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Dirty Secrets of Small Business
30 minutes | 2 days ago
How Did Q1 Go? Did Your Business Make Money on Purpose?
In This Episode Too many small business owners will respond “I don’t know” when asked questions about their numbers. If you are not in the regular habit of reviewing your numbers as a business owner, this is something you should start to change. One of the easiest ways to start is by reviewing your financials monthly. When we say financials, start with your Profit & Loss Statement and your Balance Sheet. It is rare that when we start with a new business coaching client that they are already in the regular habit of reviewing their numbers. The response we get usually goes something like, “We meet with our accountant a couple of times per year to see how things are going.” Talk about stressful! How do you sleep at night as a business owner if you don’t have a sense for how things are going or how they are going to be going forward? So we start getting them comfortable with their numbers by having the business owner Present their numbers every month. When we talk about making money on purpose, this is something every business owner wants to do. Unfortunately most small business owners don’t pull together an annual Profit Plan to map out how they are going to make money in the upcoming year. During the show today we highlighted several ways to get started down this path of making money on purpose. Pulling together a plan to make money on purpose starts with forecasting Sales (you may refer to it as Revenue or Income or Top Line). If we don’t have Sales then we don’t have a business, but a hobby, unless you’re in start up mode. The first step in forecasting Sales is deciding how you want to do it. Do you want to forecast your Sales based on the Products/Services you sell or do you want to do it by Customers/Target Markets? Just sit and ponder that for a minute. Does it make more sense to forecast your business based on Products/Services or Customers/Target Markets? Maybe it’s a hybrid. For instance, we forecast our business based on Customers and we do it within each of the Service areas (e.g. 2-on-1 Coaching, Mastermind Groups, DISC training, etc.). What makes sense for your business? This is a key question to answer because what will happen next is you will start to dig into your historical Sales and see what info you have. Have you been tracking Sales by Products/Services or by Customers in the past? We find many folks who don’t track their sales in any consistent manner. Instead they are just tracking what’s coming in or going out of the bank account. Again, talk about stressful! No matter what you find, chances are you will start to track Sales differently going forward. You see, once you start to track and measure things, you’ll be able to have more visibility in your business. Even better visibility than you get by simply being there every day. If you haven’t done a Profit Plan before, no worries as it’s never too late to start. Try forecasting your Sales for the next 90 days. This is one way to ensure you’re on the right path to making money on purpose in Q2! CLICK HERE to download a spreadsheet to help you start pulling together your sales forecast. Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we will chat about selling your business. More specifically we will talk about How To Get Your Business Ready To Sell. Whether you are currently thinking about selling or not, it’s always good to have your business ready to go in case you get that call with an offer you can’t refuse!
53 minutes | 9 days ago
How Do I Get My Team To Take Ownership?
In This Episode We all know it’s tough finding good people. So when you find the good ones you want to hold onto them with both hands and never let them go! But how do you get them to stay? Is it all about the money? We often hear small business owners lament how tough it is to get their people to take ownership of their work. What they mean by this is that they want their employees to think and act like business owners. So is this an unreasonable request? What if you do the wrong things and scare them away? Let’s step way back for a second. What does it even mean to take ownership or think and act like a business owner? Is it simply that you want your people working all the time? Or thinking about the business 24/7 like you do as the business owner? Maybe a little bit. But not really. What most business owners are looking for is they want employees who really care about the business. That means they’ll take care of each other as well as the customer and do whatever it takes to get things done vs. making excuses. During the show today we share a simple way to get your people to take ownership. It involves one word…Presenting! Some of the main benefits of having your people Present: Shows how people think (i.e. you get a pick inside their brains) Becomes their idea (i.e. they take ownership of it) Builds their confidence (everything from grabbing a marker and going to the whiteboard to presenting a slide deck or leading a call) Gets them thinking about “what’s best for the organization” vs. simply what’s best for them Could it really be that simple? Listen to the show today to find out! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Tommy Boy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Boy) 7 Keys (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) ESOP (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/esop.asp) NFL (https://www.nfl.com) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about your numbers. How did your first quarter of the year go? Did you make money on purpose?
33 minutes | 16 days ago
How Do I Create a Path For My Best People To Advance?
