EP:044 The 7 Levers of Business Growth with Pete Williams
I've got, a confession to make. I need, to get this off my chest. As, a business owner we all make mistakes. I've. Gotta confess. Hey. Guys it's Charlie here with another episode of confessions. Of a business owner but today we are doing a special edition episode I'm joined by the one and only Pete, Williams and we are going to be doing a review of his book and I'll hold this up for anyone on video although we backwards, cadence. A tale of fast business growth hey - and Pete I'm, doing very well my excited, to be here thank you so much no. It's my absolute pleasure to have you the irony, is and this is this is a very special moment for me because when I started, as an entrepreneur I listened. To your podcast who, is one of the only ones and now on the. Show so it's a very big day for me as well, thank. You is what, are we one of the very first listeners link we, started that show about 10 years ago now I reckon it would have been roughly I haven't done an episode for quite a few years but it was one, of the first ones and then we stopped publishing pretty. Much about a month before the podcast kind of revolution kicked in so we miss the big wave. Just. A touch - earlier on that one yeah, but I still get like requests for interviews I literally got an email this morning from someone in Canada willing to be on the show and replies, we, haven't done episode for four years if you've done your research question, mark like people. Are still finding it and enjoying, it and wanting to be on at 4 years after we've published and episodes that's kind, of cool this is a lot about before yes, as we say if that doesn't say anything about the quality of the show I'm not sure what else I mean that might even be science for a comeback on the cards we might have - there is been rumors there's been talk we've got to figure out how we can do it differently so it stands out and it's, a bit different than what we used to do well. I'm sure knowing, upu, will come up with something incredibly, creative that, will change, the way everyone else does their podcasts, fingers, crossed. Now. I've brought you on to the show for a very special reason today I was, very lucky to get a preview copy of your new, book cadence, that, is not quite out yet at the recording, of this episode we'll be out in about a month, sort of be out of the time we. Released this one from there and I, have to say one, of the best books I've read, especially, this, year but even overall I was quite impressed with, it, from there so for, everyone out there can. You tell us a little bit about what, the book is about and who it's kind of for yeah, sure well someone, said to me other day it's the business book for people who don't read business books which I thought was a really cool little, line to you so I'm gonna reuse. It here so, it's a business book but it's a parable, so it's set in a black store so, it's applicable to whether you're on an online SAS an e-commerce business an, outsourcing. Service business or a retail, store obviously so. It's based around a business framework, that, we use in, our companies, and I've spoken about you know we first spoke, about on the podcast five. Six years ago and it's, become a bit of a movement around the world which is really cool so it's called the, seven levers of business and, the 10% win type scenario, so the book tells. The story of Jay Jay who owns a retail, bike store he quit his job as a high. School sports teacher to live, this dream of being an entrepreneur so. He starts his business and it's troubles along and then, he basically. Stumbles, across this, triathlete. Called charlie who. Basically. Teaches, him this business, framework whilst. He's coached, to, his first Ironman Triathlon so it's, based on a true story when, I did. My first Ironman, in the bike store literally, across. The road from where we are so it's based on that with, a lot more kind of evidence. Data support. Story, tales. Everything in between to make it a really engaging read, and get the lessons across in about. You know to our readers but it's pretty quick, took. Me a bit longer than two hours I must be a bit slow maybe sorry about three but, in there one, of the things that I thought was very. Well put in this book was, the use of analogies. Meaning. That the way you described. The story along the way and the bike shop and also even, training. For the Ironman event, were quite cleverly, put together in a way that I think everyone, can understand, so I was very very well-written I really enjoyed the, story of it just as much as the actual lessons I can't, take credit for that part though so how. The book started is, Ryan. Holiday of trust. Me I'm lying and, a, whole bunch of great books he helped me initially with sort of the original book plan and, it was going to be a traditional business, book think the Lean Startup type, of feel and, we shot that around and didn't quite get the audience we wanted in terms of all the reaction, we wanted from the publishers, I wrote a book about ten, years ago with a traditional, mains publisher, and it just didn't.
