I originally wrote this review of the Business Growth System and coaching program from Rich Schefren and Strategic Profits back in 2008. Since then I have updated it to cover the Business Growth System 2.0 and the Founders Club.
Rich Schefren continues to create news in the world of the Internet marketing entrepreneurs with the successful launch of the Business Acceleration Program in late December and the Maven Boot Camp project with Jay Abraham. It may be old news but I believe that it is appropriate to go back and look at the business coaching service which built his reputation – the Business Growth System.
Business Growth System presentation – affiliate link
Rich Schefren has recently changed the webinar to promote the Business Growth System away from the 7 Steps To Unstoppable Income to From Frustration To Freedom: The 3 Strategic Pillars That Take The Mystery Out Of Succeeding Online.
The webinar is different but the underlying message is the same – you can’t succeed if you jump from one opportunity to another but you can if you establish a strategic direction for your business and take the necessary steps.
(If you want more information on the free webinar from Rich Schefren, rather than the Business Growth System itself, please see From Frustration To Freedom on my Online profits blog)
The Secrets Of The Internet Entrepreneurs?
Rich Schefren hasn’t written a book so many of his ideas and techniques are secrets shared only by his coaching clients.
Rich has delivered great free content in his major reports 1) The Internet Business Manifesto and 2) The Attention Age Doctrine 2.
Other blockbusting reports like The Missing Chapter, The Final Chapter and the first Attention Age Doctrine were published briefly to his loyal fans and then quickly taken away from public view. [Update – you can now find The Missing Chapter and The Final Chapter together with several videos in the Profit Vault – free to enter]
I have been lucky to have been a member of the elite group of Business Growth System clients since March 2007.
What Is The Business Growth System?
You could go straight over to the Business Growth System sales letterbut you know the score. It is very long. My PDF capture of the sales letter – I am sad enough to study these sales letters in detail – runs to 36 pages or you could let me explain the 11 modules.
[Update – the sales letter has been replaced by a presentation to introduce you to Business Growth System 2.0 – affiliate link)
Each module is described below (as it existed when I did the coaching) and is delivered through a flexible multi-media solution.
If you want to watch the video you can, if you just want to listen to the audio presentation and read through the presentation slides you can or if you want to read the transcript you can.
The course has been designed to be delivered in whatever way suits your learning style.
Each module also has a workbook of questions and exercises to help you to apply the concepts that Rich and you have covered.
Module 1: The Big Damn Secrets to Being a Real Entrepreneur that Almost Everyone Misses
Why business success requires uncommon success. If it was easy there wouldn’t be so many business failures and many seemingly successful business owners wouldn’t be trapped in what is really a job. Rich is emphasising principles from Michael Gerber and his book The E Myth Revisited but goes on to develop the idea in new ways.
Rich really challenges you to think about why you have become an entrepreneur, why you have chosen to enter your particular market and where are you going.
As the entrepreneur driving your business, you bring an enormous array on strengths and weaknesses, attitudes and beliefs. The great thing is because this is about you, it is special and differentiated but too often people take these unique characteristics and somehow develop a me-too, unexciting business selling commodity products with little purpose.
I am deliberately being hard-hitting here but do you really have the business that you want or if you don’t, are you taking the clear steps to get you there?
Or are you meandering around, looking at different opportunities but without any clear destination?
Rich believes that too many people go into entrepreneurship and start a business without really understanding what it is all about. What knowing what it takes to build a successful business and I agree.
Module 2: Isolating, Developing, & Profiting From Your Money Making Strength
This module examines the two vital areas you must master for winning in business – and explains how to get them up and running as quickly as possible, with as little hassle and frustration as possible.
It then introduces the concept of “Competitive Advantage”… what it is, and how to leverage it – full speed ahead. You have probably been told that establishing a sustainable competitive advantage is the key to success but too often, people don’t understand what it means.
Rich then covers the idea of Core Competencies explaining what it is, why it matters, and how it can drive your ability to deliver future profits. I prefer to use the phrase core capabilities but the terms are really interchangeable.
The Business Growth System then looks at how the Pareto Principle should be used to leverage your strongest areas and to prevent you from wasting time, energy and money on low pay-off activities.
You will also take a Kolbe assessment to discover, probably for the very first time, your personal work strengths. You may have done a personality assessment like Myers-Briggs or DISC but this is different. This is about how your natural preferences for particular types of work impact on the very activities you do. This is available for purchase separately so you can look at the Strengths Mastery Advantage sales letter and my thoughts when I did the Strengths Master Advantage Assessment.
