Gibbs & Partners - where businesses fly in formation | Skillshare Projects



Gibbs & Partners - where businesses fly in formation

Your Business or Brand:

Make your ruckus louder, clearer, wider - how to grow your business without compromising your art.

All world-changing businesses are started by individuals.  The challenge is to get that business beyond the scale of one to 10 without losing the original heart and soul of it. 

We help you bake your vision, ethos and purpose (your heart and soul) into your business, so that it and everyone in it cannot help but deliver your promise to the customer as if they were you.  

Then we help you combine your business with others so that together you can change the world in even bigger ways, without losing your identity.

That means that you can grow your business to a scale that will make a difference.

The side effect is that you don't have to be there for it all to happen as you would wish it which in turn means that it can last longer than you.

11 Questions:

1.) What is Marketing for? What does this department/function/budget exist to do?

To attract the people who want this. To tell the story to the people who want to hear it.

2.) What are we allowed to touch?

Everything.  Because Marketing is everything – the whole process, from see to bond.  

3.) What can we as marketers measure?

‘See’s – People who see we exist.

‘Qualify’s – people who click through, respond or get in touch

‘Try’s – people who take a free or almost free workshop

‘Buy’s. – people who buy from us

‘Bond’s  - People who buy again.   Collaborations between businesses who have been through the process,   Referrals and recommendations from those businesses to others.   Referrals from businesses anywhere in the process to others.

4.) What can we change?

Everything about the service except what it will deliver – your mark on the world – forever.   (features: profitability, scalability, flexibility, longevity, legacy)

We are trying to change the view that delegation means losing control. 

We are trying to change the view that adding process means losing heart and soul.

We are trying to change the view that mergers are the only way to combine business value.   In fact we want to show that collaboration is a much more efficient and effective way to combine business value.

We are trying to change the view that it takes generations to build a business that lasts.

We are trying to change the view that a meaningful business cannot start as a lifestyle business.

We are trying to change the view that there is only one way to extract ‘value’ from your business and that is to build it quick and sell it to a bigger competitor.

We are trying to change the view that a good business can't be good business.

5.) What promise are you going to make?

You will build a business that delivers your promise consistently wherever and whenever it operates. However far the ripples spread, the message will stay true.

Your business is your way of changing the world.  We will help the change you want to make spread further and go on forever.

You can have this and the lifestyle you want now.

6.) What’s the hard part?

Getting next to the business owners who have built a business and want this.

7.) Should your organization be making trends or following trends?

We are following a trend for businesses to be built around the passion of a weird individual, making a trend for those businesses to last.

We are making a trend for building a business to last rather than to be sold up.

We are following a trend for creating businesses that are ethical, sustainable and make a positive impact on the world.

We are following a trend for collaboration, making a trend for collaboration between small businesses.

8.) Where is the risk?

To me: I will be wrong about what I think many business owners care about.  That there won’t be enough business owners who think like me to make this into a viable business.

To my prospect:   That the initial investment of cash and hard work won’t pay off.  That they won’t be able to leave their business running without them.

9.) Who is in charge?


10.) Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for?

Networks – Chamber, LinkedIn, Bizlinx to get people to see me.

Website/LinkedIn/Twitter to get people to see me online.

Free or low-cost workshops for people who want to try.

A couple of experimental clients – WrapArtist and LACES.

Where I should be spending it?   Getting next to the people who want this.  Online and offline.   Not necessarily in networks.

11.) How should you be spending your time?

Finding the hives, and the amplifiers in practical terms, spreading the word from my very happy clients outwards, a few referrals at a time.

I know I can deliver, even if that means changing the product.  

The P Words

Choose three or four P’s you will prioritize to be the backbone of your marketing plan:

Positioning –

  • Don’t just be the change you want to see in the world - build an enterprise that unites other people to be that change too.
  • Collaboration, not compromise is the way to extend your market (c.f. Seth's licensing example).
  • Get rich slow
  • Leave much more than money behind you

Pavlov –

  • We take you through a proven process (we would wouldn’t we – we are process geeks) to re-design your business into an 'Ace Pilot' business:
  • Step 1 - Clarify – we help you fully articulate your purpose and the promise you make to your clients and prospects so you can:
    • Attract more of them
    • Make a fair profit
    • Build a business that delivers that promise unmercifully
    • Measure everything you do against that promise.
  • Step 2 - Re-design – we help you re-design the way you do things so that everything you do contributes to keeping your promise
  • Step 3 - Document – we write it down in a form that ordinary humans are more than willing to use, so that:
  • You don’t have to be there for it to happen
  • You can improve it
  • You can teach it
  • You can scale it.

