Archives for April 6, 2021

WHY YOU NEED A PSD TEAM

Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I realized that I could not possibly do everything on my own, and for two reasons: I was either not equipped, or I didn’t have enough available time with everything else I was managing within the company. My time in the Marine Corps provided a lot of insights and tactics on how to deploy strategies for successful leadership. So, I borrowed these and started applying them in my ventures. 

Personal Security Detail (PSD) is exactly what it sounds like: a team of experts that surround the core entity in order to protect it and enable it to operate at maximum capacity. The core entity is typically thought of as a person; usually a high value, high ranking individual. In that case, the PSD Team will be made up of weapons, tactics, and logistical experts whose purpose is to use their expertise to protect the individual at all costs. But the core entity doesn’t have to be a person; it can be a business. Stick with me on this.

In business, just like in the military, a PSD Team is assigned to protect you and your organization from vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may jeopardize and could even destroy you and/or your business. In the business world, a PSD Team consists of trusted advisors, proven professionals, and experts who are at the top of their game. Their purpose within your business is to use their expertise to protect your business at all costs. Readily available when you need them, the members of your PSD Team are your secret weapons.

“It’s mastery you need in order to grow and scale fast.”

Now the question becomes, how do you build a PSD Team? First, you need to assess your weaknesses. Don’t think you have weaknesses? You’re wrong. As a business owner, you need to put your pride aside and be completely honest with yourself. Where do you have knowledge gaps in your business? Where are you lacking information? Where are you being held back because you’re missing vital skills? Most people think entrepreneurs should be able to do everything – to be a “Jack of All Trades”. But remember the rest of that saying? “Jack of all trades, master of none”, and it’s mastery you need in order to grow and scale fast. 

For example, in our company, part of our PSD Team is not one, but several attorneys who specialize in core legal disciplines. This includes a real estate attorney, a contract attorney and even an attorney that specializes in trademark law. Our company has a CPA, who has the ability to advise us not only on corporate tax law but also our personal taxes. Our PSD Team also includes an insurance specialist. He works with a team of underwriters to protect all of our business entities, from employees and contractors, to brick and mortar buildings. These are paid experts who we not only rely on to deliver us the right advice, but we also go out of our way to learn from them so we never become dependent on people who hold this knowledge and may one day decide to leave the company. This type of education also equips us with a deep understanding of how to run our business and how to ask valuable and relevant questions. If you’ve outsourced these roles, and refused to learn from these experts, you’ve chosen to stay in the dark. Without a PSD Team you have a narrow lens of your world because you don’t have multi-source reporting, and that makes your intelligence incomplete. This is why you need to curate your very own strategic counsel with experts who can provide not only expertise but a detailed “how-to” roadmap. And yes, you will need to pay for this. Rather than seeing this as “bleeding” money, I want you to see this as an opportunity to learn.

“It’s an opportunity for you to learn.”

In this era where we can outsource everything, bringing paid experts into your business is not an opportunity for you to free up your time, nor to achieve the four-hour work week. It’s an opportunity for you to learn, and learning should always be a priority in your business. Not only do you get to fast-track and 10x the speed of your growth, but you get to acquire specialized knowledge others spent decades obtaining. Doing so strengthens your bulletproof vest, and in business you definitely need one.

The relationship you have with your PSD Team is different than the relationship you have with Coaches and Mentors. Your PSD Team is highly paid for their expertise and high-end consulting, and you should be able to pick up the phone and call them at any time. You need to know you can meet with them beyond your weekly scheduled appointments, and you need to be able to know your investment in them allows you to be able to access them and their trusted Rolodex of multi-industry contacts.

Consider a PSD Team the next time you review your team structure. Even if you’re fresh in your start-up journey, a PSD Team is something you should aspire to have, and it should be a priority in your business from the beginning. If the idea of building a PSD Team feels overwhelming or you’re experiencing resistance from your partners, it’s most likely because you or they are fearful. Building a team doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It may also mean that you’re lacking the leadership skills to build a proper team. You may have expertise in some areas, but leadership may not be one of them. Again, this is a time you have to be completely honest with yourself for the good of your business. Consider how fast you want your business to grow. You need to choose whether staying in your comfort zone rewards you more than taking the time to build a brilliant PSD Team, which will reward you and your business forever.

OUR COMPANY

BOOTSTRAPPING

Far too often I hear entrepreneurs say they are “bootstrapping”, and I have to wonder if they truly understand the meaning of this term. Bootstrapping is starting a business with no external financial resources or capital. Just like the saying “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”, bootstrapping is all about doing it on your own: no investors, no loans, and tight budgeting.

