probably not the word. Let’s call it a pillar. The other core pillar of the strategy is management and we’re going to focus a lot of content during the year on management in your business. And I’ll talk about what that entails in a second, as well but I’ve virtually broken in down into these three pillars of content for the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast community, that I feel that I can deliver to you and have the most impact and get you the best results in your business. With practical tips and strategies that you can go away and implement and then test it, measure it, come back, share the results and yeah really get you some good things happening in your business.
But you’ve got to have your goals done first, before we get into that stuff so if you haven’t, go back do your strategy, do your goal planning, set your vision for the year. What do you want 2018 to look like when you’ve finished back in December next year, this year? So when you sit down in December, what do you want when you look back, what do you want your business to look like?
A great way to think of it is, if you and I were sitting down having a coffee, at the end of December, this year, 2018 and I asked you the question, “What do you want your, what does your, how has your business changed in this last year?” You could sit there and say, excitedly, “We went from this to this. This was our before, this is our after.” And you could describe it in detail, the benefits and the successes that you’ve had and that’s what I want for you. And that’s what I’m going to work tirelessly for you this year and implementing and making sure I deliver to you content that’s going to fulfil that.
And we’re going to do that in a mixture of two ways. We’re going to do that with myself and the things that I’ve learnt along the way and I’m going to share those with you and strategies. And I’m going to give you as many practical cheat sheets and tools and calculators and tips and all that’s sorts of things that can make that easy for you. It is the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast. And the other thing that I’m going to do is interview experts in those particular fields.
The idea of the three core pillars is basically to, as content comes in I’m going to see if it fits within. It’s going to act like a filter. Does it fit within the marketing bucket? Is it a marketing bucket exercise, is it a customer experience bucket or is it a management bucket that this fits into? If it doesn’t fit into any of it, I’m going to put it on the later list and not prioritise it. I’m really only going to prioritise marketing content, customer experience content and management content.
Now when I talk about marketing content, marketing is one of those things that everyone loves to talk about because they always want to do the marketing bit. They never want to do the financial bit, they always want to do the marketing, “I want to do more marketing in my business.” Particularly social media marketing, it’s the buzz thing. Marketing, we are going to talk about, yes social media marketing. I think social media marketing is just such a critical area of your business that you really need to have a handle on. If you are not implementing a social media marketing strategy in some way, shape or form, then I really do feel that we need to get you going there and doing that. Because it’s the new frontier, it’s, and just to give you an example, I mean there’s a lot of changes in social media marketing as well.
Like, when we talk about social media marketing, we’re talking about Instagram. We’re talking about Facebook, which is the most common. We’re talking about Twitter, if you’re not familiar with that. LinkedIn strategies and there’s a lot of shift amongst these different platforms and each of these platforms are not all going to be right for your particular business. So it’s important that we go through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and work out exactly what is going to be the right platform for your business.
They’re not, there’s some people out there that try and do them all. But you’ll find as we work through the year and we go through the content, that not every platform is going to be for your business. It’s a little bit like fishing, you’ve got to find where your audience, where your target customers and clients and audience are hanging out. Are they hanging out in the Instagram pond? Or are they hanging out in the Facebook pond? Or are they hanging out in the Twitter? Are they hanging out in a mix of both?
We’re going to work through the strategies to come up with where your target customer is hanging out. And I’m going to bring in the experts in each of these platforms and we’re going to discuss at length, the fors and the againsts and the latest strategies that are working and not working in each of these platforms. They are so diverse and they are forever changing, just to give you an example. Neil Patel, who’s a fantastic digital marketing strategist, he basically had in a blog article recently, “If you look at Instagram, back in 2016, Instagram advertising revenue was at 1.86 billion dollars.” Which is a lot of money, but in 2016, so only. Not even, so two years ago, it was sitting at 1.86 billion dollars. In 2018, so this year, it’s tipped to hit 6.84 billion dollars. So over three times the amount in two years, in terms of advertising revenue going through that platform.
And that just gives you an idea of the growth that is going through Instagram. So we’re going to talk about Instagram, I’ve got a love for it. I love Instagram and you can follow the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast on Instagram. You can grab the link over on businessmadeeasypodcast.com. But Instagram is just a platform that is growing, there’s the level of engagement that marketers are getting over there is, has increased over four times in the level of engagement that they’re getting from their advertising and interaction engagement over there, with their audiences. Something not to be overlooked.
