Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Guaranteed way to avoid a car wreck…

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on January 27, 2010

You’ll never crash if you never accelerate.

Toyota announced an epic recall yesterday of some of their top selling models.

The problem?

Cars are going too fast!

Well, it’s a little more technical than that, but basically the gas pedal is sticking and causing uncontrolled acceleration leading to traffic accidents.  It’s interesting that we never hear of recalls about vehicles not going fast enough…seems like you typically have to pay extra for more speed.

Are you running down hill or falling?

I’ve visited with thousands of small business owners around the country, and the single biggest problem a business faces is uncontrolled growth.  This is a counter-intuitive dilemma that time after time kills vibrant organizations.  The lack of new business and new sales are rarely the problem…at least not long term.  If you’re leading a small business you must have a plan for controlling the growth.  For being able to put the breaks on.  No one wants a recall on their business.

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What Matters Now: Get the free e-book here!

Posted in Business, Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on December 14, 2009

Seth Godin just released a stellar resource that compiles ideas from today’s top thinkers and leaders including one from my CEO and mentor, Dave Ramsey.  You can read this e-book for free in the viewer below or by downloading the .pdf here.

View this document on Scribd

Are you herding buzzards?

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on December 10, 2009

EntreLeadership Makes a Measurable Difference:

Mike Disbrow is a client of ours, and he attended the EntreLeadership Master Series event a year ago in Cancun, Mexico.  Mike’s company offers high end selections of horse stalls and horse fencing systems for farms and barns…they do fabulous work.  Mike was already doing very well before I met him, but I was thrilled when he told me that this past year has been his best year ever because of principles he’s implemented from Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership event.

  • In 12 months Mike’s company has paid off 1.2 million in debt
  • He has increased his retained earnings from 50k to 300k
  • He told me that everything about their organization is running so much better

Wow!  When I asked him what has made the biggest impact for them he told me that he had a buzzard problem.  You see employees in a small business are either eagles or they’re buzzards.  Eagles soar to new heights and bring energy to the organization.  Buzzards feed on dead stuff and attract other buzzards.

Great Question to Ask Yourself:

At the EntreLeadership event, Dave Ramsey teaches a great lesson titled ‘Team Math: Hiring & Firing’.  There’s a place in this section where Dave challenges our group with this question out of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great:

If you wouldn’t hire them again today then why are they still working for you?

Mike told me that he really took this to heart, and he had to make some tough decisions about buzzards that he allowed to stay on his team for too long.  The buzzards were bringing down the moral across the entire organization.  Mike told me that it was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do to let people go who had been with him for years, but it’s made all the difference in the world to the energy level for the eagles on his team.  Mike had to make a tough call but I applaud him for serving his team well by leading them to a better place.  Thanks, Mike, for giving me permission to share this story.

Take Away:

Firing someone should never be comfortable for a leader, but there are times when the best thing for vitality of the organization is to get rid of the buzzards.

Have you ever been on a team that improved once the buzzards left?

Don’t get married yet!

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on October 8, 2009

rent_me_tshirt-p235044901218092157tr3q_210I spoke with a small business client yesterday who is experiencing some trepidation about hiring a new team member.  He knows he needs the help but is a little uncertain about how and when to pull the trigger on creating this new overhead.  He has been a ‘one-man-operation’ so far and naturally wants to make sure that the person he hires is going to be perfect for the position.

We discussed several steps that should be included in the hiring process but the one thing that I encouraged him to really think about is to start off by making the position a temporary one.

If you communicate on the front end of the hire that this position is only for 60 days then you have very little obligation to them, BUT if you make it a full time position it gets a lot more awkward for each of you if this person does not work as well as you initially thought.  There are plenty of highly qualified people ‘on the street’ right now who will be thrilled just to get a temporary position.

I advised him to plan for 3 temporary positions with 60 day terms for each.

This six month ‘trial period’ will give him a lot of valuable information on his strenghts and weaknesses in the areas of:

  • Communication: Everyone has a different personality style and will ‘gel’ differently with your style.
  • Delegation: Can they complete tasks AND concepts?
  • Leadership: Some of your blind spots will be relieved.
  • Compensation Structure: You might not get it right the first time and will want to have a second chance on this one.
  • General Chemistry: Sometimes there’s just not a good vibe and you can’t put your finger on it.

