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Wisdom vs Knowledge:How to bulletproof your business from failure


Wisdom vs Knowledge:How to bulletproof your business from failure

According to E.W Kenyon; “Only about three percent of the men who go into business for themselves succeed…Only a few who have had the privilege of college and university educations make a real success of life.”

In summary
1 Learn to know when to skip reason
2 Get understanding
3 Make execution a habit

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How To Grow A Startup Without Outside Investors

These are five strategies I have used to grow a startup without outside investors or venture capital.

You should not let the lack of financial capital stop you from starting or growing your startup.

When I started out, I reached out to a local restaurant owner and offered by Branding and Graphic design services.
She also needed a website but was not willing to pay my fees.
My goal was to build apps and games but I started out with consulting.
That first deal brought in about $1,500.
The next one brought about $3,000.

Even though I was having to share the money with my friend who is a designer, it gave me the boost I needed.
I did this for about 2 years before I got tired of low paid consulting and freelancing.

Now that my business is established, I still use Consulting as one of my main drivers of growth.
Some forms of consulting are joint ventures where I don’t have to do much work.
If consulting distracts you from working on the core of your business, then stop.

I would also recommend high paid consulting, coaching or advisory services.
Today I can charge $10,000 per month helping one client.
I reserve 2 hours a month per client.
The 2 hours are for one on one consulting even though I probably prepare up to 3 hours for the meeting.
The higher value the client is and the more value you are giving them, the higher your fees can be.

Using Leverage To Grow Your Startup
By leverage, I mean using someone else’s resources.

For example, a friend of mine runs a gaming company.

He is non-technical and has a full-time job at a big corporation.

To grow his startup, he hires developers based on a revenue and equity share arrangement.

He handles the marketing, sales, finances and other non-technical aspects.

His partners get equity and get paid whenever they get revenue from the apps.

The Debt Based Models You Can Use

If you have close to 100% surety that you can return a 4 to 10x return on investment, then private equity is a viable option.

This is basically giving part of your business to someone in exchange for money or resources.

Some software development shops do this.

They will build your app, distribute it and sell it for a piece of the company.

This works out for some founders.

Just make sure both parties understand what the expectations are.

Joint Ventures and using someone else’s resources

Need office space?

Rent some space in another startup’s location.

Successful businesses like Basecamp and Instagram started this way.

and even factories do this.

For example you can use a factory after closing hours in exchange for equity.

This way you don’t have the upfront costs of buying machinery.

Fashion brands do this all the time.

Creating Information Products

Another revenue source that few people know about is information products.

Special reports, eBooks, manuals,

There is a reason Growing Startup has the Focused Growth workshop and books.

You could even say Coudal Ventures’ Field Notes is an example of this.

Moz and Hubspot have both tried these approaches as well.

Businesses like Infusionsoft have workshops and seminars  that bring in good money.

Most importantly it creates goodwill in your marketplace.

The little known secret about information products is that your market will perceive you as an authority if they keep coming to you for knowledge.

If you seek recognition, respect and authority, follow this tip.

Final thoughts

The ways I have described that help you grow a startup without outside investors or venture capital are;

  1. Consulting
  2. Leverage
  3. Joint Ventures:Using other people’s resources
  4. Using Debt
  5. Creating information products

I would advise that you focus on one approach for at least 3 months.

I started off with consulting, then I used joint ventures before I created my own information products.

Looking back I would have used Leverage, Joint Ventures and Information products if I had understood how to use them.




Three things you can do to improve your business today

You can improve your business today with these 3 steps
1 Change who you sell to
2 Change what you sell
3 Automate your lead generation, conversion and retention systems

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How to use emotion coupled with logic to attract the right clients

Many experts agree that both emotion and logic can be used to attract paying customers.
The problem is no one really teaches you how to do it.

Depending on that you’re offering, your client may skew in either direction.

For example, higher priced purchases sometimes need a logical justification because the client will have to explain it to his wife.

Your job as a marketer to provide him with both an emotional reason and a logical one.

When I run an Internet Marketing business, some of the first courses I ever sold were to people who had full time jobs but wanted to start a side business.

My research showed that my ideal customer(let’s call him Sam) was a male between the ages of 35 to 42.

