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Business owners champion sample chapter


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You've been in business for a while, but you've hit a wall. The business has gotten much more complicated than it used to be, and less fun. Though you are working harder than ever, you aren't making more money. Though you started out with high hopes, you're starting to have some doubts – even second thoughts.

The Business Owner’s Champion: 6 Practices to Build your Nerve and your Business was written to cheer on today’s savvy – yet sometimes discouraged – business owner. With a been-there-done-that attitude, business advisor, public speaker and author Brad Farris tells business owners like it is: You can blame everyone else, but your business is as good or as bad as you make it.

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Business owners champion sample chapter

  1. 1. The Business Owner’s Champion 6 Winning Practices to Build Your Nerve and Your Business by Brad Farris A N C H O R A D V I S O R S
  2. 2. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris Introduction I’ve never worked for a publicly held was fired up to go to work every day, not customers and markets. Invent a new company. The biggest office I ever wanting to let them down and looking service today, sell it tomorrow, and it’s on worked for had just over 300 people in forward to what I might learn from them the homepage next week! it. I’ve never worked more than three that day. At my favorite jobs I worked But, not all founder-led businesses have layers down in an organization (e.g., hard, not because anyone asked me to, my boss’ boss’ boss was the BIG boss). this dynamic. Some businesses are but because it made a difference. These So, I’ve always been able to see, pretty micromanaged, with no freedom or businesses were large enough to have directly, how my work impacted the innovation outside of the founder’s. structure and process, so that we all knew Others have so much freedom that no company. what to do each day and how our success one knows which way is up. Maybe the I’ve worked for a lot of different kinds of would be judged; but they were small founder has the control right, but hasn’t companies, from a venture-funded start- enough to allow us to make meaningful found the right niche. Or, he doesn’t know up, to two brothers who ran their contributions and to see the fruits of our how to communicate the value the business “like a family.” I’ve worked for labor and how our efforts each day helped company provides so the business is people who were billionaires and worked to make progress. starved for resources and is working hand- on $100 million deals, but I’ve also worked to-mouth. Others have all the work they This type of opportunity is more prevalent for founders who scraped together cash need, but they haven’t priced it right, or in privately held, founder-led businesses. from their friends and families and put they can’t manage the clients’ These types of businesses are in the their inventory on a credit card. These expectations so they always run 100 miles building stage, creating opportunities for companies made aerospace parts, an hour and get nowhere. growth for the company and for those automotive components, awnings, intercoms, garage door openers … the list working inside of it. There are no layers of Are these types of business owners aware goes on. bureaucracy, or rules and red tape that of their shortcomings? Yes, they are hold smart, creative people back from painfully aware; whether they will admit it As different as these jobs were, there innovating solutions to problems and outloud is another matter. Of course, a were similarities. The best jobs I ever had seizing opportunities. You don’t have to good day will push them to think they are were ones in which I worked with teams fight through turf wars and entrenched superhuman without any faults at all. But of excellent people. I worked with peers bureaucrats to bring a good idea to life. then there are the not-so-good days, who were so good at what they did that I There are always new challenges, new when they’re struggling to make 2
  3. 3. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris payroll or dealing with a personnel issue, Here’s what you don’t realize: Running a As you read along, you may find yourself and they feel like they don’t deserve to successful business doesn’t require an identifying with some of the scenarios I have their own business. They think, I’m MBA, or a PhD, or even fancy math. It use. You may be reading this as one of not the smart, successful business owner does require you to be honest with my past clients or as a business owner everything thinks I am. What if everyone yourself, to get good constructive whom I’ve met once or twice, and feedback from your customers, your wonder if I am talking about you or your finds out that … I’m … a … fraud? team, and some outside people whom business. I assure you that the dynamics First of all, making a mistake here or you trust, and to commit yourself to I refer to in this book are common to there, unless it involves breaking the law, making some changes that will feel many smaller, founder-led businesses. doesn’t make any business owner a fraud. uncomfortable. And most of all, it requires “If it feels or sounds familiar, But when all eyes are on you and you the confidence to do all these things. it’s because your problems are can’t perform, it’s easy