Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
How do you prioritize positioning and growth to achieve your company’s goals? You’ll hear tips and experiences about why it is important to know what you want, to stick to your priorities, and how consistency builds resilience.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guests: Lawrence Wayne O’Connor, Bart Rupert, Justin Winter
What You Will Hear:
There are three things you can use to leverage positioning and growth strategies to achieve your company’s goals: know what you want and why you do it; use a dynamic SWOT to stick to priorities; and be consistent, which builds resilience. Jess Dewell brings you tips and experiences about the interplay of positioning and growth from Bart Rupert, Managing Partner Stone Park Alliance; Lawrence Wayne, Digital Marketing Coach; and Justin Winter, CEO of Boostopia.
Growth stages, categorization and capital.
There is power in consistency.
Consider and try new things for organic and inorganic growth.
The customer, what they need, and the process to serve them.
How our willingness to change can uncover new and better ways to grow.
Are you getting in your own way?
Do what it takes to get the experience you need.
The one thing you will be good at and the things that you can level with not being bad at.
Three learnings from past experience about growing revenue.
Prioritize doing the right thing.
Be strategic and use the experiences you’ve had as well as what you can learn from others.
Expand your capacity for success.
Your work style will inform you on how you make decisions, and how you can make your decisions better.
Positioning, people, and the problem.
It is BOLD to prioritize growth and positioning together.
Notable and Quotable:
Justin Winter: We don’t need to reinvent gap accounting principles like we can buy that with an accountant and hey, can you just do all that stuff, just tell us what we need to know. Okay?
Bart Rupert: The M&A world, it’s so cutthroat. It’s so ruthless that we’ve really unfortunately developed a bad reputation around it.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: It was tough. Sometimes you just didn’t want to do it. But we knew every morning, we had to have something to show for it by the end of the day.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast, we want to thank our listener supporters who keep this podcast ad-free, Find out more at reddirection.com forward slash listener supported, your business has many directions that can travel, the one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea, this idea is for you to apply to the opportunities and challenges you face. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. This podcast will provoke ideas and will give you insights to be inspired. Just the will is your guide just brings you a 20-year track record of Business Excellence, or strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell: Welcome back to the Bold Business Podcast, we’re talking about the interplay of growth and strategy. And this is incredibly important right now, If you think about what a strategic plan includes, there are two aspects that roll up into that. One of them is our differentiation. And that differentiation is all kinds of things. Why we do what we do, the way we do, what we do, the position that we have in the marketplace, the products and services we choose to have. And on the other side of that is this concept of the value chain specifically being distinctive with your value chain. And the more difficult it is to copy, the more secure you are, as long as you’re staying connected with your customers. They’re in lies as long. As long as. And so some of the things that we’re going to be hearing today, from Justin. Lawrence and Bart are to know what you want, and why you do it. And this, of course, is at the business level. Secondly, using a dynamic SWOT, and sticking to the set priorities, and third, being consistent because consistency builds resilience. Now, those are three really big topics. And we’ve actually either had or will have podcasts around those concepts. They wrap up into strategic positioning and growth in a lot of different ways. What I will tell you first and foremost from our world is that “Present Retreat,” that time you take to unplug from the day to day to remove yourself and have zero interruptions so that you can look at your business for what it is right now, where it has been and where it is going. That going to provide you the ongoing opportunity to reinforce the way you do the work and understanding who you serve, why you serve them, what their payoff is. And most importantly, you’ll increase your awareness so that what makes you different and how to continue to adjust and refine that becomes clearer and clearer with each present retreat. You don’t need to listen to me for all of the stuff because that’s just me setting the stage. I want to get to what everybody has to share with us and how it ties in to this little bit that I just shared with you. We’re going to start with Justin Winter. Justin is the CEO of Boosttopia, he bootstrapped a consumer ecommerce brand from nothing to $22 million a year in revenue in four years. He founded a high growth enterprise SAS technology company that he is working on today. And he’s got a lot of experience in the startup space. So take what he says as we’re setting this up and getting into the basis for the importance of what we’re talking about today.
Justin Winter: Thinking about growth, it’s certainly very staged, depending on the type of business that you’re in, how developed things are the number of growth activities you’re focusing on, when it makes sense to hire more people when you’re able to hire more people into those channels, how you execute in those channels, what are the tactics and strategies you’re using? Which channels are you picking? Like all of those different things definitely depends on where are we at today? And what’s working right now? Is anything working right now? I definitely think there has to be a massive amount of consideration that goes into the contextual considerations, or making any decision, you know how to move forward in an area,
Jess Dewell: There are so many things that we need to know. And Justin just shared the tip of the iceberg there. The next introduction that we have is Lawrence W. O’Connor, who is a digital marketing coach. And as a marketer, he is part artist and part scientist. He uses his background in sociology, sales and design, to help brands grow their impact using their existing intellectual property. Also a key piece of what it takes for the positioning of our company. Here’s how he’s joining in the conversation. Here’s what he has to share that we need to keep in mind for the rest of the program.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: Humans, we need categories. That’s how we make sense of the world we’re in, we lump it into things that we’ve already known. We use analogy, we use the past to frame the future, we can also just define the future. We don’t need the past, we can just say, what’s the future I want to go to? And where does that look like? It’s a balance. Yes. If I’m speaking to someone, and they say, what do you do, and I’m like, you know, That’s not going to help us build a connection, but also if I’m too well defined, and I say, I do this for these people, because this and this, and this. And that is what I do. It feels good in that moment. But also, you don’t want to restrict yourself.
