Lead with your biggest hook, and grow your business like it’s a product.
There is more to Allan Dib’s book, The 1-Page Marketing Plan than marketing, and there is way more to the scope of Allan’s expertise, too!
Tune in to hear Allan explain why your business absolutely needs a marketing ‘hook’ and why when you overcomplicate describing what you do, you will lose clients every time.
Hear why Allan believes you should structure your business to sell…even if you never plan on selling it. As well, if you’ve reached a plateau in your business growth, you’ll get some insight into what it takes to grow your business beyond 6 figures and the steps to take to make the leap to 7 figures. Hint: There is no magic involved! Simply some really down-to-earth, straightforward talk about how to scale your business beyond you.
I love the way Allan makes the complex simple, and I know you will walk away with a great new resource for building a simple and effective marketing plan and a saleable business. Enjoy!
What’s in This Episode
- Why you absolutely need a marketing hook for your business
- The truth about ‘doing it all’ in your business
- How to build a business that works without you
- Why simplifying the complex pays big money
- What’s holding you back from making 7 figures
- Allan’s advice on how to sell your business
- Harnessing what you’re great at to scale your business
What To Do Next
- Join Thought Readers and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs in this popular book club for business owners.
- Subscribe to receive this podcast and regular weekly strategies to grow and shape your business. You’ll also be the first to know about upcoming courses, programs and exclusive LIVE training.
- Connect on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn and share your insights from the show.
- Sign up to be notified when I run the next Roadmap Workshop.
Where to Find Allan Dib
Next week, tune in to episode 19 of She Talks Business as I speak with another wise Alan, Alan Weiss and discuss his book, Be Fearless.
Books Mentioned in this Episode
- Who Not How by Dan Sullivan
- Fearless Leadership by Alan Weiss
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
- Antifragile by Nassim Taleb
CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE FULL TRANSCRIPT
Lisa Larter (00:01):
Welcome to, She Talks Business. If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or aspiring mogul, chances are you want to learn more about marketing and mastering and monetizing your business. She Talks Business is where you’ll learn all of that and more. My name is Lisa Larter and I’m an entrepreneur, high school dropout, wiener dog enthusiast and your host. Let’s get started.
Lisa Larter (00:01):
Welcome to, She Talks Business. If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or aspiring mogul, chances are you want to learn more about marketing and mastering and monetizing your business. She Talks Business is where you’ll learn all of that and more. My name is Lisa Larter and I’m an entrepreneur, high school dropout, wiener dog enthusiast and your host. Let’s get started.
Lisa Larter (00:24):
Well, hello and welcome to the month of August. You’re either working really hard this month, or maybe you’re doing a little bit of slacking, but I hope you’re doing some reading. I hope you are enjoying the Summer of Reading and that you enjoyed one of my favorite books and author interviews last week with Dan Sullivan, Who Not How literally changed the shape of my business when I read that book last year.
Lisa Larter (00:51):
All right. So this week we are going to have a conversation with Allan Dib. Allan Dib is in Australia and he is a fascinating author. His book, The 1‑Page Marketing Plan, it’s a fantastic book, but the title is so misleading because Allan Dib is a really, really smart savvy business guy. And so I think you will appreciate his book and the conversation that I have with him, because it’s really more of a business development than it is about marketing. But what I love about his philosophy is if you can’t map it out on a page, you probably have too much going on and you probably won’t be able to implement the things that you want to do.
Lisa Larter (01:42):
So I would love to hear what you think of this. And if you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Let me know, either send me a message on Instagram or send me an email and let me know what you think and be sure to stick around next week. Because next week we have an episode with Alan Weiss. And if you don’t know Alan Weiss, he’s pretty impressive and I am writing a book with him. I actually have written a book with him and it is in the final editing stages. So I can’t wait to introduce you to him, but enough about Allan and Alan. Let’s get started with Allan with two Ls, Allan Dib, enjoy the show.
Lisa Larter (02:24):
It’s good to have you here. I loved your book.
Allan Dib (02:27):
Well, thank you so much.
Lisa Larter (02:29):
I’ve had your book for a long time and I’ve seen people talk about this book and I bought the book and I am a bit of a book hog and I had not gotten around to reading it. And then we decided in Thought Readers that we were going to spend 90 days focused on marketing. And so I thought, oh, this 1-Page Marketing Plan. I wonder if there’s anything good in that. This title is deceiving. This is not just a marketing book.
Allan Dib (03:05):
It is, exactly, exactly
Lisa Larter (03:08):
It’s not just a marketing book. It was great. So thank you so much for joining us and saying yes to being here. We are live streaming inside of our Facebook group and we have some members of Thought Readers who will join us live. It’s a little bit later in the evening here in Canada. So we may have people watching on Facebook or picking up the replay. But I appreciate you saying yes to being here and I’m looking forward to chatting with you about this book.
Allan Dib (03:38):
It’s an absolute pleasure, yeah. What a great group. I jumped into the Facebook group. I saw some of the past comments, really, really cool group.
Lisa Larter (03:47):
It is. We have been doing this for, I think, we’re going into our fourth or our fifth year reading books together. And every year we have anywhere from 75 to 100 people who read with us for a year at a time. And there’s a woman on the webinar, Elizabeth Young, she owns a flower shop and she’s worked with me for years. And she said to me one day, “I have a business idea for you. You read so many books, I’m always trying to keep up. I think you should start a business book club. And I would pay you to learn while you read, if you would just mail me the books.” And of course my reaction was like, nobody’s ever going to buy that, turns out they will. So anyways, here we are.
Allan Dib (04:35):
That’s so good.
Lisa Larter (04:39):
So I’m curious about you because you are a bit of a serial entrepreneur. You have built in and sold a few businesses, as well as written this book. And I have a telecommunications background in Canada as well. So I’m curious about your telecommunications business. What was that all about?