In This Episode How many good employees do you have on your team? All of them? None of them? Not sure? We find that most small business owners don’t know how many good employees they have for a simple reason…they aren’t sure what a good employee looks like. So why are we asking this question about good employees and how does it relate to the topic of our show today? Well, one of the constant battles for most small business owners is trying to balance the investment of time vs. money. This is true with things like your Marketing Plan where many owners go with the “do-it-yourself” model vs. investing in outside resources. The same thing is true when it comes to your people. Especially your best people. If you are going to invest your precious time and money into your people, don’t you want to make sure you’re investing in the places that are likely to lead to the best return for you and your business? During the show we shared some simple examples for ways to get your employees to identify themselves as being good employees or not. This includes things like setting up a monthly book club and inviting all employees to participate. Or offering to pay for training for each employee each year, but it’s up to the employees to identify what they would like to be trained in and present it to you. How many of your employees would take advantage of these opportunities? All of them? None of them? Not sure? Once you have an idea for who your good people are you can then help them put together customized plans for advancement. Picture meeting with these good people 1-to-1 on a regular basis (e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly) to talk about what areas of the business they’d like to learn and what areas should they grow and get better. These 1-to-1 meetings give you time to focus on that person and their growth and you also get to see how they are progressing and how they think. If you have nothing in place right now, don’t worry because there is no better time to start than now. Get started with something simple like a book club or lunch and learn or some individual outside training. No matter the first step, the key is to get started. Too many businesses get stuck because they aren’t able to recruit, grow, and retain their own talent. If you aren’t purposeful about making investments of both time and money into your people then your business is unlikely to grow too far from where it is today. Or certainly that growth will likely be the results of your efforts vs. those of your team. People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show March Madness (https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2021-march-madness-schedule) Profit Plan (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about one of the more common frustrations with your People. More specifically we will talk about How Do I Get My Team To Take Ownership?
23 minutes | 23 days ago
How Do I Know It’s Time To Fire A Customer?
In This Episode We know you’ve talked about this. Perhaps even dreamed about it. How much better off would you and your team and your company be without that one customer? That customer who really isn’t the right customer for you, but you’ve held onto them for years. Maybe saying you’ve “put up with them” is a better way to put it. And it seems to go against every fiber of your entrepreneurial spirit to turn away any sales…even from the wrong customer! So what’s a business owner to do? How about actually firing that customer? Does that seem too harsh? Not sure exactly how to do this? Maybe it’s your first time? No worries, we’ve got you covered. In this episode we shared several stories and ideas for how to know when it’s time to fire a customer as well as discussed several ways to actually do the deed (hint, you can be creative with this). Some signs your customer might be the wrong customer: Can’t make them happy They negotiate everything Don’t pay on time “Abusive” to you/your staff Don’t refer business They aren’t honest with you Losing money on them There are also several ways to fire them: Be direct Raise their prices Introduce them to your competitor Say it’s you, not them Let one of your people do it! Sometimes you need to do a little pruning and purging in your business and that includes your customer list. Much like going to work out, you tell yourself all sorts of reasons ahead of time why you don’t want to do it, but after the workout you feel so much better. Same thing is true with finally getting rid of that awful customer! Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about one of your most valuable assets, your People. More specifically we will talk about How Do I Create a Path For My Best People To Advance?.
37 minutes | a month ago
How Do I Get Better As a Leader?
