CEO truths

Blog cover photo with three photos of different CEO truths.
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In today’s Blog, we’re going to talk about what I like to call… CEO truths

This is another one of my favorite things to talk about. I love CEO truths. People think being a CEO is sexy. It’s awesome. It’s cool to walk into a room… and  people ask you “what do you do?” When you tell them you are a CEO, they think you must be important. There are a lot of aspects to being a CEO, and today I want to talk about a few of them.

If you’re a current CEO, you probably have experienced most if not all of what I’m about to talk about… If you’re thinking of starting your own business, here’s what you need to look out for.

The very first thing you need to accept and understand is that the world is not designed for you to succeed. The system is not designed for you to succeed. I’m sorry to tell you this, but the world and the system are designed for you to be average. That’s just the way it is. America is an amazing country. It’s the best country in the world in my opinion. I bleed red, white and blue. I served in both the Air Force and the Army. I have a giant flag hanging in my house. I am an American. But I’m telling you that America is not designed for you to succeed, it is designed for you to be average, I will go one step further and say the entire world, the invisible hand, our government, our society as a whole, your employees, all of these will try and hold you back from achieving great success.

If you think anything about being a CEO is easy… if you think anything about starting your own business is going to be easy. You’re just wrong. The government is not here to help you. Do you think people are going to cheer on your success? 99% of them will not. In fact, this is a funny story. I have my own online hate group. They are ex-employees. I found out about it randomly from a friend they invited to follow their page. Because once they started this “Brian Will Sucks” hate group, they started sending out emails and texts to everybody I know on social media, trying to get people to join this hate group. I find it humorous and sad. They have nothing better to do in their life, other than to spend time trying to tear me down as opposed to trying to go do something for themselves. So you need to get ready, the more you do, the more people are going to come after you. Now if you want to be average, that’s fine. But as soon as you decide to stick your head up above the crowd, to do something to succeed, to have more… as soon as you start telling people you want more, there’ll be a lot of people who will tell you, you can’t. They will even go out of their way to try to prove it to you. It’ll probably be your competition, or it could be somebody who just doesn’t like you. It might be your employees. It could just be some bureaucrat that doesn’t think that you should succeed. I’ve been sued by the EEOC for something that some employee in some restaurant in another city did to another employee… and the EEOC came after me and said I was a horrible person. I didn’t even know what happened….and they tried to take my business down. It could be a naysayer, or people on social media that want to take potshots at you but don’t know anything about you. They just want you to suffer. There is no doubt there will be people that will come after you.

If you’re going to succeed, you need to be willing to push the limits of what you can and can’t do…or what you think you can and what you think you can’t do. You need to remember that you are building your family’s future first, not anybody else’s. Unfortunately, you need to remember that even your best friends and the people that you think you trust will take advantage of you. They will try to take your money if they think it’s in their family’s best interests. I love my friends, but this is my future.  I had my best friend from college steal $250,000 from a company I bought and was letting him run. That was my friend. So if my friends are willing to do that, just think of what people are willing to do who aren’t your friend, you need to watch your ass-ets.

Everybody will try to stick their hand in your pocket. A million companies will come to you as a new business owner with the latest and greatest thing that you need to buy to make your business better. You need to learn that you don’t need 99% of what’s being peddled to you.

Be very careful with negotiations on products and services. you don’t have to accept the first price someone gives you. I rarely do and you would be amazed at how much money you can save just by negotiating. My employees don’t even understand this. They will approach me and say “Hey, the electrician just showed up and he wants $1,000 to rewire that outlet over there.” And my answer is always to offer him $700. They typically respond with, “What do you mean, that’s what the price is.” I said no, the person is standing here, he’s either gonna take my $700 or he’s gonna go home. We settle on $800 and I save $200. If you aren’t watching every single penny that you spend, you’re getting taken advantage of.

Here’s another one. Just because somebody works for a big company and they have 10 or 15 or 20 years of experience does not mean they are smarter than you. You’d be surprised how many incompetent billion-dollar company executives there are. The truth is, most of them are good at playing politics. They are not good at business and most of them will fail. I see it all the time, I remember the first time I got hired by a multibillion-dollar company to come in and teach their sales division how to improve their skills. They were losing a million dollars a month in this one division and they hired me to come in and tell them what they were doing wrong. Now mind you, I’m the guy who got kicked out of high school and never went to college.  Ten years ago, I was mowing grass. However, after launching two startups, and selling them into private equity and venture capital, the corporate world suddenly thought I was a friggin genius. Billion-dollar companies were and still are paying me to fix their problems. These are people with MBAs and master’s degrees and PhDs who didn’t have a clue how to sell or manage a team of people.

Here is an important one, you don’t need to have all the answers. The truth is, you DON’T have all the answers. Here’s the most important thing you need to know… You need to learn to ask the right questions. This is one of the keys to success. Jack Welch, who was one of the greatest business leaders of his generation was famous for this. Jack asked questions. If one of the greatest corporate leaders in America believed in asking questions, shouldn’t you ask them as well?

Finally, Let’s talk about Apple Computer. Apple Computer is the biggest company in the world. The CEO is a guy named Tim Cook. Most of the people listening to this probably have an Apple phone. As the CEO, Tim Cook has what’s called a board of directors. The board is made up of people from different industries. They come in once a quarter and meet in the boardroom. Their job is to talk to Tim Cook about Apple and what’s going on. The meeting will elaborate on the issues Apple is having at that time. The board’s response is to give Tim advice on how to handle all of those issues. Tim Cook sits at the head of the table. He’s the chairman of the board, and he says, thank you, I appreciate all your advice, and he wraps it up. He then uses that information to make the decisions necessary to help Apple move forward.

Now, let me ask you something. Here you are in business and maybe you’re a new business, or maybe you’re doing a million dollars a year or maybe you’re doing 10 million dollars a year. If Tim Cook needs a board of directors to help him make decisions. Why don’t you think you do? Are you smarter than he is? Have you built a bigger company than he has? Are you more profitable? Or is your ego just too big for you to understand that you need to be able to take advice from someone else?

You need a mentor. You need a coach. You need to join a mastermind. You need people to help you grow your business. Maybe you think you just don’t need anyone else to help….But I’m willing to bet that you probably need the same type of advice he does to build your company.

Get a mentor or a coach… you are not that smart!!!

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