Allan Dib (04:57):
Yeah, so we started one of the first B2B voiceover IP carriers in Australia. So that’s my background. My background is being a real tech geek. I’ve been working on technology and in data centers and all of that sort of thing. So I’ve been really on the tools as they say.
Lisa Larter (05:22):
Awesome. So my first question for you is where did you learn to write copy so well? I went to your website and just like 95% of people who go to your website for the first time, what page do you think I clicked on?
Allan Dib (05:43):
The download the canvas for free.
Lisa Larter (05:45):
Allan Dib (05:45):
Lisa Larter (05:47):
Allan Dib (05:47):
Yeah, the about. Yes.
Lisa Larter (05:49):
The About page.
Allan Dib (05:50):
That’s one of the most highly trafficked pages.
Lisa Larter (05:53):
Right. And your About page is not like anyone else’s About page. Where did you learn to write such magnificent copy?
Allan Dib (06:04):
I don’t know if I’m a magnificent copywriter, I appreciate the compliment. But really I was a student of marketing and I still am, of course. But particularly in my first business when I was a dead broke IT geek. And I was good at what I did. I was really good at the tech stuff. But I just did not know how to get a client in the door. And that took me on a decade long journey of, I attended all the seminars. I read all the books. I learned how to write copy. I learned about direct response marketing. I studied all the great, the Gary Halbert’s, Dan Kennedy, all of those. And so I did the difficult, expensive and long way, which is through trial and error really. That’s what I did. So that’s how I did it.
Lisa Larter (06:54):
I am really impressed that you are a techie guy, but you’re also a word nerd and your copy is really good. I mean, your book is super easy to read. There’s a lot of… I’m a highlighter when I read books and most of my pages in your book look like this. I have underlined and scribbled notes and taken away a lot of things. I have a strategic marketing roadmap process that I take my clients through. And I was listening to an interview that you did with someone else where you were talking about your coaching clients and how you would try to get them to do a marketing plan. And they would say, it’s too difficult, it’s too expensive, and it’s too much work. And so you came up with this framework. Why do you think we business owners complexify marketing?
Allan Dib (07:52):
Yeah, a thing I’m often telling my one-on-one coaching clients is, and I have this conversation, I think at least once a week is, “hey, let’s not over-complicate the simple”. And also entrepreneurs, it’s something that I struggle with as well. It’s following that bright, shiny object, that new tool comes out, that new funnel thing, that new SEO hack or whatever else. And so-
Lisa Larter (08:19):
That new TikTok.
Allan Dib (08:20):
Exactly, the new TikTok, all of that. Assuming it’s still legal.
Lisa Larter (08:27):
There is that.
Allan Dib (08:32):
And it’s kind of seductive, right? To try that new tool, that new hack, that new software, that new whatever. But what I’ve found is the stuff that gets you the most of the results are the fundamentals and the fundamentals really don’t change. So really is selecting your target market. So knowing who you’re speaking to, having a message that really cuts through and resonates, and yes, of course, we’ll use all of those tools.
Allan Dib (08:58):
Yes, we will use the funnel tools. Yes, we’ll use the CRMs, the automations, all of that. But if you don’t have the fundamentals right, those things can’t carry you and those things won’t get you the result that you actually want and need. So the fundamentals get you to 80% and yes, then some of those tools and tactics and things like that you can implement them that way. Sometimes I’m talking to clients and I’ve built a multi seven figure coaching and consulting business. And they’re flabbergasted at how simple my funnel is. I don’t have upsells, down sells, cart abandonment, all of that sort of stuff. And I will implement all of that in time, but we’ve built a significant business just through the fundamentals, which is really good content, nurturing emails, value building emails, and having conversations with our ideal target market.
Lisa Larter (09:54):
I always say that you need to consider who’s coming to your website. One of the things that I say to a lot of my clients is your website is really built for strangers. Because when somebody refers someone to you, they’re already viewing your content and your marketing through the lens of that endorsement, or that referral. And when somebody is an existing client, if they are a raving fan, they worked with you for a long time. They know you are good at what you do. They don’t care what your copy says. You could have a one-liner there that says, I’m going to the beach to work on marketing, who wants to come? Right.
Lisa Larter (10:36):
And those people that just trust you will say, yes, but it’s the writing for strangers. It’s the writing for SEO, all of that stuff to attract people to you that I find can be challenging. How do you get your clients to narrow their focus so that they’re not fragmenting their efforts and spreading their energy out into so many places that they cannot be effective? Because I’m going to tell you the way my brain works. Okay. I looked at this one pager and I went, okay, there’s nine lines. So I could put nine things in each box that I need to do. And then I go, okay, nine times nine. That’s a lot of stuff that I need to do. So even then I start to feel overwhelmed. So how do you help people really dial it down and prioritize?
Allan Dib (11:31):
Yeah, it’s really key to, and I kind of use the analogy of an iceberg with my clients. So there’s the tip of the iceberg. There’s the thing that’s visible, but below there’s a lot of substance. And so it kind of gels with something that you said in the beginning where you said, look, the title of the book is deceptive because it’s not just about marketing and it’s not just about a marketing plan. And you’re absolutely right, in the book and in my coaching program and in my courses and things like that, we cover a lot of depth. We cover business systems. We cover people strategy. We cover processes. We cover customer experience. We cover a whole host of things, way, way more than just marketing planning. But if I had created a book or written a website or whatever, where I said, we do everything under the sun, we do business systems.
Allan Dib (12:22):
We help you with people’s strategy. We help you with processes. We help you with customer experience. My message would get diluted and lost. So I need to find what’s the hook that I can really lead with. What’s the one thing that people are really craving, that people lead with and that people when they see it, they think, hey, I want that. A marketing plan in one page, cool, I want that. So that’s what you’ve got to lead with. And so that’s kind of the tip of the iceberg. That’s where people engage with me. So when I’m appearing as a guest on a podcast, or when I’m invited to speak, or any of those kinds of public forums, I talk about one thing only, how to put together a one page marketing plan, about a one page, why you need one page marketing plan. Even though there’s a lot more depth to what I do and what I can do.
