Define, challenge and conquer the BIGGEST issues facing you as an early stage entrepreneur or founder. With powerful episodes from the world's finest business experts, each episode challenges one specific issue and provides detailed, actionable takeaways that you can implement immediately within your business.
Volume #1 features actionable interviews with John Lee Dumas, Guy Kawasaki, Rand Fishkin, Jeff Sanders, Bob Burg and Dragons' Den's Doug Richard along with multiple thought leaders, global business people and numerous NY Times / Amazon best-selling authors, Excellence Expected exists to help you live the life you want by dominating the problems that face every entrepreneur on their journey.
This isn't just another interview podcast, this is the straight-talking, accountable and actionable show that features one problem, one expert and multiple solutions every single episode.
Don’t forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!
The End of The Road As We Know It
In this episode I discuss why I'm putting Excellence Expected on a hiatus.
For more information, read "Why I Stopped Podcasting & 5 Lessons I Learned Along The Way".
Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!
The 3 Step Guide to Your First Passive Income Stream
Most of us live our lives with a solo economic dependency, meaning that we have only one main source of income. If we aren’t putting in the hours at our jobs or businesses, then no income is being generated. This main source of income is an active income; we need to be there, producing and getting results to make any money. Wouldn’t it be great to have a passive income stream, whereby we could make money without putting in the long hours?
Luckily, there are no more ways in which to generate passive income than ever before. We all have remarkable tools at our fingertips that can, we some initial setup, start generating the passive income that can make a difference in our lives. There are plenty of resources online about different ways to start a passive income stream, but perhaps one area that you may not have thought about is real estate. This seems like an area that would require a large investment of time and labour in order to produce any kind of income, but our guest on this episode of Excellence Expected is going to talk us through his experiences and how buying and selling land can be both hugely profitable and largely passive.
Mark Podolsky, of The Land Geek, has more than 15 years’ experience in buying and selling raw land in the United States. Mark believes that he now only devotes a couple of hours a week to buying and selling land and the income generated will passively generate over a number of years. In many cases, it’s easy to find out about land on which the property tax has lapsed, meaning land can be bought for much cheaper as it’s clear that the owners no longer want to hold the property. The land can then be sold on with the help of a broker or acquisition manager for cash or through financing, with payments coming in like clockwork over 8-10 years. Say for example that you bought some land for $3,000. You could sell it immediately for perhaps $12,000, or, you could sell it through owner financing over 10 years for $30,000. Every month during that time period, a chunk of largely passive income would be generated. And this is not solely an option for those based in America. Mark has worked with people from all over the world.
This model has helped Mark choose and design his own lifestyle as he now works because he chooses to, not because he has to. The certainty that his passive income exceeds his fixed monthly outgoings allows him to devote his time to projects that feels are worthy of his time, such as volunteering, coaching and education. People crave certainty and contribution, and having a passive income like this gives you the certainty you need to be able to contribute to the thing that you are passionate about.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast: Creating your first passive income stream.
Mark Podolsky bought his first parcels of raw land in 2001 and built such a successful passive income that he was able to leave his job only 18 months later. In the intervening 15 years, Mark has made over 5,000 land deals and now runs The Land Geek, which, through podcasts and training courses, aims to pass on the knowledge that he has acquired on the subject.
Mark’s joining us on this episode of Excellence Expected to share his story and three actionable tips that can take you closer to generating your first passive income stream.
* Take imperfect action. If you want to get passive income the first thing you need to take some kind of action. If you get bogged down in doing it perfectly, you’re not going to get it done. This stops so many people in their tracks. Don’t let that happen to you! Take imperfect action and the more you learn, the better you will become.
* Get educated. Today’s the best time ever to learn anything. You can use the web to search for great, free resources that will help you create passive income based...
How to Be Dramatically and Demonstrably Different!
Differentiating your business from a whole host of competitors can be tough and most of us fall back on what we think we should say when asked how our company differs from the rest. ‘We offer a professional service to the highest standards of quality.’ But your competitors say that too! ‘Our prices offer fantastic value.’ Well, unfortunately the prices of your main rivals do as well. What is the real and valuable difference between your business and any other in the same crowded marketplace?
This is exactly the issue that we are challenging on this episode of Excellence Expected and joining us to offer his expertise is Andy Hanselman. Andy believes that the most successful businesses ‘Think in 3D’ meaning that they are ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different’. That is, that the difference between them and their main competitors is geniune and valuable to their customers. Thinking in 3D goes beyond the platitudes that many of us are guilty of using when describing how our businesses stand out from the crowd.
Not every business already has a difference to work with but it’s something that you can work on in a number of ways. Consider your ideal client and think about what you would need to do to attract and keep them. If you can narrow in on the customers that you find ideal, you will be able to differentiate yourself within your niche by doing everything you can to make a particular type of client happy. That will attract more clients of the same type. The best differences are those things that your competitors aren’t doing or, even better, can’t do! If you can provide these things, then you will be one step ahead of the rest.
