Want to discover how you can implement the ‘milking the top 10%’ strategy to attract more of your ideal clients? Wondering what business we would start right now if our #1 objective was to make money?
Maybe you’d like to hear our suggestions for the first steps you can take to make your business more sustainable? This episode is jam-packed full of useful answers to interesting questions. Enjoy!
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0:00 - 1:40 Introduction
1:40 - 4:17 Milking the top 10%
4:17 - 6:27 Working with family
6:27 - 8:06 Recruitment Agencies
8:06 - 10:28 Sustainability, well-being and fun
10:28 - 11:08 One Dan Knowlton verses 10 Tiny Lloyd Knowltons
11:08 - 14:23 Creative Ideas
14:23 - 15:12 Dame Judi Dench or Mary Berry?
15:12 - 15:27 Private DM’s
15:27 - 18:16 Biggest learning experience?
18:16 - 19:21 Sweetcorn, Badgers and Wee
19:21 - 21:27 Consistent Leads
21:27 - 23:33 Pet Peeves in Growing a Business
23:33 - 25:41 Scripts and Concepts
25:41 - 26:41 Outro
Hi, Lloyd, the CEO here. Have you ever wanted to ask the more superior, smarter and arguably sexier Knowlton brother a question? Well, a few of you anchors got the chance to last week.
You lucky people. I'm answering such questions as what is it like working with your brother? And how is he holding you back? And if you were to start a new business today with the number one objective to make money, and it couldn't be a video and social media marketing agency, what would it be and why? Oh, this one was a bit cheeky.
What can I do to stop badgers from eating my sweetcorn and carrots? This is the last solo episode for me and I need to sit down because my back is hurting from carrying this podcast. Don't worry, normal service resumes next week, but for now, you're listening to Episode 105 of the business anchors podcast.
Welcome to the second and final Lloyd solo episode of the business anchors podcast. I won't be doing another one of these until Dan has another baby. I don't know if that's ever gonna happen. So, Dan will be back next week, fresh from paternity leave will probably look absolutely shattered but, he'll be back with you next week.
This week, I have got questions from you business anchors listeners and I'm gonna be answering as many as I can. I put out a post to the listeners saying can you ask me stuff so I can answer because I've got to do another solo episode. You actually have asked loads of questions. I've got loads written down here. So, I'm gonna get through them.
The first question is from the real Phil Slater and he says, you often talk about milking the top 10%. So you attract the kind of projects that are bigger and better than the previous. But as the business has grown, and projects have got bigger, how has your work stack evolved? Do you still take on the smaller, less sexy jobs you once did? Or are you more selective, and why?
So firstly, those that haven't heard us talk about milking the top 10%. It's a bit of a weird business anchor phrase we use, but it's basically using the best 10% of your work as your kind of marketing stuff. To attract more of the best work, a lot of people do really well at marketing, but they use the whole range of work that they do.
So, they kind of do a job that pays hardly anything or that isn't as creative as they want or not as enjoyable as they want and they throw out to the world and be like, Look what I've done and of course, what that does is it attracts more of that level of work. Whereas we say "milk that is in the top 10%". If you're working on a client that pays you double, or you're working on a client and that project, you know, your team absolutely loves working on it. It's really enjoyable.
Just talk about that stuff. So you attract more of that stuff. So Phil, thank you for your question. I'm kind of asking like, do we still take on those less sexy jobs and that kind of thing. We're always aiming to do the sexiest jobs and the jobs that pay the best. You can be most creative with the best budgets, kind of make our team enjoy the work as much as possible.
The reality is, I think every business has peaks and troughs, and every business has times when they're busy and less busy. I want to be really clear that even though we've grown quite a lot, and we're managing to do some really creative projects, if there's a less sexy job that kind of pays the bills for a week, and we've got a week free, then we'll definitely take that on, you know, we definitely would value doing any work that pays our team's wages, rather than not doing that and then, you know, jobs being less stable and that kind of thing.
