Chapter 8

Challenge Everything

First principles. To think critically. To go back to the source. To not accept the conventional way of doing things without question.

It is hard work. 

If you are not ready to challenge everything, making your own dent in the world is going to be super hard.

If you are, you stand a chance of creating a Long Term Business based on sound ideas. Ideas that align with your own values.

People who choose to not follow the crowd and listen to conventional wisdom without first questioning it and testing it to be true.

There’s an old joke about a corporal in the trenches in World War 1 who is ordered to deliver a message across dangerous ground  to the commanding officer.

The message is… “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance

Dodging bullets and howitzer shells, the corporal faces an arduous mission fraught with danger.

He finally arrives at his destination caked in mud and badly shaken. He reports to the commanding officer and waits to deliver his message which he has done his best to remember.

The officer orders him to deliver his report…

Send three and fourpence” The corporal stammers “We are going to a dance”.

I tell you this because the messages and tactics you come across have passed through many hands. Each time, they have been through many iterations. 

The original logic may have been altered in the telling just like the message delivered by the unfortunate corporal. Hence the need to go back to first principles and understand the basics.

For you are on a journey and the person who devised the strategy or tactic you are considering is also, but he or she may be further down the road facing a different set of circumstances.

What works in one place may not in another.

The devil is in the detail.

Prepare to make your own decisions based on your own circumstances and not blindly follow others, in the hope what they are doing will work for you too.

The first principle being that you have to make your own decisions based on where you are on your journey and the results you are currently getting.

Let’s go on.

  • What are your core values?
  • Why are you in business?
  • What is your unique unfair advantage?
  • How do you want people to feel when they think of you?
  • What is the ultimate outcome you deliver ?

These are the questions to ask to determine what your brand stands for.

When you have answered them, you will be that much closer to deciding the core values that guide every business decision you make going forward.

Building a Long Term Business requires first and foremost that you deliver what you promised to your customers on time and on budget. 

 Your customer’s  satisfaction comes first. Every other metric in your business is subservient to this primary metric.

Your opt in rate on your landing page is a trophy metric which means little in this new context. Decide what is important to you then devise business systems and processes that help you to reach that goal.

Social media has passed its prime.

It is no longer a thrusting and dynamic new place. Facebook is an established behemoth which is subject to new legislation that regulates it in ways that we can only guess at.

Conventional thinking tells us that we must have a presence on social media.

Will that still be ‘true’ in four years time?

How else could you deliver your message to your audience.

Google, Youtube, Linkedin and other platforms will also be caught in the net. 

Established businesses build massive infrastructures and grow slow to react. They are held in a vice like grip by the world they have created for themselves.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have two sources of traffic. If you are beholden to Facebook now transition some of your time, energy or budget to another source.  

Facebook is notorious for shutting down Ad accounts for no apparent reason. They shoot first and answer questions later.

You cannot afford to put your business at their mercy. 

You must retain control.

Lose one source of leads in two and you can survive. Lose 100% and you risk everything.

So to bring all that together:

#1: Identify the core values that will guide your business

#2: Decide your number one business metric (happy customers)

#3: Social media is ephemeral and is about to change forever

#4: Never become over dependent on one platform

I welcome your feedback on these and indeed, your push back if you want to challenge these principles. (

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