Allan Dib (13:12):
And it’s kind of something that I covered in the book. Sell them what they want and then give them what they need. And it’s funny, I’ve noticed that the book sales tend to spike on a Monday as those people kind of get back to the office and they think, hey, I need marketing. And they kind of look for a marketing book or marketing resource. I also noticed they spike at the beginning of the year in January, book sales usually spike as well. So people are starting the new year, they’re like, I need marketing, I need to get more clients in the door.
Allan Dib (13:47):
And so I’m leading with my best hook. And then once people are on there, then I give them what they need. Then I might start working with a client and say, look, hang on, before we can actually run any marketing campaigns, we actually need to get the right people into place. We need to put it in the right technology, the right systems, all of that sort of thing. So it’s really about identifying what’s the best hook. What’s the thing that you can really help your audience with the best and lead with that.
Lisa Larter (14:16):
Yeah, I do something very similar. My business, I call it the second sales strategy. What is the first sale that leads to the bigger sale? What is the first sale that leads to the bigger opportunity? So what I’m hearing you say is that first sale for you is really helping people with the marketing. To create that simplified marketing, but then once they get indoctrinated into your world and you start to explain all the other things that they need, then they can go deeper into the skills and abilities that you have with respect to business.
Allan Dib (14:51):
Exactly. Rarely does someone wake up in the morning and think, hey, I need more business systems or a need to implement a CRM or whatever. They wake up in the morning say, I need more clients. I need them coming in the door. So I need marketing. I need to get the word out. So I’m leading with the best hook. And then even with that best hook, so if you think about niching down, back to your initial question. So I’m essentially a business coach and consultant and I can consult and I do consult on a wider variety of things. So you take the world of business and I’ll even go with my clients. I go further than just the business world. I go into their personal world around, how do they build personal wealth? How do they create time and freedom and all of that? But that’s a massive a niche.
Allan Dib (15:42):
So if you start with personal development, then you niche it down to business, how to improve your business. That’s still a massive niche. Then you narrow it down to marketing. Then even marketing is a wide niche. So I narrow it down to marketing planning. So I’m kind of got a really narrow niche, but it’s a mile deep, it’s an inch wide, but a mile deep. And that’s kind of the niches that I want to look at. So even though there’s a wide variety of things that I can and do help people with when I’m spending money on marketing, when I’m spending money on advertising, when I’m speaking from stage, when I’m on a podcast, when I’m promoting myself, I’m talking about that one little narrow niche.
Allan Dib (16:20):
And people are concerned sometimes about pigeonholing themselves or narrowing their audience. I think you can dominate a niche and add another. I think I’ve got probably another decade worth of material on just The 1‑Page Marketing Plan, but let’s say I now completely dominated marketing planning. I could now add another niche and then another one, and then another one. And so that’s how you win at the game of marketing, because you’re going to be hyper-relevant. Rarely does somebody Google something that’s just general. People Google things that are highly relevant.
Lisa Larter (16:59):
So it’s almost like you have created your own category inside of marketing, because most people are selling the big, complicated, expensive marketing strategies. And basically what you’re saying is we need to simplify it, it needs to be a one page thing. And you’re taking the complexity out of it based on the pain that people feel around trying to do the marketing.
Allan Dib (17:26):
Exactly. I’ve found that nothing pays more than simplifying the complex. And that’s across every industry. So if you think about some of the things in our lives that have created more simplicity in our lives, let’s think about a couple of technologies. So think about Uber, right? You used to have to hail a cab, you get into some smelly cab. Assuming you could get one, then you have to pay cash and a tip and all of that sort of stuff. Now, you press one button, arrives at your exact location. You get in, takes you to where you want to go. Payment’s handled automatically and frictionless. So they’ve simplified the complex.
Allan Dib (18:07):
If you think about Netflix, right? You used to drive to blockbuster video. The thing you wanted to rent was out of stock, then you’d forget to return it you pay late fees, then you’ve got to go take it back. Now, that kind of concept seems ridiculous. So now we press a button, we stream our favorite show on demand, or favorite movies or whatever. So they’ve simplified the complex. And that’s what been worth billions of dollars for Netflix. It’s been worth billions of dollars for Uber. It’s been worth millions for me in terms of simplifying marketing planning. And it can be the same in your industry, whatever industry you’re in. If you can take the complex and add an easy button to it then people will pay a lot of money for that.
Lisa Larter (18:56):
Makes a lot of sense. I mean, there’s no better example of that than bagged salad.
Allan Dib (19:02):
Lisa Larter (19:02):
Bagged lettuce right? Instead of buying the head of lettuce for 79 cents, you buy the bag for five bucks and it’s all clean and chopped. Right?
Allan Dib (19:11):
That’s exactly right. I mean, convenience is a really powerful force.
Lisa Larter (19:16):
Yes, absolutely. What else do I want to ask you? I wrote down a bunch of questions, but I just want to flip through and look at your book. And one of the things that you said that I thought was interesting, and I’d love to hear your insights on it, because it really resonated with me. You said, if you are the business, you don’t have a business.
Allan Dib (19:40):
Lisa Larter (19:41):
And I noticed that your business is called Successwise.
Allan Dib (19:47):
Lisa Larter (19:47):
Allan Dib (19:48):
Lisa Larter (19:48):
And why did you choose to create the business that way? Is it because you’ve built and sold other businesses? So you were planning something that you could scale and sell eventually?
Allan Dib (20:01):
Yes, it is for that reason. You can still scale and sell a personal brand style business. And still even though the business is Successwise and most people know Allan Dib and it still is essentially a personal brand business. But having said that, whenever I’m building a business, I want it to become a saleable asset, even if right now I’m not planning. And right now I’m not planning to sell Successwise.
