page title icon Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset: How to Think Like a Real Entrepreneur

If you want great success as fast as possible, stop trying to grow your business. Learn how to create wealth by generating more from less in the right way.

You may be running a company right now and you’re calling yourself an entrepreneur. That’s great, but do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

What’s the difference between the two you may ask?

Depending on how you think, you might be running a business that simply earns the least possible margins on a transactional basis, or a business that knows how to leverage the true worth or value that its products and services bring to the market. Read on and I’ll explain more.

Let’s start with defining what an entrepreneur is. An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business.

An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that enable people to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings.

In short, “entrepreneur” is a title that easily gets thrown around by anyone. Being entrepreneurial is an attitude. It’s the behavior that separates out the ones who are truly successful, and it’s being entrepreneurial.

I don’t care what your title is right now, but you need to start to be entrepreneurial.

You need to develop this entrepreneurial mindset in order to build a highly profitable, fast-growth company. And Kent Billingsley, helps you do that.

Kent grew up in Evansville, Indiana, with three siblings. An older sister who is an English professor at a college in Florida and two older brothers. The oldest was a music prodigy and became a music producer, and the other started his career in the casket manufacturing business.

He grew up in a wonderful family. The only challenge was with four kids; his father’s salary, being a school administrator, didn’t stretch. The family had all the basics; however, there was little money for fun with four kids. Necessity became the mother of invention. He didn’t know what it was called at the time, but learning how to earn triggered Kent’s “entrepreneurial spirit”.

Being an entrepreneur started at an early age for him. At 11 years old, he taught drum lessons to six students and had a lawn mowing and log splitting service. In addition, he ran a lemonade stand on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons right next to a golf course for several months. He made so much money that it was shut down by the city twice (no permit), and the golf course owners complained he was stealing their bar sales.

Because of his entrepreneurial success as a youngster, he decided to go to business school instead of architectural school, and he graduated from Indiana University in 1982.

His career has involved brands like Pepsi, Frito Lay, EDS, and Micromuse, where he applied his years of business optimization knowledge and experience to grow the company from $2M to about $38M in 2 ½ years.

He’s retired twice, once in his 30s and then again in his 40s. And has now helped transform thousands of organizations (entrepreneurial, corporate, profit, non-profit, religious organizations, to local, state, and federal agencies).

KENT IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF ENTREPRENEUR TO MILLIONAIRE – How to Build A Highly Profitable Fast-Growth Company and Become Embarrassingly Rich Doing It. It is a four-phase, sequentially principled recipe for creating wealth inside a business and not lift a finger doing it. Mark Cuban read the manuscript and liked it so much he wrote a one-and-a-half-page foreword saying, “This is a must-read book. I wish I would have had it when I started.”

Kent Billingsley is known as America’s Revenue Growth® Architect and is an international keynote speaker, published author, and business transformation expert, having delivered over 10,000 hours of content all over the world.

He lives in a suburb outside of Dallas, TX, called Coppell. He is married to Terri and has a son in Scouts, along with two cats, a dog, and gecko. His family hobbies are air tent family glamping (luxury inflatable tents from Europe).

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @KentBillingsley get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“A small business owner looks at a problem, sees a company doing it, and says, ‘I can do that too.’ An entrepreneur looks at a problem, and looks at everybody doing it, and says, I can do that different.’” – Click to Tweet

“What really separates somebody out is how they see the world. Are they aspirational? Are they running a business or are they on a mission?” – Click to Tweet

“Every business leader and the employees, you’ve got to be looking at the marketplace problem that you’re solving today and start to predict where it is going and how you can evolve before you have to.” – Click to Tweet

“If you truly want to optimize, you have to go back and say what is the problem my business is solving?” – Click to Tweet

“What is a fundamental marketplace problem? It’s something in the marketplace that is either broken, underserved, or is an opportunity.” – Click to Tweet

“If you want great success as fast as possible, stop trying to grow your business and learn how to create wealth by generating more from less in the right way.” – Click to Tweet

Advice for others

Be entrepreneurial.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Continuing to craft my message. Making my value proposition clearer and clearer.

Best Leadership Advice

Create the system where your people can be successful.

Secret to Success

Complex problem solving.

Recommended Reading

Think and Grow Rich

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Entrepreneur to Millionaire: How to Build a Highly Profitable, Fast-Growth Company and Become Embarrassingly Rich Doing It

Links and Resources

Kent’s website: 

Kent’s LinkedIn: 

Fast Leader Show on YouTube: 

Fast Leader Show on Apple Podcast: 

Fast Leader Show on Facebook:  

Fast Leader Show on Twitter:  

Fast Leader Show on LinkedIn:  

Check out other episodes on business and entrepreneurship: 

Rate, Review & Subscribe To The Fast Leader Show Podcast

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode! If the information in our weekly conversations and interviews have helped you in your journey, please head over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the Fast Leader Show, and leave us an honest review.

Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing people just like you!

Show Transcript

[expand title=”Click to access unedited transcript”]

