Barry Smoltz shares the most common areas that get small business owners stuck. He has spent the last 15 years helping thousands of small business owners get unstuck and was once a small business owner himself.
Barry helps small businesses get unstuck by unlocking their hidden potential. He has written several books including How to Get Unstuck, Bounce! The Path to True Business Confidence and You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting Your Own Business.
Barry spent the first decade of his career working for IBM. He then left to work for one of his customers because he felt stuck at IBM. After a year, he was fired. He had a young family to support, so he decided to start his own business. He started, failed at, and sold several technology-related businesses.
He sold his last business in 1999 and decided to start a speaking and writing career that helps small business owners get unstuck.
Key UnStuckable Takeaway
Many small business get stuck because they don’t have a handle on their cash flow!
Whether or not you track your personal finances is an indication of how you will monitor the cash flow of your business.
Many small business owners make reaction decisions like spending money on marketing when they don’t have any sales instead of spending their marketing dollars more consistently.
One of Barry’s businesses once lost a million dollars because he didn’t know how to properly read a balance sheet. Do yourself a favor and learn how to read a balance sheet, as well as a profit and loss statement, so you can monitor what’s eating away at your cash flow!
Quick Action to Get Unstuck
Collect questions from your target customers.
Barry advises to start a business, not by building something that you want, but rather ask people what they want. You can do this by simply asking questions and collecting the answers about problems or challenges they want solved. Get started by:
1. Set up a meeting with just one of your target customers to learn more about their biggest challenges.
2. When you meet with them, first ask them about any and all challenges facing their business.
3. Then ask them about they daily challenges they face as an individual.
4. Finally, ask them what else they want to know about how to solve the problems they are facing and collect their answers.
If you don’t have a target customer in mind or don’t even know which industry you’d like to help, pick a business niche that makes you curious. At this stage it’s important to practice the exercise of researching a customer’s pain point. (Stephen and Chris researched 20+ business niches before we even started UnStuckable!)
UnStuckable Quotes From Barry
“You don’t learn how to get unstuck, unless you’ve been stuck yourself.”
“When you fail have a pity party for the first 24 hours, then think about what you can learn, but as soon as possible let go and take another action to give yourself another chance at success.”
“You can’t control other people’s actions, you can only control your actions.”
“If you focus on failure, you’ll only be a failure.”
“You have to have patient to build trusted relationships.”
“Business is not about ideas, it’s about the execution of ideas.”
“Sales is vanity and cash flow is sanity.”
“Test small to win big.”
“The nature of work has changed because people can now work from wherever and whenever they want.”
“People mistake being busy with being productive.”
“UnStuckable people cheer the darkness, recognize their failures and move on.”
More Habits & Actions
- Most small businesses get stuck because they only do sales and marketing when they have no business. They stop it as soon as they get business.
- Barry recommends positioning yourself as a thought leader and offering value to people. This way,when they have a pain point you can solve, they’ll think of you.
- Building a relationship doesn’t involve sending one email, it takes time to build trust.
- Small business owners need to identify actions that are eating away at their cash flow to stay cash flow positive.
- Take small actions in the beginning of building your businesses to test your idea.
- The night before you leave work, write down the two things you want to accomplish first at the start of your next day as a way to focus on quality work.
- Handle every email only once, so you don’t have to read them multiple times.
- Set some of your money aside to grow your business over the long term.
- If you aren’t balancing your personal finances, you’re probably not going to want to balance the finances for your business.
- Barry doesn’t think you can always learn from failure. When entrepreneurs can’t figure out what they were suppose to learn, it gets them stuck.
- When you start a business, Barry says, find an area you are passionate about, as well as work with people you can learn from and enjoy.
- Side business and side gigs can help you think more like an owner and less like an employee.
- Your individual value use to be tied to a large corporate brand, now it’s tied to your own personal brand.
- Pop-up retail businesses might be an alternative to starting a local brick and mortar business.
Questions & Feedback
Thank you for listening. If you like something you heard in the show, let Barry, Chris and Stephen know by tweeting us @unstuckable
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Thank you for for your support and let’s get unstuck!