Episode 74: Michael Haynes
Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast
Michael Haynes assists businesses in having growth and impact.
EC 01 | 4min
About The Guest
Michael Haynes is an SME Business Growth Specialist and the author of Listen Innovate Grow.
During his time working for Australia’s largest telecommunications company as a Customer Research and Strategy Manager, he experienced first-hand how big corporations utilize innovation to increase growth with business customers.
Now Michael empowers service-based small and medium companies (SMEs) with buyer-centric strategies to achieve the growth and impact they seek.
[00:00:00] VIRGINIA: Welcome to entrepreneur conundrum with Virginia Purnell where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online.
[00:00:08] Hey everyone. Today I’m talking with Michael Haynes about how he assists businesses in having growth and. So Michael is an S M E business growth specialist and author of listen, innovate grow during his time working for Australia’s largest telecommunications company. As a customer research and strategy manager, he experienced firsthand how big corporations utilize innovation to increase growth with business customers. Now Michael empowers service-based small and medium companies. The SME is with buyer centric strategies to achieve that growth and impact they seek welcome, Michael
[00:00:46] MICHAEL: Thanks so much Virginia.
[00:00:48] VIRGINIA: You’re welcome. It’ll be fun to have you today. So what made you leave the corporate world?
[00:00:56] MICHAEL: Great question, Virginia. So the corporate world I worked in that area. [00:01:00] Gosh, must be for 15 plus years, learned a lot. I got to do a lot and got a lot of exposure. And as mentioned, so working at the telecommunications company here in Australia was where I got really into the business to business space and really got to see how, if you leverage business innovation, Putting new introductions and new improvements into your business across various areas, how that could drive growth. And so learning all of these things was really good, but I’ve always had an interest in passionate about working with entrepreneurial small and medium businesses. It’s really helped them get to their true potential so that they can have greater impact and also Virginia, so that I could have greater impact. I was working in big corporate. You learned a lot, but in terms of actually getting that to that end state of actually getting some true achievements, Uh, didn’t always happen. But whereas when you’re working with small and medium sized businesses, you’re working with the business owners, with the CEOs of those organizations, with their teams to really [00:02:00] able to have an impact and able to help them achieve what they’re trying to achieve and take them from just being geniuses. of working In their business to be able to work on their business, to drive growth and so something I’ve always wanted to do. And I just felt back in 2010, that was a good opportunity for me to get out there and put my skills to use, to help my people where I really truly want to be working with SMEs. And I’ve been here ever since.
[00:02:25] VIRGINIA: That’s cool. And you kind of hit like that wave of the influx of people starting their online stuff
[00:02:31] MICHAEL: yes. So I work with service-based businesses, so some are online and they could be offline. So I work with the likes of your professional service firms. It firms financial services, firms, training organizations as well. So I work with business owners and leaders that are operating in both online and offline space, but yes, it was great time to do so and been doing it and loving it. ever since.
[00:02:52] VIRGINIA: That’s key. Right? So what are some common mistakes that you’re seeing, some of your clientele making
[00:02:58] MICHAEL: There are a few, [00:03:00] some common ones that stand out are what you may have even heard the term spray and pray marketing. And so business owners will tend to often sometimes jump onto that new shiny marketing tactic that they’re hearing, whether it be, you know, Tik TOK or Instagram, and they will just get out there. and start sending lots of money, you know, doing the likes of Facebook ads and you really have to understand, you know, who are your customers? And I focus with a service-based firms that are trying to get other business customers. So in that B2B context, and in B2B, we have to understand not just the customer as a company, but we have to understand the pool. The buyers are. And often I find business owners are spending lots of money, throwing things out there without understanding who the buyers are, what’s important to them and how they buy, because if your buyers interests are, let’s say it services. And if you’re selling into a CTO, if he’s not on social media, where he looks for information, advice, and recommendations, then why are you there? So it’s very important that you [00:04:00] understand who the buyer is, how they buy, and then you put your effort. And your investment into those channels and tactics that your decision makers are using. When they’re trying to decide on the products, services, and solutions, they’re seeking so that’s one big area that I find that they’re not, that needs a bit of work. Another area, I would say, say, would it be about marketing and sales, not working together. And often they’re quite a working quite separately and independently. And Virginia, this is particularly problematic in the business to business space because business buyers do a variety of their own research in terms of how they are looking to find product services and solutions. And now in this particular environment, business buyers are seeking advice, information on recommendation, how to take their businesses forward. This requires that marketing and sales work together marketing needs to be true strategic marketers to provide the insights around what’s happening in those industry’s in those markets on what buyers are looking for and sales needs to be given that [00:05:00] kind of tools and information so they can have those strategic discussions. So your sale discussing their active consulting discussions, roadmapping discussion, to say how you’re going to take that business for how you’re going to work with them to achieve their objectives. So those are probably the two big things that I’m really seeing right now. In the B2B space where small and medium sized businesses trying to grow are having a bit of problems because they’re doing those two things of not understanding the buyers and doing the right kind of strategies and tactics, and also marketing and sales, not working really. Hand-in-hand very closely to serve the needs of those business customers, build business decisions,
[00:05:37] VIRGINIA: focusing on the research that you’ve done with your who and where they hang out and stuff like that. What do you do to get in front of them?