Jim Rembach (00:00:00):
Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today. Who’s going to help us to improve our value proposition, dramatic green increase sales, revenue, and profits, without spending more money, hiring more people or working more hours. And if those things are of interest to you, you absolutely want to listen and watch this entire episode and share it with your colleagues. Cause I have Kent Billingsley on the show with me today and kit Billingsley well grew up in Evansville, Indiana with three siblings, an older sister who was an English professor at a college in Florida and two older brothers. He grew up in a wonderful family. The only challenge was with four kids. His father’s salary being a school administrator didn’t stretch. The family had all the basics. However, there was a little money for fun. With four kids, necessity became the mother of invention.
Jim Rembach (00:00:50):
He didn’t know what it was called at the time, but learning how to earn triggered cancer, entrepreneurial spirit, being an entrepreneurial, being an entrepreneur, starting at the age, early age of 11 years old, it taught he was able to actually teach drum lessons to six students and had a lawn mowing business and log splitting service. In addition, he ran a lemonade stand on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons right next to the golf course for several months, he made so much money that it was shut down twice by city officials because he didn’t have a permit. And the golf course owners complained because he was stealing their bar sales because of his entrepreneurial success. As a youngster, he decided to go to business school instead of architectural school. And he graduated from Indiana university in 1982. His career has involved brands like Pepsi, Frito-Lay EDS and micro muse, where he applied his years of business optimization in his business unit to take it from $2 million to about $38 million in two and a half years.
Jim Rembach (00:01:49):
He’s retired twice once in his thirties. And then again in his forties and has now helped transform thousands of organizations, entrepreneurial organizations, corporations, profits, nonprofits, religious organizations, local state, and federal agencies. Kent is actually the author as well of entrepreneur to millionaire, how to build a highly profitable, fast growth company and become embarrassingly rich doing it. It has a four-phase sequentially principled recipe for creating wealth inside of business and not, and, and to not lift a finger doing Mark Cuban, read his manuscript and liking so much that he wrote a one and a half page forward saying this is a must read book. I wish I would have had it. When I started Kent. Billingsley is known as America’s a revenue growth architect and is an international keynote speaker published author and business transformation expert, having delivered over 10,000 hours of content all over the world. He lives in a suburb outside of Dallas, Texas called Capella Kotel, and he is married to Terry and has a son in Scouts along with two cats and dog and a gecko. His family hobbies are air tent, family glamping, which is luxury inflatable tents from Europe kit Billingsley. Are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Kent Billingsley (00:03:06):
I’m so ready? What a great introduction. Thank you so much.
Jim Rembach (00:03:09):
Well, you know, I, you and I have had a great discussion already off Mark, and I’m looking forward to actually us pulling this, um, Oh gosh, this wealth of information that you have to share on, uh, to recording. So everybody else can listen to it. So before we get into all that discussion, if you could help us understand how, what you’re going to share with us today is going to impact the customer experience.
Kent Billingsley (00:03:34):
Yeah, the, uh, the whole focus of this book is not about wealth. It’s not about money. It’s, it’s about really money being the by-product or being in parallel with delivering extreme value to your clients, to your stakeholders, to your employees, to the community. And so, um, uh, although that’s, the title is kind of focuses on money it’s really centered around, are you solving problems in the marketplace? And that’s a, that’s a whole chapter on why should you even exist and where do you bring value and is your value proposition unique? And so it’s interesting when I work with clients, my first questions are all about, uh, the marketplace you’re you’re, uh, who you’re selling to in marketing today. Um, and they want to tell me all about their company. I’m, I’m saying I don’t care yet. Let tell me about who you’re trying to satisfy and who you’re trying to solve and, and who are you trying to help create wealth inside their business?
Kent Billingsley (00:04:30):
And so that’s really the focus and maybe someday I can write two or three books just on that topic. Um, where I found the problem for most, uh, business owners and entrepreneurs and companies all over the world is they’re actually pretty good at that. They offer great products and services and they deliver tremendous value propositions. They’re just terrible at turning it into money. They’re, they’re terrible at understanding how do you convert, um, the, the, our products and services into the most, uh, profits and cash and sales possible. So they end up, and this is really an interesting phenomenon. Most companies end up trading their products and services and time for dollars with the lowest margins in a transactional basis, even though they think it’s relationship oriented, it’s a transactional basis and they never understand how to leverage the true worth or strategic value of the impact, their products and services bring to the market. And that’s really how I, I, um, I had that conversation Mark Cuban 15 years ago and he goes, can I agree? And I said, Mark, I’ve got a few case studies as I get more and more case studies, I’m going to write a book on this topic and this subject. And he looked at me and he said, when you write that book, I’ll read it. And if I like it, I’ll write the forward for it.
Jim Rembach (00:05:46):
And that’s what he did. That’s what he did. And I think you bring up a really good point because we throw around the world, the word entrepreneur in a lot of different context and a lot of different ways. And you know, some people may think, Hey, that’s the rebel in the nomad and you know, the creative innovator and, you know, it’s that person, but that’s not what you’re saying in this book. You actually have a definition that you clarify the back of the book about what is an entrepreneur. But I think it’s important that we discuss that right now in order to set the stage for the rest of the conversation. So Ken, what is an entrepreneur?
Kent Billingsley (00:06:22):
Yeah. And that was a question that, uh, originally when I was working on the book for the last, what, 18 years, and, um, then writing it [inaudible] for the last three, um, was as I kept researching and saying, well, what is an entrepreneur? What’s the definition of my entrepreneur? My last blog was what, what makes an entrepreneur successful? It’s not what you’re told or sold. And, and so one of the big ahas that I discovered is I, I looked back through the 10,000 hours of delivery and thousands of clients, session notes, I’d taken every session. Uh, what I started to discover was entrepreneur is really kind of a title or a role or maybe a tag. Um, but it never defined those people in our programs that were phenomenally successful. And it really separated out the people call themselves this title. They give themselves this title, this young risk taker, this, uh, tech entrepreneur, this, you know, we, we, we have kind of this definition and I’m saying, well, first of all, that’s a title or a role, but the real behavior is what separates out the successful ones and it’s being entrepreneurial.
Kent Billingsley (00:07:33):
And what I mean by that, and I describe a few examples and this might be my next book is understanding and explaining the difference between an entrepreneur being, versus being entrepreneurial. And, and my point there that I’d need people to know. And I want your listeners to understand, because you have to be entrepreneurial today. I don’t care what you call yourself and I don’t care what your role is in a company. You’ve got to be entrepreneurial today. And so it’s easy to say an entrepreneur is a risk taker or a problem solver. Well, they are, but you have to understand that they’re a creative problem solver. Every we set everybody solves problems all day long. My wife solves problems. I watch my 11 year old solve problems, but it’s a creative problem. Sovereign, an example of that, and the premise of the whole book is, well, how do I solve complex business problems without spending money and without adding bodies.
Kent Billingsley (00:08:25):
Now you’ll never get a job in the government thinking like that. But then in private business, you have to understand how to do that. And that’s how you’ll rise to the top. And that’s how you’re going to have a very long career, even in tough times, because you know how to solve problems without spending money, without burning through people, without grinding yourself out or abusing your own health. And, and so, um, there, what I discovered in my process analyzing thousands of people meant through our programs. What was it that made ones so successful? They generate millions of dollars so much faster and put some of that money in their pockets for themselves and their employees it’s because they were truly entrepreneurial. Uh, and, and another example of that is not just creative problem solvers, but, uh, they took calculated risks. There’s this old, you hear these, uh, take all these risks.
Kent Billingsley (00:09:16):
You gotta be a risk taker and learn how to fail and all that stuff. I can’t wait until my son comes to me and goes, dad, I’m going to be an entrepreneur because I learned how to fail in school. I I’m going to lose it. Um, I don’t know where this stuff comes from. You gotta be a calculated, a risk taker and understanding what are the risks? What’s the scope of the risk? How do I mitigate the risks? What are risk prevention strategies? You have to understand things in a 360 degrees versus just throwing these flippant terms out there. Like, well, you gotta be passionate. You gotta be persistent. It’s all about personality. It’s all about this learning how to fail. No, uh, you actually have to be a creative problem solver. Um, uh, take calculated risks. But another big one that I discovered that was interesting.
Kent Billingsley (00:10:00):
