The Missing Ingredient For Superior Business Growth

This is our last week here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This Friday my family and I will be heading back to my wife’s hometown for a few weeks, followed by a few weeks in Bangkok.

At the beginning of July we head back to the US. Thailand will be missed, however opportunity calls and it must be answered.

The best way I can describe the past few weeks is to say they’ve been transformative.

I’ve been studiously devouring The Ultimate Business Mastery System (UBMS) from Anthony Robbins and Chet Holmes. I’m sure you know who Tony Robbins is, but perhaps not Chet Holmes.

Chet worked for billionaire Charlie Munger, who is the other half of Berkshire Hathaway, most notably known for it’s other half, Warren Buffet.  While working for Chet he doubled sales for more than 3 years in multiple divisions before starting his own training company.

In short, Chet Holmes knows how to sell and build companies that know how to sell.

It is this training that has transformed, within a few weeks, my approach to business.

The Missing Ingredient For Potent Business Success

Dempsey Marketing is my third business. Over the past 13 years I’ve learned a lot about what works and what definitely doesn’t. I got an MBA so I could understand how large businesses operate. Through all this there was one key ingredient I was missing: the mindset that correctly fit my goals.

Many entrepreneurs have a vast amount of drive, ambition, energy and an “I can do this no matter what comes my way, and I will” attitude. All of this and more is necessary to get you through the tough times, and the times where you have so much on your plate you think your head is going to explode.

“Work on your business, not in your business” is a phrase we often hear. It’s only recently that I have come to fully understand what is meant by that.

When you work “in” your business you are doing the work of keeping it going:

  • Providing services to your clients
  • Creating products to sell
  • Keeping track of the finances
  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • All the other “fun” stuff that a having a business requires to stay afloat

If you continue along that path, after many years you can still be doing everything on that list. And if that’s the case, you have created not a business for yourself, but a job.

Anthony Robbins“The leader’s job is to solve problems and maximize resources.”

– Anthony Robbins

Working “on” your business means:

  • Forming the culture of the company
  • Being a strategist rather than a tactician (planning for the long-term)
  • Hiring an army of top performers and producers
  • Creating the policies and procedures to produce consistent results
  • Developing training for all employees
  • Enforcing standards of performance

In short, working “on” your business rather than “in” your business means doing less yourself so that you can build a much larger organization.

Start At The Beginning

Peter Drucker“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”

– Peter Drucker

In the beginning of the business though you will be doing everything yourself. However, if you intend to build something larger than yourself, and if you’re like me you do, then you need to set your business up to scale.

That means being ferociously protective of your time, scheduling your day with a precision of a military commander, documenting all of your processes, always being on the lookout for talent, and actively looking for activities you can delegate.

Here’s a screenshot of my calendar for the week:

Robert Calendar

Week of May 20, 2012

I have everything scheduled including family time.

That’s a much different mindset than simply looking for more business and trying to stay afloat. It takes what Chet Holmes calls “pig-headed discipline.”

Make no mistake – this takes time. It won’t be done in a few days or weeks – it may take months. And that’s okay. Despite marketers and advertisers attempting to turn us all into ADD-heavy consumer simpletons, it is the development and implementation of a long-term strategy that will win.

  • Zappos hit $1B in gross revenues after 9 years, and was purchased by after 10 years in operation
  • Facebook went IPO after 8 years in operation
  • Twitter was started in 2006 as a prototype for internal employee communications at ODEO
  • WordPress was first released in 2003 and is now used by hundreds of millions of blogs and websites

But not everything is tech…

  • General Electric (GE) is more than 130 years old
  • The precursor to the modern IBM was formed in 1911, more than 100 years ago
  • Ford Motor Company began in 1903 − 109 years ago
  • Walmart began as a single store in 1962 after Sam Walton had 22 years of retail experience
  • Bank of America began as Bank of Italy in 1904 − 108 years ago

My point is that it takes years or decades to build the largest companies we see today. It’s no different for you or I.

But what is your goal with your business?

Do you want to build something larger for yourself or simply be comfortable and able to provide for you and your family?

The answer to that question determines the mindset you must adopt to be successful. Don’t worry about choosing wrong, just make the choice.

Which do you choose?


  1. Robert, you forgot to add Angry Birds as an example of something that takes time. But the quick rush to money appeals to human nature and that’s why it’s always pushed. 🙂
    I’ve always thought that many business owners in reality love to work, and that’s one of the reasons they work twice their employees. Instead of working better they work more. Clearly this doesn’t apply to the present economic situation which will probably last many years as those who provoked it probably are still making a lot of money and have no intention to quit. As you surely know from your MBA money never disappears, it just changes hands.
    Also if you’re working all day you can’t enjoy your yacht. 🙂

    •  @Andrea T. H. W. great addition Andrea. There are a number that could be added to be sure. Long story short success takes time and continuous trial and error. We can skip some of that trial and error though by modeling those that came before. Yay “shortcuts”!
      Great quote about money – you’re spot on there. Kind of like with energy…

      •  @RobertDempsey Yes, correct, money and energy have similar ways to go around. 🙂
        And the best way to model is reading books or listening to those who have already done it. As for success being made of time, tests, commitment….. if I’m right it seems that even the story of Bill Gates working in his garage is a fake. But you can’t sell stuff to people if you say upfront “It takes time, probably years before getting there, and let’s not forget efforts”. 🙂

  2. JosephineAGeiger says:

    WOW! Robert I just read this and the resonating reverberations are making my head hurt – in a good way ;-). This is EXACTLY what I have been struggling with for the last year or so, and this spring finally decided to do something about it by creating a self-imposed goals retreat workshop for myself. I have 2-3 goal setting programs and clarity exercises that I will be doing this coming week to help me focus and create direction and intention. But I suspect that the key to success with any endeavor like this is that one must have a clear ending for the outcome already in mind. i.e. just working through the workbooks won’t cut it. I suspect that since I have an end goal (WTFSIFON) is what will make this successful. Thank you again for a post that is totally right in the sweet spot!

    •  @JosephineAGeiger hi Josie! The goals retreat workshop sounds like a great idea. I read that Jeff Bazos (of did the same thing on a regular basis. Please let us know how it goes. A guest post(s) on conducting one sounds like a great idea too. We’ll talk 🙂
      As for the ending, one of the things I’ve learned from Tony Robbins is that focusing on outcomes is key, so you’re spot on there.

Speak Your Mind