⚠ Would You Buy The Most Expensive Item On Amazon…?

Last Friday saw the 25th ‘Birthday’ of Amazon and I think we can safely say that chap Bezos has done rather well out of it…

We’ve probably all used Amazon from time to time – in fact for some it has been the first and only stop for everyday online purchases. The fact you can get almost anything delivered to your door the following day with just a few clicks certainly has its appeal – but is there a limit to how much you’d spend on any one purchase…?

This was the subject of a debate in the office a short time ago and those that populate the downstairs office at HQ set about finding the most expensive item on Amazon.

I should also mention that, due to some interesting use of the office ‘Alexa’ and the fact that almost everybody who works for me is, deep down, about eight years old – all of the items I’m about to mention (plus a few more) ended up in the shopping ‘cart’ of my techie who did go a very funny colour next time he logged on.

There were several interesting contenders.

For instance you could have this Henri Lautrec Aristide Bruant 1893 Vintage Stone Lithograph for a mere £18,000 … and I strongly suspect you wouldn’t want this £81,049.00Diamond Ring left with a neighbour if you were out when it arrived.

Of course this is open to the occasional practical joke. For instance, I think we can safely say that this Elephant Camouflage Kit (priced at over £1M and now sadly out of stock) is entirely fictional, but the ‘reviews’ do make particularly fun reading.

Even so, the most expensive item on Amazon, I’m told, is none of these things. It retails at $1,500,000 (yes it’s on the US site) and while it certainly doesn’t float my boat … you can take a look and judge for yourself if it’s worth the money.

Now, before you go off and start rummaging around the loft or that back of cupboards to see if you’ve got anything like this yourself … take a moment to think about the growth of Amazon over the last 25 years and if they’ve gone from selling dog eared copies of ‘The Richest Man In Babylon’ to items listed for $1,500,000 … then maybe that ‘wild’ idea you’ve been putting off for ages maybe isn’t that wild after all…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why You Don’t Need a ‘Fingersnap’ Solution…

If it wasn’t already obvious; Marvel have now gone to considerable expense and effort over the last year or so to point out the serious flaws in thinking that everything can be solved with just a snap of the fingers…

Even if you’ve managed to avoid the pull of the big-budget superhero movie, traditional tales tell us that even when a budding hero is granted three wishes, the third wish is often used to undo the chaos caused by the foolish use of the first two wishes. In fact that third wish is usually the one that turns everything back that way it was to start with.

Yes, of course, overnight successes can and do happen … but you’ll agree it shouldn’t really be your entire business plan.

So, what exactly should you be looking for when it comes to adding to, or replacing entirely an income using the internet…?

Well … if you could make 3, 4 or 10 times what you already do now in half, a quarter or even just a tenth of the time you currently spend at work … you would probably be interested, right?

Of course you would – the prospect of making a weeks wages in just a morning (or an hour or so each day) is certainly not fantastical at all … in fact it’s probably a lot easier than you might think.

Yes, you have to take time to learn what you’ve been shown (and actually use it on a consistent basis) and depending on a few factors (some of which will be entirely beyond your control) it might take some time to get the ball rolling.

Yes, there will probably be some ongoing expenses. Investing in things such as websites or CRM systems, even a starting bank if you are pursuing some kind of trading or a structured betting strategy are to be expected … and it is one of those little ironies that if you want to make more money, the first thing you often need to do is part with some.

So, you need to find the thing that is the best ‘fit’ for you- and start with whatever suits the amount of time, money and knowledge you have at the time and build from there.

You could, if you really wanted to, turn down every opportunity in front of you because it doesn’t happen to be perfect … however, I’m sure you’ll agree that many of them are a better way for you to achieve what you want than sitting in a office, cubicle or however you are passing your days at the moment…..

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Know your customer … or they’ll end up forgetting you…

Before we get started, I need to assure you that this is not another tale of a woeful experience with a certain airline … for once, that bit was fine. However, I’ve just returned from a short break in Malta where I experienced a perfect example of how to ‘know’ your customer … and was also treated to a stunning example of how not to do it…

I’ve been lucky enough to ‘escape’ to Malta with ‘She Who Must…’several times in the last six years and while you can imagine we have tried to experience as many different restaurants as we possibly could … we’ve always stayed at the same hotel.

In fact, it’s not just the same hotel … it’s always been the same room in the same hotel, in a hotel chain I stay in quite regularly on various trips around the world. As a result, they have a record of all of my visits in a ‘profile’ … so you would expect them to have a reasonable idea about me, or at least the fact I was a very regular customer.

As it turned out – they had not done their homework at all…

For example, the Prosecco our booking had promised us ‘on arrival’ did not, in fact arrive at all … and even the promise to then have ‘two glasses sent up to our room’ did, in the end, just consist of two empty glasses and no Prosecco. While none of this is the end of the world, you’ll agree for one of the most highly regarded hotel chains in the world, it was a pretty poor show.

As I was a regular guest I knew this wasn’t the way they normally did things – but if this had been my first time staying there I would have been really unimpressed. When I went down to the desk to explain this and they finally looked up my ‘profile’ on their system – there were many red faces and many apologies.

Now I’m not suggesting for a minute anyone should have rolled out the red carpet or started throwing rose petals in front of me as I walked around the hotel, but what I am saying that they had all of the tools at their disposal to do a much better job than they did.

This point was emphasised when we visited a restaurant later that evening. We hadn’t been in for a couple of years and while I do pride myself on being quite memorable, I wasn’t expecting the welcome we received.

The owner remembered us, despite the fact we had not set foot in the building for a couple of years. He talked with us at great length about the restaurant business and was interested that I now owned a bar and restaurant myself. In short, he knew a great deal more about us (and was interested in learning even more)  than the hotel chain we stayed with regularly and even had a database with everything about us stored on it.

Not surprisingly, the restaurant owner had done quite well in the intervening time between our visits. Last time we saw him, he owned one restaurant, he now owned seven, and it wasn’t hard to see why.

In fact, he invited us to one of his other restaurants the following evening to try a special menu and of course, we accepted. We had a brilliant time and by ‘knowing his customer’ he doubled his sales (in fact a bit more than doubled as there were some particularly good wines that ‘needed’ trying).

So there you have it … Firstly an organisation that had all of the information to hand to really know their customer but didn’t use it, and as a result left a less than favourable impression on a regular customer.

Then, on the other hand, we had the restaurant owner who took time to remember his customers (or at least kept very good notes on his customers likes and dislikes) and used all of that information to create a brilliant experience, which resulted in him doubling his sales on that trip over and ensuring we’ll be visiting more than one of his restaurants next time we are there.

I think we can all work out which of these two businesses we’d rather be running.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

Well, That Was Lucky

Yes, I feel lucky. Not lucky that my Easyjet flight back from North of the Wall was, yet again delayed … but that while I was there – we had a small fire.

I know what you’re thinking … how can the place catching fire be lucky ? Well, I feel lucky because all things considered, it could have been much, much worse.

As you probably know, one of my other business interests is a bar and restaurant in Scotland – and for the last year or so, I’ve enjoyed being very ‘hands on’ with everything that goes on there.

I was heavily involved throughout the development and extensive re-fit of what was a slightly seedy local treasure into a very popular (and extremely busy) bar and a la carte restaurant with an award-winning chef.

So, it would be fair to say my investment in this venture was much greater than a merely financial one.

Now, when you hear about a fire in a restaurant, the first thing that occurs is that it must have started in the kitchen, but this wasn’t the case at all.

Despite all of the things that can possibly catch fire in a kitchen – this all started with a tumble dryer that overheated and caught fire. I was amazed how quickly the damage happened and despite all efforts, the gents’ toilet did not survive (though some might take this as a blessing in disguise)

Luckily, all of this occurred while we were open and we managed to get everybody out safely and then get the fire put out relatively quickly – if it had happened when we were closed – I have absolutely no doubt the building would have been gone.

This experience, for me, only really underlines many of the things I’ve said previously here in the Lowedown…

Firstly, there’s the lesson that despite how much you prepare, things will still go wrong – and as illustrated here it’s not necessarily where you might expect it … and that things can go seriously wrong very quickly.

Secondly, when things do go wrong, it’s the strength of the relationships you’ve built that can help you get back on track in the fastest possible time.

Due to the relationships I had built with local businesses and tradesmen,  we were open again on Wednesday (just a couple of days after the incident) and by the time you read this, it should all be as good as new.

Before that, there were members of staff in to help with the clean-up, some roping their families in as additional labour. This was after they spent ages contacting all of the people who had booked so there were no wasted journeys, and disappointment was kept to a minimum.

So I feel grateful and lucky,  not lucky that we had a fire, or that we lost a large amount of revenue on a weekend that was full of Mother’s Day bookings  … but very lucky that nobody was hurt or that the building wasn’t reduced to a heap of smoking rubble … and extremely grateful to the staff and tradesmen who did an amazing job helping to sort everything out.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions….

Well, it seems the arrival of snow, as ever, highlights two very different types of behaviour.

On one extreme, there are those who take one look out of the window, see the lightest dusting of flakes on the ground and ring into work to say they can’t come in because they are ‘snowed in’.

They’ve hijacked the slightest excuse for an easy life and will spend the entire day sprawled on the sofa watching daytime TV or playing something on their games console.

Then, on the other side of the scales you have those who still manage to get things done, unless it’s the type of weather that would cause Captain Robert Falcon Scott a few issues.

For some reason, they can seem to get into work or do whatever else it is they need to do, regardless of whether they happen to be driving a clapped out Renault or the very finest of Range Rovers.

Also on this side of the divide, are those who open up their houses, so that those who are genuinely stranded do not have to spend the night in their cars – or those that donate blankets and hot food to poor souls having to spend the night in schools, colleges, village halls or shelters.

I shouldn’t have to go into huge amounts of detail as to which of these two outlooks proves the most successful when it comes to people starting their own ventures, because I strongly suspect you can guess which it is.

What you might not suspect, however, is just how easy it is for somebody to go from one camp to the other.

I’ve seen it many times – and it all starts with just one thing – a simple decision.

It might be the decision to get involved with something positive, or the decision to put a halt to some sort of negative behaviour or mindset. Most frequently though, that decision is for somebody to do ‘something’ that previously they ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to do, or had convinced themselves (incorrectly) was quite impossible.

Once they have made that decision, they are usually pleasantly surprised. Of course, they might spend a little time kicking themselves that they hadn’t made that decision before, but what they quickly realise is that doing that ‘something’ is not actually that much more effort, and the rewards are much, much greater.

That is usually just the start … those initial rewards will quickly inspire more activity, enthusiasm and effort and it doesn’t take long for the whole thing to quite literally ‘snowball’ from there…

All the best,

Tim Lowe

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

I’m afraid it’s time for a confession…

Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll

Well, I’d never, ever done this before … I had always assumed this type of thing was only usually purchased by long distance lorry drivers and others starved of the domestic comforts of home.I too, perhaps unconsciously, had picked a location far from home where I was sure nobody would recognise me…

Nervously, I pointed to one on the top shelf that had caught my eye … then I answered ‘no, just the plain brown wrapper will do’… I paid quickly and scurried from the shop, my purchase half hidden under my coat.

I was far from proud of myself but deep down, I knew it would be a strangely satisfying experience…  after all, I had never had a Gregg’s Steak Bake before.

Yes, I know that was very tongue in cheek, but it does sum up the general attitude towards Greggs, purveyors of pastry based products to the masses, as a very low-brow business and almost something to be ashamed of.

For that reason, you might be surprised that I’d be using Greggs as an example in the Lowedown … but we all should admit that the launch of their Vegan Sausage last week was quite the marketing triumph…

First of all, there’s the timing. The whole idea of ‘Veganuary’ must seem to some as an effort to suck the last drops of joy out of what can already be a pretty grim month – but to others, it is a chance to start the year by trying something new.

Whatever your opinion on the matter,  with record numbers of people signing up for Veganuary this year, it definitely seems to be catching on … and you have to applaud how Greggs have piggybacked their way onto it.

Of course, the press was alerted to it – with reports of sausage rolls delivered to various outlets in iPhone style boxes in a stunt shamelessly borrowed from Apple … who, let’s face it, know a thing or two about marketing themselves.

The social media uptake was breathtaking, especially after it got Piers Morgan hot under the collar, with even the most obscure of tweeters venturing an opinion on it. In fact, with the ‘release’ limited to just 900 stores I’m quite sure that, by the time you’re reading this, the very first fight for the last vegan sausage roll in a city centre branch of Greggs will probably already have been seen 100,000 times on YouTube.

So, yet again it turns out that a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from.

We might sometimes want our inspiration to be all big, shiny and corporate but you have to agree that when a retailer has managed to sell almost Biblical amounts of a pastry covered product in what is generally seen as the ‘healthiest’ month of the year I think we should all sit down and start taking notes…

All the best,

Tim Lowe

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

You’ll never succeed if you let ‘Moaning Minnie’ (or Mickey) Get In The Way

Now here’s the thing, I’ve been publishing this newsletter, or its predecessors for over 18 years and have often given particular advice around this time of year.

Sadly, too few people have followed that advice so today I feel like being a little blunt.

People nearly always ask me for ‘a formula’ and I dutifully conceive formulas and strategies with entirely predictable outcomes, which by and large people like whilst happily accepting the notion that if you carry out exactly the same actions as another person you might reasonably expect the same outcome as they got. Which is of course true.

However, people are searching for these formulas for a positive outcome, like earning a bigger income, but entirely forget the essential truth that negative predictable outcomes also exist…if you keep hitting your thumb with a hammer it will keep turning blue and hurting, in other words, they plainly forget that doing the same things they’ve always done will yield the same outcome they’ve always had – both good and bad.

So, for some blunt words…if you have something, or just as often, somebody, getting in the way of you doing things which you believe will result in the positive outcome you seek then you will fail unless you change the thing that’s in the way first.

How many of us have a spouse or ‘friends’ who nag, moan and belittle our plans and get in the way of us achieving results which, if they would just shut up, would almost certainly end up with a bounty which would be shared with them?

All the time old ‘moaning Minnie’ is whining away in the background are you really going to pursue your goals and get the outcome you are looking for?

I’m very lucky that, despite my humorous nickname for her, ‘She who must be obeyed’ is, in fact, my greatest supporter and has almost never shown doubt or ever tried to stop me doing anything I thought was worthwhile. We’ve been together for 27 years and of course, we’ve had many rows but she’s never, ever got in the way.

She’s supported us when I was out of work, helped me start my business, stuffed tens of thousands of envelopes for mailings, stuck on thousands of stamps, worked her own job and then worked with me long into the night, ferried me to and from meetings and airports when I’ve been too tired to drive, cooked for me in the middle of the night when I’ve got in from days longer than anybody ought sensibly to work and generally been nothing but loyal and supportive.

Of late, despite clearly not needing to, she’s been more than willing to work in other businesses I’ve invested in, when those who should be there are simply not up to scratch and will give up holidays or other special times to do what she and I both agree is ‘the right thing’.

As a result of this amazing teamwork, we’ve prospered greatly.

One thing is absolutely certain though, on my own I might have achieved similar results, BUT had she been like so many people I’ve met and deliberately Got In The Way of me doing what needed doing then sooner or later, no matter how determined or talented I was, I would most likely have failed.

I once got into a lot of trouble with a man and his wife at a workshop I was speaking at when the man told me his wife was opposed to him being there and was actively sabotaging his efforts (changing computer passwords and hiding things he needed etc) to such an extent that he wanted me to try and convince her that he could succeed if he simply followed my advice as she wouldn’t believe him.

She was an unpleasant scowling creature who was immediately confrontational and awkward, demanding that I explain exactly what he needed to do to succeed. I rather tactlessly said that his first step would have to be changing his wife!!

I was obviously far from popular…but I think I was right nonetheless

…and just to be clear, my comments are not aimed at women, I’ve had the exact same situation with women whose husbands Get In The Way too and my advice would be identical.

In a nutshell, if you have something on your mind or somebody on your back the whole time you simply cannot succeed until you offload that burden and become positive about what you’re doing.

Sometimes that means, whether my comments are palatable or not, you simply have to choose between pursuing your dreams alone or abandoning them to keep Moaning Minnie quiet!!

Good luck,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

Three simple steps that will help you plan your success in 2019…

Well, Christmas Day and Boxing day are now behind us and we are now in the few days leading up to the New Year.

For those of us lucky enough not to have to work, these few days are often spent wandering around various ‘sales’, wondering which day is actually is (although every day does feel a lot like a Sunday) and in some cases counting off the moments until the in-laws go home and you get your house back.

In fact, I’m quite sure some of you will be sat reading this while you’ve escaped upstairs for a bit of peace and quiet after spending the morning being ‘enthralled’ with tales about Aunt Petunia’s lumbago, or battling your way around Sainsbury’s buying up next year’s wrapping paper and gift tags for 20 pence a time…

So, while you’re here – we should talk about the ‘P’ word… Planning.

You’ll agree, knowing what you want to achieve next year – and having some idea about how to do it, is probably a good place to start. If you’re not one for detailed business plans and prefer just to keep things simple, here are three steps that will set you on the right path…

The first of these is to know how much time you have spare to dedicate to your big new business venture or smaller ‘side hustle’.

It doesn’t matter if whatever you choose to get involved with takes just a couple of minutes – if your day is already crammed full of things to do and you have ‘no time’ to do anything extra … then obviously you are going to struggle. So, start thinking now about how you can build some real ‘money making’ time into your usual routine.

Next on the list, as you might expect, is money.

Even if the system you choose to get involved with doesn’t cost you a penny to join, it would be foolish not to take into account start-up costs or work out how much you have available to set aside as an initial trading bank. Many a great idea has fallen flat due to bad cash-flow planning … so be clear about how much you have to invest in your project.

To round things off, you need to make sure you’re among the very first to discover the best possible way to get to where you want to be. You’re already a Lowedown reader, which is a great start – but there is one more step you can take to put yourself at the front of the queue.

As you will have no doubt noticed, the very best money making offers are on password protected, private web pages. To receive notifications and passwords for these brand new offers automatically by post –  and in doing so, get a head start on everybody else – click here now.

If you don’t normally get letters from me, or if you think I might have an old address – spending a minute or two completing this simple form really could make all the difference between success in 2019 … and things staying just as they are.

I’ll be in contact again next week … but for now, I would like close by wishing you a Very Happy New Year…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas….

Well, the thing about Christmas Eve is that you can always rely on an ‘unplanned errand’ or two.

With everything that goes on around Christmas, no matter how organised you are, there is always ‘something’ … maybe a bottle of this, a packet of that, or in some cases – every single Christmas present for all of your nearest and dearest…

Things are no different at ‘Lowe Towers’ where a ‘to do’ list of things to pick up on the way to, or back from HQ will appear shortly and just like you I’ll be off out (on roads where every third vehicle seems to be an Amazon delivery driver) to get on with the day’s business. (Though I must point out that ‘She Who Must…’ usually takes great care to avoid errands anywhere I might be easily distracted by wine.)

So before we all embark on our own personal list of things to do before the big day – whether they be work, play, or even a happy combination of both – I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas and a very prosperous New Year…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

How poor communication and assumption can leave you ‘caught short’

You might be worried that the slightly lavatorial reference in the title might mean that this edition of the Lowedown, just like the one a couple of weeks back, would not be entirely suitable for breakfast time … but don’t worry, the reference is brief – and first I have to tell you how I got to the airport…

I should start perhaps, by reminding you all that while I’m in Scotland ‘fettling’ one of my other business concerns I stay with some very good friends, one of whom will normally collect me, then later drop me at the airport for my trip back this side of the wall…

Normally, I would fly back down from Edinburgh airport, but on this occasion, necessity dictated I had to fly from Glasgow. Obviously, I mentioned this to Claire (the friend who would normally, very kindly, do the driving) on more than one occasion and when the time came I popped myself in the car ready for the trip … and saw that her husband, Ali, was in the driving seat.

I’d not flown from Glasgow too many times, but as we happily chatted during the journey I became slightly concerned the scenery was more familiar than it should be … and in fact, extremely reminiscent of the usual trip to Edinburgh.

Yes, you can guess what happened … I had told Claire and assumed she would tell Ali. Claire, on the other hand, assumed that I would mention it to Ali as we were very good friends and would be sat next to him for the whole of the journey.

Despite going three-quarters of the way to the wrong airport, it was due to some ‘textbook’ driving (though I do have the mention the ‘textbook’ wasn’t necessarily the Highway Code) that I made it to the right airport with minutes to spare.

I was the last person to board the plane and I was also in the very last row with no window, sat next to an unfortunate girl who thought she had the two seats to herself… luckily though; this wasn’t going to make me the most unpopular person in the flight…

From my seat next to the toilets, I watched it all play out … It’s an interesting vantage point to watch the world go by and on this occasion, this consisted of the same chap going past at least three times to use the facilities on the one hour flight.

It was obvious that he had become ‘comprehensively refreshed’ while waiting for the plane and his bladder was protesting. He had to hold on to the seats and was still swaying as he made his way back and forth regularly, including when he should have been sat down and wearing a seatbelt.

This was much to the discontent of the flight attendants as he repeatedly ignored them and instead protested with  ‘aye, I shouldn’e had all thae beer…get oot the way or I’ll wet mae’sel…’’ Glad I wasn’t sat next to him – or stood anywhere near him when he found how much a pint was in London…

Anyway, the point here is that communication, or at least the assumption of communication can do a lot of damage to the efficient running of your business and can lead to things a lot more serious and expensive than just ending up at the wrong airport.

Imagine for a moment that you ran your online business (as many do) using a network of outsourced or remote workers. Also imagine the challenge of trying to keep them all in the loop when you all might be in different time zones and using a different first language…

That’s why you need to have plenty of conversations with the people who work with or for you. Just as many, in fact as you would with a customer or a supplier. The conversations tend not to always be about work – they could be about what happened at the weekend or the latest piece of transatlantic political tomfoolery.

Time spent like this isn’t wasted … it’s helping to ensure that the old adage that ‘assume’ makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and me’ does not become a reality…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

How you can find success with just a different point of view…

Success Tim Lowe

As you probably know, I like to do things a little differently … I remember at a charity ball a few years ago where the theme of the evening was ‘schooldays’ and as you might expect, the attendees came almost exclusively with either a ‘St. Trinians’ or ‘Just William’ look. I chose a different approach and had obtained myself a brown overall, broom and an outrageously large bunch of keys … and decided to go as the caretaker.

I was modelled very much on my old school caretaker, who, whilst not quite being in the same league as that chap from Harry Potter, was very fond of berating those who cycled in through the gates with ‘If I told you once, Ive told you a thousand times … go back and walk’

I took a similar approach when I had occasion to revisit Lisbon recently. It’s a very nice city, the people are wonderful, but the only way you would describe it as spectacular was if you had never visited a city before. It had all the things you would expect from a medium-sized city, and unless you had some emotional connection to the place you probably wouldn’t, as a tourist, choose to visit it a second time.

I was, however, on this trip with several people who had never been before – so to avoid a ‘seen it all before’ experience I decided to opt for a slightly more unconventional way to see the sights … by Tuk Tuk.

For those unfamiliar with a Tuk Tuk, it is an open-sided, three-wheeled taxi, like a motorised rickshaw.  Just imagine a contraption that looks something like the unfortunate offspring of a carnival float and a moped, and you won’t be far off the mark.

The thing was, travelling the streets of Lisbon in this Tuk Tuk tour made it a different experience entirely. Not only did the rather unusual mode of transport add an extra dimension, seeing the city from a different point of view made it seem like I was seeing much of it for the first time. It turned my attitude from apathy to enthusiasm and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

It all goes to prove that if you have decided something is not for you, just because you had a go once and it didn’t tick all of the boxes that first time … you may be missing a trick … and, when it comes to making money online, probably missing out on quite a lot of cash as well.

The evolution of how money is made online means there will always be a new take on how things are done – including those that you might consider long dead. I for one, would consider myself a fool if I dismissed out of hand a brand new approach to an old idea, as that different point of view might be all you need to turn mediocre results into magnificent ones…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Tell me – exactly how much is ‘enough’ money?

Usually, when I ask that question, I’ll get a great variety of answers.

Some people will already have worked it out to the penny, others will pluck a figure out of the air (a million pounds seems to be quite a popular figure for some reason, as are the words ‘a lottery win).

While the actual amounts might vary … all of the answers ‘amount’ to the same thing … thatenough’ is the amount of money you need to have the ‘freedom’ to do whatever you want every single day.

So the next question then is – what exactly would you do if you had ‘enough’ …

  • Buy a bigger house or your dream car?
  • Pay off all of your debts and live ‘worry free’?
  • Decide never to go to work again?
  • Spend more time with your friends and family?
  • Travel the world and tick off all those things on your ‘bucket list’?
  • Give to charity and change the lives of others?

These are in no particular order and of course, there are plenty of other reasons, but these are the ones I hear most often.

Just as the list of things varies from person to person – as I have already mentioned, so do the amounts of money needed to achieve this. For some, an extra £2,000 or 3,000 each month would make all the difference … for others, it would take something closer to £10,000 a month to tick all of the boxes.

Ideally, this would involve a way of generating income that was as flexible as the needs of the people who used it … something you could just use to ‘tick over’ on a debt-free, carefree life if you wanted … then whenever you needed extra cash for something like a new car or dream holiday – simply ‘dial it up’ and reap the greater rewards.

So, here’s a little something you might want to try to work out exactly what is ‘enough’

Jot down just what £10,000 a month would mean to you … how long would it take to completely pay off everything you owe? Mortgage, credit cards, everything. How long would it take before you had that ‘carefree’ life?

Even if you were already mortgage free – jot down what you could do with that £10,000 each month … what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you help?

It’s quite an interesting exercise and you might very well find it wouldn’t take that lottery win for you to have that dream lifestyle – or even as long as you thought to achieve it.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is all of your hard work just lining other people’s pockets?

Whilst at HQ, I’ll spend several hours each day in the office occupied by my ‘Minions’ talking through various ideas and plans. It’s an interesting place to be … at times a scene of industry and flashes of brilliance … and at others a scene of abandoned coffee mugs and biscuit crumbs.

On one recent trip downstairs, I saw my Head Minion sitting there looking slightly bewildered … and while this, to be fair, might not be considered an isolated incident … seeing him also looking concerned at the same time was a bit of a first.

It was when he shook his head and sighed ‘Don’t these people know they’re just lining somebody else’s pockets?’ that I decided to investigate further. I first negotiated my way around the rather interesting décor in his office (more on that another time) and then looked at his screen … and saw exactly what he meant.

It was an email from a very well known DIY chain – you may well get them yourselves. It consisted mainly of a big picture of one of those cordless drill/screwdrivers, a price … and that was about it.

The intention being, of course, that the reader would click through and buy  … and in a small minority of cases, this may well have worked. However, in the majority of cases, I strongly suspect the reader would have done exactly what my Head Minion did and immediately checked to see how much it was on Amazon …  then bought one from them instead.

The thing is the email looked really good – the image would have certainly ticked all the boxes for any prospective drill/screwdriver owner to want to buy. Yet, by simply showing that picture a price and very little else, all that ‘well known DIY chain’ had managed to do was trigger the desire to buy that particular drill … not the desire to buy the drill from them.

You’ll agree, It’s not enough (if you choose to sell a product your customer could buy anywhere) to simply quote a price, or in fact, compete on price alone. You need to give them a compelling reason to buy from you.

This could be to base it on the relationship you’ve already built with them, by providing a greater level of service or even by adding a ‘bonus’ if they buy from you.

For instance, if you were selling a cocktail shaker you could offer the bonus of a free downloadable ebook of cocktail recipes which would cost you next to nothing, but has a real value to the customer.

The only way to stop absolutely everyone from looking elsewhere is to offer a product that is unique to you … but if that is not possible, you need to do something more than present your customer with just a pretty picture and a price…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

I’ve got a slight confession to make … Warning: involves partial nudity, potential burglary and dairy products…

I’ve been making so many trips to Scotland recently that I’ve decided I need some sort of ‘helper’… and it’s not for the reason you might think…

I need a helper because, for the second time in a week, I’d got involved in operating something alien and for which I’d never been trained to use … or even knew how to turn on (I am of course referring to an iron). However, whilst waiting for the ghastly steam spitting contraption to get hot I took it into my head to eat my breakfast outside, and that’s when all the ‘fun’ began…

You see, when I’m  ‘North of the Wall’ I stay with friends who live somewhere quite remote and very beautiful, with the only passers-by usually consisting of the local wildlife. My ‘hosts’ (perhaps ‘wardens’ might be a better word) think nothing of leaving me all alone to cope with the strange electric gates that don’t seem to want to open for me, as well trying to communicate with the curiously incomprehensible local folk…

…the slight issue here was that they never actually told me there was a man who looked exactly like a burglar coming to paint the office door … and if they had, I wouldn’t have been standing in the sunshine eating my yoghurt with no clothes on as he arrived…

For some strange reason, all this man did was skulk behind the car and refuse to ‘explain himself’ when questioned by a naked chap holding a yoghurt – which seemed a little odd. After all, I ‘almost’ lived there and he didn’t.

I was left asking myself why my ‘hosts’ would not lock the back door when they left at dawn since they always warn me about not opening windows letting ‘animals’ in?

Well, on this occasion it wasn’t animals I was worried about … it was the marauding surly workman waving his paintbrush at me that disturbed my breakfast … though I should mention that yes, I did stand there and finish my breakfast … and no, I didn’t get dressed until I had.

Of course, I didn’t write this just to tell you this (though I’m sure many of you found it quite amusing) but also to ask you to keep a special eye on your inboxes in the very near future as I’ll be telling you more about ‘the next big thing’ that could be very much to your advantage…  (if you don’t already get regular emails from me – you can join the thousands of readers who do by simply entering your details over there on the right)

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why it doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘Laurel’ or ‘Yanny’ … as long as you listen.

Tim Lowe Laurel Yanny
Unless you happen to have been living under a particularly large rock for the last week, you can’t have avoided the amount of coverage and comment regarding whether or not an audio clip of the word ‘Laurel’ might actually sound more like somebody saying ‘Yanny’.

Among my first thoughts on the matter – right after ‘why on earth would anyone be saying Yanny anyway?’ and ‘isn’t there quite enough going on that is perhaps more deserving of this kind of coverage?’ … was the thought that they were quite correct.

I certainly did not think they were correct in the respect that the clip sounded like ‘Yanny’  – but absolutely correct in establishing that no two people will react in exactly the same way to anything you happen to put in front of them.

Of course, in an industry where a major factor in your success is getting your message in front of as many interested parties as possible – you might think this can be something of a ‘knotty’ issue…

As you might expect – I do have my own particular take on this…

I have, quite deservedly, a reputation for saying exactly what I think and then living with the consequences.

This stance seems to go down quite well, even with those who might not always agree with me.

While they might disagree with what I am saying, they respect the fact that I am honest and do not give some sort of pathetic, namby-pamby, lukewarm answer.

I would never, ever, go out of my way to intentionally offend anybody – but, of course, some people are still offended. Just because they are offended, however,  it doesn’t necessarily mean they are right … and a free and frank exchange between two properly thought out arguments can often be an education for everyone involved.

Yes, you could have a much easier ride through life, just simply agreeing with everybody all of the time, but you will learn very little. Also, by trying to please everybody, you can often achieve the complete opposite.

I often talk about making yourself memorable, and you can achieve this simply by being yourself. I find it lamentable that there are so many instances, on TV or social media, of somebody,desperate for attention, saying something utterly crass or ridiculous just to goad a mass response.

Doing something like this might make you memorable, but for all of the wrong reasons  … in fact, you could even end up as President…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How a ‘wee dram’ and a lollipop added up to a win/win opportunity…

Tim Lowe Lollipop

As my travels to Scotland have become more and more frequent, I’ve noticed some very distinct differences between the ways we and those ‘North of the Wall’ go about things (and you’ll no doubt hear more about these as the weeks go on). However, I’ve found that taking full advantage of an opportunity is still a very good idea … no matter where you happen to be.

On my last trip, I was told that the bar around the corner had improved massively under new ownership, and had a fine selection of Single Malt Whisky. Being partial to the occasional ‘wee dram’ I thought I might take a brief stroll in that direction…

After all, it was a Sunday night – back home in the leafier parts of Surrey the local hostelries would be warm, welcoming, but above all, quiet. There would be a roaring fire and the biggest inconvenience would be stepping over the occasional slumbering spaniel … it couldn’t be any different here  – could it?

As I entered the bar, the scene that greeted me had me thinking for a minute that during my brief stroll, Scotland had somehow managed to win the World Cup. There were people everywhere … loud, drunken people, whom it seemed, were having the time of their lives.

I really was intrigued as to what this considerable fuss was all about, so with the strategic use of elbows I got to the bar and acquired myself a rather fine Single Malt.  I then retired to a table just outside what can only be described the ‘blast radius’ … and from my new position, saw that at the centre of all of this chaos was … Karaoke.

Karaoke, when done well, can add much to a certain type of social occasion … however, my first impression was that this was not one of those times. There was some poor unfortunate taking terrible liberties with the song ‘My Boy Lollipop’, yet somehow the locals seemed to be loving every minute of it.

It certainly wasn’t due to vocal talent … another chap shared my opinion and had also retired to a safe distance, so we exchanged grimaces as the wailing continued … and after a brief chat, I discovered he was actually the bar manager.

I was informed that the young woman ‘singing’ was in fact from a small nearby town and had somehow achieved internet fame for a recording of her singing at her mother’s funeral. As a result, she was one of the most sought-after acts in Scotland.