Jess Dewell: Focus, focus, focus, there’s so much in that, especially when it comes to positioning and growth. And if we go back to what I was saying at the beginning, about differentiation, and the value chain, then understanding who we serve, why we serve them, and what’s important to them becomes incredibly centralized so that we can find the market or markets we can best serve. Now we’re going to add another type of perspective to this one. When we’re talking about growth, what you’re going to hear a lot of is organic growth and in organic growth. And sometimes, and for some of you this will be the first time you really heard about inorganic growth, and I’m excited to bring this perspective as well. Bar Rubert is known for delivering results where strategy meets execution. His expertise includes rapid corporate growth, operational efficiency deal negotiations, as well as M&A, merger and equity. Mission events. He is skilled at growth acceleration, company turnarounds, and corporate transformations. So everything we’ll hear from Bart today from this very first piece that sets the stage for the interplay of positioning and growth revolves around buying a company or selling a company for that inorganic growth.
Bart Rupert: If you’re one of these people that’s having to say to yourself, due to social pressure, this own stigma, you tie it, oh, success is just this, that another, and you’re not putting money right there in the middle of it, you’re doing it wrong. It’s fine to make money, you have to make money because money is a tool. Money is what I call the great enhancer. It takes whoever you are, and whatever you’re doing, and just enhance. It makes it better. Wealth is a great enhancement tool for extending who we are and becoming better. So you got to have that as part of the equation, you got to get excited about it, you’ve got to look at what can I accomplish if I set my mind towards achieving more? And what’s that path really look like? So that I can just do more of what I naturally want to do.
Jess Dewell: Yes, it does. And that’s something that sometimes we like to forget. We like to forget or set aside or downplay the importance of, we are here to make a difference and the contribution we have is the value that we bring. And that value that is brought has a monetary value just. It happens to be the exchange of currency relationship that we have today, recognizing when we’re thinking about growth, whether we’re bootstrapping or acquiring, or anywhere in between, it’s important to remember, we are here to make money so we can serve people. And when we’re making money, we get to serve more people. And not only that, but create abundance for ourselves, as well. So we’re thinking about the why we’re thinking about who we know, we’re thinking about the stage of business. And we’re thinking about specifically areas we can actually grow and not forgetting to put wealth and revenue growth into the equation. And the three things that I talked about ,knowing what you want, and why you do it. Having a dynamic SWOT and sticking to priorities, as well as being consistent because consistency builds resilience are the things that we must consider about the way we do things, about the way we think about things. And about the way we choose to execute, which is kind of like do but it’s also making the choice to do something which is that before peace. And Lawrence has this to add to that.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: Because the consistency there’s a lot of power in that. Like I said, I don’t want to stop anyone from creating, but there needs to be more of an alignment. We just got lucky. And we said okay, we got a niche now. We’re doing hip hop documentary videos, in-studio footage. Let’s just do it all. Let’s just make as many many of those became, but I think sometimes people will start and create. And there’s always power and action, clarity comes from action. So when you take more action, you get more clarity, but you have to find a balance in that alignment before you get started. Have a goal, have a mission have an outcome that you’re shooting towards, even if you think that might change, have some sort of outcome, because we didn’t have any sort of email signup list, and we didn’t have anything that we were driving, which was just like, look at our videos, they’re so cool. What do you think? It built brand, but it didn’t really build any business for us. We did events, we did some event marketing and things like that with brands, but it probably could have turned into actual real money for the business a lot faster if we would have had a little bit more strategy behind it.
Jess Dewell: So knowing what you want, and why you do it was just articulated from an experience that Lawrence and one of his business partners has gone through. So to zero in on what you really want to do, and to zero in on what you really want means sometimes thinking differently than you ever have thought before. And here’s Bart sharing one of those non-traditional business growth, things that are associated with big, big company, but are as equally accessible by small and medium-sized enterprises, too.
Bart Rupert: You’re finding more and more people as a result of the pandemic that have found themselves with their business in a disadvantaged spot. And many of them are saying, you know what? This has changed so radically, I just want out, I’d like to be able to hand this over to somebody else. On the other side, you’ve got individuals that have been career employees, they’ve been at the same job forever, they’ve got a very specific trade, maybe they’ve been laid off, maybe they’ve lost their job, maybe something’s happened, they’re not eligible to work from home, there’s all kinds of different stories. Those individuals are now looking to buy their own company and run that for the first time. They may have had a very successful career, they’re not done yet. They certainly need to keep putting food on the table. And they’re looking around and saying amidst this job crisis, what’s the best way to get out there, and perhaps it isn’t to go and interview for the next job. Perhaps it’s actually going to acquire a company.
Jess Dewell: Sticking to our priorities, the second thing that I talked about at the beginning, and you’ll keep hearing throughout the program is that concept of a dynamic SWOT, along with those priorities that you want to stick to. When we know what we want, now we can think about what our strengths and weaknesses are, what the market opportunities are, and what the market threats are. And then we can align what those are and see Hey, what is available to us to make the most impact right now for the money we have for the energy we have, for the time to market we have. And unless we’ve thought about it, we don’t know that all of that goes into this concept of positioning for growth, and growing into more of the position that you have said you wanted for your company. Now there is learning at each stage, both for you and for your customers. And Justin brings his experience to the table on this topic.
Justin Winter: So that consumer-like face to face sales environment with Mrs. Jones and learning those techniques and objections. And this that, that was my first consumer sales thing. It was just that, but the salesperson is the website. And I was selling to Mrs. Jones, again, stereotypical married middle-aged middle income like female. And so that was actually kind of this really nice transfer that merged the internet stuff with the sales stuff. But it was a different widget now, but it actually was a really nice overlap for boosttopia. Now I was the first customer support agent at my own company and became the Support Manager. And then as a CEO was the manager of the managers. So I got to see the support department at every level, all within a fairly short period of time. And because I didn’t have some super extensive background in a customer support industry, specifically, I didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions about things. So I was able to come and be like, why don’t we do that, but just doesn’t make any sense? Like, why don’t we do like this, like, okay, maybe we should do that. So we should be really solving a problem that I had at the candle company, which was even though people use ticketing systems, actually understanding what’s happening in support is still super hard to do.
Jess Dewell: Something that Justin says is worth repeating. He understood the role, he figured out how each level was gonna work. And then he was able to see well, where are places that we can improve. What could be done differently? That goes to the value chain. It also goes to differentiation when we’re thinking about strategic growth. So I wanted to insert that, put a little bit of an underline on it because innovation and improvement come from a willingness to learn and to understand what each part of the business is doing to deliver the end product to the customer.
