Steven’s an international bestselling author, speaker, award-winning entrepreneur & business mentor. Steven’s mission is to revolutionize accountancy, small business and business education to help existing and future entrepreneurs solve meaningful problems and build purpose-led, impact-making businesses. He’s a former chartered accountant and has worked with small businesses since 2000.
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- Xero – Steven’s small business resource
- Essentialism and The Millionaire Master Plan – Steven’s Top Business Books
- The Profits Principles – Steven’s book
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3 Key Points:
- Offer additional value and bonuses to go with your products instead of giving discounts.
- Work on your business, not in your business.
- Making an impact and changing the world costs money.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:06] – Steven is married to an amazing woman and together they have 2 daughters
- [01:19] – Steven has been fascinated with business and numbers since he was a kid
- [01:34] – He started his first business in 2006
- [01:41] – His businesses have been centered around helping people, learning, and sharing
- [02:06] – His area of expertise is in understanding business numbers and helping others do the same
- [02:40] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Discounts are the biggest killer of a business
- [03:06] – Instead of giving discounts, throw in bonuses and value
- [03:53] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Steven wanted to focus on what was important to him – building a business with his true purpose. However, he lost sight of the whole picture and his business started to move backwards. They went from having everything to just scraping by and relying on savings to pay for their expenses.
- [06:30] – It’s when you get your message out that you start to get traction
- [06:55] – Constantly move forward and work on your business
- [07:38] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Steven was having a conversation with his business mentor. His mentor stopped him and asked, “How do you plan to make the impact that you want to make?” Steven immediately said, “Through my business”. His mentor asked again, “Do you think your business can make that impact now?” Then it dawned on Steven that changing the world costs money
- 08:57 – Steven’s Billion dollar Pledge – Making 1B impact through a social enterprise, B1G1.com
- [10:28] – “A lot of people over-estimate what they can accomplish in a year, but they under-estimate what they can accomplish in a decade”
- [11:58] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “The Business Freedom Program we’ve created”
- [13:08] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “It was my self-confidence that was holding me back”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Appreciation instead of expectation”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Meditation”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Xero
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Essentialism and The Millionaire Master Plan
- [16:38] – Always do work in a business that has a deep connection to you
- 17:10 – Connect with Steven on his website
- 17:18 – Get Steven’s book at StevenBriginshaw.com/Fire
Steven: I’m fired up, John.
Steven: Let’s do this.
John: Steven is best-selling author, speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, and business mentor. His mission is to revolutionize accountancy, small business, and business education to help existing and future entrepreneurs solve meaningful problems to build purpose-led impact-making businesses.
Steven, take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Steven: Yeah, sure. Well, first of all, it’s a pleasure to be here with you, John and Fire Nation.
Steven: And I’m so excited. Thank you very much. So, yeah, I have a wonderful and very supportive wife. I have two amazing daughters who are 4 years old and 9 months old, and I learn so much from them. They’re such a great source of education and inspiration.
Oh, I’ve been fascinated with business and numbers since I was a young kid. I love the cinema, and I find it inspiring and energizing, and in particular at the moment, I’m loving the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. They are so cool.
I started my first business back in 2006. It’s been through lots of different iterations and lots of different businesses since then, but at the core, it’s always been about helping people, and I just love learning and sharing. But I don’t take myself too seriously either.
John: It’s good not to take ourselves too seriously, Fire Nation, which again is why I love starting every show off with, “Are you prepared to ignite?” Just a little silly, a little corny. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously here.
And Steven, what would you say is your area of expertise?
Steven: So, my area of expertise would be understanding the numbers and helping others to do the same in business because for me, numbers are the language of business but – I think it stems back to school. People either love or hate numbers and there’s no middle ground, unfortunately. And I think that may be something to do with the math teacher at the time, but that’s where my focus is and that’s where my expertise is.
John: And what’s something that we don’t know about the numbers as entrepreneurs that frankly we really should know?
