Paul Holmes - Practical Actionable Advice for Small Business Owners

In this episode, Paul offers a huge amount of highly practical advice for small business owners. This is a truly powerful interview full of great value.


Podcast Transcription

Tony Radford 0:01

Hello, everybody and welcome to another episode of the Small Business heroes podcast. Today my guest is Paul Holmes of PCH, business support. Paul, how are you today?

Paul Holmes 0:16

Very good. Good to be here. And great to be on the show.

Tony Radford 0:18

Excellent. Yep. Likewise, Paul, could you tell us about your business?

Paul Holmes 0:27

I work with growth companies and overwhelmed business leaders. So I've got a very broad background in business operations, innovation systems and processes. So I've loved I've always loved fixing solving problems. So my business helps small businesses that are growing scaling, and very large businesses or multi million pound operations. But I'm particularly working with those business leaders who've kind of got the point where they are so utterly overwhelmed firefighting, and then I go in and help them become strategic again. There's a process in place, right?

Tony Radford 0:58

I'm sure There's plenty of clients for your services actually.

Paul Holmes 1:03

All certainly for the last three or four or five months, obviously, the COVID-19 scenario has highlighted to lots of businesses that were probably struggling prior to the pandemic. This has highlighted some some of those gaps. I work very closely with the various growth hubs regionally, I'm currently I was running the COVID-19 response for the Oxfordshire growth hub. So there was a long, long list of businesses that needed my help. And it's been great. And it's meant that I'm one of those businesses that's thrived under the current situation. Obviously, lots of other businesses haven't, which is a real challenge.

Tony Radford 1:39

Yeah, sure. In the in the research forum, market search for proactive mode, my my app, there were two I asked more than about 300 people by email. What's the biggest problem? This is small business, micro business owners freelancers. The number one problem was selling they everybody you know, most of them didn't like so they were Really into their thing, their product or service, but they didn't like selling aspect. And the next biggest problem was overwhelmed. Literally people using that word, I'm completely overwhelmed. Like, I don't know where to turn when I sit down at my computer. I don't even know what to do next. So no, you're addressing a very, very specific problem, massive problem, actually,

Paul Holmes 2:20

I spent 25 years as a sort of a capital project manager in an engineering environment. So I'm very, very structured. And part of what I do with clients is to some set a goal. It's that whatever that goal is, and then we'll kind of work out how are we going to get there, structured, logical, and it's those steps that can help businesses get back that position. But the thing about selling was one of my biggest weaknesses. I've done everything in business except the selling and marketing into the business. And quickly realizing that without those two things in place, my business didn't last very long. So I had to get help to help me to learn to sell.

That's how I became part of Accelerator, which is why I'm now a business coach for the same accelerator, because it's where I learned to sell how to market how to get the messaging out there.

Tony Radford 3:08

Right. So in terms of when you meet a client, what's the actual process like you say that you sit down and work out a plan, but how do you actually get to that stage,

Paul Holmes 3:20

and the process that I take people, so I have my own development coaching program. And it's a six month program where we start with just a deep diagnostic on the business. So it's going through essentially all of the major components that you would expect to have in a business, but my philosophy is very much around the setting of business goal. So most people have started out work hard and and hope that they will grow the business. And unfortunate statistics say that less than 80% of businesses survive three years. As I said, a business go out of business within the first three years. And I'm very much a case of right where do you want to be? How are you going to get Let's design that curve. Let's put in some milestones and work out what you actually have to do. What are the things that will force you to get to that goal?

What happens when you get to that goal? What does your organization look like? How many people do you need? What services do you need? How big a premises do you need? What does it look like? You start to plan all those steps in place, there's no surprises. And if you do there, and you have that level of accountability, so you tell somebody, what it is that you're trying to achieve, and when you're going to do it by and somebody say, right, did you do that thing. And data shows that you are 100% more likely to achieve that goal.

There's a very structured approach, and then around around so that those of putting those actions in place, it's essentially say, Go define your strategy. Write down your plan. That plan has a series of actions and then it's just holding you accountable for the actions.

Paul Holmes 4:52

On top of that, then I act like a non exec director the rest of the time. It's the you have a challenge or you have a question for me up. We'll have a chat and I do Have you that objective opinion about why the thing you are doing? Is it the right thing for you right now? What's the return the investment, other better options? Have you thought about alternatives? It's just that that whole sort of coaching mentoring process runs of the actual end business systems and processes.

