In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Stu Heinecke. Stu is a bestselling business author, marketer, and Wall Street Journal cartoonist. His first book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone, introduced the concept of Contact Marketing and was named one of the top 64 sales books of all time. His latest release, How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed, lays out a complete model for explosive business growth, based on the strategies, attributes, and tools weeds use to grow, expand, dominate and defend their turf. He is a twice-nominated hall of fame marketer, Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center author-in-residence, and was named the “Father of Contact Marketing” by the American Marketing Association. He lives on a beautiful island in Puget Sound, Washington.
Anyone can grow their business into something resilient and unstoppable — just like weeds do. In this episode, best-selling author, Stu Heinecke, shares his model for business growth by using the successful strategies that ordinary weeds use to spread and prosper in almost any situation. We dive into the weed-based attributes you can use to get the job done quickly and effectively and increase your market share, prominence, and customer base.
Questions I ask Stu Heinecke:
- [1:46] Why did you want to use the analogy of a weed and what was your thought process behind it?
- [3:14] Why is a weed different than a prize-winning flower?
- [4:27] The big premise of using the weed metaphor is really to tap into what you’re calling a weed mindset — can you unpack that idea for us?
- [5:32] What are the unfair advantages that you think adopting this weed mindset gives a business?
- [7:39] Can you break down the weed model for us?
- [14:17] How do you apply this model to taking that next step and getting to the next level with your business?
- [17:41] How do you win a weed award?
- [19:27] Where can people buy your book and learn more about your work?
More About Stu Heinecke:
- His book — How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed: A Complete Strategy for Unstoppable Growth
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(00:49): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Stu Heinecke. He's a best-selling business author, marketer and Wall Street Journal cartoonist. His first book, how to Get a Meeting With Anyone, introduce Concept of Contact Marketing, was named one of the top 64 sales books of All Time. We're gonna talk about his latest book, how to Grow Your Business Like a Weed, which lays out a model for explosive business growth based on the strategies, attributes, and tools weeds used to grow and expand, dominate, and defend their turfs. So Stu, welcome to the show.
Stu Heinecke (01:32): Thank you so much. What a, what a pleasure. And as I'm listening to it, I'm thinking, what the hell is he talking
John Jantsch (01:42):
Stu Heinecke (02:02): Sure. Well, you know, by the way, I think the first thing they think of is, you mean this kind of weed, the ki kind of weed you smoke? No, it's not that kind. That's not what we're talking about. But yeah, I mean, well, we all know what it means to grow like a weed. So the fact is that all of this whole logic is already built into our experience. We know what it looks like, we know what it means to grow like a weed. We also know what it looks like because you see it every spring and actually not just through through the spring, but you see what they do all the way through the summer and you see that they, you know, while a lot of the plants have maybe a single season of growth, dandelions, for example, just keep doing it, they keep running that process over and over again so that they are always running these unfair advantages, which is kind of a big part of the whole strategy. Oh, weed strategy.
John Jantsch (02:48): You know, it's funny, I, I really, I'm, I love all plants, I love all animals, I love trees
Stu Heinecke (03:16): Well, you know, I guess the fact is that, well, if you look at let's the, it's full of contradictions because if you look at, let's say the state flower of California, it is a weed, you know, it's the California poppy. So they are beautiful. I don't think it's really a necessarily a function of beauty, but just are they, are they doing things that we don't want them to do? Are they showing up where they're not invited? And so dandelions are probably the great ex example. Everyone experiences them. And you, we, you know, if you have lawns, you see them show up in your lawn. And by the way, if you see one, then you see, you look up and you see hundreds of them. So they're really, they're tough to deal with. They're formidable. And so I guess wheat is probably just, I don't know, just a, a nasty name for a plant. It's a plant that some gardeners say it was just a plant outta place. But that's true only to a certain point because there are some weeds that seem like they've come from another planet. They're just incredibly aggressive and noxious and we don't really want them around.