Justin Winter: Because people can’t understand how everyone’s actually performing in what’s your customer experience looks like. They actually don’t know what to do to make things better. So the job of the support managers and the operations leaders is still this massive afterthought. Ticketing systems are still basically built for agents to do their job to talk to customers, but not for the managers to do their job. We still think it was kind of this progression. Oh, I actually felt that problem, I had a ton of other friends who had that problem. So I kind of had this built-in product market research. And that led me to here.
Jess Dewell: It’s important to be looking at what’s next. So one of the purposes of a present retreat, take a step out be uninterrupted, look at where the company is. Look at what the priorities are, look at where they’re going as a team, and then what? Figuring out how to align them as closely as possible, knowing the priorities, making decisions and deciding what actions to take becomes crucial. And it’s also part of that high-level strategic view that we need to be able to understand how to choose and determine and confirm what the priorities really are for the growth that we want within our organizations. Comes down to how much are you willing to stretch what you already know, challenge your own assumptions, and show up to what’s possible.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: Who are your people where they tried to go? How do you help them get there? You can say those things, you are golden.
Bart Rupert: Everybody’s got their own narrative that they tell themselves to either self-sabotage, to not take that first step, or hold themselves back from their true potential. People get in their own way on this journey. They stopped themselves. And that’s one of the reasons why we created the program that we’ve got where it’s basically full set of instructional around, here’s how you go out and buy companies or by competitors, and then turn around and sell those, because that’s where the wealth is. Some people that want to do that on their own, they just don’t know how. There’s some people that want to do that collaboratively. And they just need to find a group of people that can work with them, and be able to supplement their skill set to be able to get it done. And that’s really what we’re trying to create as an environment where collaboration is not only encouraged, but it’s seen as very critical and important. As a team, we can accomplish more than we ever could individually.
ANNOUNCER: You were listening to the ad-free listener-supported Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. Right now, Jess is going to tell you about why we are ad-free and listener supported.
Jess Dewell: I’d like to take a few minutes and tell you why we do not run ads on the Bold Business Podcast. We’ve chosen to rely solely on you, our listeners, for support. If you’re listening to this, you probably already know what I care about most. I care about the space between you and me, and you and your colleagues. And I care about the work that you do together and the impact that it makes for your business and for your community. The work I do comes from a deep curiosity about what makes businesses work, what makes high functioning teams and what elements truly shapes success. I’ve seen firsthand how information can help people make better decisions and change their results. Curating and presenting this information though is not easy. The vast amounts of information out there, and the overwhelming amount of stuff that demands our attention and time, makes finding useful information, firsthand experience that is actually inspiring, that can help you with the big problems that you’re grappling with, it’s really hard. We do the due diligence for you. I am fortunate to have a great team to help me research and to share this information. And one example is the preparation that it’s done for each program. We choose a question to explore, we look for people with the relevant information and experience. We do research for what the current trends are. And then we put it all together into a well-produced program. And then we repeat, and then we repeat. The production of the show notes and supporting information is also comprehensive. This shows in the positive response that we’ve received. People like to see are notable and quotables. They like to see the links that we have to the transcripts, and they like to have links and research to resources and we bet I bet you do too.
ANNOUNCER: So far we’ve talked about how we put into the production of the Bold Business Podcast. And why Jess feels it is so important to be ad-free and listener supported. And now let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast for the rest of the show.”
Jess Dewell: Knowing what we want, and why we do it is a big part of understanding how do we show up to go after it, go for it as an individual and as a team, as an organization. Bringing along that dynamic SWOT, which is strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats, as well as your willingness to stick to their priorities once they’re set to move into the growth position you want. By working with how you’re going to grow and positioning yourself to grow, we’ll have a pulse on what we need to act quickly, as well as to know when to pause a little longer. Justin shares about a decision that they evaluated as a company
Justin Winter: At the end of the day, our us buying and building our own warehouses was not something that was going to win the industry for us. On paper, maybe with a quick, simple spreadsheet analysis, do we think maybe we’ll save a couple bucks? Sure. But we’ve never done that before. We don’t really know what costs are going to be involved with that. What happens when stuff blows up, and you need more people or someone calls out sick? And Ooh, gosh. And so we said if we’re not willing to go all in and commit to buying robots, what business do we have by trying to compete against that? That just doesn’t make any sense. And our customers really don’t care if there were robots in the warehouse or not, but it’s time to get their products. So it’s not like uniquely fundamental to how we’re different in the world, either. So it was like a clear decision for us. Even if we thought we would save some money. It’s like, no, let’s do that. Way better. Of those dozen pillars, what’s the one thing, okay, maybe two things, that we want to become world-class admin, everything else, we literally just want to be best practices, we just want to not be bad.
Jessica Dewell: Justin was talking about, in practice, how do we know what we want, and why we’re doing what we’re doing. Part of the positioning statement, this example of warehouses that he shared, it’s part of what the customers want and the outcome to the commercial and what allows for a good margin and a good return with the expertise and experience that actually is on the team right now. Or do they want to go acquire that type of expertise? And what would the cost to that be? What would the investment to that be? Very important to make the decision on what those are. He called them pillars, the pillars he wants his company to be good at. Sometimes that means being nontraditional. Sometimes that means finding the path where it resonates, finding that path that is best, that might be revolutionary, that just might be a different way. It might tap into a lifestyle or a type of customer or a way of doing business of where we’re moving as individuals, as a society, as organizations, and as a world. And if that’s the case, are you willing to do what it takes to take that path? Lawrence has something to say about that.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: While I was in the business school, my first year, Mark Cuban came and spoke with us at the business school. Because I was on the basketball team, we were like, Hey, can we get like a little extra time with you? You know you own the Dallas Mavericks and everything. So he spoke to us. And he was super candid. And one of the things he said was, (a)you’re at a division three school, no shade, but you’re probably not going to make it in the NBA. If you were we’d already know about you. And (b) Business School is very important. School is very important. But if I were you, if I were in your situation, I would take all the prereqs and then drop out and in turn for someone. I actually took that to heart. I took all the business school prereqs. I dropped out of school and I got an internship at a recording studio in the area called Treesound and Atlanta, and I slept on couches, I was their social media intern. That was just what was going to get me in the door , because I didn’t know anything about music engineering. And that was what all their other interns were in music engineers. So I was like, Well, what else do you need, I can do social media intern. That turned into me going to get Justin Bieber Swedish Fish I for him that turned into me picking up Drake’s engineers from the airport, I was just a runner, just go get whatever the person needs. Make them feel comfortable. So I built a lot of relationships with a lot of artists and built a trust with them.
