Today I offer something a little different from normal economic fare. As I keep saying, I think it is important that as business people and entrepreneurs we look for ways to increase our business while others are pulling back. While innovation can mean new technologies (and their costs!), in my experience it is often even better to figure out a new way to offer your products and services to the market, leveraging (in a good way!) your existing work.
Today, simply because you are one of my 1 million closest friends, I have arranged for you to receive absolutely free and with no strings attached some of the best (if not THE best) marketing and innovation materials I have ever read, from a long-time friend of mine who has sold this information for tens of thousands of dollars (and more!). It is my way of saying thanks for allowing me to come into your life each week. (The link is near the end of the letter.)
And for those who just want economic ideas from me, delete this now and move on. Seriously. No problem at all. I get it. This is not everyone's cup of tea. I offer you this material because it has made a real difference in my business life and the lives of so many others. Though I should point out that it's because of how I handle my business that I can write my weekly letter to you for free. Every week for 11 years. So before you put me in a "box" of your construction, you might want to take a look and see what I see. And remember, when I say free, I mean free. If that is not a good price for you, then…
Now, with that out of the way, if you can't directly benefit from what I am going to share with you, I bet you know someone who can (young people starting out?)! Read on…
John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box
A Different "Take" on Improving Business Performance
I want to introduce a little personal note into the difficult times we are facing as business people, entrepreneurs, and investors. While my economic forecasts are decidedly not positive for the next 4-6 years, I really do not advocate digging a hole and crawling into it and pulling a cover over yourself.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! As business people we need to focus on how to improve our own situations. It is the collective acts of multiple millions of businesses, new, small and large, that will ultimately pull us out of this malaise. To let the dysfunctional actions of government prevent you from taking charge of your own world is precisely the wrong thing to do.
I believe you have far more control over the performance of your business than you might realize.
Years ago (in another bad economy) I remember reading an interesting perspective on business growth. The economist writing it acknowledged that it was tough times for any business. It was easy for entrepreneurs to think that this was not a time to grow, but rather a time to "bunker in" and focus on how to quickly cut operating costs.
But he went on to point out that that was reaction, not action. In looking at history (he pointed out) and the patterns and cycles of the economy, you see a bigger picture: one that tells us difficult times are the perfect time for explosive growth: when the giant trees fall in a forest, it's the new shoots that fill the gaps.
More recently, I was struck by these paragraphs sent to me by Daniel Stelter of the Boston Consulting Group:
"What Businesses Need to Do Now
"Nearly a year ago, we interviewed executives at companies that had dealt successfully with the downturn of 2009. They shared their approaches to managing through the recession – and, more important, to permanently improving their competitive position. All these winners in the crisis had set similar priorities.
"Innovation. Without exception, the manager we interviewed emphasized how innovation would play a decisive role in enabling them to exploit the opportunities arising over the next few years, particularly with less savvy competitors cutting back. As one of them observed, ‘The crisis is a catalyst for change in the technological environment. Things that we only gave half a thought to in the past are suddenly being addressed very quickly.' Many innovations are geared to optimizing processes and reducing non-personnel costs. Fundamental issues are also being broached: ‘Without innovating,' said one manager ‘it won't be possible to prosper over the next few years.' One characteristic shared by all the companies surveyed is that none reduced spending on research and development. On the contrary, some even increased it sharply because, as another executive emphasized, ‘The capital market is looking longer term – at least for now.' The winners are making the most of the opportunities arising from modified investor perspectives."
I am a big believer in innovation. We try and use the latest technology we can to enhance service, increase productivity, and cut costs. But innovation is not just about using some fancy piece of new tech or software. I think the most important innovations are in marketing. The right marketing innovation can make all the difference in the world between mere survival and prosperity. I have learned that lesson time and time again and have seen it done hundreds of times. And there is almost no limit to the possibilities of marketing innovation that you can access. Many actually reduce your costs, especially in cost per sale (while you sell more people more things, more often). And that funnels right into your bottom line.