Allan Dib (20:28):
I’m really enjoying and loving what I’m doing, but here’s the thing, in almost any business one day you’re going to get to the stage where maybe you want to pass it down to your children, maybe you want to take an extended holiday, maybe you want to find a better opportunity and you want to do something else, maybe you get bored of what you’re doing.
Allan Dib (20:46):
And so wouldn’t it be really, really cool if you had a valuable asset that you could sell for a lot of money, rather than what happens to a lot of people is either shutting it down, or selling it for next to nothing or whatever else? Every time I’ve sold a business, it’s been for more money than I’d ever seen in my life previous to that. And so that’s a great way to build wealth.
Allan Dib (21:12):
Think of your business as an asset, as an asset that you want to appreciate and value over time. Similar to real estate, you might buy real estate today, you might renovate, maybe you might improve it or you might hold it over time and then hopefully over a period of time, you can sell it for much more than you paid for it. Not always the case, but it certainly can be the case if you’ve done it wisely. I think of businesses the same way as a capital asset, so how can I build the capital value of this asset over time?
Allan Dib (21:49):
And that’s why particularly from a marketing perspective, I talk to my clients about creating assets. What are assets in your business that will help you get new leads, new clients, new prospects in the door? Because if you don’t have those assets, you are the asset. And then you have to do that work in your stead. Often I’ll find when I first start working with a client, I’ll work with someone who says, look, nobody can sell as well as I do in my team. I’m the chief rainmaker, I’m the chief sales person, nobody in my team sells anywhere near as well as I do.
Allan Dib (22:26):
And that’s because they are the marketing asset, rather than them owning a marketing asset. And so a lot of times the work that we do is building those marketing assets within the business to, first of all, extract the business owner from the day to day, but also to make the business much more valuable.
Lisa Larter (22:43):
In this business, you are a coach and a consultant and you have courses. Are you the marketing asset, the rainmaker, or do you have an asset that sells for you?
Allan Dib (22:55):
I do two things only in my business. I’m like a moon orbiting my business. I do two things. I work with clients one on one and I do small minority of the coaching calls. I’ve got a team of coaches who actually do the majority of the coaching, so I do one on one coaching and then I do content. Essentially I will come up with ideas for new content. I’ll attend webinars and podcasts exactly like I’m doing now.
Allan Dib (23:24):
They’re really the two things I’m best at, and they’re the two things that I really do in the business. Almost every other process is handled by my team. For example, there’s a process around getting me booked on a podcast and it involves multiple steps. Finding the right podcast, corresponding with the right person, sending headshots, organizing a time and scheduling it all, promoting it on social media afterwards all of that.
Allan Dib (23:51):
I’ve got a member of my team, that’s one of their jobs to do. Another process that we have in the business is around content, so making sure that we’re putting out relevant content based on our SEO keywords and things like that. And again, I might attend a management meeting around that from time to time, but mostly there’s a team member whose job it is to handle that in the business.
Allan Dib (24:17):
My management of the business is literally less than two hours a week. I have with my COO, I’ll get on a 30 minute to one hour call once on a Monday, once on a Thursday, and we smash out all of that decision. We need budget approval on that, how’s that project going? What’s the status of this? What happened with that client? Whatever else?
Allan Dib (24:39):
We knock all of that out in less than two hours a week. That way I can focus on what I’m best at, what my genius zone is. And that’s really what you want to do, is figure out what your genius zone is and spend most of your time in that zone.
Lisa Larter (24:52):
And so how did you learn how to do that? And especially in a business where you are the talent, it’s your IP, it’s your book, it’s your methodology and you are the coach. I’ve had people say to me before, you should be teaching someone on your team to coach. And I have this limiting belief. My clients want to coach with me. And so I don’t know that a client would want to be coached by someone else on my team, so I’m curious as to how you went through that process?
Allan Dib (25:26):
I thought that too as well. And you know what happened when I brought in new team members to coach clients? Satisfaction went up and client retention got bigger. We retained clients for longer and client satisfaction went up. And here’s why, because one person including me, even if I’m the so-called talent, one person cannot know everything.
Allan Dib (25:52):
For example, part of my coaching program, part of my value proposition is, hey, when you need sales training, I’ve got a sales training expert in my team. Now, I do know about sales, but I’m not a sales training expert. Now, I’ve also got someone who’s an expert in hiring and onboarding the right team members. I’m absolutely the wrong person to be coaching on that, so I’ve got a specialist who handles that. Then I’ve got someone who works on funnels and all the tech stuff.
Allan Dib (26:20):
And while I do know a lot of that stuff, again, I’m not the best person to be coaching on all of that. There are things that I’m really, really good at, and I will take those coaching sessions. When we’re talking about things like positioning, messaging, pricing and packaging, big picture strategy, I’ll take those calls. But for the most part, my team are handling most of the coaching calls.
Allan Dib (26:43):
Not just to extract me from that, but also to provide more value to the clients because one person cannot just know everything. It’s just simply impossible, no matter how clever they are. That way everyone can work on their genius zone and provide a client a much better overall experience, than just getting on with me on each call.
Lisa Larter (27:09):
Can you take us back to when you started this business, because this business would be very different from a telecommunications company. And can you walk us through how you approached your marketing from the beginning to build it to where it is today? And how long did it take you to build it to at least a seven figure capacity where you had the cashflow?
Lisa Larter (27:39):
Because if you’re a brand new coach, I don’t mean to sound disparaging towards anybody. I don’t think we have any coaches… Well, we might have a couple of coaches listening, but coaches are a dime a dozen online today. Anybody can hang up a shingle and say they’re a coach. And some of those people have never led a team. They have no leadership management business acumen whatsoever. And so for most coaches, if they can exceed six figures in their business, they’re doing not bad.
Lisa Larter (28:09):
If they can exceed seven figures in their business, they’re a small percentage, especially women. I think for women it’s probably less than 5% of women who will exceed the seven figure mark. And if they actually get multiple seven figures, it’s even a smaller slice yet again. And so once you’ve reached that seven figure and beyond mark, you’re playing a different game, because you’ve got a lot more cash flow to work with. When you started, what were your marketing priorities to build it so that you could fund the team?
