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Guys, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and listen to this 30 minute podcast I had with Nigel Botterill, who is one of the UK’s leading business entrepreneurs. After setting up 5 multi million pound franchises, Nigel went on to coach and educate over 2500 businesses across the UK and recently became a best selling author!
This interview cuts right through all the BS and we get his outlook on the importance of online marketing, how social media is impacting on businesses today, and 2 killer tips you don’t want to miss that I am already implementing myself!
The interview is also transcribed below!
Aaron: Welcome Nigel. Thanks a lot for taking the time out today to speak to me regarding creating a successful business in the 21st century.
Nigel: Pleasure. Glad to be with you.
Aaron: Thank you. I know online marketing is a big part of your business, including social media. The point on this podcast is really just to kick into it, give some of my viewers a bit of an insight into what you do and how you do it. So, if you’re happy with that, we’ll get into it.
Nigel: Let’s do that. Where are we going to start?
Aaron: You’re a busy man. You’ve got numerous multimillion dollar franchise companies set up. You’re a leading educator. You do a lot of speaking and now you’re a recently new author. What’s your secret to achieving so much success in such a short period of time?
Nigel: We get a lot of things done and that’s a key factor of any successful business is implementation and what we’re very good at is getting things done. Primarily our crew’s most effective tool is deadlines. So, everything has a deadline. On top of that we’ve got quite a lot of energy and we enjoy what we do. So, you put that little lump together and you’ve got quite a heavy mixture.
Aaron: Nice and it sounds perfect. No one is going to get anything done in the 21st century unless you do what you’re saying, which is set deadlines.
Nigel: That’s absolutely right. It’s a really, really key thing. I would encourage anybody because there are a lot of people who I call world class at getting ready and they’ve got great plans and big dreams and stuff, but actually there’s always something in the way of them actually getting out there and doing it. One thing I’ve learned in business is that perfection is vastly overrated. Good is definitely good enough and we practice that. We’re very good at manifestation that we get things out there because it’s much better to have something out there because it might work whereas if it never gets out there, it definitely won’t.
Aaron: And I love that. I’ve been hearing it a bit lately and that is good enough today is better than perfect tomorrow and that really sums it up really nicely. You’ve just released a new book called The Botty Rules: Success Secrets for Business. I noticed it went to number two in the Daily Telegraph bestsellers list.
Nigel: It did. I’ve just been told today it’s the bestselling business book in the UK in the whole of February and it’s quite exciting. Getting some great response from people from that. Essentially it charts my kind of business story, but interwoven in there are things I’ve learned along the way. Some through pain because we made a lot of mistakes, but also some things that we’ve done that have worked very well and we mapped those into what we call The Botty Rules and there are 20 Botty Rules that are interspersed throughout the book.
Aaron: With regards to what you’re saying there – if you don’t mind, I’d like to sort of go to the failed side. I was reading you did your quiz machines back in the day which were a bit of a failure.
Nigel: Don’t remind me.
Aaron: And I loved hearing that story because it’s so typical of people not finding the right track at first, but you hit a few failures along the way. What has made you so successful? You’ve encountered setbacks that could put other people off forever and you’ve come back and bounced back and you’re doing well.
Nigel: I had to do it. When I setup on my own, I walked away from a six figure salary, big bonuses. We had a very expensive lifestyle that we’d come to know and enjoy and it was a big leap. When I made that leap, I had to make it work. There was no way at that point that we wouldn’t have been able to maintain our lifestyle on 40,000 or 50,000 pound a year income. I had to get to six figures in my business pretty quickly and that gets you pretty focused. I know with people that we’ve setup because there’s well over 2 ½ thousand people now that we’ve setup in business over the last six or seven years and not all of them have had success, but most of them certainly have and what I’ve learned from their experience as well as my own is certainly when you have to do it, you do do it because what was the option. I had to find a way to make it work and that meant trying lots of things and working really hard on it, but it also meant just trying to get a class of thought, getting the right advice from the right people and being just kind of ruthless about implementing stuff and implement because the more I implemented, the more stuff did work. We had things that didn’t as well, but the reality is that the acute impact was and really right from the first moment we were always growing and always developing and were able to get on track. The thing about business, particularly now in the difficult economic times, if success is something that doesn’t matter that much to you, then actually you’re unlikely to achieve it. One way or another it has to matter. You have to properly want it. We all kind of wish I want to be a millionaire, but actually one of the reasons I’m a millionaire is because most people aren’t prepared to do the things that need to be done to achieve that.
