<![CDATA[BillWarrell.com - Blog]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:06:26 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[6 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 19:04:01 GMThttp://billwarrell.com/blog/6-things-every-entrepreneur-should-knowHaving worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses over the past 17 years, I’ve been blessed to assist them in solving some of their most complex financial obstacles. While different industries face different obstacles, much of what they face is the same. Here are my 6 pieces of advice that relate to any entrepreneur across any industry.

1. Build a Wall
New-age business lingo will tell you to break down silos and tear down walls. I say build ‘em! Determine your most valuable assets and build high walls around them. Build walls of value around your clients so they’ll remain loyal to your brand. Build walls of appreciation around your employees so they’ll remain with your company. Build walls of partnership with your vendors so they will continue to supply your inventory. Build walls of love around your support system for when you need them.
Whatever the asset is, make sure it is well protected. Don’t just let your words do the talking- make sure your actions are backing them up.

2. Don’t Compare
Have you ever tried comparing yourself to someone else? It can be brutal especially since we rarely compare ourselves to those less fortunate. Of course there are times when you need to compare the products and services of your competitors to make sure you are relevant. Just don’t compare your balance sheets where your measurements of success may be different. Businesses and owners have different skill sets and different motivators- you could be comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or end. Set YOUR goals and strive to achieve YOUR goals.

3. Plan
Here’s where the majority of business failures happen. Since no one likes to dwell on the negative which means they are often forgotten about and neglected. That doesn’t mean they will go away! Build a business plan that focuses on success but also addresses setbacks. Don’t just address possible setbacks but address solutions to overcoming them. If you can plan this far ahead you will not be shocked when setbacks do occur- and they usually do at the most inopportune time.

4. Know where your revenue comes from
Focus your efforts on revenue producing activities. Networking is fun. Sponsorships are fun. Lunch meetings can be enjoyable but unless you’re unable to make a correlation between them and creating revenue for your company, it might not pay the dividends you’re looking for. So going to a Chamber of Commerce event for the sake of going won’t work- you need to have a plan for the event. Make contacts and follow-up.
If you are unable to tie activities to bottom-line revenue- rethink them.

5. Be content…kind of
Complacency is for losers. Be happy and thankful with the success you’ve achieved but don’t take it for granted. Be content with where you’re at but don’t just stay there. Increase your knowledge. Become a better leader. Build new skills. Grow your team. Develop deeper relationships. Try new things. Create goals to ensure that you don’t plateau. The best way is to create a baseline of where you’re at now and where you’d like to be. Don’t stop moving forward.

6. Have fun
There are some obstacles to being a business owner. But for every obstacle there’s usually a bright spot. You’ve put in too much time, effort and money into making your entrepreneurial dreams come true and life is too short for it all. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the managing of a business that you lose focus of the end goal. It can lead to loss of identity, family, relationships and overall enjoyment of life. If you can’t have some fun while doing what you love- what’s the point?]]>
<![CDATA[Wells Fargo and the Big Bank Fiasco]]>Fri, 09 Sep 2016 22:43:58 GMThttp://billwarrell.com/blog/wells-fargo-and-the-big-bank-fiasco
​The 4th largest US bank is in hot water today after reports on employees creating phony accounts. Here were the top 3 news stories in my feed this afternoon:After working in the banking industry for over 17 years, I'd like to say I'm surprised at the dishonesty that permeates the inner working of the system...but I'm not.  In recent years the mortgage crisis hit hard, then bailouts and TARP kept consumers from trusting the banks they've held relationships with for so long.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to protect the public from banks, lenders and financial companies after the fallout.

I recall working for a bank in the early 2000's that, like Wells Fargo, expected employees to report their sales numbers at 9am, noon, 3pm and 5pm EVERY DAY.  We competed with other offices to open the most new accounts, credit cards, online banking and other bank products and services.  Another bank I worked for used terms like "let sleeping dogs lie" , "whatever it takes" and "all of your family members have accounts here right?"  Loans were approved without verifying that borrowers had the ability to repay.  Employees opened new accounts, funded them with with their own $25, received goal credit and then closed the account and opened another for the same person- getting credit and bonuses for opening the same account over and over.

