Growing a business is like cooking or “baking a cake” that needs a recipe. In this episode, Ken Courtright emphasizes that starting and growing a business takes planning, time, and the right resources. A company undergoes a process and needs to take the proper steps into success. Listen to this podcast as Ken teaches us to have the precise tools, mentors, and direction.
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Bake Your Cake
I am sitting here on a nice, beautiful, rainy day. I’m going to head off to my dad’s house. He only moved and he’s baking a pork shoulder. It’s what’s called the big green egg, and it takes about eight hours to cook and it’s at about 200 degrees. It’s awesome. I cannot wait to finish this episode, pack my kids in the car and head over to dad’s house. It’s fitting as my dad is cooking that this episode is called Bake Your Cake. I was trying to think, “What can I say that would be apropos for episode 100?” I was coming up with some different ideas. I had some preset ideas, but I threw those out because I was thinking that the first 99 podcasts I’ve done were little growth nuggets, little tips and little case studies. It came to me that they’re little pieces of ingredients so people could bake, cook and formulate their business.
Back in 1995, I started teaching a concept called Bake Your Cake. When you’re baking a cake, a cookie or a cupcake, it doesn’t matter what but when you’re baking something, it calls for a recipe. That recipe typically has ingredients, a temperature setting and a time commitment. That recipe has ingredients, a pre called for temperature and a pre called for time. My first question right out of the gate is, are you following a recipe? In your business or in what you’re doing, are you blazing a trail? Are you going your own way? Which I’ve done for years. There’s nothing wrong with that, but have you stopped and somewhat formulated a recipe?
Are you taking pieces of other people’s recipes? I call those digital footprints. Are you following something which has ingredients, temperature and time? Are you plowing and winging it? My second question is can anything bake without time? Can anything cook without time? Can you spin some ingredients together, randomly pick a temperature and forget to put something in the oven? Doesn’t it need time? I want to hit this from a different angle. Let’s talk about an adult. That adult started as a baby. Can that baby walk before it crawls? I don’t think so. Can the baby run before it walks? This might seem cliché to people reading, but I want you to get honest. Can a baby walk before it crawls? No. Naturally, it must crawl first to get its bearings, to get its equilibrium and to get everything.
Business is the same way. You cannot force a business to walk before it crawls. I heard somebody say once, when I was in my second year of Today’s Growth and Income Store, it was 2011 and somebody stood on stage. This is a well-known, well-respected business person, and he said, “Real businesses don’t mature until year seven. They don’t sprint until year seven.” I was so angry because I was in year two of Today’s Growth and Income Store, and I’m like, “We’re sprinting right now. We’re cranking.” I knew we were going to hit the Inc. 5000 list. We hadn’t yet. It’s funny, five years went by and that guy was right. We were crawling when I was listening to that presentation. We were crawling with eighteen employees. We have 95 and we’re sprinting now.
Can a baby walk before it crawls? I don’t think so. Can you rush your business? I don’t think so. Do you have a recipe? Let’s talk about recipe, ingredients, temperature and time when it comes to a business. What is the recipe? Where do you get recipes? In my opinion, most recipes come from mentorship. Where do you get mentorship? From personal mentors every 60 days and every other month. I’m in a men’s group and I fly out to Orange County, John Wayne airport. I drive nine miles and meet with 11 to 12 men. We’re there from 11:00 to 2:00 and I fly home the same day. I do that six times a year. It’s amazing. Half that room flies in for those three hours.Most 'recipes' to a successful business come from mentorship. Click To Tweet
Personal mentors. Those eleven men have dropped so many recipes on me. It’s invaluable, that mentorship. Most of my mentorship and most of my recipes have come from books, other podcasts, Google Alerts, books on tape and books on audio. Most recipes that we’re running with now, most of the cookies we’re baking are coming from mentorship that I’m reading about in off-hours. Those are our recipes. Those are the things that we’re studying and we get counsel once we have an idea. We counsel and say, “What do you think of this?” We apply it and we bake that cake. Recipes come from mentorship. Inside the recipe, there are ingredients, temperature and there’s the time that those ingredients have to cook under that specific temperature. Let’s talk about ingredients.
What ingredients are involved in running a business? I like replacing the word ingredients with tools and resources. What are the tools and resources needed to run your business? It’s people, money, ideas and equipment. I don’t mean physical equipment. It’s your tool belt. What you need to run your business are people, JV partners, admins, virtual assistants, yourself and mentors. You can’t do it without people. You need some money. There is no question. You’ve got to put gas in your car. If you starve the head, the body will die. You have to feed yourself but your tool belt, the biggest tool you have comes from the room from improvement, which are your ideas. Your ideas, which you could say are your recipes are your biggest piece of equipment.
You’ve got to arm yourself with weapons, tools, saws and screwdrivers. You have to, those are your ingredients. You’re going to mix those ingredients and you’re going to bake them in a specific temperature and only you can determine the temperature. I’m going to give you an idea so that everybody on this podcast can understand what I mean by temperature. Right now you’re cooking your business in what I’m going to say is 300 to 325 degrees. All of a sudden, you look into your bank account and you realize, “We’re not going to meet the mortgage payment, the car payment or the something. We don’t have any money for Christmas presents.” You could be like I was in 1997, 1998 where I had nothing. Each of my three accounts was negative $3,000, we had nothing for nineteen months. It was brutal.
