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Dave Lukas, The Misfit Entrepreneur_Breakthrough Entrepreneurship

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the breakthrough entrepreneurship strategies and actionable advice to accelerate your success! The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncover each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now. Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!
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Now displaying: June, 2021

The weekly podcast with serial entrepreneur, Dave M. Lukas, devoted to giving you incredibly useful and unique insight from the world's top entrepreneurs with a focus on their non-traditional methods for achieving success, their Misfit side. Misfit was created to give YOU the best, actionable advice to accelerate your success!

The show's open format and Misfit 3 concept, combined with Dave's intuitive and engaging interview style quickly uncovers each guest's key tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can start using in their lives right now.

Learn more about the show at www.misfitentrepreneur.com and become a member of Misfit Nation by signing up for the Misfit Minute, the FREE weekly email with specific resources from the week's "Misfit 3," and actionable tips and items from the world of Misfit Entrepreneurs. It is delivered every Friday to your inbox!

Jun 30, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Jeff Lieber. Jeff is the founder of Turnkey Product Management, a boutique Amazon consulting firm, which helps brands at every level sell their products on Amazon.

Jeff started by selling his own products on Amazon and identified the fundamental strategies to help sellers to stand out among the competition and see their full potential on Amazon. TurnKey offers everything from Full-Service Amazon Account Management to Consulting to Amazon Ad Management. He’s been so successful that he’s been asked to work with some of Mark Cuban’s Shark Tank portfolio of companies and has helped clients go from $0 to $100k+ in one month in sales. His secret had been mastering Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising, key word research and optimization, listing optimization, and other areas that when put together give him and his clients a big advantage.

Amazon is one of the most accessible places to start or grow as an entrepreneur and I’ve asked Jeff to come on and share his secrets with you.

www.TurnkeyProductManagment.com/Resources

Jeff graduated college in 201o and got a job at a health care company in San Francisco. But, he had always been interested in entrepreneurship and been on the lists for some of the top internet marketers. In 2014, he saw an opportunity for Amazon where people where sourcing and launching their own products. That model made sense in that he could source a product and create a brand around it. He decided to take a leap and do it on the side. He started with “puppy training pads” of all things. He paid the bulk of his life savings for a container of it, $15000. He started out slowly but got better at marketing and soon had success. He then launched other products and after about a year, he had replaced his income and decided to focus on it full time.

A friend of his launched a product on Kickstarter that did well but were not having success on Amazon. They tapped Jeff to help, and he doubled their sales pretty quickly which led to more referrals and helped him build a consulting practice. He got overwhelmed and was stressed to the max. He decided to sell off the businesses and keep just Turnkey and focus on that, which he did.

Because he could focus, it really took off.

What does it take to become a successful Amazon seller and what are some of the best practices on how to do it well such as product sourcing and branding?

  • The people that build brands around something really care about and are passionate about and working to bring something unique to the market, do well.
  • Those that chase trends and hop around all time, don’t do as well.
  • You need to be passionate about creating awesome products and brands.
  • At the 11 min mark, Jeff gives an example of a client selling CrossFit products well.
  • On the sourcing side, it depends on what your product is. Supplements for example are a huge market with a lot of niches – but that is not something you would source from China. You would want to get the products from the U.S.
  • You can google suppliers for the products you want and find lists of suppliers.
  • There are product sourcing consultants that can help you and do a lot of the work for you and negotiate on your behalf.
  • Get as many quotes are you can, at least 5 suppliers and remember, it is all negotiable.
  • Alibaba.com is great place to find suppliers for any product you want to source.
  • You should request and check samples to make sure the quality is good.
  • There will be winning suppliers that standout.
  • Once you’ve picked one, then get the smallest minimum order you can negotiate to test with.
  • Then use Amazon FBA by shipping the product to the warehouse.
  • You are then in stock and can sell.

Branding Tips

  • You can have the best product in the world, but people can’t touch or feel it when shopping on Amazon. You need to create that experience for them on your Amazon product page.
  • You have about 1 minute to convince a buyer to buy your product. An optimized page does this.
  • #1 is amazing, professional photos for your products. Invest in this.
  • #2 is customer reviews. Reviews are king on Amazon, so you need to plan on getting to at least 10 reviews as fast as possible. Get creative.
  • #3 is having a real good title and sales copy. When you search on Amazon, all you see if the title, image, and price – so title is critical. Make sure to use all real estate available to you.

