less is more, sometimes zero is best with multiplication worksheet in background

Bigger is always, better... right?

If something is good, then more is better, right?

We have this cultural-- or maybe mankind-- based obsession with MORE. More clients, more sales, more product, more inventory, more profits, more employees.

But let's take a step back from that. What if the better option is actually less? What if it's zero?

Maybe instead of more clients, you need fewer clients, but better ones. However, you won't actually get the better ones until you start firing some of your current clients. Maybe the answer isn't more sales but fewer, more profitable sales. Maybe instead of more inventory, it's less, or just plain no inventory. We can integrate the concept, "quality over quantity."

We look at our organization and the usual question is, "What do I want more of?" and the thoughts come quickly flooding in: more sales, more products, more revenue, more employees.

Lets change the question.

What do you want less of?

What do you not want at all in your business? What things could you possibly remove from the equation that completely change the outcome of the business and your life?

Less is more, zero is sometimes bestFor one of my clients, for him to have the life he wanted he removed all employees and used a limited number of subcontractors. Yes, he passed up on some potential, but in the end, it was worth it. Another one removed 3/4 of his service offerings from his website and literature and ended up acquiring more interest and referrals.

Take a minute and think about what technology has done. It hasn't just made things work better and faster, it's allowed us to completely change the rules of how things get done. 

Consider the following:
- Uber, the worlds largest Taxi company, owns zero vehicles
- Facebook, the worlds favorite media company, created none of its own content
- Ebay and Alibaba, two of the worlds largest retailers, have none of their own inventory
- AirBNB, the worlds largest accommodation provider, doesn't own a single room

All of these companies became incredibly successful in part because they eliminated one key thing that everyone else in their industry assumed was a essential part of being a business in that industry.

Technology can be an amazing facilitator, allowing us to truly focus on what it is that we really want to do and be able to drop some of the other extraneous things that can clutter up the picture and our lives.

What do you need to reduce or eliminate from your business? Admittedly, this is a really hard question-- not only because it requires some really far out-of-the-box thinking, but also because you are so close to your own business that you can't sometimes can't see it being any other way. But still, I would really encourage you to attempt to step back from your business and question all the elements that you take for granted that need to be in place. Start with the things that irritate you (that will be fun), look at the things that put you in direct competition with others-- what is it that some other company could possibly do better than you? (Really hard to admit and even harder to give up), What things do you suck at? (Go on admit it, you do suck at some things), What have you never gotten any compliment from your clients about? 

These are just some questions to get you started, but have fun thinking about it and reinventing your business.
Whiteboard with man looking at it with title text

I spent the morning in a meeting with two very successful CEO’s of different companies, each with their own lawyer.

Their companies have a number of areas where they are one another's competition. I know it sounds like it could be really bad (especially when I said there were lawyers involved), but it was a blast.

The two CEO’s are forming a new joint venture company to take advantage of a field of opportunities of which each of them are nibbling on the edge. Together, they have what it takes to recreate this tired, old industry into something new and exciting. They both had bad experiences with partnerships and were very partnership-shy (understandably so) and they wanted to be deliberate in their creation of this business.

We spent a good portion of time going over the organizational structure of the business and how they will get out of the business (never start a business partnership without figuring out how you will get out of it in a nice clean way. Business partnerships aren’t a “till death do us part” proposition).

I love when I am involved in the launch of something-- a new creation-- where the founders aren’t all starry-eyed and dreamy, but both have been down some really rough roads before in the launching of business, and they are now ready to create something in the right way with a lot of hard questions being asked and answered up front.

By the way, the lawyers in the room were excellent. They added a lot to the conversation. It is good having lawyers who do their best to figure out what you are trying to do and then guide you in the best way to make your idea a reality while guiding you past some potential pitfalls. Lawyers have a sometimes deserved reputation of being deal killers who try to protect you to the point of immobilizing you. These guys where examples of how lawyers should be in my humble, but very accurate, opinion.

