You shouldn’t have to spend up to $80k on a business school to learn how to profitably grow your business or your career. You don’t even have to go to a traditional four-year college.
Business Made Simple exists to make elite business knowledge – previously only found in a business school – available to everyone. It shouldn’t matter where you’re located, what your previous education or even how much spare time you have. You don’t have to attend a Top 20 business school to grow your business profitably.
Without this type of elite business knowledge, business leaders are often unable to break out of the weeds. They put out the daily fires and may even have great revenue numbers, but if they don’t get this type of training, they’ll struggle to develop their team and will struggle to grow their business much further beyond where they are now.
When leaders invest in their personal development and the continued growth of their company, their businesses thrive. Their teams are united around a common, well-defined vision and they are less likely to punch a clock. Their teams are invested and committed to making a difference – no matter the industry or business, they see the greater goal and strive to accomplish it.
Business Made Simple Book
The easiest and most affordable way to learn what you need to know to bring you and your business to the next level, buy the book.
Donald Miller and the StoryBrand team are releasing a book in January 2021 that can save you thousands of dollars and thousands of hours. The Business Made Simple book will include 60 daily readings that include elite business knowledge traditionally found only in business school. The content covers the essentials like marketing and sales but also vital but sometimes overlooked topics like character and personal productivity. In just 60 days, you can go from feeling lost to feeling in command of the direction your business is heading.
Business Made Simple Online Courses
Access business-school-level courses on-demand at BusinessMadeSimple.com for just $275/year. BMS has designed each module to help you run and grow your business.
Mission Statement Made Simple: Developing Leadership
Most mission statements are boring and full of business school buzzwords no one can remember. Instead, think of your new mission statement as pitching a story, summarizing it in a way that makes everyone in the room lean in.
A clear, worthwhile mission is your tool to gain investment from shareholders and staff, driving sales. It’s how you attract resources. Your mission statement must be exciting, memorable, and do the following:
1. Introduce the conflict ASAP
Your mission needs to overcome something. Name what that something is – what’s resisting the goal? This is the hook, and the harder the mission is to carry out, the more inspiring the story will be. Every mission is secretly a counterattack. If your business doesn’t solve a problem, you’ll go out of business soon.
2. Determine a destination
What will the world look like when you accomplish your mission? Does your mission move toward a specific goal? Figure out the direction you’re going and remind your team of the mission often. Unite them around this common cause.
3. Define the stakes
If nothing bad will happen if your mission doesn’t occur, there’s no need to go on the mission in the first place. This can be an efficiency filter: if what you’re working on isn’t driving toward the mission, you’re investing time and energy in the wrong place. People want to move toward a sense of hope – define the stakes so they can see the potential for good outcomes.
Marketing Made Simple: Make your marketing work for you
A marketing campaign, or sales funnel, defines the building blocks you’ll need to build your business, creating a blueprint you should follow. It’s a specific series of steps you can take to introduce a brand or product to customers. With the right marketing plan, you can grow your company with significantly less effort, time, and money.
These plans yield enormous returns on your investment, winning over clients without being pushy. Sales funnels help you build a relationship with customers before you make any “asks.” Like any healthy relationship, it will grow gradually. Here are the steps to building a natural relationship with a marketing plan:
Think about meeting someone for the first time. Like it or not, there are some snap judgments. And deep down, we’re looking for ways that this person is going to help us survive and thrive. Your potential customers are doing the same. Much like sorting through a stack of mail, they’re going to give you a few seconds to make an impression and if you can pique their curiosity by indicating that you can help them survive and thrive, you’re moving to the next stage.
Once you’ve moved to the second stage, you are going to enlighten your customers about how your product will solve their problem, how it will help them survive and thrive. If “but how” is the natural follow up question you receive after you’ve generated curiosity, you’re on the right track. It’s important to note that you’re not answering how your product/service works, you’re answering how your product/service helps solve the customer’s problem. They’re the hero here. You’re the guide.
The brand has built trust in the enlightenment stage and the customer is now ready to take a risk. Like most healthy relationships, you don’t want to rush them into anything. The average customer needs to have eight touchpoints before they are ready to make a purchase. It’s important to remember not to ask for a commitment before the customer is ready. It will come across as pushy and demanding.
A sure-fire way to create a healthy pace of the relationship while continuing to build trust with your customer is to deploy a sales funnel.
The elements of a sales funnel include:
- A one-liner names the customer’s problem, supplies the solution, and helps them imagine the result.
- A website wireframe helps enlighten curious visitors with carefully chosen words. The best thing you can do with your website is communicate clearly.