You can always offer a full time position to any of the temporary employees if you find one who is a champion and a great fit for that role.

Take Away:

Whether your a sole practitioner or have an established firm consider taking some pressure off yourself on your next hire by lowering the commitment to the new team member.  This will give you time and options on finding the right person for the job.

P.S. I would also recommend getting a temporary tattoo before getting a real one.

The EntreLeadership Story: Atlanta Simulcast

Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on September 24, 2009

This was a fun little behind the scenes vignette that we did last weekend from the Dave Ramsey Live Event simulcast from Atlanta, GA.

Chris LoCurto interviewed me about the EntreLeadership story and how the EntreLeadership Master Series event has come to be one of the premier training resources for small business owners today.

Shameless plug disclaimer: This isn’t really value added…more of a commercial.  Still fun though.

Is your protein retarded?

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on September 11, 2009

protien

Cancer is growth

There is a special little cluster of exactly 393 amino acids located on the short arm of chromosome 17 in our DNA.  This important protein known as TP53 can activate DNA repaire, induce cell growth arrest, and destroy cells that are damaged beyond repair.  Basically, sparring all the medical jargon this protien helps regulate uncontrolled cell growth (AKA cancer).

When TP53 experiences a retardation the cell loses it’s ability to control growth and reproduction.  Cancer is simply unbridled reproduction of cells that don’t have an ‘off switch’.

Uncontrolled growth is deadly

One of my small business clients recently confided in me this unnerving reality about his business:

“I used to think that all my business needed was massive growth, but now that I’m experiencing it I can’t figure out how to put the breaks on because I can’t identify what caused the growth to begin with.  I’m kind of scared.  I feel like I’m running down hill out of control.”

When is the last time you preformed an assessment of the TP53 in your business or organization?  Are you in control of the growth or are you just riding a wave and hoping you don’t fall off?

Here are 3 reasons why growing quickly is overrated:

  1. Growth requires more growth. Landing a massive account requires us to max out our systems in order to produce for that account and eventually take on more personnel, equipment and other overhead to service the clients demands.  This is dangerous if you end up in the position of making a desperate hire that brings a buzzard into an eagle culture.
  2. Growth does not equal profit. I talked to a client recently who informed me that his gross revenues are up 300% this year and his personal income is at an all time low.  He’s working really hard to feed the monster.
  3. There is a significant correlation between slow, controlled growth and long term stability. Building a house without a foundation would eliminate  a step and save time, right?  Going through the effort to pour a foundation is vital for the longevity of a house and it is imperative for a successful business.

Summary:

  • Give yourself permission to be the slow, ugly, tortoise…he beats the hare ever time.
  • Keep your TP53 in check; left unattended it will destroy you.
  • Take some time this weekend to write out your growth plan for Q4.


People are assets, not obstacles.

Posted in Business, Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on August 11, 2009

I walked out of a meeting yesterday frustrated.

I had this thought:

“Things take so much longer to execute now and move so much slower than they used to.”

(this is a lie but the thought occurred nonetheless)

The project seemed simple: Send out an email and let people know about a promotion that we are going to run.  5 years ago the execution time from when the project idea was born to implementation would have been about 2 hours.  Yesterday in this meeting I came to the realization that no matter how much I tried push for a rapid launch this same project will take about 2 weeks.  It takes longer because of what my immature paradigm would deem ‘all the stupid processes we have to go through now to get something done’.

The reality is that this project could not have even been pulled off 5 years ago.  At best I would have written an email with a few links in Outlook, blind copied the recipients, fired it out and hoped for the best.

This project today will be a beautifully crafted piece of marketing genius including HiDef video, graphics, a dedicated web page, content edited by professional writers, email tracking, administrative follow up, celebrity endorsement and a marketing plan overseen by an accomplished  MBA/project coordinator.

All of the sudden it hit me that what we lose in ‘speed’ we more than gain in quality which ultimately is a gain in speed.  Yes it takes longer but we’re running faster and we’re reaching more people with a higher level of excellence than ever before.

Growing with a company is challenging.  I’m learning to appreciate what new team members bring to the table instead of complaining about how their new position complicates our process.  I’m learning that together is better.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”  – Ryunosuke Satoro