It's Never Too Late
Where Are They Now?
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
It's Never Too Late
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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so that's kind of my struggle what to do whether to stay with my current lifestyle which i really like coaching businesses and maybe writing books and tinkering with things or i should switch gears and try to go for it and you know i'm always thinking about ray kroc was i think was 53 or 54 when he started mcdonald's so maybe kind of maybe it's not too late for me to really do this if i really want to and and try to turn the business and and try to make a huge impact with this 1.5 million companies that are start for for the solution that maybe i could provide [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has grown several startups and seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help now today we have another great guest back on the podcast which was uh we chatted with about six months ago had him on and it's always fun to kind of do the where are you at now episodes where we get to kind of catch up see what's been going on lately and uh what's uh what's happened since last we heard from them so we're having uh steve preda on and i always want to say prada because i always think of devil where's prada so if i mess up the name one way or the other that's my excuse um but as far as a quick catch up so steve in the last six months has launched a books and from running it on amazon learned a little bit about how people might be misinterpreting the title or the book and uh how to adjust that a bit and what that means and also been working on a couple new ideas for um management blueprint and a platform to help people self-coach and we'll get into that conversation a little bit of that so with that much as as an introduction welcome on the podcast or back onto the podcast steve and devin it's great to be back on the podcast uh i'm excited to see you here on a friday afternoon and have a good chat absolutely and excited to have you back on so before we get into what's happened over the last six months and kind of what's been going on maybe give the audience kind of a reminder a refresher course if you know first of all encourage everybody to go listen to the original episode but if they wanted that crash course for that refresher course kind of remind us where you were at about six months ago six months months ago um i was just about to publish my book titled bible uh your guide to a self-managing fast-growing and high profit business so i was so in that excitement uh you know the first first book that i really launched and published and uh i also was facing a transition um so i was working i was a licensee of an organization called eos worldwide and they turned themselves into a franchise and i decided not to kind of tie myself into a franchise agreement and uh and i joined another organization called pinnacle which is taking everything that eos does which is helping small businesses get organized and have a structured execution process to a much higher level and that's that's the other thing that happened the last six months i was getting ready for that and this happened over the last six months i transitioned my clients to this new program called pinnacle so that's uh that's that's the these are the most important more salient points all right fair enough so now that much is kind of a refreshing reminder we'll dive into kind of what's going on with the last six months so one of the things that i think we touched on with the original episode which is a bit ongoing is you launch the book and you have um have it in the background they're buyable um and you know started promoting it on amazon so tell us a little bit about how the book launch went how the promotion's been going and he also mentioned a little bit about how people may have misunderstood the title and how you adjusted that or kind of um how people have you reframed that so give us a little bit of an introduction or a reminder as to how things have been going with the book yeah so so publishing a book is is about 10 writing the book and 90 promoting it so it's an arduous process i i started this last april just as the pandemic broke and it took me only six weeks to type up the first draft and then i spent the next year and a half now with you know tweaking it and and packaging it and promoting it so the last six months was all about launching it on amazon and asking for reviews getting people reviewing the book and then advertising the book and blogging about it talking about it on podcasts such as your podcast and and that was a really interesting experience with lots of ups and downs so uh you know uh it's not easy to get reviews i had probably 300 or 300 people promising to give me a review and i'm happy to report that i have about 65 reviews which uh you know which is just a fraction of the people but it's still a good number uh to have i'm excited about that um also the book hit the number one in its category in july so that was that was also exciting but what i learned in the process is that it's not about hitting number one because most anyone can get there with enough money put behind advertising but it's it's all about keeping it up in the ranking so that people actually see it over time it becomes a visible book and and people don't find it without the advertisement they can buy it and kind of help help your ideas gain traction so that's really the the secret and that's what i i've been trying to figure out the last couple of months how to make the book advertising self-financing which is which is very tricky especially for business books because people write business books because they want to generate business so uh so our non-fiction writers business book writers don't set out to make money on the book and therefore are willing to actually subsidize the purchase of books and therefore it's really