State of the Entrepreneur 6 critical success factors John Bowen. Six things that can help you grow your business to exponential growth. One, you want to nail. Now you want world-class customer experience. You want to scale. You want to scale your business, so it will grow. You want to systematize it so that you don’t become the key driver. The systems become the slave to the business you want to monetize it. You want to increase your profitability. You want to bring people in that will help you build equity and create more profit within your business. You want to keep it. Some of that money for personal finance your personal future and then
Hey, this is Dave Negri with Contractors Secret Weapon. Today, I have a really neat guest with us today John Bowen and John has written a book coauthored with Dan Sullivan Joe powers the state of the occupation. It’s a study that did have about 3500 business owners on six key topics that made them successful. The six key things. That six top things that did. And so, as we go through the interview today that the talk I just want to take notes because these are some really cool and poignant things that are the gold nuggets that will help you grow your business.
But let me tell you a little bit about John. He’s a successful entrepreneur and founder of four multimillion dollar companies including AESNation.com, A financial advisers like CEG Worldwide during his experience the financial advisor or managing assets upwards of $25 billion. He found that most institutions and advisers lack the strategy necessary to build a practice that would make them indispensable to the ideal affluent quietly building a great quality of life. This led to founding CEG Worldwide organization in 2000 and continues to grow.
John is a prolific author of more than 15 books to his name and a regular columnist for The Huffington Post and financial planning. He’s also the host of Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success Podcast. So, you’re going to get a treat today. John has got some awesome things. Let’s welcome him.
John, I just want to thank you today for being with us and sharing your book with us the stuff that you got from the State of the entrepreneur.
Dave, it’s a real pleasure. I have a tremendous respect for my fellow entrepreneurs. And I was blessed with Dan Sullivan a strategic coach and Joe Polish of Genius Network and the three of us said you know nobody’s really doing research on successful entrepreneurs and what separates the most successful among us and we have the privilege of going to both, all three of our audiences and said “Hey would you fill out almost a half an hour survey with us?” and we had 3500 entrepreneurs do it. So, we’ve gotten great insights that we’ve got tonight. You know I love making that available and we’ll be making that available to all your listeners. That would be awesome.
So, as you, as you put together your data and stuff and you come up with these six, I’m sure you can with more factors but I’m sure there are six keys ones like you said earlier that are the most prevalent to me. So, what are they?
Well you know it’s really what happens so often Dave and businesses when we get in we’re all a little bit ignorant. We think business is simple and then all of a sudden it gets so complex we get overwhelmed. And one of the things I know you want to do and I want to do is we want to help our fellow entrepreneurs you know get on the right side of complexity and make it simple again and when we did that we saw six things. If you did these six things well it didn’t matter what business you were in. This is what you need to do to be very, very successful.
And so, when we kind of go I would go high level. I’ll go right on my off-court date and then let’s dive in a little bit on each.
OK, excellent. So, first one is you’ve got to nail it no matter what business you’re in. You’re got to deliver a world-class customer or client experience you have to you know. Anybody with money has choices in today’s world. Second, is you have to be able to scale it. So, once you got that client experience you’ve got to be able to scale it and really attract a steady stream of customers clients and then once we have that. I mean that’s really those are the foundation of any business.
But what happens is that at certain levels it’s different in every business model. We kind of peter out we can’t do any more until we organize it. We have to really make our business systematic. And then why we’re doing all this. What we’ve got to do is monetize it we’ve got to increase profitability the margins and increase the value the equity value in our business.
And then boy you know we’re building this great business and that’s all really good. But we have to keep some of the money to get to build our personal well. We’ve got to take care of the people we love and the causes we care about. So, we’ve got to create the personal financial freedom so that we can make the decisions irrespective of our business.
And then really, we’re in business not for more business. We’re in business to support a great quality of life. We’ve got the 6 one is we’ve got to live it. And that’s enjoying a great quality of life for all those around of us.
Every stakeholder is our clients and customers. Our teammates, your partners, we have shareholders and obviously our families and ourselves, Dave. Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s just amazing. And you know like you said we make it complex so making it simple. I like that part.
Well you know it’s really the more and the simple a lot of times is nothing more than getting focused. So often in business you know we’re all. Once we started having the success we started thinking we’re really talented and we forget that if we can just focus in on that one thing, I always go back and think of city slickers where Curly says all you got to do is one thing and that’s it. And in business, it is that when we start doing too many things, that’s when we run into problems.
Wow. And that one thing could be multiple. I mean really it could be the wow factor or it could be delivery service or is it could be multiple of things but like you said the one thing that you’re really good at that’s the one thing and nobody’s going to steal from it.
What I like. There’s a fellow I work to a Joey Coleman and I did a podcast with him as well and I’m praying name of his company Dave. But Joey has his concept of the first hundred days and I would encourage all our fellow entrepreneurs to think about what is that you know if somebody decides to engage you to work with you. What’re the hundred days? And you know as a contractor sometimes you may know, you may only come in for one piece of business but the reality is the hardest piece of business to get in any business is that first step. And if we can get them so that they’re having an experience with us that they’re going to use us ongoing. And it’s as you said, Dave, wow so they want to share us with their friends.