The idea behind bootstrapping was not initially thought of in terms of small business start-ups struggling to get off the ground. In the beginning, bootstrapping was a way for big companies to test a product or an idea. For example, let’s say 10 years ago, Sony, Samsung, and LG wanted to create a large flat screen television with a slight curve to it. The three companies have no idea if the product will work so they decide to each put $500,000.00 toward building and testing the television. Now, the three companies have $1.5 million to “play with” in order to get this television off the ground. Keep in mind, $500,000.00 is nothing to Sony, Samsung, and LG so if the product fails the companies can take the hit but still remain in business. If the product succeeds, it was worth the $500,000.00 because the return is going to be extraordinary. Over time, this idea of bootstrapping morphed into entrepreneurs believing they can start a multi-million dollar company with absolutely nothing invested, and that is simply not the case.

Entrepreneurship is, unfortunately, associated with a great stigma of scarcity, especially during the early capital raising years. We maintain this warped idea that start-up founders should go through a financially challenging right of passage before they can enjoy wealth and success; they need to be tough, working very long hours with very little financial reward in return. And while this may be true for a lot of founders, this happens not because entrepreneurship is undeniably challenging, but because they most likely entered this game broke and with no financial backbone. Should a lack of available financial resources stop anyone from building their dream and launching a venture? No, of course not. But one thing is certain; if you cannot afford to invest in your venture, you will experience slow to no growth, which could potentially see you failing rather than scaling.

“Get a bridge job.”

So how can you invest in your business when there is no available cash? If crowdfunding, or other forms of investor capital are not part of your strategic foresight, then you need to get a bridge job. Yes, you read that right. This is where you need to let go of any ego, pride or self-limiting beliefs around failure and secure paid employment that can sustain your basic living expenses but still keep your mental bandwidth relatively free so you can devote it to your venture. With this buffer option in mind, you can ease unnecessary financial stress, and keep your creativity unharnessed, which will determine the speed of your growth. Some would call this a temporary setback, because no entrepreneur wants to return to a 9-5 clock-punching job, but I encourage you to use the pain of this as fuel to propel you forward and make you more eager to win.

Many entrepreneurs think, “I get to be my own boss; let someone else do the work while I sit back and watch the money roll in”. If this is your mind set at the start of your venture into business ownership, get out now. Most likely, you will work harder than you have ever worked when you start your own business. This is the time you work not only that 9-5 bridge job, but when that work day is finished, your day as an entrepreneur is just getting started. As a business owner, every aspect of your business, in the beginning, is your responsibility. How are you going to pay for a website? Where are you going to get the money to buy the ads to drive traffic to that website? And not just traffic, but properly targeted traffic that leads to conversions? Those people you are going to hire to work at your business so you can sit back and watch the money roll in; they’re going to want a paycheck. Where does that money come from? Do you need to purchase inventory?

You can’t start a business with zero money. You just can’t. In this modern marketplace, you have to buy things like websites, traffic, and influencers. When Sony, Samsung, and LG are bootstrapping to build and test their curved flat screen, $500,000.00 is not going to break the bank; to them, it’s a rounding error. It’s not the same as having zero money. If you’re not flush enough with your money to be able to scale, your attempts are going to fail. Bootstrapping your business does not mean ZERO money. It means being financially independent enough to be able to put money into the business. In practical terms, if you cannot financially afford to feed your business in its early stages, it’s most likely because you haven’t worked on it enough. Consistent work pays, and your profit and loss statement is a direct reflection of this.

“Make sure you have ‘start-up money’.”

This belief that an idea and hope are the foundation for bootstrapping your business is a misconception, and will most certainly lead to unnecessary stress and quite possibly the end of your business venture. But, it doesn’t have to be. Think of bootstrapping as a strategic entry into entrepreneurship. Instead of “no money”, make sure you have “start-up money”. Don’t look at a 9-5 job as a failure, but a preventative measure to ensure more rapid financial success. Budget properly. Hire yourself an awesome and reliable PSD Team. Bootstrapping your business simply means you’re doing it on your own – not you’re doing it broke. If you chose to go into business for yourself without investors or loans, you’re also going in without debt, which is an incredible start to your entrepreneurial journey. Properly bootstrapping your business will lead to you being on solid financial ground, enabling you to invest money back into your business, which is not only smart, but the fastest way to scale and grow.

THE MASTER KEY TO SUCCESS?

Secrets to success. You’ve heard many of them, but perhaps the best-kept secret is this: Make meaningful deposits in the lives of other people. When you go out of your way to help others without asking for anything in return, you open doors that can pay dividends. 