to draw the Confidence and fear are at the opposite common. So if you find yourself comparison. Further, your team expects ends of the spectrum. How do you go nodding, and looking over your and wants you to know everything, but from being a fearful business owner to shoulder, rest assured, you are you can’t know it ALL. So, when they becoming a confident business owner? in good company.” discover you aren’t omnipotent, it can I’m glad you asked! You’ve come to the really smart. Believe me, I know. I’m a right place for your answer. small-business owner. But what business owners really feel is fear – fear that they can’t build a business that they love, filled with a team of people whom they respect and whom earn them a fair return on their risk. This fear debilitates them, causing them to make a series of other fear-related missteps in their businesses. 3
  4. 4. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris 1. Share 2. Assemble 3. Trust 4. Delegate 5. Manage 6. Enforce A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapters 4
  5. 5. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris How many late nights did you spend earn your trust or prove they care. Chapter One getting your business started? Maybe it They come to work believing they have was working on a client project or something to offer to you! They should maybe it was worrying about how you earn your respect through the sacrifices were going to meet payroll. At first, they made to learn a skill that you can didn’t meeting a new client, going to a use to serve your clients and make networking event or selling yourself money. They want to work hard, completely terrify you? Starting your contribute to building your business and business and building it to this point serving your clients, AND get recognized have probably cost you a lot of sleep. for their contributions – even if they You took risks and years of your life don’t involve the sacrifices you made and went into making this business the the risks you took. success it is now. People who start their own businesses And then your employees walk in there have to have a healthy-sized ego. You like they own the place, like it was have to believe you have something created just for them! They think they valuable to offer to the world and have deserve comfy chairs, juice in the fridge the courage to offer it, and offer it, and and dinner at home with their families. offer it, before someone finally pays you! No one appreciates how hard it was to Running a business does require strength get here! My people are just walking in of ego, and I don’t want you to give that here and they haven’t proven anything. up. Nevertheless, ego can get in your Don’t they know they have to earn this? way when it causes you to trust too much in your own ideas and decisions, They do take it all for granted. They and value your contributions more than don’t treat your business like the the contributions of others. precious thing it is. That’s because it’s a job to them, not a baby! They don’t come to work thinking they have to A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapter One - Share 5
  6. 6. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris Business owners whose egos get in • Do you blame staff members when their way have a few common traits. things go wrong? Do you take credit How many of these fit you? when things go well? Do clients think you did everything on a project, even • Are you too critical of the talent in when you didn’t? your company? • Has it been more than a month since • Is there more criticism than praise in each team member has heard you your office? say, “Thank you”? Have they ever • Do you talk with distain or derision heard you apologize? about some of your key team • Is your business named after you, or members or customers? does the brand contain your name? • Do you hire supportive team • Are people constantly waiting for your members who are not likely leaders? approval or edits before they can • Do you avoid adding team members complete their work? who have the potential to be better, • Do you frequently rewrite or rework or are smarter than you are? the deliverables that your team • Do strong team members leave after produces? a few years? • Do you have clients that are “your” • When you talk to clients, do you use clients? Do they ask for you when the word “I” more than you use the they call, and other team members word “we”? just can’t seem to make progress with them? If you looked at these questions honestly and answered “Yes” to more than half of them, your ego may be getting in your way. A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapter One - Share 6