I come out of meetings like that jazzed up… have I mentioned lately that I really love what I do?

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress. Working together is a success." -Henry Ford


Ready... Set... Launch! For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
Business owner pain with title text

Whenever I engage with a new small business owner, I give them a questionnaire about the current state of their business. One of the questions I ask is what they are expecting to receive from working with me. I found this client's answer to be insightful into the state of small business owners everywhere, and therefore, I decided to share it. See if you can relate to this person.

"Generally speaking, I operate as a salesman, estimator and project manager who happens to own a business. Those three hats in and of themselves make up a full-time job. But in addition to that, I am both the creator and repository for most business procedures, hiring and disciplinary actions, safety standards and protocol, training processes, IT management, software management, software implementation, job costing, profitability measurement, profit and loss and balance sheet digestion, and finally, the assessment of all mentioned measurement criteria and utilization of same for correction of activities and processes to hopefully induce a better outcome in the future.
In a nutshell, I have little idea where to focus my attention on a daily basis. Generally, I work on revenue generation and those things that are urgent. My hope is that working with Business Mastery will help educate and narrow my thinking and focus about my business so that I can have a more impactful relationship with it.”

Small business owners are atlas-like because they carry so much on their shoulders. They are some of the best people you know, yet they operate under incredible pressure. They are the reason I love what I do, helping them to overcome these obstacles and make their business serve their life instead of run their life. That's why when I start working with a small business owner I always take them through the process of truly understanding all the different hats that they wear and how their Entrepreneurial mindset affects them in both their business performance and their quality of life. Once they identify all the different roles they are playing in their business we then go through and determine which of them they should actually be doing and which ones they should never ever touch again and start the process of organizing those positions in such a way that they can either be outsourced to an expert in that skill or they can be handed over to an employee with the necessary systems, tools, procedures, training and standards to enable them to actually truly take on that role without the business owner continually having to step back into that role to micro manage that employee. 

This process becomes the business owners path to freedom, their only way of actually achieving the dream of their business actually adding to their life instead of sucking the life right out of them. When a business owner is working with me and I see this start to click first in their thinking and then start to transform their business, well, let's just say It keeps me excited to go to work every day.
For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
Depressed businessman with title text

Just read a good article by Chris Brogan where he talks about how small business owners are effected by Depression.

As an entrepreneur I have these these three issues

  1. My days are never consistently the same
  2. I rely on having a sharp and worry free brain to run my business effectively
  3. Money is never steady-state, because I’m paid for what sells when or after it sells. Not a salary from some magical money fountain.

As Chris says, the worst part of all this is that for people with Depression, those are all triggers. Chaos, mental worryings and money issues all combined into a perfect storm of Depression triggers.
Read his article to see his suggestions for how to deal with Depression and how to work past it.

For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.

WWII Hackers, fixing airplanes

The term “Hacker” often has a negative connotations, but I think that we need more of them. The way I look at it the term "Hacker" is synonymous with entrepreneur. I recently read an article on Civic Hacking that had this story in it:

‘It was my father that helped with this problem. He is 92, active and a veteran of WWII. He pointed out that he first heard the term “hacker” during the early days of WWII in the South Pacific. The U.S. Navy was not prepared for war and was getting beaten pretty badly. He was there. When fighter planes would return from action, they would be shot up and in many cases crashed on landing because their pilots were injured. Each night huge teams of mechanics would converge upon the wrecked planes and “hack” at them, removing the good parts from several and building a new plane over night from all the salvaged pieces. He told me they were referred to as the “hacker details.” That was because they had to use metal “hacksaws” as they cut away the damaged panels of the planes. At 92 he seems to think that is the original root of the term because he said it was very commonly used during the war 60 years ago.’
A hacker is someone who uses a minimum of resources and a maximum of brainpower and ingenuity to create, enhance or fix something. Sounds a lot like an entrepreneur.
For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
make a choice, then make the right choice text

We have a fear of making decisions.