It turns out that in much of Scotland, bars can, in fact, be very busy near closing time on a Sunday – and this bar’s Karaoke night would have been packed – but not until much, much later on.

By securing this young ladies’ vocal talents at a reasonable rate, had he filled the bar much, much earlier than normal and clearly increased bar takings as a result. It also turned out that prior to my arrival he had been charging a reasonable entrance fee as well.

This is an excellent example of somebody seizing an opportunity to create a situation that is beneficial for everybody … the young woman got well paid for singing what amounted to just two songs … the bar was packed much earlier than usual and had extra revenue from bar and tickets sales … and the customers were clearly having the time of their lives.

Recognising – and just as importantly – acting on opportunities like this in your own business that can make all of the difference. Missing an opportunity can leave you kicking yourself for a long time … however, an opportunity that you have spotted and then taken full advantage of is something you’ll enjoy the benefits of for much, much longer.

It’s all about keeping your eyes open for this kind of opportunity and leaving yourself open to taking a closer look at things that might be a little out of the ordinary. This is even if it takes the shape of a young woman in a tracksuit and baseball cap singing ‘My Boy Lollipop’ in a key known only to herself…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If you don’t want to miss your flight – always pack your cheese carefully..

As regular readers will know, I’m currently spending part of my time ‘North of the Wall’ fine tuning one of my other business interests. I usually take the ‘quick and easy’ option to fly up there, which I do quite regularly – and thought I had got everything into a nice little routine. However, I have to admit that earlier this week I nearly missed my flight altogether… and in rather bizarre circumstances.


I was only going for a couple of days so I took one, reasonable sized bag with me and everything I needed went in it. This included all of the bits you might expect me to take, as well as, on this occasion, my beard trimmer and some rather fine cheese.


As I mentioned earlier, I had got this all down to a fine art and I was expecting, as normal, to cruise through the whole pre-flight process … but on this occasion, as my bag passed through the scanner something must have gone ‘beep’. Before I knew it, my bag was in a bomb proof box and I was on the receiving end of some very agitated looks from several people with clipboards.


The nearest chap held his clipboard up like a shield as I demanded that he ‘explain himself’. After a bit of a stuttering start – he explained that the scan had shown up ‘organic material mixed with electronic components and a battery’ … and that, in their book … added up to a bomb.


I explained that what it really added up to was my beard trimmer being placed on top of the cheese in my bag, but ‘Captain Clipboard’ and his friends were in no mood to find out. To end the impasse, I simply said ‘Look I’ll show you’ – opened the box … and all of a sudden I found myself very much alone as everybody else retired to a safe distance…


Of course, once I’d shown them the contents of my bag it was all resolved amicably with a great deal of apologising.  One passer-by even commented very loudly that I ‘didn’t exactly look like a terrorist’ and made ‘Captain Clipboard’ and his mob look more sheepish than ever.


As with nearly all of these type of ‘occurrences’ I found it more amusing than annoying, though I can’t say that would have been the case if I actually had missed my flight…


The point here of course is that things might sometimes look a certain way – even menacing or possibly quite ‘explosive’. In reality, though, they are actually very beneficial if only you took the time to look properly.


You’ll agree, the best way to do that is to ignore all of the ‘noise’ surrounding whatever we are told is the next ‘big thing’. You will always be bombarded by the latest opinions from people who haven’t really got a clue – but want to be involved because everybody else is talking about it … and they don’t want to be left out.


There are, on the other hand, those that sit back and watch while the chaos passes to see where the ‘smart money’ actually goes. They observe what really goes on, how it all actually works and how this knowledge can be used to profit, even when everyone else is running around in a blind panic.


I think you already know which group of people you should really be listening to – and to hear more about them (and one in particular to start with) I would suggest you pay special attention to the Lowedown over the coming weeks…


All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is your autopilot sending down you the same old path ?

Tim Lowe Blog

As you probably know, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time recently ‘North of the Wall’, fine tuning one of my other business interests. Part of putting it all together was the ‘little’ job of refitting the entire building…

Part of the refit involved moving the main entrance of the building to somewhere a lot more obvious and accessible, with the old entrance now re-purposed as the fire escape.

The new entrance was bigger, very well lit and had everything but a large flashing neon sign with an arrow saying ‘entrance’, which I genuinely believed would not be necessary…

Or so I thought.

On the very first day after the refit, I sat there in wonder as I watched no less than a dozen people walk straight past the blatantly obvious bigger, brighter new entrance. They instead continued round to where the old entrance used to be and stood staring (some for a good minute or so) entirely bemused at the empty space where the door handle used to be. One or two even began pawing at the door like a family pet wanting to be let in.

Eventually, nearly all of them turned around –spotted the big, bright new entrance they had just walked past, stared suspiciously at it for a while as if it had suddenly appeared from nowhere while their back was turned … then came in. They all looked slightly confused by the whole thing and in at least one case – really quite angry.

I say ‘nearly all’, as there was one poor chap who, finding he couldn’t get in using the old entrance just carried on walking round the corner. That would have been fine but that path didn’t actually go anywhere except the buildings bin store…  so that’s where I found him, shortly after, staring at the wall, scratching his head and wondering where it had all gone wrong….

As you’ve probably guessed I found all of this more amusing than frustrating, and it did serve as a brilliant illustration of how, at times, all of us think and behave.

The old entrance had, I was informed more than once, been there for several decades. As a result, many people ‘on autopilot’ either missed the new entrance entirely or simply didn’t register that the entrance could have possibly been anywhere other than where it had ‘always’ been.

We all switch into ‘autopilot’ mode occasionally, but we do it most frequently when we think something has ‘always’ been a certain way. We even do it when it comes to helping yourself to some extra cash online … and that’s when it can get costly.

You need to consider how much money you could be making if only you’d got ‘in’ on that amazing system and not just sat there undecided … or all of the earnings that are passing you by every single day while you make up your mind.

To sum things up, we can all let our ‘autopilot’ take us down the path we’ve always gone down, even when it takes us straight past something that is obviously a proven ‘game changer’.

It’s easy to think that because something is different to the way we’re used to seeing money made online … because you’re not selling anything or building websites or writing sales copy … it’s not a ‘real’ way of generating a substantial amount of cash.

If you are thinking that– then think again. Turn the ‘autopilot’ off, clear your mind and take a PROPER look at what is on offer … and you’ll be sure you’re not missing out…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe – Markiteer Ltd


Why saying something is ‘not your thing’ is just one big mistake…

Why saying something is ‘not your thing’ is just one big mistake…

As we all know, the only constant in life is change and that things we are comfortable and familiar with seem to change on an almost daily basis.

This is especially true on the internet where we can’t seem to go five minutes without some amazing new development complimenting (or often complicating) our lives in some way. It’s not just new developments either – it seems not a day goes by without something we use online being improved and enhanced in some way to make it better.

However, as we know – that is not always the case.

For instance, I know we’ve all gone to use a favourite website and found it’s been ‘improved’ to the point where we no longer know our way around it, or that it simply doesn’t work in a way we can ‘get on’ with – so we abandon it, vowing to never, ever, use it again.

The same principle applies in the ‘real world’ when, for example, your local pub or restaurant is refitted and you think it has now lost all of the atmosphere and charm it once had – and you simply don’t want to go there anymore.

Of course this ‘new look’ would appeal to different people who would now go there instead of you … and you probably wouldn’t stop going out altogether, you’d just find a different pub or restaurant that you may not have tried before.

You’ll agree this is perfectly normal and it happens all of the time – so why wouldn’t you do the same thing in the online world?

If you accept that things we once liked online can easily evolve into something we dislike – then it stands to reason that it is perfectly possible for something we once dismissed out of hand to have evolved and improved to the point that they are now a perfect fit for us.

Yet, I get emails all of the time from people asking me about how to make a bit more (or more usually a lot more) money  using the internet – and when I make suggestions to them, I often get replies telling me they looked at whatever it was I suggested  2, 5 or even 10 years ago and itwasn’t ‘their thing’.

The point here is this … with the speed the internet changes, if you looked at it that long ago – how on earth do you know it’s still not ‘your thing’ ? Could the factor that was originally the ‘deal breaker’,  – the single thing that made you originally say ‘no’  – have been taken out of the equation entirely by some technological breakthrough or another ?

The simple answer is that you don’t know – and you won’t know until you take another look with a fresh pair of eyes.

So, next time you look at possible options for making some extra cash – don’t dismiss something  out of hand  – take a good long look and you may find that, far from being ‘not your thing’ it may have actually evolved into exactly what you are looking for.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Things are no different – online, offline or even ‘North of the Wall’

I have been spending quite a lot of time recently ‘fine tuning’ one of my other business interests in Scotland. Of course this has brought about plenty of comment from those back at HQ (all ‘Game of Thrones’ viewers or readers) about me going ‘North of the Wall’.

I would like to point out that I haven’t seen any real ‘White Walkers’ during my frequent visits (though there are some very pale types up there) and I’ve always found Scotland to be very hospitable and nothing like the rather grim, dour place you may see it portrayed elsewhere.

While this other business interest is, at first glance, far removed from my online endeavours, it is still a business – so a great many of the same principles still apply.  A good idea still works a lot better than a bad one, and the simple maxim of ‘if your outgoings exceed you income – your upkeep will be your downfall’ is certainly still correct.

This is a problem that many who take their first steps online, encounter quite frequently. They believe that because something ‘is on the internet’ the same basic common sense rules of doing something in what we’ll call ‘the real world’ do not apply … but they do.

The internet is a ‘great leveller ‘in that anyone with a laptop can effectively duplicate the same kind of thing you would have needed a huge shop and several employees (and all of the overheads and expenses that go with it) to achieve 20 years ago … but it doesn’t mean something that is poorly put together and badly presented is going to work.

You can run a ‘system’ from a laptop almost anywhere in the world (or more likely from your sofa while sat in your underpants) but if you insist on not bothering to read the instructions, blundering in without any due care or attention and generally don’t think the rules apply to you – chances are you will come well and truly unstuck.

Many have, and still do, achieve things they couldn’t have possibly done before the internet magnified their ideas and their effort into a life changing income … but the key word there is magnify. The internet is not a magic tool that will make a bad idea into a good one, or a poor product or service into a good one.

So in conclusion, it doesn’t matter what you do to generate extra income, you need to apply the same level of common sense to your decision making as you would to your normal dealings in everyday life – and that’s true whether it be online, offline or North of the Wall…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

To beat the competition and make more money – ensure you do this one thing…

Earlier this week at HQ, something I never thought possible occurred.  We had a chap in for a meeting, and before we got round to talking about business, this chap came right out and mentioned he was – and I don’t know quite how else to put this … a vegan.

As you probably know, vegans hold a place in my affections somewhere around the level usually occupied by people who overcook my steak or chill red wine, but this chap seemed to know his stuff. He was intelligent, articulate and seemed in no way impaired by the fact his mid-meeting sandwich appeared to consist mostly of bean sprouts and wood shavings.

It was refreshing that he rebuffed my tongue in cheek interrogation of his ‘habits’ with a tongue in cheek response of his own (whilst sat in a leather chair, may I add) by mentioning that he became vegan for ‘reasons of animal welfare’ and the increased sense of smugness it gave him.

Anyway, the main thing that convinced me he was the right sort of chap (despite all of his obvious disadvantages) was the fact that he said that ‘people buy from people’ which underlines something I’ve always said in the Lowedown about making yourself memorable to both your potential and existing customers.

For instance, there are probably plenty of places both online and offline where I could buy clothes – but I haven’t really looked because I will simply go and visit ‘Bruce the Cloth’ … I’m sure many of the things he sells are just as readily available elsewhere, but I don’t’ just’ buy a pair of trousers … I buy a pair of trousers from Bruce.

I’m sure we all do the same with one thing or another … a local garage perhaps where you send your car to get serviced because the mechanic there talks to you like you’re a human being – rather than just being ‘another number’ at some large soulless place advertising the same service for a cheaper price.

We all have places we would rather go to for a product or service, and you’ll agree it’s most often the relationship we have with the people who provide that product rather than the price that makes it our number one choice. Of course sometimes circumstances dictate that we have to take the more economic option – but that is out of necessity rather than choice … and we’d really rather be buying from people we know.

The point here is that when the product or service you offer is widely available, and it has no USP (‘unique selling proposition’) of its own … to make that difference, to get and keep those customers – the USP has to be you.

By building and maintaining a relationship with your ‘would be’ and existing customers, when the time comes for that initial or repeat purchase  –  the relationship you have with them will put you at the front of their minds … and you’ll be the person they buy from.

 Until next time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why I want you to sit back and do nothing in 2018…

Well, it seems Christmas is nearly upon us – so before I release the ‘Minions’ and then return to Lowe Towers to supervise the last of the Christmas preparations, I thought I’d just give you a bit of a ‘heads up’ as to some of the projects I have planned for 2018.

As you’ve probably noticed, this year my various projects have followed a theme … with 2017 being very much the year of ‘trading’. You’ll find 2018 will be no different and also have various projects with a theme running through them.

While these projects will be quite diverse (and I’ll have the pleasure of introducing you to one or two very ‘different’ characters along the way) the one thing they will have in common is that they will involve little or no effort on your part for you to make some real ‘game changing’ money from them.

I knew you’d like that bit – in fact, I know you’re going to be every bit as excited as all of us at HQ have been over the last 6-8 months as we’ve been watching the results of research and testing bearing some very profitable fruit indeed.

So, with all of this lined up for 2018, I know you won’t want to miss out by being at the back of the queue.

The first people invited to get involved with these projects will do so by post. Some might think it’s a bit ‘old fashioned’ to do things this way but I’ve always found that people who respond to a letter are that bit more ‘serious’ about what they are doing, and tend to get the best results from what I hand them.

If you don’t already receive these notifications in the post (or you think I might have an old address) – you can remedy that immediately and make sure you don’t get left behind.

Simply click on the link below add your details and I’ll make sure you’re among the first to hear about these fantastic new projects.


That’s all for now, and all for 2017 … so let me close now by wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year … and I’ll be in touch again soon…

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The World of making extra money online is changing fast … are you willing to make that change too ?

It has been said that the only constant in our lives is change – and it’s true that there have been some massive changes for those who want to make extra money online … in both the tools we use and even the most profitable methods to get results.

I’ve said many times recently how it has become relatively simple to get a good looking website up and running within a day – and be able to do so very cheaply.

There’s no more approaching some ‘odd but interesting’ type to work some sort of alchemy in the corner of a darkened room over the space of a couple of weeks and then having to part with a small fortune just to get the most rudimentary of sites up. You can do it yourself in a matter of hours – or get someone on Fiverr to do the hard bits for you for very little.

It’s the same with how we actually make money online as well. Changes in technology and attitude has meant that many things have become more accessible and in fact quite commonplace over the last couple of years.

In fact there’s a way of making money that is quickly overtaking all of the others – it doesn’t require any stock or premises, or even one of those easy to set up websites Ive mentioned above.

Most importantly for a lot of people, it doesn’t involve having to sell anything to anybody and it is already been used to great effect by many every single day.

It is for this reason that – over the last couple of years – a lot of my own focus, and the time and effort of my team here at HQ has been dedicated to research and refinement of systems in this particular field.

I am of course talking about Sports Trading.

I’ve said it before – and I suspect I’ll have to say it again – Sports Trading is not ‘gambling’. Gambling involves sitting there with everything ‘clenched’ – sweating on the all or nothing outcome of an event you have absolutely no control over. Clearly this is a very bad idea, and I can understand why people might want to avoid this like the plague.

Sports trading is different.

Yes, like gambling you need to place a bet (according to certain criteria of course), but then at later stage or after a certain event you then ‘sell’ that bet to secure your profit.

So, unlike gambling, the outcome of the event is irrelevant to you making a profit and you have a level of control.

The realisation that this way of making money is in no way dodgy has lead to a horde of people jumping at the chance to get involved. It’s easy because it now involves just a couple of websites and has nothing to do with  a bunch of suspicious looking characters in sheepskin coats with 20 Woodbines tucked in the top pocket looking at the world over the top of a slightly besmirched Racing Post.

So, if you’ve not got at least one Sports Trading strategy in your money making arsenal, not only are you missing out … you’re getting left behind.

If you haven’t got started in this particular area just yet or for some reason got started and didn’t take it any further – then keep an eye on your letterbox or inbox over the next week as I have something very special for you..

Until next time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

“You’re not our only client with over £200,000 in cars and no screwdriver….”

Over at Lowe Towers, I’m currently having a new garage built – partly for the obvious reason – but mainly, it seems, to follow in the great British tradition of having somewhere to put all of the various amounts of ‘junk’ we have acquired over the last few years.

With this in mind, the new garage has a rather large ‘loft’ type area and has undergone a few design changes as I’ve decided I wanted this or that feature added as things have gone along.

This means that the builders have been there a few weeks and over that time I’ve built up quite a nice rapport with all of them, but especially with Ken the chap in charge (I even ‘ejected’ an over-officious half wit with a clipboard  that was simply getting in their way.)

Anyway, at the weekend there was some sort of minor DIY task required, a loose cable needed re-securing or something similar and so I blew the dust off of my old electric screwdriver to do this ‘5 minute job’ and found the battery was flat and completely beyond help.

Plan B was to use the driver function on my drill instead (again, after blowing off no small amount of dust) and promptly found that, as my drill was from the late 20th century – it was just too bulky to get it anywhere near the bit that need re-attaching.

So, when Monday came around and the builders re-appeared, I of course asked them to add this little extra job to their list of things to do. There was much in the way of mild amusement culminating in Ken sighing and telling me not to worry as I wasn’t their “only client with over £200,000 in cars and no screwdriver….”

The point here of course is that you’re never going to be good at, have the knowledge for, or even possess the tools to do absolutely everything you need to do … and that will be true regardless of who you are.

Of course some will have more resources than others – but nobody will have all of the resources to just ‘make things happen’ immediately – so you should never  be too frustrated if things don’t happen straight away.

Evidently, an awful lot of people do get an awful lot of things done,  so clearly not having access to everything straight away is not a complete ‘deal breaker’.

There are plenty of ways around this, ranging from as simple as just paying somebody to do it for you, to the intricacies of forming a ‘co-op’ with other individuals and you pool your collective skills and resources  to get each other’s projects done, or more usually collaborate on one larger project.

So, if you’re a bit stuck – don’t worry, you’re not the only one. This means that there are others out there, fully equipped with skills or resources you might lack, but who in turn have reached a roadblock in their efforts you could probably help them with … and with the massive amount of social media outlets we now have to find these people – the solution to whatever is currently is holding you up is probably closer than you think.

Until next time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why you should never confuse activity for productivity or profitability…

About a week ago, I decided to stop at a ‘well known’ coffee shop (I won’t mention the name but it begins with an ‘S’ and they have some interesting ideas when in comes to paying tax) you may be familiar with it, it’s a particularly ‘fine’ establishment on the A3 just before you get to the M25 and as I pulled up I saw the place was quite full – and assumed they must be doing a roaring trade.

On closer inspection, this was not to be the case at all. The place may have been nearly full, but over half of the customers were not sat enjoying their double shotted, half fat, frothy cup of whatever, but were in fact either still waiting to order or collect their coffee. 

We were, it seems, waiting for one of the ‘dynamic duo’ behind the counter (you probably know the type, they tend to be wearing a name badge declaring that they are ‘happy to help’ or something similar but have an expression on their faces that indicates the exact opposite) to get round to us as they toiled away at a coffee machine that was either being operated inexpertly or at truly glacial speed. 

Matters then took a turn for the worse as the female half of the ‘dynamic duo’ declared, perhaps rather too loudly that she was off to the toilet and left her compatriot to deal with the ever increasing queue on his own. 

I got chatting to a man who apparently endures this regularly and often waits over 20 minutes for his coffee. He observed, quite correctly, that they would only need half the space (as less than half of the people actually sitting drinking their coffee, remember) if they invested a faster machine or in staff training (they actually had two machines but only seemed to be able use one between them).

As I mentioned above, to the passer by, this place looked really busy and they would assume it was making money hand over fist. In reality, however, as it was only churning out one cup every few minutes the actual result was unhappy customers, unhappy staff and I’m guessing – nothing like the profit the place could be making.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the frustrations involved with seeing lots activity bearing very little or even nothing in the way of results.It’s often the case if we start on anything without, like the ‘dynamic duo’ above, the right resources or training.

By contrast, investing in the correct resources and the right training, especially in our industry will often result in very little effort bearing quite spectacular results – but only with the addition of one very important factor…

There is always a key element in any of the ‘success stories’ we see and (depending on how we view the world) either aspire to, envy or disbelieve. This key element is quite simply that they actually used what they had invested in.

It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but I know I’m not alone in having something I’ve invested in gathering dust on the shelf, either unfinished or not even started at all. 

So, you could spend time this week looking for the next ‘big thing’ … or instead you could simply revisit something you’ve already made that all important investment in and unlock the potential you saw when you first decided to get involved…

Until next time, 

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why Frisbees look just terrible in walnut and leather (or don’t just copy – learn)

This week I’d like to take a moment to touch again on the subject of providing the right look and feel when presenting your product or service.

You’ll remember, I mentioned this the other week when I told you about my visit to the Royal Highland Show (and no, for those who have been asking, I still haven’t been persuaded to buy a ‘Coo’) so  I thought I’d revisit the subject as there’s one common trap you don’t want to fall into … and that’s copying something you see outright.

At workshops, seminars and face to face training days it used to happen all of the time. I’d show the attendees a website I liked – for instance, the Jaguar website because it had congruity with the type of product or service I happened to be using as an example.

Everybody would nod sagely, make notes and without fail, around half of them would turn-up at the next meeting with, or send me a link to, their ‘site’ – and regardless of whether they were trying to sell ferris wheels, socks or Frisbees – their site would be all walnut and leather.

So, after my slightly exasperated look had received the response of ‘well, that’s what you TOLD me to do’ I had to explain further about what I meant by ‘look and feel’ as well as congruency.

The impression you are trying to give is one that reflects what you want your prospective customer to feel when they see your site. If you your product is about something quite fun, for instance children’s parties – then the site, you would think, needs to be light, airy, and you’d probably want to take a look at the way Disney do things.

If, on the other hand, your products involved legal services or will writing you would be trying to create a look that was a lot more serious, reliable and you’ll agree, would definitely require fewer pictures of balloons.

So while the actual look and feel of a site should vary according to what you have to offer, and there is no right or wrong way of doing that as long as you get the message across … there is, however,  always one constant.

If you are wanting your visitor to buy from you or even just share their details … your site has to give the impression of being (and I can already imagine all those who work for me at HQ sighing when the they read this bit) … ‘safe’.

By ‘safe’ I don’t mean having pictures of bank vaults or big burly security guards – I mean that you need to ensure the site is put together properly … that all the links work, none of the images are hanging half off of the page (even if, occasionally you might be let down by the vagaries of various browsers or other silly technical niggles) but overall, you give your visitor the reassurance that you know what you are doing.

After all, how can you expect your customer to believe your product or service will work (or even be delivered in the first place) if their first impression of you is a bad one?

Imagine if you walked into a café, the door then fell off of its hinges, floor was so dirty you couldn’t actually tell what colour it should have been and there was some surly looking miscreant behind the counter with his finger up his nose watching a rat scamper out from the kitchen … would you stay for breakfast…?  Of course you wouldn’t – and nobody would blame you either.

For precisely that reason you need to make sure you give exactly the right impression to your visitor when they first arrive on your site – a shoddy half done site simply won’t get anything like the response of a well put together ‘professional’ looking one.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to do this either. There are literally 1000’s of WordPress themes (most of which are completely free) that you can add to your site (so there must be one that would be a good fit for what you are offering)

You can customise this theme and create something rather good in just a few hours. There are places like Canva and Gimp where you can create impressive looking graphics, and sites such as Pixabay – full of images you can also use for free.

So, you can see, there are a great many tools you can use to create the perfect look and feel to present your site in the best way possible … all you have to do is just get on with it…

Until next time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down 

If you’re not allowed a ‘Coo’ – a cap will have to do…

As I mentioned the other day, I recently attended the Royal Highland Show. I was, I admit, tempted by more than one thing while I was there … I spent some time looking at tractors and other several other agricultural type machines that did look very futuristic indeed and would be more at home in a ‘Transformers’ film than trundling round a field.

What really caught the eye, however were the ‘coos’ (which, I’m sure you’ve guessed, is the way ‘cows’ is pronounced north of the border – possibly not by everybody but certainly by many of those milling around the show) and if you’re not familiar with the rather distinctive look and character of the Highland breed, they look just like this:

Now, there was much ‘oooooh’-ing and ‘aaaah’-ing among those in our group and while I will admit the calves  were incredibly cute, I repeatedly refused appeals to acquire one and somehow smuggle it home … a standpoint that was generally judged to be ‘unreasonable’.

I sauntered on unperturbed and came across an area that you might think was put there entirely for my benefit … a stall full of very British, mildly eccentric clothing and accessories. Now, before you assume I simply walked in, said ‘I’ll take one of each of everything, my good man’ and spent the rest of the day happy – there is something I need to point out.

As nearly everybody else was dressed in the traditional Scottish summer garb of waterproofs and a very large coat – I was already adjudged to be dressed eccentrically enough in my light jacket and panama hat (I was informed more than once I looked like the ‘Man from Del Monte’) – so I erred, possibly for the first time, on the side of caution and merely purchased a rather fine cap.

I could have left with much, much more and it would have been very easy to do – as I mentioned above it looked as though the area was tailor made for me … it had the right sort of items, the right sort of ‘feel’ to attract people like me (I wasn’t the only very British, mildly eccentric soul that had been tempted in) and as a result I didn’t need to be ‘sold’ anything.

This is something you should bear in mind with your own efforts. Not necessarily to be very British and mildly eccentric (though of course I would approve of that) but to create a ‘feel’ for your project designed entirely to appeal to your ideal customer.

For instance, if your research points to the fact that your ideal customer also has a liking for Jaguars and Rolex watches, then it should not be too much of a stretch to work out that providing these people with a product or service successfully will require a website that is heavily influenced by these two brands in its look and feel.

Remember, there are clues just like this all around you … so spotting them and using them to your advantage can heavily influence whether your project stands or falls… 

Until next time, 

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The Curious Mystery Of The £3 Banquet…

You may remember that earlier this year whilst travelling back from Scotland there was something of a kerfuffle, caused partly by ‘She Who Must…’ accidentally booking tickets for the wrong day … twice.

The resultant to-ings and fro-ings left us with flights ‘in credit’ to use up – which came in handy for our visit to the ‘Royal Scottish Show’ the other weekend. It was excellent and I’ll delve a little deeper into what I saw there in a later Lowedown, but this week I really need to address the issue of the return flight…

Now, I really shouldn’t mention the name of the airline, but I will mention in passing that their jets are the same colour as a certain president. The thing I will mention though, is the inventive but not altogether wholesome way they manage to avoid compensating customers when things don’t go to plan.

To avoid having to give the customer a meal if the plane’s departure is delayed more than 3 hours, this airline will sometimes declare a plane is ’boarding’ just before the deadline. This happens even if a quick glance out of the window will tell you the plane in question hasn’t even arrived from its previous destination yet, let alone be ready to receive more passengers…

Another dodge is to get everybody onboard so they can say the  flight has ‘departed’, proceed to taxi a few yards up the runway,  then stop to clean the plane and do those fiddly no-essential things like refuel…

Anyway, on this occasion they could not wheedle out of it so, after having to produce all manner of ID we were grudgingly given a ‘meal’ voucher for … £3. Now, I’ve never tried to buy anything at an airport for less than £3, let alone a meal but I suspect it’s something of a feat.

I expect they get away with it because in some long forgotten corner of a fridge somewhere in one of the airport shops there is a solitary, rather limp, forlorn looking egg and cress sandwich languishing away with a £2.99 price tag on it. You certainly couldn’t have got anything as substantial as that from this particular airline, who happen to charge £4.50 for the most meagre of baguettes.

Normally I would have enquired further, but it’s not that this bunch are bad at dealing with their customers, it seems they actually don’t care. It wasn’t about the money, I’m sure most people could easily do what I did and put the voucher toward a coffee, but the sheer reluctance on the part of the airline even to do the bare minimum for their customers shows an attitude that borders on contempt.

So, rather than waste my time taking them to task, I’ve decided to vote with my feet and go elsewhere in future.

I shouldn’t really need to go into what the message is here, but I will underline it by stressing that, if you really, honestly do mess up something for a customer (and it’s not just somebody ‘crying wolf’ and causing a scene in an attempt to get something for nothing) then you need to make it up to them, and not fob them off with the least you can possibly get away with.

Everybody makes mistakes, and when you do, this is your opportunity to show a customer how much you value them, and prove why they should stay with you in the long term…

Until next time, 

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why premium just has to be perfect……

As regular readers will testify, I often will use the Lowedown to discuss the principle that people do not buy on price alone, and would advocate any business with designs on bigger things to ‘go gourmet’ and offer a premium service. 

Premium services and products usually come with a much larger price tag, so the ‘emotional’ part of any decision to purchase that product will be larger than usual … and that emotional investment will only increase as the price goes up.

 That emotional factor becomes even more dominant if the premium product is the realisation of a long standing dream, like the Lamborghini you’ve wanted since it was a poster on your bedroom wall when you were seven. 

 There is a responsibility, therefore, for any provider of a premium product or service to address both the emotional and financial aspects of what they are doing and ensure, to the best of their abilities, that they not only satisfy but exceed their customers’ expectations. 

 They need to make everything, for want of a better word, perfect. 

 Fail to tick all of those boxes and you can be sure it will elicit a very emotional response indeed.

 For instance, a couple visiting a Michelin starred restaurant for a 40th wedding anniversary have made a large emotional, as well as financial investment in their decision to book. 

 They are expecting the best experience they could possibly have, something entirely detached from what they might normally get at their weekly excursion to the Toby Carvery. They want something that measures up to the yardstick of their imagination…  and failure on the part of the restaurant to deliver anything less will simply not be good enough. 

 If, in reality, the service is sloppy or the food poorly cooked you would expect them to complain, and complain more vehemently than they normally might because to them, it is much more than just a meal. 

 The damage is done however, because whilst the restaurant can give them their money back they cannot give them back the feeling of anticipation, expectation or excitement they had before – that has now gone. 

 So, whilst I would still encourage any business of any type to offer a premium service or product I would ask that you first ensure that before you go ‘live’ with such a venture that everything you are promising, you can deliver on a consistent basis. 

 Make sure every‘t’ is crossed and every ‘I’ dotted.  Make sure you can exceed what you say you can deliver, and satisfy your customers’ emotional investment as well as the financial one, or you could find that the negative response far exceeds what you might be expecting…

 Until next time, 


Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Always ensure you have the right tools for the job…

Regardless of how long you have been part of this industry, you can’t have failed to notice that whatever it is you want to do, somebody has made a little tool, plugin, gadget  or widget that will supposedly make it easier, faster or do it for you entirely.

I love nearly all of these types of things, (provided they do what they are supposed to of course) as many of us can get a bit overwhelmed at the start and any sort of helping hand is always welcome.

The trick though, is not to get carried away.

It is very tempting to have little widgets that will distribute all of your social media posts across all of the platforms at the press of a button, or a one touch solution that sends an order the second it comes in, regardless of what time of day or night it happens to be.

The thing is, these ‘helping hands’ usually come at a price, and if your social media following is only slightly larger than your Christmas card list and you are currently getting one order a month, you will not be getting full value out of them.

My Head Minion takes at least one call each month from people who seem to be doing quite well, but don’t actually seem to have any more money at the end of the month than they had at the start. However, when they added up what they were spending on aWeber, Hootsuite and a plethora or other gadgets, it becomes quite clear where the profits are going.

Of course, if you have a decent sized business, all of these extra services are an absolute Godsend but at the start it can be a massive drain on your resources if you are working on a modest budget.

I’m not saying you should go without these things entirely, just cut your cloth accordingly, as the saying goes.

Mailchimp for instance, is free until you reach a very reasonable amount of subscribers, and if any part of your business involves ‘over the shoulder’ type training videos, or any type of screen capture then consider Screencastomatic. Yes I know it sounds a bit ‘Wallace and Gromit’ but my Minions speak very highly of it as a cheaper alternative to Camtasia.

It can be easy to get carried away at the start of a project but you must allow the tools you use to grow as your business grows, or you can easily end up paying for features you won’t be using , and the same time, making unnecessary dents in your warchest…

Until next time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why is it people choose convenience and consistency over quality ?

MacDonald’s. Not my preferred place for dining by any means, much derided by most people with working tastebuds and source of a hundred horror stories (though almost certainly untrue) of dodgy ingredients and suspect hygiene standards…

Yet, every single one I’ve passed at anything vaguely approaching any sort of mealtime (and often in between) has been packed to the rafters, not to mention the additional queue for the ‘drive thru’.

It’s the same with Beefeater and Toby Carvery. (There are of course other ‘chain’ restaurants but these are the two that spring immediately to mind) There are plenty of out of the way, little village and town pubs I’ve stopped at, and had some truly excellent meals, which have all in the same price bracket as a Beefeater.

Admittedly, once or twice I have picked a ‘wrong-un’ and ended up in a dark corner of a pub where all of the locals look like each other and even asking for ketchup was a bit ‘risqué’ … but for the most part my endeavours off the beaten track have been very positive indeed and discovered some real ‘gems’ of country pubs.

Yet, despite the superior quality, I’m often sat in a near empty pub with perhaps six other people… and 100 yards down the road the Beefeater or Toby Carvery has a 45 minute wait for a table.