Tony Radford 5:17

Yeah, I love what you said about accountability, because I do I do an accountability thing every week with a with a partner. I've been doing it for three, four years. And it's really great. Actually, just a simple process, you know, every week, just an email backwards and forwards. Did you do that thing that you said you were going to do? There is that sort of in a not pressure was kind of some sort of force that makes us want to fulfill the commitments that we made, right.

Paul Holmes 5:44

Yeah, it is a human nature. It's the difference between when you're at school, and you're set homework, you're held accountable. When you go to university, you're set coursework and I'm one of those People were at school fantastic. I was a held accountable, give me the free rein in university and I struggled and it took me a while to have to learn that I had to have that self discipline.

Yeah, it's a lot of people have best efforts best endeavors. But without that structure in place, people end up doing the wrong thing. And that's why you end up with a situation where business owners end up firefighting, because they don't know anything different. It's amazing how many salespeople have created a business growing it to a million pound business.

And that seems to be about the tipping point is that million pounds 1015 people in the business working every hour godsend. I just don't know how to get the best out of team don't how to manage a team. And communication doesn't work very well. And suddenly we have a situation where they're desperately trying to ship the stuff out by four o'clock today. Failing to notice the fact of the same company ship the same stuff back to them for last three weeks. Because the quality is not good enough. And it's at that point. profits just dropped off a cliff. And that's normally when I got a phone call.

But my challenge is, how do you educate people actually, having an objective opinion around your business is a fantastic thing to have. Everybody should have it, even when it's going really, really well. Because you can stop some of these things happening. And getting me involved to the point where you're about to go to the wall, I can help this much.

If you've got me involved a year ago, we could have absolutely nailed this, I can help so much more. We could have massively improved the turnover, we could have identified some of the risks and pitfalls. I'd say it's getting that out to people. And that's that's the polybase challenge is finding people who are actually ready and willing and understand the value of what what a coach or a consultant can do for you. And engaging with it. And recognizing, yes, it's a cost. But actually the return on investment can be massive.

So, a big shout out was around. So how do you sell that?

So if I go to somebody and say, Okay, I'll work with you a day, a month for a year, and I'm gonna charge you 12,000 pounds. And somebody loves you, you're mad that you're not worth 12,000 pounds. If I start the conversation with how, how would you feel if I was promised you? I can put 250,000 pounds on your bottom line?

Is that worth 12,000 pounds, very different conversation. And it's about getting people to understand, actually, the value of what I can do is massively improve your profitability and change the way you operate, give you time back, allow you to step away from the business and think about the opportunities. But you have to show them that and sometimes it's it's very difficult to get into people's heads.

Tony Radford 8:47

Yeah, so yeah, lots of lots of questions there. I mean, how do you get your main clients is it through referrals?

Paul Holmes 8:57

Lots of referrals, and And I recognized early on that the chance that imagine that for every hundred businesses, there are probably one or two at any given time who were standing there going, I need help. So the idea of randomly phoning up a business and saying, Do you need help? The chances of them in the right frame of mind very slow. And even when I've had a situation where a business owner you can clearly see I could make a huge difference, that organization, if they are not ready and willing and understand the value, that conversation could take three months, six months, 12 months sometimes to build that relationship.

The business would fall, fall over if that if that was the case. And so I kind of stubs physically, when people need help, where do they go?

So my previous role prior to this was I was director of investment for the local authority. And I ran the human investment services for one of the local enterprise partnerships in Wiltshire Part of that was coordinating all of the business support services to deliver help support guidance. The very, very few of those organizations, whether the Chamber of Commerce, whether it's of the local authority, actually have hand holding service. What they have is guidance and signposting. Lots of social media courses, leadership courses, that kind of stuff, but nobody to actually go and say, actually, why are you doing this, you should be doing this instead.

So be offering that sort of that process of them. That's where they go, but they're not well served by people who can actually help them. If I am part of all of those organizations in some way. Then when somebody says, I'm actually ready for help, and I want help, and go, Ah, we don't do that. But we know a man who does go and talk to Paul and so I'm I work very closely. So with the various growth hubs do lots and lots of free days one to one sessions, it's a great way to showcase what I do. And in some ways, I mess with people's minds.

