The technique-power-speed method of growing a business

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When I first started my blog and coaching business six years ago, I didn’t know anything about online marketing. In fact, I didn’t even know what a blog was before I had to create one as an assignment for a class.

Every single piece of technology involved a huge learning curve.

I would try to change the header on my original Typepad blog and would end up screwing up the formatting for the entire page. I would try to add something to the sidebar like a list of recommended books, and I would spend hours figuring out how to do it.

I would have ideas for blog posts in my head, but it was awkward to know the right headline to choose, or the appropriate mix of topics for my audience.

But slowly, as I worked on it day by day, my knowledge grew.

I kept plugging away slowly at growing my blog content and subscribers.

And for six years, I have used my blog as a consistent way to build my reputation, build my brand and build my business. Now I don’t think twice about writing a post. The technology doesn’t trip me up. My writing has gotten more clear.

And I think this is  because I have been unconsciously practicing the technique-power-speed method of learning a business skill.


In my Mixed Martial Arts class the other night, my instructor Mr. Fiori told us exactly how we should train our kickboxing combinations.

“First, focus on technique.Do the movements very slowly so that you get a good feel for the technique.

Then, when you feel confident in the technique, add power. Pay attention to the force that comes through your body, and direct it to your target.

Finally, add speed. The technique, power and speed together is what will make you a great fighter.”

This is where so many business owners get stuck.

When doing a marketing activity for the first time, like writing a sales page, they have the expectation that they will get power (conversion) and speed (lots of buyers) from the initial effort.

When in reality, the very first time you do it, it is a big accomplishment just to get a mediocre sales page live on the web.

As you go through time, you improve your page by focusing on power activities — more persuasive writing, clearer offers, fresh design and compelling testimonials.

And the more you work on this, your speed picks up — more people buy and spread the word about how great your product is, which attracts more people to the page and feeds the speed of sale.

Technique training is tiring!

A student in my Power Teaching class taught her first class last night. She said:

“It was exhausting! I wrote a ten page script for the first class to make sure I covered everything. When you teach a class, you make it seem so easy!”

I replied:

“That is because I have taught over one hundred classes.”

I have repeatedly worked on the technique of designing a class, have honed my power by zeroing in on specific teaching and speaking methodologies, and I have taught thousands of people. But if I had not started with my first awkward class that was a pain to create, I would never have gotten to a place of ease and comfort with this activity.

We abandon our marketing efforts too early

There is so much focus on quick, easy marketing techniques that we forget true deep, authentic, meaningful and lasting business competence comes from technique, power and speed training.

In my recent survey to blog readers and clients, the majority of the 500 respondents said their business goals for 2012 were improve their marketing and sales competency. This will work only if they stop trying individual marketing techniques once, then abandoning them for the next shiny marketing-technique-du-jour.

Here is my challenge:

  1. Choose an important marketing or sales activity you completed in the last 30 days.
  2. Identify how well you executed the technique the first time.
  3. Identify the power activities that will increase your competency and improve your results the next time.
  4. Invest in your power activities. Get expert input. Rewrite clunky areas. Get feedback from your target audience. Read books. Watch videos. Look at case studies of successful examples.
  5. Do the marketing activity again.
  6. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4
  7. Do the marketing activity again.
  8. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4
  9. Repeat the entire process for the next year.
  10. Send me a big check, because I know you will be KILLING your business results at the end of 2012.


Do you have a personal story of how you got great results from focusing on technique, power and speed in your marketing activities? I want to hear it!

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23 Responses to “The technique-power-speed method of growing a business”

  1. […] Which is probably why my time back in martial arts has inspired so many blog posts. […]

  2. […] participate in her free Q&A calls on the first Wednesday of each month. Her posting entitled “The Technique-Power-Speed Method of Growing a Business” discusses the frustrations involved with online marketing and how to overcome […]

  3. Thanks for this inspiration Pam. As a not-so-great aspiring teacher/coach it’s encouraging to hear where you started too. One place I often give up too quickly is marketing for my blog. I’m going to pick ONE thing, focus on it, and keep working at it this time.

  4. […] Slim of the Escape from Cubicle Nation Blog talks about using a technique-power-speed method of learning a business skill: “First, focus on technique. Do the movements very slowly so […]

  5. Pam,
    I always delight when you “pull back the curtain” and share a story about how you started out—and that it wasn’t all glamour and hitting it out of the ballpark the very first time. It gives me hope to know my challenges are not unique and that even Pam Slim has a learning curve!

  6. Angie says:

    It’s like muscle memory. If you repeat the same physical activity again and again it eventually becomes second nature. Thanks for the reminder

  7. […] in her free Q&A calls on the first Wednesday of each month. Her posting entitled “The Technique-Power-Speed Method of Growing a Business” discusses the frustrations involved with online marketing and how to overcome […]

  8. Eleano says:

    Thanks Pam. This was a very concise, helpful analogy. It’ll be a helpful reminder going forward.

    In retrospect I can see this process at work in my newsletter. I’m a decent writer, but I never knew what to talk about, how often to send one out, and had to get over my fear that I was ‘bothering’ people (even though they opted in to my list!)

    I feel like after two years, I’m finally hitting my stride. I committed to a regular once a month schedule and have gotten a feel for content that my audience enjoys. Now I even look forward to doing it!

    Will definitely start thinking ‘Technique, Power, Speed’ with my PR efforts for this upcoming year. sigh.

  9. Pam,

    Thank you so much for this post and this reminder. I’ve been working on some new areas of my business and am in the “technique” stage of learning with them.

