Secrets of Next-Level Entrepreneurs

April

7

0 comments

How would you like to have a collection of practical and insightful resources that walk you through how to grow a profitable business while maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life? Sounds pretty great to me? If it sounds great to you, then this is an episode you don’t want to miss. We’ve got Alex Brueckmann, the author of Secrets of Next-Level Entrepreneurs with us today to dig into this topic.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Alex Brueckmann for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

Watch This Episode


Listen To The Podcast

Subscribe To The Podcast

Apple Podcasts
Spotify
Google Podcast
Stitcher
iHeart Radio

Read The Transcript Here


Podcast Transcription

Secrets of Next-Level Entrepreneurs

Tim Fitzpatrick
How would you like to have a collection of practical and insightful resources that walk you through how to grow a profitable business while maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life? I don't know about you. It sounds pretty good to me. If it sounds pretty good to you, then this is an episode you do not want to miss. We've got Alex Brueckman with us today who's the author of Secrets of Next Level Entrepreneurs. We're going to dig into this topic today. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult and you must remove your revenue roadblocks if you want to accelerate revenue growth. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am super excited to have Alex Brueckman back with me. It was back in September of 2021 when we had a podcast episode. We were talking before we jumped on air. Hard to believe that that much time has passed, but thank you for coming back.

Alex Brueckman
Thank you for having me back, Tim. It's exciting to be back on the show.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, and congrats on the book, man. I have not written a book yet. I don't know if I will, but from those that I know who have written them, I know that it is a ton of work. So congratulations.

Alex Brueckman
I second that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So before we jump into talking about the book, I want to ask you some rapid fire questions to help us get to know you. Are you ready to jump in with both feet here?

Alex Brueckman
Fire away.

Tim Fitzpatrick
When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Alex Brueckman
With my son.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That was a quick and easy one, wasn't it?

Alex Brueckman
That was very easy.

Tim Fitzpatrick
How old is he?

Alex Brueckman
Three years. Yeah, he turned three in January. A bundle of joy.

Tim Fitzpatrick
They grow up very fast, so live in the moment. What's your hidden talent?

Alex Brueckman
I'm really good at doing laundry.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Dude, I like it. I've never had anybody say that one. That's a good one. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Alex Brueckman
Don't go for second best, baby. It's a Madonna song reference. My ex wife actually gave that advice to me, and it is the best advice I ever had.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Alex Brueckman
That I actually had a career before becoming a corporate guy and a management consultant. I'm a professionally trained radio host.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I did not know that. That's crazy. How long did you do that?

Alex Brueckman
In total, for about five years before I went to business school and studied business administration. But also during studying, I kept writing and visiting a lot of concerts and shows and kept writing stories for music magazines.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What radio show was it? What kind of music?

Alex Brueckman
The format was adult, people in their mid 30s to mid 50s, a fairly normal radio show in a fairly normal region somewhere in Germany.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What does success mean to you?

Alex Brueckman
Making enough money to live a life that allows me to maximize time with family and friends.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where's your happy place?

Alex Brueckman
In the saddle of my motorcycle.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I like that one. What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

Alex Brueckman
Very different one. Different qualities, actually. Some of them, especially in my close circle of friends, they've known me for quite some time that they can ask the questions that really make me think. Holding up a mirror and helping me reflect on the trajectory I'm on, the things I say, and others. It's not so much that they hold up a mirror, but it's what I really value in people if they have depth, if I can just cut straight to where a juicy conversation can happen.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. Before we jump into the book, just tell us a little bit, you touched on this a little bit, you're in management consulting. Tell us a little bit more about what you're doing, who you're working with, how you're helping people.

Alex Brueckman
Let's start with who my clients are because that gives you a very good example of the type of work that I do. Most of the businesses that I work with are nine figure businesses and up. Established companies, most of them led by professional management. Some of them still founder owned and founder led, which shouldn't mean that it's not professional, but it's often a very defining moment in the growth stage of a business when you move from founder led to president led and later to install a board of directors, et cetera. I work a lot with executive and boards. What I do is I help these organizations get their head around their business strategy. We're talking about the overarching trajectory of the business over the next two, three, often five years and help the business align their processes, their structures, their leadership, their talent development, anything to support this new business strategy that we designed together.