So, why is it people behave in such a way when with a small investment of time and going out on the smallest of limbs could give them a much better experience for little or no extra cost ?

Well, the thing is that with MacDonald’s, Beefeater and all of the other ‘chain’ establishments the diner knows what they are going to get before they walk in –it may not be brilliant but at least it’s consistent and , from a certain point of view … safe.

This ‘better safe than sorry’ approach seems to prevail over many things. It seems that when we say we don’t mind a bit of risk for bigger rewards, we don’t actually mean it at all … and in reality, what we’d really prefer, if it’s something we’re actually going to stick with, is a much smoother, gentle upward slope toward success.

The perfect combination, then, would be something that offers convenience, consistency and superior quality.

Until next time,


Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

You Don’t Have To Be A ‘Rhino’, But You Do Need To Get Started…

Last Friday was one of the ‘biglyiest’ in American history as ‘The Donald’ took over the reins on the other side of the pond. I do of course wish America the best of luck over the next four years – but can’t help thinking that only if they’d stuck with us, none of this would ever have happened…

The point though, is that despite various predictions (and possibly to the disappointment of others) the installing of ‘The Donald’ at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue did not bring about spontaneous Armageddon (though it did rain a bit).

This is also true of the day after the Brexit vote, heavy snow, Ebola, Birdflu, Foot & Mouth or anything else that may have grabbed the headlines in recent times.

I’m certainly not suggesting that these events are inconsequential, or unimportant (especially to those directly affected) … what I am saying is that if you are sitting on the fence,  waiting for this or that ‘crisis’ to pass before actually doing something about creating a part-time, full time or even life changing income from your endeavours … then I’m afraid you’ll never, ever  get started because the one thing you can be certain of is that there will always be another ‘crisis’ along in a minute.

Take the Brexit vote in the middle of last year for instance. Around that time, those that joined the Football Hedging System and followed Tony’s instructions and teaching tended to do quite well. Those that joined and decided to do their own thing or nothing at all with it … did not so well.

The Brexit vote had absolutely no effect on how much money they made.

One thing that was certain, however … those who were so worried about getting involved with anything that they did absolutely nothing  … never even gave themselves the chance to make one single penny at all.

There is sometimes a very fine line between ‘due diligence’ and talking yourself out of doing something, and I know we are all guilty of it from one time or another but if you are looking to improve your financial lot by doing something online – you’re going to have to get started sometime.

Whilst I wouldn’t suggest my own strategy of charging through life, seizing opportunities and not giving in or giving up (referred to by some as ‘Advanced Rhinocerology’ *) might not be the ticket for absolutely everybody, you will never make any headway if you’re stood there ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ waiting for the wind to be blowing in exactly the right direction, because it probably never will be…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

* ‘Advanced Rhinocerology’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Advanced-Rhinocerology-Rhino-Books-Alexander/dp/0937382019

Be prepared for the surprise ‘ramifications’ of your success…

I think I should start this rather curious tale by mentioning that the rear lawn area of Lowe Towers is bordered by a field on which I allow a local lady to graze her sheep. This is not usually an issue in the slightest and is, as you can imagine, very picturesque.

However, this time of year a ram is introduced to the field so nature can take its course … and this latest arrival turned out to be quite a feisty chap…

He was wearing some sort of blue dye filled harness affair across his belly so the farmer could see which ewes he has visited – and as a result looked, it must be said, a bit daft. The expression on his face, in contrast, was very reminiscent of the short bloke in the pub that wants to fight everybody.

This ram didn’t take kindly to any other male, regardless of species, being anywhere near his harem and took to trying to chase anything he saw as a threat away… even if they happened to be in their own back garden minding their own business.

He is perfectly happy with any members of the fairer sex, so we sometimes had the slightly ridiculous prospect of the Ram attempting to pursue me round the garden table while ‘She Who Must…’ simply looking on, both amused and bemused as to what all the fuss is about…

I queried this behaviour with the lady who owned the sheep … and was told I could solve the problem by wrestling the ram to the ground to prove my dominance. Not the most dignified solution I grant you, but certainly more practical than being bent over, removing the extra cabling for the Christmas lights from the garden whilst constantly looking over my shoulder or listening out for approaching hoof beats…

As you’ve probably guessed, in practice it wasn’t going to be that simple. Before I’d even had a chance to don any ram wrestling attire I was informed by the owner I would have to do this as many as 30 times before the ram got the message.

Now, whilst I find the whole idea that somebody could arrive at ‘Lowe Towers’ to see me, only to be told to wait while I finished ‘wrestling the ram on the patio’ highly amusing, I really have got so many better things to do … so hostilities ceased and was replaced by something of a stand-off.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had noticed a problem with his aggression, as I was informed at the weekend that my adversary’s ramming days were over as he had been given ‘the chop’ and earmarked for new duties of a more culinary nature.

The message here is nothing as trite as ‘taking the bull (or ram) by the horns’ but more about not being too wrong footed when problems and obstacles come from surprising or, quite frankly, ridiculous directions, or having to resort to a solution that might seem, at first, equally unwelcome or unlikely.

This industry is, as I’ve said before really just normal business moved into another arena – and I speak from experience when I say that sometimes the cutting edge practices being developed in that arena can throw up some very strange and unusual challenges you might not be equipped for, or even knew actually existed.

The simple fact is that you cannot, by definition ‘expect the unexpected’ but you can condition yourself not to be too derailed by what our colonial cousins would call a ‘curve ball’ I have found that a simple mindset of ‘It’ll all be fine – carry on’ and then set about finding a solution has held me in good stead … and I suggest a similar practice might work well for you as well…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Go Gourmet and Stop Selling Yourself Short…

I’ve talked before about people being motivated by more than price when it comes to making a purchase. It’s the reason why we don’t all drive round in something truly awful that looks like it came free in a box of cornflakes, and why we don’t spend our evenings sat round the dining table with our nearest and dearest tucking into a Pot Noodle…

The question for many though, is if you’re trying to sell pretty much what everybody else is, in pretty much the same way – how are the customers supposed to discern between what you have to offer and what everybody else has, except by price?

Well the answer I hope would be reasonably obvious. If you set yourself up so that what you have to offer is not really comparable to anything else, price simply does not become so much of an issue.

One answer is to ‘go gourmet’ – to present a product or service that has much more to offer than your competitors either in quality, results, support or service. The simplest  way of achieving this is by making sure that what you have put together is made up from only the best ‘bits’ available, or tweaking it over and over again so it now out-performs what others have.

After all, I’m sure that in the past you’ve happily paid extra for something that you were truly confident would not fall to bits after five minutes because it’s been done ‘on the cheap’ or for the pricier model that will save you a bit of time and effort over the cheaper models ?

You must never underestimate the power of excellent service and support, either. People will nearly always pay a premium to be assured that they can buy and a) actually receive what they have asked for, and b) not be left floundering if there’s a problem.

Let me give you a quick example, and if you ever shop on eBay I’m sure you’ve actually done this too…

There’s something you’ve had your eye on and a couple of sellers have it. One is more expensive but has 100% Feedback and lots of glowing comments … the other seller has several negative strikes on their record and a host of comments about late or non-delivery and very poor communication – but is only half the price.

Which would you choose? I’m sure most of us nearly would pay more for the item from the seller with the 100% feedback.

This brings me to my next point … and a very important one it is too – when you have added your particular ‘gourmet’ quality to your product or service, make sure everybody knows about it. Lead with it whenever you communicate with your customers … let them know what’s special about what you have to offer and why it’s better or different than what they can get elsewhere.

Make a big thing about the fantastic results your customers have achieved using your product or service … encourage your customers to leave feedback and testimonials then put them in pride of place so your prospective customers can see what you have done for others.

That way, when the customer looks at the price, they are judging it purely on what you have to offer and not what everybody else is throwing at them. You are placing yourself in a unique position, to offer a good product or service, build a relationship with the customer and ‘lock in’ mutually beneficial repeat business for years to come.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How a Few Simple Checks Can Save Your Blushes and Your Blood Pressure…

I returned in the middle of last week from a particularly fine New Years celebration, which we spent, again, with my good friend Ali Campbell by Loch Lomond. There are few things as fine as a New Years spent north of the border, and there was much dancing, carousing and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

It has to be said though, the high point for me was the purchase of our own Whisky Locker at the hotel. There are a limited number of these set across the back of a truly magnificent bar area, each one containing a bottle of the owners preferred whisky, which they can then unlock and ‘sup’ at their leisure, whenever they want.

The one Ali and I purchased raised a few envious eyebrows as it used to belong to some chap called Gavin Hastings who I’m told was half decent at Rugby and something of a national treasure…

In fact, everything was going swimmingly until we arrived at the airport for our return flight…

I was initially slightly concerned that we might be a little late for the return journey, but as it turned out, I needn’t have worried as we were in fact early … by a whole 24 hours.

I hate to point fingers but the tickets had been booked for the wrong day. Normally I would not have worried … just found a hotel and extended our stay, but as we had places to be and people to see – we were kind of stuck with having to get back.

The airline in question (I won’t mention them by name but their logo is the same colour as the new US president elect) obviously turned us away at ‘bag drop’ but were perfectly happy to let us change our tickets provided we handed over the kind of sum that would ordinarily secure us a small car.

After a brief ‘chat’ with the lady behind the desk pointing out this was not going to happen, we were informed we could actually just buy some tickets that day, and would be much cheaper to do so online.

‘She Who Must…’ jumped to the task immediately, as she had admitted that the initial cock-up had been entirely her fault. Conscious that we were now well and truly against the clock she lost her temper with her phone several times while she feverishly tapped buttons until the tickets were secured – and we joined the queue again…

…only to be told the newly purchased tickets had also been booked for the wrong date as well.

So, we now have 6 tickets for a flight we don’t want to be on, and the flight we do want to be on is leaving very soon … I now must admit to being less than impressed by the whole situation and am now figuratively banging my head against the wall…

‘She Who Must…’ pleads with Easyjet to change some of our rapidly growing ticket collection, and bless them they finally give in and we get to security 15 minutes before the gate closes. This is fine except for the fact we’re stood next to a sign indicating a 20 minute wait from where we were.

I, by now, had apparently turned a lovely shade of purple so ‘She Who Must…’ dived ahead using various persuasive tactics (and possibly tears) to convince them to let us through quickly … and we charged through only to have to wait for another 30 minutes because the plane was late.

This prompted ‘She Who Must..’ (who was regularly updating our now very amused friends and family on Facebook) to follow up her “Tim gradually calming down………” post with “Tim is NOT gradually calming down…” a situation which persisted through various amounts of parking idiocy back at Gatwick and right up to the point when I was sat at Lowe Towers with a glass in my hand…

The message here is very clearly (as I mentioned last week) about proper prior planning and not trying to do things in a rush … I know on rare occasions we are left with very little alternative but to do things ‘on the fly’ but most of the time we should be checking in advance we have all the boxes ticked, as trying to rectify them at the last minute can be very costly and lead to further mistakes and descend into chaos.

Whether it be something as simple as fluffing a flight booking, or something as major as missing one of the key elements in your entire project, a simple ‘sanity check’ either by you (or better still  by somebody else – as you may have looked at it so many times you can’t see the wood for the trees) can alleviate a whole host of potential disasters

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Yes, I’m Going To Use The ‘P’ Word…

Boxing Day may only just be behind us, but I am willing to wager we all know someone who has already bought next year’s Christmas Cards in the sales, and possibly one or two presents as well. They will also be the ones asking in a particularly smug manner in August how our Christmas plans are going so they can announce they have ‘just wrapped up their final present’ and that they are ‘all ready’

Of course, it’s only natural to wish that this type person would suffer some sort of minor misfortune – preferably laryngitis so they can’t go on about how annoyingly prepared they are – but are we all, deep down, slightly envious of their planning and discipline..?

Don’t worry, today’s exercise is not to go out and do our Christmas shopping for next year… but what I am going to suggest is that we all take a moment and start flexing our planning muscles regarding the year directly in front of us.

I’m not just talking about goal setting … which, of course, can be important – but only if you have a plan to achieve it. Simply writing down ‘I will be a Millionaire by November 1st’simply won’t do. Overnight success can and does happen, but it can’t be your entire strategy.

If you are planning on starting a website or business this coming year, you need to be very clear about what will make it different from all the others and what will justify its position among its competitors?

Just creating a website or online business simply because you have a need to make money is not a strategy. You need to offer something different that only you can give your visitors, whether it be a specialised product or service, or a offer a more generic one but with an unmatched level of quality, service or after care.

There are, of course, those reading this who are thinking ‘Fair enough, Tim, but I’m actually on your subscriber list because you’re going to show me things that will make money – how can I plan for that?’

Well, you can start now by looking at ways you can make time to use the right system when it comes along. It doesn’t matter if a system takes only a few hours or even a few minutes – if your day is already chock full of things to do and you have ‘no time’ to do anything extra … then obviously you will struggle to operate even the easiest of systems and end up doing things in a rush … or not read the instructions properly (or at all) and get it badly wrong.

Also, there is the question of funds. Even if the system you come across is free to use, you will undoubtedly have start-up costs, or more usually these days a trading bank to fund.

You’ll agree, that all of the genuine systems and methods you have encountered previously have taken some sort of investment in either time or money (but usually both) to get any sort of traction going. Therefore, you would also agree that anything you are likely to see this year, from any source, won’t be too different.

To be ready for the right system when it comes along can be half the battle, and that’s where the planning and preparation you can do right now comes in … otherwise, you might be taken by surprise by the perfect system for you, and trying to make a success of anything from a position of near panic is always an uphill struggle.

I’ll be in contact again next week, but for now I would like to wish you a Very Happy New Year…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If There Really Are At Least 221,000,000 Ways Of Making Money Online … Why Do Many Of Us Seem To Find It So Hard…?

Here’s the question …. If There Really Are At Least 221,000,000 Ways Of Making Money Online … Why Do Many Of Us Seem To Find It So Hard…?

No, really – see for yourself…

Open up your search engine (I used the obvious one) and type ‘make money online’ into the box. You should get around the same number of results as I did …  in fact, as the internet is growing every second of every day, I’d be surprised if you didn’t get a few more…

Have a closer look at the search results, you’ll see the first page (at least) has not just one, but whole lists of ways to make money on the internet. There are top 10s, 20s and even one 40 – therefore simple arithmetic tells us there must be even more ways to make money on the internet than even the mighty Google thinks…

So, with all the different ways of doing it and, it would seem, an almost endless queue of people wanting to help you and show you how to do it – this whole making money on the internet thing must be a piece of cake, right ?

Of course that statement is wrong. About as wrong as it’s possible to be, in fact there at least 221,000,000 reasons why…

And there, in a nutshell, is the first reason why turning a profit from your time online can be a bit of an uphill task – and that reason is that there’s far, far, far too much information. ..

With, as we’ve just established, around 200 million pieces of information available to the online fortune seeker, there is far too much for anyone to read in a lifetime, let alone implement.

So, it stands to reason that some, if not most of that deluge of information would need to be discarded outright – a hard task in itself, but made nearly impossible when each and every one of those pieces of information purports to be the best, utterly  indispensable and  not to be missed … all, of course, in increasing large red letters.

In the same way it’s grossly impractical and financially prohibitive to buy every single lottery ticket, you can’t get round every nook and cranny of the internet to make sure you have found a ‘winner’

You can, of course align yourself with someone who knows what they’re doing and follow their lead … but with this industry throwing up more false Messiahs than ‘The Life of Brian’ how do you actually tell the real deal from the ‘very naughty boys’…?

It’s quite simple really…  Go On Results.

You see, you don’t know actually who or what to believe … online ‘Gurus’ bombard you with information every single day  – and every time you blink, another one seems to crop up, seemly from nowhere, telling you they have the answer to all of your woes…

What you really need is not a Guru, or a reviewer or a researcher, but  someone who is a business owner who risks their own money every day … just like you.  Somebody who actually does this stuff every day … and makes money doing it.

 So, whether you want a few hundred pounds extra to help pay the bills or afford a long overdue holiday … or become financially independent and travel the world living the luxury laptop lifestyle staying at the best hotels and eating at Michelin starred restaurants… “working hard” just isn’t enough …. you need to get the right system, tools and techniques working for you, but above all you need ensure you have access to good advice from someone who not only ‘talks the talk’ but also ‘walks the walk’…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

What makes the ‘perfect’ system…?

The other day, here at HQ, we were discussing what would make up all of the key elements of the ‘perfect’ system … and if we had to draw up a checklist of things to look for – one that could easily be used by somebody else –what would be on it?

Well, the first thing we came up with was that as soon as you made the decision to buy, you could get started straight way while you were all ‘fired up’, with no waiting a week for a manual to arrive in the post, so you could use momentum and the enthusiasm you had at that moment to get things off to a really good start…

Secondly, we’d look for top drawer training from an expert in whatever field the system operated, ideally face to face with the chap or chapess behind it themselves – this way you know you’re getting the ‘real deal’ and not something that some chancer has copied and is passing off as their own.

Next, we’d want that training backed up with top notch resources and support network. There’s no way you’ll remember everything from the face to face training, so you’ll need to refresh your memory … so we’re looking at maybe online manuals but definitely plenty of training videos, and some sort of helpdesk where you can raise any issues.

After that we’d want guidance through the first steps, ideally copying exactly what our mentor did to start off with, and for them to provide some sort of safety net so that even if things didn’t quite go to plan, it wouldn’t damage our confidence or financial position.

In general, we’d want a system that could be taught from scratch, so as long as we actually knew how to use our computers properly, we could learn step by step without any major academic leaps.

We’d also like not to be tied down to a specific location, after all there is no point in earning lots of cash if you can’t go out and enjoy it – so something that worked wherever there was an internet connection would do nicely, thank you.

Another key aspect is that it’s something we could do without giving up what we did now. There’s no use learning how to pocket £1k a month if you have to give up a £40k a year job to be able to get it done – so something that works in the evenings, weekends or by creeping out for a few minutes during your lunch or break times.

To top it all off, and if we’re being really picky, ideally there would be a handy little bonus –something to run alongside the main system , that could pocket us something, if not from day one, pretty soon after.

Lastly we’d need it to offer real value … and by that I don’t necessarily mean ‘cheap’. There are plenty of things around that promise you the world for tuppence but ultimately don’t work at all – so if you want all of the resources to work and the support to be done by real human beings who know what they are on about, beware of rock bottom prices.

So, there you have it  – our checklist of the perfect system – if there’s anything you think needs adding to the list, please hit the reply button and let us know…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Beware the wisdom of the ‘5 Minute Expert’…

If you’ve tried developing products of your own, you’ll know it takes time. There‘s the process of developing your theory, then testing it over time so that when it actually comes to offering it to others  – you are as certain as you can be that it not only works, but works for the long term.

When it finally does see the light of day for the first time, what you have created will be seen by a large amount of individuals, all with a host of different experiences that shape their opinions … and almost every single one of those opinions will be slightly different

What you have to take into account, as you hear each of those opinions, is the fact that these others are seeing what you have created for the very first time. They do not have the benefit of the months of testing you have put in, but instead base what they say on a small amount of experience and a great deal of assumption.

Of course, sometimes this assumptive opinion will be correct, but most of the time what you see and read will be the equivalent of somebody telling you that you should throw your winter overcoat away “because they’ve been watching the weather for the last three days, and it’s ‘always’ sunny’“.

Remember – you’ve done all of the research, so it is you who are the expert, and not the person that has seen what you have created for about five minutes.

These people have not seen the fallow periods and purple patches that you have, so please beware of whatever the reaction is when your creation ‘goes public’ … do not jump at the first negative reaction or get carried away by sudden praise, but, most of all do not change what you have spent the last 6 months developing based on the opinions of somebody who has seen it for an afternoon, regardless of how forcefully they state their case.

Their observations may be entirely correct based on what they have seen – but remember what they have seen simply isn’t enough for you to change your plans, as their opinions are coloured by their experiences elsewhere. They might be experts in the arena your system operates in, but they are not experts at using your system … you are.

If, of course, you find over the coming months that what you had previously observed has in fact changed, then by all means re-jig what you have – but, almost without exception, in more than a decade I have never seen any sort of knee-jerk reaction end in anything but disaster…

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Take pride in being like Bill – and you will ultimately succeed…

One evening last week, I found myself sat in front of the TV watching the ‘Pride of Britain’ awards. Among what was, of course, a very worthy roll of attendees, there was one particular chap who stood out for me, and perfectly embodies the type of spirit and determination I often refer to here in the ‘Lowedown’…

The chap in question was Bill Lucas, who happens to be Britain’s oldest living Olympian. Bill, who will be 100 on his next birthday, would have competed as a 5000m runner in the 1940 and 1944 Olympics but instead spent the time serving his country in the RAF flying 81 missions as a bomber pilot (and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in the process).

So, what was this fine chap’s attitude to the small matter of a World War getting in the way of his Olympic ambitions? Well, in his own words “Hitler deprived me of my best athletic years, so what did I do? I went out and bombed him.”

Bill did eventually compete at the 1948 Olympics at nearly 32, having well and truly kicked adversity right where it hurts and carrying on despite what you would agree was something of a sizeable obstacle. Now if an obstacle the size of the Third Reich didn’t deter this chap from achieving what he wanted, then I don’t think any of us have too much to complain about.

Deciding that you will not be swayed, that you will carry on regardless of what gets thrown at you is the key element to building the type of unshakeable character that will more often than not, ultimately succeed at whatever you put their mind to.

All The Best,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How a clever little idea (one you can adapt & copy), put an awful lot of ‘doggies in the window’…

Today I’d like to share with you a very positive little story that my Head Minion unearthed whilst doing research for something rather clever he’s working on regarding social media (more on that another time)…

This story involves an animal shelter and the current phenomenon regarding ‘Pokemon GO’. For those unfamiliar with Pokemon GO, it basically involves wandering round with your face stuck to your phone hoping to catch ‘virtual’ monsters in specific, real locations.

As you can probably guess, this isn’t exactly my specialist subject – and probably isn’t yours either – but this story provides us with a fantastic example of how some ‘out of the box’ thinking can really turn a phenomenon like this to your advantage.

An animal shelter in the US starting posting a few local ads which said something along the lines of ‘if you are an adult and are a bit embarrassed about playing Pokemon GO, we’ll rent a shelter dog to you for $5 an hour so it looks like you’re actually walking a dog’.

Quite a clever little idea, you’ll agree … and one that got some quite incredible results:

The animal shelter now has a massive waiting list of people willing to pay to walk one of their dogs.

The shelter has now made so much money in ‘rental fees’ that they have been able to entirely waive adoption fees.

When the people who have rented the dogs are out walking they have posted pictures of themselves doing so on Facebook or Instagram … other people seeing the posts are then contacting the shelter asking to adopt the dog their friend was walking.

On more than one occasion, the people doing the ‘renting’ have found they bonded with the dog so have adopted it – even though they didn’t know they wanted a dog.

This has all resulted in so many adoptions that the shelter now has no dogs available to ‘rent’ and there is a waiting list … so they are currently bringing in dogs from other local overflowing shelters so they can be ‘rented’ and ultimately re-homed.

Although I’m sure very little of what we are doing online can directly ‘piggyback’ quite so easily off this particular trend … you do need to remember, it’s just a trend, and there will be another one along soon.

Before you know it, something just as popular as chasing virtual monsters will become the ‘must have’ or ‘must do’ thing and when it does, make sure you take notice and see if there is any way you can use it to cause the same kind of massive growth in your business.

All The Best,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why it’s not all about doing it like a ‘Pro’…

All of this glorious weather puts me in mind of a day I spent recently racing JCBs and suchlike at ‘Diggerland’, which, regardless of how you dress it up, is just an excuse for a grown man to muck about like a 10 year old in a full size Tonka toy.

I was accompanied for this little adventure by my good friend Ali Campbell and of course, our wives, who attended partly as spectators but mostly to ensure we actually came home.

Of course I didn’t win, but enjoyed myself immensely and lifted loads, manoeuvred around this and that and even dug a few holes expertly enough to end up, both literally and figuratively, around halfway down the field… then sat back to enjoy ‘the final’ which is where my tale really begins…

Now, the first contestant for the final – we’ll  him ‘Dave’ – (names have been changed to protect the innocent) who, his wife informed us enthusiastically and a great volume, had spent 15 years as a digger driver, and was here as a ‘treat’ because he missed it so much now he had started driving lorries.

The other chap seemed to be very much the underdog, because despite reaching the final, he did look like he’d be much, much more at home in an Audi or a BMW rather than anything with a bucket on the front…

You would have thought that anybody with half a brain would have had their money on the ex-pro digger driver being streets ahead on this, completing the course and be sat eating his way through one of the particularly ‘interesting’ looking ‘truck stop’ breakfasts before the other guy had completed the first task.

Well, that’s where you, I and everybody else would have been wrong. As our ‘pro’ had lifted the first item and was now executing a very precise turn to go back and complete the rest of the course, his competitor picked up his item and just slammed his vehicle into reverse, negating the need for making a turn, and in doing so, building up a unassailable lead.

On crossing the finishing line a sorry second, our pro was not happy at the new chap’s unconventional technique, and was even more unhappy when it was explained that nowhere did it say they had to make the turn, and he just assumed they had to because that’s what he had always done, so despite all his protests was left crying into his breakfast…

Clearly there’s a couple of messages here – firstly that assuming you’re doing something properly because  it’s same way you’ve always done it, though something I know we’re all guilty of some times, is not really the way to be doing things…

Secondly that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been doing something or how much experience we may have, a fresh pair of eyes coupled with clever and innovative action, can beat it all. In our business it’s not always about having the biggest list or best websites (though that does help) – if that were the case then nobody new would be making any money online – and yet we see them popping up all the time.

So, if you’re still not happy with what you’re getting from what you’re doing – it might be worth trying something you’ve never tried before … or maybe have another try at something you think you know, but presented with a new and innovative twist (and on that subject, keep an eye on your inbox over the next week or so)…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Isn’t it time you took advantage of this…?

I know we probably shouldn’t, but here at HQ we’ve been playing something of a cat and mouse game with the ‘enforced’ installation of Windows 10. From starting off from a very straight forward ‘Would you like to upgrade to Windows 10’ our friends at Microsoft are now stooping to a level of subterfuge only normally reserved for slipping a family pet or small child their unwanted medicine in an effort to try and get people to upgrade…

So, why are we resisting? It’s not as though it will cost us anything, it’s even supposed to be an improvement on Windows 8 (which, to be fair is very likely) yet we’ve all been clicking on the button that said ‘No’ then the button that said ‘Reschedule’ and hoping it will go away. It’s certainly not a techie issue or anything that mentally taxing … but when it comes down to it, it’s the simple fact that we are all resistant to change … which, you’ll agree, is pretty daft.

After all, as a million motivational posters (or just common sense) will tell us ‘change is inevitable’  – yet while things around us are constantly changing – it’s changing our own minds that usually presents the real problem.

Take building your own website. When I started in this business it took forever and half a dozen techies to come up with something that looked like it had been created by a small child using crayons. Internet speeds were so slow any pictures appeared after your visitor had read at least three paragraphs in front, and if, heaven forbid, you wanted to actually change anything, you had to get your army of techies to do it for you.

I can completely agree with anyone who, given the above scenario, didn’t fancy having a go … but inevitable change has meant for nearly the last half dozen years, and especially within the last two or three … that if you have something to build a website for, three or four pieces of original content and an afternoon, you can build a perfectly serviceable website.

Remember, you don’t need to sell anything if you don’t want to. You can place adverts for eBay, Amazon, or any one of a thousand Clickbank products (other networks are available, of course, that’s just the first one that came to mind) T-Shirts can be quite profitable too, if your subject matter is congruent. You could even sell the advertising space yourself, if you chose, using websites like fiverr.com.

You can tap into free traffic from social media … if, for instance, your website is about your dog, you can ‘share’ links to your content on various dog related groups on Facebook or Twitter (or any one of a hundred other networks) to get visitors back to your site.

Will this make you a millionaire overnight? Almost certainly not. What it will do, is show you that the kind of thing that may have put you off previously isn’t actually rocket science, or anything like as expensive – in fact I’ve just sent my Head Minion scurrying off to find out exactly how much, and he tells me that that doing the exact thing I’ve described should cost you less than £5 a month.

Out of everybody reading this, I probably wouldn’t be too far adrift in suggesting that a large number, despite wishing to make a part-time, full-time or life changing income from the internet, have not even entertained the idea of having their own website, because they believed it’s too complicated or too expensive to even try … well, in that case it’s time to change your minds, because the chances of you being able to do it quickly and easily have changed for the better…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The Toughest Of Marathons Has Very Little To Do With Running (and why that is brilliant news for all non-techies who want to make money online)…

As much as it irks me to say so, the boy “done good.”

Lee Stuart Evans, the chap that looks after all my financial products here at HQ, has returned in one piece from ‘The Toughest Footrace on Earth’ – the Marathon des Sables.

For those new to this particular event – it involves running what amounts to 5 marathons in 5 days across the Sahara desert carrying all your food and kit for the week on your back.

Lee has had much to say about his time in the desert, not least at the celebratory dinner we had for him on his return (where I strong armed him into showing all his photos and the videos he made whilst running the course) and much of it, for reasons of decency, I can’t go into detail about here – but straight away something became blindingly obvious.

Quite simply, it was that this whole event actually had very little to do with running – and I can reveal that is, in fact, brilliant news for all you non-techies out there who want to make money online.

Let me explain… the ability to run 20 odd miles quickly was, in this case, very much a secondary concern. In fact anyone who had approached this event purely on athletic ability alone might not have made it much past the first sand dune.

This was not about who could run the fastest, but about who was the better prepared, who managed their resources most effectively and those who carried on when it was much easier to stop and give up.

Lee had spent more than six months preparing for this – trying out different bits of his kit for weight and endurance, lived for a week from the freeze dried meals he would be taking with him and doing and re-doing everything he could think of so nothing would take him by surprise when it mattered.

His backpack going out was the optimum weight, right down to cutting some of the handle from his toothbrush to keep the weight down. When running the race his water management was planned to the millilitre and during the times when even that wasn’t enough – he still kept going, and earned himself  the nickname ‘tenacious little b***ard’ from our Gallic cousins.

In the same way this event was about so much more than just ‘running’ … making money from the internet is about so much more than just knowing all the techie stuff. You need to know a little bit, of course, so you don’t get caught out if you’re not following somebody else’s plan – but if fear that you can’t make a website is holding you back from doing anything at all, then you’re perhaps looking at this from the wrong angle.

I’d go far as to say that if you had a half decent business head on your shoulders and no techie knowledge, you’d be more likely to do better in this industry than somebody with all the tech skills and no idea – in fact those ‘techie types’ that you’re so envious of … they would probably end up working for you.

I like to think I’ve done quite well (all things considered and after overheads and expenses of course) in this business and I can assure you it’s not through my extensive knowledge of all things ‘techie’ … I know where all the bits fit together so I (mostly) know what to ask for – but if I was to try have a go myself I’m sure everybody would be not only disappointed but slightly amused with the results.

So, if you think that you need to be some sort of techie genius to make a difference online, and are holding back from even trying, then I need to tell you that’s not the case all, and that good preparation, management of your resources and the ability to ‘stick with it’ will count for an awful lot more than you think.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down


Why Adapting & Applying A Good Idea Can Be A Recipe For Success…

As you can probably imagine, ‘She Who Must…’ is quite partial to a weekend excursion in the (it seems ) never ending search to find things with which to fill up the house. I am more often than not dragged along on these ‘adventures’ to make all the correct noises when various small furnishings and curiosities are waved in my direction, as well as to give the casual observer the impression that what is going on might be some sort of joint decision.

The saving grace to these longer excursions is the very real need for a good sit down and a cup of tea at some point … and I have to tell you about a quite excellent experience that also provided another example of something we can apply to our online businesses.

Tea on this occasion was at ‘The Vineyard’ in Berkshire (just down the road from the place that I’m told doubles as ‘Downton Abbey’) and as you might suspect with a name like ‘The Vineyard’, the establishment was slightly more famous for its wine selection (in fact one of the largest in the country at over 30,000 bottles) than it’s afternoon teas … but the clever way they crossed over the ‘matched’ wine experience to this much more humble activity (without at all making it seem over the top or ridiculous) was really rather brilliant.

Whereas, if you dined there, the restaurant sommelier would discuss with you and recommend the best wine for each of your courses, with afternoon tea, their tea ‘sommelier’ came out and recommended a particular tea (right down to blend and age) to go with the sandwiches, the subsequent scones jam and cream and finally the little cakes and pastries… and I must say she got it spot on.

Being of a slightly mischievous turn of mind, I did of course try each of the teas with exactly what they weren’t supposed to go with, just to make sure – and true enough, you shouldn’t be sipping green tea whilst nibbling on a chocolate éclair…

The whole thing added an extra dimension to the experience, an experience I’ll be looking to repeat quite soon, and judging from how busy the place was, I was not the only one that thought it was a good idea … and with the ‘matched tea’ option adding almost half again to the cost of the whole afternoon tea, for what amounted to, in terms of expense for the venue, a couple of extra cups of tea – there is a fantastic increase in profit as well as a mechanism to attract extra customers.

So, how can we translate this to what we do?

Well, the world wide web as we know it is not much more than 25 years old, and I don’t think I’d be far wrong by suggesting that almost everyone reading this is a little older than that, so there is a wealth of experience we can bring forward to our online businesses from whatever it was we were doing before.

Did you perhaps work in a retail environment where your customer service standards and practices, if you applied them to your online business would put you head and shoulders above your competitors  … or were you part of a logistics business where the processes involved now give you an insight into how to streamline your online business so you can outperform the others?