Sam had at least 7 years of work experience, was married with kids and made between $30,000 to $48,000 a year.

He was tired of living someone else’s dream and wished he could contribute more.

Sam also wanted flexibility and freedom.

Lastly, he wanted to make enough money so he could quit his job and live a more fulfilling life.

I deduced that Sam’s greatest desires are-

  • 1 Freedom
  • 2 Wealth
  • 3 Contribution

Freedom to do whatever he wanted.

Wealth so he could live in comfort without having to worry about money.

Contribution so that he could turn his ideas into profits and to be appreciated by people around him.

If you take a closer look, out of the three desires, only one of them had to do with material things.

His other two drivers were emotional.

This is the same with your prospects.

They may want food as their physical desire but their emotional desire is satisfaction.

They may want a ride as their physical desire for transportation but their emotional desire may be to save time or to impress their neighbors.

If you are selling a house, make sure you know if they are looking for a home big enough for their children or if they want one just to have a place to stay.

Smart business owners know how to use the physical desire as the bait and the emotional desire as their back up.

There is a marketing proverb that says “People don’t buy because they understand you. They buy because they feel understood.”

My customers emotional desires are……

My customers physical desires are ……

What are the emotional and logical desires of your clients?

I use this same framework today with my high fee clients and students at

The way to use this to attract the right customers is to first identify both of the principal reasons for which people buy.

Secondly, appeal to those reasons in your copy, your content strategy and your Advertising.
For example, Nike’s Just Do It mantra is great partly because it preaches action to athletic people who either already think that way or want to.

Any other mental triggers that you have found success with, please share in the comments below.


Special thanks to

jeffrey manu how we made it in africa success

Here is an excerpt on how to grow a business in Africa without government contracts.

Do you have effective lead-generation and -conversion systems in place?

In my experience, very few startups answer this question with a yes. Having started my own businesses, I know how hard it is to access and retain new customers. But there are a few steps that I’ve found help in developing a strategy for doing so.

Step 1: Define the market in which you can create the most value

First, identify who wants and is willing to pay for your product. Is your ideal customer a female corporate banker who lives 30km away from her office? Is she actively looking for a brand new vehicle? Would she rather own an SUV or a compact car?

Second, decide on what your message, positioning and differentiation will be. This is about defining what you do, but also what sets you apart from other similar businesses and demonstrates that you know your ideal customer better than they do. Are you the safer option? The cheapest? The one who delivers in 3 days?

Third, find a way to distribute your message and product to them. Some businesses use websites and social media, such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, to get their message and products to their customers. Other options are traditional retail outlets in good locations, and physical advertising such as billboards or flyers.

Read the rest at the link below

How To Use Direction and Certainty To Convert Prospects Into Buyers

business growth marketing strategy certainty

Have you ever seen any advertisement or promotion that offers promises like these “3 easy steps to a better golf swing”—

“7 ways to become a better manager”—

“3 simple negotiation techniques for salespeople”?

Mobile Application developers have found out that by reducing the number of times someone has to tap their screens to get a certain result, the higher the engagement and user retention.

The reason these are so successful is because people will pay for certainty.

The more uncertain someone is about what your product will do for them, the less inclined they will be to buy.

As humans we have a fascination with maps, blueprints, formulas, tips and advice.

We will do almost anything to clear up doubt from our minds.

When someone tells you something you don’t believe, you either go online to find the answer or ask someone else’s opinion.

Successful companies know that their websites, retail space and sales materials should offer step by step instructions.

The mind will always seek the clearer option because it doesn’t want to be in darkness.

Offer step by step instructions to your prospects.

People should know what to do if they want to buy something, speak to someone, try your product or have it delivered.

The simpler it is to find the BUY button, the more sales you will make.

Give them formulas, tips and steps to success.

No one ever bought anything and said “I bought this because it was so difficult to use”.
Everyone brags about things that are easy to use.

What are some other ways you can use certainty in your Marketing to grow your business?

Please comment below.


How having a lazy customer can be a good thing for your business

Would you rather take cooking lessons from a top chef or would you rather have him make the food for you?
For most people they would rather have the food instead of the lessons.
You have heard it said that give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Unfortunately that saying doesn’t work for most businesses.

