Michelin Star Chef Goes Out Of Business!

He spread himself too thin, gave away all his cooking secrets in his TV shows and cookbooks and was too generous with his criticism to improve food in the UK.  As a result he had nothing left to say, no more new recipes to cook and disappeared into obscurity.

Of course none of this is true… (I’m sorry for the click bait). Gordon Ramsay and other chefs continue to thrive by giving away all their secrets.

When Gordon Ramsay opens a new restaurant he isn’t paranoid about some copycat opening a restaurant on the opposite side of the road to his.

So why for God’s sake do people not take the same approach in other industries?  Entrepreneurs and business people in particular are so paranoid of their “ideas being stolen”, of people “knowing their secrets”, of customers knowing the truth.

No good business has ever gone out of business by being open and generous with ideas, approaches and ideologies.  No good business has gone out of business by showing the inner workings of their business, by allowing their employees to voice concerns and opinions, by showing others their code base.

Let’s take a leaf out of Chef Ramsay’s cookbook and be more generous.  If I can give you my recipes and “secrets” in creating a successful business then perhaps we can all enrich the world that little bit more.

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Have You Ever Found Yourself Driving Down A One-Way Road?

Most of the time when you turn in to a one-way road, you know it’s one-way as soon as you turn in.

The worst kind of one-way roads are those that look like normal roads for a long time.  These roads always take you to a place where you don’t want to be.

Hiring too many people.

Hiring people you don’t like.

Putting in extra features.

Taking outside money.

Getting fancy offices.

Making a promise.

These are all one-way roads.  It is extremely difficult to turn back the clock and reverse the damage once it’s been done.

What’s worse is that if you keep going down that road without realising it’s one-way, you might drive right past where you were aiming to get to in the first place.

Life By A Thousand Cuts

Creating something authentic is always such a surprisingly painful experience.

Why is it that so many creators, from Vincent van Gogh to Kurt Cobain, suffered with such severe depression? They experienced so much pain that they ultimately took their own lives.

Perhaps there is a disconnect between how creators see the world and how most other people see the world. The act of creation is often a cry for help, to try to change the world in some way, live in an authentic way and bring people round to a different way of thinking.

But living in an authentic way is the only way for people to take note of your work in today’s world. People can smell BS from a mile away.

vincent-van-gogh-9515695-3-402

Your business, your product, your service, your job is your art. And it has to be authentic in today’s world. If the story you tell is inauthentic then no one will seek you out.

Today, we are all artists, creating authentic work and living life by a thousand cuts.

“You took your life
As lovers often do;
But I could have told you
Vincent
This world was never
Meant for one
As beautiful as you.” – Don McLean

How To Win Business And Influence Everyone

But we already have a way of doing that

But we don’t have the time or money to train our staff to use your product

But no one else is doing it this way

But…

But…

But…

Yes, I’ve heard all the “buts” a million times.  So how do you, as an entrepreneur or change maker, go from a “but” to a “hell yes!”?

Tell a great story.  

Every purchase you’ve ever made had a story attached to it.  And it is not the functionality or the feature set of the product or service which you bought.  You bought the story you told yourself about the product or service.

If I gave you a spec sheet of two cars and they were identical, you would pay the same for both cars.  But if at the end I revealed that one is a Jaguar and one is a Ford car, suddenly the value of the Jaguar car goes way up.

Why?

Because of the story we tell ourselves.

When you drive a Jaguar you’re buying the story of “I’m successful, I am rich, I am one of the big boys now”.

You can create the story you want for your business!  

I know this sounds lofty and as a small time entrepreneur you may think it’s not relevant or applicable, but it is, and if you don’t get this then it will stop you from getting to the next stage in your business.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

So how the hell did Henry Ford sell his cars?

I played a game with my dad a few days ago.  I was playing the part of a farmer from 150 years ago and my dad was playing the part of an inventor who had just invented a car.  Here’s how it went:

Dad: Hello, I was wondering I could interest you in buying a car.

Me: Oh, what’s that?

Dad: It’s something I invented.  It can take you from A to B in no time at all!

Me: Hmmmm, I already use my horse to get around.  I don’t think I need anything else.

Dad: But, this is quicker!

Me: I’m just a simple farmer.  I’m not in a rush to get anywhere.

Dad: This car can hold luggage!  You’ll be able to move more crops!

Me: My horse’s saddle holds everything I need.

And on and on it went.

Notice what happened here – my dad was trying to sell me features!  The car has a roof, it has a boot, it can go this fast, it has an engine etc etc

NO ONE CARES ABOUT FEATURES!

YOU NEED A BETTER STORY!

We all know how much better the car is than a horse in getting jobs done today, but no doubt Henry Ford and the other innovators of his time faced the same dilemma that entrepreneurs today face.

My dad would have been better off telling a story about his car.  A story so powerful that it would strike the prospect right in his heart:

Innovator: “Mr farmer, do you have a family?”

Farmer: “Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.”

Innovator: “Mr Farmer, this car which I’ve built will allow you to take your beautiful wife out to Capital City during the day and allow you to come back home by evening time.  Imagine taking her out to a nice dinner and showing her the bright lights of the city.  You will finally have the freedom to explore this beautiful country.  The only limitation is how far you want to go!”

Do you see the difference?  And here’s the thing!  You can make up any story you want.  If you tell a good story then you won’t have to convince people about features, you’ll just have a conversation about how the features will allow you to deliver on your story.

You see, if you can tell a story about where you want to take the prospect then you can explain how you will get the prospect there.

I am in the healthcare sector.  If I were the one who came up with the idea of an electronic healthcare record, if I were to plainly describe what it does, I would not be able to sell it.  Take my word that electronic health records have dramatically improved the healthcare provided in England.

But again, if you try to sell features you get the following conversation:

Salesman: Would I be able to interest you in purchasing an electronic health record?

Clinician: Erm, what’s that?

Salesman: It’s a computerised system that allows you to create records.

Clinician: Well, we already have paper notes.  Why would we change?

Salesman: Well paper notes go missing!

Clinician: We have never misplaced a patients record in this clinic!

Salesman: ….well this also does prescriptions and can help you prescribe.

Clinician: I don’t need any assistance from you or your software!

Again, no one cares about features!!!  Tell a great story!

Salesman: Would I be able to interest you in trying out an electronic health record?

Clinician: Erm…what’s that?

Salesman:  Dr Smith, in an ideal world we would work closer with our colleagues both in the hospital and with other healthcare providers in the community.  In an ideal world we would know exactly what medications a patient is already on so that you can prescribe safely.  In an ideal world you would always know what allergies a patient has so that you don’t risk harming them instead of helping.  If these issues are things which you truly care about, then we should have a discussion.

Tell a great story!

Are You Stupid, Mature Or Brave?

The only thing between where you are now and where you want to be are a series of hurdles.

Few people overcome these hurdles to reach the goal. Few people push through to become the person they want to become.

Stupid people start something while full well knowing, from the very beginning, that they’re never going to push through to the end.

Mature people realise that there are too many hurdles and don’t even start.

Brave people, the very few, decide that they’re going to fight to the end and reach the goal.

When you started your project, your business, your university course, your fitness regime you signed up for a series of hurdles.

Being mature is fine.

Being brave is fine.

Being stupid is inexcusable.