John Jantsch (04:16): Yeah. And they'll take out native species and things like that that, you know, because of their ability to grow and spread. Talk a little bit, of course the, you know, the big premise of the book or a big premise of using the weed metaphor is really to tap into what you're calling a weed mindset. So yeah, maybe unpack that idea for us.
Stu Heinecke (04:35): Sure. Well, you know, you would, if you think about weed having a mindset, well, first of all, to have a mindset, I guess you probably should have a brain and weeds don't have brains, so how could that even be possible? But if you watch weeds at all, if you see what they do, if you see how they operate, then you can certainly, you can certainly see that there is some presence there that looks like a mindset because they're aggressive and resilient and adaptive. And when you, when they're mowed down, they go right back to where building right back up again, they don't stop. And, and so they have really admirable qualities that I guess in our experience are expressed as mindset. So that's where the mindset, the weed mindset comes from.
John Jantsch (05:17): So one of the things I've talked about a long time is that having a real point of differentiation, one that matters to the client, can be a way to almost make your, make competition irrelevant. You call it an unfair advantage. So, you know, what are the unfair advantages that, that you think this mi weed mindset or adopting this weed mindset gives a business?
Stu Heinecke (05:37): Well, I would say that for, if we're, well, so the really, the weeds model goes beyond just mindset, but it's leveraging a fierce mindset. Mindset and unfair advantages against collective scale and running it against a process. But I would say really, if you're using any element of wheat strategy, you're already cre creating unfair advantages for yourself. And when we're looking at, let's say the, let's say the situation of many small businesses, the ones that have no unfair advantages are not gonna survive. So you have to have, right, and I guess we could call them a lot of other things though, certainly one is a differentiator. So, and one of the Wall Street Journal cartoonists that helps me when my cartoons show up in the journal, they reach an audience of a little over 2 million readers. That's real. You know, no one's, how is anyone gonna compete with that as a way to cause people to become aware of you and maybe, you know, say, well, you know what, I know about stew's use of weeds cuz I use weeds to help sales teams break through.
(06:31): It's like my day job. So when I get to have my my my, you know, my my cartoons show up like that, then it's just an advantage. That is really tough to, to me. But an an advantage could be a, a location, it could be, it could be a partner that you have. We're gonna start up a, a new, a new award based on the book called the Total Weed Award. And my new partner in this is the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center. That's an unfair advantage. So it's all sorts of, all manners of, of unfair advantages from ways to get a lot more, uh, a lot more Boer to help with getting exposure. Kind of like this is a seed pod strategy that we're executing right here. You're my seed pod, essentially I'm reaching your audience and you're multiplying the, the reach of my seeds of these impressions that I get to create from the book and from interviews and talking about the book. And it goes all the way down through, through Thorn strategy and segmentation strategy and rosette and vying and soil and root strategies. All of these are levels of strategies that help us gain unfair advantages.
John Jantsch (07:37): So I think you kind of were just doing it there, but I'm gonna ask you to kind of back up and say, and hopefully you can do justice in a couple minutes. You know, the weed model itself, I think you were ticking off elements of it there, but maybe kind of put it together for us.
Stu Heinecke (07:52): Yeah, well, so there are eight levels of strategy in that weeds in the Weeds model, which is an acronym for weed inspired Enterprise Expansion of Domination Strategies. So that's
John Jantsch (08:53): Yeah, and get a couple, like get a couple five year olds and pull a few of those out and blow 'em too. That really makes 'em
Stu Heinecke (08:59): Explosive. That's true.
(09:40): It's there to prevent or let's say mitigate loss. Well, in business we have the same things happening. We have disruptions that occur all the time. One of those that co that occurs every, was this a regular cycle of years is recessions. And a lot of us are still caught un unguarded for recessions. We just sort of dread when they show up and we don't really have much of, a, much of a much of a strategy for dealing it. But what if you're dealing with those things, there are ways to mitigate them and that's, we're gonna be doing that probably soon if the press is correct because they're sort of beating the drum about recession again. And anyway, there are strategies to deal with that. And then rosette's strategies, really, I put that into the model because I wanted rots are those that, well, in the example of dandelions, that radial fan of leaves, that spreads out across the lawn.