Share a case study of how you doubled sales with a client…

  • A newer brand that was back by a former NBA player.
  • They had done the work to make a good product and had gotten a number of pro-athletes to represent it.
  • But, it wasn’t a popular product at the time.
  • They hardly had an Amazon page. It wasn’t unique and didn’t showcase the product well.
  • Jeff and his team optimized the page and listing and focused on the strengths of the client.
  • They went through #1-#3 above and made sure they checked every box.

Any other tips?

  • Once you have products listed and optimized and gotten reviews, it’s time to turn on Amazon PPC advertising.
  • Most search results are ads. They don’t look like it because Amazon hides it well.
  • Amazon is 3rd largest advertiser in the world now.
  • The fast way to get visitors to your page is to run well-designed Amazon PPC campaigns and you can go very targeted and detailed.
  • Start with a small amount and grow it over time.
  • You need to do this and if needed, find an expert.

Any niches you see that are up and coming?

  • The health space is very big – diets like Keto, Gluten Free and others are gaining popularity.
  • People are niching down to the submarkets under these.
  • Make sure you don’t just chase a trend; you need to be passionate about it.
  • There are tools to assess potential for products on Amazon
  • At the 34 min mark, Jeff explains this in more detail.

Anything else people should know about selling on Amazon?

  • It’s an amazing place to be.
  • Amazon could be your best sales channel.
  • Don’t treat it lightly and just throw up a listing.
  • Amazon gives a snowball effect where it compounds over time and can grow to a 7-figure business within a few years.

What surprised you most on your entrepreneur journey?

  • The roller coaster and how extreme it can be.
  • The challenges, the mess ups, and mistakes.
  • It’s on you at the end of the day and you run into things you never expected.
  • But that is balanced by the freedom you get and the great things that happen. ​

Best advice for entrepreneur’s starting out today?

  • Thing carefully and take your time to pick the right one.
  • Don’t chase something just for the money.
  • Make sure you will be happy with what you are doing.

 

Best Quote: You can have the best product in the world, but people can’t touch or feel it when shopping on Amazon. You need to create that experience for them on your Amazon product page.

 

Jeff's Misfit 3:

  1. Life is short. We never know when it could be over, and it is precious.
  2. Make sure to enjoy each day. Meditate and take time to change your expectations to equal your circumstances around you. Realize how good you have it.
  3. Take a risk on what you want in life. It’s worth it.

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Jun 27, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! I am excited to bring a special weekend episode of the Misfit Entrepreneur. Occasionally, I find something I truly enjoy and when I do I like to share it with you. In 2021 I’ve started listening more to the immersive shows on Wondery. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to do so.

Recently, I was able to connect with them and they offered to share a small sample of one of their new shows with the Misfit audience and that is what I want to share with you in this short special episode because it focuses on one of my favorite topics – the stories, successes, and failures of businesses and what we can learn from them to help our success.

With that in mind, I want to tell you about a new podcast from Wondery featuring Marcus Lemonis called 100 Percent. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS is a masterclass, cocktail party, and Sunday drive wrapped into one. If you are thinking you’ve heard the name before, that because you probably have. Marcus runs a fortune 500 company and is host one the most successful business shows on TV. In his new podcast, he talks with exceptional entrepreneurs such as Kathy Ireland, Charles Barkley, and many others about their businesses and how they got started. He asks entrepreneurs if they know their numbers: revenue...sales...gross margins...But the numbers are just one part of the equation. On the show, they get personal. Marcus digs deep and understands the stories behind these companies. Where did their idea begin? Who inspires them? What are their goals? He’ll identify what they're doing right and he coaches them on what may be holding them and their business back.

Some of his celebrity friends stop by to offer inspiration, advice and sometimes...tough love. Friends like Kirsten Bell, Howie Mandel and even Gayle King. Together, they’’ll help entrepreneurs identify what they need to do to take their business to the next level

You’re about to hear a preview of ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS. While you’re listening, follow ONE HUNDRED PERCENT WITH MARCUS LEMONIS on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or listen early and ad-free by joining Wondery Plus in the Wondery app. Just go to wondery.fm/100PercentMisfit.

Enjoy!

