Jon Warner | How to Reduce the Amount of Risk of Launch a New Product or Service

Show Notes

The author of 40 books and the sought after international speaker on the subjects of management, leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation, Jon Warner stops by to teach you how to reduce the risks associated with launching a new product or service.

Jon Warner is a widely respected entrepreneurship expert and mentor who has founded and led 3 startups. Jon is a noted speaker at businesses, colleges, and conferences across the world. He also lectures on entrepreneurship at both undergraduate and MBA level. Jon is also a prolific author having published 40 books, all concerning business, management, leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. 

Learn more about Jon Warner’s process at – 

  1. Yes, yes, yes and yes! Thrivetime Nation on today’s show we are interviewing Jon Warner who is an entrepreneur that has successfully led 3 startups who has actually published over 40 books throughout his career. Joe, welcome onto the Thrivetime Show! How are you sir?!
  2. I know that you’ve had a ton of success at this point in your career, but I would love to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. What was your life like growing up and where did you grow up?
  3. When did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?
  4. How can your book help individuals who are constantly having new business ideas?
  5. When you were at the bottom, what did you learn most from this experience?
  6. Jon, I would love for you to share with our listeners about your new book?
  7. What first inspired you to write this book?
  8. Jon Warner, your new book Slam is a guide for gaining momentum what do you mean by this?
  9. What does it mean to derisking?
  10. Walk us through the SLAM method?
  11. Where do most people get it wrong by default when it comes to gaining momentum?
  12. Jon Warner, You come across as a very proactive person…so how do you typically organize the first four hours of your and what time do you typically wake up?
  13. What are a few of the daily habits that you believe have allowed you to achieve success?
  14. What mentor has made the biggest impact on your career thus far?
  15. What has been the biggest adversity that you’ve had to fight through during your career?
  16. What advice would you give the younger version of yourself?
  17. We find that most successful entrepreneurs tend to have idiosyncrasies that are actually their superpowers…what idiosyncrasy do you have?
  18. What message or principle that you wish you could teach everyone?
  19. What is a principle or concept that you teach people most that VERY FEW people actually ever apply?
  20. What are a couple of books that you believe that all of our listeners should read?
Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

Facebook Jon Warner Thrivetime Show

On today’s show, we are joined by the bestselling author Jon Warner. Jon Warner is the author of 40 books and the sought after international speaker on the subjects of management, leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. And on today’s show, he stops by to teach you how to reduce the risks associated with launching a new product or a new service. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, here’s our interview with Jon Warner.

On today’s show, tribe nation, we’re talking about how to develop personal momentum. Jon Warner, welcome onto the thrive time show. How are you?

I am very well and it’s great to be here.

Now I want to ask you, where are you? You sound like you’re from Oklahoma. You sound like you’re from Texas. Where are you from?

Very close. So I’m physically in Palm Springs, California, and I have a very strange blend of accents that started off being born in the U K viral Australia for 15 years. And I’ve been in California for 15 years. So I’m collecting passports.

So he, you, you have written, I, my understanding is throughout your career you have put together 40 books, 40 books my friend had when if you found time to write 40 books and to lead three successful startups.

Well, you know, I love to write. So it was just a discipline I learned really early on in life. And, uh, it’s been 30 years in the making, but you know, every so often I’d put a book out where I’ve done enough research. I think it’s justified so I can hardly believe it myself.

So what was your life like growing up in, in, in, when did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?

So, you know, I worked in the corporate world and thought I wanted that career really early on in the UK. And I worked for big corporations, I worked for and air products and chemicals. I worked for Exxon for a little while, but I pretty quickly found out I really didn’t want to be in the big corporation and I preferred being in the more agile, smaller organization world and entrepreneurship. Um, so I started consulting to organizations that were trying to go and get a traction and scale and then eventually jumped into entrepreneurship directly myself. And that’s been my life ever since. Only for the last 25 years.

So what was your first, uh, a viable business and how’d you go about funding that thing?

Yeah, I built a publishing company. A friend of mine who’d been at Exxon had jumped out into a publishing company that was ailing and said to me, come and help me, um, take this to a better place. They wanted to internationalize it. Uh, I brought some capital to the table. Uh, he already had put some capital into it and we did, we took that middle publishing business, uh, in Australia or as it was at the time. And, uh, we took it out by about a 200% in the space of about three years. So it pretty well before we sold it.