  7. 7. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris If you want to build a thriving business contribute; when things go poorly, they So if this is a problem for you, that goes beyond what you can do, you look at what they could have done here are 6 steps you can take? need to check that ego. For some better. business owners, it’s ok the business It’s important to have strong people completely relies on them and they are Start small; say thanks. around you. But, strong people are essential to every project. But if you drawn to smart, successful people who Be grateful every day for something want to do things like take a vacation, can share the spotlight. As your or someone. I made it a daily habit go home when you’re sick without company grows, you don’t always need to write a note to a person who threatening the business, or focus on to be in the limelight. In fact, it’s ok if made me grateful that day. Try it. doing the part of the business you love, you’re never in the limelight. Now, I When a client compliments your the truly creative and visionary tasks, know that you have worked hard and firm’s work, ask him to send a note you need a team – and you need to get taken extreme risks to get to the point to your team member, or forward over yourself. where you can have the spotlight on the email or VM along to your team Jim Collins, in his landmark book, Good you. No one – not your clients or your member or even to the whole team to Great, identified the concept of the team members – know how hard you (with specific thanks to the team 1 Level 5 Leader. The Level 5 leader was have worked or the sacrifices you have members who did the work). Make most often identified in those made to get here. But the truth is, they sure the team member hears and companies who made the leap from don’t care! The strongest team experiences gratitude from you and good to great. These leaders coupled a members will be anxious to learn all they your clients. Don’t wait for your fierce resolve and drive for excellence can and grow with you; but if they sense team members to be perfect before with a clear understanding that it was there is never room for them in the you thank and appreciate them. not about them. In fact, a hallmark of spotlight, they will leave. The team that Even when they are imperfect, they these leaders is that they drew on the will take you to the next level isn’t going do things that need to be insights and influences of many minds to to tolerate you looking over their recognized and appreciated. get the best ideas to drive excellent shoulder all day. They want to have the outcomes. When things go well, they freedom to send an email without you look at what others have done to proofreading it (and likely rewriting it!). A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapter One - Share 7
  8. 8. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris Listen to your employees as Try not talking. Don’t go anywhere alone. well as you listen to your Go to a client meeting and bring the Once you’ve learned that you don’t clients. team that worked on the have to talk all the time, take team If you got this far in business already, deliverable. Now, don’t talk! Let your members wherever you are going – you must have learned how to listen team do the talking. Of course, to new business pitches, networking to what your clients need and want. prepare them for what you’re doing. meetings, client debriefs, wherever. Now, use that skill to hear what your This is going to be tough! You will You want them to see you in action employees need and want. Many find that they may make some (so that they can learn) and you business owners will bristle at this: mistakes, and there will be things want to see them in action (so you you need to train them on, but can learn). 2 3 4 Why do I have to listen to my employees? They need to listen to ultimately the meeting will go fine. me! Yes they do, but if you never And if you are really honest, you’ll listen to them, if you don’t see them admit they did a little better than as adding value with their own ideas, you would have in some parts. Most they will not be engaged in your importantly, your client is now business. They may show up and fill building a rapport and relationship a chair, but their best work will be with your whole team instead of going somewhere else. just you. A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapter One - Share 8
  9. 9. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris 5 Make two to three times more positive comments than negative ones. This one is hard. If you are in the habit of being critical, you have to make some radical changes in order to shift the balance. First, you must compliment – their clothes, their smile or their ability to always turn their work in on time. Now that you have ramped up the positive comments, skip some of the negative ones. Think before you correct. How serious is this mistake? What is the consequence? Of course, you can’t let things go out that are wrong. But, if it’s just a matter of style, or if you want to improve it a little bit, you are showing that you want to put your own mark on everything and to make it yours. Check your ego. Avoid this if you can. 6 Eliminate the use of “I” from your conversations with clients. It should always be “We.” Always. Changing the way you talk will change the way you think. After all, the team, hence the “we,” contributed mightily to that client’s project and its success didn’t they? To say “I” in that case doesn’t just diminish the value that the client got from your team, but it also undermines your integrity. Your years of hard work, late nights and risk-taking may never get recognized. But which is more important to you – recognition or success? The irony is, if you give up looking for that recognition, if you take a backseat role instead of the front seat, you may find people will be more interested in just how you got to this place – and you may find the recognition and appreciation you have been missing all these years. For Further Reading: Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve The Death of the Charismatic Leader (And the Birth of an Architect) by Jim Collins By Jim Collins from the Harvard Business Review July/Aug 2005 first published in INC magazine October 1997 A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Chapter One - Share 9
