THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

What we learned in Toronto

I enjoyed a fascinating conversation with Michael Bungay Stanier over breakfast this morning and I was so inspired that I’ll write an ezine article about it next week – don’t miss it, he is an exceptional person. For now, he asked me “if I took one of your clients to the bar and they loosened up (after a drink or two) and I then asked them “what were the three main benefits of the last 3 days working with CB?” – what would they answer?” Great question – made me think carefully before I responded – as follows: 1. Permission to play a bigger game. We all have a tendency to set our sights too low. I have a “million-dollar practice” and I was thinking about how to generate $2 million in sales in 2008. Michael challenged me to imagine a $10 million enterprise – simply because it would force me to think about different business models, rather than making my existing model more effective. I have challenged my clients to undertake the same process and, in one memorable moment, a client committed to a 300% increase in revenues and profit next year. She knows she can do it – and just wanted a reason, which revealed itself in conversation. 2. The importance of building a team. Looking at the sales and profit figures, we noticed a trend – increased sales lead to decreased profit through reinvestment in people (team). At $30,000 sales, coaches are operating truly solo and have low overheads, high profit (80%?) and no way to grow – they plateau. At $60,000 sales, coaches are operating with virtual and/or part-time assistance – maybe 50/60% profit and plateaued. At $120,000, a full-time dedicated assistant, 40% profit and plateau. At $240,000, a team, 33% profit and plateau. At $1 million, a full team, 33% profit and plateau. I’m imagining that, at $10 million, a full team and a full range of multiple stream products and services. I don’t know what the profit margin will be (I’ll let you know) but I guess I’ll be plateauing. 3. The value of community We have created a mastermind group here in the last year. They began as a disparate group and have evolved into friends for life. My work is done but the group will live on – and continue to inspire each other.

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