More often than not, your clients would rather have you do the work for them than to do it themselves.
The better you get at giving the client what they want without them doing any work, the more appealing your products will be.
People want things to be done for them. The less brain power they use, the better.
The path of least resistance is usually the most appealing so do well to add that to your marketing and product development.
The purpose of reading is not to flip pages.
The purpose of reading is to acquire knowledge.
This is why most people would rather watch TV than read a book.
It’s not that they are dumb or lazy but that watching pre-packaged information is more appealing than digging for it yourself.
Whenever you get the chance, always say and try your best to do the work for the customer or at least try to do most of it.

The less someone has to do to get what they want, the more likely they will buy.

  • Offer to deliver instead of having the customer pick it up.
  • Offer to install instead of having the customer do it themselves.
  • Offer the research instead of giving them the sources of information.
  • You will notice this course comes with blueprints and systems that I have already created for you.

What Done-for-you products or services do you provide? Please comment below

Giving Results Before Making The Sale

Car dealerships offer test drives because they have found out that after driving a new car, the mind gets a taste of what we call Instant Gratification.

The prospect gets to enjoy what it’s like to drive a brand new car without paying for it. This rush of instant gratification plants a seed that is difficult for many people to uproot. After that test drive, people say their current vehicle starts to look and feel old. In many cases they return to trade in their old car or buy a new one.

The quicker you can get someone to experience your product, the easier it will be to persuade them to buy.

I heard of a piano salesman who would come and give his prospects a piano to keep in the home for about a week. By the time he returned to collect it, most of the homes decided to keep the piano and pay for it.

This happened because they had already gotten a taste of what it felt like to have a piano in the home. Their children were already enjoying the piano and were even considering getting lessons. All this instant gratification made it easy for the salesman to close the sale.

If his customers hadn’t gotten to experience it beforehand, it would have been a tougher sell.

 Free samples, free trials, free consultations, demonstrations and other try-before-you-buy tactics work very well.

What can you give people that will get them to experience the benefits of your product immediately?

Please comment below.



Words are an asset class

I was interviewed recently and the question was “what helped you grow your business?”

My response was —
I learnt how to use words to my advantage. To pack them with value and deliver it to prospects and customers.

You see, people don’t really buy products or services.They buy the words that they are told or the words they tell themselves.

Learning how to use words will pay any business owner more dividends than investing in any other asset class. Remember, words rule the world.

It’s not usually the best politician who wins the election or the best employee who gets the promotion. It’s the one who knows how to use words that wins.

Read more value packed words here

You’ve started your business, here is how to get your first customers

started a freelance business

Let me help you. I once founded and run a successful branding and design firm before I started consulting.

  1. Determine who your ideal client is–are you targeting small businesses in the healthcare space, online bloggers or perhaps dentists who are over 40 years old and live in a single family home?
  2. Decide on what your deliverable will be—are you creating a website with 5 pages, cms and design package for $10,000?

    Are you offering a logo design package that includes a letterhead and business card template for $1000? You need to have a package so you never have to get paid by the hour.

  3. Make a list of people you can help and reach out to them directly either through email, phone or face to face.

    When I started out, I got my first client by walking into the restaurant and asking for the manager. I pitched her my services and made my first $2500(I only got paid $2000, she never paid the rest. lol)

  4. Find out a complementary service provider who can attach your services to hers. The bigger that businesses’ reach, the better it is for you.

    For eg.You could contact the biggest printers and graphic designers in your city and have a joint venture agreement with them where you both promote each others services. You can give them a percentage of your profits in order to get leads.

  5. Create content that your clients would like to see and drive Facebook ads to it.

I’d recommend picking up David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising book. You’ll be fine.

Generating leads by taking away the risk from a transaction

Find out how Michael Bloomberg built a private billion dollar business using this simple strategy.

The principle is:
1. Whenever you meet someone in a transaction,
there’s always the factor of risk.
2. It’s your job to recognize it and take as much of it
out of the way as possible
3. The less risky the transaction is to your customers,
the more likely they will buy from you.

Learn how to attract customers and build a solid business with recurring profits.
Builders And Thinkers series hosted by Jeffrey Manu for

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