Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Jerry Mills on the show. Jerry runs B2B CFO so Business to Business CFO, a company that provides part-time CFO services to companies. I really appreciate him being on today. Thanks so much for coming on the show, Jerry.
JERRY MILLS: Glad to be here.
JAIME TARDY: Perfect. So let’s start off with how did you even get started becoming business owner? Was it CFO Services or was it something beforehand?
JM: No, it has always been CFO Services. I saw the need for this kind of business back in the mid ‘80s. I spent several years researching it and developing a business plan and launched it in 1987. So I have been doing this since 1987 and that’s really the only business I have ever had.
JT: So did you always sort of know yourself as entrepreneurial or what made you start it to begin with?
JM: Well there are a couple reasons that I started. One, I saw the need; I saw that there was a market niche, if you would. I saw clients being underserved in this area. The other area that caused me to start it was in my previous employment. I saw a lot of professionals when they hit their mid 50s being laid off by their employers and I wanted to build a company that would allow me to have job security when I hit my 50s.
I didn’t feel like it’s very wise, you know, I’m married, have four children and I just didn’t feel it was wise to be in a job, if you would, that I could be laid off at any time. I didn’t want to have somebody else control my future. So that was actually one of the main reasons I started it was just to not be at the beckon call, if you would, of somebody. I didn’t think I should be able to be in a situation where somebody could lay me off so I didn’t want to be ever laid off.
JT: That’s a great reason. So if you don’t mind me asking, how old were you when you started the business?
JM: I think I was around 37 or so.
JT: Okay, so it was a lot of forward thought going, you know, 10, 13 years in the future I don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s why you went ahead. Nice.
JT: So what was it like? So, if you had never owned a business, I mean you were a CFO so you were really good with all the numbers having to do with a business, but what was it like starting your own practice?
JM: Well the difficulty and I think this is a difficulty in any new business is typically we were very good at whatever we do whether we make things or buy things or create a service or have a service, the big obstacle is always getting the client. How do you get the client, right? How do you sell what you’re going about selling and also not only do you sell, how do you price it, how do you collect the money? What are the right kinds of clients to have? What are the type of clients to stay away from?
That whole genre of just basically selling was something I had not been exposed to. Nobody had ever taught me the right way to sell and I would say that’s the case with most people who start a business. They’re worried about that topic. So that was an issue at first.
JT: So tell me about what you did. So if you had no real experience in sales, what were some of the first things you did? What worked and what didn’t work for you then?
JM: Well I read books on the subject and listened to tapes like by Zig Ziglar and other people and I also just invested some money in how to network and how the business world really works in terms of how to get in front of a CEO. What I had to do was I had to go through somewhat of a methodic process to learn how to identify customers, how to get in front of them, what are the right ways or what are the wrong ways because you always have the issue of how do I get in front of a CEO? Do I do it through advertising? Do I do it through other methods?
So I just had to build my own sales model if you would in order to get in front of a CEO and then once I got in front of the CEO how to close the deal. So I just basically created my own methodology although I used a lot of wisdom and advice from other people and other authors, if you would.
JT: So I think that’s sort of a key point that you’re saying. It’s like every business is different. You don’t know if necessarily advertising and what advertising is going to work for you. So what was your methodology? Did you just try something? See what he results were? Try something else? See what the results were?
JM: It was sort of a trial by error at first. So what I did was I invested in a company, unfortunately they’re no longer in business, and then I also read books by Zig Ziglar, Ron Willingham and other authors like that. I just developed a methodology because in personal services it’s difficult to advertise. Business owners use the term, they don’t hire by answering want ads or letters or emails or anything like that. So I had to just develop a methodology based on wisdom by other people and also just my practical experience on how to network, how to talk to bankers, insurance agents and attorneys and have them in turn introduce me to potential clients. So I basically had to develop my own methodology actually.
JT: If you don’t mind me asking too, what’s your best advice for someone who is just starting out? What should they really focus on and what tips do you have that might work for them?
JM: Well, anybody who is starting a business usually has a strong belief in themselves and a strong belief in what they’re selling whether product or service. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned and I guess my biggest tip would be if you’re visiting with the business owner, can you articulate the benefits of your product or service? Can you very easily identify that those benefits will meet the needs of the customer? That would be the first issue.