In This Episode One of the Dirty Secrets of business ownership is that whether you like it or not, one of your primary roles is to be a Leader for your organization. You may think, “Hey I didn’t sign up for this Leadership stuff, I just want to run my own business.” What exactly does it mean to be a good Leader? There are lots of books, seminars/webinars, videos, and coaching resources offering to help you improve your Leadership skills. But how do you know what to focus on first? As you know, we like to keep things simple. We suggest you start with the following two things: Know Your Job Description: 3 words, Plan Direct Control Know Yourself: your natural behavior style with DISC When it comes to your job description, we focus on the three words of Plan Direct Control. Ask yourself a few questions: Plan: what’s the Plan? For today, this week, month, and year? At every level of your Organization. Direct: visualize yourself as the conductor of an orchestra. What are you Directing your team to do to make the Plan a reality? Control: how do you know everything is getting done? Regular structured meetings and standard reports are the best way to keep your fingers on the pulse. We contend that this 3-word job description of Plan Direct Control should be used as a guide no matter what type of Organization you are Leading. So whether it be a group at your local church or synagogue, your school PTA, a service organization like Rotary, or anything else you are involved in, this Plan Direct Control model will help you Lead in a way that is both effective and fulfilling. Plus it won’t wear you out from feeling like you have to do everything yourself! Now, the reason we say Know Yourself is a key for being a good Leader is that you have to Lead in a way that is natural for you. It’s OK to “fake it until you make it” with some things, but when you’re in that Leadership spotlight you can’t fake it for long. In fact, what often happens is that the worst of our our true selves comes out. When we are under pressure it tends to take our natural style, including our natural strengths, and it stretches those characteristics to the point where they can become a weakness or liability for us. Everyone’s Leadership style is unique. So instead of avoiding your true self, let’s embrace it and try to Lead in the best way possible for your style. Since there’s only one of you, no one will Lead exactly the way you do it. So embrace you inner Frank Sinatra and be sure to do it your way! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Extended DISC (https://www.extendeddisc.org) Tony Robbins (https://www.tonyrobbins.com) Rotary (https://www.rotary.org/en) Good to Great by Jim Collins (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_to_Great) Frank Sinatra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about some of your worst customers. More specifically we will talk about How Do I Know It’s Time To Fire A Customer.
32 minutes | a month ago
How Do I Stop Being Intimidated By My Banker?
In This Episode A phrase that can often strike fear in the hearts of even the bravest of business owners is, “Your banker is on the phone and would like to speak with you.” Oh no, you think, what could she possibly want? Does she know about my key employee who is threatening to leave? Did that upset customer call her to complain? Will she be pulling our line of credit? Being the good business owner, you push through these fears and intimidation and pick up the phone to see how you can help your banker. You’ve never been so relieved to hear a sales pitch as your banker fills you in on the latest greatest cash management tool she wants you to try out. “Sure thing” you tell her, just relieved she isn’t asking any more probing questions. You’ve got to keep your banker happy after all don’t you? There’s got to be a better way! One of the dirty secrets of small business is that most business owners are afraid of their bankers. Better stated, most small business owners are afraid of saying the wrong thing to their banker. And most of the bankers don’t realize how intimidating they can be. In fact most of them are reaching out to you to help establish or continue to grow your relationship. So how do you do it better? How do you keep from being intimidated by your banker? During the show today we addressed several ways to improve your relationship with your banker. After all, your banker is your #1 advocate within your bank. So we talked about ways you can help arm your banker with the information to go to battle for you with folks within the bank. Whether that means getting you approved for that loan to help with your expansion or provide some short-term relief on debt payments if you’ve gotten a bit sideways or anything in between. We even shared some stories about folks who have been to the workout group within the bank and lived to tell about it! If you focus on preparing for these meetings and do lots of practice with your internal accountant and/or CPA you will be much less intimidated by your banker! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) Fletch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletch_(film)) Back to the Future (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088763/) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about Leadership. More specifically we will talk about How Do I Get Better As A Leader.
31 minutes | a month ago
Why You Should Hire Family Last Instead of First?