difficult to make it self-financing but uh i i can say that i got fairly close to this not quite there yet but uh maybe i i can get like the break even that would be kind of a dream scenario where i could break even and just let it market itself so this is this is where i am uh with the book and um one kind of follow-up question to that so you know you've got the reviews and yeah i we have i've done a very light self-publishing book that was more of uh some of it's actually with this podcast we're taking some of those episodes um turning them into a book form and kind of making it a fun introduction but never really got into a lot of the promotion and then doing that it's always kind of watched a bit as far as others that i've known i've got into the promotion and always seems like you have the initial launch which do a lot of push and try and do pre-sales and try and get the reviews and then it's kind of building it out from there to make it uh more sustainable here you know ongoing area in the long run now i think as we talked a bit before one of the things you'd found out as you launched the book and people got it and they got into it and then further studied it and whatnot was that there was a a bit of a mismatch to release a portion of them based on the title of the book versus the content of the book so give people a bit of an insight as to how that transpired and what you learned there yeah so the the interesting uh thing about this book is that it straddles my a career as an investment banker so about up until about 10 years ago um eight years ago i i was an investment banker and i spent about 10 to 12 years building my own business and helping small to medium-sized businesses find buyers and investors so i always wanted to write about that stuff and i did blog and probably the newsletters i learned i had a lot of material and i felt like it would be nice to put in a book and the last eight years i spent as a business coach and i looked at things i've seen things from a different angle it was i was more focused about growing businesses rather than selling them and uh and i i wanted to put these two things together and the title suggests or what i meant to the title was that uh the per the objective is not necessarily to sell your business it's it is to make it buyable it make it turn it into a valuable asset that people want to own and that gives you options and what some of the people that read the book say well yes i saw the title but but i don't want to sell my business so i didn't read the book um and you know i was i was scratching my head okay how could i have changed the title um to you know to still be able to tell the story about how to make a business sellable but also to not put too much emphasis on selling the business and so that's that's just how how it happened and on the other hand i think bible has turned out to be a memorable title so you know the on the negative side it's sometimes misconstrued on the positive side it's it's quite catchy and and people tend to remember it no i i think so i think that definitely makes sense i can get a bit of the you know potential disconnect if they just very quickly thought about it or looked at the title maybe they didn't give it much thought or they didn't uh you know read any of the the summary or what it might be about then you know they're just you know you're just looking how to exit a company and so i think that you know definitely a lesson to learn as you're launching a book and as you're trying to it's always hard to guess how everybody's going to interpret things because everybody has their own background and how they might view a a word or a you know something or a title and so it is always interesting to see how people might perceive something differently now one one maybe this quick follow-up question to that so if you were to do it again so let's go back in history just a bit you were to redo the title read the book you know or you're at the beginning of the title in the book but knowing how people might perceive it or how they might have that disconnect is there anything you would change any lessons learned you're just saying hey it's still a great title most people catch it and for the ones that don't you know so be a type of a thing would there be anything that you would change or adjust now having hindsight 20 20. i would probably put a bubble under the title and say read the subtitle as well ah no i don't think i would change it so it's not it's not like a majority of people but just a couple of people uh raised this i had one of my uh former peers a business coach who said i write i really would like to refer you a client but he doesn't want to sell his business and he doesn't want to be seen to be thinking about selling his business and and you know this is really a problem that this is the title of your book and he was very upset about but eventually he did introduce me to that to that person and they become a client and it turned out to be storming a teapot not really a big issue uh after all so i think it's more of a perception thing no and i think so i said that's always one where you know you have to balance because sometimes you get feedback from people and you have to say okay is it a big portion you know hey i missed a mark and everybody is misconstruing it and if so then you're having to say okay then i may need to adjust on the other hand you're saying there's always going to be a portion of no matter how well you try and convey it make or convey that information and otherwise um provide it to them the people are just not going to get it and not i'm going to understand and i even get that and are some of our service base industry no we do as an example we do trademarks and i'll explain exactly how the process is what a trademark is what it covers what the fees are and we you know we try and be as comprehensive as possible no matter how much we explain that there is still a portion of their clients or