“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”
A lever is one of the most basic tools and yet it can be incredibly powerful. Levers allow us to lift items that we don’t have the strength to lift on our own. Using a lever is called leverage, which according to dictionary.com means to “use to maximum advantage.” That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this episode; how we can leverage our assets to metaphorically lift more than we would have the strength to lift on our own.
Leveraging Our Time
Time is a precious resource and we want to be sure we are using it to the maximum advantage, or in other words, leveraging it. That means we need to spend our time doing the things that will reward us with the returns that matter most. One way we can do that is through delegation. If there are tasks we can delegate to someone else, we should do it. This will require us to have other assets like effective team members and money to pay them.
Another way to leverage our time is to leverage unexpected extra time. On Salesgravy, Jason Eatmon shares a story of when the soccer team he was coaching played a very difficult opponent. At one point in the game, one of Jason’s players was injured. As Jason jogged out to the field to check on him, he was surprised to see what the other team was doing. Instead of standing around, they ran quickly to their coach on the sideline and started stretching and discussing the game. This team realized the importance of unexpected timeouts and leveraged that time to improve and prepare themselves for the rest of the game.
If we’re not sure if we’re leveraging our time effectively, we should do a time audit on ourselves. A time audit works very similarly to the budget planning process, in which we record how we are spending our money, then group together similar transactions, analyze that data, and then make a plan for how we would like to spend our money in the future. Finally, at the end of future months, we repeat this process and compare our actual spending to our plan and make changes as necessary to accomplish what matters most with our money.
Here are the steps of a time audit:
1. Record – We carefully record everything we do with our time for a week. It’s important to not deviate from how we normally spend our time during this week.
2. Categorize – We group together the time spent on similar tasks in categories.
3. Analyze – We analyze how we spent our time.
4. Decide – We decide how we want to change our time allocation to best invest in what matters most.
5. Schedule – We develop a schedule for how we are going to use our time according to our plan going forward. We put this schedule in our phones with reminders.
6. Assess – Finally, we schedule a time regularly to assess how we are doing implementing our plan and make any changes necessary to achieve what matters most to us with our time.
Leveraging Our Customers
Next, we need to leverage our customers. I’m not suggesting we take advantage of anyone. What I mean here is instead of focusing on one and done sales, we should be striving to create long-lasting relationships with our customers by continually providing them with value.
Acquiring a new customer can be 5X more expensive than holding onto our existing customers. In fact, increasing our customer retention by as little as 5% can yield an increase in profits anywhere from 25-95% (Source: Outbound Engine). Plus, hopefully, most of our existing customers already like us. That means it should be much easier to convince them to do more business with us. Statistics show that selling to a repeat customer has a 60-70% success rate while selling to a potential customer is only 5-10% (Source: Outbound Engine). That’s why it’s important to see our existing customers as an asset that we can leverage.
Leveraging our existing customers is about recognizing what other offerings they would benefit from. A great example of this is DBDPet. This company is a one-stop-shop for exotic animals but it didn’t begin that way. It began with just one bearded dragon in a garage and expanded into more exotic animal breeding from there. That was when the company began to recognize how difficult it was for their customers to obtain all the tools and food they needed to meet their pets’ needs. DBDPet decided to fill that need and began selling everything needed to take care of the animals their customers were buying.
DBDPet didn’t stop there in offering their customers value. They realized that there wasn’t a lot of information on how to care for the pets they were selling. They became experts on the care of many different animals, and they share their information for free on their social media channels. This free offering provides great value to their customers and attracts potential customers to their brand. Ultimately, DBDPet has done a great job leveraging their customers to increase the company’s offerings and improve customer loyalty.
Another way we can leverage our customers is by sharing their success stories, testimonials, and incentivizing them to refer us to their friends and family. Short videos are usually the most effective way to leverage these success stories and testimonials. Consumers are turning more and more to trusted sources for advice on where to buy. Past customers are some of the most trusted sources for new customers. This is why leveraging our customers can be invaluable in gaining new customers.
Leveraging Our Successes
When we experience great successes and achievements, we should be leveraging those experiences to gain more business opportunities. Potential customers are more likely to trust that we can give them what they want if we can show them we’ve done it before. For example, my first successful business was Adoption.com. Once I had that success, I leveraged it to gain my first consulting client. The success I helped that client achieve added to my Adoption.com leverage and helped me gain more clients and investors.