A Great Story of How You Never Know Where Things are Headed

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. Let's talk about the book, man. Secrets of Next Level entrepreneurs. You have a surprising back story. Share this with us with the book.

Alex Brueckman
I think there are two elements to that. The first big surprise is that we never intended to publish the book with a major publisher. We actually wanted to self publish because there are apparent benefits of self publishing when it comes especially from the speed of how fast you can get the book into the market to anything around you are in control of the entire process. When Wiley saw that we started to market the book on LinkedIn, I received a message and that message was like, Hey, do you have a publisher for that book? I took the message forwarded it to my literary agent who had just sold another book for me. And I was like, Is that a scam? Is that for real? And my agent was, Yeah, I've known that person for 10 years. That's legit. Let's talk. So that was really surprising because we never really thought that an anthology book like that could be of interest to a big publisher. And that was the first mistake right there. Don't assume anything. And I think the second piece of that back story of the book is that the interesting piece is how it came to life. The idea for the book was born after a business summit that I ran early 2021 that featured, I think, well, that's not true. It was early 2022. And it featured more than 40 experts on several topics, a fairly broad range of topics, to be honest. And after that event, several of these ideas, they just all of a sudden appeared with that red thread. And I was thinking, Those make sense. They fall into three big buckets. You can take each of these ideas and pull value out of them, or you read them in the context of that book and see how they link. And I started talking to the contributors, to the speakers in my summit that I thought would be a great addition to the book. And they all said yes. Then we started writing.

Tim Fitzpatrick
How many contributors do you have in the book?

Alex Brueckman
The book has 11 chapters and there are nine contributors. So I contributed two chapters. Everyone else contributed one chapter, which makes 11.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love this story. So you weren't even necessarily thinking about writing this book, but you put together an online business summit, had some great people that you connected with that gave awesome presentations. And then you start to look at the content and you're like, Oh, my God. This could actually be a really cool book. You reach out, you get them to okay it. They're all good. You write the book. You're thinking about self publishing. And then this is a perfect example of the power of social media that is so easy for us to overlook. And I think sometimes when we're trying to make things happen like this on social media, they don't. This is just one of those fortuitous things where it's like, man, you're just putting this out there to the world. And man, something came your way. And it's just crazy because social media does have that power because you never know who the hell is going to see these things.

Alex Brueckman
I think it's interesting when you take a look at the dynamic that was at play during that time. I already mentioned that my agent had just sold the manuscript of my second book, which will come out later in 2023, to a publishing house. And I think several of the publishers that had passed on that manuscript, they were all of a sudden, Wait a second, there is a second book? He definitely sold his manuscript. Maybe there is something in it that we want. So it was probably something around FOMO as well. And sometimes it just falls into place. And if you are in a position, and I think this is something in general when it comes to marketing, you can't just expect that things happen. You have to do the groundwork. And once you've done the groundwork for everything and then you put it out into the world, things can fall into place. I think we've earned our spot in the chain of luck, if you want.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Well, you know what, too, Alex, it's a great example of social proof, right? When you were working on the book before this, weren't getting much interest, and all of a sudden there's interest in something else you're working on and people are like, Oh, they're interested in what he's doing? Maybe we should be too. You yeah, a couple of really cool marketing examples from what's happened with the book so far.

PUSH THROUGH YOUR REVENUE ROADBLOCKS! 

Get the outside eyes and feedback you need to get on the right path with your marketing.

Gain clarity and understanding. You'll leave your discovery call knowing where to focus your marketing efforts right now to get the best return on your investment.

Three Powerful Lessons of Next-level Entrepreneurs

Tim Fitzpatrick
Let's dig into this a little bit. You had mentioned there's 11 chapters, 11 lessons within the book about next level entrepreneurs. If you had to choose three of your favorites, what would they be and why? Let's dig into these a little bit.

Alex Brueckman
You're putting me into a very difficult situation here.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I know. Hey, they're all your babies, right? How do I choose one?