While each employee has to work through their own moral dilemma, these overbearing goals come straight from the top and trickle down to trapped employees.  Employees who are told in no uncertain terms, "produce no matter what it takes or you will be replaced."

What a sad cycle.

Here are just four of the many issues:

Hiring
​This is where it starts.  Deceitful managers hire deceitful employees- from the top to the bottom.  Employees who are not deceitful ​must either adapt to the toxic company culture or find employment elsewhere.  Hire for integrity, character and values.  Train for everything else.

Leadership
It's odd to see the CEO come out to the public in this type of situation and announce their disappointment when we all know that they are the ones who either created or encouraged the poor behavior behind closed doors.  True leadership offers transparency and rises to the occasion both in public and behind closed doors.

Incentive
Most incentive and bonus programs are designed to benefit the company- not the producer.  There is more integrity to be found in providing incentive for the right behaviors instead of sole production.

Value
If you, as a company, were actually providing value to your customers then you wouldn't need to create fake people to use your product. Imagine how many new accounts I could open by way of referral instead of creating fake people.  The downfall to that idea is that you need to provide more value to earn a referral then to fake one (sarcasm included).

In the end everyone feels the pain when the company culture encourages deplorable behavior.  Money is lost, lives are affected and trust is broken.
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<![CDATA[Keeping a Magical Focus]]>Fri, 15 Jul 2016 01:00:17 GMThttp://billwarrell.com/blog/keeping-a-magical-focusA Tale of Two Brothers
It’s impossible to tell this tale without providing a background of two brothers who have created an entertainment empire, Walt & Roy Disney.  In 1923, Walt and his older brother Roy created Disney Brothers Studio and began producing cartoons. 
While the two brothers shared a last name and profession, they both had extremely different skills sets. Walt was an extroverted showman with big ideas and great people skills. Roy was an introverted businessman who liked to be behind the scenes. Walt’s creative flair and entrepreneur spirit often found him in trouble with Roy who was charged with obtaining financing for Walt’s big ideas.
Picture
Walt (L) and Roy (R) after receiving their first award.
Picture
Walt (L) and Roy (R) in later years
Construction Begins
Fast forward past the award winning movies, creation of Mickey Mouse and the opening of Disneyland.  In 1959, The Walt Disney Company began looking for land to house a second theme park and resort and in 1964 purchasing large quantities of swampland in Central Florida for the creation of Disney World. Sadly, he wouldn’t live to see it.  Shortly after his death in 1966, The Walt Disney Company began construction of the Magic Kingdom.  At the time it was considered the largest construction project in the US with a total cost of $400 million and using 9,000 workers.
Loss of Focus
Now it should be noted that most construction workers, particularly during this time and on this swampland project, did not wear watches.  They would get to the job site at sun-up and work until sun-down.  The 4 year construction project was moving along quickly- until the construction of the train station.  A focal point of the beautiful train station was a clock tower that housed a beautiful clock overlooking the construction site.  Not long after the installation Roy began to notice a trend of slowing construction.  After some time it was found that many of the construction workers would now notice the clock in the afternoon and begin slow their pace at around 3pm.
 
The Lesson in Focus
Of course a businessman like Roy wasn’t happy about this.  Through sponsorships, financing obligations and the media, Roy had promised numerous individuals.  After all, everyone needs deadlines.  Roy’s answer was a banner placed over the clock which read, “Remember- Opening Oct 1971.”  This simple lesson is one that still resonates today.
Too often we play to the clock or focus on the here and now. Whether it’s multi-tasking, goofing off or working on tasks that will not get us to the ultimate goal- remember to focus on the goal.
 
“Everyone needs deadlines. Even the beavers. They loaf around all summer, but when they are faced with the winter deadline, they work like fury. If we didn’t have deadlines, we’d stagnate.” – Walt Disney
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