potential clients that you'll go through all that and then you'll talk to them next time and it's like they they just didn't quite get it or they didn't understand it and so you're having to look and say hey is there something wrong with our process are we not convenient as well is there something we change or is there just simply a portion of the population that you're going to have to say it doesn't matter how well we do it they're going to still miss it and we're just going to have to accept that and move on and go for those you know the bulk of the people that it is going to resonate with so i think that you know it's one of those that you're always happy to assess and figure out well a couple other things that you would that we mentioned that you're working on so you have the book been promoting that continuing to say let's get a break even let's have making money and let's make your can continue to grow that and then you've also got into a couple other things we have one is an idea and you're thinking about maybe for a next book and some other aspects of the business of a management blueprint and then you're also looking at maybe uh building a platform that people can self-coach a bit about so gives an idea of kind of you know tease it out in the future so to speak as you're getting ready to or thinking about maybe going down these paths and these projects what that looks like and where you might be headed yeah i don't want to speak too much about these because you know i don't want to jinx it don't change yourself so do it so that you don't jinx yourself exactly i don't want to jinx it i don't want to you know there is this theory that if you have a great idea and you speak about it too much then you are kind of neutralizing the excitement of the idea you took it out and then you you will not be able to the energy use the energy of it to actually create the thing so i don't want to make that mistake but you know it's interesting when you write a book uh it's i guess i'm not a woman but my wife tells me and i read about this that and you have several children so maybe you can attest to this that women when uh when they give birth that they say ah never again i'm not gonna go through that again but then you you forget it you're bio biologically uh uh wired to to forget the experience and uh you know and uh three months later it's like it's never happened and i guess writing a book is is perhaps similar so it's it's a very arduous process but it's also a very rewarding process so when you're done after a few months you you start thinking oh what if what if i tried it again and wrote another book so so definitely i'll be going through that process as well and and one of the things i'm really obsessed about is this idea of management blueprints and i have report as you know you were a guest on my podcast management blueprint it used to be called something different but now it's called management blueprint podcast and i am really into this idea of trying to ferret out all those frameworks that people use to to build their business and every guest that comes on i always dig out something that they use that has not been on the show before and we can talk about it's a great resource for entrepreneurs so i am very obsessed about this idea and i'm thinking about writing a book about these management blueprints uh i write a fair bit about them in this book i wrote in this book but there's so many more out there and there are different ways of looking at that so i definitely think it would be an interesting topic for uh for entrepreneurs to be able to know okay what are the shortcuts we can take and how to run the business in a more structured fashion you know one one of the things that i stumbled upon during researching the bible is that there are 1.7 million 10 to 250 employee organizations companies in the us and the average life span of these organizations is eight and a half years so essentially 85 percent over 85 of these companies never make it to their 10th anniversary and they doing delivery they disappear or they never become a real business and my uh belief is that if companies had access to this information how to organize themselves better and how to structure themselves and align their people and engage their people better then maybe you know maybe all of those are this 90 of those 1.5 million companies that go out of business they could be saved and they could go perpetuity into the future and i made the calculation it would add uh 20 to our national gdp it would be a one-off and then it would raise our gdp by four percent every year going forward so we could grow faster than china if uh if we actually fix that issue so i'm very passionate about that potential that we we have to to improve companies and i definitely want to write some books uh about that in the future and uh you know i also mentioned to you so with this book i developed a handful of tools digital tools that my readers can go online and they can play with they can figure out what they want to do what is their i or does your their ideal life look like they can figure out what their magic number is what is the value of the company what is the value they need to create with their company and they can do a viability assessment so kind of an x-ray of where they are and what they need to do to make their businesses viable and i want to develop that these tools into a platform where people can coach themselves and can improve the business by just going on the platforms and playing with these tools no i think that that you know they hit on a lot of things one of the things i thought was interesting today kind of saying you know you almost have post-traumatic syndrome of when you write a book and i would say that there's a lot of things i think it's a human nature we tend to remember the good and tend to forget the bad which is probably a good thing otherwise if all we did was remember the bad things of going through an experience