Carl Taylor, is a serial entrepreneur, running businesses since the age of 15, he’s the author of 2 books and an all-round genuine guy.
While he’s owned multiple businesses in varying industries over the past 18 years, today he’s the founder and CEO of Automation Agency, a digital marketing implementation service that helps coaches, consultants, and business owners to maximize their marketing while minimizing their tech and team headaches.
He’s also the host of The Future of Humanity Podcast, where he discusses what the future may hold with scientists, thought leaders, and business owners.
Ash Roy (00:00):
Today we are going to be talking about business continuity planning and the reason I’ve invited you back on the podcast is yesterday I attended a webinar which I thought was excellent and this webinar is called protect, pivot and profit. I really liked the framework that you presented to us and I felt that my audience would really benefit from this in our current circumstances, which are very uncertain given the whole Coronavirus or COVID19 debacle and the world is just reeling and people are trying to find their feet. Something I liked about what you shared yesterday was the silver lining.
It’s a really great way to kind of consider things.
Ash Roy (00:43):
It’s an ironic acronym, isn’t it? PEST.
Ash Roy (00:51):
Welcome back to the productive insights podcast. This is Ash Roy, the founder of productiveinsights.com and the host of the productive insights podcast. Today’s guest is Carl Taylor and since 2010 he’s been teaching the world how to stop dreaming and start achieving and this person achieves. Carl’s a serial entrepreneur and he’s been running businesses since the age of 15. He’s the author of two books and the founder of the automation agency of which I am a member and subscriber and I’ve found it to be an excellent service. The automation agency is a digital marketing implementation service that helps coaches, consultants, and business owners to maximize their marketing while minimizing their tech and team headaches. He’s also the host of the future of humanity podcast where he discusses what the future may hold with scientists, thought leaders, and business owners. So I’m delighted to have Carl Taylor back in the podcast.
Ash Roy (01:46):
He was previously on episode 165 and we now have him here again on episode 192 so welcome back Carl.
It’s a pleasure to be here. Good to see you again.
Ash Roy (01:57):
Awesome to have you, man. So Carl, today we are going to be talking about business continuity planning. And the reason I’ve invited you back on the podcast is yesterday I attended a webinar which I thought was excellent and a lot of what you do is excellent and this webinar is called protect, pivot and profit. And we’ll come back to the prophet word in a minute. I really liked the framework that you presented to us and I felt that my audience would really benefit from this in our current circumstances, which are very uncertain given the whole Coronavirus or COVID19 debacle and the world is just reeling. Businesses are shutting down left, right, and center countries are pouring trillions of dollars into their economies and it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference at the moment.
Ash Roy (02:45):
Australia’s poured billions and billions, so there’s a lot happening, there are a lot of moving parts and people are trying to find their feet. Something I liked about what you shared yesterday was the silver lining. You have an optimistic approach, which I really like, but it’s not just this woo optimistic approach. It’s founded in some facts and some, you know, some rigor. So I wanted to touch on that. But before we go into your protect, pivot and profit framework, I just want to preface it with the PEST framework which I studied when I did my MBA. It’s an acronym. It stands for political, economic, social and technological and it’s a framework that allows you to examine any industry. So if you look at the digital marketing space or let’s say the online business space in general, when we look at it from the political aspect, which includes by the way regulatory changes and legislation and all that sort of stuff, we are seeing legislation pretty much being coming into force by the day.
Ash Roy (03:46):
There are social distancing rules coming into place for good reason. Now, the point of this framework is, at least in my view, when you impose certain political or regulatory constraints on a system, in this case, the system is that the economy, there are sociological impacts. In this case, people will have to find a new way to be and to do business, which means that society will have to move to more of an online delivery medium and an online purchase medium and so on. There are also technological aspects that get involved, like you know, more zoom, that sort of thing. And there are also economic impacts, so they all compound each other. So what I’d like to talk about today is we’ve already seen the political impacts happen and now we are soon going to see the social changes, some of which will remain even after this whole fallout happens. So I’d like you to share your thoughts on how you see the world changing and what social more permanent impacts we’re going to see in the online space and how our listeners can take advantage of the situation. Not in a pejorative sense, but in the most constructive sense of the word.
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I love that. I’d never heard that PEST framework before, but it’s a really great way to kind of consider things.
Ash Roy (05:10):
It’s an ironic acronym. Isn’t it? PETS.
Well, it’s, yeah, I guess cause it’s a, it’s a pest of something creates that huge trigger that changes everything, right?
Ash Roy (05:18):
I think there are a few thoughts I have around this. Like, I think that yes, there is a high opportunity for some really lasting shifts. So on a society level from this event, I am also well aware that humans by our nature are very much creatures of habit and depends really on how long these, you know, changes to our lifestyle are going to last. And at the moment no one can say no one is able to give us a timeframe. So I think there’s a lot riding on how likely the shifts will be permanent will depend a lot on the timeframe of it all.
But yeah, I think there’s some really big shift opportunity. So I’m just going to say that, that I don’t think these are definites. I think that there are, it’s one of the things I talk about when I when I’m on my own podcast about the future of humanity, right? Like a lot of futurists out there. They’ll talk about here are all the things that are going to happen because they’re coming from a purely technological standpoint of what can be done and they forget about the human market psychology element of people have to buy in and accept these conditions. Now the moment with coronavirus we’ve got this shift occurring that’s making people accept some of these changes that in a normal social structure they wouldn’t have been accepting. When those external pressures are taken off, it’s going to be interesting to see how much the market will push back on these things so we can’t say with certainty, but here are a few of the insights I think.
I think ultimately we’re going to see a far bigger rise. We already had a huge rise in online dating. I think we’re going to see that potentially even shift to seeing maybe first dates and things on things like Tinder might shift towards being, having online initial first dates before you actually meet up. Maybe not Tinder because Tinder was a lot more of a hookup, but some of the more serious ones might shift to building into their platforms. The ability to host a date inside the app itself. So I think, I think we could see some, some of those shifts happen on a general social level and with the tech being there, I think also we’re going to see a huge shift. If not, I mean the education systems are scrambling to get their online system set up. Yeah, I would hope that that was once all this is set up that it would actually a really allow a lot more people to do the remote schooling process there.
