A lot of, entrepreneurs, don’t achieve their, vision, because they’re working in the business, not on the business. If you’re a, small business owner, that’s become the employee, and you’re doing all the legwork, that means you don’t have any time to become the CEO. You’re just an employee. You’re not looking at, vision, and you’re not looking at the next steps. You’re doing the legwork.
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Entrepreneurs should work on their business Not In their business
Myrna: I know that, entrepreneurs, wear a lot of hats. I’m an, entrepreneur, and I do it all. You know what I mean? And I’ve always done it all. And I don’t mind it. But I know that, entrepreneurs, tend to work hard in the business not working on the business. Robert Kiyosaki that if you work in your business, you are just like an employee, right, so how do you teach, entrepreneurs, to work on their business?
Curtis: A lot of, entrepreneurs, they put their heart and soul and their passion into it and work themselves into their jobs. So they went from a 40 hour a week job to an 80 hour week job because they’re doing all these things. Being direct with the customers all the time. Being the one person that’s collecting money, being the one person providing the service, or even if they have a team, the team doesn’t do what you want them to do, so they say it’s faster or easier for me to just do it myself. And you start training people to get paid for doing nothing because you’re still always doing it.
Working on the business is taking a step back and looking at it. You have a business plan. Let’s come up with an overall strategy, where we’re trying to go, let’s build the team. Let’s put a budget together. Let’s put, cashflow measures, in place that’s going to teach us how our business is performing from a health perspective. Let’s get all the measurements that we need: financial measurements, sales measurements, customer measurements and employee measurements and let start to look at the business holistically and start running it that way.
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Entrepreneurs should put systems in place
That way you start to focus more on how you get the right talent. How you move money in? Whether you need additional capital to grow your business or not and you have a better way of seeing an entire business. But business owners that come to me are always talking about how they’re trying to get to the next level and or legacy. How do I take this business and give it to my kids? Well, you’re not teaching them how to run a business. We’re teaching them to do all the crazy things that you do. And they don’t want no part of it.
So, it’s how you run a business with being with other like-minded business leaders and not working at the business every day. A good example is you walk into a McDonald’s, you don’t see the CEO or even the owner that McDonald’s at that business you see, systems, being run by teenagers.
Myrna: Yes, we can always McDonalds model for, systems.
Curtis: If you’re the, business owner, that’s become the employee, and you’re doing all the legwork, that means you don’t have any time to become the CEO. You’re just an employee. You’re not looking at, vision, and you’re not looking at the next steps. You’re doing the legwork.
Myrna: So that’s right, but, you know, a lot of times the reason that, entrepreneurs, do everything is because they don’t have any money to pay people. So how do you teach them to hire people with no money to pay them?
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What’s your fastest path to cash
Curtis: Yeah, and this one comes up a lot. I ask them what’s your, fastest path to cash? I recently became a business advisor for an organization where they only had just the two business partners. But they have a great product, a really great product. And so, they’ve spent a couple of years working with other organizations and they say, show me what’s current. What’s your current businesses, they had three contracts on the team.
They had two contracts that were very promising. And they had one contract that was going and lingering and I say, cut the contract that you’re not going to see any cash and then focus on this cash or these two contracts. And when you do, you’re going to have enough money to get your next employees, and that’s exactly what they did. So, then they got the next employee and then got more contracts and then the next employee after that, and so even prior to them, getting employees we planned on who’s going to be the next most effective employee to get this going to help us grow this business. And so now they have four employees.
They’re growing the business, and you know, it took some time. So yeah, you got to be a, solopreneur, doing it all, but you got to find your, fastest path to cash. And think about as you get to that next level. What’s the next most important person that you need to hire into your organization that’s going to exponentially grow your business each time you add somebody else?
Small business owners should add strategic employees
Myrna: So, when you’re looking to add someone, you’re not necessarily looking for a lay man help. You’re looking for a strategic person that can help you make more money. That’s a good plan.
Curtis: In this case, they needed somebody that was very, very technical, to help them build their model on an application that they can present to potential customers. So, it took their model and actually made it better for them to present and then made them more attractive. So, then the next person was a now doing all this running around. We need a project manager to help us and so again, just building off of that, and then let’s get some salespeople. So, it really depends on the direction that you’re going.
Myrna: Yeah, that makes sense. Instead of saying let me get a receptionist just answering the phone
Why do you think that most, entrepreneurs, don’t achieve their, vision? They may have a goal of $100 million a year in sales and don’t even get close.
