George Lee Sye's corporate training business once had him averaging 205 flights a year. That all changed with the pandemic.
He and James take a look at his current successful business model, and compare it with where it was just a year ago. They talk, too, about the tool and methods that made it a leveraged and hassle-free shift from George's previous way of doing business.
In the episode:
01:33 – Adapting to change in the time of pandemic. What did global upheaval mean for George Lee Sye’s largely in-person business? He and James compare his current model with what it was a year ago.
07:48 – You can get huge leverage in your information-based business by doing one thing. George and James have done it for years, and it can essentially eliminate the need for public speaking.
10:13 – A landscape that is irrevocably changed. In response to the times, people like George have overhauled the way they do business. Is there any going back?
11:20 – The game-changing tool that’s made it easy to shift. When you need to take things online fast, one powerful all-in-one tool beats piecing together various apps.
16:13 – Corporate training in the new normal. George describes how his company provides continuing professional development in a purely online setting.
20:33 – How 10XPRO performs as a drip membership platform. Is there anything this software can’t do? James shares how 10XPRO powers one of his current projects, a 30-day drip course.
21:56 – The kind of consumption preferred by a CPD online audience. When you’ve written 17 relevant books, providing material for corporate training is not an issue.
26:03 – The team behind a continuing professional development business. George can’t do everything himself, so who helps him keep the show going?
28:00 – Environment and the human tendency to collect. When you live in the mountains and own four motorbikes, life can be interesting.
31:52 – An episode summarized by leverage. If you can achieve more by doing less, you have energy to spare for content, process and relationship development. George offers his advice for business owners needing to adapt.
Adapting to change in the time of pandemic
The global situation of the past year has prompted many entrepreneurs to make significant changes in the way their businesses work, taking products and processes largely online.
Our guest, George Lee Sye, is among those who made the shift. For two decades, his work in corporate training required over 200 plane trips a year. That changed in 2020.
George currently runs Nine Skills Factory, a CPD platform for professionals that operates online at 9skillsfactory.com.
Going online was a big shift, but George says they had been preparing for it for 10 years. They had been dabbling in WordPress, buying extensions and trying to make various pieces of their vision work together.
It didn’t work, until, 18 months ago, George ran across a mention of John Lint‘s software, 10XPRO. He recalls it was a $1 offer to try the tool, set something up, and either see it pay for itself or stop using it if it didn’t.
“There’s a misunderstanding about what online does.”
They basically used it as a training delivery platform to their corporate customers, though in the corporate world, says George, there is some misunderstanding about what online does, a notion that it’s just watching videos.
James recalls it was 2008 when the company he worked for used virtual conferencing to cut costs 30 percent. But 2020 was really when most of the planet discovered technology like Zoom, lifting the veil, he says, on the world he’d already been living in for some time.
That was also when George’s company lost all choice about going virtual. It was only one way or no way.
The huge leverage you can get just by recording
Luckily, they had been recording stuff for a decade. Their wealth of content gave them a big headstart.
James was also aware early on of the leverage to be gained in recording content. Back when he did do public speaking, he would record his keynotes afterwards in ScreenFlow. After a year or two he dropped off the speaking scene. To friends like Kerwin Rae who asked after him, he responded that it just wasn’t leveraged enough.
An event could take days of his schedule, involving travel and time away from family to speak to perhaps 500 people in a room. One podcast episode, on the other hand, could reach 2000 to 3000 listeners in the first 24 to 48 hours.
A landscape that is irrevocably changed
James expresses some concern for the corporate workers. Having tasted working from home, many are not overly eager to return to the office. As far as he can see, the landscape has changed forever. Things will not go back to exactly as they were. Market forces have caused people like George to change how they do business, and it’s a one-way change.
“The landscape has changed forever.”
George agrees. After being a platinum flyer in two airlines for 20 years, he has had, this year, four flights. And all of them were to the racetrack, to ride motorbikes. It’s a complete change, and he has no intent of going back.
The game-changing tool that makes it easy to shift
A message George tries to get out to people is that tech like 10XPRO make the shift to online easy. The way his business is set up, they have predominantly just two platforms communicating, 10XPRO and ActiveCampaign.
10XPRO integrates with CRMs like Infusionsoft and Ontraport, and is powerful as well as simple in what it can do. It does away with the hassle of hosting and servers and security and modules and plugins and updates, to provide solutions at a click.
James was explaining this to a client, showing him how the push of a button could deploy a book campaign, or a list-building campaign, or sell an information product.
James himself runs a B2B membership in 10XPRO, and he’s curious to know what George has learned selling to corporates.
