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Siimon Reynolds on money, marketing and why people fail

Siimon ReynoldsHe is one of the Australia’s most respected entrepreneurs and has taken home almost every advertising award in the world for his creativity. Siimon Reynolds built The Photon Group from nothing, to 50 companies with 6,000 staff and a value of $500m on the ASX, making it the 15th largest marketing group in the world.

“What are the reasons people fail?” I ask Siimon as he sits across from me in a black Mercedez.

“Well there’s a stack of them…” He says laughingly, “and I’ve experienced most of them.”

His overall message is clear, “Pick one thing and become the greatest in the world at it.” Siimon illustrates the importance, particularly in the early stages of business, of knowing your core business activity and sticking to it. “There’s so much competition, unless you specialise and unless you focus, why should anyone go to you?”

While building The Photon Group, Siimon went from a two-man band, to owning over 50 companies, most of which were still in the growth phase of their business.

“70% of your time within the first year of a new business should be spent on sales and marketing. And that’s not the case, the research shows that 11% ofa business owners time is spent on sales and marketing. But that’s the stuff that keeps you alive.”

Siimon indicates the keys to marketing are what he refers to as ‘recency and frequency’.

“Often it’s the recency and frequency with which you have contacted a client that gets you that client. It gets you on the short list and gets you top of mind and this makes them want to ring you or go and buy your product and service.”

By automating this frequent contact with your target market, Siimon explains that you will remain top of mind for the client. While in advertising, Siimons’ companies would contact prospective clients 16 times a year.

“We moved from people hearing from us once a year, to people hearing from us 16 times a year. And that’s everything from articles that were useful, phone calls, presentations or inviting them lunch or sending them gifts or sending them books or giving them a birthday card.” A move which obviously paid dividends, “What happened was that numerous times we’d be put on short lists for big accounts, simply because we had recently contacted them when they wanted to look for a new ad agency.”

[Next: Siimon Reynolds in a video interview]

For small business owners Siimon explains the importance of applying this strategy. “Have a calendar of contact points, so that you know that over the course of 12 months you’re going to be hitting your target market, this many times and in this many ways. And diarise it.”

Siimon says that truly adopting a learning mindset around marketing and business, will put you way in front of any industry…“I don’t have to brighter than everybody else, I don’t have to have more money than everybody else, I don’t have to have more luck than everybody else, I just have to outlearn everybody. And that’s a very easy thing to do because almost no one is focused on continual learning. If you spend even one hour each day learning, and then the rest of the day applying what you learnt, you would revolutionise any industry. You would be a top-performer.”

You can follow Siimon at www.thefortuneinstitute.com.

Jack Delosa heads up The Entourage, a movement that connects Australia’s best entrepreneurs with Australia’s next entrepreneurs.

Jack Delosa

Jack Delosa

20-something Jack is executive director of The Entourage, Australia's largest network of 18-to-35 year-old entrepreneurs. He is the youngest Australian in history to sit on the Board of Small Business Development Corporation, a parliamentary elected body which advises the Minister for Small Business. Last year he was one of Dynamic Business Magazine's Young Guns.

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