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All posts from July 2019

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597: When Sales Stops Working

What do you do when ‘sales’ stops working in your (otherwise) sustainable business?

We fix it! (What’s the alternative?)

First: Is it you?

There’s one of three reasons why your sales would decrease. The first is the most common: you’re the problem.

Not the market, not the platform… you.

How can you be the problem? Simple: you break it.

You could overcook the “marketing” with overly-complex technology solutions you don’t fully understand. Now it’s broken.

You could decide to try to improve on an undocumented sales process by introducing yet more undocumented sales process. Now nobody knows what they’re doing.

You could misallocate resources to sales, instead under-investing in training or development. Now nobody’s taking ownership of sales.

Any of these sound familiar? If so, you broke it. Fix it by refocusing on your audience.

Next: Is it the market?

The second way to break your sales, aside from you breaking it yourself, is when the market changes… and you didn’t notice.

Perhaps a competitor disrupted your space, and you had no response nor competitive advantage to combat it. Now you’re less desirable.

Or maybe the needs of your target audience changed, and you’re no longer solving a need that they have. Now you’re behind and have fewer leads.

Sound familiar? If so, you stopped paying attention to your market. Fix it by refocusing on your audience.

Lastly: Is it the platform.

The last way to break your sales is when platforms evolve… and you didn’t evolve with them.

Perhaps you’re an commerce company and Facebook Ads started dropping in sales. You didn’t notice Facebook is controlling more of the process and prefer to serve higher-ticket items for their own profitability. Your strategy for the platform didn’t adapt to the landscape, and now you’re behind.

Or maybe you’re running AdWords on a product with thin profit margins and the price of your keywords increased to the point of break-even… and your business model didn’t create back-end repeat business to absorb the rising cost of acquisition. Your strategy for the platform didn’t adapt to the landscape, and now you’re behind.

Sound familiar? If so, your business needs to simply adapt to the rules of the platform; they’re the same rules for everybody! Fix it by refocusing on your audience (so connect at lower CPA and increase CLV).

Whatever the reason for a drop in sales, the answer is usually the same: Refocus on your audience.


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596: Strategy VS Hard Work

If we have the right business strategies, can we circumvent the need for hard work?

If that’s the goal, it’s normally the wrong goal:

Strategy without hard work

We’re sold this structure in almost every marketing advert we see online.

“There’s one secret trick you don’t have that enables easy success. Sign up for the webinar now.”

Of course, it’s premises like this that give “marketing” a bad name.

You see, this is unnatural in our current market. Effective, easy things either (due to saturation) become less effective or less easy. Things lose their luster when everyone is doing them, don’t they?

The moment it becomes less ‘easy’, the promise of “strategy without hard work” goes out of the window. This is typically when a particular corner of the marketplace enrolls into the next ‘secret trick’ for ‘easy success’.

What’s the alternative to this fruitless merry-go-round?

Strategy plus hard work

When we’re not afraid of a little hard work, we open up new avenues for our business.

While everyone else is chasing the next “easy, sure thing”, you can concentrate on refining your execution until it becomes truly effective.

That’s not to say every day must be ‘hard’… Rather, it’s a call to ‘putting our effort where our hearts are’. If that leads to  the success of the businesses we work on and for the benefit of our teams, customers and causes they support, we need not fear hard work.

We’re not ‘missing a trick’ because we exceeded a four-hour work week this week. It’s simply an assurance that we’ll thrive.

I love the leverage we can create from implementing good strategies. That’s why our teams put so much energy into programs like, which help businesses communicate more clearly. But, as anyone will know who goes through our programs, those who get the best results aren’t just sat waiting for success to land on their laps. Instead, they’re prepared to relentlessly and methodically execute upon the right strategies until they create the results they’re looking for.

Do you have the right strategies AND the readiness to work hard?


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595: Carry The Curse Of Quality

Every time I make something, I’m haunted by this.

“How could it be better?”

“How could it be more valuable?”

“How could it serve more deeply?”

While everything must eventually ship, and while this is no excuse for procrastination, there’s a curse we should all carry if we care.