Module 3: Marking Your Turf, Total Clarity on Your Big Objective, Generating Immediate Momentum
With the benefit of hindsight, this is a fascinating section as Rich turns his attention to the problems of succeeding in the Attention Economy where attention from your prospective customers is the scarcest resource.
This section links in directly to his latest project with Jay Abraham, the Maven Boot Camp at the New Beginnings conference in Florida at the end of February 2008.
The module takes you through the process of finding your market niche, which with effort, you believe you can dominate so that you become the natural choice.
It then takes you through the process for clarifying your direction and turning it into behaviours and actions for your staff to follow with passion and purpose.
Also included in this section are bonus recordings with world famous copywriter and Internet marketer John Carlton.
Module 4: Your Mafia Offer – How to Re-Craft Your Biz to Make an Offer that Cannot Be Refused
After Rich asks and answers the question “What Is Marketing?” (Most entrepreneurs get it ALL WRONG!) he makes sure that you consider your competitors in your business development plans.
This is the number 1 reason why many of the business plans and forecasts I see lack credibility and fail. The world is not just you and the customer. You know there are competitors who will steal your orders and customers given half a chance but competitors are rarely recognised by small businesses when it comes to business strategy and planning. Crazy I know but so true. The sooner you recognise that to win you have to out-think and out-perform your competitors who are desperate to win, the more chance you have to develop plans that will win.
Rich helps you to discover practical “Competitive Intelligence” and “Competitive Analysis” – how to conduct them, and why they’ll lead you to out-foxing your smartest competitors. With Rich’s secrets it is staggering what you can find out if you have an Internet side to your business or want one.
At its core, strategy is about knowing your relative strengths and weaknesses and applying that knowledge to the market opportunities and threats. You may already be familiar with SWOT analysis but unfortunately I see many cases where this is done badly.
The final section is how you create your “Mafia Offer” and re-craft your business – through market focused compelling strategies. I love these techniques and have used similar ones for quite a few years and I am amazed why more businesses don’t apply the simple and compelling logic.
Perhaps it is too much effort to think hard but the way I see it, a few days of thinking hard is much the better offer than years struggling to earn much above a subsistence level in a commodity style business.
Module 5: The Most Powerful Marketing Strategies that No One Teaches or Talks About.
In this model Rich explains the wrong way to view marketing that is so common and the right way!
He explains how to set your business up for explosive growth by focusing on two key areas of marketing that most “experts” never even mention!
How to continually improve profitability and growth through “business model innovation” so that your streams of profit and cash turn into rivers and flow for many years. Ahem. Sorry about that, I got carried away with my metaphor and lapsed into copywriting mode but I am sure that you get the idea. Some businesses are designed for one time profit while other businesses are designed to deliver multiple profits.
Module 6: Your Master Plan to Blasting Through Every Obstacle that Stands in Your Way RIGHT NOW
Rich uses an early version of the front page of The Final Chapter report to demonstrate the impact on your business if various key ingredients are missing – confusion, anxiety, little enthusiasm, frustration. This is so powerful and I connect so much with it.
Business success is all about planning and making sure that your marketing, operations, sales and financial plans all fit together to create one coherent whole.
Contentiously to anyone who has worked many honours to produce a long business plan, Rich explains why plans are useless but why planning is essential!
Don’t confuse the two or you will find your business drifting along when it could be racing and under-prepared if or when, you face a severe competitive challenge.
You will discover how to use the “Prerequisite Tree” to overcome obstacles before they get in your way!
This concept will force you to organise your business to focus only on what it really needs and stop you wasting time, effort and resources on activities which will only have a marginal effect.
This technique had my head spinning for a while even though I had encountered it before. The logic makes sense but you may find yourself doubting that you can put into practice.
Fortunately Rich uses Strategic Profits as a real life example and while complex, you will see the strong logic and the impact it can. The technique used does take practice to master but the important thing is to start looking at what is holding you back, identifying solutions and clearly identify priorities.
It may take a few trials.
Module 7: The Secret Language Of Business-Metrics
This module explains the importance of “metrics”… and why knowing and understanding them will unlock the exponential power of your business in every way.
Future business success is not about where you have been but where you are going. What matters is the rate and direction of change.
Some businesses have a mental block about measures, some times they want to know everything that moves, sometimes nothing gets measured. The module will help you to find the right level for you and your business.
It will explain the six most common Metric challenges every business owner faces… and the solutions to each challenge.
Module 8: Systemization And Putting Everything On Autopilot So Your Business Grows Without You
I can’t emphasise the importance of having good systems and processes. It is the key to having a real business rather than a glorified job and underpins so much of your business building.
The module explains how to develop and document the systems your business needs. It then explains how to use “systems” to quickly and easily fix any problem in your business and to prevent them from popping up again in the future.