Jun 23, 2021

Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!" In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.

"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at support@misfitentrepreneur.com. We’d love to share it.

This week’s Lesson for Hannah

Hannah,

I recently re-read the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book is a metaphor for one of the most important journeys of life – finding and pursuing your highest purpose. It is written as sort of a fable of a shepherd boy who leaves behind the trappings of comfort and what he knows to pursue a dream, his dream, to find a treasure. He goes through many twists and turns, challenges, and has to overcome internal strife and the urge to quit and delay gratification many times to make it through the journey. In the book, this journey is called realizing your personal legend.

What I love about it, is that #1, the book is very accurate about this journey in life and #2, it presents great wisdom and lessons that are needed in life.

Let me share what I mean with some quotes from the book.

“Dreams are the language of God.” How true. When we dream (not so much the dreams of sleep), but when we dream of pursuing something great. Something seemingly beyond our capacity and even comprehension. When we have that vision and it keeps coming back to us in our lives, I believe that is one way that God speaks to us and shows us what is possible for us. And sadly, most do not listen. How many never realize their true potential and possibilities simply because they did not act on their dreams.

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So, it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” If you think deeply about this quote – it is about that voice inside you that is telling you what you know you need to do. Our heart and soul will guide us if we desire something enough and steer us in the right path if we are willing to truly listen to it. And same as with the last quote, sadly many do not listen. They do not listen because of fear. They do not follow their dreams because of fear. They are afraid of failing and possibly losing what they have. In fact, in the story, the shepherd boy loses everything he has multiple times and each time he is faced with a choice to give up and quit or accept something less than his dream. And each time, his heart tells him he must keep going and because he keeps pursuing his dream and listening to his heart, his soul, and the language of God, the next quote happens.

And that is “When you want something, all of the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Hannah as you go through life, you will understand this more, but when you truly desire something that is good and true, it is amazing at how the universe opens up ways for you to get it. What you focus on truly does expand in your life. And God told us this in the bible in Proverbs where it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Listen to your heart and pursue your dream and you can and will get it. You will have to overcome many things in your way, especially fear, but if you keep pursuing and resolve to not give up, even if setbacks take you off track for a while, you will get there. In fact, the shepherd boy after one of the times losing all of his money, works for an entire year in little store in a town, in a foreign land, where he was a stranger and did not even speak the language - all in order to get back on his feet. And in doing so, he helped make the store more profitable than ever, making himself more money than he had lost, and learns many valuable lessons that he uses down the road to reach his treasure and fulfill his personal legend.

Speaking of personal legends, the next quote I want to share from the book is “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” I agree with this in principle but would add that to “realize one’s destiny in the context of serving God and being right and true by his word is our obligation.” But the point is the same. We all have a great purpose in this world from the God that created us, and we need to fulfill it. In fact, another quote from the book states, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.” The world is a huge place, and it can feel like each of us are just there, but everything we do has an impact and when we pursue our dream guided by our heart in a good and true way, we play our central role in the history of the world and become that which we were created to be.

Lastly, another theme that is quoted throughout the book is “Maktub, it is written.” This quote references that everything that happens, happens for a reason and is pre-ordained or written by God. Every choice we make, every decision happens because it is supposed to in the grand context of the universe. We may never understand it all or why, especially when bad things happen to us, but that is a question that only God can answer and someday when you meet God, he will. The lesson from this for me is to trust in God and trust in the bigger picture. And I have seen this throughout my life. The story of finding you and us becoming a family is a great example of this. Everything that had to happen for us to become a family had to happen exactly as it did, good, bad, and everything in-between. It was a journey, a dream of all of ours that was just and true that we pursued until we fulfilled it together.

Hannah, there are many more lessons, but if you can understand that you must listen to your heart and God’s voice in your biggest desires and dreams, and then pursue them because they are good and true to the end; the universe will help you realize them and fulfill your personal legend, or legends, because Maktub, it is written. It is your obligation to realize your destiny and play your central role in the history of the world. I know you will and cannot wait to watch you do so!

I love you,

Daddy

 

Best Quote: To realize one’s destiny in the context of serving God and being right and true by his word is our obligation

 

Misfit 3:

  1. Read the Alchemist one a year and make sure you are on the path to your personal legend or legends.
  2. Listen to God’s voice in your dreams and what your heart tells you is just, good, and true.
  3. Keep going, no matter what happens – keep the desire alive in you.

