Key numbers you should know 1-4-15-60-20

Most of the people in your business sector are wrong, most of the time.

That’s a pretty bold assertion. Let me explain why.

Market dynamics

In any given market of a reasonable size these key numbers reflect the distribution of performance in that market.

  • 1% are super successful
  • 4% are doing really well
  • 15% are doing ok and getting there
  • 60% are getting by, often hand to mouth
  • 20% are failing

So 80% of business in your market are getting it wrong.


Right now.

That’s why so many businesses fail within the first two years of setting up.

The dawn of the internet

15 years ago the internet was relatively new and businesses were only just starting to explore the possibilities. Google AdWords launched towards the end of 2000. Businesses that were enlightened took the plunge and made millions of pounds and dollars from being early adopters.

I know several businesses that have spent over a million pounds per year on AdWords campaigns. These are not large multi-nationals. These are savvy, switched on small businesses. They knew for every £ they spent on AdWords they would generate £3 or £5 or even £10 in sales. They knew because they could track what they spent and the return they got from it.

They did things differently from the mass of businesses. They stood for out and took action. They were in then 1% and 4%. Those that spotted their success and followed pretty quickly were in the 15%.

The 60% dabbled but couldn’t get it to work or didn’t track the numbers. They didn’t get educated in the new areas of marketing. The 20% stuck their head in the sand and hoped the internet would go away.

It happened to me – so I learned

My first consultancy business was in the 80%. Started in 2003 we bumbled along for 7 often painful years, just about surviving the financial crisis before calling it a day. When I set up my current business, I looked back at why the first had struggled and it was because of a lack of knowledge and understanding about marketing and sales and I vowed to put the right.

Social media

In the mid to late 2000’s social media was born and once again the early adopters creamed it, leaving the 80% in their wake. Now, every business needs to have a presence on social media. The 20% still have their head stuck in the sand and pretty much ignore it.

The 60 % are forever in catch-up mode. They know they need to do something, but what? Facebook changes almost as frequently as Google and there are new entrants all the time. So they end up throwing stuff out there hoping some of it will stick.

What the top 20% do

What are the top 20% doing? Well the top 20% really know their markets and have clear, targeted messages they want to get out to those markets. So as they see new developments in social media they look to see which markets adopt them. If their target market is using Snapchat then they test, measure and adjust their use of it. And if it works, they go large! They amplify their use and make it their own.

The 1% and 4% lead the charge here. Being really successful gives you the confidence and the funds to try these things. The 15% look at what the top 5% are doing and quickly follow suit on what works best.

What can you do?

The difference between the top 20% and the 80% isn’t as great as you might think. Yes the difference in financial terms can be huge but that is merely a consequence of the real difference. It’s not about the funds to invest in stuff or even the knowledge of how to do stuff. And it’s certainly not about luck.

The real difference

The real difference is attitude – your attitude. If you have a “can’t do” attitude then the age old saying will always be true:


If you always do what you always did,

you’ll always get what you always got

You have to be different from the pack, different from the masses. Different from the 80% that are almost always wrong!

So you have to have a “can do” attitude and get yourself educated. With the right networking and business support groups and plenty of high quality e-learning available, there really is no excuse.

But learning is only productive if it leads to implementation. That’s what the top 1% and 4% do – they learn and implement. Then they test, measure and adjust. You can do the same but on a smaller scale. And the 15% see what works best for the tope guys and apply it in their markets, also testing, measuring and adjusting for themselves.

You CAN emulate that. But remember, it starts with knowing your markets and having clear, segmented messages for those markets.

My experience

When I set up my current business I was focussed on project management consulting and training. A clear market, segmented by industry. I had clear messages on what I had to offer – the benefits I brought to the table. Where did my target market hang out – LinkedIn. So I had the three magic criteria sorted:

Market – Message – Media

The result

Virtually all my project management training and consulting revenues since 2010 have been generated as a result of LinkedIn. If I could have cloned myself, I could have made 3 or 4 times as much money.

  • LinkedIn was the place that I knew I could find my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to demonstrate the benefits I deliver
  • LinkedIn provided the recommendations that backed up my statements with social proof
  • LinkedIn provided me with the means to find and connect with my target market
  • LinkedIn enabled me to bypass PAs and gatekeepers and get conversations with target clients

Help for you

Whatever market you are in LinkedIn provides the platform to showcase you and your business, to demonstrate your credibility, to prove your expert authority. If you are selling to other businesses then it can also be the source or high quality, qualified leads for your business.