Here’s another example of leverage related to my consulting work in Brazil. I know Brazil and the Portuguese language well thanks to my two-year mission there. When I went back to finish my college degree, one of the deans of the business school recruited me to serve as the President of a non-profit foundation started by David Neeleman. David is the founder of Azul, a Brazilian airline. David got to know my work through that non-profit. My knowledge of Brazil and the Portuguese language from my mission, alongside David Neeleman watching my work as I ran his foundation during my schooling, gave me leverage. That’s why when David started Azul, he recruited me to help develop and implement digital strategy. I was told Azul became the fastest-growing airline while I was there.
Carlos Martins is a billionaire in Brazil. He saw the success we had at Azul (more leverage) which resulted in him hiring me to help him grow three of his ventures in Brazil. Notice how the success at each level gives leverage that helps us advance to the next level. We can leverage our successes by sharing testimonials and success stories.
Another way to leverage our successes is by sharing awards from credible sources. Here’s an example. Years ago, the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship gave me their “Best of the Decade” award. I can think of many people who deserve that award more than me, and I don’t know why they gave it to me. However, that sounds like a very impressive award, and I’ve been able to leverage that to help secure contracts with numerous other graduates of that school. We just have to be careful to not share the stories in ways that sound arrogant, just like I probably sound really arrogant sharing that story. Sorry. Just trying to give an example of a principle.
Leveraging Tectonic Shifts
“When we leverage, we aggregate and organize existing resources to achieve success.”
– Richie Norton, Author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid
As I’ve shared before, there are tectonic shifts occurring all over the business world, and they’re going to run their course and change things up whether we leverage them or not. The businesses that are quickly and effectively leveraging tectonic shifts are likely the ones that are going to jump ahead of their competitors and come out on top.
Leveraging tectonic shifts is all about being willing to change the way we do business to match the changing opportunities. It doesn’t matter how big, well established, or dominant we are. If we keep doing the same things we’ve always done, our competitors will leverage the tectonic shifts, and the tectonic shifts will have the power to bury us. We will become stagnant and stale without them. Instead, we need to recognize the tectonic shifts occurring and leverage them by changing the way we do business.
A good example of this is the Wine Library, run by Gary Vaynerchuk. In the late 90’s Gary recognized the tectonic shift the internet was creating. His father owned a simple, local liquor store, Shoppers Discount Liquors. Gary moved his father’s liquor store onto the internet, making it one of the first online stores for alcohol. They renamed the company Wine Library and went from making 3 million to 60 million (Source: Gary Vaynerchuk).
Gary didn’t stop there either. He saw how popular videos were and how easy it was becoming to upload your own videos and he decided to create Wine Library tv. In his show, Gary teaches viewers about different wines. This idea wasn’t something many were doing at the time and his show became very popular. It was highly effective because it was a form of advertising that consumers were actively seeking because of the entertainment and knowledge it provided. The online tv show added greatly to the success of Wine Library.
At Monetization Nation, we are coming together as fellow entrepreneurs to identify tectonic shifts and find ways to leverage them together to our advantage. If you’d like to join us in this quest, visit our Facebook page to find fellow digital monetizers who are striving to achieve monetization goals they’ve never achieved before. Or, follow our podcast to hear from real business leaders as they share with us the lessons they’ve learned from successes and failures.
Here are some of the key takeaways that stood out to me from today’s episode:
1. We should leverage our time by performing a time audit, helping to ensure we’re maximizing the precious time we have.
2. We should leverage our customers by offering products and services that will result in repeat customers, incentivizing referrals, and sharing customer success stories and testimonials.
3. We should leverage our successes by sharing our stories of success or our awards won, hopefully in a manner that doesn’t feel arrogant.
4. We should leverage tectonic shifts by changing the way we do business to fit the new shifts occurring.
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If we desire monetization we have never before achieved, we must leverage strategies we have never before implemented. I challenge each of us to pick one thing that resonated with us from today’s episode and schedule a time this week to implement it to help achieve our monetization goals.
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What assets do you leverage or hope to leverage in the future? Please join our private Monetization Nation Facebook group and share your insights with other digital monetizers.