And boy the ability to social media anymore. You know so often that we’re finding a lot of the people we want to work with. And we’re hearing from others how well they’re doing. That’s really made so many avenues have opened today to get business rolling for us. Well, let’s go to number two.
Which is what we’re what we’re looking at here is scaling that and so we now have a great experience and we’re really doing something well and to the extent that we can create a steady stream and this is the one thing we all want. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anybody who said I don’t want any more customers, any more clients you know and actually I can say a few people but they usually just don’t want to grow their business.
They’re kind of in the process of getting out of the business right. If you want to build you know the substantial business, be an entrepreneur you’ve got to have that steady stream of clients coming in and you know what. We live in a great time Dave because what’s going on with today with the internet. The ability to market and lower cost. I mean you know the big thing is to be able to buy a page in the Yellow Pages was very hard to differentiate ourselves. Now we have so many different ways to reach out but we can never forget that the most important source is referrals and it’s not only client referrals but it’s also those strategic partners that we have.
And we do a lot of research in this and we find that the most successful business owners and how many successes, it’s hard to measure. Success means different things to different people but add a million or more-net income. We count as very successful in every business.
And what they’re doing is usually over half is through strategic partners. They’re looking, they see the gatekeepers. You know I do a lot of work with financial advisers, and it’s the accountants and attorneys are there. There were contractors. Depending on your service. Who is somebody that already has all your clients that would be perfect for you? Building strategic relationships with them are so powerful.
Yeah, because I mean really, I’m just thinking about it now that static. That cut your marketing cost is almost zero. Well, I’m just thinking of you know at a fella a good friend that just moved out of the area about a year ago. But he was unbelievably talented kind of new in remodeling and he was a terrible marketer but you know just a great technician but not a business person. And we sat down over a drink and I said he got to do something Mark with us and he goes. Well you know you know can you refer.
And I go, Mark, I’m only one client I’m you know I might be able to introduce you when it comes up but why don’t you go to where it is. And I introduced him to a couple of good friends that were the top architects in our area for remodels. And then he never you know he got all the business that he ever needed.
Yeah and that’s rather than you know all you know the yellow pages that are the social media on Facebook. You know, let’s think bigger where to do those people, where are they already that they have a trusted relationship with someone that you can earn. Think beyond the one g’s and the two-g’s individual client. Think about the people that already have your client.
And it’s a lot more fun and then-then organized systematically you know we want to have our business systematic and the reason for that is you know if we were always doing one-off stuff, it becomes very, very difficult. We want to be successful on purpose. We want to take deliberate actions to whatever the goals that we’re looking to do and we want to do it very efficiently. The more streamlined, the more effective it’s going to be.
And this is where you know I love flow charting out exactly what we’re going to do. Putting it in writing so it becomes real. And that is you know we’re just seeing that over and over again that’s transformational for most businesses. Because they get an “I” on it yeah. Well, what it does is they start looking that when we start mapping it out in the beginning. I know I had this experience I’ve got multiple businesses. I’ve been very successful over the years. I’ve been very fortunate blessed.
And I’ve had the chance to work with. You know we do research on every level of wealth all the way up to what we call the super-rich people with 500 million or more and I think we’ve done as much research on billionaires as anyone. And what we see is they really are focused and they’re very queer oftentimes they’re not the person doing the operational side, but they have somebody that just maps it out and anything that’s not important is killed. You know they’re going to make it as simple and elegant as possible. And this improves not only the quality of life of the entrepreneur, the contractor but also the team around it they love it and they’ll work with you to simplify it. And that’s where it really becomes great.
Yeah. And I would have imagined so. Well let’s talk about you know as we do so we’re going to nail it, we’re going to deliver a great experience, we’re going to scale up. We’re going to start having that steady stream of clients coming in. Then we’re going to organize it so we have the processes are in place we have written procedures to do that then we’re going to monetize it because now we’ve got it working so we can make it more profitable.
So, we’re looking at you were working with someone who can get a virtual CFO but having somebody that really is outside the business is looking at the financials and looking at kind of what the exceptions are what can we do to actually make this more profitable. And what we find over and over again, there are so many ways to increase profitability and when we’re so busy in our business doing it doing it doing it we don’t see that.
And then as we do that the value of our business increases because now we’ve got the systems we become less important to the You’ve and the value if-if you choose to sell your business you know just goes up significantly.
And then what I like most about this is you know kind of the concept of keeping it. Creating personal financial freedom is so important because as we increase the profitability we to take some of the money out of our businesses so tempting to keep on investing and invest in invest in it. You know growing the business. But as we take it out and we build our personal wealth, we now have some freedom because we all know stuff happens and we’re not going to be able to take really be successful in our business.
If we don’t have the capital resources and this is something Dave I really feel passionate about because of my dad, I grew up in upstate New York. Had a great life a small town of 4000 but my father and uncle were one of the major employers. Number two employer with 400 employees and the cast iron foundry business.
And he gave me every dirty job in the pluckiness and I was kind of being groomed to run it down the road. I was the oldest son and lo and behold in my junior year in college, I’m waiting for the call to hear that I’m going to get the air-conditioned job. Finally, this year and he calls me and he tells me you know Don I’ve got some bad news is your uncle and I are going to put the foundry in the bankruptcy. I’m going to go out. He’s going to wind it up I’m going to go get a job because I need the income.
Oh, and your mom and I are going to get a divorce. And it’s like it was at that moment I mean I reflected and I just like standing there in shock and I go, daddy, you’re going to be OK? and the toughest thing was when he said I don’t know. And this is where I at that moment I really didn’t want that ever happening again. And you know I changed my major. Focused on financial and one of the top financial advisers in the country and me sold my businesses in ‘98. I started small mutual fund company manages a couple of billion dollars of money for top executives here in Silicon Valley.
And then I did sports and entertainment about CEO of a sports and entertainment financial group that had six hundred clients. The vast majority are you know there they were. We had the most NFL quarterbacks as well as a lot of people in front of the camera and I saw they were screwing up too and this was you know I just see this as universal Dave in a business owner. We have so many opportunities to really plan and I got to tell you even more about this new tax law to be so important to get advice.
I was just talking with a bunch of twelve hundred dollars in our tax attorney before we got together here and you know they show many things that we’re all going to be able to do. We’re going to need to make sure we’re working with the right people because we have a not too silent partner working with us. The government taking what we want it to be fair and equitable. There’s a lot of planning that we can do and then you know the last part is as we’re doing all this we’ve got to live we’ve got to enjoy a great life.
And I find too many business people. We get caught up with as we’re all about business. And then people tell us we have a balance and I don’t believe in balance. I believe in harmony. You know I’ve got a wife of 37 years that hasn’t always been balanced. I’ve got I don’t have children but I’ve got up an awful lot of interest a whole bunch of things gone out of my life multiple businesses.
And what you do if you want to design your life to be successful on purpose and have those fun things you’ve got to schedule. I got to tell you a behaviorist tell us Dave six weeks out of the year we should be taking off to recharge ourselves. Most entrepreneurs we can’t unless we schedule that early on. But that forces us to do all the other steps to get our business in such great shape that it’s going to run without us which creates so much excuse me so much value.
Yeah, I like that thought six weeks out of the year. I mean here we need it recharge and you know so many of us are just going to feel like I’ve ever read that money right yeah.
And you know, in particular, I mean the demands on you know the profession that you were just you know where it’s nonstop and there are shortages of contractors at least in my area and the demand. You know if we don’t carve out time for yourself you beat yourself up and you know nobody’s going to appreciate that. Right. You’re not going to be of service to anyone you know at the end of the day.
This has really been awesome. I got two pages of notes here. I was just looking and I’ve got to see how many pages I’ve got a hundred. Now it’s only about 81 pages kind of an almost an e-book type and it’s really a great overview. You know one of the things we were talking before we turned on the mike. I do podcasts as well. I have a site called AES Nation. It’s accelerating entrepreneurial success AESNation.com Where you’ll be able to get this book as well as you know really follow some of the research and interviews that I’m dealing with you know very successful entrepreneurs and you know one of the things we want to do is let’s not try to figure it all out ourselves. Let’s go with them. You know work with really talented people that help us make it all happen. Yeah because everyone needs a team to grow.
What we do and we don’t need them all of them, boys, we can outsource this and this is why I always like to work with people who have already walked the road ahead of me and they know they know how to do it. Dave as yourself. And that’s where it really comes together
That’s really awesome. So this really been really intriguing and it just going through those six steps because that’s another part of a blueprint that we can do to actually get where we need to be. So, your contact information is basically you want to go to it. How do you listeners the best place to go to find this is http://www.AESNation.com .
So, I’ll make sure that goes into the show notes and they go to AESNation.com and they can look for a book based on the home page cool and everything we just. A lot of stuff we went over but it’ll be a little bit more detail. That would be AWESOME. AWESOME. This is really being awesome. I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today and your knowledge in this.
You know the six things that are really will help everyone if they implement it too. and then you get to go play golf and you’re going to work on the last one. Number Six a good quality of life and I wish everyone else. You know let’s go out make a difference. We’ve got all our current clients and future clients and customers counting on us. We can’t let them down so we’ve got to do well on all six. Wish you the best. All right. Thanks so much.
Hey, I hope you really enjoyed that. John just delivered some killer content. And I just want to just give you a little brief overview and you need to come back and do this again. Take notes because it is six things that can help you grow your business to exponential growth. One, you want to nail. Now you want world-class customer experience. You want to scale. You want to scale your business so it will grow. You want to systematize it so that you don’t become the key driver. The systems become the slave to the business you want to monetize it. You want to increase your profitability. You want to bring people in that will help you build equity and create more profit within your business. You want to keep it. Some of that money for personal finance your personal future and then six.
You want to live it your business support. That’s why you went into business was to live it. So, let’s do that again. Go back. Listen to this again. It is well worth your time to implement a bunch of this stuff into your strategies. Have a great week. Great day. Be profitable and grow your business with your lifestyle.
Connect with John Bowen
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