Steven: Yes, a great question. Discount is the biggest killer of a business. It’s crazy. So, I wrote about this in my book “The Profits Principles,” and I show an example of how a small business turning a reasonable profit can actually very quickly make a loss with only a ten percent discount. It’s crazy the impact that discounts have.
So, I would say instead of giving discounts, always give more value instead. You know, throw in some bonuses that don’t cost you much money or time. Something that you’ve created and can re-release again, like a book, or an ebook, or videos, something along those lines just to still add value, and make the encouragement for people to buy, but don’t use discounts to do that.
John: Let’s talk about your worst entrepreneurial moment to date, Steven. Even someone as yourself who keeps his eye on the numbers, understands cash flow, net profits, paying yourself first, all of these things, you still have some struggles along your journey. So, take us to what you consider the worst entrepreneurial moment that you’ve experienced to date. Tell us that story.
Steven: Okay. So, I was really enjoying life and business was doing great. I’d just sold another company. We had income for our ideal lifestyle, and we went on great family holidays, and we were able to make decent investments as well from the sale proceeds, and had loads of time to do what I wanted to do. So, what I did was I focused on what was important to me because I wanted to nail my purpose. I really wanted to build a business around it because the businesses before that I’d started and stopped, or sold, they didn’t really quite have my true purpose at heart.
But the problem was, whilst I was doing that, I took my eye off the ball completely and my business started to go backwards. So, I had the belief that I wouldn’t move forward until I nailed my purpose clearly, and that was holding me back. And I didn’t necessarily want to get into my business because the purpose wasn’t quite right, but the same time, we were losing money effectively.
What actually happened, the business contracted to a point where my family and I had barely enough money to pay the bills. In fact, we had to dip into savings each month just to pay the bills, and we had to get rid of all of our luxuries, cut back on the living expenses. We really had to get back to the core of what we could afford and just be mindful of every penny that we spent.
Yeah, I knew I had to build the business back up, but to make things worse; we didn’t have any reasonable pipeline of prospects coming through because I just completely took my eye off the ball because I thought that we had enough clients. I got to the point, John, where I thought, you know, I might have made it. I’ve made it now. I’ve sold a business for a decent amount of money. I’ve got this other business that’s producing income. That’s it. Now I can put my feet up. And how wrong was I?
It went from, going from having everything that I thought I wanted to just scraping by with our savings reducing. It was devastating for me and my family, and it was horrible and scary, but interestingly, very humbling at the same time.
And it taught me two things, and it was that being in business is like going up a downward escalator. So, if you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards. So, that’s something that, it was a real big takeaway from that. And the other takeaway was that I had an issue with self-confidence. I realized I just didn’t – because I wanted to make my message perfect before I released it, that I just needed that extra little push just to get it out there because then once I did that, I realized that it’s actually when you get your message out. It’s from the real world, that’s when things start to really happen and take shape and you get more clarity and you can move towards where you really want to be.
John: So, Steven, if you could really just break it down for Fire Nation in one sentence, what is the thing that you want to make sure that we get from that story?
Steven: The biggest takeaway would definitely be to constantly be moving forward and constantly working on your business. I know it’s almost a cliché now, work on your business instead of in it, but you really do need to make sure that your business is moving forward towards your goals, and that it’s moving forward to where you want it to be. If you don’t have goals, I recommend that you get them but it just needs, you need to make sure that you have that progress. Because without that progress, you definitely are going backwards.
John: So, that was a great idea that you had, was really tracking your progress, having goals, etc. What’s one of your greatest AH-HA moments that you’ve had throughout your business career to date? Like, really take us to that story, Steven. Tell us that process of having that idea and how you turned it into success.
Steven: I was having a conversation with my business coach about money, and he stopped me dead in my tracks. He’d spotted something. And he said to me, “How do you plan to make the impact you want to make?” I said, “Well, through my business.” He replied, “Well, do you think your business can make that impact now?” I said, “Well, no, of course not. I need to grow it, and that costs money. It costs money to change the world.” And I was like, oh, boom. It hit me. It hit me right then.