That curse is this: being haunted by the pursuit of bringing even more value to those you wish to serve.

Blog posts can’t be perfect. But if there’s more you could do for your audience on your chosen topic – more insight or value you could extend to others – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It makes your posts better.

Client services can’t be perfect. But if there’s more you could do to make a client feel even more looked after – more comfort or council or advantage – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It’ll lead you toward a better client experience.

Talks and presentations can’t be perfect. But if there’s more authenticity and empathy you can bring to your work – so that others will connect more intimately with you – it’s OK to be haunted by that thought. It’ll make you a better speaker and it’ll help more people.

That “haunting” feeling isn’t because you’re not good enough. It’s because you’re worthy of your post.

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594: More Important Than Profit

“Why is profit not the most important thing to your business?”

Great question, and one I received this week that I thought I’d speak to on the daily blog.

Profit’s important, of course.

Profit is a requisite economical component of operating a business in the market in our era. Without any profit, any hiccup will put us into debt we can’t pay back. We can’t invest in growth under those conditions, we can’t support our teams under those conditions, and we can’t commit to supporting causes that need us under those conditions.

But it’s easy to confuse a requisite piece of the system with purpose.

To a race car driver, wheels are requisite pieces of his race. He doesn’t get far without them! But he doesn’t race “because of wheels”. He races because he wants to win a tournament for his team.

What’s your purpose? (Don’t say profit.)

Business as an organism

If your business were an organism, what would your organism ‘do’?

For example, organisms that exist only to grow for its own benefit – to the detriment of its environment – are called ‘tumors’. Is your business like a tumor?

Another example could be trees. The great thing about trees is, when we help them grow while they’re vulnerable, they’ll reward us with clean air, fruit, and multiplication. They grow for their benefit – but also for the benefit of everyone around them.

We support, buy from, evangelize and enjoy working within businesses that nourish their environments as they grow. We protect organisms (like trees) that do this in our environment.

Profit serves us in serving the world. That’s what’s important.


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593: Social Good VS Shareholders

Doing good has always been hard.

It has always been easier to turn a profit when you don’t keep giving it away to people who can never repay you. Worse, to those who you wouldn’t permit to repay you, even if they could.

The interesting change occurring today is… that’s all changing.

See change

People wear their hearts on their sleeves, heads, pants, wrists… this is the new economy: people care more now.

Assuming responsibility for the world we live in – using business as a vehicle to manifest change – is our new economy.

Stakeholders need more interests

Stakeholders in cause-driven businesses know this.

Focusing on profit doesn’t lead to more profit.

Focusing on solving social problems in collaboration with the market, solves problems in collaboration… and creates profit.

The marketplace supports businesses when their beliefs align.

Not so much the ones that pursue profit alone.

Shareholders serve us in serving the world. If a shareholder is OK with that, they won’t be left behind.

Tip: If you’d like to makes sure the market knows your beliefs align, go to

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592: Ads Don’t Work Anymore, Right?

We see 10,000 ads a day, according to Forbes. Ten thousand.

And we receive them across phones, tablets, notebooks, smart TVs, smart speakers, messengers… people are getting blind to ads, right?


What doesn’t work anymore

People are not getting blind to ads.

They’re getting blind to selfish people.

They’re more-than-ever interested in messages, stories and encounters with people who clearly have a heart of service for them.

People may be seeing 10,000 ads a day. But 99% of those are selfish.

The cost is increasing for the 99%. That’s why the 1% has such an opportunity in marketing today.

What works now

As a cause-driven or sustainable business, your heart is in serving others. You wouldn’t be able to hack cause-driven work for the long-haul if it wasn’t.

That’s the secret ingredient most lack today.

If you tell the right story, to the right people, from a heart of service, you become part of the 1% of advertisers who get it right.

Here’s the ad formula for companies doing great work:

Care enough about those you wish to serve to listen, understand, then serve unapologetically.

You don’t enter the equation. They’ll come knocking when they recognize who you really are from the above ‘formula’.

You are the solution to your advertising woes. Harness what makes you special.

Tip: If you’d like to harness what makes you special in your brand messaging, go to