Collected Edition | #EveryoneStartsAtZero (June 2015)

This is the Collected Edition of our #EveryoneStartsAtZero Guided Learning Conversation Series.  All you’ll need is a note pad; access to the internet on pc, phone or tablet and the form link for The Guided Learning Journal.

Learning is easy.  Visit the links, write down the answer to the questions on a notepad and then add them to the Guided Learning Journal using our simple online form. Any questions you have use the ‘Your Message/Questions’ box.

I’ve wrote an FAQ on how to use Guided Learning at:



Video – Caines Arcade
How Do You Know What to Sell?
Be Amazing, Serve the Customers You Have (Your Store, Your Way)
Turning On Your Sales Machine
Practical Project and Mentorship Offer


So let’s get started

We began the with a video called ‘Caines Arcade’ [Must Watch Video – 10:58 mins]

Here’s what I said on Facebook


What can a 9 year old teach us about business?

I wanted to write a post today about something I really cared about. It was pretty obvious to me that it was Entrepreneurship. I’ve wanted my own business since I was 14. In 2001 I achieved that dream and started Tyrer Sorrel. For the past 13 years I’ve been on my Entrepreneur’s Journey. It’s a journey of highs, lows, tears and elation. I’m a Sole Trader but it’s not a solo journey. I wouldn’t be here without great people around me and along the way. There have been times that I have struggled but I’ve always tried to tell myself – “This is what you have wanted since you were 14”. I just feels right.
So, what did I want to write about Entrepreneurship? That it’s simple. We try and complicate it with graphs, charts, goals, spreadsheets, business plans etc. All important of course and I’m guilty too. However business is simple. Sell something, serve the customers you have, be amazing and realise that everyone starts at zero. Take for example one of my earlier Signature Projects called ‘The 153 Mile Challenge’. In that project I had 9,242 participants in the first year alone. At the time of writing I have 63 people on this page. A big thank you to the first 63. You’ve always got to take the first step. Just do it. Today if possible.
Interestingly enough I found a YouTube video yesterday whilst working on our current ‘Supporting Families Guided Learning Series’. That’s not for entrepreneurs. I wasn’t looking for Entrepreneur stuff. It found me. Spooky how things like that happen. It’s called ‘Caines Arcade’, I think it’s a MUST WATCH video for Entrepreneurs (and Creatives). It’s just 10:58 minutes.

So what can a 9 year old teach us about business? Simplicity. Sell and serve the customers you have. Be amazing to them. Even if that’s just one person. Need an example check out what he does for the ticket machine. They say it themselves in the video – “This kids a genius”.

I should have started at 14!


and moved onto


How Do You Know What to Sell?

Ok so you are just starting out or you want to take your business to the next level. What’s the first thing you need to do?

Think of a product to sell; get a logo designed; build a website; open a new shop or spend hours producing an all singing all dancing business plan?

Whilst they are obviously important I don’t think any of these things are the first thing you need to do. The first thing I think you need to do is to BUILD A LIST. In fact the biggest thing you need to do throughout your business journey is to build a list and keep building it.

A simple list? You’re having a laugh right? What’s on this list?

The list is a list of YOUR CUSTOMERS. It can be a list of emails; a list of telephone numbers; in electronic format or on paper. It doesn’t really matter. You just need a list of customers and their direct contact details.

Why? Why not think of a product first?

Put simply you need someone to sell to. You need a market. Thinking of a specific product to sell isn’t the first step. You need someone that wants your product and a way of making an offer to that person. You can’t make an offer if you don’t know who they are; where they are or what’s important to them.

But more importantly – it’s not really about the list, it’s about the RELATIONSHIPS you have with people on that list. Selling is about relationships. Having a relationship with your customers or potential customers is the biggest and best way to answer the question ‘What should I sell?’. You can ask them or research their needs.
If you want to answer the question ‘How Do You Know What to Sell?’ – identify your customer first; establish what they need most and sell it to them. Solve their problems. All successful selling is based on establishing a need first. I’d like to make business more complicated than that but I can’t. If you’ve been in business for a long time you’ll really identify with this. Sometimes when we get stuck or are looking to grow we forget the basics. Check out Caine’s Arcade again. He really understood his customer’s needs and went out of his way to build an arcade for them. It was easy for him because he was a customer too. He loved arcades. This really brings us to another question ‘Should you sell something you love?’