we would never do something again and we would never progress and so whether it's having a child whether it's starting a business because even a lot of startups are saying man that was a lot of work to get a startup up and going and get it stable and get funding and get revenue and marketing and sales and you know once you make the exit like you would really want to do this again and then you're like well you give it a little bit of time and you're like okay i got the bug i got to go do it again got a business getting up and going and then you get right back into it so i think that that's kind of a mantra throughout a lot of life is is probably a good thing that we only generally remember the good because that way we'll continue to progress so i think that that definitely makes sense and i see you know i get the uh opportunity you know you don't want to jinx it and you're still early on and there's a lot of a lot of things to move forward with the path forward but i think that it's kind of fun to always see where where the future where you think the future is headed and then whether or not you uh whether or not it works out the way you think it is sometimes it does other times it doesn't so well and as people as we start to wrap up um i always have one question at the end of each of the where you at now episodes which is a bit different than the uh the normal question i asked the initial uh introduction episode so for the where you at now episode the question i always ask is you know as you start into a venture as you start into a business or get something going or as you're you know getting a little further along when you initially start out you're kind of naive you know you think of hey these are things that you don't know what you don't know and so because you don't know when you're naive things are you know you you don't worry about things and you don't have the fears that come along afterwards because you don't know them yet but as you get farther along in your journey you know spheres start to creep in and you know it can be hey how do i make payroll how how do i continue to have consistent sales or how do i do this or that so all entrepreneurs start to get more fears as they go along now so with that as an introduction the question i always ask is along your journey what is one of the what is what is one of the biggest fears of develop and how do you deal with that fear well that's a great that's a great question and i do have uh this fear and you know i'm 54 years old and yeah i told you about this this digital platform that i'm kind of playing with i'm reading a lot of books about it uh what to do and my original idea was to kind of organically do this in a slow fashion but what i'm finding out is that i can't just do it on the side it wouldn't work i would have to dedicate a lot more energy to it essentially i would have to turn it into a startup and my fear is if if i did that that i raised some money i would become trapped by this and uh it would uh create a lifestyle that i would not enjoy so so that's kind of my struggle what to do whether to stay with my current lifestyle which i really like uh coaching businesses and maybe writing books and tinkering with things or i should switch gears and try to go for it and you know i'm always thinking about ray kroc was i think was 53 or 54 when he started mcdonald's so maybe kind of maybe it's not too late for me to really do this if i really want to and and try to turn the business and and try to make a huge impact with this 1.5 million companies that are start for for the solution that maybe uh i could provide so that's kind of uh my fear and uh i don't know where it's gonna go uh i'm still percolating on it hey i think that uh it's definitely you know figuring out the the path to travel the road you want to do and what that you know what is it what is next and how you want to you know go out in a blaze so to speak and there's still plenty of time left to figure that out is always when i think that this definitely makes sense as a fear and one that has to be dealt with so good luck with the fear and we'll have to see how it goes for you well as we wrap up if people want to uh find out more they want to you know get your book they want to if uh be a customer client or a purchaser of your book they want to be an investor in one of your next ventures they want to be an employee in one of your next ventures they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you to contact you or find out more so you know they can sign me obviously the book on bible still free the bible or stevepredo.com very simple and if you want to check your company how viable it is then you can check buyabilityassessment.com buyabilityassessm.com and then you can answer those questions and you get an x-ray along six factors of viability where your business is and and you can figure things out how you can move forward from there all right well definitely encourage people to check out the book pick it up and also uh check it out online and do the assessment so also all great ways to connect up with you as well as on linkedin so well thank you again for coming back on the podcast it's been fun to catch up it's been a pleasure um now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell or you want to catch up if you've already been on the podcast we'd love to have you either way um feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show a couple more things make sure to um like and to share and otherwise uh um subscribe to the podcast so we can make sure that everybody finds out about all these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks copyrights or anything else in business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat and we're always happy to help thank you again steve it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next lay of your journey even better than the last sounds good thank you debbie and thanks for having me on absolutely