 

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Jun 16, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Greg Salsburg. Here’s the first line from his online bio: Greg Salsburg has been ostracized by society since birth and became a disappointment to his family and all those who came in contact shortly thereafter. His freakish nature, early adoption of donning loud footwear and love for all things “Seuss’ian” made him a pariah on the playground.

Intrigued? How could you not be?

Greg is the CEO and Founder of STiR Communications. STiR-communications is a business consultancy firm that leverages the ubiquitous channels of distribution to advance clients messages and bottom line objectives.

Greg’s success has spanned decades and is truly impressive working with everyone from Four Seasons to JP Morgan and even having Muhammed Ali and The New York Yankees as clients. He’s won countless awards and has been a 20 under 20 recipient, 30 under 30 recipient, and 40 under 40 recipient. How’s that for consistency. Although his forward facing role is directing STiR-communications strategic and creative forces, it’s his transformational work with business leaders behind the scenes; through his mindful practice and real word acumen, that has earned him the nickname the “Consigliere Consultant.”

But, for Greg it was not a straight up rise to success. He was a multi-millionaire who lost every penny and had to re-invent himself. He did this by embracing humility and seeking wisdom. It’s this journey and what he learned and put into practice to create his success 2.0 that I want him to share with you today.

Greg started off in news and sports in New York and with NBC TV and sports. He transitioned from there into marketing because it just wasn’t fulfilling. He met someone who was starting a business called Café Hollywood which was later changed to Planet Hollywood and became the worldwide director of marketing and public relations.

This changed the trajectory of his life. Greg had a unique ability to communicate, and it shined through. It was a leap of faith to go from journalism to marketing at a global level.

He was always very impressed with those that had an entrepreneurial spirit and could build and create something from nothing vs. seeing it and reporting on it from the sidelines. This eventually led to him creating his own marketing and PR company after his success and learning journey at Planet Hollywood.

At one point you had everything and were living a rockstar lifestyle, then lost it all. What happened and was there a moment or an epiphany that changed everything?

  • When Greg was at Planet Hollywood, it was more than a restaurant – it like running a Hollywood studio and he was surrounded with stars and agents every day.
  • He went on to work in Motown and run 6 Flags Amusement.
  • He was in the right place at the right time, but felt he had a bit of imposter syndrome.
  • He grew up with professionals that had very little failure, but not much risk taking.
  • When he started to taste his first bit of adversity, he crumbled. He didn’t know how to handle it emotionally.
  • He went from not having any failures, to having a larger one and the good money after bad to try and save it, but he was blinded by arrogance from his previous success.
  • He went from great wealth to losing it all.
  • Now, through the journey he has been on, he has gained it back “20 fold in all areas of life.”

What did you learn on the journey and what did it teach you?

  • People tend to believe success is bi-fricated into power and wealth.
  • The truth is that is a 3-legged stool and the greatest component is the “emotional balance” needed alongside the other two areas.
  • If you are not in tune emotionally, it doesn’t matter how much power or wealth you have, it will never be enough.
  • Your EQ cannot be out of balance as you cannot operate in a peaceful manner.

EQ is misunderstood and not thought about that much.  Define it for us and then tell us more about the 3 areas we need to understand.

  • When Greg was living the rockstar life, it seemingly was good and more was better. But, it was almost an angry position that it took to get it and maintain it.
  • Emotions were never talked about and it was about the “grind.”
  • There was a feeling that if you worked more and slept less, you were better or more successful.
  • Any emotional talk was dismissed and repressed. It was not “manly” to talk about it as it meant weakness.
  • Greg new this was wrong. He could feel it to be the missing piece, so he started to learn and study more about emotion and consciousness.
  • He watched the towers drop on 9/11 from his balcony, he realized that the world would never be the same and how fragile life was and it was this realization that spurred him to change and help others in a bigger way with life mission. He pursued who he knew he should be.
  • Consciousness is the key to living a good life and being your best self.

How do the 3 areas intersect with EQ?