Work That well so, took. That and, end. Up publishing a different way and it started out as a still, that nonfiction book and I just wasn't enjoying. The, engagement. The story well the book was coming up with so, pivoted. That threw, it away started, again as this parable, story but, found a ghostwriter. Who, worked. On one of my other favorite business books called built to sell by John Malloy it's, another parable business, book but it's fantastic so, I found the editor who worked on that to help me kind of craft that narrative I was. Able to sort of like the dialogue of the conversations. Because they were basically, real conversations, and all, the main pieces and she, did a great job of weaving, in that actual story. Element, in the conversation, on the way which was them yeah, got the book to where it is today fantastic. And I think anyone who reads it will appreciate, it as well but. I want to dive into there was two concepts, which I took a lot from and really enjoyed, one. Of which I've heard you speak on before which is the 7 levers so, I really wanted to go through for people that hadn't heard it what are the 7 levers yeah well there's two elements is the 7 levers and then there's the power of your compound marketing, or 10%, winds so in, any business whether, you're that retail, bike store you, have a online e-commerce store, where, it might be there are seven, drivers to, profit in your business and once. You identify those it's a good starting point for growth and then this where 10% wins kicks in so we can talk about that later but the, first thing is identifying what, is it that drives profit, so you've got suspects, these. Are the people who walk into your retail store come, to your website whatever, it might be the. Next level is prospects, what, percentages, of those suspects. Actually, put up their hand and show, you that they're generally interested, in becoming a prospective, customer so, they might trying to pair of shoes they might go into the change room and try a dress they might take. Up your free trial for your sass download, your lead magnet, there's a massive distinction, between suspects, and prospects, obviously then. You've got conversions, what, percentage of those prospects, then open, their wallet and transact, with you you've. Got your average item, price so what is it you, sell across your range of products what's the average price of that what's. Your average items, per sale in, that when they buy the pair of shoes do, they buy parasol's, do they buy the hamburger, and would you like fries with that do, they take your upsells are you offering upsells what, is your average items, per transaction. Then. You've, got your transactions, per customer how often do they come back and spend that, sort of money with you again, and again and again and finally. What your margins would you actually keep in your back pocket so we. Forget early in our business we were almost, neglecting, some of those we kind of in theory knew about them boo and neglecting a lot of them and that was a massive, turning, point for us but. Then when we set the element okay now we know the drivers of profit if, you want to actually double our business, what, do we need to do and obviously you know a lot people like up just double your suspects get more people atop of the funnel get more people the top everything, filters down and slowly, it's, true but it's hard you. Know try and double anything is massively, hard everyone sort of had that swing, for the fences moment, and the, regret, for life yeah, that didn't work I'll try again yeah, that didn't work but.
If You actually look at this and say okay if, I just improve, each of those seven levers in isolation, by, just 10%, the. Compound, effect is, actually, the doubling of your business so, increasing. Your traffic by ten, percent going from a thousand, visitors a week to 1,100, going. From a conversion rate of 14%. To. 15.4%. Just, a ten percent boost getting. Your average transactions, per customer from, one point one to one, point two one very, small incremental, gains add up, to. The compound, result of a double, profit, and that's, the massive winds here that's the the real benefit, of this framework, is a roadmap to follow yeah. It really creates a. Focus. Point of like how to actually do it it's like what do we actually look at as a business owner one we've got so many distractions how, do we break it down simplicity, one. Thing I want to throw on top though is like because I'd heard this ever made was I was almost expecting, them in the book but, there was a chapter, that, you, wrote towards the end which I won't give away when, you guys to enjoy the story but. I never, had, anticipated the, idea of using, them as a filter know what. We shouldn't be doing yes. It. Was incredibly, clever it's, a very different take on it because I think so, many business owners they open up their doors they start, their day without a, framework. Of what to focus on and also what, not to focus on how do you stop. Distractions. How do you you, know not get sucked into that webinar. That, teaches you how to make, money with webinars and, then trying to figure out how to use, a webinar when you're selling. Accounting, services or like, so many people get caught up in that last silver bullet chasing, the greatest tool thing that well how's, it apply to your business do you need social media do you need this tool do you need that tactic and so, a way to keep your strategy, on point I guess, yeah. And I thought that was very well articulated, in, the book really. Enjoyed that chapter like I took it away from there the, other side of things which. I was really happy about from here is what. Week on it took from and I'm hoping people will take this from hint as well is, how you, incorporated. Using, your team to, help identify, the. Seven, level areas, and how they could be used for incremental