Of course it doesn’t have to be quite as sweeping as that (though it could be), but you’ll agree that by applying techniques you will have learnt elsewhere, you will probably not only improve your online endeavours, it will probably give you a unique and memorable edge that can only be to your advantage…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down



Why People DO Judge Books (As Well As Plenty of Other Things) By Their Covers…

The look on his face was totally incredulous … “So Tim,” said Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap that looks after my financial-type systems here at HQ, “What you are telling me is you’ve just bought this wine, and you can’t even drink it for 15 years…?”

Now, when a man who believes that a perfectly acceptable way to spend your leisure time is to run across 150miles of the Sahara desert happens to think you’ve done  something a bit odd, it might be time to stand back and take a look at yourself … but my reason for obtaining this particular wine now rather than in 15 years when it will be ready to drink was twofold;

First and foremost, I was making sure that I could actually get hold of some; and secondly, by letting the wine age at Lowe Towers instead of the Wine Merchants, I was also saving myself a pretty penny or two in the process.

This week’s Lowedown is not another tale about wine, however; (though I do have a great many 🙂 ) the only reason I mentioned it at all was because young Evans had not really noticed the wine as much as the box it came in…

I’ve mentioned the concept of an ‘out-of –box’ experience before in the Lowedown and this was another brilliant example. It illustrated perfectly that how an item is presented influences what people think of it before they even try it, that first impressions mean a lot and that people certainly do judge a books by their covers.

The item in question was assembled with dovetailed joints, a hinged lid, and the top of the box was inlayed with a darker wood. On the inside, was a brief biography of the wine, vineyard and the people behind it (a text that was also used as a watermark on the labels themselves). Even with a moderate knowledge of wine, you could tell that the three bottles in this box were of value, and indeed something special.

Alternatively, if something turns up at your door looking battered and forlorn and very much like it was packaged by a complete idiot, you might unpack it expecting it not to do the job as described (if it worked at all) and you would probably have minimum patience with it before asking for a refund.

With a couple of notable exceptions (like http://www.lingscars.com where the website is deliberately made to look awful but is actually quite easy to use once you’ve un-crossed your eyes) if your website is the equivalent of that battered and forlorn package, your visitors won’t stay long and almost certainly won’t do what you spent your time and money getting them there to do.

It doesn’t matter how good your information is, if it is poorly presented then often it will not be perceived to be as credible as something that is presented in a more attractive manner.

At this point though, I must insert a very large ‘However’… I am not suggesting (or ever will) that visitors to your site need to be greeted by some sort of whizzy animated sequence or you have your site redesigned at massive expense…

That type of thing is all well and good, and might leave a truly spectacular impression … provided, of course, that your visitor has the same state of the art computer and lightspeed internet connection as the person that designed it. To somebody still using Windows Vista in a cottage halfway up a hill somewhere remote – the only impression they’ll get is that the site doesn’t seem to work.

The answer then is simply that your site is clean, clear and tidy and people can navigate easily around it. It might require a ‘freshen up’ but if your site is on the WordPress platform, that can often be achieved by changing the ‘theme’ which is usually a quick job, often can be free to do and doesn’t have to involve anything too techie…
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Be Successful Without ‘Blowing A Fuse’

There I stood, in a pair of Tartan trousers, holding a fire extinguisher … next to me, resplendent in his kilt, was one of my closest friends, also holding a fire extinguisher … we were both poised, ready to leap into action  – all because our ‘Burns Supper’ had just taken on a whole new meaning…

The day, of course, had started in much calmer fashion – I made short work of the almost obligatory huge breakfast that greeted my arrival North of the Border for a special ‘Burns Supper’ with my good friend Ali Campbell, and together we set about adding some extra illumination to the festivities…

Ali now lives in the beautiful Scottish countryside, nestled quite a way away from even the nearest streetlight, and since moving in he has had to have much work done to bring the property up to the 20th, let alone 21st Century, but one of the things still on the to do list was a particularly aged fuse box, last maintained by a previous owner with something of a blind spot when it came to putting in the right fuses…

This error might never have been exposed, if Ali had not connected up a great many heaters to keep his guests warm … and (egged on by my good self of course) a sound system you would normally associate with the O2 arena – but this, surprisingly, was not when the fire started…

There were enough flickering lights and sparks to make you believe you were in a mad scientist’s lab – and with a rather spectacular ‘bang’ – the fuse blew. It was replaced with one of like value, and we went about our business, not knowing that the wiring was now coping with a load much, much, greater than it was built to deal with … and yes, this was when the fire started…

Of course we saved the day (and had quite a lot of fun doing it), and once the amperage error had been rectified we were free to spend the evening with more friends, speeches, ‘The Address to the Haggis, various toasts, Snooker and Scotch, rounded off (rather excellently I thought) off by a few words from a ‘guest speaker’, one of the ‘Auld’ enemy … yours truly 😉

There is, of course, much we can carry over to our own situations from such events…

Firstly, always know the breaking point of any system or process you have in place. Naturally, building something that operates effectively no matter what happens would be very useful indeed, but systems that work in extreme circumstances are often not cost effective the rest of the time. (For instance, a bar that had ‘Saturday Night’ staffing level every night, just in case there was a ‘bit of a rush’ are probably wasting resources 6 nights out of 7).

Secondly, if you can, double check that what you are doing is correct, and that you are not merely repeating what the chap before you did … as there’s always a chance the chap before you was an absolute buffoon.

Thirdly, ensure you have a safety measure, a ‘plan B’ in place for those extreme circumstances, even if they might seem unlikely (like making sure you have fire extinguishers to hand even if everyone else thinks the entire country is too damp for anything to catch alight before mid May).

After all, you don’t want your business to be paying out for all sorts of tools that you don’t necessarily need – but you do need to find a way to cope with an unexpected but very welcome surge in orders.

It needn’t be complicated, you could train a family member to help out when you get a peak in your business, or have a virtual assistant ‘on demand’   to carry on processing orders or managing your helpdesk/emails while you take a well earned breather. Either way, you need to make sure that you can make the most of it all … and not blow a fuse.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business LoweDown


May The Focus Be With You….

It’s taken me a while to mention it, but I did get round to watching the new Star Wars film towards the end of the Christmas break – and, to be frank, it left me a little underwhelmed.

When I mentioned this at HQ, it was greeted with looks of incredulity from my ‘Minions’, followed up by the kind of gasps and sighs you would normally only expect if you were to say something inappropriate about a beloved Grandparent.

The conclusion was that I just wasn’t ‘into’ that kind of thing – which led –  (as I am also the one who misses many of the pop culture references and ‘in jokes’ that often fly around the office) to the further conclusion that quite a lot of popular TV, Movies and Social Media ‘events’ have passed me by.

It has to be said, however, it’s not something I’m unhappy about.

It’s the same for those of us who get looked at with utter dismay when we haven’t got a clue what is going on in any of the popular soap operas or reality TV shows, or who would greet a discussion on Football with a slightly glazed expression.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down these things as lowbrow or worthless – I would be equally lost in a discussion about astrophysics as I would about The X Factor – the point I’m making is that I have quite a sharp focus and that it has helped me greatly in achieving the things I have … and as a result some things have fallen by the wayside.

To put it another way – It doesn’t matter whether the last book you read was ‘A Brief History of Time’ or the Argos catalogue, the simple fact is that you will get better results from 30 minutes dedicated, focused attention on your project, than you will spending hours ‘working’ with your laptop open whilst also watching the box-set of ‘Breaking Bad’.

I’ve found that the same sharp focus has also shaped what I do in my business. I found out early on that I was really quite good at a couple of things, but less than brilliant at almost everything else – so I set about finding people to do those things I was less able to do, and that then allowed me to focus on what I knew I could do well.

The thing it’s important to remember is that you don’t necessarily need stacks of money to work this way. (I know I certainly didn’t)

You can often trade favours (i.e. ask somebody to do something you might struggle with – and in return you do something for them) or do deals with people so that they get a percentage of your profits for the project – easy on your cash flow at the beginning, and often more lucrative for them when the project is a success.

Not everybody will agree to this type of deal – so you’ll have to ask more people than you normally would if you just had the funds – but if you have a restricted budget it’s certainly a better way forward that trying to struggle through yourself, and a much, much wiser step than just throwing in the towel when you find something you are unable to do.

So, when I think a project isn’t moving as fast as I’d like, there are a couple of things I do that might also be useful to you…

First of all, I look at what I’m doing and identify and remove any unnecessary distractions … and secondly I ask myself If I am trying to do something that might be better-off being done by somebody else … and who should I get to do it ?

It may sound rather basic, but I have found that much of what we do, and the problems we encounter, can usually be helped massively, or solved altogether by a simple, common sense solution, rather than resorting to something too involved or technical.
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Here’s How To Get Your Project Online TODAY, And It Shouldn’t Even Cost You A Penny…

It’s the most common reason I hear for never even starting an online project, in fact I’ve already heard it three times this year…

What some of us might call the ‘techie’ side of it all – the arranging of things like hosting, building a website or setting up of email responders – even though it’s easier to do than ever, and despite the fact that you could even pay people to do the whole lot for you for around £100, it seems the time, money and commitment involved are a deterrent to some.

So, how about using a Facebook page instead?

It’s free to use, involves no mucking about with websites or emails … it is called, rightly, by some as ‘the internet within the internet’ because it’s an environment that people feel comfortable in, and don’t really like to leave…

Facebook is also accessed by just about every device on the planet, and works perfectly on almost all of them, displaying whatever people are after on whatever they are using – so you are maximising your possible audience without worrying about whether your site is compatible with the latest iThingy or automatically translates what you have to say into Mongolian or Mandarin.

Where this all becomes useful to us (especially if you are one of those concerned about cost and commitment) is that you can trial an idea on Facebook without getting in too deep … in fact, you can try as many ideas out as you like on Facebook, without it necessarily costing you a penny.

It would seem then, that a well run Facebook page could remove the need for a website completely … but before you cancel your hosting and move all of your business to chez Zuckerberg, a word (or fifty) of warning…

Along with all the undoubted positives of having a Facebook page, you need to remember that your page is owned by Facebook, not you, and they can do whatever they want with it.

So, if Facebook decide for some reason (and you’ll have to agree they are prone to some strange decisions) that your page is no longer to their liking, they can remove it with little or no warning – then that’s also your entire business gone … just like that.

Facebook also control how much of your audience actually gets to see what you are telling them (unless you pay extra to ‘boost’ your post), so most of the time it’s doubtful that what you say would reach even half of the people who have ‘liked’ your page…

Another thing to take into account is that Facebook can be a bit ‘various’ about which links you post on your page – try to post for instance a link to a gaming site or many things you might find on Clickbank, will get you a polite (or sometimes less polite) refusal.

So, with all that in mind, may I suggest the following to those who are unwilling or unable to commit to the expense of a website to start their venture…

Start off with a Facebook page – utilise the options to join groups and share content in your chosen niche to gain ‘likes’ for your page, and occasionally post allowable links to niche specific products for which you would receive a commission, as you perhaps would to an email list in the more familiar internet marketing business model.

If what you are doing starts to gain some traction, you can upgrade and add a relevant website safe in the knowledge that you’re not barking up the wrong tree (and still have a business if Facebook decide to torpedo your page, or do some update that drops your page to some social media black hole) however, if you are getting absolutely zero response, you can simply set up a different page in a different niche and try again with little damage to your budget.

You’ll agree then, that even if you have no budget at all, or are concerned (or simply can’t be bothered) with the perceived fuss and bother of setting up a website, here’s something you can use to dip your toe in for a ‘no risk’ start. Not only that – it’s something you can start on today.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If You Want to be More Successful – Simply Eat More Haggis……

I have to start with something of an apology. I was so keen in my last email to try and get you all up and running after the Christmas break that I totally neglected to wish you a Happy New Year – something I would like to do now – if somewhat belatedly.

My New Year was, as it often is, spent north of the border, enjoying plenty of Scottish hospitality and greeting 2016 with some enthusiastic if slightly inexpertly executed traditional dancing.

I recounted my dancefloor exploits on my return to the two young ladies who do the hoovering and dusting at Lowe Towers, and even demonstrated a few steps … but I mention this not to give you the possibly unnerving mental picture of myself twirling around in a kilt … but as an explanation of how our conversation arrived at the subject of Haggis.

One of the young ladies, who was a local girl – made ‘that’ face when I mentioned Haggis, and declared that she would never eat anything like that, whereas the other, who had grown up in Romania, said that they had a similar dish over there, but it was certainly less traditional and more of a necessity, as often, when she was growing up, the type of more ‘interesting’ bits that famously make up Haggis were all there was to eat.

Now, I’m not going to get sidetracked into a ‘Youth of Today’ type rant, as valid as some reading this may feel it to be, but would like to focus instead on the first girl’s reluctance to consider trying something a bit different, even when the chap extolling its virtues was somebody who evidently knew a thing or two about what makes a half decent bit of tuck.

I know we can all be bit like that with new ideas, where we can steadfastly voice our opposition to something without a) knowing that much about it or b) ever trying it – however, I must point out that the most successful individuals I have encountered in my life have been those who not only left themselves open to encounter ‘new’ things … they actually went and sought them out.

So you’d probably agree then, that if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting – that there would be condiserable merit in trying something that for some reason you dismissed out of hand the first time you came across it, or is completely new to you but you were avoiding because it looks like it might take you a long way out of your comfort zone.

Like the much derided Haggis, it might be made up of bits that don’t strike you as too appetising – but when you try it you could well find that in reality it is actually quite good, and the only thing you really don’t understand is why you were so worried about trying it in the first place…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The ‘Cyber Monday’ Lessons We Can All Watch And Learn From…

For those who weren’t aware, the recent scenes of squabbling, scrambling and distinctly un-British behaviour in the shops you might have seen on TV were the result of something called ‘Black Friday’ a phenomenon we now appear to have contracted like a virus from the US.

Following this massive physical shopping binge – we will have the online equivalent upon us soon with ‘Cyber Monday’ when all sorts of online shopping records will be broken, millions and millions of pounds will change hands, yet there will also be frayed tempers, bad language and frustration here as well – something you wouldn’t have thought would happen when buying things online.

The majority of this will occur when we encounter a website which, in a effort to be cutting edge, has animated introductions, logos everywhere you look and state of the art graphics you can only really see if you have the latest device or iThing … but navigating round the site is a bit of a ‘mission’, and most worryingly of all for a sales site – gives you little idea how you actually buy something.

I’m sure we’ve all sat in front of some of these sites going round in ever decreasing circles, wondering if it’s actually worth it at all, and how this can actually be less fuss and bother  than getting in the car and just going to the shops yourself.

The trick here, clearly, as with so many things online – and especially when you’re trying to sell something – is to keep the buying process simple.

Just because technologically we can do some fantastic things online, it doesn’t  mean we have to. Look at Amazon – despite all the things their detractors may say, it’s not hard to buy things from Amazon, which is why people do – in their millions.

Compare that with a site where you have to tiptoe through four pages of flashy graphics to eventually find an ‘add to cart’ button, then having to undergo a tortuous registration process so you can receive six emails over the next week reminding you not to ‘miss out’ on the item you wanted, but couldn’t work out how to buy, or was (and still is) out of stock.   

When you think about your own sites – they key thoughts should be ‘what do I want the visitor to do? – and how do I make that the easiest thing for them to do?’.  This should be your first consideration – it should define how your site looks, how you navigate round it, everything.

The journey between your customer deciding to buy, and getting the email saying ‘thank you for your purchase’ should be simple, obvious, straight-forward and involve as few clicks as possible … and will beat a more complicated but prettier looking process very single time.

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why Other People Doing Better Than You Can Be A Good Omen…

I’m sure many of you will remember a couple of months or so ago I mentioned that Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap at the helm of my financial products had the slightly disturbing hobby of running distances far above and beyond the call of common sense – and at the weekend he was at it again…

He was taking a ‘brisk wander’ along the North Downs, named by the organizers as ‘The Omen’ and rather predictably given the name, run over the small matter of 66.6 miles … and despite what you or I might think – Lee was far from being alone at the starting line.

About a third of the way in, as they were getting toward the end of the ‘first marathon’ Lee and a compatriot found themselves in first and second place, and whilst Lee was perfectly happy with the pace – his friend wanted to ‘push on’ and gently disappeared over the horizon…

It turned out he wasn’t the only one thinking it was all a bit easy early on, so over the next half hour or so Lee was overtaken by nearly the entire remainder of the field – and at this point I think most of us would probably tried to ‘up’ the pace too … as we would perceive it as ‘bad form’ to be left behind – well, that or thinking ‘what’s the point’ and giving up altogether…

Lee, however, kept on at what he himself would describe as ‘snail’s pace’ and soon came upon some poor chap who he vaguely recognized as someone who had sailed past him earlier on, but now had not only hit what runners describe as ‘the wall’ but looked like he had fallen down several flights of stairs as well…

Now, I think at this point, some of us might have been sorely tempted to say something along the lines of ‘I told you so’ and carried on – but Lee decided to help this guy and coach, encourage and cajole him on over the rest of the race and (being as the race length was some 20hrs) on through the night.

They crossed the line with 6 minutes of the 20 hrs to spare, and strangely enough Lee, who had been 2nd 40 odd miles before, overtaken by just about everybody except the chap he stopped to help … was still 2nd. Only his friend who had upped the pace had finished in front of him … all those that had whizzed past him wishing not to be left behind had dropped out and not finished at all.

The obvious lesson here is to pace yourself – and this works just as well if you’re wanting to do something as sensible as build an online business or something as daft as run 66 miles up and down hills for almost an entire day.

There will inevitably be people faster out of the blocks than you -maybe they have more experience, more money or more time on their hands, or might be just plain better at it than you are. That is no reason to overstretch yourself to keep up with them, or to see it as something already lost and lose heart and give up.
I’ve seen many people get off to a flying start – only to throw all their toys out of the pram the first time things don’t go their way … and I’ve seen people overstretch themselves to the point that they are mentally and financially exhausted before they see any benefits of their efforts.

The key is to do things at your own pace – for some it will be plain sailing – that’s just the way of it – but for the majority it’s just a case of keeping at it & plugging away … and just like Lee you might be pleasantly surprised with where you finish…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Are You A Good Hunter or a Bad Hunter…?

Well, of course that’s what Range Rovers are for… isn’t it ?

You see, there was a chap putting some fencing up for me at the far side of one of the fields at the rear at Lowe Towers … I wanted to have a quick chat with him, but he was little more than a speck in the distance … and my Range Rover was conveniently close … I thought, well, it’s my field – why not…?

So, it was while I was hurtling across the field when the subject matter of todays email occured to me (which I’ll explain in just a minute) … but was replaced almost immediately with a second, more urgent thought, one which made me revert to a more pedestrian pace almost immediately…

This field was, for the most part, meadow grass, and the reason for the emergency braking was that I just remembered it previously had something of a mole problem … and had collected all of the spoil and debris from their excavations in to one heap…
This heap, given the height of the meadow grass, would be completely invisible until it was far too late … and whilst I had intended on quite a ‘showy’ arrival beside the chap at the other end of the field – an unintentional ‘A Team’ style leap before landing my Range Rover next to him would have done his heart no good at all…

Before all this unscheduled excitement I was thinking about that old saying, a ‘Bad hunter chases, a good hunter waits’ which, in a nutshell – points out that rather than chasing down your target waving a spear in an extravagant and very labour intensive manner – it might be better to simply hang about by the path to the local watering hole and jump out when your target inevitably but eventually goes past.

Which, if you transfer that strategy over into the online world, might be useful if you are finding that you don’t have as much time as you’d like to ‘chase’ your customers down and keep coming back empty handed…

So, instead of pursuing customers across the internet with expensive advertising and perhaps slightly too many emails with the aim of instant results … you might find you would be better off finding out where you ideal customers are likely to be, and set your ‘stall’ out nearby in order to attract and collect your customers that way.

This can take longer to bear fruit than ‘chasing’ certainly, but may well be a better use of your time if it is your scarcest commodity as it is less effort (and cheaper too) to share a link back to your content from a Facebook group for your niche and ‘wait’ for a response, rather than spend time on keyword research and producing an ‘ad’ that will ‘chase’ them around everywhere they go online.

Remember, it’s your online business you’re building, and no-one knows better than you what other commitments you have … so you have to judge what are the best uses of your time and resources and if you simply don’t have the time or money to go for quick results we all crave… there is nearly always a more sedate alternative…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How my school engineering project predicted Lady Gaga will make you more money online than Snail Racing…

At school I was really quite good at engineering … in fact at one point all I wanted to do when I was older was to design engines.  As it turned out, I chose a different path entirely and maybe the results of one of my school projects reinforces the idea that maybe I may have made the right choice.

This particular project was for a drill stand. All of the plans were perfect the design was as good as any of my teachers had seen and this was showing all of the signs of being a total triumph … that was, until we took things to the next stage…

You see, we only had the capabilities to cast in aluminium, and my design really, really needed to be in cast iron – but I was so intent that I wanted to make this drill stand that I carried on regardless.

When finished … it looked exactly as it should – it even matched the plans exactly. It should have been perfect but because it was made from aluminium instead of iron it was a little on the ‘bendy’ side … which anyone will tell you is not something you really want from a drill stand…

So, what does this all have to go with snail racing and Lady Gaga?

Well, let’s say you really, really, love snail racing. If you’ve paid attention to what you will have been told in this industry – you’ll know that this is not only a niche but a micro niche, full of passionate fans … so if you wanted to create a website – you would be forgiven for thinking this was a winner.

And to a certain extent – you wouldn’t be wrong. But the limited size of the audience and number of products you could market to the snail racing fraternity would limit your earnings from such a website, regardless of its quality and relevance – in short, a perfect plan but in practice, because of the resources available to you, about  useful as my slightly bendy drill stand.

However, whichever way you want to measure it – be it number of websites brought up by the search ‘lady gaga’, number of Facebook followers/fans or anything else, you’d have a lot of trouble proving that snail racing was more popular than Lady Gaga – even if she has been off the radar for a little while.

Also, the number of products you could market to Gaga fans is almost bottomless … so if you were going to make a ‘first’ website, with the sole intention of making a bit of money quite quickly and not looking to tick any personal boxes, would you pick the subject you were passionate about with a small audience with just a few products or a more ‘cast iron’ proposition, something you didn’t really care too much about – with a potential traffic source of millions and endless things other people will pay you to put front of them ?

So, as you spend more time with you online project, you need to be sure whether you are striving for a personal or financial goal, and be absolutely sure you have picked the right path to get there. If not, it’s not too late to change lanes for a little while – and maybe spend some time developing a website that will fulfill a few of those financial needs, so you can go back to developing that long term project that’s closer to your heart … without having any pressure to make any money from it straight away…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Paintball for the Big Boys…

For some strange reason, ‘She Who Must…’ thought I would really enjoy being sat in a real, full sized tank driving around and blowing things up (with paintball type ammunition anyway) …so she bought me a sort of ‘Paintball for the Big Boys’ day out for my Birthday.

Of course, she was completely right – so off I tramped to the middle of Leicestershire, dragging my good friend Ali Campbell along as my accomplice for the day…

Soon, we were sat in the training room – resplendent in our newly issued overalls, and some things became immediately apparent – firstly, they wouldn’t be using pictures of us on the recruiting posters any time soon – and also that this was going to be hot, cramped, dirty, and noisy … and tremendously good fun.

Tank Story.png

Given last week’s ‘stuck in the sauna’ shenanigans, you would have thought I really wasn’t keen to be trying to squeeze into any more confined spaces – but contrary to what I may of thought, it seemed that it was only really those of above average height that would have issues so I spent most of my time slightly hunched over to accommodate the distinct lack of headroom.

Of course – there were other new things in store as well – I have been driving for over 30 years – and despite having a couple of cars with about the same fuel economy – driving and steering this tank would be a completely new experience for me…

There was no real steering wheel or pedals to speak of, and I was expecting to find it a bit challenging but the simple use of the two levers to take care of it all was quite simple once it had been explained to me, and I’d had a bit of a go …  Also the loading and firing of the gun was much simpler than I expected and even more fun than I could of imagined…

We spent a happy couple of hours ‘playing’ in this tank, driving around, firing the gun and finally having a ‘head to head’ against two other chaps in another tank (yes, we won) … and yes, while it was fun, it was also dirty, cramped and noisy and I developed a whole new level of respect for those that do this kind of thing for real, especially in circumstances that nobody would consider fun at all.

It was an interesting day all in all (and the late-ish pub lunch was excellent too) in that I found the brand new parts that I thought might be a problem, weren’t anything like as difficult as I thought – the driving and steering which meant doing something I was familiar with in a completely different way, and that worked out fine too … even the prospect of repeating a less than positive experience with the cramped conditions didn’t have the result I thought It might have.

I’ve often found though, that when it comes to giving new things a go – they are rarely as hard as they seem. Of course anything new will seem a bit strange and take you a while at the start, but that’s because it IS new to you.

Some will learn more quickly than you, some will have a little more experience and be whizzing off over the horizon while you’re still trying to start the engine … but it’s not what everybody else is doing that matters, but that you, at whatever speed,  get there in the end…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The Importance Of Having Your Sheep The Right Way Up…

My rather relaxing afternoon at Lowe Towers was interrupted by a hesitant knock on the door, and because years of ‘interesting’ encounters have made me re-define what counts as ‘odd’ … opening the door to a young lady who had tied her horse to one of my gateposts didn’t seem strange at all – in fact all seemed par for the course right up until she said “Excuse me – could you help me turn that sheep the right way up…?”

Now granted, it was my field, but they were my neighbour’s sheep and I will even admit that as I followed her out the sight of the poor stricken creature, flat on its back with its feet in the air led me to fear the worst…

I stared at the sheep for a minute, not knowing really what to do, and preparing to break the news to this young lady about the sheep’s unfortunate demise, when against all probability it made a plaintive bleating noise and waved one of its feet in a generally pathetic and feeble manner.

We gave the sheep a tentative push and this was all it needed to right itself and toddle off back to the rest of the flock, looking none the worst for all that happened, and as if this sort of thing happened to it every day…

So Tim, I hear you say, is the ‘moral’ of this week’s Lowedown going to be that if we feel stricken like that poor sheep, don’t fret, as we’re probably just a little push away from being ‘righted’ and back on track?

Well, yes, that would have been rather good – but as you know that already, what I’ll do instead is continue the tale slightly to encompass events a few days later … so you can raise a smile as I was put in a very sheep-like predicament myself.

I was sat in the Sauna at the Gym, and decided to lean back slightly – which was fine apart from the fact that as the space involved wasn’t quite wide enough for a healthy and robust character such as myself – and I kind of ‘popped’ into the space rather snugly and came to rest with my right arm tucked in behind one of the sides.

Naturally, I enjoyed my sauna – but as my thoughts turned to leaving I discovered that with my arm tucked where it was … I was going nowhere. The sensible thing to do would, of course, have been to attract the attention of others and ask them for  a hand – but all that was going through my mind was that poor sheep with its pathetic bleating and feeble waving  – so I spent a very long time performing a very undignified wriggle to eventually free myself.

So yes, all you do need at times is a little push to get you going, but often there is something in your head that stops you from asking for help. The important factor is that you don’t make that thing any bigger than it really is, or that it is even relevant to exactly what you’re trying to do now.

You might have had negative experiences in the past – we all have – but if that negative experience was based around you not being the greatest salesperson or only having ten minutes to spare when you needed an hour … what you need to ask yourself is – are those things a factor here … and if not – what’s stopping you ?

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The Only Stupid Question Is The One You Didn’t Ask…

There have been some strange arrivals here in the last couple of weeks … First of all, a Scotsman sent me a knife in the post…
Normally, I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a good thing … however as it was a traditional Sgian Dubhs (pronounced ‘Skean Dhu’) – sent by my good friend Ali Campbell as a present for my recent Birthday, I was actually rather impressed.
It came with a note saying it was to help me become ‘More Scottish’ – though it had no instructions as to which parts I had to cut off to make that so… 😉

Secondly there was a much appreciated box of Quality Street addressed to my Minions – as an apology for ‘asking all those stupid questions’ – now whilst gifts of chocolate are always welcome, I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate that there is no such thing as a stupid question

I am fully aware asking for solutions to what might appear to be the simplest of problems might seem embarrassing or silly, especially when you’re asking it in front of a roomful of people, or directly to someone who you might consider to be an expert  … but it is a necessary part of the learning process.

Or to put it another way – what is more embarrassing  – asking a question that makes you feel uncomfortable, or missing out on making £1000, £2000 or even more each month for the sake of finding out just one thing you didn’t know?

Asking ‘stupid’ questions is all part of the learning process, I’ve done it – I can assure you that every single person here at HQ has done it (and will freely admit to occasionally still doing it, too) because that is exactly how we find out things that may escape those who simply assume things … and in doing so limit what they can achieve.

For instance – with my ‘Cash Curator’ system, we still have people asking what products they will be ’selling’. They may also even have trouble getting their heads around that, with this particular system, you don’t have to sell anything to anybody, ever … that you don’t need to be ‘salesy’ to succeed – and that, although it is done online, all works around a simple principle that has been working for at least the last 50 years, long before the internet even existed.

So, never assume you know the answer, that something ‘must’ be this or that based on what you know already … and that the most simple, vital piece of the puzzle, the one piece that is the difference between where you are and where you want to be might just be one ‘stupid’ question away…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

It’s The Little Differences That Make All The Difference…

Big things are afoot here at HQ…

Websites are being ‘polished’, training videos are being made – causing consumption of both coffee and Kit Kats (management issue only) to reach record levels … in short – the culmination of what is, for some here at HQ, nearly two years of work is nearly upon us…

This ‘Lowedown’ however, isn’t me telling you about my next project … you can be sure I’ll let you know all about it when the time comes – but for now, at least, it’s got to stay all hush-hush…

What I wanted to talk about today, prompted by all this activity, were all of those last minute tweaks and changes that can make all the difference to your project … differences that can really add up and make your project either a massive success or an uncomfortable struggle…

There has been plenty of ‘move this here’, ‘make that bigger’ as well as quite a bit of ‘that’s a bit superfluous’ and ‘that needs to be a bit more detailed’ – the kind of things you can’t really gauge until you see all the component parts working together.

It can be a lot of fuss to sort out … it can mean people having to redo a bit of work that was perfectly fine at the time but now doesn’t quite fit with something else – it can even mean re-jigging things over and over until they run completely smoothly … It can, in short, be a lot of effort for what might seem a little gain – so should you bother doing it?

Yes, absolutely.

The best way to iron out any kinks or things that just don’t look as right as they should, is to have some sort of ‘dry run’ of what your potential customer/user/visitor experiences as they interact with what you have to offer…

Another way of thinking of it is as a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ … when a production might find out that an actress won’t get through that door in that dress … or that a scene change takes far too long … or that a particular piece toward the back of the stage just isn’t lit well enough … and they have a chance to put everything right before presenting it to a paying audience.

Remember, I’m not suggesting that you fundamentally change what you’re doing at the last minute – that can cause a mixed message to the user about what your project is (or, in fact, isn’t) – and can leave the impression that what you have to offer is neither one thing or the other, or had extra bits cobbled on at the 11th hour (like when you can see they’ve stuck a contrived ‘happy ending’ on what is an otherwise ‘edgy movie’ to up the box office receipts and please the backers.)

I’ll close, then, by saying that so often in this business, it’s all in the detail … it can be as much as just changing a couple of words (or sometimes even just one) … changing a background colour or the size and emphasis on a certain piece of text.

These things are often not apparent until you undertake a ‘dry run’ or ‘dress rehearsal ‘ of your project in its near finished state – you will inevitably end up with a list of things it might be much easier not to bother doing as they ‘won’t make that much difference’ … but I assure you, you should never ignore even the smallest of them…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Save Time And Money By Knowing When The Best Thing Isn’t The Right Thing…

Last weekend saw me being marched, mostly against my will, around Camden Market. I know at this precise moment you’re thinking ‘What could Tim possibly want at Camden Market’ and to be completely candid I couldn’t think of anything either – so I left ‘She Who Must..’ with ‘ring me when you’re finished’ instructions and went to find something more distracting in the surrounding streets.

Now this kind of aimless bimble usually involves me stumbling upon some sort of delightful café or bakery … or encountering somebody marvellously entertaining and eccentric – but on this occasion all that my small adventure could offer was … a shop that sold trainers.

This was, actually, perfectly fine as I have recently re-started my exertions at the gym and actually needed a pair – but the look I got from the various staff members and other customers (none of whom looked older than about 20) as I walked through the shop door, was quite something.

A few polite enquires uncovered the fact that this was more of a ‘fashion trainer’ shop, favoured in the main by those who communicate using only the bare minimum of syllables and lack the ability to pull their jeans up properly – so I was directed instead along the street to another shop that catered for runners…

At the new place I was able to explain exactly what I wanted to the very knowledgeable chap behind the counter who found me something that fitted the bill, providing the right amount of support and comfort … and without trying to sell me something I really did not need.

You see this was a shop for serious runners, mad folks who think of nothing of going on a 15 mile warm-up run before the ‘proper’ one … in fact if I’d just walked in and said ‘give me the best pair in the shop’ I would have been presented with something that cost almost the same price as a small Romanian car.

So, I left the shop perfectly happy, with exactly what I needed, and thinking about a chap who had emailed the office a few days before…

Let me explain further and you’ll see how one thing reminded me of the other … This chap (let’s call him ‘Mark’) wanted to know what we used for sending our emails for newsletters and suchlike … and I could have just answered his question and moved on – but instead I got Head Minion to contact him and find out more.

