Don't Start a Business. Start a Revolution. 12 Tips On What NOT to Do to When Trying to Build a Business.

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Don't Start a Business. Start a Revolution. Brian Sites of Clay Dog Enterprises shares his "12 Tips On What NOT to Do to When Trying to Build a Business" on the PME 360 Powering Business Growth Show. Your hosts, Ron Rodi, Jr and Ryan Paul Adams interview Brian and can help you discover some powerful tips on how to build a business the right way and common mistakes to avoid.


  • 1. Dont Start a Business. Start a RevolutionRon: Good morning!Welcome to PME360: Powering Business Growth show. For each week, we talk about issuesand offer advice on how to power growth for your business. Im your host Ron Rodi, Jr.With me as always the man with the plan, the marketing man Ryan Paul Adams, our CEO.Ryan, good morning!Ryan: Good morning! Still makes me laugh.Ron: Got to get a little excitement on the morning here Monday morning. Ryan, I knowwere both excited today to continuing the format of bringing industry experts to talk a littlebit more about their experience.And todays no more different. Today, were very excited to have on with us, Brian Sites.Brian Sites is the current Global Product Management and Marketing Director for ActiveGroup Ventures. And Brians latest work is as the President of his newest venture, ClaydogEnterprises.Claydog is founded as an antidote to common business and governmental practices offeringvery useful consulting and insightful innovation and services to the public and privatesectors.Brian, good morning. How are you today?Brian: Great, guys! Thanks for having me on. Looking forward to this.Ryan: Good morning, Brian.Brian: Good morning!Ron: Brian, youve worked with both large Fortune 500 companies and small tech start-ups.And along the way, youve accumulated a list if what we call worst practices. And today,were going to offer tips on what not to do in trying to grow your business. Were veryexcited to have you on, Brian. Perhaps you would want to say a few words.Brian: Yeah, I would. Just to kind of set the tone of what were going to talk about here.What I see happening out there in the world it doesnt matter whether its business orgovernment. But theres a revolution happening.And being in business specifically does not need to be as hard as most people make it.Theres enough people out there whos making it hard. Lets not follow them. Lets lead onour own terms. Thats really the message I want to get across today.Ron: Absolutely. Just to start it off, Brian. Why dont we start it off with really the first thingthat you put together in this list here. Were going to go ahead and run through this becauseI think each and every point deserves its attention. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses

2. And one of the things we often run into as business owner is really when it comes tocompetition, right?So lets jump in there. Lets talk about a little about your theory there competition being adodge.Brian: Competition is somewhat of a dodge. Absolutely, it keeps capitalization afloat butobsessive competition is really what Im talking about right here.Obsessive competition really stifles innovation by keeping your team narrowly focused. Youreally need to be aware of what your competition is doing but you have to avoid the pitfallof the need-to syndrome.You know, matching your competitor product to product, service for service. Instead youhave to dare to carve your own path. And dare others to compete with you. A great examplefor this, Ive worked for World Championship Wrestling in the late 1990s. And yes, that wasan awesome job.But in the mid-90s, WCW came up with this new format and injected into a primetime hour.It was wrestling entertainment kind of reality show mixture that they came up with. And theformat worked, great!And they start stealing tremendous market share. Our competitors at that time, looked atour format and said, Hmmm...its really interesting. Theyre doing something cool overthere.So they took that format and instead of doing exactly what we were doing, they carved theirown path wit it. And after a couple of years, they stopped competing with us. We were theones looking to compete with them because they had taken our idea and done such a greatjob with it. By just being aware of what were doing, carving their own path pretty soon,the market share shifted. And the end of the story is, they ended up buying us just a fewyears later.Ron: So its fair to say that, to mirror and match your competition is one thing but to takewhat theyre doing and make it better, right?Not just necessarily matching them but making improvements upon what theyre doing?Brian: Exactly. If you bring it down to a tech level, too. I dont want my senior developerthinking about how hes going to make a competitions widget. I want him to focus on whatis not being answered there in the marketplace. How Im going to develop that product.How Im going to answer the vision that my Product Manager or Boss has for the company.Ryan: Really, what I find Brian is that when you tell a developer or somebody on your teamto do what theyre doing or look at what theyre doing it boxes them in.They cant think outside of that and you get exactly what they have. And I see this in life,too.Too often, we try to measure up to whatever everyone else is doing instead of living the lifewe wanted and doing the same things that are important to us.Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses 3. We always try to look at the neighbor, the person down the street or whatever. We need tobe there. We need to do this. The same thing applies to business. You said blaze your ownpath. At the end of the day, it will be a lot more rewarding. Youll have something that youllvalue a lot more.Brian: Its kind of a revolutionary feeling. Free yourself up to blaze your own path ---- YEAH!You know, just grab on to it, and go on with it.Ron: Very empowering. Absolutely! So lets talk a little bit gentlemen about getting intoborrowing.Brian: Debts?Ron: Yes, debts. Something that we know too much of as a society. But in terms of business,Brian, you have some really good opinions about borrowing.Brian: Theres a saying out there in the tech industry, its a lot easier for a starter to find a100 million dollars in venture capital than it is to find 10 million.And the idea there, the bigger the vision, a bigger investment and a bigger promise of pay-off in the end. And unfortunately in most of the ventures, its absolutely suicide.I mean, the trade off for the entrepreneur and the team is that theres less control over themission and future of the organization. Im all about borrow less, start smaller and earn yourown destiny. That doesnt mean you cant think big. That doesnt mean you cant have yourown vision.But start more realistically in some instances.Ron: And you see these start-ups today that are acquiring a tremendous amount of capital.And its very, very difficult for them to become successful.You look at Facebook. You look at Groupon. These are larger examples of course. But havingthose obligations right off the bat, theres a tremendous pressure. Not only that, going toyour last point and tying this all in, blazing your own path and doing things a little differently,I think its challenging.I think, its a very good point in terms of not necessarily going after a huge amount ofobligations. Really, starting small and being able to borrow less and controlling your owndestiny makes for a valid point there.Brian: And I think youre starting to see this with a lot of in the tech world and over theplace. A lot of people are really looking at this and say, There are a lot of other things I cando on my own. There are a lot of things I can outsource. There are a lot of things I can bringa much smaller team together and do and start at this point and do it smartly.And I think thats a big trend youre going to see growing in the very near future.Ron: Ryan, what are your thoughts there on giving up whats yours versus keeping it. I knowyou have some thoughts on that. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses 4. Ryan: Well, its a tough decision. I know that weve talked about to small businesses andtheyre struggling to take that next step forward.A lot of times there is nothing else you can do than find some money somewhere. I justdont think theyre looking at taking on venture capital. But still you have to make sometough decisions when it comes to money. And finding the right way to get that money onboard, it is a struggle.Ron: So I think as we move on this list here. A lot of times Brian, we hear about developingan exit strategy.And I think your challenge is to not to think about an exit strategy. To think about longevity.And to think about your business in decades not necessarily just years. Talk a little bit aboutthat, that exit strategy not developing one.Brian: Developing an exit strategy sounds like an awesome plan, right? But exit plans really,really do at the end of the day, box you in.They set expectations for you and for your team. And investors distort the potential of yourorganization basically.What is the alternative to that? Why dont we start envisioning what our companys, ourbusinesss will look like in 50 years. What its going to look like during the next paradigmshift, during the next revolution?Really, we have to stop thinking about in terms of these short term payoffs. We really havethis idea this calcified in the 1990s and 2000s. weve got to get in, grow it, get out in 5years, cash out and go start something else. Well, thats all well and good but that doesntreally work for a large majority of organizations.Ill give you an example of a company I currently work with. My boss who started thecompany in 1999 came in and he brought a bunch of investors in. and they convinced himright off the onset that, Hey, youre going to grow into this amount of revenue, this amountof EBIT. Once you get there, step back, sell the company, bring somebody else in. And so wedid. We were growing tremendously when he sold us. And guess what, we stopped growing.His exit strategy didnt match the potential of the company. And I dont blame him for that hindsight being 20-20. He couldve stayed around too. But lets start thinking about ourcompanies and organizations in terms of what this would look 50 years from now and whatsmy part in it.Ron: Its really not fair to the organization to have those tight parameters around it. Say, 5years then well be done. There could be an extra 2 to 3 years to really take that productyoure developing to the next level or executing some different strategies.So to be open-minded about it and to have a long term vision around it. Its very important. Ithink its fair to say that things could be missed by just having a short term view.Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses 5. Brian: Right. And Ill put this through too, Ryan. As far, in terms of the organizations that youhave now. I mean, going to your point earlier, its kind of like having, looking at theneighbors house and wishing your driveway was that nice or that you have a better fence.Its the same thing with an exit strategy. You almost feel compelled to put something outthere. And say, In 5 years, this is where I want to be, this is what the organization is, this ishow I cash out is that something you feel?Ryan: Yeah, or that we have to pivot too fast to keep up. And when youre doing that, youend up doing more mistakes. I think its absolutely important to stay true to your core visionThis is who we want to be. This is what were going to do. And lets be the best in the worldat this. And lets not worry about what everybody else is offering, all this other stuff. And juststay focus.And its so hard. The book Good to Great, I always refer to and just being the hedgehog,right? That dowdy creature and just be really, really good at one thing.I think, too many people try to be too many things. The companies try to do so many things.Brian: Thats a good segue to one of the points here. We have this tendency to give awayeasy tasks. Its almost like we have the tendency to focus on the tasks that are most difficultbecause we feel like if were doing something easy, were not really working.And for small organizations, this is a killer. If your passion is in the product development forexample, then it probably comes very easy for you. It doesnt feel as if its hard work. Dontgive that up.If youre leading your organization, dont give that duty away to focus on accountreceivables just because you need help in the finance area. Unless if that comes easy for youas well.Because youre going to end up wasting your time and effort, taking your focus away fromwhat is your true aptitude. You spend more time doing what comes easiest and find ways tooutsource and insource those tasks that drain for lack of better word your mojo.The same goes for your team dont drain them! Dont put them off on tasks that dont fittheir skills and abilities. And things that come easy to them as well.Ron: Making sure that the right people are executing in the right areas of their strength.Youre not certainly going to assign someone thats a front of house guy from a businessdevelopment or sales standpoint to someone to go ahead and create processes.I know if I had to do that, I couldnt do that. Thats not my skill. So I think you really have tomake sure, youre not giving away those tasks that are controllable, that you can take careof yourself. But at the same time, theyre being assigned to the right people.Going back to one point, in regards to that exit strategy. Having an early exit strategy, youcan tie that with the borrowing point as well. I know these points are well thought out andthey can play off each other. Powering Growth Online for Local Businesses 6. But I think if you have investors that you need to satisfy, its going to pressure you topotentially wanting to get out early. So I think that its important to keep in mind that allthese points certainly come together.And the listeners here, when they sit down and certainly listen to the individual points, listento the audio even look at the contents that had been developed everythings going to flownicely into each other.One of the things I do want to mention. You know you have interesting thoughts aroundhere, particularly in Maine. Make sure you dont ignore your government. Most businessescomplain about government but lets dive into that point a little bit. I know weve talkedabout this briefly in the past.Brian: Most business owners especially small business owners whom Ive talked to tend tocomplain about government everything about taxes, to licensing to industry regulations.You know, they sometimes feel so confined. Theres no room for them to maneuver in acomplex business environment at times. But being here in Maine. Im fairly new to Maine,Ive been here only for 2 years. I see a lot of potential especially in the local level to getinvolved with your local government.Not necessarily to change your local government but just to get a closer look at thelandscape. But I think, there are opportunities here for investment and development thatare really overlooked sometimes.And sometimes, these opportunities are what I call as double-ready. It may not be building aroad. But maybe there is a way for you to get involved in shaping these opportunities foryourse...