Aaron: That leads quite nicely into the next part. You, personally, are a big believer in working on your business and not in your business. Why do so many businesses out there have this backwards? They seem to work in it and not on it.
Nigel: Well, they have to understand why it is because whatever business you’re in, you’re there because most people enjoy what they do. So, whatever it is, that’s what they’re good at. That’s what they enjoy and very few people have had any kind of formal education or learning about what it takes to be successful in business. When I started out on my own, I was acutely aware of my own inadequacies in this area and I had a very wise man who lived near to me. He’s no longer with us, but he was in my office one day. I’d been going about six months on my own and mid afternoon and he asked me, “What’s the most important thing, Nigel, you’ve got to do to ensure that this is going to be a successful business?” It was kind of a horrible question, but I waffled around in it. Anyway, I said, “I guess what I’ve got to do is I’ve got to get and keep enough customers because if I can get and keep enough customers, everything else will take care of itself.” He said, “That’s right, Nigel. I agree with you.” I said, “Oh great. I’ve got my answer.” He said, “So, when are you getting and keeping customers? Today then?”
Aaron: He put you on the spot.
Nigel: I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, you’re a bright bloke. You identified the most important thing to do for the success of your business, so I assume you’ve got time set aside everyday to do that.” Only because I haven’t. I was coming in the morning and getting on with the work. Getting involved with the day to day and it was a really solid effort for me and I’d been going about six months at that point and from the following day onwards I spent the first 90 minutes every morning working on my business. I come into the office and I shut the door. I’m usually here about 7:00 in the morning and I shut the door and I emerge kind of 9:00, 9:15, but I can face whatever the day throws at me at that point because I’ve got the marketing done. I’ve worked on the business, not in it and I think without a shadow of a doubt that particular kind of habit and discipline is probably the one that’s had the single most biggest impact on our success because every single day there’s 90 minutes of my time, at least as a minimum, that are focusing on the big things that matter that will make the difference going forward. I encourage anyone in business to do is to find 90 minute chunk of time and if you can find two or three a week, even better and if you can do it once a day, then you’re on a homerun because you do 90 minutes a day and in three or four months time you can transform any business with that level of focus.
Aaron: That is one piece of information I took out of your book, I do that and every morning now. I’m spending 60 or 90 minutes on my business and the results are amazing. I’m getting new clients coming through the door. I’m getting better results online and I recommend it as well. I really appreciate that tip because it’s brilliant and you’ll be gutted you didn’t save that until the end because the best tip is still to come up. So, you’ll have to think of something to top that one.
Nigel: Go on, try me. We’ll get there.
Aaron: Next part I want to talk about – how online marketing is essential. You need a good looking website. You should be optimized for the search engines. You need a social media presence. You want some form of email marketing or data capture. Does online marketing play a big role in your business success?
Nigel: Yeah. Completely and as you rightly say there, online marketing has many facets to it. We generate a lot of sales online. I could say we look to online just as another kind of media. Online is not a business per se. It’s just a media. A lot of our offline stuff will drive traffic online and vice versa, but I can’t imagine what our business would look like. It would be hugely different if we weren’t availing ourselves of all the tremendous opportunities that are available today.
Aaron: Nice and I totally back you up on that. Obviously my company is called Superior Online Marketing, so that’s what I believe in. What’s the point on having a business card, sending someone to your website and it looks like a 12 year old kid built it. You need to provide this professional image online to kick start your business.
