I recently read Lord Alan Sugar’s autobiography entitled ‘What you see is what you get’ WYSIWYG… below are a sample of some of the lessons I learned from one of the most successful British entrepreneurs of the past 30 years.
You either think like an entrepreneur or you don’t
At a VERY young age, Alan had spotted numerous ideas for businesses, and by young, I mean less than 12 years old. These ideas are not something you could teach, things like noticing lots of tar was being pulled up from the road during construction, and then taking the tar blocks, cutting them up and selling them to a local store and door to door as a great fire starter (everyone used to light fires in their homes back then).
What I also like about Alan is that he took massive action on his ideas, something that is essential to success.
Once you get success, people will steal, copy and snipe
This happened consistently right from his first ventures as a young child, all the way through his business career… in fact, one person followed his entire career, and would try to steal, copy and interrupt at every stage. The lesson I took from this was to expect this sort of thing, and if you managed to be first to market with something, or a pioneer in your industry, don’t sit back and expect the goldrush to continue forever, you need to always be moving onto the next thing.
Everything is negotiable
If you take the amount of money that Lord Sugar saved due to hard negotiation skills, you could buy a small island… whether it be getting $150 million for a company he would have happily took $30 million for, massive property discounts, house discounts, and buying parts and components for a fraction of what his competitors were…
It just goes to show that everything is negotiable, I have seen someone successfully haggle and get a discount in McDonalds.
Never take the first offer, and negotiate hard.
His product “lead-in” pricing never seems to fail
There was a simple formula he used here… sell a product at an entry price into the market that got people talking (he was a buzz marketer without realising it).. then, offer a “premium” version for say 25% more… he found that 80%+ of people went for the premium one anyway.
So hook them with a great price, then offer a premium version for a bit more.
Note: for my Internet Marketer friends, this is not an upsell, there were two clear options from the start… of course, in their advertising, they lead with the “lead-in” price
“entrepreneur” is NOT for you to determine
Here I will take a quote straight from the book and the man himself: “Entrepreneur is not a word to be used lightly, and it’s certainly not something you call yourself. It should be a term used by a person when describing another’s abilities”.
I have to agree, the “E” word gets thrown around a lot these days, this is a good lesson to remember.
High-ticket items are where the real profits are at
Lord Alan quickly realised that it was just as easy to sell a $100 product than a $10 one, yet he only would make say $1 on them $10 item, and would make $30 on the $100. So he sold more $100 items.
Sounds like commonsense, but MOST people did the opposite… one person mentioned in the book was actually selling everything at a loss, and while he thought his store was booming, he hadn’t noticed that he was losing money on each thing he sold (madness).
In the online business world, it isn’t quite as straight forward, as a $27 ebook also means we get a name and email address of a buyer, so we can continue to market to them… but in general, it makes sense to focus on the things that bring you the most profit, and for the most part, those will be the higher ticket items.