Podcast 7 – Three business fundamentals with Tim Conley

 

This week I sit down with Tim Conley from FoolishAdventure.com to chat about the 3 business fundamentals, often forgot by people starting out online.

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3 Fundamentals

  1. Idea generation
  2. The market
  3. Finances

Mentions

TMBA Summer

Dan Andrews

Tech tip – $5 website videos

Here’s the video I created for the re-launch of Informly. Below the video are the exact steps.

  • Build the presentation in KeyNote (better then PowerPoint but more or less the same thing)
  • Get some audio recorded – here is the fiverr gig I used.
  • Use screenflow and record the presentation running through.
  • Chop up the audio and line it up with the slide transitions
  • Export to MP4 and upload to youtube.com or I’m using wistia.com for the embedding above (3 videos for free)

It would probably be better to print the narration out and read it to yourself as you do the screenflow so the screenflow exactly matches the audio then send the presentation to the narrator and have them follow the speed of the presentation. I’m not sure this would fly on the fiverr gig though you’d have to check.

Full Transcription

Dan Norris:      Web Domination is brought to you by my start-up Informly.  My app shows you a simple one-page live report on all of your important business information, talks to your favorite services like Analytics, MailChimp, Zero and more and centralizes the important info on one page accessible by mobile or the web.  The basic plan is free.  Feel free to check out Inform.ly/Podcast for more info about the app or about to show.

Hey guys, welcome to the show.  I’m in Puerto Galera in the Philippines on the first Tropical MBA.  Having a great time.  It’s fairly noisy here so I’ve done my best to cut out some of these noises but today I’m interviewing a bit of a legend in the game, Tim Conley.  He started out in marketing and direct response marketing, probably 20-odd years ago now and more recently into online marketing and I’m having a chat to him about the three fundamental business principles that are forgotten by people who are getting started online today.  Hang around at the end of the episode.  I will be showing you how to create video for your website, top quality, for about five dollars and a little bit of time.  Let’s get into the show. Bye.

Announcer:   You’re listening to Web Domination.

Dan Norris:      Tim, welcome to the show.

Tim Conley:   Thanks a lot, Dan.

Dan Norris: So we’re in Puerto Galera in the Philippines on the beach for the first, the very first Tropical MBA.  How are you enjoying yourself so far?  

Tim Conley: It’s been great.  It’s been really cool meeting all these guys and seeing how they’re growing their businesses.  It’s been a lot of fun.

Dan Norris:  Cool!  So there’s probably 100 different things I could talk to you about, listening to your Foolish Adventure Show and all of your experience and the advice you’re giving the guys and what not.  I thought this idea of picking out three business fundamentals that people tend to overlook when starting an online business was a good place to start.

Tim Conley:  OK.

Dan Norris:  Given your experience goes back pre-internet.

(Laughter)

Dan Norris: Whereas mine doesn’t so I like the idea of starting there.  So, where do we start?  

Tim Conley: Well, one of the things that you hear a lot of people is that, ”Oh, I’ve got this idea and the world is going to love it.”  It’s essentially the ‘I’m going to build a better mousetrap’ approach to things like, I build it, they’ll come and I’ll be a huge success which doesn’t really work.  It doesn’t really work that way.  It has happened so that’s why people think it’s always going to happen but it’s more like wining the lottery that an idea by itself catches on at the right time and really grows into a real business.  Seldom does that actually happen.  

Dan Norris:  And that’s what stories get picked up because they’re exciting and ….

 

Tim Conley:   Right, right, because they’re so rare.  That’s why they get picked up and it makes them exciting.

Dan Norris:  OK.  So is this the sort of thing that happened pre-internet or does it happen more now?

Tim Conley:  I think it’s always happened but we’re in an age of… I think that we’re in an age of entrepreneurship where we have the tools that essentially anyone can become an entrepreneur.  They can be running their own little side business while doing their full-time job.  We in this whole age of this, which is unprecedented.  It was possible before but it was just really, really hard for someone to do their job and do a side business.  It just took a ton of work because you couldn’t really leverage technologies to do it.  The technologies didn’t even exist but since the internet has come along and gotten more and more powerful over the last 16 years, as powerful as it has gotten, it’s just amazing what people can do so I think it is drawing out the natural capacity of humans to be shopkeepers.

Dan Norris:  Something that I often think of, you’ve just always got those friends that comes out with ideas, I’ve got this new idea, I’ve got this new idea and something you read a lot in business books is that the ideas aren’t that important but execution is important so how do you know? What do you do to test an idea?  Or do you forget about ideas altogether and just go and sell something?

Tim Conley:   They think that the idea itself is valuable and there’s probably been a thousand people already who have had that idea that haven’t executed on it either.  So it’s not the, the ideas really aren’t that valuable.  It’s can you execute it for a particular market.  That’s what truly valuable.  

Dan Norris:  I’m trying to think who said this.  I think it might have been Jason Gallegos who was saying the advice he gives to everyone who says, ‘I’ve got an idea but you have to sign NDA to see it is try as hard as you possibly can to get your idea stolen and I guarantee you won’t be able to get stolen.