  • At the 21 min mark, Greg talks about “PE Ratio and what it really means and its impact.” It’s best to listen.
  • With the pandemic, it caused people to have a reset, but the truth is that we’ve had a pandemic all along that has been widely ignored, which is an emotional disservice to ourselves and those around us. We have ignored the internal workings of ourselves. It is real and measurable and we need to do better.
  • VUCA- Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This is part of life in all areas, but how do we deal with it better?
  • We offset volatility with a vision. Vision changes volatility.
    • Understanding changes uncertainty and makes it easier. Take the time to truly understand.
    • Clarity will help with the complexity.
    • You need agility to offset ambiguity.
  • ¾ of all health issues are caused from stress. People are not tuning into the areas of consciousness they need to deal with stress in a better way and leaders need to foster this.
  • Feelings/emotions are personal to each person, but understanding them and learning to work with the better is key to a better life and leaders must take time to understand help people in this area and they have to start with doing this themselves in order to be effective.
  • The CEO needs to also be the Chief Emotional Officer.

One of the things I like about your messaging is the blend being bold and audacious with a hint of sarcasm and comedy – is that the secret to standing out in today’s world?

  • It comes from being authentic. Authentic is what helps you standout.
  • You must find your honesty and authenticity and move it away from the center to the edges where the most excitement is.

Explain the significance of why STiR is spelled the way it is…

  • Greg wanted to be the opposite and deliver a different product and stir things up in the marketplace
  • But he did not want to make it about “I,” but “WE.” So he made sure the “I” was a lot smaller in the name because it’s not about him.

What are the elements of a great communication strategy?

  • A great strategy is not a one-size fits all.
  • The companies that have the best strategies are not trying to be like the others in their marketplace.
  • Companies that stand for something and have a mission and weave that into everything in a deeper, more connected way with a smaller, devoted tribe win.
  • Those that really tell a story and remove the hypocrisy of business.
  • The medium (humor, seriousness, etc.) will be different for each one, but it all comes down to emotion and tapping into it.

Any company really doing it well?

  • It was different pre and post pandemic.
  • One that is doing well is Danny Meyer. They are doing an amazing job in hospitality post pandemic.
  • Hospitality was hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Danny stood up for his people and go out and explain publicly why it was so important to get help for the industry and not lose the vitality and backbone it provides to the American economy.
  • He was also on the front line in NYC helping businesses with way to keep going and stay in business.
  • He believes people matter, caring matters, and showcases it throughout his restaurant group. When the chips were done, he put profits aside for people.
  • It is conscious leadership at its best

What is the changing dynamic of business and important to understand post-pandemic?

  • Retail has accelerated at least a decade in some ways to a demise, but others adapted in big ways where they had not or were not willing to do so.
  • Consumers now have the power.
  • The workers have much more of a say and much more power.
  • It’s not a top-down approach anymore.
  • With the ability to work from anywhere and now the proof that it works, the talent pool is now far great for businesses. But, it is also a much great flexibility for workers and consumers.
  • The means leaders must be in tune with the areas that matter most with the people they deal with on a regular basis or they will lose them.

 

Best Quote: You must find your honesty and authenticity and move it away from the center to the edges where the most excitement is.

 

Greg's Misfit 3:

  1. Be a go-giver, not a go-getter.
  2. Your mind must be stronger than your feelings.
  3. You must hustle and work smart, but don’t just simply be grinding or you’ll be left with dust.

 

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Jun 9, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Alicia Jarrett. Alicia is your quintessential entrepreneur. She is an international real estate investor with offices in Australia and the US, an educator, and founder of multiple companies including SuperCharged Offers and Global Citizens HQ which includes multiple other brands in its holdings.

She left a 6-figure job to start her own businesses and as she says “build something great.” And now years later she has done so and has also founded groups to foster women in leadership around the world. I can’t wait to dig into all of this with her and get her best advice on how to succeed in real estate investing, so let’s get to it.

www.Superchargedoffers.com

888-538-5478

alicia@superchargedoffers.com

Alicia and her partner Matthew have had great careers. Alicia was in HR and consulting for 18 years and Matt has a background in global transportation and systems. Things were going great in their 6 figure jobs. About a decade ago, Alicia started thinking there was something bigger she should be doing. Why was she there? Why was she was in this job? She loved what she did, but knew there was something bigger out there. So she started a consulting practice focused on leadership and developing people. At the same time, Matt and Alicia were doing some real estate investing. Investing in Australia was much different and limiting compared to the US.