Allan Dib (28:43):
Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s a two part question. One is how do you fund the team and then what do you do to build a six, seven, and possibly even an eight figure business in a coaching perspective? Getting to six figures is relatively easy, I would say. And I say that because you can mostly do that on your own steam. And a lot of people think that getting to six figures, all their problems are going to be solved, but you’ll find that more and more problems come up.
Allan Dib (29:22):
A lot of coaches feel like if I could just fill up the calendar with coaching and discovery calls and all of that, all my problems would be solved. But once that happens, you find that you’ve essentially created a job for yourself. You have to show up all day, every day. And I was there, I’ve been there, done that. And so you’re making six figures, but you’re like geez I’m now on-
Lisa Larter (29:47):
I’m killing myself.
Allan Dib (29:48):
Yeah, I’m killing myself. Exactly, I’m going from call to call and there’s a lot of pre-work to do and all of that sort of thing. The thing I would say there’s a couple of things you need to understand. The skills that will get you to six figures are not the skills that will get you to seven figures and beyond. But this is still, I think it’s valuable too in the early days to be doing a lot of the one on one, because you’re going to learn what the most common questions are, what some of the most common objections are, what all of those things are.
Allan Dib (30:17):
What you want to do in the early days is, you want to hire someone who will help you with some of the operational stuff. And that doesn’t mean someone who is very expensive. That doesn’t mean someone who’s even necessarily full-time. And particularly if you’re working with women. And up until literally the day before yesterday, my team was an all girl crew.
Allan Dib (30:43):
We’ve got all women in the team. I’ve hired my first male team member the day before yesterday. I’ve got some experience there. There’s a wonderful opportunity to hire moms who want to get back into the workforce. Maybe they want to work a couple of hours remotely a day, or whatever else. Maybe they drop their kids off at wherever school or whatever else, so they’ve got a few hours in the middle of the day where they’re open to getting more work.
Allan Dib (31:15):
Those people can be wonderful resources that you can use. They might’ve had really good corporate experience previously, a lot of them are very well educated. And the thing I found was that you tend to get their best two or three hours. Somebody who works four hours a day for you, when you expand their day to eight hours, they generally don’t double in productivity.
Lisa Larter (31:38):
That’s a really good point.
Allan Dib (31:44):
If you hire someone for maybe two hours a day and it could be two hours a day, three days a week. Let’s say you’re going to get their best six hours and you can get them to start doing one thing that’s been on your to do list from a marketing perspective that you haven’t got to. Maybe you decided, hey, it’s a really good idea for us to be doing a blog post a week.
Allan Dib (32:05):
And so that can be someone’s job now in your team. And it can even be someone maybe in the Philippines, or maybe in another country where the cost base is lower, but there are some very high quality people. For a very low cost, you can get your first team member on and that’s going to help you learn how to manage a team, learn how to delegate, learn how to put together systems and processes.
Allan Dib (32:30):
And it’s going to be a really, really good training ground for building your future team, because you cannot scale without a team. That’s the secret weapon. Businesses are team sports, simply put. You can get to six figures and you can stay at six figures by yourself, but it’s going to get pretty difficult and pretty boring pretty soon. If you want to scale to any kind of level, you need to have those skills to start building a team.
Lisa Larter (33:03):
What type of marketing did you do to get yourself to the next level? Do you use your own marketing plan?
Allan Dib (33:12):
I do. I have my own one page marketing plan and we continually update that. The thing to go from six figures to seven figures, you have to move from a one on one model to a one to many model. And I’ve actually got a coach certification program, we do three intakes a year. We go through that in a lot of detail, but basically you want to go from just doing one on one coaching because once you’ve exhausted your eight hours a day, that’s it you can’t scale. And doing eight hours worth of coaching calls is exhausting, mentally exhausting and physically exhausting.
Lisa Larter (33:57):
I find more than four physically exhausting.
Allan Dib (34:01):
Lisa Larter (34:01):
It takes a lot out of you.
Allan Dib (34:03):
It does take a lot out of you. And so you really can’t scale beyond six figures doing that. You’ve got to go to a one to many model. Something that works well, if you’ve got a very well-defined niche, let’s say, for example, you work with dentists or cosmetic surgeons or whoever it is. If you’ve got a well-defined niche, you can do group coaching, that can work really really well to expand.
Allan Dib (34:27):
Another thing that you can do is membership programs similar to what you’re doing here with Thought Readers. You can also do a course. I love courses because you can do the work once and you can get paid over and over many times.
Allan Dib (34:44):
You need to think about how do you can and clone yourself so that your time is not connected to your income. So that I do the work once and I get paid many times over. Or I do the work once and I get paid many times in one hit. That can be running events, group, selling courses, memberships, all of those sorts of things. That’s what’s going to take you from six to seven figures in the end.
Lisa Larter (35:14):
I’m curious if we look at, in the before planning, thinking about who your target market is, when you look at coaching and consulting versus a membership program, versus courses as an example, in my experience, those are different target markets. The person who buys the course is not going to be the same person that buys the consulting. What advice do you have? I have clients that spend multiple six figures a year, and then I have clients that spend $97 a month in Thought Readers. How do you help your clients to target the different markets within the same niche?
Allan Dib (35:58):
Yes. Within every market there are going to be segments and this is where your segmentation comes into place. For example, you’re absolutely right. For my one on one clients, it’s $3,000 a month. And so they’re a different market than the people who buy my $97 a month membership and they’re a different market who buy the course. There’s some crossover between them of course, but generally speaking.
Allan Dib (36:28):
So what you want to do is to be able to segment those people. Usually the people buying my membership are more in startup phase, so they’re in the zero to maybe six figures category and they’re appropriate for the course as well. Usually people who are signing up for my one on one, they’re usually doing 500K plus up to potentially 20 million, so I’ve segmented them.