Tim Conley:  People are busy, especially business people that could be of help to you.  They’re busy.  They’ve got their own stuff that they’re doing.  They don’t have time to steal your idea because then that means, because they know they’ve got to execute on it and they don’t have time for that.  They don’t, they’ve got their own business to run.  So that’s something you don’t really ever have to worry about.  And if it is something that you’re worried about, then you  probably couldn’t execute on it anyways.  If your idea is great but you don’t have the capacity to execute it, then you should give it to someone else who could execute it because someone’s going to come along anyways and out execute you and that’s something that if you’re really afraid of it, it’s probably because you don’t think you can get the job done and that’s something that you really need to look at from a mindset perspective. 

Dan Norris:  So where do you stand on the idea of… people kind of… a lot of what people will do and have an idea is going to Google and they see that no one’s advertising for those key words and that gives them a good sign because now it’s a new idea whereas a lot of advice would suggest that if there are people advertising, that means there’s money in there and that’s probably a much better idea or something like that.

Tim Conley:  Oh definitely.  Because it’s so much easier to go after a proven market and the other thing, if you go into Google and there’s no one advertising, it doesn’t, results still can come up, right, so related results to your idea came up but there’s no advertisers.  There’s a good chance there’s no money in it.  Because someone else has already tested, maybe not your idea, but a similar idea and there’s a good chance that there’s no actual money to be made.  If there aren’t any advertisers in it.  It’s really rare to come across something completely innovative.

Dan Norris:  Well, even the big success stories, even some of the really crazy, one-off success stories like Facebook and things like that, they were all… they’re innovative but they weren’t original.

Tim Conley:  Oh, definitely not.  Definitely not.  You look at, people like forget about Napster, not Napster, I’m sorry, Friendster.  That was, I think, the very first one and it didn’t last.

Dan Norris:   So I guess what comes to mind for me is what do you take from that?  You can’t just go out there and blatantly copy someone else’s idea.  What, how can you pinpoint where their success came from?  

Tim Conley:   If you look at the history of Facebook, they didn’t start off trying to do what Facebook does now.  It started off solving a very simple problem that all guys in college have.  How do you get girls?  How do you meet all these awesome college girls who are in the area?  How do you do that?  Well, it’s really difficult. So how about we make a website like the social network things, and we make this website where we can get all of the girls on there and then guys can meet the girls.  Simple idea.  Simple problem.  But it’s a big problem for lots of people.  And that was the start of it.  It was solving a major pain point so I don’t always like to sell products related to pain issues but it’s one of the fastest ways.  If somebody has a pain in the marketplace and it’s so much easier to come in and fix that.  You give people a cure to their pain and they will spend a ton of money.  I do like doing desire-type marketing.  I like things that people desire and I want to sell them that.  So those are really the two ways of entering into a market.  Is there a big pain point?   Solve that.  The bigger the pain point, the more money there is, and the desire.  If people desire an outcome and, trying to say this without… it’s not the same as pain.  If they’re desiring an outcome like they want to increase their status.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I can kind of get that.  If I think about back when I got my first iPhone.  I had a smart phone before that.  It was 02 or something and had a stylus.  I was the only person who had one.  No one else wanted one.  I had a friend who, actually a guy who worked for me, he got an iPhone and I thought my phone was great until I saw the iPhone.  Once I saw that, I’m like, I need one of those.  So, I mean, I guess that’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it.  I guess like I didn’t have a problem, or at least I didn’t know that I had a problem.

Tim Conley:  And sometimes that’s the case.  Sometimes people in the market don’t know they have a particular problem because something better hasn’t come along yet but people were already… business was already going that way.  There was already a proven market of smart phone users.  Blackberry was huge.  Palm was huge.  I was… before the iPhone, I was testing all sorts of mobile technologies to find a way to be able to run the few business that I owned from wherever I was in the world.  I wanted to be able to keep on top of all of that.  So I was testing all these things and they were all, they all sucked.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, they did suck.

Tim Conley:  You still needed a laptop.  So when the iPhone came out, it was the first time that you could actually do business, truly do business, on a phone.  Even though the iPhone wasn’t really geared for that.  It was geared as a consumer product but people saw it and like, “Okay the platform is there.  We’ll make apps that make this thing business friendly.”  It just needed a way to make it easy to do the things that people already wanted to do.  The market existed before that.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, it’s just a hard thing to understand.  It a proven something but it’s not… I don’t, I don’t think about that as solving a problem or even a desire but it’s anticipating the market.

Tim Conley:  Well, it’s advancing the market because the smart phones already existed.  Their touch screens were slowly moving out and the innovation that came from Apple was they actually took the touch screen technology and they said, “Let’s do this on a phone instead.”  Because the phones, the mobile market was gigantic.  Let’s get it out there instead.  That was probably where the true brilliance came in, was that, that was the major innovative point.  Coming up with graphical interfaces.  Well, that already existed on computers and you basically just had a small computer in your hand so that’s not all that innovative.

Dan Norris:   Yeah, but I guess the idea of taking a smart phone and making it touch screen and ditching the stylus altogether is innovative.  So on that point of the market then, when people start out online, what are they doing?  Are they thinking that they’re inventing something as good as the iPhone so people will just buy it?  Or are people not looking at the market?  