They were doing fix and flips and rentals, but asked what could do they by combining their skills and building something bigger for themselves. The goal was to build a business they can do anywhere in the world. They ended up landing in the US doing fix and flips from Australia. They had some successes and some failures.

They then worked to combined their talents utilize data in a bigger way. They figured out a process for how to wholesale land and invest. As they had success, they decided to go further and better automate their marketing and lead generation creating their SuperCharged offers platform. This led to other businesses being created to help build their companies as they are today.

Tell us about your strategy, system, and what you do…

  • Land Scouts is a business that buys off market land usually from estates or that people have owned for long periods of time and have not done anything with it.
  • A lot of realtors don’t want to deal in land
  • There is a need for a service to help sell the land and/or get problems fixed so the land can be sold.
  • Alicia will buy and hold and/or buy and flip.
  • They also help with financing working the seller and seller financing.
  • The Supercharged Offers business helps generate the leads for the land deals.
  • Alicia and Matt are obsessed with data and have developed a science on gathering and filtering the data to find the best opportunities.
  • They then market through omnichannel to those opportunities.
  • 6 D’s- Data, Direct Mail, Digital, Design of everything in the language of the customer, Demographics, Done for you.

This discussion is the bulk of the episode, so it’s best to listen…

What is your take on the current real estate market?

  • It feels like history is repeating itself.
  • Alicia is doubling down and marketing hard.
  • Alicia is using data to help with market sentiment looking at the last 2 years of sales trends.
  • The market sentiment is shifting with people paying more and more above market value.
  • Getting good properties is harder because the sellers are in control, so you really need to be looking at the data to adjust offers accordingly.
  • Traditionally 10% of people in the US move every year…that has changed and is a higher percentage during Covid
  • The trend is out of the cities and to find more suburban life.

What are you doing to prepare for when this real estate bubble ends?

  • You have to look at pivoting your strategies
  • You cannot do nothing.
  • You have to be prepared.
  • If you wait to act, by the time the shift has happened, it is too late.
  • Demand will shift as those that wanted to get land or move from the cities will and that demand will dry up. ​

Tell us about the B-RAFT method for leadership…

  • People don’t leave jobs, people leave people.
  • B- What are the clearly defined boundaries for your team. The boundaries that help them grow and develop.
  • R-Right relationships in place
  • A- Accountability. Put processes in place to define and drive accountability.
  • F – Feedback. You have to be good a giving feedback as a leader. Feedback is not always about telling someone. It is about a leader asking good questions.
  • T- Trust. This is the basis of a team. Empower people and set expectations.

 

Best quote: Do things that scare you. Do the things that make you cringe a little.

 

Alicia's Misfit 3:

  1. Never, ever stop learning. Put your learning into action.
  2. Do things that scare you. Do the things that make you cringe a little.
  3. Listen to your gut and your inner voice.

 

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Jun 2, 2021

This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur Alan Payne. When I say Blockbuster Video, what comes to mind? If you are younger, you may be saying “What’s Blockbuster video?” If you were around through the spectacular rise and fall of Blockbuster, you are probably thinking something along the lines of colossal failure. At one point, Blockbuster was the pinnacle of entertainment where everyone went on a weekend evening to rent a movie.

And most think that the downfall happened because of Netflix and streaming and the company not adapting to the new world of content. While those things had an impact, the real reasons started much earlier and Alan Payne was there. In fact, Alan was one of the most successful franchisees and his stores outlasted Blockbuster’s bankruptcy by over a decade. They did so, because Alan realized the company was Built to Fail and decided to run things differently drawing on his storied history of success in business. In fact, his book is called Built to Fail, which tells the story and lessons learned from the failure of Blockbuster as well as what Alan has learned on how to succeed in business over his 30+ year career.

I’ve asked him to come on the show and share his story, his experience, and wisdom and how you can use it succeed where others have failed.

Book: Built To Fail by Alan Payne

Alan didn’t come to own a business in the traditional way. He was working for a grocery company called HEB in Texas in the 80’s. HEB is regarded as one of the best and most well-run companies in the nation. At the time, they were looking to add video rental into their stores as it was becoming almost an expectation of customers. But HEB had decided to take things further. Blockbuster was just starting out in the mid 80’s and because HEB owned so much real estate, Blockbuster wanted to lease space from them. HEB decided to do it themselves and have their own brand called Video Central. They tapped Alan to lead it.

