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Jul 5, 2018

Today’s episode of Just the Tips is just Dean and me, and it starts off with two interesting premises: 1) I’m nice to Dean and 2) Dean doesn’t like podcasts. What better way to start a podcast off than that? But actually, we use the dull podcast that Dean listened to make a larger point about how brands that are connecting with their audiences and customers are the ones who show personality. Riffing on a Wendy’s Twitter takedown of Chick-Fil-A, we make the point that we’re not attracted to people who don’t exhibit personality, so why would we be attracted to brands that don’t? From there, we dive into what’s been happening with the two of us, what secrets I’ve been keeping from Dean, and something that’s been working really well for companies I work with. This is a really fun episode of Just the Tips that I think you’ll really enjoy.

An easy way to assess your company’s performance

Every business has five pillars that make it sustainable: marketing, sales, operations, delivery and finance. As a business owner, you need to take those five pillars, and rank them red, yellow or green based on how well they’re performing and how well they’re systematized. Red means you’re basically getting nothing out of your systems, yellow means it’s firing on all cylinders, and green means things are cooking. And what’s great is that you can take this framework, apply it to almost any business, and see right away where you are. If you’ve ever wanted a very simple and transparent way to immediately know where you need to improve your company, you need to listen to this episode of Just the Tips.

Simple is what gets people to use things

At the beginning of the year, both Dean and I talked about how we wanted to prioritize simplicity this year. And while the framework I talked about may simple, the fact is that simplicity is what gets people to use things, and simplicity is what gets people to understand things. Even just breaking things down and saying simply: Here are the five pillars of my business, that can help you identify the hidden structure of your company, and you won’t get lost in the weeds trying to identify what needs to be tweaked or improved. It’s something we’ve said often on Just the Tips but it bears repeating: Simplicity is king.

All of the pillars need attention

Dean actually shared a great example of what can happen when you’re not paying attention to each “pillar” of your company. When he made the transition from running his company out of his home into an office, he had built up a substantial cash reserve in the bank. But he had to spend that money to outfit the space, expand the team, etc., and that became the main focus. So the cash reserves started dwindling and as he said, all of a sudden he looked and realized they weren’t selling anything to replenish those reserves. It’s a great lesson in ensuring all of your pillars are systematized, and it’s a great story that Dean shares on this week’s Just the Tips.

Track your soldiers

Even though money is a huge part of why we all become entrepreneurs, it’s often the pillar that people avoid. I told Dean about an episode of Shark Tank, in which one of the sharks said he considers his money soldiers, and that he wouldn’t send his soldiers out unless he thought they could come back. And that is such an important lesson, you have to track your soldiers. You may be a creative entrepreneur, and that’s fine, but then you need to find someone who will handle your finances for you. As Dean says, this is a really value-filled episode of Just the Tips.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:15] The problems with podcasts
  • [6:36] James’s framework
  • [10:50] The power of simplicity
  • [14:43] Dropping the ball on finance
  • [23:00] The money is not sexy
  • [33:56] Dean’s grab bag

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Connect With James and Dean

James P. Friel:

Dean Holland: