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Rick Barber

Are you guilty of “liking” but not “doing”?  Most business owners will most likely answer, “absolutely NOT”.  After all, it takes a great deal of work to start and operate a small business.  Laziness isn’t in most small business owner’s DNA.  They can’t afford for it to be…right?  Unfortunately, this is only partially true.  My experience has shown that business owners are lazy in several areas of their business.  Not to say they don’t work hard every day, because they do.  Not to say that they don’t work long hours, because they do. They just work hard and long hours “doing” wrong things and only “liking” the right things.  Let me give you an analogy that I think you can relate to…Facebook.

On Facebook, you also see this behavior of “liking” but not “doing”.  It may involve politics, charity, training…whatever.  But for this example we will use a charity.  So, your browsing your news feed on Facebook and you run across a picture that captures your attention.  It is a heartbreaking image of a homeless and starving child that a friend or family member has posted.  The post reads something to the effect of, “Donating just $17 provides this child food, medication and clothing for a month.”  Additionally, your friend or family member has shared the post with additional commentary that they have worked with the organization personally, knows how strong the need is and requests people join her to support the cause.  What would you do?  What do most people do?  Well, let’s assess the post:

  • The cause is worthy…”Like it!”
  • The endorsement comes from someone you know and trust…”Like it!”
  • You have the means and ability to participate…”Like it!”.
  • You are incredibly moved by your friend or family members commitment…”Share it!” and recommend others participate.
  • Click through to take action and support the cause…”Uh…well…I would but…”

Answer: Most will “like” the post, possibly “share” and endorse the post, but most likely not “do” what the post or person posting calls for.  Not because they don’t value or believe in the cause or need…but they would prefer to “like” than “do”.  Unfortunately, this is the reality of our culture today.  Facebook has an estimated 1.23 Billion users from which to measure such behavior and their statistics show a huge (and consistent) gap between the percentage of “likes” and “actions”.  Majority of people are simply more willing to express their opinion about thing they see and would prefer other people do, or don’t feel it is important enough to do themselves.  Again, the statistics apply to all themes of posts, not just charitable causes.

For business owners this could example could easily be switched out with any number of important business topics.  Most business owners will tell you they like being protected and understand the importance of reducing risk in a business.  They have friends that have made recommendations.  But they don’t elect adequate insurance coverage.  They don’t document company policy, nor do they manage cash flow.

Most business owners will say they like learning about business and agree on the importance of continued education and business development knowledge.  However, these same owners won’t read a business book, seek advice or invest in training workshops.  But surely there is good reason for this?  There has to be some factors not being considered that would prevent owners from doing such important items.  If you are thinking lack of time and/or money…your right.

Small business owners will say they like all those things and know they are important but simply don’t have the time or money to do them.  Are you one of these owners?  Can you appreciate their position?  I know I certainly can.  But let’s be honest.  We all have choices in our schedules and the ability to prioritize what is truly important to us.  We choose where to spend out time and money each and every day.  In fact, where people spend their time and money is the only true way to know what is important to them.  Think about it, the most precious resources available to us today is our time and our money.  Often times, one is a trade off for the other.

The success of any small business is usually measured in the physical and financial freedom it allows the owner.  If a business owner has no time or money to do the things they like and are important, it would make sense to me to evaluate where they are already spending their time and money and make a change.  The most successful business owners have learned not to waste time on things that don’t lead to more time and money and start focusing on the things that do.  These owners “like AND they “do” what they like because it is rewarding to them.  After all, if you not doing what you like, then you are most likely doing things you don’t like.

Give a Kid a Chance

Give a Kid a Chance

“Liking” but not “Doing” is a major small business mistake being made today.  It causes increased stress, additional work, wasted time, exposure to risk and an unrewarding business.  Business owners get locked in a world of working really long and hard, for very little return.  If this applies to you, I encourage you to assess your life and business.  Identify where you spend your money and time, then be willing to respond to what you are “doing” vs what you say you are “liking”.