Jess Dewell: Consistency. And the more consistent you are, the more opportunity for relationships emerge. And the more trust that can be built, which means the more resilient we can become. It’s through those experiences. It’s through those relationships that we have, that actually build resilience, both for ourselves for the people within the organization, your company, as well as with the way that the people within your company communicate and talk to the people outside of your company. Being consistent, as well as knowing what you want and why you’re doing it allows you to seek out the opportunities to leverage growth.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: A couple executives at different brands, they would just took me under their wing and just kind of show me the ropes and show me different things. I left there. I worked at the Apple Store for a couple years, like a year and a half. I got some sales knowledge because I had no sales experience. I worked on the sales team at Apple, which was in the back of an apple store. They had this thing they don’t have it anymore. It’s called the business team. We would get on the phone with small businesses. And we were like a custom b2b sales team. If your construction team needed 10 iPads with custom software and you want it engraved, I would facilitate all that for you. So that got me some sales knowledge. I did that for a year and a half. While I was there, took some online courses. I took an immersive course at a place called General Assembly and digital marketing. I quit my job and I started my own shop in 2015. I quit at Apple. I traveled to Thailand for a month just by myself. Had some friends over there. So I would stay with them for the first week and then spent the next three weeks just bouncing around Southeast Asia. And then I came back and I had a nervous breakdown on the plane because I was like wait, I don’t have a job anymore. What’s gonna happen? I have two clients.
Jess Dewell: I remember the first time I had a nervous breakdown like Wait, what did I get myself into? Why am I here right now? Very real. And you know, sometimes that happens more than once in our lifetime. And that is okay. Sometimes it happens daily. And that’s really okay. We’re stretching, we’re growing. And when we can come back to these pillars that we’ve been talking about so far, knowing what you want, and why you’re doing it, having a dynamic SWOT and sticking to the priorities, using that SWOT as well as being consistent because consistency builds resilience. So what we’re talking about here is not only our shifts important, not only is stepping out of the norm, important, recognizing when the rubber meets the road, and where the rubber meets the road. And even if we’re taking a little bit by surprise, the willingness to keep on going, and we don’t have to know it all. We don’t have to know where things are going to come from. We just have to know what we want to do and why we’re doing it. Listen to what Justin has to say. He’s talking about just getting it done.
Justin Winter: Initially, definitely not, we weren’t that fancy. The whole business started as just a side project. Because we had this weird and crazy, wacky idea. Out of the gate, we were almost choosing that product innovation was going to be one of our things. We weren’t going to make a better candle, we were going to make this crazy insane candle that everyone would be like what that was what we’re gonna do? Certainly in the direct to consumer business of this type and for that category didn’t mean the challenge is distribution, like how do you get people to even care about your fancy, cool thing? Really, that primary pillar for us was marketing. How do we sell these things for 25 bucks? Costs X, shipping is. We got this much to play with. How do we do this in a cost-effective way and sustainable way? They kind of forced us into that. Another great example where that context of the type of business you’re in. In many ways, the type of business strategy, you’re choosing within that category is huge. We’re gonna be like an online Trader Joe’s or something, I don’t know. We’re gonna have 100,000 skews. And the price is going to be the same as Trader Joe’s, but it’s online and cooler. By choosing that you’re having to choose supply chain logistics, finance and operations as a core competency. Because your margin is going to be so tight on commodity products, that if you just messed it up a little bit, you just went bankrupt, because you’re not making any money. Definitely, there’s some things we’re like, Okay, if you choose door number two, on option number three, you’re not choosing some of these other pillars, or you’re forcing yourself to have to handle those other areas.
Jess Dewell: This is another way to evaluate your current business model for areas of weakness and opportunities. Plus, it’s a great conversation to have with your advisory team, with your management team to really uncover, are we asking the right questions to be truly competitive in this space? And I’m a fan of competition. I’m a fan. Of course, there’s something for everybody out there. But this is what I want. And I really am going to go after that, to the best of my ability. Considering some of the things that Justin was talking about, where are the dependencies? And when you make a choice about something, what other choices are you inherently making? And are you actually aware of those? And are they part of that SWAT? And are they part of the way you do work within your company? And we’re going to go back to Lawrence now because he hinted earlier at his first job that didn’t really turn into a business, but maybe might have, and what he learned from that.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: I wouldn’t give someone now that same advice because it was completely unscalable, like unsustainable. We did it for two years, which is great. What I would say is there was a lot of power in making that decision. Because we just knew we had eyes on us, we had to do something more than what we were doing. In that consistency and showing up every day, even then we didn’t know what we were going to shoot, we would make something we would come up with something every day, new content, new ideas. This was before SEO and all of that stuff was super popular. Just having that decision, we saw the opportunity that we’ve got attention, we’ve got to capitalize on it. We’ve got to do something. The biggest thing was seeing that and saying, let’s just move. There wasn’t a ton of deliberation. It was more like seriously, like, do you really want to do this? I don’t see any other way. We didn’t know. We didn’t know any better. So we just did it.