I was having this conversation with my family just the other day is I think that there is a huge opportunity now for, you know, I’m a big fan of like the digital nomad lifestyle, right? And a lot of business owners are aware of that kind of concept of my business can work from anywhere in the world. Like I can run my business no matter where I am anywhere in the world. My entire team is remote. Like the general operations of my business has not been disrupted at all. I’m coming to you right now from my bedroom that I’m in self-isolation for two cause I’d been traveling overseas but that’s not all that dissimilar. I mean in my bedroom instead of maybe an office, but my life has not changed that much in what I do because my business is already set up that way.
I think we’re going to see now that a lot more businesses have had to force their staff into remote working that bigger corporates, bigger businesses that maybe previously weren’t a big fan of remote working, they might be a lot more willing and open. So I think there’s a huge opportunity that what a lot of entrepreneurs and people who have called themselves digital nomads, that lifestyle might become a lot more accessible to far more people. Obviously it’s going to depend on what corporates will decide, but there is, I think this is a great proof of that. I think also we will see there’ll be some people that will remember for a certain period of time, you know, social distancing. There’ll be a bit more like there’ll be aware, there’ll be probably, hopefully, more people washing their hands, especially when they have colds and flu. I think things like that will last.
I find the whole toilet paper thing hilarious because for the last few years I’ve actually been telling friends, you know that if a zombie apocalypse happened and you know the entire economy collapsed, that everyone who’d be like storing food, canned food, I’d be storing toilet paper because I believed that it would be the currency I could use to barter and get things. Cause people would be like, Oh my God, I’d love some toilet paper and I’ll be able to get my food by swapping toilet paper. I used to say that and people would laugh at me and now I feel like I have an indication that this is the currency in a crisis.
Ash Roy (09:30):
And how much toilet paper do you have, Kyle? Come on. Be honest.
Yeah. Well, that’s the honest truth is I had this as a nice thought experiment. I never actually stockpile toilet paper. I just thought yeah, that’s what I would stockpile if it was an emergency. Right. So there you go.
Ash Roy (09:48):
Okay, so let’s go into your protect pivot and profit framework. I really, really liked that and I think I business owners would love to hear from you about that. But before we do, I just want to mention that if you want to hear the previous conversation I had with Carl, which I’m sure you would want to because it’s really good, go to productiveinsights.com/165 and if you want to hear this conversation and the next two episodes, this is a three-part series, go to productiveinsights.com/192 and 193 and 194 respectively. Okay, so protect, pivot and profit. Talk to us about it and give us some context around the word profit here.
Okay, well let’s start with that because I know that there previously you were having a conversation that maybe some people won’t like the word profit in the current climate that we’re in.
Ash Roy (10:36):
People don’t like feeling like we are profiteering of this unfortunate situation. So I thought it would be a good idea to flesh that out a bit.
Yeah, look, I mean it just, it’s, it’s totally my experience in my personal association with the word profit and whatever stories someone else has around a profit. I can’t change that, but I can offer up some of my thoughts on how I see it. To me, profit is not a dirty word. Profit. If you are in business, the whole point of a business is to produce a profit. So if you’re going to build a commercially profitable enterprise, I mean there’s a nonprofit that’s different, but if you’re going to build a commercially profitable enterprise, there is a key part there that it is in the pursuit of a profit. If my business was not creating a profit, what’s the point of being in business? Right? Solving a problem, but in the current ecosystem, the capitalist society we live in, a business should be in pursuit of a profit.
Now profiteering and taking advantage of other people, that is a completely different thing to creating profit in business. Those types of people, that’s, that’s when they’re kind of seeing an opportunity that is creating a win-lose scenario. In my view, everything in business should be a win-win scenario. And if you find somebody who has a problem and you can produce a solution to that problem and they can exchange that for some money that you set up your business in the right way and you’ve priced it in the right way, that you can solve that problem and end up with a profit after costs. And that is all profit really is. I haven’t taken advantage of anyone, I haven’t done anything that is untoward. In fact, if anything, I’ve actually added even more value, which is one of the things I’ll talk about will be more about protecting and pivoting.
Ash Roy (12:14):
I know you, I know your business and I completely understand and agree with what you’re saying, that you are not in a business that makes a profit at any expense, but there are businesses that make a profit at any expense. And in economics, they call it externalities. I suppose. So while I agree with you that businesses, the sole purpose of a business is to make a profit and that’s a classic capitalist model. I guess as a world we are learning right now that beyond profit there are other things also that our businesses are responsible for. For example, being environmentally responsible, there needs to be some element of equity in the way the business goes about doing things so as not to completely pillage the planet or a society or a community to make that profit.
Hundred percent yeah, absolutely. And I guess you know if people have a feeling of not liking the idea that someone might profit during some this, this economic crisis, what I would most say to that, cause I 100% agree with everything you said like businesses. I’m not a fan of businesses just going out and doing anything in pursuit of profit without any mindfulness of the rest of society. And I would say that at the end of the day it is impossible for someone, multiple people to not be profiting during this time. Right? Like, let’s make no mistake. A lot of people are looking at this going, Oh my God, it’s, it’s you know, you know, we’re going to have a huge economic crisis, which we are already seeing it and it’s going to be continuing from here. But the real classification of what this is is a wealth distribution event.
That’s what this is. This is a redistribution of wealth events. You know, wealth is going to be redistributed no matter what. And what sucks is that I think there’s going to be a lot of people that end up on a lower end of redistribution of wealth than a higher end. And I think that as business owners, as leaders, because that’s what we really are as business owners, it is our job to ensure that we end up on a higher end of that. And the people we love and care about our clients, that people like anything we can to ensure that the people who we care about are going to end up on a higher end of that. Now that sucks that there are going to be people that aren’t, but there’s many that we can pull with us into the higher ends of that wealth distribution.
I think that is our responsibility as business owners and so that’s why I don’t see the idea of looking for ways to continue to profit during this time. I do not see that as a bad thing. If anything, I see that as a good thing because my view of business, and this is not always been my view of business, but my view of business is when you get to a certain stage in business, it’s really truly become about how do you be the rising tide that lifts all boats. And I know that’s can be a little airy-fairy for some people because that is in essence what capitalism was designed to be. And there are many human egos, greed aspects that avoid that from happening. But if you truly look at it like when you are in a position where you were making more money, you’re doing, you can start to employ more people.