‘Mark’, it turned out, was quite new to this business, had got off to quite a good start and wanted to build the relationship with his customers and subscribers, and didn’t think trying to do it all from his gmail account was giving the best impression … so he asked what we used here at HQ, assuming we’d use the best thing for the job – so he could do exactly the same.

Sensible enough thinking, certainly – until you consider that what we use here is not only an email sending tool but does a multitude of other things as well, all for quite a large number of customers, partners, affiliates and subscribers, and if ‘Mark’ had copied us and bought the same thing … he would have a tool vastly overqualified to deal with his current needs, and a truly eye watering monthly bill.

What was better for him, as he discovered when he had a chat with Head Minion, was not something that cost a fortune, or even $20 a month … in fact he was (as he was just promoting his own products to his own subscribers), pointed in the direction of a service that didn’t cost him anything at all, and won’t until he gets a few more customers.

The point here, you’ll agree, is that it’s important for all of us, whether it’s me buying trainers or ‘Mark’ with his autoresponder, not to necessarily get the best tools available, but the best tool for what we are doing at the time, that is appropriate to the resources and needs we have at the moment.

Getting this one thing right can not only increase the amount you can get done, but also, by buying whatever is a perfect fit for you at the time, you are keeping a rein on your outgoings, which for many small businesses can be the difference between struggling and enjoying success…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why We Sometimes Wish Our Online Business Came With A ‘Montage’ Sequence…

I really love a film reference or quote … I am, after all, the one with the in house team who call themselves the ‘Minions’ (after the little yellow chaps in Despicable Me) though I must point out that life here at HQ isn’t quite like that …. though a few casual observers have pointed out that the TV series ‘Blandings’ might not be too far off the mark…

With that in mind, what I wanted to talk about today was a particular type of sequence common to many films, one which illustrates a less than desirable trait of human nature, one which we must all have exhibited at one time or another.

The sequence I’m referring to is the ‘montage’ … the sequence that is inserted about two thirds of the way through a film, to indicate the passage of time as the protagonists undergo some sort of training, or complete a particularly complicated or onerous task…

This ‘montage’ is usually backed by some triumphal music and will culminate in smiles and congratulations, all the hard work done … and in at least one case that springs to mind, standing arms aloft at the top of some steps while a crowd begins, quite spontaneously, to start cheering below.

Where this brings human nature into sharp focus is that this sequence, containing as it does the only part of the film where any actual hard work takes place, is just glazed over, rushed through and practically dismissed in a couple of minutes…

Is it because the filmmakers have, almost entirely correctly, identified that nobody is really interested in the hard work, and would just prefer to jump straight to the ‘good’ bit at the end with all the rewards…?

Unfortunately, there are no ’montages’ to be had in our industry – even when a plan is laid out in front of you; there is still work to be done to get the ‘promised’ results.

For example, if you’re creating your website, time still needs to be spent on the wholly unglamorous task of making sure it is in the right niche to get a reasonable amount of traffic without hiring a horde of SEO experts or having an advertising budget that would make Coca Cola blush.

It may not take as long as say, getting a conventional business off the ground, or as ‘hard’ work as the job you want to leave behind … but there’s still work that needs doing – and in our enthusiasm for getting things going, hurrying as fast as we can to get to the bit where we see results, we can often forget that simple fact, and rush through the crucial but boring steps and get them wrong … or more damagingly, do things properly, but grow restless with the time the more mundane bits take and give up entirely.

So, to finish then, I’m not going to tell you ‘Life’s not like the movies’ because I’m pretty sure you already know that. What I will say though, is that whilst an online business, in whatever form, can be got off the ground more cheaply and easily than a traditional one … and yes, the rewards can certainly outstrip anything we might achieve offline, we must be careful not to forget that it is still, when all is said and done, a business, one that needs to be run well and looked after like any other…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The ‘Obvious’ Isn’t Always The Answer – And How You Can Take Advantage of it…

I’ve always been slightly dubious of the phrase ‘It’s obvious’ … because the ‘obvious’ is usually the result of some poorly informed assumption, often arrived at by not looking at something closely enough…

Take for instance online gaming … not my field of expertise, and probably not yours either … but if I asked you to think of a ‘gamer’, you probably would have in mind a male, probably late teens to mid twenties with a poor attempt at facial hair and minimal social skills…

Yet, if I was to tell you that a great many more online games were in fact played by ladies than gents you might understandably raise an eyebrow … until I pointed out they’re not all playing ‘World of Warhammer’ (though a great many do) or even shouting obscenities into a headset whilst gunning down some virtual zombies or terrorists … but are in fact racking up a great many hours playing games like Farmville or Candy Crush.

I know this isn’t what would ‘obviously’ spring to mind as online gaming … but what makes it interesting for us, is that the amount of advertising the user is exposed to while they play makes this format every bit as profitable for the game producers as it is would be if they charged you the best part of £50 for it on Amazon.

This is just another example of how things have moved on so that you can profit from what you do online without having to sell anything. Which is, you’ll be pleased to hear, good news for those of us who think they are no good at, or not comfortable with, ‘selling.’

I’m not suggesting we should all go out and invent the next ‘Flappy Birds’ because, quite frankly – 99% of us would not know where to start … but if we look at the overall concept – we can certainly adapt it to take advantage of it.

Facebook, of course do it, and the best bloggers have been doing it for years … but the concept of creating an online environment where a visitor is informed or entertained over a number of pages or length of time whilst exposed to carefully targeted but not intrusive advertising is really catching on in a big way…

As I pointed out before – this is a great opportunity for those who may feel they might have previously ‘underperformed’ due to not being ‘salesy’ enough … to create or present niche content to attract and amuse people, pop some adverts around it for people to click on if they choose, and leave the selling to somebody else.

Of course, this plan does require a fair amount of traffic … but on the other hand, you might be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who would be willing to visit if they know you’re not trying to directly sell them anything…

In conclusion then, let me underline the fact that there are so many more ways of making a profit from your online efforts rather than the ‘obvious’ internet marketing model – there are online services you can provide to small businesses (a very lucrative area currently you might do well to get onboard with) as well as the kind of ideas we’ve explored today, because it’s not just all about doing it the same old ‘obvious’ way…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Honest Guvnor – I Never Did Nuffin’ … How Facebook Risk Alienating The People That Could Help Them Beat Google…

This edition of the Lowedown may be a bit shorter than usual … this is because, if left unchecked – there is a very real danger of it all developing into something of a rant…

It all started with a chap my ‘Minions’ (the tongue in cheek name my in-house team have given themselves) were giving a few pointers to. He was doing quite a good job of getting traffic from Facebook ads, but before they could give him the benefit of their experience to improve things even further … his Facebook advertising account was ‘permanently disabled’

The ads he was running were no different from those he had been running for several weeks, did not involve anything on the usual ‘naughty’ list – and had only ever had one ad banned months ago, for having ‘too much text in it’ (?)  … in fact, looking at the email from Facebook, you can see he was actually banned for, quite literally, nothing…

As you would expect, contacting a proper, real human at Facebook can be somewhat challenging, but is nothing compared to finding someone there who will give you a straight answer to a simple question … and if any of this sounds familiar – it’s exactly the same type of ‘Because we said so…’ policy that has turned Google from being the people’s choice into being what many now consider to be something of an ‘evil empire’.

We all know the bulk advertising from the chaps that are trying to get the world addicted to Candy Crush and suchlike are what Facebook really want … but Facebook is also the place where smaller businesses are wanting to advertise to become the big businesses of the future, so treating the ‘little guy’ with such short sighted contempt now means they are hobbling their own business.

In fact, what you’ll end up with are growing businesses with massive advertising budgets – and Facebook right at the bottom of the list of people they want to work with.

It seems the online industry is one of very short memories. Just a few years ago the ‘only’ place you could really advertise was Google … but by banning a large body of people from advertising they actually created both the environment and the customers for any competitor to succeed easily just by offering an alternative advertising platform … and it seems Facebook are now doing exactly the same…

It is the considered opinion of those here at HQ, that if Facebook could get the ‘search’ part of their business sorted out … they could pose serious problems for Google, and probably even overtake them (though more on that another time, I think) – but by driving small businesses away they are making it much, much harder for themselves … and not so much building up speed as shooting themselves in the foot…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why The Success Of Your Business Might Depend On The Quality Of Your Lasagne…

It was almost four years ago now that I created, after much experimentation and effort, a particularly fine Lasagne. In fact, I was really pleased that nearly everybody who has tried it – both that first time and on the occasions I have made it since –  told me it was, if not the best … almost the best Lasagne they had ever tasted.

A good part of the reason for its success was down to the little touches that were added to it to give it that bit extra … but as a result the process was a little more involved than usual, so I kept some crib notes to remind me of those tiny tweaks that made all the difference.

Alas, as part of a recent moving around of all things kitchen related, ‘She who must…’ had one of her ‘clearouts’ … and the cookbook, which had my notes kept safe and sound between the pages …. got sent unwittingly on its way to a charity shop.

By the time we had realised what had happened it was long gone, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth and I set about trying to re-create it all from memory … a process which, I must add, is still ongoing…

Now, everybody has a pretty good idea how to make a basic Lasagne – you can even buy plenty which are ready made, straight off the shelf – but adding to it through extra effort and experimentation gives you something that is unique, memorable and hopefully praiseworthy.

We all know it’s easier to just make a basic Lasagne – but the important fact is nobody really wants just ‘basic’. They might, through budgetary or time restraints settle for basic – but what we all really want is the one that’s got everything in it.

Of course I’m making a comparison with an online business here … but one that goes a bit deeper than just ‘make sure you offer that bit extra’.

You see, whilst it takes a lot of experimentation and effort to create that first success, we should never assume that everything after that will be easy, and fall into place automatically. Re-creating that success can be just as difficult in its own way, not allowing complacency to slip in, not thinking ‘will it really matter if I don’t do this bit’…

Let me finish by saying that every little thing you did to add to the quality and value of what you have to offer matters, so make sure it all goes in – make sure you’re never, ever, just offering ‘basic’ – and make sure you have the capability of re-creating this every single time.

Oh – and when you do – remember to make sure you keep any notes you happen to be using safe… 😉

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Two Important Lessons in Planning….

Longtime readers of the Lowedown will know I have a ‘thing’ about planning ahead. It’s what I do in my own business … with the projects that are coming to fruition this year being six, nine or even twelve months in the making.

Of course this has to be balanced with also having a certain amount of flexibility to allow us to react to anything untoward or unexpected falling into our laps. You can’t ‘expect the unexpected’ but we do make provision so that if anybody here (including myself) or anybody we work with gets hit by the proverbial bus … nobody is left floundering.

It’s fair to say, though, that the ‘Ready, Fire … Aim’ internet industry we all work in is not exactly famed for its dedication to planning, with people often jumping on whatever is newest and trying to use it to their advantage … in fact I’d go as far as to say the biggest amount of planning most of us will do is the planning of the family holiday.

With that in mind, I’d like to mention a couple of things quite close to us here at HQ, each offering something useful on today’s subject. The first is the result of some very careful planning, and the second being something for which the planning has only just begun…

A splendid young man by the name of Dale Hudson, who happens to be the son of one of the ladies you might speak to if you ever phone the office, has, along with a friend, just departed for Hong Kong. This is with the intention of cycling through the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn through Asia and Australia and ending up in Brisbane.

This was the result of many months of planning and fundraising (though they are quite self effacing about the amount of effort they put in) and you’ll agree, it all sounds absolutely fascinating. They have set up a website/blog to update the world on their progress, and are even making a documentary about the whole thing … you can read everything and see all the work that went in here: http://www.betweenthetropics.co.uk/

The other concerns Lee-Stuart Evans, the chap in my office who is very much at the core of my growing range of current and forthcoming financial products…
Now, whilst being a level headed chap when it comes to all things to do with the money markets, Lee has a habit of doing slightly ridiculous things in the name of charity, particularly when it comes to running excessive and unnecessary long distances at the drop of a hat.

He has been keen, for several years now, to take part in the Marathon des Sables, which, for those blissfully unaware is the small matter of running 156 or so miles (providing you don’t get lost) across the Sahara desert … in 50 degree heat.

I was convinced he was utterly mad, so Lee decided to prove he was up to the task and get in a ‘bit of practice’ by entering himself for something called the Thames Path 100…

He did consider this to be a bit ‘Namby Pamby’ because despite being 100 miles and only having a 50% finish rate … it is all mostly flat and run on quite well maintained surfaces. This is the same man, however, who thought nothing of running the 23 miles from his home to Tylney Hall on the morning of our Christmas party, then getting changed to attend the festivities and finally leaving the dancefloor around 2am…

So, with only a little push from me, he has now enrolled and begun planning, training and preparing for the Marathon des Sables … not this year – but in 2016.
Completing this challenge will be a truly mammoth undertaking – so the correct amount of planning needs to go in to ensure things go as smoothly as they possibly can.

Even with the exacting medical, there have still been fatalities in this race … and this acts as a sobering reminder of the potential outcome of going in without a plan at all…

Right then … we’ll be setting up a small website to cover all of Lee’s shenanigans shortly, and like Dale’s tropical efforts will have permanent links from my blog and the re-vamped Waverley media site as soon as my Techie Minion has completed the rest of his ‘to do’ list …

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

“I Could Do That…”

The New Year is, traditionally, when we all unhatch our new plans (or decide to jump onboard something we put on hold because of Christmas) and will usually involve us seeing something somebody was else doing, (and doing rather well) and thinking ‘I could do that’

Yet, we can often be still sat there in March, April or even after, still not having started anything at all, wondering quite what went wrong that big plan we had…

So what happened…?

It seems that after the initial ‘I could do that’ there can be little twinges of self doubt, which cause ‘obstacles’ – both real and imagined – to roll in until what seemed so simple just a few minutes ago is now completely obscured behind an unassailable mountain of problems…

I’m sure you know all the standard ‘reasons’ that get in the way … being ‘too old’, ‘too young’, ‘too busy’, ‘too poor’ or even ‘too dim’ to do whatever it is that is in front of us … but all the time seemingly forgetting what it was that made us think we could do it in the first place…

I’m not talking about walking in blindly in a cloud of optimism either – I’m simply suggesting that we put our doubts under the same exacting level of scrutiny as we seem to do routinely and quite effortlessly with any opportunity that comes along…

If you think you’re too old … does age really have anything at all with what you want to do? … and if so, what is it about your age that makes it a problem, and how can you then solve that problem ?

Take yours truly, for example. I have confessed many times to being very good at a couple of things, passable at a few others and laughably poor at pretty much everything else..

The relative success I have enjoyed seems to have come in no small part as a result of finding ways of getting round those obstacles and problems I entirely lacked the knowledge or the resources to solve at the time.

So, if you see something and think ‘I could do that’ … don’t let that thought disappear in the face of the very first doubt. Instead, start by making sure any doubts you have are based on a real problem, not a perceived one…

Then, examine that problem carefully to try and discover a solution … so that in a couple of month’s time, you’re not sat there wondering what happened, you’re actually enjoying all of the financial and personal benefits that first sprang so vividly into your mind when you first thought ‘I could do that’.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

There’s Nothing Revolutionary About Saying The Right Thing…

The other day I came across something that rather caught my eye… amongst all of the ‘happenings’ at a local venue, was an appearance by the rather magnificently named ‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’.

‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’ are actually a string quartet, and I m sure a truly excellent one … but I what I found fascinating on this occasion was just their name…

You’ll agree, the very phrase ‘drawing room’ immediately brings to mind the more well to do classes and just reeks of establishment, the whiff of cigar smoke and rather good Port… but the addition of revolutionary instead gives the phrase a slightly unruly, unkempt and probably untrustworthy quality.

I was left overall with the idea that a ‘Revolutionary Drawing Room’ would be a place that perfectly sane, well adjusted folks would enter, but would leave instead with ‘views’ on the natural order of things and start doing things of a turbulent nature like asking for a pay rise or leaving the heating on all night.

Yes, that last sentence was very tongue in cheek but the comic exaggeration will hopefully underline just how much just one word can change the whole feel of what is being read – and it’s that I wanted to talk about today.

You see, when visitors come to your site, open your emails or read a printed piece you’ve sent them, the very first thing they read is all important… so choose those words very carefully.

For a start, you need to say something that confirms they are in right place (if it’s your website) and will make them want to read the rest of what you have to say.

My copywriter (well, this is what he tells ME, anyway) takes almost as long with the first few paragraphs of any work he does for me as he does the rest of it put together because he knows if the reader’s attention hasn’t been grabbed at the start… the rest won’t get read anyway.

So, if you’re not a professional copywriter or don’t have years of experience under your belt – how do you know when you’ve written the right or the wrong thing? Well, you quite simply look at the results…

You could send half of your readers to one written piece, and the rest to another, and see which gets the best results … then by changing small pieces and testing the results again (and again) you’ll see what works and what doesn’t…

Of course, you should always be tweaking what you do, building on the good results and learning from the rest … and remembering that if things aren’t going that well, just changing one word can make all the diiference…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Don’t You Know Who I Am…?

It was back on the second morning of a particular quick getaway that I began to get a little worried….
Despite being quite a distinctive and hopefully memorable chap, I usually can walk around without anyone batting an eyelid (a situation I don’t mind at all) … yet, in less than 30 hours at this hotel, surrounded by various oligarchs, retired footballers and the occasional ‘what’s-his-name’ from TV, no less than a dozen people I had never spoken to in my life said ‘hello Tim…’
I began wondering what I’d done to deserve such recognition … I was a regular guest at this particular hotel, certainly, but there was no explanation why I had suddenly become so ‘public’
I was racking my brains for anything I may have done to achieve such notoriety, but compared to some of the other guests I was basically anonymous and, believe it or not, extremely well behaved.
The mystery was solved by a glance in the new edition of the hotel magazine – I was mentioned, alongside my photo in their list of ‘famous’ guests underneath Angela Merkel and some US vice president – but above the footballers and soap actresses.
If you’re stifling a bit of a giggle at the thought of me being mentioned as ‘famous’, I can assure you it’s nothing compared to the good laugh I had, or the near apoplectic state reached by ‘She Who Must…’ who teased me mercilessly and repeatedly pointed out that they must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel…
A reminder, if any was needed, that the solution to a problem is usually very simple if not immediately obvious. I could have spent days wondering what was going on, when the answer was plain for anyone to see in the hotel magazine … (which I rarely looked at, as being a regular guest, I already knew all about what the hotel had to offer.)
We can all overthink things sometimes, especially with the complexity that is usually attributed to the things we do online, it is easy to expect the answer to a problem to also be complex … but that’s not always the case.
If your website is unusually quiet, it may be for many reasons, many of them nothing to do with you.
It may well be quiet because your content is poor, or your offer is terrible … but one quiet phase might also be because Christmas is looming large and people are looking at different things online (for instance spending more time buying presents on Amazon than doing whatever it was they usually did on Facebook) or that the country where a lot of your traffic comes from has a public holiday. (Like Thanksgiving in the US for examplee)
So, if things are suddenly not going as planned, before you decide to make sweeping changes or re-think your entire strategy, just have a quick check to make sure it’s not something head-slappingly simple that familiarity has caused you to overlook.
All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

If You’re Paying For Your Traffic, You Need To Read This…

A couple of months ago, you may remember I told you about an office debate regarding the virtues of SEO versus just buying your traffic, and found that in a majority of cases, you would be better off spending the time you might spend on all but the most basic SEO working in the pub and then spend the resultant wages on buying traffic.

Of course, this got the old grey cells going, and I tasked a couple of my ‘Minions’ (I’m not being harsh – my in-house team decided to call themselves this, which, if you know the film ‘Despicable Me’, is actually a joke at my expense) with coming up with some pointers so you get the most from every click you pay for.

I told them not to re-cover old ground by reminding you about targeting – there’s enough said about that already – what I wanted were things we can do after we’ve actually got that click…

In an effort to look intelligent, they came up with quite a few, which I will have them put down in detail during the coming weeks over on the Tims Minions site (and obviously I’ll link to them from here when they have) but in an effort to keep this to a reasonably bitesize and actionable length, I’ll just go over a couple here…

Firstly, make sure that where the click takes them is exactly where they need to be. If the link they clicked was ‘Three ways to remove cat hair from your sofa’ make sure it takes them to that particular article on your site, and not just to the homepage of your website about cats – this may seem obvious but we couldn’t believe how many people are making this one simple error.

Secondly, give your visitor plenty of reasons not to hit the back button. It is a sad fact that regardless how good your copy or call to action, the majority of visitors won’t actually do what you want them to when they land on your page.

So, rather than leave your site entirely, give them options that take them to other pages that give you another bite of the cherry … for instance a list of other articles at the bottom of the page that will keep them on your site and reinforce the idea that they need your service or really, really ought to subscribe to your newsletter.

Thirdly, and this one made me raise an eyebrow and I required the Minion in question, to ‘explain himself’ was the option of actually having other peoples advertising on the page. Obviously not where it will distract them from buying, joining your list or whatever else it was you wanted them to do, but ‘below the fold’ or right at the bottom of the page, places they are likely to scroll down to just before they are about to leave your site.

So, in conclusion, if you’re paying for your clicks … don’t waste them. If the page converts your visitor into a buyer or a subscriber, all well and good – but remember more than half of the time it won’t, so you need to give your users another alternative rather than to use the back button, giving you more chances to get your message across .. and if all else fails, try and monetise that last, exit click.

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

A Tale Of Two Sofas…

“Hi Mate – Got Your Sofas!”
“You’re Four Hours Late … And I’m Not Your Mate”

This was the brief exchange that accompanied the arrival of my new sofas, more than four hours late, just a few days ago. However, this was not quite how you would have pictured it if you had been stood next to me in the showroom a few week before..

It all started when ‘She Who Must…’ decided we needed some more sofas – words that will no doubt fill most of the chaps reading this with a familiar  feeling of dread, as they will know the hours of ‘joy’ that awaited me.

True enough, there followed many visits to several ‘too trendy for words’ showrooms full of breathtakingly expensive furniture  and salesman with perfectly managed facial hair (but curiously enough, no socks) and a few trips along a great deal of the M4, before it came down to a choice between the final two…

One of these was from one of more down to earth boutiques and the other from somewhere we had discovered online , then popped over to to take a closer look. The only difference, it seemed was that the boutique sofas seemed to be about four times the price of the other ones.

As you know, I don’t exactly have to watch the pennies … but it is only common sense, regardless of how much money you happen to have, not to pay rather a lot of money for something when you can have what appears to be the same thing for a quarter of the price elsewhere.

Of course I had my doubts, but I am also fully aware that often high end retailers of various housewares are not above getting a manufacturer to put their logo on a bath, chair or whatever and then charge seven times the amount the manufacturer sells the unbranded item for.

To be fair, the ‘cheaper’ example piece was very nice indeed, and the chap who showed us round managed to answer my questions until I was moderately satisfied (apparently the savings were to be found by limiting the options on the range, buying those few materials in bulk, and not having a big shiny shop draining the profits … but I still had my doubts.

Still, the result of a conflab with ‘She Who Must…’ was that we would opt for the cheaper version, and with the assurances that our order would be of the same quality as the one we had seen at their HQ, we left to await delivery…

Which brings us to just a couple of evenings ago when they were delivered four hours late… and on arrival had very little in common with the one we had seen first hand – the pattern on the striped material didn’t line-up between sections, the seat filling had been replaced with something inferior to what was ordered without any notification and the legs weren’t even on straight.

Of course these issues are in the process of being sorted out, but the lesson for us here is to always make sure that, unlike this bunch of rudderless buffoons, what you deliver in your business is every bit as good as whatever it was you showed them prior to taking their money.

Whilst you will always get those who have an almost microscopic knowledge of your advertisement but almost no familiarity with, or willingness to follow, any instructions you may have provided for them to achieve the advertised results … you have to ensure that you at the very least give them what you said you would.

I know it seems like quite a basic thing to say, but if you planned to sell fifty of something and you end up selling five hundred, I’m sure you can imagine there must be a temptation to cut a few corners to lighten the workload a bit … however if it was the quality of what you were offering that got you those five hundred orders, subsequently abandoning that quality is not the way to go.

Better to talk to your customers to let them know the situation, or get in extra help (provided they can also offer the same level of quality as you advertised) rather than do a rush job, and potentially damage your relationship with your customer more than asking them to wait…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Mix It Up’ for Maximum Impact…

Here at HQ, we are often asked when the optimum time is to send that email, or that piece of printed mail so it gets the best response and for maximum impact – or to put it another way … to get the greatest number of sales and make the most money ?

Well … the answer, I’m afraid, is not a short one.

Nor would it be the same answer I would have given you 10 or 15 years ago. You see, since the advent of the internet and massive increase of the use of mobile technology, the way we receive information has changed massively.

Conventional wisdom used to be that you communicated with people on a weekend when they had time to ‘deal’ with it, and that used to be absolutely correct – but the recent blurring of lines where work stops and home life begins can mean that it is often not the case at all.

What we have now is a world where (rightly or wrongly) people will live chat with their family members at their desk whilst also doing work, respond to texts from spouses or do their online shopping during their lunch break, sat at their desks using their work computer.

Also (again, rightly or wrongly) they will also do work ‘stuff’ out of hours like answer work emails while they are on Facebook in the evenings.

The upshot of all of this is that in the last few years people tend to ‘ring fence’ their weekend and keep that for messing about with the kids, hobbies and not look at things nearly as much as they would during the week.

So, if the weekend isn’t the prime time it used to be – when is ?

The answer then is to not be predictable in any of your communication, be it email or anything else. If you communicate with the same people at the same time every week, it is only human nature for them to get ‘used’ to the routine, and over time, attach less importance to it … regardless of how important it actually is.

Better then, to vary when you speak to people, so that your subscribers do not subconsciously pre-judge the importance of what you have to say, so you can get your message across to achieve the best possible response.

In a nutshell then – there isn’t really a carved in stone time to communicate, but instead introduce a level of variation so that makes your email or letter a subject of some interest rather than part of a repetitive routine…
Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Do You Have a Pop-up Profit Plan?

Don’t be alarmed by the use of the word ‘pop-up’ … I’m not going to start advocating the use of those dreadful things that irritate you while you’re browsing … but actually a different kind of ‘pop-up’ altogether – one that’s entirely more popular…

I recently had a particularly splendid evening which involved a gorgeous meal cooked by one of the country’s top chefs … but without actually setting foot in a restaurant. The venue was in fact the chef’s house, and although published beforehand, the menu consisted only of what the chef wanted to cook – and I must say the intimacy and informality of the whole thing gave the evening extra appeal.

Part of the reason for this intimacy and informality was that the chef in question only does this a few nights a year (which is why the term ‘pop up’ is applied to this sort of affair). It’s become quite a phenomenon with the chefs enjoying it as much as the guests (though it might seem like a bit of a busman’s holiday to you or I) and the idea seems far too good not to migrate over to the online world.

So could you, aside from the information given on your website – invite your subscribers to receive extra information in a separate event where you communicate more directly and enhance the relationship with your customers…?

You might stop and think at this point – isn’t that just doing a webinar? Well, in essence yes, but when we think of webinars now, we think of things we tune into at the same time every single week – and of communicating with subscribers of different levels of experience, all at the same time.

When you apply the whole ‘pop-up’ idea to this you can do things more as and when, for smaller groups who may have a specific thing or share a particular problem. You may well find that these smaller groups are the ideal forum for users to talk about things they wouldn’t bring up in front of a larger audience.

We’ve been doing them for a couple of weeks to see how well they would be received – and the response has been almost unanimously positive – so we’ll certainly be doing more in future – and I will conclude by strongly recommending you consider adding them to your repertoire of relationship building tools…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Social Media or Socially Medieval…?

With the increasing trend of young couples announcing their wedding or the impending birth of a child ‘officially’ on Facebook … and the fact that if you want to have a ‘proper’ argument with anybody these days it just has to be done on Twitter … you may be forgiven for asking that if you’re not on every Social Media platform in existence, are you missing out…?

Outside of my business, I use social media very sparingly. I really can’t see what’s wrong with actually speaking to people and have long been of the opinion that anyone over the age of 30 using the term ‘LOL’ should receive some sort of short custodial sentence.

On a business level, though, you probably need to be using the same types of Social Media as your prospective customers. For most of us, this will be just a Facebook Page and a Twitter account – or if your business is in a niche where there is a strong visual element – like fashion or interior design – having a Tumblr or Pinterest account wouldn’t go amiss.

New Social Media platforms seem to be emerging on an almost weekly basis, so what you must be careful of, is not to dive in with both feet and start using any new social media platform without first at least having some idea how it operates … and it might be an idea to open some sort of trial account and having a look around so you can make all of your mistakes before opening the account that will become your business presence.

Rest assured, though, that the same golden rules apply just as on any other type of media – social or otherwise … utter nonsense is still utter nonsense and  good intelligent useful content is still good intelligent content … regardless where you are posting it. If people like what you are doing they will share, repost, reblog, repin, retweet or ‘like’ it.

One word though, if you are contemplating trying a new social media platform … I’m told that all social media still ‘loves’ pictures – so you may well get even better results if your words of wisdom are accompanied by an image. Stock images seem to be fine and I’m also told that if you don’t fancy paying out for them, you can find plenty of free ones, perfectly legitimately at www.sxc.hu

So, are you a complete Social Media novice? … or are you at the other end of the scale and most of your new business comes from your thriving, growing Facebook page or Tumblr account? Either way, I’d be interested to know what you think – drop me a line at timlowe@markiteer.com and I’ll send a copy of my ‘Millionaire Mindset’ to any that particularly catch my eye…

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Our Research Suggests…

I always cringe slightly when I see a news story containing the phrase ‘new research suggests’, because I know that over the next five minutes I’m going to be told that whichever fad, gadget or lifestyle choice that was going to help me live forever only six months ago is now just as likely to make my head explode…

The likelihood, of course, is that neither will happen, and that the result of that ‘new research’ was heavily dependant upon who was being asked, how they were being asked, and who was doing the asking … or to put it another way, any research you conducted regarding, say, ‘interior design’ just outside Laura Ashley, would get different results to any you did outside Halfords…

The other thing about research is that it is really, really, really boring to do. Obviously I delegate it now, but back when I did it myself … the list of things I would rather do instead was very long indeed.
Researching on the internet can take a very long time. There’s niche research, competitor research and keyword research just for starters, and it all needs doing while we’re all ‘fired up’ to get things rolling quickly and we’d much rather be doing the more fun stuff like putting our site together.

As a result, often the research isn’t done quite as thoroughly as it could be…

We see it all the time. My Minions have cast their eyes over many ‘failing’ websites only to find that the site is excellent, the lead capture and follow-up is excellent, the product is brilliant but the site is drowning in the same niche as bigger competitors who buy a similar, inferior product by the container load and sell it on Amazon or eBay for a fraction of the price.

In this situation, there’s no way the little website will be on the first page of Google and the competition means the cost of advertising would bankrupt them quite quickly. So in short, they’ve manged to do everything brilliantly – except do their research … and for that reason they really are going to be up against it.

I’ve often thought the phrase ‘First, Find A Niche’ should be expanded on in any set of ‘how to’ instructions in our industry. I think it gives the impression that it can be done in five minutes, and it just doesn’t convey how important it is.

I’m not entirely sure the answer is to outsource the research either. My Head Minion, before joining me, outsourced a lot of his research but only got back what he suspected were ‘half hearted’ results … and the only way to check the validity of what he was getting was to basically do it himself anyway (which obviously defeated the object of outsourcing it in the first place)

In conclusion, I think ideally we’d all like our research done for us automatically, where we could just turn on our computers and it would churn out a list of customers for us, complete with their contact details, and all we had to do was just offer them what they needed – surely that would be a ‘no-fail’ way of running an online business ?

As ever, I’d be interested to hear what you think – would a business like this just be ‘pie in the sky’ or could it actually ever be achieved? I look forward to reading your answers…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Don’t Be Guilty of Premeditated Stupidity…

I have been talking in recent weeks about the sometimes arbitrary nature of many rules  – and how they can be an obstacle to getting things done. The ‘Pièce de Résistance’ of utter daftness though, is when we see something that not only inconveniences the customer, serves no purpose whatsoever AND potentially costs the company that makes it both customers and money…

To really illustrate how daft his can be, I need to tell you about what happened when I first boarded the ship on my recent cruise…

We’d been on board a couple of hours, been plied with a few drinks and taken to our room where I noticed that while all of ‘She Who Must’s…’  mountain of luggage was present and correct .. one of my bags, the one I usually take everywhere and contains all my usual paraphernalia, was very conspicuous by it’s absence.

A quick enquiry with our steward, (a sterling chap with whom I concocted various schemes to stretch many of the ships ridiculous rules to breaking point … but more of that another time) saw him disappear and return with a quizzical look … apparently it had been confiscated and impounded because it contained an ‘illegal’ item…

My sense of bewilderment continued as I was escorted through various decks to the security area where my bag sat in an area all of its own with the security staff creeping around it as if it was a sleeping lion.  What, I asked, could I possibly have in my bag that was so dangerous it merited such extreme treatment…?

Well, it seemed in my usual bag, the one I just shoved everything that could be useful when I’m out and about, among the spare pens, phone chargers and the like was, not a small nuclear device, or a canister of nerve gas but … my Swiss army knife.