Tim Conley:  Well, okay, so there’s a few different approaches that I’ve seen in a lot of new entrepreneurs.  So you have the people again with the idea and they’re just going to run with it so that’s like the passion crowd.  So the people have a passion in something and therefore, they’re just going to do it.  They don’t check to see if anyone wants what they want to give them.  They don’t find out if there’s anyone buying anything like this.  They don’t do any price comparison.  They don’t check into any of the issues related to market.  They just run full force into their idea, put tons and tons of time into it and maybe a bunch of money and then they like, “Gh my gosh, the thing tanked.  It didn’t work.”

Dan Norris:  So that’s like the opposite [Inaudible 0.13.24] advertising?

Tim Conley:  Right, right.  And this can even happen… it’s advice that’s usually given in the blogging industry, the bloggers who blog about blogging.  It really drives me nuts because they give bad business advice and one of which is ‘don’t ever really think about the money’ because you need to build your audience and you got to build all this trust and everything.  That’s horrible advice.  If you’re actually… if you’re building a hobby, that’s great advice because you don’t have to care.  You just have to care about being engaging.  But for a business, you still need to know, you may not actually charge any money for six months, a year or longer, but you still need to know that you’re in a viable market that will want to give you money when you actually offer something for sale.

Dan Norris:  So how do you know that?

Tim Conley:  A lot of market research.  So back to the pain and desire.  Does the market have big pains.  Does it have big desires?  So in other words, saying desires is like the golf industry, the fanatical fans of it, these hobbyists that just cannot get enough of something.  So they go out, they get one golf club.  They really like it.  They read something about a new golf club and well now they don’t like the one they just got and they go get another one.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I’d like to be in that industry.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, (laughter), there’s a lot of these where people are just fanatical about their hobby that they’re in so they get these huge desires so they’ll buy anything related to it.  Then you have people who are having huge pains.  Especially in the, I love doing marketing in the B2B world because it’s so easy.  Because it comes down to does this increase our efficiency?  Yes.  Or does this save us money?  Yes.  Does this produce money?  Yes.  If you can answer yes to those major questions that a business has, then you’re probably going to make the sale.  So I love that kind of stuff.  So again, you go back to pain and desire.  Those are the starting points.  Then you go to see who’s selling in the market.  How does your idea compare to what’s already out on the market?  Are you better than them?  Do you have a unique approach?  Or are you just a copycat?  And if you’re a copycat, there’s nothing wrong with it.  Because there is always room out there for another just like what already exists.

Dan Norris:   So better to copy something that’s successful than invent something new that’s not ….

Tim Conley:   Right, right.  Especially when you’re a very new entrepreneur, you’ve never run a business before, you’ve never gone through any of these things, then the smartest thing is to just follow a proven model just to get the chops down.  You’ve got to develop your skill set.  You get those things down and then afterward, you don’t have to keep that business.  You can sell if off if you actually systemize it properly.  You could just sell it off or you could just close it down.

Dan Norris:  So just going back to the Facebook idea, I guess what interests me is they started doing one thing but end up doing something else like, what sort of process do you follow to do that or do you just jump in and hope that the information, you customers will kind of lead you to the right decision.

Tim Conley:  The awesome part about actually executing on an idea is that you get more information as to how to better serve your market, how to better innovate for your market because your customers will tell you their pain points.  They’ll say, “Oh yeah, I love this.  But this product that I’ve been using over here, it’s similar to what you’re doing but it’s not as good but I really wish your product had this one feature it has.”  And like, oh, okay.  Boom, the new, I just innovated on my product.

Dan Norris:  That’s interesting because I wonder if there’s a line there where you become too much of a slave to your customers and lose sight of any sort of vision that you had to start.

Tim Conley:  That is a possibility because you don’t want your customers controlling you.  You want to control not your customers but you want to control your business.  So some people do.  They become a slave to their customers and there’s one truth about customers is they really don’t know what they want.  So they’ll say they want certain things but it may not solve the actual pain point that’s underlying so it’s going to be up to you to play detective to figure out what’s really going on.  And then there’s just times where once you’ve got enough experience and you’ve developed your chops, you’ll be able to look at something and go, “I think this is where the market is headed and I’ll just jump there.”

Dan Norris:  So is that where people are falling down in some cases, they’re starting there?

Tim Conley:  They’re trying to start off as innovative and they don’t have the skillsets to be innovative yet.

Dan Norris:   They’re making too many assumptions before they actually start dealing with customers.

Tim Conley: Right.  Like Apple.  Apple seems innovative but they’re really not.  They imitate a lot but they just do it so much better than all their competitors.  It’s not that they’re truly innovative.  It’s just that they imitate better than anyone else.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I kind of think there’s a different between innovation and invention in that when you invent something, you’re making something up that’s brand new and you’re an inventor but when you’re innovating, it’s okay to just simply improve something that exists already.  I think too many people that start out when they think about business, they’re thinking of business people as being inventors and people who are creating something completely new.

Tim Conley:  Right, well, yeah definitely.  I’m not an inventor.  There are people who are inventors out there but it’s a rare business.  If you want to succeed in business, it’s always better to go after something that is proven, especially if you’re brand new.  That’s the one thing I just constantly harp on.  A great author, Peter Drucker, he said there’s only two important parts of a business and that’s the marketing and the innovation.  Everything else is an expense in the company.  So those are the two things that you should really concentrate in a company is innovating and the marketing.