So, yeah, we definitely take on the less sexy work but we have a nice variety. I will always want to take on that work. It's always good to have those smaller projects that fill those gaps. It's always good to learn from a variety of different types of things. So yeah, that's what we do.
Next question is from Ed Pernell. What is it like working with your brother and how is he holding you back? So, it's absolutely brilliant working with my brother, I'll be nice about him because he's not here. I wouldn't say it to his face.
I think we're really lucky that we have something unique running a business and I think even business partners that are friends or kind of colleagues or acquaintances don't have this and we have 100% trust that no matter what happens to the other one, we will support each other so I know if I have a freak gardening accident whilst growing my cucumbers tomorrow and both my legs get chopped off. I have 100% faith that Dan will work his ass off to make this business successful while I'm not here and support and do his best to support me and my family.
The other way around too. If Dan, you know, if his Hera t-shirt addiction gets out of hand, and he needs more money, and he's I've spent it on t-shirts again, Lloyd, he knows that I'll work my ass off to feed that addiction and make sure he and his family are okay. So, yeah, that's why I love working with Dan and working with my brother, it's really unique that you can have a business partner that you know, is 100% as committed to your happiness and your success as you are and that's really special.
How does he hold me back? He definitely held me back, we held each other back. So I would say Dan holds me back from being as creative as I could be. He holds me back from New weird ideas and I hold him back by not working as hard as he does. I think the reality is both of those things are good things. So we actually rein each other in. So, like I was saying he raised me in from crazy ideas that probably would end up being a distraction and I rein him in from working crazy hours because he's very motivated and sometimes he gets into that kind of mindset. we hold each other back but overall, it's a good thing. Thank you, Ed.
Speaking of the devil Dan Knowlton said, if you were to start a new business today with the number one objective to make money and it couldn't be a video and social media marketing agency, what would it be and why? Well, Hi, Dan, I hope you're listening because you're not here. So, I'd be offended if you're not listening. Do you know what I was thinking about this, if the objective was purely to make money, I would genuinely start a recruitment agency. There are a few reasons for this.
One, they already make shitloads of money from the recruitment agencies, they work hard and make loads of money. So if that's the objective, that's an industry I'm going into, but I think the job market over the next 10 to 20 years is already moving this way.
But there are less and less unskilled jobs because of automation and that kind of thing. The skilled jobs are getting even more important to get the best people in certain positions. The skilled jobs are actually becoming even more skilled and niche. So I think recruitment agencies are going to earn even more in the future and the money's going to be crazy, because finding that extremely skilled person that's going to do the best job is going to be really valuable for business.
Those less skilled jobs just aren't going to exist anymore. I probably do that. I think because I've got the skills of Hopefully, I've got some skills of managing people and I think that's what's needed in recruitment. You're kind of selling your people's time basically, that's your product. So I think it'd be alright.
PS, I would absolutely hate to run a recruitment agency, and I'm never gonna do it but if I had to make more money, that's what I would do.
Right, this is more like it. This is good. Sarah Cardwell, I'd love to know more about the growth of veg for the team event turning 2023. I think it's such a great idea for so many reasons. Sustainability, wellbeing, fun, our planet, I think it's fab. How would you encourage other businesses to start making an impact?
So firstly, for those of you who are wondering what Sarah is talking about, we've just started composting, our food scraps in our coffee grounds here and that compost is going to go into the veg garden, which is then going to feed our team for a summer barbecue in 2023. So it's like it's got a whole sustainable lifecycle. Yeah, very exciting, if you like gardening or sustainability and it's boring a shit if you don't.
Regarding the question of how you would encourage other businesses to start making an impact, there are about 10 people asking me this kind of thing. So thank you guys, there are other people other than Sarah, thank you very much. We're doing some big things, but I would encourage any business that wants to start or a small business that wants to start to start with some really small thing. So we're a positive impact crew that we have at work, we had a meeting, and we set actions to take small steps. Some of the things we're doing are such simple actions that will have a good long-term effect.
