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So often, business owners fall short of their goals and end up scratching their heads wondering where things went wrong. It's hard to pinpoint where things started to go south when you are deep in the day to day tasks of running a business.
Recently, our CEO Stacy Jones sat down with an entrepreneur who has experienced business failure in the past. Now, he's sharing what he learned to help other business owners avoid the same pitfalls and reach success. In this blog, Hollywood Branded gets a lesson in increasing business profitability from Peak Performance Group's founder, Thor Conklin.
With over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and consultant, Thor brings an abundance of knowledge to the table. Thor helps business owners increase their profitability by having them execute on what they already know and eliminating obstacles that stand between them and success. He knows that getting the results and profits you want and need comes down to strategy and execution.
At Peak Performance Group, Thor teaches the tools, tips, tricks, psychology and strategies necessary to be a peak performer. He has started, bought and sold several multimillion dollar businesses making him a sought after resource for entrepreneurs and executives in all stages of business.
Question: I would love for you to start off and tell all of our listeners a little bit more about you and what got you to where you are today.
Answer: You know I really need to modify that bio because the one piece that is missing is the crash and burn. I actually burned down one company and it's really interesting because the basis of what we do is profitability consultant because even you want to get to the next level, you need the profits in order to do that and execution is a big piece of that.
I had a business that it was actually my fifth business and I couldn't figure out how to make a profit. I had to close the company. Without profits - it doesn't exist. It's through those lessons, the failures, is really the thing that actually gave me the ability to do profitability consulting. I joke all the time, like profitability consulting, how'd you end up doing that? It's because I couldn't figure out how to make a profit.
So, don't do what I did. That's a really, really big piece of it. I find so often as entrepreneurs and as business leaders, we always want to avoid the failures, but it's those failures that bring us to our successes. When we were born, we really didn't know how to do really much. We could breathe but besides that everything else we had to learn. I think as we get to be adults, we stop wanting to learn because we don't want to fail. I'm always encouraging our clients to learn to fail and learn to love it. That's what led me to start my current company.
I learned so many lessons through that process that I really did not want to see any other entrepreneurs suffer what I suffered. I went through a divorce. It was not a good time. My business was failing. It was a really tough time. I'm part of an organization called the Entrepreneurs Organization Worldwide Group, and I saw a lot of other entrepreneurs around the world that on the surface everything looked great, but right below the surface there was a lot of pain. I wanted to take those lessons and teach as many people as possible so they didn't have to go through what I went through.
Question: Okay, so you started the company and did people just come to you and say "Oh my gosh, I don't know how to make a profit either. Here I am"?
Answer: We totally missed the mark on our marketing. It was a disaster. It's funny you bring this up because it was about eight months into the business and we were coming towards the end of the year. My team came to me and said, so how are we doing? Is this working? We had one client, our total revenues for the first eight months were $1,500.
Our employees were getting paid, so it was "working" for them. But it wasn't working for the company. They would ask if it the company was going to work and I'd tell them of course... But I remember in private thinking that I was missing something. I positioned us with people that were like me that were going through the same scenario and I was marketing into that segment. I just wasn't getting any traction.
All of a sudden someone who knew me quite well and had a successful company asked me to come in. He said he wanted me to work with his entire management team and take them to the next level. He said they were a highly successful company, but they were missing something. He needed someone to ask the questions they weren't asking, see things they weren't seeing, hold them accountable and help them pivot as they go through this process.
And boom - four years later we have 72% of our clients make a million dollars a year in personal income. Our target market is those entrepreneurs that are making at least a half a million dollars in personal income and had the vehicle to get them to a million dollars. When we started, I was looking for somebody that had a two, three, four million dollar business that was struggling and couldn't figure out how to make a profit. I thought we would connect on that basis and that they were our market. I was completely off. We found our market, we found our niche, and I'm sure it's going to continue to evolve.
Question: Once you have identified a problem, how do you start working with individuals?
Answer: It comes down to execution and accountability. Laying out a very specific plan, an annual plan, whether it's a two year, three year or annual plan, and then reverse engineering that down to the month where there's milestones to be hit each month with accountability of scoreboard, we know exactly what's going to be measured.
Then weekly, how do we get to the, for example, right now as we're recording this, it's the beginning of June. All of my clients know exactly where they need to be by July 1st and we're looking at each week, the second week in June, the third week, the fourth week in June. They are asking "What targets do we need to hit?" If they're hitting them - great. IF not - they might need to pivot. It's not about trying to get to the year end goal, it's about trying to get to this weeks goal - because we know if we get to this weeks, we have a chance of getting this months, we get this months we have a chance of getting next month.
You've got to drive accountability down within the organization. So often it ends up as just the CEO carrying that weight. They're the ones lifting, carrying everything, carrying the heavy burden. You need to have a team underneath you who is accountable and they have tangible goals to hit each and every month.
The best way I keep people accountable is through little things. We talk a lot about micro commitments, taking any sort of goal and then making a commitment today. Let's say you want to get in shape. I don't care what you do tomorrow, but today just decide for the next 16 that you will exercise and eat a certain way. Tomorrow, you'll handle tomorrow.
It's the same thing in business. Decide what you're going to do for the next 16 hours until you go to bed tonight. Tomorrow you can do anything. You don't even have to come to work, you know? But each day make a new commitment to yourself. It's kind of like waking up on what Groundhog's Day, right? It's a brand new day. Often we try to bite off too much, more than just today.
Last year I was not a swimmer, not a runner, not a runner, swimmer, biker. I asked myself "What can I do this year as a big goal?" I'm decided to do an Ironman. And, at this point, I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I had to go 140.3 miles in the race. I actually ended up doing two of them within 30 days because my coach told me I couldn't do that. When I heard that, I decided I was doing two.
It wasn't about the race when I was ahead of time doing the training. It was, it was about that particular lap. It wasn't about the next phase. I remember in the race, I got to the point where I was doing the run and it wasn't about finishing 26 miles. It was about running to that little signpost. Then when I got to that, it was like, all right, I made it. Now let me just set another little goal. Yeah, that little cone over there, another 20 feet and it was just 20 feet after 20 feet after 20 feet. Before you'd know it, you end up completing the entire thing.
But in business, what do we want to do? We want to go from here to there in one step. So what do we do? We shoot for the moon. In our marketing programs, we invest everything into one thing and just throw it, throw the whole, you know, store at it. Not a good strategy.
Thor's advice is applicable to all kinds of goals, whether or not you're a business owner. Check out the full episode below and consider it as taking the first step in achieving your goals!
Looking for some more business advice? We have a wealth of information in our library of blogs! Check out some of our past blogs, linked below, about running a successful business.
Want to learn more from experts across various walks of the marketing landscape? Subscribe to our Marketing Mistakes Podcast and learn tips, strategies and suggestions from the pros!
Topics: Business Advice, Podcast Interviews, HB Podcast