I now help businesses leverage online marketing and social media – especially LinkedIn – to step out of the 80% and into the 20%. If you have the attitude I have the programme that provides the learning for you to implement. Check out the LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme by clicking on the link or the image below.



Is perfection damaging your business


The marketing e-mail with 5 mistakes in it that got sent will generate more sales than the near perfect one that just needs a little tweak to achieve perfection but is still sitting in the drafts folder.


We often agonise over whether something is right because the perfectionist in us takes charge. After all, it’s your business and you don’t want anything to go out if it has errors in it that might make your business look like it doesn’t care about quality, do you?

There’s a key word in that last sentence – “might”.

There is always going to be someone that picks up the odd typo or grammatical error, but are they likely to be buyers? More importantly, are they going to be the sort of customer you want to deal with if they did buy? You know the sort – nit-picking, always looking for a deal, for something extra, for the freebie. The sort that drain the life out of you and your team for minimal profit – if any once you cost out the time they sap.


The important errors or mistakes can be easily weeded out with a few simple systems and processes:

  • Do all copywriting in Word and use spell check
  • Use the four eyes principle – have somebody else read everything before it goes out
  • Use checklists for pricing and key inclusions such as T&C’s, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, landing page URL’s
  • Send a test and have the receiver check everything against a checklist
  • etc.


That’s sorted the main areas for mistakes. So what is really holding you back?






In the cartoon, Wally is always progressing half way to delivering and never actually getting there. Now for Wally it’s about work avoidance. He doesn’t want to get found out that he has actually done little or nothing.

How about you – what’s holding you back? I’m certain it’s not the same as Wally. You know how hard you’ve worked.

You’re not alone. Plenty of entrepreneurs, including me, have been in this situation. You’re concerned that what you have created isn’t good enough. That people won’t want to buy it. That it needs something more.

So it sits on the shelf/the hard drive/in the cupboard waiting for perfection.


But do you know what. People don’t buy perfection. They buy what they see, what they need. They don’t know it’s not perfect in your eyes, it just does the job for them.


So don’t agonise over perfection, get it out there and let the client decide. Ask for feedback and see what extras your clients want.

And if it doesn’t sell, then it’s highly unlikely that extra little tweak you were looking for would have made the difference. Better to find out sooner and move on to the next thing.


PS Don’t agonise over making changes to your LinkedIn profile. Get my free guides to creating a powerful personal profile and finding and connecting in the right way with your ideal prospects and get those changes done and out there today!. Down load the guides now.


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Avoid buyers remorse – get the ‘win-win’

Dilbert - salesDILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved

I still regret it today – even after 15 years. I had my heart set on a new digital camera. A Sony. And I was in Hong Kong’s tech district where there were bargains to be had. I’d found the exact model I wanted and negotiated a good deal.

Then another salesman stepped in. He showed me a lot of technical stuff trying to convince me the camera he wanted to sell me was better than the one I wanted. He used a few sales techniques like making statements I couldn’t really disagree with to lead me towards the decision he wanted me to make. He could see I knew a little bit about the technology but not enough to challenge his ‘knowledge’. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing as a buyer! He took me to a place in my mind where I either followed his logic and bought his suggestion or I demonstrated to him my total stupidity and bought what I wanted. So of course I bought his suggestion.

And I regret it even now. I didn’t have the camera I wanted. I felt I’d been sold to. I felt I’d been pressured into buying something I didn’t want but I was also too ashamed of myself to admit it. Now I may be doing the salesman a huge dis-service. He might have been right about all the technical stuff and I might have had the better camera after all. But it didn’t feel like it. I might have used his technical speak to justify the purchase to others, but it didn’t work with me. I never went back to that store. Nor did I recommend it to anyone.

People buy on emotion
You see, for everything except day to day items, people buy for emotional reasons. They don’t buy because of features or even necessarily benefits, but because they have invested emotional capital in the decision. They use the features and benefits to justify the decision later. Ask any android phone user why he thinks people buy seemingly more expensive and lower spec Apple products. He wont be able to explain it rationally. People have emotional capital invested in their love of Apple tech. (Yes, I have an iPhone and an iPad – but Windows PC’s. sort that conundrum if you can).

So if you want to avoid buyers’ remorse and get more recommendations, you need to connect with your client’s emotions. Find out why they are looking to buy something and help them achieve the emotion reasons. If they have a problem, help take away the pain. Whatever you do, don’t leave them feeling like Dilbert – trapped, blackmailed and left with no option. Find a way to give the client what they need whilst getting what you need. The ‘win-win’ situation. Not only is it ethical, but you get loads of recommendations, and we all want that in business.