Thanks to my key business advisors who have helped me build my business

I’d like to thank my key advisors…

In growing my business I have relied on the advice and wisdom of LOTS of other people. Some of those people are close to me, and they know the impact they’ve made. There are others whom I’ve never met, but their wisdom has nonetheless shaped the business owner that I am. I’ve never gathered all these people together, or taken the time to give them the thanks they deserve. Here’s one humble step in that direction:

Clients

Every client I’ve ever had has taught me something. Some have taught me hard lessons (like always get paid in advance). But each one has truly made me better at what I do. Diane Yetter is the client I’ve worked with the longest. We’ve re-invented her business twice! She has taught me to be a much better communicator; how to be really clear and concise. And, because of Diane, I’m a much better listener. I’ve learned to hear what is spoken on the surface, but also to listen and probe for underlying concerns, unarticulated desires. In her pursuit of excellence, Diane has taught me these important skills. Thank you, Diane.

Peers

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of two CEO roundtable groups: one C12 group and one Vistage group. Each group was instrumental in helping me overcome some tough challenges. My C12 group was there when I was moving from a “solo” business to building my team, and I got tons of benefit from thinking through how to do that with them. How to hire. How to pay team members. The folks in my C12 group helped me move out of my spare bedroom in and into a “real” office. I was able to see mature business ownes making all kinds of decisions – up close and personal. I was able to “grow up” some, in their good company. Their advise was key to my growth.

Later, I joined a Vistage group, where I met some other business owners who became key advisors. Ironically, the biggest impact that my Vistage group made was on my life outside of work. They helped me find resources when I had a kid crisis (and another…and another), and they supported me when I needed to be a better husband and father. This was only possible because Steve Larrick made it a safe place for us to go “beyond” our business issues and talk about our families, our health, and the “big things” – the things that matter most to us. I’m so grateful to that group; for all the support I received and for all I learned about supporting others.

Team

Each team member that has worked here has left his or her mark on my business; but Stacy French Reynolds has been with me the longest. Stacy has been the one to consistently challenge my thinking. Stacy values clarity – I value possibility. There have been a lot of points where my “possibilities” just didn’t make sense to her; and her questions forced me to make them more clear (or realize that she was right!). Stacy has also modeled generosity, and in that example, I’m inspired me to be more generous. Thanks so much Stacy; the impact you make is significant, unique, and very valuable.

Experts

The experts who have most shaped my business are people I’ve never met but who’s books, blogs, newsletters or speaking have dramatically shaped my thinking about businesses in general – and my business in particular. David Maister’s ideas about how to manage professional service firms are foundational to how I do business, and the principals I teach my clients. Alan Weiss taught me about how to be successful in a small consulting firm. Patrick Lencioni taught me new ways to communicate things I always believed to be true, but in a way other people could “get” it. His book The Advantage might be my favorite book on business management. There’s no room to talk about Verne Harnish, Jim Collins, Michael Gerber, and many others. I’m so grateful for all the wisdom that they have generously shared. Without them and their insight, my business wouldn’t be what it is today!

Friends

I’ve been lucky enough to make some friends in this business as well. Each of them is someone I can call when I’m having a bad day, or when I close a big new client. They are sure to congratulate me, or offer me a beer and tell me to get back on the horse (depending on what I need). They are people who care about me beyond my business; they remember to ask me about my kids, and my non-business pursuits. Susan Silver has been a constant business friend and a great listener. Andy Crestodina has been a faithful promoter; and he’s always encouraging me to do bigger things, inviting me onto a bigger stage. Becka Bates will always let me know where the dog died; she has generally kept me honest for many years. Being a business owner get lonely; I’m sooo grateful for all of you.

If you stop for a minute, I’ll bet that you can find 15–25 people who have all made significant contributions to the growth of your business. What if you stopped and sent them a quick thank you?

I bet they’d like that. And you’d feel great too.




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