Lastly, this mistake, as big as it can be for a business, is still not one of the Top 12 Business Mistakes made.  Consider making the short 1/2 day & charitable investment to learn what the top mistakes businesses make are.  Plus, it is supporting a great local cause which you also can support by attending, or directly by clicking on this image to the right.  I have worked with this charity for several years and they help fill an enormous need in our community.  So I encourage you to participate…or, you could just “like” it.  😉

 

 

 

Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop Sponsors: Honza CPAMassengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Honza CPA

Honza CPA

Rick Barber

Rick Barber

As we continue to our lead up to our Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop, we are outlining major areas in business that owners make mistakes.  Our first post in the Business Mistakes Series was on how too many small businesses are “Letting Customers Run Their Business”.  Another very common mistake that we see is business owners working far harder and longer than they have to and for far less than they were making, or could make, working for someone else.

If you have started your own business, you have been there.  You find a a new business you want to start.  You invest long hours getting it off the ground and getting things going.  You are inspired, motivated and committed.  You understand and accept that getting this business going could require long hours and an initial financial investment.  For many, we replace planning and patience with passion and eagerness and begin our journey with no clear plan, other than with a mantra of “do whatever it takes”.  This approach will often plow through most initial barriers new owners face, but eventually reality will catch up and bog you down.  If you have ever seen a professional tractor pull competition you can easily understand the analogy I am about to make.

In a tractor pull competition, competitors line up and race to see who can pull the weighted sled the furthest down the track.  At the beginning of the pull, the majority of the weight is at the back end of the sled.  However, once the race starts, this weight moves to the front of the sled till it eventually keeps the tractor from going any further.  The strategy of the teams is to put forth enough power and energy to get as far as they can down the track before the weight catches up to them…because it WILL catch up with them.  To accomplish this, these folks don’t use just ordinary, farm variety, tractors.  These monsters often include 8-12 separate engines tuned together producing 1000’s of horsepower.  I have even seen some run off of fighter jet engines!  Needless to say, there is absolutely no shortage of power and potential in these tractors.  However, no matter how much power or pull they have…the weight of that sled catches up and keeps them from going any further.  For many small business owners, they start their business and approach the decisions and operations of that business as if they are competing in a tractor pull.  They throw all the horsepower they have into getting that business going down the road.  Only in their version of the tractor pull, they believe they can outrun the weight on the sled.  Or even worse, trick themselves into believing the proverbial “weighted sled” doesn’t’ exist.

Get Paid What You Are Worth!The result of doing this is these owners end up running a business that was never originally designed to make them money.  They put in place a business plan that initially included them getting paid very little, or not at all.  While this may sound noble and necessary to help minimize start up costs and reduce running overhead, what would you imagine the end result is…especially if the plan was executed perfectly?  Answer: You get exactly what your plan called for, a business that was successful in paying you very little or not at all!  A business owner has to make their physical and financial freedom part of the plan, or else it simply isn’t going to work or be worthwhile.  After all, isn’t physical and financial freedom the universal reason most of us got inspired to take the plunge of small business ownership in the first place?  Why would any of us take on the risk, burden and challenge of starting our own business if it isn’t to, at some point, have it start working for us.  Our businesses should provide resources to fuel our passions and purposes in life more than working for someone else can do.

Regardless of what the ripple decisions may be to make it happen in your business, you must create a manageable schedule and pay yourself accordingly.  If you are unable to create a business that allows you to work a livable schedule and pay you as much, if not more, than you could working for someone else, then you need to reconsider your business plan and long term goals.  I say that statement out of compassion, not criticism.    If we are smart and courageous, we all have to measure things we are doing in life and choose to do more of what is working for us and do less of what is not.  Such an exercise is rarely easy, but it can make the absolute difference in significant progress in life and many lost years and dollars.

In closing, like most problems facing small businesses, this problem is serious, avoidable and one that just about every business faces at some level.  However, it still is not one of the Top 12 Business Mistakes affecting owners today.   Stay tuned as we outline more common small business mistakes, and make plans to attend our signature Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop to see how you can identify, fix or avoid the biggest mistakes facing businesses today.

 

 

Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop Sponsors: Honza CPAMassengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Honza CPA

Honza CPA

Rick Barber

Rick Barber

In preparation for our Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop, we realized we had to also address the many other business mistakes small businesses make that keep them from reaching their full potential, or fail all together.  Truth is that their are a very long list of specific mistakes that business owners typically make and bowing to the pressure of customers when it is unwarranted is one of the common we find.  Naturally we all know that without customers, a business would not exist.  Furthermore, in order to keep and maintain happy customers, a business must provided a product, service and experience that pleases customers and causes them to return and/or refer someone they know.  However, the rub comes when businesses are so committed to pleasing customers that they in essence let the customer run their business for them.