In This Episode Unfortunately many folks starting out in business make the often fatal mistake of hiring family and friends first instead of last. Now this may seem counterintuitive to many folks, especially those who know us well since we usually espouse the importance of Know Like Trust when building your business. But just because it might be “easier” to start with family and friends, doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your business. It usually starts out innocently enough where you reach out to your sibling or cousin or friend to help you out with something in the early stage of your business. Perhaps it’s help with doing some production or making a delivery. Maybe that family member has certain skills when it comes to sales. Or they could be really good with numbers so you have them start doing the books. Whatever it is, you get them involved at a very early stage when you don’t know any better. When you don’t fully appreciate what it is that you don’t know. We shared several stories on the show today including some folks who went decades before hiring anyone who wasn’t family. While those family members might have helped with jumpstarting the business early on, it became obvious later on just how those same family members were limiting the growth of the business. And those limitations weren’t coming from simply running out of family members to hire! It had more to do with how those family members didn’t have the particular skills and experience needed to help the business grow and take the next step. It’s natural for a business as it grows that it will outgrow certain people in the business. Some folks just top out faster than others. When this happens, you as a business owner need to move on from those people to bring in more experienced people. When the person you’ve outgrown is a family member it is a discussion that is often avoided. In fact, business owners often try to find a place for this outgrown family in the business instead of moving on because they don’t want to hurt feelings or have to deal with the repercussions on a personal/family level. As you can appreciate, things can get pretty messy with family. One of the reasons we say you should hire family last is that it puts the family member you’re hiring in a difficult position. If they are hired, it’s usually assumed that they were hired because of their relationship to the owner vs. being hired based on their qualifications. We guide our clients to make sure if they are going to hire family or friends that they make sure that person is overqualified for the position so that people won’t have those reservations about this person coming on board. That’s an easier thing to do once the company is a bit established and you as the owner appreciate what you don’t know! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show My Cousin Vinny (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104952/) When Harry Met Sally (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098635/) PPP (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about perhaps one of the most intimidating things for a business owner. Dealing with your banker. We will provide some insights for how to approach your banker with confidence and form a relationship that will benefit both of you.
33 minutes | 2 months ago
How Do I Know I Won’t Run Out of Money?
In This Episode Business owners can be a worrisome bunch. Oftentimes owners aren’t even sure what to worry about. One of the top worries for business owners, no matter what stage they’re in, is cash. More specifically, will I run out of cash? So how do you keep track of all your money? One of our 7 Keys to Success is Cash Flow Forecasting. More specifically, we coach our clients how to forecast cash by day for the next 90 days. Stop and think about that for a second. Can you imagine a world where you know you will have positive cash in your business for the next three months? What would that feel like? Have you experienced this relief and excitement before? Chances are you’ve experienced the terror of something like having payroll due this week and not having enough money in your accounts to cover it. So this bliss of having 90 days of positive cash forecasted feels just the opposite of that terror from falling short on payroll. During the show today we covered several ways to forecast your cash flow and how to finally answer the question of knowing you won’t run out of money! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) CARES Act (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares) Paycheck Protection Program (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program) Sesame Street (https://www.sesamestreet.org) Cookie Monster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookie_Monster) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about some fun family business items. More specifically, we will start with giving insight into why you should hire family last instead of first?
30 minutes | 2 months ago
How Much Is My Competitor’s Business Worth?
In This Episode If you’ve been in business long enough, chances are you’ve received some unsolicited interest in your business. By “interest” we mean someone is expressing an interest in perhaps buying your business. It likely came in the form of a letter that was either physically mailed or emailed or from a phone call. These letters and phone calls often come from intermediaries so the actual person who might be interested in buying your company has their identity hidden. Do you welcome these solicitations with open arms? Do you avoid them like the plague…or COVID? Likely you’re somewhere in between. Now imagine you’re on the other side. Instead of the one receiving the unsolicited interest, you’re the one sending those interests out. So exactly how do you know what your competitor’s business is worth? Should I worry about offending the business owner with my offer? How do I know the other owner is telling me the truth? What if they gave you the business, would you take it? During the show today we spent some time talking about valuation and how outsiders are likely to look at your company and the opportunity. One of the first things a potential buyer should do is figure out what’s often referred to as Owner’s Discretionary Cash Flow (“ODCF”). This number basically shows all the cash available to the owner on an annual basis. To calculate ODCF usually includes adding back things such as “personal” items that are being expensed by the business (e.g. cell phone for your spouse who doesn’t work in the business). Depending on the size and growth of the ODCF, the potential purchaser will usually apply a multiple to that ODCF figure to come up with their offer. For example, let’s say your target business has $100,000 in ODCF that has been growing steadily over the past five years. A potential purchaser might apply a 3-4x multiple to that ODCF figure of $100,000 to arrive at a valuation of between $300,000-$400,000 for the business. Other buyers might focus more on sales and fixed assets (e.g. equipment, property, vehicles) to get a sense for the worth of the business. You will also want to consider if there is a lot of consolidating going on in your industry because that means there is likely a lot of competition out looking for deals which tends to drive the price up. In any case, whether you’re the one receiving or sending those unsolicited contacts to business owners, you will want to be ready to answer the question of how you are going to value the business before you set foot in that business. People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Desi Arnaz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desi_Arnaz) Lucille Ball (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucille_Ball) Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about one of everyone’s favorite topics, cash! More specifically, how do I know I won’t run out of money?