The result is a living embodiment of your purpose and promise that can scale sustainable while you are around and will carry on successfully after you leave.

People like Us –

  • Passionate, committed business owners who:
    • are making something that matters
    • want to go further than they are
    • want to leave their mark
    • want to have a meaningful life outside their business
    • are open to having help to get there
    • take action
    • keep their word
    • follow through
    • learn constantly
    • believe in people
  • Promotion – put clients (my Ace Pilots) into collaborations that help them to grow, learn and evolve without losing their identity so that they don’t need to sell up.

An Action Theory of Marketing

Of the 50+ concepts covered in the lessons, what are the top concepts you'll use to generate Emotion, cause Change, earn the privilege to Alert and encourage people to Share?


1)      Story – I graduated in the 1980s in the north of England.   I saw long-established businesses collapse through lack of investment and a government policy of high unemployment and a switch to a low-paid, low-service economy.  I saw loyal workers who’d been told they were ‘family’ put out of a job and then told it was their fault.  I’ve seen asset strippers and PE firms steal pension funds from staff to make a quick buck.   I’ve seen once glorious companies become mere brands - ‘labels’ to fool the aspirational into spending what they have on stuff that means nothing and enriches nobody but the few at the top.   I’ve seen big business become a blight on society instead of a driver of progress.

BUT I’ve also seen small business owners who care.  Who’ve started a business because they want to make a difference.  Who are delighting the clients they have.   Who care about the people they employ.   Who are doing the extraordinary without even realising it.  

My mission is to help those business owners build their business into something bigger and longer-lasting than themselves.  Without losing the things that make them brilliant.  To turn their business into their legacy and change the culture of big business.

2)      Worldview –

  1. It looks like the only way to be successful in business is to grow fast and then sell out.   Or be a family business.   But that’s not true.  There is another way.  It is to build your promise into the way you do business so that the business can scale and continue to grow AND deliver your vision long after you’ve stopped working in it.
  2. I can do it all myself or I can get someone else to do it all for me.   There is another way.   I work alongside you and with you to build your business into your legacy.   I do most of the ‘delivery’, but you do a lot of the thinking and all the soul–searching.
  3. You can’t be profitable and ethical.  It’s one or the other.   There is another way.   I work with you to focus on delivering your promise of value so that the bottom line looks after itself.
  4. If I delegate, I lose control.   On the other hand, if I ‘systematise’ my business becomes inhuman and robotic.  There is another way.  If you build the process of delivering your promise of value into your business at the right level, you empower your people to live your promise, and to do the interesting and important stuff of making sure your customers experience that promise at all times.   We assume your people know how to do their job, but can use a framework to ensure the basics happen without fuss.  We build you a process framework that means you can share, talk about and improve how the promise is delivered while delivering your part of it in your own human, personal style.

3) Design - You can design your whole business to deliver your promise.  Once you’ve done that, repeating it is free.

4) Experience – What we do with you is hard work for both of us.   We are your mentor, your challenger and your donkey.   We produce the goods for you, but you have to put in the effort of thinking about what you stand for, what you promise, and how you are going to deliver that promise.  Your vision and values can’t come from us.   They have to come from you.   We turn them into process so your business can live them.   But you have to show up every week just like we do.  It's gruelling becoming an Ace Pilot, but worth it when you get there.

5) Customer Service – You pay us, and we invest back in you.  It doesn’t stop when the job is done – you get a workbook and/or a maintenance programme so you can keep evolving and improving.   We often buy from you (cognitive dissonance!)