So we have an hour session, mess with the head made them think differently about their business. And that's the best sales pitch that possible, because they go away. If you're saying what just happened, that was amazing. I can't write that I can't put content together that conveys that power. So then going out into the world and telling other people about it was fantastic. And I'm part of so several growth hubs. I'm running, some for free.

I'm now running under contracts the growth hub in Oxford, and I'm part of a coaching program. So we meet lots and lots of businesses there who are already in a great position, looking for help. And I'm an Associate Director for an organization called inspire. We cover itself most in sort of Southwest. And that's mainly dealing with multimillion pound organizations. So at that point, I start doing non exec director work and large scale corporate consultancy roles.

So everything I do is working strategically with partner organizations who essentially refer to me because of my reputation. And the more we've done this. It's just built into us all great snowball. And now at the point where I have to start following my own advice and start thinking about how do I expand what I do, and stop this being just about me, which is exactly what I tell most MDS is you can't be the person who does everything. So that's my next challenge is how do I expand what I do into something bigger and more exciting, allows me to not work silly hours and for break all the rules that I tell my clients not to?

Tony Radford 12:43

Yeah, no, I totally get that. And that's a really great idea to to find business, if you like, by going by being present in the places where your potential clients might come.

Paul Holmes 13:01

Yes, yes. I'm the I'm part of thing called the fearless business coaching accelerator. And that helped me with this of the front end sales marketing sort of aspect of what we're doing. I ended up helping quite a lot of the other people on the course apply that inside their operating businesses, the operational side of the business. So I then go became invited to be part of the coaching program. But we work on a metric, which is it's a Google metric, which is about 7010 to you have to have 70 points of contact in any form, with potential clients out there to land 10 consultations, which will then give you potentially to clients.

For me, it was a real challenge, because it meant that for those 10 people that you think are about to sign, eight of them will say no, no, thank you, for whatever reason, that's just the way it is. But also it means that for the 70 points of contact, 68 of them are not interested in your business ultimately. But if you're not doing this 70 you won't get the two.

And so this is this is part of the process and part of that. So raising profile getting out there. So I write for business magazines, I do lots of articles, I do speaking events. So it's about raising profile. And that's one of the things that the base message I've said to businesses struggling with lockdown, and coming out of the pandemic situation now is raise your profile, do everything you possibly can to market, get your name out there, because some of your competition won't be there anymore.

And if you can get people on people's radar now, much better chance of somebody finding you picking up but sharp a message, think about what it is that you do why people need you right now and do everything you possibly can to raise that. So lots of people are cutting costs by not doing marketing right now. And I'd argue it's the single biggest thing you should be spending money on.

Tony Radford 14:59

Yeah, that's That's a great piece of advice actually. Yeah, very, very good. Thank you very much for that.

Paul Holmes 15:06

That's a great example of Procter and Gamble. did the same thing through the Great Depression, the 1930s of all the competition. They were the only ones who marketed through the depression. They spent a fortune, but they recovered it in two months. And Procter and Gamble then went on to become the world leader in what they do. It's off cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, because they were the one that everybody remembered at the end of the depression after 10 years.

Tony Radford 15:33

Yeah, for smaller businesses, that's eminently doable these days, isn't it? It's just a matter of time. Yeah. And being consistent with with content and all that sort of thing. I mean, for smaller businesses, do you have any advice on that? If If, how people could go about doing that?

Paul Holmes 15:54

In terms of marketing, it's really, really clear about what is it your customer wants Who are your target clients? Because there's no point in mass marketing, if you've got a very, very narrow field, and do you understand who your perfect clients are? Where do they hang out? What do they read? And what kind of sectors are they in, you have to be in those places. So find the Facebook groups, the LinkedIn groups, and do what's called Facebook on LinkedIn organic, which is turning up being genuine giving stuff away, engaging with people.

It takes time and effort, but it's for free. It's about doing speaking events is around articles. It's about being consistent in raising your presence on things like LinkedIn. If that's your target market, if he's a professional services, if your clients are most likely to be on Facebook, then there's no point doing LinkedIn. If what you do has a very visual and Instagrams your target audience, so it that'd be really clear about where the people that you want to talk to, you are most likely to see your information. And then it's consistency. It is time Adding up saying clear message consistently repeating it.

And on average, you have to see something seven times before your brain finally logs it. So I mean, don't be afraid. And I've got clients who say, Well, I said that last week and said, we'll say it again this week, because the chances are with the algorithms in Facebook or LinkedIn 90% of the people that you think might have seen this probably haven't seen it.