The same Swiss army knife with a blade shorter and blunter than the knife I would be using to cut my dinner an hour or so later – really, if I wanted to hurt somebody with it, I would have to throw it at them. It might be an unkind thing to say, but it did seem the ‘security team’ had taken it upon themselves to impound anything sharper than them…

Of course I got my bag back (I did, however, have to wait until we docked back home to get the knife) but it was the conversation that I had with the ‘Security Chief’ that I still have trouble getting my head around…

If I had decided to, during dinner that night, have a funny turn and carve my way though half the guests with my fish knife in a murderous frenzy, it seemed to be less of a problem than leaving me with a Swiss Army Knife, that was used almost exclusively because it had the right size screwdriver to fix my glasses … because any action I took using the Swiss Army Knife would be pre-meditated !?!

I feel that I need to almost apologise for the excessive punctuation, but I thought the level of abject buffoonery involved merited it.  Now, imagine for a moment you were encountering this in the high street or online … of course you would not put up with it and you’d go elsewhere.

Now, obviously you can’t impound your customers …  but you certainly can impede them with things like making the most popular features on your site hard to find by not having a link on your homepage … or asking them to enter their login details every time they go from one application to another or, the biggest sin of all – making your order page too complicated. (For instance, asking your customer to fill in both billing address and delivery address, even when they’re the same … or there is nothing to ship.)

This actually happens more than you think, especially if your site is quite old, and the newer features have been added more recently and are all crammed in one sub-menu, or you used to ship physical products and now they’re download only … but you haven’t changed your order form template.

It’s silly stuff like this that can make all the difference, so give your site (or sites) a quick test-run to see if you’ve made anything hard to access or left something ‘lying around’ that might get in your customers way…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

This Shocking Fact Surprised Even Me…

It has to be said, most things do not surprise me. Least surprising of all is that when I travel abroad, ‘things’ tend to happen…

For instance, nearly getting in a massive amount of bother for apparently secreting a ‘deadly weapon’ in my luggage (actually, that one takes a lot of explaining so I’ll have cover that next time) now seems to be merely par for the course, as did finding yet another grumpy French Taxi driver…

I had intention of going over to Monaco, so toyed with the idea of instead of just getting a Taxi straight there, getting the cab to Nice airport (which was a little bit closer) and hiring a car for the day and having all the extra flexibility that came with it.

I did not enjoy my conversation with the Taxi driver at the front of the rank. The quote to Nice airport seemed quite excessive for the 6 or 7 miles involved and when I asked why the Taxi driver spent the next five minutes doing what my Head Minion would describe as ‘going off on one’.

His subject matter was, for the most part as unintelligible as it was venomous – the only word I could make out was ‘Anglias’ and it was supported by some interesting hand gestures … luckily, a second taxi driver explained more reasonably that the trip to Nice airport involved fighting through some appalling traffic jams so was therefore more expensive. 

Armed with this information, I decided that going straight to Monaco was the better path. But there was no way I was getting in the cab with the first snarling halfwit, and told him so in a way that absolutely no hand gestures were required at all.

Because there was some ridiculous rule that the front cab had to taken first, I had to wait while the first driver was taken for a walk to calm down and smoke half a packet of cigarettes, and he then left shortly after with some poor unfortunates in his cab who had not witnessed his outburst … leaving me free to take the second cab…

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what did surprise me, and how it is all connected to mad French taxi drivers…

Well, it wasn’t that well over a quarter of my website traffic doesn’t come from traditional sources like laptops or desktops, or the fact that for most other businesses, it’s much, much higher (closer to half in fact). What actually did surprise me was the fact that nearly all of those businesses have done absolutely nothing about it.

Think about it. These businesses have done nothing about the fact that nearly half of the people who go to their website, ultimately with the intention of spending money on a product or service – are looking at the business website on their iPad or more usually their phone and because the website was built to look good on a normal computer … having their screen filled with half a logo – or worse.


What do these people do when confronted with half a logo or text so small they can’t read it? Of course they go elsewhere. People are so used to getting the information they want almost immediately, that if website A doesn’t have a readable answer, they’ll just move onto website B instead.

The message here, of course, is even if something is the ‘first cab in the rank’ by being #1 on Google or anywhere else for that matter, if it is even slightly hard for people to get what they want, they will simply do what I did – which was to leave the unintelligible nonsense behind them and take the next option.

Again, I’m sure you will have your own thoughts on this subject, so please feel free to hit the ‘reply’ button and tell me what you think…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

It’s 2014 … do You Even NEED A Website ?

The other day, my attention was drawn to a post on a Facebook page by a local businessman who had (probably in response to seeing excessive advertising from Wix and the like in his newsfeed)  declared – no, I don’t need a website it’s 2014, not 2004…

Which did, of course, start the debate here at HQ … with all the other platforms around (principally Facebook) that you can display & communicate on, usually for free … why would you go to the time and expense of actually having a website?

It would be easy to understand those that stood in the ‘no website’ camp. They would tell you they do as much business via their Facebook pages as their websites, That Facebook has plenty of traffic, no mucking about with SEO or Google … it is, in fact ‘the internet within the internet’ that people feel comfortable in, and don’t really like to leave…

However, we came to the conclusion that, people who take what they do seriously, will definitely need a website … and strangely enough, for exactly the same reasons I just stated above…

That’s because along with all the positives of having a Facebook page, the underlying but obvious factor is that it is a page on Facebook. It is owned by Facebook, not you, and is subject to whatever Facebook want to do with it.

So, if Facebook decide for any reason (and they don’t have to give you one) that they don’t like your page (even if they thought it was wonderful yesterday) – they can remove it ….

That all may sound a bit medieval, but it happens more than you think … and if your Facebook page is where you get your business from, that’s also your entire business gone … just like that.

Another recent development within the last 12 months or so is that if your Facebook page has 15,000 or so ‘likes’ any post you make will only be shown by Facebook to around 10% of those people – if you want any more than that, you have to pay to ‘boost’ your post.

So again, if all your business was coming via your Facebook page, that’s 90% of it gone overnight.

The other factor in why people may interact with businesses as much as they do on Facebook is of course the vast array of phones, tablets, phablets (yes, really) and various iThingies to access the internet, as well as the more traditional laptops and desktop PCs … and Facebook works perfectly on all of these, displaying whatever people are after in whatever they are using.

So the answer is, then, that of course every business needs a website … but you’ll agree that to get the best from that website, it needs to act more like a Facebook page, with the same accessibility but at the same time still be 100% under your control so the business can grow without the worry of your main online presence being shut down or stifled as part of the latest ‘update’…

I’m sure there’s more to be said on this matter than can be contained in one email … in fact the debate in the office went on long after we all should have been doing something else, so I would appreciate your take on the subject, and look forward to hearing what you have to say …

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Could Your Problem Be Solved By Using A Little ‘Italian Common Sense’…?

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that the rules we encounter are the ‘enemy’ of common sense, and are just there to impede our progress at every turn … but an encounter with an Italian gentleman reminded me that rules don’t have to be a problem as long as you don’t look at them in purely black and white terms…

It was during a recent cruise that ‘She Who Must…’ and I stopped in Livorno in Italy and ventured forth towards Pisa (of leaning tower fame) and then over to Florence with the intention of learning as much about these two cities as we could in the shortish time available. To do this we had the benefit of a witty, charming and intelligent local chap called Ignatius (English spelling) who ensured we didn’t miss a thing … and at the same time also introduced me to the concept of ‘Italian Common Sense’

“Tim,” Ignatius mused as we wandered around the sights, “If I see a pretty girl walking past – I look at her, it’s just common sense … or if the wine is very fine or the food is particularly good … why would you not eat and drink … it is common sense.”

I could find no flaw in that … or with his observation that “You are driving down a long straight road, and there is nothing else in sight except a Stop sign at a crossroads, you can see for miles and there is no traffic coming in any direction. Now, the Americans, the Germans … even you English, Mr Lowe … you would stop, even if there is no reason to. But if nothing is coming – why would you stop? It is just common sense not to do so, is it not?”

As somebody who has sent more than one clipboard waving flunkey away with a flea in their ear myself … we of course got along famously … and I was wondering exactly how we could all apply a little of Ignatius’s ‘Italian Common Sense’ to improve our lot…?

Now, before I get a deluge of finger waving emails containing the phrase ‘flagrant disregard’ I should point out that, yes, rules are important when they serve a purpose and keep people safe … but I’m sure you’ll agree there a very few rules that you could consider to be applicable 100% of the time..

This is because, often lost amongst all the ‘Thou Shalt Not’ that gets put in our way, is the actual reason why a rule was made in the first place … and it’s knowing what that reason is, that happens to be the important bit of a rule – not just obeying it blindly

So, what we often get is people with no imagination following rules for their own sake and other people, with even less imagination than that, making sure they are being followed, all without the vaguest inkling why any of it’s being done (think: “place your liquids in this plastic bag and no you cannot put those of the person travelling with you in the same bag…”)

What you and I should look for is the reason behind the rule, see if is applicable to our own situation, and make our own decision based on that … to do anything else makes about as much sense as not eating good food, not drinking fine wine or pulling up at a stop sign when there is clearly nothing coming for miles.

Don’t just think this applies to the kind of rules dreamed up by people with clipboards … for us it applies every bit as much to the arbitrary rules we impose upon ourselves and are usually enforced by those we speak to on a daily basis … rules like “I can’t do this because – I’m too young or old, rich or poor, know nothing or have been ‘bombarded’ by too much information…”

I think I can safely say that without exception we’ve all been told at some point that we’ll ‘never get anywhere’ or were going to ‘fail dismally’ by plenty of well meaning souls who know ‘how it all works’ … but believe me when I say it’s those who tend to apply a bit of ‘Italian Common Sense’ to the situation that seem to do quite well for themselves…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down


Why ‘Hyperspace’ Isn’t Necessarily Better Than A Snail’s Pace

It seems these days we can have pretty much anything we want, delivered or downloaded to wherever we happen to be, in just a matter of moments … my question today is – because we can do things ten times faster than we could five years ago… does that present just as many issues for us as when things arrived really slowly – quite literally, bit by bit…?

As you’ll see, faster is not always better … as was shown to quite graphic and hair-raising effect while I was on my recent Port Tasting trip…

Our first taxi driver must have previously enjoyed a career as a getaway driver and considered a tenth of an inch as a perfectly acceptable distance to keep from other vehicles, either in front or by the side, and travelled along at speeds you would only normally hear mentioned on Star Trek…

We arrived at our destination a bit shaken but in just under 7 minutes, a fact that is especially significant when I tell you we made the same journey in similar traffic the next day … and it took 28 minutes. I joked at the time the second driver was in fact the brother of the first, and presumably drove in a more sedate manner in case he met his bother coming the other way…

I think, given the choice, only a small minority of people would have opted to be in the first cab, slightly more in the second but I think I can safely say most of us would have preferred something in the middle, as we get quite uncomfortable when things happen either too quickly, or too slowly.
Taking it back into the digital world for a moment, imagine you had paid a hefty sum for something you’d bought online … which is delivered via download and takes only seconds to arrive.

Now, without the digital equivalent of a really good ‘out of box experience’ (I’ll come to that in a moment) … it would only be human nature to look at what was sitting in our downloads folder and think ‘is that it?’

I think we have the expectation that as much effort went into creating our new purchase as we put into earning the money to buy it, and when we add that to a natural distrust of anything that might look like a ‘rush job’, it is easy to imagine the customer feeling shortchanged …

This, of course, means that they start using the product in a negative frame of mind – and increases the chances of them refunding when they might not otherwise have done.

So, how do we turn this potential stumbling block to our advantage … well, there are plenty of ways of doing this, but here’s one that springs to mind that is quite easy to implement…

How about something along the lines of an ‘introduction video’ that your customer would download first, and would play while everything else downloads. It could just be thanking them for buying your product and re-emphasising the benefits of what they are investing in or even be a ‘quick start’ guide showing them how to get going.

They could then start using your product in a different frame of mind entirely and get the full benefit from it, something that they may not do if they are feeling a little hard done by…

As always – I look forward to hearing what you think, or what your solution to the problem would be … and there’s a FREE copy of my new book ‘Tim Lowe’s Millionaire Mindset’ for whoever comes up with my favourite…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Ignore This Simple Rule And Watch Your Customers Just Fly Away…

I’m sure you will have heard me talk about my ‘Special Case’ … if you haven’t, don’t worry – it’s nothing sinister – just a specially designed box that I take with me on my travels to transport back home any bottles of Wine or Port that particularly catch my eye.

However, on my recent Port Tasting break, those halfwits at BA had some sort of luggage belt issue going on and failed to fly my ‘Special Case’ over with me … and when they did finally get their act together, they intended to fly it over and deliver it to my hotel ASAP… which would have meant it arrived one hour after we had actually left on another BA flight (so it’s not as though they didn’t know where we would be…)

As you can imagine, I felt a ‘brief chat’ with BA was required, and resulted in them being told to leave the case exactly where it was … and any bottles that took my fancy were to be shipped direct to Lowe Towers at BA’s cost. Now this was particularly handy as my case held just 8 bottles … but with BA now picking up the tab for shipping I’m sure that you can guess I picked up a few extras…

But the fun didn’t stop there … you see, my instruction to not bother flying my ‘Special Case’ over had been ignored, and in a bout of well intentioned incompetence, BA had sent it over anyway so we could pick it up from the airport when we arrived to take our flight home.

This, you might think, was rather good of them – except for the fact it was now over the other side of the airport at ‘arrivals’, which could only be accessed from ’departures’ (where we were) by getting clearance from, it seemed, about a dozen security chaps, each one more harder to locate than the next…

So,  90 minutes, 4 piles of paperwork and countless security guards later we got to ‘arrivals’ only to find the case had now been transferred over to where we had just come from … so I was less than amused when I boarded the plane – with my ‘special case’ having to be carried on as hand luggage.

Was my ‘Special Case’ allowed to be put in a store or vacant spot on the plane where it would have fitted perfectly without causing any trouble?

Of course not  – due to ‘health and safety’ it had to be stored in a overhead locker which I then had to strain to reach because the steward, also quoting ‘health and safety’, was ‘unable’ to help me … a situation which could have very easily ended up with me dropping that very heavy case on somebody’s head.

What’s the lesson here? … when you mess up badly, (something we all do occasionally) and the customer comes up with a simple way to make it ‘right’ … then just do it an don’t try and be clever.

‘Over delivering’  is all well and good on products or services that you’ve created and know back to front, but try it with something you have little or no control over (and that you’ve already got wrong once) you can easily make matters even worse….

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why it’s Better To Be Occasionally ‘Lightweight’ Than Permanently ‘Lite

I have just returned from a short break with ‘She Who Must…’ port tasting somewhere nice and warm, and while overall I had a splendid time, It started with me thinking the natural order of things had been thrown into chaos and the world had, quite simply, gone mad…

You see, after we had been at our first port tasting for several hours , I was rather distressed that ‘She Who Must’ had matched me glass for glass … and I felt a little light headed whilst she did not…

This was followed by a quite splendid spot of late lunch at which ‘She Who Must’  scoffed more of the rather excellent cheese and Iberico Ham than I seemed to be able to manage … and started talking of ‘pushing on through’ to dinner whilst I was actually going to suggest a restorative nap.

The result ? … ‘She Who Must’ dubbed me a ‘Lightweight’ … it must be my age.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of my stay putting things to rights, and the word ‘lightweight’ was not heard again … but never being one for half measures, I still maintain it is far better to go in resolutely and perhaps fall a little short (as I did on the first day) rather than go in half hearted and only achieve a fraction of what you could have done.

I see it so often with ‘lite’ (a word I truly detest) versions of this and that, including products in our own industry where you can buy a rather limp, apologetic version of what you actually wanted for a fraction of the price.

For me, it always sets the alarm bells ringing … that it’s all about lack of commitment, and a level of compromise that makes me wonder if it’s actually worth the effort …

Which then presents this rather uncomfortable question – what are you offering to your business, a fully committed version of yourself who’s willing to go the distance … or are you just going in ‘lite’, and splashing around a bit and seeing what happens ?

Before we go any further, let me perfectly clear I’m not talking about the amount of time or money you are able to commit here…

You can achieve more with half an hour’s resolute action than you can with any number of days skirting round what needs to be done, and get much better results from following through with something you paid just a few pounds for, than you would with thousands of pounds of materials sat idly on the shelf.

I read many years ago that if you treat it like a business, it pays you like a business, and that if you treat it like a hobby, it pays you like a hobby … so if you’re not happy with what’s coming out of your business … you could maybe take a look at how much you are putting in…

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Exactly How Much Information Is ‘Too Much’ Information…?

Seminars … Meetings … Bootcamps … Workshops. Call them whatever you want – I have been there at literally hundreds of them.

At some point, usually just before the first coffee break … somebody will be talking about the challenges we all face in this business and utter the phrase ‘there’s too much information out there’ or complain about ‘information overload’ … and nearly everybody else in the room will nod sagely.

Now, of course I understand totally what people mean when they say that, though it has to be said also that it is very much a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type of statement, and poses a practically unsolvable problem.

You see, we are all hungry for results, and usually those results are wanted quickly … so the temptation is to jump in with both feet and absorb everything we can possibly lay our hands on…

But … because we were blissfully unaware of how much we didn’t know – we are soon swamped with a mass of information which may, or may not, be relevant to what were actually are trying to achieve.

To makes things even more interesting, we all start from different places, working toward different goals, so will require different amounts of information to get things done … information that we will all take different amounts of time to process, before we’re ready to move onto the next step.

You’ll agree, it’s like only having one class in a school … teaching the same thing to all the children at the same time, regardless of age, ability or what they have already done … and paying no attention at all to what the children actually wanted to learn in the first place.

Now, I’ve been thinking about this very problem for a while now and am currently working on something a bit special that may serve as the perfect solution … (but I’ll have to let you know more about that in a couple of weeks time) … but for now, the best solution is to concentrate on just one thing at a time…

It may seem obvious, but the amount of enquiries I get from Lowedown readers who seem to think they need to be brilliant website creators … SEO experts … fully conversant with both Facebook and Google advertising … complete Social Media whizzes … and then in their spare time create products and offer outstanding customer service … and they think they need to do all this by, at the latest, next Tuesday…

Clearly, this would be next to impossible to achieve, and it’s certainly not the way I, or anyone else you may ask for advice, did things when they first started out.
It is a case of picking one or two aspects, working on those until you are confident with them and then adding more stings to your bow – which is, really, pretty much the same way we learn everything else.

So, would you agree then, that the problem might not be that there is ‘too much information’ but rather that the perception of how much we think we have to learn before getting started is much greater than it actually is?

I look forward to hearing what you think…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Watch Your Bottom Line Grow by Having The Greatest ‘Guest Experience’ Around…

‘Guest Experience’ … yes, it’s one of those phrases that make us cringe, the kind of phrase invented by those who call a drainpipe a ‘Rainwater Management System’ and has the sole purpose of making something sound more important or complicated than it actually is.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that in the US, they are very big on the whole ‘Guest Experience’ thing – and do you know what? … It ‘sort of’ actually works…

When I stayed at the St. Regis in Washington D.C. the other week, I encountered an excellent chap called Alex (who you’ll hear more about in future Lowedowns) who was not only the ‘curator’ of the St Regis ‘Guest Experience’ but also the hotels ‘Cultural Attaché’ … who, in fairness, didn’t take himself nearly as seriously as you might think, really knew his stuff about the area and even took guests on quite entertaining guided tours of the hotel – delving into the history of the building, in all its previous incarnations.

All of this, of course, added more character to the stay – and as a result the St Regis became much more than just four walls and a bed, which I am certain leads to many word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat bookings – especially from their ‘high end’ clients.

Creating a good ‘Guest Experience’ of your own can really affect your own business by decreasing refunds and increasing repeat business.

Remember, by the time the customer is using your product or service, you’ve already paid out for the advertising that got them there, or put in all the effort optimizing your SEO or plugging away on social media … so why on earth would you not do your level best to keep them onside?

Now, I’m not saying interrogate everyone who asks for a refund … after all, if you offer a no quibble guarantee it must be exactly that … but what you must do is work hard at cutting back on the things that may make people ask for a refund in the first place.

For instance, run yourself through exactly what happens post-purchase. Getting people set-up and started is usually one of those key points, as once you customer is up, running and happy – you are spending less of your time on support and your customer will carry on paying for your product or service for that much longer.

Let me give you a quick example: Say you have a product that is a 12 month course, being charged at £30 a month…

If your ‘Guest Experience’ at the beginning is particularly poor and you get a refund rate of 40% during the initial guarantee period, and then a more normal rate of people cancelling their subscription over the following months, each customer would be ‘worth’ an average of £129 over the course of that year.

However, if you improved your ‘Guest Experience’ to the point where that figure dropped to 20% of refunds in the first month instead of 40%, even with the same subsequent cancellation rate, your return per customer over that year would grow to around £179…

As you can see, even in that rather basic example, that’s an extra £50 per customer, without any additional cost to you except tightening up your ‘Guest Experience’ … not to mention a greater percentage of satisfied customers who would be more likely to buy from you again, and again…

So, next time you hear a phrase like ‘Guest Experience’, before you dismiss it as a load of transatlantic nonsense, delve a little deeper, see what it actually entails, and see if it can be adapted to help your own business.

All The Best
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Go On, Be Original – It Will ‘Take Their Breath Away’…

Regular Lowedown readers will know that one of the things I believe in very strongly is that to be successful, a key factor is injecting some of your own personality into everything you do …  as this will make you memorable in your customers eyes, and stand out against a backdrop of what are often faceless, identical alternatives.

I discovered another excellent example of this on my recent ‘fact-finding’ trip to the US, when, while on a day’s R&R, I decided to take a helicopter tour around (and down) the Grand Canyon.

My pilots name was Cody, though this was not the unusual part (I sort of assumed that all US helicopter pilots would be called Chuck, Brad or Cody) what set Cody apart, was that Cody wanted, very badly indeed, to be ‘Top Gun’ era Tom Cruise.

In fairness, beyond having the same number of arms and legs, Cody bore no real resemblance whatsoever to Mr Cruise, but had gone to enormous effort to exactly mimic the sunglasses and short sleeved shirt … and I’m sure it will come as no surprise to find the particular helicopter company he had chosen to work for was called ‘Maverick Tours’.

Strapped into his helicopter, we took off and began the tour with the Top Gun Theme on the helicopter PA, with the tour commentary punctuated with other snippets I seem to vaguely remember from the film, and finally emerged from the canyon itself to what can only be referred to as the ‘whistly bit’ from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Was the route Cody took through the canyon, or the information he gave us in his commentary, any better than what you would get from any other Chuck or Brad? – probably not … but the way he’d injected a bit of personality into proceedings certainly made it more memorable.

So, if I were to repeat the Grand Canyon tour again at some time in the future – would I make a beeline for ‘Cody Cruise’ again – of course I would … and would I recommend that anyone else considering the Grand Canyon tour to seek out Cody rather than spend a rather sterile tour with somebody else?  Definitely.

It’s the same with everything we do in our businesses. What we do can look almost identical to everybody else – especially to anybody looking from the ‘outside’.

Typically, the one business or individual that will find the most success will be the one that offers all the same things as the others, but also has that little bit of extra individuality or personality that makes them memorable…

Remember, the one thing that is definitely unique about your business is you, and the way you inject your personality into your business  and ‘do the same things differently’ can really make it stand out from all the others.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why You Should Never Try And Second Guess Your Customers…

Before we start today, a quick ‘paw’ update … the thing that was neither ‘Gout’ or ‘A Splinter’ turned out to be, after a brief minor operation, some sort of fibrous lump causing the discomfort. This, however, wasn’t the important part … the important part as far as this edition of the Lowedown is concerned, was why they got my lunch wrong…
I had ordered both the baguette and the goujons, but the orderly type chap thought he knew best, and without checking with me, assumed it was an either/or and only brought me just the goujons. Obviously I was disappointed, and expressed my displeasure to the greatest extent that having only one working hand would allow…
As I sat recuperating at home the next day (not using the hand wasn’t that difficult, but the stuff they gave me for the pain did nothing for my co-ordination). I was wondering how often, just like that orderly, we think we know what our customers want, better than they do … and the possible pitfalls that await us as a result.
When you’re putting together a particular product or a system, I know that often there is a minimum requirement regarding time, financial investment or prior knowledge involved . This will of course limit how flexible you can be and will inevitably exclude some people.
You’ll agree, then, that whenever possible, you should try and offer a variation of options to cover as many different levels of time, investment and knowledge as you can … in short – giving the buyer what they want.
This can arrive in a number of forms, either as an initial product with an ‘upsell’ offering more support and help or even a ‘downsell’ where a cheaper version is offered , in exchange for the buyer doing a bit more of the ‘work’ or for a greater payment a bit further along the line.
This model has been somewhat abused in our industry to the point where often the buyer isn’t sure what they’re actually getting , or to get something that actually works they have to get all of the upsells, which was not really what they wanted when they clicked on ’Buy’ for the first time. For this reason, I suggest anybody should use this method rarely, and be absolutely transparent when they do.
The preferred option is to offer all of your options at the same juncture in the sales process so the buyer can effectively compare the merits of each and make the best informed decision. These would often come in the shape of, for instance, ‘gold’, ‘platinum’ and ‘diamond’ packages… (you notice Silver and Bronze have been discarded as they imply second and third best … and nobody really wants that.)
As a final note, while you’re offering as much choice as you can, be wary of erring on the side of making things too complicated so try and stick to only three or four options offering a range of prices and levels of support so you can attract as many buyers as you possibly can.
Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Isn’t It Time We Had A National ‘No Nonsense’ Day ?

Today, Saturday May 3rd is quite a special day it would seem…

It appears to be one of the few days that isn’t the ‘national day of’ something or other, one of those quite annoying trends of American derivation (as are some of the dafter days I will mention further on) that appears to be working its way over here.

Tomorrow is, I’m told, national Star Wars Day, a date much derided because it is based not only on a film but also on a pun (May 4th be with you), but how is that any dafter than many of the other ‘special’ days or weeks we hear about ?

Whilst I totally understand and support national days like St Georges Day (a magnificent day for more than one reason) or a day dedicated to raising awareness for a little known disease or condition, or for a group of people having a particularly tough time … but when it comes down to things like world Pig Day or National Karaoke Week (both a sad reality on the other side of the Atlantic) I really do shake my head in dismay.

Of course, many of the ‘national’ days or weeks for certain products or industries are a blatant marketing ploy, but one we might do well to avoid in our industry – because despite the fact they get medium level publicity from many local news and current affairs programmes that have a schedule to fill, it is by its very nature only temporary.

This is because anybody that is likely to have filled their cupboard with spuds because it’s national potato week, will the following week have the same space filled with something entirely different that’s flavour of the day, week or month … with the previous fad already abandoned.

It is precisely the same with jumping with both feet into whatever the latest ‘fad’ is in our industry … of course you should keep an eye what is going on, and find a use for any elements that are a good fit for the way you already do things, but making wholesale changes for short term gain is very rarely a good strategy.

It is better surely to set yourself aside as providing something that none else could or would offer (the ‘USP’ you will hear mentioned over and over again) to present you with a steady stream of business that you can build on rather than have extended fallow periods broken only by short unsustainable bursts every time you manage to grab onto the coat-tails of the latest fad…

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

By The Way … I don’t have a section on any of my websites called ‘Really useful stuff you really should have but won’t cost you a fortune’ but if I did – ‘30 Minute Infographics V2‘ from ‘friend of the Minions’ John Banks would certainly be in it.

It can make the often tedious, bewildering and frequently expensive job of creating good looking, eminently shareable graphics for your website or Facebook page into something relatively quick and easy to do, and costs less than £20. If you do any sort of marketing on, or get traffic from, any sort of social network at all, I suggest you take a look.

Here’s the link http://jvz6.com/c/76905/89961


Would You Be Better Off ‘Abandoning’ Google ?

It’s not the first time I’ve heard it discussed … nor will it be the last.

Is it better to play the Google ‘game’, research your keywords, work on your SEO, keep your content fresh and relevant and get those all-important backlinks … or just abandon Google altogether and pay for your traffic.

There’s a frequent debate in the office regarding whether you would get more traffic if you spent time on doing SEO-type stuff, or spending the same amount of time in some form of extra paid employment then spend the resultant wages on advertising.

After many pages of scribbled notes, furrowed brows and a few sharp intakes of breath, it was decided that the answer was … it depends.

You see, if your site was extremely ’niche’, then the SEO route would probably be better, as there is every chance that your site would show just as high in the rankings as any results you may have paid for, no matter how cheap they were.

On the other hand, if your site was in a more popular niche then the amount of competition would mean there are so many more sites to get past on the SEO front, and the amount of work needed before you saw any results at all would be enormous – which could mean you may well give up before you ever really got going – so in this scenario, paid advertising may be the better way forward…

The amount of competition will, of course, mean that advertising will not come cheap, even on other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but you would certainly get some traffic to get you started.

The other answer, the ‘Tim’ answer if you will is, as you would expect, to do both … or at least a bit of both. There is nothing to stop you spending part your time working on your SEO, and the rest doing whatever it is you do to get funds so that you can advertise.

This way you are equipping your site to attract a steady stream of natural traffic, (if not now, in the future) while you at least get some early results from the paid advertising, even if it means you’re not quite getting the amount of return you may have originally envisioned.

The lesson here then is that while commitment is admirable, you should never to put all your eggs in one basket – especially the one marked ‘I’m going to try and do everything for free’.

Aside from the fact that your time isn’t really ‘free’ – doing things this way from scratch can be a long, hard road. Instead, mix in a bit of paid traffic so there’s still a bit of instant gratification, some immediate results that could take an awful long time coming otherwise … and that early traffic will also tell you whether or not you have been barking up the wrong tree entirely.

All The Best,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

20 Ways To Waste Your Time Instead Of Getting On With What You Should Be Doing…

Firstly, please forgive the rather tongue in cheek title of this edition of the Lowedown, but as you read on, you’ll see it makes my point perfectly…

We all love a ‘Top 10’ type article … and don’t advertisers know it. A visit to almost any site will present you with a selection of ‘recommended reading’ ‘related posts’ or ‘from around the net’ type stories all promising to list the ‘20 greatest fashion disasters’ ‘top 10 movie mistakes’ or ‘5 biggest secrets the food companies won’t tell you’

This sort of thing is obviously very popular … and I suspect we’re all going to weaken and fall into this particular time-waster trap every now and then, so when you do – keep one eye on the techniques that are being used.

Firstly, look at the copywriting tactics used … whilst far from new, the methods used to create the titles are specifically written so you click on them, so they may merit some study …

So, even whether the article you clicked on was quite niche like ’20 ways to clean your Labrador’ or something more general and emotive like ‘The 5 best pictures I’ve ever seen (the 3rd one made me cry)’ examine what it was that appealed to you and made you want to click through and read more .. then obviously have one eye on this when you write your own ads, article or email titles…

Secondly, the delivery of the information all follows a similar pattern – where the nuggets of wisdom you clicked through to read are almost buried under a pile of advertising and delivered as a list or slideshow … which means either you have to scroll past a whole load more advertising as you work your way down the ‘list’, or every slideshow frame refreshing the page so that a new mass of advertising is displayed.

The result of all this is, of course, that whoever owns the website exposes the visitor to a lot more advertising for just the one click, and generating 5, 10 or 20 times the amount of revenue they normally would.

It’s an interesting business model which is only really viable if a post goes spectacularly viral, so the obvious strategy is to make the content as shareable and clickable as possible to get this to happen, (regardless of actual quality of content).

Let me be clear though, I’m not suggesting anybody copy this model exactly (for the very reason I’ve pointed out above) … what I am suggesting is that you see what and how you can adapt their techniques to work for you … something like, if your articles or posts are a little ‘wordy’ try spreading over several pages to increase any advertising revenue or look at the way these article titles have been written and use similar tactics in your own work…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Put Everything In Its Place, Including Your Business…

‘She Who Must…’ often tells me we have ‘Storage Issues’ … but, as Lowe Towers is quite substantial by most people’s standards, I’ve always maintained we have enough room …  yet unauthorised furniture occasionally appears – only to be sent off to be professionally ‘roughed up’ and come back an entirely different colour…

This is, apparently, so that ‘everything’ has a place. Now, far be it from me to suggest that ‘She Who Must…’ is ever anything but entirely correct, but I think she does make a point here that is particularly valid as a reminder to almost everyone reading this…

I’m not going to start suggesting that ‘everything having a place’ means you should all start tidying up and keeping your desk clear (after all, you know what they say a clean desk is the sign of…) but instead that, where, and just as importantly when, you work on your business, needs to have its own dedicated ‘place’ among everything else that you do…

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a room or area you can just shut the door on when you’re ‘working’, maybe you don’t … but you do need to try and create somewhere you can go without being disturbed too often, and focus on what you are doing without the kids running past every five minutes, the dog needing to be let out or the other half filling you in on their day.

It also helps if you can make set times for doing things, so maybe you do your business stuff while the other half is watching the soaps or the football, or after the kids have gone to bed … and believe me, half an hour’s dedicated time on your business is worth any 4 or 5hrs sat with your laptop on the sofa in front of the TV.

This may seem obvious but take a moment to be honest with yourself about the last time you shut the door on the outside world and dedicated at least half an hour to getting things done without getting distracted by non-business emails, what’s happening on Facebook or checking out something online that is only marginally relevant to what you are actually trying to achieve.

It is one of the great ironies of this industry that, when you start your home business, it is usually with the intention of spending more time with your family … and yet the first thing you normally end up doing is spending what little time you actually had at home locked away trying to get things going.

However, if you spend that time focused on working hard at doing the right things, it shouldn’t be too long before you start seeing the rewards on both a financial and personal level…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is This A ‘You Too Can Have A Range Rover’ Kind Of Ad?