Sometimes the vision is monetary
Curtis: You’re so right. A lot of times that, vision, is monetary and I’m okay with the, vision, being monetary. But I try to dive a little bit deeper into your why. Because your why is what’s going to motivate you to even go after that number. Because one of the things I say in the book is the first million is the hardest. And the reason I’m saying that is because you don’t have a, system. Once you’ve reached it reached a million dollars and have a system, you start working your system and improving on the, system.
So, then you get better at it. But, you know, I talk to people about, business plans. This is where I would say, my sweet spot is here, right? And that is because I’m a, project manager. I’m a planner. So, you need someone to help keep you accountable. Small business owners, one of the things I talk about is having a board of advisors, right? So, develop a strategy, develop a set of goals and targets to that $100 million. And tell me what does that look like?
- What does it look like in terms of your customer mix?
- Your demographics, where’s your office located?
- How many employees do you have?
- Give me that vision that’s going to be so crystal clear and that 100 million starts to look like real and then we’re going to develop plans. We’re going to develop plans that take us from daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly activities that service today.
Now, when I work with clients, the one thing I say is do it for a year. I don’t care what happens because in our minds, when we create that, vision, we want a linear path. Everything we said we were going to do is just going to happen. That is not life. Life is going to throw you a bunch of curveballs, but you got to stick to it. I mean we do it every year right what happens in January. The gyms are full of people. They are full of people because these people have, visions, of the best bodies they can have in the summertime. And by March, the people that normally go to the gym, they’re relieved because they get rid of all those people.
Myrna: I just heard a statistic that is actually worse than that. And I don’t even know if I believe it. But the statistics says it most of those people that make New Year’s resolution, they abandon them by Martin Luther King’s birthday, and that’s mid-January!
Solopreneurs are always busy doing the wrong things
Curtis: You have to pivot. If your head is down all the time working on your business. I mean in your business. You can’t work on your business by innovating and finding ways partnering with other people. So that’s why it’s important that if you want to grow, you have to get yourself out of your day-to-day operations.
And I know that’s hard for a lot of, solopreneurs, because they always feel that they can do better than anybody and they want to do themselves. But yeah, because as a person, you’ve got a finite number of time.
Myrna: So, if we were to wrap what you are saying up in a bow, the reason that a lot of, entrepreneurs, don’t achieve their, vision, is because they’re working in the business, not on the business. They’re basically they’re busy doing the hamster wheel thing.
Curtis: Yes, we’ve glorify being busy. We always say how busy we are.
Myrna: That it’s a badge of honor.
Curtis: Tim Ferriss had a great mix. One of the books that has inspired me, actually, about the Four-hour Workweek because it makes you start to think about how best to delegate and only focus on your value-added activities. It’s something that for me from a productivity perspective, one of the four things that I do, to implement that into my day-to-day life.
Myrna: A lot of, solopreneurs, the one man operations, they’re dreaming of being on their laptops on the beach doing their work, because they don’t have a brick and mortar. Tim Ferriss made that very popular. So, alright, so that’s amazing, right. So now, you have developed a program called the “Realization Framework Experience.” What is that? Tell us about that?
The realization framework experience
Curtis: Okay, so the, realization framework experience, is five steps and the five steps are:
I trademark the art and science of, vision to reality. And that was actually going to be the original title of my book. I was trying to figure out how, how can I help, small business owners, learn and behave like the large business owners with an easy to follow strategies. And so we’ve spent a little bit of time on the first one, visualize, and that’s developing a compelling, vision, that inspires others to want to become a part.
One of the biggest things when I’m coaching is I’ll ask a, business leader, what their goals are? I say does your team know what your goals are? They say no, it doesn’t make sense. Because the next part is, evaluate, your business ecosystem or, evaluate, your people. Well, with the goals that you have. You look at your team, can your team help you get there? Do they have a role? Because that’s what employees want. And so, you got to make sure that your employees understand where you’re going, your customers understand where you’re going, your suppliers understand where you’re going, and anybody else in your, business ecosystem.
So, putting together the right team, evaluating the difference between your, vision, and where you are, and then figuring out whether you need to upskill people, let some people go and get some new people or add new talent. You need a plan for getting more people to help you reach that, vision. Then we go into, calculate, and this is all about, cash flow. When I ask people about their business, and I asked them about their books and their numbers, people aren’t managing their, cash flow, very well. They’re living payroll and payroll, and they’re comfortable in that term. So, statistically, 82% of businesses fail, small businesses in particular, because they don’t understand, cash flow. If, entrepreneurs, don’t understand, cash flow, they don’t have enough when there’s a pandemic.
