Mitch Bolnick – “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

Mitch Bolnick
Mitch Bolnick is a CEO, Author and Mentor. He explains how “Good communication is at the heart of all success”, how “Loyalty comes from trust” and why we should “Plan for success”. Hosted by Diana White.

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About Mitch Bolnick

Mitch Bolnick is the principal of The Excel Consulting Group in 2013 to help other entrepreneurs succeed for the long term and obtain funding in the short term. His two books, Mitch’s Pocket Guide to a Great Business Plan and Mitch’s Framework to Business Development were written to help focus entrepreneurs on the things they need to in order to succeed.  Starting in 2018 Mitch joined Greener Pacific, an Oregon LLC, as CEO/member and FocalPoint Security, an Arizona LLC, as an advisor/member.

Mitch also is a volunteer mentor/advisory positions for several organizations, including the State of Arizona’s Venture Ready (Arizona Innovative Challenge) program.  Mitch’s passion is to help other businesses excel. Mitch has found many rabbit holes to fall into during his diverse career and has learned many lessons the hard way as a result. Mitch’s goal is to help other entrepreneurs and leaders avoid mistakes.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Great leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity. 03:03
Lesson 2: Good communication is at the heart of all success. 06:30
Lesson 3: Balance life and work 08:36
Lesson 4: Loyal customers are the key to long-term profitable success. 13:55
Lesson 5: Loyalty comes from trust. 16:19
Lesson 6: Plan for success. 19:42
Lesson 7: Get rid of the deadwood. 33:44
Lesson 8: Understand risk. 43:56
Lesson 9: Don’t dwell, life is like riding several rollercoasters at the same time. 50:41
Lesson 10: “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you. 53:35

Mitch Bolnick – “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

[00:00:08] Diana White: hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life in order to make the world wiser lesson by lesson. My name is Diana White and I am your host for this episode.

[00:00:26] Diana White: Our guest today is Mitch Bolnick

[00:00:29] Diana White: After selling his construction business, Mitch started the Excel Consulting Group in 2013 to help other entrepreneurs succeed for the long term and obtain funding for the short term.

[00:00:41] Diana White: His two books, Mitch’s Pocket Guide to a Great Business Plan, and Mitch’s Framework to Business Development,

[00:00:48] Diana White: were written to help focus entrepreneurs on the things they need in order to succeed.

[00:00:54] Diana White: Starting in 2018, Mitch joined Greener Pacific, an Oregon L L C as C E O, and Focal Point Security, and Arizona, L L C as an advisor.

[00:01:05] Diana White: Mitch is also a volunteer mentor advisor for several organizations, including the state of Arizona’s venture ready program. Mitch’s passion is to help other businesses excel. Mitch has found many rabbit holes to fall into during his diverse career and has learned many lessons the hard way as a result, Mitch’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and leaders avoid mistakes.

[00:01:30] Diana White: Welcome, Mitch. I am so glad you’re on the show because that’s what we do. We try to make these up-and-coming leaders wiser lesson by lesson. So, thank you for being on the show.

[00:01:39] Mitch Bolnick: Well, thank you for having me.

[00:01:41] Diana White: Oh, lovely. So, before we get started into your lessons, I want to know, what would you tell your 30 year old self?

[00:01:48] Mitch Bolnick: What would I tell my 30-year-old self? I would tell myself, To get a mentor, and to listen to that mentor because I did not do that. And when I started my own business, one of the things I wish now is that I had myself, but I, what I mean by that is, is that now I’m 30 years beyond that and I fell through all those rabbit holes, and I wish I had that foresight to avoid those rabbit holes, but I didn’t.

[00:02:22] Mitch Bolnick: And a mentor can help you with those. And so I would tell myself to, to link up with a mentor that’s going to help me succeed.

[00:02:30] Diana White: I love the caveat that you put, you didn’t just say, get a mentor, you said, and listen to the mentor. I think a lot of up and coming founders and leaders and mid-management, they think now that it’s, part of the brand, right?

[00:02:46] Diana White: Oh, my mentor is Mitch Bolnick, and that’s what gets you into the door. But if you’re not taking the advice and actually applying it, it means nothing. So I love that you said that.

[00:03:00] Mitch Bolnick: No, exactly. I can’t stress how critical that is.

[00:03:03] Lesson 1:      Great leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity.

[00:03:03] Diana White: It is. Well, let’s get started with lesson number one.

[00:03:07] Mitch Bolnick: Okay.

[00:03:08] Diana White: Great. Leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity.

[00:03:14] Diana White: That’s powerful.

[00:03:16] Mitch Bolnick: So, I always told my kids that you were born with zero respect and a hundred percent integrity. and what I would tell them is think about it. If a baby cries, people jump. they don’t question whether that little infant is crying for some stupid reason. There’s a reason, right?

[00:03:36] Mitch Bolnick: So they, they respect that anything that comes out of that baby is genuine. Yet they would never ask a two year old or a little kid, you know, what stocks should I invest in? You know, they, I mean, you have zero integrity. Any advice you give as a kid is totally ignored. So, you know, given that, I feel like that’s the facts, is that the rest of your life, then you should be spending yourself building up that respect while not giving away any of that integrity and trying to even build integrity.

[00:04:09] Mitch Bolnick: Cuz it’s very difficult to not give it away. and at times, including respect. And so, you’re always constantly trying to build it. And I believe truly good leaders have solved that equation and figured it out. there’s a lot of leaders that haven’t, and they may be successful for a while, but it’s going to come to bite them at some point.

[00:04:31] Mitch Bolnick: I will just name one name, Elon Musk. Let’s see what happens. You know, he’s messing with that whole integrity thing right now, right? And the respect thing. And it may kill him. I don’t mean literally kill him, but it may ruin his acumen and his and his charm. And so, I think respect and integrity are the key.

[00:04:53] Mitch Bolnick: Not to life only to, to leadership only, but to life.

[00:04:55] Diana White: I agree with you 100%. and using Elon Musk as the example, you know, I often watch what he’s going through right now and I say to myself, wow, you know, often, I think it’s way more often than not that we forget that these public figures are human beings.

[00:05:14] Diana White: and for all of his intelligence and his savvy, everyone has something that’s going to catch them off guard that’s going to test and challenge everything that they think they know and the processes that they use to be successful to this point, right? That’s the big thing. You’re like, it got this formula A, you know, plus B equals C, and then I do D and that formula has worked for me and it’s made me billions.

[00:05:41] Diana White: And then you get, up against something that does not follow a formula. and then you’re caught, and then what do you do? So I often think, you know, I love what you talk about with integrity, but I think it is, dare I say, a lifelong journey to continue to develop and keep your integrity through challenges that you don’t even know you’re going to face.

[00:06:05] Mitch Bolnick: Exactly.

[00:06:06] Diana White: That will be bigger than you.

[00:06:07] Mitch Bolnick: Right. I know, I totally agree. keeping your integrity and you do things, silly things. That thing your integrity constantly. So that’s why you’ve got to constantly be thinking about building it and as we go through my 10, I’m not going to steal my own thunder, but I think you’ll see that a lot of my 10, items here have to do with.

[00:06:25] Mitch Bolnick: And I think you’ll see that Mr. Musk may have violated some of it.

[00:06:29] Diana White: Oh no.

[00:06:30] Lesson 2:     Good communication is at the heart of all success.

[00:06:30] Diana White: Well, let’s go with number two and see lesson number two. Good communication is at the heart of all success.

[00:06:39] Mitch Bolnick: I would say Mr. Musk is having a problem with that one right now, . But, so what I mean by that is I like to teach my clients the communication model that we learned in college.

[00:06:50] Mitch Bolnick: It’s very, very simple, but there is a sender and there is a receiver, and there are certain requirements of both roles. When you’re a sender, one of those key things is just talking isn’t enough. You need to make sure the person who’s receiving the message received it in the way you intended it to be received.

[00:07:11] Mitch Bolnick: That is such a key part of communications that so many people forget. And then they blame the person they talk to. And that just ruins relationships and ruins working. Ability ruins productivity. And so to me, you got to learn how people, and everybody’s different. You got to learn how they want to be communicated to, and you got to communicate to them that way and respect that.

[00:07:36] Mitch Bolnick: Oh, respect and integrity. And that’s how you help. Help build that integrity in your own respect is because you are communicating to them. You’re, for example, if I told my daughter, I don’t want you to go drive the car. That’s a message. If I asked her, do you understand what I mean? But I don’t want you to drive the car, you cannot take my keys.

[00:07:59] Mitch Bolnick: That car does not get, you know, so I reiterate and make sure I get that feedback from her. That’s a much more in-depth conversation. We’re much more likely to have success than if I just said, you can’t drive the car and walked away. So, you have to clarify. You have to listen, right? They give you feedback and you may have to modify your message a little bit, but to me, understanding that model and following it is an absolute key to leadership, to life, and to building respect and integrity.

[00:08:36] Lesson 3:     Balance life and work

[00:08:36] Diana White: Absolutely agreed on that one for sure. Lesson number three, balance life and work. Now, I, you know, we hear. Buzz term a lot, Mitch. We’ve been hearing it more and more, with the women’s movement and, you know, just the world in general. Covid, especially when people were home and expected to work from home, but manage their fears about this global pandemic and their families who let’s be honest, many of us as family members, we didn’t realize how much we enjoyed escaping for 10 hours a day,

[00:09:16] Diana White: And now we can’t, and what’s happening. And so I, even though we hear this term a lot, I don’t think it’s ever enough, because I don’t think that people understand that it’s so much deeper and you have to figure out what that work-life balance is for you in your own terms, give us some insight into that.

[00:09:37] Mitch Bolnick: You’re absolutely right what you said. It’s not enough just to say it. We’re going to get here in the planning in just a second. And I, I think part of planning, you have to plan for your downtime too, especially entrepreneurs. I was not good at this. well, when I work for Lucid Technologies and we’d go on vacation, I would be on vacation.

[00:10:01] Mitch Bolnick: I wouldn’t take my laptop, I wouldn’t care about work. I would tell people, I don’t want you to call me. But when you’re an entrepreneur, that’s a lot more difficult. And it’s hard and it’s almost impossible at times. But you have to do it because otherwise you’re going to just stress yourself out.

[00:10:20] Mitch Bolnick: And the younger you are, the harder it is because. You don’t feel the stress the way a 60 year old might feel the stress. When I get stressed now I get tired. I get zapped. When you’re young, that doesn’t happen. so as I got older, I got better at this, but this is one that I wish I would’ve had somebody pushing me, and I would argue a spouse is a good place to listen more and get them to push you and not get annoyed at it and realize, you got to realize that it’s for your own benefit.

[00:10:58] Mitch Bolnick: So, when I own my own business, we would go on vacation. I have my laptop with me every morning reading emails. Okay, we’re going to be going to the beach at noon. All right, well till 1130 I’m looking at stuff and calling people and whatnot. I never really went on vacation and I would hear about it, but I didn’t adjust, and I should have.

[00:11:20] Mitch Bolnick: Because you know what? Anything that’s going on right now can wait. It really can, no one’s going to die. Well, I suppose if it’s a medical emergency, , I shouldn’t say that. Or if you’re a doctor or a physician, maybe I’m wrong, but most things can wait. And so even if you’re on vacation, you can’t take the whole time off, take a day or two where you just do nothing and expand that.

[00:11:45] Mitch Bolnick: and I think part of it is you have to plan for that. In other words, if I’m planning this meeting, plan for downtime, block your old calendar out, do stuff like that so that no one else can ruin that for you.

[00:11:56] Diana White: Do you think in some cases with couples and partners, the person that is, is doing a lot of the work and has to work because of the nature of being an entrepreneur, solopreneur.

[00:12:09] Diana White: do you think that they look at their partner instead of, someone that is holding them accountable? Right. maybe, perhaps a mentor in how to enjoy life because it’s what your family is supposed to be, right? They’re supposed to be a window into this is the only life I get. I need to enjoy it. They see them less as a guide in that, an accountability person and more of a, ugh, you’re another chore, you’re another task.

[00:12:41] Mitch Bolnick: You know? I’ve been very lucky. Sunday’s my 40th anniversary, wedding anniversary. Oh, congratulations. So I’ve had a strong partner who I could rely on to help me with that. Although I said I didn’t listen very well, but she did her best. I think that there’s something to that, that yes, you look at them like, oh, you’re just saying that.

[00:13:07] Mitch Bolnick: and so maybe the spouse isn’t the best person. I also had my brother who had, he was a lawyer. He worked hard, but he also, you know, on weekends he didn’t work, for the most part. And, you know, so he’d be like, why are you working when I own my own business? Saturday and Sunday were my catch-up time.

[00:13:26] Mitch Bolnick: I worked 10 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday, cuz no one was bothering me during that time. And I could do all the things I really needed to do that I meant to do during the week, but I forgot around to. So, getting help, hiring help is a wonderful way to balance work. And life too. You can give some tasks, trust other people, higher people you can trust.

[00:13:47] Mitch Bolnick: We’re going to talk about that. but get rid of tasks. You don’t have to do everything you can trust other people. that’s a hard one to learn.

[00:13:55] Lesson 4:     Loyal customers are the key to long term profitable success.

[00:13:55] Diana White: Agreed. Lesson number four. Loyal customers are the key to long-term profitable success.