Yes, I know  it’s kind of an odd title, but, as you’ll see, this comment left on Facebook about one of my ads unearthed a few interesting points about how Facebook advertising works … but more importantly an insight into what makes people tick…

A few weeks back , I started my new ‘Tim Lowe Marketing’ Facebook Page (please feel free to pop over and click like) 😉 and accompanied it with a new Facebook advertising campaign to acquire likes, and also the occasional extra reader for the ‘Lowedown’.

Now, as anyone who reads regularly will know I’m a strong advocate of continual testing and improvement, so this campaign started of with around 28 different ads…

Words are always important, but the big thing with Facebook ads, it would seem, is the image that accompanies it – it needs to ‘grab’ the attention of the Facebook user despite everything else that is there to distract them. I trialed a couple of dozen images … obviously some of me, some of happy people round laptops, some quite abstract … in fact every type you could think of…

It turned out that the most liked, the most clicked, the highest converting ad over the testing period was not happy, attractive people sitting round a laptop, or some abstract graphical representations of success, but the one which sported a picture of me dangling out of my Range Rover.

All that was left now was to run the ‘winner’ as a full campaign … and that’s when the most interesting thing occurred…

A few comments started appearing underneath the ad, the most reasonable being the ‘Is This A ‘You Too Can Have A Range Rover’ Kind Of Ad?’ comment which forms the title of this piece, and a few more less complimentary ones about me deliberately using that image to ‘tempt’ people in … when the reality is that this image was chosen from a host of others because it was the one that people found the most attractive…

I’m sure you’ll agree that what it comes down to, is that we are all attracted by images like that (and while I would maintain that me standing on the footplate of my car in a Surrey churchyard is not exactly me ‘flaunting my wealth’, but I’m sure you get my point) the problem is often that we are not honest enough with ourselves to admit it…

After all, we all love shortcuts … or a ‘magic button’ that gets things done the easy way – why wouldn’t we? The prospect of getting exactly what we want for little or no effort would appeal to anybody despite what the reality actually is … and although we know that some things we see online are at best ‘dubious’ … I suspect some might prefer it if it was true.

This led me to another thought – one I’ll leave with you … are the people who sell ‘Make $40K in 5mins’ type systems for $47 – the ones that have me shaking my head, almost on a daily basis – are they creating false expectations … or are they in fact merely satisfying a demand ?

All The Best,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Sore Paws, and Pause For Thought…

Well, the results are in and it’s not quite as expected … the number one suspect for my ‘Sore Paw’  – (which was Gout), is now out of the running and instead  it looks to be something entirely more trivial, though all of the great medical minds that have prodded me over the last week are yet to decide exactly HOW trivial…

So, whilst I’m not making light of people who do suffer with Gout (let me be very clear on that point), at least it seems like a proper ‘gentleman’s’ affliction, and not at all like the new front runner, which is suspected to be … wait for it … a splinter.

A deep and very painful splinter, yes, but nonetheless a splinter. So, while I await the scan which will reveal all, the ‘General Quack’ has given me some tablets to reduce the swelling in my paw, so it doesn’t resemble one of those giant hands readers may remember Kenny Everett sporting as ‘Brother Lee Love’

The mention of splinters in paws will for many bring to mind the ancient tale of Androcles and the Lion, you know, the chap lost in the desert, who, contrary to what we’d expect, pulls the splinter from the injured lions paw, only to be spared by the same lion, much later on, when he finds himself cast into the arena.

The tale is a simple one, making a direct link between a single act of kindness which resulted in a life saving event … and despite the statistical unlikelihood of anything like this ever actually happening, we can all easily translate the message into ‘reap what you sow’’ what goes around comes around’ or ‘Karma’

Now, I’m not a big one for talking about things like Karma … but it is not unreasonable to suggest that if you are fair and honest in the way you go about things, that in the majority of cases, you will be treated honestly and fairly yourself … and if you are repeatedly dishonest and underhand, word will get around and nobody will do business with you.

To put it more bluntly, it’s always easier to go for the short term gain – the equivalent of Androcles running away, or doing the lion a mischief with a nearby rock – and to make a ‘quick buck’ by making dubious promises to customers and offering them things based on how much money it makes for you, and not how useful it is to them …

It is much harder to build relationships and provide useful, honest advice … not jump on board every ‘launch’ or fad product that comes along.

This will define, as your business grows, whether you are someone who will, in general, be supported and have your efforts applauded … or be someone who others will want to see ‘eaten for breakfast’.

Until Next Time,


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Nearly an Armful … or, more probably, ‘Carry On Jabbing’

Despite several weeks of being ‘stoically brave’ and at least two decent attempts at ‘bucking up’ … my left hand had progressed from merely uncomfortable, to the point of being quite painful, so I decided to take myself off to the Quacks for a prodding.

A brief chat with the General Quack soon led to an afternoon to be spent with the Consultant Paw Supremo who decided the cause of my discomfort was one or more of a short list of moderately unpleasant things … but to be sure which one it was, he just had to take some blood. I was then bundled off into a separate room to be greeted by two Nurses – a diminutive Slovakian who introduced herself as Marianna, and her more robust South African colleague.

As there are other things I would rather do than have needles stuck in me, I tried to bring a bit of levity to the situation by asking Marianna if she had ever heard of the Carry On films, and instead of the expected ‘no’, delivered an almost perfect ‘Ohh Matron’ … as made famous by Kenneth Williams as ‘Dr Tickle’ in, I believe, Carry On Again Doctor…

It turned out Marianna was often in hot water for ‘sending up’ the senior staff using her near faultless Dr Tickle impersonation, and continued to amuse me as she tried, and failed, to find a vein from which to draw the necessary blood.

Marianne’s more substantial colleague now stepped forward and tried to extract the sample from less conventional places, only with even less success … and was now hampered by Marianna fussing around in the background, maintaining her Amazonian colleague had hurt me and the only way to make up for my multiple puncture wounds was a cup of tea and a biscuit…

Now, ‘squabble’ is quite a strong word … but nothing else springs to mind to describe the scene next to me as I sat there – only to see another chap glance round the curtain … a chap, it seemed, who was one of those public school types who only seemed to be able to communicate by using a series of exclamations … “ah you’re one of Magnusson’s chaps aren’t you?” … “Blood is it?” … “Should be done by now really” … “Here let me…”

Before this new arrival was allowed anywhere near me, especially waving a needle around in a rather haphazard manner, I had some questions … “Who exactly are you?” being foremost among them … the newcomer replied that he was the Consultant Urologist from down the corridor (but there’s nothing wrong in that department!)  – and coincidently the one who was the most frequent recipient of Marianna’s leg pulling…

So, needle in hand, and every word he uttered being repeated back to him as ‘Dr Tickle’, he piled into the chaos enthusiastically but couldn’t get any blood either – but it didn’t stop him trying…

So the real scene that eventually greeted the Paw Supremo was truly one to behold … a scene, quite aptly more at home in a Carry On film than reality…

The Consultant Urologist waving a needle around, barking ‘nearly got it that time!’ and ‘one more go!’ the two nurses squabbling in the background, stopping only so Marianna could do her impersonation, and me sat in the middle of it, looking more amused than annoyed and thinking maybe if I ran a hospital, it wouldn’t be entirely unlike this…

All of this, finally, gets me to the point I was going to make … sometimes; sorting out a problem does involve getting in some outside help, and what they get up to may be slightly out of your comfort zone and, like my visit to the Quacks, seem more than a little like chaos at first…

This however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Often getting that extra bit of help may be exactly what you need to progress, to help you do those things that you don’t know how to do, or to open your eyes to resources you never knew existed.

I’ve continually found that the answer to a problem is usually only one email or phone call away … and it’s deciding to ask for that help is often the stumbling block…

Until Next Time … (And with all due apologies to the medical profession and in particular the consultants in question, who I sincerely hope will continue to try and mend my sore paw!)


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Time to Reflect, Assess & React

Quite short and sweet today, because as much as I know the vast majority of you enjoyed the recounting of my experiences in the South of France (and that was just the bits I could tell you) the fact remains that its now March, and over 1/6th of this year is behind us … already.

So, for some of you reading this, that news might be a painful reminder that all those big plans you were saving until ‘after Christmas’ are still sat there untouched and gathering dust and that ‘getting a  move on’ might be the next thing on your ‘to do’ list…

But for others who have taken action this year, it’s already the ideal time to reflect on what you’ve done so far this year … what worked well, what went not so well – and things you won’t be trying again…

‘Why so soon?’ You might ask – well for a start it’s not that soon, it’s March – and regular ‘stock takes’ of where you are and what you’ve done allow you to make frequent small manoeuvres instead of massive sweeping changes … and also because, quite frankly, it’s never too soon to stop doing something daft.

I’m sure some of you, especially those who may been subjected to corporate ‘leadership training’ a decade or so ago, will be familiar with the ‘Gordon the Guided Missile’ speech by John Cleese, (I think it’s proper title is the ‘Importance of Making Mistakes’ if you want to go looking for it in YouTube)

As much as I love all things Python, I won’t repeat it all here – but instead, summarise … just like a guided missile enroute to its target, you need to check and adjust regularly, correcting those frequent small deviations, or ‘mistakes’ along the way.

What this means to you and I, is that by making those small corrections as you go, you’ll lose hardly any momentum at all … and you’ll also find that those regular reviews don’t allow you to develop the same emotional attachment as you would to something you’ve had on the go for 6 months … where the thought of making wholesale changes might cause you to give up altogether.

So, take some time over the next day or so to ‘tot up’ where you are with your year so far, make any adjustments you need to make with things that aren’t going so well … and, of course, make provision to do lots more of those things that are bringing the greatest rewards…

Until Next Time,


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why Just One ‘Johnny Cab’ is So Much Better Than Any Number of Imaginary French Taxis

Today, I’d like to talk about customer experience. Getting a customer ‘in the door’ either physically or figuratively is probably one of the most expensive and labour intensive things you have to do … so when they’re there it’s key that they leave happy, and are likely to come back again, preferably quite regularly, and ideally for bigger and better things as your relationship with them grows.

Firstly, let’s look at my customer experience at Heathrow … where, because ‘She Who Must…’ and I were only going to be away a couple of days, I had booked in advance into business parking because it’s cheaper and easier than getting a taxi.

The car park gate has number plate recognition so you are let in without any fuss, and because I booked in advance I know I had a space. Then, best of all, we got into one of those automatic shuttle taxi things (I always call them ‘Johnny Cabs’ after the ones in Total Recall) and were in the terminal in just four or five minutes…

Contrast that, then, with what happened while we were over in the South of France…

This was the day after the ‘Gallic Shrug’ incident I talked about a week or so ago. We had reached our destination, met up with our friends and decided to spend the evening at one of the areas famous and exclusive eateries.

Now, despite this being a Saturday evening, it turned out the vast majority of places to go were not open that evening – or indeed any evening this side of Easter … and everywhere else had been booked weeks in advance.

As I never like to take ‘No’ for an answer, after some ‘negotiations’ I was able to organise a booking in a rather exclusive restaurant secreted away in a vineyard. Our friends had been in the area for a week or so already, and had been using a local taxi company for their various trips here and there, so it was to them we explained our travel arrangements … a 7 seater taxi, for 7pm.

7pm passed … and my friend‘s ‘chase up’ call to the taxi company not only resulted in a denial about any arrangement involving taxis, but a complete refusal to acknowledge that my friend had been using his taxi all week, or even that he existed atall…

Calls to other companies could not garner us another 7 seater, but we were promised 2 cabs, provided we could wait until 8pm.

8pm came and went, and along with it the last vestiges of my patience… a brief ‘instructional’ phone call eventually resulted in not two, but only one taxi with the owner explaining (with compulsory ‘Gallic Shrug’) that despite what he may have promised on the phone, this was as many taxis as he owned….

So, at Heathrow, the service I had booked in advance was accessible and working, all the correct resources were available – and it all went smoothly,  with no further prompting from me to make it happen … what most of us would, rightly, class as a good customer experience.

Yet just over 24hrs later, the experience with the French Taxi drivers was one of them not following through on promises, denial of responsibilities, providing inadequate resources and just plain being dishonest to get the job, and then doing only half of it.

I think it’s relatively easy to grasp the point I’m making here, so I won’t go into too much detail except to say, if the ‘French Taxi’ scenario is reminiscent of how you do things, and you’re not getting the kind of results you want to, then that’s probably why…

Until Next Time,


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Avoid Your Own Valentines Day Massacre

Even though Valentine’s Day was over a week ago,  I’m sure that, just like me, you’re still hearing tales of woe about one poor chap or another making a right hash of even the simplest romantic gesture.

It is certainly a reminder that, no matter who you happen to be, and no matter how much experience you’ve got, you can sometimes be the recipient of criticism, even when you think you’ve done the right thing…

I think this was highlighted best by those poor souls who chose not to hand over their offerings of flowers or chocolates in person, but those who opted to have them delivered to their other halves’ workplace …  a surefire way of gaining a few brownie points you would have thought…

It turned out that yes, it was a good idea, but only up to a point … that point being when a larger box of chocolates or bunch of flowers arrived for somebody else, or one of her workmates asked – “What’s he been up to then?” or “What’s he done wrong?”

If we then take the analogy into our own industry, you see situations all the time where somebody has an uphill struggle with something brand new, because it is ‘not tested enough’ … but once it has been proven, it is then criticised for now being ‘old hat’, and the person who developed is suddenly a ‘has been’.

You just cannot legislate for this … I’m sure I’m not the only one to receive communication from those who don’t want to be involved with something because it looks ‘too difficult’ … only for the next message to be about someone keeping their distance from exactly the same thing because ‘something that easy must be too good to be true’ …

Just two quick illustrations that often, when you are trying to do something new or different … there will be someone looking to find fault with it.

You could be forgiven for thinking that you can’t keep everybody happy, and that somebody, somewhere will always go to immense effort to find in a way to fail rather than a reason to succeed – and then be very vocal about it…

I’m not really convinced it’s as simple as that – but I do know that just as surely as you have to fully address and satisfactorily resolve any genuine customer concerns, you need to rise above any petty baseless sniping aimed in your direction.

The trick is of course, to accept that it ‘goes with the territory’ and carry on plugging away, and not waste more than you absolutely have to trying and satisfy those who are purely looking for an argument rather than answers.

All The Best,


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Beware The ‘Gallic Shrug’…

The South of France…  playground of the rich and famous, home to hundreds of millionaires and holiday destination for thousands more … where you would expect standards to be, at the very least, excellent … the facilities to be exemplary and the level of service throughout all the various nightspots, eateries and the entire infrastructure that feeds them to be absolutely faultless…

Or so you’d think…

It didn’t even start well. We got off the plane and ‘She Who Must…’ made a beeline for our luggage while I popped off to collect our pre-arranged hire car … only to find the desk completely shut.

I managed to corner an employee from the company in question, who was wandering around in a generally rudderless manner and who, despite working at an international airport only seemed to speak French…

However this seemed perfectly OK to him as he greeted my every question with what will henceforth be known as the ‘Gallic Shrug’…

I’m sure you’ve seen it … the palms are raised upward before the shoulders are shrugged and the lips, pursed in an expression of quizzical innocence make the sort of noise that, ironically, you would expect to be made by someone treading on a frog…

Anyway, the ensuing interrogation, punctuated by various amounts of pointing and waving, established that the only open desk was actually in the other terminal. So, armed with directions, I set off, and after nearly 30 minutes of walking I still had not arrived, but could, however, see the building … on the other side of a busy motorway. 

After the compulsory ‘Gallic Shrug’, the next uniformed buffoon I accosted directed me to the shuttle bus that ‘ran every ten minutes’ where I waited twenty minutes (Gallic Shrug from the driver) before being safely delivered to the other terminal … and another closed car hire desk.

The car hire people, I was told with another Gallic Shrug, had moved to an office in the car park, where I eventually found the right chap who told me the Mercedes I had booked was not available (Gallic Shrug) but I could have a BMW which was waiting for me in row J…

Row J, as it turned out, was not actually between rows I and K at all, but inexplicably hidden around the corner … so it was another 10 minutes and two more Gallic Shrugs later that I eventually contacted ‘She Who Must…’ (who was about to put me on the missing persons list) and told her I was on my way…

I should have, by now, known better.

The directions I was given, along with the signposting got me quite quickly to a point where I could actually see where I wanted to go, less than 400 yards away, but every conceivable way of actually reaching it ending in a roundabout, surrounded only by ‘no entry signs’

It was at this point I just brought the car to a halt, phoned ‘She Who Must…’ gave her directions to the roundabout, and told her to meet me there. This, of course, meant that I was causing something of a traffic jam – but don’t worry, I had the perfect solution…

I just greeted every beep of the horn, every flashed headlight and every raised fist by raising my palms upward, pursing my lips in an expression of quizzical innocence and shrugging…

As much as it would seem like the moral of this story is ‘have nothing to do with anything that’s even vaguely French’ … I’m afraid more practically I should point out that the message is, for those in any doubt – just because you think something really ought to be of a certain standard, make sure it is beforehand, and don’t simply assume … as you might well be caught out…

Until Next Time,


Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

P.S. The tale doesn’t end there … there is more to come, including how some standards of French service can lead to you being locked in a Vineyard and why French taxi drivers seem to be entirely unaware how many taxis they actually own…

How Simple Changes Can Bring Huge Results…

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Now, I’ve always been very self-motivated, and never really had too many problems on the get up and go front – certainly where my business is concerned anyway.

However, I am aware this is not the same for everybody, especially those ‘one man band’ type businesses like mine was at the start … it can be easy to feel detached and occasionally meander around a bit when left to your own devices, or get stuck in a bit of a rut and get fixated with something small and only partially significant, when much bigger things are going awry…

Of course, when it comes to overcoming this hurdle, you already know what doesn’t work – endless to do lists, buying products to help with your time management (and end up not having time to open them) – I’m sure I don’t need to go on … but there are some simple things you can do to keep it ‘fresh’ that can have quite big ‘knock on’ results

For instance, simple changes to your your routine – strict timetables are great for self discipline, but if you keep them the same it’s easy to get too comfortable … try answering your emails at a different time of day, or trying to ‘hit’ that long term problem first thing in the morning rather than in the slightly drowsy hour just after lunch when you never seem to get too much done.

Try getting out and about – I’m not necessarily taking about spending the day in Starbucks, but I always used to feel better for a stroll at lunchtime, even if it was just to the post office and back (which was less than half a mile from my old home office).

The break, the fresh air and the change of scenery got the grey matter working again, and I always found I was more productive in the afternoons when I’d taken a break than when I believed myself ‘too busy’ and tried to work through.

Finally, talk to other people … if you don’t have anyone to hand you can use as a sounding board or fresh pair of eyes, you could try and connect with others on forums or communities or Facebook groups dedicated to your particular niche or field of expertise.

A quick word or warning here though, choose your contacts carefully – forums and communities can often be full of (and I’ll put this as politely as I can) whingers who are just looking for other people to whinge at about how difficult or ‘unfair’ it all is for them. So, when identifying others to connect with, it is vital you find other who share your mindset as well as your particular niche.

Interaction like this is important because I’ve found that things always improve and grow when you talk about them with others.

This year at HQ we’ve all been standing during our Monday meeting while we talk through what is happening in the coming week – we are achieving much more, because of the closer proximity to each other (no table in the way) and the extra sense of urgency that comes from just standing up.

I know that this is certainly not a new idea, and definitely not to be confused with the awful ‘huddle’ US style meeting favoured by some, but the act of changing something we did regularly has freshened the whole thing up and as a result we are getting a better results, and more of them

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How Passive Income Can Mean ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’

When I was at the Gym the other day, I’m afraid I might of caused something of a ‘scene’ … there I was, doing my workout with my trainer, when one of the other Gym regulars, a particularly charming lady by the name of Natalie (she had previously identified me as a fellow ‘mischievous’ type)  who was enjoying the Christmas music every bit as much as I was, asked, quite simply, ‘shall we dance…?’

Well, how could I refuse? … there we were, Natalie, Rob (my trainer) and I, all dancing along to Mariah Carey, while everyone else not only resisted our attempts to get them to join us, but also looked at us as if we were a little ‘odd’ … even though, for the most part, they themselves were either rowing on dry land, running and going nowhere or cycling on a bicycle that was welded to the floor…

Regardless of the ‘Bah Humbugness’ of my fellow Gym members, it reminded me of the subject of Xmas music, and it’s parallels to the kind of passive incomes that can be earned online.

Depending on where you look, the chaps from Slade will pocket something like £800,000 in royalty payments for the annual airing of ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, and Fairytale of New York’ pulling in close to £500,000 for the Pogues, and the aforementioned Ms. Carey around £330,000. Still getting paid, for work they did just once, in the case of Slade, as long as 40 years ago…

It’ not just Xmas music, though – I’m told Carl Douglas of ‘Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting’ fame still lives comfortably from the royalties of that single hit … so, the question is – how can we replicate this in our online businesses ?

Well, if you think about it, what they’ve done is created something and receive a steady income from interest in it – just like if you were to write a book, or built a certain type of website…

You see, If  you created a ‘niche’ information website about, say, ‘The History of Bulldogs’ and surround your content with congruent advertising and affiliate links to relevant products on Amazon (books on Bulldogs, special Bulldog owners mugs etc.) … and did the necessary tweaks to make sure it could be found easily by those searching for information about Bulldogs …  this would then create income for you regardless of whether you were sat at your desk, walking your dog or sunning yourself in Barbados, and would continue to do so with very little intervention from you…

Of course, a simple site like this is not going get you the same numbers as the chaps in Slade, but what is to stop you creating, 5, 10 or even 100 of these  – all built and just sitting there, making you money with little or no involvement from yourself…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Well, That Was Embarrassing…

Last Sunday, there was some sort of ‘seasonal fair’ type effort going on in the country hotel which also houses my gym. I wasn’t really interested enough to notice whether it was to do with Christmas or Weddings, but it did seem to involve lots of poor chaps being marched toward the building by their nearest and dearest with distinctly resigned looks on their faces.

It also involved the car park being completely full, so I was redirected to the ‘overflow’ parking in an adjacent field by some chap wearing one of those yellow vests.

I won’t bore you with the details of the workout, because the important thing here was that while my personal trainer was putting me through my paces … it continued to rain, and rain, and rain…

When I emerged from the gym an hour or so later, energized but slightly tender … I really could not believe what I was seeing… the downpour had turned the field in which I had parked into something that could be described optimistically as ‘a bit spongy’ … but  much more realistically as a paddy field.

The first escapees from the ‘fair’ had already tried to leave , and they had got, at best, ten yards across the field before becoming thoroughly bogged down and were in the process of being pulled out by a mildly amused looking chap driving something that looked like (but may not have been ) a tractor.

Now I wouldn’t go as far as to use the word smug, but it was with no small amount of confidence that I got into my driver’s seat, thinking ‘ I’ve got a Range Rover this will be no problem … I’ll just pop onto the grass verge, go round all that lot, and be on my way…’

Before you paint me as some sort of villain, I should point out that I would normally have stopped and help pull a few people out myself, as I always do when snow seems to bring normal life to a standstill around Lowe Towers, but this particular Sunday, ‘She Who Must…’ was putting together one of her special Sunday Lunches … and it would be extremely unwise to be late.

So off I went … but before you could say ‘what can possibly go wrong’ it became apparent I had chosen an even boggier route, and was, like everybody else, completely stuck.

I was not expecting much in the way of sympathy … especially from the chap with the tractor who now tried to pull me out, (nearly getting himself stuck in the process) or from the procession of people going past either smirking, pointing, laughing or a combination of all three at my predicament.

I just sat there, looking distinctly sheepish, aware that I had committed the nearly impossible, almost unforgivable sin of getting bogged down in a Range Rover…

Of course I phoned ‘She Who Must…’ expecting a few harsh words about my timekeeping, but she saw the funny side and instead contacted as many of my friends as she could … and instructed them to phone me, just to ask me where I was … one of them laughed for nearly a minute…

So, I think, the point I should be making here is one about over confidence, and thinking you are indestructible (or unsinkable) when you most certainly are not.

Past successes do not always guarantee you future success, especially if you take your eye off the ball and start thinking this is all bit easy, or treating the people who were instrumental in your success, or even worse, your customers, with disdain … it can all go very sour very quickly and the effects on your online reputation can be not only be disastrous in the short term, but take a very long time to repair … and considerably more serious than sitting looking embarrassed as your shiny Range Rover slowly sinks into the English countryside.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How Dinnertime Disappointments Can Lead To Online Success

Desperate News … the Italian is closed this evening and I am having to eat raw fish again in the Japanese tonight…

Before we go any further, I should explain that I’m currently on a quick break somewhere nice and warm, but most importantly that I selflessly gave up last night’s ‘Italian’ or ‘Big Steak’ in order to satisfy other people’s lust for Chinese Prawns and Crispy Duck, on the understanding that I would be well fed tonight – but alas, as the Italian is closed, so it’s raw fish or the buffet…. 

I’m certain nobody would blame me for not wanting to delve into the Buffet, somewhere the whole meal is over in less than an hour and the only entertainment is watching parents trying to get their unruly offspring to sit still long enough to feed them food… 

…food which was once, to be fair, quite appetising, but has quickly turned into a well prodded mush resembling something that was shot at close range with a blunderbuss … and then only partially cooked.

So despite my noble sacrifice, despite all my plans, it just hasn’t gone at all as I intended and I’m stuck with a situation that I’ve just got to make the best of.

Even though this is a very tongue in cheek, over dramatised version of events – I mention it to illustrate that minor things go awry with monotonous regularity, and it’s usually with something considerably more important than what I’m having for dinner. 

Now, I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times that everything on a project has gone exactly as planned, and given my relative level of success in this business, I would suggest that even that minuscule percentage would be considered by many to be quite high… 

So I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s not so much the amount of things that go right for you that define your level of online success (although they are important) … it’s how you react to, and deal with, the amount of things that go wrong. 

I’m not going to say anything as trite as ‘it always pays to have a plan B’ or ‘be prepared’ because you may spend so long building back-up plans that you never get anything out there … but what I would suggest is to make sure you know enough about what you are offering so that you can react quickly and find solutions to what is causing any genuine and valid concerns among your customers. 

So, if your project is twitter based, you don’t need to know all of the minute intricacies of how the system works … but you do need to know the basic mechanics, so you can see where the problem might lie and which bits need tweaking, adapting or in some cases fixing or replacing. 

Just remember that nothing goes perfectly all the time … and when things don’t go as planned, it doesn’t have to be a disaster – if you can react to the problem, adapt or correct the situation quickly you can prove to your customers that you have the ability to follow-up on your promises, even in difficult circumstances, and not just ‘sell’ them something…

Until Next Time,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Can You Actually Make Any Money Online Without Spending Any Money…?

I know start-up capital can be an issue for some, but I am often left wondering why those with moderate means are obsessed with trying to get their online endeavours off the ground without spending any money.

This is, I’m sure, based around the ’well, if it doesn’t work, I haven’t lost anything’ principle – that is, at best, flawed logic … and ignores entirely how much money you could have made if you actually had invested some cash and made it work.

Now, if I was discussing a quote with a plumber and during the conversation he let it slip that his only training consisted of free tips he’d learned from the internet, I wouldn’t let him within 50 yards of my house and I don’t think you would either. Yet in our industry there seems to be some badge of honour involved with deliberately making it harder for yourself.

After all, we are not actually talking about the amounts of cash that stop American Governments from functioning, but more the sort of amount you’d spend to replace a small TV or get your boiler fixed.

Let me be plain though, of course you can make money online starting with nothing or at least next to nothing … I’m just saying that, if you’ve got it, things can be a great deal easier even with £200-£300 to invest … or to put it another way, it’s a lot easier to turn £200 into £300 than it is to turn nothing into £20.

Say, for instance, by doing the right things, you go from nothing to making £200 from your efforts in 3 months (more or less is easily possible, I just picked that figure at random) … which, if you really did start with nothing, is pretty good stuff.

However, if you did have £200 of ‘start up’ cash you could have used, but instead had the ‘I’m not spending anything’ mindset, it could easily have cost you thousands in ‘unmade’ cash…

You see, in month one you could have turned that £200 into £300-£400, in month two turned that into £600 and in the third month you could have upward of a £1000 sat there … that’s a difference of around £800 just 3 months … and over the course of a year ?  – well, you can work it out if you want but I know which I’d rather have…

I know what you’re thinking – “that’s all very well, but how do I actually do the ‘turn £200 into £400’ bit” … well, there plenty of options available, just get in touch and we’ll see what we can do…

By the way … if you want to make money online and you really are starting with nothing, of course I can help – don’t forget there’s a list of resources here, nearly all of which are free, have a free trial or free ‘lite’ option … and don’t forget to ask the Minions for a few ideas and nudge in the right direction (It is, after all, what they’re there for).

That’s All For Now,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

By the way … if you want to make money online and you really are starting with nothing, of course I can help – don’t forget there’s a list of resources here, nearly all of which are free, have a free trial or free ‘lite’ option … and don’t forget to ask the Minions for a few ideas and nudge in the right direction (It is, after all, what they’re there for).

So, Does Your Product Have the ‘Shiny Wing Mirror’ Option ?

I must admit to being more than a little excited … no, it’s nothing to do with my results at the Gym (though I am very pleased with them) … it’s not even my new ‘£17K a month’ system that’s got me all hot under the collar (I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out about that one) … what’s really got me excited is my brand spanking new F-Type Jaguar…

Yes, of course it’s got extra everything, and yes, of course I got a great deal on the final price, but that wasn’t really the interesting bit … the interesting bit was how it was sold to me, and how much extra I ended up spending as a result…

Now, I have always said the money is in the back-end, but let’s face it, an F-Type Jaguar is already about as back-end as it gets  … and while I was fully aware I was being put through an up sell process, it wasn’t the type of upsell that we in this industry are used to (where upsells are at least the same price, right up to three times the price of the original purchase).

It was more a kind of bolt-on type process, like you can get with some mobile phone packages, except where we were starting was anywhere but basic. There was a plethora of different, extra, little bits …  all less than 1% of the original price – but they soon added up…

You could have the normal wing mirrors or the shiny ones for that little bit extra … and of course once you’d got the shiny wing mirrors you’d want the shiny vent covers to match, seatbelts to match your upholstery, plus a dozen or so ‘boys toys’ on the inside that gave you extra buttons to press or changed the lighting according to which driving mode you were in…

It all gave a very bespoke quality to my purchase, and I was pleased with every one of them but, even with me flexing every single one of my negotiation muscles, these individual tweaks and options put nearly 20% on the sale price.

What I left with, was an F Type that was unique to ‘me’ … just as Elaine Paige (who was leaving just as I arrived at the factory) left with one that was unique to her, as did the chap from rock band Iron Maiden, who had his and Mrs Maiden’s names embroidered into the seats and had the Jaguar badge – which is in fact called a Growler (no sniggering at the back please) – swapped for the ‘Eddie’ skull motif that is the band’s trademark mascot.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has got to do with your online business, after all, we’re not selling cars … well, neither, strictly speaking, were the folks at Jaguar – with those little extras and options, they were actually selling individuality and exclusiveness … and you can do exactly the same with your products.

If you’re offering 3 month’s support, maybe, for a little bit extra offer 6 … or a series of ‘extra tip’ type emails delivered to their inbox to give them the ‘edge’  … or some sort of progress chart or timetable to measure where they are whilst using your product … I’m sure you can think of a few that would work very well for what you are offering right now.

By offering these little extras to your customers, not only are you giving them the chance to tailor their purchase to exactly what they want, you are also adding a dash of exclusivity and individuality, and at the same time adding a handy percentage to your bottom line – definitely food for thought…

Until Next Time,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Should You Really ‘Copy Success’…

I saw one of those inspirational type posters earlier this week, and whilst I’m not normally a fan of such things (The only one we have at HQ is a picture of Alan Sugar pointing with ‘You’re Fired’ underneath) 😉 this one actually got me thinking…

The exact wording escapes me, but what the arty font and feel good picture was telling me basically boiled down to … “If you wish to be successful – copy success” … and while this of course is wisdom of a sort, you need to also apply some common sense but make sure you are actually copying the right things.

For instance, of you were looking for something on which to model the sales text for your latest project, you may think it wise to model it on the sales text of the best-selling product in the same field … but this, unfortunately, may well be the wrong thing to do.

You see, just because it’s the best-selling – it doesn’t mean it’s the best converting.

Let me explain … if a thousand people visit a website and ten buy, without reaching for the calculator we know we have a conversion rate of one percent. However, if only four hundred people visit a different website and eight are sold (giving us 2% conversion), the first website may have more sales, but the second is converting at twice the rate … so if you want the best sales page, you really should be copying that.

What you need to add into the equation as well as the product and the sales process is how much traffic it has received … and a major part of this; especially at a certain end of the market … is how appealing a particular product is to affiliates.

Those with a cynical eye could even look at the way some products are structured and suggest they were created with the affiliate in mind rather than anyone else, and the majority of the effort has gone into making something other people are willing to sell for you, and not creating the best product possible.

It is not uncommon for 75%-95% commissions to be offered; with even 125% in some cases (yes I know that doesn’t seem to make business sense but there are often back end products that make up the difference) and you really can’t blame affiliates for promoting these products rather than any others.

Now, I’m not saying this is a good or bad way of doing business, I’m just saying things like this can skew what, on the face of it, might be ‘obvious’ results … so, if you wish to ‘copy success’, by all means please do … but I would urge you to look very closely indeed at what you are using for your inspiration, just to be absolutely sure you know what it was actually successful for…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

‘Ten Buck’ Offers … Genuine Value Or Just An Expensive Squeeze Page ?