I’m not sure. I think you should love what you sell and love what you do. However I’ve always gone against common start up advice and said don’t start a business based on a hobby. Obviously everyone is different but say for example you love flowers or gardening. You love to wind down and relax with flowers. Don’t become a florist. Don’t sell flowers. There’s a massive difference between pottering to a flower shop and getting up at 5am to get the best flowers from a supplier. Working late (or is that early) to get flowers ready for a customer’s wedding. Your experience of it changes. You can often start hating the thing you loved. It’s better to sell something that’s ‘Important to You’.

This leads me to a very simple exercise I consistently use to establish what to sell.

I start with my customers and brainstorm ‘What’s important to them?’. If you don’t have any yet use imaginary customer profiles and do internet based research. There’s so much info you can find online.

Then I brainstorm ‘What’s important to me?’

At some point the answer will be exactly the same. Never fails. This is when you can start looking at a product to sell.

Give it a try. If you’re struggling send a message via The Journal or comment below. I’ll help you.

To recap the best thing to do to work out what to sell is to:

  1. Build a list of Your Customers (existing or potential)
  2. Establish ‘What’s Important to Your Customers?’ (ask or research them)
  3. Establish ‘What’s Important to You?’
  4. Where your customer’s needs and what you want to sell match – create a product

4 simple steps.

By the way I would add one final step. Once you create a product just check the market is big enough. I’ll probably talk about that another day though.

5 simple steps.

To help you more and give you inspiration I’ve curated a set of Guided Learning Links that explore this topic further. Check out the links and add your answers to The Journal. Remember if you’re new and not sure how to use the Guided Learning then please read our FAQS at:


Guided Learning Links



Why is it important to specialise in selling just one thing?

Why do you think it is important to have a list of customers?

Why is it important to have a very targeted list of customers?

Why is it important to “start now and improve as you go”?

Why do you think it is important to establish your customer’s needs before you “sell” them anything?


Guided Learning Journal

Submit your answers and any questions you have using the following link:

Add to the Journal


Be Amazing, Serve the Customers You Have (Your Store, Your Way)

So you’ve found a product you want to sell and that your customers need. Now you need a place to sell it. Every business is unique. Everyone has their own recipe for success. You might decide on a physical shop. You might decide on an online store. You might decide on a mixture of the two. Anyway you do it you need a STORE. A place your customers can buy your product or services from.

For me that place is an online store. Over the past 13 years I’ve seen so many changes. It’s never been easier to open a store. Before you needed a developer to set up your store. And that was expensive. Now you can do it yourself as easy as typing a letter in word. In the old days getting stock was a nightmare. You would have to purchase hundreds of the same item from a supplier; have a “warehouse” to store the items and have lengthy 12 month minimum order contracts with them. It’s funny when I write it now how ridiculous that sounds. An example for me was books. We used to buy books for our training events. I only wanted say 50 of the same book but I was expected to be a Waterstones or Borders (remember them. I loved Borders). You had to purchase a minimum amount every month. I did it but remember thinking “this is stupid”. Now it’s never been so easy to start selling online. Some suppliers will even ship it for you. You never have to store the items. I’m not pitching having an online store over a real store I just want you to know how easy it is to do now. You’ve no reason not to try. I just want to answer the question(s):

Why is an online store important for my small business? Surely I’ve got enough to do running the shop?

Remember THE LIST? Having an online store gives you a bigger list. Say you are running a happy little coffee shop. Your customers love you. It’s a home from home for them. A place to relax for them. But your not relaxed. You’re anxious. You’re working every hour of everyday, 7 days a week. You’ve reached a limit on your income because of the number of tables you can have in your shop. All you can do is open more or charge more. You can’t employ someone else. It won’t increase your income doing that. This is where an online store can help. It gives you another income stream. You could sell your famous home made cakes online. You could do online cookery courses. You’re no longer tied to your opening hours or how many tables you can fit in the shop.

