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Three Reasons to Host a Tribal Meeting

On May 17th I am hosting my first Small Business Matters Conference. This is a tribal meeting. Marketing guru Seth Godin suggests in his best-selling book “Tribes” that we are all chief of our own “Tribe”. My tribe includes Vistage members, GrowSmart participants, colleagues, and friends. Who are the members of your tribe?Why a meeting? One might think in today’s world of instant and digital communication there would be less of a need for tribes to meet. I disagree. I believe the need for tribal connection is greater today than ever. Here are my three reasons for believing this:#1. I believe you have an incredibly tough job. Most of my tribal members are small business owners and their executives. You live and work in a world of great uncertainty despite the amazing amount of data available to each of us with a single click. Uncertainty whether we should buy or sell. Hire or fire. Go fast or slow. These are very tough strategic decisions that may be made easier with the help of small business experts with extensive knowledge and experience.

This conference will feature twelve (12) expert speakers on the topics of Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing, and Work/Life balance (Happiness).

#2. I believe that you have a very lonely job at times.  There are issues that you wrestle with that you can’t talk about with just anyone including your direct reports, spouses, and friends. You operate to some degree in isolation and it’s refreshing to be able to meet other CEOs and share these issues. Ask questions. Share best practices. Provide support. Often times we find out that many of our peers share similar issues. We are not so alone. The power of executive connection cannot  possibly be understated.

This conference will be an opportunity to connect with over 200 small business owners, executives, and trusted advisors.

#3. I believe that business success does not lead to personal happiness. In fact, it’s the other way around. Personal happiness leads to entrepreneurial success. I am embarrassed to say that many of my tribal members are unhappy. They believe that if they can just add one more client, close one more deal, fix that one cash drain; they can be happy. Never happens. It becomes a mindset of always setting higher and higher hurdles to achieving happiness and the track is endless. The secret is to find happiness first.

If nothing else, you will find happiness at this event. You will laugh. You might cry. You will make new friends. You will enjoy this tribal experience. I guarantee it.

I look forward to seeing each of you on May 17th. 

Built to Sell written by John Warrillow 

There are approximately 28 million small businesses in the United States. Every year almost 1 million small businesses are started and roughly 10,000 small businesses are sold. That’s approximately 1 business sold each year for every 100 opened. Why is that?

Best-selling author John Warrilow wrote a great book, “Built To Sell”, in 2010 that does an exceptional job of explaining why some small businesses can be sold and why the vast majority will not sell. The book is written as a story about a fictional marketing agency. The owner of the agency is becoming increasingly burnt out on the business and faces significant cash flow issues in the business despite being profitable. Sound familiar?

Warrilow is a serial entrepreneur, a very popular speaker, and a regular contributor to INC Magazine. In 2008, he was recognized as one of America’s most influential b2b marketers.

In the beginning of the book, the author suggested that instead of focusing on an exit strategy, the business owner needs to instead develop an “options strategy”. The idea is to have as many options or choices as possible as you are building the business. Hence, even if you are not planning on selling the company, you are prepared to do so if the right opportunity comes forward. 


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