The second issue is can you articulate clearly that the benefits exceed the cost? Because if you can do those two things, if you get in front of a business owner and you can clearly articulate the benefits and that the benefits exceed the cost, then it’s pretty much downhill from there. That takes a lot of listening, a lot of interviewing, a lot of questioning of business owners and usually, when I am in my best sales mode, I’m usually listening to the client or perspective client, probably 80 to 90 percent of the time.
I do very little talking. I’m listening asking them questions then I’m identifying benefits. I say okay, so if you have this it would allow you to do that. So that’s what you want in your business, is that correct? So I go through a series of asking questions but identifying benefits and then articulating that the benefits exceed the cost is a very good salesman.
JT: Now do you find, because you’ve been doing this for a long time, do you find that this changes at all or has it worked since 1987 and still works today?
JM: You mean the process that I just talked to you about on identifying?
JM: No, that has not changed at all. A lot of things in business has changed but no that has not changed at all. I think all of us, if somebody is trying to sell us something and we don’t see the benefit of it and it doesn’t meet our need and if we feel pressured into buying something that we don’t need, we have a natural tendency to back off don’t we? We don’t like that. A lot of us have had that kind of experience with car salesmen, you know, that put us in a car that we don’t really want. Well, if the car salesman would go through a process and ask what do you want, what are the five or ten things that you’re looking for in a vehicle, and then they should have the integrity if they don’t have that type of vehicle, if they can’t get it, they should have the integrity to walk away and say I just can’t help you. You see what I’m talking about? That process is the best process and that has not changed.
JT: So what have you, you said other things in the business have changed. What are some of the things that you’ve seen changed?
JM: A lot of things have changed in business over the years. Emails, using search engine optimization, using technology, banking and lending has changed dramatically especially since 2008. So the whole world of money, the whole world in terms of speed and technology, those things have changed and will continue to change. Any business who doesn’t adapt and doesn’t understand social media, using Google, using LinkedIn, Twitter and those kinds of things to find clients and find business are going to be left far behind. So that part of business has changed. The part of selling, meeting people’s needs has not changed at all.
JT: That’s a really good point. So starting in 1987 I mean a lot of the technology didn’t exist. How did you know that it was up and coming and going to work for you? Did you sort of jump on the bandwagon of social media once it started to become something that seemed somewhat viable or how does your company do that?
JM: Well, our business has grown mostly because of social media. I was not only the pioneer of this business but I think I was a pioneer in terms of learning how to use social media. The biggest breakthrough was Google when that first popped out and Google had ways to advertise to business owners in a very cost-effective way; search engine marketing which is pay per click, search engine optimization which is the organic side. So I just learned, I associated myself with professionals and I read books and I learned how to use that technology to have people find us.
There’s a great book by, anybody who is thinking about starting a business they should read this book, it’s called Inbound Marketing by the guys at Hub Spot. So the issue is – is it better to go out and find a client or customer or is it better to have the customer or client find you? Those are two different decisions, right? I made a decision years ago when Google and other search engines and other social media came out that it was better to have me have people find us instead of us going and finding people. So yes, I’ve been on the cutting edge of that and anybody who doesn’t understand that concept is going to be left behind in terms of starting a new business or in terms of growing a business competitively in the future.
JT: See that’s huge. Are you just sort of open to technology? I mean I know a lot of the people, 1987 no offense, worked a business method and went well this works I’m going to keep doing it and didn’t jump on technology and found themselves having an issue because of it. What in you, as far as owning your company, made you decide to jump on it? You just saw the opportunity and you thought it was the best way to go?
JM: I think the later. No, I don’t have a technology background. It’s hard for me to use my computer. My children and others show me how to use the iPod and those kind of things although I own like five iPods and iPads and that kind of stuff but I don’t know how to use them. To me it was a matter of logic. What was logical to use the old way, yellow pages advertising, mass mailing or was it logical to use technology that had been created by others like Google and when I say Google I mean the Yahoo and there are a lot of those. I’m just using that name generically.
Then you get into other social media like LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and that whole genre. So not only was it a matter of making a decision of do I lean towards technology even though I’m a technical person, do I lean towards that or do I lean towards the 19th and 20th century way of doing things. It was just a decision. I still have difficulty. I have three full-time staff to deal with this. I have external people that deal and help with this. I still have difficulty when we’re in meetings and understanding everything they say. Sometimes I ask them to speak in English, which they often do. But, as a business owner, if I’m going to make an error, I’m going to error inside of using technology and social media as opposed to not. It was just a decision was all.