Allan Dib (37:03):
And so you can create different marketing plans for your segment, or if they’re reasonably similar in terms of their messaging, you can have them on the one marketing plan. You want to be aware of who is taking what journey with you and what the journey is going to look like. You want to make sure that your messaging is relevant.
Allan Dib (37:24):
When I’m marketing my course, I’m talking more to people who are maybe in the startup phase or maybe in the early phase of the business. And so I’ll be talking more at their level, but when I’m talking to people about coaching, I’m going to be talking about things that are relevant to them. Scale, exit, how do they hire really good people, all of those sorts of things. Tailoring your message to your market segments.
Allan Dib (37:51):
Within a niche, you can still have multiple segments and you might choose to only serve one segment in the beginning. I think when you’re starting out, it is really good to do some one on one, even if you’re planning to do courses, because you’re going to learn a lot. And you’re going to be able to develop some of the resources that you’ll be able to sell later on.
Allan Dib (38:11):
For example something that would always come up with my one on one clients is how do you manage a team? And I would show them how we use Slack and then what kind of Slack channels we set up and some of the standard operating procedures, and then what do we look for when we recruit a marketing person? What sort of prices do we go through?
Allan Dib (38:36):
I put that into a standard operating procedure. We put that into a documented process and now part of the course is they get that documented process handed to them on a silver platter. I’ve often heard it said, when it comes to courses is you’re selling the by-products of your business, things that you’ve used in your business is going to be valuable to other people.
Lisa Larter (39:00):
I actually just had that conversation with my COO today, because a client of mine, I’ve been working with him for a while and I’ve really helped him to improve his writing. And every week he would send me his content and I would say, do this, do this, do this. And one day he said to me “It would be really helpful if you would just take all the tips that you’ve given me and put them into a list, so that I can cross reference the list myself before I send it to you.”
Lisa Larter (39:29):
And at first I thought, oh man, you want me to do more work? But then I started to think about it and I thought, well, okay, I can do this for him, but then I can use this as content and I can use this as a tool. And I just said to my COO today, I said “I need to start codifying some of the processes that I teach our clients to do over and over again.” But I hadn’t thought of it as a by-product for courses, which is really, really smart.
Allan Dib (39:59):
Yes. Well, I’ve gotten even one step above that and I get one of my team members to actually codify that, because they’re the ones who are actually doing the execution. I’ll go to Claire and my team and say, look, can you please put together a standard operating procedure about how we reach out to people with podcasts. And now that’s a standard operating procedure, it’s in the course, we use it in our coaching.
Allan Dib (40:21):
And so when I’m talking to a coaching client and I’m saying, look, you really need to get on more podcasts. The natural question is, okay, how do I hook that up? Great, here’s a standard operating procedure which you can follow. It saves me time in my coaching. It also helps people who are in the course, and I didn’t have to do it. My team who are the experts at that stuff put that together, so it was very time efficient for me.
Lisa Larter (40:47):
No, I think it’s great. And Elizabeth, the one who suggested the program for Thought Readers, she owns a retail bricks and mortar store. And the same thing is true, even in retail. Even when you have a business that’s not a coaching business, when you document those standard operating procedures, when it comes time to sell the business, all of those systems and processes actually add to your valuation. A lot of people don’t realize that, but it definitely makes a huge impact.
Allan Dib (41:24):
It’s massive, it’s massive. And I’ve felt that from personal experience. In the past, I’ve sold my businesses for far more than they were worth, just based on the revenue and just based on the customer base, because we had valuable intellectual property. Because I could go to the prospective purchaser and say, “Guys if you take our intellectual property and apply it to your customer base, you can uplift your margin from say 20% to 40%.” And so that is almost more valuable to them than buying our revenue and buying our customer base.
Allan Dib (42:00):
And so then the conversation around exiting is not about, hey, okay, we’ll pay you three times earnings or four times earnings or whatever. It’s like, hey, we can actually generate this much uplift in the business. And particularly when they’re seeking sources of funding from a board of directors or from a bank or something like that, for them to be able to go tell that story to say, look, we’re acquiring this company. We’re going to add this much revenue, we’re going to add this many customers, but they’ve got this intellectual property where if we apply it to our customer base, we’re actually going to get an immediate uplifting in our margins or revenue or efficiency or whatever. That is massively valuable. And that’s why companies in Silicon Valley, we see companies that are losing money that are worth billions and billions of dollars, why? Because of the intellectual property that they have.
Lisa Larter (42:52):
Right. Let’s talk about scaling and selling. I’ve sold two businesses; my husband has sold one. Each time we’ve sold, we’ve stepped up a level in terms of selling. My first one I think I sold for pennies on the dollar, it was basically give me five bucks and take all this stuff. And you learn as you go. What advice do you have when it comes to marketing for exiting?
Lisa Larter (43:23):
How many years in advance should people be thinking about, thinking before they exit, and what types of things should they be doing in their marketing when they are ready to sell? Because the first business, I joke I said I would take five bucks. I made more than $5 off of it, but what I did, which I know is wrong is I got bored with the business.
Lisa Larter (43:48):
And so I had grown the business up to here, and then I got bored with the business so then the business started to go down, and then I decided I should just sell the business. But I literally handicapped myself because I wasn’t thinking about selling and keeping that trajectory going. What marketing advice would you give to someone who is considering selling their business, maybe in the next two to five years?
Allan Dib (44:13):
Yeah. The critical thing is that you start thinking about exit long before you actually want to exit, because if you’re like, hey, I’m sick of this business, I want to get rid of it by next month or whatever, you are going to be selling it pennies on the dollar, if that. And very, very similar to marketing inside of our business, we want to be thinking about who our target is.