You can put more money into the economy, you can help put food on other people’s tables. Like I used to be very lack mentality. I used to be afraid of spending money. I was, I was conscious of keeping my costs low, which is there is, there’s time. There was a time in your entrepreneurial journey to do that, but then you get to a certain point where what shifted for me was realizing that actually when I spend money I’m contributing. Yes, I used to think when I’m spending money, I’m being wasteful. Whereas now I’m going to know what I’m spending money, I’m contributing. If I go and buy that thing, I’m helping that business stay in business, help them employ the person who may be served me. I’m helping them put food on their table and so therefore make, the more money I have, the more money I can spend the actually the bigger impact and the more I can help bring people to that higher-end
Ash Roy (15:52):
I remember studying that and economics. It was called a multiplier effect and then there was that the accelerator effect where if you spend money it becomes income for somebody else and that becomes, they spend, it becomes an income for someone else. And so on. To your point, Warren Buffet has pledged 85% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and he is said that you know, I’m good at making money, I’m not good at giving it away, so I’m going to just give it all to Bill and Melinda and let them give it away. And he’s focused on his area of specialty, but he has been, at least on the face of it, very magnanimous. And something else that I respect him immensely for is to my knowledge, he’s created this thing called givingpledge.org I recommend you check it out and it basically has photos of all these very wealthy people on that website who have also pledged to give a lot of their money away at the end of their lives or whatever it is. And almost, you know the people who don’t have their images on there, the multibillionaires, they’re conspicuously absent so it’s not exactly name and shame, but he’s mobilized a lot of wealth towards the causes on the planet that needed and so I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved and that exemplifies what you’re saying.
Yeah. As I said, this is a far more recent transition in my own thinking and views of business and the world which has happened even in just only the last 18 months or so. I truly do believe in the power of business and the ability for us to be leaders and especially in a time like this, like I think if you are listening or watching this or wherever you are listening to this, the biggest thing that you can do right now for anyone, whether that’d be for your team members, your clients, your friends, your family community is to step up and be a leader, to be a voice that is providing some light, some optimism, some guidance, some certainty because there’s are so many people right now who are just feeling like their world has been shattered. I mean I read this article, I think it was this morning that there was a 21-year-old girl who suicide and, she committed suicide.
She apparently didn’t succeed at that, but then she ended up dying a bit later in the hospital because she just couldn’t cope with how her world was shifting and changing because of friends, like not being able to go out and socialize, do it. Like that’s one of the things I think not enough people are talking about in this environment is the economic impacts will lead to health impacts. Like so like we have a health crisis with COVID 19 which is leading to an economic crisis, but the loopback that I think a lot of people are forgetting there is then the economic crisis is going to lead to the mental health crisis and other elements of a health crisis. And so it can continue to be this loop if we’re not careful. And I think what we can all do is look after ourselves, mental health-wise, but then be out, be a voice out there, be someone who can help bring some certainty in a world of a lot of uncertainty.
So that’s like going back to one of your questions you said like tell me about, you know, where did the whole protect pivot profit come from was ultimate, you know, I, I’m very grateful that I’ve had an amazing experience in the business. I’ve been in business now for over 18 years and I take for granted or I have taken for granted sometimes the way I think. And what I see that others don’t. And I’ve been very fortunate to get to a quite a decent place financially and business-wise. And when all of this kind of happened, I was originally in the US got back to Australia, had to be in a 14-day quarantine. I’m still within that at the moment. So I had a lot of time on my hands. And then we had some clients wanting to cancel, um, right, which cause they’re looking to cut costs cause either thing has happened or they’re feeling uncertain.
And I offered for some of those clients to jump on and one-on-one calls and just talk to him. I said, look, you know, if you want to cancel that’s fine, but now’s the time that you should be leaning on us more. Like if you’ve had a situation where your business is no longer viable before you go cutting a team of people who could help you make changes, build new assets, build marketing, do the things that are going to help you rebuild your business or pivot your business. Like we should be one of the last things you’re cutting right now. I don’t know what else you’re paying for, but we should be one of the last ones you cut. And so I said, can I get on a call with you and just talk about where you’re at, what’s should be happening in your business and can I help you figure out how you might pivot?
And I had a couple of those conversations and once I had these conversations I was like, you know what? There’s something broader here. I need more people to need to hear this. I can’t just keep having these ones on one conversation and that’s why I chose to run the webinar. Where did I get to protect, pivot profit from? To be honest, I don’t fully remember. I might’ve heard someone else mention it like I, all I know is that all of a sudden I was just like, yeah, protect. You need to protect your business. You need to pivot. You need to figure out where you need to pivot because most of us have to pivot something if not a lot of things. And then ultimately we’re protecting the business. We’re pivoting, but we also need to keep profiting because if the business is no one has profit, then I have to let go of my team, right. And it means my clients being served.
Ash Roy (20:30):
and the sacrifice, alliteration, so I love me too. I love the three Ps.
Probably noticed on the webinar that all my other little sub things were mostly alliterations as well.
Ash Roy (20:39):
Yeah, I love that. I love that. Let’s dive into the meat of the content. This is fantastic.
Let’s like firstly give it a little bit of context. Where does this come from? At the end of the day, we all need a bit of a plan, right? Like there’s, if we talk, think about what’s kind of going on right now. Rules are changing rapidly. It’s, it’s every day there’s something new coming out. We’re in a kind of this uncharted territory where we feel like we’ve never been in this exact situation before. There are all these uncertain timeframes. As I already kind of mentioned, we’ve, we’ve got this kind of, we don’t know, is this a day?
We know it’s on a day, but like we’re going is this three weeks, four weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 18 months? And no one can give us a direct answer because the answer is no one truly knows. And then so that’s led to this chaos and panic that’s in the market. And whether that’s impacted you yet or it will in the future, it’s happening in your friends, your family, and your community, even if it’s not directly impacted you or your clients yet. And so it’s like if these are the things happening, how do we shift and what do we look at? And so that’s kind of where this whole protect pivot profit framework comes from, is getting you to focus on the things that really matter. So rules are changing all the time. What we need to focus on are the foundations and fundamentals of business.
