The Power of the Pie: How to Build a Business Even If You’re Not an Expert
Since attending my first NSA workshop in 1995 in St. Louis, I’ve heard a common theme screaming down from the heavens. Maybe not quite the heavens, but definitely recorded video clips!
If you’ve been to any NSA event, you probably know what I mean – it was the voice of the great Cavett Robert, who in 1966 decided that speaking was a profession that needed more members. At the time only 3% of organizations hired professional speakers, so Cavett advised them, “Don’t worry about how we divide up the pie, there is enough for everybody! Let’s just build a bigger pie.”
Maybe it’s just me or maybe there are those of you who are tired of hearing this phrase! Let me explain…
According to the Convention Industry Council, there were 1.8 million association meetings in the U.S. in 2012. Since then, meeting expenditures have increased by almost 18% a year and corporate training grew last year by 15%, with companies spending $70 billion in the US and over $130 billion worldwide.
In short, the pie is already large enough!
In 2010 I was delivering a keynote speech in Indianapolis when I received a call from my wife that she was being rushed to the hospital. She had been battling cancer for six years, and I had no way of getting back to Florida until 1:00 am. I quickly recognized that I needed to make changes to my business and lifestyle… I re-assessed almost everything in my life, beginning with my businesses.
Phase One: I analyzed my business and looked for opportunities to work with other speakers, trainers and consultants that had content solutions and products that would benefit my clients.
Phase Two: My team and I researched the targeted experts – gathering information about all aspects of their business and how they could benefit from a strategic alliance. As my friend Sam Richter, CSP would say, “I was just doing my homework.”
Phase Three: Our systematic and strategic follow-up was the key element to our success in building long term strategic alliances with experts around the world!
Ever since I began “sharing the pie”, amazing things have happened in my life and business! In the last four years, my business has accumulated sales well into seven-figures. I’ve helped many my friends and strategic partners earn bigger incomes and bigger profits, acquire additional keynote and training opportunities and enjoy more freedom!
Most importantly I was able to spend time with my wife Jackie accomplishing her Bucket List traveling around the world with her during the last three years of her life – all because sharing the pie gave me the ability to make that happen! Today I live with no regrets!
With the amazing talent that we have in our vast organization, why aren’t we sharing more pie? I can tell you from my years of experience in building businesses, healing patients and delivering high energy programs that I am an expert in a couple of topics – but that leaves more than 1 million things I know nothing about!
Your solution is to be “that Guy or Gal” – the go-to individual for information, ideas and opportunities to help your clients, your family and friends to be more successful!
Since I started my first business, I have positioned myself as that “Go-to-Guy.” If I didn’t have an answer for my clients, I would find friends that would have the answers and spread the wealth. I’ve also made it a point of giving them the credit for their knowledge and experience! After all, it was not about me – it was about serving my clients and helping my friends! In another words, I was just sharing the pie!
Names like: Gitomer, Tracy, Gage, Saeks, Hyken, Turkel, Echevarria, and others you may not have heard of have contributed to the success of our clients, along with members of my NSA mastermind group and local NSA chapter members.
Just recently a client contacted me about a new business idea and explained to me his challenge. He was having difficulties finding the right spokesperson for his new venture. The person he originally had in mind just did not fit the bill and he was concerned about the project because it required a speaker that had certain life experiences. I referred him to the NSA website and advised him to search for a speaker who had the credentials that were required for this specific project.
To my client’s surprise, there were two candidates who are members of the local NSA chapter. Within five minutes of doing his research, he was off to the races.
So I’m wondering… What will happen if this year, we all make a commitment to share some pie?! To become that “go-to-guy or gal” and grow your speaking business while sharing your friends and their expertise in the areas where your clients need it the most.
Sharing the pie has enabled me to travel less, help my clients more, and generate passive income and speaking gigs for myself and my friends. In addition, it has taught my children a valuable lesson – when we help others and share some pie, it’s good to be that guy!
Here are three action steps you can take right now to build your business and share the Pie!
- O.P.S. – Other People’s Skills: Choose 5 to 10 members of NSA to align yourself with who have a specific skill set or content that you may not have, but would be beneficial to your clients or audience.
- Set up a meeting with those individuals to discuss the areas of expertise that you would like to share with your clients. Explore the opportunities of setting up a strategic alliance that would benefit your clients,i.e., product sales, training or keynotes.
- Cross promote their products in addition to yours on your website, in the back of the room at a speaking engagement or in presales and work out an arrangement to share revenues. Our audiences want stories of success and ideas from you; however, if you want to expand your business and help more people on the planet, you can’t do it alone so go out there and share some pie!