There are two massive incentives for you as the business owner to have great systems:
- They make your life so much easier. You can leave your staff and systems to run the day-to-day business while you concentrate on bigger issues or perhaps free your time to enjoy the rewards of your ingenuity and efforts.
- You make more money. Systems are at the very centre of consistent and reliable top-notch customer service that keeps customers coming back time after time so your annual profits will be higher. Even more importantly if you are going to sell your business, the multiple of earnings anyone will pay for your business will increase if there is confidence is the systems. These systems mean that any potential buyer has the assurance that business success will continue without you.
Module 9: Project Management – Exactly to Spec, On Time, Below Budget, Every Time
This module explains why project management is such a huge key to success in your business… and the simplest ways to make it work.
It explains the little-known secrets for managing multiple projects, balancing workloads, and creating an environment where “things get done!”
You will learn how to recognize a great project manager – hire one AND become one!
Module 10: Assembling Your Business Building Swat Team To Multiply Your Productivity And Profits
Learn killer team-building and hiring strategies that make your life easy.
Identify when to hire internal staff and when to outsource. There is an easy way to know – and time-tested ways for doing it.
You will be taught how to assemble and manage a “virtual team”… so you can get “you” out of the business – working on it, instead!
Module 11: Making It All Seamless-Your Well Oiled Machine That Cranks Out Cash
This module pulls it all together and focuses on extracting you out of your business.
Is your “To Do” list “doable”? If not, you may be getting in the way of your business in ways you never imagined.
Why creating your own “Personal Rules of Winning” – and then… living by those rules – will get you to your gold mine of personal and financial freedom quicker than greased lightening.
You will discover the 15 key questions you must frequently ask to know if you’re “on track” to building a business that can grow and prosper without depending on you.
The module then explains the 7 traits of truly successful entrepreneurs – the impact they can have on your life – and the price you pay when you ignore them.
Personal Coaching From Rich Schefren
The big factor which separates the Business Growth System from other programs is the commitment that Rich Schefren continues to give it in terms of regular Question and Answer calls.
Most weeks you have the chance to join Rich and other Business Growth System members on a conference call and ask Rich questions and engage ion a discussion depending on how many people are on the call and holding up their hands with questions.
This is potentially a huge benefit since it allows you to take the general ideas built into the system and ask Rich how they apply to your business. Each call is recorded and available for other members to listen to so there is a bit of a double edged sword – you have to be a little wary about revealing too much that’s confidential but at the same time, you get to hear the other discussions and they can be such an eye-opener into topics that you’ve never even thought about.
Business Growth System presentation – affiliate link
Assessing Your Strengths
One of the big things I learnt from the Business Growth System and which I now reflect in my own coaching, is the need to focus on the inherent strengths of the business owner as the basis for a happy and successful business.
The Business Growth System includes a free assessment using the Kolbe A Index which in a joint venture, Strategic Profits has re-branded as the Strengths Mastery Advantage (link to review on my Business Coaching blog or to the sales letter – affiliate link).
Even if you are sceptical of these assessments, I urge you to take up the assessment if you decide to buy the Business Growth System. It has made a huge difference in the way that I look at myself and my business and stopped me trying to think/pretend that I’m something I’m not.
There are no good or bad ratings in the Kolbe assessment, it’s just a question of whether you make life easier for yourself by working with your natural strengths or difficult by fighting against yourself by trying to master weaknesses unnecessarily.
Overview of the Business Growth System
There you have it. The eleven published modules of the Rich Schefren & Strategic Profits Business Growth System.
Rich Schefren set out to design a strategic business coaching module delivered via the Internet and that is exactly what he has done.
You will see that the Strategic Profits Business Growth System looks at metrics, vision, your strategic market position and how that is turned into marketing offers to encourage customers to buy and to continue buying which are effectively implemented by leading your team to operate well designed systems.
That may sound familiar to you because the scope of the Business Growth System is remarkably similar to my Eight Pillars Of Business Prosperity coaching model. It is put together in a different way but there are many areas where Rich is almost talking for me.
Business Growth System presentation – affiliate link
Reservations about the Business Growth System
Yes I do have some.
No business development program is ideal for everybody and the purpose of my business is to try to provide the best match between what you want and need and the great business development programs that are out in the market place..
Rich Schefren targets his services as “business coaching for Internet marketing entrepreneurs” and that may mislead some people:
- Some people who need what the Business Growth System can give them may reject it because they don’t see themselves as Internet marketing entrepreneurs. I find that when I talk to small business owners who see Sir Richard Branson as an entrepreneur while they are trying to earn a good living from a small business.
