Chris Budd on Employee Ownership Trusts: A new way to build sustainable businesses – MAF186

This week, I welcome Chris Budd back to the show.

Chris has recently put his business, Ovation Finance, into an Employee Ownership Trust, a fantastic way of creating sustainable businesses owned by the employees.

We talk about the process Chris went through and the book he’s written on the subject, The Eternal Business.

Welcome to episode 186 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Chris Budd on Employee Ownership Trusts: A new way to build sustainable businesses - MAF186

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How the Employee Ownership Trust model works
  • The four stages of building a sustainable business
  • Setting up collaborative decision-making
  • How ‘the flag in the ground’ concept helps employees
  • Who the Employee Ownership Trust model is for
  • How the model benefits consumers – the John Lewis effect

Who is Chris Budd?

Chris has worked in the financial planning industry all his life. Seven years ago, bored and trapped in his business, he started trying new things and being more creative. He wrote novels, played in a covers band and changed the business so he was the least important person in it.

This culminated in selling it to an Employee Ownership Trust. He works now as a consultant and a writer of business guides. He has followed his first book, The Financial Wellbeing Book, with a second: The Eternal Business, about a different way to build a sustainable business.

Summary of our chat

The shares in the Employee Ownership Trust won’t get sold, so the beneficiaries are the employees, who get the profit. The focus moves from increasing share prices to long-term, sustainable profit. The business owner sells their controlling interest to the trust, who receives the future profit and pays the owner out over time.

Chris identified four stages he considers vital for a sustainable business:

  • ‘The flag in the ground’ is the sense of purpose and the why.
  • ‘Collaborative decision-making’ is ensuring every employee has a say in what happens.
  • ‘Engaged employees’ includes a combined career and financial plan to help them develop.
  • An ‘ownership model’ allows you to walk away but the business keeps going.

Collaborative decision-making is a culture shift for a business, but it’s better than death by committee. There are other ways to organise companies and they don’t need stereotypical bosses. Employees need to have a say and a way to be heard. Chris set up working groups to administer budgets in different departments.

Chris says it’s tough to come up with their why, so he asks people to think about what a client might say, and why they’d choose them over a competitor. Defining values may alienate some people, and that’s fine. If everyone agrees with you, it’s not a sense of purpose.

The employee ownership trust model is ideal for owners who genuinely care about their clients and employees. They have a purpose and want to leave a legacy rather than the company disappearing when they leave. Building a business with an endpoint in mind should be fun and why they started in the first place.

Consumers will have a different experience with a business run on an employee ownership trust model. John Lewis adopted it years ago, and Chris says the staff are much more helpful than in other stores. They are more engaged and more invested in supporting customers.

Recommended business book

Chris recommends Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux

and also Drive by Daniel Pink

Here are the books Chris has written.

Links and contact details

For more information about the employee ownership trust model, the Employee Ownership Association has a wealth of information on how to do it: . Chris recommends attending a regional meeting to learn more, and you can find details of the nearest meeting to you on their website.

Chris also offers consultancy, although spaces are currently limited. His book will also soon be available as on online programme, with 12 modules to take you through the process to build a lasting business, webinars and blogs. The cohort option brings with business owners at a similar stage for a quarterly, facilitated day session: www.theeternalbusiness.com

If you enjoyed – Chris Budd on Employee Ownership Trusts: A new way to build sustainable businesses – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Better or Different? Getting competitive advantage for your product.

To stand out, does your product need to be better or different to your competitors?

When I help people put together a marketing strategy and we talk about coming up with an offer we answer 3 questions.

  • Who is our customer?
  • What is their problem?
  • How do we solve their problem better than anyone else?

To stand out we need to be better. But is better enough?

Sometimes trying to be better on features only gives you a competitive advantage for as long as it takes someone else to leap frog you on features.

In this episode of Marketing Made Simple let’s look at competitive advantage.

It’s a  2 minute thought provoker!

Did you enjoy this video? Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel right here.