gains actually made it to our quarterly planning, is something that in. But. Do you use your. Team to create the 7 levers in your business or how they could apply tactics. To them absolutely. We do that we we, run something that we didn't really cover in the book but I feel the process here really quickly the way we do it is we go, ok every month we're gonna work on a different level within a business group so, we go okay this month is our prospect. Month we're gonna try and work out a new way to get another 10% win in our prospects, so, what we'll do is we'll get the team in the marketing team the sales team whoever's involved in this sort of planning, decision-making and. We do a process where everyone has, a couple of minutes to write down and brainstorm the, ideas there's only a piece of paper write all the ideas down then. From there we, then get a whiteboard and everyone. With no judgment, no major, pitching, just describing, that's the big thing you don't pitch your idea you describe, your idea we put her out on a whiteboard and we just list out all the different ideas that we could use this month and quite.
Often They're the ones that didn't make the cut last, Tommy cycled through this so. Get this massive white bottom all the lists then, everyone has a voting like almost like an mvp-type. Not. Mineral oil product but most valuable player, voting. So three two and one so your best idea you see across the whole list three points, second best idea three points so then at, the end you have this smaller. Filtered, group of ideas, and one, generally, comes up with the most votes and that's on the implement so, that's the way we actually physically go through the process of identifying which, ones we should do this month to get a 10% win and then, which one's going to be the actionable, one, I. Love. That I think that's a very viable strategy, for not only just good culture, and. Involvement but, to actually get the best ideas moving, through and executed, together mmm, and I can apply for anything whether you're doing it to you know figure out what 10% when you want in, your 7 levers this month or whether it's just an idea generation. Or it's a tactic in the business it's, a really great way to sort of everyone, gets the same vote the, manger is not more important than the the rookie everyone's. Vote applies and it's not the most persuasive person, who initially gets their idea through because there is no pitchy you know I can't sort of really, pitch why you like the idea is go define it and describe it and leave, it very succinct, and it seems to bubble up fairness. And in, great results I, think. It's a really big win there now, one of the things I think's interesting in this and this is what I want to ask you is you're quite, the talented entrepreneur, and could a high level of skill well I'll say from there you're up there you're doing some really craziness, but. I know you've taught this stuff to other people that might be you know more in the beginning of their journey and I wanted to know what type of results, or what you've seen people be able to achieve with, kind of implementing, this type of thing yeah cool well I was. Literally talking someone this morning ironically, who had, just purchased a business so it was his first, step into the entrepreneurial world the business has been around for a while it was like a. Catering. Company a bit suitably like bar and and, wine and alcohol so basically having a party he'll come and be in like the Obama nan your waiters don't do finger food just the drink part of it and he, read the book advance. Copy through a promotion. We did I think, within two and a half weeks he saved $20,000, to his bottom line by applying the margin levers so. That was, amazing Matt did a fantastic job with that I think. Also for a lot of businesses, it gives you that framework okay, here's the things to worry about because, they drive in profit in that whether you're trying to get Timbers in wins or just make, sure you're covering off all these bases, in your business you. Know when we started our telco company, got. 12 13 years ago when. We started that we actually were. A sales and marketing company that happened to sell phone systems, that's, the way we positioned ourselves so we'd actually make the sale and then. We'd literally hand the client off to a subcontractor to, do the installation, we didn't really care about, that side of the business we didn't think about that at all and, we hit a glass ceiling very, very quickly because we realize we weren't getting any repeat business because. You know in hindsight think about it if you bought a phone system from someone and you, needed more handsets or to expand six, months down the track who, are you going to call the people who took your order or the person actually turned up installed. A program, that trained it gave you the love it's, pretty obvious so we just completely ignored the transactions, lever in our business until we kind of got wiseman hang on what, is driving profit in our business what, drives properly in all businesses and where we will be see so. To answer your question directly the. 7 levers can be that guidepost of these are the 7 things that. Will drive profit in your startup, in your business make. Sure you have something, happening. In each of these levers that system 8 it and automated, what, are you currently doing and have in place to ensure clients can make an buy from you again how. Are you differentiating the conversations. You're having between. A suspect and a prospect, there's. Something a lot of people miss in that. Yeah. Who. Walk into your door but. Once, they sit down trying to pair of shoes or they've opted it in or they're taking your sass or they're getting, a free quote or they're coming for a free consultation whatever, it is it defines a suspect, and a prospect for you the conversation, has to shift and.