[00:14:06] Mitch Bolnick: I believe that. I don’t like customer satisfaction. I believe there’s a book called Customer Satisfaction.

[00:14:14] Mitch Bolnick: Customer Satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless. Ah. And I read that, but right before I started my first business or bought my first business after I got laid off from Lucent and, I implemented a lot of the things in that, and I’ve come to believe in them. What it, to me, a loyal customer, first of all, let me define loyalty, is someone who, every single time they’re in the market for your product is going to come to you.

[00:14:42] Mitch Bolnick: And every single time they hear somebody else who needs your product or service, they’re going to say, you need to go to Mitch. They become evangelicals for you because the service you gave them was so darn good. They became loyal. I am a very loyal customer, but as soon as you piss me off, boom, I’m gone.

[00:15:02] Diana White: Same.

[00:15:03] Mitch Bolnick: And I’ll tell everybody about you, but as soon as you piss me off, I’m not going to tell anybody about you. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably tell people how you pissed me off and why they shouldn’t come see you. And so, think about that. If I could have a group of people out there that I’ve gotten to become loyal, they’re the best marketing you have out there.

[00:15:26] Mitch Bolnick: And so, To me, having loyal customers, no matter what the business is the key. And I say to profitable success because generating true loyalty requires a lot of things. More than just giving the best possible service. That means having well-trained people who know what that means, A team that’s working optimally so that when that person comes back, they get the exact same level of service that they experienced, they brought them back.

[00:15:54] Mitch Bolnick: And if you can’t do that time and time again, the probability of them becoming loyalty diminishes or becomes non-existent. And so you have to have good processes in place. You have to have good training in place, you have to have higher the right people. You have to have a plan to make sure all this works.

[00:16:09] Mitch Bolnick: You have to have metrics that you’re measuring yourself. So there’s so much that goes into that to generating the loyalty that’s why to me, it is the absolute key profitable long term success.

[00:16:19] Lesson 5:     Loyalty comes from trust

[00:16:19] Diana White: That makes perfect sense. It really does. Lesson number five. Still with loyalty. Loyalty comes from trust.

[00:16:29] Mitch Bolnick: It’s simple. I have, I created what I call Mitch’s hierarchy to loyalty kind of follows Maslow’s hierarchy. of needs, right? you, you’re never going to seek, safety even unless you’ve solved your hunger needs, as a human. And once you solve those, you’ll get safe, but you’ll never seek friendships.

[00:16:45] Mitch Bolnick: You know, that’s Maslow’s hierarchy, right? Of human needs. Well, I kind of created my own. And at the bottom is trust. Cuz trust somebody decided to come to you cuz they read something or saw something, or somebody told them, go see Diana. Right? And, but all the things I just talked about are in the hierarchy that build that loyalty.

[00:17:04] Mitch Bolnick: And at the top of that hierarchy is trust again. Because it’s all the things in between that fosters that initial trust. They got to come in that makes them realize I made a good decision. And now that trust gets them to come back. And then they, because they trusted that they’re going to be able for whatever you did, you built that trust to get them to come back.

[00:17:27] Mitch Bolnick: And now if you’re able to give them that exact same service, you build upon that trust. As you build upon that trust, they become loyal. And that trust is really what gets them to tell other people about you. Because I’m not going to tell somebody about somebody that I am not absolutely sure is going to give them really good service because I don’t want to make myself look better.

[00:17:49] Mitch Bolnick: I don’t want a friend of mine to have a negative experience. so that’s why I think trust is so important and that loyalty really comes.

[00:17:57] Diana White: I wholeheartedly agree. You know, I tell founders all the time, and sales force people, there is a phenomenon that happens in a transaction, and actually it isn’t even, it isn’t even regulated to sales.

[00:18:10] Diana White: It’s life, it’s interactions. Human beings interact with each other, and you need three fundamental things. You need know K N O W, know, like, trust. They have to feel as if they know you in order to figure out if they like you. If they like you, then like easily leads to trust. And once there’s trust, really those transactions can happen, those conversations can happen.

[00:18:37] Diana White: it is ridiculously simple.

[00:18:40] Mitch Bolnick: well, it is, and it isn’t. Right. Yeah. And I would argue once you have the trust, You shouldn’t assume that you’re going to maintain that trust. You’ve got to Right. Constantly foster that trust.

[00:18:50] Diana White: Right. From an authentic place, not from a manipulative place. That’s correct.

[00:18:55] Mitch Bolnick: Correct. Correct.

[00:18:57] Diana White: All right. I’d like to take a short break to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in one place.

[00:19:13] Diana White: You can start your 30 day free trial by going to audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned. With Audible, you can find your favorite lesson while at home or on the go. Once again, that’s audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned, all lower case for a free 30 day trial. The link will be in the show notes.

[00:19:37] Diana White: Let’s welcome back Mitch Bolnick and continue with lesson number six.

[00:19:42] Lesson 6:     Plan for success

[00:19:42] Diana White: Lesson number six, plan for success. Pretty simple words.

[00:19:48] Mitch Bolnick: You know, they are simple words, but no one does it , and I think I’m doing some real estate right now. I have a plan of what I’m going to do. Not necessarily every day, cuz I’m doing it kind of part-time. But I have plans that say, call these people or do this or do that.

[00:20:07] Mitch Bolnick: I put it on my calendar. I don’t have a formal plan that I could share with somebody. I use my calendar in my consulting business as my plan too. But I put those things out there and I, at the begin, on Friday, each week I look at next week what’s going on. I adjust the stuff I need to adjust. I add the stuff that I think I need to add and that’s my plan.

[00:20:30] Mitch Bolnick: As you grow a business though, and you become bigger and you have employees and the more and more people, that’s not good enough. You have to have a formal plan, a written plan, a documented plan that everybody can look at and read. Cuz if you don’t, because of communication variables, someone’s going to misunderstand the plan and someone’s going to believe they’re acting to fulfill the plan when they’re actually not doing that.

[00:20:56] Mitch Bolnick: So having a written plan is important for many reasons. One, once you document something, you internalize it much better than if you just think about it. Plus, when I share it with somebody, it’s the exact same words everybody’s seeing.

[00:21:11] Mitch Bolnick: So I’m not telling Bill over here the plan in one way and Joe another, and they’ve now interpreted in two different ways. So, they think they’ll go off doing the same thing, trying to meet common goal, and they’re not. So having a documented plan to me for every business is important. how formal it is depends on how, what your needs are.

[00:21:34] Mitch Bolnick: Obviously, if you’re going to seek money, you better have a business plan. and the plan shouldn’t just be a pitch deck. it needs to think about things. And we’ll talk about some of those. But, it, it needs to think about positives, negatives, needs, things about processes, the type of people you’re going to hire, the type of environment you want to have.

[00:21:54] Mitch Bolnick: every aspect of a business should be thought through and documented at some level so that you could share it with others as you grow. And the bigger you get. Here’s another key to planning for success, the more people need to be involved with creating that plan. You can’t just create it yourself. You need to involve the people who really are there every day doing whatever that is.

[00:22:20] Mitch Bolnick: The finance department, the sales department, they need to be involved in developing that plan because, A, they’ll internalize it better. B, they’ll buy into it better if they have some input into it. And C, you have a better chance for successfully, implementing it and get, and meeting your goals.

[00:22:39] Mitch Bolnick: So, I, I think that’s what my books are really about, is planning is a, is how do you document it and what should you document and what should you research and understand.

[00:22:52] Diana White: So powerful. And again, going back to the conversations that I have with my founders, right? especially, you know, you get to a point where you’re so vested, and you’re so protective over your baby that you cannot see anyone else doing anything but you.

[00:23:11] Diana White: and you know, I always use, a coding as the example in the analogy, and I always say to them, okay, Would you spend time learning how to code so that you can build your own website because you know how it needs to look? And they go, well, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m in this, I’m going to do it.

[00:23:29] Diana White: Whatever it takes. I said, okay, so, you spend time learning how to code and you start coding your website. Would you then hire a coder or developer to run your business? And they go, well, no. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous. I run my own business. I’m the only one that knows my business. I said, so, doesn’t sound a little off to you, that you’re willing to spend all this time to learn how to do somebody else’s job.

[00:23:57] Diana White: When you already have a job , and you’re the only one that can do it, and you know it better than anybody else, why don’t you just pay the coder and the developer to do what they know how to do better than you do. And there’s really no argument. There’s usually no,

[00:24:14] Mitch Bolnick: but you know what? that brings up a really good point.

[00:24:16] Mitch Bolnick: And the answer is the why is money. yeah. But you know what? Money’s the key, I hate to say it, but if you don’t have money, starting a business is a really tough thing to do. and that’s why nine out of 10 businesses fail is because it’s a resource thing, and you have to have enough money to hire the people who are the experts on some capacity, if not full-time.

[00:24:40] Mitch Bolnick: And then you have to have a plan to merge that into full-time employees at some point. That makes sense. How do you do that? You project financials. That’s a plan. you need to do those things. And it amazes me time after time, how many, not just entrepreneurs. I’m, I meet with a lot of small business owners that don’t even understand what I just said.

[00:25:03] Mitch Bolnick: And yet they’ve been running a business for 10, 15 years. And really what they do is they’re running; they own a job. They created a job for themselves and it’s not a real business. And it may not even be saleable, when they’re done. And that’s fine if you’re happy.

[00:25:18] Mitch Bolnick: But then if you want to really take it to the next level, you need to do the things that we talk about when planning.

[00:25:24] Diana White: I want to reiterate that viewers and listeners, I want to just resay that one sentence. Some business owners just own a job and that, that is a powerful, sometimes painful thing to realize. if you’re wanting to get to another threshold or change how you interact with your business, maybe you have been running your business for 20 years and you want to step back.

[00:25:54] Diana White: But you absolutely see no way that you can do it. None of the kids want to step up. You don’t trust anybody else. congratulations. Unfortunately, you created a job for yourself. Now, how do you turn that into this is something that can continue on while I do other things and I can still receive that passive income.

[00:26:15] Diana White: How do you do that? Mitch, if they want to know, should they talk to you? We’ll get to that later. We’ll get to that.

[00:26:21] Mitch Bolnick: No, let me just quick story, if you don’t mind. Yeah. a guy I know, he been in landscaping forever, got a nice house. as far as I knew he was, he’s doing, he does great. I know he’s fine.

[00:26:32] Mitch Bolnick: he’s happy. He’s got the money he needs and to do the goes on vacation, whatnot. He came to me. This is several years ago now, probably four years ago now, five years ago. He said, I want to sell my business. Can you help me figure out what it’s worth? Cuz that’s one of the things I do is help with valuations.

[00:26:51] Mitch Bolnick: So we started looking at it. He had not filed taxes for several years. He didn’t believe in taxes. I didn’t know that about him. He was paying most of his people it’s landscape business. He was paying most of them under the table in cash. Oh. And he had a book of business that was pretty good. I can’t remember exactly how many clients, but it was very steady.

[00:27:11] Mitch Bolnick: He had nothing, he didn’t have a business that he could sell. He had an illegal business, and the value of an illegal business is zero. And he goes, well, but I see businesses just like buying on Craigslist, selling all the time. I was like, exactly on Craigs list. And I like, put it out there and see what someone will give you.

[00:27:28] Mitch Bolnick: I can’t tell you what it’s worth because you don’t have the components of a business required to create value. And he’s like, so what? I just shut this down and just when I decided to retire? And I’m like, or you can do these things. I gave him my book and you change. He hasn’t changed. He’s just going to close it down someday.

[00:27:50] Mitch Bolnick: He now realizes that he doesn’t have an asset, he has a job and he’s happy as can be still. And that’s it. but that’s what I’m talking about, right? is that, that you really want to build a business and have a legacy. that’s the American dream.

[00:28:06] Diana White: It is. It really is. And you know, it’s kind of sad.

[00:28:10] Diana White: There are all different roads to the end destination. Right? But if you’re constantly taking shortcuts, , you miss all of the scenery, you miss all the good stuff. And then when you get to the end and everybody’s at the finish line and you know, you’re thinking, yeah, you know, I made it here with everybody else.

[00:28:32] Diana White: And they start turning to you and saying, well, did you see this along the way? No. Look, well, oh, you must have seen this along the way. No. Then what did you make it there for? Yes. You know,

[00:28:45] Mitch Bolnick: they had blinders on. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m happy with my blinders. No, a lot of people, I’d say, from my experience, the vast majority of small business owners fall into that category.

[00:28:56] Diana White: Yeah, I was going to say too, Mitch, tell me what your thoughts about this are. Cuz we, we talked about the money aspect, right? and one of the things that I’ve noticed, and I say it time and time again, I sound like a broken record, is we do things so backwards. We say, oh my gosh, I’m broke. What can I do to get myself out of this?

[00:29:17] Diana White: I’ll start a business when it really should be. I don’t want to do what I’m doing anymore. Or I think I have more to add, or I want to be my own boss. What is it going to take? Resources wise? Resources includes human capital, includes money and includes. Anything you can think of. What do I need to be successful?

[00:29:38] Diana White: Let me save, let me find the funds and then let me start my plan, start working my plan that I wrote as I tried to figure out what I needed.

[00:29:49] Mitch Bolnick: I think that’s so important. I really, I think you just hit the nail right on the head. That something, and it’s one of my biggest frustrations with entrepreneurs is, you know, let’s not, you’re not ready to go ask for money.