  10. 10. Like what you’ve read so far in The Business Owner’s Champion: 6 Winning Practices to Build Your Nerve and your Business? There’s plenty more! In the chapters that follow, author Brad Farris addresses the six practices that can help you Some highlights from the build your confidence, which in turn can help remaining chapters: you build your business. Confidence is what gets Farris offers empathy … “What business owners really feel is fear – fear that they you up in the morning. It’s what makes the can’t build a business that they love, filled with a team of magic happen in front of a client or prospect. people whom they respect and whom earn them a fair return on their risk. This fear debilitates them, causing Confidence gives prospects the confidence to them to make a series of other fear-related missteps in buy, and it gives your team members the their businesses.” inspiration to do great work. It attracts people … real-world scenarios … “No one appreciates how hard it was to get here! My who will want to help you. It allows you to people are just walking in here and they haven’t proven focus on success, instead of all the reasons you anything. Don’t they know they have to earn this?” might find for failure. … some “tough love” … “Oh, you must be so miserable! You have hired every incompetent person in the whole industry, and to prove it How do you develop your confidence as a you let each of them fail catastrophically, and then YOU business owner? It requires a combination of saved the day by working extra hard. It’s like this is your sentence, your fate. If I were in your place, I would be six practices that will lead not only to a crying!” profitable business, but to an added perk – if … but most of all, direction … your business is running smoothly, your life “As you move from an individual contributor to a outside of the business can stand to improve manager and leader, more and more of your time is going to be spent with people and less and less with tasks. You as well.  will spend your time planning and coordinating work that others will be completing. That’s called leverage; your Now it’s your turn to show some confidence, planning and knowledge enables the work of several others.” the confidence to keep going on this journey. Buy the whole book now Buy The Business Owner’s for just $24.79 Champion now. With a money-back guarantee, It will take less than an hour to read, but you’ll there’s nothing to lose – be reaping the rewards for years to come.  but plenty to gain!
  11. 11. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris About the Author: As principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, Brad Farris has spent the last 9 plus years Brad would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Bridget working with over 100 businesses and Ingebrigtsen of Write on Command who business owners to find new levels of edited and rewrote this book. Without growth and success. Prior to joining her contribution, this work would not Anchor Advisors, Brad spent over 10 have been possible. The whole team at years managing business units with sales Anchor Advisors, Ltd. contributed their of $2 million to $25 million for a privately ideas and encouragement, with held conglomerate. During that time particular contributions from Stacy period, Brad built and led teams French Reynolds, Kyra Cavanaugh and conducting product-development Julie Roth. But it is our clients who projects, mergers and acquisitions, contributed the most; their stories, strategic planning processes, as well as struggles and successes all shaped the quality and efficiency improvements. ideas that appeared here. Thank You. Brad is married with 5 children and lives in Chicago, Illinois. Find Brad on the web at Linkedin or The Business Owner’s Champion follow him at or by Brad Farris Brad Farris Published by Anchor Advisors, Ltd. Principal, Anchor Advisors ©2010 Brad Farris A N C H O R A D V I S O R S About the Author 39
  12. 12. The Business Owner’s Champion by Brad Farris About Anchor Advisors, Ltd. Anchor Advisors, Ltd is a Chicago based Ways you and your company can connect with team of advisors dedicated to Anchor Advisors, Ltd advancing the state-of-the-art in the leadership of founder-led businesses. * Sign up for our FREE monthly newsletter at Anchor Advisors works with business founders with 10 to 200 employees who * Become a fan of our FaceBook Page have seen growth and success in their business, but need to develop systems * Follow us on Twitter at and processes so that decisions can be made at a lower level of the * Join one of our roundtable groups either in person or on-line. organization, freeing the business owner More information at to monitor the results and apply their * Contact us about a consulting engagement talents where they are needed most. Developing these systems allows the * Telephone: 773-282-7677 business to grow beyond the business owner’s personal efforts by creating a fully-functioning middle-management layer; often resulting in 30% to 50% growth. These systems also make the business less dependent on the owner’s personal efforts, allowing more freedom and flexibility for the owner and creating a high valuation if the owner decides to sell the business later. A N C H O R A D V I S O R S About Anchor Advisors 40
  13. 13. A N C H O R A D V I S O R S Anchor Advisors, Ltd. 5366 N Elston Ave Suite 203 Chicago, IL 60630 Call 773-282-7677