Alex Brueckman
I think let's approach it from a perspective of... You're a marketing guy, so let's take... In the first theme of the book, where we talk about essential hard skills, there is a theme in there that is very closely related to marketing, which is value based pricing. How do you actually price your products and services correctly? How do you do that? Dr. Hammond Simon, the founder of Simon & Kucher, one of the biggest marketing and management consulting companies in the world, he's, I would say, the pricing guru in the world. He contributed a chapter and linked it closely to, which comes in very handy these days. He linked pricing closely to the topic of high inflation at the moment. So he presents an approach to pricing in general that is applicable for both small business owners and larger operations. And he dissects the topic of what is value pricing, how do you approach it? If you don't have the means and knowledge to do a conjoined measurement analysis, how can you still use the idea behind it and break it down into a few simple questions that help you figure out whether you're pricing your services correctly or not, even if you have no business background whatsoever? So how do you link the value of your products and services and the elements, the characteristics of these products and services to your pricing. I think this is extremely valuable for a lot of entrepreneurs out there, but also corporate leaders and people in general that want to... The that lead a certain area in a business and they want to strengthen their business acumen. So I think this is a super valuable part in the first theme of the book.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. How do you define value based pricing?

Alex Brueckman
I think when we understand how people approach the question, what should I charge for my services? And this is whether you go to a restaurant and see the menu and see the price behind each item, or whether you go to a DIY store, it's always the same question, what should we charge for that? The question is always, how do companies approach it? Is it competition based? Are they asking, what's the other restaurant down the corner charging for something similar? Or is it cost plus based? It costs us X amount of money to produce that item. Let's mark it up by 18 % or 20 % and then sell it. These are two very different approaches to pricing that do not capture the value that your service potentially delivers to your customer. When you ask yourself about the value, the pain that it takes away, the value that it brings, we're entering into a different conversation. I recently had a conversation with Professor Felix Oberholz of Harvard Business School who said he would be willing to pay about $7 US for the first coffee in the morning because that's about the value that this first cup of coffee holds for him. Of course, he doesn't pay that much. And that's additional value that the customer receives when they pay, let's say, $2 for the coffee. Those five extra dollars that you would be willing to pay, they are just value add in your own pocket. And this is a good example to understand the value of a service, of a product, and that you don't necessarily have to exploit the entire willingness to pay of a customer. You can always share the value. It doesn't mean you have to put all the value in your own pockets. But to approach it from that perspective gives you an idea of the value that you bring and then price your offering accordingly.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you think that certain types of businesses or businesses in certain industries lend themselves better to a value based pricing model than others?

Alex Brueckman
I don't have any data or intel to answer that question. I do know that small business owners very often struggle tremendously when it comes to value based pricing. Some do it really well and don't know why. It's just their gut feeling that tells them to go for that, or they read something about it. Others approach it from a more academic perspective. But a lot of small business owners that I know, it's hit and miss. They just try. And that's not to say that this is bad. At least they try. And by trial and error, they find somehow a sweet spot where they price themselves in the market that they can live of their services and at the same time are not the cheapest out there so that they get swamped with work that they then can't deliver. So yeah, you got to fool around a little bit sometimes to figure out what you want to do and how you want to price your products and services. But in the end, pricing is not rocket science and it's really not a black box. If you follow those few steps that Herman offers in his chapter, you are already on a very good way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So value based pricing, what's the next secret?

Alex Brueckman
Let's jump into the second theme of the book. This theme is all about leadership and work culture. There is a chapter that was contributed by Angela Howard in the book. Angela is an organizational psychologist that is working with her clients around the topics of creating impactful work cultures. Reading that chapter and distilling the essence out of it with her was a huge joy because she has a very fresh take on what culture is and how we can understand work culture. And that, for me personally, was really interesting to see, especially when I take it into when we take it into consideration what happened over the past two to three years and anything that it is work culture related. So the COVID 19 pandemic just messed up a lot of what people would consider their work culture just because people couldn't go into the office anymore. Then it was used as an excuse to bring people back into the office. And they were, We have to take care of our culture. So we are debunking that topic of culture, what it really is, and how to shape it in that chapter. I believe that for many corporate leaders and directors somewhere in the middle in a business, it offers a really fresh take on what culture can be and how to create an impactful work culture that gives people a sense of belonging.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's interesting that you're bringing this up. I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine a couple of days ago, about what he's seeing. He's actually in sales, sells large infrastructure, audio videos, stuff for commercial buildings. A lot of their clients right now are cutting back on office space, partly because of the pandemic and that shift, but also partly because of downsizing with fears of the economic strength that's out there right now. And we've all seen in the news stuff about certain companies wanting people to go back to work. And he and I were talking about that. And it's like, you said, gosh, yeah, people aren't in the office. It's impacting our culture. And now you see people going, well, you've got to come back to the office. And in my opinion, if you're forcing people to come back to the office and they don't want to come back to the office, that is going to negatively impact your culture. So we need to get out of this, this is the way we've always done it, so this is the way we need to keep doing it mentality and figure out what this new normal is going to be like. I'm assuming that Angela touches on some of that in the chapter.