If we look at Facebook. Now Facebook started out, you used to be able to post everything on Facebook and it would show up. If you had friends or you had people who liked your page, it would just show up in their feed, in their Facebook feed. That’s called organic reach and organic reach in Facebook now is just dying. I think it’s down around, down at some ridiculous number I read the other day. Something like six percent or something, don’t quote me wholeheartedly on that. But it was ridiculous number, that when you post something on Facebook. You may do a great ad for your business or whatever it is that you do, post it and you know that the chance of someone who already likes your page, or is a friend of yours, seeing that ad is getting less and less.
And that is because of a few things. One, the volume of users and content flowing through Facebook now is so great, there’s only so much real estate that can, that Facebook has in your feed. So they’re trying to squeeze in as much content into your feed, as possible, so not everything gets through. Facebook is also a business and sells advertising so it has set advertising slots through your feed as well. So they’re going to take priority over the free stuff that you’re putting out. So, in essence, you really need to start paying now just to have your content served up to your, already existing loyal customers and people who like your page.
It really is a frustrating area, it’s an area that I really, really grapple with. I just get so frustrated with Facebook but, it’s a necessary evil too because that’s where the people are, at the end of the day. There’s billions of users on Facebook, every single day and it’s an advertising platform that just can’t be overlooked. But it needs to be managed and I think it needs to be managed in a healthy way, with a healthy strategy. And I’m going to get some experts in, on Facebook advertising and people that really know their stuff, and we’re going to talk about that in the year coming along as well. So we’re going to do plenty of work on Facebook advertising.
Twitter – Twitter is, some people say Twitter is a dying platform. Other people say, no it’s very alive and very vibrant. But we’re going to talk about Twitter, we’re going to get some experts in on Twitter. I like Twitter as well. Twitter has its, Twitter is more of a news type platform for me, in terms of content. You can choose what content you want to come through and see etcetera with various people that you follow and a lot of people do use that as their daily news platform. That’s where they get their daily news from, as opposed to the free to air channels etcetera. So Twitter certainly has its place in business.
And LinkedIn, I had a story the other day of a person who had some great engagement in LinkedIn which not a lot of people talk about LinkedIn, was always thought of as a job advertising type platform. Not so though, it certainly is very, very good for business and good for business to business type promotion and advertising. So we’re going to talk about LinkedIn as well, certainly not to be overlooked and certainly is an area you can get some great traction.
But as I said at the start, all these platforms are, think of them like tools in a toolbox. You don’t, if you need to drill a hole you don’t pull out your hammer out of your toolbox. You go and get the drill and this is how you’ve got to look at social media. It’s a big area, it’s an area that you could spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week researching and testing and measuring and reading up on but we’re going to get the experts in and we’re going to talk about it. Because it is an extremely important part of social media and marketing in your business.
The other area we’re going to talk about over the year, and not to be overlooked, and it is going to gain a lot of momentum as we go forward, is the area of artificial intelligence. We’re now seeing things like ‘Google Home’ in the home and Amazon’s version which is ‘Alexa’. And all this artificial intelligence where these machines know about us, they know what we want, they know what we want, when and how and where to deliver it and artificial intelligence or AI as it’s called, is going to get more prominence as we move forward. So we want to try and nut out some of that stuff as well, probably won’t spend a lot of time on that just yet, now. We’ll do more as we go forward but certainly something that I want to be able to introduce to you and discuss the concepts and how it might apply in your business as well.
The other things we want to talk about, now they’re the social media things. They’re all the things owned by Mark Zuckerbergs and the like and the Microsofts but we also want to look at traditional forms of marketing. Social media marketing has its place and is one aspect of marketing but I want to get down into delving into some of the more traditional forms of marketing and tangible ways that you can grow your business using traditional forms of marketing. And that might be adding value and packaging products and the way we package our services and those sorts of things.