JT: See that’s hugely important. I mean it sounds like you’re sort of doing what’s best for the company not what’s best for my knowledge and everything I know right now, definitely putting a different point on it.
JM: Well yeah and the other issue is as business owners, if we have a great idea, we’re going to have copy cats and that’s what has happened to me. I started this business, we’re by far the largest in the nation; our nearest competitor is maybe five percent or even less than that our size, but they try to copy and mimic what we do and that’s just the way it is in business. So part of the issue as well is, if I can learn to use this social media, I’m just going to use that term, and if I can develop processes and procedures in using that technology that my competitors don’t know or they wont know for the next five or six years, it allows me a competitive advantage allows me to keep ahead of them.
So that’s part of the drive too is I’m very competitive and I don’t want anybody trying to catch up with me so when I’m with my staff and my professionals, I ask what’s the latest thing, what can we do that our competition is not doing because it’s real easy to find out what the competitors are doing, it’s not really that difficult at all. The information is out there. So part of it too is a mindset. I’m going to go in a direction and I’m going to use technology quicker, faster, smarter than my competitors so they can’t keep up with me.
JT: That’s amazing that your competition is only at like five percent. How big of a company are you right now?
JM: We currently have 210 professionals in 40 states. What’s interesting about that ten years ago this company consisted of me and we have grown from doing sales of about a quarter million to this year we’ll do about 25 million. So that has happened in the last 10 years. Now obviously I had a lot of experience before that. I had created processes and procedures and methodologies and that gave me the credibility and the knowledge how to do this. But a lot of this has taken off with the social media concept that we’re talking about.
JT: So tell us, I mean that’s the thing. There’s only so much you can tell us, right, because if your competitors are listening to this that’s not good, but what are some tips that you could give us on social media or what’s working for you?
JM: Well I think the first tip is to read good books. I mentioned Inbound Marketing by the guys at Hub Spot and they mention actually the methodology and there’s also seminars and webinars that people can go to. But a lot of it is trying to figure out and understand what the customer wants because a customer is, they’re going on Google, they’re going on LinkedIn, they’re going on Twitter, they’re going on Facebook and they’re doing a lot of chatter. That’s my own term, that’s not a professional term. That’s my term that I use with my staff.
So they’re chattering like on Twitter, they’re chattering, right, and the question is how do you pick that chatter up? Whether they’re asking a question on Google or any of these things, how do you pick that up and then how do you direct that person, that company to your website or to a blog or something like that? So there’s really no one answer but part of it is just understanding the client. What is the client looking for and how is the client or customer, what are they doing? Give you an example, some of my staff used to work on the Sears account worldwide and they figured out a way that when people were on Twitter saying I need a refrigerator or I need a washer/dryer or I need something, there is technology that can be used to pick up that tweet and to contact the person who did the tweet and say, “Hey, I can fulfill your needs.”
It’s really not that complicated. It’s just a matter of again you have a desire to fill somebody’s need and if you have a desire to fill somebody’s need, you want to use technology to fill that need. There’s about 10 or 12 ways to do that. There’s ABC or SEM on Google and other search engines. There’s organic which is a better way to do it. That’s using Twitter, Google places, Google maps, Facebook, constant contact. I mean the list goes on and on. It is all actually out there in books. It’s actually very simple to use.
JT: Normally you would think that someone for your type of niche, right, people looking for CFOs wouldn’t be chatting on Twitter about needing a CFO. I mean I’m sure you have to deal with specific terminology and stuff but in general finding someone who is complaining about their washer and dryer comes up on Twitter and Facebook and stuff like that a lot. But you guys are in such a niche, I wouldn’t have assumed that that would really be a driving factor in what you do. How did you figure that out?
JM: Well, hiring the right people both internally and externally and just being curious. If you get back to just human nature, people talk. When people want something they talk, right? They used to talk on telephones. Now they’re talking on social media.
JT: Lucky us, right?
JM: That’s just the way it is. There’s nothing you can do about it. But if you understand it and you don’t want to abuse it, obviously you can’t be abusive in it, you know, but if somebody has a need and they say I need a car, I need my house painted, I wish I knew somebody who could trim my lawn, whatever it is, well why not, since they’re using the media either Google, Google places, Google maps, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, why not just say hey here I am. I heard what you had to say, I can fulfill your need and I have to agree with you, probably people would think the least of all the services that could ever be created to use social media would be a CFO service.