Nigel: The thing is that certainly people’s websites and stuff are things now that you can’t just do it and tick the box and forget about it for a few years. The websites that are having the most success now are sites that are very dynamic. They’re very evolving. They’re very engaging. The use of video has transformed the sales that we are able to get directly from online now. A lot of them are what we call screen capture videos. I’ll play a PowerPoint presentation, but do an audio narration over top of it. Much more engaging way to communicate than long pages of text. Videos are great for lots of businesses to really showcase what you do so much more powerfully and they don’t have to be professionally done. That’s the other great thing. You can get little flip cameras now for a couple hundred dollars and they make a big difference to websites. The phone numbers, another amazing thing. I look at so many sites, but to me the first thing that is missing is the phone number is really hard to find. They expect to look at it and then ring them up and a lot of very basic, simple things that when you look with a fresh pair of eyes are seemingly very obvious, but they’re being missed. Then you take it a stage further and we find so many businesses are not using things like Google Places, which is completely free. It gets you found on the first page of the search engines every day. Not all the time, but you’re there every day yet typically we find less than 15% of the businesses in the UK are using that. Well that’s bonkers.
Aaron: It is and especially when it’s a free resource and what you were saying before with the video, how it’s just changed the way media is presented these days. Let’s move into 2011, 2012, why do you believe social media is so important for businesses today going forward and how does it help improve your online brand?
Nigel: Well, I think social media is – when the history of the world is written many years from now, the social media revolution (that’s kind of 2010 to 2015) will seem to have had a much more profound and meaningful impact on the world than the internet revolution that kind of preceded it because it’s just enormous and the reality is social media is where the people are. Facebook gets more page views than Google now. Right now today whoever is listening to this is in business. There are people, their customers and potential customers online, on Twitter and Facebook and other places and there’ll be people talking about their business today and if you’re not engaged with that, at least don’t know what’s going on, at best you’re kind of missing out and at worst you’re properly doomed because it is 21st century word of mouth and it’s not just for the kids. That’s a massive mistake to think it’s all for the young people. It isn’t onerous and time consuming. Once you know what you’re doing you do it properly. I’m very active on social media. I never ever use social media when I’m sitting at my computer either at home or at work. I do it all from my iPhone in what I would call dead time, but you’ve got to get involved in this and that’s where the people are. So, there’s a huge audience there who, if you engage with them properly and communicate in the right way, will become your customers. Again, you have to go about it the right way, but if you do it in the right way, tremendous impact. We’re not the biggest users I’m sure, but we’ve got 200,000 pounds of sales off social media last year. That’s a lot of money.
Aaron: It’s amazing and I wanted to speak to you about that. I was reading in The Botty Rules, you sold a 2,000 pound ticket to a seminar the day before because someone found out your name on Twitter, got in touch with you and bang. You got 2,000 pounds.
Nigel: It was amazing. Should I tell that story? It’s a really interesting story. It all started about four or five days earlier and I put a little tweet out. We’ve got a restaurant marketing business and there’s a restaurant in Solihull that was about to change hands. So, I just put out on Twitter, “Does anyone know what’s happening with this particular restaurant?” and this chap, who I’d never corresponded with before. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know he was in Solihull, but he sent me the reply insisting he knew what happened and I put some comment back to that and he then replied again. So, a couple of interactions on a Saturday and then on the Sunday, long story short, I did a prescheduled tweet because on the following day I was doing a seminar about franchising and I did this tweet in mid afternoon to go out late that evening, just saying, “After an early night so I can be in top form for my franchise seminar tomorrow.” So, not the most inspiring tweet I’ve ever done by any means, but I set it to go out at half past nine that evening and I went home that night, just getting ready for bed and my phone rang and it was one of my colleagues and he said, “Nigel, that tweet you put out about the bootcamp.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Well, there’s this chap,” and he’d seen this tweet. It was the guy that responded to me two days earlier about this restaurant and he’d basically seen this tweet and thought, “Oh God. If he’s in the seminar, I need to be there.” So, he’d hit every kind of website he could find. All the contact forms saying, “Please get in touch with me.” It was like 10:00 on a Sunday evening at this time. So, Mark said, “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to call him?” I said, “Yes. If he wants to come, he can come. He’ll have to turn up and pay his money.” So, long story short, that’s what he did. So, 8:30 the next morning the guy turned up and paid 2,000 pounds and came to our bootcamp and he’s bought other things from us subsequently and what’s great about that story is that nothing else got in the way. There only ever was Twitter and there’s nothing else that influenced that whatsoever and frankly again, I take that as a payback for all my investment in Twitter last year. As it happened, there were lots more that came as well, but it’s a nice story that shows how it can work. We’ve got lots of examples now with the people that we work with in the UK and they’re seeing similar levels, things like that happening. Engage with people – You connect with people and business happens as a result.