And I, I ha I, I lived this with the book coming out is you’ve got to be a thirsty learner, not somebody that reads or take notes or goes to seminars. There’s everybody does their own zoom seminars all day. Now, no, a thirsty learner is somebody that’s trying to absorb concepts. They’re trying to gain insights, not learn facts and figures. And, and it was interesting that like with this book, when the manuscript was in a certain condition, I sent it out to about 25, 30, uh, clients, friends, associates, people I worked with in different organizations, but I only sent them half the book because I didn’t want the whole book floating on the internet. And it was interesting about four or five of them came right back to me within 24, 48 hours ago. Whereas the other half I’ve got to read the other half.
Kent Billingsley (00:10:46):
Here’s the, all the notes I’ve taken, I’ve highlighted all these concepts. There’s so much good here. Where’s the other half. And those four to five people are the same ones that are running really successful businesses right now. And the others are having running good businesses and they’re good business people. And I love him to death as friends and clients, but they’re not the ones optimizing their businesses right now. They’re not the ones creating the most wealth because they’re not the thirsty learners. And that was, so that was another aunt, uh, attribute of, of being truly entrepreneurial versus just calling themselves an entrepreneur. And, uh, I probably identify, uh, I’m trying to remember 12, 15, maybe 20 different kinds of attributes, not, not the traits like characteristics and personality and, and all those kinds of high drive and motor and discipline. I mean, a lot of small business owners have all those things, but being entrepreneurial.
Kent Billingsley (00:11:37):
And I want to go back a real quick, I want to touch on another point we met, you may ask me about, but somebody was asking me the other day about problem solving. And I said, yeah, a small business owner looks at a problem and sees a company doing it and says, you know what? I can do that too. An entrepreneur looks at the problem and looks around and everybody doing it. So I can do that differently. And to me that that’s that big aha moment of what really separates somebody out is how they see the world. Are they aspirational? Are they, are they starting running and growing your business? Are they on a mission? And those are the kinds of things that as whether you’re a leader or you’re an employee, you have to think entrepreneurial today because we are all in this together and that’s, what’s going to separate the winners and the losers.
Jim Rembach (00:12:24):
Okay. As you say that, I started thinking about my own career, working within an organization and had, although probably didn’t have the good buffer, um, when it came to, Hey, I can do that better, or we can do that better. And I would just say, Hey, you know, this is what I see can happen. It needs to happen. And it just ruffled way too many feathers. Right? And so, I mean, I found myself being in an organization that didn’t want that. And so, I mean, for me, what is it that I needed to conform, or I needed to find other organizations, bastard, which, which was it.
Kent Billingsley (00:12:59):
It’s so interesting. As I talked to a lot of people day, they’re reading my book, they’re following my book. And especially salespeople. I tell them, you want to work for a company that believes in these philosophies, you want to be associate in a culture that believes in this philosophy of setting everyone up for success. You want to work for leaders that understand it’s not about more, for less grinding people out and abusing relationships and doing whatever it takes to make a number you don’t want to be in those kinds of companies. So, so if, if you’re following what, I’m, what I’m sharing in the book and this roadmap, if you’re following an ad and you’re a cultural misfit in your company, you may either have a talk with them or walk away because they’re, they’re just not on the right. They’re not on that sustainable path of delivering the greatest level of value to the marketplace, making the world a better place and helping everybody share in the wealth doing it. And that that’s, to me, that’s the only kind of company you want to work for today.
Jim Rembach (00:13:56):
Well, and what’s, you’re talking about is identifying a company that has, has the characteristics for business growth. Then you talk about that the, the model of business growth today is fraud. So why, why is it flawed and how is the model today flawed?
Kent Billingsley (00:14:12):
Yeah. When I actually started this and I want to go back, cause it ties these two pieces together. I was in it working in a large corporation. I was doing some sales methodology implementation, Salesforce optimization. I can use the big words because I was in a big company. Right. And, um, it was interesting that came to me and they said, Hey, this is great, what you’re doing, but we want you to form a team and go back and look at the whole enterprise to see, are there ways to optimize and bring this all together and, and be more successful. And so I formed a team and I went back into business units. They were averaged about a billion dollars in size. Thousands of employees. What I uncovered and discovered through working with several of those organizations was there was this mantra or core strategy around grit.
Kent Billingsley (00:14:58):
And it was bigger business group. How, how do we, if we’re a billion, how do we get to 1,000,000,005 or four, 800 million? How do we get to 1.6 billion? It was, it was this whole bigger thing, which was the goal. And in a public company, you know, you, you got to hit your revenue and profit numbers. I get that, um, where the flaw was, and this was 1995 where the flaw was and what they wanted me to uncover or help figure out was the whole philosophy was more for more so to get more, to grow bigger, to grow faster, to grow more revenue, w we’ve got to hire more, uh, we’ve got to work more, we’ve got to add more products. Uh, we’ve got to add more employees. We’ve got to do more marketing. Uh, we got to do more training. We’ve gotta add more management.
Kent Billingsley (00:15:44):
And so to get more, we had to add more. Now here’s the flaw that was 25 years ago when it was flawed. And it’s even worse today when you add a lot of good things. So when you add more revenue, top-line when you add, uh, maybe more profit, uh, you add a lot of bad things. You had more infrastructure, you had more employees. You had none. I don’t mean it poise or bad. What I mean is when you’re adding them and you’re creating bureaucracy when you’re at it having to add so many that you’re adding more later. So management you’re meeting away at your cost. Um, when you’re, uh, when you’re adding more contracts and clients, you’re adding more infrastructure, more support, more, uh, locations more. Now those would send us. And I remember many people tell me, well, Kent, that’s the cost of doing business.
Kent Billingsley (00:16:26):
You just need to understand that. And I said, well, I can’t tell you how many times when somebody would tell me, you just need to understand that is when I thought maybe I don’t, maybe there is a different way. Maybe there is a better way. And so I worked with those organizations and we uncovered and discovered. There were ways to generate a lot more of the good things without adding the bad things. And this is what I call revenue growth. And this is where you’re scaling revenue against an asset. And what I mean by that is, is that, so if, if a company has a client to, to generate more business, they go get another client and then they go get another client. And what I’m saying is, well, have you maxed out your relationship and penetration with that client and has that client bought everything you had and are they under an agreement or contract forever, or do they stay with you forever?
Kent Billingsley (00:17:18):
If not, why not? Because it’s going to cost you that. And everybody, you know, the numbers eight to 10 times to go get that next client. And then you lose one out the back door while you’re chasing one in the front door. And I just go why, and, and even my business, and I look back and I track these numbers closely, uh, my high intensity ramp program after the first few years, I think clients were staying in at around nine months. On average today, we’ve had clients in our ramp program for eight years, 10 years, um, and they don’t want to leave. And so I don’t have to turn on more marketing and sales. I don’t have to go burn profits, uh, to make money. I don’t have to spend money to make money. And that’s really the premise of revenue growth is you’re scaling against an asset.
Kent Billingsley (00:18:01):
And I use lots of examples in the book I talk about, you know, where a sales person in one case has a $750,000 quota. Well, to generate five to 10 million, I’m going to need 15 to 20 salespeople as opposed to following these principles. Uh, everybody working together, the whole enterprise being leveraged, we help one salesperson sell 13 and a half million dollars. Uh, Oh my gosh, I just saved eight categories of costs, times 10 to 15 people. Uh, that could be several million dollars, which is pure profit. And, and, and so we want to learn how to rev, uh, grow revenue against every asset. You have, every product you have, uh, every client, uh, every employee, everything you have, you want to generate more from that existing asset. And when you do that, that’s actually how you create wealth. That’s how you protect profits. And that’s how you generate higher.
Kent Billingsley (00:18:56):
You, we should be, if you’re doing it right, you’re gonna generate higher margins and protect your profits. There’s a, there’s a double, a way to, uh, increase your cash. And, and, and that’s what I call creating a wealth. And that’s the mindset that, that very few people understand. They, they, they just use the, the exchange, the words, but they don’t understand the principles. And so I’m on this crusade or mission to help people understand, you know, what, if you want a great success as fast as possible, stop trying to grow your business and learn how to create wealth by generating more from less in the right way.
Jim Rembach (00:19:33):
So, I mean, it’s, it’s a modern age business acumen, right? I mean, but even when you start talking about the whole investment, um, let’s just say ecosystem, you know, it is get your funding scale up, right? It’s Hey, I need to add more SDRs and BDRs. Hey, I need to add, you know, I need to add, add, add, add, add, and that’s not the case. Um, you’re, you’re saying that there needs to be a little bit different approach to,