Allan Dib (44:41):
This is really your ultimate customer, the ultimate customer is the customer who puts you out of business. And hopefully they put you out of business in a way that makes you a lot of money. I had a very, very clear idea certainly for my second business exit, for who would be a likely acquirer of my business. We had voice over IP technology.
Allan Dib (45:08):
And to me, it was obvious that another telecom provider who was bigger than us, but who maybe didn’t have their own network, didn’t have their own technology would be an obvious acquirer, that could get an instant margin uplift, that could get a better network. From that perspective, I had a very, very clear idea who it might be. There were maybe about a few dozen logical companies that were in my sphere, that would be those logical acquirers, so I started building those relationships.
Allan Dib (45:42):
We would catch up from time to time for lunches or whatever, coffee meetings, those sorts of things. And we kept that alive. But most importantly, I was thinking through who would be likely to buy us. And I mentioned Silicon Valley, in Silicon Valley they’ve really got this down to a fine art. There are people who found companies today who have an intention to sell it to a specific company.
Allan Dib (46:11):
They know Google needs that type of technology, or they know Apple would be likely to buy this or Spotify or whatever. Thinking through who’s the person or who’s the company who’s likely to want what I’m building? And so really building that for them and making sure that you are building an asset that’s saleable.
Allan Dib (46:32):
Because if it’s all about you, if it’s all in your head, if you don’t have a team, if you don’t have the systems, if you don’t have processes, it’s just about you running a coaching business or whatever, that’s not really saleable. A lot of people think that a historical list of customers is a saleable asset. It’s something, but it’s not really worth very much.
Allan Dib (46:52):
But if you can go to someone and say, look, this is a business that generates whatever amounts, seven figures, eight figures whatever it is, we’ve got systems, we’ve got a team, we’ve got an actual thing that runs without me. Yes, maybe I’m a key person right now, but it still can run without me. And then that’s a different conversation to, “hey, I woke up this morning and I’m sick of it, and I want to get rid of it”. Being much more deliberate about the whole process, and being very deliberate about who’s going to be your ultimate customer that puts you out of business.
Lisa Larter (47:31):
And so then on the marketing side, what would you recommend that someone does when they are thinking about doing that? Is that the time to step up your marketing? Is it the time to slow down your marketing? Because if you step up your marketing and it’s not effective, then you can degrade your profit margins, which can affect your valuation.
Allan Dib (47:54):
Lisa Larter (47:55):
Do you have any recommendations on that type of thing?
Allan Dib (48:00):
Clearly you want to sell on a high, you want to make sure that any expenses and things like that, that are not really necessary are taken out so that you are maximizing the profits. A lot of times business owners will expense everything, their car, their phone and all of that, and that’s totally fine. And there is a mechanism when you’re selling a business called add backs that where you remove some of your personal stuff, but that can get a little bit complicated as well.
Allan Dib (48:30):
It’s better to have a clear line of what’s business and what’s personal and what the new owner would get if they were buying this business. That’s totally fine. But you definitely want to sell on a high. I’m a bit of a geek for Shark Tank, I watch Shark Tank all the time. And so you’ll have the Sharks ask, “okay so what were your sales last year, and what were the sales the year before”, whatever?
Allan Dib (49:00):
And if you’re seeing there’s a decline or a plateau, that’s an alarm bell for prospective purchasers. “Hang on, your sales are flat for the last three years or even worse, your sales have declined, why is that? Tell us that story.” And you’d better have a really, really good story for that. You do want it to be in growth mode when you’re selling, because that’s going to definitely add to your story.
Allan Dib (49:27):
You want to make sure that you’ve cracked that marketing nut in your business so that you know if I spend more, I’m just pouring gasoline on the fire and I can really accelerate that, so you want to do that for yourself. And interestingly, I mean ironically, a business that’s really valuable to a prospective purchaser is going to be a business that’s valuable to you. Because if you think about that what’s a business that’s valuable to you?
Allan Dib (49:52):
It’s throwing off a lot of cash, it runs mostly on its own or it can run without me. I can go for an extended holiday. I can sell it. I’ve got valuable intellectual property. I’ve got good people and staff who are running it. That’s a business that’s valuable to you, it’s also valuable to a prospective purchaser. Do it for yourself initially and then a by-product of that is that you’re going to be building a really valuable business.
Lisa Larter (50:23):
I have a prediction question for you.
Allan Dib (50:26):
Lisa Larter (50:27):
With everything that’s happened all over the world with COVID, I don’t know what has happened in Australia, but in North America we are seeing retailers shut down left, right and center, because of the restrictions and people being asked to stay at home and people being just afraid to go out in general.
Lisa Larter (50:49):
And I read an article the other day about some online marketing guys who are basically taking their knowledge of how to market online, and they’re investing or buying some of these retail operations for pennies on the dollar, so that they can apply marketing best practices to turn some of these stodgy bricks and mortar retailers into better online businesses.
Lisa Larter (51:18):
I’m curious, because you’re on the other side of the world from most of us. There’s a few people in our group that are in Europe, but most of the members are in North America. I’m curious as to what you predict the impact of what has happened in 2020 will be on marketing in the future? What do you see as the opportunities and/or challenges coming our way in 2021?
Allan Dib (51:46):
I’m glad you asked me a future related question. I’m in Australia and I’m literally in the future because it’s Friday here today.
Lisa Larter (51:53):
Allan Dib (51:54):
It’s Friday morning, so I can tell you what’s happening in the future. Look, like most recessions and most downturns and most shocks, there are going to be three types of businesses. And Nassim Taleb in his book Antifragile, he talks about this. There are businesses that are fragile, meaning they are adversely affected by shocks. If you think about something fragile like a glass or something, you drop it and it smashes, it shatters. There are clearly people who are going to be out of business, there’s no way around it. They’re fragile businesses.
Lisa Larter (52:35):
What is the book called? Antifragile.