So it's just repeat consistency.

Tony Radford 17:28

I think I think Facebook's organic reach is something like 4% or something.

Paul Holmes 17:32

Yeah. So it's about how you then drive that engagement. And there are things you can do but consistency, responding to messages, making sure there is this content thing called a two stage post, where you put something out and say, is anybody interested in X, Y and Zed or I've got a 40 ways to raise your profile on my website, for instance. So I put a post out there and say, okay, free download who's interested. If you're interested, stick around. I mean, in the past, certainly the post thing gets 100 people say, I mean, they're interested, then you send them the link. The algorithm then drives because suddenly, the hundred posts now and that comments on that post must be interesting. Next time you put a post out there, 8% of people might see it, you just have to keep driving. It's just a very, very slow process. But it's it does work eventually.

Tony Radford 18:24

That's a great tip there, Paul, thanks very much for that. Yeah, about three or four months ago, I went full time on my on my app, and I looked at all of the platforms and was feeling completely overwhelmed and I thought to myself, I need to just narrow down one foot for engagement. Maybe Blitz stuff out for two gallons if I can. And LinkedIn was just by far the most obvious choice for me. It's organic reach is insane compared with the other platforms.

Paul Holmes 18:52

may get it right. target the people that you know how already have a big audience if somebody is in the Right Sector, you You know already has a very wide reach, build relationship with them, and then their audience becomes your audience. So this very sort of Shockers. The thing I kind of I, as I'm not a marketeer. So I learned the hard way that trying to be a generalist, because I've done everything from literally pre starts building buildings, building factories, building school, skills, innovation. I've done everything across the pitch. So I went out when I first started as a generalist going, I can help any business do anything for marketing potential doesn't work.

There's like, anyone, anyone listening? As soon as somebody told me pick two things that you do, and that's where the growth and the overwhelmed basically came from. Suddenly people resonate with those two things. And for a marketing perspective, fantastic. I still do everything I used to do. But that gets people in the door.

Paul Holmes 19:55

So it's about being clear about what is your nice what is the thing that you do What's the outcome? Not What does what services do you provide? But if I do this for you, what is the outcome going to be? and selling outcomes will sell what you do at a far higher price more consistently than trying to tell people what service you provide?

Tony Radford 20:16

Hmm, I noticed on your website that you've got plenty of testimonials to back that up as well.

Paul Holmes 20:21

Yes, it's been an amazing four years, I celebrated four years of the business on Monday. And I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of businesses. And I just I love helping people. I love help getting those results. Sometimes at my own detriment, I'll put far too much time and effort into people because I want them to succeed.

Tony Radford 20:45

That's great. You're actually answering all the questions. I've got down on my piece of paper here, which is very good at only to ask them you're explaining everything as you go through. So that's really good. Yeah, so one of the questions I was going to ask is what what is what One thing you wish someone had told you when you started out.

Paul Holmes 21:04

And there's lots of things, it's the thing about learning to sell. I tell people I've built, been involved in millions and millions of pounds worth of projects. running my own business last four years is the hardest thing I've ever done. Which compared to some things I've done the past seems insane. But you because you have to be everything in your business. And there will be gaps.

And it's about identifying the things you don't do very well and get help very early, as early as you possibly can in your business, possibly even before you can actually afford to get that help, because the pace that it will help you accelerate. My first two years doing this, I tried to do most of this myself. And it didn't work. And I came perilously close to the game. Right. We're done.

It was only when I started to ask for help, as a last result, that suddenly things started to take off. So that's get help early. and identify the things that you don't do. And accept that actually, in your business, you have to be three things. You have to be the technician, you have to do the thing that you do the service, you have to be the manager, you have to set the rules, the targets, the quality standards, but you also have to be an entrepreneur, you have to look at the risks, you have to look at opportunities you look at, how do I make this bigger, better, faster next year. And if you aren't doing those two things, you just being the technician, then your business won't thrive.

Paul Holmes 22:36

But also more than half your time is going to be actually how do I find clients? I'm fairly confident in what I do as a businessman helping businesses to solve problems and thrive. I'm pretty good at it.

Can I sell so I had to create mechanisms to do that. And so that's the bit for most may face. Learn how to To sell, or learn how to create something that people can find out what you do, so you don't have to sell. But if you don't have that lead for a living and you, if you don't spend half your time being a salesperson or marketing or getting those clients in place, your business won't thrive, whatever, however good you are what you do?

