Archives for July 2010



I have had further thoughts ref – why most small businesses do not succeed to their full potential.

I now believe 80%+ comes down to this one fact.

In business there are three sections, or areas of focus.

Sales & Marketing



Most small businesses spend 95% of their time operationally.  In other words doing the work of the business.  And this is the biggest problem with most small businesses.  Doing the work will NEVER make you successful.  Working on your business to grow it will and yet most small business owners:

  • Don’t have a strategy
  • Have no idea how to write a business plan
  • Have little understanding of marketing
  • Have never attended any sales training
  • Have little understanding of finance
  • Can’t read a set of accounts
  • Have no knowledge of their marketing numbers
  • Do not quantifiy their sales and marketing
  • Do not know how profitable their business is
  • Don’t have monthly management accounts
  • Don’t know how to write copy
  • Hate picking up the phone to make a sales call
  • Are poor at networking
  • Hate speaking in public
  • Don’t have a cashflow forecast

Is there any surprise that they don’t succeed?  The questions are:

  1. Who is doing the marketing work
  2. Who is managing the financial side of the business
  3. Who is working on the business to ensure its growth?

The answer is often, no one.

If there is someone then it is usually someone who is not highly skilled and who does it in their spare time.

So what is the message?  Spend 1/3 of your time operationally, 1/3 of your time working on your finance and a 1/3 of your time on sales and marketing.

Mmmmm!  Something to think about.


Steve Speaker at Business Link Talk – Portsmouth

Steve Mills – Business Link Speaker

Steve is the speaker at several Business Link Events.  The first one is coming up in Portsmouth.  Click here for further details.

Strategic planning

As the old saying goes “plans are nothing, planning is everything”.  In other words, once the plan is written, the benefit is over, as the value comes in the planning process.

Whilst this may not be totally true, I have to agree with the sentiment.  Business planning is essential to all small businesses, but a business plan is a plan of how to get somewhere.  First, there must be a destination.  This comes in the form of a Strategic Plan.

All big businesses have a strategic plan, very few small ones do.  Is there a message there?

I think the message is – If you want to be successful, you must plan for success.

The question is – How do you write a Strategic Plan?  Well if you will forgive the advertisement, you might want to take a look at my Strategic Planning folder.  It contains everything you need to write a strategic plan allowing you to simply fill in the dots.

Click here

40 tips for effective networking

1. Make sure you plan for it and don’t just network when you are not busy

2. Decide what you are going to say to your networking peers and how you are going to say it

3. Prepare your one minute speech until you know it off by heart

4. Explore the different networking clubs and websites

5. If possible, get a list of who is attending each event and decide who you are going to speak to in advance

6. Be the person who asks questions about others and not the one who talks about him/herself

7. Attend on a regular basis

8. Keep a database of the people you meet at each networking event and have a plan for keeping in touch with them

9. Have specific business cards for networking, with ‘we met at…..’ and ‘we talked about….’ on the back of the cards

10. Think of the needs of the person you are meeting, not your own. Why are they attending? Who would they like to meet?

11. Give something away

12. Write a short book and give it away

13. Produce an action plan for what you are going to do as a result of meeting

14. Carry enough cards and hand them out to as many people as possible.

15. Give people you have a good relationship with several cards

16. Ask for referrals from people you know

17. Have a script for asking for referrals

18. Ask for testimonials from people you know

19. Make sure that you are attending the right events. Who are you networking with? Are they your target market? Do they have relationships with businesses who are your target market?

20. Relax and be yourself

21. Mirror the body language of the person you are speaking to

22. Offer to speak in front of the group

23. Attend events which provide learning as well as speaking opportunities

24. Read a book called ‘linked’. You can buy it on

25. Look out for my new book called ‘A Sales force of Thousands’

26. Don’t spend too much time with the people you know at networking events

27. Remember the second part of the word ‘Networking’. It is not ‘netdrinking’, ‘netsocialising’, nor is it ‘neteating’. This is work and it is serious and it is important and therefore needs to be done professionally

28. Have targets for the number of events you are going to attend, the number of contacts you wish to make and the number of leads and sales that will result

29. Write a networking strategy for your business

30. Networking is not just about attending events. Think of it as who is in my network of friends, colleagues, family, associates, customers, suppliers

31. Get your network working for you. For example asking your family and friends to pin a leaflet on their office notice boards about what you do, may for many businesses be a worthwhile strategy

32. Ensure that you dress appropriately for networking, and remember you want to ‘stand out’

33. Improve your communication and rapport building skills

34. Form your own networking club

35. Always try before you buy when considering joining a networking organisation

36. Ask the people you know which are the best networking organisations they know

37. Ensure your information is up to date on the networking club’s website

38. Get to know the people who run the networking club

39. Identify yourself with a professionally produced badge.

40. Speak to Steve Mills at MAX Marketing regarding training in networking

The Wealth Building Day


On Satursday 7th August I have been asked to speak at ‘The Wealth Building Day’ in Reading.