- A lead generator is something so helpful to your potential customer that they exchange their email for it. Now, you can stay in touch with them.
These can be free downloads, live events, or other opportunities for people to engage with your organization.
- Nurture campaigns are a series of automated emails that enlighten your customer and provide value, giving them a chance to get to know your organization and learn more about how your product/service can help solve their problem.
- Marketers design sales campaigns to close the deal. Use this series of emails to share in detail how your product/service will help solve their problem and then give them opportunities to buy it!
StoryBrand Messaging Framework: Clarify your message
The StoryBrand messaging framework borrows seven elements from screenwriting:
Just like with storytelling, you have a character (your customer/readers); they have a problem; they meet a guide; who gives them a plan; calls them to action; that helps them avoid failure; and ends in success.
The tone of your story should be empathetic and authoritative. You want your customers to see that you understand their problems and have the experience and ability to solve it. Be sure to remind them of what’s at stake if they fail.
- You’re not the hero of the story, you’re the guide
- Define the problem you can solve for your customers.
- Your customers must know what’s at stake.
Your BrandScript is the umbrella of your brand – everything fits under it. A BrandScript defines your product and the seven elements of your story. So, you’ll want to have a fine-tuned BrandScript.
Here are key thoughts about each of the seven elements:
- People want to move toward an aspirational identity.
- You can’t begin a story until you clearly define something people want.
- Stories are best when they are simple.
- If we don’t define our customer’s problem, they won’t know why they need us.
- The customer is motivated to solve their internal problem.
- Resolving all three levels of their problems resolves in creating brand ambassadors.
- The guide is the strongest character in the story.
- We connect with our customers when we both empathize with their problems and show competency to solve their problems.
- The key to success in any plan is to alleviate confusion or hesitancy around taking the next step.
- A solid plan has three or four simple steps.
- Your sales and marketing collateral should include both direct and transitional calls to action.
- The obvious button to press on your website should be a direct call to action.
- A customer should never be confused about how to do business with you.
- We should tell the truth about what negative consequences we’re helping our customers avoid.
- If your BrandScript is a recipe for a loaf of bread, failure would be the salt. You don’t need too much, but you do need some. Don’t scare customers into doing business with you.
- People head toward a positive vision for their lives. Always.
- In your BrandScript bread recipe, success would be the flour! You need a lot of it.
- Tell your customers in several diverse ways how you can help make their lives better.
“Not only do we build beautiful StoryBrand websites for our clients, but we also implement the SB7 framework on the marketing materials that we publish (website, emails, lead magnets, etc.). Since doubling-down on the StoryBrand method, we have seen increased sales, prospect engagement, and brand awareness.”
-Lidia Untrece, AGENCY BOON
Proposals Made Simple: Close More Deals
Delivering a great proposal is your secret weapon for closing the deal. Even if you have a great sales call with a potential client, your work is far from complete. Following through with a clear proposal is essential to gaining business. Your proposal should reflect the amazing service you’re going to offer and focus on how you can solve your client’s problem.
Every great proposal has these 7 things:
Start with expressing the client’s problem, not your business’ story. Make it clear and succinct, discussing:
- The external problem the customer is facing (ex: They need a new roof.)
- The internal problem they’re feeling (ex: They feel frustrated because they just replaced their roof a few years ago)
- The philosophical problem they’re up against (ex: Everyone deserves a safe and sturdy roof that will last.)
Your product is not useful until you associate it with their problem. Frame your service as the resolution to their problem, highlighting all the benefits they’ll receive by partnering with you. Remember not to use too much industry jargon or insider language.
Draw a specific map to follow so your potential customer knows how to move forward in the buying process. A good plan communicates that it will be simple to work with you and lists the next three things that will happen. Give clear expectations and show them that you will be doing the heavy lifting.
Position the Price as an investment, not a spend. Explain what it’s costing the customer to not do business with you, and then list the price. It will appear lower because you’ve told them how much they will save thanks to you.
Price best practices:
- Discuss the price early and often. (Don’t let the proposal be the first time the customer has heard the price!)
- Offer pricing options.
- Include a deadline for capturing that pricing because deadlines drive decisions.
Establish empathy for your customer’s problem and show authority that you can help them resolve it. Give them a reason to trust you by sharing testimonials, which explain how you delivered a return on another customer’s investment. This section should be the first time you talk much about your company. Now that you’ve demonstrated that you understand their problem and can solve it, you’ve earned the right to share testimonies and even include images of your products or service.