We were constantly running at $454.75. The bottom line is when you’re in a sales slump, when you realize quickly, there is definitely more month than money, you raise the temperature because you know if you can get it hotter in here, you can get more personal momentum, make more calls, make more dials, go to mort meetups, attend more conferences, read more books. Everybody reading this podcast knows when there’s more month than money, we turn up the temperature. What’s crazy is, most people don’t realize it’s so much easier to change the recipe. Most people, they change the temperature, they do more of the same.
They do eventually get more money and they turn the temperature down until the next time when there’s more month than money, and then they raise the temperature. Once you go through this a few times, you go, “There are people out there at 200, 250, 260 degrees.” You can touch them and they’re not even warm. You can hang on them and they make more money next month than this month, more money next month than that month, more money the month after. It drives you nuts that they’re operating cool, calm and collected. You’re constantly raising your temperature.
I’m guilty of this a couple of times a year. One of the ways that you’re going to find out and prove to yourself that it’s about changing the recipe and not about changing the temperature is when you understand the time element. Let’s talk about the physical baking of an actual cake. Let’s call it a sponge cake. You get a recipe, you mix the ingredients according to the recipe, you set the temperature according to the recipe and you stick it in for the time according to the recipe. Everybody reading this blog knows you can cheat a little bit. Let’s say it calls for 45 minutes of cooking but you’ve only got 35 minutes.
We all know you can adjust the temperature up a little bit and shorten the time but there are breakpoints. It’s called, getting cooked in the squat where you can only adjust the temperature up so high and it cooks that cake in the squat. All things cooked, they squat before they rise. They physically dropped down a little bit, 5% to 15% and it’s a springboard before it rises up. Zig Ziglar calls this getting cooked in the squat. What he’s referring to, and he’s never said it this way, this is Ken’s words, a lot of us, entrepreneurs know we can raise the temperature and finish the race that month and we’re going to take a mental break and do it again.
I’m here to tell you from so many times doing that, and now I don’t do that anymore. I stay cool. I adjust the recipe. The question is, how do you know what recipe to go into? That’s when you need to look at the word time differently. Instead of looking at time as how much time you have and when to determine to raise your temperature, I want you to look at father time differently. If you don’t currently pray, do yoga, meditate or read, I’m here to tell you, shame on you. If you don’t pray, do yoga, meditate and read, shame on you. You have to understand something. We do not rest from our work. We don’t rest on the weekends because we’re exhausted from Monday through Friday.
I promise you this, you get exhausted from your rest. When you take a couple of days off and you unplug and you pray, meditate, or do whatever to connect to the bigger, higher power out there, in my world, it’s God. If you don’t do that and you don’t replenish the literal mechanical ATP, which is what runs our brains. You don’t have anything. You don’t even have a recipe. You’ve got nothing. I’m not here preaching. I’m telling you the facts of business. You need a recipe. There’s no question but understand, you don’t finish your business with the same recipe you start with, it’s called entropy.
What recipe do you go into? I’m here to tell you, you adjust the recipe by taking father time seriously, unplug and think. The book is called Think and Grow Rich. You’ve got to unplug and you’ve got to take the time and say, “Where is my business?” Get a blank piece of paper. Where am I? Write down, “I’m stuck. I’m broke.” “I’m growing too fast.” “I hired too many employees.” “I hired the wrong employee.” Write this stuff down and then ask yourself, “Why? What did I do?” Start talking more to yourself. Start meditating more and listen to the way the world responds when you get calm. I’m here to tell you, the world and/or God and/or whatever or whoever you plug into, is going to show you or give you a different recipe.
If you don’t believe in God or you don’t have a higher power that you talk to or meditate with, then plug into a real mentor, a human being you trust and you respect. Maybe have that person read episode 100 and get that person’s take on this episode. I’m going to bet 85% to 90% they’re going to say, “I would do that and I do that.” Episode 100 is called Bake Your Cake. Here it is, it’s your cake. It’s not somebody else’s. I promise you, your cake, where you’re headed, your business has a recipe you’re currently following, whether you know it or not. You have ingredients which are tools and resources.
You’re setting your temperature. I strongly recommend you have a mentor set your temperature and not you and you’re setting your own time. I strongly recommend your time set is set via a recipe. There are incredible books like The 4-Hour Workweek and Eat That Frog!. There are incredible books out there that show you time models. Here it is, a recipe comes from a mentor. The ingredients come from the recipe. These are your tools and resources. Most entrepreneurs read Michael Gerber’s E-Myth. Most entrepreneurs are setting their temperature and your time is going to come from the recipe. The time has to be set by somebody else. I hope this helps. I’m hoping you take some time to unplug and plug in a new recipe with some new ingredients. I’ll talk to you soon. Take care.