The same thing goes for a hairdresser. You could offer mini courses in hair styling or hair and make up products online.

Trainers – mini courses online? You not tied to how many people you can get in a venue.

But this really brings me back to ‘What’s unique about your business?’. How do you make it amazing for customers?

That’s the secret.

Why is your happy little coffee shop a “home from home”?

Customer Experience.

So what is customer experience and how do you get it?

Ask yourself “what is the experience your customers have with your business from start to finish?” I say ‘Start to Finish’ because we use that in our events – ‘Stress Free From Start to Finish’. I think about the customer from the moment they step out of the door and get in their car to the moment they unlock their front door at the end of a great day. I want them to have the very best experience they can. I’ve even driven the routes to venues to find out if there’s any road works or the maps are difficult to follow. Same goes for online events. I’m thinking about the experience from the moment you press the on button. i’m trying to make it consistent.

It’s about thinking about the details.

Customer Experience should be natural. If you notice it or force it you’re doing it wrong.

The other thing to note is it’s not about the interactions. That’s customer service.

I’d love to go into Customer Experience in more detail another time. But for now give some thought to “what makes your business unique?”. That’s your Customer Experience.

Check out Caine’s Arcade again. What customer experience did he create?

To help you more and give you inspiration I’ve curated a set of Guided Learning Links that explore this topic further. Check out the links and add your answers to The Journal. Remember if you’re new and not sure how to use the Guided Learning then please read our FAQS at:


Guided Learning Links



Why is it important to make sure your online store is optimised for mobile?

If you have a small shop why could an online store really help you?

Why do you think independent shops can rank highly in customer satisfaction surveys?

What do you think makes an amazing customer experience?


Guided Learning Journal

Submit your answers and any questions you have using the following link:

Add to the Journal


Turning On Your Sales Machine

Created a product? Yes. Got it in your store? Yes. Now you need to get people to your store to buy your product. You need to advertise. There’s so much information online about advertising. Word of mouth, referrals, Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads etc etc. I’m not going to repeat all that but I have included some Guided Learning Links to point you in the right direction. I can sum up what I think you need to know about advertising with three bullets:

  • Paid ads are important because you can turn them on and off AND you can target your list. Remember THE LIST?
  • AIDA. Eh-da? You what?
  • “Let the stallions run”

Ok turning paid ads on and off. Really important if you’re in business on your own and working on other stuff. You can control who comes to your store. Got a special you want to run? Turn on new paid ads. 3 days later switch it off. Need more customers just switch them on again.

AIDA. Sorry to use an acronym. I was taught it years ago. It’s been adapted over the years because people shop differently now. They will ask their friends on Facebook, read reviews and compare now. It’s old school but has stood the test of time in marketing. Again if you’ve been in business a while you’ll have seen it. You will be doing it without realising. It stands for:

A – Attention. Get your customers attention. Attract them

I – Interest. Obvious. If people aren’t interested they aren’t going to buy anything

D – Desire. Remember we looked at needs on the 2nd day. This is where you convince them that they need your product)

A – ACTION. The big one. What’s the point if you don’t give a clear call to action? What’s the point if you don’t ask them to buy?

“Let the stallions run!” One of the best tips I have ever heard. I can’t remember where I heard it but I would love to give them the credit. It’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest things that has helped me with ads. Basically it means create a number of ads. Say 6. Run them for a couple of days. Some of the ads will be donkeys. Some of the ads will be STALLIONS. The stallions are the best ads. You will know in about a day. The stallions are the ones having the biggest impact. It never fails. It’s always really obvious. Sometimes it hard to take though because what you thought would be a good ad turns out to be a donkey. Anyway the point is stop the donkeys, put them back in the stable and LET THE STALLIONS RUN! Sometimes you can tweak an ad and make it a stallion but to be honest why bother. Let the stallions run!

So what makes a stallion? Hard to say but I’ve found that 9 times out of 10 it’s the image.

Facebook even say it themselves on

“Big, beautiful photos get more attention from customers and make it easier to remember your business”.