That’s really the point, right? But it just shows you if you have something of value and you can find a customer, you are going to be put together with a customer.
JT: That’s excellent. Really good advice. I mean you’re right. Most people don’t like talking about finances in general let alone their business finances online. I’m really impressed and truly astonished at what an amazing job you guys have been able to do. So let’s actually turn the focus a little bit because what you guys do is business finance. What sort of tips do you have, especially on the smaller side of the businesses? The listeners that are listening right now probably only have a couple employees aren’t at the 200 employee level or anything. So what is some advice that you can give to them to really start taking control of their finances?
JM: Well that’s a loaded question. But in general, the way that I succeeded and the way that I have seen hundreds of other businesses succeed from start up to actually an exit strategy of selling the business is everybody needs a business plan. It needs to be methodical. Just to start a business without a plan is a very bad idea. That plan obviously contains finances and the way that I have grown my business mostly is I have always set goals, pretty high goals, that I want to achieve this much in sales or this much in growth and then I would be able to plan around them.
Just to have a goal for the sake of having a goal doesn’t make any sense, right? But let’s say I want to grow my sales by a million dollars this year, well, okay, that’s the goal. Then the question is what do I need to achieve that goal? It always relates around money. Do I need to buy a new computer system? Do I need to invest in infrastructure like SEO or SEM or social media like we were just talking about? Do I need a bank loan? Do I hire an employee? So most businesses that I’ve seen over the decades that have not been successful usually don’t do that. They usually don’t have a very good idea of where they want to go and then they don’t build a plan to achieve that goal.
Once you have the goal you can say all right I want to increase sales by half a million or a million, then it’s usually pretty easy. Okay I need to attract this type of a customer. If I am going to attract this type of customer what do I need to do to attract them? I have to provide this kind of good or service, how much money do I need to buy or provide the good of service? How am I going to collect the money? Am I going to collect it in 30 days, 60 days? If I collect it late, do I need a line of credit? So everything revolves around the goal. Most people just jump in to something and that’s not a very wise thing to do.
Admittedly I have a bit of an advantage in terms of financial planning because I’m a CPA and CFO by background. So that came a little easier to me. But that would be my advice for most people. It’s amazing how many people we can help out. There’s a lot of people, in fact if they send a tweet or go out to Google and find out, they’ll find out there’s a lot of people that can help them with those issues.
JT: So what were some of those goals that you had at the very beginning? I know you started just as you. Did you always know that you were going to be a company of 210 employees or did you want to?
JM: No, no I did not want to and our goal by the way is 300 by May 1, 2014 and we’ll exceed that goal, but that’s our minimum goal and then we’ll have hire goals from there. But no, what I wanted to do was first to develop a very good system that I felt that was replicatable, if you would. That others could replicate. What I did was I just went about my business. I built a reputation and then people started calling me and asked if they could pay me. So I think the long short of that is I spent about 15 years doing that.
If somebody focuses on something, there’s a really good book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers. Chapter 2 of that book talks about the 10,000 hour rule and your listeners should read that chapter and understand that rule. But if you become extremely good at what you do, better than anybody else, the business is going to come. So that’s what I did. I just became the best at what I did and everything else just sort of came after that. It wasn’t that hard.
JT: I love how you say it wasn’t that hard in general. Do you see anything, what was hard for you or do you just have a very high tolerance for what’s hard?
JM: Well I think what was hard is something that every business owner has and that’s the balance. There has to be a balance. I had to learn to have a balance. I had to learn to exercise regularly. I’m really into yoga and tai chi and Pilates. I have a family so I needed to take time out for the family. I needed to go to church. I needed to work on my personal self and my family because it’s really easy to get myopic and to focus totally on a business and then have your health and other relationships get ruined in the process.
So I had to learn to discipline myself to take vacations, vacations with my family, exercise regularly, eat well, exercise well. Put good thoughts in mind, reading good books. So that was probably the hard part was the balance because it’s so easy to jump into something and be so focused that you actually then start ruining things – relationships, health and other things – so I think the balance part was probably the hardest thing for me to one perceive and then to achieve. Because anybody the focus is on anything all the time, if it’s something worthy, is always going to do really well.