(10:31): If you come over it with a, it seems like they evolved just to duck the mowers. It's not really where it came from. But what they're really doing is they're covering the ground and they are denying the critical resources that plants around them need. The grass around them needs to grow and really just to live so sunlight and water. And so how can we create those kinds of, it's really about cultivating unfair advantages, looking for those and finding new ones that we can add. A lot of times we can add those by the partnerships and associations that we create. And that's mine strategies. So borrowing the infrastructure of others to, to gain dominant access to the sort of warm sunshine of sales and, and all the things that we're looking for, just sales and exposure and so forth. And then finally there's root strategy and the plant is the seed of all life force, but in business it's all of the, it's where all of the value of the business is sort of stored and curated and maximized.
(11:25): So there are strategies for doing that. And then finally, soil strategy. So seeds are rather, yeah, well the weeds, they don't get to, they don't get to change the soil quality that they're in. They just sort of, they just, wherever they land, they make a go of it. But we have the ability to change the substrate in which we grow our businesses. So the cultures within our businesses and with outside of our businesses, our communities and movements are really interesting. If we can grab of or start movements, those are amazing things to help change the sort of soil strategy or the conditions for us to grow in. So that's the model op, that's the weeds model for creating unfair advantages.
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Stu Heinecke (13:26): Yeah, absolutely. Yes, it's all those, cuz all of those create conditions that are much more favorable for our growth.
John Jantsch (13:34): So how then do we take that model and if somebody goes through their business today and says, oh, I'm, you know, I can add this or I could add this, or I could be better at this one. And so we get maybe our weed strategy put together, you know, what's whatever, what many people want to do then is really scale, grow that business beyond them or grow that business certainly from beyond where it is to today. So how do you apply this then to, to taking that next step, going the next level with the business?
Stu Heinecke (14:01): Well, I think in fact, one of the first things that we can do to grow our businesses, I we gotta be looking at them and making sure they're viable. If there's something that's not viable about it, fix it. But assuming everything is viable and you've got a great concept, then one of the first things we can do to grow our business is to root out one-to-one leverage and then jump to either multi-channel or collective scale is for the ultimate, is collective scale. I should explain what that is though. Yeah, we're sure from just from early childhood, we're all taught to become self-reliant and sort of self-sufficient. I guess that sort of happens when we, I the first time we played musical chairs and you got left without a chair, you say, well wait a minute, where's my chair? You know, I'm not gonna let that happen again.
(14:41): And I think that maybe it's, maybe that's the first time we get it's get it instilled in our heads that we're in a competitive world and you need to be proactive and you need to get things done. You need to be able to rely on yourself to get things done. Then it continues when we're told then to we go to school and get good grades, study hard, then you'll get into a great college and from there you'll get a great job, maybe a really well paying job. But here's the problem, the all of that is wonderful. We need to be self-reliant. And I would say that the entrepreneurs around us are probably some of the most self-reliant people there are, but, but we can't do it alone. And that's the big realization. We, and, and I think probably the more self-reliant and the mortal talented, the more easily you learn things, the harder it is for you to learn to let go and say, well, some of this stuff I've just gotta let go of this and that somebody who's either more better rated toward it or better at it than I am, just let them do it for me so that I can move on to other things.
(15:38): And I would say one of the big telltale signs is if your labor is directly involved in your deliverables, you are at one-to-one leverage. And or, and let's say if you discover that it's really hard to take a vacation because the bus, the business stops because you're not there, that's one-to-one leverage and you need to root that out really quickly. So you do that I think by jumping to multi-channel leverage. And that really means just forming partnerships with, with people who could bring you to, to other, to new clients, let's say, or open up new sales channels. I was inviting you to, to, to join a group that I started a group of authors and I guess in a way that's multi-channel leverage because we get together, we formulate ideas, we bring things together and, and, and you know, that you, that's the way we've gotta, we've gotta find ways to collaborate with people as much as possible. I guess that's really the one of the big messages of we just, that the more we collaborate, the stronger we become.