32 minutes | 2 months ago
How Do I Get Dad To Step Away?
In This Episode “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!” If you’ve ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing, then you can picture the scene with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Well we’ve heard versions of this line with the same emotion and passion. But instead of talking about corners the business owner is talking about “Don’t push me out of my company!” We see it all the time with sports as well. Maybe you’ve seen an aging athlete on your favorite team not quite ready to give it up yet. Many business owners can feel like they are being pushed out of the company they own. Even if you’re just bringing up the idea of who’s going to step into the owner’s shoes when she’s ready to hang things up. So how do you bring it up to dad that it’s time to start making plans to step away from the business? The short answer is it’s usually best if the owner brings it up first. If you’re not that fortunate, maybe start with something a little less direct like sharing an article or book on the topic. Perhaps you’re on an email list of someone sharing an upcoming seminar on the topic. Better yet, maybe there’s a TV show or movie you find entertaining, insightful and perhaps an easier way to broach the topic. Ever seen the HBO series Succession? We could all learn a thing or two from that show and those characters. The point is, someone has to get the discussion started with the business owner. Maybe ask the question of what they are going to do when they leave the company? Sometimes it’s as simple as that and the floodgates open. Keep in mind, the owner is likely thinking about it as well and they might not be sure how to bring it up. It is after all the first, and likely only time, that the business owner will be transitioning her baby (i.e. the business). During the show today we share lots of other great tips for not only how to get the conversation started, but also help make sure the conversations continue. We also provided some insights into what the current owner is likely thinking about and how to approach the owner on this topic. Keep in mind these business transition things usually take a while. Several years or perhaps decades, so tread lightly and be patient! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Dirty Dancing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Dancing) Succession (https://www.hbo.com/succession) Geraldo Rivera (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldo_Rivera) Officer and a Gentlemen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Officer_and_a_Gentleman Join Us Next Time Join us next week when we chat about how to figure out what your competitor’s business is worth!
33 minutes | 2 months ago
Why Are You Wasting Your Time Writing A Business Plan?
In This Episode One of the things we fight in our day jobs as business coaches is the never ending poor advice given to small business owners. Perhaps the biggest offense with this advice is folks talking about business plans. It might sound something like, “All you need is a business plan to get started.” Well intentioned advice. But what does this really mean? If you Google the term “business plans” you will be inundated with millions of search results. The most popular results offer all kinds of free business plan templates that are simple fill in the blank forms. Almost reminds me of Mad Libs where depending on who fills it out the results will be significantly different. Even these plug and play templates can be a bit overwhelming and confusing. I mean, why does someone need to write a business plan anyway? If you’re just starting out, we usually like to start with our 3 Circles to provide a framework for a business idea. The 3 Circles that summarize any organization are: Product/Service: start here with having a good definition of what your Product/Service is and what it provides. We’re constantly amazed at how many people looking to start a business cannot clearly describe their Product/Service. Marketing/Sales: once you get the Product/Service defined it’s time to figure out who the Market is for this thing. Who’s going to buy your Product/Service? This is known as your Target Market. What do you know about your Target Market? Why should they buy your Product/Service vs. the competition? How are you planning to get in front of your Target Market? Are you creating a new Market or is there competition? These and many more items have to happen before you get the chance to have your first Sale. Administration: once the Sales start rolling in is when this next circle becomes critically important to keep track of all the activity and who is doing what. This includes things like your People, Numbers, and Planning. But you don’t start with this until you have a better definition of the first two circles. We bring this up to help you understand where you should be putting your time and efforts when first starting out. Prioritizing is a key success factor for most small business owners. Our 3 Circles provides a simple framework for what to focus on to start. Once the simple framework of the 3 Circles has been addressed, then you can start pulling together a more formalized business plan. Instead of using some fill in the blank template, we suggest folks use our 7 Keys to Success as a guide for what to be working on and helps you focus on the Keys that need the most love and attention. So if you’ve been told to pull together a business plan, head over to our 3 Circles and 7 Keys to Success pages (see links below) and start working on the right things vs. spending your time trying to format a pie chart in a business plan where you aren’t sure what to fill in first or what’s most important. Instead, we’ll get you focused on things to help you better organize your thoughts and prioritize your actions! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Mad Libs (https://www.madlibs.com) MVP’s 3 Circles (https://maximumvp.com/the-3-circles/) MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/)
26 minutes | 3 months ago
How Do I Get Over The Fear/Downside of Starting/Buying My Own Business?