[00:05:46] MICHAEL: Very good question. It’s I very much try to practice what I preach. And so I’m very big on what I call listening, making sure I get an in-depth understanding of my target audience, the buyers. So the kinds of things that I do is I do work with industry [00:06:00] professional associations. So those related to professional services, IT telecommunications, which are three of my target segments. So industry associations, I do some writing as well. So I write for inside small business magazine. And dynamic business magazine, which are two magazines that have very large audiences with small and medium size. CEOs again, which is my target audience. I love to do a lot of speaking. So podcasts are a big part. And speaking to speaking platform is a big part of my marketing strategy. So getting onto podcasts that serve small and medium sized businesses, the leaders of those organizations looking to grow, getting onto those podcasts so that I can get my message out. And then when those podcast episodes come out, distributing that content through my social media channels force, I use LinkedIn heavily because a lot of your small and medium sized CEOs are on LinkedIn, so leveraging and spreading it through LinkedIn, spreading it through my email list. And another thing that I’m doing more now, [00:07:00] Virginia is partnerships. So I’m collaborating with other consultants who are servicing SME CEOs and also some larger coaching organizations that are servicing SME CEOs. I’mondoing some work providing workshops. So writing, speaking, and partnership, or I would say my three. Core strategy to get into the target audience that I seek to serve.
[00:07:23] VIRGINIA: Okay The first one that you had mentioned it confused me a little bit. So is that more like the chamber of commerce type of thing?
[00:07:31] MICHAEL: So you should know for your target audience. So for example, IT organizations. So it firms are one of my target audiences. So there are a couple it professional associations here in Australia, for example, that I have been doing some writing for I’ll do workshops, if that’s yeah, exactly. There’s professionals Australia, which is a professional services organization for professional service manager. Again, that’s another organization that I will put my content and speak for, to get [00:08:00] out because that’s where people are. Run professional service firms. IT firms, they tend to join those associations.
[00:08:06] VIRGINIA: Thank you.
[00:08:08] MICHAEL: No problem
[00:08:09] VIRGINIA: And so the social media aspect, it’s really just LinkedIn that you use the most plan for that
[00:08:15] MICHAEL: I use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is my core channel where I will post content. I will interact with content because that’s where I find the. bulk of my audience being the small and medium CEO’s are, but I also do all my posts onto Facebook as well, because with Facebook, for two reasons, one, you do find a lot of small and medium business owners and leaders are bare on Facebook, as well. And secondly, Facebook is also very good with the targeting. So you can get quite targeted and specific. When you want to boost one of your posts. I can boost it to say, I want it to go to small and medium business owners. Those have interested in businesses. B2B, and I want to target Vancouver, Ontario, and Quebec. So it allows me to get very targeted in terms of trying to zero in on my target audience that I’m looking for. So for me, [00:09:00] LinkedIn is number one and Facebook is a secondary number two, but then also to add Virginia, and I also do, when I write my articles, I will post onto medium.com as well, because medium allows you to post your articles, which you can then connect back to your website. I think it’s called conical link, which there by allows you to get SEO benefits as well. So I will also put onto medium as well. So I should throw that in there as well too.
