31 Jul July 31, 2020 – KidsCare Founder Dr. Cortney Baker and Tiger by the Tail Marty Park
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Do you want to be an undervalued employee for the rest of your life?
Your opportunities are endless. Or, do you want to chart your own
course? What does success look like for you?
Dr. Cortney Baker is an award-winning entrepreneur, researcher, author, speaker, advocate for gender equality, and a nationally recognized authority on women’s leadership. She is a CEO in an industry where the C-suite is typically made up of men. Dr. Baker was named the 2016/2017 Texas Business Woman of the Year, and is the founder and CEO of KidsCare Home Health; a multi-million dollar pediatric home healthcare agency that employs over 300 people and helps assist over 2000 pediatric patients throughout the state of Texas. She now services over 5,000 children with special needs across the states and employs over 700 healthcare workers. More recently, Dr. Baker has opened Baker Management Group, a consulting and executive leadership coaching business so she can pursue her dream of helping other women grow and develop to their full leadership capacities. Dr. Baker also hosts a podcast show dedicated to educate, inspire, and empower female entrepreneurs by highlighting women who have created success on their own terms. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Business Leadership: Lessons to Lead Effectively.
Let’s not confuse ‘I have a business’ with ‘I have an idea.’
Marty Park is an accomplished entrepreneur, an award-winning business coach, an expert business strategist, and a best-selling author. Since he was 21 years old, Marty has owned and operated 14 companies, including Evolve Business Group, in 6 industries. Along the way, he’s become an expert at business growth and the personal growth that comes with it. As a serial entrepreneur and veteran business coach, Marty has identified strategies, ideas and specific actions that can help anyone create a better business and a better life. Marty was awarded the Business Coach of the Year for North America and the Recipient for Global Contribution to the coaching profession. Being an award-winning business coach, he has coached and advised over 356 companies on growth, strategy and execution. Marty hasn’t had one big, lucky break in business, but instead has consistent success across many industries, geographies and economic conditions, and that’s what sets him apart from other entrepreneurs. Marty is the author the best-seller Tiger by the Tail: 99 Secrets to Tame and Master Your Business, where he shares the ideas, secrets, and tools to be a tiger tamer and master entrepreneur.
Highlights from Marty’s Interview
The business that I sold that I miss the most, I would say the first restaurant that I designed from scratch where I had picked all the colors, picked all the furniture, and had run it. Eventually, I sold it, and I miss it mostly, also for the people, but also because it was just like my hangout spot. I really did enjoy being able to go to the wine rack, pick something I liked, sit down, and I enjoyed the patio. It was like having your favorite restaurant and also being the owner.
Actually, I had sold a marketing agency a couple of years ago. I went from being the president of the company to then being the guy on my own. Because all of the staff stayed, so all of a sudden, I was the guy on my own. So I found that there was a little bit of melancholy or a little bit of sadness, where it was like appreciating we are the adults, but also the day that you’re packing up your desk and closing out your office feels a little bit like, not necessarily getting fired, but I guess you have that box of things and you’re carrying it to the elevator, that can be one of those things. You can have a paycheck or a nice check in your pocket, but the selling of something you’ve built really does have that feeling a little bit like the kids going off to college.
Here are some of my philosophies on entrepreneurship. Firstly, let’s not confuse I’ve got a business with I’ve got an idea. Lots of people love to be able to say to their friends, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m building this widget or I’m building an app or I’m doing whatever it is. But when you ask them what their revenue is, they say, well, we haven’t actually sold anything yet. So I’m like, let’s just separate an idea from an actual business. Secondly, the business has to be something you really have your heart in, but it also has to be something that you can run with your head. The heart doesn’t work on its own, just trying to change the world by feeling good. Also being in the business, in my experience, where my heart wasn’t in it, I didn’t get the same results. So I think it’s a head-heart balance. Then, I’m a huge advocate of sell, sell, sell; it’s got to be my favorite slogan for business. If you continue to do that every single day, the business gets better and everything else, the wheels all turn pretty smoothly. Also, I’m a big fan of the experience, that you have to be enjoying the experience. Knowing that it’s going to be a tough road and realizing you’re riding the roller coaster of business ownership, you have to be able to look and go, where am I having fun here? Because if it’s not fun, stop doing it.