In This Episode Have you ever seen the movie Rudy? It’s based on a true story of a young man whose biggest desire was to play football for Notre Dame. As with any great story there are many obstacles for our hero to overcome including his limited physical abilities. Perhaps the most challenging obstacle that Rudy and many of us face is the doubters around us who tell us we’re crazy for thinking something is possible or that it can’t be done. It’s often easy to give into this fear of failure and start to doubt ourselves. One of the biggest obstacles for the start or successful running of a business is fear. Like many fears they are often rooted in what we don’t know. This fear of the unknown can be debilitating in many aspects of life, but especially when it comes to starting or buying your own business. So many “what ifs” to consider. How do I know I’m even asking the right questions? Who do you turn to with questions? Who is guiding you through the process? As with our hero Rudy, many of the folks closest to him including family were doubting him and his dream. So he had to look outside his family for support and encouragement as well as find some answers to his questions from folks who have been there and done it. A big part of starting something new is getting out of your comfort zone which can be as simple as getting out of your circle of influence with people you know so you can find answers to many of those vexing questions. So if one of your dreams is to run your own business some day, be sure you are surrounding yourself with folks who have done what you’re looking to do. It’s not to say you can’t do it on your own, but your odds of success increase tremendously when you tap into folks who have been there before as it can help you avoid many common mistakes and accelerate your growth. A great place to start is with your Know Like Trust list! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Rudy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_(film)) Ned Beatty (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Beatty) JumpStart (https://www.jumpstartinc.org) Gorilla Group (https://www.facebook.com/thegorillagroup/) Elon Musk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk) Bill Gates (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates) Jeff Bezos (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bezos)
30 minutes | 3 months ago
How Do I Get Everyone On The Same Page?
In This Episode One of the biggest challenges and common frustrations of any leader is to get everyone on your team on the same page. Use whatever metaphor you want. Things like “all rowing in the same direction” or “everyone reading from the same hymnal” and hundreds of other cliches. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you focus on as a Leader. Because whatever you focus on is what your team will focus on. During the show today we provided several examples for how great Leaders are able to get everyone on the same page. The secret is to keep things simple. You should be communicating the most important things in your business to your team. If you aren’t focused on the important things, it’s unlikely the rest of your team will be focusing on the right things. Unfortunately most small businesses lack transparency which makes it difficult to get people on the same page since they’re operating with incomplete information. Sometimes this happens because the owner doesn’t know any better. More often it happens because the owner is paranoid about letting too much information out and then people leaving with that information. As small business owners, we need to learn to be more open about what’s going on in our businesses, especially with our teams. That’s the only way we are going to empower our teams to help us achieve our goals. People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Building The Browns (https://www.clevelandbrowns.com/video/building-the-browns) Rotary International (https://www.rotary.org/en) MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) Hard Knocks (https://www.hbo.com/hard-knocks) Abraham Lincoln (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln)
30 minutes | 3 months ago
How Do I Put A Program Together To Judge When The Next Generation Is Ready To Take Over The Company?