Kent Billingsley (00:19:56):
Well, see, and this is where the nuance of the word scaling means. I can add capacity. I can add more people. I can increase my sales head count. I can penetrate more markets. Um, that, that is a form of scaling. And what I’m saying is you’re scaling against an asset at a, in other words, has your store location maximized all the sales possible using the fewest resources, it’s that gap that actually creates wealth. And so, uh, we threatened, this is where we just throw those words around and, and, and interchange them. But when we really understand the nuances of the words and, and, and scaling up versus scaling against are two different concepts, for those that are listening and want to understand this. And, and here’s, here’s, what’s interesting. And I want to get this point across. You can run a great business by adding, you can add, uh, run a great business and make money, uh, by growing your business faster and getting it bigger.
Kent Billingsley (00:20:56):
But you know what, at the end of the day, most leaders really don’t want a bigger business. They don’t want a lot more employees. They don’t want a lot more client headaches. They don’t want those things. They just take them on, and then they absorb it in the toxicity of their organization, or they take it on with the stress of their health. What I’m saying is why not have what you really want? You want a, not a better organization, but an organization that generates more cash cashflow cash on hand working capital, and you don’t have to work any harder.
Jim Rembach (00:21:26):
Well, you’re saying that’s what they want, but then you also talk about leaders being, um, a bottleneck. Um, you talk about them, um, you know, being barriers and roadblocks to success. What well, how so if they want these things.
Kent Billingsley (00:21:42):
Yeah. And, uh, over the two and a half decades, I’ve been doing this inside companies and then running my own company. Um, I’ve identified about 22, what I call change resistance issues. And, and there, there are so many, and I share in the book that you’re going to have, you’re going to hit change resistance issues on the outside and on the inside. Now, most people think that the change resistance issues are the biggest on the outside, actually they’re on the inside it’s and I’ll give you the greatest one of all. And this is what kills most sales careers. And this is what kills most companies being optimized or generating all the profit they could and should is they’ve had success doing it the old way. And, and, and, and if you’ve, you know, for here’s a, here’s a cliche, sales is a numbers game. So if it took you 10 calls to get through to make that one sale or are whatever your ratio is, then you’ve got to make 20 to get to, and you’ve got to make 40 to get four or so on up the, up the ladder.
Kent Billingsley (00:22:43):
Um, where’s the problem defendant that hadn’t scale on any level of any kind, um, you, you can only work so hard. You can only manage the efficiency side so hard. You’ve got to work the effectiveness side. And so the sad part is most leaders might be my age or older or a little younger. They’re living off the paradigms from the end of last century coming into this century. And here’s the thing. They worked a lot of these paradigms spend money in a mega money, or a, uh, sales is a numbers game, or a lot of these cliches, those work last century here. Another example is, um, aggressively market sell your products and services. That was a wonderful paradigm. And it was a best practice in the 1960s today. Today, if you’re aggressively marketing and selling your products and services, you’re making so many mistakes. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is. First of all, you’ve got to learn how to create demand today. And you’ve got to leverage your whole enterprise doing it. And number three, uh, the marketplace doesn’t care about your and services. They only care about the impact. So you’ve made three major mistakes right there, and you’ll hear people out there, consultants and coaches telling you will get out and market or get out and sell your products and services. And I’m like, wow, there’s three major flaws from a dinosaur that you’re probably paying to tell you to do it. I’m sorry.
Jim Rembach (00:24:05):
Well, I think, but part of this also, as I mentioned before, is, you know, customer experience being so important. I mean, putting a part of this sales activity, this marketing activity, this retention activity, I mean, it’s really, you know, uh, having these organizations work in a way by which they are, as you call optimized, you worked at a big company. You can say that. And so you have sit and you have systems and frameworks, and you talk about that. So if you can’t explain what that is and what it needs to be today for us to be optimized appropriately, because you call it blueprinting optimization.
Kent Billingsley (00:24:40):
So, uh, and that’s one of the latter chapters because, uh, I get to the clients to come back to me on their second, third companies. I’ve helped them grow out. Their first I’ve sold, retired for awhile. I’ve got their golf index down to zero and then come back, okay, I’m ready to start again. What do we do different this time? And I said, well, we’re going to start optimizing, where’s it gonna start blueprinting from the start? And, and what I mean by that is, and I’ve, I’ve been a chief strategy officer of a billion dollar tech services company. I’ve done strategic planning and levels that are, you know, it’s cost a million dollars to develop certain strategic plans. Um, I’ve also been trained and certified in organizational design and some very heady concepts. That’s not those two, what blueprinting optimization is, is saying, how do we, uh, not a vision again, either.
Kent Billingsley (00:25:22):
How do we, uh, consistently transform the areas of our business to stay ahead of the curve? And what I mean by that is, um, at one of the earlier chapters is what’s called an FMP or fundamental marketplace problem. That’s the reason for being, and that’s the reason to exist or to come into existence. However, literally every FMP evolves changes or goes away. And I, and I use for, uh, uh, examples of pizza companies and pizza models, how each one came along and said, man, this is a multi-billion dollar growth industry. How do I get my fair share? Well, you don’t be me too. Cause there’s, there’s a lot of me to pizza places that never got anywhere and you see the one or two stores and that’s it, but now how do these others come along and come out of nowhere and take on the pizza hut, Goliath or the dominoes?
Kent Billingsley (00:26:15):
How did they come in and just start gobbling market share? Well, they came at the FMP from a different angle and they looked at and said, wow, okay. So, uh, we can attack from this angle and still go after this red ocean market, we’re just going to, uh, solve the problem differently in the way the market wants it today. And what I’m saying is you’ve got to build that into your model now forever because FMPs evolve, they go away. Uh, they come back in different fashions. It’s interesting watching the pizza companies today, what’s been the big evolution for pizza companies is they sell other things beside pizza. They sell spaghetti and pasta and sandwiches, uh, because the, the FMP of pizza, um, has been saturated, not just the industry and the cheese, but it’s been overwhelmed with competition to where, okay, now we’ve got to evolve.
Kent Billingsley (00:27:08):
Well, those products are rolling out and who is a pizza that just rolled out a brand new product. They probably wouldn’t work on that for five years, 10 years, uh, in the fast food industry. And I love that fast food. I love the pizza industry. I love these industries where you, where you’re surviving on a Penney’s or even mills of pennies, because that’s where the brilliance and the great thinking comes from. So it’s interesting now that the great thing and the McDonald’s, the burger Kings and those, the chicken Wars, I mean, you, you know, th these are burger joints and the big thing right now is the chicken Wars. They’re all coming out with their different kinds of chicken sandwiches. McDonald’s has had a chicken sandwich they’re coming out with three new ones. Well, they didn’t decide that a year ago or two years ago, they’ve been mapping this for 10 years and evolving and tracking the market and the focus groups, well, most small businesses can’t afford, uh, that kind of testing and evaluation, but it’s no different than my business.
Kent Billingsley (00:28:06):
I’ve been working on this book for 18 years. Uh, really finally decided three years, three years ago to commit to it. As I watched the publishing industry evolve, I didn’t want to bring this out six years ago or eight years ago because the industry was still evolving and it was really on a flux. And, and so, um, every business, every business leader and the employees, you’ve gotta be looking at the marketplace problem that you’re solving today and start to predict where is it going and how do you evolve before you have to? And I’m one more quick example. And I’ll just share with you that there are going to be car manufacturers in the next five, 10 years. Aren’t going to make it because they couldn’t convert or shift to the electronic engines or the electric engines fast enough. And at the same time, you see somebody else comes along, Elon Musk and says, you know what, why don’t I just start with electric cars?
Kent Billingsley (00:28:57):
Now? Here’s the crazy thing about it. When the automobile industry actually started, they were electric cars, but the batteries couldn’t last and they wouldn’t go very far. So they switched to internal combustion engines. Well, we’ve done full circle now 150 years or so later, we’ve done full circle now where everything’s going to be electric engines and BMW. And some of these counties have said, we won’t produce, uh, internal combustion engines anymore. We’re going completely electric. Well, they’ve been evaluating that five and 10 years, uh, to prepare. So I just, I press on everybody. I put that into chapter because I get the companies to call me. There are 10 million, 50 million, a hundred million, some of these billion dollar companies, they go, wow, we’ve hit a plateau. We’re struggling now. And all that I said, yeah, you stopped evolving. You, you, you got happy or you got, uh, satisfied station. You got lazy. And the market left you. And, and, and now where do you go? And in many cases you can’t catch up the retailers, they can’t catch up. It’s gone.
Jim Rembach (00:29:57):