Corporate training in the new normal
One thing George has found is that his customers respond better to frequent communications. So they provide micro trainings rather than full courses.
Their two main programs are 26-weeks long, providing training that would normally take about 6 days face-to-face. The online versions require less than 30 minutes a day in front of the computer. George and his team email customers with a daily plan, and use the course tracker to talk to their managers.
On the coaching side of it, they combine coaching with automated communications. The student will watch a video online, then do an activity, then send the activity to George and his colleagues who will then coach them based on the activity.
The tools, says James, allow one to receive an email indicating completion, at which they can then send a certificate and congratulations.
George uses that feature, utilizing tracking and actions and tags for when something’s complete.
They’ve also gone into the gamification part that lets participants score points. And in the continuous professional development that they provide, these points and levels of status serve the students well. When they come in as a member and make associate, they get a yearly certificate of being an active associate. And then they get 70 points to go to fellow. It’s a means of retention as well.
How 10XPRO performs as a drip membership platform
James is currently using 10XPRO as his platform for a drip membership at SuperFastResults.com. It’s a 30-day challenge to let people work less and make more in a month’s time. Listeners can check it out at superfastresults.com/30.
Each day they send people an email and a video, catering to different modalities and customer preferences.
James is using the software so far in three different ways – one page courses, a drip course, and a membership. He’s doing retail and he’s doing B2B as well. There are various ways one can use it.
The kind of consumption preferred by a corporate audience
What sort of material does a corporate audience lean towards?
They get the video-based online training, says George, and a downloadable workbook. George has an advantage in that he’s written 17 books, and so doesn’t lack for content.
The workbooks come with guided activity. A welcome video and a button introduce them to the workbook, which then instructs them to watch a module. They’re given a space for notes, and some key points. So it’s a combination of multiple modalities.
10XPRO also allows them to track the quiz or the assessments and drop confetti upon passing.
The team behind a continuing professional development (CPD) online business
In terms of team, George has four people helping him. Two ladies do all the admin, work with Hootsuite and automate posts and the like. They also look after logistics, as a couple of customers want face-to-face conferencing. This usually just involves George getting on a plane, delivering the conference on location, and coming home.
Environment and the human tendency to collect
So where is George actually located? He has five acres up in the mountains behind Cannes. It’s a lifestyle choice, he says. The house is 20 meters from a creek with a massive waterfall.
“All I need is four motorbikes.:)”
George is a motorbike enthusiast, and the riding around the place, he says, is brilliant. And how many bikes does he need? He actually has four.
James can relate. He’s down to his ideal five surfboards.
An episode summarized by leverage
In a market where his customers have encountered huge change, George has successfully adapted, and he’s found the right tool for the job as well. To people on the fence about trying 10XPRO, he has some advice: As an entrepreneur, you’ve got a choice, either you’re going to be the first or you’re going to be the best. And given the choice of the two, you’re better off being the first.
“Your business is not about the process of developing a website. It’s about delivering a service to someone.”
the world is changing; technology is changing as well. So you’ve got to grab good technology like 10XPRO, which is taking away a lot of pain, so you can put your energy into content development and the sales process, you know, and customer relationships. If you go down Frankenstein-type approaches, you end up putting all your energy there, which is still nothing, because your business is not about the process of developing a website. It’s about delivering a service to someone.
10XPRO, he’s found, has ramped up tenfold in terms of what they can deliver and how they go about delivering it, without all the pain.
Some advice to the decade-younger entrepreneur
To someone 10 or 20 years back in their business journey, George says, if you have an idea, think about being first out there. If you wait until it’s perfect, that’s too long. And if you wait till it’s perfect, then you’ve probably missed the market.
This episode has inspired James, he says, to do three things:
One, get his team to set up quizzes on their existing platform.
Two, tell his friend in corporate to take the $1 trial of 10XPRO, buy a domain, and launch a list-building campaign, give away something useful. With his skills in project management, says James, he can be an integrator.
How does George keep his youthful looks?
Before letting George go, James has to ask: How does he stay looking so young?
George used to phrase it, he says, as, Scare yourself half to death half the time. The adrenaline rush seems to work. But he thinks the big one is, find something that allows you to focus on things other than work. For him, that’s 300 kilometers an hour down the main street of Phillip Island. It keeps his attention on track, and there’s only one thing in his brain. It’s a form of meditation.
If you want to know more about George or have questions about optimizing your corporate business, check out 9skillsfactory.com. Among George’s 17 books is an 840-page volume that James insists he promote, titled Process Mastery with Lean Six Sigma. You can get it on the site.
And if you have questions about 10XPRO, head over to 10XPRO.io
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