Marcus Lemonis, star of The Profit, joins us to talk about how he helps struggling small businesses. In this episode we cover how to move past your broken thought processes, become the conductor of your business, and how focusing on the fundamentals of people, process and product keeps you on track to be successful.
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Speaker 1: Do you have a question that you want us or an expert to answer? If you have questions about your small business submit them at smallbusinesssuccess.com/questions.
Clate: Welcome everybody to this episode of the small business success podcast. I'm Clate Mask of Infusionsoft.
Scott: And I'm Scott Martineau and today we are honored to have Marcus Lemonis here "The Profit" as part of a series of episodes we're doing together. And today Marcus we want to talk with you about ... [00:00:30] I know that you're huge on having people focus on the right mindset and the way that they're thinking. You've told us that you have 40,000 applications a year for struggling business owners who are reaching out for help as part of The Profit. Tell us what the most common things that you see there in broken thought processes?
Marcus: There's a number of different things that we should talk about, there's broken thought processes about how we view our business. [00:01:00] There's broken thought processes around how we start a business. And there's broken thought processes around the role that people play in businesses and I don't mean us the people I mean the people that are on our team. I really want to focus on the last one. You don't want to get into cliches where we're saying people are the most important thing. With every good person the business is better. I mean all of that's really great but the reality of it is [00:01:30] in any organization there has to be a variety of people with different skills, different perspectives and different qualifications. And the organization has to be able to flow with some level of symmetry. And what happens with business owners is that they typically have a difficult time putting their own pride and their own ego in check and they don't allow people that are smarter than them or brighter than them or more creative than them [00:02:00] to actually shine.
Clate: Our listeners did not have that problem Marcus.
Marcus: No, just the ones that I work with I gotcha, but we really want to break down the business owner and have them feel less threatened.
Marcus: And really take on a role of being a conductor of an orchestra. The hardest thing for a conductor of an orchestra to do is to get everybody to move at the same time without he or she the conductor actually generating [00:02:30] any sound. You think about it in business right, we want everybody who works for us to contribute to the song and make the music great but as the business owner we don't necessarily always have to be the one talking, or always the one moving, or always the one making something. And that is why the conductor's job is the least glamorous job because when it comes to the mother that is moving arms.
Clate: Love it.
Scott: Right, right.
Marcus: But that's not [00:03:00] the reality of it. The reality of it is that conductor in his own silent and elegant way is the one that helps put all the music together.
Clate: You talked at the beginning about how the conductor to use the metaphor has to believe in and see the talent and the capability in some cases these people are far more capable than the conductor himself or herself but Scott and [00:03:30] I have found so many times—we chucked when you began talking about this mindset that frequently exists in business owners because Scott and I watched this ... and we're not perfect we fall into the trap at times ourselves just like every entrepreneur but what we found early on was, a lot of times business owners that would get their business to maybe even seven figures or kind of at the million dollar level but they're kin of the bottleneck of all of the work and they haven't empowered their people and they end up really [00:04:00] carrying a bunch of weight on their shoulders because they're the smartest person in the room at all times. And what we found Scott and I talk about this, we find that there's certain mentality that they have that employees are a necessary evil. And they sort of treat the employees that way and it sounds kind of awful to say and yet our observations is many times business owners who begin to experience some success in terms of approaching that seven figure mark they get trapped and stuck in the business because their mindset related [00:04:30] to their employees and the great talents of their employees has to get an adjustment. Have you seen that? It sounds like you're talking about something similar but is that aligned with what you see as you talk with business owners?
Marcus: I don't know. Small business owners really struggle to take that deep dive into what really makes the business work. And they're tasked with so many things and they're challenged with so many things [00:05:00] and they're overrun and overworked and underpaid and underappreciated that they probably don't take a minute to really do those assessments. They don't take a minute to asses themselves or their people. And usually in working with small businesses people comment to me often, "I can't believe you didn't get upset at that person. I would have walked out." Very easy for us to say things like that but small business owners have a tough battle. They have [00:05:30] to wear a lot of hats, they have to lay everything on the line, they're the last one to get the paycheck, they're the one that has the most to lose and there's no glory and no glamour.
Marcus: And so I go into the businesses with a high level of sympathy.
Marcus: So, I really want to teach them that all of that is great and give them credit for it and then let's get back to the fundamentals. The fundamentals for me really are the people, process, and product of things and I took on that mantra years ago [00:06:00] not because it was cute or it made a nice t-shirt because if you really think about it is very simple. Any business not matter what kind of business it is, whether it's running a software company or running a late shop, it doesn't matter. We know that at the cornerstone of a business has to be a product that's relevant to people. There has to be something that people want to buy. If we launch a company that sells A-track Cassette players no matter how great it is, nobody's going to buy it, it's irrelevant. [00:06:30] You gotta have a relevant product with modern technology with the right appropriate desire for it and you have to have the right process to manufacture it, distribute it, sell it, retail it, repair it, whatever your business is you have to right the process in place to deliver, satisfy, price merchandise, market that product, that's really where the process comes in.
In order to do those two things you have to surround yourself with the right people. People that will tell you that you're wrong, [00:07:00] people that will bring new ideas to the table, people that will look for ways to improve it or ways to challenge it, or ways to come up with new ideas. And that's really where the people, process, product I think comes from. Any business owner can just really think about those three things introspectively and fix their own business, they don't need me. Now they may need me for some working capital but that's not ultimately what my purpose was, my purpose was just to get people to think differently, including about how they feel about people.
Scott: [00:07:30] So what's one practical advice for somebody whose, maybe to use your metaphor they're the one man band, right. They're feeling tired, they're feeling overworked, they're playing all the parts, they're banging with the foot and the harmonica in the mouth, one practical advice for going from that to the orchestra conductor.
Marcus: I think the first thing you have to do is determine if you made the right decision to get into business. Being a business owner isn't for everybody. And sometimes we get out of it and get into it because we don't have [00:08:00] other options or we get into it because we want to be our own boss and we think we're going to conquer the world or we think we're going to become a millionaire. The best advice I would give people is, "You got into this for a reason what's the reason?"
Clate: That's great.
Marcus: Make sure that on several occasions when you're feeling down and out ... and I've had that feeling when you're feeling frustrated, I've had that feeling. You ask yourself, "Is this really what I want to do?"
Clate: That's great.
Marcus: Owning a small business isn't for everybody, sometimes working nine to five or nine to six or [00:08:30] ten to two is for somebody. That's my best piece of advice. Is this really what you want to do? Ask yourself that question.
Scott: Great, and I would add onto that, that acknowledging that small business success is going to require growth and change. You're bringing these people into your business expecting them to be part of this orchestra and that just is going to require change, them and you.
Clate: Yep, fantastic. Well thanks Marcus we're going to call that a wrap for this episode of The Small Business [00:09:00] Success podcast.
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