The issue then becomes what does really well mean. There’s really no sense making a lot of money if you’re going to ruin your health, ruin your relationships with your spouse, children and others and just not enjoy life per se.
JT: So what sort of advice do you have for us because I know so many people are struggling with this and really trying to get that balance. What do you do and what advice do you have?
JM: It goes back to setting goals. I was able to give you a very clear goal of where we’re going, right? I said I’m going to have 300 people in my firm by May 1, 2014. That’s a goal. I see that every day and so these others are the same thing. They are goals. So what I do with my wife is we already have for 2012 our vacations scheduled. Not only do we have them scheduled but we put the money aside in our deposits and things aside and it’s booked on my Outlook. Vacations you have to force yourself to do it. You have to do them.
I also have to force myself because it’s so easy not to exercise I’ve joined a club and I go to a class where I do the Pilates and tai chi and yoga. So I joined a class where I have to interact with other people and I pay money so that it sort of forces me to do that. So again a lot of it is setting the goal because if you just say I’m going to go on vacation or I’m going to start exercising tomorrow or I’m going to start eating right tomorrow well it never works. It’s almost like setting up a financial goal really. I’m going to work on my health, okay here’s my plan. I join a club, I calendar these three days or these three times three times a week. It’s the same process really.
But that was the hardest thing for me to do and I think most people who start a business who are A+, I’m an A+ personality, I think we all have that issue. We will sacrifice our health and our spiritual health, our physical health and sometimes sacrifice our relationships to achieve what we want to do and that has been something I’ve had to learn to not do.
JT: Exactly. Well it’s funny how you say your business goals are right up in front of you and a lot of the times we don’t do that with our personal goals. We don’t have something that we’re going into the office looking at every single day but I love how you said I just put it in my calendar and then I have to go and making the choice not to go is harder than making the choice to go because it’s already scheduled for you. It seems like you know yourself really well in terms of trying to figure that out.
JM: Yeah and I get a lot of support from my wife and children. If they want me to do something and they know that tomorrow at this time is when I go to my yoga class they don’t give me any hassle because they know that’s important and we’ll work their time around that. So part of it is having a family support and whatever because they know how important it is that I have good health, both physical and mental health and spiritual health, and so part of it is having a support team. But if you share your goals, those kind of goals, with a family, with employees, what happens is that they support you and they encourage you to do that because they know that it’s in their best interest for you to be balanced.
So that whole term of balance is really a difficult process and I bet everybody starting a business, particularly in today’s environment, is going to have a real issue about balance. Part of the problem, if you don’t have balance, by the way, in terms of building a business, customers and clients see that. They can tell that you’re stressed, that you’re over worried, that you’re dilapidated, whatever the situation is they pick up on that and that then either helps or hurts the ability to grow a business. Does that make sense conceptually?
JT: Yes, completely.
JM: So I’ve learned that by being balanced or being as balanced as I can be, nobody is ever perfectly balanced. If they are, they’re going to go nuts. But if I can be as balanced as I can be and then when I talk to the client or customer I am calm, I’m totally focused on them. I’m happy, I’m smiling. Well guess what? They want to do business with me. So it’s sort of all part of a whole pie. You can’t disconnect this from a pie.
JT: So how many hours a week are you working now? What did you use to do sort of when you started the company? Like when did the theme of balance really hit you where you started picking it up again? What did your I guess timeline look like from starting the business, working really hard to where you are now?
JM: I’d say that I put in too many hours probably the first five or eight years of my business. I didn’t understand that balance issue and I put in too much time and it actually hurt my physical health and I had to slow down. When I realized that when I slowed down a bit and I had that balance that it actually helped me increase the business faster. It was sort of an a-ha moment if that makes sense because it almost sounds counterproductive in a way that I’m going to go out, I’m going to work 80 hours a week and I’m going to sell and I’m going to da, da, da.
Well the body and the mind and the spirit and our social can only take so much. We’re very elastic. We’re not meant to do that. So that was a tough lesson and then of course my wife and children and others that are wiser had to pull me aside and say, “Hey Jerry you got to work on this balance issue.” I used to think that some of these books that are written on this stuff are really hokey, you know, just people doing it or selling it to make money. But there’s actually a lot of wisdom in what they have to say.