In This Episode One of the biggest challenges for a business owner looking to transition their business to the next generation is figuring out who to transition the business to and how to know when that next generation is ready to take over. What does it look like when someone is ready to take over the company? Will you just know it when you see it? Should you have the next generation just follow you around for six months or a couple of years to learn by osmosis? We contend you should put together a simple plan focused on the 7 Keys to Success which can be used to judge the readiness of the next generation to run the business. The idea here is to not only have the next generation pull together the planning for the 7 Keys but also to execute that plan. What could provide more confidence than that!! The 7 Keys are a great way to inject some objectivity into what can be a very emotionally packed situation. It will also help to highlight areas where training is needed for the next generation as they prepare to take over the business. People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) Toastmasters (https://www.toastmasters.org) Rotary International (https://www.rotary.org/en) MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) Toastmasters (https://www.toastmasters.org) Rotary International (https://www.rotary.org/en)
40 minutes | 3 months ago
How Do I Turn Over Rocks?
In This Episode One of the things we help our clients do is buy companies. We usually start the process off by having our clients “turning over rocks.” Those “rocks” can include everything from talking to business brokers to responding to online listings or ones in the newspaper to sending out unsolicited letters to a target group. But there are also some other “rocks” you should be turning over which we discussed during the show today. It includes things like reviewing the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies and pulling together your Know Like and Trust list. These “rocks” are basically a way to get folks active doing things vs. sitting and analyzing (or overanalyzing!). With 2020 now behind us and our future in front of us, now is as good a time to be turning over rocks as we’ve seen in our lifetime. Many business owners had tough years in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic while other thrived. It’s hard to know which ones are doing well or not until you start turning over those rocks! Click here to download a 1-page summary for Turning Over Rocks People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Inc. 500/5000 list (https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2020) The Godfather (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/) Gorilla Group (https://www.facebook.com/thegorillagroup/)
36 minutes | 4 months ago
How Do I Rebuild/Reset My Organization?
In This Episode One of our favorite topics to discuss over the years on our show is our beloved Cleveland Browns. Now we don’t talk X’s and O’s when it comes to the Browns, but instead tend to focus more on Organization and Leadership items. Unfortunately our shows to date have typically been pretty critical of the Leadership team with the Browns. But this year, during this crazy COVID 2020, the Cleveland Browns may have actually gotten it right! So during the show today we took a brief history lesson for how a team goes from 0-16 to the verge of the playoffs in only 4 years. And then we tied it into some of the turnaround situations Jack was involved in where he purchased companies that were struggling and then turned them into profitable businesses. Many of the Organization lessons are the same. We thought this was a timely topic also given what’s happened in 2020 with COVID-19 and how many of us are still struggling through ways to rebuild or reset our lives as well as our businesses. Hopefully you will find some good nuggets in this episode to help you out! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Cleveland Browns (https://www.clevelandbrowns.com) Ground Hog Day (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day_(film)) Moneyball (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1210166/) Paul DePodesta (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_DePodesta) Jimmy Haslam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Haslam) Hue Jackson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hue_Jackson) John Dorsey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dorsey_(American_football)) Freddie Kitchens (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Kitchens) Gregg Williams (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregg_Williams) UPS (https://www.ups.com/us/en/Home.page)
18 minutes | 4 months ago
How Do I Avoid Tax Surprises?
In This Episode One of the annual traditions of business ownership is making some tax planning decisions, usually late in the year. It includes things like buying equipment or vehicles to take advantage of accelerated depreciation through a Section 179 tax deduction or some other accounting jargon. But those aren’t really the surprises we’re talking about. We’re talking about those surprise tax bills you get from your CPA where you have less than a couple of weeks to come up with significant cash to pay your bill. We wish this was an unusual thing, but our experience tells us differently. There are too many small business owners we’ve met and coached over the years who have been the “beneficiary” of some of these tax surprises. Quite often these surprises have resulted in business owners borrowing money to pay their taxes. Wait, what? Yes, that’s right, people are borrowing money to pay their taxes. And way too often the CPA delivers this “good” news with a smile on his face because you’ve had “such a good year” which is why you owe taxes. But it never feels good to pay taxes. Especially when it’s not in the plan. So what’s a small business owner to do? We usually start with a Cash Forecast that shows where all the money is coming from and where it’s going. The goal we have with our clients is to pull together a 90-day Cash Forecast. This provides you with a 3-month heads up on any cash flow problems so we can avoid these surprises. We also encourage our business owner clients to speak with their CPAs on a more regular basis (e.g. at least quarterly or twice per year). Keep in mind that 2020 has been a very unusual year and there will likely be a lot of questions between now and tax day. The good news is you have some time between now and April 15th, but don’t wait too long to get your plans in place or else you might be in for a tax surprise come April! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show CARES Act (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares) Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program)
36 minutes | 4 months ago
How Are You Celebrating The Holidays In Your Business?