Our branding, our, the way we engage with our customers and listen to our customers. We want to get into other traditional forms of marketing and I’ll be getting some experts in on that as well. Most importantly as well, I want to talk a lot, a theme I think you’ll find as we go along this year, will be around digital strategy. And that’s a word you’ll probably hear me talk about a lot. I find in practice, a lot of businesses do not have, and in fact I would have to say that 80 to 90 percent of businesses out there do not have, in the small to medium business space I’m talking about, do not have a digital strategy in place. And I think 2018, if you haven’t, is the year we need to get one in place.
And when I talk about digital strategy, I’m not talking about, “Oh yeah, we’re going to throw some ads up on Facebook.” I’m talking about how does technology feature and fit into your business going, now and going forward? How and what strategies are we going to put in place? Now, I’m talking about everything from yes, social media marketing down to your website and your digital footprint or digital real estate on your website. But equally, in your business, how does, what is your digital strategy? Where do you, how’s your data? What automation processes do you have in place in your business? What back up processes and systems do you have in your business? What is your process and policy for ransomware and virus threats? And attacks to your servers? Where do your servers reside? All these things, where is your documentation stored? Is it in physical filing cabinets in your business or are you moving all this to a paperless type system that is going to live in the cloud somewhere? Well if it’s going to live in the cloud, where does that live and how’s it housed?
So that’s what I’m talking about when we talk about digital strategy. I’m talking about a complete whoa to go of everything that is digital, technology if you like, in your business and what is your technology strategy for 2018? That’s going to be a lot of work in that and a lot of the topics that we cover going forward over the year, we’re going to talk about that your digital strategy and implementing digital strategy. And my goal would be, that at the end of this year, that all of our listeners could sit back and say, “Hey, we’ve implemented our digital strategy and this is what it is and these are the results we are getting from it.”
Because it is such an important area going forward, the time is now! Technology is not going away, social media’s not going away. It really is important that A – from a growth perspective, marketing perspective. B – from an efficiency perspective in your business and making more money, so improving your efficiencies will make you more money in your business and C – protecting your business. It’s no good growing and making more money if it’s all exposed and out there and subject to attack. So we want to make sure that we’ve got all that really well rounded in your business and that’s one of the focuses of this year.
So that’s the marketing bucket, there’s a lot in there and we’re not going to do it all in one episode. I promise. We’ll break it down and we’re going to share, and as I say, as I build out the content I’ll be fitting it into one of these buckets. The next bucket, critical bucket that I see, which is and I hope from this you’ll see a logical next step, is customer experience. It’s one thing to go and market and get new customers and get perspective new people coming into our businesses, but what is the experience when they do get to our business? Once a prospect or a potential customer comes to our business, what is it that they experience? What’s the next thing that they experience? And what keeps them engaged? What keeps them wanting to come back for more? And that to me, when I sat down and reflected on it over the holiday period, it’s just so important and so under discussed.
We focus on going and getting new customers and that’s expensive, I just mentioned, we’ve got to pay for ads, we’ve got to go out there and get this stuff but what is the customer experience when they come to your brand? How do they feel? How does your brand interact with them? How do you meet their needs? How do you solve their pain and improve their world? How do you add value to them? And all these things and does it happen consistently, every time they come it’s the same experience they have with your business, every single time.
So we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about that, this year. Because I do think, well A – it’s an area of passion of mine, I mean it’s just, I would much. To be honest, personally speaking, I just think that’s sometimes more important than marketing because we’ve got all these customers there already. If you’re starting out, it’s a little bit different but if you’ve got an existing business, you’ve got these customers there already. And I can guarantee you, you’re not servicing every single one of their needs or talking to them in the way that they want to be spoken to or need help.
We’re going to spend some time on that and that’s going to cover off on automation in your business. Again, bringing in that digital strategy piece, technology, we’re going to work out ways and we’re going to discuss tips and ways you can grow your customer experience and improve your customer experience. Using things like automation, not in a sleazy salesy way but in a helpful, reminder, reliable practical way so automation’s big on the agenda this year. And I’ve got some experts in Infusionsoft and various other automation programs that I’m going to bring in and we’re going to interview and flesh out some great discussion around that.