Well now you’re, you’re, I mean, you could be talking about anything on today’s show, but specifically you’re, you’re working on a, on a new project. Can you share with our listeners about your newest book and, and what inspired you to write this book?

Yeah, my new book is called slam, which is an acronym for the startup launch assistance map. And it’s really an Explorer alive. The stock idea, uh, to, um, really follow a process, um, an exploration process.

So tell us about this, this process for gaining momentum. I think a lot of our listeners are business people and I know the feeling and my partner, dr Z is joining us here. Dr Z meet Jon C. Warner. Hello mate. Oh mate.

Good to be on the show mate as well. Exactly.

NowZ , you and I have started, uh, companies that have gone on to be a very successful, but we’ve had to start with, with, you know, from the bottom and we had to start the very beginning. We’re in, that’s just you and an idea. You wanted to start an optometry clinic. Z, it’s you, it’s Z, dr Zoellner and associates. But it was just you at one point, you just started with one. It started by yourself. We can relate to this idea of trying to start something from nothing being a catalyst. For the listeners out there, Jon, what advice would you have for the listeners out there who are trying to start a company and try to gain momentum and it’s just them and maybe one other guy? How do we create that momentum?

So here’s the big idea I think. I think today it’s not about the quality of the idea. I think you can either have an idea of your own or you can get it in the public domain. It’s really about determining whether people want that idea. So for me it’s all about customer discovery. It’s about finding an unmet need that [inaudible] and then proving corroborating that it’s real. And then de-risking your startup well before you start spending any serious money. Uh, I see far too many. So doing it the other way round. You know, we’ve got to build a product, we’ve got to build a website, we’ve got to build something isn’t an MVP. Um, and, and that just doesn’t work. Uh, so I think the more you can get out there and really corroborate what you’re doing, it’s that one of that slam map. Um, really dive into a tribe of customers who are going to buy from you. And if you can find them, I think you’re halfway home.

So talk to me about de-risking. What does that mean on a practical level? If I’m listing I’m a dentist, I’m a doctor, I’m a fitness guy, what does it mean to risk [inaudible]?

What it means is that your validating that your thinking is consistent with other peoples. If you’re alone in the world in thinking that there’s a new way to go and drill teeth or fix up a patient or sell flowers or whatever it is you’re into, make people fitter, you’ve really got to get out there and make sure that some people share your vision, share your view, and will buy from you ultimately. So digging into that unmet need is about going out and finding customers who are going to be willing to buy you without actually leading the witness. You don’t want to go and say you would you buy from me, you want to go and kind of inhabit their world, find out what their pain points are and then make sure that you’ve really understood those before you start designing your product. And that’s the de-risking process. Do risking means spending as little money

other than,

so I want to ask uh, Z, let me, let’s see if I understand this method. So Z, we go into your optometry clinic. Okay. And you say, well thank you for coming in. Thank you for coming in to dr Robert. Mate, thank you for coming in. We go into your optometry clinic and we’re trying to unleash a new, what advice would you have for dr Zellner if he’s trying to unleash a new product or a new service? How does he go about de-risking to a niche?

Yeah, I think you’ve got to do in, in a, an established business case is look at your existing customer base and see what needs they’ve still got that are not being met. Uh, so, you know, whatever it might be. Uh, you’ve got to go and listen really hard to understand that there is a new niche out there that’s got a need. And then once you’re beyond your own sort of customer base, you can go out into the community and say, what else are they having pain around? Or where is there a possible gain, uh, that they could get that they’re not realizing today? So it really all about getting into their space, understanding what they’re doing and where their limitations are so that you can develop that new product, service, whatever it may be. Uh, so it’s sales into that empty space.

There’s a beautiful example of that with Walmart, the world’s largest retail company. They did a big survey and asked everybody, where did you go after you left Walmart? And everybody said, well, we went to the grocery store because we come to Walmart to get our dry goods. And all that. [inaudible] the sundries and then we’ll go to the grocery store to get our food and then we’d go home. Because obviously when you have food you got to get home and get in the refrigerator. And so they said, well why? Why are we not selling food? And I think that’s a great question to ask. Just like you’re saying John, and that is, is to, you know, get the database of the people that are there and then find out what else they need that you potentially can provide for them. Right?