Aaron: I absolutely love that story. That’s one piece of inspiration that’s going to give any sort of business out there or anyone listening that Social Media works. Here’s the proof. Someone’s found you. Someone’s bought a product and they’re repeat buyers as well.
Nigel: Completely. Once they become a customer, we give them plenty of opportunity to buy again from us.
Aaron: That’s the way to do it. So, if you were talking to a business and they come to you and they want to give social media a try, what sort of two or three platforms do you recommend that they sort of start off with, get to grips with and move on?
Nigel: Well, it depends on what business they’re in and who they’re trying to connect with. From a personal perspective, I find Twitter by far the easiest way to get started. A little bit simpler to do Twitter. It’s great in that respect, but if your customers are B2B, if you’re looking for other businesses, then I would suggest LinkedIn is the best place to start. I’ve got a good friend of mine actually now runs a very specialist type of business and his entire sales funnel now is LinkedIn and he’s got a group of outsource people in India who are doing research on LinkedIn and then connecting him with people through LinkedIn and as a result of this he’s built a big business. It’s a seven figure business and the sales funnel is all fueled by LinkedIn because what you can do on LinkedIn is you can connect with the right people and the right organizations and you can get introduced. It’s a really great tool to make business happen between businesses, but if you’re looking to build an audience locally, local people is where you’re at, then Twitter and Facebook have a big part to play in that. We’re doing all this stuff now with our Facebook fan pages, which are proving a very healthy source of leads into our sales funnel through Facebook as well, but they’re the three main ones. It depends on what sort of business you are as to where you’re going to start.
Aaron: I don’t know if you realize this, Nigel, but you’ve possibly given away the second best tip I’ve actually heard in a while and what you’re saying is you’ve got this friend of yours, he’s outsourcing the research to someone to find him business, which is bringing him in a seven figure income. It’s amazing that that sort of stuff is happening from business being outsourced, research carried out and now it’s coming back into him.
Nigel: Well, the thing is it’s 2011 and the reality is the world’s very different to what it was even 10 years ago and that’s why that stuff can happen and it isn’t unusual. It’s becoming more and more commonplace and that’s why every business needs to get properly plugged in and switched on to the online side of their marketing.
Aaron: The social media thing is so important in the 21st century right now, right here. We’ve got LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. You’ve got people blogging. Do you believe that a business can survive here and now if they don’t start following the social media wave?
Nigel: Let’s not get too carried away because sure they can survive. I’m not sure how long for, but no one’s going to die off in 2012 because they never tweeted. So anyway, it’s important to keep a level of perspective on this, but the world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate and the impact that social media is having is increasing week on week and month on month and therefore anyone that has any kind of long term plans for their business I would suggest at least wants to get informed and find out more about this. There are some businesses though that it just won’t be relevant. Certainly if you’re in a mainstream kind of business to consumer business, whatever that is, whether that’s hairdressing or beauticians or restaurant, any kind of retail outlet, then social media has a lot to offer you. Huge amount to offer you. If you’re B2B servicing, then again there are elements of social media that we’ve already talked about that can make a huge impact. It might well be that if you are a structural engineer and your client base is architects. You probably don’t have to worry about this in quite the same way that you would if you were a mainstream bar in a town center set, but it’s part of this wonderful world that we live in where the pace of change is just accelerating all the time and I’m just hugely excited.
Aaron: We’re in a very exciting time right here and my business is evolving every day. Everything is changing at such a fast pace and it’s like you’re saying. No business is going to fall over because they don’t use social media, but they will be leaving behind quite a few opportunities.
Nigel: Yeah, I’d agree with that.
Aaron: You blog. I know you blog. I read your blog. I blog and everyone seems to blog these days. Where do you get your ideas for writing exciting blogs?