This is the fifth in a new series of videos under the “Marketing: Made Simple” banner. I’ve been doing marketing tips videos for a while but putting them out under the title, Marketing and Finance TV. Whilst this title works for my podcast, I rarely talk about finance subjects in my videos. So it makes sense to focus on keeping marketing simple. Fighting the BS and the complexity. Marketing: Made Simple!

If you enjoyed this episode: Better or Different? Getting competitive advantage for your product – please share it with your friends and colleagues. You can use the social media share buttons just below.

Better or Different? Getting competitive advantage for your product.

Steve Miller on making your business Uncopyable – MAF185

On the show this week, I talk to author and speaker Steve Miller about his book Uncopyable.

We talk about how to make your business stand out. Being better is not a competitive advantage. You must be different.

Welcome to episode 185 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Steve Miller on making your business Uncopyable - MAF185

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why trying to be better than the competition doesn’t work
  • Why bench-marking helps businesses to stand out – but you must do it right
  • The 4th element of competitive advantage
  • How to create that 4th element to stand out
  • How to think outside the box and to define your box
  • What Steve would like people to take from his book

Who is Steve Miller?

Steve’s father was the co-inventor of the 8-track tape player and he learned a lot about business from his father and his business partners. His early ambition was to be a PGA golfer and he played in a couple of tours. A friend then got him work in Hollywood doing stunts.

He moved into sales and then marketing, which he found he had a talent for. He helped the largest remote-controlled toy manufacturer in Japan to expand. At a trade show, he was approached by Apple to grow their sales. He is now an independent consultant, author and speaker.

Summary of our chat

Steve says competition doesn’t breed innovation, it breeds conformity. When companies are looking for ways to stand out, they don’t try to be different, just be better. That means they only try to improve on the competition’s offerings. Better is not a long-term strategy, because if something can be copied, it will be.

Benchmarking is to observe correct behaviour and emulate within your own context. Use the competition to assess your minimal viable product. Then, come up with new ideas to make you different and unique rather than just better. Look at companies in other industries for inspiration and relate that back to your business.

Technology has improved the quality of products, making them commodities and the same as everyone else’s. Everyone offers good customer service, so buyers are making decisions on price. The fourth element is what we can do that’s out of the typical box. You don’t want loyal customers, you want them to be attached.

In his book ‘Uncopyable’, Steve sets out three steps to stand out: 1. Your branding is your promise to the marketplace which you then deliver. 2. The overall experience your customers get from you, such as giving them exclusive extras. 3. Innovation and stealing genius – coming up with ideas inspired by other industries.

People don’t make changes until they’re dissatisfied. Customers need to know why they should choose to work with you. Steve gets his clients to compare their offering to the competition. They realise they’re not that different and feel dissatisfied. Then they want to change and need Steve’s help to stand out.

Steve says businesses need to look at marketing from the correct perspective. They’re probably doing marketing backwards, and focussing on tactics and communications first. Instead, think about who your target market is. Work out how to attract them, their pain points and what they want. Decide on your message and then choose the right tool.

A Marketing Campaign or Product Which Grabbed Attention

Steve has been impressed by one of his clients, who developed software for the portable storage unit industry. The software helps small businesses track their inventory, finances and bookkeeping.

The client was competing with much bigger companies, so Steve worked with them to position themselves as specialists in portable storage. They had capacity for only a few customers and a high price point.

A countdown on their website showed how many spaces they had available for customers with a cut-off point. Creating scarcity allowed them to offer annual subscriptions rather than one-off payments, and their sales increased 1800% in 12 months.

Recommended business book

Steve says everyone in business should be a reader, and has a personal goal to read a book a week. Two books he’s recently enjoyed are: The Founders Mentality, by Chris Zook and James Allen, which he says gets into how owners look at their business and how they should approach it.

The other book is Monster Loyalty by Jackie Huba. It’s about how Lady Gaga turns her followers into fanatics known as Little Monsters. She’s created a huge fan club she’s very attached to, and they are attached to her.

This is Steve’s book – Uncopyable.

Links and contact details

Special Offer

Steve has put together a special white paper on three steps to speed branding your company specially for listeners of the Marketing and Finance Podcast. Visit the special webpage here.

If you enjoyed – Steve Miller on making your business Uncopyable – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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