Think of Robert Frost's Quandary in his poem Two paths diverged in a yellow wood, how do we know which path is the right one or the best one? Simple asnwer is you can't, yes you can try a path while still keeping your options open but that will only get you so far.

So many good decisions are impossible to determine before they are made. Sometimes you need to make a decision and then make it right.
For more information and tips to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
Thomas Edison's team with title text

What is it about the gathering places of creative people that intrigues us so much?

We see innovations take shape in the coffeehouses of 18th century London, Hollywood in the 1930's, Edison's Menlo Park complex, TED Talks, bell labs of the 1950's, NASA in the 1960's and other places in history. What's the deal?

Each of these instances have produced not only great products, but have greatly jump-started and driven significant innovations. In some cases, they have not only created good things as a group but have also created a spin-off of significant satellite groups and individuals.

In our culture, we have an image of the lone inventor/innovator toiling away in his lab or workshop and the prodigious coder creating software solutions in their dorm room or basement. Brilliant authors and philosophers doing their work alone in rooms lined with bookshelves and piles of books and papers all around.

These people do exist, but they are the exception, not the norm.

Humans are social creatures. We need interaction to spur creativity and competition to push us to discover greater innovations.

Consider the case of the glass makers of Venice:

After the fall of Constantinople, a group of glassmakers from Turkey migrated across the Mediterranean. They settled in Venice, where they began practicing their trade in the prosperous new city growing out of the marshes on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Their skills at blowing glass quickly created a new luxury good for the merchants of the city to sell around the globe. But lucrative as it was, glassmaking was not without liability. The melting point of silicon dioxide required furnaces burning at temperatures above 500 degrees, and Venice was a city built almost entirely out of wooden structures. In the year 1291, in an effort to both retain the skills of the glassmakers and protect public safety, the city government sent the glassmakers into exile once again-- only this time, their journey was a short one—one mile across the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Murano. 
Unwittingly, the Venetian city fathers had created an innovation hub: By concentrating the glassmakers on a single island the size of a small city neighborhood, they triggered a surge of creativity, giving birth to an environment that possessed what economists call “information spillover.” The density of Murano meant that new ideas were quick to flow through the entire population. They perfected a new kind of clear, durable glass that would turn out to be one of the most important materials of the next 800 years, used in spectacles, telescopes, microscopes, test tubes, and eventually cameras and projectors.   

The story of Murano is a reminder of how closely tied innovation is to communities. The connection between creativity and the density and diversity of groups of people who have similar interest often happens in cities, but due to the internet, this community no longer stops there. The capacity to connect with others across the globe is remarkable, and once again a reminder of the importance of community with relevance to innovation.

Chris Anderson in his Ted Talk: How YouTube is Driving innovation gives some great examples of people in New York and Tokyo share their innovative dance moves via videos and each time one of them creates a great move someone else has to post another video topping that move with something even more fantastic 

The “lone genius” myth of innovation is precisely that—a myth. 

Transformative ideas almost always take shape out of diverse networks. Today those networks can be digital ones, but their physical grounding in real-world communities remains essential to the story. 
For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
Should you reinvent the wheel?

I recently had a meeting with someone who was going to take a project I’d started and push it forward. They were asking probing questions about the project, and after a while, I realized the direction that these questions were going-- they were trying to reinvent a solution I had already developed for this project. I had already thought it through and gave them a wonderful (yes, I am biased) solution. But here they were, asking probing questions trying to find a solution to a problem I had already solved.

Everything in me felt like saying “Hey, let's not waste time reinventing the wheel. I already worked this through and the solution I gave you should do just fine. Let's move on."

However, I bit my tongue.

I engaged in this conversation, still arguing, because as smart as I am, I knew my idea was the best possible solution. I thought I would indulge their questions until they realized just how brilliant the solution I had already given them was.