There is, um, you know, a lot of people don’t see growth, uh, in its proper context. So you have growth coming from disruptors, but then you have growth also coming from acquisition. And so a lot of the growth when you start looking at it in, in the, the business marketplaces is really it’s debt capitalization. You know, they’re buying other companies and that’s how they’re, you know, increasing their, their company size. But I don’t want to, you’re, you’re getting into some really, really deep subjects and topics here. And I want to make sure that we don’t breeze past the critical importance of the FMP, because for me looking at the FMP, it was like, ah, I mean, it’s that constant daily reminder from a client service perspective, from a marketing perspective, from a sales perspective that I have to always be focusing in on that fundamental marketplace problem. It’s not about features and benefits. It’s not about, you know, a lot of these other things that we often see it’s the FMT. So please explain what that fundamental marketplace problem.
Kent Billingsley (00:30:59):
And this is one of those things that, um, over my years, decades of doing this, uh, the roads kept leading back. I typically get the phone call from the CEO for two reasons, are the entrepreneur. The business is saying, Hey, we’re, we’re not growing fast enough to where we should be, or we’re growing fast. And when we want to grow faster and, and I, and they call me and I said, well, what do you think is the problem? And the answer is almost always something in sales or marketing, and it’s the Salesforce, and they want to hire more sales management. They want to rotate out their people. They want to train them more. In most cases, it’s tortured. And, and, um, and, and I, I come in and take a look. I talked to him on the phone. I said, many times I can just look at their website.
Kent Billingsley (00:31:43):
And I said, but your sales marketing is not your problem. That’s not the root cause. That’s a symptom. And, and, and, and it’s why that I want to throw some statistics out that are just amazing, that, that we found over time, 67% of sales and marketing, um, uh, costs and expenses are a total waste of resources and time, uh, two thirds. And I’m, uh, I’m actually going to say this, I’ll say, I rarely say this, the numbers closer to 80%, but that’s so high. Nobody would believe it, but, but I have the stats and the figures and the reasons to support that. But two thirds, it, so if you’re in a business right now, you’re running a business, I can, I can walk in your business and pretty much guarantee you two thirds of what you’re doing or spending on sales and marketing is not going anywhere.
Kent Billingsley (00:32:24):
Matter of fact, it might even be damaging your brand. Okay. And, and, and why is that? Well, it’s not because of social media platforms and digital marketing, and you might even be doing physical or traditional advertising. There’s three forms of, of marketing. The problem is you’re not connecting with why anyone should care that your, your, your whole, um, reason for being is not anchored or tethered to something that people really care about your offering, what somebody else’s or you’re doing, what someone else is. And so now you make the buyer try to make a choice. Well, okay. You look good. But I think as a buyer, I think I’ll go with lowest price or biggest brand, which are usually the two worst reasons to ever buy something. But as a buyer, it’s like, I don’t know any better. You all sound alike. You all say the same thing.
Kent Billingsley (00:33:17):
And so I’m just going to default to safety either it’s low price and I saved money and I pay the risk, or I go with the big brand and I got somebody that can Sue. If it fails, that’s the mentor. And we let them do that. And so, um, what I’m saying is you’ve got to start back with the beginning. If you truly want to optimize, that’s create all the wealth that’s possible in your business, using the resources you have, you have to go back and say, um, w what is the problem? My business is solved. And, and I’ll, I’ll use own personal example, because I think it’s so important, uh, for, for experts that are call themselves experts to eat their own dog food. And that’s one of the test when you’re hiring an expert say, well, how do you do this in your business?
Kent Billingsley (00:33:56):
How have you used this? So when I started my, uh, business transformation, uh, from 2002 around that area, I looked around and said, what’s the biggest problem. What’s the fundamental marketplace problem, uh, with consulting coaching training services. And the number one issue is nine out of 10 consulting, training, coaching efforts, or projects fail. Th th they don’t, they don’t move the ball forward. They don’t provide a return. Uh, there’s no, uh, sustainable transformation. They’ve got, what’s the reason for that what’s real cost re cost, accountability, and implementation. And, and, and the way the big consulting firms make their fortune is they, they low ball to get in and look around at what you’re doing. And then they hit you with these amazing a hundred thousand quarter million million dollar fees to help you go implement. And people were like, Oh, gosh, I can’t afford that.
Kent Billingsley (00:34:43):
And I’m a, or I’m a, you know, I’m 5 million or $10 million business. I don’t have a quarter of a million dollars to do the implementation. And so I came along and when I built my model, I said, I’m going to solve that with my model. You’re not going to pay me a quarter of a million dollars. What we’re going to do is we’re going to work month by month. And, and, and under no contract, and you’re going to pay a small fraction of that number. If you like to work, we keep working together. And if you pay, if you don’t pay up, I don’t come back. Uh, but w but we’ll work together and I’ll, I’ll do it over time, but I will be inside your shop and I will hold you accountable. And I will do the implementation. I’ll bring you the templates and tools.
Kent Billingsley (00:35:16):
I will actually give you my intellectual property. If you’re in my program, I will give you my tools. I’ll give you my black box. My consultant said, Oh, no, never ever do that. I said, yeah, but that solves their problem. And they told me, well, that’s not, you’ll, you’ll not make a lot of money that way you’ll lose your clients. Just the opposite hip people kept coming back, or they never left because I’d say no, I’m going to help them. I’m going to help them with the fundamental marketplace problem. And that is, they can’t get it implemented. They can’t get through the change resistance issues. And I’ve been doing this for years, and I’ve got the strategies to get through, but to go back and explain what is a fundamental marketplace problem, it’s something in the marketplace, uh, that is either broken or is underserved, or is an opportunity.
Kent Billingsley (00:36:01):
And what, and what that means is, um, there’s something out there. Well, you know what, let me give you a story, because I think this is a great story and how it turned out. So, uh, I had workshop, uh, and, uh, this lady came up to me. She goes, I’m marketing officer of this I’m chief marketing officer of this company. And, um, here’s what we do. And I said, okay, great. She said, I’ve got to have you meet my CEO and the team, because what you’re talking about is exactly what we want. We, we, we need guidance on how do we grow and scale and make money from this thing. So I go into their offices and I meet the owner’s name was Ben. And I said, Ben, tell me what’s going on here? And then he shared, and he goes, Ken. I was down in Houston and, um, it’s Friday evening.
Kent Billingsley (00:36:42):
And my son had their championship soccer game. And I, and I left the meeting. I’m in a rental car and I get to one of the toll booth. This is w uh, I’m trying to think of 12 years back, 10 years, 12 years back. And he goes, uh, I was forced over into the cash lane and there was a really long line. And, um, I can’t remember if he didn’t have enough cash or he didn’t have a check or whatever, but he got stalled there and the line just move like snails. And he goes, Kent, I missed my plane. And, and, and my son cried that I didn’t make his championship game. And he said, because he said he was just so distraught of being a, trying to be that great dad and earn a living that, but because he couldn’t get through the toll booth and he goes, I’m leaving Microsoft, my company, I formed this team.
Kent Billingsley (00:37:30):
We are going to solve the problem of why can’t rental cars get through toll boosts without stopping and having to pay or write a check or give a credit card. And he formed a company called rebuttal, and he shared this story with him. And I said, beautiful you. I said, you are so spot on. And so we talked through it, we worked through it. We build out the models and all that stuff. And, uh, this is one of those cases where it was so powerful because, um, not only did he get it and dev who was the, uh, CML, but, uh, Ben told the rest of the team. He goes, we’ve been trying all different ways to grow and scale this thing and make this thing happen. Uh, we’re going to follow Kent’s way. We’re, we’re all doing it his way. We’re gonna try it.
Kent Billingsley (00:38:11):
And, and we’re going to get on this path of learning and understanding revenue growth, versus just trying to grow this thing. And that’s the path and we’re committed to it. And if you’re not on board, you can, you can leave now. And I have time. I left that meeting that day and I said, that’s, that’s my perfect client profile is they understand where I’m coming from. They heard me speak at a workshop. They listened to my material. They bought in my philosophy and they said, we’re committed to this path. We’re going to it and see where it goes. Well, they were pre-revenue. I thought they had some money, but I found out later, Deb told me they were pre-revenue. And just a few years later, they sold for 12 to $15 million by solving a fundamental marketplace problem, that there was no technology to get rental cars through, uh, the toll booth.
Kent Billingsley (00:38:53):
And, and, um, so the point there is that there are, there are FNPs all over there. More FMP is fundamental marketplace prompts today than ever. The trick is. And when I shared the chapter is how do you frame it? It isn’t a problem that has any scope and scale, uh, is that, or is it a want or a need, will, will people pay you for it to fix it? Uh, or is it an irritant? Uh, you’ve got to work through that, uh, process and then the next step, the next chapters. So how do I build a unique model to solve it differently than anybody else? And then the third chapter after that is, and how do I make money doing it? But that FOP is the cornerstone. And here’s the point. And I want to preface this with your listeners is you have to go back and look, Oh, every one to two, few years, an anchor back and say, is that still what’s most broken today?