Those are the fundamental foundations of any business that I’ve always kind of been true. The idea that you need to market for people to find you, you, you know, you need to be out there talking to people and showing people what you do. You need to ensure that you have enough cash flow to keep your business running right, cash in and cash out. If you’ve got more cash going out and cash in, then ultimately long term you’re going to struggle. If you don’t have enough ways of getting info of cash and cash flow is very different to profitability. I think that’s important that some people forget you can, you can have a profitable business and be very cash poor or you can have an unprofitable business and actually still be very viable and survive because you’ve got high cash flow. In fact, that’s how a lot of the big tech companies work that lose.
You know you hear about Uber and companies that are losing millions if not billions of dollars. The reason that they survive is they have cash coming in through investors. They have a cash injection that cashflow. So it’s important to understand that this cash flow is going to be the most crucial thing for any business at this time. Profitability we should be aiming for, but the number one thing is managing that cash flow. So remembering those kinds of foundation and fundamentals and then when it comes to going and going, well, we’re in uncharted territory. What we need to be going is, okay, yes, we’ve never been in this exact situation before, but if we look back at our history, if we look back over the last hundred years or even longer and we look at what’s happened, are there lessons? Are there similarities? Are there things we can learn from and seek to get some confidence and some certainty.
And so we’ve got things like the Spanish flu epidemic. We have a great depression, we have the great recession, the GFC, like all these elements that we can look at that yes, we’re having some struggles from an economic, yes, the share markets are down I think at the moment like 35% 40% the thing is that when you look at history, what I can say with very, a lot of confidence, obviously not with absolute certainty, but with a lot of confidence that we will get through this and we will come out the other side and as I said, it’s wealth redistribution. There will be people who are more wealthy than they were and there will be people who are less wealthy than they were and at the end of the day though society, while it will be different, there will be a lot that is largely the same. This is not the end of the world.
We will get through this and so we just need to focus on how do we ensure that we survive that bridge I guess from where we were to where we’re going to and make sure that we’re doing what we can do and put us in a better position on the way out. When it comes to the uncertain timeframes, we don’t know how long it is. What I get from that is that means we need multiple plans. Know there was a time when there was a time in business where sometimes it’s like burn the boats, have one plan, plan a is all you need because if you have a plan B it means you don’t think plan a is going to work. There are a time and place for that thinking, now is not that time nor that place. Now is the time to go. I have a plan A and if things change again I have plan B and if things change again I have a plan C and a plan D and depending on your business, maybe you’ve got to all the way to plan Z of I shut down my business, I sell it, I go on government benefits, whatever.
Like you just need to have these different plans for me, you know, plan a does not include getting rid of any staff. Right? But that’s more down the line as a plan C or D based on what might happen. I might have to do that, but it’s not my plan A or my plan B. So it’s about having these different plans and knowing what you’re going to do so that if you are faced with a change that you go, okay, I know what I’m going to do or what my options are at least. And then when it comes to everything being in chaos and panic, as I said before, we just need to go, how do we be calm and how do we just have a plan? How do we be the man with the plan and we feel calm? So that’s the context around what I’m about to talk about because that’s what links to protect because the number one thing we all need to do if we’re already in business, is we need to protect what we have.
This is about protecting your own financial situation as much as you can. It’s about protecting your team and the people who work with you. It’s about protecting your clients and the people that your livelihood depends on, but you know, not only does your livelihood depend on them. If you’ve got clients who are cutting you because they’re going out of business, if you’re looking at this going, Oh my God, my business is screwed, obviously, I have that thought, but my bigger concern is if they’re going out of business, what is that doing to them and their family, their situation. Like I’m, I’m a small drop in their pond, but if I can be a part of this solution, if I can help them avoid that, that is far more important to me than going, Oh yeah, I’m doing something to get them to stay with me because to me, staying with me and my business means that they’re actually continuing to make money in their business, which means they’re not going on to struggle street.
That’s a far bigger and far more important to me than whatever you know, a couple of hundred bucks a month that I get from that client.
Ash Roy (26:31):
The empathy piece. As a business owner, we need to empathize and that’s one of the least used words and marketing and business that I have seen and probably one of the most important.
Yeah, but empathy is, I guess is a word for it, but it’s, it’s just loving and care for fellow human beings. Do you know? It’s not about how I empathize with where you’re at. It’s going right now. I can see you are in potentially a really bad place and I can help and it might not be what I normally do. It might not be part of my normal products and services, but I personally as an individual can help. So let me help.
Ash Roy (27:01):
Yeah. Like with my members, for example, I’m just jumping on call after call after call with them. Then it’s something that I don’t normally offer, but now it’s not a normal time. So I’m like, Hey, you need help. I’m here and I’m burning the midnight oil to do it. But that’s what the situation requires.
That’s what leaders do. It’s amazing. It’s great that you’re doing that. Ash. And I hope that many of the people listening to this are also doing that as well. And if you’re not and you have the skills to help, which I’m sure you do, start leading, start help.
Ash Roy (27:29):
Okay. I just feel like there are no other alternatives. There’s no other way to be.
I love it. It’s true. So let, if we talk about protect, um, you know, you’ll like the alliteration that I have when it comes to protecting, I look at it on four key ways that we need to protect. The first is a risk. We need to be looking at what is the risk in our business in a time like this. Often where our thoughts first go is I need to cut costs. That’s why a lot of people come to you. That’s why you know people, maybe your clients are coming to you and canceling or leaving because they’re going, I need to cut a cost. And they’re looking at you as a cost. So one of the first risks that you’ve got to look at is that that capital and cash flow risk, and you are going to think about costs. But what I will caution people to do is not all costs are equal and what I encourage you to do is the very first thing, if you take nothing away from this podcast episode, is you need to go away and you need to categorize your costs.
Go through your profit and loss, go and look at all your costs and categorize them and categorize them into essentials, investments, and luxuries. The essentials, investments, luxuries. So your essentials are the things that your business is essential for it to run. Now there are some businesses that potentially in the past thought a rental, having an office and rental was essential. This time is potentially going to make you question that and make you start to realize that maybe some of the things you thought were essential are no longer essential. Many of my friends, I’d helped them shift from having office-based and going completely remote. I’d been completely remote for over five years there. And so there are certain things that a lot of businesses think are essential that maybe aren’t. So really get really honest about what is essential to keep your lights on, to keep your business going.