Absolutely. Absolutely. And these many pivots are everywhere. I mean probably the master on the planet right now is Amazon. Just look at all the businesses they’re in that comes from listening to their customers and then really understanding not just, it’s a retail level, which is what they’re known for, but they’ve bought other businesses, as well as platforms that give people information and education very, joined up ways. In fact, AWS, their web services business, which has really nothing to do with a directly selling it at a retail level is a $6 billion business today. That started by listening to customers. And saying we can set into a space we’d not been in before and we can actually beat out Apple and Microsoft and Google. And they did

you know a S Z you were mentioning a Walmart deciding to bring food into the stores. And we actually, for the listeners out there that missed this show, if you listen to our interview, it says interviewing the right hand man for Sam Walton is the title. You can Google it. Interviewing the right hand demand for Sam Walton. We actually interviewed Tommy Smith who was the man tasked by Sam Walton to actually open up the super centers.

I know it was fantastic. And his insight and how they came up with the exact is exactly what John’s talking about. You know, to bring it back to my level, one of the things that we, I researched is that when people get contact lenses within the first week to two weeks at the maximum, they go and buy, um, sunglasses. A lot of people get contact lenses so they can wear Ray bans. Oakleys you know, they can wear regular sunglasses, if you will. This just in this just in. And so I said, well listen guys, we need to be more concentrated on people buying contact lenses or getting contact lenses from us. They’re going to go buy sunglasses. So let’s offer a, a promo, a call to action. Let’s, you know, not let them leave the store until they tell you, buy some sunglasses, which can get kind of, you know, can tankers or you know, no ma’am, you can’t leave. You didn’t buy any sunglasses yet. But uh, that’s one of the things you’re talking about, that vertical integration of what, what else are they going to go, what else are they going to go by that you can provide?

No, Jon, we have a listener who joins us today inside the, uh, the studio by the name of Charles Colaw his wife Amber started Cola It is a, if you imagine big gyms, big fitness centers, thousands and thousands of members. Charles Cola, what questions would you have for John Warner here about how to maybe de-risk your new location, your new venture, your new product, or how to develop momentum with an organization? Well am I mute and you tell me

I’m here. I’m here now.

Jon Warner, the show before you, we had the Lieutenant governor on the show. We had the secretary of commerce. We always different people in the, in the studio. So I’ve got mute buttons everywhere. So back to you Chuck.

Yes. Hey John. Uh, yes, I was going to follow up again with uh, dr Z. What other, what other things do you see that he had mentioned about, you know, uh, what they, when the Walmart, when you leave the, they said they were going to the grocery store. What other items did you, you have like in your book or that you’ve talked about in your book that would be like testing that a ideal and likely buyer understanding your ideal and likely buyer? Any, any action items that you can think of other than kind of what dr Z kind of pulled up that came to mind? Obviously

it’s going to be unique to your own business, but let’s go and talk about those two. So one of the ways to think about your customers and the tribes of people that you can focus on is to do it demographically and psychographically. So let’s say in the optometry environment, even in the fitness environment, there are people who are very young. Maybe it’s kids fitness, maybe it’s a eyewear for kids, um, or very old. What about the older adult community, uh, and their needs as they get frailer and, and things change. Same in fitness. Um, so I could graphically, it’s all about what are their preferences. So you can start playing with all sorts of things because people like to go and get variety. They’d like to go and get customized solutions. The key is to go and listen to them hard enough to know that’s a big enough market for you to go and get after. Um, you can find a niche that no one else is occupying. So I just, for example, are focused wholly on kids. Um, I don’t know too many optometrists that are focused wholly on, uh, providing, you know, colorful and interesting eyewear, whether, you know, whatever that may be, whether it’s sunglasses or normal wear. So, uh, I think if you, uh, really dig in, this is where you get, uh, the de-risking advantage for

great. So how can your book and the concepts in your book help individuals that are constantly having new ideas? You know, people always have ideas for a new business, a new product, a new service, you know, and how can your idea help people like that?

So the, the easy way to do it, and even, I hate to say this, but without even buying the book, you can go to the website, slam and just download the free resource right there for your listeners. Uh, it’s got the questions you would follow and actually run your idea through those questions. There’s eight steps on the slam map. There’s three questions on there, every step. So there’s 24 questions that de-risk his startup to validate what it is you’re doing. Ask those questions and don’t do it with your mom and your dad and your brother and uncle Phil and auntie Mary. Uh, get out there and go and try and talk to people that you think are going to be the target customer. And if you just go out and try and talk to 10 or 12 people, go and see if it’s got validity. That’s where I would stop.