In This Episode So with all the changes going on in 2020, we are now up against some of the final changes as the year comes to an end. Gone are all the holiday get togethers with friends and family and business associates. And while many of you may be celebrating not having to attend your spouse’s company holiday party, just as many are probably missing out on that white elephant gift! This got us to thinking, what’s everyone doing to celebrate the holidays in their businesses? One of the blessings of being forced to make changes like we have in 2020 is that if forces us to ask a lot of “why” questions. Why do we do things this way in our business? Why does everyone have to be in the office to work? Why do we have holiday parties? During the show we address many of these why questions and get to the bottom of what all these celebrations are supposed to do and touch on some different things you can try this year! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Ebenezer Scrooge (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebenezer_Scrooge)
36 minutes | 4 months ago
How Do I Know If I’m In Over My Head As A Business Owner?
In This Episode We all have doubts. It’s only human. Some of us are just better at hiding those doubts than others. One phrase that is often difficult for business owners to utter is “I don’t know.” There can be a pressure as an owner to know all the answers. Whether that pressure is real or perceived doesn’t matter because you still feel it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for a few weeks or several decades, chances are there are times when you feel like you’re in over your head. So what’s a business owner to do about it? First step is to take a deep breath. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Do that a couple of times to help calm and center yourself. Usually these feelings of being overwhelmed or being over your head come in situations and circumstances that are new. Just like other parts of your life. Think about some recent personal situations you’ve been confronted with where you’ve felt over your head. Thanks to COVID-19 we have all been in a variety of these situations this year. Everything from dealing with the virus itself to the impact it has had on just about every aspect of our lives including work, school, and entertainment. As you might imagine, whenever it comes to business and feeling overwhelmed, we focus on the 7 Keys to Success. Why, because the answer for what to do next will come out of those 7 Keys. You see, if you’re able to frame an issue or opportunity before having to act you will typically have better outcomes. One of the beautiful things about MVP’s 7 Keys to Success is that it ensures you are working on the most important things in your business. So whether you need to adjust the Vision for where your business is going long-term or you need to figure out how to make your cash last as long as possible, the 7 Keys will help provide guidance on what to focus on next. So you don’t need to have “all” of the answers, just an answer for what to do next. During our show, we shared several examples where we either felt over our heads or our clients did and how we used the 7 Keys to Success to help focus things and get everything moving. We think you’ll enjoy! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show MVP’s 7 Keys to Success (https://maximumvp.com/7-keys-to-success/) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on failure rates of small business (https://www.lendingtree.com/business/small/failure-rate/) Princeton (https://www.princeton.edu) Kenny Rogers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Rogers) FedEx fast talking guy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moschitta_Jr.)
22 minutes | 4 months ago
How Do I Know What Changes To Keep Coming Out of The Pandemic?
In This Episode Well, it’s almost here. 2020 is nearly finished. And there’s promising news on the vaccine front with COVID so things are looking up heading into 2021. But there are several changes we’ve all had to make in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we head fully into the planning season, the question becomes what changes do you keep from this year going into next year? What changes are happening worldwide that are going to impact you and your business? So whether you’re one of the fortunate folks whose business benefited from the pandemic and the changes you made to combat it or if you’ve had a tougher time, we all have seen some positive changes due to this pandemic. It could be something simple like our local drive in movie theater who is having a record year. Now they know theaters are going to be opening again in 2021, but as part of the changes with COVID this year they’ve had to go to an online reservation system. So they now know how many folks are going to be coming to a movie each night. Think about all the positives with staffing and food that provides. In addition they started hosting graduation events and even live comedy shows. You and your business have had some positive changes as well. So let’s not let this pandemic go to waste and be sure to include some of these positive changes heading into 2021 and beyond! People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In Theatre (https://autoramadrivein.com) Flywheel with Jim Collins in Good to Great (https://www.jimcollins.com/concepts/the-flywheel.html)
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