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Category Archives: Motivation

Startup life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows

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Life is always happening FOR us, not TO us! It’s our job to find out where the benefit is. If we do, life is magnificent. – Tony Robbins

 2016 is a year for the record books – records of disasastors. It started with our personal life, we had repair bill after repair bill after repair bill, and that soon bleed over into the business too. On top of that we began to lose traction in some of our biggest accounts to due to decisions made internally at the retailer level.

I won’t bore you with all the details, mainly because I don’t want to dwell on the negative. But laundry list of complains cut short, 2016 was pretty rough on my family and my business.

At first I kept asking myself, why is all this bad stuff happening to us, and why does it just keep on coming? My mindset was, all this stuff is happening TO me. But then I stumbled across the above Tony Robbins quote. It made me pause and think and feel better about the situation for about a week.

However, I recently came across this quote again in the Tim Ferris Book, Tools of Titans. I paused a bit longer on it this time. And I’ve been dwelling on it for the past few days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what has happened, and am realizing a lot of the things that have happened have forced hard lessons on myself, my family, and the business. For example, I knew for a while I needed to let one of our key employees go. It wasn’t so much performance issues as it was I knew the business couldn’t sustain having them on the payroll with all that had been going on and other upcoming changes we had to make. It took things getting pretty bad before I mustered up the courage to let them go.

Another quote that I feel that helps put this into perspective is, “Greatness comes from adversity.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Growth doesn’t come from things being easy. If there isn’t something in your life causing friction, you aren’t growing, you aren’t learning – you are simply stagnant.

Looking back at 2016, it has been grit and perseverance that has gotten us through. Many times, especially later in the year I felt like giving up, throwing in the towel and admitting defeat, but I’m thankful to have some better perspective now.

Everything that happened last year has been for my good. It has been to help me grow as an entrepreneur, as a father, as a husband. If 2015 was sunshine and rainbows (It WAS a really good year), 2016 was the pit of hell and I’ve emerged victorious!

The start of 2017 is still a bit choppy. But I know see that everything happening, is FOR me. And I can now stand strong and move forward with faith that my business will survive. With a bit of prayer, grit and hard work, we will pull through, and be stronger as a result.

Growing a business is an ultramarathon, not a 5k

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The time it takes to grow a business is more like an ultramarathon than a 5k. The startup up world is full of 5k racers that want a fast ramp up,  and quick exit. The reality of it is, these startups rarely grow a profitable business. Rather than focus on running 5k you should run an ultramarathon. Ultras as trail runners call them, are races with 26-48 hour cut offs and range from 25-100+ miles. The time it takes you to finish one of these races is more in line with what it takes to build and run a successful business that generates a profit year over year.
It’s easy to get impatient though when the rest of the startup world is scrambling around looking for investors. It’s easy to fall prey to that. I’ve done it myself. I’m not opposed to investors, and in fact we are looking for investors now, but investors will not cure or solve your problems.

Your primary focus should always be profit! Run your startup in a manner that if investor money went away you could still stay in business.

Just like running an ultramarathon where slow steady patience is key. The same is true for running and growing a business. Bearded Brothers has now been in business for five years, and quite honestly we haven’t achieved the growth that I thought we would by now, but we are in it for the long haul. This isn’t a flip and sell business. We are an Evergreen company, and will be here for years to come.

Persevere through all your challenges

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Guadalupe Peak

On top of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. Perseverance got Zack to the top (with a Bearded Brothers bar in hand)!

Setbacks are inevitable, hard times will come, running your business will never be easy, and will be down-right challenging at times.

Here are a few things to remember when things get a bit crazy:

This is only temporary

The challenging times won’t last forever. Generally challenges come when a huge project consumes most of your time, or your business encounters a problem that it has to address. That project or problem won’t be there forever, so hunker down and power through.

Make a road map

Take a step back and write down everything that has to happen to get you through the turmoil. Then outline everything on a calendar or project management system with key deadlines highlighted with their due date. Failure to plan will just amplify that crazy feeling.