Making. It aware of what is that micro, commitment, that those suspects, take before, committing to, prove they're a prospect. Getting, clear on that is another thing that startups often lack and miss and that makes a massive shift in your business once you clearly identify what, they are and just continue to work them in your startup phase. Well. Like, we all do is when well, I do in my house I should say he's like I read the book and then I was excited by it and then I made my partner read the book there, was like oh my god you better read this book buy. Another one just just read it not cost. Me a sale, absolutely. Well there's a transaction, lost we need a word. Out later there but, that was her biggest takeaway that, distinction. Between prospect. And suspect. Vinci's. Taking, the most value from and I think a lot of people who read the book will, certainly, agree yeah, brilliant, yeah I think it's a big one that people's don't identify enough. Yeah. Absolutely read that so, one of the questions I, wanted to ask is in the book when, you're talking about the 7 levers approach. It's, like you've specifically. Like work on one lever per, month he's kind of the guide, mind you give people I wanted. To know why 1 why not - why, not 3 like why specifically, one lever at a time focus. I think you know it really is it's about, giving you focus, in direction you know I spoke about this recently that the. Problem with the e-myth if you sort of answer, the question a bit more broadly is Michael. Gilbert did a great job in, explaining, to, business, owners around the world there's a difference between working in your business on the tools and working. On your business in the growth phase and I think a lot of people got that distinction which was a great first, step where. I think Michael, let people down was not giving them the roadmap of what, to work on and people. Started going yeah ok Monday, afternoons, I'm, gonna get off the tools and work on my business and then. They start just chasing a tail not having that's what I start doing I'm gonna do five things at once I'm gonna try and hit a homerun and triple, my traffic with the webinar but, I'm a local bakery, that doesn't work so, the. Importance, of having that framework to cycle, through pardon. The pun or the strategic, I liked it I really, like that. Ok, this month I'm gonna try to get 110, percent win that's all I'm trying to aim for is a single 10%, win and then from there I'll, take the next step and do the next 10% win now, for some businesses if you're in your early stages. You might better do one a week because, some of the stuff you can do to get a win can, take less than four hours you know The, Times. Of London the newspaper, they increase their conversions, but I think it's about 11% by. Simply, just bring some trust logos, on their, subscription, order form checkout page took, their design team listen for hours got a boost you know writing an email sequence, that you can print to your autoresponders. Can, take less than four hours so sometimes, depending, on the size of your business and how many times you're cycled through this process you. Can do one a week for several weeks or you can do it once a fortnight for, 14 weeks it, doesn't really matter necessarily how long you spend on each it's more that focus, on one get, the win and make. Sure that, what you implement, is sustainable. Repeatable, and, automated, don't, go and run a once-off, you, know sail you, know we're going to we're going to a car park sale this month or, we're going to do a one-off online.
