At 17, he first spoke in front of CEOs at what would become Vistage. Today, he helps CEOs and purpose driven companies do more.
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#1 mistake of small business
“When I look at very small businesses, the number one rookie move is to do everything yourself.”
Biggest mistaken assumption
“The big mistake is thinking you know what your market wants. It’s important instead to evolve your products or services in conversation and concert with your emerging customers rather than attempting to force your product on the market and hoping for the best.”
Danger in “just diving in”
“Without thinking too much I just started to naturally build a multimedia agency because that’s the type of work I had done in the past. It was successful fairly quickly and I had a large full-time staff. This was a terrible mistake because I didn’t like doing it. I know that seems like an obvious thing but money without purpose doesn’t seem to last very long.”
“My biggest mistake was not looking into what makes me tick and what I really enjoy. I love doing purposeful work that leads to good in the world.”
“We work with comedians to make sure it’s not just funny in my brain but funny across the board.”
Heckled, then client flood
“This guy stood up and started yelling and cursing at me. I dealt with it and it turned out to be fine. What was even stranger is the amount of people out of that room who hired me and my team because of the way I handled that heckler.”
Sales Funnel not best
“We found the funnel model isn’t always best. For us, starting with the Rolls-Royce pricing has performed best.”
In the audio, Tim Levy shares:
— Why focusing on your product or service is not the #1 path to growth and is instead a rookie mistake
— How to avoid wasting years going down the wrong business path and what to master instead
— The #1 problem clients have is how to get enough business to survive and thrive. Tim shares his solution.
— The reason why he folded his successful multimedia agency and the lesson learned
— Why his “Rolls-Royce” funnel works better and in what market it performs better in
— 1 unexpected food place where Tim has found customer service Tech talent
Tim got his first speaking engagement in a business setting when he was only 17 years old. It was for a company called The Executive Connection which has now become Vistage. Vistage is an international group of CEOs. Tim has spoken at Secret Knock, CEO Space International, The E Women’s Network, the Women’s Presidents organization, and at too many other organizations to list individually here.
He works with clients who are CEOs of $2 million-$100 million companies. He focuses on strategy and coaching with these clients. He’s been featured on many of the major business media publications.
At one point, he traveled around Australia doing entertainment shows for up to 5,000 children at a time. This was during the point in his career when he was doing children’s books and children’s TV shows for Random House.
He had a multimedia company based in Silicon Valley for many years. Then he moved back to Australia for about 10 years from the year 2000 to the year 2010 to found his family. Then he moved his whole family to Austin Texas where he now resides.
Some Shareables from Tim Levy in this episode…
#1 Path to growth
“I worked for a company called Wavelength in Australia for a few years before starting my own company. Most businesses focus on ‘The what’. As in what am I going to make? What am I going to sell? They focus on getting that as absolutely perfect as possible. In hindsight, I see that as a rookie move.
The most important part of any business is sales. So how are you going to drive thousands or tens of thousands of people through your shop’s front door? That could be your online website or a phone call or your physical doors. The big mistake is thinking you know what your market wants. It’s important instead to evolve your products or services in conversation and concert with your emerging customers rather than attempting to force your product on the market and hoping for the best.”
“In the late 90s I got back to Australia right around the time of the tech crash. Without thinking too much I just started to naturally build a multimedia agency because that’s the type of work I had done in the past. It was successful fairly quickly and I had a large full-time staff. This was a terrible mistake because I didn’t like doing it. I know that seems like an obvious thing but money without purpose doesn’t seem to last very long.
It’s hard to apply the time required to build the business over the long term which can be decades, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. My biggest mistake was not looking into what makes me tick and what I really enjoy. I love doing purposeful work that leads to good in the world.”
“The other mistake entrepreneurs tend to make is holding onto things for too long. It’s like when you’re in a relationship and you should have cut that boyfriend or girlfriend loose a while ago but you don’t. The same is true with companies. You want to be able to hold them lightly and adjust swiftly. If there is a piece that doesn’t work, cut it loose and start again. Don’t be afraid to do that.”
“I’ve had a colorful entrepreneurial journey. I’ve done books, albums, stage shows and television shows. If I look at my favorite days, those are where I’m on stage or on camera. I love to do comedy from stage as well.”
“I’ve done lots of public speaking. Sometimes what comes up is truly odd. I’ve experienced weird stalking situations. I like to do interactive workshops and gave one of the guys feedback. We were drawing mind maps which are very organic and creative. He put his in a grid almost like an Excel spreadsheet. I turned his piece of paper over and said just for fun here’s what a mind map looks like and let’s see if we can access your creative right brain.
We got to the end of the three-hour workshop. The chairman of the group asked if anybody in the audience had feedback. This guy stood up and started yelling and cursing at me. I dealt with it and it turned out to be fine. I’ve dealt with lots of heckling over the years though very few to that extreme.
That was very odd but what was even stranger is the amount of people out of that room who hired me and my team because of the way I handled that heckler. In the moment I thought that heckler was a terrible thing but it turned out to be a wonderful thing.”
“When I came to Austin around 2011 I got involved in the Internet marketing community but didn’t feel like I fit there because of some of the ethical conundrums. One of the systems they loved was selling something supercheap and moving people up to higher buying levels. We set up some stuff like that and it worked okay.
What was interesting to me is we flipped that on its head and it worked very well for us. We found the funnel model isn’t always best. For us, starting with the Rolls-Royce pricing has performed best.”
Bad conventional wisdom
“When I look at very small businesses, the number one rookie move is to do everything yourself. The old model was committing to an idea, getting funding and then hiring full-time people which imprisoned you to the business for years or more at a time. That is a rookie move. Whether you raise money or not the marketplace has changed dramatically.
You can have project-based staff members that you hire from fiverr.com, Elance.com and others. We like to use craigslist because we prefer to work with people local here in Austin. We find terrific people with amazing talent through craigslist and at a very reasonable pay rate. What business owners consider most unaffordable is actually very affordable. You can have one less coffee or one less steak meal and get many more things done.
With between $50-$1,000 you can get highly skilled people to do the things you’re not good at. If you’re not good at websites, even with the point-and-click tools available today to build your own, it’s just not going to be as good as if a professional built it for you. There are savvy ways to do things online and you should keep your eye out there first. Don’t be afraid to hire, especially things that aren’t your strengths.”
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