Jess Dewell: About making content every single day without thinking too hard about it, but making the decision to do it. I’ll give you an example with this podcast. This is program 253. of this series of programs, together with Scott, I’ve probably done well over 800 of these programs. And there are times when I’m like, What do we talk about? Now, I don’t even want to plan. And there are other times that there are things that just come through. Creativity can also be something that when we’re consistent at it and setting time aside and putting attention on it, we get to the point where stretched. And that’s that point, whether it’s creativity, whether it’s just to keep going, whatever thing that started out easy and all of a sudden or overwhelmed, kind of got not fun anymore. It’s really important to evaluate. Sure, is it still the right thing to do? But just because it’s not fun should not elicit that question. Just because it’s not fun should be this is where we dig deep, dig deep into being consistent. How does this get us to what we want? And why we’re doing it? And if there is fundamental misalignment, then evaluate making a big change. Otherwise, it’s well, how do we get creativity when we’re not? How do we keep doing the thing that needs to be done by nobody likes to do? How do we do this thing that seems a little bit of a strain right now? See if shifting it up and sticking with it, because by moving through it, new opportunities and ideas will come. And that’s the setup for something important that Bart is ready to share with you. And it’s the fact that we all get stuck.
Bart Rupert: Let me tell you where people get stuck. They get stuck on the idea of I’ve not done this before. And it seems too complicated. I know how to grow a company, I can just invest in marketing or advertising or what have you. And that’s pretty clear to me. So I can see one step in front of the other. People stop themselves from achieving their potential around the M&A path or an inorganic growth route because they’re not sure the first step to take. That’s where I see people get stuck. And so most of what we do is actually take people in and show them how to go down that path or even help them go down that path so that they can get started, they can take advantage of that. Once you start to get outside of the jitters or the concerns over what that really involves because it seems too big to really have you do, then you get past yourself, and you’re able to take that first step and make it happen.
Jess Dewell: So whether from inside your business or outside of your business, that growth can happen. And here’s the thing, I alluded to preconceived notions earlier, I also talked about even creativity can get hard sometimes. So what can you do to shake it up? What can you do to challenge your own assumptions? What can you do to create a win-win win that concept I’ve talked about once or twice called winfinity.
Bart Rupert: Doing right by the entrepreneur, doing right by the people in the deal, the M& A world, it’s so cutthroat, it’s so ruthless that we’ve really unfortunately developed a bad reputation around it. Ultimately, people screw each other over and cut each other’s throat because they’re going after a deal that they think is the only deal they’re going to be able to get, or maybe the other guy created it for them or what have you. And so they feel like it’s a scarce transaction. If you come into it with the idea that if this deal doesn’t work out, I’ll just go do another one. It’s fine, we know how to do that, then you come at it from a different perspective, your perspective becomes, I don’t have to screw the other person over. I don’t want that done to me, I’ve certainly had it done to me several times. And I can tell you doesn’t feel good. You want to be able to help the other person you want to be able to do that reciprocally, you want to be able to as trite as it sounds, structure, win-win wi transactions, so that the seller wins, the buyer wins the person that’s making it happen wins. And if you can do that, you can drive a lot more volume, you can be far more successful, and everybody comes out ahead. So personal value is let’s treat each other the right way. Let’s treat each other the way we’d want to be treated, and be honest with one another and not screw the other person over.
Jess Dewell: We’re discussing, knowing what we want and why we want it. That’s motive. And it’s important to know that because once we know exactly where we stand, we can show up to our business, we can show up to our peers in our organization, we can show up to our advisory boards, and we can recognize where we are and where somebody else is. And when we recognize other people also have motives because we have our own., it allows us to choose openness and curiosity to engage in a conversation. By the way, that is a great tip just in general. The more curious we can be about every conversation because of somebody’s motives, and knowing our own and making sure we know somebody else’, it ensures we’re setting ourselves up for a good productive conversation. Because we don’t know what else is going on in somebody’s life, in somebody’s situation in somebody’s company until we ask about it. And other things influenced the way that we show up in a moment for every single human on the globe. So that’s an important thing to keep awareness of too. Know your motives and recognize other people have motives and be curious about where they overlap for collaborative opportunity that benefits everybody. Now for your business. This includes the mission.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: I look on it back on it so fondly about those times. It was like two years literally posting a video every day. During the time it was so stressful. It was tough. Sometimes you just didn’t want to do it. But we knew every morning we had to have something to show for it by the end of the day. Especially in this age, we don’t always get to work with our hand. What I love about creating content, if you make it one time, I can go to the internet right now and show you what I was doing in May of 2011. Because I’ve got it filmed, and it’s there forever lives on, that focus comes from, I’m waking up, I know what my mission is today is to put out a video. And all I need to do is try to make it the best video that I can make it. So sometimes we would be months ahead with our videos, and we’d be great. And other times, especially in the beginning, we would wake up on Monday, and we’d be like, what are we posting tomorrow? We don’t know, we need to put it out. Having that mission that you wake up with every day and saying, Okay, I know what I have to do today. How’s that going to manifest? What is the story going to be of the day? I don’t know how that story is going to show up. That was really special. And when I look back on that, that’s something that I really cherish and try to replicate in my day to day life now.
Jess Dewell: Lucky for Lawrence, he got over that. What do we post tomorrow from the early days. Mm-hmm. I know there are sometimes things just sneak up, Oh, I thought I had more time to prepare them that. Oh, I wanted to give that a little bit more intention and a time than I actually have to give it. It’s all good. I aspire to being consistent and proactive all the time as well. So when it doesn’t happen, I give myself some grace. And I think that’s one of the things that Lawrence was talking about there. Give ourselves grace. When we know what we want, and we are going to be consistently working toward any actions that we take, we much more quickly know whether or not we’re on the right path, even if it’s a big squirrelly journey, or if we’re on the wrong path, and then we can make adjustments to get back on the path we want to be on. And here’s what else Lawrence shares about all of that in relationship to positioning.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: When it comes to positioning, it’s important to just focus on the people, like you said, loving on your people. Who am I talking to? What do they care about? If you’re familiar with a story brand framework, I’ve built from that. But it’s you’re not the hero, the people you’re speaking to is the hero and where are they trying to go? And how you to get them there? I like to position based on the problem that I’m speaking t. What is the problem? Or what is the obstacle or the thing that the people I’m speaking to are focused on. And that will serve the positioning instead of trying to like put a new hat on, depending on Hey, I’m this guy today, or I’m the digital marketer, I’m the musician or I’m the what it’s just like, what would you like to do? Where are you focused on going? And how can I help you get there? When I’ve made that shift in mindset, it made it much more easy for me to write and not feel like I was boxing myself.