- Other people may assume that the program or course is really about “How to get rich with a website”. It is but it isn’t. The BGS won’t tell you how to build a website and it won’t tell you how to increase your website traffic. (Update – the Business Growth System 2.0 now includes access to the Founders Club and this does include tactical information on SEO, Pay per Click, Video Marketing, Email Marketing etc)
- It is not cheap so to get value for money from it, you need to be committed and be willing to put the ideas into practice.
The Business Growth System is for people who are building a long term, sustainable Internet based business and not for people who want to produce a website to earn them a bit of part time money of a couple of hundred bucks a month.
The approach and focus is totally different.
The BGS program helps you to move away from a crowded market place and will be wasted on people who are not prepared to take calculated risks. In reality, sticking to the mainstream market may be a much bigger risk as many people have lost a fortune lulled into the false sense of security provided by a huge potential market.
There are four combinations:
- People who decide they want to find a unique area of the market ideally suited to their skills and strengths but want to learn through trial and error.
- People who want their unique niche or want to target a mass market with a disruptive innovation and are prepared to learn how to do it from an expert.
- People who decide to focus on the main market with traditional products but have seriously considered following a strategic niche approach.
- People who just want to focus on the main market because they don’t want to limit their ideas and opportunities.
The Business Growth System is designed mainly for category 2 – those people who want to learn how to build a sustainable business in a niche ideally suited to their strengths.
I would also say that category 3 people with a preference for the mass market owe it to themselves to take a good hard look at the niche based approach. The cost of the course is insignificant to the money you could be missing out on.
I will keep on saying it…
“Selling me-too products” in a “me-too way” is a very hard route to building a profitable business.
The consequence of this focus on differentiation is that the Business Growth System takes a very strategic approach and may feel too theoretical for some people.
This emphasis on strategy should not be a surprise because the company is called Strategic Profits and the Internet Business Manifesto lays out the core problem – most entrepreneurs are tactical opportunity seekers and not strategic business builders fired by passion and purpose. The BGS program has been designed to help you make that transition.
Business Growth System – affiliate link
The Business Growth System is not a silver bullet.
Rich Schefren will make you work hard with long presentations, very long question and answer calls, extra free resources and all the research and work needed to build your new business. Some of it can be outsourced but not all of it because this is about you designing your ideal business.
It is for people who are prepared to knuckle down to serious work. Rich puts together extremely informative presentations which can be listened to many times but it is not “business entertainment.” There are no funny stories and that makes it intense.
I find that the two hour sessions have to be broken in to 2 or 3 separate elements because my mind starts wandering off to other things just because it is so hard to concentrate for such a long, intensive period. I know this is an issue Rich Schefren is aware of because I have heard him say that the intention is to break the monthly presentations into shorter weekly presentations.
The Business Growth System is not a quick fix solution. Like the E Myth Mastery system, the BGS program is a structured process for fixing you and your business. It therefore unwinds over time and won’t suit someone in need of an urgent turnaround and an urgent injection of new sources of profit and cash.
I know that this is a problem that Rich Schefren is aware of and it is a difficult balancing act between taking people along a structured process and an ad-hoc “fix this and then fix this” approach. Future developments of the Business Growth System are likely to have added flexibility to give you the answers when you need them. In the meantime my Business Coaching blog is an expanding source of free advice.
Facing Up To The Truth
This sounds crazy but who do you want to be your coach? A business superstar recognised throughout the world like Rich Schefren or me, a legend in my own back garden?
Put like that, it may not sound much of a choice. On a level price comparison you were going to choose me weren’t you?
But what if I told you that you can gain access to Rich Schefren and his Business Growth System for a fraction of the price that I would charge for twelve months business coaching (and a fraction that any other local business coach would charge as well)?
I bet that evens up the decision a bit doesn’t it?
Provided you can manage without:
- The personal accountability element of coaching (“You agreed that you were going to do this by today so why didn’t you? Don’t give me any of that ‘work got in the way’ nonsense.”) and
- The two way bouncing around of ideas (“I’m thinking about doing X what do you think?” or “I have this problem but I really can’t see what I can do to solve it.”)
- You have a sound business that doesn’t need urgent corrective action or you want to start a business the right way by doing all your homework at the beginning
I recommend that you take a good long look at Rich Schefren’s Business Growth System and at you and your business.
If you need the personal element of coaching you will either have to find a traditional business coach or someone who can act as an accountability coach and mentor while you are working on the Business Growth System.
Why I Am So Hard On Coaching?
Talking to owners of small businesses I have seen just how much of an issue money is and therefore I am committed to finding high impact low cost business development solutions.