Jeff Walker style launch to. Get a boost in conversions, okay that's great but it's not sustainable that's. Going to give you 10% you know spikes, we want 10% winds that are sustainable so. The important thing is to think of what he implement, and how. It's going to be automated, system ated and repeatable, so you, actually are leveling up not, getting spikes, yeah. It becomes a compound, to the business instead, of a quick. Fiza so if you will yeah absolutely. Well. You've absolutely nailed that, the other thought I had was, when I read this of course with like how could we apply this that I wanted to know if this is something you'd ever done had, you considered that you might assign, a lever, to a person, you know business like having them be responsible for a lever and, that's an area they continually. Improve on in each month yeah, look, you could you. Could do that as a as a as an option in having you know one team member own a lever, what's, the pros and cons let me think this through the pros are that yeah, one person owns I think an iron the whole thing which you know ownership can be good in. Diversification. And, delegation. The. Downside, is potentially, that you're not going to get the outside influences from other team members in that sort of groupthink mentality. You know I love the story that yeah, we tie up Mick McDonald saying would you like fries with that as you overused, cliché the. Other side of the McDonald's coin is drive-throughs. Synonymous. With takeout that idea. Actually, was originally in banking. In the u.s., drive-through. Tellers. Started, in the banking industry for deposits, way before, take, out drive-through, came along so. If you are sort of this keen people I'm gonna look at transactions, all the time you'll end up having that that thinking where you won't think I'll hang on where else can we do so that's why I like team members to be coming out with the idea and then, you implement them I think that's a much better way to go if you have the resource is great through, ten think tanks or advisory, board sessions and, okay you're, all Sevigny go you're doing one you're doing one you're doing one and everyone implements it over their given month there's, no real reason why that couldn't happen if you, have the resources, I just, don't know any business owners are too even, in our business after 12 years with the team we have I still, don't think that would work well, in our company even with the resources we have interesting. We'll cross that off my list the main thing go let me know. Well. It's fascinating because I've got a girl working, for me now Jade and she'll probably watch this episode and she's doing social, media and rolling out the podcast and. I'm like if I had heard just looking for a 10% gain in that prospects. Category. Yeah, our, suspects, cattery will pick the one it's like the compound effect of you know having her in that role is really cool yeah but the.
Downside Is exactly what you've described so I'm just going to scrap. Operational. Things you know as much as these, are seven things that drive profit, there's so many operational, things that have to happen to keep the business sustainable. And operating, so, you're sending people doing that sort of stuff you can't spend all your time just focusing. On profit, growth without delivering, good customer experience, and product. Innovation. And all that sort of stuff there are other things that go into running the business more than just c7 things although if, you're looking at growing the business these, are the seven things that will drive the growth and the only seven things that will drive the growth yeah. Definitely, and I think most people the awareness, you have once you realize this is you're already kind of doing things the, dirt bike within the leathers it's, just now you actually have a label for them and a framework where you can see they fear and, I think the big thing is even just taking that first step of identifying. And articulating. To yourself what the seven things would be I often, get some pretty quick wins anyway just from low-hanging fruit if you've got about you, know the story I tell is you know in the telco business we, very, early on relied heavily on Adwords as a growth a generator. Of suspects for us and at. One point we paused at Edwards campaign, due to a holiday. Weekend we had here in Melbourne and then, we came back and worked in and on we. Left it off for weeks, until we, actually would literally soething back through men why. Is the suspect something taking a dip oh crap, we left this off and there's, so many people that I hear, who have implemented. These 7 levers in their businesses the movements growing they've, gone. By articulate. This we didn't realize that the credit card on our Mayo chip account actually expired, and our, automatic. Emails to generate repeat business hadn't been going out for three weeks or three months or that. We, weren't. Managing our staff that we trained in them and they came on they, forgot to ask would you like fries with that you. Know it's it's amazing. How many things you think you're happening in your business actually. Art because, of neglect, and, non. Attention, almost so just the first time identifying stuff. Before we even get creative, and have