Business Beliefs and Where to Invest (Shirlaws Conference Blog)

Enjoy this post from the 2014 Shirlaws Australia Conference. The 2015 Shirlaws Conference is now open for registration – join me and 200 fellow CEOs and business owners for 2 days of power learning, October 7-9. Click here for information and registration.

I volunteered to be the official blogger at the Shirlaws Australia Conference. These posts were added to the Conference App in real time, and are being belatedly published here for those who weren’t able to attend. See you in 2015!

The 2014 Shirlaws Conference enters the final afternoon with a discussion on beliefs and their impact on your business growth.

There’s the Rory Gilmore approach, building a pro and con list on specific topics: borrowing money, your career, responsibility.

But unlike the younger Gilmore Girl (my reference, not Nic’s), the solution doesn’t lie in searching for the longer list. Indeed, in many examples where he has run this session around the world, the competing lists (even on extreme topics) have been of comparable length.

Instead, seek to understand which words carry the energy? Borrowing money can fund your growth, sure, but for you specifically does it feel like “speed” … or “obligation”?


For the entrepreneur:

Freedom = Courage x Confidence.

If you focus on the negatives, your courage and confidence will dwindle. What impact will that have on achieving your Freedom number?

This focus on energy and beliefs is a nice entrance to a more technical conversation linking the ‘S-curve’ theory with yesterday’s analysis of staff numbers and black holes.

When the business follows an S-curve, their NEXT strategy normally starts only when the first starts to deliver dwindling value (the drop off at the end of the S-curve). Speed and energy are better served if you as the CEO are pre-planning the next strategy when the current one is still moving up.

You can spin from up energy to up energy, balancing strategies and moving fast. Of course, that takes courage and fearlessness.

Fads v Trends

Some levity now as discussion turns to Generational Marketing and Fads v Trends. In among the important lessons on understanding your customers and your team is some stark differences on topics ranging from technology to TV to sex.

What happened to your business when all the Baby Boomers retire? Let’s look next at what those businesses that do this successfully have in common?

They invest in Assets. (Because Income follows Assets.) They innovate in products and channels. They drive their marketing position. Build systems. Get their culture right. And they plan – documented, ready to implement and with their ‘number’ in mind.

What does Shirlaws see as the Top 5 current strategic opportunities?
1. Campaigns – pointed to create signal among the noise
2. Employ the best people
3. Seek out and work with the best suppliers
4. Understand your business cycle and the business cycle
5. Build Assets.

And just like that, we’re done! I really feel these blogs (and I managed six of them over the two days) just barely capture some of my own key learnings and experiences. And that’s what I learned even after 8 years of delivering Shirlaws coaching!

If you’re asking yourself whether a Shirlaws Conference is worth the money, take it from me it’s a resounding YES! Between the annual conference (which I’ve attended in Australia, the UK, and the USA) and Shirlaws internal conferences, I spend around $7,000 each year on attending these and despite having attended more than 30 of them I always see a return on that investment.

So I look forward to seeing you at the Shirlaws Australia Conference in 2015! (Or if you can’t wait, the Shirlaws UK Conference in November 2014.)


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