The Call to Action
Use active language and make the next step clear and obvious. Don’t make the customer work to follow up with you! Include directions if needed. “Choose the pricing option that works for you, and then click ‘accept this proposal.’”
Call to action best practices:
- Give the customer something to accept or reject.
- Include a mini-process plan.
- Include a deadline to drive action.
- Repeat the problem that you solve.
The Cover Letter
Write your cover letter last. You’ve created most of the content for it already by crafting your excellent proposal! The letter should sell the proposal and help the client memorize the problem you solve. Repetition is the point.
Follow this format:
- Start with the problem.
- Introduce your product or service as a resolution to the problem.
- Demonstrate empathy and authority.
- Tell them what the next steps are
- Reiterate the problem that you solve.
- Focus on the client and feel the freedom to make it personal. You could even make a video cover letter if you feel it would explain your brand better.
The Enneagram Made Simple
The enneagram is an ancient personality system that teaches there are nine personality types in the world. While we each carry pieces of all nine types, we adopt a dominant one in childhood for coping and adapting to the world.
The enneagram numbers are divided by how each personality type reflexively receives the world, processes it, and responds. It looks at what motivates each type, and how each type behaves at its best – or healthiest – and its worst – or unhealthiest.
Increased self-awareness in the workplace pays dividends. When you and your team are self-aware, conflict decreases, communication is healthier, you enhance relationships with customers, and inefficiencies are reduced, among other benefits. Once you understand that what motivates you may not motivate everyone and that everyone is not wired exactly like you, you can begin to understand the impact you have on others. You can also match individuals to roles more specifically and find more options for collaboration. All these benefits result in a more productive and therefore profitable business.
When you and your team are not self-aware, job satisfaction lowers. This leads to conflict, a toxic culture, and ultimately a high employee turnover rate.
“The Enneagram has helped our team become more aware of how our own motivations affect our behavior. As a result, we have greater empathy and appreciation for our team members, and our productivity has increased.”
-Anca Enache, AGENCY BOON
Communication Made Simple [New August 2020]
The new Communication Made Simple course teaches a story-based communication framework that allows you to communicate clearly and inspire change. Not only that, but this course will also give you a step-by-step playbook so you can take those words and execute them in a communication campaign.
Here are some topics you can expect to learn from the new course:
- You’ll organize your talking points then learn to give a speech
- Create a script for a video
- Write an e-mail
- Create social media posts
- Create a press release that invites others to understand and respond to whatever story you are inviting people into
Whether you want to manage change in a large organization, launch a new product, introduce a new policy or position yourself as a thought leader, clarifying your communication, and executing that message is critical. If you find your thoughts and actions disorganized when it comes to running a communication campaign, this course will help you.
The course walks you through the creation of two main pieces of collateral: the Talking Points Worksheet and the Communication Made Simple Playbook.
Below is a breakdown of what’s covered on those two pieces of collateral.
The Talking Points Worksheet
The Talking Points Worksheet is comprised of eight building blocks:
- The Controlling Idea
- The Story Question
- Agitate the Problem
- Define the Stakes
- Position Yourself as the Guide
- Provide a Plan
- Include a Call to Action
- Foreshadow the Climactic Scene
Writing copy for each component of the Talking Points Worksheet will aid you in piecing together a comprehensive communication campaign. You’ll then put legs to your communication campaign by creating five marketing pieces, which you’ll learn to create with the Communication Made Simple Playbook.
The Communication Made Simple Playbook
The five marketing pieces that you will create in this course are:
- Email or email sequence
- Social media posts
- Press release
Each marketing piece is made up of various arrangements of the talking points you created with the Worksheet.
To sign-up for the course and create these five marketing pieces (and your Talking Points Worksheet), register here.
We promise you’ll be blown away by the practicality of this course and walk away with the knowledge you need to execute an effective communication campaign.
Whether you read the Business Made Simple book or watch each of the modules, you’re going to be way ahead of your peers. But to get the full benefit, it’s best to go through it with a Business Made Simple coach. Like most things, it’s one thing to learn the concepts and it’s another thing to execute the concepts.
In the same way that hiring a StoryBrand Guide will help you clarify your messaging, a Business Made Simple Coach will help you build your business as you implement the things you learn in the course. These coaches aren’t cheerleaders. They walk alongside you and lean on their ongoing training and the proven framework of Business Made Simple to bring you the best practices and practical plans to scale your business. Business Made Simple coaches offer both group coaching and one-on-one options.
If you’re ready to drill these concepts home and make significant strides in your business, hire a coach. They’ll help you develop skills, measure your success so you profitably grow your business and career.