BizEngine recently had the opportunity to interview noted Colorado author, small business expert and Crankset Group founder Chuck Blakeman, who recently wrote Making Money Is Killing Your Business and blogs at chuckblakeman.com. Given the depth and breadth of our half-hour conversation, I’ve split our talk about how to build a business into two posts. The first is below.
For Chuck Blakeman, growth is everything.
The Colorado-based businessman, author and consultant speaks with authority and passion on the topic of growing small business, something that has come to define his career. In recent years, that focus has taken him around the United States and the world, including a recent visit to the Congo where he met with the probable future president to discuss growing the economy there.
Through it all, Blakeman has retained the sense that businesses would benefit from a dose of action and a dollop of simplicity. He has made a career of taking aim at businesses that engage in “paralysis by analysis,” those that spend months or years honing a plan and never implementing it. Why, he asks, don’t businesses spring into action and develop a plan as they go?
“Complexity almost always creates problems; it doesn’t solve them,” Blakeman said, adding “we’re addicted to big, and we’re addicted to shiny objects and complexity.”
Changing The Focus
Blakeman’s focus is especially heavy on business owners who are just starting out. Blakeman has founded the 3to5 Club, sort of networking on steroids for small business owners, based on the principle that a business can successfully get to the point where it can run without its owner being involved in day-to-day operations within three-to-five years.
His goal, he said, is to teach others how “to build a business that makes money while you’re on vacation, or doing something else significant in the world.” That’s the focus of his book and the focus of his talks with business owners in Colorado and across the United States, he said. It allows a business owner to get to the point where they can lead a rich life outside of their business, or at least one that doesn’t require them to be anchored to the office to be passionately involved in what they do.
“I built six businesses from the ground up,” Blakeman said. “I don’t enjoy running businesses. I just enjoy growing them.”
Not A Plan Of Action, Just Action
To that end, Blakeman advises business owners to put down the Excel spreadsheets and make phone calls. The less time you spend bogged down in analysis early on in your business’s life, the better, as your focus should be on making connections and getting your business in front of people. The feedback you get from those efforts can be used to begin crafting a plan as you move along. Always keep moving.
“Get your butt out of the seat, figure out a simple little concept, make sure you’re not crazy and then get moving,” he advises.
What’s most striking about Blakeman is his wholehearted belief in action and movement, something that stands in stark contrast to the cautious, obsessively-planned approaches that many businesses and analysts have spent so much time on. In the end, Blakeman’s words are plenty nuanced, but his basic philosophy can also be boiled down to just two words.
“Simplicity rules,” he said.
A hearty thanks to Blakeman for his willingness to be interviewed. In part two of our talk, which will be posted in the coming days, we’ll touch on small business advocacy.
Photo credit to www.chuckblakeman.com