[00:09:24] VIRGINIA: So where do you want to go in the next two years? Like, what are your big goals?
[00:09:32] MICHAEL: So for the next, one to two years. So I’m really looking to build up my practice, listen to innovate growth. So I’m looking to mastermind groups. It’s going to be a big component of my practice. I’m launching one end of September called empower, aimed at SME CEO’s and I want to create a series of mastermind groups, so that peer networking collaboration at SME CEO’s. So building that out, it’s going to be a big component. And then getting back to the content. I wrote my book list and innovate grow back in 2018. I want [00:10:00] to then. Introduce an updated second edition and then build some more content around that, which I will then license to other consulting firms, educational institutions as well. So really looking to build out the practice to expand from just the coaching and consulting, like I said to mastermind group and then licensing based around more content, I will be building leveraging off a new edition, updated edition of the book.
[00:10:23] VIRGINIA: Do you self publish the book.
[00:10:25] MICHAEL: Yes. I self I did self publish the book, but I did have a lot of professional support. So I got someone professional to do the cover, getting a structural edit on the book by professional editor who got, who then also do the layout. It’s very important because my book is self published, but it does not look self-published and you need to have, if you’re going to be leveraging a book, it really has to have that content look and feel. In order for you to be able to maximize it, to use it as a door opener for clients to get into some of the larger podcast media publications, because some publications and podcasts I’ve approached to they’ve [00:11:00] said, if you’re self published, I’ve had them say, they’re not interested. And I got onto a podcast and they said, oh Michael, so who’s your editor? Who’s your publisher. I said, you’re talking to them. Oh, this doesn’t look like a self published. I said, yes, that’s why I made the investment. So you couldn’t tell that there is no difference.
[00:11:17] VIRGINIA: If you could tell me no. So with implementing the revision of your book and the masterminds and stuff like that, what would, how would that change your business?
[00:11:29] MICHAEL: How it’s going to change my business. It’s really in terms of getting off that, what they call, you know, the time for dollars exchange, because with a mastermind group, for example, I’m one. When I conduct the mastermind group, that’s going to be 10 people at a time. So as opposed to working, one-on-one when. You are doing all of the, getting, doing a lot of the doing which I’ve done typically in my consulting life, where I did all the depth interviews and the writing, the strategy, preparing the PowerPoint deck. Now I’m doing the advising and doing it on scale because I’m doing it [00:12:00] across the group. So in a mastermind group, when I’m conducting a session around strategy, it’s going to be serving. 10 people, 10, 10 companies at a time and will be the core content, core materials that are all be able to leverage across the different mastermind groups, tailoring it accordingly as required. Similarly, the licensing and with the book, is going to allow this a lot greater scale in terms of the amount of revenue and amount of people I’m going to be able to serve because that content I’ll be able to. take those new content pieces and promote them to other consulting organizations, different community colleges, uh, universities, entrepreneurial program. So yeah, you know, that reach and that scale on that volume number is going to be able to really exgo grow exponentially based on doing a fair bit of work upfront.
[00:12:48] And then you kind of rinse and repeat and really do the math distribution across the various channels and appropriate audience.
[00:12:55] VIRGINIA: That’s cool for sure. Do you think there’s a roadblock that’s stopping you from [00:13:00] getting there
[00:13:00] MICHAEL: The roadblock. I would say, well, that’s a good question. Growth mindset is a big thing that I think is very important. And it’s something, if you had asked me 18 months ago and I’m like growth mindset. Yeah. Whatever. Now I really recognize the importance of growth mindset. So for me, working on my growth mindset and work on it continually is something that I do all the time. So I have a couple of coaches that I work with. So again, I practice what I preach. I have a couple of coaches that I work with for which mindset is part of the coaching program. And then I listened to a lot of podcasts and there are a couple of podcasts that I listened to, but you can manifest it by Lucas. Rubix is a fantastic one. I listened to his every day because it’s about keeping. Your mind in that right zone in that frame. So as you’re taking on all these projects and working on doing these new things, because anytime you try to grow, you’re stretching yourself out of your comfort zone, doing new things. You need to have that mindset to be able to work through those challenges. When you have to step up to make the investment of time effort. And money [00:14:00] to be able to say, yes, I am going to invest in that coaching program. I am going to go into ego and attend a mastermind myself to build my skills. And yes, that’s five figures, but having the mindset to recognize it’s part of the growth in me in building listen, innovate, grow, and what I want to do that all comes back to mindset and so mindset, it can be roadblock, but it’s something I’m working on. And so, hence, it’s why I’ve made quite significant progress since. Published a book in 2018 and now starting to take the business to the next level. I would say getting my mindset right. Has been critical to why now I’m getting some of the traction and I’m seeing the progress to where the business model that I want to create for the firm is starting to happen.