I'm equally reminded of two staggering quotes from legendary business guru Peter Drucker. I'll paraphrase both, for brevity.
Peter said: Marketing and innovation are the only two factors that generate business. Everything else is an expense. He also said innovation refers to anything (technology or otherwise) that brings greater advantage, access, impact, interest, connection, trust, and buying motivation to the customer.
In a past life, some 30 years ago, I was considered something of a marketing wunderkind. I traveled around giving seminars, speaking at industry conferences, writing papers, and pioneering a few cutting-edge techniques in the direct marketing world. Then along came the financial world, in 1981 (for me personally, that is, as I got involved in the financial publishing industry). I began my economic studies in earnest and ended up today where I always wanted to be up until I left college in 1972 – as a writer. Who knew? I certainly did not see the path, but simply "took the fork in the road" when I came to it.
Along the way I met one person who I consider to be maybe the best marketing mind in the world.
I spent a lot of time with Jay Abraham, absorbing the perceptive, always useful information he dispensed in his own rapid-fire, almost maniacal, but truly brilliant way. Some of the best ideas I ever used I learned from Jay (the same was true of dozens of other companies I dealt with that Jay was also advising). We became good friends and are to this day. I am privileged that I can call Jay up and talk and don't have to pay the $50,000 a day he sometimes gets (if you're asking "What could a person know, do, or see in a given business situation that's worth $50,000 a day, the answer is "A lot!").
Jay has been laser-focused on how to maximize explosive business success for over 25 years. He's helped companies of all types and sizes find what I call "the difference that IS the difference" and add enormous profit and value to their brands, products, and companies in any and all economic climates. He has developed a vast breadth and depth of understanding on how true exponential business growth and profit increases happen – oftentimes doubling and even redoubling companies' current profit levels through the shifts in marketing, strategy, or their business model that Jay innovates.
Jay has had numberless accolades from serious partners and publications. Forbes called him "the real thing." Investor's Business Daily said, "He knows how to get maximum results from minimum effort." The list of clients he has worked with (and engineered breakthroughs for) is huge, a "Who's Who."
Jay started out (about when I met him) only doing business with companies that would pay him a piece of the profits from new ideas he generated for them. He's almost unreal when it comes to finding hidden assets, overlooked profits, untapped opportunities, and underperforming activities a company isn't mining.
And of course, eventually all of Jay's information got ripped off and repackaged by others. And the cost of the information dropped, even as the actual information remained the best out there. Jay correctly decided he did not wish to do battle with a bunch of internet information knock-off artists. He preferred competing on the front lines of capitalism, by personally helping real-world businesses grow and prosper.
So, Jay is coming full circle, back to private, performance-based advisory work and looking for a small handful of suitable, high-quality companies that he can work with on a contingency basis. He simply wants a piece of the money he makes them. He'll focus on improving their strategy, marketing, selling approach, business model, and competitive position).
He asked me if I could help him find a few such companies, betting that they are in my list of 1 million closest friends.
As I thought about it, I told him, "Yes, but there's a catch: I want you to make ALL of the best material you have done over the last 30 years available – for free – to ALL of my readers. Because 99.99% of my readers aren't the companies you can help, but any business can use your ideas if they spend the time and effort to read and study. And, you'll generate a huge sea of goodwill and referrals if you give freely to my friends."
Jay "got it" instantly, and enthusiastically offered to give each of my business owner/CEO subscribers highly desirable resources – completely gratis – with his and my compliments and best wishes. He agrees that benefiting from all he'll freely share is the best possible way to get some of you excited about working with him, and build goodwill with all of you. (You can jump right in at http://www.abraham.com/gifts)
If you are a business owner or manager, you can take these ideas and apply them directly, meaningfully, and profitably to your particular situation; and my bet is you will improve your offering or unique selling proposition. Many of you will thank me and find this helps your situation more than my macroeconomic forecasts. At the very least, your mindset and methods of doing business will go through one of the most stimulating "reality checks" you ever experienced.
