Chris Goward founded WiderFunnel with the belief that marketing agencies should prove their value. He is the brain behind the LIFT Model™ and WiderFunnel System™, conversion optimization strategies that consistently lift results for leading companies. He wrote the book, You Should Test That! which redefined conversion optimization, and has spoken at over 200 conferences and events globally. Follow him @chrisgoward.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I have photos of six heroes on my wall that I look at every day. Each of them reminds me of a characteristic I aspire to. They are
Thomas Edison (persistence), Mahatma Gandhi (influence), Pablo Picasso (expression), Christopher Hitchens (intelligence), Jim Carrey (vision) and Steve Jobs (boldness).
Also, the more I grow up, the more of a hero my mom becomes to me, for the love and strength she’s always shown.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Focus. In every area of life, the best performers are maniacally focused on the one thing they can be the best in the world at. That’s what I decided to do in our business from day one: we’re now the best in the world at conversion optimization and that’s all we’ve ever done.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
All of my biggest mistakes have involved getting into relationships without understanding enough about them. This includes partnerships, hiring and clients. I’ve learned through several painful experiences that getting out of relationships is much more difficult than avoiding the wrong ones.
My insights to avoiding them are:
- Don’t rush. You’ll always feel pressure to hire quickly, act fast and be decisive. Those are important traits, but not if you act quickly and decisively in the wrong direction.
- Be thorough. I implemented a version of the Topgrading process for hiring and new partnerships — it puts a framework in place that encourages thoroughness. The unasked questions are usually the most dangerous ones.
- Don’t be afraid to look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Early on, I was intimidated by people who seemed smarter than me. Now I realize that if I don’t understand what they’re talking about, they probably don’t either, or they’re not smart enough to say it simply.
- Exit quickly. Mis-hires and bad relationships will still happen. Ignore the sunken cost and get out early.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Mornings are my most creative time — I try to reserve this time for creativity, writing, ideation or solving challenges. I start by reviewing my priorities and determining the most difficult thing that I least want to do, and then following creative inspiration. I also log into my online banking account and check the balance every morning.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Look at your cash balance every single day. As I said above, I check it in the morning every day. Cash is the business’ lifeblood and I’ve found it encouraging and motivating to focus on that as the ultimate measuring stick of business performance. Also, research shows the psychological benefit of handling money. I don’t know if it applies to looking at bank balances, but I believe holding and feeling cash releases endorphins. Try it!
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Ask yourself: What is the one thing I can be the best in the world at? How quickly can I stop doing anything else? This applies both to your business and your personal work. What is the one thing your business is uniquely capable of? And what is the one unique thing you bring to the business that no one else can do?
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
For me, success is not an end point, but a way of moving forward. I am a success each day if I’ve lived my values and added value to the world. I believe I am a success today because I truly put my intention toward always being authentic, continuously improving my ability to contribute, and creating a business that improves the lives of our team members and clients.