Jess Dewell: Oh, I’m telling you. Thinking about positioning, and having that focus automatically tells us what’s out, which means the options we have to choose from our are ready, much less than infinite possibility. And that’s something that I really take away from what Lawrence has been sharing with us. And part of that allows us to expand our awareness. When we move out and say, Nope, these things don’t fit here, we reduce the workspace that we’re working within and what can be in it, which means we can expand our awareness. We can expand and amplify our focus into a very specific thing or two, that ties into our business strategy to reach even more success. It’s all about focus, focus, focus. it’s also about how much we can actually have capacity for Bart’s analogy of the success cube is perfect here. The bigger our success cube, the more capacity we have, the more capacity we have, the more focus we can bring. You get the idea, listen to what he says.
Bart Rupert: I think we can even give the listeners a bit of a tip on how to expand that for themselves. Within our group, we call that the success cube. We talk about it very regularly, because it’s good to call it to your attention because whatever is measured improves. And some people have success cubes that would be represented I this diagram with my hands right now. And some have some that are much smaller, some have some that are much larger. And I think the mistake people make is they think just by saying, Oh, I want my success cube to expand that it naturally happens. And the reality is it doesn’t work that way. It would be nice if it did. But how many of us all of a sudden just wake up one morning and say, gee, I’d like to be a multimillionaire and then all of a sudden, their life just falls into place where that automatically starts happening. That does occur, but it’s extremely rare. So how did the rest of us get there? How do we take that journey? It’s helpful to talk about it. Because as soon as you start discussing it like you and I are right now, then we can discuss, hey, we want our success to increase so that we can hold more success in our cube, in our lives. This metaphorical cube that represents us. The more it expands, the more success we can hold. But you can’t just talk about it, have it get bigger. You’ve got actually have experiences that allow you to prove to yourself that your success cube can expand. So how do we do that? The answer is, you get out there and you make measurements and steps to expand it deliberate and consciously.
Jess Dewell: Lawrence said it earlier, Bart said it now. Go get the experience. Are you willing to do what it takes to go get that experience, because the more experience you have, the more capacity you have, the more knowledge that you have within yourself, which means the more you can sometimes learn from other people just by listening through the concept of participating in a mastermind, working with your advisory board, talking to your peers on your management team. All of those things increase your capacity for success.
Bart Rupert: I’ll give you a real-life story of somebody that we’re working with right now, who is spanning their career buying and selling companies as part of their trade. The first deal they took on was a company that was a tree company. It was an arboretum, and it was tree care, tree management, things like that. And before we did the deal, I looked at the person that said, Okay, so if you want to do this deal, I’ll completely back you, will push it all the way through. But before we get into it, here’s what you might not know lies behind door number two, because you’re now going to be an entrepreneur with this tree company. And you’re going to take on this tree company, and this is what it’s going to involve. And we talked about staff, we talked about revenue, we talked about the fact there’s not much profitability, it’s going to require some turnaround. And almost like a week afterwards, because his success cube was a certain size. At almost like a week Afterwards, he was looking around and going Bart, I’m looking at this deal. And the stuff we talked about. And I realized this is hard, like I got to know do all this stuff. And there’s not much money coming out of it. And there, it feels like it should get more for this. And like yeah, you probably should. Then all of a sudden, you could see the success cube start to expand. Well, we just did another deal with a company that was probably 10 times larger. And so this one, instead of just being like, you know, 100 grand a year or whatever it spun off. This one’s like several hundred grand up to a million of profit. But he actually saw because we get together as a group, we go through our deals, everybody gets to see what everybody else is working on and how they’re negotiating and what we’re doing to be able to get a deal and transaction done. And all of a sudden, he’s like, wow, why am I not playing in that space. And there’s this realization that he came to, to say, whether it’s a tiny company, a medium-sized company, or a multimillion-dollar success, it’s the same amount of work. It’s the same effort. And once he hit that, he’s now saying, Okay, I got to recalibrate and rethink the way I’m looking at everything across my business, my life, my strategy. I need to expand my ability to take on success.
Jess Dewell: That story illustrated the main point, the interplay between positioning and growth, this person who bought the Arboretum knew what they wanted, and why they were doing it. They also understood the exact situation and what the goal was for growth and stick to those priorities. Then, thirdly, consistently work toward it and understood the effort and kept going and use that to inform his next set of decisions building. So put in the effort and go over what you want and make the time to know what it is.
Bart Rupert: Some people need to start with a small success cube, prove to themselves that they can do it get a little bit bigger than prove again, that they can be a multimillionaire. And you don’t need to take a lot of steps. But that is a multi-step path. Other people can simply look at what other people are doing, get the process and the guideline and say, I’m going to start at the top. And I’m going to make sure I wind up there and just jump right to the front of the line. But it all comes down to what type of entrepreneurial spirit they got, what type of belief structure they have around themselves, how do they feel about money. If all that checks out and it’s clean, then you can expand your success cube very rapidly, but you’ve got to follow the Nike ad, you’ve got to just do it. You got to step out there, you got to make it happen. You’re never going to be able to accomplish this sitting on your couch streaming Netflix and binge-watching stuff. You’ve got to be able to step up, take a little bit of risk, put some time into it and make it happen.
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Jess Dewell: Are you willing to put in the effort to really understand and dig into the intricacies of the interplay of positioning and growth for your company. That’s what this boils down to. And here’s the thing. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always straightforward. So it might take longer to slog through things sometimes both because we mucked up and messed up and weren’t aware or misunderstood somebody’s motives which reduce the opportunity to collaborate instead of increase it. Well, we’ve never done this before. Let’s just see what happens when we put it together and just go for it. And by doing that, we find ways to do it better, or we find out that we want somebody else to be doing it within that particular area for that particular task. Justin brings an example to the table.
