How does a new entrepreneur determine who to listen to when growing a small business? How do you get the right advice at the right time? I had a chance to spend some time with Dan S. Kennedy this weekend at a book signing for his newest book Win, Place, or Die, a great detective mystery he worked on with Les Roberts.
How cool is that? I have all of Dan’s No B.S. Business Books and couldn’t wait to see their novel. I’ve spent many years going to Dan’s different conferences around the country, but this was the first time I got a chance to spent time with him discussing our mutual passion for economic development opportunities and horses. Several years ago, I took a tour with Dan of Northfield Park here in Northern Ohio. You can tell a lot about a person by how they interact with animals and the other people they work with in their favorite hobby.
I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what new entrepreneurs can learn from the “millionaire maker” Dan Kennedy. I’m at the stage of my life where I mentor many early stage entrepreneurs and Dan is always on the short list of resources I share with these entrepreneurs. This Saturday I got a chance to see him work with several new entrepreneurs who came to his book signing to learn what they could from this marketing master. Dan is known as a millionaire maker and there’s good reason for it, he’s the professor of harsh reality. He is a no B.S. man who has strong opinions about business and life and if you listen closely you can see why he has earned the title. In this era of self-promoting Gurus, Dan is the real deal. I’ve spent more time with Dan than any other person as I repositioned my business to serve small and midmarket entrepreneurs. His advice has been indispensable as we work to develop a seven figure practice in exit and succession planning for small and midmarket business leaders. Here are five things he’s shared with me and my fellow entrepreneurs that can put you on course to the business of your dreams.
The first secret Dan Kennedy shares with new entrepreneurs is to be prepared to work hard. He tells entrepreneurs if you want to succeed in business you must start early, and work late. I played a hunch that he would be early for the book signing and it paid off. I got to spend quality time talking about our shared interests and how things were changing for entrepreneurs. Many corporate executives are looking to work less for their paycheck. That’s why books like the 4 hour work week are bestsellers. Entrepreneurs must not only work harder, but smarter. Harness racing requires both strength and stamina to win races, same for entrepreneurs who hope to grow their business in an ever more challenging business environment. Dan is ruthless with his time management and results. He’s always looking to increase his knowledge in everything he excels at. He shares this passion with every new entrepreneur he talks with.
The second secret Dan Kennedy shares with new entrepreneurs is to focus your efforts on smaller markets. He shared with the young entrepreneurs he was talking to why focus is so critical in today’s growing global markets. He believes that new entrepreneurs cannot afford to be pioneer market makers. They should work in markets with proven demands and competition. I’ve seen him share this information in front of thousands before, when shared with a small group his energy can light up everyone within ten feet. It was electrifying!
The third secret Dan Kennedy shares with new entrepreneurs is to be ready to seize new opportunities for their business. Dan feels that one of the things that is different between small business owners and entrepreneurs is the entrepreneur seeks and finds opportunities to grow their business that small business owners do not. New entrepreneurs learn to evaluate opportunities with an eye towards growing sales and profits, not on growing low profit volume markets. Many small business owners see opportunities, but decide not to follow up on them until there is significant competition for those products and services.
I hope you find this conversation as fascinating as I did in hearing it. Watching Dan share these secrets that could be worth millions of dollars to new entrepreneurs was incredible. Don’t worry there are two more secrets that I share next week that change how you lead your team forever.
By the way, if you’re looking for a great murder mystery, pick up a copy of Win, Place, or Die. You’ll enjoy it. I know I did.