It is what I recognise as my purpose.
I have had to face up to the fact that if my role is to help you to build a bigger, better business in the best way I can. That means helping you to find the best solution and in many cases that won’t be me.
If you have a business where the Internet plays a significant part in the success of your business (or could do) and you are prepared to work hard, I recommend that you buy the Business Growth System. I believe that it will make you look at your business in a very different way and help you to find and exploit new opportunities for profit.
I rate the Business Growth System from Rich Schefren and Strategic Profits as a STRONG BUY.
Business Growth System 2.0 Review
In 2010 Rich Schefren and Strategic Profits have released the Business Growth System 2.0.
From what I’ve seen so far, the core eleven modules stay the same. These are proven, timeless classics that work. The fundamentals to building a business strategically remain the same.
What has changed is the addition of the Founders Club material which can also be bought separately in a monthly membership – see Founders Club sales letter (affiliate link).
In the Founders Club, Rich Schefren and the Strategic Profits team step into the practical issues of how to implement specific Internet marketing tactics and it is a perfect compliment to the strategic business building approach of the Business Growth System.
You get the Founders Club as part of the Business Growth System 2.0 and includes detailed webinars on subjects like:
- Email persuasion
- Conversion clinic
- Sales letter secrets
- Foundations of SEO
- Affiliate/JV partners
- Selling with seminars
- Video sales letters
- Facebook advertising
- Inbound linking
- Opt-in page optimisation
And of course the list of content is gradually growing with extra webinars and exclusive reports from Rich Schefren.
In my opinion, this makes the Business Growth System an even stronger buy recommendation for the right type of Internet entrepreneur who is determined to jump out of the opportunity seekers “next bright shiny object promising instant riches” world to building a sustainable business on the Internet.
Business Growth System – affiliate link
The Business Growth System Presentation – 7 Steps To Unstoppable Income
The old sales letter promoting the Business Growth System has gone and it’s been replaced by a two part webinar presentation from Rich Schefren on the 7 Steps To Unstoppable Income.
This is very valuable content in its own right and well worth watching, even if you have no intention of taking the next step and giving the Business Growth System a try. Mind you, the power of what Rich Schefren says may well convince you that it would be crazy to stand back and ignore the core messages he’s sharing.
To my surprise and delight, I’m mentioned as one of the Business Growth System graduate successes although I’m tucked away amongst many more famous names including many of the biggest and best known names in the Internet marketing world.
I bought the Business Growth System for different reasons to the vast majority of Internet entrepreneurs. Back in 2007 I’d already worked for 12 years as an independent business consultant, I’m a chartered accountant and have an MBA from one of the best business schools in the UK.
Buying the Business Growth System was competitive research for me to see what was being delivered much more cheaply than I could do as a one to one coach. I was blown away by what I found and Rich’s commitment to helping his clients to build better businesses in the Q&A sessions.
It made me think very differently about my own business model and what I can deliver online automatically rather than individual consultation and coaching sessions over the Internet.
My advice is that if the Business Growth System appeals to you because you want to build a sustainable business, then give it a try but make sure you can devote enough time to it to put this proven system to work for you. No half measures or you’ll get disappointed results and that’s a huge waste of both your time and the opportunity the Business Growth System gives you.
Check out the Business Growth System – affiliate link
I am an affiliate for Rich Schefren and Strategic Profits and that means that if you click through on my link and then buy, i will earn a commission.
Does this bias my assessment of the Business Growth System?
The chance to earn money has certainly incentivised me to write a longer and more comprehensive review of the Business Growth System than I would have done otherwise.
In each of my reviews, I try to emphasise the good points but also make it clear who I think the program will suit and won’t suit.
If it doesn’t sound like you, then pass on it. This is a hard core business development program which is high on content and low on entertaining fluff. If you’re looking for a bit of extra pocket money from your Internet marketing activities, say a few hundred dollars a month, then the Business Growth System isn’t for you.
If you want to build a proper Internet marketing business, then what are you waiting for. At least watch Rich Schefren’s presentation and make your own mind up.
Business Growth System – affiliate link
And if you buy through my link and I get some money, thanks very much.
Get To Know Me
Hopefully the problem is fixed now that I’ve installed the Thesis theme.
Thanks Tony for the tip on the Thesis theme. I didn’t like the revoving pictures but I’m a bit overwhelmed by Thesis.
I’m glad you enjoyed my review of the Business Growth System.
You’ll see that I don’t think BGS is right for everybody but it is an excellent course if you’re serious about building an Internet business.
Rich Schefren really commits to helping people through his Q&A calls and you can learn all kinds of gems from the questions people ask.