Justin Winter: Oftentimes, you make a life situation, or maybe some type of focus learning period for a while we’re all kind of have an aha moment a better way to handle things. I don’t think it is possible to intentionally decide to study and learn how to be a better decision-maker. Because I do think there’s actually a lot of science there, much more than I would have anticipated myself even just a number of years ago. It’s typically possible to say, hey, I want to get better at this. I’m going to try and actually do that and focus on this. And then there are things I think where I’ll definitely get into personal or professional ruts from an action standpoint, where things are comfortable, and something happens that makes life uncomfortable and forces you out of that situation, just presence wise. And you’re like, you know, what, what am I doing here, all these things, let’s just change the whole thing, right? And you say, let’s just blow the whole thing up. But then you get through it, you’re like, man, I shouldn’t wait earlier.
Jess Dewell: Hindsight is always 2020. And if I really wanted to, I didn’t start some kind of witty joke about 2020 right there, but I’m not going to do it. You fill in your own joke, as you see fit. There was something in what Justin shared that made me think of Lucille Ball, who’s one of my favorite people in the world that I learned from both as a businesswoman, as well as being incredibly masterful at her craft. She said, “The more we do, the more we can do.” And that’s increasing capacity. So consistency in action will lead us to that increased capacity. And we also have to know about ourselves and the situation too. Comes back to the well what do we want and why are we doing it concept not only for ourselves in our organization, but really internalizing that for ourselves.
Justin Winter: My personal preference and work style lends itself towards researching a bit too much before I just get to doing something, I really enjoy the process of thinking through what that move is going to be when I get there versus All right, where am I at today? Let’s gather information. So that can be helpful and not helpful at the same time. Because by the time I get to a new decision point, if it’s something I’ve kind of known that I was going to be getting to, I’ve probably been passively thinking about it for a while. Maybe actively looking at a couple articles, and maybe talking to people about it just thinking about it more often. So when I get there, it’s like, Okay, I’m not just completely cold starting from scratch on whatever the situation is. Oh, well, I know that most companies in my industry or sector typically handle this decision in this way. These are maybe the three primary ways to do it. These are really the pros and cons between the three Hey, what probably makes most sense for me in my organization, and then to figure out the best decision to make because the difference between the best decision that you could find with a day or even a week’s worth of research, if it’s that type of a big decision. I mean, it’s going to go way above and beyond that. Just the value from that time investment and trying to make a better decision itself back over making a faster subpar decision. Wisdom is knowing where you’re at, am I spending too long on something that really doesn’t matter? Or is this actually kind of a bigger thing? That nuance I think is very challenging to find.
Jess Dewell: It is. Not only as decision making an art form, understanding what decisions are supposed to be made, or need to be made, or can discover the opportunities available, or will waylay or shift up the way a potential threat could impact the business comes back to that dynamic SWOT. So carving out a specific period of time in your schedule, every single week to evaluate those things, helps keep the pulse proactively and passively as you’re getting information and having conversations by putting your intention and attention on working on your business, you have the opportunity to then gather information. So when you’re sitting down in your Present Retreat, that uninterrupted time where you’re doing that big strategy work high level, you’re able to go Oh, I have more information here or Oh, I need more information here, or it’s time to make that decision, or I have a little more time before that decision gets made. And weeding out constantly what takes you away from the business goals, and keeping in and zeroing in and focusing in on what moves you toward that growth and strategy that must occur to continue to allow you to lead an adaptable resilient company. Lawrence also has insight to share about making decisions.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: There’s a series of keywords that I use to make it tangible. And positioning is actually the first of that. So this fits together. There’s positioning, there’s your people is your problem. And there’s your promise. When you have those four things in alignment, you can push forward in terms of your messaging and who you’re speaking to, and where you’re talking about. My people, I’m making them a promise, that’s all marketing is it’s you’re keeping your promises. I make a promise, I’m going to keep it, I have my promise, what could potentially stop them, what is the problem that they’re having, that’s keeping them from getting to that promise on their own. If I do those three things, people promise problem, and I have my positioning, then everything else will flow out of that. A lot of times when we think about marketing, we think about tactics of like Facebook Messenger bots, or SEO or things that are going to continue to change. That is what most people focus on when they say digital marketing. But in reality, it really is just saying, Who are my people? What am I promising them? And how do I deliver that promise,? Once you get those things in alignment, that clarity will lead to the growth that we’re talking about. Now we can put out a new piece of content every day, because we know exactly who we’re talking to . If we want to do that, go ahead. Because we’re focused, we’re laser-focused on what we’re trying to accomplish.
Jess Dewell: So whether it’s organic growth, or inorganic growth, understanding the process or framework, sometimes creating the process and framework is key.
Justin Winter: We still begin with this progression of, Oh, I actually felt that problem. I had a ton of other friends who had that problem, so I’ve had this built-in product to research. And that led me to here. People get in trouble if they decide if they study psychology, and then they want to be a rocket scientist. It’s like, maybe like you skipped a couple steps there. So yeah, be careful of that. But staying in the same thing forever, at least for most entrepreneurs, I know. It’s like he just get bored, right? Like, what’s the next thing, I only jump too far.