I’m probably in the ‘passion doesn’t matter a lot in entrepreneurship’ space now, because I realized I’m more focused on the outcomes that it can create. But through my career, I really do believe that, at least in the first couple of businesses you’ve had, there has to be some element of enthusiasm and passion. Because otherwise, people won’t push through the barriers to learning to sell, learning how to finance; they won’t stick with it. But I think once you get more seasoned, you can start to be able to say, I’ve got better processes for every part of the business, so I can run a better business. So I’m such a huge fan of selling that I’m like, I’ll go sell anything, and some of it I just love the business part of it. But before that, I find a lot of people don’t necessarily love business because they don’t know much about it. So what they really have to love, it needs to be the outset, is the product or service that they’re going to sell and represent. I’m passionate about certain products now that I think or I love that product. I should get into that business and then quickly say, that’d be a terrible business to be in.
The first part of my book is, mindset is 99% of the battle. It’s the piece about people starting a business and feeling frustrated, thinking like they’re not good at it. Part of that mindset is, you are trying to learn 10x more than most people. They learn a task at a job, you are trying to learn about everything about business: from sales, marketing, administration, people, finance; all of it. So you’re in exactly the right space if you feel overwhelmed.
Then another part of my book is, vision big, like quaking aspen trees. So the vision is like a living tree, it’s like a living organism. Your vision is not something you write down on the wall and then stick in a drawer or don’t look at again, but it’s something that is changing and you’re using it as a bit of a guiding direction every single day in the tactics and actions you take.
The third part of the book is what I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, sell, sell, sell. Every single day you got to think about what’s closest to the money, where could I pick up a check, where can I get a payment, where can I sign a contract? Everybody in an organization can be a selling component, the receptionist has the ability to influence and promote the business and sell. Not only your salespeople, but every single person in the company can also be a representative of the business and help drive business in the door. But how can a receptionist help me sell is the question most people would ask. Well, if I’m thinking about a couple of different companies, and I’m phoning in to evaluate which one I’m going to go with, the first contact and experience I have with that potential supplier company is the receptionist. Her ability to ask me good questions, to make me feel comfortable, to maybe educate me a little bit on what the company does, all of that can start from the very first get-go. If you phone a company and you get a miserable person on the phone, you immediately think I don’t think this is the company I want to deal with. So sometimes it’s their ability not only to educate but really to just set the tone. My mood, my smile, my enthusiasm represents the company and is really the first foot forward.
Moving on, the next part is marketing, the unicorn of business. I think everybody should be marketing all the time, every company. If you don’t have a marketing budget and a marketing program, you’re missing the most important key. With that, I think that digital marketing is the way to go, digital is something that you can turn it off and on like a light switch; it’s measurable, and it’s cheap. That’s always my lead point with every client. Because every business is a little different, so the mix of all of the digital marketing options might be unique. But as a general rule, I think AdWords and going where you know people are already searching for something, which is a search engine, and being able to capture that traffic that’s out there is critical. I think that advertising on social and recognizing which platform, whether it be LinkedIn if it’s business to business, whether it’s Instagram if it’s more retail, but there are advertising opportunities on there. Then getting into content and bloggers and influencers is another tier, but I think the fastest thing to do is set up a paid campaign where you can turn it on and get in front of the demographics you want quickly.