JT: Do you have any resources? What sort of books because I know I hear from people too that’s like hokey and stuff like that. But what really resonated with you?
JM: There’s a lot of books like Steven R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. My favorite authors on the subject are Dale Carnegie, Earl Nightingale and those kind of guys. They have written, like Dale Carnegie, how to be successful through a positive mental attitude. There’s just a lot of really good books on that. I would say that any book or study that causes you to improve relationships, health and whatever and doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money on them is a pretty good thing to do. So that’s really I think a smart thing to do because otherwise you get burned out.
JT: It sounds like you really invest a lot of time in reading books and stuff. Do you have any tips, because I know a lot of people we read books, right, and even if the books have like action items or things that you’re supposed to do, nobody really does them. We read the book and maybe take one or two things. Is that what you do too or do you have a system of really remembering the stuff? You remembered that in Outliers it was Chapter 2 that the 10,000 hour rule came and I read that book and I didn’t know it was Chapter 2 so what do you do to take the information away from books because it seems like it’s working really well for you?
JM: Well books and also audio CDs that you can download. Like Leave It Filled for example from Earl Nightingale. You can download it for $1.99 in iTunes. I’m more topical so I will read a book like Outliers. I read the book, Malcolm Gladwell is a good author. But that was my favorite chapter. So no I’m topical. I’ll read a book and say I like this idea, I like that idea and the other either doesn’t apply, you can’t use everything because authors, I know I’ve written in two books myself, you cover a broad range of things and it can’t apply to every person. So no, I’m more topical.
Like Inbound Marketing by the guys at Hub Spot, there’s probably four or five things that I liked about it. The rest of it I just considered and maybe I’ll think about it later. So I’m topical.
JT: That’s good to know. I mean that’s what a lot of people are too but some of them go I really wish I could have used more of that book but sometimes we don’t need to. You only need to take what’s relevant for what you have now and just keep moving forward.
JM: Yes and you have to realize that too many people put too much pressure on themselves. When you’re building a business and let’s say your sales are at a million, your level of need of knowledge is going to be different at that then it is at $25 million. So you read a book and you say okay I need this today. Well maybe five years from now it’s still on the shelf. Maybe another chapter or two is going to relate more to you at that time. So a lot of times we beat ourselves up. We compare ourselves to other successful people, right, and we say oh they’re so smart. No, they’re really not that much smarter than we are, it’s just that they are focused on learning what they need to learn at that time to get them through the hump at that time or that level.
So yeah, it’s wrong to put too much pressure on ourselves. We just need to know what we need to know now and we have set some goals and we need the next goal, then we need to know what we need to know to get to that next goal. We don’t care about what’s going to happen 10 or 15 years down the road, it’s totally irrelevant. The world is going to change too quickly. There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen 5 or 10 years down the road so there’s no sense worrying about it.
JT: Is that something just innate in you because it sounds like everybody has pressure, especially entrepreneurs, especially newer entrepreneurs put tons of pressure on themselves to achieve and to get stuff done and to know everything. But even in your goals, do you always achieve your goals and do you feel pressure if you don’t achieve your goals and that sort of thing?
JM: I always exceed my goals. I don’t achieve them, I exceed them. But they’re realistic and another thing, in fact most the people in my organization still don’t understand this process, but if I could just briefly talk about that, in setting a goal, the benefit of setting a goal, for example the goal that I just explained to you, well in setting that goal what that allows me to do, it allows me to start thinking about it and to start building the process of the infrastructure, the finances, the things that I need in order to achieve that goal. So setting a goal just in and of itself to set a goal without the second part that I just talked about can actually be counterproductive and can actually put a lot of weight or pressure on somebody and actually can almost defeat somebody and crush them.
So what I have learned to do is say I want this goal like the goal I just explained to you and then what I do is I meet with my staff every Monday morning, I think about it, I read books and say okay if I want to achieve this by May 1, 2014 what do I need to do to get there? It’s all incremental. If I could just do one thing every week, there’s 52 weeks in a year, right? There’s vacations, whatever, let’s say there’s 48, so if I could do 48 things, just the little things in a year, guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to accomplish that goal because it is already done basically. It’s done because I’ve built the system, I’ve built the finances, the infrastructure, the social media, the people. All those things I needed to achieve that goal, I don’t know if that helps out but that’s what I do.