[00:14:44] VIRGINIA: Yeah. It’s amazing how much your mindset plays a role in helping organization
[00:14:51] oh, it’s
[00:14:51] MICHAEL: critical. It’s critical. It makes all the difference because when you have the right mindset, it will lead you to take the right kind of [00:15:00] energized positive action. You’ll take those steps and, you know, you’ll take those hard steps, which often can be around making the investment to say, okay, yes, we’re going to spend X amount of thousand dollars in those programs.
[00:15:13] Whereas before I might’ve shut down really quickly, but now it’s like, no, this is why we have to do this is how we need to do this is an investment that’s going to able me to progress to A B and C. And it, just allows you to take very empowered and very positive actions that you may not have done previous.
[00:15:29] VIRGINIA: So if everything that you listened to and interacted with people and stuff like that, what’s the best advice that you have ever received.
[00:15:39] MICHAEL: Best advice I’ve ever received is go back to about mindset, but your growth mindset and that you constantly have to exercise it and work on it just as you would go to the gym, you have to continue to work on your mindset to strengthen it, reset it, because we all get into those situations where, you know, something comes up. [00:16:00] Comes to us outof left field, throws us off. It’s about having that mindset and knowing how to reset and get back on track. So continue to work on growth mindset was probably the best advice. AndWhat Lucas Rubix gave to me 18 months ago that had this been so impactful in terms of yeah. Enabled me to move forward. And now I’ve got the momentum that I am seeking. I’m not fully there with my goals, but I’m definitely making the progress and I’m really enjoying what I do.
[00:16:27] VIRGINIA: That’s awesome. That’s so cool. So what’s the best advice that you’ve ever given
[00:16:32] MICHAEL: the best advice? I guess I’ve given particular to clients is that everything starts with listening. You have to be listening and gaining that in-depth understanding of the industries, market and customers you seek to serve. That is the basis for everything, because that will give you the roadmap to tell you where to focus. And what you need to do in order to make the progress, to achieve the goals that you seek. Everything starts with listening and gain that depth of understanding. It sounds [00:17:00] very basic Virginia, but so many companies, whether I’m dealing with the larger end of your medium size mid-market organizations or your small. Five six person micro-business is often that’s the area I find is the biggest gap where it’s like, oh, I don’t know, Michael when’s the last time you talked to a customer? Well, not really. I think, well, how do we know? It amazes me how there’s always that gap big or small. There’s always a major gap in terms of the listening and understanding of where you’re at, what those clients of markets and customers need. That’s always tends to be a key missing component. So it’s so important. It’s a basis for everything. And it’s the area that often is missing. So that’s all, that’s what I tell people. Everything starts with listening and really getting that depth of understanding.
[00:17:45] VIRGINIA: So if someone was to come and work with you, so you’d help them identify and hone in if they haven’t already like their avatar.
[00:17:53] MICHAEL: Absolutely
[00:17:54] VIRGINIA: Yes. And then what, and then where do you go from there.?