I am speaking along with several other leading experts in the field on how to create real wealth. The theme of the day is that wealth creation is about following specific principles and strategies and that in fact anyone can create real wealth, if they know and use these principle and that take ACTION.

For further details and to book your place go to.

Or call me on 0118 930 5700 for further info.

Government Training Grants

Steve Mills – Government Grants

Whilst cut back’s are no doubt a good way of saving money, the best way of making more profit is to improve sales.

It is good to see that the government are beginning to embrace this fact and have just released £4.2 million in grants for small businesses in the South East of England.

For details about the grants click here.

Personal Development

Most people know me through my ability to help small businesses grow and ultimately to make more profit.  I have spent nearly three decades doing this.

Most of my knowledge has come from:

1. Practical experience in the field

2. Trial and error in learning what works and what doesn’t

3. Learning by attending seminars by many of the world’s leading experts in sales and marketing

4. Learning from listening to CD’s by some of the world’s leading experts in my car.  I spend at least and hour per day and often up to three hours per day traveling in my car.  All this time I am educating myself through the medium of CD’s and dare I say it cassettes!  I call my car a University on wheels.

But today, I would like to talk to you about Personal Development.  Why?  Because the more you invest in yourself, the more you have to invest in your business.

One expert I love listening to is Jim Rohn.  Jim sadly died recently, but he was an amazing guy and one who made the complicated simple (which is my definition of of a great teacher).

Here are some of Jim’s words of wisdom:

1. Work harder on yourself then you do in your job, or in your business

2. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better

3. It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it (I love this one and live my life by it)

4. He encourages people to ask themselves – How come you are not already successful?

5. Don’t major in minor things

6. Increase the value of you

7. If you wish to be wealthy study wealth.  If you wish to be fit study fitness.  If you want more leads study lead generation

8. Take action – A goal is just a day dream until you start along the path to achieve it

9. There is always risk, but not taking risk means certain failure.  There is however a big difference between risk and risky

10. Success is doing what failure won’t

Great stuff Jim.  RIP

Steve Mills

New seminar


I have just launched a new date for a Sales and Marketing seminar.  It is 29th September.

Here is a link to the content click here

Further details coming soon.

Profit production is easy

Steve Mills

How to make more profit

There are only two ways of making more profit in your business.  Reduce costs, or increase sales.  It is as simple as that.

Reducing costs is good because you can do it instantly.  However, it is limited because you can only reduces costs so much.

The real leverage is in increasing sales.  That is because you can do it exponentially. In other words you can if you build your business correctly increase your sales by 1,000’s of percent.

So how do you do that?  Keeping it simple, there are only three ways of getting more sales:

1. Win more customers

2. Increase your average unit of sale

3. Increase your frequency of re-purchase

That is it!  That is all you have to do!

The questions is how?  This is where it gets more tricky, because there are thousands of ways and some work and some don’t work so well.

I have spent nearly 30 years working with small businesses and in that time I have developed a strong understanding of what works and what does not.

So if you want to grow your business in my opinion you have two choices.  you either spend thirty years learning all you can about marketing, or you hire someone like me as your marketing mentor, coach and business advisor.  Click here for details.

Steve Mills

How to write an effective sales letter/email

The skills it takes to write a really good sales letter, or email can never be under rated.  Neither can the importance of doing so!

I have helped businesses to improve the copy on their sales letters and enabled them to achieve a 25%, 100% and even a 250% increase in the number of leads, click through’s and enquiries that they receive.  The question is how?

Here are some mistakes:

1. No headline, or a boring headline
2. A weak headline
3. No P.S.
4. No signature
5. A signature written in black (should always be blue)
6. No guarantee
7. Teaser copy on the envelope.  A plain envelope always gets opened
8. Exaggerated claims
9. Confusing offer
10. Too short – you haven’t told enough of the story to get someone to buy from you
11. Poor graphics
12. Wrong audience – no matter how good your offer or product is you can’t sell to the wrong audience
13. Boring copy
14. Over-long paragraphs
15. Few or no sub-heads
16. No FREE bonuses
17. No close
18. Lack of flow
19. Disrespectful copy
20. No price testing (the digit 7 works better than any other ending digit)
21. Too many typefaces. (Never more than two)
22. Slick corporate, impersonal look

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