Luke, you’ve seen this with the hub gym, your, your gym and broken arrow where a lot of people say they want to eat healthy food. You’ve seen this, right? Right. They said they want to eat healthy food. Yep. But do they want to buy healthy food? Uh, no. No they don’t. Why? Because it’s not easy. Uh, and it doesn’t feel good. What I’m finding is a lot of people eat based on how they feel and uh, with our food service or the one we offer currently, it’s all about consistency and the same thing over and over again. And people just don’t want to do that. So Charles Cole, I talk to us about this. What do you eat everyday? My friend meat? Yeah. Meat. John, I want you to, Charles, can you explain to John how tall you are? I’m about six foot three. Six. Four. How much do you weigh? About two 55. What’s your body fat percentage? About six or seven. And what do you eat? Uh, mainly lean meat, vegetables, protein shakes and water board.

No, I just basically do that over and over in fitness. That’s kind of like the mainstay of food that you eat to stay lean and muscular.

Okay. So Jon Warner, your system works. Your slam method works. And I think a lot of listeners out there going, well, I know his system works, but what if I just try to go without using the system cause it’s so boring. Zeke getting predictable results. What if I want to not you? What will happen, John? By default, people don’t use your system or a system like yours.

You know, you’re prone to just making mistakes. It’s as simple as that. You know, all my system does it. The guidance framework, it’s as simple as that. Define those goals to see, to go and make money. It’s as simple as that. Uh, my, my favorite Jim’s story actually is, uh, I gym in New York. They actually surveyed all their couch potato gym members, people that were turning up in theory to exercise. But what they really wanted to do was get away from the spouse and say they’d been to the gym with the lion. Easy chat, hold in the gyms. They could sit there and eat donuts all day and go home.

No, no. John are you, you’re from Australia, you call Australia home.

I do call Australia home and the song says it all.

Well, very good. And, and did generations of your family been there?

Not generations. No. I moved out of the UK to Australia 30 years.

Oh, I thought you had a better story because I was hoping you would have like, yeah, my great, great, great grandfather. Was shit here. [inaudible]

no, sadly no.

Oh, that’s what you did my story. Don’t, don’t, don’t let truth stop. A really good story John. Okay. I mean I think, I think maybe your fifth generation grandfather was like a Bandido and got shipped off to Australia and it took over like the Western part of the state of the country. And

John before the better story clay, I think it’s a better store. I’ll tell to this. John, before we wrap up today’s show, I have two hard hitting questions for you and, and then Z, you might have one to beat to beat me. No, John one is, uh, how many kangaroos, um, do you own and why are you so obsessed with cooking shrimp on the Barbie?

Uh, well I’ve got seven right here right now and they’re reaching all the crimp on the Barbie, so I have to keep throwing them on there.

John, if you ever, have you ever eaten kangaroo? Cause there’s what? There’s red and gray or is that

I have, I have, it’s lean meat. So talking about meat eating, it’s funny, it’s really tasty. If you roast it,

it’s tastes delicious. I think I had read when I was down in Sydney, I think I was [inaudible]

yeah, that’s pretty good. You got to prepare it right. But it’s pretty damn good.

And how tall is a kangaroo?

Yeah, they can grow pretty tall. Seven, seven and a half feet at the tallest. So they’re pretty [inaudible]

was the terrifying animal. [inaudible] species are two species. One’s bigger than the other? I think so. Is the red or the anyway, the red or the gray guy.

Okay. Now, now here’s my next question and I, this is the probably the most, there’s more serious of the final two here before, cause I know the listeners are going to go to slam they’re going to go to slam and learn all these systems. But let’s have a little fun first here. So sure. John, could you imitate in Oklahoman?

I certainly couldn’t. I couldn’t, can’t do it in American at all

cause I feel like if I, if I try enough like I might, I might be able to kind of get into a trip on the old call me. I feel like I can kind of get to the place if I walk off, but it kind of goes at trends like English. Yeah, but you’re not going to bust out an Oklahoma accent just to see.

