Does your business have the ideal mix of products and services?
Do you apply the ‘date in, date out’ principle to every sales conversations?
Do you protect your business cashflow with cash up front from customers?
Do you follow up on your best business ideas when your emotions are high?
These are just some of the potentially transformational questions posed by inspirational speaker Martin Johnson at James Legal’s first seminar of this year’s InspiringBusiness2018 campaign.
He and James Legal MD Nick Miller presented a blend of personal stories of challenge, success and seizing opportunity – and unmissable business hints and tips – at the session, which took place at the Hallmark Hotel, North Ferriby, on Thursday 12 April.
And they received resounding feedback from the 50-plus businesses attending, who took some powerful takeaway learnings from the event.
Nick explained his rise to success from his early beginnings, growing up in east Hull, via brief stints working behind a bar, serving in the Army and making dentures! Poignantly, he explained that James Legal is named after his granddad James, one of his biggest inspirations in life and business, alongside his mum.
“My mum taught me some basic principles for life which I’ve also applied to business, including managing money carefully and being nice – all of which I try to apply to this day.”
Speaking about some of his more challenging career experiences, Nick’s other major piece of advice from the session was ‘be true to who you are and do business with people who have the same values as you’.
The art of the start
Martin, who has just published his first book – ‘I am Human – 30 Mistakes to Success’ – spoke about his journey from leaving school at 16, via a stint in the Royal Navy Senior Service and a high-powered global sales role, to setting up people and business development company Trans2performance.
Centering his messages on what he termed ‘the art of the start’, he shared what, in his experience, are some of the most fundamental building blocks for being successful in business.
“The great majority of business people don’t make the decisions which could really transform their success,” he told the audience.
“You know you’ve had a hot idea when it makes you feel emotional, and those are the ideas you should act on. Yet 99 per cent of people will then go on to question their ideas, with doubts creeping in like ‘will implementing it take up too much time?’ and ‘will it cost too much?’
“The most successful people don’t do that, they act – from implementing their ideas to actually reading a textbook they’ve bought, they are constantly seeking to learn and improve.”
Martin also encouraged everyone to change the way they charge for their products and services: “Cash is king. You can survive without making a profit but businesses cannot survive without cash. So, when you win a new contract, make it subject to payment up front or within no more than 30 days,” he said.
“If the customer asks for 90-days terms, walk away.”
And on sales, Martin said: “Sales is not a dirty word, every business needs to sell to survive, and that means seeing through conversations in your pipeline with what I call a ‘date in, date out’ approach.
“Never leave a meeting without a clear understanding of what that potential customer wants from you next, a commitment to meeting with you for a follow-up conversation and a date in your diaries.”
For more similar nuggets of wisdom from Martin, look out for our video from the event, which we’ll be publishing on our website soon.
Our InspiringBusiness2018 campaign is based on the inspiring stories of local businessmen and women who’ve been there, done that and succeeded against the odds. It includes quarterly seminars where we hear from people like Martin who’ve been there, overcome challenges and achieved enviable success as a result.
Our next seminar will feature David Keel, co-founder and Global Innovations Director of Hull-based company SonocoTrident, which was founded in 1993 with just five staff and now employs 750 people worldwide, creating and managing the digital packaging assets for some of the world’s best known brands. He is also the Chair of Hull’s C4Di (Centre for Digital Innovation), which forms the heart of the city’s digital and tech community, helping other local businesses to achieve similar objectives.
Like Martin and Nick, David will be sharing his own back story – as well as providing insights into the rapid pace of digital development and why no business can afford to ignore it.
The event will take place on Thursday 14 June, again at Hallmark Hotel, North Ferriby from 10-2 – so save the date and watch this space for full booking details.
For more information about InspiringBusiness2018 and what it’s all about, read our recent article.