[00:30:04] Mitch Bolnick: And a lot of them already came to me. They’ve already gotten money, but they weren’t ready and they got money. And I, and I,I don’t say this, but my thought is, well, you just piss those people’s money away. , you know, I’m sorry for my language, but really, I, that’s how I feel. Because if you took somebody’s money and you didn’t have a good plan, you didn’t have financial projections, you didn’t have some idea where you were going, that you could march to and ensure that if you go off plan, there’s something measuring that’s what’s happening.

[00:30:34] Mitch Bolnick: You shouldn’t be asking people for money. You shouldn’t even be asking mom or dad for money. now you can, if you have your own money and you want to do That’s your prerogative. I would argue that’s not the best way to go. I think the best way to use those resources is to do the research, write the plan, figure it out, get some expertise up front that can help you figure out what you really need to do and then start executing the plan.

[00:31:00] Mitch Bolnick: But how many times, and you relive this daily, do we have people that have been working on whatever they come to us on for a year, two years, three years, five years, and they haven’t taken that step yet. Some of them have gotten money from other people. Some of them just put a lot of their own money in. Some of them have not put any money into it and have just been playing around on their computer and they think they’ve got something.

[00:31:24] Mitch Bolnick: That’s the next best thing. And that’s the biggest difficulty we have, you and I is how do we deal with those people and get them to understand. and their answer really is a lot of times you just have to move on because they’re not going to understand.

[00:31:37] Diana White: I also didn’t realize until I stepped into this universe, this world of entrepreneurship, I didn’t understand how many people, whether they know it consciously or not, are really in it just to be the shiny, sparkly.

[00:31:59] Diana White: I’ve got an idea entrepreneur, and they are not in it, in no way, shape or form to actually build and run a company. They just love going to these events, being a part of these groups, getting that funding to say, I’ve got this thing. Look at me, I’ve got this thing. And I was shocked at that because I come from a world of, yeah, I think we’re both east coasters, right?

[00:32:26] Mitch Bolnick: I come from Midwest,

[00:32:28] Diana White: Right. I come from a world of like, get the money. You got to make the money, you got to make the money. this. Talking about what you’re going to do, pontificating about what you’re going to do. it only lasts, but a little bit. But the rent’s going to be due, you know,

[00:32:46] Mitch Bolnick: you know, and a lot of them get the money, but they just piss it away.

[00:32:51] Mitch Bolnick: Like I said, I mean, I’m going to go back to one of my original examples. Tesla lost 70% of its value. , you know what, it didn’t really lose 70% of its value. It was never worth what people say it was. It’s still not worth what it is now based on the amount of money that, that the income value comes from, the ability to generate income, cash flow.

[00:33:16] Mitch Bolnick: And if you aren’t doing that, you’re not worth it. And so, I, you know, it’s the people are in it for the money and the glory. And you’re right, I’m in it. I support these people and I’m on the, I’m in the economic development in the city of Peoria too. Cause it’s about jobs, creating jobs and helping people create a life for themselves.

[00:33:38] Mitch Bolnick: So many owners don’t even consider that, and yet that’s really what you’re doing.

[00:33:43] Diana White: So true.

[00:33:44] Lesson 7:     Get rid of the deadwood.

[00:33:44] Diana White: All right, number seven, which ties into everything we’ve been talking about here. Get rid of the Deadwood!

[00:33:53] Mitch Bolnick: Hard lesson to learn. I’m going to, I’m going to talk to this by telling a story. When I bought my first company, there were only three employees.

[00:34:03] Mitch Bolnick: There was a sales guy, there was an engineer, and there was an installer. It was a low voltage electrical company. We did, security system, commercial security, and audio video systems. the guy was pretty much shutting it down and that they, there were just those three employees. none of them, when I sold it, none of them were there.

[00:34:18] Mitch Bolnick: as soon as the installer lasted it less than a year. my partner couldn’t deal with his stupidity and just fired him one day. the sales guy, we kept for a little bit longer, but same thing happened, but our engineer, he knew how to create systems. He could go out to the customer site, talk to the customer, and he would design the systems that we were going to sell.

[00:34:42] Mitch Bolnick: My partner and I came from the telecommunications world. We understood the business very well. We didn’t understand the technology very well, so he was, we relied on him and he was good at what he did. He was the biggest jerk in the world, and none of us really liked him, but we couldn’t figure out what to do about that.

[00:35:02] Mitch Bolnick: So what we do, we put him in an office in the corner. He shut his door, he even drew down the shades. He liked it being dark in there. And people would complain. It got to the point where it was like, don’t go talk to Tim. Come talk to me and I’ll go talk to Tim. I should have gotten rid of him, but every single time we thought of getting rid of him, he was involved in like the most important project we had going on, right?

[00:35:28] Mitch Bolnick: Finally got up to the level of revenue where I could afford a second engineer. And we hired a second engineer and he was really good. He had to learn it a little bit. So, he had a learning curve, but he wasn’t the jerk. As a matter of fact, he was the opposite. very good. Interpersonal skills.

[00:35:46] Mitch Bolnick: Interpersonal skills, and, Fast forward a little bit. We get this huge job. It’s our biggest job ever. Our biggest year ever was 3.1 million. This is a 4 million contract that would’ve been done in nine months. So, we would’ve had an incredible year. It was with the customer who was extremely loyal to me already.

[00:36:08] Mitch Bolnick: I was their sole provider of security systems. It was a casino run by the Indians came to the point where we, they wanted to meet our whole team, so we, they wanted to meet the engineer who designed it all. So, they had to go in front of them. And I, you know, I told engineer, dude, just don’t say anything, please, unless they ask you a specific question.

[00:36:33] Mitch Bolnick: And I give you a finger like this. I don’t really want you to say anything cause I’m worried there’s culture issues here. Yeah, they’re, we got to really respect that, that they’re into saving face. And he just laughed when I told him that. And I said, that’s my problem. He said, you don’t get that. And it’s important to them.

[00:36:52] Mitch Bolnick: And so we are sitting in there and one of the tribal members, one of the, one of the, their key technical persons said something that was just wrong. And so my guy chimes in, says, no, that’s not right. Now you don’t understand. Goes into this whole diatribe about it. Well, guess what? We lost that job.

[00:37:16] Mitch Bolnick: Yeah. And we were bidding a manufacturer who only had two installations in this country. And we were the representative here in Arizona, their sole representative here in Arizona. They ended up bringing in one of the representatives from California who ended up doing that job. With that manufacturer. So, they bought the equipment.

[00:37:38] Mitch Bolnick: We told them they should buy, but they didn’t hire us because that guy pissed them off and they told us goodbye. And I lost a 4 million deal that I had in my pocket that day. I fired him. And you know who? I was mad at me. Yeah. Yes. I came on me. I should have fired him years ago and just bit the bullet.

[00:38:02] Mitch Bolnick: And I didn’t. And so when I came back to tell my partner what had happened, you know, he wanted to go rip this guy throat apart, right? ? And I was like, no, I already did that. He’s fired. He’s packing up his stuff right now. And I told my boss, I said, you should be mad at me. And we should be mad at each other.

[00:38:22] Mitch Bolnick: You should be mad at me because you’ve told me many times you hated this guy. We should get rid of him. And yet we’ve always agreed that we should and. Now we can, and I did. And we just, you know, it was tough getting rid of him, but you know, it’s a long story for me to make a point, get rid of your deadwood.

[00:38:40] Mitch Bolnick: I could tell other stories where I let people wax and, you know, stay and it bit me in the butt later. And, the less, and now when I’m working with people, I just tell them, get rid of them. And if you can’t literally get rid of them because they’re doing stuff that you absolutely need, then let’s figure out a way to find somebody else that can do that either currently in your corporation or find somebody quickly that we can replace them with and let’s get a plan in place to replace them.

[00:39:09] Diana White: And I think two things, listeners and viewers. So the first thing we’ll talk about is that dead weight or dead wood, so many people equate that to someone who is not doing anything. And that is not what this is about. This is. An entity, a person, a group that is not bringing all of the positivity and the A game that everybody else in the organization is bringing.

[00:39:38] Diana White: They could be the hardest worker, but if they’re a jerk, they’re messing with the morale of the organization that is dead weight. They could be the greatest person in the world, the person you want to invite to every picnic, every barbecue, but they don’t do their work that is dead weight. there really needs to be a balance.

[00:39:59] Diana White: Yeah. They need to bring all of the things to the table that fit your company culture that you stated when you made your plan.

[00:40:09] Mitch Bolnick: Yep. Yep. You know, it’s kink in an armour, right? That armour could be all shiny in one little kink. The bullet gets through there. Right. and that’s what I’m talking about. His kink was, he was a jerk.

[00:40:22] Mitch Bolnick: He was a great engineer. but, and he was a jerk and he was a stubborn engineer who believed he was always right. You know, so, you know, now you could try and train people. Right. And that’s what I figured if I could get this guy to change. , you know, some people change, the older you get, the less likely you are to change.

[00:40:41] Mitch Bolnick: Yeah. And so, that’s not always the case. I’m not saying just fire somebody because they did something wrong. Get me. I want to make that clear. You need to give people leeway and people learn for mistakes. But, you know, I let this guy sit in this dark office for years. Yeah. And that was my mistake. And that was my mistake.

[00:40:58] Mitch Bolnick: You know? So, I think it’s a good lesson. It’s a hard lesson, especially when you’re new and you’re only got four or five employees. It’s hard to get rid of that one, but do it.

[00:41:08] Diana White: Yeah. And I also, I want to touch base on the culture differences bus in business. You know, I sometimes am disheartened, especially when we deal with the native population, you know, here in Arizona, we have a lot of native populations that are doing amazing things and coming up with great ideas.

[00:41:28] Diana White: And you do have to have meetings sometimes, and you have to have meetings with the tribe and the elders. And there is an etiquette, there is an absolute etiquette. And I will see organizations, I will see them drill their employees on how to deal with the etiquette when they’re dealing with a conglomerate or a company, that is from Asia.

[00:41:54] Mitch Bolnick: Oh yeah.

[00:41:55] Diana White: Take the business card with both hands.

[00:41:56] Mitch Bolnick: Take the business card with both hands and look at their business card. Both sides, right? They talked that the first time I dealt with them. I mean, but if you’re not told that, you go do it, and so people would walk into the room and just throw their business card, then you could just see in these people’s face that disrespect.

[00:42:11] Diana White: but my point is, I don’t think that we give native populations or us populations the same kind of respect to find out what their business protocols are and to respect them. We want them to conform because they’re quote unquote here. Yeah. And I sometimes, you know, I am a big observer and I’m a big, you know, I’m a consultant.

[00:42:39] Diana White: and sometimes I just sit back and I watch the whole deal burn because I said something and it was just like, ah, whatever, you know? It’s tough. It’s really tough.

[00:42:50] Mitch Bolnick: It’s really tough. And it’s not just Native Americans, it’s different cultures and it’s, different religions, people, everybody’s unique, everybody and it behoves you in life and business to try and understand that individual’s uniqueness and then react to it, deal with it, accept it, and relish in it.

[00:43:12] Diana White: And then on the converse, I would say if you do have cultural protocols and observances that aren’t quote unquote standard in the arena that you’re playing in for the moment. Speak up. Yeah, speak up. Speak up and let people know, you know what this is. This would not be considered appropriate.

[00:43:33] Diana White: And this is why I appreciate your effort, but that education goes a long way, especially if this is someone that’s vying for your business. , right? because then you get to figure out, all right, it was it just a mistake because they just didn’t know what they didn’t know. Or are they assholes? And it doesn’t matter what I tell them, they’re just going to do whatever they want, you know?

[00:43:54] Mitch Bolnick: And there’s a lot of the latter. There’s a lot of the latter.

[00:43:56] Lesson 8:     Understand risk.

[00:43:56] Diana White: Lot of the latter. Lot of the latter. Oh, my goodness. Number eight, lesson number eight. Understand risk. Pretty simple. Is it?

[00:44:07] Mitch Bolnick: No ?

[00:44:09] Diana White: I thought so.

[00:44:10] Mitch Bolnick: So one of the things I have in my books, both books is discussion of a SWAT analysis. How many times do you actually see anybody in business even understand what SWAT means, or anybody who’s presenting you a pitch deck or anything like that?

[00:44:25] Mitch Bolnick: Have a SWAT analysis. It’s rare it takes somebody like you or me to convince somebody that they need to do it. , and really, what is it? You know, SWAT, for those who don’t know, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We all know our strengths. We should know our weaknesses, but a lot of us aren’t willing to, accept our weaknesses or tell others about our weaknesses.

[00:44:47] Mitch Bolnick: I argue the best thing you could do is tell everybody about your weaknesses so that they’re prepared, and then learn from your weaknesses and try and work on those weaknesses. But if you don’t have those in there as a business, you haven’t documented what those are, you have no idea what you should work on.

[00:45:00] Mitch Bolnick: one of the biggest weaknesses businesses have is risk. And risk comes from many places. Risk can come from an employee, who’s a jerk, and cost you a $4 million deal. Risk could come from the government changing a law that impacts you directly. risk could come from a competitor, risk could come from Google.