Kent Billingsley (00:39:45):
Are there a hundred competitors doing it? And do we have to pivot to a different way to solve it? And, and, and, and so, um, your FNP is kind of, if you have, if you think of, uh, the entrepreneur has the seed and the idea, you gotta think of the FMP as the soil, it takes both the soil and the seed, and then the nurturing to bring it to life and grow and scale it. And so, um, I hope that’s a good definition and an example, a story of what an FMP is, and that’s where you anchor and then start to unlock, uh, the revenue and sales and profit potential, um, because you have a serious reason for being that people want to understand, and that then ripples into your value proposition, your model that helps answer a thousand questions and growing and skills.
Jim Rembach (00:40:34):
Well, in addition to what you’re saying is, is that no FMP is being revealed by your existing customers every day. And this is one of the things that would talk about coming from the contact center world is, is, you know, we have all these interactions that are happening and, and these days they’re not the simple ones, they’re the complex ones. Cause the simple ones are being washed away, you know, and those FMPs are part of your value proposition. And the unfortunate problem is, is that most organizations just see it as a process. And, and you will hear it all the time with people in frontline, they’ll say, Oh yeah, we’ve been taking and fixing those problems for the past couple of years. Why w why would you still fixing the same things from two years ago that should have been a product. It should have been, you know, an opportunity for you to get more revenue sharing and deeper pockets. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that we’re just missing opportunities on it. I think that’s part of what you’re talking about as well. And let me add one more thing to, because again, it’s so
Kent Billingsley (00:41:34):
Important. I eat my own dog food that the first few years in my business, it was, it was fast growth. Everybody wanted fast growth. They were good times, right. Um, but then we had the, the, you know, that was post tech wreck. And then we had the 2007, eight, uh, financial crisis. Now the COVID crisis, there’s a different FMP today. It’s not, not, uh, I want to do more and I want to spend more it’s I got to do more and I don’t have any money. And so the premise of the book and my timing was to try to meet the market where it is today to say, look, I, I want to help you make money and not spend any because that, because the FMP is different today. So many companies, they don’t have any money there. They’re running on fumes. And these, these government stimulus checks can only go so far.
Kent Billingsley (00:42:17):
And now business owners and leaders and employees are saying, Oh my God, I’ve still got to generate business. I’ve got to bring in clients, I’ve got to make money, but I don’t have a dollar and I don’t have an hour. And I don’t have, I cannot bring on more head count to do it. So, so that, that FMP has evolved. And, and this is where I’m trying to meet it with my product or my book, my roadmap, to help people understand that. And that’s, and that’s the evolution. And my prediction is that that will be the future that you, as a leader, if you understand that, that process of more from less in the right way, not grinding people and burning out relationships, but more from less in a scalable way. And if you don’t learn how to make money without spending money, uh, your job or role as a leader might come to an end.
Jim Rembach (00:43:04):
Okay. So I think it’s also important to clarify, because for me, I needed it to cause because oftentimes, especially the world that I come from, they talk about doing more with less. So what is the difference between doing more with less and getting more from less?
Kent Billingsley (00:43:19):
Yeah. That you’re not, and I have to hear how someone would actually say it in a sentence, because arguably you could say the same thing, but what I want people to learn the way I’m saying more from less than, and actually want to rewind a little bit, because we’ve been using more from less than the bad times, that times are tough. Right now, I was through the SNL crisis. I went through then in the nineties, we had some crisis financial constraints. Um, that was more from less where I was trying to squeeze more out of an employee. I was trying to work on harder. I gave him two jobs instead of one. Um, I slowed paid my vendors. I, in other words, we were doing all these things to get more out of, out of, out of, uh, less, uh, uh, our assets. What I’m trying to share with people is I want you to learn how to scale against an asset.
Kent Billingsley (00:44:04):
So in other words, the example I used earlier of a sales person selling 13 and a half million versus just meeting their quota and I’m having to hire 10 more. Well, this sales person didn’t have to work any harder. They didn’t have to call on more accounts. Uh, they didn’t have to make more calls. Matter of fact, when it is, I created the system, the whole enterprise around them to help them. And I’ll give you a great example of that. When I say sales and marketing model is a throwback to the 1960s. What I’m saying today is every organization in your enterprise should be, uh, responsible for helping create demand marketing. And some people do sales, but I I’d like to see marketing be accountable. In other words, if we should be generating leads from different parts of our organization, support delivery and sales and marketing, and from strategic partners, we should be generating a demand and leads from all those sources.
Kent Billingsley (00:45:00):
And then marketing is the clearinghouse and accountable to make the number that the company needs. We’ll see that that’s, that’s so anti the departmental model, the silo model that we’re all under today. And I walk into groups today and I, they have people, they have salespeople in complex sets. Now complex sales is different. There’s two sales environments, simple sales and complex sales. So complex sales, you’re working in three, six, nine, maybe 12 months on a particular opportunity. And you can only really manage two or three or four of those, depending on the complexity of the cycle or the, or the type of if it’s government versus business. And then the company wants the sales person to be generating leads and Mandarin. I’ve been there back to my early career. It’s like, well, we want you managing these amazing complex sales with all these moving parts.
Kent Billingsley (00:45:46):
They’re more complex than ever. And sometimes like government, there’s actually two sales cycles. You gotta, you gotta make a vendor approval list before then you can go start the sales cycle. And, and I’m, I’m sitting here going well, first of all, you want to know why you can’t get more sales people, or the ones you’ve got are leaving because they can’t do that job. There’s no way you can work complex sales and do a properly and have high win rates. I had 70 80% win rates for years because I said, I’m not going to generate more leads. I’m going to go close the business. We have, uh, and not take the risk. Now I could generate some, but I, I didn’t spend so many hours a day because you have to, you have to bring home what, what you, uh, and, and, and so what I’m saying is I need every part of the organization to help create demand, and then help convert it.
Kent Billingsley (00:46:32):
Now, I gotta add this caveat because I’m just a fire in my last three HVAC companies, because of this. I’m not saying everyone in your organization should sell. And, and one of my last HVAC companies who I really liked on the way out, uh, the engineer or the service technician, you know, we give them all these titles, the service technician turned to me and wanted to walk through their, their, uh, maintenance program. And they had it all laid out and he had practiced his spiel and all this, it, it was so icky and awkward for me and him. And I said, thank you. I think you’re a good service technician, stay out of sales. And he kind of turned his head of me and realized that was really a yucky situation, because what they were doing was that they were saying, okay, now you’re a service technician, and we want you to be a salesperson.
Kent Billingsley (00:47:22):
What a conflict of interest, what an amazing conflict of interest, what, when, when I’m struggling to trust these HVAC, uh, on their own. And now they’re asking them to be salespeople to, uh, I G I get that you’re a small business, but follow my book. And you don’t have to have your service technicians be salespeople because it’s icky and sleazy, cheesy and greasy anyway. And I’m mad because I just couldn’t take those guys coming in and making a sales call at the time they were doing maintenance or fixing something. I just said, I don’t need this. I don’t want this. And so my point being is, I don’t want anybody, everybody in your organization selling, we, we don’t need more salespeople. We don’t need more sales calls or sales presentations. What we need are more problem-solvers. We need people to be more entrepreneurial, um, and, and, and work to put the client first and help the client solve their problems.
Kent Billingsley (00:48:13):
So my, uh, back to, but you do need every part of your organization creating demand, and you need every part of your organization helping support, converting demand into new clients, cash and contracts. So I hope I’m real clear on that because I hear people that are miserable. Well, you know, I need my sales people generating leads, well, maybe on a simple sales or transaction sales, they have the time and can, but if they’re in complex sales, you need your whole enterprise. And if you don’t, you will never come close to optimizing the growth sales, revenue, and profit potential of your company.
Jim Rembach (00:48:43):
Yeah. I mean, to me, when you’re talking about that, I start thinking about, uh, the level of, of maturity and sophistication of the way that the development end of that is put together. So for example, in customer service, if you are going to solve a customer’s problems that may involve some selling activities, right? It just may, um,
Kent Billingsley (00:49:01):