Dan Norris:  So just gradually iterating on your product to improve it and looking at other ways to sell it.

Tim Conley:  Yep.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, okay.  So the third point we had down was finances.  And I want you to talk about that without being boring.

Tim Conley:  (Laughter).  Yeah, well, I don’t find money boring.  I find it pretty damn exciting.

Dan Norris:  As our listeners do.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, I like money.  But this is the one sign that people really neglect.  I really don’t know how in Europe or in Australia where if money is talked about in the family very often and really taught to people as they are growing up but in America, it’s not very common for families to actually teach their kids anything about money and other than that it doesn’t grow on trees.

Dan Norris:  Right and in business, too, that people don’t like talking about money.

Tim Conley:  It happens a lot in the blogging advice industry that they try to divorce it because they know that it’s scary to people.  People don’t want to talk about the finances of a company.  You’re starting a business.  A business is technically a financial entity.  It’s a matter of changing, exchanging one type of value for another type of value.  That’s what it does.  So if you’re not comfortable with money, talking about money, then it’s probably an indication that you’re going to have difficulty in business.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, that’s a good point.  Yeah, it’s interesting that, I kind of  understand when they talk about building in the weeds and what not but I also… when I my business, this is probably not advice for anyone to follow, but I’ve just totally cut myself off from my last job, which was a good one and just started.  In the first year, I didn’t make a lot of money but I made enough money and, I don’t know, there’s just something to be said from having to make money.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, there are a couple of personality types out there, the kind that want to make sure they make a nice shift so they work their job and on the side they’re building a business and it takes them a few years to get up to the point where they feel comfortable that they can quit, they’ve put enough money aside and they can truly believe that the money that they’re making will continue to come in but also continue to grow.  So some people need that.  My former business partner, Izzy, he did that.  He worked his corporate job.  Worked really hard hours and would try to find any bit of time he possibly could to be able to build his thing on the side.  And that’s how he did it.  Me, I’m the other approach where I concentrate very well on one thing at a time and if I were to work and try to do something else, I’d do it badly.  I’d essentially do both badly.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, that’s the same as me.

Tim Conley:  So I try to make sure that I’ve got a safety net, put some savings aside so you have a safety net that can carry you.  Our friend, Dan Andrews, he calls it runway.  So you have enough runway to get your plane off the ground.  So that’s important to have.  You don’t want to have nothing, quit your job and think that you’re going to be making enough money in a short amount of time because bad things happen.  Things that you just can’t predict happen.  So you need to have an emergency plan so there’s a lot of things out there that we can’t control so we don’t want to make it harder on ourselves.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, yeah.  I want to finish on one thing about finances that, one of things I think when people start a business is they, you do a lot yourself or you use resources that you have, favors from people or whatever and [Inaudible 0.24.10] kind of underestimate the cost of things, I think, and it’s difficult to go up.  It’s difficult to scale that so what piece of advice would you give about that?

Tim Conley:  As humans, we underestimate everything, overestimate other things.  All the things that we shouldn’t underestimate, we do.  All the things that we overestimate, we shouldn’t do that either.  So we do this.  It’s something that is really hard to get past because it’s just human nature.  Experience helps and learning how to control your emotions in certain situations but a good thing to do is if you think something is going to cause X, a good thing to do is really just multiply it by three (laughter) and if you think it’s going to take one week, multiply it by four weeks so that’s something that as humans, we’re just horrible at estimating.  So don’t.  (Laughter).  Don’t’ estimate, especially when it comes to your money.  You don’t want to estimate how much money is in the bank.  You don’t want to estimate how much money you’re spending every month.  You want to actually know this.  It’s called cash flow in a business.  You want to know how much money is coming into your business and how it’s moving through your business.

Dan Norris:  Right, yeah.  I think sometimes people aren’t particularly good at that as well.  We probably have time for, and I really appreciate your coming on the show.  Thanks so much, Tim, and do you want to… so people can find you, FoolishAdventure.com and Foolish Adventure podcast as well, which is great so I would encourage people to check that out.  Thanks again, Tim.

Tim Conley:  Thanks a lot, Dan.

Announcer:  You’re listening to Web Domination.

Dan Norris:  Right, so in the tech tips this week, I’m going to show you how to make a really cheap video for your site so what I’m doing with my Inform.ly site is I’m making a really simple presentation in Keynote, which the Apple version of Power Point.  You could probably just do this in Power Point as well.  And I’m getting some really nice audio from [Inaudible 00:26:23].  It costs 5 dollars.  I’ll link you up after the show and note its professional sounding American audio.  And then I’m just using Screen Flow to capture the Power Point, sorry, the Key Note presentation as it plays through and we’ll use iMovie to basically line the audio up with the exported Screen Flow presentation.  The result of that is what kind of looks like a video with audio and voiceover but it’s really just a Power Point presentation with someone talking along to it and it looks quite nice.  So I’ll show you an example of that in the tip section on Web Domination.co and I’ll link you up to [Inaudible 0.27.00] gig as well.  Okay thanks guys!  I’ll hopefully do one more podcast next week before I’m back in Australia.  See you then. Bye.