[00:45:20] Mitch Bolnick: And I mean that literally, I ask a lot of people who are presenting businesses to me, why can’t Google do this? And I’m not saying that as a joke. Google and Apple have got so much money that they’re in the business of trying to create a new Google. And they can buy you, but they won’t because they’ve got the resources to figure out what you’re doing 10 times over and 10 times better.

[00:45:48] Mitch Bolnick: Unless you’ve really got something unique that you can really get a solid patent on. And that’s a lot harder. It, a lot rarer than people tend to think you can get a patent, but getting a patent doesn’t mean you really have something that Google can’t blow away. And so, so to me, understanding what those risks are and where they may come from.

[00:46:09] Mitch Bolnick: And when you understand your risks, to me, part of your plan is how do I mitigate those risks? You may not be able to mitigate a risk. How can I mitigate the government changing the law? I don’t even know what law they may change. Oh yeah, but which laws affect me the most? And what if those change? I can answer that question.

[00:46:31] Mitch Bolnick: And what would I do if they changed this way or if they changed that way? So, you can look at those things. And if you’re going for a patent, what are your biggest risks are you really going to get that patent? Everybody can get a provisional patent. All you got to do is send a letter to the government, right?

[00:46:48] Mitch Bolnick: With some information, certain information. Is it going to turn into a real patent? That’s a huge risk. Most people just assume that it Get a guy that can tell you whether it really can or can’t and that, you know, and maybe you shouldn’t even submit that . And so, understanding risk to me is so important.

[00:47:08] Mitch Bolnick: And it’s why it’s really, it’s the lack of that understanding that kills most businesses. it really is. I mean, none of us can predict or do much about a great recession or, you know, the Feds changing interest rates drastically. And how that, you know, if you’re selling homes that can impact your business and what do you do?

[00:47:27] Mitch Bolnick: Well, we, and in the real estate world, we have a plan for that. You know, and this is what we’re going to do now. This is what we’re going to tell people. So, understanding risk informs your plan.

[00:47:38] Diana White: I wholeheartedly agree. and I chuckled cuz you, you know, my philosophy as well, I make all my founders do a swallow analysis.

[00:47:45] Diana White: That’s one of the first things we do after I teach them what bias is. because a lot of people don’t understand what bias is and how it affects how you see your business and your competition. So I make them do a SWOT analysis and one of the things that I’m very clear on is the weakness column is not static.

[00:48:06] Diana White: It should not stay the same. If you discover a weakness, your job is to figure out how do I turn that into a strength? And it doesn’t mean that you have to be the one. If you say, my weakness is financials, well, maybe then it’s time to look at, you know, outsourcing a bookkeeper, or it’s time to look at bringing on a C F O if you are at that stage, doesn’t mean that you have to become an expert in finance.

[00:48:34] Diana White: It just means that your organization needs to turn it into a strength in how do you do that? And it’s hard. It’s hard to get people to see, what those strengths and weaknesses columns really

[00:48:44] Mitch Bolnick: mean. Yep. No, I agree with you. I like that you say they’re changing because if they’re not changing, you’re failing.

[00:48:52] Mitch Bolnick: Yes. Yes. you’re not. You’re not implementing your plan or you haven’t written your plan, documented your plan, or created your plan appropriately. Same thing with threats. Threats are constantly changing and threats. To me, the difference between a weakness and a threat is a weakness is something that’s inherently built into your business that you can work on.

[00:49:12] Mitch Bolnick: A threat is something that comes from left field and is going to hit you in the head. And, you know, that poor guy in that football game the other night, that’s a threat, right? Yeah. It can knock you out like that. and if you don’t know that’s a possibility, that could just devastate you. Now that’s a weird example cuz that was such a freak thing, right?

[00:49:34] Mitch Bolnick: But I would argue that when you’re sitting there comfortable in your C-suite, one of the things you should be thinking about is where are those threats going to come from and what would they look like? Cause to me, once you get to a company where there is a C-suite, that’s probably your biggest job.

[00:49:51] Diana White: you’ve nailed it on the head.

[00:49:53] Diana White: That is absolutely true. Once you have a C-suite, if you are fortunate enough to get to that level, the entire C-Suites job is working that swat, working that SWAT and making it the best it can be for that particular point in time and having plans A, B, C through Z for what could happen. So I always say, strengths and weaknesses are internal opportunities and threats are external.

[00:50:23] Diana White: You can’t control them, but they can have a positive and or negative effect on your business. You have to deal with all of them. You have to deal with all of them.

[00:50:31] Mitch Bolnick: I would change that just a little bit. Opportunities are external, but they come from within. Yes. Because you have to take, you have to recognize it, and you have to do something.

[00:50:40] Mitch Bolnick: Take advantage of it.

[00:50:41] Lesson 9:     Don’t dwell, life is like riding several rollercoasters at the same time.

[00:50:41] Diana White: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Lesson number nine. Don’t dwell. Life is like riding several roller coasters at the same time. You’re not kidding about that.

[00:50:57] Mitch Bolnick: I’m officiating my son’s wedding, at the end of this month, and I’ve weaved that rollercoaster into my, what I’m saying because I believe it. life is roller coasters. You got some that are going up and a lot of anticipation. You have some that are plunging down. You’re scared out of your mind.

[00:51:12] Mitch Bolnick: You have some that are just going along and you’re just having fun, but they’re all happening at the same time. And that’s called managing life. same thing happens with business. Your business has its own roller coasters. Each individual that works for you has their own roller coasters. Every customer has their own roller coasters.

[00:51:30] Mitch Bolnick: And when you start thinking of that term, it gets pretty complicated. But what I really mean by this is the first two words, don’t dwell. So when something bad goes wrong, don’t let it crush your day. It’s just another thing that happened. Figure out what you’re going to do about it and move on. Get action in place as soon as it’s needed to be in place.

[00:51:51] Mitch Bolnick: But that’s a really difficult thing to really, a skill that’s difficult to develop, I believe. So what I learned is that the way you can control the negatives, your emotions towards negatives is to control your emotions towards the positives, cuz that is something you can control. So, when something good happens, instead of getting super excited, curb that a little bit cuz that’ll help you start teaching yourself how to curb your emotions.

[00:52:21] Mitch Bolnick: So when I first owned my first business, every time I got a job, I’d make a big deal about it. I’d yell out or I’d go put something out, you know? And after a while people were like, we get it. We get it. but I learned that by doing that, I wasn’t curbing my own emotions. And that if I just said, we got a job, good on you, maybe send an email to the person who landed the job good on you.

[00:52:45] Mitch Bolnick: Didn’t have to make a big deal out of it. And that helped me then curb my upside. Emotions. And I’m not saying this is an easy thing. When bad things happen and you’re going to get bumped. But that’s what this whole, that’s what meant by this statement to mind. Don’t dwell life is like riding several roller coasts at the same time.

[00:53:04] Mitch Bolnick: You know, if you get on that roller coaster and just kind of, a lot of us get on roller coasters and we’re just going to live through it and just enjoy it as much as we can. Just do that and you don’t have to yell and put your hands up. Ah, you know, but you don’t have to freak out either.

[00:53:18] Mitch Bolnick: So that’s what I meant by that.

[00:53:20] Diana White: Well, if we could just change that analogy to like the children’s teacup ride. I’m with you on that. I don’t do rollercoaster. I don’t do roller coasters.

[00:53:30] Mitch Bolnick: The older I get, the older I get. I’m with you too. The less I like the roller coaster.

[00:53:33] Diana White: I know. It’s something.

[00:53:35] Lesson 10: “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

[00:53:35] Diana White: Lesson number 10. Now I love this one. This one is near and dear to my heart. Respect your elders. It’s cliche but listening to them might save you.

[00:53:47] Mitch Bolnick: We’re all told, respect your elders when you’re young. And I believe that. And then something happened to me, and I’m not going to tell the story where I was older. I was in my, I was about 35, 36 years old, so I wasn’t an elder, but I had lived long enough that I had my own moxie in my own ways.

[00:54:04] Mitch Bolnick: Some guy, much older than me started yelling at me about something that he had just no clue about. Somebody else had told me I could do something, and I was doing it and he was like, you can’t do that, blah, blah, blah. And he was yelling at me and I looked at him and I told him, listen, just cuz you’re old doesn’t mean I have to listen to you.

[00:54:23] Diana White: Oh my,

[00:54:24] Mitch Bolnick: I said, he was really, he was being very mean to me. I said, I don’t respect you when you talk to me like that. I go, I said it a little differently. Cause I said, I’ve always been told, respect my elders, but just because you’re old doesn’t mean I have to listen to you. You’re wrong. That man over there told me I should go, can go over there.

[00:54:42] Mitch Bolnick: He’s wearing a police uniform. I’m going to listen to him and not you, . And he didn’t realize that. And he started yelling at me some more. But I went home after that trip and my kids were old enough. Cause I remember telling him about it. And I said, you know, so when I tell you respect your elders, take it with the grain of salt.

[00:55:02] Mitch Bolnick: And then years later I realized that that’s just a really bad message because that guy, even though in that case he was being a jerk, there are lessons. He was coming from a place that he had internalized and he had learned, and I was doing something that went against the grain, but I had been told by a police officer that I should do it.

[00:55:23] Mitch Bolnick: So I was comfortable that I was doing the right thing, but he wasn’t aware of. Okay, so I was wrong in how I responded, but that’s when I realized that you don’t have to respect them. The whole respect is different than listening and internalizing the lessons that they have. They’re two different things, and that most people who are older than you have gone through things that you could benefit by understanding.

[00:55:56] Mitch Bolnick: And so that’s why I modified it. I still believe that respecting your elders is a cliche because it’s the respect part of it. If somebody’s a jerk, I don’t care how old they are and what they’ve been through, I’m not necessarily going to respect that. But is there some lesson that they have within them?

[00:56:14] Mitch Bolnick: Maybe not that individual, but there probably is. And depending on the setting, I still may be able to learn something from them. And so that’s why I came up with this. Thing that, that you need to listen, but you need to find that mentor that I, you asked me what, what would I have to my third get that mentor, cuz that is somebody that you can trust and then listen to that.

[00:56:36] Mitch Bolnick: And so, you know, they may end up being politically opposed to you. So do I have to respect their political views? No. But I want to listen to them for the things that they have internalized that could benefit me and make me succeed.

[00:56:49] Diana White: One of the things that I found in engaging with people older than me is, you know, there, there are a lot of beliefs that you want to say, oh, come on, you still believe that.

[00:57:03] Diana White: And I really do think that in a sense, you’re right, Mitch, that blanket respect gets in the way of pure communication that can be beneficial and educational for both parties.

[00:57:18] Mitch Bolnick: Exactly.

[00:57:19] Diana White: And so, when you have someone that comes to you that’s an elder and they say, do X, Y, and Z, that’s the way it should be.

[00:57:26] Diana White: In, in, in my world coming from, you know, an African American, Baptist family, you know, it’s a, it’s in the Bible, do it. It’s in the Bible. That’s what God said. Do it. Right. And so you want to be able to say, I’ve had many circumstances when I’ve spoken to elder women and I’ve realized, their ire, their frustration, because, you know, this young whipper snapper won’t listen to what I’m saying, has less to do with anything other than they just want to be heard again.

[00:57:57] Diana White: Yeah. They’ve been put on the sidelines because they’re of a certain age and they, the world doesn’t see that they have value. And so they’re almost, they’re screaming from the rafters. I have something to say. And if you just listen, it opens up a whole new world. yep. But if you sit there and say, I must respect you because you’re older than me.

[00:58:18] Diana White: You’re not really listening. no. You’re just letting them spew and then you walk away not having anything to take from that interaction.

[00:58:25] Mitch Bolnick: Well, I’m going to tell you these were some amazing lessons, and I thank you for sharing them with us today, but got one more question for you, if you don’t mind. , what have you had to unlearn?

[00:58:38] Mitch Bolnick: So, I don’t like that question.

[00:58:41] Diana White: Oh, okay.

[00:58:42] Mitch Bolnick: Because I don’t like the word unlearn.

[00:58:46] Mitch Bolnick: I believe we’re all constantly learning and you have to constantly adjust. Nothing is changeable except change itself, and therefore it’s not that you unlearn, it’s that you modify what you learned, so you add to the learning that you already have. So I’m going to answer, I think life work balance has been the hardest thing for me to adjust and change in my life.

[00:59:12] Mitch Bolnick: And so I believe that answers your question. It’s also the thing, it’s not that I have to unlearn, had unlearn my old ways to learn new ways. And so it is unlearning, but I like to, I choose to look at it as learning new things and learning to adapt. And learning to work on my weaknesses. I like to know; I believe I understand my weaknesses pretty well.

[00:59:41] Mitch Bolnick: I don’t, fall back into them, but I, by understanding them, I’m always working on them. I think that’s my answer to your question. That was.

[00:59:50] Diana White: a great answer to my question. Mitch, thank you so much. I want to thank my guest, Mitch Bolnick, for sharing his lessons with us today. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned.

[01:00:04] Diana White: This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can email us at podcast 10 lessons learned.com. That’s podcast, the number one zero lessons learned.com.

[01:00:23] Diana White: Go ahead and hit that like button, subscribe and turn on the notifications bell so you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world wiser Lesson by lesson.