I don’t set a goal just to set it. I set that goal and now I need to start building the process to get there. Now when I read a book, when I listen to a CD, when I’m reading Inc. Magazine or some magazine, what happens is an idea pops up and it says a-ha! For example, that’s why I can remember Chapter 2 of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, because it related to a goal that I had set. The rest of the book didn’t mean anything to me because it was irrelevant to achieving that goal.
JT: So I love what you’re saying. Because of that goal that puts everything else in perspective which is really cool.
JM: And I will be led to those things that I need to achieve that goal.
JT: So how do you do it? So you said May 2014. Do you go okay this is this far away? What should it look like in a year? What should it look like in 6 months? Do you back it out like that or how do you actually do your plans?
JM: I usually do five-year plans and that was a goal that I set five years ago and I am way ahead of achieving that. I actually have a goal after that but I’m not going to announce it publicly for awhile. I work on five-year goals. If I set the goal, then as I just go about my daily thing reading emails, reading blogs, reading books, ideas start popping in my head on how to achieve that goal and I just start doing those things.
JT: It seems so easy. You make it sound so simple.
JM: If you don’t have a goal as a business owner, what you are as many authors have said, you’re sort of like a ship in the ocean without a rudder. You’re just going around and you’re letting the tide push you around. I don’t let the tide push me around.
JT: So for your five-year goal does it consist of more than one goal or is it just I wanted 300 employees and that was the main goal?
JM: No, just that one.
JT: Okay, because everything else sort of falls in place.
JM: Most business owners they’d say well I want my sales to be five years from now five million or I want to own a 60,000 square foot office space or something like that. No, I keep it very simple. I have one goal and then I have 100 or 120 things to help me achieve that goal. But that’s just my way of doing things. I’m not saying that’s the best way to do it.
JT: It seems to be working for you so that’s all I ask. It seems to be working really well.
JM: I read a book by Dale Carnegie and I think he interviewed one of the Rockefellers or somebody that’s very successful and he went and asked the question why are you so successful and the answer in short was I make a to do list and what I do is I focus on the first thing and I don’t stop focusing, I don’t do anything else until that one is achieved no matter how long it takes. So that’s the way I am. I have one thing in mind and I focus on that because what happens too when you do that is people, things, customers, other things will come in and they will ask you to do something that’s not congruent with that goal, right, that would take you away from that.
So then it becomes very easy to say you know what, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to follow that advice. I’m not going to listen to them. I’m not going to do that because it’s going to take me away from where I want to go. So what happens it actually makes life simpler because one the ideas come as you read and listen, go to seminars and associate the ideas come but then the bad ideas come in that would distract you go away. It’s sort of a defensive shield if you would because it’s really easy in business to get distracted.
JT: Yes it is.
JM: What happens is I am very focused so I don’t get very distracted.
JT: See that’s great. I love how simple it is. To wrap up a little bit because I know your time is very valuable. For the last question I always ask, it’s what is one action that listeners can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
JM: Well, what I would do is I would say I’d write down, because that’s what I’ve done when I want to achieve the million. The day. I would say this is the day, the day, because I gave you a date, right? I said May 1, 2014, right? This is the day in the future that I am going to achieve that million dollars and of course is it pre-tax, after tax but it doesn’t matter. So I would mark it in a calendar. I would put it in my Outlook. I would put it up on my computer or somewhere and I’d say on this day I’m achieving this goal. That would be the one thing I think they should do.
JT: Beautiful. I’m actually looking at mine because I have the exact same thing – the date written – because I’m not a millionaire yet but I think that’s an amazing idea. Perfect. Well thank you so much for coming on today, Jerry. You gave us tons of great information. I really, really appreciate it.
JM: You bet and good luck to your listeners.
JT: Where can we find more info about you online? Can we find you on Facebook and Twitter and what’s your website?
JM: Website is b2bcfo.com. LinkedIn is through emails. We have a pretty robust website. Been around a long time so it’s pretty easy to find us or just Google Jerry Mills or Google B2BCFO and you’ll see like a thousand pages on Google about our company.
JT: Beautiful and I’ll definitely link to that so everyone can check out especially people in need of CFO services. You guys sound like you’re running a great company. So thank you very much for coming on and I hope you have a great day.
JM: Thank you. I enjoyed it. Thank you.
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