I realized, ah, it does need money. I had this belief before that I didn’t necessarily feel that I wanted too much money. I thought that too much money was bad, and that I could live how I wanted to on decent but modest amounts of money, as well as still make an impact. But I realized in order to make the impact; I needed a lot of money.
So, first and foremost, to look after myself, to be fit and healthy, and eat nutritious food; to look after my family, to give peace of mind and happiness as much as possible; and for the business as well, to make it big enough for the impact that I want to make and the causes and projects that I passionately believe in. And that’s actually when I came up with my billion pledge at that point as well.
John: Let’s talk a little about that. What does that pledge really entail?
Steven: It’s got three characteristics. So, it’s making one billion impact through a social enterprise called “Buy One, Give One.” So, you can buy one, give one, as b1g1.com, it matches up charitable projects throughout the world and in enables businesses and individuals to contribute towards them. So, I wanted to make a billion impacts through that organization. I wanted to impact one billion people.
Now, my thought process at this moment in time is that it won’t be one billion people directly. It will be one billion people in total, indirectly. So some directly and some indirectly, and I wanted to have a business that was making one billion pounds worth of revenue every year.
That came to me, not particularly because of the money and it sounded like a good round number, but it just felt like with the aspirations I have to wanna help make the world a better place for everybody, like I wanna help eradicate poverty and everybody have their basic needs meet, and that we treat the world as one humanity, that we’re all one humanity in the world, and look after the planet. I realize that that’s actually gonna take a lot of money to do that, so I felt like an organization as big as one, you know, a billion pounds or a billion dollar organization was needed to actually create that.
John: That obviously has you really fired up today. I mean, that’s a huge audacious goal. As some people would say, a big, hairy, audacious goal, which we need in our lives, Fire Nation. Because a lot of people, they overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but they underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. And what that really says to me is that we bite off more that we can chew in a year’s time, so we get frustrated when we don’t quite get there.
But when we think ten years out, we don’t realize, like how much we can accomplish, and that billion dollars might seem like a huge number but man, let me tell you, it is so much easier to go from one million to one billion than it is going from zero to a million, because once you’ve gotten to a million, you know the things that work. You know what doesn’t work, and you just amplify what’s working and you – one hundred, one thousand, you know, one million. That’s literally what you can do to take it to that next level.
So, number one, be reasonable with your yearly goals as far as something you’re gonna really be able to accomplish that’s pushing your limits but it’s just not a moon shot. But don’t be undershooting your decade goals. Like, where could you be in ten years? Like, when I get to my mid-40s, where I could be right now? And I don’t wanna undershoot that. I don’t wanna say that by the time I turn 38, I’m gonna have this massive goal accomplished because that’s only a handful of months away. But I don’t wanna say, hey, by the time I’m 48, I’m gonna have 50 million dollars in the bank, because we can’t that be 500 or a billion? Like, why not have that moon shot for that decade time frame?
So, on that note, Steven, you’re obviously fired up about that. What else are you really fired up about today? Choose one thing, and dive into it for us.
Steven: The nut that’s really got me fired up is the Business Freedom Program that we’ve created. So, it’s a program designed to help business owners get freedom of choice over their time, the money for their ideal lifestyle, and to make the positive impact that they want to make. So, it’s for business owners who have six figures plus revenue, and they sell their time for money. So, it’s a journey that takes them from being stuck in their business, but that the business is completely dependent on them, to liberating themselves effectively from their business and being able to then scale that up.
Because one of the biggest problems that I’ve seen in business in working with business owners for the last 17 years, is that the business owner – and this is true for myself, is the biggest obstacle in any business, so we need to remove that. And the great work we’re doing right now, and the amazing business owners we have in the community, it’s mind-blowing. It’s just a blessing. It’s fantastic.