[01:00:35] Diana White: Thank you everyone. Be safe.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
Mitch Bolnick

Mitch Bolnick – “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

Mitch Bolnick is a CEO, Author and Mentor. He explains how “Good communication is at the heart of all success”, how “Loyalty comes from trust” and why we should “Plan for success”. Hosted by Diana White.

About Mitch Bolnick

Mitch Bolnick is the principal of The Excel Consulting Group in 2013 to help other entrepreneurs succeed for the long term and obtain funding in the short term. His two books, Mitch’s Pocket Guide to a Great Business Plan and Mitch’s Framework to Business Development were written to help focus entrepreneurs on the things they need to in order to succeed.  Starting in 2018 Mitch joined Greener Pacific, an Oregon LLC, as CEO/member and FocalPoint Security, an Arizona LLC, as an advisor/member.

Mitch also is a volunteer mentor/advisory positions for several organizations, including the State of Arizona’s Venture Ready (Arizona Innovative Challenge) program.  Mitch’s passion is to help other businesses excel. Mitch has found many rabbit holes to fall into during his diverse career and has learned many lessons the hard way as a result. Mitch’s goal is to help other entrepreneurs and leaders avoid mistakes.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Great leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity. 03:03
Lesson 2: Good communication is at the heart of all success. 06:30
Lesson 3: Balance life and work 08:36
Lesson 4: Loyal customers are the key to long-term profitable success. 13:55
Lesson 5: Loyalty comes from trust. 16:19
Lesson 6: Plan for success. 19:42
Lesson 7: Get rid of the deadwood. 33:44
Lesson 8: Understand risk. 43:56
Lesson 9: Don’t dwell, life is like riding several rollercoasters at the same time. 50:41
Lesson 10: “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you. 53:35

Mitch Bolnick – “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

[00:00:08] Diana White: hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career, business, and life in order to make the world wiser lesson by lesson. My name is Diana White and I am your host for this episode.

[00:00:26] Diana White: Our guest today is Mitch Bolnick

[00:00:29] Diana White: After selling his construction business, Mitch started the Excel Consulting Group in 2013 to help other entrepreneurs succeed for the long term and obtain funding for the short term.

[00:00:41] Diana White: His two books, Mitch’s Pocket Guide to a Great Business Plan, and Mitch’s Framework to Business Development,

[00:00:48] Diana White: were written to help focus entrepreneurs on the things they need in order to succeed.

[00:00:54] Diana White: Starting in 2018, Mitch joined Greener Pacific, an Oregon L L C as C E O, and Focal Point Security, and Arizona, L L C as an advisor.

[00:01:05] Diana White: Mitch is also a volunteer mentor advisor for several organizations, including the state of Arizona’s venture ready program. Mitch’s passion is to help other businesses excel. Mitch has found many rabbit holes to fall into during his diverse career and has learned many lessons the hard way as a result, Mitch’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and leaders avoid mistakes.

[00:01:30] Diana White: Welcome, Mitch. I am so glad you’re on the show because that’s what we do. We try to make these up-and-coming leaders wiser lesson by lesson. So, thank you for being on the show.

[00:01:39] Mitch Bolnick: Well, thank you for having me.

[00:01:41] Diana White: Oh, lovely. So, before we get started into your lessons, I want to know, what would you tell your 30 year old self?

[00:01:48] Mitch Bolnick: What would I tell my 30-year-old self? I would tell myself, To get a mentor, and to listen to that mentor because I did not do that. And when I started my own business, one of the things I wish now is that I had myself, but I, what I mean by that is, is that now I’m 30 years beyond that and I fell through all those rabbit holes, and I wish I had that foresight to avoid those rabbit holes, but I didn’t.

[00:02:22] Mitch Bolnick: And a mentor can help you with those. And so I would tell myself to, to link up with a mentor that’s going to help me succeed.

[00:02:30] Diana White: I love the caveat that you put, you didn’t just say, get a mentor, you said, and listen to the mentor. I think a lot of up and coming founders and leaders and mid-management, they think now that it’s, part of the brand, right?

[00:02:46] Diana White: Oh, my mentor is Mitch Bolnick, and that’s what gets you into the door. But if you’re not taking the advice and actually applying it, it means nothing. So I love that you said that.

[00:03:00] Mitch Bolnick: No, exactly. I can’t stress how critical that is.

[00:03:03] Lesson 1:      Great leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity.

[00:03:03] Diana White: It is. Well, let’s get started with lesson number one.

[00:03:07] Mitch Bolnick: Okay.

[00:03:08] Diana White: Great. Leaders spend their lives building their respect by not giving away their integrity.

[00:03:14] Diana White: That’s powerful.

[00:03:16] Mitch Bolnick: So, I always told my kids that you were born with zero respect and a hundred percent integrity. and what I would tell them is think about it. If a baby cries, people jump. they don’t question whether that little infant is crying for some stupid reason. There’s a reason, right?

[00:03:36] Mitch Bolnick: So they, they respect that anything that comes out of that baby is genuine. Yet they would never ask a two year old or a little kid, you know, what stocks should I invest in? You know, they, I mean, you have zero integrity. Any advice you give as a kid is totally ignored. So, you know, given that, I feel like that’s the facts, is that the rest of your life, then you should be spending yourself building up that respect while not giving away any of that integrity and trying to even build integrity.

[00:04:09] Mitch Bolnick: Cuz it’s very difficult to not give it away. and at times, including respect. And so, you’re always constantly trying to build it. And I believe truly good leaders have solved that equation and figured it out. there’s a lot of leaders that haven’t, and they may be successful for a while, but it’s going to come to bite them at some point.

[00:04:31] Mitch Bolnick: I will just name one name, Elon Musk. Let’s see what happens. You know, he’s messing with that whole integrity thing right now, right? And the respect thing. And it may kill him. I don’t mean literally kill him, but it may ruin his acumen and his and his charm. And so, I think respect and integrity are the key.

[00:04:53] Mitch Bolnick: Not to life only to, to leadership only, but to life.

[00:04:55] Diana White: I agree with you 100%. and using Elon Musk as the example, you know, I often watch what he’s going through right now and I say to myself, wow, you know, often, I think it’s way more often than not that we forget that these public figures are human beings.

[00:05:14] Diana White: and for all of his intelligence and his savvy, everyone has something that’s going to catch them off guard that’s going to test and challenge everything that they think they know and the processes that they use to be successful to this point, right? That’s the big thing. You’re like, it got this formula A, you know, plus B equals C, and then I do D and that formula has worked for me and it’s made me billions.

[00:05:41] Diana White: And then you get, up against something that does not follow a formula. and then you’re caught, and then what do you do? So I often think, you know, I love what you talk about with integrity, but I think it is, dare I say, a lifelong journey to continue to develop and keep your integrity through challenges that you don’t even know you’re going to face.

[00:06:05] Mitch Bolnick: Exactly.

[00:06:06] Diana White: That will be bigger than you.

[00:06:07] Mitch Bolnick: Right. I know, I totally agree. keeping your integrity and you do things, silly things. That thing your integrity constantly. So that’s why you’ve got to constantly be thinking about building it and as we go through my 10, I’m not going to steal my own thunder, but I think you’ll see that a lot of my 10, items here have to do with.

[00:06:25] Mitch Bolnick: And I think you’ll see that Mr. Musk may have violated some of it.

[00:06:29] Diana White: Oh no.

[00:06:30] Lesson 2:     Good communication is at the heart of all success.

[00:06:30] Diana White: Well, let’s go with number two and see lesson number two. Good communication is at the heart of all success.

[00:06:39] Mitch Bolnick: I would say Mr. Musk is having a problem with that one right now, . But, so what I mean by that is I like to teach my clients the communication model that we learned in college.

[00:06:50] Mitch Bolnick: It’s very, very simple, but there is a sender and there is a receiver, and there are certain requirements of both roles. When you’re a sender, one of those key things is just talking isn’t enough. You need to make sure the person who’s receiving the message received it in the way you intended it to be received.

[00:07:11] Mitch Bolnick: That is such a key part of communications that so many people forget. And then they blame the person they talk to. And that just ruins relationships and ruins working. Ability ruins productivity. And so to me, you got to learn how people, and everybody’s different. You got to learn how they want to be communicated to, and you got to communicate to them that way and respect that.

[00:07:36] Mitch Bolnick: Oh, respect and integrity. And that’s how you help. Help build that integrity in your own respect is because you are communicating to them. You’re, for example, if I told my daughter, I don’t want you to go drive the car. That’s a message. If I asked her, do you understand what I mean? But I don’t want you to drive the car, you cannot take my keys.

[00:07:59] Mitch Bolnick: That car does not get, you know, so I reiterate and make sure I get that feedback from her. That’s a much more in-depth conversation. We’re much more likely to have success than if I just said, you can’t drive the car and walked away. So, you have to clarify. You have to listen, right? They give you feedback and you may have to modify your message a little bit, but to me, understanding that model and following it is an absolute key to leadership, to life, and to building respect and integrity.

[00:08:36] Lesson 3:     Balance life and work

[00:08:36] Diana White: Absolutely agreed on that one for sure. Lesson number three, balance life and work. Now, I, you know, we hear. Buzz term a lot, Mitch. We’ve been hearing it more and more, with the women’s movement and, you know, just the world in general. Covid, especially when people were home and expected to work from home, but manage their fears about this global pandemic and their families who let’s be honest, many of us as family members, we didn’t realize how much we enjoyed escaping for 10 hours a day,

[00:09:16] Diana White: And now we can’t, and what’s happening. And so I, even though we hear this term a lot, I don’t think it’s ever enough, because I don’t think that people understand that it’s so much deeper and you have to figure out what that work-life balance is for you in your own terms, give us some insight into that.

[00:09:37] Mitch Bolnick: You’re absolutely right what you said. It’s not enough just to say it. We’re going to get here in the planning in just a second. And I, I think part of planning, you have to plan for your downtime too, especially entrepreneurs. I was not good at this. well, when I work for Lucid Technologies and we’d go on vacation, I would be on vacation.

[00:10:01] Mitch Bolnick: I wouldn’t take my laptop, I wouldn’t care about work. I would tell people, I don’t want you to call me. But when you’re an entrepreneur, that’s a lot more difficult. And it’s hard and it’s almost impossible at times. But you have to do it because otherwise you’re going to just stress yourself out.

[00:10:20] Mitch Bolnick: And the younger you are, the harder it is because. You don’t feel the stress the way a 60 year old might feel the stress. When I get stressed now I get tired. I get zapped. When you’re young, that doesn’t happen. so as I got older, I got better at this, but this is one that I wish I would’ve had somebody pushing me, and I would argue a spouse is a good place to listen more and get them to push you and not get annoyed at it and realize, you got to realize that it’s for your own benefit.

[00:10:58] Mitch Bolnick: So, when I own my own business, we would go on vacation. I have my laptop with me every morning reading emails. Okay, we’re going to be going to the beach at noon. All right, well till 1130 I’m looking at stuff and calling people and whatnot. I never really went on vacation and I would hear about it, but I didn’t adjust, and I should have.

[00:11:20] Mitch Bolnick: Because you know what? Anything that’s going on right now can wait. It really can, no one’s going to die. Well, I suppose if it’s a medical emergency, , I shouldn’t say that. Or if you’re a doctor or a physician, maybe I’m wrong, but most things can wait. And so even if you’re on vacation, you can’t take the whole time off, take a day or two where you just do nothing and expand that.

[00:11:45] Mitch Bolnick: and I think part of it is you have to plan for that. In other words, if I’m planning this meeting, plan for downtime, block your old calendar out, do stuff like that so that no one else can ruin that for you.

[00:11:56] Diana White: Do you think in some cases with couples and partners, the person that is, is doing a lot of the work and has to work because of the nature of being an entrepreneur, solopreneur.

[00:12:09] Diana White: do you think that they look at their partner instead of, someone that is holding them accountable? Right. maybe, perhaps a mentor in how to enjoy life because it’s what your family is supposed to be, right? They’re supposed to be a window into this is the only life I get. I need to enjoy it. They see them less as a guide in that, an accountability person and more of a, ugh, you’re another chore, you’re another task.

[00:12:41] Mitch Bolnick: You know? I’ve been very lucky. Sunday’s my 40th anniversary, wedding anniversary. Oh, congratulations. So I’ve had a strong partner who I could rely on to help me with that. Although I said I didn’t listen very well, but she did her best. I think that there’s something to that, that yes, you look at them like, oh, you’re just saying that.

[00:13:07] Mitch Bolnick: and so maybe the spouse isn’t the best person. I also had my brother who had, he was a lawyer. He worked hard, but he also, you know, on weekends he didn’t work, for the most part. And, you know, so he’d be like, why are you working when I own my own business? Saturday and Sunday were my catch-up time.

[00:13:26] Mitch Bolnick: I worked 10 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday, cuz no one was bothering me during that time. And I could do all the things I really needed to do that I meant to do during the week, but I forgot around to. So, getting help, hiring help is a wonderful way to balance work. And life too. You can give some tasks, trust other people, higher people you can trust.

[00:13:47] Mitch Bolnick: We’re going to talk about that. but get rid of tasks. You don’t have to do everything you can trust other people. that’s a hard one to learn.

[00:13:55] Lesson 4:     Loyal customers are the key to long term profitable success.

[00:13:55] Diana White: Agreed. Lesson number four. Loyal customers are the key to long-term profitable success.

