Building a business alone is hard. Shoot — building is hard period. That’s why it’s so common to have partners. Yet not everyone should be a partner.
My first big foray into business was a consulting firm, or a ‘service business’ as I typically refer to it for more mass appeal. I started with two partners. We were naive and made a ton of mistakes but managed to find more success than setback so we grew quickly. To the tune of $10 million in annual revenue and 50+ employees in our first 5 years together.
The partnership was hard. We…
Every “yes” divides your attention. They are the worst kind of trade-off because they’re invisible. There is an implicit (and potentially harmful) cost to every yes.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, “full-service” is not good. It’s a fallacy. When you try to do it all, you fail to be great at anything for anyone.
If you’re giving 110%, it usually means you’re giving 10% to 11 things. You can only say “yes” to so much before you back yourself into a corner.
“No” encourages focus. It makes your trade-offs explicit. …
I’ve made some big hiring mistakes in my 20+ year career and will likely make more before I’m through. You probably have and will as well.
We’re taught to focus on credentials and “relevant” experience. When we don’t see it, we toss the resume in the trash and move to the next. I’ll wager that I’ve passed on hundreds of excellent people by doing that.
It makes me sick when looking back because I’ve met my fair share of “unqualified” people that truly excel in their roles when given half a chance.
I’ve given the question of “why do some…
Principles can be powerful constraints that push you to innovate in areas where others may continue to stick with the status quo or struggle altogether. Today I want to use the thought exercise of intentionally limiting your business growth.
That last statement was vague so let’s further define what it means by focusing on keeping your team small. For this, let’s use the constraint of 20 people.
Why 20 people? The majority of US-based small businesses with more than 1 employee have less than 20, per the SBA. Yet most service businesses grow revenue by adding headcount, which implies growth…
I do my very best to avoid politics. Especially given that when I was growing up we could have conversations, disagree, and still respect the other person afterward. Now I feel pressure to subscribe to one party or the other.
I see this toxicity at work and I’ve seen it play out within the businesses that I’ve founded as well as the businesses that I have advised over the years.
Somehow we’ve allowed politics to become zero-sum (for me or against me, no in-between). And those that know me or have read anything I’ve written know I think the zero-sum…
I love discovering vision and building strategy. It amps me up! That is what led me to start my first business, grow it to 8-figures, and sell it to tackle my next opportunity.
All that untapped potential inspires me to create and look for patterns and openings. As an independent thinker with a penchant for contrarian thinking, I love to discover what most businesses fail to see. In the world of services, that’s easy to do!
Yet all that work is for nothing if you don’t take the crucial steps to make it a reality. You know — all that…
I write a weekly newsletter, Better Outcomes, helping service firms align incentives with customers. I grew my last one to 8-figures in annual revenue within 5 years and sold it to spend my time sharing the insights I discovered.
A small town of 8,000 people, in its heyday, surrounded by dairy farms and Amish communities. That’s where I grew up.
My earliest memories are of the trailer park we lived in until I was in junior high. I recall the bus rides to school, stopping at houses, and thinking how rich they were to live in a home without wheels.
Then in junior high, engaged to a farmer, my mom moved us to a dairy farm in a new town and new state. I now lived in an even smaller farming community yet had upgraded to a genuine farmhouse.
Service businesses are easy to start but notoriously hard to build into multi-million dollar companies. Most exist as 1–2 person operations and never hit seven-figures in revenue.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not bad if it fits their lifestyle. But I’m not talking to that person here. I’m talking to you. You want to build a lasting empire. Something that makes a difference and provides a superior customer experience.
Up until today, you’ve been eager to attract as many customers as you can. Offering an assortment of services, across a range of industries. The very definition of “full service”.