Hey guys, thanks for listening.  Check out WebController.com/Podcast to learn more about the Informly app and more about the show.  Thanks and see you next time.   

 

Full Transcription

Dan Norris:      Web Domination is brought to you by my start-up Informly.  My app shows you a simple one-page live report on all of your important business information, talks to your favorite services like Analytics, MailChimp, Zero and more and centralizes the important info on one page accessible by mobile or the web.  The basic plan is free.  Feel free to check out Inform.ly/Podcast for more info about the app or about to show.

Hey guys, welcome to the show.  I’m in Puerto Galera in the Philippines on the first Tropical MBA.  Having a great time.  It’s fairly noisy here so I’ve done my best to cut out some of these noises but today I’m interviewing a bit of a legend in the game, Tim Conley.  He started out in marketing and direct response marketing, probably 20-odd years ago now and more recently into online marketing and I’m having a chat to him about the three fundamental business principles that are forgotten by people who are getting started online today.  Hang around at the end of the episode.  I will be showing you how to create video for your website, top quality, for about five dollars and a little bit of time.  Let’s get into the show. Bye.

Announcer:   You’re listening to Web Domination.

Dan Norris:      Tim, welcome to the show.

Tim Conley:   Thanks a lot, Dan.

Dan Norris: So we’re in Puerto Galera in the Philippines on the beach for the first, the very first Tropical MBA.  How are you enjoying yourself so far?  

Tim Conley: It’s been great.  It’s been really cool meeting all these guys and seeing how they’re growing their businesses.  It’s been a lot of fun.

Dan Norris:  Cool!  So there’s probably 100 different things I could talk to you about, listening to your Foolish Adventure Show and all of your experience and the advice you’re giving the guys and what not.  I thought this idea of picking out three business fundamentals that people tend to overlook when starting an online business was a good place to start.

Tim Conley:  OK.

Dan Norris:  Given your experience goes back pre-internet.

(Laughter)

Dan Norris: Whereas mine doesn’t so I like the idea of starting there.  So, where do we start?  

Tim Conley: Well, one of the things that you hear a lot of people is that, “Oh, I’ve got this idea and the world is going to love it.”  It’s essentially the ‘I’m going to build a better mousetrap’ approach to things like, I build it, they’ll come and I’ll be a huge success which doesn’t really work.  It doesn’t really work that way.  It has happened so that’s why people think it’s always going to happen but it’s more like wining the lottery that an idea by itself catches on at the right time and really grows into a real business.  Seldom does that actually happen.  

Dan Norris:  And that’s what stories get picked up because they’re exciting and ….

 

Tim Conley:   Right, right, because they’re so rare.  That’s why they get picked up and it makes them exciting.

Dan Norris:  OK.  So is this the sort of thing that happened pre-internet or does it happen more now?

Tim Conley:  I think it’s always happened but we’re in an age of… I think that we’re in an age of entrepreneurship where we have the tools that essentially anyone can become an entrepreneur.  They can be running their own little side business while doing their full-time job.  We in this whole age of this, which is unprecedented.  It was possible before but it was just really, really hard for someone to do their job and do a side business.  It just took a ton of work because you couldn’t really leverage technologies to do it.  The technologies didn’t even exist but since the internet has come along and gotten more and more powerful over the last 16 years, as powerful as it has gotten, it’s just amazing what people can do so I think it is drawing out the natural capacity of humans to be shopkeepers.

Dan Norris:  Something that I often think of, you’ve just always got those friends that comes out with ideas, I’ve got this new idea, I’ve got this new idea and something you read a lot in business books is that the ideas aren’t that important but execution is important so how do you know? What do you do to test an idea?  Or do you forget about ideas altogether and just go and sell something?

Tim Conley:   They think that the idea itself is valuable and there’s probably been a thousand people already who have had that idea that haven’t executed on it either.  So it’s not the, the ideas really aren’t that valuable.  It’s can you execute it for a particular market.  That’s what truly valuable.  

Dan Norris:  I’m trying to think who said this.  I think it might have been Jason Gallegos who was saying the advice he gives to everyone who says, ‘I’ve got an idea but you have to sign NDA to see it is try as hard as you possibly can to get your idea stolen and I guarantee you won’t be able to get stolen.

Tim Conley:  People are busy, especially business people that could be of help to you.  They’re busy.  They’ve got their own stuff that they’re doing.  They don’t have time to steal your idea because then that means, because they know they’ve got to execute on it and they don’t have time for that.  They don’t, they’ve got their own business to run.  So that’s something you don’t really ever have to worry about.  And if it is something that you’re worried about, then you  probably couldn’t execute on it anyways.  If your idea is great but you don’t have the capacity to execute it, then you should give it to someone else who could execute it because someone’s going to come along anyways and out execute you and that’s something that if you’re really afraid of it, it’s probably because you don’t think you can get the job done and that’s something that you really need to look at from a mindset perspective. 

Dan Norris:  So where do you stand on the idea of… people kind of… a lot of what people will do and have an idea is going to Google and they see that no one’s advertising for those key words and that gives them a good sign because now it’s a new idea whereas a lot of advice would suggest that if there are people advertising, that means there’s money in there and that’s probably a much better idea or something like that.