Then the next thing is to look at your investments. And so your investments, we’ll talk a little bit about that when I talk about the other R, which in return, but your investments are the things that give you a return. You know, you put in a dollar or $2 and you’re getting five $10 back, right? These are the things that are helping you actually produce. And I think a lot of people can get really caught up and not realize that there are probably a lot more investments in your expenses and costs than you realize. And when you start to look at that and go, well, hold on. When I put money into this, is this giving me a return? You know, a lot of people get upset because they’re using something like, let’s say Stripe or some payment processes that take a fee and they go, Oh, I’m spending so much on fees that, yes, yes.
You know, it’s mindful if there’s a way to lower that, sure, do it, but it is a cost of doing business. It is an investment. That fee is a part of you bringing in an income that is an actual investment. That’s not a massive cost. Right. I wouldn’t call that necessarily an essential, but it’s an investment. So you’ve got investments and other types of investments or your advertising costs. Investments might be, if you know, if someone listened to this as a, is a client of automation agency, I personally believe that working with a team like us is an investment. Your investments are your team members. You know the people you invest in our people that they, so again, people started going, I need to cut costs. I need to get let go of staff. You know, that may be true depending on your business model. Obviously, you know, Virgin airlines no longer running flights.
Yeah. Paying their staff who are sitting around doing nothing. That’s no longer an investment. I get that it sucks for all those people, but I get why that’s not an investment. So you need to look at your business and go, is there an investment here? And then the third type we talked about is luxuries. Now luxuries are the kinds of things that maybe you’ve bought. You’ve been buying, you did great in good times, but now it’s like, do you really need that thing? Is that useful? And it doesn’t mean you have to cut your luxuries. I am all for keeping a little bit of luxury if the cash flows there to allow it. But maybe you don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles of that software and you can downgrade to a lower plan. I’ll use an example of a coffee, even though it’s not true, I wouldn’t like can be a luxury, but like, you know, maybe you go and you get a cheaper $1 coffee from seven 11 as opposed to getting your $5 coffee from the fancy cafe.
So that’s the kind of example when we’re talking about your risks around that. So we need to look at our risks. And so we look at our costs and we look at that. The other thing we need to look at is ensuring we’re not going to run out of money because again, we don’t have these timeframes. We don’t know what’s going on. So a lot of the banks have really tried to come to the party for people to provide cheaper finance. That’s because most of the, you know, the central banks, the governments have allowed for lower interest rates and they’ve been buying up bonds that, you know, I don’t know if they’ve started yet, but they’ve been talking of essentially doing quantitative easing, which will also make money cheaper. So when that happens, that means that there is cheaper cash available to us. And what I encourage business owners to think about is you may not need money right now, but you don’t know what’s going to happen.
So if you’re in a position and if you’re in bad debt, again, this is not per personal advice. I’m not a financial adviser. Seek your own individual advice from an accountant. Find it like…
Ash Roy (32:11):
Same thing. I’m not giving financial advice, I need to say that too.
You know, do your own thinking, look at your own situation and get your own advice, but there is a huge opportunity here for you to just have these rainy day funds. Now you might be able to do that because you’ve got some cash parked somewhere that like for me I had a bunch of cash that I was going to throw into the Sharemarket that right now I am holding onto as cash because while I still see some great buys in the Sharemarket that I’d love to take advantage of, I see the value of having that cash there for my business right now is a smarter decision. You can also go and get some bank loans
Ash Roy (32:46):
If you want to learn a little bit about tips on investing options might be an interesting thing for you to consider. In episode one with Neil Patel, we talked a little bit about options versus stock, so he might find that interesting. I just want to also mention that these loans that you’ve talked about, that the government is offering, I know they’re doing it in Australia, but a lot of our listeners are actually Americans and Canadians and so on. This is happening in other countries too. Is that right?
Yeah. Look, I don’t know all the specifics of saying Canada and the US, but I do know that a lot more. I mean I know that Trump just recently has announced, I think it’s something trillion dollar injection. Right. So I don’t know the specifics of that. I haven’t looked at that right now, but banks in general, it’s in their interest to be getting people who are going to pay the interest and they know that people are hurting and they don’t want to fail either. So there are opportunities to go out. So yes, they’re the government grants, so there’s a couple of different things. There are government grants that are available, at least in Australia, I feel like they’re pretty woeful and useless a moment. Maybe there’ll be another round that won’t be as useless. But right now I feel like the government ones for business owners are pretty useless.
They sound good. But when you look at the details, they useless. But there are also the banks, right? And yes, I’m not a huge fan of debt if you don’t need it. But having an overdraft or an additional credit card that if you found yourself in a situation where you’re like, you know what, we now see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve got a month more of this to go and then we’ll be able to get open the doors again. And now you’re, but you’re in a situation where you’ve run out of money and you have to close the doors. Like that would be devastating and rough you’d be in a position where you can go, Oh, the lights at the end of the tunnel. All right, I’m going to just lean on this loan. It’ll get me through to the other side. Now, we don’t know that timeframe yet, but if you’ve got the money there and that happens, you’ve got options.
Ash Roy (34:31):
So I think your advice is to go and lock it in. Don’t, don’t use it, and don’t be silly about it, but just lock it in and have it there if you need it. That’s your plan C or your plan D.
Correct. Yeah, it’s just having it as an option because you don’t know what’s going to come and you might find that, you know, to be easily able to access an extra 20 grand or 50 grand or a hundred grand or whatever your business size is, is going to be something that will help you get through or help you avoid letting go of a staff member or maybe allow you to make a key hire to a staff member that’s going to help you grow and get through. You just don’t know what the use of that will be yet right now. So your risk is really just managing that cash risk in particular I think is really important. So you’re looking at where your cash is going out unnecessarily, but you’re also then looking at where am I going to access capital when I need it if I need it.
Okay, great. All right, so we’ve talked about risk. The others are when it comes to protecting is your return. So we talked about investments in a time like this. Now is the time of, again, if we go back to fundamental foundations of business, now is the time to be doubling down on your investments. Anything that is giving you a return now is the time to throw more at. If you’re putting in a dollar and it’s bringing $3 back, now’s the time to continue to do that more. Not less. Like you see it in every, and you read about it as well, but you can see it in the history books every time that there’s some sort of recession, crash, depression, whatever you want to call them. A lot of people who go out of business is because they contract rather than push. They pull back on their marketing.