Alex Brueckman
Absolutely.

Tim Fitzpatrick
The way we've always done it is never a good reason, is it?

Alex Brueckman
It's the number one reason why business strategies fail.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, there you go. My guess is you probably love to hear people say that because you know you can help them.

Alex Brueckman
Oh, yeah. Actually, when I hear that sentence, I often just run because that's the biggest red flag that you can find in the leadership of a business. If an executive or a leader that is working on strategy is saying something along the lines of, We've always done it that way. That's why we should keep doing it. And they can't back it up with numbers, then it's a dangerous place to be.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. And it's amazing. So you said it's the number one reason. It's crazy, man. You have a ton of people making the same mistakes over and over again.

Alex Brueckman
That's just how it is.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Okay, so we talked about value based pricing, leadership and work culture. What's the third one you want to share with us today?

Alex Brueckman
In the third theme of the book, we talk about self care. A lot of corporate guys and entrepreneurs, they just put in so many hours that there isn't too much left for the rest of their life outside work, and we want to change that. We offer hyper specific advice on tools and exercises that help you create a more balanced life. When we use the term balance, we don't mean 50 50 work life balance, or outdated concepts like that. We really talk about what is it that makes you happy, that fulfills you, and how can you make sure that these things take the majority of your time in your life, rather than figuring out, why are these things in my life that I have never invited, but they are there? So we help you, first of all, figure out why that is the case. So for example, if you think about your own value system and what you want to have in life, and you tell me that family and kids are a huge part in your life, and at the same time, you spend no time whatsoever with your family and you don't have kids. My question is, why is this part of your value system and where does it come from? And if you allow yourself to dig into these questions, you might arrive at something like, Yeah, it's been instilled in me by my own family. And I think social pressures play a certain role in there as well. So if you're really honest to yourself, you realize, and this was just an example, there might be things in your life that you attribute value to that really don't bring you joy. So the question is, where do they come from? Why are they in there? And then figuring out how to let them go and use the time and resources that you set free and reallocate them to those elements in your life that fulfill you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think it's really easy for us to have misalignment in our values. Well, I think there are a lot of people that don't know. They haven't even thought about what their values actually are. But even those of us that have, sometimes we think that these things are important to us, and then we realize the example you gave is a perfect example, Alex, where it's like, Gosh, family is super important to me, and then you're working all the time. If they are, it could still be a value, but it may not be as high up your value chain as you think it might be. Another thing that when you talk about self care, as you were talking about this section of the book, I'm thinking of the analogy that we're all familiar with, the being on the airplane. That when the oxygen mask drop down, you got to take the oxygen mask first so that you can help the people around you. As business owners, if we're not taking care of ourselves, then we're not going to have the energy, the wherewithal, the passion that we need to drive our business and to help those people that are involved in our businesses. I love the fact that you're highlighting this in the book. How many chapters do you have on self care in the book?

Alex Brueckman
Three chapters. We have 11 chapters in total. They're spread out over three themes. Theme number one are essential hard skills that you at some point in your career will need, whether you're an entrepreneur or a business leader. The second theme is all around leadership and culture creation. We're offering different perspectives and approaches to this theme. The third theme is self care. How do you get to know yourself on a deeper level? How can you self actualize? And how can you use just intentional mindset shifts on a deeper level to help you let go of things that don't serve you and instead embrace mindsets that give you the opportunity to become curious again, become a learner again. Don't take yourself too serious and just approach life and business with a fundamental curiosity about how things work.


Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you have a self care tip tactic that is a favorite of yours?