I’ve never really followed football, but with all the merchandise sales and other sponsorship benefits, I can see how a Welshman could be worth over £80M, but I am at a bit of a loss as to why the same coke you can buy anywhere else, is, in a Paris hotel, 13 Euros (plus 27% sales tax, plus room service charge) … but it also should be noted that a glance in a shop window in that same city will tell you that a pair of red soled shoes can easily be £6000.

We all have our own take on the relationship between cost and value, something which has been highlighted by the fact that many of the products you can now buy on portals like JVZoo, and an almost endless stream of WSOs, seem to be available for less than £10…

This new wave of offers has been seen by some as proof that, up until now, everything in our industry was seriously overpriced and that the world has ‘finally’ come to its senses … however, a closer look will show you that while some of these cut-price offers are genuinely brilliant value, the rest are exactly the kind of thing that was previously being given away, for free, as a ‘lead magnet’.

So, instead of it  being like ‘the old days’, back before Google took a rather dim view of squeeze pages and a  ‘free report’ was just that … you are now paying a fiver (more, if you buy the Upsell) for practically the same standard of content – which seems to me to make as much sense as buying that hotel Coke…

The trick here, as with so many things, is to be part of the minority offering real value. The fact that there can be so much mediocrity at this level presents the opportunity to really to stand out by delivering something really special, even if it is at a slightly higher price point.

If you can offer something to your customer that is worth considerably more than they paid for it, then of course they will be interested in your other products … of course they’ll open your emails when they might ignore others … in short you could use this platform to make a dramatic first impression and take some major steps to building a relationship with your new customer.

Weigh that up against the ‘value’ of something at a cheap and cheerful ’10 bucks’ that is so non-descript that the buyer can’t even be bothered to ask for a refund.

Until Next Time,

Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Is It Time To Stop Getting In Your Own Way…?

Is It Time To Stop Getting In Your Own Way...?Well, that’s it … we’ve just had our last bank holiday until Boxing day, and nearly everybody we know is either back, or just about to return from, their summer holiday. In a few days the words ‘school run’ will re-enter conversations, and even those of us who don’t have to make one, will wonder where all the extra traffic came from…

In short, for most of us, life is returning to ‘normal’…

So what now? … well, I’m sure somewhere there’s a list of things that were being ‘put off’ until after you got back from holiday, or were going to do ‘when the kids go back’ … and I’m willing to bet that, somewhere on that ‘to do’ list, is something that’s been holding back your online efforts … the question is – what are you going to do about it…?

Now before we go any further I am not suggesting a collective pressing of noses to the grindstone and putting of shoulders to the wheel … this is not a ‘buck up’ or ‘get on with it’ type of email at all…

I would suspect that very few people who are not getting the results they want put it down to laziness. I would suggest instead that those who are frustrated by what they are currently acheiving online, are, in fact, switched on, not afraid of hard work … but are very, very, busy.

Nobody ever started an online business because they had to ‘fill’ four hours a day … our lives were already full of family commitments, our full time jobs (if we had one) and not forgetting the things we actually want to do … all before we tried to shoehorn in some time to make a bit extra online.

So you might be correct in thinking those who have succeeded online were not necessarily  the cleverest, or the most tech savvy, or the workaholics who stayed up all night to get it finished (though I have done that once or twice) but those who found the best way to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done.

I know we all want better results for our online businesses, but I also know that a couple of extra hours won’t appear by magic. What we have to do is create the extra time by unburdening ourselves of the bits we may not be that good at … struggling putting your website together? – get somebody on Fiverr.com to do it. Don’t know how to build a squeeze page? – hire somebody on eLance to knock one up in five minutes – not got the first idea with SEO? – outsource it to experts, who can replace your hours of head scratching with results…

It really is easy to get tied up in the ‘one man band’ mindset, and thinking you shouldn’t or can’t spare a few pounds to shift those roadblocks out of your path, it really doesn’t cost as much as you think, and could well add some momentum to your business so that you aren’t writing the exact same ‘To Do’ list as your New Year’s resolutions.

Until Next Time,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

When It Says VIP … Make Sure It Is VIP (and NOT like this)…

One of things that I found interesting about my latest trip to New York was that nearly all of the VIP type upgrades I made actually added something to the experience, whether it was less time spent queuing, a slightly different area to stand-in which afforded a better view, or more access to tour guides or staff to give you more information, or provide anything you wanted.

Those ‘extras’ I would consider to be worth the additional cost, and should I go to New York again when it is quite busy, I would certainly make the same investment as they seem to know what VIP means … which that is in stark contrast to this example of what happened to me a couple of years ago in the UK…

Well, the good news was that ‘She Who Must…’ had spotted that one of the favourite bands from her single days had reformed and was on tour. The bad news was the way you could actually see them was to stay at the holiday camp they were playing at.

So I promised to be on my best behavior and off we went…

On arrival, we were asked if we wanted to upgrade … ‘She Who Must…’ had booked ‘Silver’ level accommodation, which was, to be fair, pretty grim (I think if you opted for ‘Bronze’ you probably had to dig your own hole to sleep in) so I parted with an extra £180 for us to upgrade to ‘Gold’.

‘Gold’ still consisted of the same Prisoner of War type accommodation except we now had a slightly bigger room, with slightly bigger sofas, a bigger TV and we were actually provided with towels, which was handy as it never occurred to either of us that we might have to bring our own.

It was the same story in the ‘restaurant’ area, which looked very much like a school dining hall with 1970’s era motorway service type tables and chairs. Again I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to the ‘Yacht Club’ VIP type area … and of course I said yes, and parted with, I think, another £40.

The ‘Yacht Club’ turned out to be merely a roped off area in the same hall, with the plastic tables disguised only partly with our ‘VIP’ paper tablecloth (which had to last all weekend) and the food was stacked on some slightly less decrepit serving trollies … and, as you can imagine, if I hadn’t promised ‘She Who Must…’ I would be on my absolute best behaviour, heads would have rolled…

So again, two lessons here, firstly that a percentage of people will always want to feel more exclusive and want to upgrade to some kind of VIP package, so you can add extra value to your business by making sure, whenever possible, that you offer one.

The second lesson is, now that you know those people will upgrade, is not to exploit that negatively and make the ordinary version so awful that people have to upgrade to the VIP package … but instead to use it as an opportunity to make sure any VIP package you offer is worth the money – and then some.

In fact, over-deliver on what you promised … and make sure you evoke the same thoughts as a visit to New York, a trip to Disneyland or an evening in a fine restaurant, and not the same ones as a weekend in a slightly grubby holiday camp….

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

After You Buddy… (or International Adventures In Queuing…)

You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t do anything beastly while I was over in New York, and in fact, my visit brought home a couple of things I long suspected were not ‘all bad’ about our friends in the colonies…

I’ll explain in a minute – but first, please bear with me while we rewind a few years to an incident at the BA fast check-in desk, when a small child asked her mother why they were queuing while I was wandering past the line and straight through. “Well darling,” she said, “He thinks he’s FAR too important to queue up with everybody else”.

Now my ticket allowed me to do this, I wasn’t pushing in or doing anything untoward, but I still cringe now at the memory of those words … how very ‘British’ of me ;-).

In the colonies however, a different set of rules apply entirely … On my recent trip over I had purchased some sort of special VIP pass that allowed me to go to the front of the queue when waiting for the hop-on hop-off tour bus that I was using to get from one ‘attraction’ to the next … so as I again walked past the queue, some of whom looked like they had been waiting for several hours, I really was fearing the worst…

I eventually reached the front, and made apologetic noises and conciliatory hand gestures to the poor soul who’s place I was about to take, and while I was busy trying to simultaneously shrug and point at my VIP pass (not the easiest or most attractive series of movements) the chap just smiled and said “No problem buddy, I was too cheap to get one of those – you paid for it, you stand there.”

It was exactly the same at all the other places on the trip where I had also paid for some sort of VIP access … either a separate entrance, a doorman who unclipped the barrier and ushered you through, and on one occasion, when the ‘greeter’ type person saw I’d ‘upgraded’ they all but barged everybody else out of the way to make sure I was the next one to go in…

So, two messages there then … firstly, when it says VIP, make sure it is VIP, which is something I’ll go into more detail about in the next ‘Lowedown’ … and secondly, the huge difference in reaction on either side of the pond to somebody ‘upgrading’ themselves.

What would have got a multitude of dark looks, hostile muttering and advanced tutting back here in Blighty, received very few derisive comments and more than a few grudging looks of respect in the colonies … and I’m sure you’ll agree that somebody of an entrepreneurial bent would get a lot less of the ‘so you think you’re something special’ or ‘getting too big for your boots’ treatment over there too.

I’m not suggesting you do anything as daft as  become ‘more American’ (and under no circumstances should you ‘high five’ anybody, ever) 😉 … but you would probably do well to convince yourself that, despite the reaction you get from others, there is nothing wrong with trying to better your situation, and when you succeed, accepting the rewards of efforts without guilt.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How The ‘Curse Of The Faroes’ Revealed One Of The Biggest Money Making Secrets

I will admit my experience was coloured slightly by a very unwelcome bout of the flu, but I’m certain even without the distraction of my affliction, I would be hard pressed to find too much to recommend my visit to the Faroe Islands … a place that, on first impressions, seemed so dull that watching paint dry could easily be the national sport.

 photo TimBean_zpsa243c61f.pngMy visit there was one of the first stops on a cruise around that part of the world, and, whilst I was aware that the more breathtaking scenery was to come, this early jaunt, characterized as it was by fog and drizzle, did nothing to put me in the holiday spirit.

The Islands are inhabited by 48,000 people (an oft repeated fact reeled off by our unsurprisingly dour tour guide) most of whom seemed to be wearing the same type of hat. We were shown the Football stadium (seats 5,000 – only one on the islands) and other mundane ‘landmarks’ (all included because they were ‘the only one on the islands’) … then, with all the ceremony of a magician about to use the phrase “and your card is…” our tour guide informed us of the highlight of our trip … the ‘wood turner’ (again, the only one on the islands)

Now this is actually slightly more interesting than it sounds because those with a passing knowledge of the Faroe Islands will know there aren’t really any trees, so I was a mite curious as to how this chap managed to ply his trade…

The wood turner in question (again, complete with approved Faroe Islander hat) had actually built a sheltered area in which he had planted trees and for years nurtured them against everything the elements could throw at them, and when they finally reached maturity he carefully cut them down, then stored them and allowed the wood to season for many months before … he made lampshades out of them.

Not tables, chairs, or even quirky souvenirs, but lampshades. Lampshades that could best be described with the word ‘interesting’, as well as the words ‘how much?’ as they seemed more than a little expensive … and, despite every tourist being dragged to the workshop, they were still, for the most part, gathering dust.

So this chap was going to an extraordinary amount of effort to create something only he wanted to make, which because of the time effort involved cost way beyond what most would pay – and then going around looking a bit glum because business was poor.

I can’t help but think that maybe he should have had a chat with whoever was selling the hats everybody seemed to be wearing.

It’s a simple fact that, no matter what you are selling, whether it be face to face, by mail or online, and how much focus you put on it … if you’re trying to sell something nobody actually wants … you’ll find it blooming hard work.

That’s because it’s always easier to sell what people actually want.

Sounds ‘headslappingly’ simple, and some might counter it sounds blindingly obvious, and that it doesn’t really need pointing out – but if you look around there are plenty of people who are using the ‘Faroe Islands Wood Turner’ business strategy.

It is easy to be ‘wedded’ to an idea or pet project, try, and then discard system after system in an effort to shift a few units of what only you think is a good idea.

You may be completely happy doing this, which is fine, but then you’ll also have to wonder about those who have taken the other path, done the research into what people actually want, are supplying that to a hungry market (and raking it in) while you are still struggling…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Make Money Online The Ant & Dec Way (Talent NOT Required)

With the weather set fair for another ‘scorcher’ of a weekend, you could easily be forgiven for putting your online endeavours to the back of your mind … but it is worth remembering that anything you do happen to set into motion around now will be under full steam come September and you’ll be miles in front of anybody still putting away their bucket and spade…

 photo tim_6-1_zps884bb6bd.pngIf you’re not into trading, don’t actually have a product to sell, have any sort of list or much in the way of cash to get set-up the usual way forward is to set up a conventional ‘niche site’ where you would target a keyword in Google, say for instance ‘safe dog tick removal’, provide related content for people to read or watch, and making money from promotions and the advertising surrounding it.

OK, you think this might sound like a bit of a tenuous way to earn a crust, but remember that this is basically how ITV (and every other commercial TV or radio station for the last 70 years) has operated … and the idea of course is to get the amount of viewers that Harry Hill or Ant and Dec manage and not the poor soul on at 3am on some channel nobody’s ever heard of.

However, when it comes to the content you need to attract the right amount of traffic to make this pay (a niche site can be a real ‘slow burner’ of a way to make money online) the dilemma is usually whether to go for quality (so people read and engage with what you are saying, share your content socially and you get many return visitors) or quantity (where you have so much content that you feature in the search results for nearly every long-tail keyword in your chosen niche, so that you are bound to get visitors)…

Well, I’m afraid my answer to the Quality vs. Quantity dilemma is … you need both.

Obviously, if you need to create a large amount of high quality content, don’t try and do it all yourself … unless you are the content writing equivalent of Superman you will not even scrape the surface of what needs to be done, burn yourself out and achieve nothing except an encyclopaedic knowledge of something you weren’t really interested in.

So we go back to the two stock solutions … either get somebody else to do it – or automate it.

The outsourcing route appeals the most to me (well actually as I have Minions to do it, I suppose I should call it in ‘Inhousing’);-) and most of us would go to places like Elance,  oDesk and Freelancer (or even the ‘cheapie’ option of Fiverr) where you can hire a writer (or writers) to create your content according to your criteria and keywords.

You can monitor the quality quite stringently and order re-writes and corrections until you are completely happy. This ‘editorial’ role is less time consuming than actually writing, and if you have a small team of people creating your content, your website can grow really quickly.

Of course, the ‘human touch’, regardless of how well you negotiate rates with your team of writers, will be more expensive than getting software to do it, so I realise that necessity will mean some of us have to go down the automation route…

The problem with automating content generation is that it can be a little hit and miss, which is why I would rather employ a human to do it. However, if you are taking the automation route, get one that you find easy to use (it is supposed to save you time after all) and that has a full money back guarantee in case you can’t get on with it or are disappointed with the results. There are plenty on the market, but after despatching Head Minion to take a quick peek, I’m reliably informed the one that is currently being raved about is this one here.

Now, I’m told it does seem to cover all the bases when it comes to content creation, but I should mention that if you choose to invest in this, that it is being sold via the rather amusingly named portal called JVZoo (which is a bit like clickbank) and it only costs £30, so please use your common sense and be aware that at that price there are bound be ‘upsells’ (that you don’t have to buy of course) that will want you to part with a bit more money to get it all done that bit faster and more easily…

…which in this case might be exactly what you want, or on the other hand you might find them every bit as irritating as I do and spend five minutes hitting the ‘no thanks’ button.

The appeal of niche sites is of course that they are an excellent source of passive income … your site will still be up and earning from ads and promotions regardless of what you are doing, but of course they often take time to get going, but if you’re not a trader, or a salesman, or a ace product developer, this could be the way forward…

Here are those links again:


Rapid Content Wizard

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

And as if this piece wasn’t long enough, there’s also a P.S…

If you do want to set up your own niche site but don’t really have the first clue how to go about it, get in contact with my Minions timsminionstutorials@gmail.com and they may be able to set you up a site, ready to receive content completely free (you’ll have to pay your own hosting cost of course)

When It’s Time To Turn It Up To ’11’…

When I’m in a slightly mischievous mood, I have been known to spend the time it takes my computer to warm up in the morning to go wandering round HQ and ‘prodding’ various Minions (usually waiting until they’re right in the middle of something else) and asking them awkward questions I already know the answer to…;-)

Regular readers will be aware that I do this almost entirely in jest, and I do tend to ‘play up’ the whole ‘Evil Boss’ thing here at HQ for mutual amusement (to the point where it was suggested that a planned trip to see Despicable Me 2 should be treated as  a training exercise…);-)

Of course, I do run a business here so it’s not always like that; the amount of hard work (doing the right things, naturally) that goes into getting the kind of results we consistently achieve here would make more than a few eyes water (and has sent others running for the hills), which is something I make no apology for…

So as well as doing a lot of work we also have a lot of fun, two seemingly contradictory ideas … but it obviously works.

It’s not something that can be summed up by using a throwaway phrase like ‘work hard and play hard’ because it’s more than just a case of swinging between extremes, about being one thing OR the other – it’s about maintaining a consistent level intensity, where everything is turned up to the maximum, regardless of what you are doing…

…and it could easily be argued the difference between perceived success and failure could be down to the level of that intensity.

Without that level of intensity, you could be doing plenty of things right, certainly enough to go on to much bigger things, but despite that you could easily end up plugging away, offering 50 quid CD-Roms to the same few hundred people forever and never earning much more than you would in a job.

Of course, not everybody can turn up the intensity of what they are doing just like that, and nor should they – for instance nearly anybody trading successfully in Forex or on Betfair with a £1,000 bank would get the jitters if they suddenly had to do exactly the same thing with £10,000, and you would have to be extremely sure of yourself to find something that was converting at 5% with a small advertising budget, and then just throwing the kitchen sink at it.

Everybody is capable of the level of intensity it takes to do really well online, some have it ‘on tap’, and some have to build up to it in a series of steps, and in some cases be helped up the steeper steps by those that have been there before … so if you think you are doing ‘everything’ right, you may well be correct, but just not thinking big enough –  and it could be as simple as taking what you have and gradually turning up the volume…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

How To Turn Your Hard Work Into A ‘Win’.

 photo TML_zpsabe539e9.jpgIt seems in recent times, people in the online world will go to great lengths and deem it their duty to give us a ‘reality check’, to solemnly tell people that it’s not easy and that it’s all hard work … and whilst that may well be the case, it’s only half the story – because while it can be all hard work … hard work isn’t ALL there is to it…

I have conversations with people all the time who have worked hard and ‘got nowhere’ (by which they usually mean they’ve not made any money) and that is because in the online world (and where it almost certainly varies from the job you’ve trying to escape) you don’t get paid for working hard, you get paid on results.

It can be quite unforgiving … nobody will pay you for trying, they certainly won’t pay you (unlike a lot of jobs) for just turning up each day … which is why it is important that when we make the decision to have more money and spend more time doing what we want (by ironically, initially investing money and spending more time ‘working’) that we spend that precious time doing the right things…

Imagine this… you spend weeks working away making the perfect product, spending hours over every single minute detail … but then only a few hours into putting it in front of people in the right way, you won’t get the rewards you might well expect, become disillusioned and potentially discard an opportunity that may well resulted in considerable success.

One of the best ways to know how to put all your hard work to good use is to follow some kind of plan, and that means follow a plan properly and not follow it in the ‘did the bits I wanted to do’ sort of way that we are sometimes prone to do … this keeps us working hard on the right track, and spreading your efforts over everything that needs doing.

Another way is to join forces with somebody and both work hard on separate parts of the process. As you know, typically in the online world, this would usually take the form of a ‘JV’ where somebody has something useful, valuable and profitable to share, but only poor ideas on how to share it, teams up with somebody with the knowledge and means to put it in front of the right people.

So if you think all your hard work is going to waste, may I suggest you consider moulding that hard work around somebody else’s plan … or combining your efforts with another to turn all that hard work into the all important ‘result’ and reap the rewards of your efforts…

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

On Your Marks, Get Set GO! … Then wait for everybody else to catch up…?

During my trip to HQ the other morning, the large amount of inappropriately parked BMW X3s and large yellow cardboard arrows made it apparent that School Sports Day season was in full swing, and I braced myself for the oncoming deluge of opinion I see every year bemoaning the lack of competitiveness of such events, and how it does not equip children for life in the ‘cold hard world’…

However, whenever the final decision is made on whether it’s ‘political correctness’ or ‘health and safety’ that happens to be to blame this year, some of us will be more concerned that the real point may have been missed entirely…

It’s not only that there are no winners or losers (especially as ‘losing’ can be just as an important lesson as ‘winning’ … and certainly more valuable than just doing ‘OK’) It’s simply that not everybody is (or has the desire to be) a ‘team player’ and making everybody all work together taking part in some sort of airy fairy nonsense where they don’t know what they’ve achieved (but are told they had fun doing it) is not stifling competitiveness or ability…but individuality

The notion that the individual should subjugate their ability ‘for the good of the team’ is something that should make any sane person despair. Even if, like me, you’re not really a sports fan, you cannot have failed to notice that the defining factor in whether a team has ultimately raised a trophy or not has usually been one person taking responsibility for the outcome and making and outstanding individual effort.

That translates over to everybody reading this … your entrepreneurial side has come to the fore because you don’t want the same as everybody else … you want to make an outstanding individual effort and to be recognised and rewarded as such.

You don’t have to be as obviously individual as, for example, Albert Einstein or Mozart were at an early age, to know that individuality is often frowned upon by authority … I’m sure that the headmaster of many a ‘celebrated’ former pupil who has gone on to greater things will admit the future ‘hero’ spent just as much time sat outside their office as any the less celebrated ones.

So, being ‘individual’ isn’t necessarily the easiest of paths, one that others may criticise you for taking, and accuse you of being selfish or ‘getting ideas above your station’ … but ask yourself, did you really start your own online business, with financial and personal rewards it can bring, just you so you could wait for everybody else to catch up and all cross the finish line together..?

All The Best,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

This is SO Unfair … I Hate You! (some useful tips on how to avoid becoming a business teenager)

I have to start by assuring everyone that the title is not some kind of bizarre rant on my part, but is in fact the catchphrase of the Harry Enfield character ‘Kevin the Teenager’. This hilariously ungrateful character was brought to mind after I posted a video of last week’s special training session online…

This video, you may recall, explains absolutely everything you need to know, to create a £100K a year business of your own from scratch … there’s nothing left out, it’s completely free to watch and amongst all the positive feedback was this one comment that really had me scratching my head … “Do I really have to watch it all … it’s a bit long isn’t it?”

This person, we can only assume, must be going through what I can only describe as the online business equivalent of a ‘teenage phase’ … and I’m afraid there’s quite a lot of it about.

Metaphorically speaking, we all start as babies in this industry, then we learn at our own pace and eventually have some degree of success, and that’s when it can all go a bit wrong…

This is the time when all the things we have worked so hard to get are now taken for granted and seen as our ‘right’ … and the small level of success we may have enjoyed (often due to the help and intervention of others) leaving us with the very mistaken belief that we know everything … and then throw a prima donna sized tantrum when we have to do anything to either maintain the status quo of our business, or heaven forbid, up our game a bit so we can take things up a level or two.

This usually leaves the older and wiser heads to placate the customers and associates we’ve upset while we’re doing the business equivalent of sitting in our rooms in a huff with the music turned up too loud.

Luckily, like teenage tantrums themselves, most of us grow out of this phase and look back on that period of our business career more than a little sheepishly, but unfortunately some refuse to grow up and you sometimes have to decide that they need to take their attitude elsewhere. In over a decade (12 years to be precise) of doing business in this industry, I’ve had to say this to people I have worked with, and would not hesitate to do so again if someone’s attitude or actions were to the detriment of customers.

In short then, teenage phases are probably unavoidable (after all in this industry we are all quite ambitious and have a tendency to want things our own way) but this has to be tempered with the realisation that no matter what we may have done, there is always someone richer and cleverer who has been getting it right for even longer, and the sooner we get past that teenage phase, the better it is for everyone…

Until Next Time,

Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

The More ‘Evolved’ Approach To Making Money Online…

 photo TimHead-1_zpseed67078.pngIt is certainly true that the only constant in life is change, and, if you have been part of the internet community for more than five minutes, you’ll know that things online can change very regularly indeed. The good news though, is that when it comes to making money online the large majority of the change is not, as we are told, revolutionary, but is, in fact, purely evolutionary…

It is often the case that, when a certain trend within our industry has had its time in the spotlight, you will be told that ‘nobody’ is doing that anymore and it’s time to jump on the next bandwagon … from eBooks to eBay, from building ‘Google Sniper’ niche sites to ‘Google Friendly’ blogging, or trying to keep up with the latest social media craze from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest … and all the while hopping between Sports, Forex and Share trading.

But if you’re looking to do more than just aimlessly rush off to where you are told the next pot of ‘easy’ money happens to be, you can see that the changes to established online ‘money makers’ are not as drastic as you might be led to believe…

Take eBay for instance … it is, of course, correct that the days of selling a slice of toast for several hundreds of pounds are long gone, but, far from ‘nobody doing it anymore’ there are many people with thriving businesses on eBay, and more are starting up every day. It is simply the case now that many eBay sellers will have evolved their business to include a complimentary Amazon store which is in turn linked to their own ‘branded’ ecommerce site, whilst leveraging social media for extra traffic and to build their customer relationships.

In other areas, owners of ‘jack of all trades’ sites that may have covered, for example, everything to do with tropical fish, are instead still holding their own against the ‘big boys’ that can spend thousands on SEO and advertising by evolving their business to become more ‘niche’.

By using a combination of both long tail keywords and highly targeted Google Adwords campaigns they get their potential customers to their ‘micro niche’ sites that are tightly focused on just one aspect such as, in the case of the tropical fish website above, specializing in those little plastic castles people buy to keep the fish amused.

Naturally they’d need several of these micro sites to turn a decent profit, but again, that is possible quite cheaply due to the evolution of WordPress and the continued development of themes and plugins that mean even the most complicated of sites can be put together by almost anyone.

The most obvious form of evolution though has been in the world of what most of us would call blogging. Blogging has long been viewed as the preserve of the ‘hobbyist’ and not really associated with making money online (quite the reverse in fact) … but what many ‘bloggers’ who have continued to add useful and informative articles on their respective subjects have done is created massive ‘authority sites’ that Google loves and now dominate the search results.

The traffic generated by this is making the owners of these blogs, either through active promotion, or just from advertising revenue alone, many thousands of pounds every month.

The story here then, is that online fortunes are not always made by people who are in the ‘right place at the right time’, or those who jump from one ‘next big thing’ to another, but in fact by people who stick to the plan, and have learned to adapt, and above all evolve with the ever-changing environment of the internet.

Until Next Time,
Tim Sig
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Why On Earth Would You Do This To Your Email List…?

 photo tim_6-1_zps884bb6bd.pngI arrived at the office yesterday in an even more positive mood than usual … despite the last bout of ‘prodding’ of my problematic back leading rather ominously to another scan, the results had pointed to exercise as being the way forward –  rather than, as I had feared, a more drastic solution involving the words ‘hammer’ and ‘chisel’…

However, when I ventured further into HQ, I found my ‘Head Minion’ simultaneously both shaking and scratching his head, with his face bearing the same kind of expression you usually see after the reading of a particularly cringeworthy joke from a Christmas cracker…

We had been asked, by another marketer, to promote their latest ‘launch’ … and amongst all the details about how the best affiliates could win holidays and flat screen TVs (but unsurprisingly very little about the merits if the product itself) was a swipe file of ‘killer’ emails we could send out to, apparently, ‘really crush it’ (which I’m told means do really well).

However, it would seem that the only killing and crushing involved would be damage that sending out this type of nonsense will do to the relationship with the people on your email list, because the contents of this swipe file approximated to four lines that read something like…

Newbie makes $42,000 in first 3 days online…
click here to find out how
see the real proof now
click here now

…there may have also been something about ‘shocking truth’ or ‘this is what the gurus don’t want you to know’ in the ‘variations’ to send out on subsequent days – but that was about it.

Now I know that the myriad of email writing courses online will tell you to write as if you were writing to a ‘5th Grader’ (which I’m told is about 10 years old) and these emails are written to just ‘get the click’ and send you to the sales page where the real selling is done … but when I receive an email that talks to me like I’m some kind of halfwit, I tend to hit the delete button – and I wouldn’t blame you for doing exactly the same – even if you WERE 10 years old.

To compound the felony, even if you’re only on half the mailing lists I’m on, you’ll probably receive three or four of these emails, all from different marketers, all saying the same thing, all insulting your intelligence … now what does this tell you about the value they place on their relationship with you?

You can, if you really have to, use some of the better emails of this type to form the absolute bare bones of your own efforts, and then inject your own personality (and quite a bit of substance) to say what it is you like about the product, and why you think it may be of benefit to the reader. (Of course if you can’t think of anything beneficial to say about the product then perhaps you might want to rethink promoting it altogether).

Of course it is possible to make some money by sending rather sparse, obvious emails, but it does seem an awful lot of work … burning your way through nearly all of your list every month and having to commit huge amounts of resources to replacing people you’ve treated like a battery hen instead of an intelligent human being who wants, just like you, to generate an income online.

In fact, to somebody like me who still converses with, or works alongside, many of the same people I have for the last ten (or more)  years, those sort of ‘smash and grab’ tactics all seem more than a little unnecessary…

Until Next Time,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

Testing, Testing 1 2 3 …. 4 5 6 7 8….

LB ScreenI am often asked if I can take ‘five minutes’ to critique various websites or emails, and, as flattering as it is, I nearly always have to decline. The main reason is that I just can’t help everybody, even though I’d like to, simply because, if I wanted to offer some useful advice, something beyond the obvious stuff you can get anywhere, it takes so much more than just ‘five minutes’ to take a look…

Let me explain … when I’m locked away with my copywriter on a big project, it can take weeks rather than days to come up with something I’m entirely happy with and every last detail is gone over and over to make sure it’s the best it possibly can be. It is this attention to detail that has contributed greatly to the level of success I continue to enjoy, and is also why if I ‘critiqued’ somebody’s work it wouldn’t be fair on everybody else who had the same request, because quite simply I would never get round them all…

It was for this reason, of course, that I ‘assembled’ my ‘Minions’ (their choice of name, not mine) 😉 to help with things like this, and since they started last year, have helped hundreds of Lowedown readers (and a few followers of their own) with their various queries and problems.

However, there is one common problem you won’t need myself, a Minion or anybody else to help you with, and is one I had myself just the other day…

I had been working on a written piece with my Head Minion, and got it all to a stage which I thought to be exactly right, straight to the point and really powerful. Even my copywriter could only offer a couple of tweaks and it was considered to be, pretty much, ‘job done’…

Then, the theory that it was maybe too direct, too straight to the point, and that it might exclude some people was re-considered and more tweaks were made … but by taking some of the directness out of it, it made the whole thing, I thought, a slightly ‘weaker’ piece.

So we were left with the quandary of whether to stick with the direct approach and possibly exclude some people … or go with the ‘weaker’ message and run the risk of getting a lower response overall.

Now, in situations like this, when you don’t know what to do, the easiest thing to do (and by no small coincidence the worst thing to do) is absolutely nothing. You will, however, get exactly nowhere dithering and blithering around … so what you need to do is precisely what I’m doing myself and test both theories on a small sample and see which gets the best result.

So, when you’re torn between two (or more) ideas about which is the best choice to make … of course experience helps, as does having greater knowledge on the subject, and yes I’ve found that these give me a ‘feeling’ for which one will be most successful, which is nearly always right … but the only way I know it’s right, is by testing it … and I suggest you should always do the same.

All The Best,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down

To Upsell, Or Not To Upsell, That Is The Question…

 photo TimForFreeInfo_zpsb648080a.jpgIt seems to be the agreed wisdom in the ‘make money online’ community that the best time to sell to your customers is “when you’ve just sold them something and they’ve already got their credit card in their hand”. This, on the face of it, seems to make perfect sense … but if you get it even the tiniest bit wrong, you can do the complete opposite and really, really annoy the exact same people you are trying to build a relationship with…

So what, then, are the golden rules when ‘upselling’ to a customer who’s just bought something … and how do you really make the most of this opportunity…?

Well, the number one word here is congruency. If your customer has just bought a manual on SEO, don’t offer them an ‘extra’ of a Forex system (no matter how good it might be). Those that get the best results when ‘upselling’ offer something that will make what was explained, shown or instructed in the original purchase happen more quickly and easily. For instance, in the case of the SEO manual I just mentioned, a good upsell would be a series of videos taking you step by step through the instructions given in the manual, or even (though this might be more ‘backend’ than ‘upsell’) offer an outsourcing service that will do all the SEO for them instead.

Once you’ve got the right thing to offer, you need then to offer it in the right way … I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘what you’ve got will solve your problem, but you can solve it more quickly and easily by using this as well’ works better than the ‘What you’ve just bought, actually doesn’t work that well, but if you buy all this stuff as well … you’ll actually be getting what you wanted in the first place’ approach so beloved of so many of our contemporaries who sell on Clickbank. (You might make plenty of sales using the second technique but you certainly won’t end up with too many customers).

And a quick word about endless exit pop-ups … When it comes to getting that extra ‘downsell’ or squeezing the email address out of anyone who visits your site, I know our American cousins swear by them. However, I’m also sure there is a considerable amount of time spent swearing at them, and by using them you might put yourself in the same bracket as the pushy double glazing salesmen who sticks his foot in the door.

There is of course the question of why to offer an upsell at all – if the ‘extras’ make it faster and easier, why not put it all in the product in the first place…? Well, in the example of the SEO manual above, the extra cost attached to making the videos may price the product out of the reach of some of your potential customers … for the sake of something that, if you’ve done a good enough job with the manual, will be far from essential for most of them.

So, like most things, if done correctly and with common sense, upselling can give your customers that little extra ‘something’ they might need … and you some extra revenue, but used inappropriately or in a cynical attempt to squeeze every last penny out of your customers, will be damaging and ultimately affect the longevity of your relationship with your most valuable asset.

Until Next Time,
Tim Lowe
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down