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3 surprising business secrets that created a Christmas smash hit

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I should really thank my mum. Not only because she painfully squeezed me from her loins (what a lovely image for you to kick-off with!) – more, my wonderful mother deserves an extra huge dollop of gratitude because my latest best selling product all started with the tradition of celebrating ‘Mother’s Day’. Importantly, the final concept I launched actually had nothing to do with appreciating my mum, but out of this initial starting point, I’d eventually stumble upon a bestselling product. And crucially, the techniques I used along the way to success (that I also describe during my motivational speeches) can be directly applied to any area of your business, and life, in order to score massive wins.

Mother’s Day was simply a trigger. And ‘triggers’ are vital if you want to bump your brain out of its usual patterns. In my case, the desire to wish my Mum a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ got my creative juices flowing like the Niagra. At that point, I did something that I’ve done since I landed my first job in TV. It’s a wonderfully easy trick, and here it is:

1. Look around at what everyone else is doing in your situation – and do something DIFFERENT

At the start of my working life, in order to land a job that two thousand other people were also vying for, I sent the boss of a TV company a delivery pizza that had a message on the underside of the box that read: ‘Wanted to give you a pizza my mind…’. No other candidate did anything like that, so it got the Boss’s attention, which then allowed me to show him I could deliver real content. I got the job and stayed six years.

In a similar vein, when it came to Mother’s Day, I wanted to create something markedly different from the usual greeting card, which I would normally send every year. I came up with idea of making a giant interactive message for my mother that I would print on a billboard. I designed a huge speech bubble containing the words ‘I LOVE YOU MUM’ and placed it on a massive wooden billboard I hired. This allowed me to stand next to the finished placard so that it looked like the speech bubble was appearing from my mouth – and once I’d taken a photo of this montage, I sent it to my mother. Plus, crucially, anyone passing by the billboard could do that for their dear Mum too.

When my ‘speech bubble billboard’ finally got posted up in a busy part of Central London, I was utterly thrilled to use it in real life. Passers by seemed to really love it as well. And importantly, ‘Mother Simove’ certainly did!

Even though this venture wasn’t designed to make a heap of cash, the fact that the idea engaged people so effectively made me realise that there might be some actual ‘gold in them thar hills’. Many of the ideas I create aren’t spurred by the urge to make cash, and yet, because I wholeheartedly throw myself into everything I pursue and because I pay careful attention to detail, my ideas pretty much always end up bringing in some sort of monetary reward. People emotionally connect with any creation or service that’s delivered with care – and will frequently pay for it too.

So, believing I had the nugget of a money-making idea with my speech bubble billboard, I then used a second trick that I often employ:

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