They stop marketing because out of fear they think it doesn’t work anymore. Now you need to pivot and we’ll go talk about that in a pivot. When we’re talking about a pivot, you do need to pivot some of your marketing. You’re not just going to keep doing what you always did, but you definitely now is a good time. I mean, right now at this moment, Facebook ads are 30% cheaper because less there are people who’ve pulled back on appetizing. So there’s doing that. They’re contracting, right? They’re doing that. But also there’s more ad space because more people are now online, they’re on Instagram, they’re on Facebook. So, therefore, there’s more inventory of places to see ads because there are more people, more sessions. So those two factors combined have led to a reduction in costs. Now that’s not going to last forever. And obviously the more people who listen to my advice, they’re all going to go out there and it’s going to throw the cost back up again.
But there’s an opportunity to do so and it’s a great opportunity to get out there and get in front of it. Now obviously it’s going to depend on your business model. And again, that goes to pivot, right? Like if your whole business model is crushed, you can’t deliver on anything, then yeah, turn those ads off until you figure out how you’re going to pivot. And then turn the ads back on. So yeah, this is a time to just double down on what you’re spending on ads. If they were working before and they’re still working now, don’t turn them off. Don’t scale them down. Spend more. You’ve got team members, right? Who produces a result, you know, may and I only work three days a week. See if you can get them on five days a week, as long as they still producing a result, you know, this is a time to double down.
If you’re a client or something like automation agency and you weren’t using us a lot, so you weren’t getting a huge return on your investment. Well, we, it doesn’t cost, it doesn’t cost people who work with us more the more they use us. So now’s the time to just use us more. Doubled down on an investment. Get a higher return from what you’ve been spending. These are the things that will really help you grow the return on what you’re doing. Look at where your money is getting a return, and then you’re going, how do I ramp that up? Who do I need to hire more of? You know, you might need to hire more people rather than less. You can spend more on ads. A friend of mine this week alone, his goal was to get 1200 appointments booked on the phone and by Monday morning he already had 350 people booked in for phone appointments that week.
Like there are still, businesses are still functioning, people are still inquiring about buying things. It is not. Yes, there are certain markets that are harder, but it is not like stop, you know. But the way he’s done that is he has I think a bit over double what he was spending on ads to do that. So it’s still doable. It’s still amazing. He’s still getting a return on his money that then they kind of links to a, okay, cool, well maybe you’re getting fun. You get, you’ve ramped up your ads, you’ve got people coming who want to buy the the next are we need to talk about his reward, right? So we’ve talked about risk, we’ve talked about the return. Now we’re talking about reward. Your reward is when I’m talking about this, I’m talking about what is the reward you’re giving your clients who work with you, what are the rewards you’re giving to your partners who refer work to you?
Like how are you adding more value? Like I heard someone in my world recently say cannot remember who it was, but they recently said that in a time like this it’s a really good idea to either offer the same but at a lower price for a less price. So also the same value at a less price or charge the same and offer more. And I think that’s a really nice way of thinking about it. Like I’m not a big fan of discounting in any situation unless obviously the marketability to pay has dramatically changed. Then you might consider realigning your price point, but I have far more prefer the idea of going keep charging the same that you always were. How do you add more value? How do you do more? How do you ensure that their reward, the return for those working with you is higher?
So like, you know, if you’ve had these ideas, like for me with automation, it’s, I’ll link it back from my own experience for automation agency, I know that one of the biggest challenges that a lot of our clients have, um, is usually they sign up, they’ve got projects and ideas in their head. They get all of those done and then they kind of go, oh, I don’t really know what else to do. So I for a couple of years have in the back of my mind had these thoughts and ideas around things I could do to try and help with that. We tried it a little bit, but it didn’t quite go the way I wanted it. And we kind of scaled back. Yet in the last three days, I’ve now pulled the trigger on a bunch of these ideas that had been floating around in my head.
I’m now like, no, this is what they need. This what I’m going to do in a create these resources, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that. Like I’m adding all that extra value knowing that it’s just, it’s going to help the market. You know when I ran the webinar that was, yes, it was for my clients and I chose to open it up to people outside of my clients, but it primarily, the whole reason I ran that webinar was to help my clients navigate what’s going on in business and so, so that’s really what rewards about how do you just magnify the return and reward you give your clients? How do you just give them more and then the final art is really important too to talk about protects. We already mentioned mental health. The fourth R is a release. How are you as an individual, as a business owner, how are you going to release the stress, release the tension?
How do you ensure that you can continue to look after yourself? I really encourage you, if you don’t already have one, pick up some sort of meditation practice. If you’re not, you’ve never done meditation before or it sounds hard. Download an app like Headspace on your, on your phone or calm. There’s a whole bunch of different apps that are free or a couple of dollars to buy them. One thing I’ll say is if you’ve never meditated before, the number one thing that most people think is am I doing it right? Yeah. And the answer is yes. If you are taking time to sit still, even if your mind is still having all sorts of crazy thoughts, the fact that you have just taken that moment to stop. Yes. Even if the thoughts are happening, you are still meditating, right? And the more you do it, you will learn new distinctions, new ways of doing things. You’ll get better. Don’t fuss about I have meditated or not. Just take that time to get still and present. I personally do breathwork meditations. I love them. I can do breathwork meditation in three minutes. I can do a breathwork meditation in six minutes. I can do hour-long ones. They don’t have to be. You went and sat meditating on it in a room by yourself for two hours or half a day. It can literally be, you know, breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth,
Ash Roy (42:04):
the powers and the pause. And you know, within my membership program, I have this thing called the premium productivity course. I used to sell it for $500 but now it’s inside the membership only. And the fourth, the fifth module is about mindfulness. But you know, it’s all about productivity. So the first module talks about the Eisenhower matrix and focusing on what’s important, not necessarily urgent and 80 20 rule and systems and Pomodoro technique. But mindfulness aligns very well with focusing on what’s important but not urgent because you go into a more proactive mental state and that’s what the power of the pause gives you. When you’re pause, you make better choices about what you focus on, you’re less reactive and therefore less likely to do what feels urgent. There’s an immediacy to it, but it’s not necessarily important. It’s not necessarily going to move the needle in your business.
Ash Roy (42:54):
So an example of something that is important but not necessarily urgent, might be hiring good quality staff members and building an awesome culture in your business or creating good systems that mean that you can unhook yourself from that regular activity or you can automate it, which is, you know, getting hiring the automation agency. It’s an example of something that’s important, but there’s not an urgency to it. But if you ignore it for long enough, it becomes important and urgent, which is a crisis or you end up just focusing on reactive on this reactive loop. So mindfulness breathing, this release that you’re talking about is very underrated and I think it’s far more powerful than people probably realize.