If you still think that you and your business are just like others in your industry then remember the power of your personality. You may be selling the same products at the same prices as the business next door, but how you deal with clients is unique to you. Make sure to delight your customers with deeply memorable customer service and you could well have them as clients for life!
Listen to this episode of the number one small business podcast to hear more about Andy’s philosophy and what you can do to differentiate your business from the rest.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I differentiate my business from those of my competitors?
Andy Hanselman is a consultant, business coach, public speaker and author with over 20 years’ experience of helping businesses achieve more. Throughout his career, Andy has seen that it’s the businesses that ‘Think in 3D’ that succeed. These are the businesses that are ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different’ from their competitors.
Andy’s joining us on this episode of the number one small business podcast to discuss how you can stand out from the crowd, create remarkable experiences for your customers and build the culture you want and need for your business.
* Choose ‘em or lose ‘em. Identify who your best customers are. How you measure best is going to be different for everyone, but think about value for money and value for time. Work together with your staff and get their feedback. Once you’ve identified your best clients, work out what’s important to them and adapt your business to suit.
* Create a dialogue with your best customers. Open up to your customers and ask them the reasons why they do business with you as opposed to your competitors. Ask them their opinion on what makes you special or even what they would like to see you do better in the future. Your customers have a wealth of information that can help you create a more 3D business, all you need to do is ask!
* Stand in your own queues. Experience what it’s like to be a customer of your business. Ring up, check the website or sit in the foyer.
Content Gone Wild – Give and Ye Shall Receive
Content marketing has become hugely important to small businesses but it can be difficult to create engaging content on a regular basis. Some find it difficult to write blog posts, others find it hard to create imagery and sometimes we don’t even know what to create content about. Not only that, but there are some businesses and industries that are more conducive to content creation than others. How can we get started with effective content marketing so that it has a tangible effect on our businesses?
Our guest on this episode of the number one small business podcast is Kate McQuillan. Kate has used effective content marketing to build and grow her business and she’s going to talk us through some of the strategies that can be used by any business to increase visibility and engagement.
One of the main problems we face is not knowing what to create content about. Kate’s advice, which can be applied to any kind of business, is to maintain a list of all of the questions that your customers ask. You can go through each question and write a blog post to offer answers and advice. This gives you a huge amount of targeted content as you know that your clients are actively seeking out these answers. They’ve probably Googled the question before asking you, which means plenty of other people will be doing the same thing. Use the question as the title of your blog post and others will find your helpful answers. You needn’t have a flashy infographic to get your start in content marketing, you can simply use your industry expertise to make a start. Soon you will start seeing the benefits in terms of traffic!
Another fantastic benefit of content marketing is that it can open channels of communication with prospective clients and existing customers. Engage with those who have read your blog and commented. Get into conversations and find out other areas that they would be interested in. By asking what people want, you can give them exactly that. Soon, you will have shown yourself to be an expert in your field and a small community will be forming around your content. These can both increase your engagement, visibility and, most importantly, then number of your clients!
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I create engaging content to promote my small business?
Kate McQuillan is the founder of Ireland’s largest pet sitting and dog walking business, Pet Sitters Ireland. Along with her husband Michael, Kate has turned her passion for animals into a very successful and scalable business. One of the main drivers of visitors to their site has been content marketing. In fact, Kate estimates that 70% of visitors arrive at her site via blog posts that she has written. Kate is now using her content marketing expertise to help others in her niche through her new business, Pawsome Media, and her podcast, Pawsome Marketing.
* Make a list of all the questions that you’ve been asked by your customers. This lets you know the information that your clients are looking for online and the areas that they are concerned about. You can answer all of their questions with blog posts, creating a knowledge bank of great content that will draw more and more people to your business. For the most visibility, title the blog post exactly as the question has been asked.
* Create high quality images to be used in every area of your business. Anything that you put out on Twitter, Facebook or blog posts should be accompanied by nice images. Spend a little time to find something eye-catching and make sure your branding is included. This can have a fantastic effect on your levels of engagement.
* Engage! Don’t make everything that you publish be about you and your business. Make sure you are engaging with your audience and providing the content that they want.
Make Your Story Irresistible to the Media with This 5 Step Plan
The development of social media has made it so easy for all of us to connect and to spread the word about ourselves, our projects and our businesses. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have changed the way we do business and it seems like there’s a new platform coming along almost every week! With all the excitement and accessibility of social media, it’s easy to forget the power that more traditional media holds as a means of growing your business. Our guest on this episode of the number one small business podcast is going to talk through how you can make inroads into traditional media streams and tap into a huge audience that can help your business develop.