So I think people think it needs to be more complicated than it is but as an example of some of the actions that have come out of our team, one of them was to buy a timer for the drinks fridge. So basically, the drinks fridge won't be on at the weekend and night. And that will take someone about five minutes to find a timer and then plug it in. One of the actions was to turn the aircon off occasionally and open the windows. Another one was to buy a reusable, washable hand towel.
So we stopped using paper towels. So I guess my overall answer would be like don't worry about overcomplicating things. Get anyone in the room from your business that gives a shit about this stuff, and just start planning some really simple things that will have a positive impact on the planet. Thank you, Sarah.
Moby has asked, super serious question, who would win this fight? One Dan Knowlton verses 10 Tiny Lloyd Knowlton's. I reckon 10 tiny Lloyd Knowlton's, I'm backing myself here. I just think surely like 10 of me, I could distract him with a couple like on his arms and his face and stuff and I could just have one of them just like punching him in his, you know, in his area.
He could just you could really get a tactical one on his other side and you know, twisting his nipples and yeah, it will just get creative with it. I could definitely win. Yeah, back to myself there.
Now, Ollie Holt says can I be greedy and asked two, please? erm nope, right on to the next question. Only joking, Ollie. Yes, you can ask two. How do you come up with your creative ideas? Is there any kind of process or inspiration? Does it depend on the topic, situation, etc? oh, his second question is about sustainability, the same one as before, so I'll focus on that one.
So, yeah, there's definitely a process that kind of gets us to have the best ideas. I think a lot of people just think with creativity, you just need talent. So creative people are in a room, and it will just happen. What we found is actually starting, we need to improve and we're on a journey but we're improving our process of getting the most creative ideas out.
To simplify the process that we use we get a load of us in the room and talk through important things like who's the target market? So who do we need to relate to this piece of content that we're creating? What are the objectives of these videos? What are the budgets and that kind of thing? Then we have a group discussion where we kind of throw ideas at the wall, and we probably write some stuff on a whiteboard, and just kind of throw ideas out there, get our creative juices flowing. Something that we found useful beyond that, then we take a period of time where we all leave the room and we independently go away and kind of look for outside inspiration and write down our ideas independently.
I always say that you get the best results by looking for inspiration outside of your industry. So if we're making an ad for an insurance company, we're not looking at insurance ads, we're looking at the best comedy sketches in the world, where we're looking at the best films in the world, and getting inspiration from those things, and then coming back together. That time independently is really important.
Then we come back, we kind of talked through all of these ideas and inspiration and take it in turns to present our ideas, and you need to have a very trusting and open environment with your culture because we all need to be prepared for people to become like, oh, yeah, that's, that's a bit rubbish that one and, and that's completely fine. That's part of the process. So we put loads of ideas out there, it's probably going to be at least 30 Different ideas from the team and we'll have five or six really good ones.
We have a whole process of how we kind of vote as a team to get to the best ideas. So we all write down firstly, like our top three ideas from the team and we kind of eliminate any that haven't got any votes and we gradually discuss it and get down to like, the ultimate creative idea. So I have simplified that process but yeah, that's part of the process that we use. It takes a lot of time, effort and processes to get to the best creative stuff I found but we're still working on it.
Dion Moorish, what a name Dion Moorish says who would win in a fight Dame Judi Dench, or Mary Berry. I'm gonna say, Dame Judi Dench, because Mary Berry. I think her hands are a bit she's got arthritis and stuff. I don't think she's gonna be punching and I think she looks more frail. I guess what I'm saying is Dame Judi Dench, I think she's got some fight in her.
I also saw a birthday card once. I think I received one but it's said by Dame Judi Hench, or something like that. She's got big muscles that might have swayed me. But yeah, basically Mary Berry I think has no chance. Sorry. Great cakes, terrible fighting skills.