Below is a short list of what you will get. It doesn't begin to do justice to these resources. You access the full list by clicking the link above or below, along with information on how you can set up a personal interview to see whether you and Jay want to work together.
And let me just note that I have known Jay for more than 30 years. He does what he says, and delivers.
It's Like an Early Christmas for Business Owners and CEOs:
You'll receive (when you click on this link):
* Both of Jay's top-rated business books, containing 336 examples, 21 ways to outperform the competition, and 9 ways to turn stagnant performance into accelerated growth.
* Two full-length, two-hour-long, famous interviews of Jay. One by Anthony (Tony) Robbins, the other by Fran Tarkenton. Both will come in audio and text format.
* Two separate assessment test/questionnaires. One is an 87-question self assessment, the other is a 200-question giant Jay uses when evaluating profit-partner deals with companies.
* Two hours of watching Jay in action, performing 35 rapid business interventions/makeovers, which will show you how to think differently.
* The Strategy of Preeminence – A three-part collection (transcript, audio, reference notes) that teaches you now to hurtle your company from commodity status to preeminence in all you do – culture-changing, relationship-changing, impact-changing.
* 35 separate, short, 2-4 minute videos, each designed to instantly teach a different "Point of Power" or "Ex Factor" (for exponential growth) or strategic distinction.
* The transcript of a two-hour interview Jay conducted with Stephen M.R. Covey, teaching how to build greater trust between you and your marketplace.
* "Nine Drivers of Geometric Growth," which identifies the nine biggest upside leverage forces within any business/company that you can most effectively implement.
* Jay interviews Fran Tarkenton on how he's built over $250 million worth of entrepreneurial businesses.
* League of Extraordinary Minds – Jay and colleagues interview 57 of the business world's foremost icons on ways to make your business perform better right now!
* "The Abraham Mind Shift Challenge" – A 53-page dossier that teaches paradigm-shifting nonlinear thinking and a multitude of higher and better ways to think about your business possibilities, options, and opportunities – with 45 case studies.
* "How To Win Friends and Influence the Right People" (the right way) using social media. This provocative, four-segment compendium explains how to authentically connect, impact, and engage strategically in social media for your business.
You can get started changing your business life by clicking here.
Also, because each one of these resources is truly valuable – and there is a lot he is offering you – Jay and I don't want you to get overwhelmed. So he has carefully described each resource and recommended a program of orderly progress to follow to maximize your grasp of all he has to share. Also, when you opt in you'll get automatic access to Jay's periodic eclectic business perspectives and insights.
OK, the price is right. I truly believe you will learn a great deal and earn a great deal for your business. Now, go out and innovate and help get this economy moving! The link again is http://www.abraham.com/gifts .
One final thought. And it's important. In times like this, you must take forceful, innovative action to capitalize on economic opportunities in order to achieve real business growth. Jay Abraham is an excellent person to help you make this happen – whether you merely use his ideas, strategies, advice, and expert guidance on your own, – or collaborate with him directly and personally.
Your hoping to help analyst,
P.S. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in 1976. America was then at a low point, following the 1973-74 recession, the Arab oil embargo, the Watergate scandal, and the fall of Saigon. Other US companies that were started in bad times include General Electric, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Microsoft.
Question: Do tough times beget a disproportionate number of great companies? If so, why? Something to ponder.
So, you've got nothing to lose. There are no costs or hidden sign-up fees. No BS. Just solid, transformative information.
Warning: If your idea of marketing is to placidly cast something out there and hope people find you, then you will not like this work. This is not for business wimps. Will every idea make your business better? Obviously not, but what would 3-4 transformative ideas be worth? Yes, to get them you might have to do some reading and head scratching. I can't read your mind and tell you the five pages in Jay's work that will really light up your situation. And maybe getting outside your comfort zone will spur you to new vistas. So click and get started! And then write and tell me how you did!