[00:17:58] MICHAEL: Great. So making sure we get [00:18:00] very clear, you know, making sure we’re getting clear on what their goals are and what they’re trying to achieve, because we have an understanding of, you know, Based on their strengths, their goals, their competencies, you know, what industries and markets they should be focusing on. What kind of customers are going after. But then again, because it’s B2B, we take it to the next level. We need to know who those buyers are, what is important to them and how they buy. Cause then. By having a Understanding of that through listening through doing research that will give us the clarity and focus on ultimately the three things every business needs to have as part of their growth strategy. In terms of knowing what to deliver in terms of your services, solutions, advice, how to deliver in terms of the kinds of support, customer experience, buyer experience, and then how do you promote and engage to those buyers? It’s all based on having that understanding of who the buyers are, what’s important to them, how they buy, enables you to answer. Three elements of what to deliver, how to deliver, how to promote and engage. And [00:19:00] so once we worked through all of that, through doing workshops and doing analysis, then I have the clients prioritize the say, okay, what are going to be some of the key areas that we’re going to start on working on first? What should be the three, two or three key projects? So the small, medium sized businesses, they often have limited results. So we have to break things down in terms of, okay, well, what are we going to focus on first as we’ll call it phase one? What are those key projects Tina sort of, and then breaking those down as to what are the key tasks, what resources? So they have an action plan to move. Is
[00:19:30] VIRGINIA: there anything that I haven’t asked yet, but you’d like to share
[00:19:35] MICHAEL: I guess one Area, we haven’t touched on that. I’d like to talk a little bit about which I feel is very important for small, medium businesses to recognize that in order to grow, you really need to be looking at how your. Company your business can business innovate because business innovation is the key. That is how you grow. And by business innovation, a lot of people think business innovation as just solely around product or [00:20:00] technology, but business innovation is looking across within your business and across five key areas. Whether it be your products, you offer the services you offer the systems and processes that you undertake your organizational innovation. So have you thought of things like outsourcing partnerships, strategic Alliance? Marketing innovation. So what are the different kinds of marketing strategy and the B2B specific strategies for operating B2B, looking across those five elements and to say in your organization, based on your customer buyer needs, what areas can you improve, change or make new introductions across one or more of those areas? That’s how you drive growth. And they’ve been a lot of studies, Virginia across high growth firms. So those firms that are growing 20% more year over year. And firms that have high growth or ones that business innovate in at least two areas over and above product. So everyone thinks it has to be big innovations around technology. No, it’s around looking across your business, across those five elements and staying aligned with market customer needs. [00:21:00] What areas can we change and make improvements across multiple areas? That’s how you drive growth but again, it starts with that listening that understanding, but business innovation is critical. That is how you drive growth. And it’s something that understand that you’ve got those across those five areas that you want to be looking at. And it could be incremental. It might be more substantive, but it’s doing those innovations or improvements or changes. That is the key on how you’re going to be able to really drive growth within your firm.
[00:21:27] VIRGINIA: Yeah. Have everything move. Basically each area, each pillar move in the same direction with the same goal.
[00:21:34] MICHAEL: Oh, yes.
[00:21:35] VIRGINIA: Like the same information, right? Like,
[00:21:37] MICHAEL: yeah. Yes, exactly. Based on understanding, you know, who your customers are, what are they needing? You know, what what’s important to them. Then you can look across those five areas and say, well, within your firm, what are the opportunities that you can. Be making changes and improvements to really capitalize and meet those buyer customer needs so that you can get your current customers to be buying more from you and [00:22:00] hopefully referring for you that you can expand into new markets so that you can gain new customers. It all stems from that. Yea That depth of understanding, and then looking to see across those five elements, where are the opportunities to change and improve to really meet the needs of current customers and also get new customers as well. That’s the key to driving business growth and to getting our SMEs to thriving and growing and moving in the directions and gaining the impact that they’re ultimately thinking.
[00:22:30] VIRGINIA: It’s so true. right Well, thank you so much for being with us today, Michael, where can people go to find out more about you and what you do
[00:22:37] MICHAEL: Sure so to find out more about what I do and to get some information and resources around how to drive business growth, go to listen. Innovate growth.com. So listen innovate, grow.com all one word. There’s a number of resources there to assist as well, to get a understanding of what the different services that I offer to support our SME.
[00:22:58] VIRGINIA: Great. Thanks Michael. Have a great [00:23:00] day. We’ll chat soon.
[00:23:01] MICHAEL: Thank you.
[00:23:02] VIRGINIA: Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some love through a review and I’ll catch you on the next episode.
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