Jess Dewell: The way we solve problems, provided we’re open and willing to understand our own motives and somebody else’s motives, and our willingness to find a solution together requires an understanding of different perceptions. And Lawrence shares a little bit about attention or trust when talking from inside the company to outside the company.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: There’s this concept of attention versus trust. And a lot of times when people think about marketing, they think I need to get attention. I need to get many people’s attention as I can, I need to get them into a funnel. And then a percentage of those people will come out on either. And in that when you focus on attention, business model lends itself to advertisement. So you think about Instagram, Google, these brands, they need attention, because their business model is they serve ads, that’s how they make money. Whereas when your listener-supported, you’re focused on trust. I don’t need the attention of many, I need the trust of a few people. And so that’s a lot easier to internalize when you’re thinking about marketing, and you’re saying I need to get up in front of as many people as possible. No, let me get in front of one to 10 of the right people. But I need them to trust me, I need them to trust that I’m the person to help them that I’m going to get them the results they’re looking for. And when you do that, and you’re supported not by ads, but direct to consumer, then you can focus on creating the best experience for them as possible. And then your content is going to focus more on benefit, on helping, on serving versus on clickbait, on attention on ads. I think that those two models, there’s nothing wrong with either one. I don’t think that attention is bad. You do need attention to build trust. But I think when it plays into your business model, trust, you can go direct to consumer and that is the unique time that we live in, to say, Hey, I made this thing it’s for you. Do you want it, you can buy it from me directly. Then all you have to do is serve that audience and make sure that they’re excited and supported and heard in what you’re doing. And you’ll be supporting, you’ll be great.
Jess Dewell: It is important right now to think about strategic positioning and your business growth. That strategic position comes from both differentiation and a distinctive value chain. Ultimately, we’re looking for good margins within our business, We’re looking for a competitive advantage in the marketplace. And we want to continue to do things to make ourselves different enough that other people cannot easily copy us. From financial performance, to what makes you different, to your awareness and your company’s awareness of the competition, Those things allow you to monitor and know when to adjust to stay aligned to the interplay of where you’ve positioned your company to be and the growth that you want to get. It’s bold. It is bold to consider the interplay of positioning and growth listen in as to why.
Bart Rupert: Everything about it is bold. Honestly. There’s not one part of it that isn’t. When you show up to a boardroom table, or in today’s age, even a zoom meeting, and you’re surrounded by all these board members, all these people that may want to sell may not want to sell, there’s legal or CPA, whomever is represented, it can be scary. Whether it’s buying a company and thinking putting my whole life on the line, if this thing doesn’t go, right, what does this mean for me, my family, everything. And you know that there’s that big goal on the other side, but scary to put your name on the line and make that happen. That’s a frightening experience, selling a company, or even negotiating the sale of a company is still just as scary, because you’re thinking, This is my baby, this is my identity, this is my life. If I sell this, and it you know, it’s like, what am I going to do every day? How am I going to wake up and add value is this going to lessen the significance of me in the eyes of my family and my friends. Just showing up is a very brave thing to do.
Jess Dewell: It’s bold to recognize and work with the interplay of positioning and growth.
Lawrence Wayne O’Conner: I think of positioning as micro, I think growth is macro. I think you need positioning first. And then you can focus on growth. So prioritize them both. And I think it’s bold because it goes back to what we’re talking about action versus results, right? It’s, it’s saying that you’re willing to have a short term and a long term vision to what you’re doing. And I think without those two, without that balance, it’s going to be really hard for you to get to where you’re going. The bold part of it is saying that I’m showing up for myself on a daily basis. But I’m also showing up for myself on a lifetime basis, on a 10,000-year basis, what can I accomplish in this day? But then also, what am I accomplishing in the next 10 years. That’s what’s really important about that. All the other things take care of themselves when you can focus on. Today, right now, this moment, be present in the moment, I’m all about that. Here, and now is what it is. But also, we do need to have some sort of vision of our future selves or where we want to be that’s molding that person today. My role model is me five years from now, that I think is what’s bold is saying positioning is in this moment, who am I? Who do I need to be to show up for the people that I’m serving? Growth is Who do I seek to be 5, 10 years down the road? Am I trending in the right direction based on what I did today?
Jess Dewell: It’s bold, to evaluate and dig into the interplay of positioning and growth.
Justin Winter: It’s learning enough about something to form an opinion based on your experience that you think people are doing something wrong or doing it in an old and antiquated way that doesn’t best align with the needs of the customers or the needs of that market. And maybe it’s a leftover vestige of the move from analog to digital or something like that. The Bold comes in where you say, I want to do things like actually really, really, really different. And I also based on my assessment and my study in my learning, I actually have a fairly high degree of confidence that apart from the execution risk of just doing the things I know that need to be done. If this works, this would be game-changing from a competitive standpoint, for the rest of the market or the end customers, when it’s consumers or businesses in that market, what we’d be able to offer them would be so drastically different. That if it works, everyone would be forced to just come to us the significantly better option because this. Higher quality, less expensive, it’s faster, you know, whatever that value propositions are there, the degree to which it is bold is the degree to which it is different and likely to succeed.
Jess Dewell: No small task, carving time out of your schedule on a regular basis to take a Present retreat, to look at things like your current financial performance, what your competitors are up to, the frame of reference that your customers are looking at you compared to those competitors, making sure that your profits are where you want them to be And they’re as big as they can be. Where is your wiggle room? What is your competitive advantage? And how does that tie into the distinctive value chain? How hard are you to imitate? What is making you continuously different and connected to your specific customer base to not only attract attention of the right people but to build trust with those people and relationships with them? Comes down to the three things that are important to consider as you’re sitting with the last final thoughts of Bart Rupert, Lawrence, W. O’Connor and Justin Winter. And those are, number one, know what you want and why you do it. Number two, use and have a dynamic SWOT as well as stick to the priorities that your business has. And the third thing be consistent, because consistency builds resilience. I leave you with that. This is the conclusion of another program. I will see you or talk to you again soon.
ANNOUNCER: The Bold Business Podcast is brought to you by Red Direction. Jess Dewell dug into one idea in this program. Her goal is to ignite your creativity and spark different thinking with the presented material. How you apply this to your current priorities is up to you. We want to know what actions you take. Use hashtag #boldbusinesspodcast and add your voice to this important conversation. Jess Dewell: can bring the missing voice back into your company. With you, Jess will solidify your company’s true north, your unique Red Direction. Provided you are ready to work with Jess, email her at Radio at Red direction dot com. Special thanks to the SCOTT Treatment for technical production.