Tim Conley:  Oh definitely.  Because it’s so much easier to go after a proven market and the other thing, if you go into Google and there’s no one advertising, it doesn’t, results still can come up, right, so related results to your idea came up but there’s no advertisers.  There’s a good chance there’s no money in it.  Because someone else has already tested, maybe not your idea, but a similar idea and there’s a good chance that there’s no actual money to be made.  If there aren’t any advertisers in it.  It’s really rare to come across something completely innovative.

Dan Norris:  Well, even the big success stories, even some of the really crazy, one-off success stories like Facebook and things like that, they were all… they’re innovative but they weren’t original.

Tim Conley:  Oh, definitely not.  Definitely not.  You look at, people like forget about Napster, not Napster, I’m sorry, Friendster.  That was, I think, the very first one and it didn’t last.

Dan Norris:   So I guess what comes to mind for me is what do you take from that?  You can’t just go out there and blatantly copy someone else’s idea.  What, how can you pinpoint where their success came from?  

Tim Conley:   If you look at the history of Facebook, they didn’t start off trying to do what Facebook does now.  It started off solving a very simple problem that all guys in college have.  How do you get girls?  How do you meet all these awesome college girls who are in the area?  How do you do that?  Well, it’s really difficult. So how about we make a website like the social network things, and we make this website where we can get all of the girls on there and then guys can meet the girls.  Simple idea.  Simple problem.  But it’s a big problem for lots of people.  And that was the start of it.  It was solving a major pain point so I don’t always like to sell products related to pain issues but it’s one of the fastest ways.  If somebody has a pain in the marketplace and it’s so much easier to come in and fix that.  You give people a cure to their pain and they will spend a ton of money.  I do like doing desire-type marketing.  I like things that people desire and I want to sell them that.  So those are really the two ways of entering into a market.  Is there a big pain point?   Solve that.  The bigger the pain point, the more money there is, and the desire.  If people desire an outcome and, trying to say this without… it’s not the same as pain.  If they’re desiring an outcome like they want to increase their status.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I can kind of get that.  If I think about back when I got my first iPhone.  I had a smart phone before that.  It was 02 or something and had a stylus.  I was the only person who had one.  No one else wanted one.  I had a friend who, actually a guy who worked for me, he got an iPhone and I thought my phone was great until I saw the iPhone.  Once I saw that, I’m like, I need one of those.  So, I mean, I guess that’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it.  I guess like I didn’t have a problem, or at least I didn’t know that I had a problem.

Tim Conley:  And sometimes that’s the case.  Sometimes people in the market don’t know they have a particular problem because something better hasn’t come along yet but people were already… business was already going that way.  There was already a proven market of smart phone users.  Blackberry was huge.  Palm was huge.  I was… before the iPhone, I was testing all sorts of mobile technologies to find a way to be able to run the few business that I owned from wherever I was in the world.  I wanted to be able to keep on top of all of that.  So I was testing all these things and they were all, they all sucked.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, they did suck.

Tim Conley:  You still needed a laptop.  So when the iPhone came out, it was the first time that you could actually do business, truly do business, on a phone.  Even though the iPhone wasn’t really geared for that.  It was geared as a consumer product but people saw it and like, “Okay the platform is there.  We’ll make apps that make this thing business friendly.”  It just needed a way to make it easy to do the things that people already wanted to do.  The market existed before that.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, it’s just a hard thing to understand.  It a proven something but it’s not… I don’t, I don’t think about that as solving a problem or even a desire but it’s anticipating the market.

Tim Conley:  Well, it’s advancing the market because the smart phones already existed.  Their touch screens were slowly moving out and the innovation that came from Apple was they actually took the touch screen technology and they said, “Let’s do this on a phone instead.”  Because the phones, the mobile market was gigantic.  Let’s get it out there instead.  That was probably where the true brilliance came in, was that, that was the major innovative point.  Coming up with graphical interfaces.  Well, that already existed on computers and you basically just had a small computer in your hand so that’s not all that innovative.

Dan Norris:   Yeah, but I guess the idea of taking a smart phone and making it touch screen and ditching the stylus altogether is innovative.  So on that point of the market then, when people start out online, what are they doing?  Are they thinking that they’re inventing something as good as the iPhone so people will just buy it?  Or are people not looking at the market?  

Tim Conley:  Well, okay, so there’s a few different approaches that I’ve seen in a lot of new entrepreneurs.  So you have the people again with the idea and they’re just going to run with it so that’s like the passion crowd.  So the people have a passion in something and therefore, they’re just going to do it.  They don’t check to see if anyone wants what they want to give them.  They don’t find out if there’s anyone buying anything like this.  They don’t do any price comparison.  They don’t check into any of the issues related to market.  They just run full force into their idea, put tons and tons of time into it and maybe a bunch of money and then they like, “Gh my gosh, the thing tanked.  It didn’t work.”

Dan Norris:  So that’s like the opposite [Inaudible 0.13.24] advertising?

Tim Conley:  Right, right.  And this can even happen… it’s advice that’s usually given in the blogging industry, the bloggers who blog about blogging.  It really drives me nuts because they give bad business advice and one of which is ‘don’t ever really think about the money’ because you need to build your audience and you got to build all this trust and everything.  That’s horrible advice.  If you’re actually… if you’re building a hobby, that’s great advice because you don’t have to care.  You just have to care about being engaging.  But for a business, you still need to know, you may not actually charge any money for six months, a year or longer, but you still need to know that you’re in a viable market that will want to give you money when you actually offer something for sale.