Alex Brueckman
Well, I wrote one of the chapters in this theme based on my own experience between September 2019 and March 2020, which was an extremely difficult time in my life where my dad passed away and my son was born within two weeks. We moved to a different continent from Germany to Canada. I had just founded a new business. My wife went through a last difficult trimester of her pregnancy. When you take all these things that happened within just four or five months, it would have been pretty easy for me to just lose my mind. And if you remember back March 2020, now in hindsight, everything doesn't seem so bad anymore. But if you remember back, no one knew anything about the pandemic. No one knew anything. We didn't know, is it a two week thing? Two month, two years? How heavy will it hit? And we had to take some really tough decisions. Do we wait it out or do we move from Germany to Canada under lockdown conditions? It was brutal. So I never really knew how I made it through that period until a friend came over two years later and we talked about it. And she helped me discover, apparently, that I let go of some of my own mindsets that made me successful in the past. And I embraced them to make sense out of this extreme time. Also, this is just an example. Everyone out there that listens to us probably experiences at some point in their life a period where you just want to throw in the towel. And the question is always, do you do it? Do you throw in the towel? Or do you take a deep breath and look inside and ask yourself, what can I do differently? How can I approach this situation in a different way to allow myself to pull value out of it? And especially when it comes to these difficult times, this can be a source of inspiration and energy.

The Number One Mindset that Kills Business Strategy

Tim Fitzpatrick
Thanks for sharing that, man. One other thing I want to talk about the book. What's your personal highlight in the book?

Alex Brueckman
I think it's not in the book. It's about how the book came to life. Working with nine other authors to create this book was... I don't want to say it's like hurting cats because that wouldn't do it justice. It sounds way too negative. But writing a book on your own is challenging, let alone doing it with two hands full of contributors. So I knew when I started to bring the book together, I knew what I would put myself up against. But when I think back now, it was a period where I learned so much. It was not about the work, it was about the joy of bringing the book together. I will do it again, for sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Read another book, but also read another book with contributors.

Alex Brueckman
Correct.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. When does the when does the book come out? As we shoot this, it is March 10th. Tell us when things start to hit here.

Alex Brueckman
The 28th of March is the official release date in North America. Beginning of May, UK, and Europe, and it just trickles through the world then. If you want to get your hands on a free chapter, go to nextlevelbook.co. There you can download the first, I think, 30 pages of the book for free and just take a look inside. When you do that, you also just automatically receive an invite for the launch event. If you listen to this after March 28, you can still get the free chapter. The party is over.

Conclusion: Secrets of Next-Level Entrepreneurs

Tim Fitzpatrick
Head on over to nex levelbook.co. Alex, it's been great reconnecting with you, man. I really appreciate you taking the time. Any last minute thoughts you want to leave us with today?

Alex Brueckman
I think one of the biggest learnings for me over the past 24 months, writing two books, and this goes out especially to the people that are in your world, in the marketing world. It's been a ton of work, but it's amazing to see what happens when you put yourself out there and when you create original content. As they say, one original idea is worth more than a thousand copied ideas. And I think at some point in your career, when you're listening to this, you will realize that you do have original ideas. Take them and put them into the format of a book or another asset. Create your own podcast, whatever it is. I think most people don't realize the power of these original ideas. It just attracts the right people into your world all of a sudden when you put yourself out there. Even if it's scary, do it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I'm excited for you, man. I think great things are going to happen as this book starts to launch. I can't wait to read it. I can't wait until later this month. Alex, thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it. For those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you. We've been talking about secrets of next level entrepreneurs, and in my opinion, next level entrepreneurs have ways that they find to accelerate revenue growth and really grow a company quickly. If you want to know which roadblocks are slowing down your growth, head on over to revenueroadblockscorecard.com. It evaluates the nine revenue roadblocks we help clients remove so that they can accelerate growth. You can also always connect with us over at our website at rialtomarketing.com. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time. Take care.


Connect With Alex Brueckmann


Links From The Episode


About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

Tired of marketing that doesn't deliver? Ready to create lasting marketing success?

The world of marketing is vast and constantly evolving. It's easy to fall prey to information overload and feel lost in the marketing maze. In this ever-evolving landscape, expert guidance is critical to navigate successfully.

We understand - marketing your business can be more than just challenging; it can be downright disheartening. But it doesn't have to be. Marketing shouldn't be difficult.

Limited returns on your marketing efforts? Unsure about your next move? Or perhaps you're doing all the "marketing stuff," but it's not working.

This is where our expertise comes into play.

We provide marketing consulting, advisory, and outsourced or part-time marketing executive services. We help MSPs & B2B professional service firms build and manage their marketing engine to get where they want to go faster.

Ready to remove your revenue roadblocks and simplify marketing? It's about time you feel confident in your marketing strategy. Let us help.