[00:14:06] Mitch Bolnick: I believe that. I don’t like customer satisfaction. I believe there’s a book called Customer Satisfaction.

[00:14:14] Mitch Bolnick: Customer Satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless. Ah. And I read that, but right before I started my first business or bought my first business after I got laid off from Lucent and, I implemented a lot of the things in that, and I’ve come to believe in them. What it, to me, a loyal customer, first of all, let me define loyalty, is someone who, every single time they’re in the market for your product is going to come to you.

[00:14:42] Mitch Bolnick: And every single time they hear somebody else who needs your product or service, they’re going to say, you need to go to Mitch. They become evangelicals for you because the service you gave them was so darn good. They became loyal. I am a very loyal customer, but as soon as you piss me off, boom, I’m gone.

[00:15:02] Diana White: Same.

[00:15:03] Mitch Bolnick: And I’ll tell everybody about you, but as soon as you piss me off, I’m not going to tell anybody about you. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably tell people how you pissed me off and why they shouldn’t come see you. And so, think about that. If I could have a group of people out there that I’ve gotten to become loyal, they’re the best marketing you have out there.

[00:15:26] Mitch Bolnick: And so, To me, having loyal customers, no matter what the business is the key. And I say to profitable success because generating true loyalty requires a lot of things. More than just giving the best possible service. That means having well-trained people who know what that means, A team that’s working optimally so that when that person comes back, they get the exact same level of service that they experienced, they brought them back.

[00:15:54] Mitch Bolnick: And if you can’t do that time and time again, the probability of them becoming loyalty diminishes or becomes non-existent. And so you have to have good processes in place. You have to have good training in place, you have to have higher the right people. You have to have a plan to make sure all this works.

[00:16:09] Mitch Bolnick: You have to have metrics that you’re measuring yourself. So there’s so much that goes into that to generating the loyalty that’s why to me, it is the absolute key profitable long term success.

[00:16:19] Lesson 5:     Loyalty comes from trust

[00:16:19] Diana White: That makes perfect sense. It really does. Lesson number five. Still with loyalty. Loyalty comes from trust.

[00:16:29] Mitch Bolnick: It’s simple. I have, I created what I call Mitch’s hierarchy to loyalty kind of follows Maslow’s hierarchy. of needs, right? you, you’re never going to seek, safety even unless you’ve solved your hunger needs, as a human. And once you solve those, you’ll get safe, but you’ll never seek friendships.

[00:16:45] Mitch Bolnick: You know, that’s Maslow’s hierarchy, right? Of human needs. Well, I kind of created my own. And at the bottom is trust. Cuz trust somebody decided to come to you cuz they read something or saw something, or somebody told them, go see Diana. Right? And, but all the things I just talked about are in the hierarchy that build that loyalty.

[00:17:04] Mitch Bolnick: And at the top of that hierarchy is trust again. Because it’s all the things in between that fosters that initial trust. They got to come in that makes them realize I made a good decision. And now that trust gets them to come back. And then they, because they trusted that they’re going to be able for whatever you did, you built that trust to get them to come back.

[00:17:27] Mitch Bolnick: And now if you’re able to give them that exact same service, you build upon that trust. As you build upon that trust, they become loyal. And that trust is really what gets them to tell other people about you. Because I’m not going to tell somebody about somebody that I am not absolutely sure is going to give them really good service because I don’t want to make myself look better.

[00:17:49] Mitch Bolnick: I don’t want a friend of mine to have a negative experience. so that’s why I think trust is so important and that loyalty really comes.

[00:17:57] Diana White: I wholeheartedly agree. You know, I tell founders all the time, and sales force people, there is a phenomenon that happens in a transaction, and actually it isn’t even, it isn’t even regulated to sales.

[00:18:10] Diana White: It’s life, it’s interactions. Human beings interact with each other, and you need three fundamental things. You need know K N O W, know, like, trust. They have to feel as if they know you in order to figure out if they like you. If they like you, then like easily leads to trust. And once there’s trust, really those transactions can happen, those conversations can happen.

[00:18:37] Diana White: it is ridiculously simple.

[00:18:40] Mitch Bolnick: well, it is, and it isn’t. Right. Yeah. And I would argue once you have the trust, You shouldn’t assume that you’re going to maintain that trust. You’ve got to Right. Constantly foster that trust.

[00:18:50] Diana White: Right. From an authentic place, not from a manipulative place. That’s correct.

[00:18:55] Mitch Bolnick: Correct. Correct.

[00:18:57] Diana White: All right. I’d like to take a short break to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in one place.

[00:19:13] Diana White: You can start your 30 day free trial by going to audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned. With Audible, you can find your favorite lesson while at home or on the go. Once again, that’s audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned, all lower case for a free 30 day trial. The link will be in the show notes.

[00:19:37] Diana White: Let’s welcome back Mitch Bolnick and continue with lesson number six.

[00:19:42] Lesson 6:     Plan for success

[00:19:42] Diana White: Lesson number six, plan for success. Pretty simple words.

[00:19:48] Mitch Bolnick: You know, they are simple words, but no one does it , and I think I’m doing some real estate right now. I have a plan of what I’m going to do. Not necessarily every day, cuz I’m doing it kind of part-time. But I have plans that say, call these people or do this or do that.

[00:20:07] Mitch Bolnick: I put it on my calendar. I don’t have a formal plan that I could share with somebody. I use my calendar in my consulting business as my plan too. But I put those things out there and I, at the begin, on Friday, each week I look at next week what’s going on. I adjust the stuff I need to adjust. I add the stuff that I think I need to add and that’s my plan.

[00:20:30] Mitch Bolnick: As you grow a business though, and you become bigger and you have employees and the more and more people, that’s not good enough. You have to have a formal plan, a written plan, a documented plan that everybody can look at and read. Cuz if you don’t, because of communication variables, someone’s going to misunderstand the plan and someone’s going to believe they’re acting to fulfill the plan when they’re actually not doing that.

[00:20:56] Mitch Bolnick: So having a written plan is important for many reasons. One, once you document something, you internalize it much better than if you just think about it. Plus, when I share it with somebody, it’s the exact same words everybody’s seeing.

[00:21:11] Mitch Bolnick: So I’m not telling Bill over here the plan in one way and Joe another, and they’ve now interpreted in two different ways. So, they think they’ll go off doing the same thing, trying to meet common goal, and they’re not. So having a documented plan to me for every business is important. how formal it is depends on how, what your needs are.

[00:21:34] Mitch Bolnick: Obviously, if you’re going to seek money, you better have a business plan. and the plan shouldn’t just be a pitch deck. it needs to think about things. And we’ll talk about some of those. But, it, it needs to think about positives, negatives, needs, things about processes, the type of people you’re going to hire, the type of environment you want to have.

[00:21:54] Mitch Bolnick: every aspect of a business should be thought through and documented at some level so that you could share it with others as you grow. And the bigger you get. Here’s another key to planning for success, the more people need to be involved with creating that plan. You can’t just create it yourself. You need to involve the people who really are there every day doing whatever that is.

[00:22:20] Mitch Bolnick: The finance department, the sales department, they need to be involved in developing that plan because, A, they’ll internalize it better. B, they’ll buy into it better if they have some input into it. And C, you have a better chance for successfully, implementing it and get, and meeting your goals.

[00:22:39] Mitch Bolnick: So, I, I think that’s what my books are really about, is planning is a, is how do you document it and what should you document and what should you research and understand.

[00:22:52] Diana White: So powerful. And again, going back to the conversations that I have with my founders, right? especially, you know, you get to a point where you’re so vested, and you’re so protective over your baby that you cannot see anyone else doing anything but you.

[00:23:11] Diana White: and you know, I always use, a coding as the example in the analogy, and I always say to them, okay, Would you spend time learning how to code so that you can build your own website because you know how it needs to look? And they go, well, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m in this, I’m going to do it.

[00:23:29] Diana White: Whatever it takes. I said, okay, so, you spend time learning how to code and you start coding your website. Would you then hire a coder or developer to run your business? And they go, well, no. That’s insane. That’s ridiculous. I run my own business. I’m the only one that knows my business. I said, so, doesn’t sound a little off to you, that you’re willing to spend all this time to learn how to do somebody else’s job.

[00:23:57] Diana White: When you already have a job , and you’re the only one that can do it, and you know it better than anybody else, why don’t you just pay the coder and the developer to do what they know how to do better than you do. And there’s really no argument. There’s usually no,

[00:24:14] Mitch Bolnick: but you know what? that brings up a really good point.

[00:24:16] Mitch Bolnick: And the answer is the why is money. yeah. But you know what? Money’s the key, I hate to say it, but if you don’t have money, starting a business is a really tough thing to do. and that’s why nine out of 10 businesses fail is because it’s a resource thing, and you have to have enough money to hire the people who are the experts on some capacity, if not full-time.

[00:24:40] Mitch Bolnick: And then you have to have a plan to merge that into full-time employees at some point. That makes sense. How do you do that? You project financials. That’s a plan. you need to do those things. And it amazes me time after time, how many, not just entrepreneurs. I’m, I meet with a lot of small business owners that don’t even understand what I just said.

[00:25:03] Mitch Bolnick: And yet they’ve been running a business for 10, 15 years. And really what they do is they’re running; they own a job. They created a job for themselves and it’s not a real business. And it may not even be saleable, when they’re done. And that’s fine if you’re happy.

[00:25:18] Mitch Bolnick: But then if you want to really take it to the next level, you need to do the things that we talk about when planning.

[00:25:24] Diana White: I want to reiterate that viewers and listeners, I want to just resay that one sentence. Some business owners just own a job and that, that is a powerful, sometimes painful thing to realize. if you’re wanting to get to another threshold or change how you interact with your business, maybe you have been running your business for 20 years and you want to step back.

[00:25:54] Diana White: But you absolutely see no way that you can do it. None of the kids want to step up. You don’t trust anybody else. congratulations. Unfortunately, you created a job for yourself. Now, how do you turn that into this is something that can continue on while I do other things and I can still receive that passive income.

[00:26:15] Diana White: How do you do that? Mitch, if they want to know, should they talk to you? We’ll get to that later. We’ll get to that.

[00:26:21] Mitch Bolnick: No, let me just quick story, if you don’t mind. Yeah. a guy I know, he been in landscaping forever, got a nice house. as far as I knew he was, he’s doing, he does great. I know he’s fine.

[00:26:32] Mitch Bolnick: he’s happy. He’s got the money he needs and to do the goes on vacation, whatnot. He came to me. This is several years ago now, probably four years ago now, five years ago. He said, I want to sell my business. Can you help me figure out what it’s worth? Cuz that’s one of the things I do is help with valuations.

[00:26:51] Mitch Bolnick: So we started looking at it. He had not filed taxes for several years. He didn’t believe in taxes. I didn’t know that about him. He was paying most of his people it’s landscape business. He was paying most of them under the table in cash. Oh. And he had a book of business that was pretty good. I can’t remember exactly how many clients, but it was very steady.

[00:27:11] Mitch Bolnick: He had nothing, he didn’t have a business that he could sell. He had an illegal business, and the value of an illegal business is zero. And he goes, well, but I see businesses just like buying on Craigslist, selling all the time. I was like, exactly on Craigs list. And I like, put it out there and see what someone will give you.

[00:27:28] Mitch Bolnick: I can’t tell you what it’s worth because you don’t have the components of a business required to create value. And he’s like, so what? I just shut this down and just when I decided to retire? And I’m like, or you can do these things. I gave him my book and you change. He hasn’t changed. He’s just going to close it down someday.

[00:27:50] Mitch Bolnick: He now realizes that he doesn’t have an asset, he has a job and he’s happy as can be still. And that’s it. but that’s what I’m talking about, right? is that, that you really want to build a business and have a legacy. that’s the American dream.

[00:28:06] Diana White: It is. It really is. And you know, it’s kind of sad.

[00:28:10] Diana White: There are all different roads to the end destination. Right? But if you’re constantly taking shortcuts, , you miss all of the scenery, you miss all the good stuff. And then when you get to the end and everybody’s at the finish line and you know, you’re thinking, yeah, you know, I made it here with everybody else.

[00:28:32] Diana White: And they start turning to you and saying, well, did you see this along the way? No. Look, well, oh, you must have seen this along the way. No. Then what did you make it there for? Yes. You know,

[00:28:45] Mitch Bolnick: they had blinders on. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m happy with my blinders. No, a lot of people, I’d say, from my experience, the vast majority of small business owners fall into that category.

[00:28:56] Diana White: Yeah, I was going to say too, Mitch, tell me what your thoughts about this are. Cuz we, we talked about the money aspect, right? and one of the things that I’ve noticed, and I say it time and time again, I sound like a broken record, is we do things so backwards. We say, oh my gosh, I’m broke. What can I do to get myself out of this?

[00:29:17] Diana White: I’ll start a business when it really should be. I don’t want to do what I’m doing anymore. Or I think I have more to add, or I want to be my own boss. What is it going to take? Resources wise? Resources includes human capital, includes money and includes. Anything you can think of. What do I need to be successful?

[00:29:38] Diana White: Let me save, let me find the funds and then let me start my plan, start working my plan that I wrote as I tried to figure out what I needed.

[00:29:49] Mitch Bolnick: I think that’s so important. I really, I think you just hit the nail right on the head. That something, and it’s one of my biggest frustrations with entrepreneurs is, you know, let’s not, you’re not ready to go ask for money.