Dan Norris:  So how do you know that?

Tim Conley:  A lot of market research.  So back to the pain and desire.  Does the market have big pains.  Does it have big desires?  So in other words, saying desires is like the golf industry, the fanatical fans of it, these hobbyists that just cannot get enough of something.  So they go out, they get one golf club.  They really like it.  They read something about a new golf club and well now they don’t like the one they just got and they go get another one.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I’d like to be in that industry.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, (laughter), there’s a lot of these where people are just fanatical about their hobby that they’re in so they get these huge desires so they’ll buy anything related to it.  Then you have people who are having huge pains.  Especially in the, I love doing marketing in the B2B world because it’s so easy.  Because it comes down to does this increase our efficiency?  Yes.  Or does this save us money?  Yes.  Does this produce money?  Yes.  If you can answer yes to those major questions that a business has, then you’re probably going to make the sale.  So I love that kind of stuff.  So again, you go back to pain and desire.  Those are the starting points.  Then you go to see who’s selling in the market.  How does your idea compare to what’s already out on the market?  Are you better than them?  Do you have a unique approach?  Or are you just a copycat?  And if you’re a copycat, there’s nothing wrong with it.  Because there is always room out there for another just like what already exists.

Dan Norris:   So better to copy something that’s successful than invent something new that’s not ….

Tim Conley:   Right, right.  Especially when you’re a very new entrepreneur, you’ve never run a business before, you’ve never gone through any of these things, then the smartest thing is to just follow a proven model just to get the chops down.  You’ve got to develop your skill set.  You get those things down and then afterward, you don’t have to keep that business.  You can sell if off if you actually systemize it properly.  You could just sell it off or you could just close it down.

Dan Norris:  So just going back to the Facebook idea, I guess what interests me is they started doing one thing but end up doing something else like, what sort of process do you follow to do that or do you just jump in and hope that the information, you customers will kind of lead you to the right decision.

Tim Conley:  The awesome part about actually executing on an idea is that you get more information as to how to better serve your market, how to better innovate for your market because your customers will tell you their pain points.  They’ll say, “Oh yeah, I love this.  But this product that I’ve been using over here, it’s similar to what you’re doing but it’s not as good but I really wish your product had this one feature it has.”  And like, oh, okay.  Boom, the new, I just innovated on my product.

Dan Norris:  That’s interesting because I wonder if there’s a line there where you become too much of a slave to your customers and lose sight of any sort of vision that you had to start.

Tim Conley:  That is a possibility because you don’t want your customers controlling you.  You want to control not your customers but you want to control your business.  So some people do.  They become a slave to their customers and there’s one truth about customers is they really don’t know what they want.  So they’ll say they want certain things but it may not solve the actual pain point that’s underlying so it’s going to be up to you to play detective to figure out what’s really going on.  And then there’s just times where once you’ve got enough experience and you’ve developed your chops, you’ll be able to look at something and go, “I think this is where the market is headed and I’ll just jump there.”

Dan Norris:  So is that where people are falling down in some cases, they’re starting there?

Tim Conley:  They’re trying to start off as innovative and they don’t have the skillsets to be innovative yet.

Dan Norris:   They’re making too many assumptions before they actually start dealing with customers.

Tim Conley: Right.  Like Apple.  Apple seems innovative but they’re really not.  They imitate a lot but they just do it so much better than all their competitors.  It’s not that they’re truly innovative.  It’s just that they imitate better than anyone else.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, I kind of think there’s a different between innovation and invention in that when you invent something, you’re making something up that’s brand new and you’re an inventor but when you’re innovating, it’s okay to just simply improve something that exists already.  I think too many people that start out when they think about business, they’re thinking of business people as being inventors and people who are creating something completely new.

Tim Conley:  Right, well, yeah definitely.  I’m not an inventor.  There are people who are inventors out there but it’s a rare business.  If you want to succeed in business, it’s always better to go after something that is proven, especially if you’re brand new.  That’s the one thing I just constantly harp on.  A great author, Peter Drucker, he said there’s only two important parts of a business and that’s the marketing and the innovation.  Everything else is an expense in the company.  So those are the two things that you should really concentrate in a company is innovating and the marketing.

Dan Norris:  So just gradually iterating on your product to improve it and looking at other ways to sell it.

Tim Conley:  Yep.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, okay.  So the third point we had down was finances.  And I want you to talk about that without being boring.

Tim Conley:  (Laughter).  Yeah, well, I don’t find money boring.  I find it pretty damn exciting.

Dan Norris:  As our listeners do.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, I like money.  But this is the one sign that people really neglect.  I really don’t know how in Europe or in Australia where if money is talked about in the family very often and really taught to people as they are growing up but in America, it’s not very common for families to actually teach their kids anything about money and other than that it doesn’t grow on trees.

Dan Norris:  Right and in business, too, that people don’t like talking about money.