Tony Radford 23:20

Yeah, it's music to my ears. What you're saying I mean, when I when I left University, my first job was selling cash registers to bookies I've never even been in bookies before the branch manager had to take me. And that was a crash course if ever there was one. But the one of the one of the basic philosophies of proactive is that we provide a screen for them, for people that they set aside some time every day for to do business building activity, because most people don't and I was following some guys he was he was also seeing businesses that were sort of falling apart. One of the main things he found was he would ask people, how much time to spend on business building activity. They would say things like, what do we do every day and everything all the time when he oddities. So if the average was less than one hour per week, that is perfect.

Tony Radford 24:09

And yeah, I'm sure you find the same. And so what we say is, even if you're not, you know, just find one or two things to do it business building activities, set aside some time every day, whether it's half an hour or an hour, and then do that process for 30 working days and see where you are, at the end of 30 days, you'll either be in a better place, or you'll have a ton of rejection, in which case there's something wrong with your marketing mix. It's better to get that sorted out in 30 days, that is in a year. So that's our philosophy insider practice.

Paul Holmes 24:43

Now, it's great way to saying when I'm doing running, I'm not exactly them engineering company at the moment, and we sat the MD down, and in two hours, we probably on paper, have made him more money by thinking about what he's doing in a slightly different By that he'd done for the last two years.

A lot of the stuff we've been doing for the COVID-19 stuff, getting people to solve, not necessary pivot, because changing complete changing direction is a big risk, because you're almost starting again. But adapting what you do, looking at the service that you provide and break it right back down to what is that the core of what it is? What's the value that you bring to the business? Can you sell that in a slightly different way? Can you get someone to pay for it in a slightly different way. And we've had businesses I've been working with that. When they've actually done this, they've identified something that a they probably should have been doing anyway. But actually, they reckon they can make more money out of and will become the way the business will operate thereafter. So it's, and it's, but you could have spotted this. It's only the fact you've now got time to stop and think about this. So build time into your diary to do exactly this.

And I strongly recommend those overwhelm business leaders, they tell me that they literally literally don't have half an hour to stop Don't have time to stop for lunch. So let's start with nine till 10 on a Friday morning. That's your strategic planning time. It's sacrosanct. It goes in your diary, your team are not allowed to contact you, no phone calls, you're not allowed to work on any of the customer stuff. But in that hour, just start thinking about the business, how it's working, how it's running, what could you change, how could you improve it, and over time, that will become two hours. The aim is to try and get to probably 75% 25%, which means essentially a day a week, you are not allowed to run the business. You have to plan the business, think about opportunities, and you have to design the business that you don't have to run it.

I am a huge, huge fan of a book called The E myth.

And it's all about design the business so that you do not have to be the one that runs it. design it as if you are building a franchise that you could pick up and drop in somewhere else in the country, even if you're not going to do that. What it'll mean is you can take time out of the business, you can enjoy the business, you can see opportunities, and you can change direction without being immersed in the hour, two hours of battle that you have with the team.

Tony Radford 27:11

Yeah, interesting challenge. And I wonder how many, it must be very difficult to get people to do the first hour is probably the hardest, right?

Paul Holmes 27:18

Yeah, sometimes. Yeah. But sometimes it's if they've got as far as asking for help from me, then at least they're open mind that they're willing to at least listen. And in that first hour, I throw so many ideas at them just from spending their time to dig into the business. And almost any business that you come across that's in that firefighting mode, have got glaring mistakes that they have made. They are this just it's inevitable. They wouldn't be in that position. If they weren't making some fundamental issues. They start to show them if you do this, we can add 20% to your bottom line to two hours of work fixing this will save you 200,000 pounds a year.

Okay, show me more. And once once you can demonstrate that, but it's that you have to then show them those things and show them how to implement it. And sometimes it's as simple as, let me introduce you to management meetings.

That's a waste of time meetings a waste of my time. Now, the idea is, they have the manager meeting without you present sometimes, huh. They communicate the things that are most important from it. So you don't have to sit through three hours of meetings. But they're making ideas and suggestions because the moment you're trying to run the ship without their input, because you think they're idiots.

Paul Holmes 28:44

Actually, you hired a really good bunch of team you just not give them the system and processes for them to actually demonstrate their talent and run the business for you. Because they're better at their day jobs than you.

