96% of all businesses fail within the first ten years of life, and this could happen to your company too—if you don’t act quick enough. Ensuring your company’s survivability over a long period of time can be as brutal but simple as cutting off a toe that threatens infection for the rest of the body. Ken Courtright talks about how one small infection can eventually lead to the death of the body, which is the exact same thing that happens within stagnating companies. Don’t waste another precious dollar or second trying to save that bad toe. If you act quick, you’ll be thanking yourself a lot when times begin to get rough.
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Cut Off Your Toe
This show is all about how do you grow a business now, not 1989, 1950 or 2016. Although a lot of what I talk about is digital-related, podcast-related, talking from the stage because of a book or a blog roll type of stuff. The reality is there are certain fundamental principles of business that cannot be avoided. One of the fundamental principles of business is, products and services 100% of the time die but companies don’t have to. I beat this bloody on the Growth Checkup Chart between episode 63 and 70 with many ideas. For those of you that don’t know, the Growth Checkup Chart is live and downloadable on KenCourtright.com. Go and click Books. Underneath the Books navigation button, you see there are a few different books there with another thing you can click on.
You can click on either Books or Presentations, click on Presentation Materials or Presentations and the PDF, The Growth Checkup Chart is there. You can also find it at KenCourtright.com/growthcheckupchart. This episode is titled Cut Off Your Toe. What that means is, there is a 100% chance that whatever your main source of income is, it’s going to fail. It doesn’t matter. Either you’re mortal and you’re going to die. You can’t move that product anymore. The company is going to change or the industry is going to change how that product is marketed. Something is going to change. If anybody can name me three companies that are still selling the same product that they were selling in 1880, there it is right there. It is what it is.Products and services die, but companies don't have to. Click To Tweet
What do you do? You have to have the ability. Obviously, this is painful but it’s a real metaphor. If your pinky toe has gangrene, meaning you have physical evidence that it’s dying. If you don’t cut it off now, your foot is going to get gangrene. If you don’t cut off your foot, your legs are going to get gangrene. If you let it get past the knee cap, you’re dead. Go back in history, study the greatest billionaires’ biographies, the greatest companies, read the books by the Jack Welch’s, the Ted Turner’s, the Fred Smith and Conrad Hilton. They will tell you in every one of these books, some of the most painful times of their lives where when they had to shut down a division and a product. They knew if they didn’t cut that sucker off, it was going to take the whole company down.
My wife and I lived through this in the ‘90s. We had a small chain of video stores. In our twenties, we were making, think back to the ‘90s whatever numbers I give you, double or triple it. Going back that many years in the early ‘90s, my wife and I were netting $10,000 a month per store. Does anybody know anybody killing it in the video store business? I don’t think many people are renting VHS tapes much. I don’t think they’re renting beta or even renting DVDs. Netflix took out and wiped out Blockbuster video, Hollywood video, and my video store chain. The bottom line is entropy is real. That product or service is physically gone. There was nobody ten-foot-tall and bulletproof that was going to keep that product line surviving. It wasn’t going to happen.
Unfortunately for my wife and I, we didn’t cut our toe off fast enough and it almost dragged our consulting business and our sign company and everything else down. It almost killed us. It was so stinking brutal but we cut it off fast enough. We sold the inventory of the last store. We paid $270,000 for the inventory. We sold it for $6,400. I want everybody to go to the garage. I want you to get your sharpest shears and I want you to cut off the smallest piece of your toe, not physically on your body but in your company. Find something in your company that is showing death and cut it off. Eliminate it. If there’s an employee that you know is cancer, remove them.
If there’s a product line that hasn’t sold in six months, get it off your website. Cut something off. Get in the habit of removing 5% of the dead skin. What do they call that? Microdermabrasion for the ladies. Get used to cutting off the dead skin so you don’t have to cut off a toe. You can find the Growth Checkup Chart on KenCourtright.com under books, media or presentation materials or KenCourtright.com/growthcheckupchart. I’ll talk to you soon. See you.