Tim Conley:  It happens a lot in the blogging advice industry that they try to divorce it because they know that it’s scary to people.  People don’t want to talk about the finances of a company.  You’re starting a business.  A business is technically a financial entity.  It’s a matter of changing, exchanging one type of value for another type of value.  That’s what it does.  So if you’re not comfortable with money, talking about money, then it’s probably an indication that you’re going to have difficulty in business.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, that’s a good point.  Yeah, it’s interesting that, I kind of  understand when they talk about building in the weeds and what not but I also… when I my business, this is probably not advice for anyone to follow, but I’ve just totally cut myself off from my last job, which was a good one and just started.  In the first year, I didn’t make a lot of money but I made enough money and, I don’t know, there’s just something to be said from having to make money.

Tim Conley:  Yeah, there are a couple of personality types out there, the kind that want to make sure they make a nice shift so they work their job and on the side they’re building a business and it takes them a few years to get up to the point where they feel comfortable that they can quit, they’ve put enough money aside and they can truly believe that the money that they’re making will continue to come in but also continue to grow.  So some people need that.  My former business partner, Izzy, he did that.  He worked his corporate job.  Worked really hard hours and would try to find any bit of time he possibly could to be able to build his thing on the side.  And that’s how he did it.  Me, I’m the other approach where I concentrate very well on one thing at a time and if I were to work and try to do something else, I’d do it badly.  I’d essentially do both badly.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, that’s the same as me.

Tim Conley:  So I try to make sure that I’ve got a safety net, put some savings aside so you have a safety net that can carry you.  Our friend, Dan Andrews, he calls it runway.  So you have enough runway to get your plane off the ground.  So that’s important to have.  You don’t want to have nothing, quit your job and think that you’re going to be making enough money in a short amount of time because bad things happen.  Things that you just can’t predict happen.  So you need to have an emergency plan so there’s a lot of things out there that we can’t control so we don’t want to make it harder on ourselves.

Dan Norris:  Yeah, yeah.  I want to finish on one thing about finances that, one of things I think when people start a business is they, you do a lot yourself or you use resources that you have, favors from people or whatever and [Inaudible 0.24.10] kind of underestimate the cost of things, I think, and it’s difficult to go up.  It’s difficult to scale that so what piece of advice would you give about that?

Tim Conley:  As humans, we underestimate everything, overestimate other things.  All the things that we shouldn’t underestimate, we do.  All the things that we overestimate, we shouldn’t do that either.  So we do this.  It’s something that is really hard to get past because it’s just human nature.  Experience helps and learning how to control your emotions in certain situations but a good thing to do is if you think something is going to cause X, a good thing to do is really just multiply it by three (laughter) and if you think it’s going to take one week, multiply it by four weeks so that’s something that as humans, we’re just horrible at estimating.  So don’t.  (Laughter).  Don’t’ estimate, especially when it comes to your money.  You don’t want to estimate how much money is in the bank.  You don’t want to estimate how much money you’re spending every month.  You want to actually know this.  It’s called cash flow in a business.  You want to know how much money is coming into your business and how it’s moving through your business.

Dan Norris:  Right, yeah.  I think sometimes people aren’t particularly good at that as well.  We probably have time for, and I really appreciate your coming on the show.  Thanks so much, Tim, and do you want to… so people can find you, FoolishAdventure.com and Foolish Adventure podcast as well, which is great so I would encourage people to check that out.  Thanks again, Tim.

Tim Conley:  Thanks a lot, Dan.

Announcer:  You’re listening to Web Domination.

Dan Norris:  Right, so in the tech tips this week, I’m going to show you how to make a really cheap video for your site so what I’m doing with my Inform.ly site is I’m making a really simple presentation in Keynote, which the Apple version of Power Point.  You could probably just do this in Power Point as well.  And I’m getting some really nice audio from [Inaudible 00:26:23].  It costs 5 dollars.  I’ll link you up after the show and note its professional sounding American audio.  And then I’m just using Screen Flow to capture the Power Point, sorry, the Key Note presentation as it plays through and we’ll use iMovie to basically line the audio up with the exported Screen Flow presentation.  The result of that is what kind of looks like a video with audio and voiceover but it’s really just a Power Point presentation with someone talking along to it and it looks quite nice.  So I’ll show you an example of that in the tip section on Web Domination.co and I’ll link you up to [Inaudible 0.27.00] gig as well.  Okay thanks guys!  I’ll hopefully do one more podcast next week before I’m back in Australia.  See you then. Bye.

Hey guys, thanks for listening.  Check out WebController.com/Podcast to learn more about the Informly app and more about the show.  Thanks and see you next time.   

 

About

Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

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  • Hey Dan – I had an Atom O2 Exec – used it 2004-2010 and loved it! So you weren’t the only one! Still miss my stylus sometimes though

    • Ha ha nice, did you have one of these? http://pdadb.net/img/qtek7070.jpgThe Atom was actually my second smartphone! Had this little bad boy in 2003!

      • Hmm my comment vanished! Anyway I was just saying I had the old Dell Axim before the o2.

        I guess I loved the handwriting recognition and I still miss it on my iPhone. That said I cut my teeth in the PDA world on the Newton dad brought home from work as a trial at a local private school. Ahh those were the days!

  • Tom Krawiec

    ‘Solve a problem’ is probably the best ‘business’ advice I’ve learnt over the past year.

    Inventing the next ‘Big Idea’ is not the way to approach building a business.

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