There is something about truths: they remain truths forever!
By Ken Green
Business and Tax Expert
Several years ago, my firm hosted a special event for our business clients and other close business associates.
Our special guest, Nick Karadza, of Rock Star Real Estate, shared some insights that are essential for business success. Here is a summary of the points, shared by Nick, that still hold true, today:
1. It’s about them — not ‘it’ or ‘you’
The key here is to always have the customer in the forefront of all you do. Think about the benefits to your customers. Your advertising, marketing and speeches to prospective customers should focus on explaining the benefits to them, i.e. “What’s In It For Them. A quote from Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” puts this in perspective:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”
2. Focus on a minority, not the majority
Provided there is a market for what you are offering, trying to be all things to all people is a quick way to failure. Remember that only a tiny percentage of the population in general, and only a specific group of people is all you need to succeed.
This idea of focusing on a small specific market is reinforced by Kevin Kelly’s groundbreaking article on the idea of 1,000 True Fans. He writes: “To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.”
For example, Apple’s products are only focused on the high end; doctors and lawyers that specialize in particular area are more successful than generalists. So it’s important to find your specific customer base and focus on it.
3. People don’t only want ‘what works’
Understand that people want ‘unusual secrets’, ‘the next new thing’, they want to be ‘first’. It’s often not enough to have good, valuable and credible information or deliverables. As a result, you have to work on how to factor these in your advertising and marketing to appeal to your clients.
One of the most powerful words in client attraction is ‘Secrets’. Very few people think the problem could be them, rather, they’re more likely to think that there is “A Secret” solution to their problems.
4. Be a storyteller
People buy stories, not things! So be careful not to talk too much about the things that people don’t care about, instead, focus on how to use stories to sell what will benefit your clients.
Understand that every business is a story telling business so you need to figure out how to tap into that. Stories give people an opportunity to visualize what they are consuming for a greater level of comprehension and a longer period of retention.
If you think about it, people will often do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you. Stories are powerful tools for people to get to know and trust you.
5.Your biggest asset is the relationship with your lists
Realize that wealth is in the lists of the business and the relationship with that list, not in the stuff you sell. Use your list to build relationship with your clients and prospects and to offer your products and services.
Be careful when using your list and ensure you’re offering something of value first. Avoid the temptation of bombarding your lists with your products and services without providing something of value to them first.
Remember, it is not the size of your list that is important, it is your relationship with your list. Of what use is your list if no one opens your email? You’re not reaching anyone with your content and you’re certainly not impacting lives if no one opens your email or hears from you.
If nurtured correctly, your list is an asset that has value. Russell Brunsun, an online marketing entrepreneur, often says a name in your list is worth at least $1 per month. The better you nurture your list, the more it is worth to you.
6. Peaks and valleys
If you’ve been in business long enough, you will realize that you will peak and at some point, decline. You will be popular and then out of fashion.
So, it is essential to understand that there will be peaks and valleys in your business and you should prepare for it by creating sustainable assets within your business.
Don’t sacrifice long-term equity in your business for short-term income. While it is important to make short-term income to keep business going, it is even more important to focus on your long-term business objectives if you want to prosper.
A quote from Dan Kennedy on “Income vs. Wealth” sheds more light on this:
“Entrepreneurs tend to focus more on income than on wealth. And many enjoy very high incomes for many years without ever converting any of it to wealth. Sales, profits and income are all important, but none of them directly produce wealth. Wealth comes from the creation of value (not income) and from prudent investments.”
7. Constant evolution
The business environment is constantly evolving and so must you if you want to remain competitive in today’s reality. You must understand that changes in the way you run your business is a constant imperative, so your business today will likely be different 2 to 5 years down the road.
Don’t get stuck in your successes today without innovating for tomorrow. So many examples in real life illustrate the importance of this. Palm Pilot did not evolve and went out of business. Blackberry did not evolve quickly enough, and lost significant market share to Apple and Samsung. Blockbuster was taken out of business by Netflix. Walmart, Target, Amazon are constantly evolving, by expanding to new markets.
These great insights, shared by Nick, several years ago, are even more important today. It was this message that motivated me to share my story for the first time, several years ago.
I must confess, that over the years, I’ve been slow at fully implementing a lot of the ideas shared here. I’m getting better at it and have learned quite a lot from Nick and his brother, Tom, as a member of their Rock Star Inner Circle group in Oakville, for several years.
If you own a business, I encourage you to lean into these 7 business truths today. Don’t walk, slowly, like I did, sprint to these truths and you will see your business explode, in a few short years.
COVID-19 Economic Updates
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, I am keeping a close watch on the trend, and will continue to take proactive steps to update my clients on the different economic relief plans available, from the various levels of government.
Remember, the safety and well-being of our community is paramount, so please continue to comply with the government guidelines on social distancing and other measures.
Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) Extends Deadlines
In a blog, on Friday, May 22, I quoted CRA’s announcement that T1 late-filing penalties will not be charged, if returns are filed and payments are made by September 1, 2020. Some have asked if this was a typo. It was not.
However, it is important to note that the actual deadline has not been changed to September 1, 2020. What is the difference between an actual extension of the deadline and CRA simply stating that they will not assess late-filing penalties? The returns would still be late, however, the primary disincentive (late-filing penalties) would be removed, if all conditions are met.
Also, there was a question as to whether self-employed filers (and their spouses) would enjoy a waiver of late filing penalties as well. CRA updated their website, to confirm that the same relief would be provided: “Penalties (including late-filing penalties) and interest will not be applied if returns are filed and payments are made by September 1, 2020.”
Note, however, that no further extension to GST/HST return deadlines have been announced, so it appears the annual GST return required by many self-employed individuals still needs to be filed by June 30, 2020. Make sure to check back on the CRA deadline listing page for any changes.
Corporate tax deadlines
Corporations that would otherwise have a filing deadline in June, July, or August 2020 would have their deadline extended to September 1, 2020. It appears that the previously extended deadline of June 1 for returns due after March 18 and before June 1 is not being extended.
Ken Green, who has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and entrepreneur. He runs a professional accounting practice — GMS Professional Corporation — with his partner, Celia Meikle, and the support from their loyal employees. The firm provides accounting and bookkeeping services, tax planning, business advisory and financial planning. He can be reached at: 905-919-3543; or firstname.lastname@example.org.