Allan Dib (52:37):
It’s called Antifragile, it’s part of his Black Swan series of books. He’s a very clever guy from an economic background. Some of his writing can be a little bit convoluted, but the concepts are really good. There are businesses that are very fragile and then there are businesses that are robust. Robust means that a shock doesn’t either negatively or positively affect you, you just keep going.
Allan Dib (53:10):
You see businesses like maybe that are doing food service, that are restaurants all of that. Some restaurants have been very negatively affected some not so much. You’re robust if a shock doesn’t affect you. Now, the third type of category is businesses that are anti-fragile. He coined that word because there was no word that he knew of, or that I know of that a shock actually positively affects your business.
Allan Dib (53:42):
That’s the business that I really love and that I’m working to build for myself and for my clients, is where a shock can positively affect your business. And I’ve certainly seen that a lot of my clients have seen that, particularly clients who are in e-commerce, particularly clients who are in virtual delivery already. There is no doubt that this has been a big shock, and it’s going to continued to be a big shock. Even if tomorrow a vaccine came out, even if all the best case scenarios happen, there I think-
Lisa Larter (54:14):
It’s too late.
Allan Dib (54:15):
… It’s too late, yeah.
Lisa Larter (54:15):
It’s too late, based, I don’t know what the consumer economics are like in Australia, but I know that pre-COVID, in Canada in the US a lot of people are maxed out. And so there’s a lot of people that are in very fragile states, and those consumers will impact the fragile businesses.
Allan Dib (54:37):
They will. As Ray Dalio says, “Everybody’s debt is somebody else’s income, or everybody’s credit is someone else’s income.” As credit gets squeezed, other people’s income gets squeezed and the cycle goes on. The other thing is there’s been a massive shift. Now, I was reading recently, there was a survey and it said, “40% of people who had gym memberships will never go back to a gym.” And I’m in that basket.
Allan Dib (55:11):
I used to go to a, similar to a CrossFit, it was called F45. I don’t know if you have F45 in the United States, but similar to CrossFit, then COVID hit and I’ve spent thousands of dollars on gym equipment. I’ve got a cardio station, weightlifting all of that sort of thing. And it’s just so convenient. I now work with my trainer over Zoom. I don’t have to worry about aligning schedules. He can still check my form and give me advice and things like that.
Allan Dib (55:37):
I will never go back to that model, where I’ve got to drive somewhere and do all of that. So there’s been a shift in the marketplace, and there’s been a shift in people’s habits. People now who might have never bought something online, or maybe didn’t do much online, they’re now much more comfortable, they’ve been forced into it. There’s an opportunity to take advantage of those sorts of things, where you can bring forward initiatives that you would have had in the future.
Allan Dib (56:07):
An example in my business was I was going to launch a membership product at $1,000 a month in 2021. When COVID hit in March, I said to my team, look, we need to bring this forward and we need to slash the price, I made it $97 a month. What I wanted to do was first of all, help people in crisis, but also build my audience. This is a time to be building your audience by helping people.
Allan Dib (56:36):
And there needs to be a change in messaging. Whereas previously, I might’ve used more fear based messaging, now I need to tone that down because you don’t want to be tone deaf. There’s already a lot of fear in the air. And so you want to change and pivot the message according to that. There are going to be opportunities where things will never be the same.
Allan Dib (57:00):
And many times I’ve been working with a business where they’ve been reluctant to take a virtual or a digital approach to their business. I had a company who they had very lumpy revenue, because they ran three major events, physical events every year. They’d get a flood of revenue when their events would be on and then it’d be faced famine cycles.
Allan Dib (57:22):
And my advice to them at the time, this was well pre-COVID was, look, you need to have a digital component of the business, where you can deliver virtually, where you can have on demand access to some of the content. And they were dragging their feet on that. But now this is their core business, no more physical events, at least for the moment. I’m sure they will down the track, but had they not had those things in place, they would have been in real trouble.
Allan Dib (57:49):
Bring forward initiatives that you have in the future, make them more accessible to people, take advantage of the shift in behavior as well. More and more is moving online. I think it was either last year or this year, was the first time that digital advertising spend actually exceeded non digital all the other forms of advertising. We’re at an inflection point, there’s no doubt about it. Some won’t survive, some will be the same, and some will benefit from it. You want to position your business in a way that you can at least stay the same, or preferably benefit from it.
Lisa Larter (58:31):
Awesome. Thank you. I want to be respectful of your time. I invited you to join us for an hour and you have given us five hours worth of value in an hour. Thank you very, very, very much. You are just like your book. You are so much more than what the cover title says. Thank you very, very much Allan for joining us. I really appreciate it. I know that this conversation that we had this evening or this morning is going to be incredibly valuable for the people that are part of our Thought Readers community.
Lisa Larter (59:08):
Thank you so much. And I can’t wait for your next book and I’m going to check out your membership program and all the other stuff that you have going on over at Successwise. I think you are a really smart guy. I really resonated with a lot of what you had to say.
Allan Dib (59:23):
Thank you so much, Lisa. And it’s been a pleasure to be on and wonderful to be on with such a wonderful group. Reading really is the best bargain in the world. Someone will spend 20 years of their life researching something and then put it in a book that’s worth $20, so I think it’s the best bargain you could ever get.
Lisa Larter (59:43):
No, I agree. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. I’m a high school dropout, and I joke that I have probably read more books than most people with an MBA. And everything I know I attribute to authors who have been gracious enough to share what they know in books. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and thank you for all of the wonderful advice and insights. We really appreciate your time
Allan Dib (01:00:09):
It was a pleasure. Thank you, Lisa.
Lisa Larter (01:00:11):
Thank you. All right, everyone. Goodbye. Have a wonderful rest of your day. I hope you enjoyed that. I know I certainly enjoyed it. I got a lot of great value from it and I will see you all next time.
Lisa Larter (01:00:24):
Thank you for joining me for this episode of She Talks Business. If you enjoyed the show, you know the drill, leave us a review, tell someone about it and join the conversation on social media. Thanks for listening and until next time remember, done is always better than perfect.