Paul Holmes 28:56

That's really difficult quite often for a business owner to recognize that that some of the people in our team are better at their jobs than they could be.

Tony Radford 29:04

Yeah. That's a big learning curve. That's really great.What is the next step for your business.

Paul Holmes 29:25

I work very closely with lots of associates who are like minded. And so there are lots of things that I'm now starting to look at other people delivering on my behalf. So I'm creating sort of a loose partnership of similar consultants and coaches, who will act under my brand, who will deliver to clients that in a style that is consistent with the way that I work, and also the methodology around setting the business goal is not new. Working out and setting those times. Get some stuff into motion that is not new. The thing that I've developed a little bit further than that is the, if you look at your business today, could you scale today's product to the level that would give you that lifestyle. And if you can't, if the thing you're selling today, you would have to sell 3 million of them to give you the outcome, the thing that you've set this up to deliver in the first place, then change it today. It's that process of I've done this, we've lost lots of clients, we sort of say, Well, what would you like in three years time? Well, I'd like to work two days a week and I'd like 100,000 pounds a year salary, right?

What would your business have to look like for that to be true?

Well, I need I need a general manager to run it so I don't have to and the business is probably going to have to be turning over probably a million pounds to meet like 100,000 pounds out comfortably. Okay. Your product is five pounds. You will have To sell 200,000 of those today to get to a million pounds of the turnover.

Oh, yeah, we couldn't do that. Okay, so what can you do?

Paul Holmes 31:15

Well, the high end version of what we sell is 25 pounds. Okay. So that's 40,000 of those you'd have to sell. But that's the slide if a market isn't. Yeah, that's different marketing targets. That's means there's no point you doing of mass marketing of pay per click or AdWords for that for this, you're now targeting this or very specific sector.

So by setting that goal, to deliver your own, the thing you set for the business to achieve, which is the working two days a week with a nice income, and you've now got a multiple model to do that. You've now got some clear targets of who you're going to market to, and it stops you doing all the things you're probably doing because I no longer relevant and that process that feedback process of change your product today. Change the price, change the complexity, whatever happens, we will change it so that you can actually deliver enough of them. Or work out how many people you need to sell it for you, or how many different platforms you can sell, but it forces you to change. That's the process that I'm, I kind of created. And the next step for me, it's probably start to get people to deliver that for me to do that part of the diagnostic process. Right. So there's a plan.

Tony Radford 32:27

Excellent. Sort of micro question, really. If somebody gave you 500 pounds to spend on marketing, how would you spend it?

Paul Holmes 32:38

I go find a bloody good marketer.  I have learned that they are worth their weight in gold.

I'm an engineer. So I write far too many words. And when I write something, I need you to know everything that's in my head. And that could be pages and pages of information and lots of detail because I'm a complete nerd. from a marketing perspective, it's an utter waste of time, because nobody reads it. And I work with a PR agent, I work with marketers, who turn my words into the English language. And they can write in 10 words, what's just taking me half a page to write. And they can write it with words that have impact that convey what I'm trying to convey in a short, sharp way that really resonates.

It's somebody doing that for me. And so even though I've kind of got fairly well established process now around how I get clients, I've just engaged a marketeer to do exactly this, to review everything that I do, and work out. Is my messaging clear. What I think I'm doing and what I think I'm telling the world that I do, is that what's coming across in the way that I write my particular challenge the moment is I have two distinct markets. I have my clients that work for my coaching and develop program.

They are normally sub million pound businesses. And a lot of what I do on LinkedIn, a lot of what I do through the Facebook groups, articles are tailored to solve the Small Business kind of mentality. That's the kind of skills that you need the fundamental basics of business, are you selling it for more than it's costing you to make, which is surprisingly, how often that's not the case.

But my business is expanding with the larger scale businesses. And everything that I'm writing probably isn't targeting them. So it's about now if that is the future of my organization, because that's higher revenue for less time, which has to be the case, I could spend, I could work 100 hours a week for free.

My job is to try and find two or three clients that allow me to work a few days a week for significant more. But in my marketing, if it's not targeted to those people,

I've just done one of these The free LinkedIn accelerators. And yes, it was it's a basic sales pitch to get people onto a LinkedIn program. But the one thing that it taught me to do was to change the words under my name in LinkedIn. What is it? I do? How do I do it? So, yeah, who am i doing for? Who my target audience? How do I do what I do? And one of the outcomes, and it forced me to have to pick one. I'm sitting there going well, I want my clients in my coaching stuff, because that's where quite a lot of stuff comes from. But actually, really, I really want this of the bigger businesses. So I changed that, too.