But then, after a number of probing questions, some weaknesses and cracks began to appear in my “perfect” solution. Soon we’d hammered out some modifications to my plans.

The end result is a much better solution because we challenged what I thought was the best possible plan.

Think about this: there I was, I was in charge-- they were working for me and none of us (particularly ’A’ type personalities) like wasting time reinventing the wheel we already invented. My inclination was to cut off the conversation and just tell them the direction we should go.

How many times have leaders wanted people who work for them to be leaders themselves, to be innovators and think for themselves but the reality is we squelch that same ability which we crave. We cut them off because WE KNOW BETTER and “let's just do it my way.”

After all, we don’t have time to reinvent the wheel…Or do we?

square wheel on tricycle, reinvent the wheel

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, because we have good schools. We don’t have great businesses, because we have a lot of good ones. Few people live great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” - Jim Collins:
Making the leap from Good to great

There comes a time when we have to take the leap from the "good" that we have and accept the risk to obtain the "great" that could be.

For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.

You may be familiar with the story of Hernán Cortés and his arrival in the “New World." 

In order to prevent his crew from turning back from battle out of fear, he ordered them to burn their ships. That way, there was no return—the only way out was through. Accomplish the task or die! No going back!

Hernán Cortés arrival in New World, burning ships to accomplish goals

You may be thinking, "Okay, next time I am leading an imperialistic army bent on conquest of a continent, I will keep this idea in mind." But what about the regular struggles that we face with procrastination? I know for myself, I have delusions of grandeur that I would be courageous and charge on the field of battle, but I know that I am daily defeated by procrastination.

I cower in fear of accomplishing something great, so I daily retreat into the comfort of completing the insignificant.

I read an article by Chris Guillebeau on this topic of dealing with procrastination, and he had some really useful methods of “burning the ships" that lead to procrastination. I have also added a few of my own.

Tell your “Tribe."  If you’re committed to accomplishing something, then tell the people who will both be excited for your accomplishment and hold you accountable by asking about it. Give them a date to mark on their calendar; invite them to a launch party. Put your reputation on the line. Are you really going to damage your reputation by having to tell them that you didn’t do it or gave up? Deadlines and reputation (grades) do wonders for college students who need to produce large projects.

Blog post. When I’m having a hard time completing a blog post, I simply adjust the publication settings from “Draft” to “Schedule.” I usually give myself 20 minutes to keep working on it, and I don’t allow myself to change the publishing time. One way or another, the post has to be ready to go!

Register for a race. If you need help running or completing any other form of exercise, sign up for a future race. Put the date in your calendar and tell everyone you know that you’re going to do it. No backing out!

Spend Money. Anything that involves spending money creates a “no turning back moment” whether it is buying tickets, registering for an event, race registration, or paying a deposit for an event space. Anything that will cause pain in your pocketbook if you fail to produce.

Sign up for a public event. If you have a business idea, you need to launch it, then find and sign up for a pitch night where you will throw your idea out to the world and get the world's feedback, support, and accountability.

Public commitment: a friend was trying to create more paintings, so she told everyone on Facebook and her blog that every Monday for the next year she would have a picture of her latest creation. At the end of the year, she had 51 new paintings.

Anything with a fixed deadline is good. Carrots are good, but so are sticks. When the only way out is through, don’t give yourself a way out. Full speed ahead!
For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
The E-Myth revisited book was written by Michael Gerber over 25 years ago. Twenty five years is a long time in the business cycle. However, it is a book that doesn't go out of style or decrease in relevancy. I continue to recommend it often. 

E-Myth Book cover by Michael E. GerberThe E-Myth book has always been something of an enigma. If you ask most people about it, they haven’t ever heard of it-- and yet it has been around the business bestseller list for 25 years.

