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”I’m not near the end of my story…” with Jeff Bezos

by | In the Magazine, Karl Bryan | 0 comments

If you’re going to learn business strategy from someone… it might as well be from the creator of the largest online retailer on the planet, a guy that has a personal wealth of almost $150 BILLION and the guy Time magazine chose as “Time’s Person Of The Year.”

The man needs no introduction but what the heck… meet Jeff Bezos ladies and gentlemen.

For us mere mortals, it feels like Jeff Bezos and Amazon are already cruising the Summit. Literally the zenith of personal and business accomplishments. However, in his head, he’s barely gotten started and relatively speaking is still a young man at the ripe old age of 54.

He’s quoted recently as saying “I haven’t yet built a lasting company” (?!#$%?*) and that retail shopping online is in its infancy. He’s the richest man on the planet… it’s scary to think of what he’ll accomplish when all is said and done. Oh… he also plans to be the guy that colonizes Mars.

Kinda makes our latest profit acceleration software project feel a tad pathetic :o)

The greatest business and coaching lessons I learned from Jeff Bezos are as follows…

Work Backwards

How do you create a service/product program that is guaranteed to put cash in the register? Well, the best roadmap is to start by figuring out what the targeted end consumers want / need and ultimately WILL PAY FOR.

Fast, hassle-free delivery would be the prime “service” example Amazon has implemented and continues to innovate in this area. The Kindle e-book reader would be a perfect example of where they have done it with a “product.”

Bezos talks about there being two ways to grow a business.

The first is to work out what you’re good at and extend from those skills. The second way, the Amazon way, is to determine what your clients want, need and WILL PAY FOR… and work backward from that point. Importantly, even if it means acquiring and learning new skills.

Way back in the early 2000’s Amazon was primarily an online retailer. Bezos quickly realized the trending popularity of e-books and things like blogs, digital magazines (hmm hmm… The Six Figure Coach Magazine perhaps??) and newspapers… and the fact that consumers were needing an effective way to read them. They subsequently worked backward to create The Kindle. BTW the first edition of the Kindle sold out in less than 10 hours of launch and currently sells more than 1.5 million per week.

One of my best friends and business mentors is Jonny Moses… also a rock star hockey player. One of those annoying human beings that are good at everything. He taught me this strategy of “working backward” many moons ago. I was known for coming up with wild and crazy business ideas and he’d be the first guy I’d hit with the ones I thought were winners.

He’d make me grab a piece of paper and pen… we’d start on the right side of the page as if we were writing Hebrew, and together we created the business plan needed to move from end result to initial plan. Not the other way around.

Often the result was that my idea had NO CHANCE. Lol.  Good news: I hit a couple home runs thanks to him and his advice.

Become Historic

The man is clearly out to make history. In fact, he already well and truly has, and I find few things in this world as admirable as his “JUST DO IT” (sorry Nike) attitude.

The last thing I’d ever do is to try to place myself, or my company in Bezos category. But I can tell you we work HARD and tirelessly to build the best and most prolific, private  “Business Coaching Community” in the world. They all support one another and simply put… it’s a pleasure to witness them all grow and succeed. We’re 600 successful business coaches strongly now…. and plan to hit 5000. In other words, we haven’t even gotten started and we plan to be “historic” in the business coaching space. One day they’ll bronze me :o)

Act Boldly

It’s only through deliberate and massive action that a person can create an entire category of business while the entire world is calling you “crazy.” Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that ppl predicted the inevitable demise of the business we now know as Amazon that sold books and CD’s online.

In 1994 Bezos had a well-paying job and he made the biggest decision and the largest gamble of his life to start an online bookstore.

As Amazon has grown toward becoming a trillion dollar company he’s always encouraged the company’s decision-makers to err on the side of action. In fact, a “bias for action” is one of Amazons six core values.  It has sometimes worked incredibly well (Prime membership and “one-click shopping”) and other times, not so much (The Fire phone and Amazon auctions that could not compete with Ebay).

Bottom line is they’re willing to travel some dark passageways and occasionally they find something that works.

Ask The Right Questions

This is pure GOLD. Jeff Bezos talks about ppl coming up to him and constantly asking “What is going to change in the next ten years?

No one ever asks “What is NOT going to change?” Wow. This is the question that is significantly more important and it’s not being asked! 

Think about it, you can build a business around things that are stable over time.  In his retail business he knows customers will want: 

  1. Low prices
  2. Fast delivery

Vast selection

Before anyone at Amazon can create a new product, they’re required to create a highly detailed press release. Logically it’s a LOT less expensive for a manager (or staff member as the case may be) to create a press release for approval rather than create the product / service only to find out it wasn’t going to work (didn’t solve a problem). 

As obvious as this sounds, it’s very rare.  When I sold traditional “internet marketing” ($97 per month memberships to my website as an example), I’d often sell the program to my list first… and then if it sold well… I got busy and created it (I’d have the first week done). If it didn’t sell well… I’d change the name/marketing copy and try again the following week.