Paul Holmes 35:43

I work with owners of multi million pound plus businesses, who are utterly overwhelmed by analyzing the business to do less firefighting and the difference almost instantaneously to the people that are found me are engaging with me. It's about getting that message, right. It's one of the lightbulb moments cuz I'm not a marketeer. So something as simple as that changing a few words in that in that change the way that LinkedIn engage with the algorithm and how people are perceiving what I do.

Tony Radford 36:16

Yeah, because it's like a micro ad, isn't it? And it appears on everything you do every post that response thing. Yeah.

Paul Holmes 36:23

Ironically, I've had more people approached me saying, I'm not a million pound plus business owner. So I don't think you can help me. I know what Yes, I can because I have tests that I do. And yes, of course, we can help and actually have some smaller products that I do where we can do a half day diagnostic on your business. And that's probably all you need is to set you straight on some fundamentals. I'm very happy to do that for them.

So ironically, telling people that I don't work with them has actually got more people that I said, I didn't work with it's strange, but it kind of works. Yeah, give me 500 pounds, I can spend it on my own marketeer to help me get the better.

Tony Radford 37:07

Great. Have you ever considered making an online training app, some of your courses?

Paul Holmes 37:17

Yes. And a lot of the stuff that I do for the growth hubs we now do through webinars, I've done various of expert panel things that I'm involved in. And we have coming up in about two weeks time, a webinar for the gospel growth hub, around setting up social enterprises. And a lot of the philosophy I have is that you still must run them as businesses, you must treat them as if they are a business organization. Because if you're not generating revenue, you don't you don't have a charity or you don't have a social enterprise in the first place. And a lot of the methodology that I'm going to talk to you about in terms of that, setting goals, and how you work through your product and do the evaluation of what do you need when you get to that point of success? I've now started right down, it will become some online content. So that will be one of my next step is to create some something that can be self guided. And people can start as follows from those basics. So it's also like me finding enough time in my diary to stop what I'm doing to do the strategic stuff, which is learning my own lessons.

Tony Radford 38:19

If you do that, do do let me know she probably very interested. One final question is, can you give us one actionable sales tip?

Paul Holmes 38:34

One actual sales tip - so a number of clients that I've worked with have an amazing product.  It's something that they've created. And it can be software, it can be a functional tool, it can be something that they think I've used this, everybody needs it. When you start looking at the Yeah, it's brilliant.  But nobody needs it.

And so the big gap is people trying to sell what they think of this out, they've got to they want to sell. Well they don't do is stop and listen to their customers and say, What is it you actually need and want?

What features Do you want in that product?

Why, what what's driving it? Why would you need this? What problem Have you got that I can solve for you? So that's my biggest tip is learn to work out what your customer wants, not what you want to sell to them.

And as soon as you start doing that, there'll be other people say, Well, I think this is what I want.

And it's been brave enough to say, okay, the product we have today is not the one we should be selling tomorrow. And that's a tough decision, particularly if there's been a lot of effort and commitment to learn to adapt what you do into a slightly different sector.

But the rewards will be amazing if you do.

Tony Radford 39:51

Great, thank you for that, Paul. And also, thank you very much for everything you said. It's all been really great. Actually a lot of content there. I'm sure that just listening to this people will, you know, be firing off ideas in people's heads, in fact, has actually done that in my head about my own thing. So thanks very much for that.

Paul Holmes 40:10

I do promise to make people's head spin, if nothing else.

Tony Radford 40:13

Yeah, exactly. I need a coffee and after talking to probably. So what's the best way that people can get in touch with you?

Paul Holmes 40:25

And so you can email me at Paul at PCH business support dot code at UK and or give me a ring. It's Oh, 771-500-8521. I'm happy to have a conversation with anybody about their businesses. And I'm happy to give advice and guidance as much as I possibly can. I love helping people. But yeah, if people are interested in give me a shout, or come to the website, and there's lots of free downloads

But it's been a pleasure. So thank you very much for inviting me. And I look forward to keeping in touch and finding out more about what you do.

Ton Radford

Yep. Thank you very much, Paul.


Podcast Recast

One sales tip


Published: 20/08/2020

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