Siimon Reynolds sits down with Dynamic Business to talk entrepreneurial hunting, the structure of magic, boredom, and why he loves his new business radio show.
He’s back! After over a decade of living in the USA and mentoring some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, high-performance guru Siimon Reynolds has returned to Australia and launched a new radio show.
“I was approached by Disrupt Radio and thought it was a fascinating concept, an entire radio station devoted to business, entrepreneurship and cutting-edge commercial things,” he explains.
Disrupt Radio broadcasts live digital content, which can also be listened to later as podcasts. Siimon says there is strong move from traditional to digital radio overseas and predicts Australia will follow.
With access to the world’s most successful business leaders, deciding who to interview for the show is no easy task.
“I’m kind of selfish. If I would like to sit down with them, I assume there are many other people who’d like to hear the conversation as well.
“It’s a mixture of people I know and admire and people that our production team find who I may not have thought about. For instance, there’s this guy by the name of Bryce Capp who runs, of all things, an online wallpaper company in country Queensland. I’d never heard of Milton and King, but you should see this company. It’s incredible. They sell the chicest wallpaper to the world, and all from country Queensland.”
Ignore the shiny new objects
While acknowledging the impact of trends like social media and AI, Siimon believes focusing on the latest business fad is a distraction.
“These things are important, but in the end, they’re not the essence of business,” he explains. “They’re just tools that might assist with the essence of business. And the essence of business is to create a product that people want, reach out to them so they know about it and then convince them to buy it.
“When you talk to great businessmen and women, as I have in the Business Lounge Podcast, you see that they keep things very simple. That’s not to say they won’t use anything that comes along, but so many people are mistaking the icing of business, the ever-changing elements that pop up, with the core, which is leading people to your product or service.”
Siimon acknowledges that keeping your business simple and avoiding distractions is a challenge.
“A journalist in the States interviewed Warren Buffett and Bill Gates together, and he asked them to both write down on a piece of paper the secret to business in one word. They both wrote the same word, and the word was focus.
“Every one of the podcast interviewees is super focused. Super focused on doing one business and super focused on doing it really well.”
Siimon believes one of the least discussed elements of running a business is boredom.
“The business looks exciting from the outside, but in the case of someone like John McGrath, he’s been doing the same thing day after day for close to 40 years.
“They’ve had to fight the desire to go and do something else, and they’ve stuck with their company with an extraordinary focus. And that often means beating boredom. It means beating the temptation to try and look for the next shiny object.”
So, we should avoid shiny new objects, but how do we maintain McGrath-like singlemindedness?
“There was a book written several decades ago by George Leonard called Mastery, which analysed what it took to achieve mastery in any field,” Siimon explains. “George found that one of the most important aspects was you’ve got to enjoy the process, not just the outcome, the tinkering with things, the practising, the refining. Many people don’t want to do that because they’re infatuated with the outcome, not the day-to-day. Great business people enjoy the tiny, endless iterations that they make to reach something that, from the outside, people eventually view as mastery.
“And it reminds me, the very first book on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), the mind training that’s so popular around the world, was called The Structure of Magic. And I really love that title because to everybody outside, when they watch the business masters who we interview, they think what they have achieved is almost magical. But there’s an enormous amount of structure inside it. There is structure to magic. And these people love that structure. That’s focus, and it’s also a long-term time perspective.”
Like all parents, Siimon is acutely aware that time is a finite resource.
“I’ve got a five-year-old and a nine-year-old, and I find it difficult to do business at the same level I did when I was single,” he admits. “The amount of time you have is dramatically reduced, probably 50% reduced, but I’ve got much better at time management.
“Almost everything I do during the day has a timer to it. So, I don’t have a meeting; I have a 20-minute meeting. I don’t just work on emails; I work on emails for 10 minutes. That’s really helped.
Siimon’s productivity hacks
- Ruthlessly follow the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule). Only a handful of things you do will make a difference.
- Identify the top three tasks for the day and the top three for the week. Siimon tries all day just to get those three most important things done.
- Remember what Stephen Covey, the legendary management expert, said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
- If you avoid a specific part of the business, hit the books and master it.
- Delegate. Stop believing you must do something to maintain your high standards.
Siimon’s top three sales tips
- Daily prospecting. Unless you spend one hour a day at the absolute minimum on growing your company, and bringing leads in, the chances of you being a high-growth company are close to zero.
- Design an organised process that takes a lead or a prospect all the way through to buying your product. It’s not hard to triple your sales with a sales process.
- Study and refine your techniques for at least 20 minutes every day. Within two years, you will know more than almost everybody else. And don’t just learn, implement.
Looming competitive threats
Siimon says that one of the main challenges entrepreneurs face is the business sands keep shifting.
“In the old days, you could have a sales system, a product, and a marketing methodology that was exactly the same for 20 years. Things move so fast now that you get overtaken unless you are looking for new ways to improve or even get rid of your initial method and replace it with something better. The competition is fiercer, and the competition knows it must get better. So, you’ve got to keep getting better a lot faster.
“The second challenge is your product usually does not have a competitive edge for a long period, and that’s because everything’s so transparent. In the old days, unless you had a shop that everybody could walk into, it was quite hard to see what the competitors were doing. Now you can see it on their websites. You can see their process, what their pluses and minuses are, what their staffing levels are like, and their philosophies about what they sell. That can be copied very quickly, so you don’t have a sustainable product advantage for long.
“And finally, we’re overwhelmed with too much to do in our lives, so we must become extraordinary at human effectiveness. It is incredible that you can go to Harvard and spend US$80,000 every year on your business degree and, at the end of it, have learned almost nothing about personal productivity. No one has taught us how to work, yet it’s the master skill.
“And you look at some of the entrepreneurs that we both know, and they don’t just have a good product and they don’t just work hard; they’re extraordinarily productive compared to someone who might be working the same number of hours. That’s the challenge. How do you get things done in a world where you are constantly being interrupted by humans and various types of information media?”
Siimon mentions an online community called Few Will Hunt. “Their main line is this, ‘Everybody wants to eat, but Few Will Hunt.’ And good entrepreneurs know they have to keep hunting all the time. The Few Will Hunt movement is trying to bring back the sanctity of hard work, and I think they have a point: people have forgotten to work hard.
“Success takes time; it takes a lot of hardship. There’s a very interesting organisation in the States called the Ewing Marion Kauffman Institute, and its only purpose is to study entrepreneurship. Their research shows it takes a long time to create a successful business for almost everyone, and that’s exactly opposite to what most people think because of social media or what the media tells you.”
Mastery is our biggest opportunity
Siimon believes that tomorrow’s business titans will not find an industry; they will find a way of living.
“Your greatest opportunity is to reach mastery of your own human performance. The great opportunity is for us to get better, not to discover some business idea or knowledge. Right now, it’s never been easier or cheaper or quicker to learn how to do business better, whether you get a business coach or [study] one of the many business courses that are available online or offline. Business education opportunities have absolutely exploded, and everyone can dramatically improve in business if they have an obsessive learning mindset. That’s the great opportunity of our era, not any technology or service.”
Learn more about Siimon’s business mentoring and coaching services here.
Disrupt Radio can be-live streamed here.