Small business owners need to calculate measurements
Then there is, clarify. I encourage, small business owners, to hire a financial professional to help them. When I work with large companies, there’s always a quarterly meeting or even monthly meetings, weekly meetings on how are we doing with Financials. But we don’t do that as, small business owners. We need to be looking at our numbers, we need to be planning forward. I do an exercise where I’m planning, cash flow. I ask Do you know what happened last week? What’s gonna happen the next two weeks? I like to work with small business owners to get to an 80% predictability, especially with income.
Expenses are easy to predict, income is harder when it’s erratic. So, you want to put in systems that make an erratic, you want to put in measures to help you collect your money faster. So, it’s a whole thing around, evaluate, their cash flow, but you also want to create a budget that matches not only the people that you need to bring in, but the goals you have the, vision. Now you have the people, and then you have the budget. How are you going to manage? Do you have $1 set aside or at least plan?
You clarify this with a plan, you put together a plan that has these objectives, that has every factor in your business. Evaluate, on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis that leads up to that, vision, so that when you’re looking at how well you’re doing, everybody’s telling you their progress on their parts, right? But you mentioned the pandemic, so I do also, risk analysis. So, people do, SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I like, SWOT analysis.
Entrepreneurs need accountability measures
So, STEP stands for societal, technological, economical, environmental and political. So you saw our pandemic, now that you’ve seen one, you know that there’s recessions that come inflation is here. So how are you going to behave? Let’s go through some scenario planning. Let’s put aside some reserves and get ourselves ready for the next disaster and that’s the best insurance you can have. Right? And so, that’s, that’s the four steps. The first step we realize is to Component Measures, we talk about. financial measures, customer measures, employee measures, and what we’re trying to get to 100 million we need to break that down.
I’ll give you an example of a $5 million company that I’m working with, and you have to get sales of $96,000 a week. So, when we’re having a weekly conversation, it’s how are we going to get that $96,000 Some weeks are really bad. Some weeks are really good. It’s not always linear, but you’re driving your actions to meet that minimum.
So, the first one is measures. The second part is, accountability. We talked about this earlier. Where, small business owners, don’t have, accountability measures.
You know, I advise the, small business owners, to get an advisory board not like a corporate board of directors because that it has a lot more structure and a lot more legal ramifications tied to it. But a group of people that have done this business before and or have a specialty.
You can’t grow what you can’t measure
Myrna: Tony Robbins, one of his sayings is that you can’t grow what you don’t measure that, you know, you got to you’ve got to be able to measure your progress. Right. And a lot of people don’t like measuring their progress. They just, fly by the seat of their pants. Putting measures in places is very good. I remember when I was in sales, my boss was always measuring my progress. I hated it!
Tell us where they can get a copy of it your book “Vision To Reality, Stop Working, Start Living” and your website.
Curtis: So, this is my second book. My first book I wrote was called “The Only Job Search Book You’ll Ever Need.” And I had met with a marketing organization who’s part of my marketing team now. And they started interviewing me and I thought we were talking about the next book, The career the next career. And I talked about, business coaching and they said, that’s the book you should write. So, I said, Okay, so let me let me get all of this on paper. So, I started looking back at my computer files, all the people that I coached. Entrepreneurs, who won’t try anything different. The ones that quit if it didn’t work right away, the ones that said, I’m not going to do that.
The ones that don’t trust nobody. Nobody can do this like me. So, I delved into the mindset, and basically say, hey, you gotta get out your own way. This is hard, you don’t want to give your baby to somebody or so you don’t get to develop these trust mechanisms. And so that’s the first thing I do is try to develop rapport and trust with, business leaders, because I know your people have been naysaying you and telling you what you can’t do and part of you believes it.
The second part is how can I make it easy? bridge that gap. What can I do to put a formula in place to help you and that’s the remedies, right? That’s the, realization framework experience, the things that are the key that business owners can do with me, to develop the muscles, right? And then they can start to believe in themselves believe in the business and just keep going and believe in other people. And then the third part is okay, now that you’re here, don’t backslide. Right, don’t go back. Let’s put some things in place. And that’s when I talk about the, accountability measures, and constantly training yourself to go after the, vision.
The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and noble or wherever books are sold. My website is www.cljassoc.com