Yeah, absolutely. The release is so crucial to not just in a time like this. I mean this is a good time to adopt it if you don’t have it, but just really learning to, you know, exercise, look after your health. I think as business owners, and I’m speaking from my own experience here, and I may be projecting a little bit on others, but I only, from my experience for a lot of my business life, I’ve got the blessing of being like an ectomorph in my body type, right? I struggle to put on weight. I’ve always been very fairly skinny and it’s only when I hit about 30 that even though I’m still was still skinny, I started to get a little bit muffin toppy most people wouldn’t know, but when I shirt came off, I knew right? And it was only, I was only when I hit about 33 or just before 33 that I got challenged with a group of friends to get a six-pack.
We all kind of were like, all right, we’re gonna get a six-pack in four months. That introduced me to eating healthier, exercising daily, and it is absolutely changed fundamentally. Not just kind of the way I think, but I’ve, and obviously my body and my, you know, my partner who is very pleased, but then, the shift really in terms of how I show up by exercising daily, I exercise six days a week. I added the meditation process daily back then as well. But more importantly, like I cut out alcohol. I don’t do coffee only I’ve sugar one day a week. That’s my like, cheat meal day where I can eat anything I want and traumatically change. That shift has changed the way I feel and I, I believe has made me far sharper in the way I think.
Ash Roy (45:04):
So that’s why you were looking so buff the last time I met you.
Yeah. Well, I’m not, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve definitely gotten a bit bulkier than I used to in a good way. I think it’s important like I’m not here to preach that, you know, you need to cut out alcohol and sugar and coffee. I mean, I’ve done that and I think it’s amazing and if you want to try it, I highly encourage it. But you do whatever you feel is right for you. But even if we’d say balance it out a bit, if you drink a lot, cool, that’s great, but how can you drink more water in the day if you normally eat lots of sugary things? Can you cut that down and take one day where you’re gonna go, you know what, I’m not going to eat that. And I think if you can just start to balance out what you fuel your body with, it’s going to make a big difference to the way you feel.
Ash Roy (45:42):
You’re absolutely right. For health reasons, I’ve actually cut out sugar and garbage basically. I used to eat a lot of rubbish and I’ve dropped about, I think from September to now it’s about five months. I’ve dropped about almost 10 kilos now and I do feel a lot better for it, but it’s not just because I lost the weight, it’s more because I’m just not eating rubbish. I just eat healthy food now. And it does make a difference to your level of alacrity or your or your alertness. It helps your quality of sleep. Lots of different things. So I can attest.
Like I was all like, Oh I’m not going to be able to do this working out a daily thing like I’m not good at going to the gym. Like any of those things. And I remember saying that to the guy who was running this challenge or as a friend of mine is one of the buffers guy I know. And so he basically set the food, he set the exercise routines, he did it all so we could get the six-pack. And I remember saying to him like, you know, I don’t have the willpower I need. I need something that I can do from anywhere. Cause I traveled. Well, I used to travel a lot at the moment I’m not traveling much. I said all that and then we sent through the plan. I loved it, hit me, smacked me in the face. He said a few of you have said, you know, you don’t have the willpower so that it’s got nothing to do with willpower and all to do with self-love.
If you love yourself, you will do what it takes. Now that to me it just, it was like a smack in the face and just like he’s right. This is about self-love, looking after myself. And if we go back to the analogy of, you know, we all have heard it, I’m sure someone said it, if not you on this podcast, the idea of putting your oxygen mask on first before you put it on someone else, looking after your health is one of the best things you can do for your people in your business, your family members, your spouse, your kids. You know, looking after you one, it’s going to make you feel better, but it’s also going to mean that you’re in better shape to look after those who rely on us as leaders because we are leaders. As business owners,
Ash Roy (47:24):
one of the best things we can give to other people in our state, our emotional and psychological state. I agree.
Yeah. And so just really going all right. Self-love and then linked back to like, yeah, like this vehicle that I currently call Carl, I seem to be in, I only have one of those my entire life that if I love myself I would look after it. Right. I would make sure it was good. So we’re getting on a bit of a rant here I guess on health, but I just, we go back. The real important thing is to have a practice of exercise. Have a practice of meditation, breathing, taking some time to be mindful. You don’t do whatever you find the thing that you resonate with. Please don’t feel like I’m here telling you you need to do what I do. Well, I do is share and offer my insights and my experience. You, you choose to find what works for you. But it’s really important. I think that you have something that lets you release. Maybe you like to play video games or in the background there Ash, I see you, you know your guitar. I take some time out on the guitar or I just recently bought a VR Oculus quest. You know, I haven’t used it much yet, but that could be a way of just getting a release. Absolutely. And maybe you’d just like to have lots of sex, go and have lots of sex with your partner. You know, that’s a way to release to find something to release.
Ash Roy (48:33):
Yeah, just don’t have it with somebody else’s part. No, that one works out very well.
Well, it depends on what the rules are.
Ash Roy (48:39):
This is a good point. You’re right, actually. Yeah, it doesn’t depend on the relationship. So if it’s okay, I’d like to just wrap this up and bring this first part to a close, but I can’t wait to have your back on Carl. So we can talk about part two and part three of this, which is pivot and profit. So I’ve been taking notes diligently as I often do when you speak and I’m just going to go through some of the key points and then maybe you can add some more ideas, particularly around action steps. So I’m going to see if I can come up with something useful for our listeners. So we started off talking about business continuity in this ever changing world and you talked a little bit about how we are creatures of habit.
Ash Roy (49:19):
You talked about how you see potentially a paradigm shift in say something like online dating and maybe the first day would happen online. We talked a little bit about the PEST framework and how political slash regulatory changes can bring about social changes, which in this case was actually happening as we speak, but then some of those changes remain permanent. Not all of them are permanent, but some of them remained permanent. Then we talked about being the voice of certainty in an uncertain world and the importance of being a leader and this is an action step most of our listeners can take. We can make sure that we are that voice of certainty. We then talked about marketing depending on how you look at it, but your view and my view and I agree with it, is marketing is probably one of the last things you should cut and we talked about how marketing at this particular time is probably when you should double down.
