Sales Masters Guild Founder, John F Kettley, takes us back to 2009 when the business world began to shift – Welcome The Age of The Entrepreneur.

The dream of retiring by your mid 50’s or even your late 40’s is something that most business owners say is their primary objective, the reality of having achieved this though is quite different in that it doesn’t take long to start thinking about starting something new again.

For me that something started with a phone call back in 2008 from an old friend who said he was struggling and could I come in and have a look at his business, which is how I fell into business turnaround after a life time of starting building and selling businesses.

The beginning of a shift in the business world

It was around 2009, as the business world was being turned upside down that I went to my first business networking event, something I hadn’t come across before. Every business I had ever built was built upon direct marketing and active prospecting i.e. old school knocking doors and picking up the telephone.

Here we had a room full of business owners, all trying to ‘sell their stuff’ to other business owners, and might I say, doing a horrible job of selling what they were selling. It didn’t take long to realise why so many of these poor souls were struggling and failing. They clearly had a passion and belief for what they were offering and in all probability, they would give a great service, BUT the bottom line was they were simply terrible at communicating their offer i.e. selling.

At that time the government were trying to support businesses with various grants to help them meet the economic challenges of the recession. The two largest, so called business support organisations, were all talk and no help in offering business owners what they really needed – real world training in ‘how’ to grow a high-income business. This is what inspired me to found the Sales Masters Guild.

Why some fail while others flourish

I felt then, and still feel today, that most business owner’s greatest failure is not appreciating how crucial soft skills are in building a business that works, i.e. the ability to elegantly find out exactly what a potential customer wants and serve them with exactly that and that only.

Yes, I’m talking about professional serving (sales) skills, which is why I began the Sales Masters Guild’s journey with the Sales & Negotiation Training workshop, quickly described by those who invested in it, as a ‘game changing’ day of light bulb moments! It was incredible how many people said that until they sat in on the workshop, they never realised how easy selling could be once you stop selling and start asking better quality questions.

Another thing that surprised me (and still does), is just how little business owners actually know about how to form a ‘strong value proposition’, and how to use that proposition to positive effect within their brand to establish themselves as the go to person for what they do.

This got me to thinking about why so many businesses never go on to achieve their true potential. I began researching the business landscape to gain a helicopter view of what was actually happening across the micro, small, medium and large businesses across the UK, what I discovered was truly surprising.

The speed of change in our connected society was getting faster and faster, while people’s attention spans were (and are) getting shorter and shorter, resulting in people trying to short cut the learning curve to gain the success they seek faster. Add to this the corporate tree was, and continues to be shaking people out of their structures in favour of streamlining and outsourcing, meaning we have an increasing number of people starting businesses as an alternative to finding a job.

Houston we have a problem

The invisible challenge being that most simply do not know what they don’t know. How to test the market to confirm there is a hunger for their proposition, how to package that proposition so that it is compelling, how to market that offering on a limited budget, how to create traffic to the door and how to elegantly convert those conversations into income generating business.

The launch of project blueprint

Seeing so many business owners struggling unnecessarily, The Sales Masters Guild designed a powerful 1-day workshop (The Entrepreneurs Training Day) to teach all these things in an easy to learn form. We called this the Blueprint Formula. Wow, it didn’t take long for this to become as successful as the Sales & Negotiation workshop. We were blessed with raving fans telling us how it had transformed the way they see business, and more importantly, the results they were getting.

By 2011 I noticed something strange. Several people who had attended our workshops, and initially had great results, were struggling again! I simply could not understand why this was happening – until I asked some very key questions; “Are you still asking X,Y,Z in your conversations and do A,B andC?”  They weren’t. It was clear they were cutting corners and going back to their old habits.

This was the reason why the 12-month ‘Project Blueprint’ programme was born, later followed by the addition of the 100k club –  essentially two monthly peer mentoring group programs, designed to teach the formula for success, keep the business owner on course and held to account until they grow, flourish and succeed.

We are entering a new age… the age of the Entrepreneur

For thousands of years human kind bartered for business, we progressed into the industrial age where people left the fields for factories and cities and exchanged their energy for coin. Here in the UK that lasted around 100 years until the 1960’s, when we entered the age of retail and business services, quickly followed in the 1990’s by the digital age.

Now as we enter the 2020’s, we are firmly in the age of the entrepreneur. An age where no savvy millennial wants to take over their parents business, no matter how successful it may be. No commitment to working up though the ranks of the corporate ladder –  that’s far too slow a path to follow.

Today the vast majority dream of building their own business, and in truth it’s never been easier to start and build a business that generates incredible wealth. The only things that stands between you and this incredible outcome is;

  • A great idea and a solid vision of what you want to achieve
  • An offering people want and need
  • The knowledge of HOW to
    • package your idea/offering
    • marketing that offering
    • Selling that offering
    • Managing the growth
    • Knowing how to tackle the challenges
    • Staying focused

Master all of these things and you too, could be living an extraordinary life of abundance.

You can find out more about Sales Masters Guild founder, John F Kettley over on his profile page.


John is always looking to talk with potential Sales Masters Guild Mentors. He’s always looking for those special people who have a real understanding of business, an ability to communicate and a passion for helping Entrepreneurs to flourish in business – if this sounds like you or someone you know, take a look at ‘Becoming a Mentor‘ and contact John using the form on this page to arrange a chat.

John F Kettley

John F Kettley

John F Kettley is the founder of The Sales Masters Guild.

A serial entrepreneur from his teenage years, John and his companies have sold a vast range of products and services across just about every market sector and medium there is, both here in Europe and the USA.

Find out more about John on his Sales Masters Guild profile page.

Read more blogs from John.

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