6) MLM -  By making your promise fo value explicit and transparent to your team, and building it into the way they do their jobs, you have increased the chances of them living it.   They will deliver it for you, so they need to believe in it.    If they don't or can't, they will leave.    So by fully articulating your story and your promise, you increase the chances of it actually working. 

7) Network Effect – After we have worked together and you have got to what I call 'Ace Pilot',  we help you make even more of what you've built by finding partnerships, joint ventures, collaborations with other businesses in my network of Ace Pilots.   Eventually you become part of a bigger tribe of businesses - who want to do more for their clients wthout necessarily getting bigger, who want to add capability or capacity without losing their identity.


1)      Awareness

2)      Authority?

3)      Free – deliver real value in every interaction – especially when it’s free.

4)      Create a movement

5)      Trust.

6)      Lifetime value.


Direct marketing

Increasing Returns




If we share things that you find useful, we benefit by having more of your trust.


Find the hive(s) – Accountants, recruitment consultants who share my values ambitions, some government agencies who want to help SME’s grow.

My Marketing Point of View

What do you stand for and what are you trying to accomplish? Include what you don’t and won’t do, what you believe in and what works for you and for your customers.

I stand for building longevity and legacy.  For taking the long view.  For being in it for the long haul.   For envisaging a business that is multigenerational.  

I stand for taking a horizontal view.  For empowering the people in my business to live the promise we make and deliver it to our customers and clients.  For taking the hard way to success and the wealth that comes from that.   For adding value for customers without diminishing it for my staff or my community.   For being open to any change that helps me to deliver my promise and my vision.

I stand for collaboration and equal partnerships.   For working together to produce what we couldn’t do on our own.   For working with the best people we can find, who share my core values to wow our common customers.   For building a community of businesses who can and do work with each other in flexible and profitable ‘formations’.

What works for me and my customers is wanting to make a difference in the world.  Working hard to see how we can do that and then making it happen.

I don’t do superficial.   We help you get to the bottom of what you are about and then work with you to deliver it.  I’m always on the look-out for new tools and techniques that work, but if you want the latest fad or a rubber stamp of approval or to paper over the cracks, I’m not your woman.

I won’t sell what we do to business owners who only want money.   We don’t work with business owners who want rapid growth and a quick exit, leaving their company to be swallowed up by a competitor.   We won’t work with businesses who rent-take.  Who look for the easy route to wealth (which is really to steal it from others).

The story (in “Save the Cat” terms)

Monster in the House – in a confined space, a sin is committed; a monster appears to avenge that sin.  Run and hide. The hero recognises the sin, outwits and slays the monster.

A control freak business owner realises that they are the monster eating the business alive.  To save their business they must take themselves out of the picture or learn to lose the control they crave.

Golden Fleece – a hero goes on the road in search of one thing and discovers something else – themselves.

En route to building their business empire a business owner discovers that their role must change – they were the hero, now they must become a mentor to their crew.

Out of the Bottle – wish fulfilment (Cinderella)  or comeuppance for a likeable hero (All of Me)

Dude with a Problem – an ordinary person finds themselves in an extraordinary situation and must dig deep to come out triumphant.

A talented and hands-on business owner has built a brilliant business that’s growing too fast, out of control.   Creditors are closing in.  At the last minute they discover the secret of sustainable success and save their business from ruin.

Rites of Passage – a hero is forced to confront a force stronger than they are – responsibility, love, death, old age – and accept defeat.

A visionary business owner comes to terms with their own mortality and in consequence turns a mom and pop into a lasting global legacy.

Buddy Love – two people hate each other, realise they need each other, break up, then finally accept they are 2 halves of a whole and surrender their egos to stay together.

It’s ‘us and them’ at business X, until both parties realise that with the right framework in place, they are unstoppable together.

Whydunnit – the audience is the detective, discovering something about humanity we didn’t know before.

The Fool Triumphant – the discounted and ignored underdog triumphs over the establishment.

Institutionalised – the pros and cons of putting the group ahead of ourselves.

Superhero – an extraordinary person finds themselves in an ordinary world, evoking sympathy for their plight of being misunderstood.

A talented, entrepreneurial, control freak business owner realises that the only lasting way to keep control of their legacy is to empower ordinary people to deliver it.


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