For us, we do a whole bunch of stuff. We do AdWords campaigns with a digital funnel online with landing pages. We do content strategy. We do Instagram. We do a LinkedIn campaign, where we are actively prospecting on LinkedIn; it’s manual. We even do some sponsorships, so old school sponsorship where we get to talk to audiences. Depending on the business, I’ve also done direct mail and I’ve done what you call traditional advertising. I’ve done radio work in the past. So I love the idea that digital is first, but sometimes people think that all those other methods are dead. I think it’s just the mix for each business is a little different, but you can’t move out any of them. Actually, the last restaurant we launched, we had done a bunch of digitals and it was really not working very well. Then we went back to plain old direct mail, sent it to 2.500 people in the neighborhood or the surrounding areas, and they started coming in the next day. It looked didn’t look like a pizza coupon or anything, it was more sophisticated than that, but it worked and great ROI.
I met a guy in Ireland, a small town and a lot of tourism. He said, here let me show you my marketing. He took a barstool and he pointed out the front of the restaurant. He said, I sit on this and I say to the people going by “Hey, have you selected a place to eat yet? Hey, come on in.” So he just invited people. He said, we don’t do any other marketing because as long as I’m here five days a week, I bring in the people right off the street, I literally grab them by the hand and I pull them in. He was such a gregarious big guy personality-wise, it worked great. I said to him, don’t change a thing.
Back to the book, part five of my book is, business is people, but we just talked about that without knowing about it. So moving on, part number six is, lead like a lion, manage like a squirrel. I think you got to lead boldly, you’ve got to lead and be the big voice for people and give them the sense. Even sometimes as an entrepreneur, you don’t know whether to go left or right. So you have to be confident and say, we’re going left and this is what we’re doing. Be bold like a lion, and then manage like a squirrel. At the same time, you’ve got to know your numbers, you’ve got to be able to look at the stats, the feedback you’re getting from customers, and you’ve got to manage all those metrics and statistics and numbers, to know what the performance of the business is like. So that role of a leader is very different like a lion, just like the role of management as a squirrel; they both have their own sides.
Then at the very end of my book, I talk about managing yourself saying, put yourself first. So often, what happens is you put the customers first, and then you hire staff and now your team is first, and you’re always that giver who’s always putting everybody else ahead of you. But if I burn out as the business owner and I can’t continue to operate it, my staff goes away because I have to let them go, the customers go away; there’s a whole ecosystem there that I built. So I’ve always said, at some point, there has to be that shift to say, wait, this has to be serving me as the business owner. It’s got to be giving me enough cash, it’s got to be given me enough time off that I can unwind, and it’s not stressing me to sickness. So I like the idea that while customers are critically important and so is your team, if you’re not looking after you and the business isn’t serving you in money, time, freedom, and just doing what you want to do, then there’s a real strong possibility that you’re looking at the collapse of that business over time. The owner just can’t do it, they burn out and they walk away. So if you put yourself first and recognize the needs of the owner, in conjunction and in balance with all those other people in your ecosystem, then that’s going to be a long-term success.
I’ve got a guy who said, I know coaching because I have a heart coach. I said, sorry, I don’t understand what is a heart coach? He said, I had this major heart attack last year, so I had to get a heart coach. So I know what that’s like. I said, well, why did you have a heart attack? He said I was effectively working myself to death. He was lying to his wife and his heart coach, because he was only supposed to work 20 hours a week coming back, and he was already up to 50 hours a week. I said, well, where are you telling them that you’re going for 20 or 30 hours? He said I sort of lose track of all the things I keep saying. But the idea that he was prepared to take that risk of his own health to the extent that the doctors had said, this will kill you, I think that’s an example of are you really putting yourself first or are you putting the needs of your customers, your staff, and all that business ahead of you? You can’t do that because if that gentleman died, you know the business wasn’t going to survive. So you got to be playing the long game, which is self-preservation too.
You can get a copy of the book, Tiger by the Tail: 99 Secrets to Tame and Master Your Business, on Amazon, Audible, all the major places. I also have a website for the book, it’s TigerByTheTailBook.com. If anybody wants to reach out to me or find out more about me, they can visit me at just MartyPark.com, and I’m on social media @MartyPark.