John: Well, Fire Nation, if you think this has been mind-blowing so far, just wait till the lightning round. That’s truly gonna be mind-blowing, as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Steven, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Steven: Yeah, let’s do it.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Steven: See, I’ve always loved business and luckily I’ve been, I’ve always been entrepreneurial, but it was my self-confidence that was holding me back from stepping into my best self. You know, my full entrepreneur self and making the impact that I wanted to make.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Steven: This is, appreciate instead of expect. And the best way to put that into a sentence is, instead of treating others how you expect to be treated, is treat others how you appreciate to be treated. And it’s a much more peaceful and enjoyable way to live.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Steven: Meditation, no doubt about it. It helps connect me with myself. I feel more centered, less stressed. I have more clarity and I make better decisions.
John: If you could recommend one internet resource, what would it be and why?
Steven: I absolutely love Xero, which is an online accounting software. And I think you had – I know you had Rod Drury on, didn’t you?
Steven: On an episode. I think it was 699. I listened to it the other day. Yeah, it’s so easy to use. It’s got great reporting, like real-time information. It’s got great add-on partners as well, and linking that up with Receipt Bank, it just helps easily make bookkeeping, it gets it done right. And great bookkeeping is the cornerstone of every business, and that’s what Xero and Receipt Bank enable to happen.
John: It really is. If you recommend just one book, what would it be and why?
Steven: Well, except my book – and, well, I was actually gonna mention –
John: Give it a plug.
Steven: Ah, okay. But so, it’s “The Profits Principles.” I wrote a book, actually I wrote the book last year. I released it last year. It took me three years to write. I don’t advise doing that ever. Again, the self-confidence thing. But yeah, it’s called “The Profits Principles: The practical guide to building an extraordinary business around doing what you love.” Well, I think it’s a fantastic book and I have a few cool testimonies and a few reviews on Amazon as well.
But other than that book, I was gonna mention “Essentialism,” but I know that’s a favorite of yours.
John: Yeah, it’s been a while though since someone’s said that. I mean, it was kinda like –
Steven: Oh, okay.
John: The EO Fire favorite for a few hundred episodes, and then it kind of faded, you know, as time went by and other books came out, so I’m glad you kind brought it back to the surface.
Steven: Oh, cool. Okay. Well, I’m glad I mentioned it. I almost didn’t. Almost didn’t. Yeah, just again, laser focus. It’s a fantastic book. But another one I don’t think has yet been mentioned, you can correct me if I’m wrong, is “The Millionaire Master Plan,” by Roger James Hamilton.
John: Never heard of it.
Steven: Ah, man, it’s awesome. So, I love how the book uses the Chinese Five Elements and the 7 Chakra principles in a way to help create a personalized path to financial success. That’s what it’s all about, and it takes you through the different levels of Chakra and links your strengths to the Chinese Five Elements, and that helps you to create that personalized path to lead yourself up the lighthouse, Roger calls it, to personal success and business success as well.
John: I’ve got the sample Kindle coming my way, so if I like it in the first 15 percent, I’ll keep on reading, Steven.
And let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Steven: The parting piece of guidance would be always do work in your business that has a deeper connection to you. You always hit challenges in business, and it’s the passion and love for your work, or the impact that you want to make that’s so important, because without it, your business will fail. There’s only so much resilience you have, and willpower, but with it you will keep smashing through challenges and build a bigger, better, and greater impact making business.
And yes, to connect with me, you can visit stevenbriginshaw.com/fire. All my social media buttons are there, as also a free copy of my book for Fire Nation, early access to the next Business Freedom Program, and you can book a free coaching call as well, if that’s something that you wanted help with.
John: Wow, that’s a huge page right there, Fire Nation, stevenbriginshaw.com/fire. A free coaching call, his book for free, all that other stuff that he mentioned. Get on over there, stevenbriginshaw.com/fire.
And Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. And you’ve been hanging out with SB and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, just type Steven in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time stamps, links galore. And I do want to note, that’s Steven with a V.
Steven, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the –
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