Lessons from a secret millionaire

By: Sara Drawwater

Date: 7 January 2013

Lessons from a secret millionaire/never give up{{}}I recently went to a seminar called “How the secret millionaire communicates with customers” at Business Focus, Peterborough. Mike Greene is a self-made businessman who had appeared on Channel Four’s Secret Millionaire TV programme.

I hope Mike doesn’t mind me sharing my take on the best bits of his talk. Here are his tips on the road to success, growing a successful business, connecting with customers and on giving.

The road to success 

  1. Tough times don’t last but tough people do.
  2. Anyone can be successful so long as they just don’t give up.
  3. Failure is a lesson — you have to fail to become successful.
  4. If you fail the first time and don’t go back to try again, you will miss such amazing views.
  5. We go where we focus, so don’t focus on failure.
  6. The last yards are always the hardest. Most people give up when they are so close to a break.
  7. You might be going up and down on a daily basis. You might feel like you are going backwards. But if you look at progress over a period of time, the trend will be up.
  8. The power of association is incredible — surround yourself with the right people.
  9. If you read for 15 minutes a day that equates to 90 hours a year. Reading is so important that if you’re too tired to read in bed, stand up and read!
  10. Les Brown, Live Your Dreams is recommended reading.
  11. Nick Vujicic's story is recommended for inspiration to finish strong.
  12. Every year challenge yourself to do something that scares you and takes you right out of your comfort zone — this will help change your outlook on business.

Growing a successful business

  1. Setting up and growing businesses is always going to be a challenge, otherwise everyone would do it.
  2. Cashflow is more important than sales.
  3. Don’t compete on price.
  4. If you haven’t had business challenges then you are taking it too easy. Or the challenges are yet to come.
  5. There is always evidence for the negative, even whilst some are doing well. Find who is doing well and emulate them.
  6. Don’t be a perfectionist. 90% today is better than 0% never.
  7. People are the most important asset to your business. They’re so important to Kip Tindell of the Container Store that he chooses them carefully, and then pays twice the going rate. Read about his philosophies here and here.
  8. Tiny changes can transform your business and create momentum — find them.
  9. Work on making yourself better rather than constantly assessing your competitors.

Connecting with customers

  1. Don’t communicate with your customers, connect with them.
  2. We are communicated at all the time and most things pass us.
  3. Look for and care about what is important to your customers.
  4. Show you truly care and connect in away that is really cool. See Starbucks on first name terms as inspiration (watch the video).
  5. You win when you truly understand and connect with your customers.
  6. Tips on how to connect with your customers can be found in Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ The biggest message in this book is, sell the why and not the what.
  7. Note that no Apple ad talks about functionality — the best marketing connects unconsciously. And don’t we all love Apple adverts?
  8. The product you are selling should become secondary in order to move the relationship from functional to emotional.
  9. Social media is changing everything.

Tips on giving

  1. Getting involved with charities will transform your business, it also changes your outlook on business.
  2. Make time to give and get involved in a charity when you are growing you business, even when you think you don’t have time or money.

More on Mike Greene:

Sara Drawwater is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and runs her own creative consultancy, Something Beckons.