What I mean by this is that too many businesses make knee jerk reactions to every criticism or complaint that is made by someone that does business with them.  These knee jerk reactions often lead to compromises in good corporate policy, reduction in prices, incurring of additional costs and overall frustration among employees.  Ultimately, the end result is a business that attracts customers that take advantage of them and is unprofitable.  I know, I can hear it now, “But Rick, the customer is always right!  Isn’t that the mantra of a honorable and successful business?”.

Business Mistake

Customer is not always right…

My answer is a clear and resounding, “NO!”.  When I consult businesses and ask employees and owners that question from their personal perspective, and not from some ideological level, the answer is always the same as mine.  NO, the customer is not always right.  In fact, many times they are clearly wrong.  However, companies struggle to deal with the perception the customer has about the situation at hand that has them unhappy.  It is the perception that they are right, based on the information that they have and their memory of the sequence of events that took place, that cause businesses to default approach of “The Customer is Always Right”.  For many businesses, it is easier to put out the fire and allow the customer to win the battle vs. putting in place solutions that ensure the situation never arises in the first place.

This leads to me the disclaimer that I also give when I tell clients that their customers are not always right…and that is, they are also not always wrong either. Many times, the customer may have caused their own problem or frustration with a situation by not reviewing details of a transaction or by not listening to details given by employees.  However, at the same time, many businesses don’t have good policies and procedures in place for setting good expectations and outlining mutual responsibilities in a given transaction.  Nor is proper training normally given to team members to properly respond to customer arguments and criticism that resolve the issue without conceding to the customer’s demand and giving away the farm.

Businesses need to invest in common problems that arise in their industry and/or with their offerings and outline a strategy to deal with them ahead of time.  They should get with staff and review issues that have come up in the past and identify ways they could have been prevented and then put forth effort to ensure they are.  Ultimately, this will most likely require some additional investment of money and time as material will most likely have to be created, products and services improved, and training provided.  However, the short term cost will equate to longer term gain for the business.

In closing, like most problems facing small businesses, this problem is serious, avoidable and one that just about every business faces at some level.  However, it still is not one of the Top 12 Business Mistakes affecting owners today.   Stay tuned as we outline more common small business mistakes, and make plans to attend our signature Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop to see how you can identify, fix or avoid the biggest mistakes facing businesses today.

 

 

Top 12 Business Mistakes Workshop Sponsors: Honza CPA, Massengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Massengill Schanfish PC

Honza CPA

Honza CPA

I am so excited about the launch of our new website and next phase of growth and development for Grow My Biz and our business consulting services.  It is somewhat fitting that I am writing this on the date of celebration for our country’s independence, as it was almost 6 years ago that I elected to begin pursuing professional business consulting as a full time career.  Much like the other businesses I had started and built, and that any business owners starts and builds…the journey has been quite incredible to say the least.

I thought it fitting to share a little of that story, along with Grow My Biz’s mission and guiding principles to illustrate where, I feel, we are quite a bit different than most others in the business coaching/consulting world.

Business Consulting

Applied Computers & Consulting

Aside from door to door sales of crafts in elementary school, the mowing of yards in junior high and my ridiculous attempt at boat restoration services following high school (sorry Mom); I started my first real business (Applied Computers & Consulting) in November of 2001.  At the time, I was little more than a glorified technical geek fresh out of the Marine Corps who also had some above average communication and sales skills.  I had always had entrepreneurial tendencies and felt that my current technical skill set and sales talents were all that I needed to start my journey as an entrepreneur.  Most the time in life, simply knowing enough to get started was all that I needed.  Anything else necessary, I could pickup along the way.  If I fell, or made a mistake, I would get up, assess and learn from that mistake or error.  However, it wasn’t long before I realized that being “smart”, wasn’t going to cut it in starting and running a successful small business.  I needed to be WISE!

Quick lesson for you on the difference between being smart and being wise.  Smart is someone who learns from their own experience and/or mistakes.  Wise is someone who learns from other’s experience and/or mistakes,so as to enjoy success quicker and suffer challenges and failures less.

