Ep 20. UFC’s Bruce Buffer and His Advice to You

Bruce Buffer is the face of the UFC.  He is known for his enthusiasm and unique announcing style.  What you may not know about him is that he has CRUSHED it in business as an entrepreneur.  Most notably by partnering up with his brother Michael Buffer  who is well known for his trademarked phrase “Lets Get Ready to Rumble!”  Bruce took that phrase and turned it into a multi million dollar business before ever stepping foot in the UFC Octagon.  Today you get to be a part of my conversation with Bruce and his advice for you, the entrepreneur.

How to Succeed by Failing First

The first business Bruce started was a telemarketing corporation when he was 19 after getting out of high school.  This started when he went to work for another telemarketing company as a sales person.  Within the first two weeks he was the top salesman, then a short time later he was promoted into a sales management role.  Pretty quickly Bruce realized it did not make sense to produce all these results for someone else, so he launched his own company.  The good new was he took roughly 80% of the sales force with him.  The bad news was he got sued within the first two weeks of opening his business for $1 million dollars. Bruce was able to work out a deal with the company where he went back to work for them at a higher salary and with equity, and they dropped the lawsuit and settled all the attorney fees.

While everything worked out in the end, this experience taught Bruce the importance of learning to succeed by failing first.  He says “you don’t know what it is like to succeed until you know what it is like to fail.  We all want to win, but how do you handle the losses?  How do you handle getting knocked down on the canvas and it is time to get back up again, whether you are a fighter or a businessperson?”

The life of an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster with extreme highs and extreme lows.  Keep a tough mental attitude and get back up to fight another day.

At this point, Bruce was hooked on being an entrepreneur.  He continued to work with the telemarketing company during the day and go to college at night.  He described himself as “the Wolf of LA”.  Unlike the Wolf of Wall Street, he didn’t lie or cheat people, but we was able to leverage his sales ability to produce extraordinary results.  One year into college he realized he was learning more in business during the day than at college during the night time.  So he decided to take two years and devote 100% of his time to growing his business and see where it would take him.

As he grew his business he realized that the skill set to succeed in business was transferrable across all industries.   He had developed a sharp business acumen and started a variety of companies including a security company, nutrition company, import/export company, etc.  The one thing he realized he needed to succeed was passion.

By age 37 Bruce had several companies and was very successful earning a healthy 6-figure salary with all the toys he could want, but the one thing he didn’t have in his life was passion for what he was doing.  So he sold off his businesses and pursued a career in the sports and entertainment industry.  He went from waking up and going to work to waking up and living a passionate lifestyle which involves the income he earns.

3 Steps to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget
With technology today there is tremendous waste of dollars on paid advertising. There are 3 steps you can take to market your business effectively on a shoestring budget:

  1. Analyze the 3 best companies in your industry thoroughly.  Who the CEO’s are, how they run the company, the product, the distribution strategy, the marketing strategy, etc.
  2. Identify the consistent themes.  What is working for these businesses?
  3. Incorporate the successful themes in your business.  Some people would argue that you are copying the other companies.  Bruce challenges this and says “it’s not that you’re copying somebody else, you are learning from somebody else to take those variables and create your own distinct style.”

Bruce first did this when he started his sales career.  When he joined the telemarketing company he looked to see who the top sales people were and identified the differences between him and them.  He analyzed every aspect from how they approached the job to how they did it and asked “how can I adopt this in my lifestyle?”  Successful people do not recreate the wheel.  They look at what is working and find ways to improve it.

Creative Ways to Raise Capital and Validate Your Product
For all businesses cash is king.  This is especially true for entrepreneurs who are first launching businesses.  Bruce’s advice for new entrepreneurs is to keep your bottom-line expenditures small.  With the internet today, you do not need a big staff and fancy office.  You can contract and outsource this work at affordable rates and save on overhead.

How do you let the world know you exist?

  • First, you need to create a great product!  Your business will not succeed without this.
  • Test the product with your sphere of influence to see their reaction.  Start with your family and friends, and their family and friends.  See their reaction before you take it out to the market. Make sure you don’t just go to your mom who will tell you it is the greatest thing in the world.  Go to the people you know will challenge you and give it to you straight.
  • Leverage crowd funding platforms.  Its not about raising the money as much as it is a proof of concept.  If people are willing to contribute to your company, then you know you have a viable product.  If not, you may want to reconsider your approach.

Branding…Keep it Uniform
Branding is all about keeping everything uniform and doing it consistently. One easy way to do this is have your email match your company name.  Example, if you are Joe from ABC Company, then make your email joe@abccompany.com.  Bruce never understands when he gets a business card from Joe and it reads joe@viafox.com.  He will never remember that.  Starting out, work to keep your brand uniform and consistent.

3 Foot Theory

If you watch the news, then you probably have heard about the 99% and 1% that control all the wealth.  Bruce firmly believes that the wealth does not need to be controlled by such a small number of people.  With that he developed his 3 Foot Theory.

Anytime a person is within 3 feet of him, he makes a sincere effort to help them.  The reason he does this is that if he helps all the people around him become more wealthy, then it will likely come back to him as well.  The proverbial “pie” is not finite in its quantity where there is only so much for every person.  If we all collaborate, the pie can be expanded and there will be more for each of us.

So you have helped those around you, how do you let others know how they can help you?  If you are passionate and proud of your product or service, then you should want to talk about it.  The second part of the 3 foot theory is making an effort to tell people about your business anytime they are within 3 feet of you.  They key to doing this effectively is not make them feel like you are just trying to get money out of their pocket.  There is a difference between selling and telling. Tell people about it and let them sell themselves.

LINKS
Bruce’s Book It’s Time
Bruce’s Game  
Bruce’s Website
Bruce’s Podcast IT’S Time w/Bruce Buffer

Bruce’s Twitter @brucebuffer 
Bruce’s Facebook

CONTEST DETAILS
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