It’s like making deposits at a bank; you can withdraw from the account at a later date. With five minutes of your time, you can make a million dollars. Here’s how it works.

1. Help Others.

This doesn’t require much time or effort. Be available for others and consider how you might help them. Sometimes it’s as simple as a conversation.

For example, you might be able to connect two people who can help each other. Do you know a guy who owns a chocolate factory, and another who owns a peanut butter factory?  Make a phone call, make the introductions, and BOOM! You have Reese’s.

I don’t send many Christmas cards or birthday messages because they’re expected. Instead, I check in randomly via text or email. I’ll choose two letters that go together, such as R and E, then search my contacts and email whoever pops up. Sometimes, when I save a new contact in my phone, I also include the words “Follow Up” so I can search for that phrase later. 

My messages are as simple as, “Hey, just checking in to see how you are.” I’ll ask if they need help with anything, and if so, schedule a call with them. 

Bonus tip: I only take video calls because you can connect more deeply when you see each other. Trust me, this will transform how you do business.

If they ask what they can do for me, I explain that they owe me nothing, and I only want to help. I may never ask for anything in return. 

2. Be Genuine.

Here’s the thing: This only works if you genuinely enjoy helping others. Otherwise, it becomes a burden, and people can sense that. You can’t fake sincerity. If you’re inauthentic, people will be suspicious of what you want in return. 

However, when you genuinely help someone without selling anything, they become your biggest advocates, and they will sell you to others. Then those people can become paying clients.

Many business owners think they’ll only be successful if others fail, but that’s a scarcity mindset. I don’t believe in competition other than myself. I try to be better than I was yesterday and help my “competitors” often, even introducing them to my best leads. In return, I’ve gained thousands of leads myself.

3. Take Advantage of Unexpected Free Time. 

I don’t set aside time to check in with people. When someone cancels a meeting at the last minute or joins late, I fill that time by investing in my network, which negates the time/opportunity loss. 

If you think you don’t have time for this, it’s because you don’t see the value. We make time for what’s important to us. That said, building a strong network doesn’t happen overnight. You have to work at it for years. 

4. Focus on People You Enjoy.

You’ll be surprised how much time you have when you only deal with people you like. I prioritize people I enjoy and separate myself from anyone who drains my energy. As a result, no one has taken advantage of me for being generous with my time. 

Listen to your gut and be a magnet for good people. If someone seems like a snake oil salesman, don’t engage. But if they have a good heart, get close to that person.  

5. Build a Diverse Network.

To meet like-minded people, join mastermind and business groups like your local Rotary Clb or Chamber of Commerce, which host regular in-person and online events. Whenever I meet someone, I find them on LinkedIn. But I don’t just add them and now we’re connected. I send a short message explaining the connection and offering to talk about their business. It’s key to add that personal touch based on your initial interaction. 

Diversify your network with people from other industries. Then when you have a problem, you’ll know someone who can help. You can find everything from investors to partners, suppliers, employees, and software this way.

I strive to always be the one who says, “I know a guy”. For example, I met and stayed in contact with a man who sells fish, even though I never thought I would need an abundance of fish. But one day, I acquired an interest in a food products company. I said, “I know a guy” and called my friend the fishmonger. He introduced me to his distributors, and we moved tons of products together. 

6. Reap the Benefits.

When you help others, they’ll want to help you back. Building social currency created tremendous leverage that you can call on when needed, even if it’s months or years later.

Talking to people has taught me so much and opened doors I didn’t know existed. A few years ago, one of my companies was having a shipping problem, which randomly came up in conversation with a gentleman who happens to be in the shipping industry. He recommended contacting companies that connect distributors with the Post Office to leverage their unused truck space, which significantly reduced our costs. 

When you help others, you’ll meet increasingly influential people and will eventually be one call away from anyone you need. Recently I was introduced to a national director of a federal department. I traced our connection back to someone who introduced me to someone else, who introduced me to someone else, and so on. I reached that person by investing in half a dozen others along that chain. 

7. Stay Positive.

If I’m having a bad day, I know many people who would go out of their way to change that. If you don’t have those people in your life, you either haven’t invested in others, or you’ve attracted the wrong “friends”. 

To gut-check what you attract, look at your Facebook feed. Facebook knows who and what you engage with. Facebook’s goal is to serve more like engagements to you. Whether your feed is primarily positive or negative, it’s because you are, too.  

Give others joy, and they’ll return that to you – which is what we need now more than ever.