Ash Roy (50:12):
And also we talked about cash flow and the importance of cash flow as opposed to profitability. So profitability is about, you know, making money on paper. And if I put on my CPA hat, I can tell you, and I agree with you that there are businesses that are profitable in the paper but aren’t cash-rich. And then you’ve got the other side of things. Businesses like Uber that not particularly profitable and Amazon wasn’t for a long time too, but they have a massive amount of cash flow and sometimes that comes from investors. So they’re two different things. And right now what is needed is being you know, strong cashflow position. We are in uncharted territory and we need to have multiple plans. There is a time to burn your boats and only you have planned a. But right now it’s probably a good idea to have planned a, B, C, D and E. and that’s a good mindset with which to approach the current situation.
Ash Roy (50:59):
So that was the background, the context. Then you went on to talk about how protecting what we have as a priority. And you talked about the four RS under the protected side of things, which is a risk. Do you need to ask yourself what are the risks in our business? Differentiate essentially from investments and luxuries in terms of your costs, so all your costs are not the same. To categorize them into essential investments in luxuries. Ensure that you’re not going to run out of money. Look into things like government grants and lock them in if you can get them or bank loans at lower prices doesn’t mean you use them and for goodness sakes, don’t go and get the loans and there’s burn the cash. Be intelligent about it. Then we talked about return, which is now is the time to double down your investments. We talked about the reward.
Ash Roy (51:44):
This is the time to really reward your customers by giving them more value and magnify what you give them because believe me, they will remember you when they come out the other side and we will come out the other side at some point and the last one was released which is looking after yourself and having some kind of a routine, whether it’s meditation or yoga or whatever works for you and having consistent diet and if you want to learn more about this, by the way, check out episode 175 with James Clear the author of atomic habits. He really shared some brilliant ideas, simple but brilliant. Want to watch less TV, don’t have your lounge facing the television. Just change your environment to improve your habits and your behaviors and atomic habits is an excellent book. Another excellent book to get your mindset right is the Alter Ego effect by Todd Herman and I had him on an episode, I think it was 176 really good conversation and in fact, I wanted to mention Todd recently posted something on Facebook. He is actually unfortunately been ill I believe with the virus and he interviewed a lot of CEOs when he was sick and he found some amazing insights and several of those CEOs that have the best attitude right now. He said to have a meditation practice. That was something he found that stood out for them. So to your point, Carl, that that really,
and I think, I think the other one was that they consumed far less of the cause. I saw that too. I saw Todd’s posts about that and yeah, it was the far less consumption of media as well as a big part that he found with those.
Ash Roy (53:16):
Yeah. So if you want to be the silver lining, some simple action steps you can take right now try and unplug from the media. Yes, you need to be informed, but timebox it. Say you want to read the news, maybe don’t read it first thing in the morning, maybe set your routine first thing in the morning. Decide what you want to do, what you won’t achieve, and maybe read it when your energy levels are flagging anyway and you’re not going to really get that much value from your energy. And man, check out the episode with Todd Herman. It’s on a YouTube channel, youtube.com/productiveinsights. Just look for Todd Herman. You’ll find it there. So any other action steps you’d like to add to this?
What I would encourage anyone to do is from this episode, you know, go back and listen to it again if you need to, but you maybe listen to it this first time and you are just consuming it next time. Listen to it again now with a sheet of paper where you’re going to go, okay, that’s the thing I’m going to do. Start to map out your plan and then when we talk about the other part, the other parts as well, you’re just going to add to that existing plan. So you kind of create your protection plan and then you’re going to have your pivot plan and then ultimately you’re going to figure out how you’re going to take that. And turn that into a way that you can profit.
Ash Roy (54:23):
You know, I’ve heard of this company called the automation agency and I might actually ask them to put together some nice little cheat sheet that our listeners can download at productiveinsights.com/192 which is where this episode is going to be living, and if you haven’t already subscribed to the automation agency, all I can say is you’re doing it at your own peril. I actually, that’s, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Assuming that you have the funds, it really has been one of the best investments I’ve made in my business. It really helps you to focus on the things that matter. So I highly recommended and I do full disclosure, I do happen to be an affiliate, so there’s already a link. It’s productiveinsights.com/automation I’ll put the link in the show notes, but Carl, can you tell us a little bit more about how our listeners can find out more about you and how they can sign up for the automation agency if they choose to do that?
Yeah. Look if people want to find out more about me, I mean you can find me at carltaylor.com so that’s where you can learn more about me. Also, if you want to connect more with me, um, you know I have a free Facebook group, nothing to sell you. It’s called entrepreneurs by the pool where you can find that at carltaylor.com/pool. That’s the shortcut that’ll get you straight their request to join, come and hang out, talk business, ask questions. Um, that’s where I post some stuff, but you know, you can engage with me there as well. Uh, outside of that, if you want to start with an automation agency, then you can go to automation and see or go through a productive insights link. So, you know, you can, you can Google for us, but you’re better off going through ashes link and um, yeah, look, it’s, it takes a look, see if we’re not for everyone, we’re not going to suit everyone.
We only work with specific platforms. So take a look at our supportive platform lists, see if you use the tools that we help with. And see if you have an ongoing need. You know, if you’ve just got an onetime project, we may or may not be right for you, but if, if you can see an ongoing partnership that’s worthwhile, we’d love to partner with you and really just help take away some of those tech headaches and allow you to not have to train and build your own teams. So we work with agencies, we’ve worked with coaches, consultants and business owners, um, and we just really want to be there to serve you. And uh, look, we’re not perfect. We don’t always get it right, but we really are there, to support in best we can.
Ash Roy (56:30):
well, my entire membership site was set up by you guys and they put their heart and soul into it and show everyone makes mistakes. I make them all the time. But if you can be specific in your feedback when you want, when you do have negative feedback, that helps. If you can be kind and you can be courteous, that helps. Yeah. I just think clarity is very important. It comes down to culture. And there are some companies that really have a good culture, and from my experience, automation agency one of those. So yeah, I highly recommend checking it out. And Carl, I look forward to having you back on episode one 93 where we’ll be talking about the second part of this three-part series and that will be productiveinsights.com/193 and that episode is going to be about the pivot section of this conversation. And then the last one will be profitable and there’ll be productiveinsights.com/194 so at this point, I’m going to say of wire, but not farewell. And we’ll meet again in the next episode. Bye for now.