See the attention word? What’s the first letter of AIDA?

So how do you choose a good photo?

I choose a picture of a people that are relatable to the product and more importantly the audience.

Again it’s not always obvious what will be a stallion. I’ve ran ads with the same wording with two different pictures of hairdressers. One was a donkey and one was… well you guessed it. A stallion. I let the stallion run obviously but I loved the donkey one. She was really happy.

Everyday we’ve referred back to and looked at Caine’s Arcade. So today give some thought to:

How does Caine capture his customer’s attention?
How does the world find about Caine’s arcade?
How could you transfer this to your business?


Again to help you more and give you inspiration I’ve curated a set of Guided Learning Links that explore this topic further. Check out the links and add your answers to The Journal. Remember if you’re new and not sure how to use the Guided Learning then please read our FAQS at:


Guided Learning Links

10 Quick Steps to Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign |



What do you think are the most important elements of an ad campaign for your business?

What is the best ad platform for your business?

What are the best visuals for your business?


Guided Learning Journal

Submit your answers and any questions you have using the following link:

Add to the Journal


Practical Project and Mentorship Offer

So over the past few days we’ve looked at the three key things needed by an Entrepreneur:

  • Your List
  • Your Store
  • Your Paid Ads

We’ve followed a number of Guided Learning Links. I’ve told you what I think is important. I’ve shared experiences. We’ve had a chance to interact with the Guided Learning Journal. All good but there’s ONE MORE THING that I think is really important. It will help you learn to be an Entrepreneur or re-energise your business. It’s ACTION! It’s putting into practice your learning. I obviously really believe in learning. It’s amazing but you have to do something with it. Reading all the books in the world won’t put a penny in your bank account if you don’t implement what they teach you. You can learn from as many different people as you want but you won’t put a penny in your bank account if you don’t implement what they teach you.

So here’s a challenge, I call it a Practical Project:

Create a new landing, product, offer or sales page for one product you have or want to have in the future.

Sounds simple? Maybe you’re not sure what I am talking about? If you need inspiration or want to know what I am talking about then check out these links:

Why do I think this Practical Project is important? It’s the link between your store and your list. You’ve turned on the paid ads and you’re sending them where? A sales page. Whatever you call it, it’s the page that converts people that are interested in your product into customers.

Obviously I understand that although it may sound simple you may not have the skills yet. That’s normal. I’m certainly improving all the time, even after 13 years. That’s why I offer Practical Project Mentorships. You can do it alone but why bother. Get quick tips, avoid the common mistakes and get it done faster. I’ll help you. I’ll help you with the Practical Project and YOUR LIST, STORE AND PAID ADS. I try and have at least 4 mentors myself so I practice what I preach.

Sale Mentorship Image

So here’s my offer

A Practical Project Mentorship with me (up to 30 days) AND a free bonus Webspace for 12 months (worth £108). You’ll be part of our Connected Community on a high quality web hosting platform. We do this because you may not have a webspace yet. It makes it easier for you. All we ask is that you self manage and pay for the assets such as domain names, images and templates. If you do have a webspace then move over to us and use the money you save for PAID ADS. Get more business.

You can get a 30 day mentorship with me AND 12 month free web hosting for just £99.


Ready to take action for your business?


Ready to start the business you’ve always wanted?


Get the offer now


Not sure?

Ok I get that but there’s no risk. I have extended our normal returns policy to 30 days and added a ‘100% Satisfaction Guarantee’. If you’re not completely satisfied after 30 days I’ll give you your money back. No problem. No hassle.

Here’s what a recent person I mentored said:

Whatever the problem, day or time (be it 7am or midnight), I know that I am always welcomed with any questions that I may have. His teaching styles are creative, enjoyable and valuable. He is very honest with his opinion and gets straight to the point. Mark’s kindness and helpfulness constantly makes me smile, and sets me up for a day full of motivation, even on some of my more challenging days. MB is clearly very knowledgeable; be it about web design, professional online presence or even Disney princesses. I feel as though I can really be myself and talk about any problems that I feel relevant; Mark will always help, however possible (by chat to Mark)

I would love to help you too –



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