The next one is from Sarah Knowlton. Lloyd, can you please clean up after yourself? You're a disgrace. There are skids. Oh, no, sorry. That's a press private message that is actually sorry. That's what my wife will skip. skip over that one. Sorry. Thank you, Sarah.
The next one is Liz Hamlet. What's been your one biggest learning since you launched Knowlton? Oh, this is a really good question, Liz. And I think the honest answer is there are so many, I can't work out what the biggest one is, but one that I've really been thinking about recently and I've been kind of mulling it over. And I feel like it's something really big, maybe you'll disagree.
The best ideas and the best work quite often come from the quietest person in the room and I guess the reason I've been thinking about this is I'm seeing opportunities now. Where we've hired people that have been less confident or less experienced and have been open about that and now working with them over a long period of time.
I'm kind of like, I know that they're absolutely brilliant. I'm kind of thinking a lot of people wouldn't have given them that opportunity or hired them because they're not overconfident. They're not talking really confidently about being the best person ever. I think a lot of businesses are missing out on some brilliant people because of that.
Basically, I think there's zero correlation between confidence, and kind of loudness, willingness to speak up and kind skill level and quality in how people can work. I think in business, a lot of business owners and I have in the past, made big mistakes. If someone appears confident or is a louder person, we listen to them more and value their thoughts and ideas more.
My experience tells me more and more to listen to the quiet person in the room and give the quieter, less confident people the time and encouragement needed to feel that they can speak up more and come forward with their ideas because in my experience, they're normally the best.
Yeah, I love working with people that maybe haven't been given the opportunity yet and a less confident and then seeing those amazing skills come out and their confidence grow over time. I think as business owners, a lot of us make the mistake of interviewing people and hiring someone because they're really confident and tell us that they're brilliant.
Actually, I suppose there's a skill in confidence and pretending you know your stuff. It often isn't the case. That was weird and a bit rambly but something I've been thinking about a lot. So, I love those types of people that are quieter but brilliant at their job and have great ideas.
Mark Telford says What can I do to stop badgers eating my sweetcorn and carrots? That's a real question. No smutty and no innuendo here. Mark didn't think that was an innuendo. I don't know what you're talking about there. Right, you're gonna think I've made this up, Mark, but I genuinely haven't.
I did some research to keep badgers away from your veg. One of the genuine things that works apparently is spreading male urine because they think that it's another male territory and they go away. So Mark, wee somewhere near the veg patch, not on it, because that'll mean not going around your house for dinner. Wee somewhere near the veg patch.
Also, chillies irritate badgers' noses, so spread some chillies around. Definitely don't do those at the same time. I'd say if you're handling chillies, don't also go for a wee because that's only going to end in tears, Mark. But yeah, choose one or the other. Thank you, Mark. Enjoy that. Tell me how you get on.
Mabina Kadir says, 'what did you do initially to provide you with consistent leads?' We didn't, if I'm honest, like early in the business we didn't have consistent leads and I think that's probably why you're asking Mabina. It's a real challenge especially when you're starting out in business, and through a whole growth journey, it's been a challenge but consistent leads is a real big challenge of growing a business and running a business. I would say if there's something I can hopefully help with, most of our actions over the time since we started Knowlton, our actions have been I'm trying to create consistent leads in the long term rather than the short term and I think that's majorly helped.
So investing time in our brand and investing time in consistently putting out content over years and years, growing our reputation and growing our audience online. And that's now allowed us to get to a point where when we put a new piece of content out, we will always get one or two leads from that video or from whatever piece of content that is. So I guess, yeah, we're at that point now, but it's taken years to get there.
But I think what has helped us and saved us is constantly focusing on what is going to get you to that point in the long term rather than short-term hacks of, you know, how can I sell today? And I know that's a constant challenge because you also need to make money and sell today, but yeah, long-term mindset is definitely something that's helped us.