    I think part of what’s so frustrating is when we’ve “mastered” (or at least become experts) in particular areas of our business and have to return to the “technique” phase. We get so used to the speed at which we’ve been operating that it can really discourage us and send us running back to the speed of our comfort zones.

    Great coaches and trainers know how to get more out of experts by pushing them out of those zones and into a new technique phase. That’s how we continue growing and developing.

    Love it!

    Travis Robertson

  10. Pam,
    Thanks so much for this and I love #10! As always after speaking to you or reading your blogs it is very comforting to know that I am exactly where I should be. After spending the last 3 months of marketing, networking, writing and rewriting (I’ve completely rewritten my blog and Linkedin) people are beginning to reach out to me and do exactly what you talk about here!

  11. Lisa Alessi says:

    Awesome post Pam! The image of the Karate kid immediately came to mind — Wax on… wax off. Wax on… wax off — it starts with learning, then you add the power and the speed — just brilliant. And I firmly believe everything happens in due time when we are ready. If we all had a huge surge of customers right at launch without the prep – we’d be overwhelmed. Much better to build the skills and technique gradually and grow into our new roles with confidence — woohoo! I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing and it feels just right. Thank you for these sound words of encouragement!

  12. Hi Pam,

    I’m aware that this comment is not relevant to your blog post directly, so I am not expecting this reply to go public.

    I just wanted to present a case study I have been working on with a client, which may interest you and tackles the subject of coaching and mentoring. The link for the article is and there is a free press pack available to download with assets should you wish to create your own content or share the information internally or externally.

    Please let me know if you have any issues with the pack, or require files in any other format, as I will be only too happy to help. Please also let me know (or leave a comment on the moderated page) if you would like to receive further press packs from Spring in future. If I don’t hear from you, I will always assume you do not.

    On a side note completely separate from the reason I’m mailing, I love the title of this blog, as I have indeed ‘escaped’ from the cubicle 9-5 and apart from a brief (desperate) spell back, I now know that I can never return! Unless it is my own cubicle, 9-5 & company!

    Great articles here, I shall return!

    All the best – Mark

  13. fas says:

    Wont fast growth not mean high sustenance?

  14. What a great post Pam. I am such a quick start that I get frustrated if things don’t work immediately, when actually when I stop and think about it most of the best things in my business are the activities that have been built up and improved over dozens of iterations. You are so right: thankyou for the perspective!

  15. Alicia Terry says:

    What perfect timing. I needed to hear this. Great post!

  16. Yolanda says:

    One of the reasons I abandoned my initial focus on marketing consulting is that I realized early on that most folks would try something once, not get the result they expected and abandon it. Given that it takes 7-8 “touches” to get a prospect to turn over their hard-earned cash it makes perfect sense that you try and try and try again.

    You absolutely have to be much more “noisy” than you think is necessary to get results. My experience doing brick ‘n mortar business versus online business is that online requires a TON more effort in getting out there. In doing it over and over and over.

    According to Anders Ericsson, a psychologist whose research is on the subject of expert performance, “Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the results of intense practice for a minimum of 10 years.” (via Daniel Pink in “Drive”)

    I whole-heartedly agree, I’ve been a business-owner 18 years and learn something new every day!

    Great reminder, Pam, as always!

    • Jennifer says:

      Yolanda & Pam,

      Great lessons from both of you. A great amount of effort is needed & perseverance to succeed online. And both of you are good role models.

      I just had to post this, because recently Jim (we) posted a blog specifically about Anders Ericsson’s work:

  17. Pamela says:

    I know you can do it Ricardo! Moving over a successful campaign from one area of your biz to another is so smart. Leveraging strengths! I look forward to my fat check from you next October 😉

  18. Re: “There is so much focus on quick, easy marketing techniques that we forget true deep, authentic, meaningful and lasting business competence comes from technique, power and speed training.”

    It’s hard work. But anything worth doing is worth doing well. So Pam, I accept your challenge. For me, I know the task that I want to work on. I created a drip campaign and landing page for my membership program and it’s converted exceedingly well. Open rates are high and I hope to mirror that success for our company blog. I know what I need to do, I just need to do the work and get through it.

  19. Hi Pam

    I think the reason why we get so disheartened by marketing is that it involves playing Big and that is a little imtimidating – especially when you fail the first time.

    For the past month I have been working on creating marketing info regarding my full course service. I have had a number of potential clients interested in my service of co-creating an online course with them. That is great. The problem for me was when they asked for more information I would give them a lot of information but not enough benefits or reasons why they needed my help.

    So I had the technique but not the power. I then refined the package to include benefits and a strong call to action.

    I don’t know the results of the email yet but I think I am getting closer to creating a good marketing package for the service.


    • Pamela says:

      That is so true Ainslie, it IS difficult to put yourself out there! And getting an offer to the world feels like such a huge feat. As you refine your process, I KNOW you will improve your conversion. A client just had that very same thing happen — where her prospect calls were not converting before, she made some tweaks, and just closed a new piece of biz. You are on the way!

  20. Matt says:

    Hi Pamela,

    Great post! I love the challenge at the end. A lot of times we tend to put off doing something or finishing a project because it isn’t perfect. But that’s not the point at all. We need to get this stuff out there, review what we did and experiment with something new. If you’re constantly pushing yourself and adapting when things don’t work you are bound for success.



    • Pamela says:

      That is so true Matt, the first time is just the basic foundation. It is in the review, honing and mastery that we really start to take off.