[00:30:04] Mitch Bolnick: And a lot of them already came to me. They’ve already gotten money, but they weren’t ready and they got money. And I, and I,I don’t say this, but my thought is, well, you just piss those people’s money away. , you know, I’m sorry for my language, but really, I, that’s how I feel. Because if you took somebody’s money and you didn’t have a good plan, you didn’t have financial projections, you didn’t have some idea where you were going, that you could march to and ensure that if you go off plan, there’s something measuring that’s what’s happening.

[00:30:34] Mitch Bolnick: You shouldn’t be asking people for money. You shouldn’t even be asking mom or dad for money. now you can, if you have your own money and you want to do That’s your prerogative. I would argue that’s not the best way to go. I think the best way to use those resources is to do the research, write the plan, figure it out, get some expertise up front that can help you figure out what you really need to do and then start executing the plan.

[00:31:00] Mitch Bolnick: But how many times, and you relive this daily, do we have people that have been working on whatever they come to us on for a year, two years, three years, five years, and they haven’t taken that step yet. Some of them have gotten money from other people. Some of them just put a lot of their own money in. Some of them have not put any money into it and have just been playing around on their computer and they think they’ve got something.

[00:31:24] Mitch Bolnick: That’s the next best thing. And that’s the biggest difficulty we have, you and I is how do we deal with those people and get them to understand. and their answer really is a lot of times you just have to move on because they’re not going to understand.

[00:31:37] Diana White: I also didn’t realize until I stepped into this universe, this world of entrepreneurship, I didn’t understand how many people, whether they know it consciously or not, are really in it just to be the shiny, sparkly.

[00:31:59] Diana White: I’ve got an idea entrepreneur, and they are not in it, in no way, shape or form to actually build and run a company. They just love going to these events, being a part of these groups, getting that funding to say, I’ve got this thing. Look at me, I’ve got this thing. And I was shocked at that because I come from a world of, yeah, I think we’re both east coasters, right?

[00:32:26] Mitch Bolnick: I come from Midwest,

[00:32:28] Diana White: Right. I come from a world of like, get the money. You got to make the money, you got to make the money. this. Talking about what you’re going to do, pontificating about what you’re going to do. it only lasts, but a little bit. But the rent’s going to be due, you know,

[00:32:46] Mitch Bolnick: you know, and a lot of them get the money, but they just piss it away.

[00:32:51] Mitch Bolnick: Like I said, I mean, I’m going to go back to one of my original examples. Tesla lost 70% of its value. , you know what, it didn’t really lose 70% of its value. It was never worth what people say it was. It’s still not worth what it is now based on the amount of money that, that the income value comes from, the ability to generate income, cash flow.

[00:33:16] Mitch Bolnick: And if you aren’t doing that, you’re not worth it. And so, I, you know, it’s the people are in it for the money and the glory. And you’re right, I’m in it. I support these people and I’m on the, I’m in the economic development in the city of Peoria too. Cause it’s about jobs, creating jobs and helping people create a life for themselves.

[00:33:38] Mitch Bolnick: So many owners don’t even consider that, and yet that’s really what you’re doing.

[00:33:43] Diana White: So true.

[00:33:44] Lesson 7:     Get rid of the deadwood.

[00:33:44] Diana White: All right, number seven, which ties into everything we’ve been talking about here. Get rid of the Deadwood!

[00:33:53] Mitch Bolnick: Hard lesson to learn. I’m going to, I’m going to talk to this by telling a story. When I bought my first company, there were only three employees.

[00:34:03] Mitch Bolnick: There was a sales guy, there was an engineer, and there was an installer. It was a low voltage electrical company. We did, security system, commercial security, and audio video systems. the guy was pretty much shutting it down and that they, there were just those three employees. none of them, when I sold it, none of them were there.

[00:34:18] Mitch Bolnick: as soon as the installer lasted it less than a year. my partner couldn’t deal with his stupidity and just fired him one day. the sales guy, we kept for a little bit longer, but same thing happened, but our engineer, he knew how to create systems. He could go out to the customer site, talk to the customer, and he would design the systems that we were going to sell.

[00:34:42] Mitch Bolnick: My partner and I came from the telecommunications world. We understood the business very well. We didn’t understand the technology very well, so he was, we relied on him and he was good at what he did. He was the biggest jerk in the world, and none of us really liked him, but we couldn’t figure out what to do about that.

[00:35:02] Mitch Bolnick: So what we do, we put him in an office in the corner. He shut his door, he even drew down the shades. He liked it being dark in there. And people would complain. It got to the point where it was like, don’t go talk to Tim. Come talk to me and I’ll go talk to Tim. I should have gotten rid of him, but every single time we thought of getting rid of him, he was involved in like the most important project we had going on, right?

[00:35:28] Mitch Bolnick: Finally got up to the level of revenue where I could afford a second engineer. And we hired a second engineer and he was really good. He had to learn it a little bit. So, he had a learning curve, but he wasn’t the jerk. As a matter of fact, he was the opposite. very good. Interpersonal skills.

[00:35:46] Mitch Bolnick: Interpersonal skills, and, Fast forward a little bit. We get this huge job. It’s our biggest job ever. Our biggest year ever was 3.1 million. This is a 4 million contract that would’ve been done in nine months. So, we would’ve had an incredible year. It was with the customer who was extremely loyal to me already.

[00:36:08] Mitch Bolnick: I was their sole provider of security systems. It was a casino run by the Indians came to the point where we, they wanted to meet our whole team, so we, they wanted to meet the engineer who designed it all. So, they had to go in front of them. And I, you know, I told engineer, dude, just don’t say anything, please, unless they ask you a specific question.

[00:36:33] Mitch Bolnick: And I give you a finger like this. I don’t really want you to say anything cause I’m worried there’s culture issues here. Yeah, they’re, we got to really respect that, that they’re into saving face. And he just laughed when I told him that. And I said, that’s my problem. He said, you don’t get that. And it’s important to them.

[00:36:52] Mitch Bolnick: And so we are sitting in there and one of the tribal members, one of the, one of the, their key technical persons said something that was just wrong. And so my guy chimes in, says, no, that’s not right. Now you don’t understand. Goes into this whole diatribe about it. Well, guess what? We lost that job.

[00:37:16] Mitch Bolnick: Yeah. And we were bidding a manufacturer who only had two installations in this country. And we were the representative here in Arizona, their sole representative here in Arizona. They ended up bringing in one of the representatives from California who ended up doing that job. With that manufacturer. So, they bought the equipment.

[00:37:38] Mitch Bolnick: We told them they should buy, but they didn’t hire us because that guy pissed them off and they told us goodbye. And I lost a 4 million deal that I had in my pocket that day. I fired him. And you know who? I was mad at me. Yeah. Yes. I came on me. I should have fired him years ago and just bit the bullet.

[00:38:02] Mitch Bolnick: And I didn’t. And so when I came back to tell my partner what had happened, you know, he wanted to go rip this guy throat apart, right? ? And I was like, no, I already did that. He’s fired. He’s packing up his stuff right now. And I told my boss, I said, you should be mad at me. And we should be mad at each other.

[00:38:22] Mitch Bolnick: You should be mad at me because you’ve told me many times you hated this guy. We should get rid of him. And yet we’ve always agreed that we should and. Now we can, and I did. And we just, you know, it was tough getting rid of him, but you know, it’s a long story for me to make a point, get rid of your deadwood.

[00:38:40] Mitch Bolnick: I could tell other stories where I let people wax and, you know, stay and it bit me in the butt later. And, the less, and now when I’m working with people, I just tell them, get rid of them. And if you can’t literally get rid of them because they’re doing stuff that you absolutely need, then let’s figure out a way to find somebody else that can do that either currently in your corporation or find somebody quickly that we can replace them with and let’s get a plan in place to replace them.

[00:39:09] Diana White: And I think two things, listeners and viewers. So the first thing we’ll talk about is that dead weight or dead wood, so many people equate that to someone who is not doing anything. And that is not what this is about. This is. An entity, a person, a group that is not bringing all of the positivity and the A game that everybody else in the organization is bringing.

[00:39:38] Diana White: They could be the hardest worker, but if they’re a jerk, they’re messing with the morale of the organization that is dead weight. They could be the greatest person in the world, the person you want to invite to every picnic, every barbecue, but they don’t do their work that is dead weight. there really needs to be a balance.

[00:39:59] Diana White: Yeah. They need to bring all of the things to the table that fit your company culture that you stated when you made your plan.

[00:40:09] Mitch Bolnick: Yep. Yep. You know, it’s kink in an armour, right? That armour could be all shiny in one little kink. The bullet gets through there. Right. and that’s what I’m talking about. His kink was, he was a jerk.

[00:40:22] Mitch Bolnick: He was a great engineer. but, and he was a jerk and he was a stubborn engineer who believed he was always right. You know, so, you know, now you could try and train people. Right. And that’s what I figured if I could get this guy to change. , you know, some people change, the older you get, the less likely you are to change.

[00:40:41] Mitch Bolnick: Yeah. And so, that’s not always the case. I’m not saying just fire somebody because they did something wrong. Get me. I want to make that clear. You need to give people leeway and people learn for mistakes. But, you know, I let this guy sit in this dark office for years. Yeah. And that was my mistake. And that was my mistake.

[00:40:58] Mitch Bolnick: You know? So, I think it’s a good lesson. It’s a hard lesson, especially when you’re new and you’re only got four or five employees. It’s hard to get rid of that one, but do it.

[00:41:08] Diana White: Yeah. And I also, I want to touch base on the culture differences bus in business. You know, I sometimes am disheartened, especially when we deal with the native population, you know, here in Arizona, we have a lot of native populations that are doing amazing things and coming up with great ideas.

[00:41:28] Diana White: And you do have to have meetings sometimes, and you have to have meetings with the tribe and the elders. And there is an etiquette, there is an absolute etiquette. And I will see organizations, I will see them drill their employees on how to deal with the etiquette when they’re dealing with a conglomerate or a company, that is from Asia.

[00:41:54] Mitch Bolnick: Oh yeah.

[00:41:55] Diana White: Take the business card with both hands.

[00:41:56] Mitch Bolnick: Take the business card with both hands and look at their business card. Both sides, right? They talked that the first time I dealt with them. I mean, but if you’re not told that, you go do it, and so people would walk into the room and just throw their business card, then you could just see in these people’s face that disrespect.

[00:42:11] Diana White: but my point is, I don’t think that we give native populations or us populations the same kind of respect to find out what their business protocols are and to respect them. We want them to conform because they’re quote unquote here. Yeah. And I sometimes, you know, I am a big observer and I’m a big, you know, I’m a consultant.

[00:42:39] Diana White: and sometimes I just sit back and I watch the whole deal burn because I said something and it was just like, ah, whatever, you know? It’s tough. It’s really tough.

[00:42:50] Mitch Bolnick: It’s really tough. And it’s not just Native Americans, it’s different cultures and it’s, different religions, people, everybody’s unique, everybody and it behoves you in life and business to try and understand that individual’s uniqueness and then react to it, deal with it, accept it, and relish in it.

[00:43:12] Diana White: And then on the converse, I would say if you do have cultural protocols and observances that aren’t quote unquote standard in the arena that you’re playing in for the moment. Speak up. Yeah, speak up. Speak up and let people know, you know what this is. This would not be considered appropriate.

[00:43:33] Diana White: And this is why I appreciate your effort, but that education goes a long way, especially if this is someone that’s vying for your business. , right? because then you get to figure out, all right, it was it just a mistake because they just didn’t know what they didn’t know. Or are they assholes? And it doesn’t matter what I tell them, they’re just going to do whatever they want, you know?

[00:43:54] Mitch Bolnick: And there’s a lot of the latter. There’s a lot of the latter.

[00:43:56] Lesson 8:     Understand risk.

[00:43:56] Diana White: Lot of the latter. Lot of the latter. Oh, my goodness. Number eight, lesson number eight. Understand risk. Pretty simple. Is it?

[00:44:07] Mitch Bolnick: No ?

[00:44:09] Diana White: I thought so.

[00:44:10] Mitch Bolnick: So one of the things I have in my books, both books is discussion of a SWAT analysis. How many times do you actually see anybody in business even understand what SWAT means, or anybody who’s presenting you a pitch deck or anything like that?

[00:44:25] Mitch Bolnick: Have a SWAT analysis. It’s rare it takes somebody like you or me to convince somebody that they need to do it. , and really, what is it? You know, SWAT, for those who don’t know, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We all know our strengths. We should know our weaknesses, but a lot of us aren’t willing to, accept our weaknesses or tell others about our weaknesses.

[00:44:47] Mitch Bolnick: I argue the best thing you could do is tell everybody about your weaknesses so that they’re prepared, and then learn from your weaknesses and try and work on those weaknesses. But if you don’t have those in there as a business, you haven’t documented what those are, you have no idea what you should work on.

[00:45:00] Mitch Bolnick: one of the biggest weaknesses businesses have is risk. And risk comes from many places. Risk can come from an employee, who’s a jerk, and cost you a $4 million deal. Risk could come from the government changing a law that impacts you directly. risk could come from a competitor, risk could come from Google.