As soon as something new comes along, plenty of folks believe it spells the end for what went before. Remember when the first Kindle was introduced? It was supposed to be the end of the paperback but books are still around. Diversification doesn’t equal extinction, and the same is true of today’s media. Sure, lots of us like to watch TV on-demand, to cut out everything we don’t want on the radio by listening to podcasts and to cherry-pick the news stories that matter to us online rather than trawling through the newspaper. However, traditional media sources still have the largest audiences of all. Plenty of people still love sitting down to watch the evening news, listen to the radio throughout the day and read their favourite columnists in the papers. These are the comforting, reliable news sources that we’ve grown up with and people are far more likely to trust and believe in something they hear from one of these sources than any other.
That’s great, but how on earth can you get your business to be featured in the media? Well, in some respects, it’s an extension of things that you might already be doing. We’re all experts in our industries and we might use the knowledge that we have to answer questions on Twitter, make videos for YouTube or speak at industry conferences. Traditional media channels regularly speak to industry professionals for more information about relevant news stories. Making yourself known to be an expert in a particular area and then making yourself known to particular journalists could lead to an appearance on the radio, local or national TV, or in the newspaper. If things go well, you could become the ‘go-to’ professional for a particular niche.
It’s all about letting the right people know your speciality, using some techniques to present yourself and your knowledge well and being available to talk. The potential audience for a couple of minute piece about a news story in your niche is huge and has the potential to make a big impact on your business!
Joining us on this episode of Excellence Expected is Pete Walter. Pete has worked as a TV producer for both MTV and BBC News and knows just what it takes to get an appearance in the media. He now runs his own business helping professionals deal with the media and to get the most from a mutually beneficial relationship.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I gain the attention of the traditional media to help my business?
Pete Walter is a media coach and the founder of Deal with the Media, a platform that aims to help businesspeople of all backgrounds improve their media skills. Pete spent the earlier part of his career as a producer making programs for MTV and the BBC. In 2008, he moved to BBC News where he worked with worldwide stars and experts in almost every field imaginable.
Pete’s with us on this episode of the number one small business podcast to discuss the business opportunities that exist or those who feature in traditional media, how you can improve your chances of being invited to contribute and his tips for making your story irresistible.
* Get active on Twitter.
The Art of Story Telling & How to Craft the Perfect Pitch with John Livesay
We all love a good story, don’t we? Whether you enjoy watching movies or the evening news, listening to podcasts or the latest office gossip, stories are everywhere around us, even in business. The very best brands in the world tell us stories through their marketing, design and branding. Lots of small business owners think that storytelling is something that is only for the big boys, but our guest on this episode of Excellence Expected is going to explain why telling the story of your business is essential if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Perhaps the most important, and most difficult, time to tell your story is when you are pitching your business to investors. You don’t want to come across as flippant or disrespectful and it seems like it should be an occasion to stick to the numbers and the facts. But this is time when you should be storytelling! People remember stories much more easily than they remember figures. Preparing the story of how your business came about, practicing the story and delivering it confidently can ensure that you and your business make an impact on investors. Using stories allows you to humanize your business and demonstrate that you have empathy with both the investors and your customers.
There are several classic archetypes when it comes to storytelling and these models can be used in business just as easily as they can be used on the page or the screen. The following are the archetypes, an example work of fiction and a brand that has used the model in its marketing:
* Rage to Riches – Cinderella / Johnnie Walker
* Quest – Lord of the Rings / Lexus
* Rebirth – It’s a Wonderful Life / Prudential
* Adventure – The Wizard of Oz / Expedia
Which type of story best describes you and your business? Can you spot other brands that have used these different story models?
Once you work out the story you are going to tell, you need to practice delivering the story until it becomes natural and relaxed. Practice when you’re stuck in traffic or even in the shower and soon you’ll be able to tell the story with great confidence. Confidence will lead to you making a genuine, human Connection and if you can connect with the investors, the next step is Commitment.
Confidence -> Connection -> Commitment
We all tell stories every day, so why not craft one that could capture the attention of investors and help your business grow?
John Livesay joins us on this episode of the number one small business podcast to share his thoughts on the importance of storytelling in business and how you can craft the perfect pitch for your business.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I storify my entire business to solidify my pitch and gain investment?
John Livesay is a funding strategist who helps CEOs create a connection with potential investors through compelling storytelling. He also hosts The Successful Pitch podcast which profiles successful startups and reveals insights that can be of help to companies of all sizes. Prior to becoming a strategist, John had a hugely successful, twenty year media sales career with Conde Nast. Not only did he work across each of the company’s 22 brands, but he was also named Salesperson of the Year for 2012.
In his new role, John has helped many businesses craft the perfect story for their pitch and he’s with us on this episode of the number one small business podcast to share his tips with us.
* Be prepared and don’t wing it. Stack your moments of certainty. Get the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation and remember your superhero pose. These are great tools to help you before the pitch.
* Make sure you have a right-brain connection and are telling a story that is...