Nigel: Well, I’m what I call conscious. Most people are unconscious. They go through life in the same things in the same way. They don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them and that includes how they spend their time and other things, but if you are conscious and alert, then I could write. My blog writing is never constrained from lack of ideas and all my stuff is relevant to what we do, but we try and weave it in in a different way and I’m just constantly seeing opportunities to talk about things that are relevant and it’s great that we get a nice response and people who can chat with the blog a little bit and we get a bit of feedback because the blogs are important because they’re an integral part of our internet marketing because they’re what keeps our websites nice and buoyant at the top of the search engines. They bring people in and allow people to find out about us and understand us without having to make any kind of big commitments. They help build people’s confidence in trusting those and these are important building blocks in any business. So, the blog matters, therefore I give it a bit of time and time is very easy to fill from a writing perspective just because there is so much going on and I’m just alert to that.
Aaron: Also, you’ll know this probably more than anyone. There are people out there that are always going to try and shut you down. They’re going to throw your ideas down. They’re going to say you’re in the wrong markets. What do you do to sort of combat these people out there that are saying what you’re doing is wrong? You’re going out and proving them all the time. ?
Nigel: It used to make me worry a lot and a few years ago, I was probably much more sensitive than I am now, but the old adage you can’t please all the people all the time is absolutely true. So, there are only really a small number of people that matter to me. So, I care a lot about what my family and my friends think about me and what I’m doing. I’ve got a fantastic team here that work with me and I care a lot about what they think about what we’re doing and then I care a lot about what my customers think and that’s an important definition because they’re the people that spend money with me. So, I care a lot about what they think, but really if you’re not on that list, I don’t care what you think.
Aaron: I think that’s perfect. If they don’t result in your business going forward, then they’re not important and the reason that they’re complaining about what you do is because they’re jealous or they’re not achieving it themselves.
Nigel: Life’s too short. I sleep very soundly at night and that’s important. It’s the price you have to pay when you have a bit of success, but I don’t let it worry me.
Aaron: So, we’ll sort of finish the questions off here with this final one, which you’ve already taken out of the water twice. 2011, where is it taking you and what’s your one tip you want to give out to either businesses out there trying to get ahead or someone trying to get on social media?
Nigel: We’re very excited – we’ve got all sorts happening this year. We’re well on target. We had a fantastic first quarter and we’re only into March, but it’s been an exciting year. So, we’re very much kind of booking the trend. Obviously the nervous economic times, but we’re just focusing on what we can control, what we do and we’re innovating. We’re looking after our customers and that’s a big part. We’ve got a number of new things lined up later in the year, which will hopefully go well, but if they don’t, we’re prepared for that as well, but at least we’re trying. We mentioned two or three key things in this call today.
The 90 minute working on your business is a real key thing, innovating and outsourcing like my LinkedIn friend, but the other one that’s made a big impact to our bottom line had been the introduction of what we call premium priced products and it’s not about putting your prices up, but whatever it is that you’re selling, it’s about having available a higher priced version. If you do that properly, a percentage of your customers will buy it just because you have it available. All the things we do know have a premium priced version and what we find is typically it’s approaching 20% of our customers that buy that and our premium priced products are a lot more profitable for us and that’s putting a sizeable six figure sum of profit onto our bottom line every year and so many businesses just have kind of one version of what they do and for whatever reason, whether it’s a lack of imagination or creativity. Actually just introducing a premium priced version of what you do can have a very big impact on your P&L and there’s no downside to it because those that don’t want to buy it still buy your normal products. It’s a big tool and it flows straight down to the bottom line where it matters most in business.
Aaron: That’s a brilliant tip actually and that’s a great way to finish off because providing that premium product for your clients, it’s like you’re saying. If they don’t take it, they’re already buying from you and if they do take it, it’s more revenue in the pocket and it’s a happier client because they’re getting more services compared to what they would have got. So, I just want to give you a big thank you for coming on today. I know you’re very busy.
Nigel: It’s been great to talk to you. The book is called The Botty Rules and there is lots more stuff we’ve talked about on this call in that book. It’s on Amazon, so easily available and would be great if we were able to keep me near the top of those bestseller lists for a few weeks longer.
Aaron: Definitely and if you go get yourself a Social Media blueprint for business, we’re going to throw in one of your books as well because I personally love that book. I think it’s great and I recommend as well anyone that’s going to Amazon or any of the bookstores, go out and buy it. It will really kick start your business in 2011. So, thank you again Nigel and I really appreciate it.
Nigel: Great to talk to you. All the best. Bye-bye.
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