Say y’all give us a young, tell everyone who’s in Oklahoma and I don’t know, had salt ourselves by speaking as well. It’s fun, but I’ll tell you what are tell you ratio. We got John [inaudible], Keith backing clay before ducky and where my parents were, my parents. Okay. What is your final question for, for Jon Warner since he will not cooperate with my asking up to him to imitate Oklahomans that have respect for us? Um, first of all, John, you’re the website that you want everybody to go to is

slam SLA M It’s dedicated to the book as a ton of free resources or there’s videos on there. So you know, go, go for it.

Is there a picture of you on there? There is a picture, a very small one cause he’s a handsome man. So everybody do yourself a favor and a little eye candy, a little sidebar. You’re, and you’re welcome before you go to the website. Okay. Now heart, the hard hitting question is, and this is where my favorite questions, because obviously you’ve been successful author, you’ve, you’ve obviously moved halfway around the world. We won’t get into why, I’m sure it had nothing to do with running from the law or legal things. I’m, I, I’m sure it had nothing to do lectures on entrepreneurship at both the undergraduate am and MBA level. We used to have very smart, successful man. Got the world, got that. He’s got seven kangaroos. I mean, come on. I mean he’s got it going on. Just a majestic. So if you could go back, let’s say 20 years or somewhere in that couple of decades and sit down with yourself as a younger man, what would you, what advice would you give to yourself? What would you say? Listen. Self self.


I, I think in the end that comes down to get out there, take a risk, you know, go and talk to people. Um, put one foot in front of the other. Don’t overthink your idea. Don’t put it off til tomorrow. You know, action and getting out there, uh, makes all the difference in the world. And your first idea may not be your best. So just be prepared to be agile and shift your view. Don’t be too beholden to, you know, other people either in terms of them telling you whether you can or can’t succeed. Um, it’s better to be out there than it is, uh, you know, sucking the pencil and just thinking about doing something.

Yeah. John, I appreciate your time more than, you know, and I, and I, again, I apologize for, I’m really just buying into the stereotypes. My understanding is that people in, uh, in Australia actually don’t, uh, cook shrimp on the Barbie. Is that, is that correct, sir? Editor,

correct. That’s an English stereotype. Yeah. So what can I say?

Well, I will say this, um, I w I N this is, if this is offensive [inaudible] I apologize, but see, I have to say the truth. You have to, I had a roommate in college. My name is Clayton Clark. Up until I went to college, my name was always Clayton. I never went by clay, but it’s just people started calling me clay because I was a DJ and it kind of went, so I’m like, okay, fine. But I was always called Clayton. That was my name growing up and my roots. My name is Clayton Clark and my roommate, his name was Clinton Clark. Oh wow. So I got assigned Clinton Clark as roommate of Clayton Clark and Clinton was from Australia. And one day I saw him eating this godforsaken thing that looked a lot like peanut butter called Vegemite. So I thought, I’m going to go ahead and do it, looks like peanut butter, so I’m going to go ahead and have some. So I get out the knife. I’m sure Clinton, can I have some? He says, yeah. And he kind of giggled and I’m like, what’s so funny? He goes, Oh, it’s just, it’s a little different than peanut butter. It looks kind of the same consistency. And I put that on my bread and it was, in my opinion, the worst thing I’ve ever had in my entire life. But I understand that it is a staple of the Australian diet. Can you please explain what is going on with Vegemite?

So Vegemite is the complete staple. Every Australian eats it every night on a couple of slices of one degrade [inaudible]

every night. And we wonder why is that what we’re saying? What does it taste like? Explain to listeners cause thing. I mean, it was like, Oh, I did not expect that flavor at all. It was crazy.

It’s gross. It is.

Hey Andrew, let’s put that on the notes here. Let’s go ahead today. Let’s buy some Vegemite and ship it in the office tomorrow and try it overnight.

There is no unmet need for Vegemite in the world.

I could hardly wait. It’s an acquired taste that you never acquire, but I guess if you’re from Australia you’re required to do any better. You grow up with it. You don’t know any better. He’s like, it’s must be wonderful. I already better write Jon Warner. Thank you so much my friend and if you’re out there listening today, go check out his website, slam there’s a lot of free information to download that slam John, I hope you have a great rest of your day.

Great stuff. Thanks guys. Thanks buddy.

And now without any further ed, do

The system works, but nothing works unless you do. You’ve got to take some action. Download the ebook for free [email protected] the woodblock. Okay. If you guys need me, I’ll just be over here.


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