I, I prefer to say it provides some leadership opportunities. So in other words, let me, let me walk you through the different ways you can solve this without us, or doing it on your own, or if you hired another company, or if you chose us, let me share with you all your options and choices selling is when I’m the option and you need to buy it for me. Th that that’s where I struggle. And I, and I don’t like, uh, the language of, well, you need to be consultative in your selling. Well, I don’t know what that means, because in most cases that’s hijacked. It’s a, it’s a perverse way of using language to still be manipulative. And I probably, I probably just offended a lot of people, but you know what, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and I know I know the right and the wrong, but, but here’s, what’s interesting.
Kent Billingsley (00:49:44):
All buyers are thirsty for leadership. What are my options and choices if I don’t use you, where could I go? How would I do it so many times, I’ll, I’ll turn to people. And here’s my comment, con contractors and, and people I’ll just say, I understand it’s broken. I understand you can fix it. What would you do if it was your money, what would you do? How would you fix it? And then I have this conversation with my car dealers all the time with taking my car back in and you know, something’s happening. And one of the cars is out of warranty now. And I go, how would you fix this? And it’s interesting, how eight out of 10 times I go, well, what I’d really do is, or I wouldn’t do that part. Now I do this part, but only because I ask them, and then I’m sitting back going, well, that wasn’t the leadership I was looking for, that you were selling me versus leading me and, and, and people don’t like being sold and we don’t need more salespeople out there.
Jim Rembach (00:50:34):
Well, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. So it’s the right mindset, the right approach. It’s the right, you know, I mean, you know, doing in a manner by which it actually elevates the trust. I mean, all of those things are critically important and then mean you’re right. That is what people look for. And the simple way is being low skill, uh, just being very responsive and reading the script and saying, Oh, they’ve got this problem. You need to sell them this, this, this, this, and this. That’s where that’s where you have some issues. Um, and so, yeah, I mean, I think the leadership is a very important word now. Okay. So when we start talking about the process and you mentioned how important it is to, you know, be sequential in this is to be highly profitable and growth. You talk about breaking it into four phases, revenue, ready market, ready, go to market, ready, and then own the market.
Jim Rembach (00:51:18):
And we’ve had a conversation that really has hit all of those. I’m not going to break those down at this point because we’ve had a great discussion and people need to read the book. Matter of fact. Um, and we’ll you, and I need to talk about you coming back on the show because, um, the depth of what you’re going into is so valuable in so many ways that we need to explore some of this a little bit further, but I want to go into one of the core pillars in all of this. And we’ve kind of hit on it on a little bit, and I want to be a little bit more succinct before we move on to our hump day hoedown. And that is you need people, you need people to be able to, um, have the success that is sustainable. You know, we may be able to do some things in the short run, um, but in order to be successful in the long run, and you even talked about burnout in this to any other, we have to have people to do it. You know, now we talked about optimization because I’ve heard other experts talk about, you know, Hey, you don’t, you shouldn’t talk about people. And human capital are, you know, people are teens and this, that, and the other with optimized, cause nobody wants to optimize, you know, it’s something that’s, um, not, you know, very, very people friendly, but you do talk about talent optimization. So what is talent optimization?
Kent Billingsley (00:52:27):
Yeah. So let me go back to your first comment and, uh, if you need people or you need employees, that’s, that’s one line of thinking and what I’m saying is you need talent at all levels. And as you take on, uh, you, you scale in different ways or expand or whatever you do, you’re going to talent in different areas and at all levels. So I I’m, uh, I’m huge on talent. Um, and, and, and I really explain how to, uh, the definition and the measurement of what talent is versus a normal employee. Now, here’s, what’s interesting is something that’s unique about talent versus a regular employee is, um, talents. And, and to help people is every company, whether you got two or three people in your company, you can think of somebody that’s just, wow, they’re able to get things done and it just make it look easier.
Kent Billingsley (00:53:13):
They just they’re able to get it. How do they do that? And, and that’s, that’s thinking along those lines of what a talent is. And so a talent, one of the misguided misguided, uh, definitions of talent, is there a Maverick they’re out there on their own. They don’t fit in there. Uh, we see this in sports a lot. We see that pre-Madonna, that has to always take the shot or they have to have the ball, or it’s all about them. That’s not a talent, that’s a Turkey. W w when you have an individual that puts themselves above the company and above the team, you don’t want to get rid of as fast as you can or don’t ever hire them. And I talked about putting in an acclimation program, so you can uncover or discover that if you miss it in the interviewing process, that you want those people super talents, that could just, they’re amazing at getting things done.
Kent Billingsley (00:53:59):
And they want to work within a team construct, and they want to be part of the system. And they do want to be optimized. They, they do want to have their talents and their skills stretched and pulled, and they want to be challenged. And they want to be put in front of amazingly difficult tasks. They actually welcomed those things. So, so when we say, well, people don’t want to be optimized. No, what they don’t want to do is they don’t want to be ground out. They don’t want to be over leveraged. They don’t want to be underappreciated. They don’t want to be put in bad systems. They don’t want to be put in awkward situations where they have no control. Uh, they want to be put in systems where they can flourish, where, where they can grow and they can Excel, and they can really show, uh, what they’re made of and what, what their worth is possible.
Kent Billingsley (00:54:46):
And, and, and it’s so interesting. And I share this all the time, because I get not a lot of pushback, but people struggle with this concept. And they said, well, I don’t, you know, I don’t want to marketing team or sales team filled with talent. I said, why not? Well, you know, we need everybody to get along. And all that said, well, that’s not talented. Uh, talent will work in a team construct and they want to be part of a great team. Um, and they want to help the team be better. Uh, and, and so it’s also interesting because the day I heard that somebody, one of my CEO groups, there’s like, Oh my God, I just can’t find people right now. And I said, no, you don’t know how to attract people. You haven’t created the system. The talent wants to come work for you because they’re thinking, well, there’s just not a lot of people available right now.
Kent Billingsley (00:55:29):
And I said, well, talent is never available. So, so don’t think that because of the bad times, all of a sudden now talents available talent always has a home talent, always has a job. And, and, and so you have to go either pick them off or steal them, or you got to attract them because they’re just not going to come on their own. They’re not on the, the, the job boards. I mean, I think there was a reason I call it I mean, the people that were out there, they didn’t have a home, they didn’t have a job. And they’re, they’re trying to come over and, and scare up your place. Um, instead what you want is, is you’ve got to understand well, who is telling, and I’ll give you a great example. This, when I built out the, uh, the software from the last public corporation I worked for, and I was building out the software sales organization.
Kent Billingsley (00:56:12):
Now I use recruiters. I used all kinds of strategies to both attract and engage, and then convert people over to my team. Uh, the first conversation I had with one of the recruiting services is I said, now, here are my five bank competitors. And two of them, I know their top sales town. I need you to find the other three. And then your job is to get me meetings with those people, because I’m going to go pick them off and I’m going to go hire away their top sales talent. And, and it was so interesting that the, the recruiter was like, well, gosh, you know, we’ve never really worked that way. We just kind of sit down, just give me their names and give me their phone number. I’ll call them, I’ll call them and go find them. And I’ll meet with them and I’ll hire him.
Kent Billingsley (00:56:50):
And I will pay you your commission, your 20, 25% would you go find him and get me connected or I’ll connect. And then I will bring them board. And I, at what out of 18, 19 job offers 17 accepted over a three-year period. And they were the best. They were the best from BMC CA Tivoli, HP, uh, IBM, these were the, these were the best of the best companies. And I, and I was picking them off because I had the system that would allow them to flourish. I had the system that if they were making three or 400,000, I said, how would you like to double or triple that not work any harder? How would you like to never make a sales call again? How would you like to? And they’re like, wow. What, tell me about your system. How do you, how does this work?
Kent Billingsley (00:57:28):
And I said, let me lay it out. Here’s my model. Here’s how I put it all together because my whole design of my system is to make you so successful. You’re embarrassed, but here’s the rule. The rule is the company has to get paid. First. The company has to generate the revenues and the profits. Then you get paid and the company and the team has to come above you, the company first team, second year third, if you get that out of alignment, we’ll have one conversation and never another one. And so I ran a public software sales organization. I think I max, I was at 18 people at one time, in three years in an industry that has 40% average turnover. I had zero unplanned turnover, 5% plan in a public software company. We had a 96% win rate. We won 48 out of 50 major contracts.