Take some time off (exercise)

This may sound counter intuitive when things are busy and you are working extra hours, but trust me, the relief you will get from getting outside will make you feel a thousand times better. As you probably know (but refuse to remember when times are tough), releasing endorphins helps curb stress. Even if you don’t get out for a run, bike ride, or intense weight training circuit, you can at least get outside and go on a walk. The fresh air will be reviving and you just might come up with some new ides to help you through the challenge.

Challenges make us stronger

Just remember that even though your challenge may seem negative, it’s actually good! I don’t believe there is such thing as a bad challenge. Challenges serve to strengthen us, help us learn and grow, and ultimately make us stronger. Every challenge has a takeaway that we will always remember.

Project run America is truly inspiring

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Well, I ended up missing the past two days during my 30 days of blog posting, but I have a good excuse. I was attending the Team Red White & Blue trail running camp at Camp Eagle, in South Texas. I didn’t have internet access and I was spending the better part of the weekend running!

While I was at the camp thought, I had the privilege of hearing the story of Ehredt (of Project Run America), who, “ran 4424 miles alone, from Astoria, OR to Rockland, ME placing 4424 flags, one every mile, for each casualty we endured in Iraq. Then in 2012 he ran 2146 miles and placed the same amount of flags in remembrance of every casualty in Afghanistan. We now have a wall of honor and gratitude stretching 6570 miles across America.”

His story was touching and inspiring. What seamed like a near impossible athletic endeavor was complicated even more by the placing of a flag every mile, with a handwritten name on each one, and lets not forget the logistics of food and arranging for places to stay.

To me, Mike’s story is more than just a story about honoring veterans, it’s a story of perseverance, determination, and overcoming the naysayers that told him it was just a nice idea. Not only did Mike pull off the extremely detailed planning of this grand memorial, but he executed EVERY DAY, no matter how hard it was. Rain didn’t stop him, flat tires on the stroller he pushed didn’t stop him, cold weather didn’t stop him, aches and pains didn’t stop him. No matter what, mike hit the road EVERY day and ran 26-30 miles, without fail.

One of the things that amazed me the most was that Mike never got weary of running those miles each day, every single day he looked forward to them. As an entrepreneur I strive to have that exact same consistent determination – to get up every single day and pursue my passion with the same intensity as the day before, no matter what new challenge lay in my way.

Please, take a few minutes out of your day to watch the video above. It’s truly inspiring. A full length documentary will be coming out later this year and hitting PBS channels across the country.

 

Time is your most valuable asset

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Time is an asset

Time is an asset!

Time is your most valuable asset. As an entrepreneur or business owner time is in many ways more valuable than money, and you should be spending your time on high value priorities that will drive your company forward.

Chances are you spend a lot of your time on lower priority tasks that could be delegated. Something that takes several hours a week out of your time just might be something that another team member could do just as well as you, if not better.

Time is something that cannot be gained back once it’s lost, so it makes perfect sense that you would delegate lower priority tasks in order to serve the greater overall vision of your organization. Lets say your goal is to get your widget into over 1,000 retail locations across the United States. One of your primary goals as a small business owner would be getting sales. This means a large chunk of your time should be spent on trying to gain new accounts, but you are currently spending a lot of time answering customer emails that come in through your website. You are better off delegating the emails to somebody on your team and getting on the phone to make sales calls.

The 80% rule that applies to delegating a task, also applies to time. 80% of your time should be spent on things that are key to the vision of your company. They other 20% should be spent on simple operational type tasks, and delegating the things that get in the way of the big picture vision of your growing business.

If you are unsure what tasks fall into the 80% category it might be time to do some strategic thinking and figure out what your companies’ top priorities are. It would also be a good idea to track your time throughout the course of a week and figure out just how much time you are spending on given tasks. Then at the end of the week calculate just how much time you spent on high priority tasks that move your vision forward.

And remember, time is your most valuable asset. Guard it with care and learn to delegate so that you are free to work ON your business rather than in it.