[00:45:20] Mitch Bolnick: And I mean that literally, I ask a lot of people who are presenting businesses to me, why can’t Google do this? And I’m not saying that as a joke. Google and Apple have got so much money that they’re in the business of trying to create a new Google. And they can buy you, but they won’t because they’ve got the resources to figure out what you’re doing 10 times over and 10 times better.

[00:45:48] Mitch Bolnick: Unless you’ve really got something unique that you can really get a solid patent on. And that’s a lot harder. It, a lot rarer than people tend to think you can get a patent, but getting a patent doesn’t mean you really have something that Google can’t blow away. And so, so to me, understanding what those risks are and where they may come from.

[00:46:09] Mitch Bolnick: And when you understand your risks, to me, part of your plan is how do I mitigate those risks? You may not be able to mitigate a risk. How can I mitigate the government changing the law? I don’t even know what law they may change. Oh yeah, but which laws affect me the most? And what if those change? I can answer that question.

[00:46:31] Mitch Bolnick: And what would I do if they changed this way or if they changed that way? So, you can look at those things. And if you’re going for a patent, what are your biggest risks are you really going to get that patent? Everybody can get a provisional patent. All you got to do is send a letter to the government, right?

[00:46:48] Mitch Bolnick: With some information, certain information. Is it going to turn into a real patent? That’s a huge risk. Most people just assume that it Get a guy that can tell you whether it really can or can’t and that, you know, and maybe you shouldn’t even submit that . And so, understanding risk to me is so important.

[00:47:08] Mitch Bolnick: And it’s why it’s really, it’s the lack of that understanding that kills most businesses. it really is. I mean, none of us can predict or do much about a great recession or, you know, the Feds changing interest rates drastically. And how that, you know, if you’re selling homes that can impact your business and what do you do?

[00:47:27] Mitch Bolnick: Well, we, and in the real estate world, we have a plan for that. You know, and this is what we’re going to do now. This is what we’re going to tell people. So, understanding risk informs your plan.

[00:47:38] Diana White: I wholeheartedly agree. and I chuckled cuz you, you know, my philosophy as well, I make all my founders do a swallow analysis.

[00:47:45] Diana White: That’s one of the first things we do after I teach them what bias is. because a lot of people don’t understand what bias is and how it affects how you see your business and your competition. So I make them do a SWOT analysis and one of the things that I’m very clear on is the weakness column is not static.

[00:48:06] Diana White: It should not stay the same. If you discover a weakness, your job is to figure out how do I turn that into a strength? And it doesn’t mean that you have to be the one. If you say, my weakness is financials, well, maybe then it’s time to look at, you know, outsourcing a bookkeeper, or it’s time to look at bringing on a C F O if you are at that stage, doesn’t mean that you have to become an expert in finance.

[00:48:34] Diana White: It just means that your organization needs to turn it into a strength in how do you do that? And it’s hard. It’s hard to get people to see, what those strengths and weaknesses columns really

[00:48:44] Mitch Bolnick: mean. Yep. No, I agree with you. I like that you say they’re changing because if they’re not changing, you’re failing.

[00:48:52] Mitch Bolnick: Yes. Yes. you’re not. You’re not implementing your plan or you haven’t written your plan, documented your plan, or created your plan appropriately. Same thing with threats. Threats are constantly changing and threats. To me, the difference between a weakness and a threat is a weakness is something that’s inherently built into your business that you can work on.

[00:49:12] Mitch Bolnick: A threat is something that comes from left field and is going to hit you in the head. And, you know, that poor guy in that football game the other night, that’s a threat, right? Yeah. It can knock you out like that. and if you don’t know that’s a possibility, that could just devastate you. Now that’s a weird example cuz that was such a freak thing, right?

[00:49:34] Mitch Bolnick: But I would argue that when you’re sitting there comfortable in your C-suite, one of the things you should be thinking about is where are those threats going to come from and what would they look like? Cause to me, once you get to a company where there is a C-suite, that’s probably your biggest job.

[00:49:51] Diana White: you’ve nailed it on the head.

[00:49:53] Diana White: That is absolutely true. Once you have a C-suite, if you are fortunate enough to get to that level, the entire C-Suites job is working that swat, working that SWAT and making it the best it can be for that particular point in time and having plans A, B, C through Z for what could happen. So I always say, strengths and weaknesses are internal opportunities and threats are external.

[00:50:23] Diana White: You can’t control them, but they can have a positive and or negative effect on your business. You have to deal with all of them. You have to deal with all of them.

[00:50:31] Mitch Bolnick: I would change that just a little bit. Opportunities are external, but they come from within. Yes. Because you have to take, you have to recognize it, and you have to do something.

[00:50:40] Mitch Bolnick: Take advantage of it.

[00:50:41] Lesson 9:     Don’t dwell, life is like riding several rollercoasters at the same time.

[00:50:41] Diana White: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Lesson number nine. Don’t dwell. Life is like riding several roller coasters at the same time. You’re not kidding about that.

[00:50:57] Mitch Bolnick: I’m officiating my son’s wedding, at the end of this month, and I’ve weaved that rollercoaster into my, what I’m saying because I believe it. life is roller coasters. You got some that are going up and a lot of anticipation. You have some that are plunging down. You’re scared out of your mind.

[00:51:12] Mitch Bolnick: You have some that are just going along and you’re just having fun, but they’re all happening at the same time. And that’s called managing life. same thing happens with business. Your business has its own roller coasters. Each individual that works for you has their own roller coasters. Every customer has their own roller coasters.

[00:51:30] Mitch Bolnick: And when you start thinking of that term, it gets pretty complicated. But what I really mean by this is the first two words, don’t dwell. So when something bad goes wrong, don’t let it crush your day. It’s just another thing that happened. Figure out what you’re going to do about it and move on. Get action in place as soon as it’s needed to be in place.

[00:51:51] Mitch Bolnick: But that’s a really difficult thing to really, a skill that’s difficult to develop, I believe. So what I learned is that the way you can control the negatives, your emotions towards negatives is to control your emotions towards the positives, cuz that is something you can control. So, when something good happens, instead of getting super excited, curb that a little bit cuz that’ll help you start teaching yourself how to curb your emotions.

[00:52:21] Mitch Bolnick: So when I first owned my first business, every time I got a job, I’d make a big deal about it. I’d yell out or I’d go put something out, you know? And after a while people were like, we get it. We get it. but I learned that by doing that, I wasn’t curbing my own emotions. And that if I just said, we got a job, good on you, maybe send an email to the person who landed the job good on you.

[00:52:45] Mitch Bolnick: Didn’t have to make a big deal out of it. And that helped me then curb my upside. Emotions. And I’m not saying this is an easy thing. When bad things happen and you’re going to get bumped. But that’s what this whole, that’s what meant by this statement to mind. Don’t dwell life is like riding several roller coasts at the same time.

[00:53:04] Mitch Bolnick: You know, if you get on that roller coaster and just kind of, a lot of us get on roller coasters and we’re just going to live through it and just enjoy it as much as we can. Just do that and you don’t have to yell and put your hands up. Ah, you know, but you don’t have to freak out either.

[00:53:18] Mitch Bolnick: So that’s what I meant by that.

[00:53:20] Diana White: Well, if we could just change that analogy to like the children’s teacup ride. I’m with you on that. I don’t do rollercoaster. I don’t do roller coasters.

[00:53:30] Mitch Bolnick: The older I get, the older I get. I’m with you too. The less I like the roller coaster.

[00:53:33] Diana White: I know. It’s something.

[00:53:35] Lesson 10: “Respect your elders” is a cliche, but listening to them might save you

[00:53:35] Diana White: Lesson number 10. Now I love this one. This one is near and dear to my heart. Respect your elders. It’s cliche but listening to them might save you.

[00:53:47] Mitch Bolnick: We’re all told, respect your elders when you’re young. And I believe that. And then something happened to me, and I’m not going to tell the story where I was older. I was in my, I was about 35, 36 years old, so I wasn’t an elder, but I had lived long enough that I had my own moxie in my own ways.

[00:54:04] Mitch Bolnick: Some guy, much older than me started yelling at me about something that he had just no clue about. Somebody else had told me I could do something, and I was doing it and he was like, you can’t do that, blah, blah, blah. And he was yelling at me and I looked at him and I told him, listen, just cuz you’re old doesn’t mean I have to listen to you.

[00:54:23] Diana White: Oh my,

[00:54:24] Mitch Bolnick: I said, he was really, he was being very mean to me. I said, I don’t respect you when you talk to me like that. I go, I said it a little differently. Cause I said, I’ve always been told, respect my elders, but just because you’re old doesn’t mean I have to listen to you. You’re wrong. That man over there told me I should go, can go over there.

[00:54:42] Mitch Bolnick: He’s wearing a police uniform. I’m going to listen to him and not you, . And he didn’t realize that. And he started yelling at me some more. But I went home after that trip and my kids were old enough. Cause I remember telling him about it. And I said, you know, so when I tell you respect your elders, take it with the grain of salt.

[00:55:02] Mitch Bolnick: And then years later I realized that that’s just a really bad message because that guy, even though in that case he was being a jerk, there are lessons. He was coming from a place that he had internalized and he had learned, and I was doing something that went against the grain, but I had been told by a police officer that I should do it.

[00:55:23] Mitch Bolnick: So I was comfortable that I was doing the right thing, but he wasn’t aware of. Okay, so I was wrong in how I responded, but that’s when I realized that you don’t have to respect them. The whole respect is different than listening and internalizing the lessons that they have. They’re two different things, and that most people who are older than you have gone through things that you could benefit by understanding.

[00:55:56] Mitch Bolnick: And so that’s why I modified it. I still believe that respecting your elders is a cliche because it’s the respect part of it. If somebody’s a jerk, I don’t care how old they are and what they’ve been through, I’m not necessarily going to respect that. But is there some lesson that they have within them?

[00:56:14] Mitch Bolnick: Maybe not that individual, but there probably is. And depending on the setting, I still may be able to learn something from them. And so that’s why I came up with this. Thing that, that you need to listen, but you need to find that mentor that I, you asked me what, what would I have to my third get that mentor, cuz that is somebody that you can trust and then listen to that.

[00:56:36] Mitch Bolnick: And so, you know, they may end up being politically opposed to you. So do I have to respect their political views? No. But I want to listen to them for the things that they have internalized that could benefit me and make me succeed.

[00:56:49] Diana White: One of the things that I found in engaging with people older than me is, you know, there, there are a lot of beliefs that you want to say, oh, come on, you still believe that.

[00:57:03] Diana White: And I really do think that in a sense, you’re right, Mitch, that blanket respect gets in the way of pure communication that can be beneficial and educational for both parties.

[00:57:18] Mitch Bolnick: Exactly.

[00:57:19] Diana White: And so, when you have someone that comes to you that’s an elder and they say, do X, Y, and Z, that’s the way it should be.

[00:57:26] Diana White: In, in, in my world coming from, you know, an African American, Baptist family, you know, it’s a, it’s in the Bible, do it. It’s in the Bible. That’s what God said. Do it. Right. And so you want to be able to say, I’ve had many circumstances when I’ve spoken to elder women and I’ve realized, their ire, their frustration, because, you know, this young whipper snapper won’t listen to what I’m saying, has less to do with anything other than they just want to be heard again.

[00:57:57] Diana White: Yeah. They’ve been put on the sidelines because they’re of a certain age and they, the world doesn’t see that they have value. And so they’re almost, they’re screaming from the rafters. I have something to say. And if you just listen, it opens up a whole new world. yep. But if you sit there and say, I must respect you because you’re older than me.

[00:58:18] Diana White: You’re not really listening. no. You’re just letting them spew and then you walk away not having anything to take from that interaction.

[00:58:25] Mitch Bolnick: Well, I’m going to tell you these were some amazing lessons, and I thank you for sharing them with us today, but got one more question for you, if you don’t mind. , what have you had to unlearn?

[00:58:38] Mitch Bolnick: So, I don’t like that question.

[00:58:41] Diana White: Oh, okay.

[00:58:42] Mitch Bolnick: Because I don’t like the word unlearn.

[00:58:46] Mitch Bolnick: I believe we’re all constantly learning and you have to constantly adjust. Nothing is changeable except change itself, and therefore it’s not that you unlearn, it’s that you modify what you learned, so you add to the learning that you already have. So I’m going to answer, I think life work balance has been the hardest thing for me to adjust and change in my life.

[00:59:12] Mitch Bolnick: And so I believe that answers your question. It’s also the thing, it’s not that I have to unlearn, had unlearn my old ways to learn new ways. And so it is unlearning, but I like to, I choose to look at it as learning new things and learning to adapt. And learning to work on my weaknesses. I like to know; I believe I understand my weaknesses pretty well.

[00:59:41] Mitch Bolnick: I don’t, fall back into them, but I, by understanding them, I’m always working on them. I think that’s my answer to your question. That was.

[00:59:50] Diana White: a great answer to my question. Mitch, thank you so much. I want to thank my guest, Mitch Bolnick, for sharing his lessons with us today. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned.

[01:00:04] Diana White: This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can email us at podcast 10 lessons learned.com. That’s podcast, the number one zero lessons learned.com.

[01:00:23] Diana White: Go ahead and hit that like button, subscribe and turn on the notifications bell so you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world wiser Lesson by lesson.

[01:00:35] Diana White: Thank you everyone. Be safe.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

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