those team. Meetings with ideas you actually can get some wins just by effectively. Turning off the losses that you're unaware of. Absolutely. And, one of the things I thought about as well is that how easy it's, become to track a lot of these like, with technology, it's like, bringing. This forward is becoming easier than ever I know you love your dashboards. It's. Become, certainly something I'm very fond of these days. And. All, this can be tracked you know you particularly, with online business your, suspects. Can, be your web traffic your, prospects, are your opt-ins on your email subscribers, or free trial subscribers, converges, your sale average. Item price pull out of your zero or online, banking transactions. Per customer again. A lot of that sort of stuff can be all automated, and pulled out into a dashboard very. Very, easily, yeah. And one of the examples you use in the book is you can get automatic, door cameras these days if you have a retail shop so you're not counting heads so the technology, has made this super easy to implement there's. No excuse for business to to not be able to track this and have this as you, know we thought about vanity metrics a lot in terms of you know stats that don't really matter these, are the seven things that drives a profit if you don't know what they are and you're not tracking them your, heads in the sand and you're doing yourself your shareholders your, staff even your family disservice. Because generally businesses are there to generate a profit to, help family, life and enjoyment, so get. On it absolutely. I want, to ask you one last question here. When. Let's, say someone comes in and they read the book and like, oh look I love these 7 levers philosophy, and I want to get started with it what's. The, number. One struggle, you see or the hardpoint for, anyone who's getting started with this and what. Advice would you give them on getting, through that question. I I think, prior to the book it was how, do I start and where do I go and in the book we talk about this six C's process, of getting started I'll.
Leave That for another conversation, or for the book itself I think that's helped a lot of people in just taking that first step of okay getting. Clear about what the seven levers are for your business and then. Just making. The discipline, of okay, I'm going to work on this level once a month for. Seven, month when I cycle back through it's a discipline of action, and. I think you know the roadmap having a framework it gives you that discipline that you may, have wanted from the e-myth or something else and, it's helpful there but it is it's just that let's get started let's identify what they are for me and I'm gonna work. Once, a month diligently. To only get a 10% win and. Keeping. Your hand you've had your hand on the handbrake or your foot on the foot brake to go I don't. Need to double anything you, know I think the resistance is great. For a lot of people because they've read. The sales that is there being doctrine ated that you need to get 10,000 new email addresses this month to grow we, need to double your traffic or your conversion rate needs to be at 40% to grow and it's like no no no no matter where you are today if you just want to double your profit, 10%. Means you know so. Many people go oh you, know that AdWords campaign that I tried a couple of years ago we, only sort of got a 8%. Boost in traffic so it didn't bother with it anymore so didn't make a significant enough, difference. And. They saw it as a fairly historically, when, they go through the 7 levers and the cadence and that sort of stuff they go I can. Reframe, that failure into actually send that would have been successful if I kept doing it and if, I you know work through all the levers I would have had that compounding, result so I think it's that. Acceptance. That 10% he's. Actually a fantastic, result and is the goal it's no longer trying to 2x or 10x, stuff even 10x, growth know. Let's just start and and, and, scale, up and compound, up that's how life, and business growth really works yeah. And I think his business, renders it as well is like we like to feel progress, yes. And, it's, like I think these framework, and methodology, and philosophy if, you will really. Enables, that feeling of like we're on track we're achieving something, you feel gains yes, rather than just trying to you know alley-oops. And homeruns, it's, put on putting. Points on the board a week after week month after month well, alright, so what is the official, release, date of the book it's August late August I, believe 23rd. Yeah. Obviously first yep, awesome. So August 21st the book will be out its, cadence, a tale of fast business growth we've got the cover here I might try and get my graphics gotta turn it around for, the camera.
When We roll it around from that it will be available on Amazon, and audible and in stores. I, believe as well all, good bookstores where we can find a book it should be highly. Recommend guys we will have a link to this as well it's cadence book calm. Thank, you so much for being on the show Pete, it's been my absolute pleasure Matt's, been a blast with having me nor, is it all that's it for this episode guys thank, you so much for joining me on confessions. Of a business owner. You.