If it still didn’t sell well… I didn’t bother to create the program which saved me a LOT of time. For the few that originally purchased my program, I offered the option of a refund or I applied the money to a one to one consultation. Think about how much time and effort that would save a person from creating programs that didn’t sell well.  

Here’s a sample outline for the press release for Jeff Bezos:

  • Heading — Must name the product in a way the reader (the targeted audience) will understand.
  • Sub-Heading — Describe the ideal customer for the product and what benefit they receive. One sentence only underneath the heading.
  • Summary — Provide a summary of the product and the benefit to the prospective customer.
  • Problem — Describe the problem the new product/service will solve.
  • Solution — Describe in detail how your product solves the problem.
  • Quote from You — A quote from someone in your company that will help sell the new product/service.
  • How to Get Started — Describe how easy it is to get started.
  • Customer Quote — Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer that describes how they benefitted from the product/service
  • Call to Action — Explain how they get it and where to go next

At my company, we do the same for our private business coaching community and follow a similar process when someone wants to promote to my clients.

Once a week on Monday, we get together with all my managers. When a new product/service is offered (we get about 5 pitches a week), we have it pitched at this meeting.

We run through a similar process, less formal, and essentially decide if this is something we want to offer our community. The NORTH STAR (this is the big picture for your business and I explained it in detail in an email I sent out. Mark Zuckerberg is “Does it help us grow”… Gary Vaynerchuk’s’ is “Does it get me attention” ) for my company is simply this question:

“Does it help a business coach get a small business client?”

If the answer is no, it’s stopped dead in its tracks. If the answer is yes… we’ll look further at it with no guarantees.  I can tell you more often than not it’s an insanely short process (most ideas are very POORLY thought through and serve the purpose of making money more than they do solve A PROBLEM). 

But a valuable one because many bad ideas become the genesis of good ones so we keep the process alive and constantly try to improve upon it. 

As the late great Steve Jobs said: 

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

I’d highly encourage you to always look for new and clever ways to HELP small business owners. The bottom line… the better the coach you are the more likely your successful.  This industry is OBSESSED with “lead generation.” It’s important but often a distraction to what your real job is… to help business owners.

Think Long Term

It’s easy and tempting to focus on where the best short-term payoffs are. That’s also a poor business strategy on average.

Thinking long term creates an opportunity for businesses with the discipline to play a more deliberative, compounding end game.  It’s all about the long-term at Amazon.  For years, that’s been Amazon’s mantra and they’ve pulled it off in spades.

“We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.” Jeff Bezos

Most retailers have profit margins of approx 3% to 15%.  Bezos and Amazon average between 1% and 2%. They could raise their prices, but they don’t. They’re all about creating sticky long-term customers rather than concerning themselves with what their stock might think or react to.

Amazon also has an aggressive reinvestment program.

Capital expenditures totaled more than $10.2 billion in 2017, up from $7 billion the previous year. 

A lot of the 10.2 billion was spent on improving their ability to deliver faster – what’s referred to as “last mile delivery.”  Amazon’s footprint across their warehouses, office space and data centers grew last year by 43% to 256 million sq ft!

The eye for the “long-term” (while Jeff Bezos was being HAMMERED by media, the stock market and the like) has created an incredible scaled advantage that will be hard for competitors like Walmart to ever pull back.

Excellent People Make Excellent Companies.

Amazon maintains an incredibly high standard when it comes to the staff it recruits. ”Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of’s success. It’s not easy to work here (when I interview people I tell them, “You can work long, hard or smart, but at you can’t choose two out of the three”), but we’re working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can tell our grandchildren about.” Jeff Bezos

I love the statement “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  It’s therefore fair to say the first five employees of a company are critical because they set the standard for the next 50 coming through.   

Talent attracts talent

Prioritizing work ethic, teamwork and culture from the beginning is a pivotal reason folks like Bezos, Zuckerberg, Jobs, and Gates knocked it out of the park the way they did.

Jeff Bezos is currently worth $141.1 billion but he didn’t get there on his lonesome. He’s created an Army of over 500,000 talented and committed staff that effectively share the same goal and are proud to say they work at Amazon.

I’d say the same thing about my company.

And, once again, in NO WAY am I placing myself in Bezos nor Amazon’s league!! But we have created an active community of over 600 successful business coaches that use our software, online coaching systems, and network. My staff is dedicated to a fault and it’s all about building a “family” culture and being passionate about the small business owners success (then everyone wins and ends up getting paid handsomely).

Moral of the story: As a business coach you TOO can create a small Army of folks and it’s up to you to think long-term and work diligently towards a clear end goal that you communicate regularly with your team (ideally the goal involves helping other people. The goal of “making $250k per year” will inspire NO ONE)

Thanks for tuning in,

Karl Bryan


Karl Bryan, creator of Profit Acceleration Software™  

Karl is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Six-Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world. His goal is straightforward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients. Find out more at

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