Kent Billingsley (00:58:20):
In three years, we, we dominated the marketplace. We were, there were, there were bids where once one of the competitors heard that we were bidding, or we were going to give a presentation. They didn’t show up because it’s what I’m talking about in those last three chapters of dominating our owning a marketplace. And it’s all about talent. It’s all about knowing your competitors better than you know, yourself and that constant blueprinting optimization. When you are those together, sequentially, uh, you can start to attack markets. We have clients today that, you know, had 20% win rates when we walked through the door and then a year later, they have 80% win rates. And, and, and the one that, the one I’m the CEO, he says, you don’t care. And we stopped discounting. We stopped lowering our prices and we’re winning four times as much. And I said, isn’t that a beautiful thing? And he said, it’s amazing. And our contracts are getting bigger. And I said, now you were experiencing optimizing revenue growth. Your contracts are bigger, they’re better, they’re higher margin and you win them faster and you lose less often that’s optimization.
Jim Rembach (00:59:23):
Okay. So now, gosh, again, so many nuggets, and I want a lot of people to pay attention because what Kent just went through and explained and talked about that story is, Hey, he gave people some high expectations. He gave people, uh, you know, a very, very clear understanding of what you know, will and will not be tolerated. And some people say, well, gosh, that’s harsh, but look at the performance. And do you think if his people were totally miserable, that they would stay and he would have that type of turnover and the answer is absolutely not. So I think there’s a lot of lessons there that people necessarily Cod talking about the traditional path and what people do they just don’t do now, Kent, um, we have talked a lot about some really good things. And a lot of times we talk about times where we’ve gotten over the hump. And I think you’d really just shared all those throughout our time together. And we talk about things that inspire us. You’ve hit those as well. I, to leave before we can move into the hump day, hoedown, want to get an understanding of, you know, what is one goal that Kent Billingsley has that he’s willing to share?
Kent Billingsley (01:00:22):
Yeah. And I said it very last of my book and I have a vision and a mission. I want to help a million entrepreneurs. And this includes employees become millionaires. I want to help them put seven figures in the bank and, and not, not gaudy millionaires. And not that they’re, you know, if they want to drive fancy sports cars, mega mansions, that’s fine. But, but if I can help a million entrepreneurs, um, put money in the bank to get them through the really tough times and to have security to where they’re not stressed out and, and, and, and dealing with money problems. And, and I want to give you another statistics. That’s just absolutely frightening. 98% of, uh, businesses and entrepreneurs have cash problems. They struggle with cash on hand and consistent cash flow. Um, almost no working capital lagging receivables. I mean, they just have all kinds of bumps that was pre COVID.
Kent Billingsley (01:01:12):
That was before the pandemic. And now all of a sudden this pandemic come through and because they had cash problems before I hear somebody saying, Oh, this can’t pandemics wiping companies out. Now. They, they, they were struggling before that. The pandemic’s just been the symptoms that just is taking them out for good. And, and even in our own neighborhood, we’ve lost some good restaurants. And I know that meant the employees, the vendors, the suppliers, um, we’ve lost some companies. I see the, uh, the for lease on their, their signs now. And those were great products and services that, that are maybe never come back and I’m just heartbroken. And so what I’m saying is I really want to help a lot of people, maybe more know, maybe more than million. I hope I can, uh, to, to get paid the true worth and value of, of what you bring to the marketplace and turn that into money so that you could be around and you can start that second, third business, and you could solve that next fundamental marketplace problem.
Kent Billingsley (01:02:05):
And you can, you can help make the world better because, and I had a, uh, a tweet that went out the other day and I said, we actually don’t need more entrepreneurs. We need more people that are entrepreneurial solving, tough, complex problems with the resources we have. And so that’s mission and, um, uh, you know, in helping get in companies and helping them that they buy in these philosophies, they get their team on board and they, they start to follow this roadmap of, of delivering greater value and being paid the, the worth of that value that they’re delivering. And we, we, when we can do that, we’re really going to generate, uh, one other real quick point. America used to be known as the entrepreneurial hotspot in the world. I think we’re number nine. Now, there, there are countries. I mean like Israel and Singapore, and even Ireland, I’m going to do an interview with Ireland at a business thing in Ireland next week.
Kent Billingsley (01:02:53):
Uh, there are so many countries out there that are becoming so much more entrepreneurial and, and I’m just looking back on my gosh, that there is no reason for that. We’re, we’re just living in last century and, and waiting for things to get better or go back to the way they work. They’re not, you’ve got to get on a different map, a path, get, get off this, grow in my business path and get on this. How do I create wealth, how to deliver great value, uh, and use the fewest resources doing it and turn that into cash clients and contracts. So you can reinvest and, and reward your employees. The other point, one of the real quick point is I took pride in helping a lot of my people that work for me make over a million dollars a year. And, and, and, you know, they, they didn’t retire.
Kent Billingsley (01:03:36):
They actually worked harder. The more money that made the harder they work. And that’s the thing I want for you is I want the audience out there. If you’re working for a company, I want you to, you know, take my book to your CEO and say, Hey, here’s a way for us to make a lot more money and not spend more money doing it. And if you’re the leader of a company, go to your team and say, you know what? Let’s get on this roadmap to where we’re all working together to optimize our growth and bring more value to the marketplace. So a long-winded answer. If we can help a million people become millionaires, put seven figures in the bank, we’ve done a good thing.
Jim Rembach (01:04:06):
And the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fascinate Allegion. It’s time for the home. Oh, down. Okay. Now the hump, they hold on as a part of our show where you’d give us good insights fast. So I’m gonna ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust, rapid responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster. Ken Billingsley, are you ready to go down? Let’s do it. All right. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? Um,
Kent Billingsley (01:05:03):
Being a better leader, I think, uh, continuing to craft my message, my making my value proposition clear and clear and connecting I I’m in the education business, and it’s hard educating and changing people. The more I can get, the more message I can get out there, the faster I can get this change going.
Jim Rembach (01:05:20):
And what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Kent Billingsley (01:05:24):
Yeah. Uh, and I worked for Ross, Perot’s senior, uh, the greatest leader I’ve ever known in my life and just beyond inspirational. Um, I think the greatest is create, create the system where your people can be successful too many times. We’re told to lead your people, lead their heart, not their head, where all this stuff at the end of the day, your job is create a system where your talent can be wildly successful and get out of their way.
Jim Rembach (01:05:48):
And what is one tool that you believe helps you in business or life?
Kent Billingsley (01:05:53):
Uh, advice that somebody has given me for life,
Jim Rembach (01:05:57):
Uh, one tool that you believe helps you either in business
Kent Billingsley (01:06:02):
Complex problem solving. I think I have a, uh, uh, developed a, uh, a gift or a competency to, to frame very complex problems and define, uh, uh, strategies and solutions to solve them.
Jim Rembach (01:06:16):
And what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre, of course, we’re going to put a link to entrepreneur to millionaire on your show notes page as well.
Kent Billingsley (01:06:24):
I, you know, it’s interesting. I wrote this book because I think of the book I read in eighth grade was, um, a think and grow rich and how to win friends and influence people. I think those are, those are two foundational books that as I was writing, I was saying, what what’s a book I can write to. Um, I hope will be around 25, 50 years and, and, and not age because I try to use frameworks and philosophies versus, uh, hot topics.
Jim Rembach (01:06:50):
Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that. And other bonus information on today’s show by going to fast and searching for Kent Billingsley or just Kent, and you’ll be able to find him, okay, Kent, this is my last company. Hold on question. Imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25, and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why
Kent Billingsley (01:07:16):
Being entrepreneurial, being entrepreneurial and, and understanding what that really means, and, and, uh, not being an entrepreneur, but being entrepreneurial, because that will guide you through the company you’re in, that will guide you through the problems you’re facing, and that will help you be a greater leader.
Jim Rembach (01:07:33):
Can I had fun with you today? How can the fast leader Legion connect with you?
Kent Billingsley (01:07:38):
Yeah, go to the website. I’ve got blogs out there. I’ve just launched a YouTube channel. I’ve got a few videos out there. Um, read comment, share. Give me feedback on what you’re looking for. Tell me about the challenges. Uh, read my book, leave a review, tell, tell people what you’ve learned, helped me educate people out there and get them on this roadmap to creating business wealth.
Jim Rembach (01:07:59):
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the fast leader Legion honors you. And thanks you for helping us get over the hump.