Charles Gaudet is the founder of Predictable Profits, a marketing and business growth firm for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Charles created his first multi-million dollar organization at 24 years old. He is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of the widely acclaimed “Predictable Profits Entrepreneurial Growth System.” His often-controversial marketing insight is responsible for the rapid and accelerated growth of countless small businesses around the world earning him the title of “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion” by both his private clients and his VIP Insiders’ Club Members.
MO: You have proven yourself as a successful entrepreneur. Was starting your own business something you always saw yourself doing? How did you get started?
Charles: I started my first business at the young age of four, creating and selling artwork to my neighbors. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family – my father, uncle, and grandfather all owned their own businesses. My father would frequently come home with advice: “Kid, if you ever want to make something of yourself, you’ve got to start your own business.” As with many kids, who look upon their parents as heroic figures, I wanted to make my parents proud, so I started my first business.
I realized that as long as I gave people something they wanted, they were willing to pay money. I started many businesses, ranging from setting up a tollbooth in my parents’ home (I still can’t believe they let me get away with this one!), inventing a card-shuffling machine in kindergarten, selling school supplies, and providing a student tutoring business in the fifth grade. Later, my businesses matured into landscaping, consulting, pet health insurance, real estate development, and much more.
I created my first multi-million-dollar business when I was 24 years old, but it didn’t come without challenge. I was in debt to the tune of millions, I’d admitted myself to the emergency room for stress, I couldn’t sleep at night, and my relationship with my wife was breaking down to the point where it almost ended in divorce. I was working every waking hour of the day because I thought that was how I was going to compete, but when I couldn’t squeeze any more hours into the day, I finally realized there had to be a better way.
That’s when I started to think strategically, and within a year, I’d paid off all my debt and created a business with one of the highest profit margins in the industry. That’s what helped inspire the business I’m most proud of today, PredictableProfits.com. This is a business where I can share everything I’ve learned throughout the years, and it’s been my most rewarding business to date. When you’re working with entrepreneurs who are frustrated, struggling, or feel stuck, and you can help them achieve a higher degree of success, it’s such a good feeling.
MO: Predictable Profits helps companies create “psychological triggers” within their clients so they can, in turn, make more money. How do you uncover these psychological triggers?
Charles: Whether you own a business selling B2B or B2C, it’s common for entrepreneurs to believe that their businesses are different. While your business should be unique, the reasons people buy are actually very common across the board. You see people buy on emotions, and then rationalize with logic.
For example, you may be looking for recognition, praise, envy, prestige, popularity, security, comfort, health, attraction, love, to be a part of a community, or to look good in front of your friends, peers, and colleagues. You almost might want to avoid criticism, pain, guilt, embarrassment, loss, or looking bad.
Regardless of your industry, 99% of all psychological triggers can be matched to your marketing message. For example, have you ever heard the saying, “Nobody gets fired buying IBM?” They’re after security and comfort. I just saw an ad by Ernst & Young with the headline, “Aiming higher?” They’re targeting praise, envy, security, and the feeling of accomplishment. We encourage our clients to look at why their customers are buying and build in a psychological trigger to their marketing message beyond “Here’s my widget, and this is why you need it.”
MO: What are some things that our readers can do in order to discover their untapped profit opportunities? How will these opportunities benefit them in the long run?
Charles: There are many untapped profit opportunities – there are at least 50 I can think of. They all begin to unveil themselves with what we call “The Growth Factor ™.” It’s a question we’re constantly asking ourselves as business owners. The Growth Factor™ asks, “What can I do today to provide my clients, customers, or patients with a greater advantage or benefit to get them closer to the ultimate result they’re after?”
In some cases, you might discover a joint venture opportunity. In other cases, it’s a new product, service, or bundle you can make available to customers. It could be delivering greater-than-expected customer service.
Just look at Amazon. If they didn’t ask themselves a similar question, they wouldn’t have become the retail behemoth they are today. They discovered they could give their customers a greater advantage by simplifying and improving the buying process; hence, their product explanations, reviews, and Amazon Prime.
The purpose of business is not to make money – the real purpose is to provide people with a greater advantage or benefit for choosing to do business with you. The more aligned you are with the real purpose of business, the more successful you will be.
MO: Have you discovered any unconventional resources for profits in your clients’ business models? What were they?
Charles: Almost everything we do is unconventional because most entrepreneurs don’t take the steps necessary to be competitive in today’s market. In fact, most of your competition is paralyzed with fear, and their only strategy is hope. They hope the economy will turn around and things will change. Most of your competition is focused on generating new sales, while ignoring their customers. Your competition believes they have to compete on price to get the sale; they’re wasting money on ineffective brand advertising.
Our bread-and-butter marketing strategy is called The Customer Re-Engagement Strategy™, and it’s centered on a simple 5-step process for getting more money out of your existing customers who are considered “disengaged.” You simply build a series of psychological triggers into a message, which informs the customer you realize he hasn’t done business with you in a while, you’re genuinely concerned, you remind him why he chose to do business with you in the first place, and you offer him a limited-time preferred customer offer to resume doing business with you.
We’ve seen over 100% increases in sales in just a few days’ time with this strategy. People respond well when they feel special, valued, recognized, and appreciated.
MO: What is the biggest challenge related to helping people discover untapped profits? How do you help your clients overcome these obstacles?
Charles: In truth, the biggest challenge is to get people to realize that just because you believe something worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work now. One of my mentors, Marshall Thurber, is famous for saying, “There are reasons and there are results. The only thing that matters is the results.”
While we have our theories for why certain techniques that worked in the past have stopped working today, we must remain focused on the only truth: the cold, hard facts. We see people doing one of three things today: They are 1) doing more of what they did before, 2) doing less of what they did before, or 3) not doing anything at all.
Trying to convince someone to do something totally different, something that he’s not seeing his competitors doing, and convincing him to be willing to challenge the status quo is the biggest challenge.
MO: Where do you see yourself and Predictable Profits heading in the future?
Charles: Being an entrepreneur for as many years as I have, I’ve learned one thing: To be an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be a special kind of person. The entrepreneur has to endure an enormous amount of physical and mental toughness. We’ve chosen the difficult road, and while so many people can enjoy tuning out at 5 p.m., the entrepreneur’s job never ends.
Entrepreneurs create jobs, develop opportunities, and provide products/services that make the world a better place to live. When I think of how lucky I am to be an entrepreneur and how fortunate I’ve been to make it this far, I can’t think of anything more rewarding than the opportunity to be able to help other entrepreneurs get closer to the dreams they thought were possible when they decided to become entrepreneurs. In the future, I hope I’m still right here in the trenches with all of them.
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