John Jantsch (16:33): So with an example of that, say a consultant or coach who is doing a lot of that one-to-one work would be building a course or bringing, building a community or doing group work or having, as you said, strategic partners who are going to, you know, send business his or her way. I mean, is that at, at a very simple example what we're talking about?
Stu Heinecke (16:53): Yeah, yeah, I think so. I think productizing what you do as a consultant mm-hmm.
John Jantsch (17:13): Yeah. All right, so here's the burning question, and I'm certain people are listening right now and on the edge of their seats. How do you win a weed award?
Stu Heinecke (17:22):
John Jantsch (17:28): Total, total award.
Stu Heinecke (17:29): Yeah. You have to be absolutely audacious in, in the way that you, that you approach your market and create unfair advantages and create scale. And you obviously you need to be an example to the rest of us, but an example of weed like growth.
John Jantsch (17:45): Yeah. So I've been, uh, doing interviews, you know, for years and over the last few years, one of the things I've seen is title explosion in the C-suite. You know, you've got your chief people officer, you've got your Chief revenue officer, and now I think you are probably going to introduce a Chief weed officer.
Stu Heinecke (18:03): I am, I'm proposing one more
John Jantsch (18:09): I do, yeah, I do know Dan. Yeah, he's on the show before
Stu Heinecke (18:11): He, yeah, Dan is, he's an amazing guy. He's, he has the blog Edgy Conversations, I think he has a book out by the same name. And, and he's a turnaround specialist. Anyway, I interviewed him for the book and he, he gave a quote, by the way, the book has all these, I'm so proud of these quotes at the beginning of the book because they were, when I looked to research for the book, there were no positive quotes about weeds. So everybody I was interviewing, I was asking them, okay, could you share some sort of like, now that we've talked about weeds as a positive, what thoughts come to mind? Yeah. And so Dan said, if you don't have a Chief Weed Officer, you lose
John Jantsch (18:46):
Stu Heinecke (18:47): Um, and yeah, I think that there will be Chief weed officers, I don't know if they'll be called that, maybe they'll be called Chief Strategy officers or weed strategy officers, but there will be people who will be responsible for growth of the company through the execution of weed strategy that we can watch all around us.
John Jantsch (19:05): Yeah. Awesome. Well, Stu, I appreciate you taking time to Stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You wanna tell people where they can find out more about your work and obviously pick up a copy of the book?
Stu Heinecke (19:15): Sure. Well, you can buy the book anywhere, anywhere. Books are sold now it, it launches of course June 1st, but that actually, well, yeah. Can I start that over? Yeah, of course. Do it. Okay. Yeah, you can buy the book anywhere that books are sold, Amazon, of course, and Bo Barnes and Noble, bam and all that, perhaps at the airport soon. You can come and visit me at my author site, that's stu hynek.com. And when you come there, then one of the things you might wanna do is join my weed, my my Weed bootcamp, sorry, my boot, my Weed Mindset bootcamp. And you can join that from, from my site as well. So yeah, and LinkedIn mention that, that you heard John and my and myself talking on the, on the Duct Tape Podcast. Duct Tape Marketing podcast. And I will be happy to connect with you there.
John Jantsch (20:02): Awesome. Well, we'll have all those links in the show notes as well. And Stu, congrats on the new book and again, appreciate you taking the time out to, to share with our listeners and hopefully we'll run into you again soon, one of these days out there on the road.
Stu Heinecke (20:15): I would love that, John. Thanks for having me on the show.
John Jantsch (20:18): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find [email protected] not.com. Co check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing assessment.co. I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.
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