Paul says, "when will everything branded.co.uk's superbly thought out idea be ready for millions of people to experience the love that keeps giving from none other than everyone's best friend, Timothy Tissues?" Paul said we're working with Everything Branded. And we've been shooting it and it's currently being edited. So, depending on when this goes out, Paul, it could be out now or you know, in the next couple of weeks, so business anchors, listeners, keep your eyes out for that new Knowlton work for Everything Branded.
Sarah Stiffen says, "your pet peeves that you see branded around about growing a business, or how to get rid of black fly from runner beans' '. I won't do the gardening one, I think you've had enough gardening stuff, and Mark's already weeing on his badgers. Pet peeves, I would say, people giving out advice that only helps in the short term, I think there's loads of that in the online business community of how to sell this today or how to make this money today.
Most of it, you damage your long-term prospects of actually growing a business and doing well, in the long term. Oh, also okay, no this is definitely my pet peeve. People giving advice just about increasing your prices, and thinking that that's enough.
Again, that's like a short-term thing people are like, 'no, know your worth, improve your increase your pricing charge more' and then it's like right now I'm charging double, and I'm still just as shit at my job so no one's buying it. That's harsh. Sorry, obviously not everyone's shit at their job, but I think the focus should be much more on improving your skills so that you can charge more or improving the value add in your business so that you can charge more. There are gurus kind of saying right, double your price or times it by five or ten and get these high-value customers.
And the reality is they're letting you down because most of the time you increase your prices by double and then you won't win the business that you would have and don't have the opportunity to improve the skills. In the long term earn more. So yeah, a bit ranty there. Sorry, Sarah, but that definitely is a pet peeve of mine.
Go to a motivational song. Oh, this was from someone on Instagram. I haven't got your name sorry, Instagram user. James Brown, I feel good. I think it's impossible to not feel good. If you're singing along kind of saying I feel good. It works for me anyway. Yeah, like that.
How long does it take you to concept up some of your scripts? How long does it take you to go? How do you do it they're always so on the money? Is it just like muscle memory? Why Celeste from another anonymous Instagram user, sorry, lovely Instagram user. I spoke a lot earlier about the process. So, I won't go into that. But thinking about how long it takes, it genuinely takes a lot of time and brainpower to get to the point and ensure that they are on the money.
It's not kind of just, oh, we've got a talent here and a massive person with a big brain. I know that's what you're thinking, That's me. That's not what happens. It's actually just putting the time and the thought and the effort into making sure everything's perfect.
So there are small details that can really transform a project and make it perform amazingly better than it would have done. We just put the time into making sure that we work out those smaller details and find out what they are. For example, a client we worked with recently designed clouds working with them again. There were small things like someone watching fleabag, which is a great TV show, if you haven't seen it, and sort of said I'll be amazing if our character could turn to the camera and say these lines that would be a really good part of it.
And it's like yeah, that may you know that made the whole video 5% better. Then someone said, Oh, we should make the main character really competent, so it can be relatable to competent decision-makers because before we were taking the mickey out of a more incompetent character, and again, that makes it 10% better and people relate to it more. Then someone said, you know, the leader should be female, because female leaders are really underrepresented in these sorts of videos on LinkedIn.
Again, that makes the video 10% better. So all of these small things that we take the effort to find, have a massive effect. And that's why people like you, thank you very much, say you know, 'how your ideas and your video so on the money', it's because we've put the time and effort to really focus on those small things that make a big difference.
Cool. Is that the last? I think that's actually my last question there. So actually, we've got lots more questions that we could do another episode with, but I'm gonna finish up on that one. Thank you, everyone, for sending in questions we actually had, yeah, a lot of questions, but a lot of them crossed over. If I didn't answer yours, thank you very much. Appreciate it. We might even do another episode.
Who knows? Let us know if you want it. Dan will be back next week. If you absolutely hated the last two episodes, don't worry. Dan is back next week and he'll make it good. Thank you for listening to the business anchors podcast sponsored by Adobe Express. Lloyd and Dan Knowlton will see you in your ears next week.