When I recommend it to a non-business owner, they'll respond that it was interesting. However, when I give it to a business owner, their response is to gush over the content. Ask any really successful business owner and odds are that this book will be in the top 3 most influential business books they have read.
So, is the E-myth book still relevant?
One of the things I love so much about history is that as much as things change, one thing has remained the same: people. Technology changes, environment changes, political systems change, and ways of living change, but one thing hasn’t changed is people. As I read the Bible or Plutarch’s Lives, both written thousands of years ago, I come away realizing that their times were very different from mine, but that the people described very similar to me. They are fallen human beings who struggle with the same issues that I struggle with. They the have the same needs, wants, fears and paranoia that I have today.

This is what makes E-Myth relevant today-- It’s dealing with something deeper than a business model or a marketing strategy. It deals with the internal struggles of being an entrepreneur (E-Myth is short for “the Entrepreneurial myth”).

The central Myth is the idea that most businesses are started by people with business skills, when in fact most are started by “technicians” who know nothing about running a business. Therefore, most fail.

This was the case 25 years ago and is still the case today. I still see too many businesses started by someone with an idea or a proficient technician, neither of which have acquired the basic skills or knowledge of business development.
From my observations, I believe that most entrepreneurs today still work in the business (“Technician’s Perspective”), rather than on the business (“Entrepreneurs Perspective”). 

Here are some key ways these views differ:

The Entrepreneurial Perspective asks the question, “How must the business work?” This perspective looks at the business as the product, competing for the customer’s attention against a whole shelf of competitors. 
The Technician’s Perspective asks, “What work has to be done?” In this view, the product features, fulfillment logistics and costs are the key to success.

The Entrepreneurial Perspective sees the business as a system for producing value for the customer, resulting in profits. 
The Technician’s Perspective sees the business as a place in which people work to produce income.

The Entrepreneurial Perspective starts with a picture of what the business should be, and then comes back to the present with the intention of changing it to match the vision. 
 The Technician’s Perspective starts with the present, and then looks forward to an uncertain future with the hope of keeping it much like the present.

The Entrepreneur builds a business around the needs and wants of his target market, The Technician builds it around the Technician’s desires.

The Entrepreneurial Perspective is an integrated vision of the world, where the customer need is an opportunity to make meaning. 
The Technician’s Perspective is a fragmented vision of the world, where customer satisfaction represents a series of problems to solve, with price, features, availability, and support.

To the Entrepreneur, the present-day world is modeled after a vision of a better way, one that will stand out with customers from all the rest in the past, and give the joy and satisfaction of success. 
To the Technician, the future is modeled after the present-day world, the model of past experience, and the model of getting paid for effort or results.

The E-Myth principles will remain relevant while people remain people with all of their issues because the principles of the E-myth go deeper than the business level, they go to the heart and soul of the business owner.
For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.
Go Against the Status Quo
The Defenders of the Status Quo will hate your idea,
The Defenders of the Status Quo are no match for you.

Enough said.
For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.

Stand out from the crowd with business persona

"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart."

I was recently checking out a CPA outsourcing company for a client, and in their Q&A section of the website I found the following:

Do you:
Employ a full-time accounting department?
Trade on the New York Stock Exchange?
Plan to ask us to launder and / or illegally shelter money?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then we may not be a good fit. Sorry.

YES, we’re perfect for you. WHAT’S THE CATCH?
So we’re not perfect, and we felt we should fess up to a few “drawbacks” to the Upsourced team:

1. We’re mediocre at Words with Friends.
2. We’re still fans of Tears for Fears.
3. We make a lot of “The Wire” references in daily conversation.

If you can look past these faults, we’re super excited to get started helping make your business amazing.
This is a great example of a company who is willing to be authentic and real through a little self-deprecating humor and show that they are real people that you can relate to and not financial bean-counters with no personality. There is nothing unprofessional about this, and it really differentiates them in an industry that has a deserved reputation of employing boring people which little personality.

How can you do this with your business persona? How can you bring a smile to the face of your prospects and clients?
_________________________________________________________________________For more information about how to enhance your business, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at sethgetz@gmail.com.