June 9, 2010
Excerpts: An Excerpt from Conquer the Chaos
Seven years ago we found ourselves surrounded by chaos, worried that we would ever get our new business off the ground. Sure, we had dreams of finding our entrepreneurial freedom, but at the time we were just trying to keep the lights on.
It was August of 2002. Our custom software company received an interesting phone call. It was Friday at 5:00 p.m. and the four of us were getting ready to wrap up the week. We’d ordered pizza, and it had just arrived when the phone rang. Well, the last thing we wanted to do was talk to anyone. But we needed sales, so Clate decided to pick up the phone.
No sooner had he rattled off his greeting than the man on the other end shouted, “I have pain! Can you help me?” Then the man paused. Clate’s mind was reeling with concerns. Was this a prank? Did this guy even know what number he had dialed? Was this a customer? What was Clate supposed to do about someone’s pain? Shouldn’t he call a doctor?
Eventually, Clate got to the root of this man’s problem. The caller, Reed Hoisington, was searching for a software program that would more effectively manage his contacts. He was trying to follow up with his prospects and customers, but he was making a lot of mistakes. On this particular day, Reed had mistakenly sent a special, reduced-price offer to a group of people, including many folks who had already bought that product at full price. Customers were angry, demanding refunds and Reed was in pain!
The irony is, at the time of Reed’s phone call, we too had pain! We were struggling to acquire new customers and our struggles were seriously impacting our home lives to the extent that we faced the very real possibility of going out of business.
But, despite the challenges we were personally experiencing, we were learning some very important lessons; lessons so powerful, that following their teachings will free any small business owner from the chaos we nearly all find ourselves immersed in. This is the very purpose of this book.
Now, at this point, you might be thinking, “Well, how do you know I’m experiencing chaos? What makes you think I’m not completely satisfied with the way things are going in my business?”
If that’s the case…if you are contentedly growing your business and you enjoy your lifestyle, then great! You can stop reading right now. If you feel you are getting all the benefits from your business that you could possibly hope for, this book is not for you.
This book is for the entrepreneur who went into business looking for freedom but found chaos rather than finding:
• More Time to spend with their families
• More Money
• More Control to live life the way they want, and
• The satisfaction of achieving their Purpose
If you’re emphatically or even reluctantly agreeing that yes, this describes your situation, then we’ve got news for you: you’re not alone. The vast majority of small business owners are struggling just to keep their heads above water. In fact, most of us tend to clump together in a boat of survival, hanging on for dear life, putting on a happy face as we get more and more bogged down by our businesses.
Let us show you what we mean. A couple of years ago, we headed out on the road speaking to large groups of entrepreneurs in L.A., Chicago, New York, and Orlando.
At each stop, we asked the audience the same question: “How many of you are satisfied with your small business?” Of 1,574 small business owners, three raised their hands. Three. three! Some of these individuals had been in business for more than 20 years!
What was going on? And why were so many people in business for themselves if they weren’t getting satisfaction out of it?
After some reflection, we realized we already knew the answer to the question. Because, in addition to working with tens of thousands of small business owners, we too have felt the fears, pains, worry and stress of small business ownership. We’ve been in the trenches. And together we’ve experienced things that only other entrepreneurs will ever understand.
The results of the “Are you satisfied?” poll stuck with us. So we made it a habit to ask the question whenever we could. The more we asked the question, the more we heard of business owners’ dissatisfaction, and the more we knew we had to write this book to help small business owners all over the world.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.