It wasn’t but just 6 months into my new business venture that the writing on the wall started to show.  I was working longer hours than I had working for someone else, making less money and carrying a ton more risk.  Sure, I had the badge of being self employed and the privilege of calling myself the owner of a small business.  Had you asked me how things were going, I would have quickly responded that things couldn’t be better.  I was living the American Dream and couldn’t ever imagine why anyone would want to work for someone else.  However, on the inside, I was fearful, concerned and knew that something had to change or else I was going to be eating such words and begin consuming a very large serving of humble pie that, I am sure, so many around me would be ready to serve.

Business Consulting

E-Myth Revisited

It was about this time that I caught wind of a book titled, “The E-Myth Revisited“, by Michael Gerber.  It only took the first chapter to grip me and open my eyes to what I needed to know to change the future of my company and perception of business ownership forever.  I read this book over and over again and realized that I didn’t need to be a technician working in my own business, I needed to be an owner that ran a technical business.  However, in order to do that, I had to gain a set of skills that I didn’t have.  I had to begin a journey that was contrary to what I truly believed was the “right way” for developing my business.  I had to tackle an entirely new arena of knowledge and experience if I wanted to be successful…and that area was business development.

I recently reviewed a 2014 report on failures of small business in America to find that 71% of small businesses fail within 10 years!  That same report showed that the main overall reason for such failures was “incompetence”.  There are lots of specific reasons that any particular business may fail, however, if you follow the trail up, most will lead to some level of knowledge gap in business development.  The E-Myth book opened my eyes to it…but it was up to me to do something about it.

As soon as I turned my attention away from doing the technical work of my business, or at least minimized it, and began working on the overall operations and strategy of my business, the change in direction and results were almost immediate. Over the next several years I spear headed several others business that were started and then merged, acquired or sold.  I really enjoyed business development in general and found that I truly had a talent for it.  Furthermore, much like sharing the Gospel…I felt compelled to share what I had learned and knew with other business owners… or at least the ones that were willing to listen.  I didn’t want them to share the same fate that a vast majority of other business owners in our country were experiencing. Unfortunately though, for many small business owners, “help” is a four letter word and pride is an obstacle to seeing and facing reality.

So it was in 2009 that I truly started putting together the initial framework of Grow My Biz.  I had other companies and commitments at the time, so it took several years before I could truly commit to a full time venture and my passion for business consulting.  I wasn’t till 2011 that such an opportunity came, and by that time, I knew exactly what I wanted Grow My Biz to look like, sound like and feel like.  The challenge was getting that brand in front of other small business owners.  The key I felt to doing that, was to offer services in a way that I believed were unique, targeted and more effective (both in cost and results) than other advisors in the market.  Not only that, I wanted to offer business consulting services that were an extension of who I am and felt would appeal to me if I were considering assistance.

I have reviewed several coaching/consulting franchises, met with other coaches and consultants, researched lots of business models and weighed in my own experience, beliefs and intentions to come up with the following theme of who we are.

Grow My Biz’s Mission Statement is: 

To help small business owners achieve physical and financial freedom by educating and assisting them in developing foundationally strong and effectively run businesses fueled by purpose and meaning.

Grow My Biz’s Guiding Principles are:

  • The strength and cornerstone of our reputation derives from the integrity of our products, services and staff members.
  • It is only through the success of our clients that we will realize our own success.  We will accomplish such success through due diligence, clear communication, specific goals and well executed plans.
  • We work to instill purpose and meaning in the works of our team members and clients.
  • Regardless of title or pay grade, every member of our team is considered a valuable development leader in identifying and outlining ways to improve our business, products and services.
  • Quality over Quantity – While our programs can work for every business, we accept that not every business can work within our program.  As such we must only align ourselves with clients that share a strong understanding and belief in the framework, its principles, and a true commitment to its disciplined steps.

All in all, I am proud of Grow My Biz more than any other business I have started to date.  It has allowed me to help so many small businesses that couldn’t or wouldn’t have received such help otherwise. We have a true passion for helping the little guy achieve whatever size of dreams they have for their business and their lives.

Thank you again for taking the time read this quick history and sharing our site with other’s if you feel there is value.  Lastly, I wish you an incredible Independence Day and pray no American will ever forget or take for granted the incredible nation we live in and the bravery, commitment and sacrifice required to allow us the freedoms we enjoy today.

Sincerely and God bless!