And then the other bucket is management. The management bucket and what we’re going to cover there, and I’m going to make this as fun as possible, so there’s a disclaimer here. When I say management everyone wants to shut down and think, “Oh, we’re going into the boring topic.” Absolutely not! It’s going to be, I’m going to put it in an exciting way and a way that hopefully you will see as a practical, enjoyable way to look at your business numbers and implement regular monitoring of your numbers. But we’re not just talking about numbers, yes we’re talking financial management when we talk management. Very, very important, we understand the metrics and the numbers. What our business is actually doing but also too, cash flow management. We’ve already had an episode on that but we’re going to talk further about cash flow management.
I’ve got some experts coming in to talk about business finance and the way to structure debt within your business because debt is an unnecessary, an unavoidable part of business sometimes. We sometimes have to borrow money to make money, so we’re going to talk about that with cash flow management. People management, getting the best out of your people and leadership. All those sorts of areas of management are all covered under the management bucket. So I’ve broken it down into and I hope you can see that there are three core pillars of content that the show is going to cover in this 2018 year that is designed to deliver practical tips and tools that you can implement and get some results in your business.
Also, I want to hear from you. If you’re implementing any of these strategies or if you’ve used strategies in any of these areas, feel free to, I’d love to hear from you. Write in to me at [email protected] and share with me what’s been working for you in business. I’d love to hear from you if you’re having some wins in your business, by all means write in to [email protected]. Love to hear you, I’ll grab your email, I check all my emails and answer all my emails. So you can certainly post there if something’s particularly working for you.
Equally, I’d also like to hear from you, what your goals are for the year. I’d love to hear what your goals are and by all means, feel free to join the Facebook community. Which is growing really nicely and a lot of great people over there, if you go to businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup or just go into Facebook and search for ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast group, in the search bar up the top of Facebook. You’ll find us there, join the group, it’s free to join but there’s some great entrepreneurs over there. Share with us your goals for the year, what is the one goal that you would like to achieve in your business in 2018? By the end of December when we sit down and have that coffee or beer, what is it that you’ve achieved in business this year that you’re really proud of and has made a profound difference in your business? So I’d like to hear what that is, share it with us on the group, now. Often, communicating that verbally and out loud to people will make sure that you actually deliver on it. It’s like this psychological promise that, “Hey, I’m committing to everyone I’m doing this”. And by all means, go over there and hook up with the Facebook group, so that’s businessmadeeasypodcast.com/facebookgroup and feel free to join there and there’s just such a great community of people there, all sharing ideas and all doing some exciting stuff as well, in their businesses. So, would love to see you over there.
So that’s all I had time for today, as you can see, it’s a big year ahead. We’ve got our three core pillars that we’re going to work on and we’re going to deliver in each of those areas, content that is going to really make a profound difference to your bottom line and the happiness that you have out of your business as well. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about making money. It’s about lifestyle, it’s about happiness and contentment and really making sure that we’ve just got this great balance between it all and this harmonious balance in business. And that’s what business is all about. We go into business, and if you think about why you went into business in the first place for yourself, why, what sparked that entrepreneurial journey for you? And usually it’s to have a better life. And I don’t know too many business owners that said that they haven’t gone into business for themselves to have a better life. And quite often enough, after a couple of years when I talk to them, it’s done all but that. It hasn’t given them a better life, it’s actually taken life from them. They’re now working for their business instead of a boss and we’re going to turn that around this year. That’s my focus, that’s my goal and my passion is to really get in there and help you as much as possible.
So I certainly can help you and I would love to help you, so feel free to join either the Facebook group or send me an email to [email protected] and we can hook up and have a chat.
Alrighty. So that’s all I had time for today. Thank you, Happy New Year. It’s going to be a great year in business, I’ve got a great feeling about this year. I, myself have some great things coming up this year in business that I’ll be letting you know about further as we go along. A couple of those being an online course that I’ll be releasing this year. And also our first business mastermind group, ‘The Platinum Round Table’ will be kicking off this year as well. There’s some good things happening there, I’ll keep you posted with that stuff, as it comes along and we’ll, I’d love to see you there as well with those things. But, yes until next time, here’s to your success. I hope you, as I say, have a great 2018 and I’m going to hand you over to Mia now to take us out. Take us out Mia, thank you.
You’ve been listening to the ‘Business Made Easy’ podcast, where we make business easy.
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