They opened the first Video Central store right across the street from a Blockbuster. It was the first video store run by a mature, capitalized company with a massive track record of success. Video Central was very success against Blockbuster doing 3x the sales of an average Blockbuster. Alan grew the business to 35 stores and then HEB decided to sell it to focus on the grocery business. Alan left with the stores and joined a Blockbuster franchise group with stores from Alaska to Texas.

Within a few years, in 2000, he got the opportunity to buy the stores and did so running them for another 18 years outlasting Blockbuster by almost a decade.

All of this was due to using a business model that he developed at HEB.

The reason he wrote the book was that what he saw from 1993 to ultimate demise of Blockbuster was frustrating as it could have been avoided.

What really killed Blockbuster? Why was it built to fail?

  • At the 8 min mark, Alan talks about the early days of Blockbuster success, but after the initial entrepreneur who drove it to an $8 billion valuation left, how it cratered because of terrible leadership.
  • The company was so obsessed with growth, they never took much of an interest in being really good at what they did and as such got outdone by Netflix, Redbox, and others.

What did you do differently that allowed you to outlast and survive and thrive where Blockbuster didn’t?

  • They were obsessed with being a little bit better every day.
  • They looked at things like a business of abundance and had better availability and selection than anyone else.
  • Alan committed in his stores to have more inventory, so his stores did not run out of titles as easily.
  • They also tracked and matched demand better than Blockbuster.

At the 16 min mark, Alan talks about how Netflix and Redbox came to be and how Blockbuster missed out because of complacency when it was right there for the taking for them.

  • Netflix beat Blockbuster by focusing on movies (90%) that were older and that people still loved – not new releases.
  • They then tracked the data created profiles of customers to match up their interest and market the movies that fit them and their profile.
  • Complacency and apathy internally killed Blockbuster.
  • Blockbuster also took a market share hit from Hollywood video in the later 90’s and then Netflix came along, then Redbox, etc. And with Blockbuster not willing to change, the end was inevitable.

What were lessons learned from HEB on how to run a great business?

  • Attitude. “We will be the best, period. One can of corn sold at a competitor down the street is one too many.”
  • The service and dedication to giving clients the best deal.
  • HEB had much more advanced systems for tracking what was happening in stores. Blockbuster was archaic.
  • The HEB experience is an X-Factor. It’s an obsessive commitment to excellence.

You covered several important lessons in Built to Fail, share those with us…

  • Clearly define your company’s purpose and mission. What is your purpose in your community, in society? You have a responsibility to be the best.
  • Identify what really drives your business and pursue it relentlessly. Book: Measure What Matters. You have to work hard in the right areas.
  • Respect and learn from your competitors. “Our competitors will accept failure as an inevitable result..” There is no way we will let them do it better than us.
  • If you are going to do it, be the best at it. Don’t “get bigger at it,” get better at it.”
  • In difficult times, rely on fundamentals to survive.
  • Don’t just talk about the future, plan for it.
  • Great companies create the future, they don’t wait for it.

These lessons/principles are what Alan applied to his business to make it so successful. Talk about when you finally had to close your stores and any lessons learned…

  • It’s important to learn when it is time to throw in the towel.
  • Blockbuster filed bankruptcy in 2010 and Alan had not even closed a store.
  • But the brand got beat up through the bankruptcy and was tarnished.
  • It was an uphill battle, but sales continued to slow and erode.
  • Alan ran it profitably for several more years while closing and consolidating stores.
  • Alan made sure to take care of all the employees to the very end and did keeping all salaries intact, etc. ​

Any other advice?

  • It is fun to continuously get better. That is the challenge of running the business, the fun part – how do we get better tomorrow?
  • It is the motivating factor.

 

Best Quote: It is fun to continuously get better. That is the challenge of running the business, the fun part, constantly asking – how do we get better tomorrow?

 

Alan's Misfit 3:

  1. Have a healthy skepticism of people in power. Respect them but be willing to challenge them in a healthy way.
  2. Create the future. Don’t follow, lead. Great sustainable companies create the future.
  3. Tap into the compound rate of return from continuous improvement getting a little bit better every day.

 

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